Turkey Basting

Well, it’s official:

I’ve been inseminated.

So romantic, right? Actually, it is. Having sperm and egg meet up and create a life is damn romantic, so I do not care how I get to that point.

Frankly, I was elated to get here. Today is CD 42, or I suppose, CD 21. I got a smiley face last night on my OPK, and I had a feeling I would, because as always, I get some crazy cramping going on and it’s very uncomfortable.

This morning we went in for my first IUI (thank goodness it’s Saturday – so much easier not to have to take time off work), N did his thing. They told us later that they wanted somewhere between 5-10 million in the sperm count. N’s count? 130 million. Yup, I’ll take that. The nurse said if we were to keep that piece of paper saying that, we should hang it up on the fridge. The highest count she’s seen in a while. There were other stats too, and he was way ahead of them all. I just couldn’t stop thinking about 130 million. That’s a lot of swimmers. Granted, that was the total count, but still. I think there were 47 million post wash, or whatever. That’s a lot.

Then, we went out to breakfast, did a little shopping (love me some Charming Charlie) and went back for my turn. After adjusting the catheter just a bit, we were good to go. Turkey basting commenced. No leakage or spotting after, either.

We’re going to give it a go tonight and tomorrow anyway, just in case. In fact, the nurse did an ultrasound first, saw my follicle, and then saw another one, pretty decent sized. She said, “It’s only an additional 10% chance, but would you guys be okay with twins?” Yes, yes we would.

So I’m in the TWW. And this time, I’m doing things differently. This whole cycle has been different – I have only temped on and off, and mentally I have not really been thinking about it – not like I usually do. I will not Google a damn thing, I swear. And if I do – you have every right to yell at me. I’ll listen to the second half of my Circle and Bloom tapes, because I’ve been stuck on CD 13 for oh, about 30 days. I stopped listening to it.

I’m not saying it’s definitely going to work. But it’s my third chance, and damn, it would be amazing if it took. I’ll keep you posted.

Blame it on the hormones.

Okay, kids, I’m climbing out of the weirdness that has been my personality for the last 40 days.

I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the hormones. Let me explain.

Here’s something you didn’t know about me: I went on the pill about a year after I started my period, which was age 11, 6th grade. My periods were very heavy, long, and I got two of them each month. Since the BCP cleared up my acne and then I started having sex at 17, I just stayed on the pill the entire time – from age 12-26.

During that time, especially after I started having sex, I noticed that I had zero sex drive. It became an unfortunate part of who I was – I never had a sex drive. It was a rarity for me to initiate, because I had no desire until I was already involved. Luckily, my boyfriend-now-husband has always been very patient, but sometimes weeks/months would go by, and that was hard for him, too. In addition, I didn’t find people attractive. Let me clarify – I have always been attracted to my husband, and that started the day I met him at age 12. But….if we passed a good-looking guy on the street, I would recognize that he might be good-looking, but I wouldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t spout off a list of people I thought were attractive, because I didn’t have this list.

I considered both of these traits to be just who I was. I didn’t like that about myself but there was really nothing I could do about it. There was a lot of anxiety in college regarding all of that, for sure. When I went off the pill, I had heard I might start having a sex drive, because a lot of people did. But it really didn’t change. I suppose slightly. But not much.

Now, I’m on 150 mg of Clomid. My hot flashes continue to get worse, as I knew they would after upping my dosage for the third time. I wake up a few times a night, dying of heat, only to be cold five minutes later. It happens at school, too, and I throw the windows open and freeze my students. Those suck. In addition, I am noticing that when I’m far from ovulation, I’m much moodier, and more down in the dumps. As ovulation approaches, I start to just…feel like I have more energy, and I’m happier. I’m sure part of that is I’m excited to ovulate, and glad that I am. But more than that, I bet you it’s the hormones from the Clomid.

There has been one noticeable perk from my new hormones. Yes, more of a sex drive. Not only that, but all of a sudden, and for the first time in my life, I’m attracted to, like, everyone. Especially in TV shows. It started with Henry Cavill from The Tudors, and then swept to Cory Monteith on Glee, Dev from Smash, Zac Efron in The Lucky One..or anything, and of course, Josh Hutcherson from The Hunger Games. Look at that list! I’m proud of that list, as weird as that may be. I’ve never had a list. I’ve never…felt hormonal things. I’ve loved my husband through and through, and that has helped when the hormones weren’t there. But this..this is what I’ve been missing throughout my teenage years, and now I feel like it’s spinning out of control! It’s funny, really. I feel like a 14-year old girl trapped in a 27-year old’s body. This must be what it feels like for a normal teenager. And now, years too late, here I am, feeling hormonal.

I mention all of this for a reason. First of all, I’m upset that I never made a big stink about this to a doctor when I was a teenager. I never looked into why this might be happening. I questioned my love for my husband, love for anyone, really, and just chalked it up to me being…not a normal teenager. This would have been a major sign, along with my irregular periods, that something was wrong in my body hormonally. Do I think that is one piece of the infertility puzzle for me? Yes, I do. I wish that I had known sooner.

In addition, like I said before, I’ve been just..down now, for 40 days. 40, of course, because that’s how long it’s been since my last period. With this whole stair-stepping thing, which apparently double-dosing it is here to stay, each cycle is 50+ days long. I started Clomid in December, it’s almost May, and I’ve gotten my period twice. The waiting is extra long for me, I feel like. Today is CD 39, or, after the new round of Clomid, CD 18. But for those first 35 days now for two cycles, I feel down. I am frustrated, as any person would be, but I’m betting that Clomid has something to do with it as well. Every emotion, good or bad, feels heightened.

So there are perks to Clomid, but then there are reasons why it sucks, too. As of right now, though, the pros outweigh the cons: I’ve ovulated twice, hopefully three times soon, and prior to that..I didn’t.

No, I didn’t get my smiley face yet. I’ve having some cramping, and so I’m just praying that in the next few days it happens. I’ll go in for the IUI, and enjoy my third ever TWW.

Until then, with my spirits hopefully lifted a bit, I’ll do more research on my new diet. Paleo is okay, and I feel decent on it, but still having some stomach issues. I’ve just heard about the low amylose diet for PCOS – can anyone help out and tell me more about this?

A release of hope

Back from my mini-vacation. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Lake George, then spent one afternoon an hour and a half north of that, in Lake Placid. N is doing a full Ironman there this summer, and he wanted to drive the bike route and see what kind of damage he was in for. 112 miles on a bike is no easy feat! Luckily, it wasn’t actually that bad.

The bed and breakfast was great. Beautiful, cozy, and their 5-course breakfasts were really amazing. Gosh, I feel like I’m doing a professional review. Anyway, if you are ever in that area and are looking for a great place to stay, check this place out:

Cornerstone Victorian

I did find out that, of the two food demons in my life currently, wheat has just moved to #1. I had a little wheat the past few days, including a low-sugar apple cinnamon muffin, and a bit of fresh bread at dinner. Just like a few weeks ago when I tried to reintroduce wheat into my diet, I had the worst stomach problems. It only put a damper on a half hour of my vacation, so no big deal in the long run, but seriously, it was very painful. I really can’t eat wheat anymore. It just can’t happen. As for sugar, I had just a little bit of that too, including two small ice creams, and really had next to no hives. I’m thinking that’s just a passing thing, and I really just got lucky for this trip, because as of two weeks ago sugar was my arch nemesis. Either way, I gain weight from these foods. Back to Paleo, for real this time, and I know I’ll lose weight at the very least. By the way – almond milk? Delicious. Unsweetened coconut milk – not so much.

As for my mental health – I’m okay. It’s an up and down thing, you guys know. We had a great time, and I was happy. But deep down, the truth of the matter is that nothing, really nothing could make me so completely happy that I would permanently push infertility aside. I can have moments where I’m not thinking about it, but the emotions that come with it are never really gone. I had a good of a time as any; as I could. We both did. I’m just saying that underneath it all I’m not truly happy, because the one thing I really want in life has been giving me problems, difficulties, and it seems so far away. For all I know, it could be very far away.

The issue here is my hope level. Say, on a scale from 1-10, when I first started TTC, it was at a 10. When I started Clomid, a 9. Last cycle, when I was so sure I was pregnant, an 8. But since that damaging cycle, I stopped obsessing about TTC. I mostly stopped temping, only once every few days now. POASing has just started back up, and I actually hate it. I don’t worry about our timing. But with the release of all these stressors comes the release of hope. Sure, it’s possible it could happen soon. I understand that. But I can no longer feel like it’s going to. I am hopeful, on a shallow level, but deep down, the optimism isn’t there. It is so far away. Actually getting a positive pregnancy test? Going for my first ultrasound? Hitting 20 weeks? So, so far away. And that just really, plainly sucks.

I’ve noticed my new try-not-to-think-about-it attitude manifesting itself in other ways, too. In the past month, I’ve rarely blogged. I have nothing much to say. I haven’t really commented on many blogs either. For once, I didn’t sign up for ICLW. I’m just in a place where I am so tired of the frustration and, really, the pain that goes with all this that I don’t want to talk about it much anymore. I don’t know if it’s showing, but IRL I feel quieter, more serious. I’ve never been good at faking anything, especially emotions.

It’s not all gloom and doom, and I don’t walk around with a scowl on my face. I’m happy, like I said, but not truly, deep-down happy. I have a great class this year, N and I have a lot of fun together and, thanks to him, we laugh constantly. You know, there are happy things. But I am missing out on something that makes any person the happiest on the planet.

I am going in for a blood test this morning, as it’s CD 15. I hope to hear, “Ovulation is on its way.” If I hear, “You didn’t respond to this double dose of Clomid, either,” I might scream. But I’m going to take the positive route and say yes, it’s happening, hopefully in the next few days. I still really want to do my first IUI.

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 worst secret club ever.

I tend to want to blog for one of two reasons: I’m excited and want to share, or I’m down and out and want to vent. This post falls under the latter category.

Let me preface by saying this: I hate whining, I don’t like being weak, I don’t like admitting to weakness that lasts longer than one blog post. I allow myself one post at a time and that’s it for a while. So here’s my one post.

I think my follicle has frozen in time. It’s CD 23, and still, no positive OPK. First of all, the nurse on Friday swore I’d get my smiley face yesterday, as my follicle was 16 mm on Friday. Secondly, even if my follicle is just growing really, extremely slowly, I don’t want to ovulate this late! It’s too late! There’s a reason they say that ovulating really late isn’t the best thing. The latest I’ve ovulated (out of the 2 times, ha) is CD 24. But I got my smiley face for that cycle on CD 22 and 23. Now, with no smiley on CD 23, I wonder, is it ever going to come? Has my body played yet another cruel trick on me – forming and developing a follicle, giving me some signs of ovulation, getting my hopes up for this first IUI, and then deciding to freeze there? Apparently, that’s a thing.

What will come of this? Well, I’m calling tomorrow and demanding an ultrasound Wednesday. I’m sure I’ll go in, they’ll see my follicle is right where they left it Friday, and then I’ll need to stair-step again, getting more Clomid before this cycle is over. Then, I’ll have this super giant follicle, but I’ll have to wait another 20+ days to get it. Doesn’t it say something if you have to stair-step two cycles in a row? And on different dosages of Clomid, no less? That’s a sign. One round of Clomid in a cycle isn’t enough – of either 50 or 100. I need something else. I do know about those injectables – maybe that’s something they would give to me?

But either way – and here comes my rant – it’s not freaking fair! Not that I’m not ovulating, though that isn’t either. It’s not fair that I have to go through any of this. It’s not fair that any of you have to. It’s not fair that this rough little bump in my life has come during a time of pure bliss for seemingly everyone else I know, that they have gotten pregnant all at the very same time. You know, if everyone else was struggling to get pregnant, I’m sure it wouldn’t sting quite as much. And I don’t wish that on them. But every Facebook post, every corner I turn, even my relatives continue to hint – why?

Easter was – well, okay. Not one of my bests. Mostly because my favorite reason for Easter (I sound horrible saying this but it’s quite true) is the guiltless reason to eat copious amounts of candy. Peeps, jelly beans, Cadbury cream eggs, peanut butter cups, anything with dark chocolate or marshmellow – I love it. I love it all. After ice cream, candy was my next favorite food group. This was my first Easter sugar-free. That is, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy(ish)-free, grain-free, aka Paleo diet. Sure, I splurged on N’s sweet potatoes with splenda-infused brown sugar (Oh My!), and even indulged in a few sugar-free jelly beans (thanks, Mom, and Russell Stover), but it wasn’t the same.

Visiting my dad’s side of the family, whom I rarely see, I got a nice tummy-pat from my 80-something year old grandmother. Granted, she’s only about as tall as my stomach, but still – is she saying I’m fat? Or is she patting it to indicate that I should be pregnant right about now? Am I paranoid? Probably, but can you blame me?

At my in-law’s, a family friend of theirs commented as I held one of my dogs in my arms, “See? You don’t even need to have kids.” Now – this is a nice man. I’ve continued to say, regarding the 5,000 people who’ve made dumb comments like that to me in the last 6 months, all of these people mean well, and are nice. I even like some of them. But why the dumb comment at the Easter dinner table? Hmm?? I responded with, “Well….not exactly.” He must’ve been told by my MIL, or N’s aunt. They know, but I certainly haven’t personally told anyone else in his family about my struggles. Why else would he have said that if he didn’t know? So, what,  is my infertility the big Easter dinner table secret?

The truth is, I don’t want to hold these secrets anymore. As it is, I’ve told everyone I feel close to and the entire online world. And even that isn’t enough. I don’t want to keep this negative thing in my life around anymore – I want it out. If I’m going to keep any secrets at all, I only want ONE specific secret. And you all know what that is.

Daryl put it perfectly:  ” This community, in particular, feels more like a secret society, one to which having a set of unlucky circumstances is the only password.  One to which all the members wish they didn’t belong.”

I agree – and while everyone around me gets to head into the “we’re over the moon with excitement!” stage – I’m missing out on a rite of passage. It’s called motherhood. I’m stuck in a very weird place between an over-grown teenager and a young-looking, young-acting woman. Remember my Peeta celebrity crush? He’s 19 years old! The real issue going on there is that I either want to be back in college (with N, of course) living out my golden years without a care in the world, or with a baby in my arms. There is no happy medium. Some of you have described your possible ability to grow old without kids. For me, it’s not an option. We will exhaust absolutely everything to have a child, including adoption. Therefore – I know I’ll have kids. I’m not saying I won’t. Some way or another, it’ll happen. But this waiting-in-limbo thing, it’s horrible, painful, upsetting at times. It just flat out sucks.

And I have one other concern. Can you sense the bitterness, the poutiness, the unhappiness I display on a regular basis? The jealousy, the rage, the irritation? When I get pregnant, is that going to go away? Am I going to retreat back to my old self, happy-go-lucky with just a dash of being a bit high-strung? Am I going to find the positive in all the little things, stopping and smelling the flowers, if you will? Will I be a better listener to my friends, because I’ll be able to give them more of my brain space? Will I shower N with the attention and love he deserves, without ever having to fake happiness? Or have I done some irrevocable damage, and this will be the new me? I fear that this mutter-under-my-breath type of personality that has taken shape in the last year is becoming permanent, and I won’t even like to be around myself.

Okay, I’m done. As usual, I do feel a bit better. And after all this whining and ranting, maybe I’ll go and get a smiley face tomorrow. You never know. Sometimes you just need to get things off your chest! Thankfully, I know you guys have been there; you’ve been through it and then some. I only wish that none of us have had to.  No offense, but I want to belong to that other club, not this one.

Now, please, lil’ folly, please grow and turn into something hopeful.

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.

Good Health Secrets

Reason #5,782 for why I love blogging – A single post can lead to a great discussion!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comments. I am so glad that you feel able to share your opinions, both in agreement with and against my own, in a way that allows everyone to really talk things out. Of course, in addition, I appreciate and need your comments on these matters, because I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, and you guys do.

Yesterday (and in today’s reflection) I learned something about myself that I didn’t previously know: I’m not ready, mentally, for a naturopathic doctor such as the one I met with yesterday. I’m not ready for that kind of treatment.  I did gather from some of you that she might not have appropriately reflected a true naturopathic doctor in some of the things she said, but regardless, that specific doctor I met yesterday is clearly not for me. I realized that I’m the type of person who needs answers. And not just any answers – scientifically-explained answers. Yesterday, I wanted to know – how does that machine work? How does my arm going up or down give her a yes or no answer? How do those pellets she wanted me to take work? How could a back massage possibly “cure” my food intolerances? I needed answers, and I didn’t get them, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

I am not saying nothing she did or would do with me would work. For all I know, everything she wants to do could work. Maybe I could be cured. But unfortunately, I just don’t have it in me to pay that kind of money not having any clue how exactly it works. What’s the science behind it? Is it safe with everything else I’m already putting into my system? How does that treatment fit with the rest of the doctors I see? I was not given an explanation, and that combined with a little lack of professionalism in my opinion (like arguing with her son about money in the middle of my appointment) totally turned me off.

A couple of you (and a few people at work I spoke with) told me that you do kind of have to already believe a bit in it, to trust that it’s going to help, before starting it. The only thing I can relate this to is being hypnotized. You have to be willing to be hypnotized, you have to believe you can be hypnotized, in order for it to actually work.  You can imagine that I’m the least likely person on this planet for hypnosis to work, because I don’t buy it. And yes, I have been in situations where people have been hypnotized, and I never even came close. I’m not saying it’s correct or incorrect, and I’m not placing judgement, but hypnosis just…doesn’t work on me. I don’t want it to work on me.

Now, all that said, I am not negating all ND’s everywhere. On the contrary – it sounds like some of you have been helped drastically by an ND, and I only wish mine presented herself and her information differently, to more allow me to buy into what she was saying. I want to be helped. I need help with my autoimmune and fertility issues. And perhaps, someday I will try another ND. But this particular doctor is not for me.

Finally, I want to talk about the diet aspect. As much as I hate to say this, I completely believe my ND is right about the anti-inflammatory diet. I think our whole diet conversation was totally legitimate. I had a feeling I needed diet changes, even after going gluten-free and mostly sugar-free. I still think I need diet changes, to help with my hives. I am going to keep my notes on this diet I was given yesterday, and attempt to try it, one piece at a time. But I can’t go cold turkey. I can’t live on just veggies and beans. Not yet. But I do want to continue whittling away the amount of sugar I eat (even though it’s small), and any other weird things I might be consuming. The hives just aren’t worth it.

Today, I actually got a call from her secretary (at her main office), because even though my doctor took my insurance card, she never actually made a copy of it, so I needed to fax it over. While on the phone, I made a decision and told her to hold off on ordering me those pellets, and that I would call her for the next appointment as opposed to making one right then and there. I’m not ready, right now, for this doctor to be in such control of my health.

Then, I went and called my allergist. He’s the guy that was the very first person to figure out I had a thyroid problem, that my antibody count was off the charts, and that my hives were related to this antibody count. My hives meds (Zantac plus Claritin, twice a day) were running low, and besides, I wanted him to know what was happening with my out of control hives. He spoke with me over the phone, told me to switch to Zantac plus Zyrtec (stronger), and keep a food journal. We are going to meet in a few weeks and figure out exactly which foods, and which parts of the foods, are giving me problems. I realized – I should’ve called him in the first place. Maybe he’s been my answer all along.

And because of that call, I feel better today. Yesterday, I was completely overwhelmed. Listening to what my ND was telling me I needed to do was just too much. I don’t know if she’s right – maybe she is, but I couldn’t handle it all. Now, all I need to do for the next two weeks is simply keep a detailed food journal. Hopefully the switch to Zyrtec will help a bit as well. This I can handle.

That’s where I stand. I really am bummed out about the ND – I wanted so badly for her to enlighten me in a way that would be in line with everything else I’m receiving for treatment, and I wanted a miracle. You guys have really loved your ND’s, and I’m definitely disappointed. But I’m going to keep the diet changes in my mind, and just see what happens.

As for my RE – I have decided I’m not going to pick up the phone and rip him a new one for not telling me I show signs of PCOS. Not yet, anyway. #1 – It didn’t actually say that I had PCOS directly, so maybe that was just one thing he was considering. I don’t actually think I have it – when he looked at my ovaries he said they looked just fine, with the exception of all the little eggs hanging out in there after not being released for months on end. #2 – I am going in for an IUI, hopefully soon. I can ask about it then. I’m so glad, now, that we’ve decided to go with the IUI. It is a little strange to think I might get pregnant from a way other than having sex, but who cares? I just want a baby. Now, here’s hoping the Clomid actually gets me to ovulate…

Here’s my question for the day: If you have been helped by an ND, or any doctor for that matter, what was the #1 idea, or product, or dietary change, or whatever, that made the most difference for your health? What is your good health secret?

If something has worked for you, chances are, it may work for me!

Do you believe in magic?

Hi. I’m frustrated, and I need to vent. You up for it?

I met my naturopathic doctor this afternoon for the first time. I had extremely high hopes – I basically can’t eat anything right now without getting hives. I can tell that my antibodies are out of control, probably the worst they have ever been.

I am so disappointed, discouraged, and frustrated. Now, a lot of you have gone to naturopathic doctors with success, so please, tell me if this doctor was right on track, or is one magic spell away from an institution.

I arrived to an office with no secretary, just a small little room. This room didn’t look anything like a doctor’s office, and had virtually no medical…anything. Equipment, etc. I had sent all my labs to her previously, even though the office didn’t request them, so she had time to look them over, which she did. Also, in the middle of this visit her cell phone rang, and she answered it. It was her teenage son. He wanted money. She started getting frustrated with him over the phone while I was just sitting there. Then, she called her main office in another town, and requested that the secretary give her son a $20 bill “from the box” if he shows up.

And that’s not even the half of it. She hooked my arm up to this band thing attached to a computer. This computer had a program that could “test” if I was “having issues” with anything, from foods to medicines. I don’t want to say allergic, because for me, I know it’s more of a sensitivity thing. How did it perform this magic test? I straightened out my arm (not the one with the band attached to it), and she pressed down on my wrist. I was instructed to push back. If, when I pushed back, my arm stayed up, it meant I wasn’t negatively affected by whatever she was looking at. If my arm went down, then that meant I had a sensitivity to it. WHAT THE HELL???

So I followed along, secretly wondering if she was just pressing down harder on my wrist whenever we came to something that I had already told her was bothering me. My arm “went down” for wheat, sugar, sperm amino acids, vaginal mucous membranes (um, ew), and progesterone (I had told her my LP was short, too..). I shouldn’t have told her anything, in reflection. I should have had her consult my palm and perform her psychic duties to see what my problems are.

That was weird enough. After that, she told me that I should take these “energizing pellets” (I never said I was lacking in energy…). They are virtually sea salt, she said, called Natrum Muraticum. I should take a little handful of pellets, once a week. They react badly with coffee and mints…so I would need to switch my toothpaste…

When I pressed her for why I need these magic pellets, she said I would just feel better overall, and also would be happier (I never said I wasn’t happy…). She said my symptoms might get worse before they get better though, so I might have more hives temporarily, and I might cry at random. She said not to worry, it will pass and then I will feel better. And THEN – when you think that’s as bad as it gets, she had me raise my arm again while the other arm closed around a package of these pellets. She had me press against her wrist and since my arm stayed up, she knew those pellets would be good for me. Then, to figure out the dosage of pellets that I would need, she used my arm like a Magic 8 ball, I kid you not. Can’t make this stuff up, people. It went something like this: “Does she need 50 c?” (Press), “100 c?” (Press), “200 c?” (Press). I guess my arm did something satisfactory at this point because she decided on 200 c. I thought she was actually asking me the question, what dosage did I need, until I realized she was talking to herself…or more like the spirits on the other side of a Ouija board.

She told me that she could basically cure me. Not totally, because my autoimmune issues were completely out of whack, which I know. But with her “treatments”, I would be able to enjoy an occasional wheat or sugar filled treat, with way less hives. Okay, I said, I’m listening. What’s the treatment? Well, she said, it’s not covered by insurance, and each treatment is between $90-150. “Are they shots?” I said. No. I go in, get hooked up to that computer thing again, she focuses in on one particular food or hormone that is problematic (like sugar), and then, she takes a back massager and rolls it up and down my back. She related it to acupuncture, something about stimulating spinal something-or-others. And then, that’s it! When I leave, I’m much better with that one particular issue.

I don’t know if this is all sounding crazy to you, but to me, it sounds absolutely f-ing nuts. Totally out there. This isn’t a doctor – this is a psychic. $150 to get a back rub? To cure my autoimmune problems?

This is all frustrating enough, but there are other reasons. She is covered by my insurance (except for those “treatments”). Why would she be in my insurance’s network if she sucks? Also, my mother’s coworker, who recommended her to me, found total success! I don’t know if she went through what I would be going through, but I guess she had a severe milk allergy that this doctor practically did, in fact, cure. So I have someone who claims this actually works.

Now, she did say a couple of valuable things to me. I mentioned the burning and swelling issue, and talked about Recurring Candida Proliferation (Thanks, Sunny!). She agreed that sounded plausible, but, like I knew, it’s all connected to my other issues. She also told me about a diet she thinks I should try. I was expecting a diet change, though this one is pretty drastic. It’s an anti-inflammatory diet, because of course, I’m out of control inflamed. It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and meat-free. Think about that. I would be limited to vegetables, small amounts of fruit, beans, rice or quinoa, only occasional organic chicken, fresh fish no more than 2x a week, and that is it. It’s a vegetarian diet, with no sugar or processed anything in addition. Here’s the thing – I need help with my health right now. I can’t handle it alone anymore. I’m up for trying a new diet. But I can’t do this one, I’m telling you right now. I can’t. Quality of life, I mean seriously. Nothing on the grill, no chemicals (which means no butter, ketchup, parm cheese, coffee creamer….I could go on and on.) I can’t handle that drastic of a diet, plus these hives, plus this infertility. I can’t do it. I’m not doing it. Not that drastic, anyway.

Lastly, she pulled out a report from my RE. “It says here that you seem to show signs of PCOS….” WHATTT??? Yes, after my ultrasound, when I met my RE, he wrote up a little letter and put it in my file, and it says that I demonstrated symptoms of polycystic ovaries. What. the. hell. He NEVER mentioned that. Let me emphasize NEVER. I’ve been with my RE for four, almost five months now, and never once has anyone told me I have PCOS. And that’s fine and all, if I have it. But it changes everything. Is that the cause of what’s going on in my body? Is that the cause of my infertility? Am I pursuing the right course of fertility treatment? I have no idea. I couldn’t believe it. The ND suggested I give him a call, which I will be doing. But I’m more upset than mad. Why do all my doctors have to suck? My RE is highly recommended. His program is one of the biggest in the state. But I’ve never felt like I’m getting their full attention. Now, to find out he thinks I may have PCOS? Well, that explains so much! It explains the mustache I’ve been shaving off, the little dark hairs I plucked from my CHIN yesterday, the recurring yeast issues….so much.

I’m upset because I need doctors who will help me. I have 7 doctors, each specializing in one little piece of my puzzle. I was hoping this ND could take them all on, sanely. Clearly, she can’t. But you know what’s the worst? I’m upset with myself. Why do I have to be going through this? All of this. The fertility problems, that cause my Clomid hot flashes and haven’t allowed a good night’s sleep in weeks, the stress over not getting pregnant. The thyroid problem that kept me from TTC for a while and can at any time the number decides to jump. The hives, which are now after almost every. single. meal that I eat. I don’t feel good. I don’t look good. I’m a mess. I just want to be worry-free. And I would be, if my health problems went away. Instead, after seeing this “doctor” today, I’m more upset. I need help with my medical problems and I don’t know where to turn.

It’s just suddenly gotten to this point that I’m creating my own panic attack. It’s all just too much for me to handle. Too much. I can’t live happily like this. Something has GOT to change.

So, if you’ve gone to a ND with success….please, is this woman completely mad? Should I try this diet? Thoughts?

By the way….we’ve decided. I’m going to try IUI, this cycle.

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!