Saturday, 26 October 2013

Finding my sunshine

OK, I promised and I'm sticking to it.  Happy post!  Or at least, a slightly less depressing post.  But just so you know how hard I'm working at this, the rest of my week did not improve.  I found out about no fewer than four pregnancies this week.  First my frenemy Calla, who I already mentioned.  Then M's friend, who was the MC at our wedding, and two girls from work.  The kicker: one of them goes to my fertility clinic.  We bumped into her there one morning while waiting for bloodwork.  She ended up asking me to go for coffee a few weeks later and asked my advice; she wasn't actually a patient of the clinic but was there for testing at her gyno's recommendation.  She apparently wasn't ovulating and her gyno was attempting to fix it by throwing all sorts of crap at it (clomid, injectables) that honestly made no sense to me.  My response: get thee to a proper RE, girlfriend!  She ended up seeing the same RE that I had been with during the Formerly Pregnant RE's maternity leave, and obviously they figured things out.  I seriously feel like I should get baby karma points for that one, if such things exist.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.  I honestly couldn't believe it when I got nominated for the Sunshine Award.  As I said to Amber, I'm usually such a little rain cloud!  But apparently some of you are suckers for my particular brand of snark-tastic ranting, so here goes:

There are apparently rules here.  I've had a bad week and I'm feeling rebellious, so eff your rules.  I don't need no stinkin' rules!  I will however answer your questions.  Five from each nominator to make up the requisite ten.

Questions from Daryl:

1.  What crazy celebrity baby name do you secretly love?
I don't really follow celebrities so I had to Google this one.  I think that Moxie CrimeFighter (daughter of magician Penn Jillette) is pretty bad ass.  Unfortunately we'll never be able to name a girl Moxie as it is also the name of M's brother's cat.

2.  What’s the best thing on TV right now?
If you don't already know the answer to this one, then you haven't been paying attention.  

I'm a sucker for eye candy, what can I say.  Hubba hubba.

Games of Thrones is also up there, but we don't have HBO so I have to wait for DVDs or a visit to my folks.  Same thing for Breaking Bad on Netflix.  I have no idea how it ended yet.  Don't spoil it for me or I swear I will hunt you down and hurt you.  

3.  What’s your favorite family recipe?  
This is super easy but for some reason my mom only does it on big turkey days (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter).  Instead of regular mashed potatoes, she mashes them up and then forms them into little logs and rolls them in egg wash, then in crushed up Corn Flakes (bonus: gluten free for my celiac sister!).  Then they get baked for a few minutes, so when you eat them the outside is nice and crispy while the inside stays soft and fluffy.  Dee-lish!

4.  What’s your hidden talent? 
I'm a really really good speller.  If I ever use spell-check (rarely) it's just to find typos. 
5.  How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
It's usually an hour from getting out of bed to getting out the door.  That's at a leisurely pace, though.  I could do it in 20 minutes if I rushed and skipped the hair straightener and breakfast.

Questions from Amber:

6.  Most embarrassing moment?
Gawd, it's been over 20 years and I still cringe at this one.  But here goes.  I was always a big reader as a kid and when I was about 13 or 14 I started reading more adult books.  You know, the kind with actual sex scenes in them.  Nothing 50 Shades of Grey-ish, just your normal romance novels or whatever that had more explicit sexytimes than I'd been used to in my Sweet Valley High books.  For whatever reason, a friend and I decided to take a stab at writing our own sex scenes, even though we knew absolutely nothing about sex at all.  I wrote what is probably some of the world's worst erotic fiction (scratch that, we have Twilight now) in the back of my diary, and promptly forgot about it.  A while later, after a day during which I'd been a particularly heinous teenage bitch to my mom, my mother dug out my diary and read it to see what was going on with me.  Of course, she found the sex scene and freaked out, thinking that it was maybe real or based on a true experience.  What followed was probably the most embarrassing, awkward conversation with my parents that I've ever had, wherein they asked me about it and I tried to explain that I had no idea what I was talking about and I'd just made it up because I wanted to try my hand at writing it.  I guess I must have eventually convinced them, but to be honest I've blocked a lot of the actual conversation out because it still makes my face red to think about it. 

7.  How did you and your spouse meet? 
This is actually a really awesome story that should be the subject of its own post.  Not so much how we met (the most boring part), but how we ended up dating and eventually getting married is pretty good.  Spoiler: it involves someone getting shot.  I'm not even a little bit kidding on this one.  Someone was shot with an honest-to-jeebus gun in the story of our relationship.  Don't worry, the person is fine.  And now I know the subject of my next post!

8.  What is your most prized possession/keepsake? 
Tough one.  Probably my engagement and wedding rings.  Not that they're super fancy or expensive or anything, but because of what they symbolize.  I was never a ring-wearer before I got engaged, and now I feel weird if I forget them for some reason. 

9.  Exercise - Love it or Hate it? 
Both.  I hate doing it, but love how it makes me look and feel.  It's the very definition of a love/hate relationship.

10.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I used to whine about my stubby legs or my belly pooch, but now I would fix my shitty ovaries, obviously.  I'd also love to be able to have a more optimistic outlook on things, as opposed to seeing the glass half empty all the time.

Thanks for the nomination, ladies!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Babies, babies everywhere!

I swear to God, I had intended to come here today and post something more positive than my last couple of posts have been.  I was going to answer some questions from the Sunshine Award nominations that I got from the lovely Daryl and Amber.  I was gonna be funny and witty and prove that I actually deserve the Sunshine Award instead of just being a sad, depressed grump.

But that will have to wait for another day.  Because it's one of those days when I just can't handle the babies.

It was a tough weekend around here.  I have no idea if it's the Lupron talking, but the number of tears that I shed for that damn little birdie was unreal.  I still haven't quite snapped out of the shock and horribleness of it all, and the feeling stuck with me today as I headed in to the office.  So I was in a bad mood to start with.

Today also marked the return of my co-worker Liam, whose wife gave birth a few weeks ago.  We'd all gotten a text from our boss saying that she'd delivered and that everyone was fine, but that was apparently glossing over a lot.  Turns out that there had actually been quite a bit of drama, beginning with Liam's wife waking to blood everywhere just shy of 38 weeks.  A frantic drive to the hospital revealed that she was having a placental abruption (a dangerous complication where the placenta separates from the uterus) and needed an emergency C-section.  They didn't even have time to give her an epidural, they just gassed her and delivered the baby.  All while Liam was standing outside in the hallway in his scrubs, waiting to be brought in as dozens of blood-spattered medical personnel ran in and out of the operating room past him.  At one point he thought he might lose both his baby and his wife, since she was losing a lot of blood and the baby had to be rushed off to the NICU.  Fortunately for all involved, things ended well and mom and little Jude are doing just fine.  But I could see Liam's eyes well up as he told the story, and see the immense love that he already had for his new little boy.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm in no way trying to minimize what he and his wife went through and I'd never ask for a pregnancy that turned out that way.  But knowing that everyone was fine, I couldn't help thinking as he told us the tale that it all worked out for you in the end.  You got your baby.  Lots of us don't.  How screwed up is that?

So after a long gloomy day, I headed home.  Only to be greeted by every infertile's favourite social media kick in the ass: a pregnancy announcement via ultrasound photo on Facebook.  And this wasn't just any Facebook friend.  It was my old high school friend Calla.

Now, about Calla.  We'd been friends since grade school, and were part of a small group of girls that remained tight even after graduating university and moving on to our grown-up lives.  She was fun but flighty; you could never count on her to be on time and if she had a problem with you she'd complain behind your back but never just come out and talk to you about it.  We started drifting when I went away to law school and never really reconnected once I came home.  She'd started dating the guy who she'd later marry and though we hung out once in a while, she spent most of her time with a new group of friends she'd met through work.

Then I moved to Ontario to take my current job.  We said we'd stay in touch, but of course we didn't.  So when I got an invitation to her wedding (scheduled to take place only about 6 months after I'd spent a ton of money moving halfway across the country) I figured she'd understand when I told her that I couldn't make it for financial reasons.  I sent a card and a gift, but apparently that wasn't enough.  She was incredibly offended that I didn't come, but of course she's never said any of this to my face.  I've just heard about it from our mutual friends that she bitched to about me.  And she's never really forgiven me.  Any time I go home for a visit I try to schedule time to see her, but she's always incredibly busy and instead of cancelling existing plans with people who she sees all the time, she invites me to come to parties with people I don't know instead.  Then, when I invited her to my wedding, she didn't even bother to send back the reply card until a few weeks after the RSVP date.  My mom invited her to a wedding shower that I made a special trip home for, but Calla couldn't be fussed to tell us she wasn't coming until 20 minutes beforehand via a Facebook message.  And to top it all off, no card and no wedding gift (note: it's the thought here, not the stuff, that bothers me).  At one point I got another half-hearted Facebook message from her saying that she hadn't forgotten and she had a card for me but couldn't send it due to the Canada Post strike.  Which was taking place a good two months after the wedding and was resolved within a few weeks.  But the card never came.  I found out afterwards that she was somehow not only angry with me for not going to her wedding 7 DAMN YEARS AGO, but she was also upset that I'd chosen blue for my bridesmaids' dresses, which was the same colour another (closer) friend had also chosen for her bridesmaids.  The group of girls we hung around with all had a giant WTF for that one.  It was at that point I gave up caring.

So now when I go home, I no longer call Calla.  It isn't worth my energy.  I still have her on Facebook, though.  And today, I fucking regretted it.  Because of course, of course she would be the type of person to announce a pregnancy with a goddamn ultrasound photo.  My iPhone has never come so close to being hurled across the room. 

The funny thing is, I actually wondered for a long time if Calla was infertile.  She's 37, like me, and therefore no spring chicken.  And she comes from a huge family, with a bunch of brothers and sisters who've all had a ton of kids.  I started to wonder if there was another reason she hadn't.  But of course, as we all know, no infertile would ever make a pregnancy announcement the way she did today.  Not in a million years.

OK, that's it.  I'm done.  No more bitching.  Next post will be entertaining and/or funny and/or witty.  I promise.  In the meantime, here's a bunny that kind of feels like I do right now.

Disapproving bunny disapproves.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Fatal mistake

I screwed up.  Big time.

This morning we said goodbye to Leon, our cockatiel.  Last night I opened up his cage after dinner to give him a bit of freedom.  Instead of flying over to join us in the living room as he usually does, he stayed over on top of his cage and hence, when we went to go to bed, I forgot that he was out and I didn't put him back inside.  It's happened before.  He usually just goes back into the cage on his own and goes to sleep.

For some reason, around 6am this morning while we were still in bed he flew into the living room.  Buddy must have heard something, and roused himself from his dog bed in our room to go downstairs to investigate.  You can see where this is heading.  We heard flapping, some bird squawks, and Buddy's claws scrabbling on the hardwood.  By the time I woke up, realized what was going on and ran downstairs it was too late.

I'm not mad at Buddy.  He's never gone after the bird before and I know what happened was a combination of it being dark and there being something moving around on the floor that he didn't expect.  He was just being a dog, and I can't blame him.  But I can blame myself, which is what I've been doing all morning.  I feel horrible.  It's all my fault.  I've spent the last three hours crying.  I know when I posted about Leon back in March I made him sound pretty heinous.  But there was good stuff too.  And no matter what, he didn't deserve this.  He was our pet and he deserved a lot better.

M says he doesn't blame me, that he could have put Leon back in the cage too, and he didn't.  True.  But I'm the one who let him out to start with.  It's somehow easier to take it all on myself than chalk it up to a series of stupid little events that led to an accident.

If only he'd stayed in / on top of his cage this morning.
If only Buddy had stayed upstairs in his dog bed.

If only I'd put him back in the damn cage in the first place.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

One more reason

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving.  We packed Buddy into the car (no explosive diarrhea this time!) and drove to M's parents' place on Sunday for turkey dinner, and then spent the night so we wouldn't have to deal with holiday traffic until the next day.

Over pancakes on Monday morning, M's mom told us that she had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and would be having a lumpectomy later on this week, followed by a course of radiation treatment.  She seems to be of the same school of thought as my own mother when it comes to health information, which is basically that unless someone is going under the knife, you don't need to worry about it and I won't tell you.

I always feel bad for people who don't get along with their parents-in-law.  I've certainly had boyfriends in the past whose parents weren't people I wanted to spend a great deal of time with, but when it came to picking a husband I got lucky.  His family is so similar to mine and his parents are such great people that I felt instantly comfortable with them, and it's only gotten better as time goes on.  Also, even though they live in different provinces, my mom and M's mom have become really chummy during their few visits together.  It's to the point now that they call and email each other regularly without M or I as intermediaries, and I'll sometimes find out about something going on in my family from M's mom, who has talked to my mom before I had a chance to.  It's really cute.

I sometimes feel guilty about spending more time with M's mom than I do my own.  But my mother-in-law is only a two hour drive away, while my family is halfway across the country, so it's kind of natural that I've gravitated to her as a surrogate mom.  When we were planning our wedding, I ended up going to her for second opinions and advice on a bunch of stuff from venues to decor to wedding dress shopping, which M later told me had meant a lot to her.  As the mother of two boys, she had kind of given up on ever being able to do things like that with a daughter and so to be able to help me out with that stuff had apparently been a bigger deal than I'd known at the time.

Something else that clearly means a lot to her is having grandchildren.  Right now we're pretty much her only shot at that, since M's brother is in the process of divorcing his wife (to whom he was only married six months before separating a year ago) so he isn't going to be having kids anytime soon unless he accidentally knocks up one of his internet dates.  Of course there's never been any pressure, and she's been a pillar of strength and positivity throughout our infertility struggle.  She even gave us money to help us fund our most recent IVF.  But it's obvious that she really wants to be a grandmother, and it's got to be hard for her watching all of her friends talk about their grandkids and not be able to join in.  

Right now, her prognosis is supposedly good due to the small size of the cancer and the fact that they've caught it relatively early.  She had her surgery this afternoon and we'll know more once they have a chance to analyze what they took out as well as a few lymph nodes that they're testing.  In the meantime, I can't help thinking about how badly I want to make her happy by being able to tell her that we're pregnant.  That she's finally going to be a grandma.  And how badly I want our child to be able to know her and be loved and spoiled by her.

It's just one more reason I want need this FET to work.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Replacing fertility with fitness

Lots of IF bloggers complain about weight gain at some point.  It's hard to avoid, between the cocktail of hormones you're ingesting/injecting/wedging up your hoo-ha and the sheer depression caused by dealing with infertility.  The last thing you feel like doing after crying your eyes out over your latest BFN is subjecting yourself to the agony of a workout session.  Chocolate feels better.  It's tasty and it doesn't make you sweat.  Did I mention it's tasty?

Against all logic, this year I've found two things that have helped to keep me sane through all our struggles.  Number one is blogging, and you guys.  Number two is fitness.  Here's a bunch of reasons why I think it's been working:

1.  It's something I couldn't do if I was pregnant
At least not to the extent that I can do it now, anyway.  Right now I can do a high intensity interval training workout that leaves me gasping for breath and dripping sweat.  I can do abs until they burn and scream and beg me to stop.  I can push my body and make my muscles and heart and lungs stronger.  I might not be able to make a baby, but I can do this.

2.  It fills the void
Scheduling workouts for the week, finding new exercise routines to mix things up, and searching for new healthy recipes online has replaced a lot of the time that I used to spend Googling infertility-related shit like antral follicle counts and AMH test results.  Don't get me wrong, I still spend plenty of time with Dr. Google.  But not nearly as much as I used to.  Blogging helps a lot with that too.

3.  It gives me non-fertility related goals to work towards
Earlier this year I decided I wanted to try a Spartan Race.   Obviously, if I had become pregnant at some point I wouldn't have done it, and that would have been awesome.  But I didn't, and that was OK too because I had something else to look forward to.  Also, while losing weight hasn't really been a specific goal (keeping a healthy body fat percentage is essential to ovulate and get pregnant!), toning up and having my arms lose some of that flippity-flappity underneath has been a nice bonus.

4.  Endorphins
I've never really gone in for the whole "exercise high" thing.  In the immediate aftermath of a workout, and for a good while afterwards, I feel like shit.  Sweaty, shaking, achy shit.  I don't feel like I've ever experienced the high that some people talk about after exercising and yet...somehow this year didn't suck as bad as last year.  When I exercise regularly, things seem less likely to get me down.  And when I am down, the lows seem to be not quite so low and to not last so long.  If that's what endorphins do, then I'm all about them and want to keep my supply flowing!

5.  Self loathing is a great motivator
I'm kind of only half joking about this.  You know when you're putting on weight, but you can't be bothered to do anything about it until your pants no longer fit and you hate yourself?  Well, I've found infertility to work kind of like that.  As in, "Fuck you, body.  You don't want to work properly?  Don't want to reproduce?  Well then 10 more pushups!!  What's that?  It hurts?  You want to stop?  You can stop when you get pregnant or have some embryos in you, that's when you can stop!!"  Sadly, my body has clearly decided that it prefers burpees to labour.  My body is dumb.

6.  It's good for you

I'll end this with a little disclaimer: obviously, everything in moderation.  I certainly haven't become some kind of orthorexic fitness-obsessed psycho in lieu of having a baby.  I've dialled things back before egg retrievals and have taken breaks entirely after transfers.  Nor am I any kind of athlete.  You want that, go read Jane's blog.  That woman eats half marathons for breakfast.  Seriously, she doesn't even train!  But I have found that shifting my focus to fitness during my waiting cycles (of which there have been many) has definitely helped me to deal with things a lot better than I think I would have otherwise.

As for right now, I'm into my third week on Lupron Depot.  No headaches or mood swings, but holy hell have I been feeling warm.  I haven't exactly been having hot flashes, I don't think, but I just generally feel a little toasty at all times, which is strange as the weather has been getting a lot cooler around here.  I've also been waking up at night overheated and damp, though I haven't been soaking the sheets so I'm not sure if that counts as night sweats.  It's early days yet, though.  I'm sure the best is yet to come!