Friday, December 30, 2011

Infertility clinic: blood work results

I got the results from last week's blood work.

My FSH, LH, prolactin, and free and total testosterone were all normal.

My DHEAS level, which is a precursor to testosterone, was a little elevated, which could be a sign of PCOS. I broke my internet moratorium (shhh...don't tell!) and saw that, yes, it is indeed linked to PCOS (and other fun things) but it is also elevated in people who are stressed because it is related to cortisol somehow. Hello! Who in the world can ttc for over a year and NOT be stressed? Okay, I will NOT look up any more info. The internet moratorium is reinstated. I did last a whole week, which is pretty amazing. I need to remind myself that I am in good hands and no matter what they find, we'll be able to deal with it and make decisions based on the results. Knowledge is power, right?

My doctor wants me to stick to our original plan: follicle ultrasound tomorrow, use the OPKs at home and then go in to get my progesterone checked after ovulation. The Bee also needs to get in for his SA and then we can go from there!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eat this:

In my quest to beef up a little (without actually eating any beef, ha!) I purchased the above pictured yogurt at the grocery store yesterday. Holy Hannah! Is it ever delicious! I packed some for The Bee's lunch, too, and we'll see what he says about it when he gets home. It pretty much tasted like whipped cream with my blueberries this morning!

In addition to eating whole fat dairy, I am going to try to keep track of my calories for a few days to get an idea of what I am actually consuming. One of my best gal pals had the idea and signed me up for FitDay when we got together for some crafting this afternoon. I figure it can't hurt anything and this girl is the one responsible for getting me and The Bee together in high school, she was there (hiding in the bushes and taking pictures) when The Bee proposed, she was one of my bridesmaids and she played a part in The Bee landing his new job. Plus she is just an amazingly kind, generous, supportive person. If the world had more of her walking around, it would be a much better place! She is largely responsible for many of the wonderful things in our lives (although she is so modest, she'd deny it) so I thought, "If she thinks this might help, I'll try it!" She also told me to immediately stop drinking green tea since that speeds up your metabolism. I started drinking green tea about 13 months into our ttc adventure because I decided that my morning coffee HAD to be responsible for my lack of pregnancy and green tea has less caffeine (and I read that it improves CM). Well, the tea hasn't helped anything so I don't mind giving it up!

Calorie counting was actually very telling. According to FitDay (assuming it is accurate) today I have eaten breakfast, lunch, a snack, dinner and dessert and have only consumed 1059 calories.

1059 seems freakishly low to me, but if it is true then that is definitely not helpful while The Bee and I are ttc. Using this calculator thingy I found online (also assuming it is accurate for the purpose of this blog entry) it says that for my age, height, weight and activity level I need 1630/day to maintain my current weight. Hmmm. This means:
A. These tools are inaccurate
B. I don't know how to use them properly
or
C. I need to seriously evaluate my food habits.

My general food rules are:
1. When you are hungry, eat.
2. When you are full, stop eating.
3. Aim for 3 meals a day (plus 1-3 snacks and dessert).
4. Make sure you have variety (in colors, textures, flavors, food groups) so that it is an enjoyable experience and you get all of the vitamins, etc that you need at the same time!

These rules have always served me well. I have, of course, overeaten when something I really like is on the plate (or in the bowl) such as french fries (or any other form of potato, for that matter), ice cream, pasta (in days of old, anyway), or tortilla chips with salsa/guacamole. Generally, though, I eat three meals a day, however many snacks I feel like I need and dessert if I want, then call it good. I am convinced my recent weight loss is caused by stress and the absence of gluten in my diet. I eat WAY more fruits and veggies now so I feel full but they don't carry much in the way of calories. I need to try to get more non-gluten grains like rice and quinoa into my daily meals and I bet that would help.

So, now I am going to go consume about 600 calories worth of chips and guacamole and hope for the best in this new experiment!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Underpants!

The Bee and I think the word underpants is way better than underwear. We've also taken to calling swim trunks "swimpants" because that is way better. Maybe we just like the word pants?

Anyhow, this year The Bee got me a ton of underpants for Christmas! Some are Under Armour long underpants to help me keep toasty warm in the cold north. He got me the warmest ones so I can snowboard and ski without needing warm up breaks. Here is what they look like:

 

 

Imagine the top and bottoms being proportional. I feel like a superhero when I wear them, like one of The Incredibles or something! They are way, WAY more awesome than any other long underpants I have ever owned! Now I am waiting for that cold weather and snow to come back...it has been mid/upper 30s for the past week! And we had no snow for Christmas! 

He also got me a bra, 3 coordinating fancy underpants and some sexy, matching pj's. He was so funny about it. He said, "You are supposed to get people things that you, yourself would like. And I like sets of things!" And that is very true. He LOVES sets of things (seriously, if you could look in our closet you would see sets of sweaters, ties, dress shirts...). He also said he thought I needed something to help me feel sexy again. I've been feeling like I am an incomplete woman since we've gotten into this infertility experience...Am I a woman if it turns out I can't have babies? That is rhetorical, by the way. I know I am, but I feel like I am missing an important part of being a complete female person. It is really depressing and sucks A LOT to feel like this! 

Sorry for sneaking that sadness into a post about underpants...but this is my blog so I can complain and sulk, right?




Friday, December 23, 2011

Infertility clinic visit #1

The appointment went really well today. I picked The Bee up at his work and we drove to the clinic together. Side note: It was the first time I have been to The Bee's office and, holy cow!, it is a BEAUTIFUL building with fanciness everywhere! It has tons of plants and fancy staircases and it is especially lovely right now because it was all decorated for Christmas!

Okay, back to the appointment...

We arrived at the clinic (which is only an 8 minute drive from The Bee's office, NICE!) and I had to sign some paper work saying that I understand that I am responsible for any payments for services that insurance won't cover. Then they took my picture (I tried to look good for the appointment but made the mistake of wearing my naturally curly hair down on a windy, December day - oops!) for my file (to prevent identity fraud, apparently). Then they weighed me (unfortunately I am down another pound, but more on that later) and took my blood pressure.

When I got to the exam room, I held my composure while the assistant took down a few more bits of information. She seemed a little uncomfortable asking The Bee if he had fathered any children and if he has had a semen analysis done (answer to both = no). Then she left and said the doctor would be in shortly.

The doctor came in about 5 minutes later and went over some of the records sent from my general physician and the specialist at my doctor's office. She asked us for our story so far and of course I started to cry! The Bee held my hand the whole time, though, which helped my cry substantially LESS than I have at all of the other appointments that I went to by myself. She was very nonjudgmental and also very kind. She seemed glad that I know a lot about my cycle (who wouldn't after 5 years of charting CM and 4.5 months of charting bbt?!) and hormones and what they do but at one point she did say that she was recommending an "Internet Moratorium." Haha! The Bee laughed pretty hard at that because all along he has been telling me not to look up all of the things that could possibly be wrong with me (it's not like I've told him I am insulin resistant, have a gluten allergy, have a "cold uterus" and hostile cervical mucus, low progesterone, a pituitary tumor...oh, NO...I have NEVER used the internet and test results to diagnose myself and in turn make myself completely cuckoo and practically impossible to live with! Not me!).

Her opinion, given the results from my previous blood tests and ultrasound, is that it may not be PCOS. She isn't ruling it out at this point, but said more testing needs to be done. She said I didn't have very many cysts and that they are larger than most PCOS patients have. At least 2 of them were like 2cm - which freaks me out a little because it sounds BIG (and not good) but she didn't seem concerned when I asked about it. She asked what cycle date the blood labs (cd 21 in November) and the u/s (cd 13 in December) were done and kind of seemed like, "Hmm...those are not the best days to do those tests..."

Then she asked what cycle date I am today. It is cd 2 (boo for AF over the holidays!) and she said it would be the perfect day to do the first blood work! So today they drew blood to test (from what I can remember) FSH, LH, prolactin (to see if that high level was a fluke in November or if my level is consistently high), estrogen, and androgens (which, of course, includes testosterone). That should help figure out if it is PCOS or something else, or something else and PCOS...here I go making myself crazy again! I also have an u/s scheduled for next Saturday morning (New Year's Eve!) to check my follicles. And I have to start using my ovulation predictor kit (thank you, Amanda, for the info about OPKs!) so that they can do another u/s 5 or 6 days after I get a + on it. Even though I don't know any new news, I feel like we are making progress! She also gave The Bee a referral for his SA. I will be glad (and possibly sad, mad, shocked...) to finally start to figure out what is going on with us!

She asked if we had any questions and I asked if my vegetarian diet could be part of the problem. She said it could be contributing if I am not getting enough protein and fats, but probably isn't the main issue. I told her about how I have cut out almost all gluten from my diet since August (due to constant stomachaches) but she seemed to think that less gluten = generally healthy.  And then I told her how now am worried about eating too much sugar (because of my self diagnosed insulin resistance after my sort-of diagnoses of PCOS) and too much dairy (after I read about all of the yucky hormones in, like, EVERY dairy product I eat). Through tears I asked, "How can I eat anything if I have to be a gluten-free, diabetic vegan?!"  She told me not to limit myself too much and that low BMI can cause problems while ttc. She actually recommended that I eat full fat, organic dairy from now on since my BMI is currently borderline low (not on purpose, I truly think it is stress!) and that I not worry about sugar at this point (but of course try to avoid refined sugar and processed food, which I think The Bee and I do a pretty good job of already). The sugar thing really makes me feel better because I love fruit and eat a lot of it (especially clementines and pineapple, which are pretty sugary). And the dairy thing made me feel better because I eat a lot of yogurt (with frozen blueberries in it) for protein and I LOVE cheese! I communicated that I have been trying everything I can think of to make better choices and to "fix" whatever I am doing wrong. She looked at me with the most gentle eyes and said, "You aren't doing anything wrong. You can't blame yourself for this, even though it is easy to go down that road. We will figure this out!"

She also told me to take care of myself (specifically make time for my YOGA and she recommended getting massages every once in a while). Oh! And the BEST part of the appointment today? The doctor actually TOLD me to STOP taking my bbt! She said that if you don't sleep consistently(which I don't) it is not very useful and it causes many women in my situation undue stress. So, hooray! No more bbt charting! Although now I have to start the OPKs...

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas:)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Appointment set

I called the clinic yesterday and they were very apologetic that a scheduler hadn't contacted me. They seemed super nice...even when I started to cry over the phone... Oh, Lord, help me learn to compose myself!

I have my first appointment set for this Friday afternoon, 12/23/11. I filled out the online new patient info and medical history last night. The doctor I am seeing is very young (she looks about my age, which to me seems young for a doctor) so I bet she's very well versed in recent medical research and treatments. I just called my doctor's office and requested that they send my records to the fertility clinic. I think I am all set! Maybe not mentally, but I have 2 days to get to that point.

***Just got a call from the business office at the clinic with bad news...my insurance will not be covering any fertility related costs. Once I am officially labeled infertile, everything will need to be paid out of pocket at the time of treatment. Is this pretty standard for insurance policies? This has me seriously considering looking for a new job. For an entity that boasts their love of family and the importance of social justice, they sure leave their employees out in the cold in regards to salary, medical coverage and retirement benefits.***

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Steps!

No, the fertility clinic still hasn't called. Given the lack of interaction I've had with them so far, I don't have the best feelings about working with them. But you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be calling them tomorrow!

And no, I didn't go to yoga today (oops!). Instead I slept in with The Bee (well, sleeping in for me since I normally get up at 5:30 and he gets up at 7:15). I would have had to get up earlier than him in order to get to the morning session I was planning on going to and we stayed up way too late last night and bed was so snugly and warm. And I didn't want to get up earlier than him on my first real day of vacation. So I stayed there instead of going to class and making my mind, body and soul healthier. I don't really regret it. Then he got up and I got up and I made him an awesome lunch to bring to work just like I do everyday.

I should be leaving for my normal evening class right now but I don't want to (too cold and dark and the week before Christmas) because I know parking will be a nightmare since my yoga school is in an old part of the city with hardly any parking and a million little shops and restaurants. So, instead I am going to blog about not going to yoga and not being pregnant. Then I am going to do dishes and laundry and read Harry Potter. So there.

After The Bee left for work with his magnificent lunch, I got ready for the day and made some lists of things I need to do this week (like actually going to yoga...). Then I met my sister and nephew at their house and we went out for lunch. Then we played and visited. Then when my nephew took his afternoon nap, we made cookies.

The most EXCITING part of the day happened BEFORE the nap and cookies, though...my nephew took his first steps today! And guess where he decided was SO IMPORTANT and WONDERFUL to get to that he couldn't just crawl there but certainly needed to walk? He walked to ME! It was so amazing! My sister was practically freaking out because she was so excited! And my nephew and I were just smiling and laughing! It was such a great thing to witness and I feel honored that he walked to me! How delightful!

Later, on my way home from babysitting my nephew (who can WALK, by the way!) I started to cry in the car. Not because I felt sorry for myself not having a baby but because I thought of this commercial for some reason:

The Google commercial is from the 2010 Superbowl (which I only watched for the commercials, I admit it!) and it makes me cry every time. 

I also thought of this iPhone4 commercial:
 

Whenever that commercial came on The Bee would always look over at me (knowing I'd be crying after it) and give me a hug. Okay, maybe the tears in the car were me feeling sorry for myself. But they were also me just really, REALLY wanting to experience getting that positive pregnancy test, hearing a baby's heartbeat over an ultrasound, feeling a baby kick inside my belly - all of that miraculous stuff that comes before seeing your son or daughter taking their first steps. I want it so badly. And it drives me crazy that I don't know when, or even if, I'll get to have any of that. 

Okay, enough of this sulking. Time for hot cocoa and Harry Potter.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Break: The beginning

The party with my co-workers on Friday was fine. There was a lot of baby talk going on (I don't feel upset about that - I mean, there were two pregnant ladies there and I'd be so excited to talk about all of that stuff if I was expecting, too!) but nobody asked any rude/prying questions. The only weird moment in regards to all that was when one of the guests offered everyone wine and I didn't really say anything, then she specifically asked me if I wanted some and I said, "Um? Sure!" When she brought me the glass I thanked her and took a sip and one of my other friends (who had a baby last year) was like, "OoooOOOooooh...you're having a glass of WINE?!" To which I responded, "Why, yes, I am!" And then we moved on. Phew. I can handle that kind of silliness.

Yesterday was fantastic! I got to see my best friend (we've known each other since second grade and were Maids of Honor in each other's weddings back in '07). We had some great heart-to-heart time about our infertility struggles. I believe more than anything that they will soon have a baby. These two are the salt of the earth and will be the most fabulous parents! I cannot wait until their time comes! I actually already have a baby gift for them, that is how certain I am!! It was great to finally be able to talk with her about this. We share so many of the same feelings and fears. I felt very validated (and a lot less psycho) after talking to her. We got some tears out and had a lot of laughs, too.

Today, The Bee and I took it easy at home. I have been drafting the Christmas letters for our 2 goddaughters and had a good cry when I read what I wrote to them last year. I made The Bee read them, too, and he didn't cry, but they are really good letters and I know our goddaughters will cherish them forever and ever!

One of our goddaughters is our niece who was born 2 years ago and the other is the 1-year-old daughter of a close childhood friend of mine (and now The Bee is close friends with her and her husband, too!). Something really cool about our goddaughters is that they are both twins! Our niece has a twin brother and our friends' daughter has an identical twin sister (I am proud to say that I can easily tell our friends' daughters apart - not everyone can!). The Bee and I are just PERFECT candidates for being godparents to girls who have twins :) Last year we started a tradition with them: we give each of them a piece to a Nativity set and a personal letter (lovingly written by yours truly!). We chose the Willow Tree set for both of them.

Years ago I HATED Willow Tree stuff. Now I love it. I like the fact that the figures don't have facial features. The viewer can imagine what the people look like and what emotion they are showing. I think the posturing is absolutely gorgeous as well. Every time I look at the Mary and Jesus figure I tear up! Last year we gave them the Mary/Jesus figure and this year they get Joseph. It was a big investment last year to purchase two nativity sets but now we are set with Christmas gifts until our niece is ten and our friend's daughter is nine! I do want to get them the ox, goat, extra shepherd and stable animals (which includes a really awesome camel!), and Cr├Ęche but those will have to wait for now (we have like a decade before we need them, anyway!). Here is what it will eventually look like when we get ALL of the pieces:

Tomorrow I am going to a morning yoga session before meeting my sister and nephew for lunch and Christmas cookie baking! Then I get to babysit said nephew! I think I love Christmas vacation a little too much!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray!

No, I am not with child.

However, I am officially on Christmas vacation! Seventeen (yes, you read that correctly...17) glorious days off (including weekends, of course)! I love my job and I love my students but I am so thankful for this break. It will involve lots of Christmas stuff (obviously!), extra yoga sessions (I can go to the daytime classes for 2 weeks! No more yoga at 7:30pm until 2012!), writing 'Thank You' notes to students, some work in my classroom (hopefully not too much but I definitely have some grading to catch up on!), sewing, painting, crafting, reading, getting my hair done, deep cleaning the fridge, getting the laundry back under control, trying some new recipes...it will be great.

To kick it off I am getting together with some friends from work (2 with kids, 2 preggos, 2 singletons). I haven't gotten together with this bunch since last June (when only I was trying to get pregnant, ugh). Thankfully, spouses are invited so The Bee can help me remain calm and collected. I don't really anticipate anything horrible. I am just a little nervous someone might ask us about why we aren't pregnant yet. Hopefully they won't. They probably won't. It has just become my worst fear in social settings. A few weeks ago even a high school friend of ours (a single male) asked The Bee, "So, what's taking you so long, big guy?" in front of a bunch of our friends at a restaurant. Since when do single dudes want their married friends popping out babies?! Am I safe nowhere?!

Tomorrow will be even better. I get to see my best friend (who I haven't seen since October!). She and her husband are sort of going through the same thing as me and The Bee so she is one person I am safe around and can talk candidly to.

Also: Yesterday I called the fertility clinic I was referred to by my doctor. They took all of my contact info and said a scheduler would call me, probably within 24 hours. Well, gosh-darn-it, they didn't call and now the office is closed until Monday. At least I am on break so I can answer my phone a lot more easily next week and/or call them 3 million times to get something on the calendar!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NOT a good day

I got the call from my doctor. My uterus looks "very normal" but both of my ovaries have cysts. Two on the right and three on the left. This could (obviously) mean PCOS. My next step is to see a gynecologist at the fertility clinic. My doctor mentioned Clomid and Metformin as possible "minimal interventions."

The Bee still hasn't been seen in regards to this whole mess, although it sounds like it is probably me. I don't know a ton about Clomid or Metformin but medications in general scare me a little. My doctor said that people on Clomid are closely monitored so if we end up taking that route we'll probably have to wait until summer (I think I'd be able to handle everything better when I'm off of work and making appointments would be a lot easier then, too). I'll be giving the fertility clinic a call tomorrow and hopefully setting something up.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A good day

I haven't heard from the doctor yet regarding my ultrasound from last week. Well, she did call this afternoon while I was at work and left a message saying she'd try back tomorrow with the results from my u/s which makes me a bit nervous (if everything was good, would they leave that in the message? I feel like there must be some bad news!).

So, what was good about this rainy, cool Monday with no new news in the fertility department? Well, I got my first Christmas gift of the season from one of my students! I work at a Catholic school so we can celebrate Christmas without offending anyone or breaking any law, which is super awesome. The teachers at our school are very well loved and every Christmas season I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our families! Here is what my first grader brought me this morning:

Oh, for cute!

The day went on and the kids were pretty much perfect angels (even my middle schoolers who have been known to have crazy days). I did recess duty (indoors because of the rain) and when I was on my way back to my classroom the principal caught me in the hall and said, "Merry Christmas!" and gave me a card. I thanked him and waited to open it until I was back in my room. Well, I opened it and inside was a bonus check for $150.00! Holy cow! We have NEVER gotten bonuses before! What a lovely surprise! 

During my last class of the day, one of my students who brought birthday treats for her class came to my room to share one with me! I get lots of birthday treats (who doesn't love the ART teacher, right?) but today the birthday girl and her friend came in with a tray CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK. I thought I'd get to pick one from the tray but then they presented me with a piece that they had neatly wrapped in a paper towel just for me and told me, "We saved the biggest piece for you!" with huge smiles on their faces! Here is the delicious treat that I gobbled up right after school ended:

 This was HUGE! About the size of my entire palm, 
but I ate the whole thing without guilt :)

I left school and drove to my sister's where I babysit my nephew on Monday nights. I got to visit with her for a while before she had to leave and she gave me a homemade dinner to take home! Free dinner? Homemade? NOT made by me? YES! Thank you, sister! And it involved MASHED POTATOES! Then I got to hang out with my cutie of a nephew until my brother-in-law got home.

Since I had a made-with-love-dinner in tow, I stopped at the grocery store quickly where I remembered to buy floss for The Bee even though he forgot to put it on the list (silly guy!). And my favorite chips were on sale:


I got home and fixed myself a healthy helping of the dinner from my sis (The Bee is working late so I had to eat alone - boo) and turned on the television only to see that White Christmas (one of my faves!) started a half hour earlier which meant I turned it on just in time to see this:

 Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye performing "Sisters"

Yes! One of my favorite parts! My sisters and I used to sing and dance to this, like ALL THE TIME!

Here's hoping that the week only continues to be this wonderful!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Just the right amount hippie"

On Cyber Monday, a facebook friend of mine posted a link to a business called  Inspired by Finn that sells Baltic amber necklaces and was having a 40% off sale. I knew about amber necklaces from a friend of mine who had a teething son a few years back and used one of these necklaces to help with the less-than-pleasant symptoms of teething.  My 1-year-old nephew has been having a rough time with teething so I sent the link on to my sister, then looked around the site for a little while and did some other internet research on the history and use of Baltic amber. In addition to the teething necklaces, Inspired by Finn sells adult sized amber necklaces and says that the succinic acid in them are beneficial to the human body in many ways including:
  • Pain Relief -   
Baltic amber contains analgesic properties and helps take the edge off of many types of discomfort associated with dental issues, headaches, joint pain, etc. 
  • Strengthens the body's immune system -
    In many different and subtle ways, succinic acid helps boost the body's own natural healing ability and immune system.
    • Restoring Energy -
    The human body naturally produces succinic acid. The salt of succinic acid (succinate) is one of the most active substances in the processes of cellular respiration and intercellular energy creation. Succinic acid restores oxygen and energy supply to depleted cells and helps the body return to a normal, functioning state.
    Succinate is a raw material and a catalyst in the Krebs Cycle which is one of our main sources of energy. During the Krebs Cycle carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are metabolized for energy.
    • Maintaining Wellness -
    When the human body reacts to stress, the body's cells begin to use oxygen more quickly. Oxygen plays a central role in the intercellular creation of energy, and a lack of oxygen can result in feeling lethargic.
    Oxygen is alkaline-forming in the blood and maintaining a slightly alkaline blood ph helps keep us healthy. Whenever the body functions in a state of low oxygen, it is much more susceptible to illness.
    • To help break a cycle of (chronic) inflammation -
    Where chronic inflammation is present, disease lurks.
    When the body's cells are chronically inflamed the human body's immune system response is to increase production of free radicals. Chronic overproduction of free radicals results in inflammatory-related disease. Chronic inflammation is a common denominator of many seemingly unrelated diseases.*

    Since I am at the point where I'll try practically anything (natural) to even my mood and reduce stress, I thought, "Why the heck not?!" and ordered this one:


    I felt a little sheepish telling The Bee about my impulse buy and started the conversation with, "I hope you don't think I am becoming too much of a hippie or something, but, you see, I ordered this Baltic amber necklace to help even my emotions and reduce the negative energy from our ttc stress...If it might help me cry less, I'll pay $25 to give it a try. And I know I am really into yoga now, too, but..."

    His response, "Sweetie, you have been a vegetarian since you were 4-years-old and you studied Art in college. You chose to teach Art for a living. I knew all of that about you before I married you. And I play guitar and have been to more than one Phish concert. You are just the right amount hippie for me." 

    So, have there been any results? Well, I've been wearing the necklace almost 24/7 for a week now (not in the shower or during yoga) and I have noticed that I am letting more stresses just roll off of me. And I haven't cried at all this week, so that's an improvement. And I have been more productive after work most nights. The Bee even commented on how downright chipper I have been a few of the evenings this week (sadly, he was specifically excited that I have greeted him at the door with kisses when he arrived home from work each night, which he pointed out I used to do everyday but haven't much in the last couple months). 

    So, is it the Baltic amber working its magic? Is it just a placebo effect? Could it be the cheery Christmas season and the fact that I have 5 days of teaching left and then 2 glorious weeks away from my 347 sweet darlings? Is it my new yoga habit paying off? I couldn't tell you which (if any) of these is contributing, but I will tell you that I am overjoyed that I have smiled, laughed, and loved more this week than I have in a long time! 


    (I want to apologize for the annoying spacing in this post...I am not sure what caused it and I can't for the life of me figure out how to fix it on blogger...)

    * source: http://hyenacart.com/inspiredbyfinn/mt/713/14913/What-is-Baltic-Amber-How-Can-it-Help-Us

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Brrrrr...

    Here's the temperature as I get ready to leave for work:

    Yep, 5 degrees! With a high of 15 for my recess duty! Sometimes I wonder why we live in this state!

    Happy Friday!

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Ultrasound

    This morning I had my pelvic ultrasound. It was pretty uneventful. They said I did a GREAT job drinking A LOT of water and not wetting myself - woohoo, another talent I had never considered before (I told them I am a teacher so I am used to not being able to pee when I need to and we had a good laugh)!

    I was hoping I'd get some info today (like how thick my uterine lining is or how big any follicles I have are) but I didn't get anything!  I am CD 13 today so *if I am in fact even ovulating* I should be getting pretty darn close. According to my NFP observations from the LAST 5 YEARS and my bbt charts from the last 4 months, I am pretty regular as far as ovulating between CD 13-16 (CD 15 is actually my most common day of O). I was hoping they'd say, "Your lining is 8mm and you have a 20mm follicle ready to go! Have fun with your hubby tonight, tomorrow and Friday!" and then we would, and then in 2 weeks I'd pee on a stick and see "Pregnant" but no such luck. I did get to see my ovaries on the screen (the right one looked pretty much how I expected, the left one looked weird but I am not EXACTLY sure what else I could have been seeing...hoping they weren't cysts...). I asked what I'll be finding out from this and they said pretty much what my doctor said - just basic anatomy stuff.

    The ultrasound technician asked if I had used Clomid or anything yet. I said, "No, I want to know if I am even ovulating on my own first." And she said she was the same way. Everything had been regular for her but she didn't get pregnant until she was put on Clomid. The other person in the room (the u/s tech's student who was doing all of the recording) asked if I have used ovulation predictor kits before. I told her that I haven't, but I have one at home that I plan to use next cycle. I was going to use it this cycle but since my cycle was short last time and I was uber stressed, I just didn't bother. Plus, I already take my dumb temperature every morning and peeing in a little cup and dipping that paper strip into it just does not seem like the most delightful thing to do at 5:30am. Ugh. I need a job where I get to sleep in later! I WILL use it next cycle, though, since now I have read the instructions and everything. As for this month? We are trying to BD every other night and so far so good! We have done every other day and even every day in the past, though, and it didn't work out. I am trying to be hopeful without being TOO hopeful!

    As for the rest of the day (since I called in sick, hee hee!) - I went shopping and got the new Zelda game (or what I called "The Sword of Whatever" Thankfully the guy at the store knew exactly what I was talking about) for The Bee for Christmas. I know he will be so excited! I also got some socks with grippy stuff on the bottom for one of our nieces (who is 1.5 years) and runs EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME and slips a lot. I know, she'll be super excited to open those (not!). I took a nap, did some dishes, read Harry Potter and now need to tackle the laundry. Tonight we are going to celebrate The Bee's Grandmother's 90th birthday! She has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home now so everyone is gathering there to see her and eat some cake.

    Unrelated funny story - I started taking yoga classes last month (thanks to The Bee for getting me a CorePower Groupon for my birthday!) and there is a studio right by my school. Well, on Sunday I went to an afternoon class and it was really crowded so the instructor asked everyone to squish so we could fit 3 more people in the studio. I was on the end by the wall so I scooted closer to the wall and one of the 3 put their mat down by me...and...IT WAS ONE OF MY 8TH GRADERS FROM SCHOOL! I didn't say anything to him because I didn't know if he even recognized me in my yoga clothes, I didn't want to embarrass him, and you have to be silent in the studio anyways. It wasn't bad, it was just a surprise! Yesterday at school another 8th grade boy who stops in and helps in my classroom during recess asked, "So, you take yoga with _________, huh?" and I just started to laugh. Next time I'll have to say "Hi" or at least "Namaste."

    MRI

    Wednesday I was emotional at work. I taught my classes and made sub plans during my prep just in case I wouldn't be in the next day. I told the Music teacher (he is my 'partner teacher' and works right across the hall) what was going on so he could help out my sub if need be, even though I was pretty sure I'd be there the next day.

    I went home, showered and did my hair and make-up so I'd feel good about myself (eyeliner and mascara always make me feel more awake and 'with it').  I was nervous and ate crackers with peanut butter and had a glass of cranberry juice for dinner while I made grilled cheese for The Bee (who left work early to get home and come with me to the hospital). We arrived at the hospital and went to the Radiology/Imaging unit. There was a middle aged man at the check-in desk asking about the dyes they were going to use for his procedure, "Last time I went into anaphylactic shock. The Doc told me that I almost didn't make it, of course that was a few days later when I was awake again..."  Are you kidding me? That is NOT what I needed to hear. Thankfully I had researched 'pituitary MRI' so I was pretty sure that the contrast they'd be using had very low risk for reaction.

    Sue, the lady at the admissions desk was very nice and took all of the info they needed. I handed my wedding ring to The Bee so he could hold it for me (even though I found out later I probably could have left it on since they only needed to look at my head, oh well).  Then the MRI technician, who must have been about my age, introduced himself (his name was Nate), and took me back to the room with the MRI machine. I got an IV in my right arm (this was the first time I had to do that, and I was glad it wasn't as bad as I expected) and a little alarm thing to hold in my left hand (they can't hear you when the MRI machine is doing its thing, so if you need to get out or something you use the alarm). I started to tear up (big surprise, right?) and he asked if it was the IV or my nerves. "Just my nerves," I said. He put earplugs in my ears (it gets loud in there!), adjusted my mirror (so I could see the tech room throughout the whole procedure) and then I was put in the tube.

    I think I was in the MRI machine for about 40 minutes all together. Nate took a series of pictures and I had to lay completely still for anywhere from 2 minutes to (I think) 14 minutes or so, but I could move (a tiny bit, you are pretty stuck in that thing) between when the pictures were being taken. I could feel my shoulders tensing up because I was nervous. When they put the contrast through the IV my arm felt weird and a little cold but thankfully didn't hurt at all! When all the pictures were taken, I was taken out of the machine and had the IV removed. I said, "That wasn't so bad! It was hard to stay still for that long, though!" Nate laughed and said I was lucky I could be in the enclosed MRI machine because the pictures will be much better and clearer than if I had been in an open one. I asked why anyone would use an open MRI? His response was if someone is claustrophobic or if they are too large to fit in the tube! I guess I am lucky that I don't have either of those problems - I tried to think of the MRI as a chance to be lazy and practically nap for 40 minutes!

    I got a call the next day (checked my cell phone at lunch and the call came in at that exact moment!) and my doctor said the radiologist had looked at it and everything was normal. No tumor or any other weird things. I was relieved but now I feel like, "Great, we still don't know anything!"

    As for the cause of my high prolactin? It could just be caused by stress. It could also be caused by the costochondritis I ended up in the emergency room for last July. I have been pretty high anxiety for the last 6 months or so and the emotional stress caused by my lack of pregnancy, my summer job (which I am not working next year, yippee!) and some family craziness caused the chest pains. Costochondritis is the inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum and it went away after I took ibuprofen for a week and didn't lift anything that weighed too much. I still get the same chest pain when I am very stressed, and apparently costochondritis (or any chest pain/chest wall trauma) can cause an increase in prolactin. I am hoping that is the cause for me, but we might never know!

    Next time: Today I had my pelvic ultrasound...

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Waiting for the test results (and all that happened in the meantime)

    The day after my appointment was spent working in my classroom (I had the day off from work, but the Bee was at work all day), going to yoga class and cleaning the kitchen in preparation for the food I'd be making the next morning. The Bee made risotto for dinner (he is an excellent cook!) and we snuggled on the couch and watched Star Trek: TNG.

    The next day was Thanksgiving. I made butternut squash soup, apple crisp (the easiest yet most delicious recipe ever that I got from my best friend) and rolls.  The Bee and I went to my Grandma's for lunch. Not much was out of the ordinary there, except that my crazy uncle brought a gun. Yes, a giant handgun that he had in a holster on a belt with bullets all along it. No one asked about it because we didn't want to draw attention to his weirdness. My theory is that the gun is his new "power piece." He got a bluetooth years ago before anyone else had them and wore it to every family function (holidays, birthday parties, funerals). Now that those are common, he decided to wear a gun instead. No one got shot and it was a pretty mellow Thanksgiving celebration.

    From there, we drove to The Bee's parents' place for dinner. My Mom came with (my parents got divorced 2 years ago and my siblings celebrate with my Dad's family after my Mom's family, leaving my Mom alone on a lot of holidays) and brought a pomegranate for the Bee's parents. For some reason she didn't want to give it to them, so I carried it in and handed it to the Bee saying, "Here, can you give this to your Mom and tell her it's from my Mom?" My sister-in-law (the pregnant one with the 2-year-old twins) saw our awkward exchange and asked excitedly, "Oh! Are you trying to announce something?!" My eyes got wide and I quickly replied, "No. Nooooo!" and excused myself from the kitchen because the tears started welling up in my eyes. That was the first of about 20 million questions and comments about babies (Your babies will be so well rounded, good at math, science and art. When you have babies someday you'll understand. When will you join the baby club? You're the last ones who need to have a baby!) from several of our relatives. I only almost cried about 5 times but held my composure until we were on the way home.  The Bee called his Mom the following Saturday and told her what we've been going through for over a year and that we are starting testing and that she can let the rest of the family know. He didn't know I was listening in on some of the conversation and told his Mom, "All of the comments and questions are just becoming too much for The Bird to handle."

    The Friday after Thanksgiving we slugged around in our pj's and drank coffee together. We don't do the whole "Black Friday" thing. That evening I went to Breaking Dawn: Part I with one of my girlfriends (um, if an undead vampire guy and human chick can get pregnant from having sex, like, one time, what the heck is wrong with us?!), ate good Indian food, and helped her set up her Christmas tree. We had some great conversations about what we've been struggling with. The Bee and I with our desire to start a family and her recent break-up with her boyfriend of almost 5 years. It made me realize that most people are struggling with SOMETHING. I am very blessed to have a wonderful man who loves me and who I get to spend the rest of my life with! Oh, also, I GOT MY PERIOD. WHICH WASN'T SUPPOSED TO COME FOR 6-7 MORE DAYS. So much for the cycles that I thought were so regular. I am hoping it was just major stress induced.

    Saturday we celebrated our youngest nephew's first birthday. He is such a great little guy. I am a lucky aunt because I get to hang out with the little dude for an hour or two each Monday between when my sister leaves for her bell choir practice and my brother-in-law gets home from work. We pretty much have a special bond already, which is fun:)

    Sunday was uneventful. I skipped my yoga class because my period was so heavy that I didn't think I'd be able to do half of the poses anyway. (Sorry if that is tmi, it really sucked and I need to vent a little). We finally got our  Christmas tree up and decorated (usually we do that the Friday after Thanksgiving but it just didn't happen this year).

    Monday I was back to work making art with my students. I was feeling pretty low but my spirit was lifted by the funny things my school kids say and do. I am lucky to have a job where I get to laugh a lot (not that it is without stress...painting with 50+ kids a day in an art room with no sink [not even one close by!] can be a challenge and I get exhausted by classroom management sometimes [why can't every kid just be nice to everyone and love art as much as me all of the time?!]). I didn't get a call from my doctor's office but decided not to call them until Tuesday.

    With Tuesday came more art at school. I called my doctor on my lunch break and was routed to her voicemail. She called me back while I was teaching 6th grade and I picked up the message right after school ended. I called and left another voicemail. I decided to call again after getting home from work (I wanted to see if I could actually talk to her because she was only in the office until 7 and I had to leave at 6:45 for my yoga class). Finally, she was available to talk. She said all of my hormone levels were great except for one, which was a little high. If The Bee and I weren't having trouble in the baby department, the increased level wouldn't be of any concern, but they wanted to completely rule it out as the cause. My high level was prolactin, which is the hormone responsible for preventing ovulation in women who are nursing (and also is responsible for breast milk production). Normal levels for non-pregnant, non-nursing women is between 5 and 23. My level was 30. They wanted me to get and MRI to check for a tumor on my pituitary gland (which is responsible for the production and regulation of prolactin, among other things) but she said that my level of 30 made it very unlikely that I had a tumor and even very unlikely that it would prevent normal ovulation. The MRI is just the next step in the laundry list of infertility tests based on my blood levels. The hospital called me and set up my MRI for the next evening.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    My first appointment

    I had my first appointment November 22, 2011 at 7pm. I chose this day and time for several reasons:
    1. I followed my doctor's orders from August and had completed 3 months of bbt charting
    2. It was late enough in the day that I didn't have to miss any work or make sub plans (I HATE making sub plans!)
    3. It was our last day of school before a 5 day weekend over Thanksgiving (I figured this would give me more than enough time to compose myself before being back in the classroom if I was a complete wreck after the appointment).

    I took it easy that day at work, knowing that the kids would be crazy (being the last day of our first trimester at school and the last day before 5 glorious days off!) and that many of my students would be gone on vacation already (the families at my school are notorious for taking off early before any scheduled break). So I pretty much got to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving 7 times and had the kids draw Peanuts characters in their sketchbooks (we are in Minnesota so I gave a mini lesson on Charles Schultz who was a Minnesota born artist which made me feel a little less guilty about being so lazy!) while I finished up my grades for all of my 360 kids.

    At 3:20, I shot out of school like a bat out of hell. I wanted to shower and make myself look polished for the appointment. I knew if I went in looking like what Oprah calls a 'shlumpadinka' I would feel rotten from the get go and cry through the whole appointment. So, I showered, put on a new dress and cardigan that I got while visiting my sister in Wisconsin the previous weekend, a pair of cute tights and my favorite slouch boots.  I blow-dried and flat-ironed my hair and did my make-up.  I ate dinner by myself (The Bee was working late that night) and called my Mom. By 6:15 I was on the road.

    I got to the appointment 10 minutes early, checked in, and started reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the waiting room (I know I am way behind the times...I refused to read the Harry Potter series when they came out but my brother-in-law finally convinced me and they are really fun!). They called me in, weighed me (I've lost 5lbs since August, btw, which is either due to stress, the gluten free [well, gluten-greatly-limited] diet I put myself on last August because my stomach was always hurting, my new yoga classes or a combination of these things. This puts me at about 108lbs and my Mom is CONVINCED that I just need to gain weight since that worked for her with her 4th pregnancy which took over a year for my parents to conceive. If I thought it was that easy, trust me, I'd be pigging out! And I am only 5'4" so I am not skeletal or anything.), took my temperature and blood pressure. Then she asked me why I was there. This is still the nurses aide, mind you, and not even the doctor. And I cried. I told her that my husband and I have been trying to conceive for over a year with no luck. I told her that my doctor asked me to chart my bbt for three months and then schedule this appointment. She said, "I am so sorry that this is so hard on you. You'll get through it. Lots of people struggle through things like this and you are not alone" She was very sweet and I appreciated her patience and the Kleenex she kept handing to me while she asked all of the normal questions (about smoking, alcohol, caffeine, my cycles, has my husband been tested, etc).

    Then I waited for the doctor. It was a very long 20 minutes before the she came in but at least good old Harry Potter was there for me. She came in, asked a few questions and looked at my Fertility Friend charts. And I cried. I asked about my low temperatures and she said they are within normal range and probably nothing to worry about. She asked if we were interested in fertility drugs. I asked if it looked like I am not ovulating on my own? She said it looks like I am, but for November she is pretty sure I ovulated 4 days later than Fertility Friend said I did (which would mean cd19 which would be really late for me from what I have always observed using NFP...although that has obviously not worked so well for us! Ha!). She gave me a referral for the fertility specialist who actually does fertility treatments (the doctor I saw just does the testing), gave me a paper ordering a pelvic ultrasound and ordered some blood tests to check some hormone levels. Then I was off to the lab!

    The lab guy is the same one who took my blood in August to check my thyroid levels (which were good!). He is a painter and had told me in August to make time for my own art. He remembered me and asked if I had been painting. I said, "Not as much as I'd like." Then he asked how my day was going. I said, "Oh, it has been good." And then I cried. He said, "Why are you crying?! You lied to me! Your day hasn't been good at all!" I replied, "Work was fine. The reason I am here just really stinks." Then he said, "Do you KNOW that or are you assuming the worst?" "I guess I am assuming the worst," I cried. "Well, these results will tell you a lot and you should get a call about them as early as Friday. Take care of yourself, and paint!"

    On my way out of the doctor's office, I stopped at the appointment desk to set up the pelvic ultrasound. The doctor said it is "just to check for basic anatomy." I have that set for December 7 and have to make sub plans - YUCK! I decided to take the whole day off, using one of the many sick days I have been saving for the maternity leave THAT I HAVEN'T NEEDED. I have only used 1.5 sick days in the 3 years and 4 months I have been a teacher and we can only carry over 30. I am at 30.5 and since I am not having a baby this school year I am using the day without feeling bad (even though we can't use sick days for scheduled doctor's appointments!).

    Sorry for the long post. I'll make it to be continued...

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Here we go!

    My first 'real' fertility appointment is tomorrow night! I am sort of nervous even though I know not much will happen. I will be 7dpo tomorrow (again, though, this cycle doesn't look promising for any exciting news).

    In the past week (yes, I mean the last SEVEN DAYS) there have been 4 (FOUR!) pregnancy announcements from people I know:

    1. A family friend who has a child from a previous relationship, is medically obese, has been married for 4 months and smokes pot (hopefully not now that she knows she has a baby on board)

    2. My awesome sister-in-law who had multiple rounds of IVF to have her 2-year-old twins. This pregnancy was a beautiful surprise (with NO intervention!).

    3. An artist friend who has 4 kids and didn't want anymore (well, now that baby #5 has made themselves known, she is thrilled).

    4. A high school friend who is due with baby #3 at the end of June.

    Juvenile as it sounds, I am thoroughly green with envy (well, not about my sister-in-law...for her I am just joyful!).

    I'm trying to focus on Thanksgiving and the excitement that it always brings (and I am 100% delighted that we get to put up our Christmas tree on Friday!)!

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    I AM thankful! Really!

    Boy, it didn't take me long to fall off of the thankfulness train. Oops. I think I'll scrap that endeavor. I have been THINKING about what I am thankful for everyday, just not writing about it. I was faced with a terrible sinus infection/laryngitis combo and the unexpected death of a family friend so things were a little hectic for a while there. Everything is finally slowing down, though, and I have a few wonderful things to post about (my adventure in making 8lbs of marshmallow fondant for my 5th graders and my first yoga class at CorePower to name two), so stay tuned!  :)

    In the meantime, here is a convo I had with some of my 5th graders (who invited me to eat lunch with them in the cafeteria last Friday!):

    5th grader #1: Mrs. Bird, when are you going to have a baby?
    Me: I'm not sure!
    5th grader #2: She's going to have a baby in 2 years.
    Me: Oh, really? What makes you say that?
    5th grader #2: Yes! Because in 2 years, I'll be in 7th grade and I can babysit your kid! Yours will be the cutest!
    5th grader #1: That is a good idea! I'll babysit them, too! You should have one now, though, because you will be a really good mom.

    And one with the school administrative assistant (AA) (who I absolutely adore, btw, even though this put me in a funk for a good hour or two):

    Me: The Bee's new job is so much better for him! He is in a better mood and he makes more, which will allow us to get a bigger place sooner.
    AA: Uh oh! You know what happens when you get more space and settle in?
    Me: Ummm...more housework and yardwork?
    AA: No, when we moved into our house, BAM, I was preggo like one second later. Seriously nine months after we got our place our daughter was born.

    I don't even remember what I said after that. Probably like, "Oh, that's what happens?" with some forced laughter or something. It would be nice if that was all it took to get pregnant, huh?

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Gratitude : Day 3

    Today I am thankful for the power of the "teacher glare" that I have pretty much had mastered for my entire life (Thanks, Mom!). It sure came in handy today with my third, fifth and seventh graders who were all kooky-crazy!

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Exclusion

    At my school there are three (3!) teachers expecting their first babies next spring. They are due in March, April and May. Two of them know that The Bee and I have been ttc for over a year. These two have been my friends since my first year teaching. One of them started teaching the same year as me so we sort of have this special bond. We have done ski club together with our school for the last 2 years. I was there when she picked out her wedding dress (which was gorgeous on her and had the cutest pockets). I helped her with tasks for her wedding reception last fall. We even took snowboarding lessons together (along with The Bee) last winter.

    And then she got pregnant. She and her husband decided to go off the pill in July. She got pregnant in August (even though they didn't want to get pregnant until October). I sat with her in the nurses office at school when she was having bad cramping in September. I took over her partner teacher's (who is the other pregnant friend) class on one of my preps so they could chat while she (still) laid in the nurses office.

    Now I listen to them talk at lunch about their pickle cravings and how tired they are. How they don't worry if they forget to take their prenatal vitamins and how they take still take ibuprofen for headaches.  (I, on the other hand, have been taking Tylenol whenever I have headaches or cramps *just in case* and have been religiously taking those darn vitamins for 17 months!). I know I sound all complainy but I am really happy for them both.

    Here comes the not-so-cool part. I have become the excluded. It is mainly a lunch thing (how junior high is that?!). Here are two conversations from the past 2 days:

    Yesterday, as I am making tea to have with lunch:
    4th grade teacher: Gosh, it is COLD in here!
    Me: Yeah, I heard they are still trying to fix the boilers.
    Pregnant teacher friend (PTF): Oh, tea! That's a good idea. (looking at other pregnant teacher) I have some tea in my room if we want some. (looking back at me) Oh, wait, I guess WE can't have tea.

    Today:
    PhyEd Teacher: So, are any of you planning on doing ski club this year?
    PTF: I can't. I am SO sad!
    PhyEd Teacher (looking at me): Are you going to?
    Me: I'm planning on it! And my husband will probably come, too!
    PTF: I am SO sad that I can't! That was, like, the FIRST thing I thought when I found out I was, you know, pregnant. How SAD it is that I can't snowboard this year.
    PhyEd Teacher (to me): Yeah, your husband should come!
    PTF: I just got a flyer in the mail from the the ski place and I was just upset. My husband said "You should just give it to The Bird since SHE can use it."
    Me: Sure, thanks.
    PTF: I REALLY wanted to do it this year but it probably isn't a good idea.
    Me: Yeah, I am pretty sure they say snowboarding isn't the safest. People can take some hard spills. Maybe next year, right?
    PTF: Yeah. I hope YOU have fun this year, though.

    Okay, in writing, those conversations don't look that bad. I tried not to be sensitive about it. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. But it definitely seems like she has a chip on her shoulder about something. Shouldn't I be the grouchy one? Goodness gracious. And, for the record, I'd rather be pregnant right now than be able to snowboard this winter, thankyouverymuch.

    Gratitude : Day 2

    Working in a school and not being able to have my own children can be a challenge sometimes. I work with other people's offspring ALL DAY LONG. FIVE DAYS A WEEK. And I get to see lots of baby brothers and sisters at school events. However, the joy tends to outweigh the heartache. 
    One of my favorite parts of being a teacher is hearing some of the things my students say. They are HILARIOUS and way more entertaining than any professional comedian (except for maybe Russell Brand, that guy can seriously crack me up!). Sometimes they are also wise or say just what I need to hear. For example, here is a conversation I had with one of my Kindergarten boys on a day when I was feeling very blue about my fertility situation:                              
    Kindergartner: Mrs. Bird, do you have any kids?
    Me: No, I don't have any kids.
    Kindergartner: That's okay! Are you a wife?
    Me (laughing): Yes, I am! Here we are on our wedding day! (showing a picture of The Bee and myself that sits on my desk)
    Kindergartner: Oh! That is important! Do you know what that means?
    Me: What?
    Kindergartner: It means he knows how special you are and he decided to love you. And he knows you are a good painter so he wants to stay with you. You can have kids later.
    I couldn't help but smile and scarcely avoided sweeping that 5-year-old up in my arms for a giant hug. Today I am thankful for the wisdom and humor of children.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Gratitude : Day 1

    In celebration of Thanksgiving, I am going to try to post one thing that I am thankful for each day (or at least seven per week if not one a day...I am still not so hot at this blogging business). I figure the positive thoughts can't hurt anything and maybe taking the time to write about all the good things in life will help me see that I could have things a lot worse! 

    Before I get to the good stuff: I am 15 dpo today and still no af. However, my bbt has dropped the last three days and this morning was even below the coverline. What gives? I just wish af would show up already as I don't want to waste a pregnancy test when my bbt chart is telling me that I am clearly not pregnant (again)! This is only my second full cycle of bbt charting and now I am really confused. Maybe I didn't even ovulate? That sounds like my luck! I also have my first cold of the season (which I am trying to kick in the pants by turning in early every night this week...I went to bed at 9:15 last night and it was fantastic!). Enough complaining (for now anyways, ha!). On to being thankful!

    Today is my Grandma's 73rd birthday! I am actually thankful for 2 things today: my Grandma and PUPPIES! My Grandma is a retired nurse (she only retired 3 years ago!) and is one smart cookie! She can talk your ear off about health, politics, religion...the list goes on and on. She has been a great help to my Mom through my parents' recent divorce. Growing up, my sisters and I used to sleep over at her house for a week out of the summer and we always had so much fun! We watched movies all night, ate ice cream and popsicles to our hearts' content, played SKIP-BO (Grandma's fave!), listened to the old crooners (one time we all danced with brooms to Frank Sinatra), did cross-stitch and crafts and played with her dogs!

    My Grandma has always had at least one dog. Usually she had 2 or three. Legend has it that my love for dogs began when my Grandma held me for the first time very shortly after birth. She was in the delivery room with my Mom and Dad when I made my grand entrance into this world and the first thing she said to me was, "Hello, I am Grandma. Grandma with the dogs." When I was 9 she gave us a puppy (he was the BEST dog I have ever met. Someday when The Bee and I get a dog it will be hard to compare!). Here she is with her current pups (who would sit on her lap all day if she let them):




    Her black teacup poodles are 2 years old and she just got the little white teacup poodle about 3 weeks ago.  They are so sweet. Thank God for Grandmas and dogs:)

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    History

    I have been married to The Bee for just over four years now.  We are high school sweethearts so we've really been together for 10 years (that looks crazy in writing but it has indeed been a decade!).  We waited to have sex until our honeymoon (gasp!) which most of our high school friends still don't know. We find it hilarious that a few of the guys practically obsess over it now and again - Did you or didn't you?! I'll go into the waiting 'til marriage stuff another time - please don't write me off as judgemental or a prude.

    We have been using Natural Family Planning (NFP) all along. I use the Creighton Model where you record cervical mucus (cm) observations only (no physically checking your cervix or charting basal body temperature [bbt]). For the first 3 years of marriage, we were still getting our career lives in order and used NFP to avoid pregnancy. I was in my masters program for education our first year of marriage and then in my first 2 years teaching visual arts to elementary and middle schoolers. The Bee was looking for work that actually used his degrees in Math and Physics (he is a brainiac!). I can go more into NFP in later posts (why we chose that as our family planning method and such).

    We decided to start trying to conceive (ttc) on our third anniversary. Because my cycles have always been pretty regular and I have been charting fertile signs since a year before we were married, we thought it would happen right away for us. No such luck. As of today, we have been ttc for 15 months. I saw my doctor in August and she told me to start charting my bbt and then to see the fertility specialist at the clinic after 3 months.  Last week, I called and made the appointment. I'll be meeting with her before Thanksgiving, which is sort of a relief but also feels like failure. So many people can reproduce with no trouble, no outside help, even by accident!  I am from a large family and never imagined being in this spot. Technically, I COULD be pregnant as I type this. I'll find out officially on Halloween. I don't think I am, though, and my bbt chart doesn't look promising. 

    That is why I am starting this blog. I have become consumed by my inability to become pregnant, to be a mother. I cry too often. I feel angry and resentful too easily. I am still excited when others announce their pregnancies but it hurts a little, too. I hope that writing my thoughts provides some comfort and helps me on my path to becoming myself again (I've always been a crier, but the anger and resentfulness are new - and they feel AWFUL).