Everyone needs a mental break.

It’s so odd how sometimes, time plays tricks on you. I could’ve sworn it’s been at least a week since my last post, because mentally, that’s how it feels. Really, though, my last post was only last Friday. I suppose it really hasn’t been that long.

I have taken a mental break from TTC. Granted, not a complete mental break. That’s hard to do when you’re surrounded by people you know who are pregnant, or fellow bloggers who are pregnant, and you are either being a good listener or a good reader. Either way, for whatever reason, it has been just the slightest bit easier to hear about pregnancy. It still comes with pain that’s deep-down, but there’s also excitement. Especially for my friends who are expecting. It’s an exciting time, and I enjoy hearing about aspects of pregnancy that I think might affect me someday, like my own morning sickness, or how I’ll start showing. Of course, I’m jealous. That’s a given. But it’s not a quality that I want to parade around and show off. It’s not a quality that I’m proud of. So, for whatever reason, I’ve been able to feel more happiness and excitement for others, rather than jealousy. I just push that ugly emotion back down where it came from.

Actually, I’m sure there is a reason for my current mental calmness – my TTC break. I’m not actually on a break, but I’m currently in limbo, as I am most of my cycles. I finished my second stair-stepping round of Clomid, 150 mg, two days ago. Now, I’m waiting to ovulate. Hopefully I will, that’s issue #1. But since I did last time I stair-stepped, I expect I will. It happened on CD 18. Today is CD 11, so I’ve still got some time. I’ve come to find peace with the fact that Clomid is predictable for me. I ovulate only when I stair-step; that is, only when I get a double-dose of Clomid in one cycle. No matter what the dosage is, after my period, on that first cycle of Clomid, I don’t ovulate. The peace will be short-lived, though, because I’m not sure what the future holds.

Many of you mentioned how many other options I really do have after Clomid, and I appreciate your comments. I could try Femara. I could try injectables. And more. I do plan to mention all this to my dr. when I see him next, because, frankly, I don’t think I want to go up to 250 on Clomid. As you said, 150 is usually the max for a reason. And my hot flashes are getting old. If 150 doesn’t work, then maybe that’s a sign to do something else.

Or, what I truly think is, Clomid does work, but only after a double dose. I wish my dr.  had never even raised my dosage, because I don’t think it was necessary. I simply needed a double dose (or a trigger shot, but apparently he didn’t want that at this time.)

My chart this cycle looks like a complete mess. I have stopped temping. I believe I will start up when it gets closer, but for now, who cares? I know I didn’t ovulate yet; it’s too early and I haven’t had any pains. I don’t need my low temps to remind me of that fact. So no temping. I’m not checking OPK’s, either. Do you know how nice it is to pee when you want to, without having to count how many hours it has been to store enough up for POAS? My bladder appreciates it. We’ve also been BDing whenever we feel like it, rather than every other day, or with my mind on keeping things regular for conception. Whatever. It’s too early to matter right now. The IUI coming up helps out there, as well. No need to overly concern myself with timing, because of the IUI. The stress of TTC was taking a toll on me, as it does everyone at some point. This little mental break I’ve had is doing me a lot of good.

I couldn’t possibly do this, however, without other things on my mind. When you take TTC off your brain, you have to fill the void with something else. Luckily, these other things have naturally fallen into place in my mind.

It’s the end of the school year (well, starting to wind down). It’s my favorite time of year with my students. Remember how, a while ago, I posted about how I’m just not giving school my all? My brain was elsewhere. Now, it’s not. I have an awesome class. I’ve been teaching five years, and I’m lucky enough to say that 3 out of those 5 were excellent, with 2 in there that, eh, didn’t do much for me. But 3 out of 5 ain’t bad. And this current class is no exception. For the most part, they are sweet, kind, considerate, helpful, charming…and more. They vie for my attention and they want to hear all about the extras I teach them in spring, such as going off to middle school, and majors in college. We talk about jobs, and the news. When there’s time, I color with my girls, or in the past, I’ve taught anyone interested how to knit. When it’s nice out, I play basketball with my boys (and girls), and run races with them. It’s fun for me. And this happens every spring. Everyone is in a better mood, everyone is less stressed, including me. I don’t have children yet, but I do have 23 10 and 11-year old’s who do need me, from 8:30-3:00 Monday through Friday. I can’t let them down. So I’m in a nice zone there.

N and I are also busy with some house projects, including starting a vegetable garden. Rototillers are tricky little things, as we found out yesterday. But hopefully, with the amount of produce we are consuming, we’ll have lots of veggies grown right in our own backyard.

We are also on the Paleo diet..ish. It’s still not 100%. When there’s nothing else to eat, or I need something on the go, I have no choice but to make a sandwich. For that, I bust out my gluten-free bread. There’s also been the occasional sugar-free treat, like the homemade butter pecan ice cream we get down the street. It’s amazing. But for the most part, we stick to a diet of veggies and meat. It’s crazy how my hives have finally figured themselves out. I go a whole day eating no white carbs and no sugar, I have NO hives. I have that ice cream, or a little candy, or too much bread products in one day, I go to bed covered in them. It’s so obvious now what I have to do, and most times, it’s easy. Holidays or vacations, though, and it gets tricky.

I’m also considering topics for a book. Sounds stupid; I feel a bit stupid as well. But you know what? It passes the time. After flying through The Hunger Games and reading The Lucky One a few days ago in one day flat, I realized, I enjoy a good love story. Not a sappy one – no shirtless dude on a white horse to rescue the damsel in distress. Barf. But a good, old-fashioned love story. So, after brainstorming a million scenarios, I’ve started working on one. It’s funny – I’ll write for a little while, and then I’ll stop and say, what the hell am I doing? I’m not 13 here. This is dumb. And then other days roll around and I think, I like doing this. Who cares if it doesn’t turn into anything – I enjoy it. So, I’m in the middle of Chapter 1, with a Prologue done already.

Last but not least, we are going away tomorrow – just for two nights at a bed and breakfast, nothing crazy. But away from here, where we’ll see the sights, shop, relax, and of course, eat. I always enjoy that.

Hopefully, by the middle of next week, I’ll be in my TWW after my first IUI. Until then, it’s gone from my brain already.

Stair-stepping, Round 2.

I’m back for an update.

My follicle, which was 16 mm last Friday, has stopped growing. In fact, my nurse wonders whether it was ever a follicle at all, or maybe a cyst. If it was a follicle, there is no egg inside. My estrogen levels have actually gone down, when they should have gone up. Of course, I knew this already and hated having to wait a certain amount of days to be told this.

I am stair-stepping again, for the second cycle in a row (out of three total). They are bumping me up to 150 mg of Clomid, and I start it today. What was CD 25 this morning has just become CD 5, again. I am nervous about the hot flashes – they were bad enough on 100, not to mention 150.

I actually answered the phone today, so I did have some questions. Specifically, the answers were, no, the Dr. is not concerned about how Clomid works for me sometimes and not others, and specifically, works on one dosage ONCE, and then never again. Yes, it is normal (in terms of infertility). No, he does not see the need at this point to do a trigger shot, and instead wants me to stair-step. No, it’s not all over once 150 stops working (and we all know it will) – they will go to 200, and then 250. 250 is the max.

I am to come in for bloodwork in about a week and a half (what will be CD 15) to check on my status. So, as I feared, my first IUI is going to have to wait another 15-20 days.

Can I wait? Of course I can. But I’m irritated beyond belief because this is the second cycle in a row that I’ve had to stair-step, making it the second cycle in a row that the length of my cycle has been over 40 days. Can’t they see this is turning into a pattern? I will ovulate, I’m sure, on 150 with this stair-stepping, but then next cycle, when it’s150 by itself, I won’t. One dosage of Clomid, no matter what amount, is clearly not working in any given cycle. I need more.

The other reason I am irritated is because I have been peeing on a stick for 14 straight days, sometimes twice a day. I had ovulation pains, EWCM, my temps dropped real low. We got in a few BDs, then I got this lovely infection, probably caused by all of this. I planned. Again. Putting both my husband and I through this every cycle is just….so frustrating.

So yes, I’m annoyed. I am just mad that my body isn’t even allowing me the chance to conceive, and that the doctors aren’t too concerned. I’m worried that I will get to 250 (if I can survive the hot flashes), that will fail and then – IVF. I know so many of you go through IVF, but it’s nerve-wracking.

I’m not going to get my hopes up this time. I am sure I will ovulate. We’ll have the IUI and I will hope the best, but I’m going to try not to think about it. I’m done playing mind games with my body – begging and pleading and hoping is not working. Emotionally, I can’t continue like this, so instead, my tactic for this cycle is to attempt to completely forget about it. Wish me luck.

The feelings of grief

You know what, sometimes life comes at you from unexpected angles. Sometimes, even though you know it could be worse, things in life hurt.

I was going to dedicate a whole post to this, but I can’t handle the sadness, so instead I’ll just say that my first dog, the one that I lived with when I still lived with my sister and parents, died yesterday. She was currently living with my mother, step-father, and sister, but everyone who met this dog loved her. She was bought to help my sister get over the fact that I was going to college and leaving her at 10 years old. My father picked her out and wanted her the most, first. But over time, she was my sister’s dog. Anyway, I could go on and on, but then I’d be crying, and my sister and mother reading this might be upset, so I’m not going to continue. She was 11, she was a Westie, and she had liver disease. Her name was Eva.

Of course I can’t find a single good picture, but here she is with Sadie a few years back. Eva was my first dog, and it’s really just as hard as losing a human. We are all sad, but today is a better day than yesterday, hence why I’m able to even share this with you.

Through this I have come to recognize another quality in myself I’m not fond of, but can’t even begin to change. Before I go on, I do have to say that one of my good qualities is my ability to be incredibly honest with myself. I know my feelings. I might not share them out loud all the time, but I understand myself at all times. I’m just not always happy about it. Anyway, I have come to realize that I have grieving issues. I suppose I’ve known this all along, and I haven’t given it much thought, until now. I wasn’t always like this – I never had a problem crying when it was needed, or slamming a door now and then in all my teenage angst. But now, every single time something bad happens, I go into immediate recovery mode, before there’s been any time to grieve. “It’s okay” runs through my head, no matter what, and sometimes I even say it to people who don’t have issues grieving, and in fact, it’s not okay, and it could even offend someone. I avoid situations where I might see someone upset. I avoid situations where I might get upset myself. When I cry, it’s either in front of my husband (I have no issues showing grief with him, thankfully) or by myself. I will hold myself completely together until I can be alone and then cry.

I don’t know why I am like this – there is certainly nothing wrong with showing emotions, especially grief. No one should have to hide it. But I am afraid to let it out until I am good and ready, alone. I think this is based on two factors: 1) I build up a wall. Again, not to my husband, but to many other people. And especially in public. I’m just not going to lose it in front of other people, like at work. It’s just not going to happen! And people will try to get me to crack, even sincerely, by saying, “it’s okay to cry”, etc. I get that, I know that. In fact, the more you tell me that the less likely I will do it. I just…I’m not comfortable breaking down that barrier. 2) I’m afraid that if I let it out, if I cave, then I’m really going to let it out. It’s going to break through a dam that can’t be contained. And then I’ll be miserable, and a mess. It won’t just be one tear shed.

So for all these reasons, I can’t apparently grieve appropriately in front of others, except N. And while I don’t mind holding myself together; I actually like it that way, there’s something to be said for not avoiding grief. If it’s unavoidable, I need to start facing it instead of literally running away.

This is an appropriate segway for the rest of my post. All of this TTC drama, filled with anxiety, worry, frustration, and yes, even grief, has probably contributed to my wall-building. I need to protect myself, because this process has me filled with sadness in a long-term kind of way. It doesn’t mean I’m miserable every day, but then, most days, if I think about it, I am miserable with my body and my infertility and my hives and my autoimmune issues and my allergies. If I were to show that grief every time it was felt, well then, I’d be a crappy person to be around. As it is, little bits of grief spill out, a little at a time, leading me to fear this is a permanent personality change. But I just keep in the back of my mind that when I am pregnant, and when I have my child, I will quite literally be the happiest person on the planet. And that thought keeps me going.

Yesterday, CD 24, I called the RE. I told her there was still no positive OPK, and I would like another ultrasound, please, to check on my folly. “No,” I was told, “The Dr. just wants bloodwork from you. We don’t do another ultrasound until your IUI.” And there was no fighting that. The answer was no. Not only that, but coming in today for that bloodwork was just a hair too soon. Tomorrow, they want me. So, tomorrow before work I will be racing the 40 minutes south to get my blood taken, just for them to call me a few hours later and confirm what I already know: My follicle stopped growing. I will have to stair-step, again, for the second cycle in a row. Just days ago, I was preparing for my first IUI. Now, I know it’s not happening anytime soon. How can a follicle just stop growing? It was at 16 mm, I felt the pains and everything. Now, the pains are gone. My temp is still low, so I didn’t miss it. How could I, when I have been peeing on a stick since CD 12. 12! And it’s 25!! That’s my big lesson for the next cycle – don’t start POASing until like…CD 20. It’s costing me a lot of money.

It’s also cost me an infection. I won’t get into the details, but I’m sure holding my urine every day for 4-5 hours when I really have to go isn’t healthy, and might have been a contributing factor to the other thing in my way right now. If that wasn’t the cause, it’s my candida issue, and I don’t even know which doctor to approach about that. Even if I do have an IUI in the next few days, there won’t be any BDing to go with it, and I’m pretty bummed about that. Last but not least, I have a wedding to attend Saturday night. If, by any chance, I ovulate then and need my IUI on Sunday, I can’t go. Can’t. I won’t be around. How devastating that would be, to come all this way and not be able to have that IUI. I never expected to have one on CD 30. This Friday is the last day of work before a week’s vacation – another really bad day to take off. And tomorrow is now out, of course. So that leaves Saturday. As much as I want to ovulate and have this IUI, between the infection, lack of BDing, and Saturday being the only available day to even have an IUI, in my mind, this cycle is a bust. 25 days down the tubes, just like that. If I stair-step, I’ll be moved up to 150 mg of Clomid, I’m guessing. The highest it goes. When next?

It’s just one of those days, which really, has been one of those weeks, and months, and year. I’m not a hot mess, I’m fine. I will be fine. But life is just not…where I want it to be. There’s a big piece of the puzzle missing, and I don’t know when it will be found and put back into place. And even as I go through my days, I feel that void, clear as a bell.

Because I’m in one of the moods, and sometimes, the best thing to do in this kind of a mood is embrace it, I’m putting up a song here. The lyrics don’t have anything to do with grief; in fact, it’s a love song, and I love it. But I’ve always been more of a tune person than a lyric person, and the tune lends itself quite well to my mood. Give it a listen if you’re feeling up to it, but I wouldn’t recommend it if sadness is close at hand.

An IUI is on the horizon!

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, but I wanted to share:

I have an egg!

It’s CD 20, no smiley face yet, and I was told to call this morning to get a blood test. I called first thing, of course, and my head nurse got me in for an ultrasound as well. Yippee! I haven’t had an ultrasound since my very first meeting with my RE back in November.

Anyway, the girl who gave me my ultrasound was someone I had never seen. I think she belonged to another doctor in the clinic. But she was awesome. Young and helpful. We checked out my ovaries, and I have two follicles growing on lefty (I ovulated from righty last time, so this makes sense). They measure 16 mm and 10 mm. Yay! I was sure that I wasn’t ovulating this cycle at all, even though I’ve doubled my Clomid dosage. She expects 16 mm to be ready around Sunday, as they tend to grow 2 mm a day, and they want me at 20. So, on Easter, most likely, I’ll get my first smiley face, and go in Monday for my first IUI. Or, I’ll get my smiley tomorrow (doubtful, though) and go in for the IUI on Easter. I’d actually rather have it happen Sunday so I don’t have to take a day off Monday. But either way, I’m happy to be given a third chance since TTC to possibly make a baby. I’ve got half of this baby growing, N’s got his half, we just need them to connect!

Here’s a question for you all. If you have two follicles growing, and one is ready and the other one needs a few more days, what happens to the smaller one when you have the IUI done? Does it keep growing even after the IUI, and is released just a few days later?

I asked this doctor about PCOS, and she was so helpful. She confirmed my suspicions – yes, I have PCOS. Why my RE failed to mention that to me, I’m not sure. But I have it. She said (as many of you did) that you don’t have to have cysts on your ovaries to have PCOS. And I don’t have any cysts. You do, however, have to fit within 2 out of these 3 criteria:

1) You don’t ovulate, or if you do, it’s very irregular. (Check.)

2) Your ovaries look like PCOS ovaries, meaning they are full of follicles. Today’s ultrasound proved my ovaries are full of tiny follicles. (Check.)

3) You have an excess of hair, like, on your face, meaning too much testosterone. I have tested high for testosterone, only to have it go back to normal a few months later. It seems like it goes back and forth. Either way, only about a week ago I used my little razor to deal with my entire upper lip..plus a dark hair or two on my chin. (Check.)

Because of these things, I have PCOS. Okay, and combine that with my autoimmune problems, insulin-resistance, hives, thyroid antibodies…etc, and I really need to take care of my health.

Hence, I’m starting the Paleo diet. Granted, it’s in small chunks, but it’s happening. All the diets I’ve sworn to follow over the years don’t mean anything compared to this one, because I’m not doing it to lose weight. I’m doing it so my hives go away, and my TSH level goes back down. N is in with me, and we’re starting immediately, but gradually, like I said. We don’t want to throw away everything in our house, so I’m eating all the GF breads and whatnot that I have, but slowly. We also have our two night vacation and a wedding coming up as well. It’ll really take place after those things. But until then, I eat mostly meat and veggies, with some nuts thrown in and occasional cheats. So far, I’m seeing a little bit of progress, but it’s only just begun. I plan to chart my progress along those lines and throw those posts into the “Paleo Diet” category. I’ll post recipes too, when I find some good ones. We are trying many out next week. I’ll keep you posted.

(Oh, I wanted to tell you about my dream last night. I dreamed someone brought ice cream that I could eat. It was called “extra sensitive ice cream”, and I filled my bowl to the brim. The whole table was covered in these delicious flavors, and it was rich and heavenly. I was halfway through bowl #1 when I contemplated my next flavor..and then I woke up. So sad. Ice cream is my favorite.)

This is happening! I’ve got two growing little eggs and a new, super-healthy diet. Let’s hope things are on the upswing.

My 100th post.

It’s kind of crazy to me, but yes, this is my 100th post. Sadly enough, I’m practically right where I was in July. There have been changes, sure. Since July (when I thought I knew everything there was to know about ovulation…except what to do when you don’t ovulate at all! Ha) I’ve gone a whole summer in limbo because my TSH was too high, I’ve met with an RE who acknowledged the fact that I don’t ovulate on my own, I’ve been on four rounds of Clomid (one in which I didn’t ovulate), and I’m about to start my first IUI. Still no baby – not even close. Through it all, virtually everyone around me has gotten pregnant, which has never happened in my life before. Apparently the baby boom hits all at once. One day, no one I knew was pregnant…now, literally everyone.

I’m marking my 100th post with a whole lotta nothin’ but some long-winded rambling. It’s been a quiet few days since my crazy appointment. Here’s what’s been on my brain.

1) I haven’t ovulated yet. For the record, I am doing an excellent job this cycle of not thinking much about this cycle. Like, an unheard-of good job. I never google, if I remember to check Fertility Friend it’s a miracle, and the majority of the day, the specifics of my cycle are not on my mind. This is a first, for me. The reason is because of all the other things on this list that are soaking up my brain cells right now. That said, it’s not as if I don’t think about my cycle at all. I do. Today is CD 17, and I have not ovulated yet. Apparently, not even close. And yes, I’m worried. I know it’s still early, but I have been working off a pattern of ovulating every other Clomid round. Right now, I’m on the “other”. It makes no sense, why I would ovulate every other time, but yet, so far, that’s what’s happened. I don’t have ovulation pains, either, like I think I did last time right about now. Last time, I ovulated on CD 18. The time before that, CD 24.

I am going in for the IUI, and that’s the other reason why I’m a bit nervous about this ovulation. Once I finally made the decision to go IUI – now I’m just excited for it. It can’t possibly hurt my chances, only help. We will still be timing our BDing around my OPK’s smiley face, so I’m anxious about that, too. I want N’s sperm count to be a high one when we go in for the IUI, which means to keep to the every-other-day type of thing. Problem is, I have no idea when ovulation is coming, and so…the timing is difficult, let’s put it that way. However, unlike last time, where we were at it on a daily basis for almost a week to cover our timing, this time I’m less stressed about it. We have the IUI. Any other times are just icing on the cake.

2) My hives and my thyroid are, as you know, out of control. But I’m making progress. Whenever my hives are really bad, my TSH goes up – that’s been a pattern the last few years. I don’t know which one causes which, but either way, it’s all autoimmune related. I went and got my blood done for my TSH last week. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the best idea for my mental health. If it’s too high, I’m going to be told this cycle is cancelled, and subsequent cycles after that until it’s back down – and while I logically understand why that’s important, I’d be devastated. I want this IUI, now!!

Tied to my hives is my newfangled “diet”..which leads me to #3.

3) After much consideration, I’ve decided to attempt to alleviate my hives by going on a crazy diet. N is in with me, because he’s training for an Ironman and wants to lose weight. We are going to follow a sort of “Paleo Diet”, with a few exceptions. First of all, if you don’t know, the Paleo Diet basically allows you to eat anything that a caveman would’ve been able to. Some people go crazy with like, raw foods, but we’re not doing that. We can eat all vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and even an occasional sweet potato. One of the reasons I picked this diet is because I need to eliminate a lot of foods from what I eat on a regular basis; that much has already been established. Instead of telling myself I can’t eat this food or that food, I am coming at it from another angle. That is, these are the foods I can eat, and we’ll see how my hives fare.

I already went gluten-free and low-sugar (mostly sugar-free). However, in addition to all that, I’m going to take away all corn products and go light on fruit, because of the sugar.

Now, here’s the thing. I’m having commitment issues, already. For whatever reason, even though I’m a people-pleaser and a go-getter and whatnot, I do things half-assed. Frequently. When I was younger, and I had to clean or do some chore, my mother would have to check to see how thoroughly I did it when I was done, and many times, I half-assed it. This happens still today – N had to check to see how well I vacuumed the other day. This is comical to me – I hate vacuuming! The same principle applies to my food health. How many times since I started this blog have I “committed” to healthy eating, only to blow it within a week?? At least twice that I can think of.

It’s not like I gorge on donuts and Burger King, though I’d like to. I’ve never eaten that way. The issue is that I have to take more steps to be healthy than most people, and since I’m still pissed off about it, I can’t commit. I want to commit, but I can’t.

Since I started my food log last week, I have already noticed a major decrease in hives. Besides the daily body hives I wake up to, I got hives after eating:

-Tostitos chips

-Peanut butter and banana

-Low-sugar ice cream

-Too many GF and SF carb products in one day

-Too much fruit

Not since starting this food log have I gotten hives from veggies, meats, or non-sugared dairy products, like cheese. This led me to conclude that the Paleo Diet might be a good choice for me. N’s up for it, so all should be well.

But it’s not. First of all, I really don’t know that I want to give up dairy. I don’t drink milk anyway. The only dairy I consume (or used to, at least) is cheese, a daily yogurt, and ice cream, which was my favorite food hands down. Now, I only eat cheese and yogurt. And the yogurt will be no longer, because it’s full of sugar. Even plain Greek yogurt (eew, sour) with two truvia packets in it still has 8 grams of regular sugar. Not vanilla, plain. It’s insane. Yes, I’ve been sitting at my desk after school, pathetically pouring truvia into my yogurt. And no, I’m not making my own yogurt. But small amounts of cheese don’t seem to bother me. I have a daily cheese stick, cheese in my eggs, cheese in my salad….I don’t know. I know cavemen weren’t consuming cheese, but…I think it’s okay. The other food product I’m on the fence about is rice. As it is, I can no longer have pasta, potatoes, white rice, bread, etc. But quinoa and brown rice – I thought those foods would be okay! Well, not to a caveman. Plus, there are numerous studies that claim we humans really weren’t meant to eat processed carbs. Some people feel fine on them, but others don’t.  I seem to feel okay on a small amount of brown rice – and keeping that product around gives me more food choices and when I’m craving carbs, I can have that. I don’t feel too guilty about rice and cheese – those would be my only exceptions to the Paleo Diet.

Even after all of that promising talk, however, I can’t bring myself to fully do it. I do it, meal by meal, if it’s convenient for me. What a lazy ass! Seriously, it’s pathetic. Yesterday, it was convenient for me so I had lots of veggies and protein. Today, I went out to lunch, and had a chicken salad…and some chips. Corn chips. Corn. Why? I feel fine, though. Ask me again in four hours. It’s too hard!

Now there are a lot of you who came out of the woodwork, talking about your specialty diets. They are all a little different but they are all healthy, and they all require commitment. A few have even completed cleansed yourself of those bad foods. Here’s the thing….

…I’m going away, for two nights, in two weeks. Oh, and we also have a wedding to attend that same week. We’re going away to a place where I can relax, read a good book, drink wine water, and eat gluten-free, sugar-free foods. Not gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, corn-free, carb-free. I’m on vacation! Vacations are suppose to be relaxing and fun! Not pathetically depressing!

So I’ve already had the thought, well maybe I can wait until May to do this Paleo thing head-on. I mean I’ll do it now, conveniently. But for real, in May. No – I’m sure I’ll come up with an excuse then! I’m incapable of committing to this. What will I do when I visit my grandfather, who’s wife cooks deliciously rich foods? What about Easter? What about…weekly dinners with my father, who always brings dessert? How do I explain to people who eat “normally”, that I can’t eat virtually anything they make? People don’t understand, they judge, they..tempt me. You can see how much I suck at this. It’s a real problem. I’d love some advice from those of you who have managed this successfully.

4) I finished The Hunger Games series. They were all excellent, though I found myself more interested in the love story than the rest of the plot. I did see the first movie, and I want to see it again. I’ve formed a sort of virtual attachment to Peeta, both in the book and on the big screen, which is pathetic, because he  is only 19. God. When did I get old? I’m 27, so I know that’s not really old, but I feel 20. 20 and married, with a job and two dogs. But 20. I look 20, as well. If I’m going to have a celebrity crush, it should really be on someone my age or older, but I find myself drawn to people in their lower 20’s. I think, without children, I don’t feel any older than 20, and we don’t exactly act older than 20, either. Maybe that will all change when I am a mother. So what can I say? I like Peeta, played by 19-year old Josh Hutcherson. I’m a total creeper. For the record, my other celebrity crush is a few years older than me, Henry Cavill, Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s right hand man on The Tudors. But he also has a very young face. N has his own celebrity crushes, so maybe we both live in a dream world. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who celebrity crushes on someone younger than they are? Anyone?

5) And finally, I want to write a book. I have always wanted to write, and when I was in seventh grade, I spent a whole summer filling notebooks with a book I started and never finished. I think I told you about that once, where myself and N and all our friends all lived in the same neighborhood and all dated each other and then I got cancer, had a baby with N so he could remember me, and died. But seriously, one little dream of mine has always been to write and publish a book. I’m good at the realistic fiction thing, too. Problem is – I can’t wrap my mind around a good enough plot that would sell! Nowadays, books need to have some type of twist. I started with a little outline over the weekend, but it doesn’t have that twist. I’m back to square one.

All of these things I’ve mentioned are on my brain most hours of the day. I’m overloading myself, as usual. It would be nice if I could go a few days without actually thinking anything. But that’s impossible.

Pat yourself on the back for having made it to the end of this post without falling asleep or giving up. It sure was a ramble. Hopefully, 100 posts from now, I won’t have to ramble on and on because I’ll have something truly wonderful to talk about..the miracle of a pregnancy. Here’s hoping.

Still on the fence.

I’m still on the fence! I thought I was sure and had made up my mind, but maybe I didn’t…

I can’t decide whether to skip right to IUI this cycle or do another natural Clomid cycle. I’ve still got four more cycles of natural Clomid if I so choose to use them. And why wouldn’t I? I’ve taken Clomid three times (this is Round 4), and ovulated twice. Clomid does work for me. At the same time, there’s this sperm issue…

Like I said previously, I know I’m not allergic to sperm, just like I’m not allergic to wheat or sugar. But sometimes, when I take in any of those three things, I get hives. With the sperm, it is accompanied by swelling and burning. I imagine my insides swell up and block off the sperm from traveling. This is something I could completely avoid with IUI…..but I’ve only tried naturally twice!

I know I need to make this decision, like, now. It’s CD 10. I imagine I’ll be ovulating sometime in the next 10 days (hopefully). So, I’m listing the pros and cons to see if it helps me decide.

PROS: Slight increase in success rate (not sure how much, still want to find that out), puts the fun back in sex, and after it’s over, the nurse gives me a blood test to determine if I’m pregnant..I don’t even need to worry about testing.

CONS: Skipping over four more natural cycles means, I’m guessing, I will not be returning to them if IUI’s don’t work. Can IUI’s not work after three rounds due to the same reason people don’t get pregnant naturally after three rounds – bad luck? I’d be going right to IVF next, which is scary for me right now. I want to go to IVF if something is wrong, not because of bad luck. Also, N would have to go do his thing, again. We would both have to miss work on a certain day, no matter what was happening, like important meetings and whatnot. Finally, it takes the fun out of baby-making. Sure, sex would be less stressful I suppose, but we wouldn’t be “baby-making” at all – a nurse would do that for me. And baby-making is special.

I understand that for those of you who don’t have a choice, it’s a no-brainer, because having a child is the main goal. And I understand that, but..I don’t know. While I still have the option, should I just try to enjoy the baby-making naturally? It might be gone someday and I might miss it. I can’t make up my mind.

N wants to know exactly how much the success rate will increase. He also thinks it’s somewhat sad if we jump to that step, because we could possibly be conceiving a child without going about it the way nature intended. It’s a big step. He’s on the fence, too.

So I know I need to make the decision. I was going to wait until next cycle, but honestly, the sheer number of people around me getting pregnant is just…debilitating, and I know I can wait one more cycle, but should I?

I was hoping to talk to my new ND first, whom I’m seeing on Thursday. She might be able to (I’m hoping and assuming) change my whole diet around and try to combat these autoimmune hives herself. That might do the trick. But I really think I need my decision by the morning.

In other fertility news, I’ve been planning how to spend my next TWW, whenever that comes around. I will not make the mistakes I made last time. Never again. Instead, I need to keep very busy, with my mind on other things. So far, I plan to 1) finish the Hunger Games series with the last book…that might not make it to the TWW), 2) paint this hook thing I bought at Home Goods and hang it up, and 3) buy, and enjoy, a Circle and Bloom tape. That also might not make it to the TWW.

In addition, I’m super focused right now on the rest of my health problems, because I’ve been breaking out in hives after every meal. With no sugar, except natural from fruit. It’s out of control.

Thanks for the comments and helpful suggestions. I’ve been writing down your thoughts and I plan to share them on Thursday with my ND!

 

A witch to the rescue?

The weekend is finally here. It’s always slow in its arrival. I feel like, lately, I am just dying to get in my car and drive home just as fast as I can after school. That would be fine and all, if I were getting to school early enough in the morning to actually be productive. But no, with my morning exercises and just flat out sluggishness I roll into work only a few minutes before I actually have to be there. (You know what I’m doing at 7 am over my bowl of chex and almonds? Reading your blogs…) I can sum all of this up by simply saying – I don’t want to be at work. It’s a shame, too, because I am a good teacher, and I have always loved my job. It’s not the kids, it’s not the school, though I do feel the pressures that teachers are facing have tripled since I started only five years ago. But that’s not it, anyway. It’s just that teaching is no longer my number one priority, like it used to be. Now, I have more important things on my mind, and even when I’m able to stop thinking about babies, I just want to come home and be with N. He always makes me feel better.

Anyway, as I’ve alluded to in the past few posts, I have recovered from my failed cycle, though a bit of embarrassment still lingers. I just was so stupid! I vow never to make those mistakes again. Hope is okay, but guaranteeing something in your brain is a bad idea. I did that, and more. I broke all the rules. This time, I am going into it more relaxed (I think). You’ll be pleased to know that since this new cycle has started (today is CD 7) I have only taken my temperature twice! Screw it – I don’t need a 5 am reminder that my temps are yes, still low. Once ovulation comes roaring into the station I’ll start up with it again.

I’m still on the fence about IUI’s. I appreciate all of your comments and thoughts, and I still have some questions. My biggest question is this: if there isn’t a medical reason to have an IUI (which, I do have a medical reason but I’m still in denial about it), what are the percentages of success vs. a natural Clomid cycle? Does anyone know this info? Heaven forbid I let my heart lead me in a certain direction. I need to know the facts, the science! Because if it’s a no-brainer, that IUI’s are so much more likely to work than a natural Clomid cycle, I’m there. But I have a feeling it doesn’t much make a difference…

..if there isn’t a medical condition. Other than my anovulation, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, antibody hives and all that good stuff, I do still have slight swelling and burning with regards to sperm. Are those swimmers swimming, or are my insides closing up shop because my antibodies are so out of whack? I don’t know.

It’s not that I don’t want to do an IUI. I want to do whatever will let me take home a child. I will, eventually, try everything and anything. But I wasn’t mentally prepared to be offered that right now, after only 2 natural Clomid cycles. So at this point, with the information I’m currently armed with, we are going to let this cycle be another natural Clomid cycle (which I suppose isn’t natural at all, but you know what I mean). If it fails, perhaps then we will throw in the towel and head over to my RE’s office. But in the back of my mind, don’t doubt that I haven’t wondered if my failed cycles are because of this autoimmune anti-sperm campaign. What if that was it?

Now, in addition to all of this on my mind, my other health issues have been on the forefront of my brain. My hives are absolutely out of control. I have gone down to a low-sugar diet, especially after 3 pm. But twice this week, after having a very small cup of low-sugar ice cream (5 or 6 grams), I am still breaking out in hives on my cheeks, lips, throat, etc. Even my Greek yogurt that I always eat gave me hives, and I ate it at 2:00! My body is saying NO sugar, and of course I’m having a hard time listening. Sugar is in everything! Gluten-free products have really hit the grocery store aisles, which is helpful, but there’s nothing sugar-free! There’s low-sugar, for diabetics, but not sugar-free. Ugh.  And it’s been feeling like summer, too, and my local dairy farm ice cream (which is in walking distance from my house) is a torturous thought. I’m brand new to low-sugar…how will I live without fresh coconut chocolate chip ice cream? Peeps on Easter? This is what I’ve been fretting about.

However, a glimmer of hope has arrived. Has anyone ever been to a naturopathic doctor? My first thought is to somewhat roll my eyes – I’m fine with taking medicine if it solves a health problem, and the stereotypes of “hippee” doctors including lots of herbs and spices spinning around in a witch’s brew. I’m not going to stereotype, though. I need this woman’s help, like, badly. I will be seeing her on Thursday. My insurance covers her, which #1 is totally awesome, and #2 proves that this doctor must been good enough at what she does to be in my insurance’s network. I wouldn’t be paying the $250 for an initial visit otherwise. She specializes in everything – nutrition, allergies, acupuncture, etc. I’m going to just tell her everything, and hope she uses her magic spells to cure me (kidding). But seriously, if she could just..help me, please, help me, in controlling my antibodies and my autoimmune symptoms. If my hives could subside and I could actually enjoy wheat and sugar again, even in small doses, I would be most grateful. I could have many less things to worry about. Plus, my CVS bill would go down.

Anyway, between this new doctor (bringing my total number of doctors to 7) and my thoughts on IUI’s and this natural cycle, I can only hope something good can come out of all of this.

My Dearest Wish

I feel as if I’m in good enough form today to present myself to the world via blog.

I know and understand that everyone has down moments, and there are times that they are completely justified. I know my being upset with getting AF, after being so completely sure I was pregnant, might be justifiable to you readers, and for a few days, I was okay with it, too. Now, though, I want nothing more than to be the exact opposite of that needy, whiny, “woe is me” kind of person, because I don’t like to be that person. For the record, whenever anyone else feels this way, I think it’s perfectly acceptable. But I judge myself the hardest, and I don’t like to be in that kind of a state.

I grew up with one very optimistic parent, and one generally pessimistic parent. I have always wanted to be optimistic about everything in life. And in many ways, I am. I set goals for myself and I reach them, and when I do, I tell myself it’s because I kept my head in the game and stayed positive. TTC, however, is a different story.

Unfortunately, being positive doesn’t always come naturally. I’m the very first one to be positive about someone else. I have no problem with that. I find, though, that I tend to think negatively after a period of frustration. I guess most people do. But I’ve always wished thinking positively came more naturally than it does. I have to work at talking to myself in a positive way. So in the last few days, I’ve had to put some effort into telling myself to cut the crap, suck it up, and think positively. It did not come naturally. Finally, though, after forcing the thoughts for a day or two, they are here to stay. (At least until ovulation…)

So I didn’t get pregnant. There’s always this cycle.

We had an impromptu Chinese food lunch at school today. This was my fortune:

I am not a spiritual person, and I tend to roll my eyes at any saying with the word “fate”. That said, I certainly didn’t mind getting this fortune. As I walked back to my classroom after lunch and started thinking about how many fortune cookies probably say this same exact thing, because they know that basically everyone has a wish, and this would be a common thing to put in a cookie to get people’s hopes up for nothing (and to continue buying their food)….I attempted to remind myself to stop being cynical and just..keep the damn fortune and shut up. So I did just that, and if I get pregnant soon, I will, in no way shape or form, chalk it up to this fortune cookie and instead attribute my good luck to science, but I will remember that this fortune brought nice thoughts today, and I’ll take that, for sure.

So that’s that. Now, I have a question for you.

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before. With my high level of antibodies running around in my body doing a paranoid sprint, I develop hives from certain triggers. Mostly sugar, as you know. Gluten isn’t very good friends with my stomach, either. However, I can have sugar in the morning, but not night. I can’t have it alone. I can have an apple with lunch, but if I have it on an empty stomach..game over.Yesterday I had my yogurt (with 20 grams of sugar) at 2:00, by itself (like I do every day!), and within an hour I had a lip hive. It grew to full lip size and even put a nice lump in my throat all the way until about 9:00 this morning. Everything is so..random. It’s practically impossible to control.

I have had occasional hives in places that shall remain nameless, after a night in bed with N. I’m not going to be graphic. Let’s just put it this way. When my hives on the rest of me are especially bad, or could be if I ate the wrong trigger foods, I will have swelling and burning in the nether regions. It has been like that for years, but it’s sporadic. Sometimes I’m good to go, sometimes I feel like I’m going to throw up and I can barely walk. Mostly, though, it’s somewhere in the middle, with slight swelling, and possibly slight burning. The past couple cycles haven’t seemed to be a problem.

I told my RE about this when I first met him months ago, and he said, “Well, we will watch it, and we might jump right to IUI’s to bypass that problem.”

I remembered that, but started off on my Clomid journey, naturally. This past failed cycle, with perfect timing and all that…I realize it’s probably just…luck. The percentages of actually conceiving are never that high. However…what if it’s something else? What if, when the swelling and burning occurs, that’s my autoimmune system rejecting sperm? What if it never travels to its destination?

So I left a message with my nurse today, asking for a blood test.

She responded, saying that it is very rare to have an actual sperm allergy, and since this doesn’t happen to me every time, it’s probably not that. It is probably a sensitivity issue (just like with everything else in my system) to the proteins that travel, not the actual sperm. She said there really is no blood test to see that sensitivity.

I have four more cycles of Clomid to go,  naturally, before they try a few with an IUI. The nurse finished her message by saying that at any time if I am worried about this possibly being a cause of not being able to conceive, they can go right to IUI and skip the rest of the natural Clomid cycles.

So, I was basically offered IUI. Now. Or whenever I want. For me, though, this is a big step. It means technology is stepping in, and sex would not be the way to conceive our child. Am I ready for that? I have only had two natural cycles. That’s it. Swelling and burning was at an all-time low, but with the way my body has been acting the last few weeks, who knows.

N says it’s up to me, of course, and doesn’t really have much input. I wasn’t prepared to switch over yet, mentally, and I don’t want to go there, because if IUI fails, it’s one step closer to IVF, which is something I was hoping to avoid. Skipping four cycles of Clomid and going right to IUI means…IVF would be next, which is scary. No more natural cycles.

I really do not know what I should do in the slightest. Anyone who has had an IUI, what was the experience like? I’ll happily take your input – what do you think?

I’m good now, really.

My OCD is kicking in right now. I simply have to write this additional, short little post. I may be crazy, but you already knew that.

I’m fine, I’m good. I’m better. I don’t like being vulnerable. I don’t like admitting weakness! It’s okay to have it, but it’s just as important to get back on the horse. I can’t have that last post hanging over my head like that!

Just writing all that down helped, a lot. We just walked the dogs, and N admitted that the worst part is seeing how upset I get. I agreed, but for me, it’s seeing him upset. We’re mad that he won’t need his leftover vacation time to take off the month of December, but instead, we’ve decided to go away for a few days in April.

Looking back at the last cycle does nothing but make me upset, so I’m going to look forward. Today was a crappy day. I had eight vials of blood taken and my nurse messed up my Clomid prescription. But like I said, I’m looking forward. I’m on CD 2. Clomid starts in three days. Here we go again, Round 4.

“Purple”

Before I get to the photo challenge for the day, let me update on my ovulation chart.

I am still confused. Here is my chart:

Ignore those first 30 days…Clomid 50 mg decided not to work the second time around, so I “stair stepped”. Ignore the three positive OPK’s…it’s really more like two, but it doesn’t matter. The second one was the big one. So here’s my confusion: Fertility Friend confirmed what I always thought to be true – that you ovulate on the day of your low temp, the day before your temp jumps. That’s what I have thought all along, and it looks like many of you have, too. Fertility Friend agrees.

Here’s where the problem comes in. It’s not the OPK’s. I know that they can be somewhat unreliable, and so I’ve taken that with a grain of salt. The issue is my nurse. I had my blood taken on the day of the temp jump (CD 40…though really CD 19). She called me, that day, and said these exact words, “Today’s the day. It looks like you are surging today.” I took that to mean I ovulated that day. I suppose that may not be true but that’s the way I interpreted it. Therefore, she was saying I ovulated the day of my temp jump, not the day before. Maybe my nurse is wrong, and if so, that’s a bit problematic. But she sounded so sure. My count of whatever must have been high.

Does this really matter in the end? Well, not really. But, I was trying to go for a perfect Fertility Friend score. Do you guys know what I’m talking about? Fertility Friend has this pregnancy monitor, and if you have sex three days, two days, and one day before ovulation, plus the day of, and the day after, you get a perfect score. Chances would be “very high” that I would be pregnant. If I ovulated on the day of the temp jump, I would have a perfect score. But with Fertility Friend telling me I ovulated the day of my low temp, I only received a “high” score. Ha. I’m being so picky about it.

That’s just me looking for every little sign that this may actually work.

Now that I’m in the TWW, and loving that I’m finally here, I have paid Google a visit. I swear it didn’t damage me..I’m fine. I did want to know about the insane amount of creamy CM I’ve had since I ovulated. Like, an insane amount. You know, I was just curious. Just…passing the time. NBD. And I found this link. If you are feeling down and frustrated, I don’t recommend looking at this. It checks the most ridiculous of early pregnancy symptoms, and let’s you know how many people have reported those symptoms. I almost wish I didn’t find it. But I did…so…

Regardless of what happened exactly, I ovulated, for sure, and our timing was good. We will see what happens.

Today was one of those days. It’s baby-palooza, let me tell you. All of a sudden, everyone and their mother is pregnant. Someone I work with announced her pregnancy today. I’m very happy for her, and I told her so. But I practically broke in a cold sweat as she said, “I just wanted to let you all know that…” My hands started shaking. Seriously, take it easy!

Then, hours later, we were out at recess, with some other staff members who are not normally out when I am out there. One woman was talking to the newly pregnant coworker, and then she said, “It would be so fun to have a lot of babies around here. Who’s next? Megan?” Really? Seriously? Honest to God. Here we go again. I decided to take the bull by the horns and I said, slightly sarcastically, “Yeah..workin’ on it.” That kept her quiet. I’m trying, okay? I’ve been trying. I needed medical intervention. You just don’t ask those questions!! And while this process has been very frustrating for me, there are so many people who have it so much worse than I do. What if I was really going through the ringer? You don’t know, when you ask a question like that, what people have gone through. That’s why you don’t ask. Oh well, now she knows. She can go and tell everyone if she’d like, I don’t care. I’m trying. I’ve been trying. Right now we can all focus on my coworker. It’s her time in the limelight.

Who knows, maybe I’ll have a huge positive secret to keep in a few weeks, rather than a negative one. That would be pretty nice.

Okay, on to the photo challenge. “Purple” was tougher than I thought it would be. I love purple. It’s one of my favorite colors, and I wear a lot of dark, plum purple. However, taking a picture of one of my shirts wasn’t doing it for me, so I started looking around the house for something purple. This was the best I could do:

Yes, this is a vacuum. But not just any vacuum. It’s brand new – we got it yesterday, using our credit card points. This vacuum is supposed to be top of the line in removing animal fur. This is a big problem in my house. As you can see, we have mostly hardwood floors. Dog fur is everywhere. We do vacuum every weekend but it’s not enough. This is supposed to be really good, so we will see. Either way, it’s purple.

Is this week over yet?