November 29, 2006

In which I share FAR too much personal information

Posted in TTC woes at 2:22 pm by Erin

Though I’m not sure that’s even possible on an infertility blog.  Nevertheless, if you have a weak stomach, are just about to eat, or have just finished eating, you may want to skip this one.

This is the strangest period I’ve had in a while.  And with me, that’s saying a lot.  Normally I spot for 4-5 days before my period starts.  This cycle, it was a full 7 1/2, making my luteal phase 2 days longer than its previous longest.  I skipped my pre-period migraines (not complaining about that one, but it was unusual since I didn’t get a single migraine while pregnant with P).  Then I got vicious cramps and a backache, which is par for the course.  It normally signals the "SOMEONE WAS MURDERED IN MY UNDERWEAR!!!" type of problem that happens if I don’t immediately (as in, within 10 minutes immediate) get to a bathroom.  This time?  It was several hours later that it actually started and then it was a normal flow.  I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to switch feminine products–I did anyway out of habit, but I could have just gotten a "full" night of sleep.  It’s continued to be normal all through today.  Maybe even a little lighter than normal.

Another odd thing is that the cramps have continued.  Normally my cramps, while painful, only last for 4-6 hours.  This time, they lasted longer, mellowed to just a mild annoyance, but they occasionally make themselves known again.  I lucked out yesterday and didn’t have any students come by while I was really suffering.  When the vice clamped down on my uterus and got pulled halfway across campus today, though, I was in the middle of teaching a lab.  I had to go into the prep room and breathe deeply until I could stand up straight again.  (Bradley relaxation techniques are very useful in many situations.)

Last night when the cramps came back, my first thought was that even if I had been pregnant, those cramps were definitely not compatible with life.  I’m so damned tired of all of this.  I spent 15 months and 27 days trying to get pregnant the first time around.  I spent 8 months and 6 days physically pregnant with P.  I’ve spent 24 months and 29 days trying to get pregnant again since then.

I just don’t understand and I’m getting so sick of trying to fight the inevitable.

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November 28, 2006

How to ruin that peaceful feeling in two simple days!

Posted in TTC woes at 7:46 am by Erin

Heh.  You know how I said the other day was cd1.  I was wrong.  The "flow" that started that day stopped an hour later.  I remained spotting through yesterday.  Today, I was still spotting this morning.  I even considered testing, as it is 15dpo and my luteal phase is never any longer than 13 days.  Sometimes it’s as short as 11 days.  But I refrained.  Why waste a test that’s more likely to expire than it is to be needed?

NOW, however, the cramps are excruciating.  Worse than normal.  The backache makes it difficult to curl up in a little ball of pain under my desk.  I’m praying that no students come in for extra help because I can’t really think clearly through this.  I’m sure my period has started now but, since I was already using a "feminine product" (pretty heavy spotting for the last day), I’ve not yet gone to the bathroom and confirmed.

Damn it, I wish I’d tested yesterday.  I don’t know if this was a chemical pregnancy.  A part of me feels like it was–I felt several of the same symptoms that I had with P, but I ignored them.  The craving for fruit?  Clearly just because…well, just because.  The pokey nipples and mildly sore breasts?  A mere coincidence.  Fatigue?  That one was easy to write off with all the time changing we did over Thanksgiving.  My luteal phase was 2 days longer than its longest, except for my one chemical pregnancy (faintly positive HPT at 14dpo, period the next day with worse cramping than normal) and my actual pregnancy with P.  I will just never know.

I was in such a good place two days ago.  Even yesterday, when I started suspecting that maybe I’d be in an even happier place today.  Why couldn’t I have kept that?

November 27, 2006

Adoption assvice is my cattle

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 11:14 am by Erin

And I’ve decided to try to head it off at the pass, in a manner of speaking.  The holidays are coming up and I think a perfect addition to any family member’s holiday gift would be at least one book about international adoption and another about Ethiopia. 

Our families house a lot of big readers.

The problem is, I’m not sure what to get.  If you have good books about international adoption to recommend, particularly from the non-parenting point of view (i.e. for adoptive grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.), that would be great.  I would especially love one that talks about the importance of the parents/siblings getting to bond with the child before everyone else shows up.  I really feel strongly that we need a month or two (or longer) at home with our son before we have visitors staying with us, and that’s NOT going to be well-received without some advance warning.  He’s going to be old enough to know that he’s been taken away from everything familiar to go with some complete strangers who look nothing like the majority of the people he’s known, and is going to be really confused and probably very upset.  Adding more strangers to the mix immediately upon arriving home will just make it worse for him, and his emotional needs take priority over hurt feelings in the extended family.  But if there’s a book that specifically talks about that, it might help alleviate some of those hurt feelings ahead of time.

Anyone who’s adopting from Ethiopia, do you have any books on the country’s history or cultural traditions, or anything like that which you recommend to people?  We really want to integrate those into our family’s life, and educating the extended family about them will be a key part of doing that.  I know that our agency will have recommendations but since we won’t be choosing one until after the holidays, I’d like to get these now.

J doesn’t have a clue that I’m thinking about this since I want to get him some books about Ethiopian history for the holidays.  I’m also buying P a globe or a big map so we can start teaching him about where his brother lives.  Any book recommendations for toddlers? 

November 26, 2006

Guess what you get when you relax?

Posted in The musings of Erin at 10:07 am by Erin

Spotting at 9dpo.

Cd1 today.

BUT BUT BUT…!

You also get to maintain that feeling of "eh, whatever" throughout the spotting and start of yet another cycle that all but ensures that you won’t be getting pregnant in 2006.  I tell ya, if I couldn’t get pregnant this cycle, at least I don’t really care.  That’s all worth it.

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I know I’ve been gone forever.  My IL’s live in a wireless dead zone (making our laptop a heavy and nearly useless addition to our luggage) and my FIL likes to stand over you and talk about what you’re doing while you use his computer.  I didn’t even feel comfortable checking my work e-mail, let alone blogging. 

We talked about our plans for adopting from Ethiopia a little while we were there.  I wish I didn’t feel like I have to justify our choices every time I do.  The new issues of our plans to adopt a toddler boy with a curable medical condition was met with a distinct lack of support.  My MIL re-raised her concerns of our adopting a child who might have HIV ("What if they didn’t do an accurate test?  What if they lie to you?") and, while she said that they would love their grandchildren no matter what, somehow the words felt very hollow this time around.  She talked about P not being able to bond with an older child because he wouldn’t have the adjustment period like he would with a baby (was she channeling my mother?)  She thinks we should adopt a girl to help balance the family.  My FIL didn’t say a single word about it.  J’s uncle asked me if we were going to have any more and, when I told him that we were adopting from Ethiopia because I’m infertile, and that we’ve accepted it, his response was "Now that you’ve ‘accepted it’, you’ll get pregnant!"

Argh.  Despite that, we’ll be moving ahead soon.  We’re going to do choose an agency in the next 2 months (financial reasons for not doing it before then) and get our homestudy done shortly after that.  We’re trying to figure out what general paperwork we can collect in the meantime, so that we’re a little further on than we are today.

So, there you are.  Quick update.  Trying desperately to work down my Bloglines but there are over 200 new posts, we took a red-eye back last night and our body clocks are as screwed up as ever (3-hour time difference in Nevada, where we were for the first and last two days, but a 2-hour difference from my IL’s house in Utah, where we spent the middle two days), a distinct lack of food in the house, and I have a pile of lab reports to grade that is unfortunately not going away.

November 18, 2006

Snippets

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:00 pm by Erin

Guess which of the following I’m most excited about?

A.  My voice is back and the migraine I got last night is gone!

B.  J brought me flowers and took P out for a couple of hours today so that I could have some "me" time (mind you, I wrote a test for one of my classes, but at least I did it while sitting in front of a movie that I enjoy).  And they brought me dinner!

C.  I haven’t even started writing the post I promised you by Friday, but it’s been on my mind and I have at least some idea of what I want to write!

D.  J and I sat down and looked at all of the information we have from agencies who work with Ethiopia.  We decided that, since we’re willing to accept a child with a curable medical condition and planning on adopting a toddler, we’ll be looking at the "waiting child" lists with our agency.  This has the potential for speeding up an adoption quite a bit!

Go on, guess!

November 15, 2006

Perfect timing

Posted in The musings of Erin at 2:45 pm by Erin

All semester, I’ve been hoping to not get sick.  Morning sickness would be just fine, but any other kind needed to leave me alone because I just don’t have the time to devote to it.  A job like mine, where I’m in contact with hundreds of people a day, leads to a lot of germ exposure.  P and I have pretty good immune systems (passed that along with 18 months of breastfeeding!), so he very rarely gets sick at daycare and I’ve been lucky enough to stay healthy, as well.

I had a cold about a month ago.  It got bad on a Friday, when I have no teaching responsibilities (not even office hours), and by Monday I was just sniffling a bit.  I’ve had an occasional migraine.  Fortunately, I’ve only had one on a day in which I’ve had to teach.  It got progressively worse all afternoon, starting after my second lab.  And extra-luckily, I was giving a test that night in my lecture class, so I didn’t have to stand and talk for those 75 minutes.

Last night, I started losing my voice, just a little.  I’m not sure why.  J was sick a couple of weeks ago and lost his voice as he got over the cold (J gets sick more often than P and I).  I never caught his cold.  My voice fought a valiant battle all day, as I lectured this morning and through my two labs this afternoon (almost 7 straight hours of teaching, during which I talk pretty much the whole time), before giving out while I sit here during office hours.  But the fates have smiled on me yet again–I’m giving a test tonight!  No lecture!  Thank goodness, because I genuinely have no idea how I would actually lecture.  My voice is almost entirely gone.  I can squeak, and that’s about it.

I have my cough drops (and can offer them to the Mystery Cougher, should he or she appear), I have my tests printed, and I don’t have to lecture again until Monday evening (my Monday morning class has a test).  I think I’m set.

(How boring a post is this?  Tomorrow or Friday, a post about religion and infertility, brought on by Jess’s post today!)

November 14, 2006

Can someone explain this to me?

Posted in TTC woes at 6:44 am by Erin

After some suspiciously ovulation-like pains last night, I dusted off the old monitor this morning.  I’ve been pretty slack about using it, figuring that I was well away from ovulation (as I posted yesterday).

Now, I’m a scientist at heart, despite my solely-teaching profession.  I spent many a year designing experiments, running experiments, repeating experiments, designing new experiments, and so on.  I like data, particularly data that allows me to make conclusions, regardless of whether or not they support my hypothesis.

Yet I find myself stymied when faced with the following data:

Two cycles ago: Metformin 1700 mg/day + Femara 2.5 mg cd3-7, ovulated on cd23

Last cycle: Metformin 1700 mg/day + Femara 2.5 mg cd3-7 + Clomid 100 mg cd23-27 (I think), ovulated on d30

This cycle: Barely any Metformin (I keep forgetting to take it), no Femara, no Clomid–ovulated on cd19

I know several of you are fellow scientists and many of you have far greater grasps of this stuff than I do, so be assured that any reasonable explanation will be quickly grabbed and held onto for dear life.

November 13, 2006

As sweet as the jelly in a doughnut

Posted in The musings of Erin at 12:29 pm by Erin

Filler!  Nothing exciting to relate, fertility-wise, since I’m on cd-whatever-it-is-since-I-haven’t-used-my-monitor-since-Thursday and absolutely sure that I haven’t ovulated yet.

Oh, we did come to a decision about countries for adoption–we’re going to go to Ethiopia.  I was originally set on Vietnam but couldn’t get Ethiopia out of my mind.  J was fine with either one, though he was leaning towards Ethiopia anyway.  It has become the first country that I think of when I think about adoption, and it just feels right in a way that Vietnam never quite did.  I don’t know that I can explain it in any other way.  I suppose that’s probably a pretty major decision, isn’t it?  It makes me very happy to know where we’ll be going.  Now we get to wade through the information from all of the agencies and start making some actual plans.  More on those in the hopefully-near future, as we’re hoping to do our home-study this winter.

Now I need your help!  J turns 30 next week.  We’ll be in Las Vegas for most of his actual birthday, and driving to his parents’ new house in Utah that evening.  I’ve already gotten him a T-shirt that I know he’ll find amusing, but this is a major birthday and I can’t figure out what else to get him from me or P!  So I’m asking you, the Ladies of Bloglandia, for help.  He loves being a lawyer and history and outdoor activities (like camping) and traveling and computer games like Civilization IV and Dungeon Master (I think).  And lots of other manly things, like scratching and spitting and…wait, I don’t think I want to know what kinds of gifts would arise from interests like those.

He’s a romantic at heart, though he won’t admit it to anyone other than me, so sweet and loving gestures are always good also.  I named a star for him for our first anniversary (it had a paper certificate) and he thought that was the greatest gift ever.

November 8, 2006

Fertility cynicism belongs only on my blog

Posted in The musings of Erin at 1:35 pm by Erin

I must, must, MUST keep that in mind!  I was chatting with my mom yesterday, just about this and that.  OK, I called to tell her a funny P story as I frequently do–P is an amusing boy.  We were talking about what we were making for dinner (BBQ ribs, salad, and tater tots at my house–mmm!) and I ended up telling her about my latest food obsession.  A few weeks ago, it switched from candy (and thank goodness for that) to soups.  I can’t get enough soup lately.  Vegetable, chicken noodle, cream of mushroom, tomato basil–I can’t stop eating them!  I’ve been lucky that the only cream-based on is the mushroom soup, so they’re not terrible calorically.  Not great on salt, though.

J is sure it’s the weather that made me want soups.  It’s been cooler, just right for having a nice and warming bowl (or mug) of soup.  So I have been.

Anyway, I was telling my mom about this and she asked "Are you pregnant?"  I did manage not to snort (as I’m at cd14 and my monitor’s still reading low, and I’m not taking any meds except Metformin) but said "No, I’m definitely not pregnant."  She then said something about cravings while pregnant and I reminded her that I’d only had one craving while pregnant with P, for chocolate, and it only lasted until I ate something chocolate.  It lasted all of 2 hours.  If that.  Not to be deterred, she pointed out that all pregnancies are different.

Then my cynicism kicked in and I responded that I knew that, but that would imply that I could get pregnant again.  My mom knows nothing about our treatments, just that we are infertile (though she’s one of the school who believes that I couldn’t possibly be infertile because we’ve got a biological child).  Not to rehash the entire conversation, but she kept saying that I’d done it once, so I could do it again and I kept pointing out that that wasn’t always true.  She did at one point imply that I have a high-stress job…

I managed to refrain from mentioning that "relaxing", fertility meds, and IUI’s had been completely useless (and rather expensive).  Go me!  Normally I can’t shut myself up when I get going.

That branch of the conversation ended when I gave up and said "OK, Mom, let’s talk about something else."  It served no greater good, except to remind me that being cynical about fertility belongs only here and not in real life.  ‘Cause the fertiles in real life haven’t got a clue.

November 6, 2006

I was going to leave that last post on top longer, but…

Posted in The musings of Erin at 4:49 pm by Erin

Then I saw this on K #2’s blog:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061106/ap_on_re_us/procreation_vacation

There weren’t enough four-letter words in my vocabulary to accurately respond.  It includes gems like:

1. [Dr. Lana Holstein] said getting away to spa or a hotel really can aid conception: "It’s the relaxation factor. It’s that all the other stressors in life are gone."

2.  "My husband and I thought that we would go on the vacation and learn all these nice fertility secrets and we’d be practicing them for a number of months for them to work," said Hughes, 35, who conceived the day she got back from the trip. "We were stunned. There’s definitely some truths to the foods and the elixirs."

The couple had been trying for only two months, since their wedding in May.

And my favorite:

3. Dr. Jason James of Miami said he often encourages couples trying to have a baby to sneak away for a few days, and he often sees it work.

"One of the most easy, therapeutic interventions is to recommend a vacation," James said. "I think the effect of stress on our physiology is truly underestimated."

If my OB said that to me at my annual appointment, his ears would be ringing for the next two weeks.

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But don’t let that stop you–go on down and tell me about your RE’s clinic’s waiting room!  I’m really curious.

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