Saturday, January 29, 2005

a little cycle music

I’ve started 4 blog entries this week, and couldn’t bring myself to finish any of them. I’m just so incredibly tired so much of the time. (And waiting for the results of the most recent bloodwork to see if there’s a reason - like low thyroid or soemthing).

I want to thank you all for your comments on the blog privacy thing. After having already mentioned to both my mom and the in-laes that a blog exists (unfortunately before your wonderful advice) I’ve decided not to share it wil them. Still considering sharing other people’s blogs, or at least selected postings, if they might provide insight without reading my words. Hell, my new therapist wanted to kow if I wanted to share my blog with her. (I politely declined - she can hear my rants in person, thank you very much.)


While my in-laws were here, we went wandering around this touristy shopping area, and they went into a toy store (something I generally avoid doing with my mother-in-law, since the time she was cooing over all the cute baby things). So, I only barely stepped into the store, but J was playing one of those lap harps - you know, where you slide the music under the strings, and then you can just follow the little chart to play the song. I looked down at the music, and what did I see? Looks like a temp chart to me. (Rhyming totally not intentional, but rather appropriate.) So, giggling, I mention this to J, who says “I wonder what your chart would sound like?”

Not very melodic, I’m guessing. But with lots of ups and downs.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Request for advice

This is actually my second blog. The first consisted mostly of my venting about fertility, family, and life in general (okay, not so different from now!), and I decided I should get a fresh start in case I wanted to share the blog with anyone I know outside the internet - specifically, in case I want to allow my parents and in-laws to read the blog. I considered this in the hopes that by reading the blog they’d better understand what’s going on with us, and that I wouldn’t have to repeat the same information several times. I know there are people in blogland who share their blog with some members of their families, and others who are careful to keep the two separate. I’m curious what people’s thoughts are on this. Is it a terrible idea to share the blog with family? Do you end up censoring yourself?

Case in point - [I’ll consider deleting this if ever I give access to the in-laws, even though they were there for the conversation.]

Setting: In the car on a long drive with J and his parents (visiting from out of town)

Conversation goes something like this:

Me: So, um, I wanted to mention that I know you’re trying, but telling me over and over that losing weight would help us get pregnant is really not at all helpful. I’d appreciate it if that didn’t get pulled out as if it’s the cause of this situation.

MIL: Well, it’s true that weight has an impact on fertility.

Me: (gets ready to bang head on a wall, can’t find wall, looks at J for help)

J: That’s really not the point.

Me: While that’s true in general, it’s not a useful piece of advice for me. [And even if it were, you’ve already told me several times.] My weight is a SYMPTOM of my PCOS and is exacerbated by the fertility drugs [and my depression over the fertility problems].

MIL: Yes, but weight is still really important.

Me: [deep breath, count to 10]Yes, but it’s not helpful for you to tell me that anymore. I have several doctors and an acupuncturist working with me on these issues - including rethinking the categories of food that I consume. Besides which, our fertility problems aren’t just with me. There are some... sperm issues.... too. [Why don’t you tell HIM to work on HIS weight?]

J: Maybe she doesn’t know the rules.

MIL: The rules?

Me: Oh yes, the rules. Number 1 - Don’t try to be my doctor. I already have several, thank you. Please just be family. Number 2 - Don’t assume I’m in the mood to talk about this - I may be, and I may not be, and there’s no real way of knowing. That’s just how it is. Number 3 [They had already herad this one.] - If we want someone to know about our fertility issues, WE will tell them. This is not your job. [Note: Things have improved a lot with my mother since introducing these rules - hopefully the same will be true for MIL.]

I do think she got it, in the end, but it was frustrating how long it took. That being said - please, no harsh comments about my MIL. She means well, and she’s trying, and I’m not angry with her nor do I want anyone else to be. It’s just one of those sticky situations we have from time to time.

So, is is a bad idea to share the blog with them? Or will it be a useful way of communicating without engaging in these sorts of conversations over and over? Am I going to end up censoring myself?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Professional assvice

Today was our introductory class with the Fertility Clinic.

The clinic is part of the huge HMO that is both insurance company and medical provider, so everything is in-house - pharmacy, labs, GP, OB/GYN, and of course the fertility clinic. In order to get an appointment at the fertility clinic, you have to first attend a class on fertility. Now, who do you think would teach such a class - an RE? A nurse practitioner from the fertility* clinic? No, of course not. That’s what the education department is for.

The educator was nice enough, and she is a nurse, but you could just tell that this class (which they offer at least once a month) is all the contact she has with infertiles, and most of us were just sitting there silently. Among the pearls of wisdom:

  • Some people just need the information from the class and no medical intervention. This would be, apparently, the people that don’t know that they need to have sex.
  • ”Lifestyle factors” are more important than learning about tests, possible causes, potential treatments, or the nuts and bolts of how this particular clinic works. No, we need to spend a lot of time talking about how smoking and drinking are bad for fertility (”But I’m not suggesting you walk out of here and just quit drinking. Maybe try cutting back gradually.” Thanks. That was helpful for those of us who have already given up not just alcohol and caffeine, but flour, sugar, and dairy.)
  • Stress managament is important. They offer yoga classes.
  • Taking your BBT is pointless, because it’s hard to interpret correctly.
  • Fertility monitors are pointless because now that we’re patients of the fertility clinic, they’ll do the monitoring.
  • Ovulation predictor kits work like pregnancy tests. (I guess because you pee on them?)
  • Two things we could do right away (or rather, after we got home): fill out the intake forms [yeah, so we filled them out right there in the classroom and hand delivered them to the clinic - who needs to waste a stamp or all that time] and practice “coital factors” - have sex around ovulation [hee - ovulation - that’s funny!] and stay lying down for 20-30 minutes after intercourse.

This doesn’t take into account the little catfight disagreement we had when she asked what some of the drawbacks of temp charting were and I said it doesn’t help if you don’t ovulate the temp rise is too late to use as a predictor of ovulation, and she said the temp rises BEFORE ovulation. Um, okay. Apparently, we’re both right, since the pink handout says the temp rise happens AROUND ovulation. So there.

Otherwise, I tried to restrain myself from the snide comments [I saved them for you all - now don’t you feel lucky?], because I suppose it’s nice that they offer this orientation class. J learned that fat holds on to estrogen, and that there were versions of ART beyond a ‘simple’ IVF. I learned that they offer a class on how to do injectibles - now that’s something for which I’ll actually want desperately need an in-person class!

We also watched a video from the ASRM called “To Have a Child” - this was actually probably the most useful part of the class for people who don’t already have a Google degree in infertility. The video explained the most common diagnostics for male and female factors, and talked some about treatment options. The best part was the section of clips from an infertility support group - cheesy 1990s clothing to be sure (I was going to say 1980s, but I really think it was 90s - and how weird that that’s long ago enough to look dated!), but suggested some of the conflicts in relationships that seem so common to infertiles - dealing with well-meaning but obnoxious relatives, personal questions from everyone and their mother, strained marital relationships - the laundry list of infertile emotional issues. No pat solutions were offered, which was also good.

So since we’re such overachievers (not only did we already deliver our paperwork, complete with my last three FF temp charts, but we’ve already had a ton of diagnostics run) we should be first in line for an appointment. They have to read over our questionnaire forms and figure out how much our situation sucks. And then we’ll see what they offer next.

* I just mistyped this as FRETility, which really does make sense. A clinic designed just for my fretting. What more could a girl want?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

faking my way

Sometimes I feel like an impostor.

In school, for example. I don’t actually know what I’m talking about most of the time - I’m just making it up. But if other people accept it, then it comes to be real. And maybe everyone is making it up and I just think they know what they’re talking about? I have a colleague who seems made for academia. She loves this stuff - the reading, the discussions, the language. She speaks “academic” better than almost anyone I know - she already sounds official. When I speak up, even if I have an interesting thought to contribute, it comes out like I’m 12 - with a lot of “you know” or examples from pop culture or television. It doesn’t show as much in my writing - I guess because I have more time to polish the wording. But I still feel like an impostor - like this is an act and if anyone pulled back the curtain they’d laugh at what was really back there.

I feel it, too, in my fertility. Either I’m pretending to be normal or I’m pretending to be infertile. Or both. In my public life I’m wearing the mask of normalcy - when people ask if or when we’re planning to have kids, I make something up. I have a couiple of stock answers, depending on who’s doing the asking. Sometimes I say something about needing to finish up this stage of my academic work before we can have kids. Sometimes I change the subject. Sometimes I say, “we’re trying” (usually not, though). But then, when I do tell someone what’s really going on, I feel like my situation isn’t bad enough to warrant how I’m feeling about it. I mean, we haven’t been trying that long, and I’m so young and maybe if we just relaxed and take a vacation... (We tried, really we did. It was a nice, relaxing vacation. But without an egg, let alone any olympic-swimmer sperm, it was just a vacation.)

Sometimes I feel like I’m faking the blogging thing, too.* I want to be part of this community of people who write better and think more clearly and have had it much harder than me, but I feel like I’m tagging along. I’m not nearly poetic or creative enough to be here. My story isn’t nearly interesting enough.

I’m not sure what things I feel I’m not faking anymore.

This reminds me of a time at summer camp (I went to a UU camp, so very laid back and open) and in a women’s discussion group the whole bunch of us were in a funk about our bodies, and somehow we decided to go around the room and everyone had to say one part of their body they liked. Mine was my feet. It was a good exercise, but looking back I think how pathetic it is that all I liked was my feet.

I still do. My feet aren’t fake.

*Just to be clear, this is not a request for indulgent pats on the back saying yes, of course you belong here. While that’s nice to hear, I suppose, I’m just working out this weird feeling I’m having right now.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Grasping at straws

Genes Promoting Fertility Are Found in Europeans

Researchers in Iceland have discovered a region in the human genome that, among Europeans, appears to promote fertility, and maybe longevity as well.

So maybe the problem is that I'm not from Iceland?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Shouldn't they know this stuff?

I had my first visit to the new HMO doctor a couple of days ago - she’s young, and casual (I felt like I should be calling her by her first name, not Dr. A). She wrote me a new prescription for the Glucophage, at a higher dose, and ordered a bunch of lab work. She started to order lab work for diabetes, and I had to clarify that just because I’m on Gluc, doesn’t mean I’m diabetic.

I like her, so far, but I’m really tired of having to educate my doctors. The student health center is always trying to run blood sugar levels for me since they think I’m diabetic. How many times do I have to repeat “I’m not diabetic; I have PCOS and am Insulin Resistant.”

Even more fun was when they’d ask the date of my last period, and I’d say, “oh, two years maybe?” and they’d politely suggest a pregnancy test. Because, you know, being on the pill and not ovulating anyway are really good ways to get knocked up.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Can't win no matter what you do

So the story about Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's breakup has turned into a story about how he wanted kids and she wanted to put her career first. (There's a good article on about this).

I know there were rumors about fertility clinics and something about a fertility medallion (gotta get me one of them) but this is really just another story about the expectation to have love -- marriage -- baby (see Brooklyn Girl and Danae for more on the oh-so-lovely "normal" pattern). What I find weird is that some of the gossip seems to be about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and how he was caught up in her maternal glow or something. Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston is being criticized for choosing an active filming schedule - for putting her work before family, and for making money with her body while she can. But Jolie was filming a big Hollywood movie, too, and her son is adopted. (Which is great, of course, though it seems like there are all these celebrities that adopt rather than risk losing their figures - look at Calista Flockhart!)

Best quote from the article:
It's enough to make us all -- movie stars and non-movie stars, moms and nonmoms, those of us married to Brad Pitt and those of us who are not -- sit back with enormous martinis and consider whether the most interesting things about us will ever cease to be our uteruses.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Jesus fish

One of mom’s fish was looking pretty sick - he has something called “bloat” that makes him float upside down in the most pathetic way. He was pretty touch-and-go there for a while, and Mom thought about flushing him to put him out of his misery, but the fish store people said he’d recover. So now that he’s feeling better I thought maybe she should finally name him.

Mom: What’s a name that means newly healthy, or risen from the dead?

[pause - we look at each other, start to giggle]

Both: Jesus [giggle giggle snort - trying to be quiet, because J is asleep on the couch]

Mom: I can’t call him Jesus, maybe Jesus (Spanish pronunciation)

[giggle giggle]

Me: You could call him “Hey” for short.

Mom: What if he dies next week?

Me: Well, then you’ll have to hope he returns in March.

Mom: You’re so weird. Who raised you, anyway?

oh, the simple joys

When we bought our house, we were all excited about the remodeling/updating we were going to do. That first summer, before we even moved in, we had the ceilings scraped of their godawful popcorn texture, pulled up the carpets and had the hardwood floors refinished, and painted most of the rooms. After we moved in we wired the house for phone, cable, and internet, did more painting, rearranged furniture, and redid the floors in the utility room, craft room, and workroom. And then the academic year reared it’s ugly head, and we stopped with the house projects (except for tiny things we squeezed in on weekends). Last summer, we resumed the house work by emptying out the kitchen into the dining room, tearing out the old counters and the backsplashes and the old stove, making room for a dishwasher and a pretty new stove, and having the cabinets painted. This was supposed to be our summer project - one we’re only now finishing up (we had to take another break for the fall quarter/semester). Now that the kitchen is almost done (finally!) we can actually think about what other projects we want to tackle, before we lose all interest in home projects.

The next substantial project is to update the hall bathroom (with its lovely pink floral wallpaper from the 1960s). The last time my mom came to visit, she stripped a bunch of the wallpaper (revealing the equally lovely pink walls underneath) - a challenge to the in-laws who are visiting later this month. On good days, I can think about the fun parts of this project - the new paint, the new accessories. The walls will be a fairly deep blue (like blue jeans) with the paneling painted a crisp white.

The initial plan was for a grown-up bathroom that could, with the addition of a few accessories, feel kid-friendly, too (someday, maybe, hopefully). It’s the bathroom that guests use, so it doesn’t ever want to be full of cutesy stuff... and we’re not really cutesy people. We have a couple of rubber duckies, so we thought we’d add them to the room for that little bit of fun. It was never the goal to have a rubber duckie themed room - we’ve seen a couple of those, recently, and they can easily get over-the-top.

Somewhere along the way, my mom started buying us little ducky accessories for the bathroom - a print of some duckies, a ducky bath sponge, a mini rubber ducky... Yesterday, she gave me a pair of ducky slippers - big, fuzzy, yellow ducks. They’re not the right size (which she knows) but she apparently couldn’t help herself. Why? What might be irresistable about fuzzy yellow ducky slippers?

They quack. A lot. In a strangely cute way. Who knew quacking slippers could be so amusing?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Who gets to be a parent?

Mother Held After Firefighters Find Her Baby's Body in Washer

But we have to go through tests and procedures and needles and drugs, medical screenings and homevisits and background checks. WTF.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Lions and tigers and bears - oh my!

I wanted to write a brilliant post greeting the new year and bidding good riddance to the old, but instead I sat around. This is how much the new year has inspired me.


My acupuncturist suggested that I eliminate flour, sugar, and dairy from my diet. This is supposed to help my asthma, and, of course, my fertility (because if it wouldn't help my fertility, then really, what would be the point?). I'd been mulling over this suggestion for a couple of weeks, since I don't have a great track record of sticking with my weird diets.

When I was little, I had a ton of food allergies, and so my mom (Hi mom!) was really careful about everything I ate - at home or at other people's houses. There were lists of food I could and could not eat - long, detailed lists. And then I started to grow out of my allergies, or at least to be less affected by them, and so I got less careful about what I ate. And by college, I ate pretty much whatever I wanted - mostly okay food, with an average portion of total junk. One summer in college I went on an anti-Candida diet, where I didn't eat flour, sugar, or fermented things. It worked fine during the summer, but back at school? Not so much. The year before my wedding, after doing a lot of research on my recent PCOS diagnosis, I went on a modified low-carb/Atkins-variety diet. This was, of course, back in the days when everyone thought that low-carb was a terrible idea, and people on the PCOS mailing list would exchange their responses to the obnoxious comments people would make about their eating habits. I lost a ton of weight, though - not that it shows anymore.

Most recently I've tried reducing my carb intake, or at least cutting back on white flour and sugar - this is what I had planned for this next go-around. But instead, I'm eating this weird combination of macrobiotic and I-don't-know. I'm making it up as I go along.

What makes this all the more complicated is that J is not a particularly adventurous eater - and he's not a big fan of veggies, or tofu, or fish. He's more of a pasta and bread person - and that's a clear no-no for me. So I'm experimenting with these recipes that I'm not sure even sound appealing to me, but I don't want to complain because I want him to try some of this new food too. And, since it's not exactly macrobiotic or anything else (since I'm still eating chicken, fish, and meat), there's no clear guidebook. I just have to pull from a variety of sources and make it up.

Tonight I made a veggie-beef stew in the slow cooker. Haven't tasted it yet - we'll see how that goes. Maybe we can put it over one of my many new whole grain products - bulghur and quinoa and wheat berries, oh my!