I’m a quitter and a liar. Oh, and a complainer.

Warning: Lots of bitter complaining and venting ahead.

Hmm, let’s see. Should I bitch first about my fertility woes or my inner food fight? I’ll start with the fertility stuff, as that is what this blog was made for in the first place.

I’m pissed off, I guess you could say. I’m mad at my nurse/doctor. Never did a single person in that office care to inform me that when you are on Crinone (the progesterone cream) during your TWW, you will not get your period until you stop it. There will be no spotting, either. Progesterone keeps your AF signals at bay. Not only that, but it actually tricks you into thinking you are pregnant by providing you with (what I believe to be) pregnancy signs. Minor, occasional cramping, chest growth we’ll just say, and painful as well, and, oh yeah, sky-rocketing temperatures. Had I known all of this, I wouldn’t have made the errors I did.

I started temping at 10DPIUI, and over the next few days, my temp soared to 99.6 degrees. I kid you not, and I’m not sick. Felt fine, just hot. I thought I may have had a superbaby in there or something. Wow – and the spotting isn’t here yet either?! And the days continued with temps still high enough, no spotting, and I thought – hold on a second. Let’s do a quick Google search. Sure enough, Crinone and Prometrium (the other commonly prescribed progesterone treatment) cause high temps, pregnancy symptoms, and you will not get your period until it’s over. Gosh, it sure would have been nice to have known that. I did it again – I got my stupid hopes way too high up.

I just had no idea. Now I know. Now, next cycle, I will not temp, not once, because they aren’t actually reflecting the true temps I would have. I will not overly analyze soreness and other preggo symptoms. I will not smile with delight at the lack of spotting; the lack of AF signs. I will just know that I will be completely in the dark as to whether I am actually pregnant or not until it shows up on a test. I did test twice, by the way. So mad I wasted two of those tests.

This all sounds like I must have my period, right? Nope. Now, my nurse had me in for bloodwork next week, what would have been 17DPIUI – that seemed excessive to me, but I wasn’t too concerned two weeks ago. Now I’m thinking – you expect me to wait that long? Absolutely not. If I am not pregnant, I am not waiting until Day 17 to stop the stupid cream and hear that I’m not pregnant. It worked out for me today because I was hoping to go on vacation next week for a few days, so I called this morning and asked if I could do it today. They said fine. (Next cycle, remind me to lie around 13DPIUI and say I’m going on another vacation…) So I trekked in today, had the blood done, knew I wasn’t pregnant, now that Dr. Google has taught me a thing or two, and stuck it to the man by not taking the Crinone this morning before I even went in. The nurse, when she called hours later, assumed I had. No, I figured it all out. That cream is done.

The nurse, though, was not my nurse. A weekend nurse. “Oh, I’m so sorry to have to tell you this,” she starts, “But I’m afraid you’re not pregnant.” You know what? I already know that. I got that blood test done because I’m supposed to. And I don’t really even want to hear the words. That said, I appreciate her kindness. I do. That’s when I asked about the Crinone and she said, “Oh yeah, you won’t get your period while you’re on that.” Wow, thank you so much! Just in time!

I’ve never been in this position before, so this is a first: My cycle is over, but I don’t actually have my period yet. CD1 is not here. It’s like..CD 95 or something redonkulous like that. I should’ve gone for an even 100. So I’m waiting. Fine, whatever, I’m ready for the period (“Your lining was extra thick,” the nurse says, “So you might have an unusually heavy period.” I can’t wait.) and I’m ready for the shots to the gut. Let’s do this. But my vacation hangs in the stupid balance, because I have to come in on CD2 for the baseline ultrasound. I wanted to go on vacation Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully my period comes soon, because if it doesn’t, I might not be able to go anywhere this week, and sitting around waiting for my period is not how I wanted this week to go. I’m irritated, I’m sure you can tell. Another IUI down the drain and a possibly ruined vacation. On to the next one.

And on to my next round of complaining. This Paleo diet – I’m done with that, too. I feel bad, I have to say. I feel like a quitter and a liar. I’ve always known I was a quitter (I stop any job when it gets too hard, especially physical labor, I did quit the track team once, I quit piano lessons when I only had one more recital before I graduated high school…I quit things. Wanna fight about it?) but one thing I am not is a liar. I literally cannot lie without my face turning bright red and the guilt just oozes out of me. I have to own up to it right away. But this time, I feel like I lied to you, because I went on and on and on about how awesome Paleo is and how I can do anything for 30 days. But I can’t, because I’m a quitter.

Not that the Paleo diet can’t be awesome. It can be. Just not for me. I am fully aware that the first week or two of the Paleo diet (especially when you’re super strict about it) causes the Paleo flu. I had it for Days 2 and 3, for sure. But even after the initial major stomach aches and fever subsided, I still felt like crap all week long. It was different symptoms (headache, dizziness, extremely fatigued, sluggishness, and insomnia) but some of those could’ve been from the stupid Crinone as well, so it’s hard to know. What I do know is that the large amount of food I prepared last Sunday ended up in the garbage. Mostly the vegetables, because I didn’t pay attention to the fact that even a bite of a raw pepper would send me heading to the bathroom, so I really couldn’t eat vegetables all week long. That’s just money down the drain, in my eyes. Not to mention without the vegetables, my diet was consisting of endless amounts of meat and shrimp, bananas, and sweet potatoes. And to be honest, I’m not sure I can eat another sweet potato for a long time. The thought of the eggplant that was sitting in the fridge is currently making my stomach turn. Zucchini? Don’t even go there. And (shudder) I need a break from ground meat. It was in my breakfast, it was in my lunch, it was in every meal. No veggies, it was a meat diet for a week. And I felt like such crap.  But even all this, which is just a bunch of “suck it up and get over it”, isn’t what caused me to cancel the challenge.

It was my favorite Paleo blogger, ironically enough, who posted a link to this article. That article, if you don’t want to read, can be summed up in the following: If you have thyroid problems or PCOS (hello, yes, that’s me) you need to have carbs in your diet or you’re going to make your health problems worse. We’re not like normal women (thanks so much), and it’s actually detrimental to our health not to have 100-200 grams of carbs (I keep typing “crabs”, ha) daily. Not veggies as carbs. That’s not what she means. Now, it doesn’t mean I have to go and consume a pizza, though I wouldn’t complain. It means I need to add back into my diet the lovely rice and potatoes. Ahhh. So much better. Just those two things have saved my sorry ass from this damn challenge. And that was all the convincing I needed to bring back those staples into my diet. I know there’s more to the story, including a whole bunch of sciency gobbly-gook that totally does make sense, but it made me feel so much better.

And since the challenge rules have been broken, I no longer feel bad at all about bringing back these into my diet: Sugar-free gum (gasp!) and stevia. In addition, there are just some times where you just…cave. OMG I had ranch dressing today! Say it isn’t so! Yup, and white potatoes too, at a shower I went to. Oh yeah, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’m bad.

So now that I’ve totally caved and couldn’t commit to this one freaking thing, I realize – this is my happiness on the line here. You know, if I wasn’t a bitter mess, maybe I’d keep trying. But right now, that sounds like a giant no. The phrase “comfort food” exists for a reason.

But just so I don’t sound like a total unhealthy mess, I am going to keep a couple of things going, because the one compliment I can give to this first week of the Paleo diet is that my hives disappeared and my bloating completely went away. That’s the sign of my autoimmune issues smiling of delight inside. I really need to keep those hives away, while still getting sleep and not feeling like my stomach is going to twist into a pretzel. I also lost two pounds – my husband lost five. I am still 100% gluten-free, which is easy as pie. I am still 95% sugar-free, meaning day-to-day I am completely, like, dessert-free, but a few things that have a little sugar in them (like ketchup, yay!) I’m not going to have a heart attack over. That and when I’m on vacation, I’m having ice cream once. Full sugar and dairy, but a small. I’ll still pay later. It’s worth it. And I’m going to be about 95% dairy-free. Too much dairy does bother me, and totally bloats me. So I’m going to keep cheese away, mostly, and I don’t drink milk anyway. It’s only the vacation ice cream.

Grain-free? Well…I’m keeping rice. If I didn’t, I’d be…back on Paleo. There’s only so many ____-free’s I can do. Dairy, sugar, and gluten seems good enough right now.

Yes, I did totally just reason with myself. And provide myself with excuses that make me feel better for being a quitter. Especially since my husband is not a quitter – he feels great and joined a Crossfit gym to boot – so I have to watch him make smart choices. We are still having full Paleo meals, but I am adding in rice or a potato.

I do apologize for the epic amounts of whining and sarcasm here, but I must say, I always feel so much better when I’m done! And I know you guys won’t judge me (out loud, anyway) and are always a giant bunch of support systems. I also want to say that today, with the cycle over, I am trying to remind myself how good I really have it, and that so many of you have gone through, and are currently going through, so much more than I am. I do know that, and I keep it in mind. But sometimes, a good venting session is all I need.

 

Turkey basting, Round 2, and pills galore.

I’ve had my second IUI, first one with injectables instead of Clomid. More on that in a minute.

I hate taking pills. Well, really, I just hate taking medication. I hate that today’s science labs have created something that I need to take in order to make me feel better, and that if I lived in an age where these drugs weren’t available I’d probably die, or something. I suppose I should be grateful. I’ll work on that. I hate my need for medication, most of all.

And apparently, I need a lot. I realized this today, while giving a rundown of my drugs to the nurse at my gyno office. Once upon a time I occasionally took 2 advil for period cramps, or 2 tylenol for a headache. And my birth control pill. I went from that, to this:

-Ranitidine (really Zantac) – not for ulcers, though I may give myself one over time, but for those pesky autoimmune hives. It’s an antihistamine.

-Claritin or Zyrtec – the other antihistamine, I take this with the ranitidine, twice a day.

-Synthroid – the one drug I don’t mind taking, it’s saved my thyroid.

-Probiotic – from RainbowLight, a friend said her stomach felt good on them, and she has a stomach similar to mine. I figured they can’t hurt. Twice a day.

-Psyllium Husk pill – twice a day. These are the only fiber supplements that seem to help with IBS. Again, another autoimmune disease, and Miralax doesn’t touch it.

-Multivitamin – one that actually feels great on the stomach. I wouldn’t mind that after dinner if it were by itself, but it’s joined by the probiotic, psyllium husk, and:

-Vitamin D – allergist said I was low and should take this, and I know it helps with thyroid function.

-Folic acid – multivitamin doesn’t have enough, but the gyno said I could stay on it if I added 400 mg more of it.

-Vitamin B6 – I’ve heard lengthens your LP. Mine was 9 days, and I decided to give it a try based on a friend’s recommendation. It works – went to an 11 day LP to a more recent 13 day LP.

That’s 6 pills with dinner, two with breakfast, two when I get up, two when I go to bed, and one at 5 am with a big drink of water. I HATE all these pills.

Well, after the rundown with the nurse at the gyno, the actual doctor came and did a culture on me, since I just had my third yeast infection in about as many months. Granted, I had that infection a week ago, and with the IUI last Sunday I wanted it cleared up by then, so a nurse at the RE’s office gave me the Diflucan, plus a prescription for 2 more, thank god. That pill is a miracle worker. Anyway, the culture today probably won’t show any yeast issues, because I’m sorry, I couldn’t wait a week to be tested. Not to mention, the results will probably be screwed up because I took my first dose of Crinone this morning, before the appointment.

After the culture, the doctor at the gyno really had no words of advice for why I get these yeast infections, and I was all prepared to battle against the typical, idiotic comments: Do you wear tight clothes? Shower after exercise? Take a probiotic?…blah, blah, blah. This isn’t my first rodeo. But she didn’t ask. Instead, she told me to start taking – wait for it – more pills.

-Cranberry pills, 2 of them, twice a day.

-Acidophilus – another probiotic, twice a day. I checked my current probiotic, not the same stuff in there, it’s different. Should I continue to take the one I already have, too?

Adding these to the cocktail will put me at 9 pills at dinner, 5 at breakfast…so on and so forth. Doesn’t this seem excessive? Yet, many are supplements, not hard drugs, and most were recommended by various doctors (which is a whole other story – I hate that I need 8,000 doctors. Whatever happened to going to my primary care when I had strep throat?)

I suppose I could stop certain pills, maybe. People who see me take out my pill container must think I’m nuts. But yet – my thyroid is perfect right now. Other than being 10 pounds overweight, I feel good. Hives are down, I’m attempting to get pregnant…I just don’t want to jinx it, basically. And I get the feeling that when you have autoimmune issues, you’re short on a bunch of vitamins. Supplements should be my friend.

Okay, on to the IUI. Like I said, it was Sunday morning. In my last post, I was worried about it, because of the yeast infection and the fact that we were using my husband’s frozen sperm. Add to the mix the fact that I had some sort of weird stomach bug….I felt fine until I ate or drank anything, even water…and then it all came out. This went on for 3 days. I barely ate. I just assume that such a weird thing will somehow manifest itself in my uterus.

And just as I thought, it was kind of sucky. My husband’s count before the freezing was 43 million, which was way down from 140 million last time, which is weird. But either way. After freezing and thawing, it was 7 million. Wow. That’s a big loss. She said they want to see it at least 5 million, so 7 million was fine. But still. We had no choice – we had to do it this way. My husband is always home, always. But a year ago he signed up for the Ironman race, it cost a lot of money – it was happening. My IUI was the day of his race. Nothing I could do about it. Not only did the count suck, but the Sunday nurse whom I had never seen before got me in a half hour late, when I was told I could be in a half hour early, and by the time it was done it was a good hour later than I had hoped, considering I was driving 4 hours to see my husband finish the race. And she sucked. Couldn’t match up the holes, or something, she said. It took a while to figure it out, and painful all the while. Thanks, lady.

She recommended we have sex that night, just to strengthen our chances. Well, my husband was coming off a 15-hour race, and we were staying in a tiny camper with his parents. Needless to say, sex was not an option. So, my second IUI, first with injectables, was done with the least amount of luck possible. Small count, no additional sex, a yeast infection, and a stomach bug.

Afterwards, I did drive 4 hours to see my husband finish his race, which he did at 10:30 at night. He started at 7 am. It was very cool, he did a great job, and it is quite an accomplishment.

And now, I’m in the TWW. My 4th time in a year. This time, I have no clue how things are looking, and I will continue to think nothing of it. I’m not temping (I haven’t since April, the last time I was in a TWW) – so I actually have no clue when I officially ovulated. I assume, being two days after the IUI, that I am 2 DPO, but who knows. I’m not checking any “symptoms” – they’re all in my head anyway. I’m already planning my next cycle. And I think we’ve reached our decision – I want to do another injectable with IUI. We have the option of going to IVF, and our insurance covers it, thank god. But I don’t think this IUI was given a fair chance. I want to do it right this time, with fresh sperm and sex, and I assume there will be less shots, now that the doctor knows what works and what didn’t. A second chance at the IUI, then IVF. That’s what I’m thinking right now.

The Crinone – ugh. You’ve warned me. It reminds me of those days of Monistat, before I knew about Diflucan. Gross, and I’m already itchy. Any side effects from this I should know about? And besides “cleaning house” up there every few days, is there anything else I should do to lessen the grossness? Does anyone actually have sex while they’re on this? And how long are you on this? Just the TWW?

Finally, the pregnancy test. I probably won’t even get to this point, because I plan on waiting a long-ass time to test. Maybe I’ll even try to surprise myself – “Oh, my, look at the date, I haven’t gotten my period on time!” Probably won’t happen. But I’ve heard the trigger shot skews results. The LAST thing I want is to get a false positive, the first time ever seeing one. How long until it’s out of your system?

I appreciate the words of advice you guys give me. I try to stay away from Google, and ask you instead. 🙂

HSG vs. Jury Duty

….I thought would be a toss-up. Both were pretty crappy.

But, last night I got word that for the 2nd time in a row of being called to jury duty, I didn’t have to go in. HSG wins.

Using my 1-10 pain scale, I’d say the HSG today was a 4. I don’t know why it was okay – the most painful part was the shot of numbness crap they gave me, but that pinch only lasted a few seconds. I didn’t even really feel the dye at all. And then it was over. Some spotting still, but I’m not even really crampy. As for the Advil, I decided to take 3 instead of 4, and I took a dose of hives meds (antihistamines) with it. So far, a little lump in the throat but nothing major at all. And my fallopian tubes are clear.

Check that off the list of reasons why I’m not pregnant.

This morning I watched all the videos on injections and suppositories and contacted the pharmacy. Still waiting to hear back from them on the actual delivery date of the meds, but right now, here’s the plan:

Get the meds in the next few days, go in for my baseline ultrasound Wednesday morning. Shoot myself up right after that appointment. Go to Maine (unrelated to the state of my pharmacy – going to visit my grandfather!) until Friday, bring all my meds with me (ice packs anyone?). Saturday morning, back to the dr’s for my second ultrasound.

More on the meds, shots, and all that soon. I’m sure I’ll have questions – I don’t mind needles, but whenever I have to use one, I never look at it! I always look away. That won’t work anymore. Good times straight ahead!

Fun with injectables

Okay, on to my RE appointment yesterday.

The reason I am not sure whether my HSG is tomorrow or two weeks from now is because I am scheduled for stupid jury duty tomorrow. I am hoping my name will be on the list tonight when I call, so that I don’t have to go. If I don’t, the doctor put me in for an HSG in the afternoon. If I do have to go, they only do HSG’s on Wednesday afternoons – and next Wednesday is the 4th of July, so they are off. It would have to wait until the Wednesday after that. I hate to wait another two weeks.

However, the good news there is that he is letting me start injectables at the same time – rather than having to wait a whole other cycle. I am fairly certain my HSG will come back clear.

As for the injectables – well, it seemed to me my doctor was leaning towards IVF, but he wasn’t pushy. N and I decided to do one or two cycles of injectables with IUI, and then take it from there. I found these stats interesting:

% of success getting pregnant per month: (in my age group – under 30)

-No drugs: less than 5%

-Clomid with IUI: 12%

-Injectables with IUI: 20%

-IVF: 55%

% of multiples per month:

– No drugs: 1-2%

– Clomid with IUI: 1-2%

– Injectables with IUI: 20-25%, with 5-8% being more than two babies

– IVF: 30%, mostly twins. 1-2% more than two babies.

This seemed to be why the doctor was pushing for IVF. He seems to think the risk of many, many babies is decently high, and according to those stats, I’d have to agree. However, we’re going to see what happens. He won’t even do the IUI if I have any more than 3 follicles past like, 15 mm. He said as an example, if I had 1 or 2 big follies at 18-20 mm, but then I had 6-7 little ones, no way. He wouldn’t do it. I’m fine with that. I am a little curious/concerned that my body will produce too many, and we’ll have to cancel the cycle, which would suck. But he’s starting me on a low dose (50 IU) and I will be monitored like…4 or 5 days out of 10. So a lot.

I just want to be pregnant with a healthy child. However, I would do mental back flips if there ended up being two babies in there. I would love to have twins. Triplets – and I start to freak a bit. I’m just worried about the risks. After triplets I can’t even think straight. However, none of that is worth thinking much about at this point, as I no longer get my hopes up for anything. Let’s just see if my follies will even grow – that would be a good place to start.

The other interesting thing is that my doctor will not be putting me on Provera, even though this is CD 47. He claims the latest research says getting my period now might actually hinder my ability to get pregnant from injectables, because it takes such a long time for my lining to build back up, or something like that. He’s either crazy or a genius, but I’m going to go with it. Between this and my stair-stepping Clomid cycles – I really never have a period! But I guess I can’t complain.

I also feel I should mention that it probably sounds like I am just bouncing around from treatment to treatment without a financial care in the world, and considering some of you go through such hardships to get the money, I probably sound like an ass. I can only say that I am so, so freaking lucky, beyond lucky, that my town just switched last summer to new insurance, and this new insurance fully covers just about everything. I am lucky enough to pick my treatments like it’s nothing. I have yet to see a bill since I started with my RE in December. I don’t take this for granted, believe me, but I am so happy money isn’t an issue.

With that said, my to-do list now has watching these “teaching packet” videos on my RE’s website (as in, how to shoot yourself up in the stomach, no big deal), calling the drug company up in Maine to schedule a delivery date for my lovely box o’ meds, and then, once they arrive, calling my RE to schedule my baseline ultrasound, to check out what’s happening in there. Then, we start. The HSG is a separate, lovely addition to all of this. It’s hard not knowing exactly what the timeline is – not knowing exactly what day I start. But it is a good thing it’s summer, and I’m home, so I can just go with it. My second round will be coinciding with the start of the school year, which is going to be one giant pain.

Or maybe I won’t have to go a second round? That would surely be nice.

How painful is an HSG?

I’ve got just enough time for a quick question for my blogging buddies out there:

On a scale from 1-10, 10 being “I’m going to faint here on the table because the pain is so bad” and 1 being “I felt basically nothing at all”:

How painful is an HSG?

I might be having one as soon as Wednesday, or possibly a few weeks later.

I’ll be back tomorrow for a clearer explanation of today’s RE appointment, but I will say that injectables will be starting up soon.

Thanks guys!

I could be a great mother.

I’m back from my little hiatus. How long has it been – two weeks, I think? Maybe a little more. I knew I was going to need the break from blogging, and just about everything else, as I turned all of my attention towards my students for the last two weeks of school.

It was a fun two weeks. We had something going on every day, including:

– Field Day: Not sure if the rest of you teachers out there have field day, but it involves rotating through different activities with the rest of the school, with most of them being outside. There are always a few water activities too, and I always end up soaked myself.

– A trip to our local park, where, similarly to field day, the 5th grade only rotated through a few stations, including rolling around in a giant hamster ball. My personal favorite was kickball and volleyball with my class.

– A game show came to our school. It went by grade level, so again, it was just the 5th grade. This company had everything – the whole setup of a game show, with buzzers and prizes, music, etc. They had some academic-type questions and some physical challenges, like having the kids on the floor, eating pudding off a plate without using their hands. Then of course, the teachers were forced into participation, and though I didn’t answer any academic questions correctly (do you know how many zeros are in a google?), I was able to be the first one to answer, “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”

– Bingo, with candy for prizes.

– A kickball tournament.

– Two pizza parties, one for our class only for winning the “Penny Wars” competition (we raised over $450 in my room alone), and one yesterday for the whole 5th grade on the last day.

– The “moving up” ceremony. In my old school, this was always a pretty big deal. This year, we tried to keep a lot of the same characteristics. It went very smoothly, actually, despite the fact that the temperature got to over 100 degrees, and we were packed into the gym 400 people strong, with no ventilation whatsoever.  My five teaching partners and I were very prepared, taking turns reading the names of the award winners, shaking hands, etc. The kids all dressed up, which is one of my favorite parts. They always complain beforehand but love seeing each others’ outfits when the day comes. Teachers dress up too, and in addition, I surprised my class by singing the national anthem with a student.

-And finally, yesterday was the last day. I loved my class this year, probably more than any other, so I was dreading this day. We had Popsicles, a final assembly where we handed out a few more awards, saw a few slideshows, ate pizza, got in one last kickball game at recess, signed yearbooks, and then I had my group huddle. I started it last year, and it was such a nice way to end.  With about 10 minutes left to go in the day, a few parents had made their way into my room, and I asked them (probably rudely, but oh well) to leave so I could have the huddle without anyone else in there. Then we literally got into a huddle, and I thanked them for everything, wished them luck next year, etc.

The kids were balling. Of course, partly it’s the concept of mass hysteria, which works for any age group. A few people get crying, and it spreads like wildfire. It started with one student, who began crying a good half hour before the end of school, watching a slideshow. He’s been at the school since kindergarten and I think the realization of moving forward to a new school kind of hit him all at once. Then, back in my room, kid after kid started becoming upset, until I’d say a good 20 out of 23 kids were crying. Even my toughest boys were wiping their eyes. I hate that. I don’t cry, not in front of them, because I just don’t feel like I should be making them more upset. I gave out lots of hugs, and said goodbye, which I don’t do well.

And here we are, the next morning. I received the most awesome present a few days ago from the girl whose mother was the one we raised money for:

Her father came in and said, “We wanted to fill it with chocolate but ____ said we should use peppers instead!” It was very cute. I cut them all up and brought them into school the next day, and my students were ecstatic to eat a ton of peppers. I also got this wonderful note from another student:

You know that you have an amazing teacher when you call her mom  by accident, look up to her, and walk in the class feeling great when you see your teacher and all those things are true to me .You make me feel like a better person .

These are the things that make this job worth it. I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to teaching – I’m only five years in. But this class in particular I am grateful for, for allowing me to care for them, and give as much as myself as I could. I have always opened myself up to my students, as I feel it’s important in making those connections. This year, though, was different. I started playing at recess (kickball mostly, but racing and basketball prior to that) on Friday afternoons, and in the last few weeks, it turned into almost every day. I did something with them last week I’ve never done with any class – I took them to the piano in the cafeteria, and they all gathered around it, and I played them some classical music. I took lessons for 11 years but stopped, and just picked it up again. Together, the students and I created this safe, family-type community atmosphere in my room, and it was so nice, every single day.

I know I was doing this partially for selfish reasons, but because it was beneficial for the kids as well as myself, I’d call it a win-win. I was filling that void, the void of not being pregnant when just about everyone in my age group is. The void of meaningless thoughts – thoughts about not even being close to getting pregnant, when instead, I could think about my kids. That student who called me “mom” was one out of, I’d say 10 or so students who accidentally called me “mom” on a regular basis. I’m not their mom, and I reminded them of that every time, as they would blush with embarrassment. But deep inside, of course, I take it as a compliment. My students are proving it – I could be a mother. I could be a great mother.

I know it will take me a few days to get my class out of my head, but it will happen. I will adjust, I always do. I just need to be sure to fill my summer with a lot of activities – I must keep busy or I will go crazy. Besides, I do have something to look forward to on Monday – my appointment with my RE. You know, the one I’ve been waiting over a month for.

As a recap, because it’s been a while, I didn’t ovulate on the 150 dose of Clomid, and it did crazy things with my emotions, and I refused to stair-step up to 200 mg. Therefore, the nurse recommended I move on to injectables, which I’ll happily do, but they wouldn’t let me until I meet with the RE first, and he had no appointments until Monday. Monday, for the record, will be CD 46. I have tried not to think much about this waste of 46 days, except to remind myself that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any school the last few weeks, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.

Hopefully by Monday my thoughts will be swimming with questions about injectables and no longer my amazing students, but until then, it’s a bittersweet weekend.

 

It’s a new day.

It’s been another week of not knowing what to write about, so I haven’t. But then, it’s amazing what a 10-hour mostly uninterupted sleep will do for a person, because I woke up today and decided it’s time for an update.

On the infertility front, I’ve been trying hard not to get worked up about the fact that my consultation appointment with the doctor isn’t until the end of June. Since I started with my RE back in November, I haven’t been in limbo. I’ve been waiting, maybe, to ovulate, but since we all know that isn’t going to happen right now, I’m just going on with life until the doctor would like my period to start. Back to Provera – it’s been 7 months since I was last on that.

That’s why I was a little surprised to have some tell-tale CM signs a few days ago. It was around CD 21, and I wondered if maybe it was possible, that I could be ovulating. I used OPK’s two days in a row, nothing, and decided I don’t want to waste them. My CD 12 ultrasound showed absolutely nothing happening, and they haven’t monitored me since, especially after I declared an end to stair-stepping and more Clomid.

Besides, there are three weeks left of school. Three very busy weeks. I will be throwing all my energy into my students, with activities, awards, parties, reflections, etc. and by the time it’s all over, my appointment will be here. It will go fast. And what if I did ovulate right now? I mean, I’d be happy, definitely. But then I’d have to take time off work to go in for the IUI, and lord knows what other tests I’d need to have done, and I do not want to miss any more school this year. I want to be at work, with the kids who have made me pretty happy the last 6 months. So I’m letting it all go.

And when I say all, I mean all. I haven’t temped, I haven’t charted, I haven’t tried to plan anything with regards to fertility. Unfortunately, Clomid is still in my system. I still have good moments and bad moments (I wouldn’t even call them days, it’s up and down multiple times a day), and when it feels really bad, I chalk it up to Clomid. Now, I wouldn’t be able to do this, probably, if that were the only sign that Clomid is still around. But my hot flashes continue. You know, I’m having a hard time remembering a time when I didn’t have hot flashes. They are so common now that while they irritate me, I don’t think much of them. I’m having one right now, as a matter of fact. I just get super flushed, all of a sudden, and have to take off a layer, or throw the sheets off, while my skin burns for 3-5 minutes. Then it’s over. But I’m hoping with the end of Clomid, they are on their way out. I wake up in the middle of the night only once or twice now, as opposed to two or three times, like the last few weeks. And my good moments are increasing. I feel more like myself –  more motivated, excited to be and feel healthy, happy to be laughing with good friends. I feel better, most of the time. This just reminds me why I will never go back on this drug. I’m moving on to injectables this summer, and I’m frankly excited to do so.

I had a little conversation with my husband this week, after Facebook revealed one of his closest friends and his wife just had their baby. They had had a miscarriage at 6 months, which was extremely hard for them, and finally got a take-home baby boy. I am happy for them, of course, but the pictures still sting. Anyway, I asked N how he was feeling. I said something like, “I know the ups and downs emotionally are usually all about me, and we never talk about you. Surely you must be a little upset over seeing the baby pictures?” And he replied, “No, not really. I mean, I do really wish that was us, but just like with everything else in my life, (and he shrugs his shoulders), it’ll happen soon. I know it will.” And that’s really his mindset. It used to drive me crazy, when we were dating, how nothing fazed him. Sometimes it’s a good thing, but other times, when I wanted him to care about something, he didn’t. Either way, this is who he is. He doesn’t stress, he doesn’t get worried, he assumes things will work themselves out. This is NOT who I am, but I am grateful to be married to someone this way, because if my husband was as worried and stressed as I am – we’d be a mess. He balances me out, for sure.

Besides, he has other things on his mind, too. He’s got a full Ironman he’s racing in July, but tomorrow, he’s “practicing” with a half-Ironman race. It’s a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride, followed by a half marathon, 13.1 miles of running. It’ll take him around 6.5 hours, and I am bringing snacks, a comfy chair, my camera, and the second book  of the “50 shades” series (more on that book series in another post).

I’m finding, recently, that I’m craving movies and books more than I have in my whole life. I think I’m enjoying being lost in something, other than my thoughts, and that has never happened to me before. Therefore, in the past two weeks I’ve read the first “50 Shades” book (that took two days last weekend) and saw two movies. For those who really know me, I don’t watch movies. I’m really not interested, unless there’s someone really good-looking in it (and this has only occurred since my hormones have decided to show themselves), and then I’m interested! I saw “The Avengers” with N last weekend, because he’s been dying to see it, even though it’s not really my thing. But then I got stuck on the actor who plays Captain America (Chris Evans, btw), so then last night, I watched “Captain America”.

I’m going to need more books to read, after I finish this series. I am looking for those that I will get stuck in, can’t stop thinking about, and can’t put down. Those that take me away from my own problems. Any suggestions? I know you all read a lot out there – what’s a really good book recommendation you can give me?

Finally, on the health front – since my happiness has returned to me (it’s been two weeks since that awful weekend), I’ve been motivated. Exercise has never really been a problem, but I continue to do it, with spinning and running and Friday afternoon kickball games, of course. But as for food – I continue to try to take my sister’s advice. (In between meals), when you’re hungry, drink water. I’m not a water drinker – I never have been. I can run a half marathon and not want a drink. But pushing water has really helped. It helps my IBS issues, it curbs my cravings, and it keeps the bloating away. I’ve lost a few pounds of water weight, but I wake up feeling skinny, because of the lack of bloating. I’d say the biggest thing I’m finding, to wake up feeling skinny, is that I force myself to drink a whole water bottle between dinner and bed. As for what I’m eating, I’m still 100% gluten-free, 99% sugar-free. I haven’t caved, and my proof is in the hives I don’t have. I’m eating a lot of produce, that’s for sure. I feel good with vegetables. So, when I do want that snack, I have a bell pepper, cut up cucumbers, or even fruit (watermelon, apple, etc). Fruits aren’t as good for me as vegetables, but I can still have them in moderation.

My students laugh at my bell peppers. In fact, they have created this “event” they are calling “pepper time”. There are about 5 students whose buses are called late in the afternoons, so they stay in with me as I have my after school snack, my bell peppers. For whatever strange reason, they have built this up to be a huge thing, and during the school day, they are setting timers and counting down until “pepper time”. I have, on occasion, given them a piece of one, and they love them. They started asking me if they could bring in peppers for pepper time. One student in particular brings in red peppers every day, to match mine, and when I eat mine, he eats his. Two other kids brought in jalapeno peppers one day (disgusting), but whatever they bring in, they are happy to sit with me as I eat a pepper, of all things. Strange, yes, but their innocence and happiness is infectious. I’ve decided, as a treat, that in the next few weeks I’m going to bring in a ton of cut up peppers, cucumbers, and carrots, and let my whole class enjoy “pepper time”. To think that I don’t need to bake them cupcakes – they want what I eat, vegetables. I can work with that.

You know, every day is a new day, and I’m not always sure what my mental state is going to be. I’m still a little worried about this summer – I have to keep busy. Just thinking about sitting home, doing nothing, and wallowing in self-pity is depressing. But until then, I’m going to enjoy these last three weeks, with hopefully a happy, optimistic attitude, because I deserve that. Now, to pick up “50 Shades Darker”…

A Teacher Story

Let me tell you the story about the 5th grade teaching position I almost didn’t have.

Right around a year ago, knowing that my elementary school was being closed down, and my town was switching from a K-6 to a K-2, 3-5 model, I was impatiently waiting to find out my new position. I knew all the 6th grade teachers would be heading up to the middle school, but unfortunately, they only had room for 16 of them – and I, on the hierarchy of 6th grade teachers, was the youngest, at #18.

One Thursday afternoon, word spread like wildfire in my building that the placements had arrived. The whole staff gathered in the main office (it was the end of the school day), shut the door, and mourned the loss of our building. In particular, a 4th grade teacher (who, after 17 years, was being moved to 5th grade) and I were balling our eyes out. Now – I’m not a crier in front of anyone – if I cry in front of you, it must be really bad. And I was balling/hyperventilating.

They were putting me in a kindergarten support position – not even classroom teacher. Now, I had spent the past four years as a 6th grade teacher, including my final year at my old school, where I was the only 6th grade teacher in the building and started the year out with 29 kids. Those students were awesome – such leaders – and I took such pride in having them be role models for the rest of the building. This new job, this support position, would involve me sharing a room with a few other support people, and pulling kindergarteners who were struggling with math or reading to work in a small group with me for a half hour. That’s it. There’s nothing wrong with having this as a job, mind you, but it’s not for me. I had just finished my 2nd Master’s degree, and I wanted to put what I learned to good use. With 6th graders. Not struggling kindergarteners. Worst of all, what I loved most about teaching – connecting with the students – would be virtually impossible, not only with that age of student, but for the amount of time I’d see them a day. I would not have my own room, I wouldn’t be able to put smiley faces on papers, I wouldn’t be able to talk about college and life plans with the kids…etc. Gosh, a year ago I was one hot mess. I was freaking out.

In those last few months of school, one year ago, I was sad. My school was closing, my staff was going to be spread out all over town, I would miss my students whom I grew close to, and I was heading into, for me, what would have been the worst job of all time.

I don’t really know what happened after that, besides my principal speaking, multiple times, with the HR director. She put in a good word for me, and I think he contacted other people about me as well. I left him messages…trying to put a bug in his ear without flat-out harassing him. Rumors were swirling that another 6th grade position had opened up at the middle school, and either I might get it, or #17 on the list. If she took that job, her newly-appointed 5th grade position would open up. I’d happily take either one, hence the phone calls. In my head, I was begging – please, please, I cannot have this as my job – I just can’t. I’ll be stuck in this position forever and I’ll never get out.

You know what people said, in an effort to try and get me to feel better? “Oh, don’t worry. You won’t have to correct papers or deal with parents; you’ll be so free that you can put all your effort into getting pregnant.” Ha!

Anyway, on the second to last day of school last year, with my room full of packed boxes, and in the middle of our “graduation” awards ceremony, I got a phone call from the HR director. “We found you a position,” he said, “in the office building. You don’t have any windows or anything but it’s not that bad.” I sort of choked on the phone, and he said, “I’m kidding! You got the 5th grade position. Over 15 people asked me to switch into that position, but I gave it to you.”

One year later, and I am wrapping up  my 5th year of teaching, but my first year teaching 5th grade. Had I been stuck in that support job, not pregnant, not connecting with the kids, I would’ve been a horrible wreck all year. Instead, I was handed the funniest, happiest class I’ve ever had. Well-rounded, helpful, and outgoing, these are students I enjoy being around every day. Friday afternoon kickball games are the best part of the week. And as this school year winds down, with 20 days left, I am reminded just how lucky I am to have been given this 5th grade spot, with wonderful teaching partners (including the 4th grade teacher from my previous school who was moved to 5th 🙂 ) and wonderful kids.I will be sad to see this year end, as I am every year.

This is why I was especially delighted to read this paragraph from Lindsay over at Tiny Bits of Hope:

Only 20 days left of school.  This is always a tough time of year for me.  I grow too attached to my students, I think that is why they respond so well to me, because they know how much I truly care for them.  I almost always cry on the last day of school, every year has gotten a little easier, but no ending to a year is easy. 

This is exactly how I feel! Everyone is happy for the end of school year except me, and I don’t think I handle the change well. I also grow too attached to my students, knowing how well they respond to me, and I learn this lesson the hard way every year – with this year being one of the hardest.I have no doubt tears will be shed after my students file out the door for the last time.

I guess the easiest way to describe what a good class is like for a teacher, especially in this black cloud of infertility, is to say that they make you feel like a superhero; a rock star. Like you can do no wrong, as they shriek and jump for joy when you walk into the room as if you are a celebrity; like showing up to work every day makes them happy and excited. I only hope in a given school year to inspire and guide them into becoming successful, kind, and happy pre-teens. But I can never count on what they do for me – build me up and carry me through whatever I am going through.

I’m sure that when I have kids, someday, I will lose a little bit of this closeness I build with my students every year, because instead of giving all 150% of me that I currently give, it will probably be more like 70%. Until then, these are my kids from 8:30-3:00, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.

Every September you are given a group of children of whom you try to mold, shape, and guide all year long. Every June, you say goodbye, feeling as if your own actual children have just left you for good.

Teaching is the hardest, yet most rewarding job around, I think, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In fertility news, I spoke with my nurse yesterday after having my second blood test done this week. “Wow,” she exclaimed, “I cannot believe you didn’t respond to 150 mg of Clomid! I was sure you would!” After describing my serious depression last weekend to her, and wondering aloud if I lost my mind, she said, no, I didn’t – and that what I was describing was extremely common. That did make me feel a bit better, and I told her I don’t want to go up to 200 mg of Clomid, or even stay at 150. She said I’d be probably moving on to injectables (thank you for the information, everyone, about that in my last post), but I would need to make an appointment with the doctor before changing up the plan.

I called today to make the appointment – and they have nothing until a month from now. Seriously. A month. So, the month of June, in blog-land, won’t have much news in it. I’ll be in limbo until I call to get Provera and induce a period, right before I meet with the doctor. I haven’t had to wait around like this since before Christmas – it will be a bit weird.

However, it’s my last month with my students. Hopefully, putting Clomid hormones aside, I will be able to enjoy every minute I have left with them before they are off to middle school and I’ll be left with an empty classroom until September.

By the way, we won the fundraiser for the first week of Penny Wars ($216 raised in a week) – and will be rewarded with a fancy doughnut and juice breakfast 🙂

 

What’s an injectable?

Well, my husband and I have made a decision. I’m done with Clomid.

I say that, though if the option of stair-stepping with a lower dose is available, I’d try that. But if that isn’t on the table, I am done with Clomid.

I had my CD 12 ultrasound and bloodwork done this morning, as I requested. Originally, I wouldn’t have had this until at least CD 24. Remember the last time I spoke with my nurse and she said “I just know you won’t have to stair-step this time,” and I said, “How do you know” and she said, “I just know”? Yeah – she was wrong. As of this moment, I have zero follicles developing.

It wasn’t as upsetting as it was frustrating. I know my body – on Clomid, I only ovulate when there are two doses in one cycle. That’s it – it doesn’t matter the dosage, it only works the second time. So on 150 mg, as the first round of Clomid this cycle, it didn’t work.

And, also as I predicted, the nurse who called me this afternoon said that my doctor would like to have me stair-step, again, now up to 200 mg. And that’s where I drew the line.

#1 – I can’t ever be sure, but I believe that the serious depression and lack of rational thinking that occurred this past weekend had everything to do with this high dosage of Clomid. I was not myself at all, and since then I’ve completely snapped out of it and felt so much better.

#2 – I am sick and tired of 60 day cycles. I understand I should be grateful to have cycles, and I am, but really – I don’t have cycles, unless I’m on Clomid. Even with Clomid, it’s 60 days. So perhaps there are other options out there?

The nurse who called (a nice one, not my usual) confirmed that she has heard people say Clomid causes severe mood swings, and that yes, there are other options.

So here’s the plan as of right now: Even though I had no follies developing, apparently my estrogen was really high. I have no idea what this means, or if this is a bad thing, but the doctor would like me to do another blood test in 2 days. So it’s back there I go on Thursday, before work, mind you, a 40 minute drive. And of course, I can’t be late for work with 23 kids waiting for me, so I have to make sure to get my blood done right away. You know what time I was there this morning for a 7:00 opening? 6:30 – and there was still one person in front of me. Crazy.

After the blood test Thursday, I will get another phone call, and in this call I will request an appointment with my doctor. I’m done with Clomid – what’s next?

The nurse did mention injectables. She said some people don’t like to take them (not sure why?) but they don’t cause the mood swings like Clomid does. Sign me up.

She did not mention Fermara. I will bring that up at our appointment we have to make, as I am willing to try it. However, I’m also willing to try injectables.

Only thing is – what, exactly, are injectables?

Are they the shots, like, in the butt cheek? Or are they the suppositories some of you talk about? And how is an injectable different from a trigger shot? What do you guys know about this?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And in other news, as you know, I love my class this year. I will definitely miss them, as they make me laugh, and are so good-natured and spirited. This week, they are also proving to be very giving.

There is a student in my classroom whose mother has recently been diagnosed with a pretty severe, rare autoimmune disease. My school is putting on a fundraiser, a competition called “Penny Wars”. Basically, it’s every class against each other. Each week, we collect pennies, or any money, and there are weekly prizes for the class with the most money. First week’s prize is breakfast with donuts and juice. Then, there is a grand prize for the class with the most money raised overall – a pizza party.

Last Friday, I sat down with my class, and with the student’s help whose mother is sick, we explained the fundraiser. I stressed two important things: #1 – no one has to give money, especially when money is tight. If they happen to have any spare change, great, but no worries otherwise. #2 – on the other hand, I said, it would be pretty awesome to win the school competition – since the student is in our classroom. We have to represent her! After my speech, telling them we would start officially yesterday, students went rushing to their backpacks, giving whatever change they had right away. It was darn cute.

However, I am most touched by yesterday and today’s actions. In 2 days, my class has raised $170. 2 days. The kids, and their parents, are being so generous and kind. We all had a blast today counting the money, and the kids got very excited. They are owning this competition, and the cause it surrounds.  We are hoping to win this week, for sure, but the big goal would be to win the whole thing, and be able to present my student’s mother with a bucket-load of money. It’s just one of those nice, touching moments with kids, reminding me how much I do love children – they can be so very kind, with no reservations.

It’s definitely one of the highlights of this school year, and it takes my mind off of IF, for which I am grateful.