Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Up Side the Head

It all started last weekend. A friend of mine invited me to his annual pre-Thanksgiving potluck. Since Magic and I aren't invited to many parties, I figured we better go! Turns out I knew most of the people there, and their kids. It was great seeing everyone, but I was not prepared for the effect of seeing the little ones on me. It brought up another wave of grief which surprised me in a way. I thought I'd moved beyond that, or at least, wanted to believe so.

As the actual day of Thanksgiving neared, I dreaded it. I knew there would be more small children and I didn't want to go through the same thing I did last weekend. I worked late Wednesday so I could spend less time with Magic's relatives, and avoided the kids that night. I was dreading going to my SIL's all day yesterday. When I had arrived, I saw two baby carriers. No one had warned me that my SIL's friend with the twin infants would be there. I braced for an internal meltdown.

Instead, I leaned into it. I asked to hold both of the twins at one point. I successfully held one of the girls for about five minutes or so, to the amazement of both parents, as this girl apparently doesn't like to be held by anyone but her mom and dad. They made having twins look easy.

One of the things that has to happen before I transfer my frozen embryos is that I need to be ok with twins. When I first saw those twin baby carriers yesterday, I thought the Universe was being cruel, but upon reflection later, maybe I was being pushed in a direction I wouldn't have chosen to take otherwise. I call these "spiritual 2 by 4s", as in, getting whacked upside the head by one. I think if I had known that there would be twin infants at Thanksgiving, I would have stayed home. I'm glad I didn't know. I actually think I needed a whack to get me out of the funk I'd been in the last day.

One other observation, the panic attacks are lessening. The trauma therapy seems to be helping me. My session on Monday is what really tipped off that wave of grief. I did not specifically work so much on my loss, but this awful feeling I have gotten since a child in a recurring nightmare. I don't have the recurring nightmare anymore, but I get the same feeling from the nightmare in conscious life now. I have never figured it out. We just worked on regulating my nervous system in the session, and not the content. The content isn't the point in trauma therapy. It's all about the nervous system, or as my therapist would say, nervous system calisthenics. I'm learning how to move back and forth between focusing on a happy memory, which makes me physically feel relaxed and calm, to touching into the trauma or unhappy memories. It helps me not get stuck in the trauma or negative feelings. I can't say I regulated very well yesterday, though I did recognize that I was stuck. I was obsessing on the negative.

I'm not ungrateful. I actually am more grateful now since my tragedy than before. I have regrets and a lot of grief still. I've been able to make some progress with forgiving myself, but it can be hard on days like yesterday. I was sick and in a completely different place back then. I can't change what happened, but I can learn from it and hopefully move on.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unidentified Uterine Object

A lot has gone on in the last week. I've had my share of poking and prodding and it actually went ok, minus one mini meltdown. I'd pretty much had my fill of injections, detections, inspections, and neglections after the last IVF, so I wasn't in a big rush to have my body messed with for awhile. When I finally got around to getting my teeth cleaned by my sadistic super-anal dental hygienist, I was chastised for not having gone for 10 months. Needless to say, I did not elaborate on the infertility massacre with the four part harmony and the twenty seven three-by-four glossy ultrasound pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one. But I didn't come here to write about my dental health today.

I went to the big-shot fertility clinic yesterday to get more inspections, detections, and neglections. I got the ultrasound, the 3-D ultrasound, the uterine artery blood flow check, and the antral follicle count. I hadn't had three out of four of these last things for my last cycle at the "clinic-across-the-tracks", and it didn't seem to matter as neither my uterus nor my eggs were the problem. I passed the uterine-artery-blood-flow-whosiecallsit, failed the antral follicle count, though they were nice enough not to say it in those terms, and found a mystery blob in my uterus, though it's "so far away that it won't be a problem for pregnancy". So somewhere out there in the universe of my uterus is an Unidentified Uterine Object. The baby-faced Dr. G, who looks like he just graduated from college, couldn't tell me for sure if it was a fibroid or what. At least he gave me the same answer as Dr. W did two months ago and yesterday's ultrasound tech, who I think was also in the Class of 2008 along with Dr. G. It hasn't gotten any bigger in the last two months, so I guess I'll keep doing what I've been doing.

In defense of my ovaries, I'd like to clarify that I personally don't think I failed the antral follicle count. I'm 42, and I think seven is a very respectable resting follicle count for my age, thank you very much. Oh, they would want me to do a clomid-challenge-test for them, to which I'll probably reply something eloquent like, "up yours," or calmly point out that I think we have enough information about my ovaries after one clomid challange test, one IUI cycle with clomid, and two IVF cycles with different protocols. Besides, clomid makes me crazy, and you don't want to see me crazy do you??!! That's already caused enough problems.

Anyways, let's not put the cart before the horse, shall we? I still have frozen embryos that I need to decide what to do with. I won't be making any decisions before December 12th. That's the date I find out if the buyer for my house gets their loan, and the same date I have the reading with the baby psychic. Do not attempt to adjust your computer screen. You read that right. I'll be having a phone reading with Walter Maki.chen author of the book "Spirit Babies". I need specific information and I believe he can give it to me.

Turkey Talk-back

Feeling cynical this Thanksgiving? Go over to No Regrets to add to the Snarky Thanksgiving list. You're sure to get a snarf or two out of that one!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Show & Tell: Fluffernutter Sandwich

To make a Fluffernutter sandwich, first you need a Fluffernutter. Fluffernutter is my long haired, seal point Himalayan, slightly neurotic, 19 year old cat. For the first, oh, 12 years of her life, Fluffernutter was a scaredy cat who would run away when you tried to pet her. Once I came into Magic's life, we changed her diet, and she had a personality change for the better. She still only occasionally slept with us. In the last couple of months, she has had yet another personality change that has coincided with her cessation of nocturnal yowling. We do not know what instigated this, but we've been enjoying Fluffernutter sandwiches ever since. For this Show & Tell, you have to visualize this one as I can't take pictures of it. Click here to see pictures from the last Show & Tell of Fluffernutter.

First, Fluffernutter will get in position when it gets close to bed time. She will stalk the end of the bed or levitate on top of it in anticipation of the Fluffernutter sandwich. Once Magic and I get in bed, Fluff will make her move under the sheets between us. Magic and I used to spoon together, snuggled up, but Fluffernutter has decided she wants a piece of the action. Once we have turned Fluff around so her butt is not in my face, Magic and I will squeeze Fluffernutter between us and make the Fluffernutter sandwich. She seems to love this, being squished between us as Magic and I cuddle together.

Magic is kinda miffed that Fluff has interrupted our sacred snuggling time, but I don't mind. I keep saying to him that she won't live forever and we should enjoy it while we can. After Fluff was peeing all over the house recently, we discovered that her kidney values have doubled, which means that her kidneys are getting worse. We already knew they were bad. We were giving her subcutaneous fluids every other day, but now we have to give her fluids everyday. Giving a cat subcutaneous fluids is nothing like giving yourself a subcutaneous shot. We use a 22 gauge needle that we put under her skin by piercing it, and then inject 100 ml of an electrolyte solution.

<- Fluff (patiently getting fluids) and fluids ->.

Fluff won't die tomorrow, but her days are more numbered than usual.

Join the rest of the class at this week's Mel's Show & Tell.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Maybe This Wasn't Such a Good Idea

"Can you let yourself take a break from this for awhile?" said my trauma therapist last night. She was referring to my planning on trying again and the emotion it has been bringing up for me. When I think about being pregnant again, the panic attacks start coming up and I worry that I'm going to have a repeat of my past experience.

I thought maybe it would be a good idea. Maybe I should take a break from blogging and think about getting pregnant. As I checked my e-mail today, I went into automatic comment moderation when one comment showed up. Next automatic blogging action is to check on all my blogs. I noticed that I reacted to the entries I read, and thought again, yeah, maybe it would be a good idea to take a break.

Another comment showed up in the meanwhile, and I wondered why all the sudden I started getting comments today after not having a blog entry since Sunday. The commenter's signature reminded me, "from ICLW". Oh yeah, I signed up for the monthy Comment-o-thon. Nice timing.

I wondered if my trauma therapist thought that my reliving my trauma from my pregnancy was too much for me. I am making progress. I uncovered some really old baggage last night. I need to go there. I have to do this if I'm going to get through another pregnancy. The only way is through it.

If you are new to reading my blog, you are going to notice here that I don't tell my "story". I've learned that it is better for me not to retell my story because it re-traumatizes me. This is the first time I have been aware of being traumatized in my life, though I am sure it has happened before, and now I understand what it means to experience Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. My latest mantra is, "I'm not going there," meaning I'm not going to succumb to the nervous system overload that trauma causes.

I can tell you some parts of my story on my babymaking journey. Fibroids, IUI, IVF, prenatal depression & anxiety, multiples, and loss. I prefer to think of my blog more as Eat, Pray, Love, some of my most favorite topics to talk about.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Show & Tell: Fall Sunsets from the "Backyard"

We took these pictures today with Magic's i.Phone after a hike in our "backyard", a lovely trail just down the road from my house.

Doesn't it look like the sky is on fire? This is one of the things I am truly thankful for in my life, to be living so close to nature.

Don't forget to visit the cross-pollination post from earlier this evening below!!

Cross-Pollination: Dreams

A guest blog entry, bought to you by the Great Blog Cross-Pollination! Ok, this was supposed to happen on November 9th, but my first attempt at cross-pollinating didn't work out so well. Let's just say I'm a late bloomer, which I'm still hoping to be the case IRL!! Let me not hog the stage any longer...

I am thinking about dreams today. Specifically, I'm thinking about the things that we all expect, the ways in which we expect our lives will proceed.

I think you know what I am talking about. We expect that we will have a great job, a stable home, perhaps marriage (didn't you play to be a bride, with a tea towel for a veil?)

I am thinking of a friend of mine, who for whatever reason, has not gotten married. And I am thinking of the friend I saw tonight, who got married, but late in life, and her children, they are step children, almost completely grown.

When we talk about infertility, we talk about the pain of missed dreams. We talk about how we expected our lives to be, and how they actually are, and the pain, well, the pain is in the difference. When we look at, hold up in our minds, and turn it about, and what we expected for our lives, the ways in which we thought our lives would proceed, it is different than things really are.

We talk about infertility being isolating, and it is. We talk about it being a deep seated pain, and it is. But it does not seem that it should be that way. You see, dreams, I am learning, they are universal things. And the ways in which life takes our dreams away from us, it seems that this is universal too. Why is it that we can't see past the dreams that we have, the dreams that are not fulfilled, the dreams that we don't see come true, to the dreams of others? Why is it that when a dream dies, it is so isolating? I can, on some level, comprehend. The struggle with deep emotional pain is that it does not admit others - the long lasting, unfathomable pain we are in, it does not allow us to see past it.

But if it did, I wonder if infertiles could lead the charge in supporting others as their dreams were crushed, and the world did not answer their dreams? I wonder if this community, who is so supportive, this community that has brought solace and succor to my soul, could lead the way in helping others cope.

I wonder if we could find the words to say that we understand the fall out when dreams don't come true, we understand hoping and longing and weeping and sorrow, and while your dream might not have been mine, the pain and the sadness at not having your dreams come true, I can speak that language, and I will abide with you, as we wait for that place where all our dreams come true?

Now it's your turn to try to guess our guest blogger's identity in the comments (no cheating).

You can read my cross-pollination post here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Disturbing Hospital Screw-ups

The front page of the paper ran a story about another major screw up at our local hospital. This one was about a nurse stealing Fen_tanyl and replacing it with saline. Fen_tanyl is a drug they use to kill pain during surgery. I winced as I read a story about a man who woke up in the recovery room in agony after knee surgery. He apparently got the saline instead of the real stuff.

The reason I was riveted by this story is that Magic had the same experience four months ago when he had his hip resurfaced. The nurse that was pinching the drugs was hired in June, and Magic's surgery was in July, but the dates he was being implicated for were September through October. I wondered if maybe he could have been stealing before that and they just didn't have the evidence for it. Apparently, this person wasn't too smart because you have to enter an electronic code to access this controlled drug. They just tracked the tampered vials back to this nurse.

Magic told me that he woke up in the recovery room in a lot of pain. I couldn't see him in the recovery room, so there was nothing I could do for him. However, once he got to his room, I was prepared for such an emergency. You see, Magic was already on quite a bit of pain medication for his back, from a surgery that didn't go too well a few years ago, and his hip that was grinding bone against bone for way too long. He knew he would need extra pain medication during surgery, but thought he didn't get enough when he woke up in lot of pain after surgery. I brought some extra medication from home and slipped it to him throughout the night to get him through. Now we are wondering if he was one of the first victims of the slippery fingered nurse.

The whole thing with Magic's pain management was a disaster during his surgery. The doctor who usually managed his pain was out of town when Magic had his surgery, after he told her when it would be. She spaced it out, so Michael didn't have his normal pain doc around after he got out of surgery. Because I had to give him extra meds and because the hospital dispensed Magic's own prescription at a higher than normal rate while he was in the hospital, he needed to refill his prescriptions sooner than normal. This tipped off a whole freak out from pharmacists to the insurance company to the original pain doctor. They were basically accusing Magic of being a drug addict. Personally, I think this was set off by Heath Led.ger's death since he had illegal prescriptions of some of the same pain meds that Magic was on. Magic made his case though, and pointed out how he had a legitimate prescription from his pain doctor for everything, and that he needed extra pain medication during and after his surgery. Everyone eventually chilled out, and the good news is that because Magic's hip healed fabulously, he has significantly reduced his pain medications. He still has to take some because of his back problems (i.e. missing parts of a disc).

In fact, Magic is doing so well, he is hiking circles around me now. Whereas before, I had to wait for him and he would have to turn around in agony after hiking a mile, limping all the way, now he is hiking up and down the trail like a puppy dog while he is waiting for me to catch up with him. I'm glad that we can now hike together, but this is ridiculous!

I told Magic that he should pursue with the hospital about the pain med mix up, but I'm sure the hospital is going to be in enough hot water and law suits.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

For the Record

It was a panic attack.

The meeting with Dr. G set off a whole string of reactions. I recovered fairly quickly, after two days, but still, there it was.

The worst part of it was hearing that I would be at a greater risk of having a repeat of what happened before. Still a small risk, but not as small as you would think, up to 10%. I'm just not ready to deal with that yet. I get nervous just thinking about it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anatomy of a Panic Attack

Or was it?

I woke up at 4:00am this morning, which is pretty typical for me. I checked in with my body. Usually, if I eat something and stretch a little, I can get back to sleep. So I got up, had a snack, popped a 5-H.T.P, just to cover all my bases, and listened to a relaxation tape to get back to sleep. I had a lot of thoughts going through my head about yesterday's events. I decided that I was going to meditate while listening to the relaxing sounds of waves, but my heart had other ideas. It was pounding. I felt like I was having the physical effects of a panic attack, without the mental freakout. I wondered if it was really a panic attack after all?

I decided to consult my book on adrenal fatigue to try to get some answers. First, I did not eat breakfast yesterday. Bad news if your adrenals are maxed out. I figure I pretty much live in a state of adrenal stress, and it will remain that way until I retire. I rarely miss breakfast, but I was rushed for my early morning appointment with Dr. G.

Second, this was my first appointment with an RE in seven months. Any trip to a fertility clinic is stressful. It didn't help that we were interrupted by a frantic knock on the door and a call for Dr. G to help a woman. I had no idea what was going on, though I made up some good, but terrifying, fantasies about it. Apparently, a woman had passed out after her bloodwork. Maybe she skipped breakfast too.

I did a pretty good job of not completely melting into a puddle of tears during my visit with Dr. G, though there were a few tear-jerking, pull-out-the-tissues moments while I was giving my background. I couldn't totally avoid my whole story. The information I was given by Dr. G was not comforting, though it was helpful. More difficult decisions will have to be made if I decide to go forward with FET or another fresh cycle. The stress from this one visit reminded me of all the anxiety I've sucked up for every RE visit, ultrasound, or bloodwork.

*insert your favorite expletive here*

Shortly after the RE visit, I had a meeting in which chocolate was available o-plenty. I had recently weaned myself of chocolate but went off the wagon as a cure for Wednesday's hangover. I decided this morning that the chocolate wasn't a good idea either for my stress.

Immediately after the choco-fest meeting, I'm faced with my co-worker's newborn. I made myself stay there, instead of doing the usual scurrying- away-before-she-sees-me tactic. It was too late to do that anyways. I also asked to hold her baby, because I wanted to see how I would react. Perhaps the timing wasn't stellar just after my RE meeting, but the Universe has an uncanny way of putting things in my face when I least expect it.

*more, but tamer, expletives*

That all added up to a lot of stress that I have not dissipated yet. I'm having lots of reminiscing about unpleasant pregnancy memories today, what ifs, and just general gloom-and-doominess. This is not a good path that I should be traveling down.

To DHEA, or not to DHEA
I was pleased that I did not get any DE lectures yesterday, but the "do you take DHEA" question came up. I told Dr. G that I was on 5 mg of DHEA. He was curious why I didn't take more, as REs kinda tow the line of taking quite a bit more than that to improve egg quality. I responded that I have high testosterone with only 5 mg. I've got a Lauren Bacall type of voice, but there is only just so much more I want my voice to get deeper anyways. As it is, I get mixed up with Magic when I answer the phone (and vice versa!). My testosterone is on the high side anyways without DHEA, and I certainly don't want any more facial hair than I already have. I went back on DHEA 12 days ago when I had another craptacular cycle, this time my second shortest at 14 days. The record breaker was three cycles before that at 13 days. It seems that I get all geared up to ovulate, and then I get my period instead. I'm completely befuddled by this, and of course did not utter word of it to Dr. G lest he throw me out of his office right then and there. I'm assuming it's due to poor egg quality and the DHEA would help. However, DHEA has an annoying side effect. I was curious if my heart pounding had anything to do with the DHEA. Dr. Google confirmed my suspicions. I also read that DHEA can cause abnormal menses. I decided I would stick with pregnenolone supplementation, which is another hormone precursor, but safer than DHEA. Pregnenolone is a precursor to progesterone as well as other important hormones, including the ones that DHEA is a precursor to.

I'm left wondering if I am experiencing some trauma reaction to yesterday's events, the side effects of DHEA, or a little of both. It's clear that I need to be more vigilant about stress in my life. Stress is the fertility killer.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Testing the Waters

I began my speech with, "I don't know how much of my story I can tell because I might start crying".

After I had made some progress with my last trauma therapy session, I decided I was ready to try again. My first plan of action was to make an appointment with the big time fertility clinic in my area. Everybody knows which one it is because, I will give you a hint, it's number one in the nation. It's only a 15 minute drive to their office branch near my house. You might wonder why I did not do my IVF cycles there before. I had consulted with one of their REs previously, but I did not have a good experience with her. They have a relatively new RE who I have heard good reviews about. I couldn't believe how quickly I got an appointment with him, which could have been the next day, but I stretched it to the day after that. It's a good thing, because I had a hangover yesterday morning. My main reason for going to the appointment was to get an update on my uterus in terms of any fibroids that might be lurking there, and to check out this new RE, Dr. G, in case I decide to switch clinics.

Most of the details of my first appointment with Dr. G can be read about on my private blog. If you have access to my private blog, you can click here to read more.

I'll go back in about two weeks for another ultrasound to see what the status of my fibroids are. Dr. G did say that the size and location of what appears to be a fibroid that Dr. Wonderful saw two months ago would not be a problem for future pregnancy at this point.

As it usually seems to go with doctor's appointments at fertility clinics, the information I got from Dr. G did not clarify my decisions. If anything, it seemed to make them that much more complicated.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I am truly inspired by the night's election results. I helped a friend of mine who was canvassing tonight at the last minute drag a voter to the polls 20 minutes before voting closed. The nightmare of the last eight year is over! And Amendment 48 went down in flames too! I won't have to be Sarah Palin for Halloween again (for at least for another four years)!

This is an historic election. I kept saying to my friends, "I'm so happy!!" I have hope again for our country and for the world. Our new president to be said it so well, "Yes we can!"

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Show & Tell: Palin vs. Phoebe

I really enjoyed the laughs at work I got out of my Halloween costume this year. The scary thing was that I didn't have to tell anyone who I was. I made one co-worker ill. I even wore female torture devices, called pumps, all day and night, something I never do and hope I won't be crippled permanently in the name of a little fun. I recouped some of my costume costs by winning a $25 gift certificate to REI for the "most transformed", though others wanted to nominate me for the "scariest" category.

Move over Sarah. I'm going to be the next hottie in the White House!

Join the rest of the class at Mel's Show & Tell.