New Age

According to Wikipedia (yes, I’m quoting wiki, this is not a term paper)

“The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as “drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics.”[2] The term New Age refers to the coming astrological Age of Aquarius.[1]

I realized today that I don’t need medicine, I need healing. I need someone to help me break the chains that I’ve been dragging around these past months and revive my body AND spirit. I already had a masseuse that I LOVE who I think of often but haven’t seen since I moved back to my hometown–he’s amazing. First thing I did was call him and I’m going to see him this Friday. But I was talking to my friend ‘X’ the other day and she said “Why don’t you talk to our friend ‘Star’ and see about doing acupuncture with her? She specializes in fertility and the chiropractor she works with is also wonderful!” I had actually told ‘X’ that my current chiropractor (who ‘X’ used to babysit, and she is my age, so that’ll tell you he’s a very young man) has never addressed my UC or my fertility concerns with his treatment–at the initial visit I told him everything and he seemed compassionate, but ever since then I just feel like I’m a punch in his timecard and he could give a sh*t less about why I’m there and if I’m getting what I need out of the treatment. Sure, he asks me how I am and what I’ve been up to, but then when I ask him he always responds by telling me about his pregnant wife (they’re having a BOY!) and even though I was am genuinely happy for him, how stupid is he to keep droning on about how “we never go out but I’m happy to stay home with my pregnant wife” to a woman who has professed herself chronically ill and infertile??Actually, he’s not stupid, just naïve I think. Regardless, I don’t ever want to see him or his pregnant wife (or their eventual baby) ever again. The thought of him nonchalantly asking me what I’ve been up to and chastising me for canceling my last 4 appointments just makes me want to puke. So I’ll be moving on. And it’s fate, I’m sure, because I had a long conversation with Star today and she was amazing–she said ALL the right things…she didn’t make me feel like a bad person for the arsenal of meds I’m on (though she did say she’ll want me to take a particular probiotic and a particular brand of aloe juice). She said my EXACT words, which are “Eastern and Western medicine can and should work synergistically” (FYI the word ‘synergy’ is one of my most favorite words ever). I knew she was the right one for me. I’ve known her since we were little girls although we haven’t been in close touch as adults, and I know her nature–she is gentle and kind. I told her that I feel guilty about all the meds I’m taking but that I’m doing the best I can to try to balance meds with lifestyle (ex: gluten free) and supplementation (ex: fish oil), in hopes of “patching myself together enough so my body can be a good place for a baby to grow”. She is also a doula, so I told her I’ve had to let go of my dreams of an entirely holistic lifestyle and a water home birth–these just aren’t options. I told her I’m not opposed to chucking all my meds and healing my autoimmune issues with lifestyle and supplementation, but that given what I’ve been through it’s impossible to imagine. I told her that I wish to have a baby this year in the hospital where I was born, with her by my side as my doula–this would be my dream come true. I told her that I am having a hard time believing that this can and will happen, after this past year (of chronic illness and miscarriage). She was very comforting without being too “touchy feely” and she asked some good questions too, so I feel she’s caring and also competent. I told her I’m about to do another IUI and that I’d follow whatever plan of treatment she recommends, and she asked me if I could come in on Monday or Tuesday?

And I told her Monday, because Monday is my birthday, and it’s a very good day to start something new. And I’ve been crying on and off all day ever since, just letting it out–it needs to come out. I just realized that I’ve been falling and getting up and dusting myself off all year long…and I’m tired and I need to heal, or I won’t be a good place for a baby to grow.

I’m conflicted about doing this month’s IUI, because it might be good for me to take some time off of the hormones and focus on my health and rebuild my sense of wellbeing. But I don’t want to wait. And moreover, Mr. MLACS’s schedule is changing in January so he’ll be gone when I’m ovulating and I’ll have to use ‘spermcicles’ and that makes me nervous. So I want to move forward this month, but first I want to shake these feelings of grief, humiliation, inadequacy, shame, pessimism…get rid of all these bad feelings and replace them with good ones like hope, confidence, self respect… I’m ready for a ‘New Age’, both literally and figuratively.

I am 100% Sagittarius

I am 100% Sagittarius

CD1

Yep. I got the call from Dr. Angel that my beta was negative and stimultaneously felt the unmistakeable pain of AF making her appearance a day early. It’s actually a blessing in disguise to be moving on from grieving to hoping so seamlessly. Also, that would partially explain why I was so morose yesterday–PMS. But y’all really showed up for me yesterday and I truly felt embraced and comforted by your kindness, warmth, and tenderness–I really felt our kindredness and unity and it gave me strength when I was weak. You are such amazing women and I’m privileged to know you–I don’t need to know your names, addresses, or occupations–I know the best part of you already–your brave hearts. Bless you all. XO

Coping Mechanisms

I tested negative at 12dpo on a FRER.

I called Dr. Angel’s office and he returned my call and sounded truly disappointed and surprised that the IUI didn’t work this time, he just kept saying “everything looked really good”. I tried not to unleash my full crazy on him, but did throw out several conspiracy theories, “maybe my testosterone is high and I need metformin”, “maybe I need to ovulate sooner, since I didn’t ovulate until CD17, perhaps I need to ovulate closer to CD14”, “maybe my eggs are all bad”, “maybe there is something genetically flawed about my eggs or Mr. MLACS’s sperm”, “maybe it’s the Remicade, since it mediates NK cells and implantation requires NK cell activity, maybe my NK cells are overly suppressed and I need to get off the Remicade”, or conversely, “maybe my immune system is still too active and preventing pregnancy”. I told him “I just wish I knew why”, and “maybe I’m one of those people who won’t get pregnant and it’ll take years to figure out what is wrong”. I know my voice didn’t sound panicked but ordinary people who are not losing their minds do not have these sorts of schizo conversations with their OBGYN after one failed IUI. I am truly special. Dr. Angel ordered a blood draw to check testosterone, progesterone, and quantitative HCG–yes, he went ahead and ordered the beta today at 12dpo because he, like me, feels that the FRER’s are pretty damn accurate.

I cried on and off all day. I felt alone (and I was). And I felt broken (I am). I just couldn’t find comfort in anything or anyone. I had an opportunity to go decorate a Christmas tree with my sister and her daycare kids, but I had to say no. Instead I went to Quest to have my blood drawn and argued with the phlebotomist because she said “now this doesn’t say STAT, so it’s not STAT” (very redundantly) to which I replied “well it oughtta say STAT because it’s a beta and I’ve never heard of a beta not being STAT” (sounding indignant) and then I proceeded to call Dr. Angel’s office to push my agenda, but it was a futile attempt because they were out to lunch. The phlebotomist got a little snippy and said “I used to do a lot of these and they were never STAT” to which I replied “well I’m used to working with RE’s, and they want things STAT” (like, lady, there’s one fledgling RE’s office in this damn town so I wouldn’t expect you to know) and she STFU. I looked and noticed that she had 2 viles for the blood and upon confirming that she only needed two I gave her my left arm because it’s slower–I’ve had so much mf*ing blood drawn that I have a system–2 viles or less you get the left arm, 3 or more the right arm, and I prefer IV’s in my hand. I had one of those “is this really my f*ing life? when did this become ‘normal’?” moments as I sat there watching my blood trickle into the viles, completely oblivious of the phlebotomist.

There was a lady who came in to the Quest office after me, a very frail lady with a hunchback and a walker–I opened the door for her and sat back down. She said out loud, “oh I can’t see this sheet to sign it (referring to the sign-in sheet)” so I jumped back up and grabbed a pen, and before I could ask she said her name was Bernadine. I thought, what a pretty antique name…and I loved her accent–she had a southern drawl–and she said “thank you honey”, and my heart felt a little warmer. I just adore sweet little old ladies. As I was leaving the Quest office I noticed a man on a cell phone standing over Ms. Bernadine, and as I’ve worked in several Dr.’s offices I assumed he must be her transportation. I walked outside and saw a van with the name of a retirement home on it, and my heart sank…does this sweet old woman have no one to care for her? Is she all alone in the world? I wanted to run back in the Quest office and scoop her up and take her with me. I was saddened. The point of this story about my brief encounter with Ms. Bernadine is to give you an idea as to my frame of mind…I looked around at gray skies and snow covered straw-like grass…and I got in my car with nowhere to go and no one to see…and the world seemed like a very cold place. I unceremoniously removed the gauze from my arm and stuck it in my console on top of the gauze from last time.

“What am I going to do with myself now?” I thought. First things first, there was a Starbucks right next to the lab and I always reward and self-soothe with Starbucks, so that was a no-brainer. There was a serious line at the drive-through because it was lunch time so I had a few minutes to ponder my next move. I have a list of things to do around our house but maybe I should try to cheer myself up. I find meandering around Barnes and Nobles to be my most favorite form of therapy, and I thought “maybe a book will distract me from obsessively trolling IF/RPL blogs and lamenting my failed IUI”. Mr. MLACS called while I was in line and he encouraged me to go, so I robotically drove myself to the mall.

Of course I cried on the way to the mall.

I walked in to Barnes and Nobles hoping that I didn’t look like I’d been crying, and could hardly manage a whisper to thank the person who opened the door for me. I wanted to be invisible. I took inventory of the place as I walked in, but my coffee was “kicking in” (and my enema and my milk-o-magnesia…constipated much?) and I had to run to the bathroom. It figures that I would be having a bad day and then be forced to take an epic dump in a public restroom. I cried silently on the toilet, but emerged from the stall feeling like a burden had been lifted (literally). The first book I noticed as I walked by the “New Age” section was by the Long Island Medium lady, Theresa Caputo…not sure that was a coincidence because I’m dying to meet her and get a message from my dear departed mother, but I kept walking.

And now it’s time for a confession: I like to read cheesy Christmas paperback books. You know the ones. They have titles like “A Christmas Miracle” or “The Gift of Hope”. My eye was caught by a Debbie Macomber book (that I hadn’t read) called “Angels at the Table”. Will Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild reunite after their chance meeting in Times Square last year on New Year’s Eve??? My educated guess is: Yes. But I’m going to read it anyways.

Then I began circling the “Books Worth Reading” display. And they were all worthy books–Pulitzer prize winners and such. But most of them were too ‘heavy’ for me or I just didn’t like the author’s picture on the back of their book…I discriminate based on this, because if the story is about a little girl’s family torn apart during the Holocaust, then I don’t want to see a picture of some yuppy-looking beatnik dude smirking at me on the back cover. It just ruins the credibility of the story for me, and it seems fame-whorish for authors to put their damn pictures on their books. Unless it’s a biography. Nonetheless, I spent at least an hour reading excerpts from books on this display. I finally settled on one called “Gifted Hands”, about a Neurosurgeon named Ben Carson who spent his childhood as a black youth in inner-city Detroit but ascended to become the director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Now this, I give a sh*t about.

I went to the ‘Clearance’ section and kept picking up books with storylines that the mother is dying of cancer. WTF. I just can’t…I can hardly read books about mothers let alone mothers dying of cancer (as my Mom did) and I’m thinking “I probably need therapy”. And then I thought…”I’ll have to tell my infertile friends that (according to these books) being a mother is now synonymous with dying of cancer so maybe if we remain childless we’ll spare ourselves death by cancer, ha ha ha”. It sounded much funnier at the time. Obviously it’s not funny in print. Sorry.

I gave up and got in line. While in line I had the presence of mind to pick up a gift card for my MIL. I would say that Barnes and Nobles did not disappoint me today–I left feeling atoned.

I cried as I left the mall parking lot.

My brain felt fuzzy as I tried to figure out the next best use of my time…I just kept driving toward my house…and all of a sudden when I was one street away from my house I decided that I MUST go to Walmart to get the sh*t to make all the Christmas goodies that I’ve promised Mr. MLACS and to complete my vision of handing them out in cute little containers to Dr. Angel and other vital people in my life. I made a U turn. I know it’s ‘cheating’ but I parked by the Walmart garden center because it’s SO much easier to check out there as opposed to the regular lines and you don’t have to feel guilty about not donating to the Salvation Army bell ringer (there are none stationed at the garden center doors)–I should not be sharing this information with you because not many people know about this trick, but you’re welcome.

I proceeded to buy $120 worth of various forms of sugar and Christmas wrappings. Very therapeutic. For Christmas this year, e’rybody gets diabetes.

I cried on the way home from Walmart…FML

XOXO

 

 

 

 

Highly Doubtful

I tested with a FRER with FMU and BFN @ 11dpo, 12dpiui. I was still hopeful because my symptoms are persisting, but Mr. MLACS (from across the miles, via phone) informed me that, lucky us, according to the FRER stats there’s a 20% chance that this was a false negative! Oh goody! So that means (and I believe, because you know I believe in the power of FRER’s) that there is an 80% chance that I AM NOT pregnant. I should’ve seen at least a faint positive today–I saw a ‘shadow’ of a line at 11dpo with my chemical, and the faintest pink line at 12dpo, and my beta was 5, so it’s insane that I even saw a line. I squinted at today’s FRER, and I willed a second line to show it’s self, but there was nothing.

There’s an 80% chance that I am going to have to do this over again at the end of this month (during Christmas) while my MIL is here visiting with Mr. MLACS’s developmentally disabled (seriously AWESOME) older brother. I don’t want to explain any of this to my MIL. I don’t want her telling my SIL about any of this, because SIL had a miscarriage this time last year and is currently going through a veeeeery bitter divorce (was married for 1 year and 3 months before separating) AND she just turned 30 AND is changing her career…so basically, she has swallowed a handful of bitter pills after having her dreams fall apart this year. She admitted she had hoped we would have our first miscarriage (not to me, to her brother) and I’ll never forgive her for that–I KNEW that she felt that way, I could FEEL it, and I worry that her bad juju hurt my pregnancy. Mr. MLACS didn’t believe me that she felt that way until SHE told him. I just don’t understand how a woman who has lived through the devastation of miscarriage could ever WISH that on someone else. I mean, I can see wishing that someone wouldn’t get pregnant or wishing that it would take them awhile to get pregnant, but wishing for miscarriage is crossing the damn line. If you wish for someone to have a miscarriage then you’re an a**hole and I don’t want to know you. Oh and then she called me after my miscarriage and was like “I’m SO sorry I know JUST how you feel” and I wanted to be like “No b*tch, your hater ass does NOT know how I feel”, but I didn’t. In my head (logically) I know she’s (emotionally) just a little girl whose dreams of being married for 50 years and having 5 kids got ripped away from her and she was lashing out. It’s pathetic and should inspire pity. But in my heart, I’m grieving for the babies I lost and I want to STOMP anyone who dares to take an ounce of satisfaction that this happened to me and my poor Mr. MLACS. F*ck her. Uhg. Little sisters are such little haters.

What this all leads up to is, there’s an 80% chance that I’m going to have to do this all over again. There’s an 80% chance Mr. MLACS’s Mom and brother (but God willing NOT his little sister) will be here with us during this next cycle. And, even though Mr. MLACS says his mother would NEVER tell his sister if he tells his Mom not to…he has no idea how women operate, particularly mothers/daughters/sisters/friends…and you and me and GOD knows that there’s an 80% chance that my MIL is going to tell my SIL. And that chaps my ass even more than having to do it all over again.

I’m so frustrated I don’t even care that we’re finally getting the first snow I’ve been wishing for.  

The Hardest Thing I Ever Did…

I just wasn’t ready to write about this before now…I’m f*ing bawling and I haven’t even started…

Ok, so on February 4, 2013 I woke up and took a perfunctory HPT and almost died when I saw two lines. Totally unexpected. I was totally terrified because my Ulcerative Colitis was ‘flaring’ and my doctors had cautioned me time and again to “Be sure my disease is under control BEFORE I get pregnant because it will most likely become worse in pregnancy”. I thought my body was smart enough to know better than to get pregnant when I’m already bleeding (from my anus). I also thought that I wouldn’t get pregnant since we’d only had sex ONE time all month (due to my health issues). I told Mr. MLACS not to get excited because I was worried this wouldn’t work out. I felt sick–I was freezing cold and exhausted and fuzzy-brained and my colon was bleeding (I later found out I was suffering the symptoms of hypothyroid in addition to my UC). So of course, he went out and told EVERYBODY at his work. I was apprehensive but decided to treat the pregnancy as though everything was going to be fine.

For Valentines Day, Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate to a pregnancy spa for a prenatal massage, along with several sessions of prenatal yoga. I went to one session with a friend who was 32 weeks along at the time, and the yoga instructor looked appalled when I told her I was only 6 weeks along–she acted like I was crazy for coming to the prenatal class. I understood after I took the class, because it was so easy that a brisk walk would’ve been more useful to me. But I got the distinct feeling the yoga instructor was also intoning that I should be concerned about miscarriage and that it was too early to embrace my pregnancy. After I had my miscarriage at 7w2d, I understood…

So, hopefully you’ve read the story about my friend, Dee (click ‘Dee’ to read) becoming pregnant quite soon after my miscarriage. It hurt. We both lived in the Southwest and met because our husbands work for the same company and were working on a project together–we were both strangers in a strange land. But though I trusted her, she was hard to get close to. We were talking every day and then after my miscarriage I hardly talked to her and never saw her…only later I found out it was because she was in the first weeks of her pregnancy. Then a couple of times she went home to visit her family in the East Coast and didn’t call or text me at all while she was gone (for a month each time), even though I tried to keep contact with her. I knew I wasn’t being rejected, but still, how could we go from talking every day to no talking for a month? Anyhow, I sucked it up and would hang out with her and her pregnant belly. I felt sorry for her puking ALL DAY (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) EVERY DAY through her second trimester. I offered to keep her son (who I adored) when she went to prenatal appointments. I went shopping for baby clothes with her. I didn’t stop her when she gushed about all the great stuff she scored at the baby swap meet, or her nursery theme. And to her credit, she listened to me lament my health issues and talk about trying to conceive–she encouraged me.

I felt like maybe I should give Dee my prenatal massage gift certificate…but then I thought “No, Mr. MLACS wanted me to have it” and “I should be pregnant before we move so then I can use it”. I mean…I got pregnant by dumb luck once, so, it should be easy, right?

I did not get my second BFP until the end of July. The line was veeeery faint, and I was cautiously optimistic, and I thought “Statistically this pregnancy should work, odds are in my favor”…but alas, my beta was 5…how the hell did I even see a line? FRER’s are amazing, IMO. I started my period right on time, but it was THE most painful period I’ve ever had, worse than my first miscarriage, so I call my “Chemical Pregnancy” a Miscarriage…Also, I went to see my RE for a scan before starting Clomid …he saw a sac in my uterus…I wish he had never told me that he saw something. I had already been reading IF blogs because my friend Steph Mignon writes one. Also, Steph had just done her first IUI and fallen pregnant! I KNEW, that we could not possibly be so fortunate as to enjoy our pregnancies together. My life is full of hubris. The blogs I read told of nothing but heartache and failure (although almost all of the bloggers I started reading 9 months ago are pregnant now). I realized that my journey to motherhood was not “normal”, and I was (as per usual) in the minority statistic of women who struggle to conceive and carry a baby. My head hung low and my heart was broken–I felt broken.

I now had to come to terms that we wouldn’t be conceiving before we left…well I’ll just say it..Las Vegas. I had purchased a little onsie on Freemont Street that says “I’m What Happened In Vegas!” as a gesture of optimism that we would conceive while living in Vegas and I imagined holding it across my pregnant belly in our pregnancy announcement (this was before I started resenting pregnancy announcements). I realized that I would not need that prenatal massage gift certificate…THAT broke my heart…remembering how excited Mr. MLACS was when he brought it home to me…how he’d kissed my belly and rubbed my feet and told everyone in his path that he was going to be a daddy…I had been clutching that gift certificate with the belief that it was meant for me and my rainbow, but I was moving 1,482 miles away with no prospect of a rainbow…

And of course I knew, that the only right thing to do was to give it to Dee, because she was 7 months pregnant and also moving across the country WITH a potty training toddler…she deserved it. But GOD was it hard…I was jealous of her…then I felt guilty…but it’s SO unfair…what if I just threw the gift certificate away, as a symbol of throwing my dreams away…giving Dee the gift certificate felt like I was handing her MY dream…and wasn’t she already beyond blessed???

I was with Dee in the car one day and she mentioned getting a prenatal massage…and I took a deep breath…and I said “Well, you know Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate….and I’m not going to use it…and I wanted to get you something anyways…so I’d like to give it to you as my gift.” And I was so awkward and heavy with my words…Dee urged me that I could still use the massage even though I’m not pregnant, but I said no, that I was already getting a massage somewhere else and I wanted her to enjoy it. And I got out of her car. And I walked in my house. And I fell to my knees on my kitchen floor sobbing so hard no sound would come out. And I couldn’t stop crying for hours. And I talked to my dear departed Mother, and I talked to God, and I hugged my cat, and Mr. MLACS came home to find me crumpled on the couch.

Giving Dee that gift certificate was the hardest thing I ever did, and I’ve done A LOT of hard sh*t. I’m pretty hardcore actually.

There are two good things that came of this experience:

1. Making this sacrifice made me feel like I have good character.

2. I did something nice for my friend Dee, and even though I didn’t tell her how I felt, she knew it pained me and I know she appreciated that I gave it from my heart.

And now, at 7:30am EST on December 5th, 2013, her daughter will enter the world via C-section. And I’m happy for Dee. But it brought up this story, which I had meant to tell you about already but just never found the strength until now.

XO

 

Damn You Mittelschmerz!

Mittelschmerz = Technical term for “painful ovulation”

1:30am

I started having cramp-ishness in the evening circa 6pm, and by 7pm I was walking hunched over. I was in bed by 8pm. But then Mr. MLACS woke me up as he was settling into bed at 11pm, and I tried to go back to sleep but eventually pacified myself looking at FB and blogs. Then…I started to feel like my uterus was trying to be ripped out of my a**hole…and now here I sit on the couch in my pink fuzzy bathrobe, hunched over the laptop with a cup of hot tea (may I recommend Celestial Seasonings Apple Cinnamon) and my Kleenex close at hand…it seems unfair that I’m in such a horrible amount of pain and I have a bathroom cabinet full of painkillers and muscle relaxers, but for purely procreational purposes I’ve limited myself to Tylenol Extra Strength (I haven’t even taken cold meds this week). I’m sitting here rocking back-and-forth because it mildly helps the pain, but standing or laying down is uncomfortable–how the hell am I supposed to make Thanksgiving dinner like this??! This sh*t (injectables + iui) had better work…Lord have mercy…

6:30am

After passing out on the couch with a pillow between my legs, Mr. MLACS woke me up at 6am and I paged Dr. Angel to be sure he was available, he was, and I said I’d be at his office by 6:30. Mr. MLACS helped me load the Thanksgiving odds-n-ends that I needed to take to my family’s house to dress our turkey straight away after the appointment, and off we went. Dr. Angel was ready for me and asked me if I had any pain, to which I replied “Oh gawd YES, it’s been awful”, and I think he noticed that I cringed when he took out the dildocam–I’m still so tender that the thought of it turned me off. But as soon as the image of my left ovary appeared on the screen, I knew it was good news and Dr. Angel confirmed it when he exclaimed “They’re all GONE!” And then we admired the large amount of fluid accumulated between my uterus and anus (no wonder it felt like “someone trying to rip my uterus through my butt”–I didn’t say that out loud though). I also noticed when Dr. Angel tipped me backwards in his ‘fancy chair’ that my boobs are bigger today. I’m a little worried because Dr. Angel intoned that he is not afraid of twins–but a little concerned because the last time he did this protocol it ended in triplets…OMFG, I could handle it but I surely do not wish for it. Dr. Angel surprised me by saying I could test this next Wednesday or Thursday, which seems awfully early but you don’t have to tell me to POAS twice, lol. He also tells me that I ought to have sex again today…which makes me want to cry…

7:30am

Arrive at my family’s house and dress the turkey using this recipe (click ‘this recipe’ if you’re curious). This is the first turkey I’ve made for my family and I have grand delusions of them applauding me and telling me it’s the best they’ve ever had.

8:15-10:30am

Leave family’s house and go home to shower and grab a few more things we need. Mr. MLACS insists that we follow Dr. Angel’s instructions to have sex once more, and I begrudgingly remove only my pants (remaining in my sweatshirt and large fuzzy socks) to signify that this is business and not pleasure–gotta hand it to Mr. MLACS, the deed requires absolutely zero effort on my part and he is very efficient. After the “business” is handled and I’ve fixed myself up a bit, we head to the dollar store to buy a few last minute tupperware containers to cart our portion of leftovers home with us (Mr. MLACS refuses to shop on Thanksgiving because his mother is vehemently opposed to stores being open on Thanksgiving, so he is sworn to secrecy).

10:30am-3:30pm
Cook insane amounts of food, with Mr. MLACS as my trusty sidekick and my Grandma trying to help. My turkey and my ham both turned out beautifully, as did the potatoes au gratin, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. Grandma made the pies (pecan and lemon meringue) and my sister made green bean casserole. I set the table with a poinsettia, matching red cloth napkins, and our family’s good china–it looked the way it used to when my Mom made our holiday dinners (legit). We all had plenty to eat and my family was appreciative of my (and Mr. MLACS’s) efforts, and that makes it all worthwhile. Plus we have tons of leftovers! I’m freakin’ exhausted–but grateful–very, very grateful.
Turkey Time
I hope you all had/are having a wonderful Thanksgiving (and for those not celebrating, happy Thursday!) XOXO

Are We There Yet??????? Geez….

Sorry, bullet points:

The Essentials:

  • 2 follies on left ovary: ‘19.5’ and ’17’, hopefully tomorrow morning they’ll both have grown a couple millimeters.
  • My OPK was very negative, so I’m not terribly concerned about ovulating early (although I’d be lying if I said I was totally unconcerned).
  • My Estradiol was 665 today (but I still don’t have my lab results with Estradiol + TSH that were drawn last Friday)
  • I’m CD15 today (Monday) and today was my 8th consecutive day of 75iu Bravelle shots
  • Tomorrow (Tuesday, CD16) I’ll take my HCG trigger shot
  • Wednesday (CD17) Mr. MLACS will be ‘called to duty’ (a nod to his video game) and we will have our IUI
  • I’m still sick with a head cold and it’s making me pissy and nervous because I’ve obligated myself to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday

To Expound Upon that:

  1. I saw Dr. Angel this morning and waited all day for Dr. Angel to call me back to tell me if I am to have a Bravelle shot or the HCG trigger shot today (he said one or the other but not both). I was wrong about my 2nd follie measuring so close to my lead follie the other day–it wasn’t. Today the lead follie is at 19.5 and the 2nd follie is only at 17, so Dr. Angel decided that I should have my Estradiol drawn (oh and I still don’t know my Estradiol & TSH values from 3 days ago) before we decide if we should trigger today (CD15) or trigger tomorrow (CD16). I freakin’ forgot to take my OPK earlier…maybe that’s because…
  2. Every day for the last 4 days Dr. Angel has asked if I can wake up at 6:00am and page him at the hospital to see if he is available so he can meet me between 6:15-6:30. Every fuggin’ day some pregnant lady has either been delivering or in some kind of crisis, so I’ve been told to wait for Dr. Angel’s call. So that is my life now, just waiting for Dr. Angel to call and invite me in for some QT with the dildocam and a shot in the ass. I’m on my 8th day of the everyday monitoring & daily shot in the ass, and it’s not as exciting as it was in the beginning. Now it’s just tedious.
  3. I’m SICK with a nasty head cold, which came on about 4 days ago. I’ve been sleeping like sh*t. I feel like crap. The skin under my nose is eczema-like from all the wiping and nose-blowing–being sick makes this whole song-and-dance with Dr. Angel far more annoying and inconvenient. It’s like, I’m either waiting on phone calls or trying to sleep or just trying to entertain myself and I migrate between the couch and the bed like a zombie. Cranky? Sho’ nuff.
  4. Mr. MLACS was gone for over 3 weeks…then returned home last Friday…and we have not been intimate because Dr. Angel told us not to since he was expecting to trigger Sunday and do the IUI Monday–since I’ve been sick and he’s been tired it has not been a big issue. BUT NOW Dr. Angel has pushed the trigger shot to Tuesday and the IUI to Wednesday…Mr. MLACS is only home for 2 weeks! I’m thinking about just having sex tonight (Monday) since we’re not doing the IUI until Wednesday, because MFI is definitely not our issue so I’m not worried about him not having enough sperm. But then…I’m not really in the mood either, I think I’m more-or-less just bored and mostly I want intimacy with Mr. MLACS, not necessarily sex…but he can’t be lovey-dovey with me because he’s horny like a 16 year old boy. So it’s like, either we go “all the way” or we “wait” until our IUI, as there is no in-between with him right now. Super frustrating. I should probably just wait until the IUI, right??
  5. Ok, so I called Dr. Angel’s office circa 3:30pm to see when he wanted me to come in and which shot he intended to give me based on my Estradiol. They had me come in and get the Bravelle shot today (Monday), and (as noted above) pushed the trigger to Tuesday and the IUI to Wednesday–because my Estradiol was only 665 (which is good but leaves wiggle-room for stimming one more day). I had the shot today and it hurt like a mofo–Dr. Angel must’ve just hit the wrong spot.
  6. I’m supposed to page Dr. Angel tomorrow morning circa 8:30am and aim to be in there by 8:45am to get my HCG trigger shot (unless another pregnant patient takes precedence again).

I’m ready to get off this roller coaster, and I don’t just mean with the stims and the dildocam appointments. I’m ready to finish settling my house and get into a routine with Mr. MLACS and this new job and schedule. And I’m very f*ing done with this head cold–it’s making everything seem much harder than it ought to be. And as a disclaimer, I know plenty of you have endured worse on your ttc journeys, and I may sound like a big whiney baby…and all I can say is…you might be right; maybe I am a big whiney baby. Kudos to you for being so hardcore. XO

Oh My Heavens It’s SO BIG!

I feel absolutely INSANE.

I finally saw Dr. Angel yesterday afternoon (after “Super Soul Sunday”) and I warned him that I might start crying and if I did then he should understand that he’s not hurting me, I am just crazy, and it’s not his fault–so please don’t take it personally. And he smiled and told me that this was only the beginning and the hormones will get worse on the Bravelle. FML. And then he looked at my ovaries with the dildocam. Left ovary had two juicy follicles he measured (no idea what the measurements are in “infertility speak” cuz e’rybody always talks about triggering when their dominant follicles are “over 15”, etc. and I didn’t ask him to convert his measurements for me). And the right ovary had one juicy follicle but it was oddly shaped and appeared to have something protruding into it…Dr. Angel said, quote, “It may be a hemorrhagic cyst or something.” No mf*ing clue what “or something” may be. I remembered to bring the drugs and paraphernalia with me, expecting that Dr. Angel would teach me how to do the Bravelle shots. But he flipped the script on me and said he’d like for me to begin Bravelle tomorrow (today) so that he can see, quote, “If those follicles are leftover from the last cycle or if they are from this cycle.” I asked him how he would be able to tell and he said, quote, “If the follicles are new, then they should increase in size, but if they are old then they probably won’t.” Well, ok then. He offered to keep my Bravelle and accoutrements at his office, and I was glad because that’s one less thing for me to worry about. And I left, went home, and took my last Femara tablet.

I returned to Dr. Angel’s office today to have another US and (finally) get my first Bravelle shot. I gotta ask you guys, have you ever sat in a chair in the OBGYN or RE’s office that raises you up and tips you back so that you’re practically upside down and your lady parts are in the air at eye-level with your practitioner? The ultrasounds yesterday and today were my first experiences with this fancy chair, and I don’t hate it but it’s weird as hell, don’t you think? Just sayin’. So anyways, Dr. Angel first looks at my left ovary and measures the 2 follicles from yesterday, and I notice they have grown–hooray, they are “new”! And then…he looked at my right ovary…and WTF??? The potential ‘hemorrhagic cyst’ from yesterday that had been about the same size as the other two follicles now seemed to be taking up my entire f*ing ovary! I was like…”Um…is that seriously the follicle from yesterday?!” And he didn’t say much, he was just clicking away taking measurements and he even made a 3D color image of my ovary to get a better look. I was like, “Whoa dude, this looks bad, is it bad??” And he was like, “Nah, it looks like a hemorrhagic cyst”. And I was like “But from what I’ve read about other people’s cycles, the cycles get canceled when they have a cyst! Is this cyst gonna mess up my cycle?” And he was like, “No it won’t cancel your cycle.” And I was like “Cool–my right ovary can be delinquent as long as my left ovary is still in the game.” But really, I’m like, what the hell is wrong with my ovary??? I’m over here wondering if my Remicade + Clomid cycles have given me ovarian cancer or some sh*t. And when I think I might have ovarian cancer, the first thing that pops into my mind is “Please Lord, let Dr. Angel ignore my ovarian cancer and let me get pregnant and have a baby before I die, Amen.” I am such a whack job.

Then, it was FINALLY time for me to get that Bravelle shot. And all along I was thinking I would give it to myself in my stomach. But Dr. Angel is pointing at his butt saying “So you’ll want to make sure you don’t hit your sciatic nerve…” and I’m thinking…”Damn, how the hell am I s’posd to give myself a shot in my ass”…I’m flexible but this seems unrealistic/unfair. And then…I see this GIANT MF*ING NEEDLE and I’m like “Lord Jesus are you serious?! Is THAT the needle?! How big is that??!” And Dr. Angel is just showing me how to mix the Bravelle with the filler solution but I am not even paying attention because I’m too busy looking at this ridiculously HUGE needle. It’s a good thing I’m not a curious person and I hadn’t examined the contents of the box Freedom Pharmacy sent except to make sure the meds were there, cuz I might’ve changed my damn mind. I asked Dr. Angel what size needle that was, hoping that my eyes were deceiving me, but he said “23” and my face fell–it really is as big as it looks. I was still pants-less holding a sheet around me as I’m watching Dr. Angel get the shot ready, and finally it was time and I held the sheet awkwardly with one hand (so Dr. Angel had access to my buttock) and grabbed the counter with the other hand…and…it wasn’t that bad. But I’m gonna be straight with you: my ass is still sore from it. And for the record I’m not afraid of needles–been stuck countless times for bloodwork and IV’s and even had Botox on my face a few times (don’t judge me), but those needles were child’s play compared to this one. Damn. Luckily, I have to have an ultrasound every day and I’m only taking the Bravelle 75iu once a day, so I looked at Dr. Angel and said “I will seriously pay you extra if you will give me these shots.”

Can I also mention (of course I can but you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to) that my Dad has a girlfriend. Any of you out there whose Mom/Dad passed away and you’ve had to deal with your living parent dating while also dealing with the loss of your other parent? Well…it’s been rough. My sister openly HATES the girlfriend and will have NOTHING to do with her. I’ve been living away from home for most of this time so I only have to see her occasionally because she lives 2 hours away and they alternate weekends (he goes there, she comes here). I don’t like her, but I don’t hate her. However, the girlfriend has two sons and they seem to really like my Dad. And these sons have small children of their own. And…all of a sudden lately ALL my Dad talks about when he comes home from visiting the girlfriend is playing with her adorable grandchildren. Today, he even told me what he intends to get each of her grandchildren for Christmas! Can somebody PLEASE take the dagger giant syringe out of my still-beating heart?! And he fuggin’ knows exactly what I’m going through–I’ve told him everything. He’s just stupid. That is all. XO

 

Syringe to the Heart

Are You There Oprah? It’s Me, MLACS…

Totally chaotic post…just gotta get it out…the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem…

I’m sitting on my couch in my fuzzy pink bathrobe, watching Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” on her OWN network, and I’m on the verge of tears and I’m trying to figure out what, exactly, is causing me this unrest…

Here’s the background: My dear departed Mother was a HUGE fan of Oprah (but nowhere near obsessed, just appreciative). When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer I wanted to contact Oprah and tell her how amazing my mother is and have Oprah listen to her and hold her hand and tell her she’s wonderful and give her a trip to her orphanage in Africa or something along those lines. And I did write to Oprah, but I was overwhelmed and unprepared to do something more extreme to get Oprah’s attention. And really, I realized, that shouting my mother’s praises to the world on Oprah and sending her to Africa would not make her life any more or less meaningful–I realized you do not have to be a billionaire or start an orphanage to signify that you meant something to this world. I could get all Eastern philosophical on you but you know what I’m talking about–if you don’t and you’re curious then may I recommend the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Anyhow, I haven’t been following Oprah since she left daytime television, because her network cost extra to add to my cable packages and also I’m sure because Oprah reminds me of my Mom and the many things I wanted for her that I couldn’t give her in this life. This sh*t is heavy and I can only deal with it in small doses. In fact, I’ll just keep rolling here, I’ve wondered more than once–since disease is called dis-ease and some say it is a sickness of the soul–if I just sat here and thought of every fear or sadness I’ve ever had, and cried it out, if maybe my Ulcerative Colitis and other immune issues would go away. But I haven’t been compelled to try that. But I digress…I just flipped on the tv last Sunday and Oprah was talking to this older woman with dreadlocks and I was intrigued so I began watching “Super Soul Sunday”, which is where Oprah talks to people (I think mostly authors and public figures) who have spiritual messages about life. It’s intense. And today, Oprah is talking to Mark Nepo (who I haven’t read) about what brain cancer taught him. This guy is a PhD. He’s written a bunch of books. And Oprah thinks he’s a prophet. It makes me Feel. So. Small. And who am I now? I used to relish philosophical conversations and awakenings, and now I’m pained when I watch somebody else experiencing this sort of freedom and lightness of their soul. I feel so tired and heavy. And I don’t even know what the hell is burdening me, exactly, how to get rid of it, how to make sense of it.

I wonder how much of this is a mid-life crisis and how much of it is hormonal. I’m on day 5 of Femara. Anybody else found themselves under fire from random bullets of emotion? Did it stop when you quit the Femara? Just wondering. I would like to think that this will all resolve its self (probably wishful thinking and I should probably get some therapy). I had a fight with Mr. MLACS the other day that seriously challenged my will to procreate. He should’ve known better than to berate me for anything, given that: I had a hellatious week at the new job (which was a disappointment); I feel unsettled and somewhat ashamed about quitting the job (even though I KNOW it was the right decision); I had to fight with Freedom Fertility Pharmacy and jump through hoops to get my drugs; I’m frustrated about our finances; I miss him terribly; I have no idea what I will do with myself–whether I get pregnant or not–I realized that I need to start setting goals…short-term, attainable goals, and fulfill my purpose beyond wife and motherhood…I feel like I’m just waiting to exhale. Mr. MLACS spoke to me as if I hadn’t a care in the world. And that PISSED ME OFF and got me really, really, upset. So upset, between this fight and the other above mentioned factors, I was rendered useless yesterday and spent the entire damn day in my pink reindeer pajamas stalking your blogs and googling sh*t. I did however force myself to the gym for 45min of cardio, because I know it is important to our procreational efforts. But I’m feeling literally and figuratively stuck inside a box, as I haven’t left the house.

I was supposed to meet Dr. Angel at 7am this morning to have an US and learn how to shoot my Bravelle. I even took a cold pack and placed it in my box of drugs and paraphernalia, and then placed the box in the car, just so I wouldn’t forget it. I was so anxious I couldn’t get to sleep! And he had told me to page him at the hospital juuuuust in case he was there doing a delivery. So I paged him. And of course, he was there attending to a first-time-mom who was just 6cm dilated. Just my luck. He said he’d call me and I haven’t heard from him, so I suppose this kid is taking it’s sweet time entering the world. It’s stupid but this also makes me feel small, like, her having a baby vs. me needing to shoot my drugs is no-contest as to which is more significant. And then this brings up the feelings of: it was supposed to be MY turn in October. It could’ve been me in those stirrups, but it’s not. I don’t dwell on this much (I’m not a “dweller” in general, I’m impatient and hurry to move on) but it’s worth mentioning because these feelings are there.

I’m f*ing frustrated. I don’t understand what is happening to me, but I have been stumbling through dark and unfamiliar times in my life and I know that I will be able to look back with perspective when I’ve reached the other side of this bridge. It’s just, I didn’t realize I was even ON a bridge (metaphor for I didn’t realize I was in crisis/a life transition) until I was already in the thick of it. Like I was just ambushed by life.

And by the way, you know (I think) that I am a spiritual person and I believe that these uncomfortable, painful experiences in life are growing pains and ultimately a gift. I may be empowered by whatever self discovery or nugget of universal truth that may be gleaned from weathering this storm. Are you listening Oprah???

**also I must add that Oprah films her “Super Soul Sunday” at her estate on Maui, and glimpsing the islands makes me feel very homesick–the Midwest is my Roots but Hawaii is my Wings–I miss the Aina, Kai, and Mauka…I felt that freedom and lightness of spirit there. That’s a tale for another time.