Two sides to every coin

I’ve moved on. And it didn’t take long – less than a day. It was almost the quick flip of a switch – frustrated, angry and down one minute, and the next was an epiphany. I am going to get pregnant, and I think it’s going to happen soon.

I’m simply saying – this is my last IUI. What will be will be, in regards to this new round of follistim. But after that, I’m moving to IVF. Assuming there is nothing else wrong in my body besides what I already know about (including eggs that just don’t grow on their own, autoimmune issues, and all that fun stuff), there’s no reason why I can’t actually get pregnant. What happens once I’m pregnant is a different story, and I’ll cross that bridge when it comes. Until then, I have to assume IVF will work. It’s going to work. And maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised by this last IUI.

When you do a coin toss, it’s basically impossible to know which side of the coin will be facing up. Calling it in the air simply locks in your luck at that moment, and that’s it. The flipping of a coin is how I sometimes feel in regards to trying to conceive.

I’m getting to that time in my life where my friends will soon have living, breathing children in their arms. Leading up to this point, I could still say, most of us are without children. But with the future baby boom lingering on the horizon, I feel I have to put everything in perspective.

How awesome it is, how amazing, that all these little life forms were created. I mean, really, they are all little miracles. And I can’t wait to meet them, get to know them, and shower them with love. As the days pass, excitement grows. Yet, on occasion, the other side of the coin flips up that morning. It doesn’t change a single thought I have for all my pregnant friends, but it simply adds another one on top of the pile: I sometimes feel like I’m frozen in time. Have you ever seen on TV, where they speed up something that took a long time, like a flower growing, so that it happens before your very eyes in seconds? Or a forest scene, going from sunrise to sunset? That’s what it feels like watching the world around me change. But I imagine that if you took my life in the past year, and sped it up to show my “growth”, nothing would change. I would remain exactly like I was a year prior – physically, anyway. Mentally, I suppose I have changed, though not necessarily in a good way. I’m frozen in time.

Flip the coin again, and I realize – there is so much more to my life than this stupid battle with fertility. Day to day, it’s hard for me to realize this, and I can’t find my own way. But when I step back and read the heartaches and successes of other bloggers, or hear stories about people’s achievements in hard times, or any number of other things that crop up in a single day, I have to know, there’s more to life than having kids. Right now, it’s probably the last thing anyone wants to hear, including me. But isn’t it true? For me, there’s the big things: a marriage, a home, puppies, a wonderful career that is very fulfilling…family, friends, etc. There’s the little things: a room of smiling students, getting a card in the mail, watching an awesome movie, or, my favorite, eating ice cream. There’s more. I’m so glad my “down” day from this failed cycle was short-lived, so I could move right along and flip that coin again.

That’s the funny thing about flipping a coin, though – there will be times it lands on heads, and other times, tails. Expect both, if you’re planning to conduct multiple flips. I’m feeling positive tonight, as I’m sure you can tell, but I’m not forcing myself to always feel this way. There will be bad days, and maybe they won’t have anything to do with babies and pregnancy. Or maybe they will. Either way, it’s all good. This is part of the journey. A part I truly wish was over, mind you, but regardless. It’s here, and I do think it’ll be over soon.

I’m four days into my next round of shots, and this time, I’m avoiding the blood vessels. Though my arm is starting to look like that of a drug dealer, I’m loving the fast pace of this round. I get my period and I actually get to start gearing up for the next round. By the way – this period was by far the worst I have had in 10 years. I thought I was going to throw up. Crazy! Luckily it’s almost over. In a few days I’m going for my next ultrasound, and check in on how many follies are growing in there.

I was too hard on myself in my last post, and I forget that fact. I always am – it’s definitely not my best trait. Along with that, I can get slightly obsessive about certain topics, and the Paleo diet was starting to head down that road. I must move on. I’m happily enjoying stevia again.

And finally, to prove that I really have turned over a new leaf tonight, I’m inviting you to check out my new blog. Yes, another one. This is a teaching blog. I’ve been wanting to write one for a while, and I even wrote up a few posts and left them on this blog. But as my mind starts to wander to other topics other than babies, which I think is a healthy thing for me, I realized that I need a new space, where I don’t even touch the subject of TTC. It’s almost liberating – I can write about other things, focus on other aspects of my life. So, it’s brand-new, obviously, but hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging and can get going on it quickly. I’m hoping it becomes less of a diary (as this one has turned out to be) and more of a place to share creative ideas and activities related to teaching. There’s a lot out there – a whole other planet of supportive adults, reaching out to each other along the lines of the same topic. I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons. There’s more to life.

A Natural Teacher

Double-post Saturday! As much as I enjoyed posting my minestrone soup recipe, I have other things on my mind I want to share. This one has been on my brain for a few weeks.

To all you teachers/guidance counselors/anyone who works in a school out there – do you find this job different now from the one you signed up for? Let me explain.

I love teaching. I’m great with kids and always have been. One of my strengths in working with kids is the ability to read them, figure out relatively quickly who they are as people, and tailor the way I teach and what I teach to their strengths, abilities, and interests. That skill greatly contributed to my success in the school I worked at in the first four years of my teaching career, which was a wonderful school in a very low-income neighborhood, with students who really were put through the ringer at home. They came to that school to feel safe and secure, and the majority of them were always upset when the school year was over. All of the teachers in that building had their heads together, and were on the same page. I was really on my game. I also wasn’t trying to get pregnant.

This year, I have been moved to a new school. In fact, we all were, because they closed down my old school, and spread those kids out into the middle-class schools around the rest of the town. It was very sad and emotional. I also switched grades, from 6th to 5th. However, in my new school, where the kids are much happier at home and have access to many more resources, I have fit in relatively well. I love the women I teach with (I went from no teaching partner last year to five this year) and we all work really well together.

Here’s the problem. I’m not on my game.

I actually think the problem is two-fold. First of all, my head isn’t in it like it always has been. In past years, I would go home and my students would be on my brain all night. I went above and beyond for them, making them all hand-made cards at the end of the year, and caring for them as if they were my own children. Talk about motherly instincts – I’ve been acting motherly for five years now. My first year, my class was so wonderful and supportive and I couldn’t wait to go to school. I was the first or second teacher there, and one of the last to leave. I was dedicated, plain and simple.

I’m still dedicated, I would say, and I’m still teaching well. I have a nice class, and I care about their well-beings. I am meeting every requirement and doing what I have to do. But my head isn’t in it. As I said, one part of the problem is what’s on my brain. I’ve been using my brain space for thinking about getting pregnant, and all that has happened with it. I’ve been blogging, which I love. I read more, I drink tea. I take my time at home. Now, I get to school on time, but barely, and I try to leave as soon as I can. I want to be home, with N. I want to be trying for a kid. I want to POAS, watch for ovulation, chart it on my phone. I want to be a mother, and not just use my motherly instincts at my job.

There’s another problem. Teaching in the United States, or at least in my state, isn’t what it used to be. I’m only a five-year teacher, and it’s different from what it was when I started. It’s drastically different from what it was when I student-taught seven years ago, and from what I learned in college.

I’m not going to get all political – it’s not appropriate and I suck at interpreting politics, anyway. But I do know it is partly a political issue. In my state, collecting and analyzing data has been the main focus the last two years or so. Forget developing wonderful hands-on projects, test, test, test! Of course, I knew getting into this job that standardized tests were important, and were something students had to go through. I’m fine with that. I was tested as a child, too. But teaching is starting to feel more like a factory, churning out students who can do well on a test. Data collection has become slightly obsessive. At the same time, we’re stuck in a rut in this bad economy, and towns are losing money like crazy, including my own. Towns in my state are laying off teachers and counselors, but are raising the stakes on our students passing tests. We have to do more with less resources. People are being spread very thin, and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I can see the stress and worry on everyone’s face. I know I’m not the only one thinking this. I have seen more teachers cry and lose their confidence in the last few years than ever before. The pressure – it’s mounting, and it’s unbelievable.

Stress is something that sort of runs in my family, and I try very hard to eliminate it from my life. It’s not healthy, and it makes me over-eat. I used to feel relatively stress-free at work. I love teaching a skill to my students and watching them practice and master it. I love sitting down with them at snack time and talking about college and their futures. But now I’m stressed at school. My work load is unreal, honestly, and papers are stacked sky-high. We all seem to be running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to make sure we cross our t’s and dot our i’s, and the children lose in the process. We are losing in this process.

I knew after my first year of teaching that there is no other job I’m better suited for. I was born a teacher. But I would be lying if I said I haven’t been daydreaming this year about being a stay-home mom, when that day finally arrives. Or staying home and blogging for a living. Writing children’s books. Traveling, taking photographs. Anything where I can make my own decisions, I can decrease my stress level, and tailor what I do to my strengths. This sounds awful. I’m not leaving teaching; I’m really a natural teacher. I’m just a little nervous for the future. If this is what it’s going to be like for the next 30 years, could I handle that? Teaching requires you to put in 110%, every day. When I have children, am I going to be able to give teaching/data collection my best?

In the next few years, either something in our eduction system will change, or I am going to have to change, in order to allow this career to feel like who I am again.

 

Positive thinking, or completely crazy?

Clomid, Round 2, is over. I took my last pill yesterday, thank goodness. Luckily, I really do not have side effects from it, though over the course of a cycle I have some pretty negative days. Some say that Clomid can kind of put you down in the dumps, and I’ll blame it on that, even if it’s not the case.

Though I talk about fertility at length here on this blog, I actually don’t talk about the details of it in real life too much. Most of you probably do the same, though it’s surprising for me, because I’m kind of an open book. I don’t just offer the details of my personal life to anyone, but if it comes up, or they ask, I spill it all out. So, it’s odd that though I feel like I talk about fertility all the time, I don’t. In truth, I think about fertility all the time, and I’ve just mixed them up in my head. I’m talking to myself.

This might be part of the reason why I’m feeling just a little bit more confident this morning, after talking yesterday about fertility to someone I do not normally talk to about it. His wife is pregnant, and prior to her being so, we used to talk about her struggles. She didn’t have a period for a long time after BCP (months), and then it was on and off. She didn’t ovulate. A very similar situation to mine. Then she got Clomid. Interestingly enough, we go to the same gyno office (different actual Dr.), and her Dr. gave her the Clomid without a trip to an RE, and mine refused to do so. Oh well. She got pregnant on her very first round of Clomid 50mg, which is a miracle. I knew she was pregnant up until now, but I did not know that she took Clomid. It always is nice to hear that Clomid has worked for another person. That brings the list of people I know personally who got pregnant on Clomid to 3: My mother, my aunt, and now her.

In addition, the person I was talking to knew that we were TTC. Though he didn’t say anything that mind-blowing, and were things many other people have said, for whatever reason, it made me feel a little better. He simply said, “Don’t worry. It’s going to happen. It’s going to work. Try not to stress out about it (ugh, impossible). It will definitely happen.” I don’t know why that was so nice to hear, when I tell it to myself all the time, but it was! I think I just needed to hear that from someone else. And this was a guy, whose wife went through the same thing. So it was nice.

I went home and started thinking, “Yeah, this will work. Maybe not this round, but Clomid worked last time. It did what it was intended to do. It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.” When I think about it that way, when I tell myself it’s going to happen in the next few cycles, it makes it easier to wait a little bit. So what if it doesn’t take on this cycle, it will on the next! I know that I might be setting myself up for disappointment by telling myself I will be getting pregnant in the next few cycles, but right now, it gets me through. Maybe I can wait patiently for this.

What makes me crazy in the head is when I start to doubt it (which is most of the time). I start quickly thinking things like, “No way, I might not even ovulate this cycle! Who knows when it could be. I can’t see it happening. It feels so far away.” Those are the thoughts typically in my brain, but to swap them out with “Yes, it’s going to work…soon” changes the perspective altogether.

I used to think that when people said, “Think positively” they meant to think things like, “Oooh, I really hope it works!” That wasn’t doing it for me. And it’s  not really positive. “It’s going to happen in the next few cycles” – that does work for me. Is that positive, or just completely crazy? It’s going to happen.

Now, I am a little nervous about the timing. Not nervous, but anxious. We can’t blow it! In my mind, there’s only a few cycles I will be getting Clomid. If we mess up the timing, then we didn’t do our part. Clomid won’t get me pregnant, but it won’t be the Clomid’s fault. I’ll have to move to IUI’s, when it was our timing that was the problem. That thought does make me a little nuts. However, I do not want to pressure the hubby. I think we both felt a lot of pressure last round, as it was our first, and that did NOT help. He told me that he doesn’t even want to know this cycle when it’s time, which I understand. I’m sure he’ll be able to tell though. I’ll do my best to make it fun and normal, even though in my head, I feel like a drill sergeant. I  know that it’s very important to keep the pressure and stress away. I will be trying my best to do that.

That said, I did not get any specific instructions from my RE nurse! When she left me a message last week, she said simply, “The Clomid’s been called in for you, you can pick it up today.” Okay…thanks for the message. She didn’t even tell me which days to take it! I obviously took it 5-9 as I did last time, when another nurse gave me the instructions. Last cycle, that other nurse told me not to worry too much about TTC, as they wanted to see if I would just ovulate. This cycle, I expected exact instructions on when to use the OPK’s, and how often to try. Nothing. I think I’m going to call on Monday, but because I’m curious, I’ll ask you: What have your Dr.’s said? I have heard so often every other day in the weeks leading up to it, but the person I talked to last night said they were told every single day from CD 11-21. And that was from a Dr. in the same office as my Dr. What do you think, every other or every day?

Well this post was far longer than I intended it to be. If you made it this far, thanks!

I want to mention (off the topic now) and state for the record that I, Megan, have a sugar problem. It is official. What was once a sugar addiction like you wouldn’t believe, is now a sugar “allergy”. Not really, it’s my autoimmune issues, but it acts like one. It gives me my arch nemesis – angioedema, or hives in my face and mouth that form under the skin, causing swelling that lasts for a LONG time. I have now gone mostly sugar-free for two weeks now. I can have a little in the mornings, I’ve found out, but not night. There is sugar in my cereal, my coffee creamer, and my yogurt at lunch. That’s all fine. But nothing after lunch. I’ve gone lip-hive free for those two weeks….up until yesterday. The night before, Thursday night, I had…wait for it….a marshmallow. Now, these are no ordinary marshmallows. Back when I was eating sugar, only a few months ago, my husband bought me gourmet, homemade marshmallows as a Christmas present. I got them last year too, and they are unbelievable. They come in different flavors, they’re huge, and the consistency…swoon. So you can see how I feel about them. Anyway, my father and sister were over eating dinner, and my father always brings dessert. He brought two things of ice cream, frozen berries, and angel food cake. He remembered that I told him I’ve gone sugar-free, so the angel food cake was sugar-free. He forgot that I am also gluten-free, haha. So anyway, I had one marshmellow. Chocolate chip. I should’ve taken a picture of it. I actually went to bed without any hives. Yesterday, at school mind you, right before lunch. About 11:00. My students were at a special. I felt it form above my top lip in my cheek. I could NOT believe it. It never happens in the daytime. I popped meds, but it was too late. The rest of the afternoon was awful. I know my kids were looking at me wondering what the hell had happened. When I closed my mouth, it looked like I had a stroke. The left side was hanging down. Anyway, it has been a LOT worse before. A lot. I still have that picture in my phone of how bad it can get, and I still am not ready to share that face with the world. My coworkers said they couldn’t “really” see it. But I could, and I could feel it. After a few hours it spreads more evenly throughout the face. This morning, 8:00, 3 hours away from 24 hours ago when it happened, and my cheeks and lips are still swollen. No more marshmallows. No more treats. No more sugar, with those few exceptions. It’s…just not worth it. I’m officially gluten- and sugar-free. Bleh.

Okay, that’s really the end. Have a good weekend!

Thank you!

This is why I love blogging. Sure, I do basically nothing besides talk about myself, but what is so nice is that there people out there reading it! And commenting!

I’ve been in a funk, and the last two days I’ve felt a little better; a little more like myself. After yesterday’s whiny post, I got so many nice comments from people that I do not know personally – but I feel like I do. And that’s awesome. It’s a really cool feeling. And it’s the first time I’ve understood that level of support since starting my blog last July. I get it now, and I’ll make sure to reciprocate that feeling.

What’s also so great about blogging is finding more people just like you. I’ve found people my age, people on Clomid, people with Hashimoto’s disease, people TTC for a year or more, people who have been through it all. Everyone has a story, and I love to hear about other people’s. I still am a newbie; there are so many blogs out there I haven’t found yet. I was excited to get 1,000 hits on mine recently. But how cool.

So, thank you everyone, for the support. I tend to tell myself I don’t need any help from anybody, but once in a while, it’s just nice to hear that people understand and get it. 🙂

Positive thoughts today: I’m very appreciative of my blog readers, and tomorrow’s Friday.

Should old acquaintance be forgot…

It’s the last day of 2011, and I’m ready to see it go. I used to think that 2011 was so much better than 2010. It was, really. 2010 saw a few people I was close to pass away and it was really hard. I spent the rest of that year wondering, “Who else is going to die this year?” Horrible. I was so glad when 2011 came around. This year, I’m happy to say that it’s been better along those lines, but still not my favorite year. We started TTC this year. Prior to coming off BCP, we had been talking about TTC for literally years before that. I’m lucky that my husband would indulge in that conversation with me, even though we knew we wouldn’t be starting for a while. I originally stated that I’d be pretty mad if I wasn’t decently pregnant by Christmas. Then it was, well pregnant at ALL by Christmas. My husband used to say, right before we started, that “I’d be surprised how quickly it would happen.” All wishful thinking! That all  left my brain months ago, when I started seeing a fertility specialist.

There was so much WAITING this year. Waiting for cycles to finish (hello, 82 days), waiting for doctors to call, waiting for my thyroid to get itself into working order before continuing, and then waiting for treatment. But finally I’m on Clomid (last day is today) and I’m just happy to feel like I’ve got a little bit of a chance.

Of course, I started my blog this year, too. I have said this before, but it still stands: I never thought in a million years that it would turn into what it has become. It’s still so new, and I still have so much to learn, but it has taken on drastically different characteristics than I thought it would. But it’s great; it’s a fun new hobby that I really enjoy, plus it takes some weight off of my shoulders on a regular basis. I have a feeling there are many people who know about this who are still not totally sure why I choose to put forth my thoughts regarding fertility a couple times a week, but so many of you do understand why. Even if no one ever read it again, I enjoy writing about it.

So, while this year has taught me to locate patience in a deep-down place, I have to look ahead to next year with some hope and optimism. Otherwise, I’ll go crazy. I started dating my husband as a teenager exactly 12 years ago tonight; we’ve been through a lot together since then. We understand that it could be years until I have a child, as so many of you have had to find out. But we’re hoping that it doesn’t. And instead of analyzing to death whether it might be years or months, I’m going to have to hope for 2012 to be a lucky year. I’ve already found (some) patience, I’ve already started medications, I’ve already found a good doctor. I’m all set up. Now I just want/need to watch it happen.

Here are some fitting lyrics from the “updated, new millennium” version of Auld Lang Syne:

When dreams they seem so far away

Your soul can feel so  low,

But love is never far away

Your heart won’t be alone.

 

Well, that was enough deep-meaning reflection for one day; tomorrow I’m on a mission!