Thursday, July 29, 2010

Holding Pattern

Glad you haven't given up on me yet!

I've been in a bit of a holding pattern these past few weeks, drifting in and out of that peaceful (yet wholly unproductive) land called denial. I'm doing a really good job of this break thing, so much so that I'm not even reading up on your blogs as I usually do because I've almost forgotten that I'm infertile.

My body hasn't forgotten, though, and my cycle started as usual. It was a little shorter this time around, which means it's actually approaching normal - wonder if it's the acupuncture or the hour-a-day of heavy breathing in a room with a bunch of other female yogis that's doing it. Whatever it is, I hope it keeps up.

Introducing Dr. H.

So I finally had my consultation with Pacific Fertility Center last week - leave it to me to sit on the data for a whole week before reporting it these days. Dr. H. was really warm and friendly, and I enjoyed my conversation with him a lot and got some rather interesting but not overly helpful data:

  • He's not a big believer in mycoplasma/ureaplasma as a cause for IF, and he doesn't think that cultures are particularly helpful. So if I want to proceed in looking into ureaplasma as a potential factor, I'll probably have to push testing and treatment through my urologist. There's enough inertia in me that makes me not want to do this at the moment. Bleh.
  • He thinks I should give Letrozole/Femara a try because it won't thin my lining like Clomid would. Dr. G had not been a proponent of Femara, saying that the pharmaceutical company that makes it issued a letter saying that it wasn't meant for infertility treatment. Dr. H said that PFC uses it regularly without any major causes for concern and that doctors in the South and Southwest tend to be more conservative around using it.
  • Dr. H also interestingly encouraged that after Femara, we go straight to single-embryo-transfer IVF if I'm concerned about the rate of multiples with moving on to injectibles. He said that their success for single-embryo are almost as good as their rates with doubles at their clinic. I think that if I were to do IVF, I'd do single-embryo anyway - the thought of multiples completely terrifies me, and it's one of the big reasons why I didn't pursue IF treatment earlier.
  • Lastly, he said that we could do further testing like a 3-day FSH and antral follicle count to double check ovarian reserve, but he felt that because I ovulated on my own and was still young (Ha! I love it that he says I'm young!) that it wasn't a big concern. He also wasn't big on getting a laparoscopy since I have no symptoms of endometriosis and my chances of having it were like, 20%, so there'd be an 80% chance I'd be undergoing surgery for no reason.
So, Now What?

Well, I don't really know. I'm tempted to sit out for the next few months still and then pursue treatment back in Texas this fall for the following reasons:
  • Mr. Stick's new job has pretty decent insurance that covers IF treatment, but PFC is not an in-network provider, where Dr. G is. Ironically, if the insurance didn't cover IF, I'd have just proceeded with PFC because I like their style, and the cost would've been close to the same. But I can't just ignore the fact that we'd get 50% of our costs with Dr. G covered if I stick to doing treatments with him. 
  • The timing is such that I can squeeze in one Femara cycle in California, but it looks like I will ovulate around the time we leave, which would make doing the IUI shuffle rather difficult.
  • Mr. Stick is ridiculously overworked at the moment, so even if IUI were an option, it'd definitely create more stress on him to do the procedure on my next cycle.
So I'm kind of resting somewhere between patience (wait until October, and well, maybe get pregnant by then...ha!) or persistence (screw it, call PFC and do a Femara with intercourse cycle). My window for the persistence option is closing soon, so I pretty much need to decide over the next few days whether I'm going to live on "Take a break Island" for a little longer or take the ferry back to "Trying-ville."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just Pretend I'm Not Here...

(Which you probably should since I can't seem to keep up with this blogging thing lately. I'm actually considering signing up for ICLW this month to see if having a little accountability will improve things!)

But really, the title of this post refers to a tea I had with two of my friends (I've become addicted to high tea in San Francisco - the city has an abundance of affordable tearooms) earlier this week. Two of my pregnant friends, I should say, but it honestly feels like I don't even need that adjective because I swear to you that it seems like ALL of my friends are pregnant.

I should've seen it coming, considering I knew they were both knocked up, but I thought that as educated adult women in our 30's, we could pass 2 to 3 hours together without having to talk about babies and being pregnant the whole freakin' time. Either I'm ridiculously naive or pregnant women are just asinine - probably a little of both.

What made it worse, I think, is that this is A's first pregnancy and M's second, so all A could talk about was about how sick she was during her first trimester, with M reassuring her about all the stages and telling her all the things she could look forward to in her second trimester. I felt like I was part of a strange tryptich: the wise and knowing second-time mother, the anxious and excited first-time mother, and me...the barren bitch.

Anyway, I serenely smiled through the whole thing and drank my tea. (I drank a lot of tea - by my 2nd pot, I was kind of wishing they were the Long Island Iced kind.) And when they did remember that (oops!) they were sitting in the presence of an infertile, talk turned to more inclusive subjects like work, food, marriage, etc. I mean, it wasn't all horrible - they are both incredible and positive women, they have a great sense of humor, and the tea and snacks were yummy. I think I just overestimated my ability to sit through all that baby talk without feeling a little like a useless bag of dysfunctional woman parts by the end of the day.

And of course, I agreed with them by the end of the tea that it'd be tons of fun to have dinner with them and our respective spouses later this summer, which it would. But to quote fellow blogger Glum Bunny there will be inevitable moments of wretchedness. At least I'll be better prepared this time around, and I'll have Mr. Stick there to lean on.

In Other TTC News:

* I turned 34 last week, which happened with little fanfare as regrettably, there was a death in the family. It's a strange yet life-affirming thing to spend one's birthday at a funeral home. Anyway, this qualifies as TTC news because it means that I have less than a year before I hit "advanced maternal age" - stupid western medical terms.

* I can honestly say that this last cycle was a total break. No temping, no peeing on sticks, and having sex only when we're in the mood. I forgot how freeing this feels - it actually makes me reluctant to get back on the TTC train schedule.

* That said, though, I can tell from my boobs (I feel like Karen from "Mean Girls") that this cycle is completely wonky. They've been sore all week, which of course means AF is coming, but they're more than a week early. I don't know if being here has suddenly reset me to a 28 day cycle (San Francisco is better than Clomid!) or if my body went anovulatory from travel stress.

* I have a consultation with Pacific Fertility Center on Tuesday the 20th with Dr. Herbert, which I thought I had strategically scheduled to happen at the start of my cycle (I want that day 3 FSH test damn it!), but if the above is correct, then we'll have to wait through another cycle, and there goes the summer. Hrmph.

Monday, June 28, 2010

California Dreamin'

OMG, I really have been MIA, haven't I?

Anyway, sorry for holding you all up in suspense, and even worse - not keeping up with and commenting on your amazing lives. I thought that by not having my regular client workload, I'd have a lot more free time here, but it seems to be the opposite. (I even planned on trying for Iron Commenter for the June ICLW - but I didn't even manage to make my regular appearance - ha!)

The short explanation is that San Francisco and I are having this mad love affair right now, and while I know I will of course go back to my ever-loving and faithful Austin, that knowledge is urging me to wring every moment of joy out of this summer with my new paramour. :)

Some highlights of the past two weeks:

* My sister came to town for a week during which we ate at as many little bakeries and local eateries as our stomachs could manage. She declared that we had only a limited number of meals together, so each one had to count! In between meals, we managed to find a really great dress for me to wear to her upcoming wedding this fall. And then her friends and I threw a bachelorette day for her (complete with tickets to "Wicked") and held a lovely bridal shower at our childhood home, so that week flew by like gangbusters.

* No sooner had sis left town then my really good friend from Austin, N., flew in with her college best friend for a long birthday weekend. We pretty much went all over the city - Fisherman's Wharf, the Marina, Chinatown, North Beach and Union Square. We had afternoon tea at the Crown and Crumpet, drank lots of wine in their hotel room, and did some credit card damage at all the shops in Union Square.

* Then there was Pride just this past weekend, and our neighborhood was inundated with parties. Mr. Stick and I made it out to watch the big parade yesterday morning, which was one of the most colorful and joyful celebrations I've ever seen. And while you can't have a parade without spectators, I hope one day I get to march in it because everyone in the parade looked like they were having so much fun.

* On the TTC front, CD1 came and went, and I was so busy I barely noticed. I've been going to yoga regularly, and I started acupuncture again last week, though that's mostly been for allergies. (The fact that I managed to avoid allergies this season in Austin means nothing to SF, apparently.) I think I'm settled in enough now to call up Pacific Fertility Center for a consultation this week or next, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe they'll be able to explain the "unexplained." Also, my affair with the city (not to mention the semi-annual sale at the ginormous Victoria's Secret in Union Square) seems to be giving our love life a fun little boost.  

So that's pretty much it! Thanks to my hardpartying ways, I have a boatload of work to catch up on, so it'll be another day or two before I get around to sprinkling comments and love. But I knew that if I didn't blog right now, I'd never get around to it, so hopefully this will keep you all going until I come up for air again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Binging on Free Wifi

So I made it to California safe and sound, only to find that the previous tenant living in our place freakin stole the router, so I have had no internet (wireless or otherwise) for nearly a week now. I've been joking around that I feel Amish living without easy internet access, but my clients and friends seem to be taking it much harder. I've fielded so many calls asking if I've dropped off the earth!

Luckily, where I'm living I'm surrounded by cafes with free wifi, so I've been hopping all around the neighborhood to get my daily fix. I've been focusing mostly on getting work done, and only now have had the chance to post and leave a couple of sporadic comments. Oh, and the landlord and the property management company are going back and forth over who has to replace it, so who knows how much longer this is going to last?! Grrr...

Body-wise, I just finished up my week of antibiotics, so hopefully that UTI crap is out of my system and gone for good. It usually takes a few days to find out, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It turns out that I ovulated the day before my UTI, so I'm not holding out a whole lot of hope that anything managed to conceive and stick around down there.

Even so, I'm feeling pretty content to be in a different place and in such a vibrant environment. I'm between the Mission and Castro districts, so it's kind of nice to see lots of straight and gay couples walking around with dogs instead of kids. We fit right in, though Fetch is a bit of a hick and doesn't heel or behave as citified as the other little dogs. (He's sitting at my heels outside the cafe as I type this and is looking up every now and then to see if I'll share my tuna sandwich.) I signed on with a yoga studio nearby, and I've been eating really well with all the yummy ethnic places and little produce markets around.

Anyway, I send out lots of love and happy thoughts to my preggie and infertile friends alike. I've tried to comment on most of my regular haunts and will do my best to keep it up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not the Positive I Want

Read it and weep ladies, because I sure did. That's a positive test...only it's the wrong kind of pee stick.

After some rather suspicious symptoms, I have just tested positive for blood cells in my urine, which means that the monster known as UTI has descended upon me after a 14-month reprieve during which I thought it had gone away forever. 

I'll be frank - for me, this is worse than a BFN because I'm such a wimp when it comes to this kind of pain. (And yet, I think I can do labor without meds. I so kid myself.)  I had a minor meltdown with Mr. Stick earlier today over it because I can't bear the thought of this thing dragging out for months like it did last time.

At least the antibiotics have started to kick in, and I no longer feel like there's broken glass in my nether regions. (Sorry, too descriptive?) I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that this thing will go away and stay away.

My acupuncturist wants me to get tested for ureaplasma/mycoplasma to see if maybe it's causing both the UTI and infertility. If this is the case, Dr. G. gets a big strike for not having tested me for it all in the first place, especially since he rubs elbows with my urologist. Hopefully, I'll get some answers, but right now, permanent relief from this beast is higher on the priority list.

On the bright side, we head out for California on Saturday, which is why I've been kind of absent from the blogosphere. Wrapping things up, packing, and all that. Once we're settled in, I promise to be more in touch and will pepper all your blogs with all the love and wit you can possibly bear.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Ride If Pregnant

So one of the best things about being on a break is getting to do things pregnant women can't do - sushi, alcohol, and caffeine naturally come to mind, but at the top of the fun list is scary thrill rides. And while I didn't get on actual roller coasters per se, Mr. Stick and I played hooky today and went to Schlitterbahn, which is the best darn waterpark I've ever been to.

It's a ginormous, sprawling complex that's basically three mini-waterparks in one. The first time we went, we didn't get to everything. This week, they were running a saver special where they only opened two of the waterparks, and school is still in session, so we pretty much got to go on every major ride/slide 2-3 times. One of them we went somewhere between 6-8, we lost count.

Anyway, I really wish I'd had a camera on me (which I conveniently left at home because...duh, there's WATER EVERYWHERE) because on every sign before a big ride there was posted a big warning against expectant mothers riding, accompanied by this graphic of a stork carrying a baby and a big red/circle/slash on top of it. After seeing it for the umpteenth time, Mr. Stick goes, "Wow - that could be the international sign for infertility!"

LOL. That boy cracks me up.

Speaking of which, I have to shout out to my fellow bloggers who now cannot ride the "Master Blaster" or the "Dragon's Revenge" with me. Congratulations and sticky vibes to Leslie (Evolutionary Dead End), Adele (Delinquent Eggs), Type A (Type A Nightmare), Sew (Sew Infertile) and Samantha (And Baby Will Make 3). Here's hoping all of you except Samantha have a reason to change your blog names soon!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: A Second Slice of Cake

Thanks to DaisyGal for partially inspiring this post with her own sunny entry today. It's so much easier for me to blog about the bad days, the dark feelings, and the overall crap that falls into my life than to give equal attention to the sunny days when love and kindness seem to be overflowing. When things are good, why sit in front of a computer and write about it when I can be out there soaking up the goodness and living it?

But I recently finished reading Jenni Schaefer's latest book (I do work in the eating disorders field, and, for the sake of full disclosure, I have some personal history with them as well.), and in it she writes about journaling the good days as well as the bad, as a reminder and a source of solace when things get bad.

So my perfect moment? Eating my second slice of cake for the day.

There's the obvious interpretation in light of what I just wrote about having an eating disordered history, but fortunately it's so far in the distant past that what I eat barely registers in that way anymore. It's more of a reminder that I'm on a break, so I really don't need to watch what I eat this cycle in terms of caffeine, alcohol, and other not-so-good-for-TTC things. And that feels freeing.

The real reason, though, is that the cake is a souvenir from one of the best parties I have ever had the pleasure of throwing and attending yesterday. Mr. Stick turns 40 next week, and one of our closest friends is turning 80 on the same day. His wife and I joke about them being twins born 40 years apart, and it certainly speaks to something about horoscope signs and all because they really are very similar despite the age difference!

So with two landmark birthdays, we decided to throw an all-out shindig yesterday at their house (which is bigger and has a pool). There was lots of food and wine (and a keg!), close to 90(!) guests who dropped in and out over the course of the day, lion and dragon dancers, and even an impromptu jazz jam session (a lot of their friends are musicians) late in the evening.

Because of the big age difference between ourselves and our friends, the party guests covered every age demographic, from the newly-born to the not-quite-ready-for-the-senior-center crowd. There were at least two dozen kids of every age running about or splashing in the pool, most of which were our friends' offspring.

I noticed about a year ago that I've started to be a little distant around kids. I'm always friendly and tolerant, but I wouldn't really play with or engage with them in the way that I used to in the past. (I used to be an in-demand babysitter once upon a time.) I think it's because parents would invariably comment and ask me about having kids of my own, and it just became too difficult to deal with as the months of unsuccessful TTC dragged by.

And while it's a protective and reasonable thing to do, I've realized that it's also pretty selfish. I'm depriving myself and these kids-who-are-not-mine from a positive interaction just because I'm afraid of being wounded by a careless comment. So this party was a test for me, and I decided that I was going to give and get all the kid-love I wanted...because who knows how many opportunities I'll get if my womb stays empty?

So that's what I did, along with my secret weapon: Fetch-the-best-dog-ever. 

I got to carry around a fussy 1-year-old boy, defend a 4-year-old girl's right to another gingerbread cookie, help a 7-year-old boy navigate the swimming pool, taught an 8-year-old boy how to make Fetch do tricks for chicken nuggets, and banter with a couple of surprisingly articulate adolescents.

And yes, the comments did come - someone shouted out that I looked good with the 1-year-old on my hip - and his mother who doesn't know about IF made a comment about me being able to afford a baby now that DH has his new job. But I was full of wine and sun and kid-love, so they rolled away without leaving too much sting behind.

There were a lot of other great moments of catching up with busy friends, watching Fetch become a hit with the crowd of people, breaking out glow sticks when night fell, and simply splashing around with Mr. Stick. And towards the end of the day, the friends we threw the party with gave us a beautiful watercolor that the wife had painted that I've admired for a long time as a gift.

I cried some happy tears on the long car ride home.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

I first started having pregnancy dreams shortly after Mr. Stick and I got together. They were pretty infrequent and never made it past the "BFP" stage, and for a long time they used to fill me with anxiety because I didn't feel ready for motherhood yet. I would always wake up relieved.

After we started TTC, I would still infrequently get these dreams and wake up terribly disappointed. The last such dream I remember having was the summer of 2009, and the dream had progressed to the point where a friend of mine was sending hand-me-downs from her twins(!) to me.

I knew that things weren't going well when suddenly I stopped dreaming of BFP's and started dreaming of BFN's. It wasn't bad enough that I had to experience disappointment in my real, waking life; apparently my subconscious decided it needed to remind me of my barrenness in my dreaming life as well.

A few months ago, I finally dreamt of a BFP again, but then after that came the miscarriage dreams - only two of them. I couldn't even blog about them - they haunted me terribly to the point where I wondered if it was even worth getting pregnant if I was only going to experience the kind of pain that my dreams merely hinted at.

And then last night, I dreamt I was pregnant again. Not just a BFP - I was in the hospital on my due date, waiting for my contractions to begin.

The sad thing about this dream is that IF had pervaded me so much to the point where I still didn't believe I was pregnant. My waistline was thick, but only a few inches larger than my current size, and I had gained only ten pounds. The nurse was debating whether to induce me, and I was arguing with her that I needed an ultrasound to confirm a heartbeat because I wasn't sure if I was pregnant, and I d*mn well knew that even if I was, I was too early along to even consider giving birth. I started crying, and I told her that nothing was even moving inside me, and this all seemed like a really cruel joke.

So she guides me into the ultrasound room, wands me, and I see a big smile come over the nurse's face. I look over (and remember folks that this is a dream), and it's not just a 3-D ultrasound, but a holographic representation of my baby. She's a girl, and she looks more like a 6-9 month old than a newborn - she has hair, her eyes are squeezed shut, and she is...beautiful. Not just beautiful in the "all babies are beautiful" sort of way but quite literally, physically beautiful in the way that I automatically think, "I'm going to be terrified the day she turns 15."

I worry about my lack of weight gain, and the nurse tells me that there is at least 15 pounds worth of baby and fluids in me (which is strange that she gave me a combined weight as opposed to the baby's weight), so I'm going to be just fine. (Which at that point, vain old me goes, "Wow - I won't even need to lose baby weight!")

Then we leave the room, and I see that a whole bunch of friends and family have come into the hospital to show their support and, in their words, "distract me" from all the pain I am about to experience. But I welcome the idea of the pain because I am happy and not scared anymore.

Waking up sucked big time. It took me a few moments to even realize that I had been asleep and dreaming, and all I wanted to do was crawl into that dream again and see the whole thing through.

I'm glad that my subconscious is feeling hopeful, even if the rest of me isn't quite there yet. And maybe this will sound pathetic, but a part of me is really happy that I know a little now what it feels like to really be pregnant...even if those feelings are just shadows of the real experience...and even if it was only in my dreams.

Friday, May 21, 2010

F*ck, Are You For Serious?

As if we didn't have enough sh*t to worry about: Infertility Drugs Raise Autism Risk?

Happy May ICLW!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! If you're new, the post with all our IF details is here.

The Current State of Things

After 3 Clomid cycles (2 with IUI), Mr. Stick and I are sitting this next one (and probably the one after that as well) out. There were a couple of reasons why - we're preparing for a big trip, we get better insurance next month, but the most important one is that I just plain realized that I needed to take a break.

So no meds and no procedures (and no wands up my hoohah!), but I'm still doing weekly acupuncture, taking vitamins (though not as religiously) and temping because my acupuncturist reads my chart each week. We'll see if I have the willpower to stay away from the OPK's in the next two weeks.

Oh, and the strange and sad thing is within a week of taking a break, I got four pregnancy announcements. One from my best friend, which I didn't take so well, one from a really good childhood friend, one from a local buddy, and lastly a surprise birth announcement from a friend of Mr. Stick's. Sigh - I feel like I'm starving in the midst of plenty.

And While I Have Your Attention...

I figured I'd pass along two really great offers that might interest you, dear reader.

1) Beckie's Infertility Journey is giving away an Ultimate Fertility Package this month.

Girlfriend is giving away an OV-Watch starter Kit, Pre-Seed , Fertility Socks, A Few Good Eggs Fertility Book, and chocolate and herbal tea. Go to her website to get the details on how to sign up for the offer. And just to let you know, even though I'm signed up too, if I can't win it, then I'll be just as happy if you win it!

2) This isn't really IF-related, but Zoya Nail Polish is running their nail polish exchange through June 30.

Zoya makes a toluene, phtalate-free nail polish that's pretty popular among preggies. The way their exchange works is, you mail in 6 or more of your old nail polishes plus $3.50 s&h for each bottle you mail in. Then, they'll mail you back the same number of Zoya nail polishes - you can pick from about 300 different colors. It's a good way to get rid of your old, toxic crap and get some new colors in for sandal season.

That's it! Thanks for dropping by - leave me a comment, and I'll do my best to return it. This community has given me so much support and love that I'm always happy to pay it forward.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gifts from the Universe

I'm a bit of a mess right now. Although I managed to pull myself from the brink of last week's meltdown, I'm still having moments when I realize I'm a complete emotional basketcase. Getting two pregnancy announcements in addition to last week's bomb has not helped this at all. Although I'm laughing them off, my wounds are still fresh and tender, and I find myself inexplicably on the edge of tears at strange and unpredictable moments, with no ability to articulate why I'm in so much pain.

This feels a lot like nursing a broken heart. I've been with Mr. Stick for more then ten years now, but you don't forget what it feels like to break up with someone and feel the carpet of the future you imagined roughly pulled out from under you. I guess I must be grieving, which I didn't expect would happen when I decided to take break. It's like when you work really hard for a few weeks and the first moment you get a break, your body decides it can get sick on you. For whatever reason, my body really just wants to be sad and gloomy right now.

And being the type A that I am, my reaction is, "This is sooooo not the time for you to pull this on me, Stickles. I gave you a TTC break, not an all-access pass to watch tv, read trashy books, take naps, and cry! You have project deadlines to meet!"

But the strange and wonderful thing is that I've been noticing since last week that the universe seems to be making room for my need to be a vegetable and work through some of my muck:
  • One of my non-profit clients has been a complete PITA for me in the last year. They are constantly cheaping out on IT and web projects, which create long-term issues that I end up having to contend with down the line. Well, last week, a couple come forward and volunteered to redo and take over their website in exchange for a service this client provides. My initial reaction was, "Oh shit, they're cheaping out again." But then I realized that here was an opportunity to unload this client without leaving them up a creek. So I let go of my attachment to them, and that burden was lifted.
  • I've been scrambling to get another client project finished by the end of this week. Last night, it stormed so hard that our power kept going out, so I finally shut down my computer and curled up with "Olive Kittridge" (a rather depressing book, btw). Then today, the client called and told me she'd be out all next week, which means I have a whole other week to finish said project. 
And the biggest gift of all? 

I'm going to home to California for the summer. Surprise! This has actually been in the works for a few months, but it has finally taken shape over the last two weeks. Mr. Stick has taken on a new position with a tech company headquartered in northern California, and they want him out there for training this summer. They would've paid for him to fly back and forth every week and put him in a hotel while he was there, but Mr. Stick proposed that it would cost just as much to fly us both out there for the whole time and put us up in a short-term rental.

(Both DH and I do computer-based work from home, so we're pretty portable. In fact, the only reason why we've stuck around Austin for so long lately is so I can get fertility treatment.)

I've found us the perfect sublet in the Mission District - it's a block from a shuttle that would take Mr. Stick to work, a block from a ZipCar lot if I need to grab a car, and a few blocks from the BART train which allows me to go to the East Bay and visit my mom. We'll be really close to a yoga studio so that I can get back into my practice.

We'll also only be a short bus ride from a fertility acupuncture clinic and the Pacific Fertility Center (which was recommended by Dr. G.) if I decide to keep up with treatments while I'm there. I'm not sure how I feel about starting with a new center, but I like having the option. Also, I have to admit that with this new job, we'll have some infertility coverage (not IVF, but everything else), which had an influence over why I decided to take a break now.

So, I know in my head that there's a lot of things to look forward to, even though my heart hasn't quite gotten up to speed with things. And I just have to put this out there - if the universe is in the mood for sending me gifts, could it please send me a B-A-B-Y while it's at it?

Monday, May 17, 2010

That answers it!

Just had this convo with DH not five minutes ago.

Mr. Stick: Hey! My friend T just had a baby.
Stickles: WTF? I didn't even know he got married.
Mr. Stick: He didn't.
Stickles: Wow - isn't that like a huge scandal?
Mr. Stick: No, my mom says everyone in Greece has a baby first these days before getting married.
Stickles: Oh great, that's our problem. We got married first. No wonder nothing's coming. F*cking A!

(Imagine this as sarcastic and perky banter. I didn't have a meltdown like last week or anything. In fact, the number of pregnancy/birthing announcements has gotten downright comical.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friendly Fire

Thank you guys so, so very much for your supporting comments. I LOVE YOU ALL!!! I was in a really bad place last night - I couldn't even read through the first two comments because each one would just set me off in tears again.

I'm...okay. I'm in self-preservation mode right now, which is pretty much the same as self-nurturing mode except that instead of trying to refill a well, I'm just trying to keep the well from going dry. I'm hiding in a bookstore (favorite place of refuge since I was a kid), chilling until my acupuncture appointment. I think if I'm brave enough, I'll let the Poke Clinic know that I'm dealing with some emotional pain, and they'll probably open some more floodgates for me to release all this grief.

If anything, the fact that her news gutted me like that spells out pretty clearly just how depleted I am and that I did make the right decision in stepping back. Throwing "Clomidia" on top of the situation would just make things harder, and I'd be doing it for all the wrong reasons - panic, fear, ego, desperation...

I was trying to articulate to Mr. Stick (remember, supportive but clueless?) why I was so hurt last night, and it boils down to this. I had intuited a few months ago that M was pregnant, and the feeling was strong enough that I was fearful of calling her. (I'm really glad I had blogged my thoughts about it at the time because rereading it helped me articulate this.)

So I had prepared myself, summoned up my courage, called her and then asked her in the course of our conversation if she was. She said no, and then she asked me if I was. Which then segued into a really difficult but good talk where I finally came clean to her about IF.

I understand, of course, why she lied. (And I realize now that she did lie because in that first phone call, she wanted me to give her recommendations for a trip to Hawaii she was about to take, and I learned yesterday that they had originally planned this trip for late fall - until they found out that she was going to be due in November.)

But that lie created for me a false sense of security. I think that a lot of IF'ers protect ourselves in a subtle way when we are among "civilians" (I prefer that term to "fertiles") - I feel like I am on constant alert for a pregnancy bomb to drop. With M, my defenses were completely down. I was totally vulnerable. I didn't even have my usual flippant and witty persona on because I was in a state where I was feeling light, free, and trusting of myself.

So to beat the military analogy to death once and for all, I got taken down by friendly fire.

Mr. Stick had a really interesting take on it, which I think I will be able to accept when I'm in a stronger state of mind. He said that I had an intuition, a voice that was telling me to be careful around M because I thought she was pregnant, and I ignored it because she originally told me something I wanted to hear.

And then he told me that yesterday, I trusted myself and listened to that voice when it was telling me to take a break and give myself what I needed. So...in a way, the universe was reaffirming that my intuitions are correct, that I need to listen to myself and trust myself more. Because when it comes to my emotional health, I know more than my RE and even my closest friends.


(I need to give some props to Mr. Stick, btw, because despite my flippant comment about his cluelessness, he has been an absolute rock. One of the reasons I wanted to take a break was so that I could give the poor guy a reprieve from the fertility-drug-addled Crying McWeepy alien that has taken me over these past few months, and instead he gets an emotional meltdown straight out of the gate.)

Anyway...so...here I am, hunkered down and attempting to rally so that I can make the most of this gift of time I have. I'm still feel pretty emotionally torn up, but that little voice tells me I'm going to be totally okay, and I know that I should listen to her.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Down and up, and then down down down...

This was supposed to be a different post.

I was going to write about how emotionally and psychically drained I've been feeling lately. About how I've been dragging my feet over my planned Clomid/IUI cycle and wasn't feeling any joy or optimism about it.  About how after a really long talk with a close friend yesterday, I had come to realize that I was looking forward to taking a break from TTC more than I was looking forward to trying to get pregnant. And how that made me realize that maybe I shouldn't go through with this next treatment cycle. Because my heart wasn't into it, and deep down I didn't believe that it would work anyway.

I was going to write about how I summoned up the courage to call Dr. G. this morning and cancel my CD baseline ultrasound and admit to you all that I just needed to take a break, get off the treadmill, break the cycle of deja vu. About how light and free I felt after cancelling, that I actually felt more like myself than I had in months.

That I went to the gym for the first time in a really long time and took a salsa aerobics class because I had energy to spare. That I went out with my friend N, and without even knowing what I had done, she said to me over lunch, "What I love about you is that you have such an honor and respect for your body and its needs." And that I then took the $185 I was going to spend on my ultrasound and went and got a haircut, a brow wax, and a brazilian and had leftover money to book a massage with N for next week.

I was going to tell you that I felt like I had taken back my life back, just for a little while. That I did the right thing and listened to that voice inside that said, "I don't feel like doing this," and I gave my tired and anxious self a reprieve. That even though I was going to let go of hope for this cycle, I wasn't going to waste the time - I was going to love, nurture, and take care of myself.

I was at my computer about to write the post. I should've just written the damn post.

Instead, I saw the blinking on my answering machine and realized that my best friend M called. So I called her back.

She's thirteen weeks pregnant. THIRTEEN WEEKS. I had asked her point blank two months ago if she was pregnant, and she told me no.  Maybe she didn't know at the time, but I can't help but feel like she lied to me. My. Best. Friend. Lied. To. Me. About. Being. Pregnant.

That peace I had cultivated for myself? Gone. That little cloud of understanding and bliss that I was floating on? Burst. I feel like the universe has just slapped me in the face.

I don't know how I got through the conversation. How I managed through the "We really weren't thinking about trying for another few months. It happened so fast." or "I had really wanted a March baby." or "I have to buy new maternity clothes because all my old ones were for winter."

I fooled her. Oh, God how I fooled her. I was so nice, I was so sweet. I laughed, and I said all the right things. And I was so very understanding and congratulatory, and all I wanted to do was scream at her, "Why did you have to tell me this today of all days? Why didn't you tell me earlier? Why didn't you tell me later? Why did you have to pee all over my peace parade?"

I have always prided myself on being able to put my grief aside when someone else gets pregnant. This is no longer the case. For the first time in more than two years of TTC, I wept, and I sobbed, and I cursed when I got off the phone after learning that someone else was expecting. I never, ever, ever thought that I would react this way to my best friend of all people.

I feel totally lost. I don't know if I did the right thing anymore. Part of me says yes, and the other part of me says it's not too late to ask for Clomid and get back on the treadmill.

I feel utterly betrayed. Betrayed by the universe, betrayed by my friend, but most of all, betrayed by my own good intentions and love for myself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reboot








A little geek humor for today. (Thanks, XKCD.)

The deja vu of it all is getting to me. 

I have the whole treatment sequence down by heart now, and pretty much have the next month laid out:
  • CD 1: battle disappointment with sarcasm and dark humor
  • CD 3: baseline sonogram
  • CD 3-5: take crazy pills
  • CD 5+: battle "Clomidia" and onslaught of strange dreams
  • CD 14: mid-cycle sonogram where there will be one mature follie and an ok-but-not-great lining of 6-point-something
  • CD 16: +OPK
  • CD 17: the IUI shuffle
  • CD 18 - 26: actual professional productivity, as I'm not obsessed with TTC for exactly one week
  • CD 26 - 29: become obsessed over sore boobs, strange crampy feelings, and watching to see when - oh, i mean - if my temps fall
We'll see if Clomid 4.0/IUI 3.0 actually results in Sticklet 1.0. If it doesn't, I'm looking to power down for a cycle or two before upgrading my protocol to Injectibles 1.0.

I'm feeling pretty blah right about now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nancy Drew & The Mystery of the Sore Boobs

My breasts hurt.

For most women, this would be cause for pulling out the pee sticks and going to town, but in crazy-upside-down Stickles world, it's just a reminder to stop obsessing and prepare for AF.

Let me back up here just a bit.

Sore breasts used be a once-in-a-blue moon thing for me. I certainly never got them when I was taking the pill, and during those wasted years when I was off the pill and actually "trying-to-avoid" I'd have one or at most two cycles a year where I'd get tender breasts.

Naturally, during these rare occasions, I'd freak out a little that we had an "accident" (more so about the fact that I was probably drinking alcohol and caffeine during my cycle moreso than the reality of being pregnant), but those worries all came to moot.

So the really, really crazy thing is that since we started actively TTC, I get sore boobs during every cycle. Every cycle. This has wreaked severe havoc in my head. Those first few months of TTC, every time my girls started getting tender, I'd whip out the pee sticks only to see a BFN and a visit from AF within 48 hours.

I have asked my OB, my RE, and my acupuncturists about this, and no one can give me a satisfactory answer. The docs think I'm just more sensitive to the changes in my body (which, I don't think so, because those few times I got tenderness in the past *really* stood out - I have notes in my charts to back me up) while acupuncturists seem very pleased by this information because it means that my body is producing good progesterone.

So I am left to wonder if I am really creating my own version of a "hysterical pregnancy" towards the end of the 2ww or if this is an indication that something strange is going on in my body. Like maybe I could actually be conceiving, but something goes wrong at the end of the implantation stage, and no one seems to be catching it.

Oh, and just to throw another curveball...

I've also noticed that these three cycles of Clomid I've been on, I get the sore boobs later in my cycle. In a normal cycle, I start getting sore at 7 dpo and get AF about 4-5 days later. While on Clomid, I'm getting sore at about 10 dpo and getting AF about 2-3 days later. I really don't know what to make of this.

So this is all just to say that although I could obsess over the strange little things that have happened this cycle, like the acne breakout from hell a few days ago, or my need to take a nap yesterday afternoon, the fact that my boobs are sore in exactly the way they've always been sore these past oh...26 months...I'm not having a whole lot of optimism right now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TTC and UTI: A PSA

I really should be cleaning some spreadsheets for a database import right now, but I'd much rather share with you some painfully-earned knowledge. It probably won't apply to most of you...or any of you, I hope...but if there's anyone out there TTC'ing under similar circumstances, I think it's important to pass this info along.

The Background

IF aside, I've always been a remarkably healthy person except for an anatomical proclivity for urinary tract infections. I started getting them as a virginal teenager, but they really started rearing their ugly head once I started having sex.  I'd average about 3-4 major UTI's a year - by major, I mean having to go get antibiotics - and a handful of minor ones that could be flushed out with water and cranberry juice.

I eventually figured out after a few years that simply peeing immediately after DTD and washing up "down there" prevented them for the most part. I managed to get the frequency down to about 1 or 2 minor ones a year, which I figured out I could self-treat with concentrated cranberry pills and/or D-Mannose, which is a type of sugar that binds to bacteria in the urinary tract.

And then I started TTC

I'd like to think we had an active sex life before, but TTC apparently ratcheted things up a bit because I got a big bad UTI within the first two months. I was stubborn at first, trying to self-treat without antibiotics, because I didn't want to take antibiotics (ah the naivete of those early days!) if I was already pregnant.

And once I sucked it up and actually went to a doctor, I fell into a bit of a Catch-22, as they'd put me on a milder antibiotic (Macrobid instead of say, Bactrim or Cipro) when I told them that I was TTC. I'd dutifully take the antibiotics for two weeks, the symptoms would go away, and then BAM! I'd be back in the next month with another raging UTI. 2008 basically became a throwback to those college years when I'd be bouncing in and out of the clinic for UTI antibiotics.

The shit...or I should say pee... really hit the fan in late 2008/early 2009 when I got "the UTI that wouldn't go away," even with antibiotics. It was a miserably painful time - my gyn was running bacterial cultures that were coming up negative, and scary terms like "interstitial cystitis" (IC) were being thrown around.

(I know this sounds terrible, but I think if I had to choose between IF and IC, I'd choose IF. IC just seems too agonizingly painful to deal with on a daily basis - I'm amazed at the women who bear with it and more so, the mothers who bear with it. I mean, I could barely deal with a few weeks of severe bladder pain as it was.)

Eventually, I wound up in a urologist's office, and she determined that my urinary tract wasn't infected - it was badly inflamed from all the recurrent infections of the previous year. Ironically, she put me back on Macrobid, because it has an anti-inflammatory effect - and I had to take it for six weeks. She also put me on a daily regimen of taking cranberry or D-Mannose supplements and gave me a long-standing prescription to take Macrobid each time after sex to ward off another infection.

Thankfully, it worked. Within a week, the pain that I thought would take up permanent residence in my nether regions was gone, and it didn't come back after six weeks of antibiotic therapy. I happily took my supplements, and refocused my energies on getting pregnant.

But then I did some research a few months later.

It turns out that just about everything that I was doing was unfriendly to TTC:
  • D-Mannose doesn't just bind to bacteria, it also binds to sperm. Sperm have mannose receptors, and D-Mannose is apparently effective enough at this that there is a patent out to use it as a contraceptive.
  • Cranberry supplements create an acidic vaginal environment that is partially hostile to sperm. This too, is apparently effective enough to be used as a gender swaying technique for those maddeningly fertile women who use it to kill off the "weaker" y-chromosome sperm.
  • Macrobid shows a slight risk for miscarriage. Now don't get me wrong - this is one of the safest antibiotics one can take, and there are probably millions of pregnant women who have taken it without adverse effects. That said, though, there have been a few women who claimed that taking it resulted in miscarriage. There isn't a lot of strong scientific evidence that demonstrates this, but when you're as paranoid as I am, it's best avoided.
And of course, my tried and true technique of peeing and washing up right after sex is a little harder to do when there's a ton of advice about lying down with your legs in the air for a half hour after DTD. Sigh.

This makes me wonder if I've just wasted a bunch of cycles while I was on antibiotics or sperm-killing supplements. I don't blame my urologist - she's not an RE, after all, and I'm eternally grateful to her for putting an end to those weeks of pain. I think this information is pretty obscure, as well, since one of my acupuncturists at the Poke Clinic even recommended D-Mannose to me when I mentioned my penchant for UTIs. Which is why I thought it prudent to publish my experience on the Internets.

So what now?

Well, I gave up on the daily D-Mannose and cranberry supplements a few months ago. And I'm only taking Macrobid after "fun sex" in the early part of my cycle as opposed to baby-making sex  mid-cycle. Poor Mr. Stick knows better than to try to jump me late in my cycle when I'm worried about taking Macrobid during the 2ww, as well as not wanting to "shake things up too much down there" (irrational, I know, but welcome to my IF mind).

I'd also like to think that the acupuncture is overall having a balancing effect on my body. It did eradicate my allergies, so I don't think it's unreasonable to think that it might be resetting my body's chemistry to something that is both sperm-friendly and UTI-bacteria-unfriendly.

I've been lucky so far, in that I haven't had any UTIs - major or minor - since that horrible one more than a year ago. So I'm just hoping that it continues to hold out until I get the biggest lucky streak of all with a BFP.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

IUI Update

Hey ladies,

Sorry for dropping off the earth there. I get kind of blog-saturated during ICLW (love it though!), so I needed to take a breather and not spend every day focusing on infertility.

So I realized I never posted about IUI #2, which I'm sure you're all dying to know about. I got my much expected +OPK pretty quickly after whining about not ovulating, and we booked the IUI for the next morning.

After our IUI-shuffle hijinks of last month, Mr. Stick insisted that I sleep in while he went to the lab at the crack of dawn to "collect and turn in his specimen." Not only that, but he was sweet enough to wake me up in time for the IUI appointment and drive me into town again a few hours later, so he could keep me company during the procedure. What a husband!

Mr. Stick is nothing if not consistent - his swimmer numbers were almost exactly the same as last month across the board - motility, morphology, density, and count. I even asked Dr. G if he wasn't just reading the numbers from last month. We got about 40-million of those babies in there, so I really hope my egg rises to the occasion because we really tried to make it easy for that eggie!

So now I'm in the 2ww, the first half of which is always the most relaxing part of my cycle. There's nothing I need to be doing, watching, or waiting for. Ironically, though Mother's day is going to fall right at 12dpo, which is usually the point at which my temps take a nosedive. So next Sunday could potentially suck...or potentially not suck in a big big way.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

3 Application Suggestions for Facebook

There you are, scrolling along down the "Top News" on your Facebook account, and BAM! There's nothing like getting blindsided by a pregnancy announcement or picture on your favorite social media network, is there?

As the geeky wife of an even geekier computer scientist, I realized the other day that someone needs to make some infertility-friendly Facebook applications. So here, I present some suggestions for some new apps:

(And apologies in advance if anyone finds this offensive or insensitive as I poke some harmless fun at the state of infertility.)

1. The Pregnancy Announcement Filter

Surely this would be easy right? You could set up filters on all your news alerts to pull out anything containing the words "pregnant, knocked-up, having a baby, etc." You could have an even stronger setting that would pull out things containing more generic terms like "expecting" or "due." More sophisticated versions could have recognition technology that would filter out pregnancy photos and ultrasounds.

You could maybe have it corral all of these announcements into a separate folder or tab, so you can wait until your next CD1 to get drunk and read through them all in one blow.

2. SuperPoke - the Infertility Edition

I don't know if you were on Facebook when the movie "Juno" came out, but SuperPoke ran a movie-related campaign where one of things you could throw at a friend was, yes, a pregnancy test. It was all kinds of funny back then as we were just starting to think about TTC, but I can't imagine how I would've reacted if I had been dealing with my infertility at the time.

So to turn the whole thing on its head, I propose we have an "Infertility Edition" open to infertiles only where we can drown in the irony and throw at each other not just pregnancy tests, but opk's (both positive and negative), prenatal vitamins, tubes of Pre-Seed, packs of Clomid (in 50mg, 100mg, and 150mg varieties), sperm collection jars, Instead cups, Mucinex, salivascopes etc. (The sad thing is that all I had to do to come up with this list is look in my dresser drawer.)

3. InfertilityVille

I don't play online games like Mafia or FarmVille, so I may be totally off on this description, but I wonder if you could educate "civilians" about infertility through one of those games where the object is to build your family.

The game would be rigged so as to give only 1 out of 50 players the ability to do this in an easy and straightforward manner. Everyone else would have to go through virtual Clomid cycles, IUI cycles, injectible cycles, IVF cycles, where success would reflect the real statistics. The game would only allow one chance a week to try for a kid, and that time could be made unpredictable, or trackable only through a virtual OPK.

Players could earn and save up "points" (to be spent on different cycles and strategies) by lending support and services to other players. Telling another player to "just relax" would automatically result in a loss of points. Babysitting another player's child would rack up major points.

Anyway, dear readers, I'm sure you know that I'm not trivializing IF by trying to make a game out of it or anything. It's just hard when a fun distraction like Facebook can turn into a virtual minefield with people posting pregnancy news, baby pictures, etc. I certainly don't blame others for sharing their joy, but I figure we infertiles need to find a way to make Facebook work for us.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cycle Watch: A Watched Stickles Never Ovulates...

Thanks every one for the supportive comments on my last post. I felt a little mean and ugly putting it out there, and I'm relieved no one decided to rip me a few new ones over it.

I hate the ovulation waiting game. Based on my last two Clomid cycles, I should be getting a peak on my ClearBlue monitor today, but I'm holding steady at "high." It probably will come tomorrow, considering that I can read the pattern of these sticks like a pro by now, but I'm bothered nonetheless.

When you're told to BD every other day and then abstain two days before the IUI, it sounds like easy instructions until your O day becomes a moving target. Now I feel like I'm "off schedule."

Friday's CD 12 ultrasound was pretty typical - lining is at 6.1mm (not a disaster, but nothing to write home about), and I have a 18mm follie on my left side (maybe I'll do better with a left side drop since my last two cycles were on my right and nothing happened). All things considered, I should probably be a little grateful that I'm a little behind on ovulating since it'll give me another day for my lining to build up. (Build cells, build!!!)

I really ought to let go though and just let things be without overanalyzing them. My cycles are notoriously "self-conscious" and stall even longer when I put them under a microscope.

And *DON'T* get me started on that "go on a vacation business." The first time my cycle went over 40 days, I was in Greece. And my longest cycle ever at 49 days (49!!!) happened while I was in Maui. (Of course, now I sound spoiled - "I went to Greece and Hawaii, and all I got was a long menstrual cycle.")

Hope everyone has a happy Monday!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Power of Three

I manipulated a backrub out of my guilty DH last night, I slept in until 10am, and the sun is shining today. Let's hope this day is on the up-and-up, and my appointment with the RE this afternoon shows a beautiful lining ready for IUI.

What I love about ICLW is that reading other people's posts often gives me fodder for mine, especially when I'm in a creativity slump like I've been in lately. Write Baby Repeat had a really moving post yesterday about getting lapped, and all I could think about was a friend of mine who is now expecting her third kid and what a visceral response I had when I learned the news.

For the past year, whenever I hear a pregnancy announcement from a "civilian" (non IF'er), my mind immediately goes into survival mode with a bunch of rationalizing thoughts. There is the sincere "I'm so happy for them," followed by a wistful "How lucky that they'll never have to question themselves about fertility," and then a rather selfish "I hope they won't bombard me with too many pregnancy updates and shower invitations."

Those thoughts take a mean turn, though, when I learn that it's a third or fourth pregnancy. I am immediately flooded with an outraged "How *dare* you?!" followed by an insincere "I hate you!" and then a selfish and childish "Why does the universe hate me so?" It's happened two or three times now, and I always feel totally surprised and ashamed by the depth of my negativity and my lack of grace.

I tell myself over and over again that having babies is not a zero sum game - there isn't some limited pool of them, so Jane having three...or nine children has no bearing whatsoever on the number of children I will have.

In my IF-addled mind, though, there is something subtly terrible and mocking when a couple flouts social convention and throws themselves on the other side of the average 2.2 kids statistic. I know logically that the following isn't true, but a primitive part of me sees 3+ kids as a flaunting of genetic wealth, as a kind of evolutionary and ecological selfishness.

"Our world is overpopulated, we don't know if we'll have enough water or gasoline to get us through the next few generations, but sure - go ahead and go over the replacement rate. Clearly two is not enough for you. Unless the third pregnancy was an accident, in which I already hate you for your untold amounts of luck and fertility." Something like that.

I am well aware that this isn't a nice way to think about this. That I'm taking someone else's deep personal joy and throwing my political and philosophical feelings on it, along with slathering a layer of infertility shit on top of it. I don't want to think like this, but I do.

But at least I know I will never say these thoughts out loud. That's why I have this blog. So I can exorcise these ugly thoughts and protect my happy and naive friends from them, and so that I can love their children - no matter how many of them they have - with a cleaner heart.

Why won't this day end?!

You know those days you get, every now and then, when everything seems to flow? You hit a streak of green lights on the road, you have all the ingredients for a recipe you've been thinking about, you stumble upon the most perfect pair of shoes...and they're on sale?

Today...or rather, technically speaking yesterday was not one of those days. It was the opposite. I am out of sync with the universe for whatever reason, and it's having a whole lot of fun mocking me.

Nothing bad-with-a-capital-B happened. It's just that everything that could have gotten stuck or turned upside down seemed to. I spent the better part of the day planning a shopping excursion for two neighbors (they asked me to give them an insider's tour of an asian grocery store), only to have both of them flake out on me at the last minute. Then, a big outdoor fundraiser that I help put on every year got rained out in the evening. And to top things off, my cat decided to stop using her litter box.

So it was a sucktastic day, I've had them before and know things will get better. I decided to write it off, watch some crap tv, and then haul my tired and grumpy ass off to bed to start afresh tomorrow. And then what happens?

Mr. Stick comes down with a case of clueless husband. The man decides that it's okay to, just as I am surrendering to sleep, plop down beside me in bed, pop open the laptop, and WATCH GLEE CLIPS ON HULU WITH THE VOLUME ON FULL.

After a couple of minutes of me silently going "WTF?" I ask him very nicely if he would consider wearing headphones because didn't I tell him not less than two minutes before that I was exhausted and wanting to sleep? He, of course, apologizes, but at this point the damage is done. I am so AWAKE from the Madonna music and just pissed off at life in general.

Putting this all down in writing makes me realize what a freaking drama queen I am, but I'm hauling out the "I'm-on-Clomid-get-outta-jail-free" card for this little tantrum right now. It's 2am, and I'm so worked up I still can't sleep and get this day over with!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy ICLW!

Wow, it's already ICLW again! Hello, and thanks for stopping by. The background details are all in this post.

As for the low-down on this cycle, I'm in the middle of my third round of Clomid, and I'll probably have an IUI sometime early next week. I have been consistently ovulating on day 16 on this stuff, which is amazing to me since I'm usually a 35-day cycler. I'm also doing acupuncture once a week. If this cycle doesn't pan out, my RE wants me to move on to injectibles. Sigh.

I'm usually a pretty chatty person, but I've been a little challenged in the energy and creativity arenas lately. I am totally blown away by my fellow bloggers' ability to churn out post-after-post of interesting content for months at a time. Anyway, due to said lack of creativity, I will lean on the tried-and-true crutch of:

The ABCs of Me
  • Age: 33. Except for the IF thing, in which age is my enemy, I actually like being in my 30's. I am ever so much more together now than in my 20's.
  • Bed: King size, and it's still too small. You'd think that a Yorkshire terrier, a tiny asian chick, and an average guy would easily have room to spare, but we're all space hogs.
  • Chore you hate: Washing the dishes, especially since we don't have a dishwasher (long story) in the house.
  • Dog: Fetch (not his real name, but it's pretty darn close actually). 10-lb yorkie with a 200-lb attitude (see "Bed" above). He was a rescue dog and is probably one of the best things to ever happen to us.
  • Essential start your day item: Tea. Green is my favorite, though I usually go herbal during the 2ww.
  • Favorite color: Depends on my mood. Wine red today.
  • Gold or silver: As an investment, gold. (The strike price on gold is just whoa.) For jewelry, silver. 
  • Height: 5' 1" - on a good day
  • Instrument you play: Took piano lessons until college - can barely play scales anymore. I was blessed with a great set of pipes though and can sing pretty well.
  • Job title: Web marketer. Wish it were "Mom."
  • Kids: Sigh. See "Job Title" above.
  • Living arrangements: A cabin-like house in the rural part of Austin, Texas. Badly needs a new kitchen (see "Chore you hate" above) and a new floor in the master bath, but I love it.
  • Mom: I hit the lottery with her. I don't think I will ever live up to the amazing example this woman set for me, but that's not gonna stop me from trying...if I get lucky.
  • Nicknames: Teeny, Princess (in a sweet tone of voice if it's my husband; in a sarcastic voice if it's my sister)
  • Overnight hospital stay other than birth: None!
  • Pet Peeves: Stupid people. Sad, but true. I have no patience for stupidity or cluelessness whatsoever - I'm such an elitist liberal in that way.
  • Quote from a movie: "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife!" from The Princess Bride.
  • Right or left-handed: Right, though I'm strangely left-dominant in sports.
  • Siblings: One younger sister and one older sister-in-law. Hit the lottery with those two as well, as we all truly love and support each other.
  • Time you wake up: I wish I could say 7am, but no...9am...on a good day. I work from home and set my own hours.
  • Underwear: No-nonsense cotton bikinis, unless I'm well...you know. I do not get thongs.
  • Vegetable you dislike: Eggplant and okra. Okra is ewwww.
  • Ways you run late: Husband. I used to be 5-10 minutes early for everything. If husband is in tow, I'm lucky to be 5-10 minutes late.
  • X-rays you've had: Besides dental, my first major x-ray was the lovely HSG for diagnosing my infertility. It came out all clear, which I know is good but gave me no answers whatsoever.
  • Yummy food you make: Freshly baked bread. I'm so proud of myself for this one.
  • Zoo favorite: The big cats. I don't believe in zoos in general, but the Austin Zoo is different because they take in rejects from circuses and other zoos, as well as "confiscated" exotics. 
Hope that was semi-interesting. Leave a comment, and say hi!

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Clomidia

    That's the new term Mr. Stick and I have been bandying about that encompasses my descent into the hazy, hot-blooded, teary-eyed fog I go into when I'm "under the influence." :)

    I'm a little less whacked out this go-around than last - DH is trying hard to be more patient and sensitive with me, and my acupuncturists put me on a different herb regiment to keep me "cooler." I can tell that I'm less edgy, but I'm still getting super hot at night.

    Dreams have been really odd and disturbing again. Last night's was kind of gross, so you should stop reading if you're squeamish. I dreamt that I got my period and was passing...plants. Yes, plants.

    I have no idea what to make of it - if I think of it one way, it seems to suggest fertility. But if I think of it another way, it seems like everything is a lost cause down there. Or maybe it's just because of all the "stick" references in this blog.

    In other news, I've just learned that two friends are both pregnant with their first. They are few years older than I am, so DH thinks that this bodes well for us. Maybe, but I somehow doubt they took 2+ years to conceive. At this point, it's like comparing apples with oranges. I know age matters and all that, but infertility is infertility.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    No Deduction for 2010

    Sorry I didn't post this week. Tax time around our household is huge nightmare because I do all my freelance work under a separate LLC, and we have a partnership interest in a clinic out of state, so we end up sending in something like 4 or 5 tax returns as well as a big ol' check every April. Which I try to think of as a good thing, because if we are sending in money that means we're making it.

    Anyway, to continue in the vein of GlumBunny's census post, the IRS has so many lovely ways to prick at the infertile. The big one is the child deduction, and then you also have tax credits for adoption.

    What burned me in particular this year was when we were trying to determine estimated taxes for 2010, and the question came up of whether or not we thought we could get a child deduction for 2010. The timing is pretty nefarious if you think about it. If the cut-off date for the child deduction is a birthday on December 31, then you generally need to conceive (premature births notwithstanding) before the last week of March/first week of April. Which means the 2WW ends squarely around the income tax deadline. Which is kind of what happened to me.

    So no child deduction for 2010. Hope 2011 brings a different story. 

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Cleaning the Closets...

    After finishing up a major work project in February, I rewarded myself with a piece of furniture I've been hankering after for a while now - a big 10-drawer dresser to contain all the clothes that have started leaking out of a much smaller chest of drawers. I picked out a simple, sturdy, unfinished oak piece from a local furniture store a few weeks ago, spent last weekend finishing it with a beautiful golden tung oil, and we happily moved it into our bedroom on Friday.

    Today, I started moving my clothes into it. I love organizing in general and started out having a fun time of it. But then little reminders and questions started creeping up into every decision I made:
    • I haven't worn this shirt in forever, and it's a little big on me. Why don't I donate it? But wait, it's got a nice empire waist. Wouldn't it be great for early pregnancy? Oh yeah, that's why I keep holding on to it.
    • Hmm...these skirts barely fit anymore. I should work out a little more to fit back into them. But what if I get pregnant? Surely I will never be able to fit into them post-partum, and I'll need the room for maternity clothes. So I'll throw them out. But wait, what if I don't get pregnant? Should I really throw these skirts out then? They were such a good find.
    • Okay, now that I've emptied the old chest of drawers, maybe I should put some of DH's clothes in them, so he doesn't have to keep using those plastic Target drawers in the closet. But wait, didn't I plan on moving the old chest to the guest room so that we can put baby clothes in it when the time comes? Didn't we talk about putting a diaper changing station on it because it's the perfect height? So if I fill it up with DH's clothes, does that mean I've lost faith, or should I just buy the baby a whole bunch of brand new furniture when the time comes?
    It all got to be too much for me, and Mr. Stick found me sitting in front of my brand new dresser with tears in my eyes. I hate that I can't make decisions around what clothes to keep and what to throw out. I hate that writing this has made me realized that I haven't done any major clothes shopping in the last eighteen months because I  keep hoping that I'll get pregnant and won't fit the things I am buying.

    I know that these decisions are simple. I can always throw out clothes, buy new clothes, move DH's clothes out of the old chest, and/or buy new furniture. But IF is clouding it all in my head.

    Each decision has been reduced to whether: "I'm hoping to get pregnant soon, so I should plan around that." or "Just keep on living like nothing is going to change."

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    Calling the game early so we can all go home.

    Temps have been falling the last two days, and the big fat one-liner this morning pretty much drove the point home for me.

    I usually wait at least a few more days longer to test - mostly because experience has taught me that taking a pregnancy test is a surefire means to bring on AF. But I didn't want to play the mind game of "What if this is just an implantation dip?" with myself like I do so many other cycles, so I nipped hope in the bud. I realize this is terribly negative of me, but it's a self-preservation thing. Prolonging the hope = prolonging the pain.

    This way, I can have a good cry when AF shows up, dry the tears all the faster and gird myself against another showdown with the Clomid.

    I've got at least a weekend full of distractions to keep some of the blackness at bay. There's a local festival going on with all sorts of arts and crafts and rides, plus a BBQ cookoff that DH gets to help judge. And tomorrow we're all going out to dinner with the hostess I met at the chocolate party a few weeks ago and her husband. I don't know if IF is going to come up with the husbands around, and I'm a little worried that it'll set me off on a sadness spree, but who better to condole and share a drink with, right?

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Bump on a log...

    Sorry for not having posted for a few days. I've been feeling seriously unmotivated these days. Not just blog-wise, but life in general. I'm treading water or maybe even just floating...doing the minimum I can to keep my clients from firing me and my house from turning into a condemned disaster zone.

    I'm not really tired, just...blah. And I'm not really sad or depressed - in fact, being sad or depressed would take too much energy. More like I'm not in the mood to expend energy to exert control over the things I usually like to control and keep the chaos/entropy/craziness of life at bay. I'm just wanting to curl up on the couch with a not-too-brain-taxing read and some episodic television. Wake me up if the apocalypse comes, otherwise I'm not budging.

    Of course, this is the one of the worst times I could be sinking into "bump on a log" mode what with taxes due and a bunch of other spring projects to tackle. And it doesn't help at all that Mr. Stick is like the energizer bunny around me either - just his ability to *do* something makes me feel like a guilty bag of lazybones.

    Sigh. Since I haven't taken Clomid for a few weeks now, I need to find a new scapegoat. Maybe it's the weather. The past few days the weather has gone from lovely warm spring to hot and muggy. Yep - got about oh...two weeks of spring. Stupid Texas weather.

    Anyway, I'm nearing the second half of the 2ww which means I should at least have the energy in a few days to go crazy watching my temperature and analyzing every twinge and ache. But right now even just thinking about that makes me...blah.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Swim babies, swim!!!

    I was so keyed up over my IUI appointment yesterday that I couldn't sleep the night before.

    Most of my anxiety was around "collecting the specimen" because we live 40 minutes from the lab and had to get it in right when the lab opened and within one hour of collection. And there was a lot of verbiage on the information sheet about how they wouldn't accept late specimens, blah blah blah, so I worked myself into near hysteria at the thought of having to get DH to produce within a specific timeframe and then having to drive like the dickens in morning traffic as thousands of sperm die off every minute it takes to get it to the lab.

    Of course, I freaked out over nothing, and we got it all in on time. (And then learned that the tech usually will open the lab up a little early for people who want to collect onsite. Thanks for telling me that after the fact!) We went for breakfast while they "processed," and the combination of food + falling adrenaline levels + lack of sleep turned me into a near zombie when they actually finally got around to doing the procedure.

    Dr. G. was pleased with the sample - there was a 65% survival rate (the IUI processing is so strangely Darwinian, not to mention the number that probably died on the way to the lab) and an end count of 42 million per ml.

    What I like about Dr. G. is that he is really good about explaining everything that he is doing as he is doing it, so I always feel like I know exactly what is going on.

    What I didn't like about Dr. G. is that he invited DH to come over on his side and watch while he did the procedure, and then I had to listen to strange banter between my husband and my RE about the positioning of my cervix. I know I'm lucky that DH is so involved and so interested in this whole fertility treatment thing, but I'm massively grateful I was so out of it while all this was happening.

    And at the end of it all, Dr. G. looked me straight in the eye and said, "Okay, we're going to make this happen." I love that. I really do.

    And that was it. Went home, took a long nap, and then piddled the rest of the day with some work and playing with the dog before vegging out to watch "Lost" and "V."

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    It's not just the LH that is surging...

    Sorry if this post is TMI. You have been warned.

    Okay, someone needs to hold me down right now before I dash in and throw myself at Mr. Stick.

    There is something about seeing that little egg image in my ClearBlue monitor that turns me into raging horny woman. Just knowing that the fertile window that is oh-so-rarely is unlatched is WIDE open with the wind blowing in...I want sperm in there, damn it!

    I am under strict orders not to BD for 48 hours before my IUI, which is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Logically, I know this makes sense. My surge just appeared, eggs will not be dropping for another 24-48 hours, and the IUI gives those sperm an extra few hours so they don't get all tired out swimming into my uterus (okay, I'm kind of making that last part up).

    But someone tell that to the crazy, OCD, hormonal control freak in my head! And don't get me started on the fertile CM that I can feel building up in my lady-parts.

    Okay Stickles, need to breathe in...breathe out...that IUI is arriving sooner than you think. Do not, I repeat, do not touch your husband until then. And put away that cute lacy underwear...I know what you're thinking...

    Edited to add...

    See, I'm so wrapped up in my crazed state that I forgot to blog last night's dream!

    I clearly have IUI on my mind because I dreamt that I was going over the sperm analysis results with a technician. A technician who was...Sarah Silverman.

    WTF? Sarah Silverman? Is this strangely connected to my Jason Bourne dream (you know, that whole "Matt Damon/Jimmy Kimmel" thing...)?

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    CD 12 Update

    Had my CD 12 ultrasound, and I guess it could've been worse. I got to be a human guinea pig for a 2nd-year resident who seriously needs to work on her wanding skills (hello retroflexed uterus!), but Dr. G. kept it from getting too out of hand. (What a weird little pun I just made there...)

    So, I have a 17mm follie on my right ovary (which surprised me, because I've been feeling all the action on my left side), and my lining is at 6.8mm. It's an improvement from last cycle when it was 6.4mm, but not that much. You'd think it'd be better considering all the red raspberry leaf tea and pomegranate juice I've been consuming. Sigh.

    Dr. G. made a comment about my body producing less estrogen for my uterine lining because I'm thin, but jeepers I'm not that thin! Maybe I'll take this as permission to go to a couple more chocolate parties and add real bacon to my diet. :) And he's reluctant to switch me to Femara because of a study in Canada showing potential cardiac/respiratory issues in babies conceived with it.

    On the plus side, he's willing to give me another chance or two on Clomid before "graduating" on to injectibles. He seemed pretty sure that the Clomid would work.

    I have to take a moment here and talk about how much I adore Dr. G. I find it really strange because the man is so confident he's practically cocky, and his bedside manner isn't at all warm and fuzzy. But I think that's just what I need - his confidences manages to steamroller a lot of my insecurities and "what-ifs," I like that there's no wishy-washy at all with him, and he's really direct and good about answering questions.  I get the impression that he finds a lot of my IF-angst to be a little humorous, which makes me feel like it might not be as serious as I dread it to be. Here's hoping!

    Anyway, now comes the wait as I pull out the OPK's and watch for the surge...

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Demystifying Acupuncture - Electrostimulation edition

    Sorry for posting this a day later than planned - yesterday got crazy-busy.

    So I got hooked up to an electrostimulation machine for the first time on Tuesday at the Poke Clinic. I'm pretty terrified of getting electrocuted (which is rather funny because I actually have never been electrocuted), so I broke into a cold sweat when my acupuncturist explained what they were going to do.

    The purpose of it is to make the acupuncture "work better" by running a microcurrent between two needles. It seems a little pseudosciency, but they say it makes for a stronger "energetic connection" between the two points.

    They did the procedure with me face-down on the table (probably a good idea so I wouldn't get freaked out by all the wires). My acupuncturist inserted a couple of needles into my back and calves. Then her assistant clipped these wires to the needles. I had a region on my left back, one on my right back, one on my left leg, and one on my right leg.

    The assistant then turned the machine on and started turning a dial very slowly. She told me to let her know when I felt a tingling sensation. It took about a minute or two of her upping the dial to feel it, which is a little mentally taxing when you're waiting for a sensation you've never felt before.

    But once I felt it, it was really weird. The first feeling was of my muscles tightening up, but I think that was due to nerves. And then I did feel a slight tingle in the area she was stimulating. Once I felt that, she moved on to another region and started fiddling with the dials to stimulate the next area. Again, it took another minute or two, which was also stressful since one part of me was tingling, and I was trying to focus on feeling another part of myself tingle.

    Anyway, eventually she got all four areas of me buzzing. She left a bell for me to ring her if I needed anything, and then I was left to "cook" or maybe "microwave" (haha) for about 20 minutes. It was harder to zone out or fall asleep with estimming because I was so aware of the sensations, but after a while, my body adjusted to it, and I actually couldn't feel it anymore.

    And then at the end, they came in, turned the machine off and removed the needles. I didn't realize how nervous I was until I got up and noticed how much I was sweating. It really wasn't bad at all, even enjoyable in a certain light, and I'm glad I got to try something new - especially something that scared me.

    I have this fantasy of one day telling my future child(ren) about the lengths I went through to have them. Not to make them feel guilty or anything, but to demonstrate how wanted they were. Getting poked with needles on a regular basis, being wanded by doctors...now I get to add electrocution to the list!

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Demystifying Acupuncture

    I got electrostimulated for the first time at The Poke Clinic this afternoon (apparently, it's supposed to make the Clomid "work better") and was going to blog the experience. But I thought maybe I should write a more introductory post for anyone who hasn't tried it yet just to demystify it a little. I mean, so many of us IF bloggers write frankly about IUI, injectibles, IVF, etc, but I don't see a lot of stuff about moxibustion, cupping, electrostim, or even just plain ol' acupuncture.

    My ethnic background is Asian, so you might think that I'd have grown up with getting needles stuck in me since I was kid, but nothing could be further from the truth. I grew up going to a regular ol' pediatrician at Kaiser, an HMO, and my only exposure to acupuncture was through kung fu movies.

    I initially had visions of a old-bearded Chinese man with spectacles and a silk robe working out of a back room of an herb shop, but my acupuncturists are all pretty young, they're all white, and they work out of a regular medical office building. There is modern asian decor theme going on, and I'm pretty sure the place was feng-shui'd. Their office also smells faintly of herbs, which might be off-putting to some, but the smell has grown on me.

    Now obviously my experiences may be radically different from someone else's, but here's the general gist of it:
    • My appointments start with my acupuncturist viewing my BBT chart and getting a general rundown of my health that week - quality of sleep, changes in digestion, energy level, etc.
    • The needles do poke, but they're not particularly painful, and you get acclimated to the sensation pretty quickly.
    • The most noteworthy sensation is when the acupuncturist turns the needle slightly - it can sometimes cause a tingly sensation, and it feels a little bit like your nerves are being tuned. I've noticed that I'm more sensitive to this in my luteal phase, and they acknowledge that the sensitivity comes from having more progesterone in the body.
    • Although a lot of acupuncture images (like the one above) show lots of needles being used, that's never been the case with me. Maybe around 6-10 needles in key points in each session. The usual areas of needling are my feet, my ankles, my calves, the side of my hand, tops of my ears, top of my head, and sometimes my lower abdomen.
    • My favorite point is the one right in the middle of the forehead, where a bindi would go. One of my acupuncturists calls this the "happy point." It never fails to relax me, and I will often fall asleep during a session if I get "happy-pointed."
    • It is possible to insert acupuncture needles through clothing because the points are so sharp, but thick denim can be a problem. I usually go in yoga clothes so that they can easily roll up/down sleeves, pant legs, waistbands, or insert them straight through the clothing if need be.
    • Once the needles are in, my acupuncturist will usually darken the room and leave me to "cook" for 20 - 30 minutes. I'm pretty used to just zoning out or taking a light nap when they go, though it's occurred to me to load up an iPod with some inspirational thoughts or affirmations and meditate to that.
    • My acupuncturists do give me herb tinctures (herb mixes distilled in alcohol) to take a few times a day. (Mr. Stick calls them my "Liza Minnelli" moments the alcohol smells pretty strong.) I take different herb mixes depending on my cycle - whether I'm menstruating, in my follicular phase, or my luteal phase.
    • I do acupuncture once a week, though when I started a few months ago, they asked me to come in twice a week to "get things moving" more quickly.
    But does it work?

    Well, it hasn't given me a BFP yet, and that to me is the biggest litmus test. And it hasn't moved my O date (I'm a "late ovulator") like I had expected it to, though I can say that it has definitely "smoothed" out my BBT charts. My temps don't jump around as much (though that has changed with Clomid), and the temp shift in my luteal phase is very clear and strong.

    I can unequivocally say that acupuncture has done wonders for my allergies. I've had the easiest cedar season in ten years since doing acupuncture. I haven't had to take Claritin, and my neti pot is actually starting to collect dust. So I know it hasn't been a waste of money and has improved the quality of my life in a measurable way.

    So tomorrow - on to the electrostimming account!

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Outed at the Chocolate Party

    Okay, so I totally wasn't kidding about the stuffing myself with chocolate yesterday. A friend of mine had invited me to a chocolate tasting shindig where the hostess was going to have us try different types of chocolate bars she had created and film our reactions and thoughts about them.

    It was a ton of fun, and I found out quickly that pretty much everything goes with dark chocolate: sriracha, jalapeno salt, candied ginger, wasabi peas...not altogether, of course. Or maybe altogether...hmm... I was told that I am a "chocolate masochist" who likes a little darkness and spice and burn and bitterness in her chocolate - I wonder if this is a metaphor for what I've been attracting in my life...

    Anyway, one of the tasters brought her new 3-month-old baby to the party, and there was the usual oohing and ahhing. (He was pretty cute - a redhead!) Of course, talk turns to "When are you going to have a baby?" and "How long have you been married?"

    I demurred on the baby thing as best I could ("Yeah, we want kids." and "Boy, my in-laws ask me that all the time!"). I'm okay talking about IF to friends and family, but not a party full of cheerful strangers eating chocolate.

    But I must have set someone's IF-radar off, because the next thing I know, the hostess is sitting next to me, and she says quietly, "Yeah, I've been married 5 years, and we have had trouble having a child."

    And before you know it, we are sharing our stories in low and hushed voices while everyone else is bustling about trying chocolate and cooing over the baby. I talk about Clomid, she talks about ectopic pregnancies, we exchange impressions and thoughts about adoption.

    Except for blogging, this is the first time I have ever actually talked to someone about IF who was going through the same thing and knew what it was all about. None of the asinine advice or awkward sympathy, just a mutual sharing and condoling. I had no idea how cathartic that would feel.

    One of the hardest things about IF is the isolation. I am by most measures an introvert, someone who craves time alone and enjoys solitude. I have often prided myself on my ability to be alone without feeling lonely, but IF has completely changed that for me. The pain of the experience has humbled me, taught me to reach out, to share my feelings, and to seek solace in a community of peers.

    So ladies, thank you for being there. Really. (Here comes the tearing up. It's the Clomid...really...)

    It's just the start of ICLW and already your comments have gone such a long way to easing that loneliness that was starting to take root. It's bad enough having that hole in your life where a baby should be - I feel blessed to have people around me making sure that hole doesn't get any bigger.

    And now for something completely different...

    I swear I am not making these up, but yesterday before I went to bed, I said to myself, "If you're going to have a whacked out dream, make sure it's a good one so I can entertain the blog readers." And what did I get?

    I am in college, and I have a mad crush on my male roommate. We are good friends and go watersliding together. (I mean, how cool is it to have waterslides at my imaginary college?) Just when I think things might finally heat up between us, he pulls me aside and tells me he has to leave town to complete a mission involving the Cold War and asks me to stay safe. Who is my roommate? Why, Jason Bourne, of course!

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Caught in a Clomid Haze...

    Hello ICLW'ers! This being my first go-round on ICLW, I had a brainfart and thought it didn't start until Monday. I was planning on crafting a clever and absorbing story today to post tomorrow, but oh well - let's go with the flow. As with everything else in my life these days, I blame it on Clomid. (I'm currently on my second cycle of it, with our first IUI scheduled sometime late next week - whee!)

    Clomid has become my new go-to excuse for everything that is going wrong with me. My first round of Clomid last month was so easy - no mood swings, some interesting ovary sensations, and a slightly elevated BBT - I was kind of worried it wasn't working.

    Not this month though! I'm in a good enough mood at the moment to gleefully tell you that I have been bitchy, irritable, depressed, and so prone to tears that I might as well change my handle to Crying McWeepy.

    It's driving Mr. Stick completely bananas, as he has been overwhelmed by a work project that is making him pretty prickly himself. We've had a couple of the stupidest fights you have ever heard of - arguments over me watching SVU while he's trying to wrap up work, arguments over the cat peeing outside her litterbox, arguments whose cause I can't even remember now - usually culminating in my dissolving into a puddle of tears while my husband wonders where on earth his usually rational and chipper wife went.

    To compound the issue, Clomid is really messing with my sleep. I get ridiculously hot under the covers, tossing and turning constantly, and the crazy-whacked-out dreams have me waking up in the middle of the night going "Wha?" Some highlights:
    • I am a dance teacher in a third world country having a will-they or won't-they moment with a guy that looks like the choir teacher from "Glee"
    • There is a pregnancy test mixup in my house ala "Ugly Betty" between me...and my 18-year-old daughter. Turns out we are both pregnant (this is both disturbing and hopeful to me).
    Of course, the big fear underlying all of this is - what if this isn't Clomid?" What if this is really me, and I've just finally become worn down by all the infertility crap? And if it is Clomid, how am I going to deal with this for the next few months? And if it isn't Clomid, how am I going to deal with this for the rest of my life?

    I am such a drama queen. Ugh. Time to go bury myself in chocolate...