STOP The Insanity!

Anyone remember Susan Powter? The original “biggest loser” (the show was probably conceived based on her “flab to fab” success story that parlayed into an avalanche of endorsements).

The b*tch is crazy, right? Whatever happened to her anyways? I need to google…

But this post isn’t even about her, I’m just ripping off her slogan “Stop the insanity!”

I feel like crap. I was doing so well, going to hot barre or spinning a couple times a week, walking, not eating much sugar, portion sizes, weighing myself regularly…

But since the house fire I have been “eating my feelings”, skipping the gym (in my defense BG was sick and teething a couple weeks ago so I didn’t want to take her to gym daycare), and struggling to care about my appearance (always wearing a ball cap and sunglasses). My scale either broke or ran out of batteries, and I just wasn’t compelled to deal with it so I haven’t been accountable for my weight gain.

How do I know I gained weight? Back fat. I mean I can tell other places too but the other day I twisted around and felt my back fat pleating like an accordian and it felt foreign and gross.

My bubble of denial has burst.

I feel like crap. I know all the sugar I’ve been eating is bad. Been hitting up Starbucks and getting soy milk instead of coconut milk because it tastes better (soy is SO bad for hypothyroid people and it inflames my immune system). I drink too much caffeine and not enough water. I eat too much processed food and not enough fruits and vegetables. I mean, I probably haven’t eaten a salad in a month.

I’m a mess.

My intestines were so backed up I could hardly stand it and I was too lazy (or apathetic?) to even go grab some milk of magnesia until I was beyond miserable.

But I “cleaned out” my GI tract and I feel much clearer and am motivated to get my health on track.

Because I need to, but also because BG is almost 18 months old and I am almost 37 and since time is not on my side, I plan to TTC for a sibling for her in the near-ish future. Which, we all know does not guarantee a pregnancy or a baby. And I’d be happy if BG was my only child–she’s more than enough. But I always said I wanted 2 kids, and moreover, I think it would be good for BG to have a sibling. So there you have it. I’ll do my best.

And by doing my best, I mean I’ll take all the supplements I took before I conceived BG (listed HERE). I just ordered 2 months worth for about $130 off amazon. And then I’ll eat healthy and exercise vigorously.

I’m thinking about doing a juice cleanse or the master cleanse to get started once we move. My friend and blogger extraordinaire  Steph Mignon suggested Whole30, which sounds like a good idea to start after a cleanse. Any other suggestions for gentle cleanses? My colon can’t handle a crazy detox.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Nope.

Today is 12dpo, I took a FRER this morning…do I really need to tell you how that turned out? Nope. I haven’t even cried–but I bet I will when AF arrives–if it’s anything like last month I will be glued to the couch with my heating pad.

This opens up a whole new can of worms. Do I stick to my idea to take off January to re-group? Cuz now I don’t want to take a break. I feel desperate to just get this (trying to conceive) over with already. And I don’t have the option of trying naturally, because Mr. MLACS’s schedule has changed and we physically will not be here during my fertile window–I don’t like the idea of not trying at all. Plus, I’ve been doing acupuncture with the lovely Star, and maybe it’s starting to work…but I can’t afford to keep doing this for months on end so since I’ve already invested in this treatment I don’t want to “pause” it in January (and backslide) and then “resume” in February or March–that seems counterproductive. What if the Remicade is the reason I haven’t conceived these last 5 months? My last infusion was October 24th and I was due for another one in December–which I declined–and I’ve managed to keep my Ulcerative Colitis in remission without it…I can’t take this for granted…next month or the month after that I could find myself VERY sick again, and my docs are always impressing upon me that it’s important for me to be in remission while TTC. There’s a lot of reasons to push forward and do an IUI in January.

Although, I would definitely like to change my protocol–I want MORE follicles, and I believe the way to accomplish this is to dispense with the Femara altogether and begin Bravelle CD3, with a healthy dose at 150iu, in the hopes of recruiting more follicles to begin with. Then, I’d like to trigger no later than CD14 (preferably CD12 but that’s probably not realistic for me). And I want to do a double IUI with Mr. MLACS’s “spermcicles” (frozen sperm) since we won’t be able to have sex.

The failure of IUI #2 is particularly frustrating because I got pregnant twice naturally in 2013, but since then I’ve done 2 rounds of Clomid and 2 IUI’s with Femara + Bravelle and NOTHING…it’s been 5 cycles since my last pregnancy (one natural cycle in-between Clomid and starting IUI’s). WHY? Is it the Remicade (that I started as I was having my chemical pregnancy at the end of July ’13)? Is it that my body hates the hormones and I’ll never get pregnant on medicated cycles? Is it stress? Are we TRYING too hard–do we “just need a vacation”?!!!  Is it Dr. Angel’s IUI protocol?? Is monitoring every day bad? Did we “miss” the egg by not having sex post-trigger and then doing the IUI post-ovulation? Is he making poor use of my preciou$ injectable meds? Is there something else…an infection in my uterus? Could I benefit from dexamethasone to further quiet my immune system? I’m gluten-free but do I need to quit dairy and grains? Do I need to eat pineapple core? I don’t even know where to begin…

This is getting expensive. Mr. MLACS is getting tired of the roller coaster too and he’s not sure he wants to do an IUI in January, but he says he just “wants to see me happy”. I don’t even know what will make me happy right now. I need a shower–I’m sitting here in clothes I’ve worn for 3 days with bed-head and I feel like a troll. Maybe I’m just so sick of doing my due diligence (taking meds day and night, etc.) that I’m subconsciously rebelling by not taking care of my other needs. That’d be redundant.

I worry about things…like “Myrtle’s” upcoming bachelorette party and the bridal shower I’m supposed to throw and then her damn wedding in April. I don’t want to go to the bachelorette party–I despise her when she’s drunk, the weather is awful, and I don’t want to spend the money, but it’s coming up mid-January and I don’t know what to say to get out of it. She point-blank asked me in front of a room full of people at her family’s Christmas gathering “SO HOW’S THE BABY MAKING GOING?” To which I, after a pause, calmly replied “Nothing to speak about”–let her wonder–she doesn’t even CARE she’s only asking to be nosey and because she wanted to see if I’d be weaseling out of her upcoming hen party or not fitting into the bridesmaid dress. I refuse to speak to her about any of what’s been going on with me–I still haven’t mentioned that my Grandma has cancer (though that may be my excuse for skipping the hen party). I don’t mind throwing the shower, but this means I’m going to need to start planning it for mid-March. And the wedding…but I wish I wasn’t in it. She doesn’t have a big budget, but she has enough, and for some reason she has decided that–instead of hiring someone–she wants her wedding party and guests to clean up the venue post-reception? I think that is ridiculous, but I’ve already been ‘snapped at’ for telling her not to pair black opaque tights with her navy blue eyelet lace sundresses for the bridesmaids, so I won’t be making any more suggestions. Uhg. Why do I worry about this BS? And “Myrtle” really wasn’t the point of this post. But…it’s sort of relevant because I was thinking “I’d be right at 16 weeks when the wedding rolls around” and now…I won’t. I may be zero weeks when the wedding rolls around, and I need to accept that instead of feeling panicked about it.

I conceived January 19, 2013, and after my 7w2d miscarriage, I never thought I would be here a year later, with no pregnancy and no baby. I may have feared it, but I never believed it would happen.

And so I’ll leave you with the ‘Serenity Prayer’–one which you’re probably all familiar with, but if you haven’t prayed it in awhile (as I haven’t) now may be the time. XO

God-Grant-me-the

In Case You Were Wondering…

hot dogs

Well, I haven’t written much lately–but I spent A LOT of time yesterday trying to figure out how to add IUI #1 and IUI #2 to my blog menu. I am proud to report to you that I am a genius I figured it out and you can now view my protocols for both of my IUI’s. I’ve found myself searching the internet for IUI BFP stories that give you real information (How many IUI’s did you do? How many follicles did you have and what sizes were they? What meds were you on? What were your first betas? Singleton or multiples? Etc.) and I found a good thread on a website, so for all of you ladies doing IUI’s, click HERE to view the IUI BFP thread I found (on fertility community).

In other news, I’m still in the TWW. I’ve decided not to test out the HCG trigger shot or to begin testing for an early BFP. I’m taking progesterone supplements, which give me pregnancy symptoms, so I’m mostly disregarding everything and not symptom spotting…but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping here-and-there.

Here’s something weird. I’ve had cravings before, and then still came up with a BFN (many times, actually). But I’m still going to share with you that–while you’re all doing your ‘get healthy 2014’ thing–I’m over here consuming hot dogs (my go-to from IUI #1, weird) and steak salad with bleu cheese…I cannot get enough bleu cheese. I’m not even remotely trying to suggest that I am pregnant, I am simply sharing with you that, while I have been visiting the gym every-other-day, maintaining my 100% gluten-free status, and shying away from coffee and sweets…I have been inexplicably drawn to hot dogs, steak, and bleu cheese. Oh, and I may as well inform you that I made a big crock pot of Rotel dip yesterday (click HERE for recipe) which is basically fake plastic cheese, pork sausage, and tomatoes + green chiles from a can–totes unhealthy–and I ate it by the bowl-full, scooping it up with salty corn chips…I shamelessly ate this dip while I read your New Years resolutions.

I’m starting to feel anxious to find out if I truly am you-know-what. But, after the tumult of these past couple of months (much thanks to WHOREmones), I feel it would be unwise to ride the roller coaster of EPT’s…I am simply not mentally/emotionally stable enough (plus it’s a big fat waste of money, and then you’re left with a trash can full of broken dreams that reeks of piss). No thanks, I’ll just grab another hot dog and wait til the timer ‘dings’. XO

2013 Can Suck It (Take 2)

I just wrote the longest, bitchiest post I could possibly imagine. And I published it. And then I decided to un-publish it, because it’s slightly funny but mostly just insanely bitchy and I’m not doing you any favors by sharing it with you. So, it’s gone. But it was basically talking about how crappy 2013 was, and that is worth mentioning so I’ll list the offences of 2013:

1. Miscarriage: Feb. 25th, 2013. It was not a “missed miscarriage”. The bleeding started but an ultrasound revealed an embryo that measured within a couple of days of anticipated conception, with a heartbeat of 160bpm, at 7w2d. Yet (after a visit to the ER that night confirmed no heartbeat), it was dismissed as a statistic by my OBGYN, I was given Misoprostol to ensure complete ‘evacuation’, and told to give it a month and try again. Then I went on to have a chemical pregnancy on August 2nd, 2013 (there was a sac and if FELT worse than my prior miscarriage).

2. Chronic Illness: Ulcerative Colitis has worsened 10 fold this year. Post-miscarriage it was revealed that I have several other problems, including:

  • Hypothyroid (may very well have caused my miscarriage)
  • Lichen Sclerosus (an autoimmune disorder that causes the skin in my genital area to atrophy–it’s painful)
  • Elevated ANA’s (anti-nuclear antibodies–an indicator of Lupus)
  • Elevated NK cells (natural killer cells, which play a delicate role in implantation)

3. Horrible doctors (totally unsupportive and incompetent–when I was most fragile post-miscarriage)

4. Marital issues I’ve written about some of it in the past–it’s not easy to have marital problems on top of all this other bullsh*t in a town where you don’t know very many people and you’re scared sh*tless that you might be really, really sick. Oh, and you’re blaming your body for killing your seemingly perfect embryo and feeling desperate to figure things out to protect future pregnancies, while your husband tells you that you’re overreacting and wasting money. Things are different now, but they really couldn’t have been much worse for awhile.

5. Moving But not knowing exactly when or where. Mr. MLACS hated, absolutely HATED his last project. And he thought he’d get promoted to an upcoming project (a domestic job), but that did not manifest–he got dealt a lot of sh*tty hands this year. We decided to “abandon ship” and started looking at other companies, but no one could give us a solid offer with the pay he should command. We had to make a lot of hard decisions and in the end he chose to stay with his company and do a job in Canada (commuting), and we moved back to my hometown. But this process began in April ’13 and we did not know where we were going until August, then we moved abruptly in September. STRESSFUL. And for most of the summer I just felt frozen–I was watching life moving on around me while my own life was suspended in wait.

6. Finances Just when we think everything is going to be fine, something pops up. It causes us to fight and it caused me a lot of anguish on top of the other stuff I was dealing with. Part of it is medical bills, which is a bitter pill to swallow–first you have a medical crisis, then you find yourself in debt over it, often with no resolution. And I didn’t work–I went back to school to become a nurse and most recently I’ve been obsessed and single-minded about having a baby (which is getting expensive as well).

After our (practically immaculate) first conception in January 2013, I couldn’t have predicted that I’d be sitting here–not only childless–but not even pregnant a year later. I don’t think anybody would’ve predicted this–my doctors kept patting me on the back and sending me home until a couple months ago when I met Dr. Angel and we started IUI’s with injectables. I couldn’t have predicted any of what happened this past year. I was in a strange city trying to transition into a new phase of my life (motherhood), trying to build my (difficult) relationship with my husband, trying to forge my way to a new career (nursing), and trying to figure out WTF was happening to me and how to deal with it– all while fighting chronic illness and multiple miscarriages. I don’t know what I expected, but I was not prepared for what happened. I’m still traumatized. And, in fact, I think that I have gotten worse recently (in no small part due to the IUI hormones)–I’m fighting feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, sadness, insecurity, indifference, irritability…I’m quick to anger and I have NO FILTER (hence why I 86’d my initial “2013 Can Suck It” post). I don’t know if 2014 is going to see the resolution of the above listed grievances that I have against 2013. I could really use something to look forward to, but I don’t have anything. Yet…

 

 

 

 

 

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