Awards Are Only Cool If I Get One

Rule #99 (if you haven’t read the handbook): Awards are only cool if MLACS gets one

And I’ve noticed that the Liebster has recently gone ‘viral’ amongst the RPL and IF bloggers, but I haven’t been nominated. So I may remedy the situation by making up my very own award and nominating myself for it. So there (sourpuss snotty-pants).

No actually I’m just kidding (ish).

Anywhoo…nothing super badass going on around here. I went to pick up Mr. MLACS from the airport in the city yesterday, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time perusing World Market because I wanted to buy something for the house. I found a ‘pouf’ and got all worked up and excited when I saw it was marked $20 (down from $79)…until I saw all the little foam beads leaking out of it…and the sales guy came along and I pointed out that it is leaking these beads and it appears there was no way to fix it (the torn inner shell was not accessible)…and he just shrugged his shoulders. Like, really dude? This thing is a worthless piece of sh*t that Goodwill would turn down, but you’re trying to sell it?! It was the first thing I saw and it killed my buzz when I realized it was unsalvageable and the sales guy didn’t give a rat’s ass. But…I continued to fiddle around and look at stuff, and I actually ended up buying: rosemary lavender hand soap (in a mason jar), chocolate (always), Moroccan Tangine sauce, and a loose-leaf tea diffuser cup (I only had one and needed another so I can make tea for visiting friends). I reeeeeeally struggled because I wanted to buy these linen curtains for our bedroom and the price was reasonable–$30 per panel ($60 for 2 panels). Buuuuuuut, I’m supposed to be saving money and I know there’s lots of other places I could put $60 to better use, so I ultimately ditched the curtains in the kitchen section (Isn’t that sh*tty of me not to put them back where they belong? Well, it’s a ‘wash’ due to the disappointing ‘pouf’ incident). I decided that I want to get a firm grip on our finances in 2014, so I ordered the Dave Ramsey ‘starter kit’ and it came in the mail the other day (I’m sure you ALL know who he is, since I seem to be the last one on earth to have heard of him–but click HERE if you want the details). I’ve only just begun to read his book, ‘Total Money Makeover’. But even though I haven’t even touched on Dave Ramsey’s financial planning tools, I had this little voice in the back of my head when I was looking at those curtains in World Market that was saying “What would Dave Ramsey do? Dave Ramsey would put the curtains down. Dammit.” So, while I cannot attest to the efficacy of Dave Ramsey’s financial planning tools, I can say that the system seems to be working for me because I now hear his voice in my head, chiding me for considering non-essential purchases after I proclaimed I wanted to dedicate 2014 to paying off debts. *Sigh*

I have been wanting to try Red Robin (a chain restaurant specializing in burgers) because they are the ONLY place I’ve heard of that serves a gluten-free bun. So after my less-than-stellar experience at World Market, I trotted over to Red Robin and enjoyed a burger on a gluten-free bun and a side of gluten-free fries (the fries were served with a gluten-free honey poppy seed sauce that was to die for). It was quite delicious!

Later, I checked into a hotel room (since Mr. MLACS was getting in suuuuper late) and I was pleasantly surprised by how nice and modern it was–I got a good price on www.hotels.com and I was so happy with it that I wished I didn’t have to leave…but I had made plans to meet friends downtown for a fancy steak dinner. I was feeling ‘icky’ all day and was going to deny myself even a glass of wine…buuuuut, I ended up having a glass of Moscato and oddly enough I felt better afterwards (and drank tons of water at dinner). We had a lovely time and I was happy that I procured leftovers to bring to Mr. MLACS, since I felt guilty that he wasn’t there to enjoy it with us. It’s rare that I have an occasion to put on make-up these days and most of the stuff I wear is either spandex or has an elastic waistband, so this was a golden opportunity to put on ‘real’ clothes and polish myself up a bit. And the company was excellent!

After dinner my friends and I went our separate ways–I went back to the hotel room. Mr. MLACS’s flight kept getting more and more and more delayed. I was going to pick him up from the airport but his last flight didn’t arrive until 3am, so he ended up catching a cab. Poor guy! He was beyond exhausted. Well, and so was I. We slept in and ran to a couple more stores before we headed outta town–I had to go to Trader Joe’s (omg I love TJ’s) and also go to a gourmet cupcakery to grab my little sister her fav cupcake (Hey, maybe my award can be the “Best Big Sister” award). We also had lunch at (my fav) PF Chang’s on our way out of town–I had their gluten-free chicken lettuce wraps and those filled me up, so I was able to box most of my gluten-free fried rice to take home. Yummmmm.

We left the city just in time, as it was ‘misting’ and the closer we got to our hometown, the slicker the roads got. By the time we reached our town, the highway traffic was moving at a snails pace due to accidents and then it took us an HOUR to drive through town to get to our house–I had a couple close calls where I was sliding and might have easily caused an accident–thank the Lord we made it home ok. And now, it’s just me, Mr. MLACS, and kitty all tucked away in our cozy little apartment–he’s playing Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS3) and I’m blogging while watching ‘Sense and Sensibility’, having just finished my leftover gluten-free fried rice from PF Chang’s. Life is good.

Oh, and as for the TWW…well, I’m definitely convinced that the Clomid and Femara do bad things to me, because I’m having far less symptoms this month since we only used Bravelle (I actually let Mr. MLACS touch my boobs! Cuz they don’t hurt. He was shocked. And very happy. TMI. Sorry.) We also did the horizontal mambo, without lube (well, except for the progesterone supps), and it didn’t hurt. I actually have cervical mucus–and it’s great 🙂 XO

 

Commence TWW

Hey guys, I updated my IUI #3 on my menu, with all the details and drama of the last 2 weeks (with updated drama and stats from insemination day). I have to go back and edit to include all the drugs and supps I’m taking–including the prednisone–aka prednisolone if you wanna act British (or if you are actually British). Yes, Dr. Angel kindly obliged my request for more drugs. He really melted my heart when he suggested to begin Heparin after a positive pregnancy test–love this guy–now that’s one less thing I need to badger him about (I hate badgering people). I believe (I choose to believe) that I ovulated within a few hours of my IUI yesterday, and it was confirmed (via dildocam) that I did ovulate within the 24 hours post-insemination. And today I will begin progesterone suppositories. And now I wait.

I’m a “pro” at taking corticosteroids. I’ll take a moment to explain how they work in case any of you were wondering. First off, people confuse corticosteroids with anabolic steroids–they are TOTALLY different. Corticosteroids (most commonly prednisone) stimulate your adrenal glands to secrete cortisol and adrenaline. This, in turn, suppresses your immune system. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”–it is secreted when you are stressed–which explains why you are more likely to become sick (like, with a cold) during times when you’ve been under a lot of stress for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, while cortisol is prodigious at quieting your immune system (and suppressing inflammation) it has a host of sh*tty side effects that you’ll notice if you take it over a period of time. One is that you feel *stressed* (cortisol) and another is that you feel *anxious* (adrenaline–your ‘fight or flight’ response hormone). Also, you probably know (from Dr. Oz or from some commercial) that cortisol causes you to retain fat in your midsection–this is a fact. Corticosteroids actually do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what anabolic steroids do–corticosteroids screw you over ROYALLY because they preferentially break down your muscle and use it as energy, rather than using your fat. And if that wasn’t bad enough, corticosteroids encourage your body to store any carbs or fat that you eat as bodyfat (especially on your stomach), rather than using them for energy. You all know that eating protein builds muscle, right? And we’ve established that corticosteroids ‘eat’ your muscle and store any carbs and fat you eat (conveniently) in your midsection, right? So then, it’s imperative that you eat A LOT of protein and as little carbs and fat as possible when you are on corticosteroids long-term. Currently I’m only taking 10mg, which is not much, but when I’ve had to take 40mg a day for extended periods (months), I couldn’t afford to eat poorly because of the consequences.

Anabolic steroids are the kind that bodybuilders use to add muscle and cut fat. Your doctor will never prescribe you anabolic steroids (well, incredibly rarely). So, if any of you have a reason to take corticosteroids, now you’ll understand that they WON’T make you bulky like a bodybuilder, and in fact, they will waste your muscle and add fat to your midsection with a quickness if you don’t eat properly (high protein, low carbs/fats). Corticosteroids also make your face puffy (it’s called ‘moon face’) and I get that even on 10mg. But I don’t care if I have ‘moon face’ in Myrtle’s wedding pictures, if it means I’m pregnant at her wedding. And, I am careful to take my prednisone in the morning, so that I can take advantage of the adrenaline and have a nice burst of energy to start my day and the cortisol doesn’t affect me too much. DO NOT take corticosteroids at night if you can possibly avoid it, because you won’t be able to sleep and may find yourself rocking back-and-forth and crying on the couch all by yourself at 4am (why yes, that has happened to me, MANY times). Don’t know if y’all wanted to know any of this stuff, but I just felt like sharing it. XO

Hail Mary, Full of Grace…

I’m practically grinding my teeth right now. I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided that I needed to look for scholarly articles about “pregnancy outcomes in women with positive anti-nuclear antibodies”, because ever since my first miscarriage I’ve felt that everything traces back to my fickle (auto)immune system and I cannot stand the thought that I would have to fail another IUI or have another miscarriage before anyone will treat my issue–the treatment is corticosteroids, which are immunosuppressant drugs, and docs do not prescribe them lightly, however, due to my autoimmune issues I’ve taken boatloads of steroids so I’m not your average girl.

Let me back up to say, that I tested negative for anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA’s) in November of 2012. But I tested HIGH POSITIVE with a ratio of 1:160 post-miscarriage in February 2013 (just over a year later), and I had elevated liver enzymes (which is related). A couple months post-miscarriage my ANA’s fell to 1:80, which is still positive (and really, once you’re positive, having a lower number doesn’t mean much). Then, I went on to have a ‘chemical pregnancy’ (early miscarriage). I am 100% sure that my immune system “picked off” my first pregnancy–the evidence points to it–but I can’t prove it because my (former) stupid OB didn’t have me “test the products of conception”. Since the chemical pregnancy I have been ttc for 6 months and 5 of those cycles have been medicated–3 of them are IUI’s with injectables (though this third one doesn’t count yet because I’m in the middle of it now). It’s quite suspicious that I haven’t conceived by now, in my opinion, given our heroic efforts and the fact that we conceived twice naturally. What I’m pointing at is this: antibodies get ‘smarter’ and ‘faster’ each time they are exposed to a “pathogen”–you know, like when you build up immunity by being exposed, like chicken pox, and each time you’re exposed your immunity grows stronger. Well, I believe that my anti-nuclear antibodies are getting more keen to my pregnancies, and “picking them off” before they can even implant. It explains my pattern.

And guys, I just can’t bear the thought of losing another pregnancy–another baby. I can’t bear the thought that I might fail IUI #3 and waste more time and have to pay for MORE expensive tests at an RE’s office and be shoved toward IVF, when I could simply take 10mg of prednisolone and baby aspirin (I’d prefer Levonox as a prophylactic, but the baby aspirin should work with ANA’s). It simply drives me mad to think there’s something else to be done that isn’t being done.

And I really feel like my angels (particularly my Mom) were gently pushing me to look for scholarly articles on pubmed today, so that I can show them to Dr. Angel and make a case for the prednisolone. I hesitantly suggested it a week ago, and he said he’d consult with his RE, but he hasn’t had a chance. Plus, this RE doesn’t know me so even if he’s aware of the connection between implantation failure, miscarriage, and positive ANA’s…he may tell Dr. Angel it’s not a necessity. But what I’m seeing is that it most certainly IS a necessity. I’m going to post the abstracts from the articles I looked at. And I want you to tell me what you would do if you were me? Would you move heaven and earth to make sure you had the damn steroids? Cuz I feel prepared to do that. In fact, I think I’ve said it before: there’s nothing I WON’T do to have a baby. There’s nothing I WON’T do to protect my baby…from myself. And really, 10mg of prednisolone is child’s play compared to the Remicade I was on, so what’s the harm? I can’t keep doing this. I PRAY Dr. Angel looks at these abstracts and agrees to give me prednisolone. I really feel like this might be the magic ingredient for me and I feel like I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking it. I didn’t properly cite these (like, for you aspiring professors out there).

So, here’s the abstracts if you’re interested–this first one even suggests that my poor ovarian response may be linked with having ANA’s:

Immunol Invest. 2012;41(5):458-68. doi: 10.3109/08820139.2012.660266. Epub  2012 Mar 19.

Antinuclear antibodies predicts a poor IVF-ET outcome: impaired egg and embryo development and reduced pregnancy rate.

Abstract

To investigate the impact of anti-nuclear antibodies (ANAs) on the outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET), 66 (96 cycles) infertile women positive for anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA+ group), and 233(285 cycles) infertile women negative for ANAs (ANA- group) were enrolled. The clinical characteristics and IVF outcome were compared between the two groups. In the ANA+ group, the proportion of MII oocytes and two-pronuclear zygotes (2PN), cleavage rate, number of available embryos and proportion of available embryos, number of high-quality embryos and proportion of high-quality embryos were significantly lower than those in the ANA- group. In addition, the pregnancy rate and implantation rate in patients positive for ANA was markedly lower than the ANA- patients (28.1% vs 46.4%, 15% vs 25.7%, respectively). Thus, our findings suggest that the presence of ANAs significantly interfere with the oocyte and embryo development, as well as reduce implantation and pregnancy rate in patients undergoing IVF treatment.

J Reprod Med. 2005 Jun;50(6):383-8.

Results of prednisolone given to improve the outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer in women with antinuclear antibodies.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) with outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) as well as the effect of short-term immunosuppression with prednisolone on implantation, clinical pregnancy and live birth rates following IVF-ET.

STUDY DESIGN:

The study group consisted of 120 women, 22-42 years old, in whom IVF-ET was performed and whose ANA could be measured. Prednisolone (15-60 mg/d for 5 days) was administered starting 1 day after oocyte retrieval to some women with or without ANA, without randomization. The 223 IVF-ET cycles were divided into prednisolone-nontreated ANA-negative cycles, prednisolone-treated ANA-negative cycles, prednisolone-nontreated ANA-positive cycles and prednisolone-treated ANA-positive cycles. Retrospective analysis of rates of implantation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth were evaluated in the four groups.

RESULTS:

Overall, ANA positivity was noted in 20.0% of subjects (24/120) and 25.1% of cycles (56/223). Implantation and clinical pregnancy rates in the prednisolone-nontreated ANA-positive group were 0% (0/41 transplanted embryos) and 0% (0/15 cycles), significantly lower than in the other groups. The live birth rate in this group was significantly lower than in the prednisolone-nontreated ANA-negative group and non-significantly tended to be lower than in the other 2

CONCLUSION:

Implantation, clinical pregnancy and live birth rates following IVF-ET were low when ANA was detected. Implantation and clinical pregnancy rates were improved significantly by prednisolone, but the live birth rate was not.

Fertil Steril. 1998 Dec;70(6):1044-8.

Prednisolone plus low-dose aspirin improves the implantation rate in women with autoimmune conditions who are undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effect of prednisolone plus low-dose aspirin (PSL/LDA) in women with autoimmune conditions who were enrolled in an IVF-ET program.

DESIGN:

A retrospective clinical study.

SETTING:

In vitro fertilization unit, Niigata University Hospital, Niigata, Japan.

PATIENT(S):

Three hundred seven women who underwent IVF-ET between January 1996 and December 1997.

INTERVENTION(S):

Prednisolone (10 mg/d) and aspirin (81 mg/d) were administered to the women with autoantibodies who chose to participate.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Pregnancy and implantation rates with IVF-ET.

RESULT(S):

Women undergoing IVF who had positive antinuclear antibodies, with or without antiphospholipid antibodies, had significantly lower pregnancy and implantation rates than did women without autoantibodies (14.8% versus 21.7% and 6.8% versus 10.4%, respectively). The administration of PSL/LDA to women with antinuclear antibodies significantly improved the outcome of IVF-ET (40.6% pregnancy rate and 20.3% implantation rate).

CONCLUSION(S):

A high proportion of women who are undergoing IVF-ET have autoantibodies, which are associated with poor IVF outcomes. The administration of PSL/LDA to these women may improve their implantation rate.

 

 

Do Y’all Have Any Idea WTF Is Up With This…???

I just posted my protocol for IUI #3 (click here) or you can click ‘IUI #3’ on my menu. I’ve used an INSANE amount of Bravelle. I have a high AMH (4.57). Yet…I still only grew 2 follicles…please read my protocol and give me any insight you can about how the f*ck you can have “high AMH” and “poor ovarian response”–this seems to be an anomaly. And, my right ovary flatly refuses to produce a viable egg–Dr. Angel says most people have a ‘dominant ovary’–do y’all have a dominant ovary? Anybody else have a protocol that got you less-than-stellar results (what was it)? And then, what did you do that worked? I mean, seriously, I want as much information as you’re willing to offer about what drugs you used, how you responded, and anything else that might make me understand how 23 viles of Bravelle can yield 2 stubborn follicles? Anyone??? I bet you I am the only blogger on here with an AMH high enough to be PCOS-ish BUT barely responds to injectables…I said I wanted to be ‘unique’ NOT ‘special’. Dammit. *Sigh*

Burn

“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.”
― Charles Bukowski, ‘What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire’

Tis the season of pregnancy announcements. More specifically, two of the most gorgeous, most sweetest girls you ever met–girls who’ve never had a legitimate ‘fat’ day, who never needed braces, who never rub anybody the wrong way. I’m pleased for them both. But, I had a moment where I felt insecure like I did back when I was on the track team in junior high school; a talentless misfit who excelled at sucking. I didn’t mind training but I hated sucking…I think I kept doing it (track) because I was hoping I would magically morph into a thin, popular, athletically talented young woman (with boobs).

That never happened. I didn’t “morph”.

What did happen, was that I got really lost (sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll). And then I started to realize that “fitting in” is highly overrated. And I let my colors fly. And I made lots of friends. And I got (bought) boobs. And when I found a sport I loved I realized that I am a very talented athlete. I learned my strengths. I reconciled my weaknesses. I stopped wanting to be someone else.

I surely didn’t “peak” in junior high or high school (or even college). I’ve had to work hard and roll with the punches to become the person I wanted to be, mind-body-soul.

I’m never surprised when things don’t come easily to me. Things like boobs, athleticism….pregnancy…babies. But honestly, I’ve adopted the motto that “something is only worth what we must sacrifice to attain it”. And I’ve found it to be SO true–the things I’ve had to work the hardest and sacrifice for are the things that I’m proudest of–the things that ultimately define my character.

And dammit, I’m fighting like hell for motherhood. I’m up in Dr. Angel’s office EVERY day, getting my shots and monitoring, for 14 days per month (3 months in a row now). I won’t put anything in my mouth that might contain gluten–no matter how hungry I am. Even when I’m tired I force myself to do 30 minutes of cardio because I’m convinced it helps my “follicles grow”. I bicker with Freedom Pharmacy at least once a month. In the last year I’ve spent thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to see specialists and run tests, all in pursuit of justice for my lost pregnancies and the desperate need to protect another pregnancy. I f*cking stick an enema up my butt every night to quell the inflammation in my colon. There’s really nothing I won’t do to have a baby.

So while those two beautiful, blissfully ignorant ladies (swans) announced their pregnancies on facebook at barely 11 weeks gestation (as only a fertile would)….

I proudly walk through fire on my path to motherhood. I see myself as a Phoenix that will rise from the ashes. Swans are simply beautiful. But the Phoenix is the epitome of strength, beauty…and (re)birth. And Phoenix’s don’t do pregnancy announcements–that sh*t is for swans.

"Phoenix from the ashes" by Christoph Jaszczuk

“Phoenix from the ashes” by Christoph Jaszczuk

I Can See The Horizon!

 

I’ve been wanting to update, but we moved all our stuff into a new unit (same property, identical unit–different building), and I have no cable or internet, and updating on my phone is practically impossible–so for those of you who may have been concerned after my last “FML” post–I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to update and thanks for caring 🙂

Monday: No good, very bad day which turned into a horrible night, when I wrote my last post (click here for post).

Tuesday: Wake up feeling defeated and ask Mr. MLACS if he intends for me to cancel is appointment to give his “specimen”. He looks defeated too, and said “No, but I can’t move forward this month unless Dr. Angel calls us back and we’re able to talk to him”. Fair enough. I called Dr. Angel’s office and got the ‘usual’ receptionist (I’ve spoken to a couple of others this week that I’m not used to and got mixed results–obviously Dr. Angel didn’t call me back so I didn’t get the result I had hoped for). I told the ‘usual’ receptionist that Mr. MLACS and I are having mixed feelings about going forward with IUI #3, and we really won’t be able to do it unless Dr. Angel can see us TODAY, since Mr. MLACS is leaving tomorrow. The receptionist *communicated (*key word) that Dr. Angel was doing a C-section and would not be available for her to speak with him about accommodating us until the early afternoon–I totally understood and trusted that the ‘usual’ receptionist would follow through and get our message to Dr. Angel. She returned my call late morning and offered that Dr. Angel could see us at 3:30 that afternoon–perfect! Because Mr. MLACS was scheduled to give his ‘specimen’ right up the street at 3pm, so I took this as a ‘sign’ that this cycle might work out. Mr. MLACS agrees to give his sample, and I agree that we will wait to make our decision about doing a January cycle until after we’ve spoken with the doc. I decide to take my gifted Bravelle with me, because I just can’t dose myself without the doc’s consent (though I was not above considering it).

Mr. MLACS walks into the clinic (where we’re collecting/freezing his ‘specimen’) with swagger. I get a kick out of him boldly walking up to the window and stating his business–no hunched shoulders or looking side-to-side to see who’s listening. A’ta boy! As I’m waiting for him to *ahem* finish, a couple of young mothers with small children walk into the clinic (which is an infertility clinic)–I was taken aback, and I totes understand what other bloggers mean when they lament how insensitive it is (not to mention annoying) for women to bring their (poorly behaved) children to an infertility clinic–I’ll put that on my “offenses not to commit in this lifetime” list. We then jaunt over to Dr. Angel’s office, not knowing what to expect—we were both apprehensive and full of emotion.

But, all that angst was for naught. Dr. Angel greeted us warmly. I didn’t even know where to begin, so I just told him “We didn’t expect IUI #2 to fail, and we weren’t prepared for it, and we want to know if you have any idea why, and then what you think we should do”. And he basically said he 100% believes we will have a baby. He doesn’t know why these IUI’s failed because they “Looked good” but that it’s totally normal and it doesn’t mean there’s something horribly wrong with us. We really, really needed to hear this from his mouth, because after 2 natural pregnancies followed by 4 failed medicated cycles (including 2 IUI’s with injectables), we were starting to feel panicked and insecure. He admitted he may not be aggressive enough with his treatment and we may want to consult with an RE that he (and everybody else in town) recommends. But then, I told him that I’m not asking for 6+ follicles, just 4 follicles…and I mentioned my interest in taking low-dose steroids with the idea in-mind that I have at least 2 elevated antibodies (ANA’s and NK cells) and the ANA’s in particular may be the issue and may respond to the steroids, PLUS they’ll only help my Ulcerative Colitis. And Dr. Angel offered to consult with him on our behalf, to see what–if anything–the RE would do differently. And Dr. Angel agreed to my request to begin 150iu Bravelle on CD5, so I got my shot in the office 🙂 Furthermore, the receptionist said our insurance has been paying on the scans and we didn’t need to plunk down any money to start the cycle–AMAZEBALLS!!! We left feeling relieved and stoked that we can actually afford this cycle without having to “rob Peter to pay Paul”.

Wednesday: Took Mr. MLACS to the airport in the city to catch his plane to work, and went to the old chiro/acu doc I used to work for and got treatment. It was great to see the doc (he is hilarious) and I know the treatment did me good. I raced back to town (2+ hour drive) to see Dr. Angel in the afternoon. I had wanted to dick around in the city, but my friends were all busy and I wasn’t about to tell Dr. Angel that I couldn’t make it to an appointment the second day out of the gate. Mission accomplished. 150iu Bravelle.

Thursday: Go to Dr. Angel’s office at 8:45am and get sent away for “30-45 min”. Get Starbuck’s (half-caf) and come back at 9:30…wait in the office for a bit and get sent away with “doc is still at the hospital and we’ll call you to come in once he’s done”. Cool, so I get called in somewhere around 2:30, and probly wait another 1/2 hour after I get there. But honestly, I don’t mind. Dr. Angel looks dog tired from delivering babies this week–poor guy. The ‘usual’ receptionist tells me the only time he can see me the next day is 11:45, which I agree to. 150iu Bravelle.

Friday: Wake up and make plans to work out with a friend at 10am. But then new receptionist calls me from Dr. Angel’s office and says “So the only time Dr. Angel can see you today is 10:30”, no explanation–but I don’t require one–I simply agree. I postpone my workout with my friend and tell the maintenance guy I will call him when I get back so he can service the washing machine. I show up at Dr. Angel’s office and ‘new’ receptionist says (contritely) “So your appointment was at 8:45” and I quickly respond “oh no it wasn’t, that was yesterday. Today I was told 11:45”, to which she responds “Well it says 8:45 here on the schedule”, and I say “Well if I had been told 8:45, then I would have been here. I was told 11:45 by ‘usual’ receptionist'”, to which ‘new’ receptionist replies “Well do you have an appointment card???” and I’m pissed….so I snap back “I DON’T NEED ONE. This is no less than my 30th appointment and I NEVER screw this up.” Like, wtf is your problem dimwit? Honestly, Dr. Angel was standing right next to me when ‘usual’ receptionist said 11:45–she looked AT HIM and said “your only time is 11:45”, so hopefully this was brought to his attention and I believe he would remember just as well as I did, if not better. And he did mention something during our visit that prompted me to say “Seriously, I was told 11:45–and I take this VERY seriously, just like a job”, to which he chuckled “I don’t doubt it, you’re one of the most punctual people I know”. Damn right I am. I’ve done everything he’s told me to–from paging him to showing up for appointments–TO THE LETTER. I’m the only one who ever has to wait–not him. So, I hope I don’t have to interface much with ‘new’ receptionist because I may snap on her if she antagonizes me again. The f*cking nerve. Dr. Angel asked me to page him at 8:30am tomorrow, and I’m tired but I set my alarm for 8:20am. 150iu Bravelle.

Saturday: I dutifully page Dr. Angel, who cheerfully answers the page and informs me that he is going to be a few hours yet because he has yet another delivery. I think women who are delivering in January got pregnant in…April last year? I guess “spring fever” is legit, because Dr. Angel remarked that he has “A WHOLE BUNCH” of due dates this month, and I’m pretty sure he’s delivered a baby (or two) every day this week. The man has stamina! So I wait….all day…and finally page him at 2pm to see if he has a plan…and he has me come to the office then. Two lead follies and four small ones–I’m hoping that two of the four smaller ones can mature in time to trigger, so I can get my ‘Fabulous Four’ I’ve been gunning for this cycle. 150iu Bravelle.

I feel a helluva lot better than I did on Monday. I’m feeling optimistic about this cycle. I feel ‘touchy’ but not overly psycho and my bloating is much less (than previous medicated cycles), which I’m attributing to not taking the Letrozole this time around. I’m going to be cautious and start doing OPK’s tonight, because I’m feeling certain that I will ovulate much sooner than previous cycles.

My Grandma has her lumpectomy (for breast cancer) this coming Friday, so that’s a big deal this week…a really big deal. Thanks for keeping her in your prayers–she’s a special lady. Her prognosis looks good!

I gotta unpack all the boxes in the new place–been procrastinating. Well, but then I’ve also had A LOT of stuff going on…regardless I gotta get my house unpacked so I can resume cooking in my kitchen and stop eating out (though I’ve been eating mostly salads). It’s hard to motivate cuz I’m lonely and the place feels foreign and most of all, I don’t have cable yet. It would be SO much easier to motivate to unpack my living room kitchen if I had the Food Network or Bravo to keep me company. Mr. MLACS hooked up his PS3 in the bedroom so I can play dvd’s, but all his dvd’s suck (action movies) except for ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘Juno’. Now I’m not going to watch ‘Juno’ for blatantly obvious reasons, although I do like it. So I’ve been watching ‘Kung Fu Panda’ on repeat, and I’ve probably seen it 5,000 in the last 3 days…but I really like it. I admire Asian culture and philosophies anyway, so I can appreciate the Zen teachings that are subtly communicated in the form of a cartoon movie. I love Po, the unassuming Panda who possesses the abilities to save his village and recognize his dreams to become a kung fu master–everyone tries to change the goofy panda, but what they all learn is that he doesn’t need to fit their image of what a kung fu master should appear to be, he just has to be his best version of himself and apply himself. I find it very inspiring. XO

 

 

Merry Birthday Jesus!

I know I was all sad and stuff in my last post (like “oh I don’t feel like talking”, blah blah blah)  but I’m feeling more like myself again (for the moment–but this may be transient). I’m nearly ready for Christmas: house decorated (but still need to finish cleaning–I hate cleaning, so I might give myself a B- in cleanliness and organization but whatevs), cookies made (I chocolate-dipped oreos and pretzels and sprinkled different things on them, for example: white chocolate with crushed candy cane bits–making chocolate dipped stuff is a WAY bigger pain-in-the-ass than just baking something, IMHO), presents bought and wrapped (I $pent almost as much on the wrapping as I do on the damn presents), groceries bought for the carefully planned Christmas dinner (which, same as Thanksgiving I’ll be cooking, because of course nobody else is volunteering), and there’s one more thing…

OH! I’m missing an excuse/lie to tell my Mother-In-Law (MIL) to explain WHY I have to leave in the middle of making dinner–because I have to go see Dr. Angel for monitoring and of course the best time for him is between 3-4pm. Hello drama, my old friend, how ya doin’?! I’m a horrible liar. I have no idea what I’m going to tell her. But as you already know, I don’t want to tell her anything because, well, I just don’t want her asking about it and I most definitely do not want her to say anything to my (shady) SIL. Mr. MLACS is totally backing me up about not saying anything, although it will be awkward because at some point during MIL’s visit we are both going to have to “excuse ourselves” to go do IUI #2. We’re kind of just thinking of saying “we’ll be back in a couple hours” and leaving it at that–MIL won’t pry. But yeah, so that’s what’s up….

I had everything planned out for Christmas, but I didn’t plan to succumb to depression and anxiety for a week and fall behind on my preparations, because I didn’t plan for IUI #1 to fail and thus necessitate IUI #2 during Christmas. Yup, infertility is nothing if not inconvenient, right?

I saw some friends this past week and that was a wonderful pick-me-up, plus Mr. MLACS is home now for about a month and we are getting along, plus I’ve had some more acupuncture from Star, plus Dr. Angel is…well, he’s an Angel.

In other news, Doc Angel and I had a pow-wow today after my monitoring session. The day he took my betas (12dpo) my Progesterone was only 2, and we all know that is pitifully low, right? Right. I have 3 months supply of Endometrin (progesterone suppositories) so given that my progesterone was so low, Dr. Angel wants me to begin progesterone the day of IUI #2. I was really surprised my progesterone was low, because my boobs were huge and I was having crazy nightmares (which always happen when I’m pregnant or on progesterone supps). But, I’m oddly relieved because now maybe I can blame low progesterone and not sh*tty egg quality for my failed IUI #1, and there’s the ‘silver lining’.

Also, Doc Angel said my testosterone is totally normal (25) right smack in the middle of ‘normal’ range and my free testosterone was also normal, though I cannot remember the exact number for it. I was surprised, because (if you’ve read my ‘about’) then you know I have a lot of excess coarse androgen-promoted hair growth on face/stomach/thighs, which unfortunately does not go away just because I got my testosterone ‘in check’. I suppose this is what spironolactone is for, because it blocks the androgen receptors in your hair follicles to prevent the hair growth. But I’ll never take that crap.

I also spoke to my Gastroenterologist (GI) doc about postponing my next Remicade infusion for a few weeks in case it may be interfering with implantation. Surprisingly, my GI was totally for it and said he didn’t prefer to use it in pregnancy if I can avoid it, but to monitor my symptoms and let him know if I’m feeling bad. This means I have to diligently use my Rowasa enemas every. single. day. But who knows, maybe I will be able to get off of the Remicade indefinitely, and that…would be priceless.

I’ll talk more about IUI #2 later, but for now I’m gonna play these cards close to the vest. I’m using the same protocol as last time (Femara + Bravelle + Trigger + IUI) except with different dosages/days and adding progesterone supps. I hope you ladies all have a Merry Christmas and cheers to Jesus! XO

 

More Rain Before The Rainbow…

pink ribbon

Uh, hey guys…I, uh, well…*looking down, hands behind back, kicking dirt*

Fuck it.

My Mom was diagnosed with terminal Breast Cancer that had metastasized to her lungs at age 55 in 2006, and she passed away at age 59 in 2009. And now her Mom, my Maternal Grandmother, has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer this week at age 83.

I HATE CANCER. I FUCKING HATE CANCER. ESPECIALLY BREAST CANCER.

Both my Mother and Grandmother were cigarette smokers and both diagnosed after age 50, but Dr. Angel still thinks I should be tested for the BRCA gene. Regardless of the presence of the BRCA gene, I am still at higher risk of Breast Cancer given my family history.

But that is really far from my mind right now. My Grandma is my last living grandparent. We have a close relationship. She still lives with my Dad and helps my sister run our family daycare. Grandma and I stuck together during my Mom’s illness–I didn’t talk to my Dad for 2 years, though I have since forgiven him and seen a change in him that lets me know that he has been exorcised of his demons and won’t do me any more harm in his lifetime. My sister is a different story…we have a volatile relationship and she is bittersweet…sentimental one moment and heartless the next…probably the most fickle human being I’ve ever known. My Grandma stood by me during my Mother’s illness, while my Dad and Sister picked me apart as their grief manifested as rage. Grandma and I went to church and prayed for those assh*les to wisen up and stop being miserable and vomiting their misery onto everyone else. I really believe that praying for them to gain wisdom and compassion has manifested change in both of them, but I still don’t trust my sister–I’ve been screwed over too many times.

I wept to the social worker during my Mom’s illness. I was having a complete mental breakdown because I had had this vision of my family coming together and supporting each other and lifting my Mom up in her time of need…and what happened was a Jerry Springer episode gone horribly wrong. I was treated as an outsider, as I had been living in Hawaii for several years, and ultimately I became the target of all my Dad’s and my Sister’s anguish. The social worker said that terminal illness causes one of two outcomes in families: it either brings them together or tears them apart. And there’s nothing I could do, except try to support my Mom–and they made it VERY hard for me to do that. I had put all this behind me and moved on to have healthier relationships with my Dad and Sister, but I’m having PTSD now…my Grandma is going to die the same way as my Mother did in our family home…I can’t help but harken back to those dark days…and after 2013 has beaten me to a pulp with marriage difficulties, chronic illness + health crisis, 2 miscarriages, Infertility…I’m afraid that I don’t have the strength to endure going 10 rounds with my family if they decide to regress and act the way they did during my Mom’s illness…I’m literally sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

I am very active with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and I fundraise for a memorial team in my Mother’s memory. It’s cathartic for me, to feel that in some way I am fighting this disease that will ultimately claim the two most important women in my life. And when somebody asks me what they can do, all I can say is “fight for a cure“.

In other news, I’m currently in the midst of IUI #2. But I know you’ll forgive me if I don’t feel like talking about it. In fact, I don’t feel like talking at all. I love you guys, and I’ll be keeping up with you, but if I post and comment less consistently it’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I care too much. XO

**Edit**I’d like to add that I’m relieved to have my Mr. MLACS at home with me as of yesterday–I didn’t have him when I went through this ordeal with my Mom and he is a great source of comfort and stability for me. I’m still hopeful that I will be able to introduce my Grandma to our rainbow before she leaves this world. Also, I talked to my friend who’s dating Dr. Angel’s son (she intro’d me to Dr. Angel) and told her I was overwhelmed by anxiety and depression post IUI #1. So I’m sure it was no coincidence that Dr. Angel pulled me aside today after Mr. MLACS walked out of the office and said “I forgot to mention that the hormones can cause or amplify any issues like depression or anxiety, perhaps you’ve experienced some of this?” to which I replied “Oh. Well yes I have.” And Dr. Angel said “Well that’s normal and if you need to talk please come and see me.” He really is my Angel, this guy. My cat slept on my head last night and is currently cuddled next to my butt on the couch–he missed me for the 36 hours I was away, and I missed him too–he is definitely my baby. I know I sounded morose in the above paragraphs, and part of me is–but the better part of me is still optimistic and grateful. XOXO

It’s My Birfday!

Well, it was my birthday today (Dec 16th, I know that wordpress is going to post this as the 17th but here in the the USA, Central Standard Time, it’s still December 16th–my birthday).

I haven’t written in the last few days–because I’ve just felt inexplicably awful and I had nothing to say except “Help”. I had begun to wonder if I would ever feel good again. Everything made me cry–I would get a lump in my throat and just burst out in tears, and the tears would quickly fade but then I would be left feeling exhausted, confused, and unrelieved. Everybody seemed to hate me–I interpreted everyone’s actions/inactions in the worst possible way (example: my friend didn’t text me to confirm dinner plans in the afternoon on Saturday so I assumed he had found something better to do (because I am SUCH a boring loser) and then he texted me around 6pm and asked where we should go–I had agonized over nothing). I have been consumed by anxiety and depression in a way I haven’t been since I started medication 7 years ago. And I was SO stressed thinking “My depression and anxiety is going to RUIN all the potential of IUI #2”, but I couldn’t make it stop. This feeling of desperation about screwing up IUI #2 was the worst. It’s worse at night (dark, cold, lonely) and I found myself awake until 3am every. night. this. week. It didn’t seem to matter how many “warm fuzzy” Hallmark Christmas movies I watched, I couldn’t shake my misery.

Until Today. I stayed up late last night tidying my house because I wanted to wake up and not be irritated by all the stuff on my “to do” list that still wasn’t done and then having to look at my house in disarray. So I fixed everything before bed. And I woke up excited to go see my friend (the acupuncturist) Star to begin treatment this morning. I brought her a cute little treat bag of chocolate dipped oreos that I had sprinkled with crushed candy cane (as I’ve previously suggested (click here) it’s always good form to bring treats). I felt relaxed the moment I walked in the door and saw Star’s smiling face. Star took time to thoroughly go over my medical history, and then she began treatment with an interesting technique. I don’t know what it’s called, but she had me hold up my right arm in front of me, and she asked my body (not me, my body) a series of questions about what is bothering it (spleen? stomach? kidney?) and when my arm would ‘give’ when she pushed she would consider it an answer from my body–my body said my kidneys and stomach are weak/having issues. Then Star had me hold up my hand and asked my body if events in my life had caused my weaknesses, and at what age these occurred. My body replied that I had traumatic events at ages 12 and 22, which I can only assume were related to my very piss poor body image/disordered eating–at those ages I literally hated my body and wanted only to be thin, and not just thin but pin-thin (which is not even a possibility for me, I know, because I eventually did become very successful at my eating disorder and started under-eating/over-exercising and even at 10% body fat the smallest I got was a size 4/6). So, I told Star what had happened at those ages, and then she tapped down my spin and pushed those things out of my body–I felt a physical release. Next, I laid down on the table and Star placed the acupuncture needles at various points (not the first time I’ve had acu) and told me to relax and call for her if I needed her. The needle that was placed to detoxify my kidneys kept falling out–which intones that I am overwhelmed with impurities. Toward the end I could feel the toxins begin to release into my blood stream and I became quite uncomfortable. But when I sat up after the treatment, I KNEW that good things were happening–I knew I was in the right place and that Star was the right person to help me on my journey to a baby. I appreciated that she focused on my fertility too! She gave me suggestions for books and supplements, but without any pressure. I have smiled all day–genuinely smiled. And laughed. This huge tension/stress knot in my left shoulder has all but disappeared and she didn’t even touch it. I feel lighter and more energized. It’s ah-maz-ing. I just wish she took insurance! But she’s worth every penny.

I had a good rest of my day too, gluten-free pizza for dinner with my family and gluten-free cupcakes made for me by my sister. Lots of well-wishes and happy birthdays on facebook. And a lovely little card from one of my IF/RPL soul sisters, as well as a book of fertility philosophy from yet another IF/RPL soul sister arrived in the mail 🙂  I feel so loved and nurtured, like I was falling through the sky but I’ve now landed on a cloud. I feel like, no matter what happens with IUI #2, I think I will be ok (but I’ve only just begun the hormones so no promises).

I have to give a shout-out to Mr. MLACS as well, because he’s been a complete gem. While he can’t be here in the flesh to comfort me, he has made himself very accessible across the miles and has answered every phone call and listened patiently to every meltdown. He has not allowed me to worry about finances. He had a lovely orchid plant sent to surprise me the other day (I love Orchids)! He’s giddy about Christmas and has been shopping online and loads of boxes have been arriving from Amazon.com, mostly wrapped, mostly gifts for me. And my most favorite thing: it’s a birthday tradition for me to go to the Nutcracker ballet for my birthday, and he bought us tickets and we’re going to see a performance on Friday in the city (where I have to pick him up from the airport). I love having something to look forward to!

In closing…as I was cleaning/organizing my house today, I found a “rainbow maker” that my Dad gave me a couple months ago when we first moved here. I LOVE prisms, those crystals that project rainbows onto the wall, and the one my Dad gave me has a little solar panel that projects the light onto the prism…I hung it in my bedroom window. I sighed wistfully and hoped that this means I’ll be holding my rainbow this coming year. And I didn’t even cry. XO

86% More Hopeful Than Yesterday

Click HERE for the Attain Success Rates webpage….

As I’ve been (obviously from my ‘FML’ posts) fighting anxiety and depression like it’s my job (thanks hormones) and I’m determined to see the mf*ing sunny side of life again, I began searching for statistics. I don’t expect things from God–I pray more for understanding, acceptance, and comfort than I do for outcomes–so when I want to believe that something will go my way I look for a statistic that is in my favor. And as luck would have it (or God, maybe God was throwing me a bone here) I found some very encouraging statistics via Google search! I would like to thank Attain fertility for providing me with HOPE that I may yet find success with IUI’s…because according to Attain there is an “86% chance of pregnancy with multiple IUI’s”. It doesn’t say percentages like 40% pregnancy within 3 IUI’s or 60% pregnancy rate within 6 IUI’s…and I don’t f*ing care if this 86% includes people that have had 100 IUI’s to finally get pregnant. Obviously this statistic does not account for live births, but before I even worry about that I need to believe that these IUI’s and all the mf*ing hormones are going to open the door for me to begin to worry about the RPL factor…This 86% statistic calmed me and helped me to stop hyperventilating about this upcoming 2nd IUI and stressing about the future (IVF, childlessness), and I will be forever grateful to Attain for posting this (possibly fabricated) statistic so it was there for me to reference in my time of need. **And if this is a skewed statistic and your RE tells you it’s BS…PLEASE DON’T TELL ME…I need to believe in this like a little kid needs to believe in Santa Claus…I’m clutching this statistic like a little safety blanket and if you try to rip it away from me I’ll bite you. XO