Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why the Guilt?

Hubby and I have carefully avoided discussions of babies and doctors and such lately. With six years of this crap under our belts already, we are no strangers to ttc break protocol. I secretly watch for little signs to tell me how my cycle is going while desperately fighting the urge to pick up my thermometer. We have relations often, but the afterglow is very strained as we search for something other than "Go fellas go!" to chant. Every year around this time we do this. Most of the time it is due to winter blues gripping me like a vice until March buttercups shine their golden goodness melting away all of the ice and gloom.

I always struggle with an icky sense of guilt when we take a break. I shouldn't. I chose this and I am grateful to have a little while to breathe.It always creeps up slowly as the first cycle of our break ticks by. A brief moment of panic takes over and I have to force myself to put the thermometer back and just let things be. After that initial wave of fear, I realize that I rather enjoy having a break. Hubby and I enjoy each other immensly during this time and seek each other out for comfort and conversation. I tend to seek out activities that keep me in the same room with Hubby and he goes out of his way to do things that make me smile.

I feel like I have this huge wad of pressure and anxiety that I have managed to stuff into a shoe box for a while so that I can see out into the world again. I can sit alone with myself for extended periods of time and I work hard to pamper myself and heal the previous battle's scars.

But.... there is always a but...

That guilt is like a shadow, lurking in the dark to hunt me down and devour me. I feel like I shouldn't enjoy this time at all. I feel like the clock is ticking and I am just sitting around wasting precious seconds. It is so frustrating. I work hard to look past it, and I think I do a good job. Still, there are occasions when I find myself sitting alone in the dark arguing internally.

I guess this is just another corner of life that infertility has taken claim over.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A baby

I guess if I can't have one the old fashioned way, I can just improvise right?

I'm just kidding. I made a baby doll for a co worker's little girl for Christmas. She loves it and carries it everywhere with her. Her mom asked me a couple of weeks ago if I could make another one for her little niece. She said every time her niece comes over there is a brawl of gnashing teeth and hair pulling for a chance to play with the baby doll. I finished the new one last night and I like her face much better than the first one I made. I added her and the original to my etsy shop just in case there are any little girls out there in the market for a fun little dolly.

Go check out what the rest of the class is sharing!
Show and Tell

Friday, January 23, 2009

Forwards or Backwards?

Ugh! My brain has suddenly turned to mush and I can't think of any decent way to begin this post!

Let's just dive in. I need a bit of advice I guess.

For those of you keeping score, the doc told us a couple of weeks ago that our precious time with clomid was up. I wept piteously for a day or so, sucked it up, partied with af and went about my merry way. We had already planned at least a month long break hoping to coast on clomid's skirt tails. Imagine my horror when I discovered that not only does clomid loathe skirt tails, she walks around teasing the boys in her fancy schmancy daisy dukes. Darn.

A day or so before af packed her bags, I got a head ache. "Great," I thought. "Here they come."

Sure enough, the next day I woke up to a dull ache that crept towards the top of my head as the day wore on. It didn't hurt that bad at the time and I shrugged thinking that perhaps it was just a headache. Normal people do get those if you didn't know. Anyway, the next day it was gone. I breathed a sigh of uncomprehensible relief and went to work. Fast forward a day or two...

My neck started to hurt. "Uh oh."

It started to hurt really bad.

Sure enough, two days later, here they come. This week has been one of survival. I suppose I can say I have had one massively long migraine, but it comes and goes. I'm not sure if anyone else gets this or not, but mine always seem to do this. It will be here for a few tortuous hours and then slink back into a dull ache at the back of my skull for a bit. Suddenly it will leap out from its hiding spot and render me utterly useless. It has been this way every single day this week. It finally peaked yesterday while I was at work (of course) and I spent my lunch break in total dark and silence with a bag of ice perched upon my head.

Every time my body has a hormone disruption this happens. I don't understand why or how. I just know it is about to get the best of me right now. Hubby and I have discussed this in great detail the past few days and I have sought out the advice of my elders. I have tried the vice-gripping daily meds and that turned into a horrifying ordeal that took us months to recover from. I do have a medicine that I can take, but it has a wonderful side effect that leaves me unable to walk or feel my legs well enough to crawl to bed unassisted. Using this at work would be disastrous I think.

The first time we did this through my family doc who sent us to a neurologist that spent all of thirty seconds with me before scrawling out a script and running to another door (seriously). Had he listened to Hubby and I, he would realize that the med he prescribed was a seriously dangerous one when used with metformin, diabetic or not. He probably would have also caught on to the countless times we mentioned fertility and hormones before signing a death sentence for af, ovulation, and any hopes of a baby that we might have entertained. He set us back six months.

I am thinking about going to my gyn doc and discussing the seriousness of my migraines and how it affects my ttc process as well as my daily life. Hubby and I have been toying with the idea of a few months on bcps. I don't know that they would help and I have nightmares of my sixteen year old self raging and ranting to invisible people thanks to bcps, but I know there are new meds out there and perhaps we can find one that works. I'm frustrated with all of this mess and at the moment, I'm not sure what to do. Obviously a trip to the doc is in order but in the meantime I was hoping that perhaps you could lend me all of your wisdom and perhaps calm my fears...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A fun project

I had a chance this week to meet up with one of my best friends from high school. She has lived in Africa for the past year helping spread AIDS awareness among the children over there. It was so wonderful to see her and hear her stories. Hubby had intended on going with me but things didn't work out that way. I would love for Hubby to have met her, but I will admit, I was selfishly a little glad to get some one on one time with her.

She moved to another state this week for some additional schooling before going back to Africa again. We will be able to chat from time to time and I am certain she will visit her friends and family here on occasion while at school, but I will still miss her. She is a great person with so much courage to do what she is doing.

I worked feverishly the night before our meeting to make something special for her. I thought I would share him with all of you today. I think he is adorable and he fit perfectly into her travelling lifestyle. I am going to add him to my etsy shop as well so feel free to order one of your very own! (If you're wondering, the eyes are made with knotted yarn so they are baby safe.)

We discussed PCOS a bit and I was sad to hear she too had been struggling with similar problems. She is unmarried, so her options and tests were a bit different especially in Africa, but she has been battling large ovarian cysts for a while now. Bcps made her very sick and she couldn't continue to take them, but is looking for a GYN in NC that can help her come up with a treatment plan. If you know of a good PCOS friendly doctor in NC, please email me that info so that I can pass it on to her.

* Also as a side note, if you didn't notice, I have been doing a bit of housecleaning. I hate, hate, hate, to put in some of the new additions, but I feel like it is necessary right now for Hubby and I. They have cut him down once again at work and when the schedule came out today for next week, Hubby had no hours at all. We know it is temporary, but unfortunately, that doesn't help us much right now. I hope you'll understand.

I'm going to be adding a few things to Etsy in the next couple of weeks too. Please stop by often and check out the new stuff!
Now, go back to class and see what the other kids are showing this week!
Show and Tell

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You're gonna love this one!

My sister called me yesterday at work via my mom's cell phone with a message to call her back. I shrugged indifference and waited until lunch. Then I nearly lost my lunch.

My sister is a senior in college. She is a home body and a dreamer. She majored in drama and she lives up to her full potential most of the time if you know what I mean! Just before Christmas she started talking about this guy she was dating. She lives two hours away when at school and this guy lives almost exactly between home and school so over the break they went out several times. She came in one night and nonchalantly mentioned that she had broken it off with this guy. I just let it go at the time because I know that she is truly in love with another guy here and is only dating to try and move on or prove a point.

Then my sister started asking me grown up questions on the way home one night. I tried to pretend like it was no big deal, but seriously, could you please warn me before you alter the path of our relationship and sisterhood forever?!?! I gave her all the info I could and tried to be open and honest with her about everything. I also made a big point to warn her that as soon as I began to play hokey pokey on a regular basis, my pcos held up huge flaming red flags, and all hell broke loose. It was strange discussing my sex life with my little sister, but I moved on with an "Awww, she's growing up" and that was that.

Until I called her back. At school. With my mother standing a few feet away raising a questioning eyebrow my way.

She wanted me to go with her to buy a pregnancy test. She was late. I told her that it was normal for her body to fluctuate a bit but that we would go and get one so that she could have the peace of mind. On the way to the store last night I asked how late she was. I almost laughed. "Well, I'm almost a day late." I tried to be understanding and remember back when I was her age. At that point Hubby and I were actively trying but I was still very naive when it came to the hidden wonders of the female body.

"I just know that you have tried so hard and I figured it would be my luck to pop up pregnant on the first try."

This was the comment that sent my carefully controlled emotional stability hurtling through space. I think it passed Mars at one point. The idea of her becoming pregnant before me, with an unplanned baby that she had no way of caring for made me physically sick.

She kept saying to me "Arian, what will I do? I can't tell Mom. I can't keep it. There is no way I could take care of a baby right now. I have so many things I want to do."

I just laughed and trying to lighten the mood I said "Pfft, I got that covered. We'll take a vacation and when you give birth you can just give it to me and no one will ever know which of us was truly pregnant. Have any where you've always wanted to visit?"

She turned and said, "I would probably give it up for adoption, but I couldn't bear giving it to you and Hubby. It would just be weird."

I totally understand what she is saying and if I were in her shoes, I would feel the same way. But... That was a hideous thing to imagine. A mental image of her handing a strange couple her baby as Hubby and I held on to a negative pee stick brought tears to my eyes. It made me so angry. With her for being so foolish and naive. With myself for being so selfish and bitter. With my body for being so broken and hopeless.

I kept a lid on all of this. I wanted to be a big sister, not an infertile at the moment. We drove to my house and she took the test. I even let her use my little pee cup that I keep stashed on the off chance that I might make it to a testable point in my cycle. The test showed one line and I couldn't help studying it in the light just like I do mine searching for the faintest sign of pink. This is when she said "Well, are you sure it isn't too early? We did it almost a week ago."

I laughed hysterically at this. I couldn't handle it anymore. I took her into my bedroom, shut the door, and had a very long heart to heart about the inner workings of a female cycle. I made sure to explain that if you did the deed two days before your period was due, chances were, you weren't knocked up and if by some strange miracle you were, it certainly wouldn't show up on a pee stick for another week or so even in the best of circumstances. I also took time to "mother" her a bit and remind her that what she did wasn't exactly one of her smarter choices and that perhaps next time, she should rethink things. She also confided in me that he had pulled the plug long before he was finished. It made me laugh to remember Hubby and I panicking once before we were married because I caught a bug at work and started barfing a couple of weeks after a close call. We actually thought that we could make babies like that!

She called today to tell me that she had started.

I told her that I was glad I didn't have to hate her. I said it lightly and jokingly, but truthfully, I needed to say that out loud.

Last night I went to bed sad. I didn't like the feelings I had over something so serious and scary for my sister. It bothered me to realize I had become such a bitter and angry person because of this. I felt sad for Hubby and I. Most couples never lose that "innocence" when it comes to baby making. In the beginning, it was an adventure, our first adventure together as a family. Now, it is the source of our pain. When we begin to struggle within our marriage, infertility is the first closet we purge in our hearts, and most often we find somewhere in there is the hidden center of our frustration with each other. I feel like we have been robbed of so much joy that we could have shared, had this not been a constant companion in our every day life.

Infertility has become an infestation in our lives. It is like a roach that hides in the dark. When the lights are on, you might not notice it, but let it get dark and watch it scurry around carefree on any surface it chooses. It affects us financially and emotionally. It affects what we eat thanks to metformin and who we choose as friends. I have even noticed that the ups and downs in our friendships are closely related to the results of or timing of our cycle. It is a factor in our free time as we weigh the "adorable couple with baby stroller, sucking face as they walk by" factor of any activity. I don't even go to the bathroom the same anymore.

I hate this crap. I think we all need to acknowledge our pain. We should take more pride in our courage, strength, and patience. The shit we go through is hard and without each other via these blogs and the outlets we have carved out for ourselves, most of us would battle this alone without a place to feel accepted and understood.

Thanks for being my outlet.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What I did get for Christmas.

I may not have gotten the number one thing on my list to Santa this year, but that is why my lists were always two pages long as a kid. I always figured I should give Santa some options.

I am very happy to report that I got three things on my very short list this year plus a surprise or two. Not a bad haul in my opinion. Hubby gave me an amazing camera that is far too amazing for my amateur photo skills at this point. I promised I would learn though and learn I will. I also had a wonderful time with my family and I worked very hard to make sure that this year went perfectly for everyone.

Then, my mother in law sent me the greatest gift card I have ever received! It was the one thing I kept holding my breath for. She couldn't send me what I wanted but she made sure I could get it myself and I love her dearly for it! My aunt also came through with that gift too and a really cool gadget to go with it!

Yes. She got me yarn! The kids at school laughed at me when I told them what I got. One of my second graders tapped me on the shoulder very seriously and motioned for me to come closer. I leaned down and she whispered in my ear, "Mrs. Arian, that isn't exactly good. Yarn is sorta like coal. You need to work on that I think." If you asked me, I thought it was pretty great!

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go out in the 30 degree night with an insanely cold wind chill and find a fugitive dog. You should head over to Mel's and check out what the rest of the class is showing!
Show and Tell

Friday, January 9, 2009

Questions and Answers

Guess who showed up this morning? The day after the doctor called wanting to know about my cycle? Argh! What a bitch she is!

I am disappointed of course, but I'm truly relieved at the same time. I have a definitive answer and I can emotionally move past it now. It may not have been the answer I wanted, but it is better than no answer at all.

I do feel much better knowing that I was right and that the clomid did not fail this month like the doctor assumed. My cycle was only 39 days long which for a pcos chick is not bad at all! My shortest provera free cycle was 31 or 32 days. It gives me faith again in my ability to read my body's signs and I know that at least something works for me. Clomid worked great! I am really sad that I will have to stop it, knowing that my body is going to fall apart again. That fact is almost as hard as getting a bfn.

I called the doctor this afternoon and left a message for him just in case it might change his plans. I figured that it would be better to call him and take the embarrassment of being "that neurotic infertile that keeps calling" and perhaps have the opportunity to cycle one more time with Clomid than to sit back and cry about my misfortune.

Regardless of the outcome, Hubby and I are treading in new waters and I can't stand being caught off guard. Those questions that we have been stuffing to the back of the closet for so long are now being pulled out and examined. I was hoping for some advice.

  • Do we talk to a different doctor before moving forward?

  • What are our options for the next step?
Hubby spoke with my doc once a couple of months ago and the doc told him that our next step would not be an IUI and possibly not injectibles. I don't know what else there could be. I'm so scared that he's going to bring us in and charge us a copay to tell us that he can't do anything and then hand us a business card to an RE. We have clung desperately to the hope that we will be successful with my gyn b/c insurance won't cover anything at all once I am "flagged" for ttc. We have been lucky so far to slip under the radar. The idea of paying for visit after visit out of pocket is not in the cards right now (or the bank account!) and we would have to drive over an hour to get to the nearest RE. If this becomes our next step, I guess Hubby and I will just have to stop for a while and stash money for a long while before trying again.

  • We have discussed very seriously the adoption option. I know we will need to step back and financially get our acts together if we do that. I want to know what they look at when you adopt and what it would take for us to explore that option. Do we have to own a home? Income? Credit? Fancy cars? Huge life insurance policies? Kitchen sinks? We're clueless.

I'm just sort of stuck right now. I know we should schedule an appt with the doc soon but to be honest, if he isn't going to let us do another clomid cycle, I think I would rather take a month off before jumping back into all of the heartache. We all talk here about how difficult IF is and it always lingers in every aspect of our lives. For me though, when something like this happens the pain is so acute and intense. It always surprises me at how drained and emotionally fragile I become after a while.

Last night Hubby went to work and I didn't get a chance to tell him about the doc until much later when he got off of work. I came home and sobbed for several hours. I just needed to get it out I guess. I started to cry and I couldn't stop. It hurt so much to keep that pain on the surface that long but it was such a release. I allowed myself to hurt and I feel better about stuff today.

As an aside, I don't know if all that crying caused my current eye issues or not but omg! My eyes are so puffy and heavy feeling. I can't open them all the way today and they burn. I've been working on a new writing project this week, I haven't been sleeping well, and I have new glasses. I suppose it could just be some serious eye fatigue? Totally sucks though b/c I love new writing projects and I come home giddy at the thought of filling up the blank pages again. I'm afraid my eyes aren't going to cooperate much tonight though. Grrr!

I'll keep ya posted. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give us!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January 8th

Today is an important day in our home. It is the most emotional day of the year for Hubby and I. It looks as if a higher power wanted to make sure it stayed that way today...

Today is our 6th anniversary. Six years ago we were married in my grandmother's church. It was a church that our family has attended for many generations and most of them are buried in the cemetary there. It is where I go when I feel uprooted in life. I can always find my footing again there. It was only appropriate that we should be married there.

I wore a simple Sunday dress and Hubby wore khakis with a dress shirt. The pictures took longer than the service and we were soon on our way to my grandmother's house a couple of miles away for a home cooked dinner and a homemade cake with chocolate frosting. Hubby has often mentioned his regret in such a simple service. He felt like I deserved more. I always kiss him on the cheek and tell him I would never have been happy with anything different. My only regret is that his parents weren't there, but that was Hubby's fault.

We started planning and trying that night for our first child.

Six years later, we still dream about a family. The only difference is that our definition of "someday" has changed. That word used to mean a tangible possibility in the near future. Now "someday" brings a tear to our eyes and a prayer for a miracle.

Today of all days the doctor called me at work.

"Arian, how many clomid cycles have we done now?"

"Four," I replied.

He never even asked me if I had taken a test or what day I expected af.

Tears filled my eyes and I heard him say, "We're not going to do any more clomid cycles. I want you to take your metformin and call the office to set up an appointment for you and your husband soon. We need to discuss our other options."

I feel like I have been rejected or dismissed. It is like he slammed a door in my face just as I started to introduce myself. I'll never slam the door in the face of another vacuum cleaner salesman for the rest of my life.

I know there are other options and perhaps he isn't going to send us off to a clinic just yet. Still, I wasn't prepared. I thought we had two more cycles of Clomid before we had to face that.

I walked to my mother's room and stood in her coat room sobbing. She reminded me that af still hasn't arrived and that her tests were slow to show two lines. Her doctor didn't want to even do a urine test on her, telling her very confidently that she wasn't pregnant. My mother told him that if that was the case, she wanted a test to prove it. Nine months later I was born. She reminded me that we needed to take one step at a time and at least find out our options. "God has a plan. It will happen."

Why can't I believe her? I look at the odds and then I adjust the balance for myself. I'm sure some of you know what I mean. You face so much disappointment that when a situation shows itself, you automatically adjust the scales against yourself before considering the chances of "those normal people."

I wish I had a giant eraser that would rub this date out of our year. We celebrate our marriage every single day of the year. We have to in order to make up for all of the pain we go through on our anniversary.

Monday, January 5, 2009

For those of you keeping score...

She still isn't here.

And, I'm too chicken to test.

Our anniversary is on Thursday so for now I am planning to test first thing Wednesday morning. If I get a bfn and af is still mia we are calling the doc on Friday. My body is doing some strange things right now.

Clomid, up to this point has had pin point accuracy. It is the first time in my entire life that my body seems to agree with itself. Hubby has even joked that perhaps the doc can be persuaded to let me have a lifetime supply.

As of now I have passed both the earliest and the latest af arrival dates with nary a spot or twinge. I have not had a migraine like normal, and although tired, I have not taken a marathon nap that is known here as af's door bell.

The most bizarre of these developments is an insatiable one and I am not talkin food here ladies. I dream about it, wake up thinking about it, and go to bed pleading for one more round. Hubby is beginning to take on the battle scars of a weary warrior.

I'm frustrated, impatient, hopeful, and prepared for disappointment.

All I can do is wait...

Perhaps a few prayers, thoughts, and crossed digits will tilt the scales on my side.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


It seems I have miscalculated.

I thought for sure af would be here on the 1st. She wasn't. She still isn't. I dunno where she has gone.

I have temped the last few days and that hasn't been very helpful either. I was a bit achy last night and woke up certain I would find a drop in temp. I didn't. It actually went up. I'm confused.

My original idea based on last month's "o" date was to expect her on the 4th. With a rise in temp though, I don't think that is going to happen either. I can't have been off by more than a day or so.

Crap. What do I do?

(I am posting this with my Murphy's tendency in mind. I imagine that only mere moments after I hit publish, she will rear her ugly head in hysterical rebellion at my carefully laid out plans. Grrr! What a bitch!)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy friggin New Year.

We are only two days into '09 and already I am wishing we could just skip it altogether. We decided that albeit a day early, we would test on the 31st. Our intent was to end the year badly rather than begin it that way if it was negative. The year did indeed seem to end badly as we watched one single line appear on the test. I just went back to bed.

That night, thanks to my own stupidity, we went to Dan and Dot's for our Eve celebration. It was either they came here, or we went there. I kicked myself in the ass the whole ride over to their house. He had demands that I considered very rude, but we complied and have since agreed that we will never go back over there again. We have also come to an agreement that they will no longer come to our house for a while. I can't deal with Dan's grumpy, demanding, controlling attitude.

As the ball prepared to drop, Hubby put out his cigarette. "That's it. That's the last one." Those words will haunt me for a very long time. I'm proud of him for wanting to quit. I want him to quit more than anyone. I quit three years ago, and have since come to despise his insistance to smoke in our home. I have to keep my crocheted treasures at my mother's house and I fight nicotine on the walls, television, computers, etc. I hate it. But, there is one thing I hate more.

This is a dark secret between only my wonderful internet friends and myself.

I hate when he tries to quit!

Hubby comes from a pretty difficult past. His father drank a lot and had a serious anger issue. He is wonderful now thanks to a new medication, but it still leaves scars on the faces of his children. My husband too, has an explosive anger at times and his words can cut very deeply into my heart.

Every year, he tries to quit and for days, we battle non stop. Nothing I do is good enough or right. I should clean more, or do more. I need a better job. He doesn't want what I cook but wants me to cook something right now. He paces around our apartment like a caged demon desperate to lash out at anyone that comes too close.

He usually makes it about twenty-two hours and then lights one up. "This is the only one," he'll tell me as he inhales deeply. A few hours later, he lights up another. He might actually make it a day and then he lights another. The difference in his behavior after one is unbelievable. As the craving sets in he taunts me and tries to find something to fight about. I cry, he screams, we struggle with every moment we spend together, and then finally he walks in the door holding a pack with several missing. Then it is all over and he aims for next year.

I try to be supportive. I truly do. I've been there. I know what it is like to quit. When I try to convince him that smoking one is a bad idea, he goes totally ape shit. He holds it over my head threatening to smoke one. When it finally gets beyond my control, I shrug and say, you know what, if you want to that bad, I can't stop you. Then he goes off on me for being unsupportive. It makes me want to scream! The sad thing is, he never makes it long enough for that crap to metabolize out of his system.

I want so desperately for him to quit. I want him to quit for his own health. I want him to quit for the health of our pups and our future children. I want him to quit for my own health's sake. Mostly though, I just want him to quit and this cycle be forever finished. I hate going through this every single year.

To go along with it, af is still mia, hubby is still getting crap for hours at work, school starts on Monday, and I feel like I haven't even begun to have a holiday yet. My tree still stands in its corner and I dare anyone to tell me I should take it down. I have turned off our outside lights, but the tree will remain for a few days more. I can't bear to see it's comforting glow turned off and boxed up.

I hope your new year began better than my own. Don't get me wrong, I have a ton to be thankful for too going into 2009. Right now it just seems like the bad is shielding me from the good.