Braxton hicks and irrational worries

It’s always something! I come here to ask my pregnancy questions because I seem to have so many! Every week, it’s something new. A lot of people I know who have been pregnant frequently say, “I never had that” symptom, so I wonder why I seem to be experiencing every single one! But I’m not complaining, as if this is just what happens, I’m good with that. The issue is more of a worry.

As an aside, worrying has been something I’ve taken to extremes in the past few weeks. I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, but found all that unnecessary anxiety drastically reduced when I stopped living with my parents and moved in with my husband, who doesn’t worry for anything. So I’m not thrilled to find this renewed and ridiculous anxiousness back in my life. Sure, random pregnancy pains and aches cause some of it – but I know I’ve lost my mind because the random worrying thoughts aren’t all pregnancy related! I find myself worrying about my husband driving to work, my dogs choking on treats, one dog in particular who has been throwing up most mornings right when she first gets up, I assume the worst. Someone doesn’t respond to my text right away – cue worry. Basically, with every little thing that happens, I’ve been blowing it up in my head as this huge disaster and worrying about it. This is not fun. This is also not normal for me. At least it hasn’t been in many years. I’m assuming these have something to do with pregnancy hormones and this is just what my brain is doing with them. Either way, I’m fully aware of how irrational the thoughts are, so there’s a lot of talking myself off the ledge.

Back to the pregnancy symptoms, because this is my first pregnancy and I’m also having twins, the renewed anxiousness doesn’t help matters. I’m working on it.

I believe I had my first Braxton Hicks in bed this morning. My stomach got super tight and hard right next to my belly button. I was feeling around and the tightness was not my whole stomach, but more like a ball. It did go away but not until getting out of bed and moving around. I know these are supposed to be normal but it still freaked me out a bit. I also know dehydration can cause them, and I hadn’t had anything to drink since last night. So that made sense. I also might be extra dehydrated because I’ve gotten my first “illness” while pregnant. Not a huge deal, but a super nasty cold and some aches and chills that come and go. Today is already a little better. Of course, there’s not much you can take while pregnant, so Tylenol has been it. Not being able to breathe through your nose, though, sucks, and I’m sure adds to dehydration. I wonder if blowing your nose too hard and too often can cause BH? :-p Finally, I’ve also officially experienced heartburn and that’s not fun either. Two nights ago I had to pace around the house for hours after eating and I really just wanted to sit down! It didn’t go away until I fell asleep. I think I ate too much, too fast. There are just so many rules! I frequently forget things like eating slower and less. Get more protein, drink more water, eat more veggies. These things are always in my head. See? Excess worrying.

In regards to a happy pregnancy symptom, I do believe I’ve felt the first flutterings in there. They are more like little popping bubbles or small taps. I always have to stop and think if they are gas related. But I think I can now tell the difference! So that’s exciting. Our big appointment is a week and a half away, and we are very excited about that as well. I’m still having these moments where I realize, again, this is actually happening, and these little pears are somehow going to exit my body and we are going to bring them home. The thought sometimes makes me feel nauseous/dizzy.

I do kind of wonder, do other pregnant people experience all these things and just don’t mention them? Or am I really that abnormal to be experiencing basically every pregnancy symptom possible?

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The IVF Crazies

I didn’t think this first IVF cycle I am doing was messing with my head. I didn’t think it was affecting me – just another chance at pregnancy, like my last three IUI’s, or the previous six rounds of Clomid. Just another month. Yet, apparently, it has been affecting me, and it’s affecting my life. And what better place to turn to for advice than right here?

See, the thing is, I don’t really want to talk about it. Not in real life. I really don’t want to talk about the details. What’s new with my IVF cycle? People want to know this. The answer is nothing. Well, everything, but nothing, so I’d rather just let it be. I drive 40 minutes every single day to either have my blood drawn, or have an ultrasound with it. If it doesn’t fall on a weekend, I’m arriving there at 6:30 in the morning, when the lights are off and the workers aren’t even there yet, just so I can be first or second in line when the blood draw starts at 7:00. I have to be at work, at school, at 8:05, but since that’s impossible when ultrasounds don’t start until 7:30, I get out of there around 8 and hustle (if that’s possible in traffic) back to school, usually arriving late, after the kids get there, with cold tea and the need for a bathroom, but there’s no sub in my room and no one helping out, so I need to rush.

Then, it’s my actual situation. The doctor today actually used the words “your polycystic ovaries”, confirming, I guess, that I have PCOS. And all of that build up of follicles makes for a doctor’s dream IVF cycle, if it weren’t for the large risk of OHSS. I’ve got 30+ follies on both sides. That’s a lot of development – and I’m fearing pain and OHSS. They tell me while I am at a high risk for OHSS, I will be triggering with Lupron, which is supposed to help combat that. Though, the doctor today said I will probably also be taking HSG, which sometimes gives the symptoms of OHSS, but isn’t. I should be on the look-out.

I’m going to the doctor’s every day because my follies are tiny, but my estradoil is way up. So it’s up and down with my follistim dosage, as I crank through the Ganirelix in the public bathroom. I’m officially bloated, though not really in pain, as I’ve started putting out some major egg whites (sorry for the TMI) and feeling fat. Tomorrow will make the 5th day in a row to have my blood drawn, and I’m going back Thursday as well.

I knew all this. I knew this would happen. What I didn’t know was how, apparently, subconsciously nervous I would be. I am quite literally putting all of my eggs in one basket, and I am a bit of a wreck about this working. About me feeling okay. About getting OHSS. About making smart choices on my end, so as not to ruin this opportunity.

I need help from you IVF-ers. What should I be doing or not doing? I’m not exercising, except for the daily walk with the dogs. Is that the right move? I’m trying to drink a lot of water. The right move? I’m not having any sex (hey, it’s the truth) because I’m worried about rupturing something or causing pain or sending me into OHSS land and it’s starting to bother my husband, I think. Not to mention keeping the sperm supply healthy, and why am I even thinking about that? Is this the right move? What about food? Should I be following an IVF diet, as I know some of you have done? My doctor never said anything about it, but still. I want to do this right. I want, I want, I want.

I realized tonight I am putting this future not-yet-conceived child ahead of my marriage, which is really not a good thing. I’m too overwhelmed for sex, too negative, too busy, too stressed, too worried, too..whatever, but yet, when the time came a few months ago on Clomid, I’d perform under any condition. He has a point. So yeah, ahead of my marriage. Heck, ahead of my job, ahead of my friendships, ahead of all my priorities, ahead of my sleep. And it’s causing some rifts, as well as exhaustion and stress. I’m overwhelmed because I’m worried, because this is a big deal, because my frustration with all of this is hitting a peak, right in the middle of shots. I’m not myself (though, I really haven’t been much in the last year and a half) but this “new” version of me is worried, overwhelmed, and stressed.

We all know “just relax” is not the answer, so god help me if those words find their way into my brain. That said, some relaxing is probably in order, I’m guessing. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible as a teacher to relax. NOTHING about school is relaxing. I’ve got meetings, some scheduled, some on the fly. I’ve got parents with questions, students with behavior issues, professional goals I’m supposed to be caring about right now, and clearly, I just don’t. Take tomorrow for example: getting to the doctor’s for 6:30, blood drawn at 7, rushing to work for 8, meeting at 8:05, full day of school, long meeting at 3:01 until probably 4:30, rush to get the dogs fed (Sadie throws up if I don’t feed her right on time), rush to do any schoolwork I’ve brought home, rush to get ready for Thursday, and to do it all again, starting with the doctor visit. Too much is going on right now, too much is on my plate. Yet, there’s nothing I need help with. No one can help lighten my load, unless you’re planning on whisking me away from it all to a cabin in Colorado where we can eat fresh fruit and get our nails done and be on a vacation. I just want this all to end, so I can resume some sort of schedule, with early to beds, relaxing workouts, and not worry about if I’m eating too many carbs or not drinking enough water.

Also, my back hurts. Every day when I wake up, it’s either my neck or my back. It was my neck for a long time, now it’s my back. It hurts in one spot. Did I pull something? Maybe. I switched pillows and it didn’t help anything. Is it stress? Do I have rheumatoid arthritis? Or just a case of the auto-immune crazies (one auto-immune disease and you start to think you have them all)?

Like I said, I don’t want to talk about it. Other than venting here, I really don’t want the pity, or the worry, or whatever.  I’m dealing with it, I’m hoping it ends soon, I’m hoping I don’t land in the hospital with OHSS, I’m hoping I have many good eggs pulled out, I’m hoping one results in a pregnancy, which results in a successful 9 months, which results in an actual baby, which, hopefully, would result in me feeling back to my old self, with less stress. But I’m worried it won’t, that this is my new life.

But I don’t want to talk about it.

10 DPO, and I’ve gone mad!

It has been three days since my last post, and I feel like it’s been years. Apparently I got used to frequent postings! I wasn’t going to post today, either, but I figured doing a little recap wouldn’t hurt. The reason I haven’t posted is because…

…I’m crazy. Totally insane. I’ve lost my mind, my sanity, I am completely nuts. All thanks to the fun and exciting TWW.

I am 10 DPO. A little cramping (feels like AF cramping, but then, it always has) here and there, hungry constantly (hello, emotional eating), and temps above the cover line. That’s it.

Last cycle, I spotted on 9 and 10 DPO, and got AF on 11 DPO. Hence, you can imagine my excitement at not having any spotting yet. That said, if I did spot, it could be implantation spotting, but since I wouldn’t know for sure, for my sanity I’d just like to not have any spotting, please. The other thing in the back of my mind is that I took B6 pills this round and the non-ovulation round as well, to lengthen the luteal phase. I have heard success of doing this with this pill, so I gave it a whirl. My fear is that my LP has been lengthened, but I’m not pregnant, causing me to wonder for additional days than necessary about why I haven’t spotted yet.

It’s only 10 DPO. I am not testing, yet. However, some people do get positives on 10 DPO. But what if I don’t? I can’t put myself through that. It will have to wait.

Ha – can you see how this post is going? It’s a whole bunch of rambling. While annoying, thank you for allowing me to spill it out, because that is exactly what goes through my head all day, every day. I woke up at 5:00 this morning, took my temp, started Googling. In bed. When I should’ve gone back to sleep for 45 minutes. But I couldn’t! How could I possibly sleep when I am this close to this amazing, life-changing goal?

I’m over-analyzing my chart, I know. However, does it concern you that my post-o temps are so…flat? Where’s the spike, for implantation? Where’s the drop, for implantation? This chart tells me I haven’t implanted anything yet, if I was going to at all. My thermometer is new, it works wonderfully..I’m a big fan. It’s not the thermometer. I’m really stuck at 98.2. If it jumps up, just once, a big jump, I will be thrilled. But I’d rather have it flat than a drop, too. This is torture.

I wasn’t like this last time. Not this bad. Partly because #1 I knew my timing wasn’t great last time, so it was a shot in the dark. #2 I thought it unlikely to happen the first time around, and #3, I had spotting at 9 DPO so it was all over before I could even consider all of this.

There have been so many BFP’s lately, especially with so many of you bloggers, and I just feel like…this could be so nice, to join you. If it doesn’t happen this cycle, I know it will another cycle. I know I’m going to have a child. It’s just…so hard to start all over. To take Clomid again, go through this waiting thing, again. Wait to ovulate, wait out the TWW. I can’t believe I am so close and I could simply be about to start it over again. Or…maybe not. Maybe I have something here. The timing was practically perfect, after all. I just wish these stupid AF-like cramps would go away and stop worrying me.

There’s a lot riding on this cycle, and I’ve really put my everything into it. I’m hoping for a miracle!

Anddd CD 1.

My body played a really cruel joke on me. And I totally fell for it.

I got AF today. I think. I feel like everything’s a question now, but I’m pretty sure I did. Midway through the day, I was giving a writing lesson and got those tell-tale cramps. I went to the bathroom at lunch shortly after, and sure enough. A color and consistency change. Pretty sure that’s AF.

So the joke’s on me. I felt like total crap, and I still do, but today it’s changed into a throat thing, so I guess I was really getting sick after all. I had spotting, which I never, ever get, on 9 and 10 DPO, which would’ve been right on target for implantation. Of course, I’ve never really had a normal period before. I guess I spot first. I had high temps, even during spotting (which was a sign for concern regarding implantation..shouldn’t it dip?). That said, I STILL have high temps. Well, I did this morning. Most people, I thought, saw a drop in temp on CD 1. But I did not. After some quick googling (yeah, I caved), I found that some people’s temps don’t drop until midway, or even after AF.

So. What’s most frustrating, I think, is what happened to me mentally since the spotting began a few days ago. Up until that point, I was calm, cool, and collected, and really, I breezed through the TWW. Once that spotting began I lost my composure. As it went on yesterday, and I continued feeling sickly, and then the spotting turned to nothing and my temps stayed high, I really started believing that a miracle could’ve occurred. I started walking around feeling like I was pregnant, thinking that yes, it was most likely true. I considered how I would tell my family and close friends, and my husband. He, of course, has been following this every step of the way, and was equally disappointed, which was sad for me, but followed up with “We’ll keep at it” and an “I love you”.

I made a rookie mistake. My first ovulation, thanks to Clomid, and I allowed myself to believe I was pregnant. And then, I got incredibly anxious/excited/nervous about it. Last night I could barely even say the words out loud, that’s how anxious I was about it. I found out I was nervous, which I never expected I would be. Not calm in the slightest.

In the coming cycles, I will hopefully have learned my lesson. I know so many of you out there learned this lesson a long time ago, and I’m just catching on now. Do not, under any circumstances, get your hopes up. Because when you start to believe it’s true, and then it’s not, it hurts more than you ever thought it would.

I’m not crying or anything, I’m just….totally bummed. But it’s CD 1, I’ll call for Clomid tomorrow, and the pills will be in my belly in the next week. Onwards and upwards.

“Hi, I’m Fertility-Challenged. And you are….?”

Today is one of those days. Bear with me as I proceed to whine, rant, and sort through my pessimistic feelings. Tomorrow will be a new day with hopefully a better outlook.

Frankly, since my last post, I haven’t been feeling all that positive – about anything, not to mention getting pregnant. I woke up yesterday morning with a severe pain on the top of my foot – I figured out that I sprained or pinched a nerve in my tendon. Or something like that. It was supposed to be Day 1 of going “back” to my healthy lifestyle (as if I was ever there before). Instead, I spent the day elevating and icing my foot. Also, yesterday morning we awoke to the news that my husband and his family’s church burned to the ground. It wasn’t devastating to him, but still, random and upsetting. It was a weird day.

Today isn’t much better. I feel my negative thoughts about to spew out; apologies in advance. I’m just in one of those moods where EVERYTHING is wrong.

My biggest complaint right now is that my body is in control of me, and not the other way around. I’m supposed to be making better food choices, and eating less, which is my goal for the month. That isn’t really happening, because I’m fixated on my messed up health:

– I have hives in my face (usually lips) every day now. Well, make that night. These hives (angioedema), unlike regular hives, form under the skin, causing swelling, as opposed to on top of the skin. I can feel when they start. They have been hanging around every single night! It is so irritating! Last night I was brushing my teeth and I felt one starting on the inside of my lip, in the corner where my top and bottom lips meet. There was a second one high up in my gums, feeling like more in the cheek. When those swell, they move up into my nasal passage and I get stuffy. I woke up this morning with swollen cheeks, lips, and eyes. Like I said, I’ve been used to this once in a while, but not every single night. It takes HOURS to go away. I’m lucky if my students can’t still see it the next day. The other thing bothering me about these hives is my anxiety. I’ve been a little paranoid the last few months that I’m going to get them in my throat and have trouble breathing. I’ve only had them in the throat a few times now, and it makes my voice all scratchy and feels like there’s a lump in there (heyy, Christmas Eve). Last night, being probably over-tired, I basically sent myself into a paranoid state trying to fall asleep, creating hives in my throat that weren’t there. AKA – I was starting to have a panic attack. Those are not things I want my mind to get used to. Not okay! I yoga-breathed my way out of it, counting backwards from 100, twice, finally falling asleep. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS??

– Slightly less scary, but annoying nonetheless, I have bad circulation in my fingers and toes. This isn’t new news to me, but lately it has been extra bad. (Is this a side effect of Clomid?) After barely being cold (or cold for just a minute), these extremities turn white and feel numb/tingly, and take forever to go away. Today, at recess with my students, I had gloves on and my hands were shoved in my pockets. When we came back in, my middle finger was all white and tingly. This afternoon, after pilates class, where I went barefoot, I came home with both feet completely white and tingly from the balls up, even though I had socks and boots on in the car. It took a good hour to restore the blood. These were just today’s episodes – but it’s been going on a while.

Why is my body screaming at me?

And then, just because it’s the mood I’m in – I’m having major Clomid doubts. First of all, everyone is pregnant all of a sudden. Including my pilates instructor. It’s everywhere! Here I am, CD 12, with a self-prescribed plan of action (based on internet research) of “trying for a baby” (so many funny/gross ways to put this, but I’ll be polite) every other day until my blood test, which is on CD 20. Even after that, I may continue with the plan (I’ve heard many people say that on Clomid, they ovulated really late). It starts today. Hope the husband is geared up! It’s almost comical – and it would be, if I had any actual feelings that this may work!

My body isn’t giving me any signs of ovulation, not that I would know what they feel like, since I’ve most likely never ovulated.

I’m going to say it; feel free to scroll down and skip this. Here’s my ultra-whine: Clomid isn’t going to work, I’m going have 5,000 auto-immune problems and be a sickly middle-aged woman, and I’m never having children! I don’t smoke, do any drugs, and rarely drink. But my body hates me, and lets me know on a regular basis.

Okay, thanks. 🙂 I knew it was just a rant. I don’t have them often, and it needed to come out. Don’t take it all to heart – I completely understand that I’ve only just begun all this, and that so many people have it so much worse. I don’t negate that at all, and I feel for all of them. I’m just bitter that I’m fertility-challenged, and even more bitter that my body has the nerve to say, “Hey, let’s make fertility a struggle. While we’re at it, let’s give you an astronomically high amount of auto-immune antibodies and throw some random auto-immune diseases at you!” I’m only 27 years old, relatively healthy. Sure, I’m a good 10 pounds overweight, but still in the cusp of the healthy BMI, and I’m holding on to that!

I do see my thyroid doctor in about three weeks. I’ll mention all of this. I’m better now, thanks. Blogging today was some seriously needed self-therapy.

Now, let’s get down to business.

Yuletide by the fireside – or something like that.

Well, Christmas has come and gone. I always feel like the preparation is so intense. As it gets closer to December 25th, the stores are even more packed and traffic is crazy; people get crazy. You do all the wrapping and cooking, Christmas music playing for 3 weeks straight. At least that’s what it’s like for me. Then it comes, and then it’s over. The next day you kind of don’t know what to do with yourself. Then again, my dining room table reminds me that there’s plenty to do:

Anyway, I had a very nice Christmas with my family, gave and received nice gifts, and did eat a lot. Although, Christmas Eve did not exactly go smoothly.

My husband loves to cook and bake – I never do unless I have to. I’m very lucky with that. So he was slaving over the kitchen on Christmas Eve from 7:30am until about 1:30pm. He made a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and raspberry sauce, a seafood dip with french bread “chips”, and a sweet potato casserole. I was having the weirdest morning, while all this cooking was going on. I felt exhausted. So much so that I took two little naps, and just generally laid around. I wasn’t that hungry, either. I skipped my kick-boxing class, which I had originally really wanted to go to. I don’t know what the deal was.

Also, I was still recovering from my massive bout of lip hives from the night before. I did take a picture, which I will not be sharing. This was one of the worst bouts I’ve had of it – when I woke up in the morning I had trouble speaking and eating because my lips were so huge. My entire face was swollen, including my eyes. Good times.

By the afternoon the swelling had gone down enough for me to leave the house. We left for my aunt’s around 2:00. Not ten minutes into the ride, we took a sharp turn, and the seafood dip, which was on the floor of the backseat, had tipped and spilled everywhere. We pulled over, I got out – and burst into tears. What? That is not usually me. But I did – I started hysterically crying, and also got really angry. I wanted to take the entire glass dish and throw it and hear it smash. Instead, I grabbed handfuls of seafood dip and threw it into the woods. Finally, we got back into the car and kept driving, with the windows open because the car smelled like fish. My hands reeked and my makeup was runny. Merry Christmas! I have NO idea why I acted like that. I’ve been saying I felt badly that my husband did so much cooking and then it was ruined, so quickly. That was part of it, but otherwise – I have no clue. I thought this was as bad as my Christmas Eve was going to get.

We got to my aunt’s house and everything was fine. I ate a few little gluten-free appetizers, talked, etc. Drank water. Around dinner, the smells in the kitchen started making me nauseous. Like, can’t-be-around-food nauseous. The meal was put out – I did something I’ve never done at a family function – I laid down on the couch and missed the whole meal. I started feeling a lump in my throat (geez, this makes me sound/feel so paranoid!) I’ve had a hive in my throat before – it’s kind of scary. You start to panic that your throat might close up. I used to have an Epi-pen, but it expired and was thrown away, thus causing my panic even more. So between my nausea and lump in my throat I was a mess. I felt the anxiety start to creep up on me  – what if my throat really did close, and I had to go to the hospital? Long story short, about two hours later I drank some hot tea and it worked wonders – calmed me down, lessened the throat lump, increased my appetite. I had my dinner around 9:00; never touched dessert. I was fine the last few hours. Went to bed – besides the hives on my back and arms yesterday morning (nothing compared to when they are on my face), I was fine all yesterday.

So it was not my favorite Christmas for all of those reasons, and these. 1) I don’t like hives. 2) I don’t like anxiety, and 3) I especially don’t like when it tries to take control over my brain, which I’m usually so good about keeping level-headed. Ugh.

For those of you without babies on this Christmas, I don’t know if you’d agree, but there’s almost a sense of relief that this holiday is over. Time to get back to work on expanding the family. Those doctor’s offices should open up again, and you can look towards January with positivity – 2012 is a new year; it’s going to be a good one.

Clomid starts tomorrow.

 

By the way – did anyone have any funny/not so funny Christmas stories they’d like to share? Anyone’s food tip over in the car?