Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm So Vain (Maybe That Song Was About Me)

I don't look my age. I never have.

As an early teen, I was always assumed to be older. In my twenties, I was frequently assumed to be a teenager. Now, at the age of (nearly) thirty-eight, I am usually taken for being in my twenties. I almost never wear make-up and my beauty regime is super basic.

I am generally grateful for the genetic hand I was dealt. The women in my family tend to live active lives into their nineties. My Mom didn't hit menopause until she was fifty. All of which is to say, the women in my family all seem quite young for their age.

In retrospect, I think maybe I let this go to my head.

In my mid-thirties when I started thinking about my fertility and getting started on a baby, I comforted myself with this apparent youthfulness. My body still looks so young! My Mom was fifty before she had The Change! My insides must surely be as youthful (and thus fertile) as my outsides!

What vanity! What arrogance! What a CROCK!

Until I accepted my infertility and started to make my way into this online community, I had never really thought about even authentically young women having fertility issues. How arrogant... this has definitely been a humbling experience, to say the least.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Blog Friday with Infertility Overachievers (UPDATED)

Blog Button NBF

If you are here visiting from New Blog Friday at Infertility Overachievers - Welcome!

Obviously, my name isn’t really Slackie, but my beloved husband is an extremely private man and he has requested that I keep my online presence anonymous. Since this is his story too, and since I love and respect him, I concede that point. I call myself Slackie because my diagnosis was Luteal Phase Deficiency. In my own words, I have lazy ovaries – a couple of slackers if ever there were… If you want to start at the very beginning, you can find all the basics here. Check the sidebar to see my cycle history (Not That Anyone's Counting).

You find me in a bit of a blue spot at the moment. I wish I had some humor to offer you, something clever and entertaining. A song, a dance, even a knock-knock-joke. Truth is, I'm just trying to keep hold of that sunshine, but there's a pretty dark cloud overhead today.

Yesterday was CD1. Four days early. Even the nurse who scheduled my baseline for this morning was puzzled by that one. 20 cycles y'all. TWENTY failures. Good follicles, good lining, good timing, good blood work. And yet, here we are again. Last cycle was my first on injectibles. I didn't really expect to get a positive this time. I was treating it as a practice run, you know, getting to know how my body would respond to the new protocol. With three follicles triggered and progesterone supplements aplenty, this early end was decidedly unexpected. I've already determined to hit the acupuncture a little harder and get back to my yoga. What else?

I hope today's appointment will provide, if not answers, at least some ideas for new directions to try. I'll update when I get home this evening.

UPDATE (as promised): Thanks for the comments and well wishes, both here and on Twitter! No clear ideas as to why things went sideways just at the end of last cycle, and some small possible cysts were hanging out on Leftie. The doctor was uncertain if we should proceed with treatment this cycle due to those maybe-cysts, but my blood work came back great so it's full steam ahead! GonalF dosages got tweaked and my progesterone will be doubled up in the luteal phase this time. I'm also gonna hit the acupuncture weekly instead of every other week. Cross your fingers that the insurance will cover the GonalF refill - there was some question over that when I called it in this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010


A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon this blog and discovered the concept of the CSA. For anyone who doesn't already know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It's basically local farmers (frequently organic) who pre-sell shares of their harvest to the public for the growing season and then deliver boxes of freshly picked vegetables to a central drop-off weekly.

Early last March, I received an email that an organic CSA would be dropping off at my workplace this season for anyone who wanted to buy in. I read the list of planned crops and convinced BFF(B) to split a share with me as an experiment. The boxes started arriving at the beginning of June and boy am I glad we split a share. That's a ton of veg! Good stuff all, but such large quantities.

We've made several different kinds of salads, soups, stir-fry, and tried some new veggie side dishes. Last week I made homemade salsa and I got my fresh basil to root in a cup of water, so I'm hoarding it till I can make pesto. I've even tried some new vegetables that I've never eaten before, including: kale (not bad), garlic scapes (YUM), turnips (blech), radishes (hmmm...). I have yet to figure out how to use up quite that much zucchini.

This week's box includes:

sweet onions
sweet peppers
hot peppers
swiss chard

Since the Professor is out of town, I gave the majority of the box to BFF(B) this week, but I'll be making more salsa, some from-scratch marinara sauce, some pesto and a stir fry to start. Anybody got a good recipe for beets or zucchini (previous box)?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Covet (Except I Did)

Maybe five years ago, I saw a woman in the bookstore carrying her baby in the coolest, most beautiful sling. At that point, I had never seen anyone use a sling before. Not only did the concept seem so logical, the fabric was unbelievably lovely. I actually stopped a stranger in a store to ask where she'd bought something.

She told me it was a Hotsling, so I went online and drooled. I wanted one so badly (and we weren't even trying yet) that I went ahead and ordered one for a friend who was expecting. And of course, since I was already ordering, it only made sense that I should be fiscally responsible and order one for myself as well. To save on shipping. Right? And of course, the one I liked was in the "Discontinued - Sale" section, so it was deeply discounted and I might never see it again...

So I have this beautiful sling hidden in the back of my bottom dresser drawer. I used to run across it every now and then and look at it and dream. After a time, I pushed it further back in the drawer and piled stuff on top so I don't do that anymore, but it's still there waiting. I know I'm not alone here. I know some of you have done it too. What baby item did you see before you got your positive (or before you were even TTC), and decide you just had to have? Include a link if you can!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Extra-Versatile Blogger Award

One of my beloved tweeps, the fabulous Andrea over at Waiting for Baby, was gracious enough to bestow a second Versatile Blogger Award upon me (thank you Andrea - I feel so unworthy)! Andrea writes about her IF journey, gluten free living and natural/complimentary therapies. Go visit her and say hi!

The first time I received this award, I followed the rules, but according to Andrea I don't have to follow them this time around. Let the rule breaking commence! If you missed the first one, you can read the original post here. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you all to some IF blogs I've recently begun following by a few of my lovely commenters. Head over and give them some love!

Shufuinjapan over at Gaijin Housewife in Japan (NZ expat in Japan)
NoBabyRuth: Playing Baseball Without a Bat (US expat in Spain)
missohkay at the misadventures of missohkay (new Chi-town blogger)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chemistry Lesson (Learning Mine)

As I said to one of my tweeps after the first couple of injections were done, I'm feeling like the change of protocol has given me a renewed sense of energy and hope. 

I was feeling really worn down by the repetition of the same protocol. After month upon month of Crazy Pills and IUIs followed promptly (or rather, after every interminable 2WW) by BFNs, I had reached a point where I ceased to believe that what we were doing was ever going to work. Perhaps somewhat extreme and melodramatic, but I felt it in my soul. In spite of the dubious success of our first medicated cycle, and my RE's insistence that this would work for us again, I had no hope, even though the Professor and my RE did. Thus the "resting" cycle last month, and the consultation resulting in the change of protocol.

One of the few memories I have of my high school chemistry teacher (I wasn't the BEST science student) is of him explaining that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing, repeating the exact same procedure over and over again and yet expecting to get different results.

TMI alert:

The resting cycle was actually restful. Yes, I used an OPK and we did our best to follow up on the positive reading. Yes, I broke down and used the progesterone through my luteal phase, just in case. But I didn't believe it would work. And my poor Confuterus displayed some of the most bizarre behavior I've seen since stopping the birth control pills over a year and a half ago. For the first time in my life, I had ovulation spotting. Mildly alarming, but proclaimed to be "nothing to be concerned about" by the nurse when I called in about it. Then I started spotting again only 9dpo, and saw bright red blood at 10dpo. Assuming a resounding luteal phase failure, I called into the RE to report CD1 and scheduled my baseline. And immediately stopped bleeding. Too late to cancel the baseline, so I went in anyways. The ultrasound showed a still active corpus luteum* and bloodwork indicated declining progesterone. The nurse predicted my period would be only a few days out. Spotting resumed later that day and continued until 15dpo, which ended by becoming CD1. Repeat baseline on CD3 cleared us to start injections that very evening.

Chemistry lesson: my reproductive bits don't function properly without benefit of modern science.

Lesson learned.

The odd thing is, this undeniable feeling of hope doesn't seem to apply to this particular cycle. I've grown so accustomed to lack of results, that I don't feel like this is quite "my turn". It feels more like a practice run. So I'm just focusing on getting comfortable with the protocol, working up the nerve to do the injections myself and gathering information about how my body responds to these drugs. I'm just glad to feel like there are still options, and that eventually something WILL work.

*Side Note: As a result of our recent Potter-thon, I kept referring to it as "Corpius Luteum" like it was some kind of magical incantation to increase progesterone levels. Unfortunately, now I can't STOP calling it that!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Voodoo (or No Pain, No Gain)

I have this strange way of thinking about pain and illness. This has only really occurred to me as my periods have gotten heavier and crampier over the past few months. I feel like when my body gets sick, it has a natural process for ridding itself of the offending intruder or healing the injury and I have this almost superstitious belief that if I take medicine to dull pain or dry up mucous or whatever, it will slow down or somehow derail my body's natural healing process.

I suspect that if I take a pain pill, it will make it take longer for my period to be over. That by dulling the pain and mellowing the cramps, I'm actually stretching out the process. That somehow the more it hurts, the better my uterus will be cleaned out of the blood. When I had my miscarriage, I wouldn't take the vic.odin until it was all over and I wanted to sleep hard. I think of myself as a total wuss, but I seem to have a higher tolerance for pain than I once thought.

My reluctance to take pain pills is increased by the fact that acetaminophen does absolutely nothing for me and never has. I have an unfortunate reaction to ibuprofen, and you can only take so much naproxen per day. Since I do sometimes get debilitating migraines and episodes of sciatica, I have a prescription for ketoprofen which I hoard like magic beans.

This last time around, the cramps were so bad I had to take a pain pill.

I'm hoping there's someone out there that can tell me I'm not crazy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing

Y'all that totally did not hurt.

We've started the GonalF shots. I say "we" because the Professor is currently performing the injections for me. I say "currently" because now that I know exactly how little they hurt, I am determined to do this myself (under his expert supervision) before we are finished. I think I'll still let him do most of them for a number of reasons. I know I have an hourglass figure, but I somehow never realized until this evening how tricky it is to look directly at my belly because my boobs stick out so far. It's a curse. More than that though, I want the Professor to be as heavily involved in this process as possible. And I like when he does stuff to take care of me. Sticking me with a tiny needle and injecting me with hormones totally counts as taking care of me, especially since I was so scared to begin with.

I was so anxious about this first shot that I couldn't even think about food when I got home from work, in spite of my hunger. I basically sat on the couch and waited for eight o'clock to roll around. I re-read the instructions that came with the injector pen. I made the Professor re-read the instructions as well. I had him recite the procedure in full detail from memory as we set up shop in the bathroom.

I pinched. He poked. We counted to five and it was over. I barely felt it.

Professor admitted after the fact that in spite of his experience at this particular task, it had been hard to do that to me, because it was ME. I assured him it really was painless and we had a good giggle about how anxious I'd made both of us.

God I'm starving! Time to order a pizza to celebrate!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Quote, Un-Quote

My favorite quote since the age of about 12 is really a very short poem, by the amazing Shel Silverstein:

Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. 
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. 
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... 
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Keeping Hope (and House Plant) Alive

So I have this plant, this very sad plant. I have no idea what kind of plant this is, aside from House Plant. It is the only plant we have inside our home. It was given to us as a housewarming gift by someone who had no idea what a danger I am to green and growing things.*

For the last year, this poor plant has been hanging on by a thread (kind of like me). It looks so pathetic that I actually quit watering it, hoping it would just go ahead and die so I could empty the pot and move on to killing other plants outside. I sometimes wonder if the Professor has been watering it behind my back (though to be fair, I have not expressly forbidden this), because the damn thing simply will not die. It now consists of two stalks bearing a total of three leaves. But it is still green, still alive.

I found myself contemplating this poor little thing the other night, and my thoughts kept jumping from the plant to my infertility and our repeated failed cycles and back to the plant again. I kind of feel like my motivation and hopes in our struggle to conceive are reflected in this indomitable little mess of a plant. Every time a leaf turns brown and dries up, I pick it off only to see a new leaf break out of the top of the stalk. There are always just enough leaves for the little plant to look alive. And cycle after failed cycle, we pick ourselves up, revise our strategy with just enough hope to make another attempt at beating infertility. I've certainly received more love and better care than Plant, and while neither the plant nor I have actually seen much improvement, we both keep pushing forward.

I'm thinking of giving it a name and some water. Maybe some fresh soil. But if I start taking care of it and it dies, what will that mean for me?

*Note to self: Don't forget to go out and be dangerous to the green and growing weeds in the front yard ASAP!