Weighing In

Progress report time:

It’s been 11 weeks since I made the grand proclamation that I want to lose 28 lbs by the time we resume TTC in March.  I had a few rough weeks over the holidays, and another few rough weeks really getting back on track, but our appointment with Baby Doctor last week really pup the pep in my step.  I feel like I’m finally back in the game. 

Mondays are our weigh in day, so as of this morning I’m down 14.9 lbs. since November 18th.  The My Fitness Pal tracker on the right is rounding up to 15 lbs, but I’m not comfortable celebrating that milestone until the scale celebrates with me.

The holidays did set me back, though.  It’s unlikely that I’ll reach my goal by the time I start my March period, but hell—progress is progress and I’ll take it.  If I can get anywhere close to my goal, I will be ecstatic.

Here’s what’s working for me:

1)      Weight Watchers.  I truly love their system.  Counting points seems tedious until you get the hang of it, but it’s worth the adjustment period.  I love pulling out my iPhone at the grocery store and using the bar code scanner to scan labels on things—it’s so flipping easy.

2)      Vegetables.  Lots of them.  I’m eating at least 2 servings of veggies with my lunch most days, and it helps keep me pretty satisfied until dinnertime.  I’ve also been adding finely chopped kale to almost every recipe I make.  We usually have 2-3 servings of veggies with our dinner, and I generally snack on fruit mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

3)      Pinterest.  A few minutes of searching gives me some great ideas for the week.  We’re trying to mostly have gluten free dinners with the occasional exception.  Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the past few weeks: Balsamic Chicken & Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole. My recipe notes are on the pins.

4)      Water.  I keep a quart sized mason jar on my desk at work and force myself to drink it all day.  I usually get at least 6 cups of water in this way, and drink another 2-4 at home in the evening depending on exercise.

Photo5)      Exercise.  I hate it, but I’ve been doing it.  We both have Fitbits now, and we love them.  I like having a concrete goal staring right at me all day.  It gives me the push I need to try to go the literal extra mile at the end of the day.  30 minutes on the treadmill will become 40 minutes on the treadmill if it means reaching those 10,000 steps.  On Friday, I walked around our office complex at lunch so that I wouldn’t have to be on the treadmill so long in the evening.  It’s pretty satisfying when the Fitbit does its little vibration/lights dance when you reach your goal. 

6)      Chocolate.  Half of a Hershey’s Special Dark bar is 3 points on Weight Watchers.  It feels like a major indulgence, but it’s only 3 points—totally manageable.  Alternatively, 23 Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips are 3 points.  As long as I can have a bit of chocolate in my life, I don’t mind one bit that half of our grocery bill is kale and broccoli.

I feel like it's worth noting that I bought a work top online sometime in November.  When it arrived, it was too tight.  I tossed it back in its packaging intending to return it.  I forgot to return it.  (Typical!)  Catch found it yesterday, and I decided to try it on one more time before we pass it on to a friend.  I wore it to work today.  Progress.

 

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Away

Guarddog

So, we skipped town last weekend for a quick 2-night trip to El Capitan State Beach.  Right next to our tent, there was a little flat spot with room for our chairs and a dog bed and a direct view of this:

Sunset1

Sunset2

We spent quite a bit of time in that spot.  The pups thought it was a great place to nap.  And beg for treats.  Twix does a mean high five with the right motivation.

Tired_hounds

Highfive

We also spent some time at Arroyo Burro dog beach, which is only a 20 minute drive from the campground.  Dogs aren’t allowed on state beaches, so we took them to the dog beach at low tide on Saturday.

Beach

Beachhounds

Playtime

Twixwaves

The added bonus of low tide at the dog beach? Tidepools!

Rocks

Starfish

Tidepools

Shell

Ocean

Naturally, we made it back to camp in time for sunset. I wouldn’t want to miss this.

Leaves_sunset

Sunset3

Sunset4

We were up early Sunday morning, and made our way quietly to the beach with the dogs to catch the sunrise.  It was quick enough not to get caught by anyone who would yell at us about dogs on the beach, but long enough for the dogs to find a dead lobster to roll on.  Good times.  Beautiful sunrise.

Sunrise1

Beachplay

Not a bad way to spend a weekend.  I hope we can do it again soon!

Related articles

The Dog Beach
El Capitan

Ducks in a Row

Yesterday’s consult at the fancy fertility clinic was both overwhelming and not.  If that’s possible. 

We weren’t in very good shape when we arrived.  I had a massive headache, and Catch threw her back out over the weekend, so she was barely able to hobble in there.  We were quite the pair.  Add a serious conversation with a serious doctor and an equally serious pelvic exam to our already fragile state, and it wasn’t the prettiest picture.  We ended the evening with margaritas.  Enough said.

 So, the plan is this:

  1. Change donors.  The doctor (we’ll call her Baby Doctor from now on) was not thrilled with the washed sperm count of our donor, which is kind of a bummer because we really like that donor.  She clearly had a personal preference for California Cryobank and is strongly encouraging us to try to find a donor with them, so we’re going to give it a shot.  Catch is home today hopefully perusing their catalog of donors.  We had two donors picked out from CCB previously, but they’re both anonymous and we decided forever ago that we really want an open donor.
  2. Continue our weight loss journey.  She asked me to try to lose 10% because she thinks I’ll respond better if I do.  I’m going to do my best.  I really need to get my head back in the game.  It’s been rough ever since the holidays.  You would think that a baby would be motivation enough, but I won’t lie—it’s hard.  Really hard.
  3. Do two more IUI/Cloimd/triggered cycles, but this time we are doubling up the inseminations.  Also doubling the sperm and the cost.  Yikes.  For a single cycle, we are looking at $1600 for two washed vials of sperm and around another $1000 for the double IUIs including the ultrasounds and such.  It’s not unreasonable at all—it’s just double, and if neither attempt works, that’s a bit hard on our savings account.  It’ll be $5,000 we don’t have for the next step.  Ouch.

In Baby Doctor’s expert opinion, I have a hands down, no questions asked case of PCOS.  That confuses the crap out of me because my regular gyno said that I didn’t fit enough of the criteria for a diagnosis.  Whatever.  She did a pelvic ultrasound and lost count of the cysts on my ovaries after she reached 20 on each one.  She also informed me that I have a retroverted uterus, which supposedly doesn’t interfere with fertility, but changes where she places the sperm during the IUI. 

Baby Doctor has ordered more blood tests than I have ever seen, including a 2 hour glucose screening.  Picture one of those lab order forms and mentally check off 18 boxes.  How many vials of blood do you suppose that is?  Do they think I’m just a fountain of blood?  Was she a vampire in a past life?

She also really wants to order an HSG, but I am highly allergic to the contrast dye that’s used in the test, so she’s shying away from it for now.  She said that if our two IUI cycles fail, we’ll have to order the test.  They normally perform them in their own lab, but she said she’d send me off to a radiologist who’s prepared to deal with the allergy.  Supposedly, they pump me with steroids and such and hope for the best.  The last time I was injected with this type of dye, my head was in a CT scan thingy and I started sneezing uncontrollably (and hitting my head on the machine with every sneeze) while my blood turned to molten lava in my veins—it burned like an SOB.  I vaguely recall emergency room people rushing in with IVs of saline to try to flush it out of my system.  Overall, not an experience I’m looking to repeat—and I can’t imagine they’ll get very good images if I’m lying there sneezing non-stop.

They said that it would be better for us financially if I can get my own doctor to submit the lab orders because they should be covered by my insurance that way.  Since I don’t have a regular physician (I know—terrible), I called and made an appointment with Catch’s doctor this morning.  I see him on Tuesday afternoon, and I hope to god he doesn’t hassle me about ordering these tests.  I am horrible at this stuff.  It stresses me out beyond belief. 

So, that’s where things stand.  IF my cycles stay on track, we’re looking at starting with Clomid sometime around the 20th of March.  Two full months of diet, exercise, blood tests, and donor searching.  Wish us luck.

Air

That’s the view from my chair in our campsite right now. Pretty heavenly. Say what you will about California, but it’s 75 degrees, the sun is shining and the waves are crashing.

We went to the seminar at the big fertility clinic last night. An hour long overview of everything we already know about trying and failing to make a baby, but now our consultation is free, so it was worth it.

We scheduled our first appointment for Tuesday afternoon.

I’m hoping we can relax this weekend. Breathe some fresh air. Let the waves lull us to sleep. Try to get our heads and our hearts in the right place before Tuesday’s inevitable barrage of acronyms. IVF? IUI? HSG? What is it with this fertility industry and their clusters of letters?

Happy weekend, everyone.


Air

No. Sleep. Til MONDAY!

That is the one and only Beastie Boys reference you'll ever see me make because actually? I hate them.

I’ve never been a good sleeper.  I was an awful infant.  My poor mother was dealing with a colicky baby and a deadbeat husband/father simultaneously.  She told me once that on a desperate, sleepless night as I was screaming and she was sobbing, she contemplated throwing me at the wall to shut me up.  Points to her for self-restraint, because I’m not sure what I would have done in her shoes.

As a teenager, I figured I was just a typical teen.  Stay up until all hours of the night and sleep in.  Very normal, except that I would spend over an hour tossing and turning in bed before I got to sleep no matter what time I finally crawled beneath the covers.

Enter adulthood—the tossing/turning/insomnia has gotten worse, with the added bonus of being totally unable to “sleep in” past 7 or 8.  Usually any sleep between 6 and 8 is lousy, anyway.

I’m also very particular about how I sleep.  It has to be DARK and it has to be QUIET.  All caps.  If the neighbor’s TV is too loud, or there are people standing by a car outside having a conversation, I flip out and anxiety sets in. Once the anxiety sets in, all bets are off.  I have purchased AT LEAST a half dozen alarm clocks in search of one with a dim enough face that I can tell the time but not notice the light when my eyes are closed.  (Thank you, Sony—it’s not stylish, but it does the trick.)

Point being, sleep is difficult enough for me without adding an additional obstacle.  That’s why we went out yesterday and bought another mattress—this time from Macy’s, from a salesman I forced to repeat the return policy to me at least 3 times. I stopped short of recording him, but I thought about it.  The buying experience was totally different the second time around as this associate clearly knew his mattresses, understood immediately what my problem was, and did everything he could to make us feel okay about having to pay for a new mattress twice.  Thank you, Macy’s.

Unfortunately, the new mattress won’t be delivered until Monday—a thought that makes me want to cry considering that I’ve had maybe 7 hours of sleep COMBINED since Sunday.  This is the sort of sleep schedule I would expect if I was uncomfortably pregnant or if we had an infant, but neither scenario applies THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR REMINDING ME, UNIVERSE.

The Princess and the Pea (Alternate title: We just spent a boatload of cash on a new mattress and I. HATE. IT.)

We woke up on Sunday morning, had some bacon and coffee and giddily skipped out the front door together in search of a new bed.  Not just any new bed, though—a KING bed.  Something we have only dared to dream about since Twix was a puppy and I discovered that having her in bed with me is soothing and helps me relax.  The thing is that adorable little 8 week old puppies grow into full-sized 50-lb dogs with legs that like to stretch out into my rib cage at night. I would find myself clinging to the edge of the bed thinking that falling out of bed sounded a heck of a lot better than being kicked in the gut AGAIN. 

As such, you can imagine how adding 18 inches of width to our mattress sounded HEAVENLY.  We’ve been talking about it for as long as I can remember.  Someday, we will move into a bigger place with a master bedroom larger than a postage stamp and we will be able to have a king bed.

We haven’t moved, though, and our bedroom is still the size of a postage stamp.  We just finally reached a point where we were so miserable on our 10 year old queen mattress that we broke out the measuring tape and realized it might just work. Maybe. If the delivery people hold their breath and close their eyes and wish really hard, they MIGHT just be able to squeeze a king bed in there.

So, we headed out and dropped quite a bit of cash on the new bed and new bedding.  We rushed home to get the bedroom ready for our new bed, which involved moving our old mattress out so that I could take apart all ten thousand pieces of our Ikea bed because it won’t turn the corner in the hallway otherwise.  By the time we were done, I was EXHAUSTED.  Falling asleep on the couch.  Could barely keep my eyes open.

Imagine my shock/despair/anxiety/disappointment/heart crushing sadness when I did not sleep a single wink on our new bed.  Maybe an hour, but that’s it.  I couldn’t get comfortable.  In fact, as the night went on, I grew increasingly less comfortable.  It was like sinking deeper into a pit every hour.  My shoulder fell asleep.  My neck was at a weird angle.  I couldn’t get comfy on my stomach even though I have been a stomach sleeper my whole life. I tried sleeping on my side, but it felt like my hip bone had sunken through a layer of fluff and landed on concrete.

Last night, in sheer exhausted desperation, I popped two Advil PM at 8:30, poured myself a cup of Sleepytime tea, and soaked in a hot lavender scented bubble bath.  I should have been dead to the world after that combination, but I tossed and turned wide awake for 3 hours, and never slept longer than a 30 minute stretch all night.  Today, my shoulders and neck are killing me.

I hate our new mattress.  I hate memory foam.  I hate that the store we bought it form has a no return policy and that I didn’t realize it until it was too late. 

I have no idea what to do now.  All I know is that I sure as hell can’t live like this.

Daily Confessions

I did not brush my hair this morning. 

I rolled out of bed (late), ran my fingers through the tangles, and threw it up in a bun with a ton of hairspray that is clearly not working to contain the frizz and flyaways because it looks like I’ve sprouted wings from behind my ears. I am just the picture of professionalism.  Not.  (Related confession: When I was 11-ish, I had a GIANT pink t-shirt that said in huge block letters, "Whatever you say. NOT." There is a picture of me standing in hail with braces and a bad haircut wearing that awful shirt with white bicycle shorts. I was SO. NOT.  COOL.)

I had a croissant for breakfast.

I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway and now I feel even more disgusting than I already did as a result of item 1.

My jeans are not as loose as they were 2 weeks ago when I was running around the house saying, “look how loose my jeans are!”

They are also not as tight as they were 6 weeks ago, but let’s not rationalize.

I am terrified of the seminar at the fertility clinic next week.

I have awful social anxiety, and I can already feel myself clinging to Catch’s arm like a frightened toddler while I imagine all of the perfect straight blonde couples judging the overweight lesbians and thinking that we shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce anyway.  Yes, I know this is INSANE, but it’s how my brain works.  It’s like I have a perfectly logical little angel on one shoulder reminding me that it’s okay and that I don’t care what anyone else thinks and a much bigger devil on my other shoulder overwhelming me with my biggest insecurities.  My brain is caught in the middle.  It’s fun to be me.

One of my credit card companies just increased my line of credit by 40% and I have a sudden desire to BUY ALL THE THINGS.

What’s crazy is that it’s easier to contain that desire than it was to contain the whole croissant issue above.  I’m going to run out at lunch and buy dog treats, which should satisfy my need for retail therapy. Plus, we actually need them, so it’s perfectly reasonable. And I won’t use my credit card.

I haven’t slept well in weeks.

Because I am a mess right now.  An absolute mess—inside and out.  But it’s okay.  I have Catch—and she’s a mess too.  At least I know we can be messy together.  And she’s better at cleaning up than I am, so it’s an extra win for me.

(Lacking) Motivation

There are always terrific reasons as to why I should do the things I have trouble making myself do, but let’s face it—earning a living and keeping a roof over our heads is just not enough motivation to get my ass out of bed in the morning most days. That’s why Catch saved me the last Starbucks Holiday Blend k-cup this morning. Thank you, baby. 

Photo 4

In Southern California, we don’t see much rain.  For that reason, I LOVE me a rainy day.  Everyone else bitches and complains, but I adore the gloom.  It makes me want to curl up in pajamas with a hot cup of something or a glass of red wine and watch movies all day.  Precisely the reason why it’s a good thing that we hardly ever have rainy days here.  I’d never get anything done.  I’ve learned over the years that no matter how much I complain about the lack of grey, I need the sunshine.  There’s something energizing about the sunrise, and I am always grateful when I get to catch the spectacular snippets of them in my rear view mirror like I did this morning. When I walked into my office, I opened the blinds completely for the first time in months.  Hello, sunshine.

Photo 3

Then, there’s exercise.  Why is this so hard for me?  I truly don’t understand it.  30 minutes a day feels like pure torture.  I find myself counting every dang second.  No matter how I entertain myself while working out—new playlists, audiobooks, TV—I get so bored.  AT the 20 minute mark last night, I was bargaining with myself: Just get to the 25-minute mark and then you can stop.  You’ll do the full 30 tomorrow.  It’ll be fine. Fortunately, I added some motivation to the treadmill.  Meet sperm & egg:

Photo 1

Apparently, they were all I needed to push myself past the 25 minute mark. 

Now if I could just find something to motivate me to do the laundry and wash the dishes.  Someday I'll figure out how to put this lazy, adorable little shit to work.  I want her life.

Photo 2

Just Your Average Date Night

Catch and I have a tendency to discuss big important topics over a couple of drinks.  Saturday, we had planted ourselves at the bar at Island’s with a couple of happy hour mai tais before our movie time (American Hustle—worth seeing primarily because the 70s were not fans of bras) and the next thing you know, we’re talking about big important things while simultaneously stuffing our faces with french fries.  (Yeah—I know. Weight Watchers starts again today. Can someone please explain why I weigh 5 lbs less in the kitchen than I do on any other flat surface in my house? Please?)

We managed to cover everything from savings/income to vacation plans to life insurance to fertility treatment in under 60 minutes. Do we know how to do date night or what?  ROMANCE—nailed it.

In short, we are stressed about money.  She more so than me, but that’s not to say it isn’t on my mind.  Our savings account will only get us so far, and we feel like we’re dealing with a catch 22 scenario: A few rounds of IUI with the fancy fertility clinic could wipe out our savings and leave us with nothing for IVF if we end up needing to take that route.  That would mean loans for IVF (or further IUI), and neither of us is thrilled with the idea of digging a huge financial hole right before we (hopefully) end up with the biggest ongoing expense of our lives—a baby.  If we just go straight to IVF, we'd need a much smaller loan, but even with a higher percentage success rate there's no guarantee of success, and I have a habit of being a statistical anomaly. 

We’re attending a seminar at the fancy fertility clinic next Thursday evening, and I imagine we’ll learn something about their costs.  The other clinic had all of their cost info posted on their web site, which my inner control freak LOVED.  I’m not loving being totally in the dark walking through the door of this new place.  I like to have all of my ducks in a row from the get go.  I was never comfortable with the learning process in school for that reason—I want to know it BEFORE I learn it.  Problematic.

All we can do right now is roll with this vague outline of a plan.  In terms of everything else this year has to offer, the only thing that matters is getting pregnant.  Everything else—vacations included—can sit in the back seat for a while.  Candy Crush is free and we have a 2 year contract with DirecTV—who needs vacations?

Don’t worry, Roly—we’ll make sure there’s a squeaky toy fund, too.

Roly