Countdowns Galore

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe in 2007

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe in 2007

This time tomorrow, we’ll be well on our way to our campground at the the north end of Lake Tahoe along the Truckee River—about a 7-hour drive. I can’t even express how badly needed this trip is. We’ve had so much stress in our lives the past few months—the two of us alone in the woods with no dogs and no responsibilities is going to be medicinal. We have a brand new tent, the truck is mostly packed, the grocery shopping is done, and I am counting down the minutes.

We’ve made a decision about how we’re going to proceed with our next cycle. After much consideration and some input from trusted loved ones, we’re going to try one more cycle of IUI and add the injectables. It’s not a decision we came to lightly, and honestly, it’s not even the decision I thought we’d make. Before we met with our RE, I really thought I wanted to go straight for IVF.

Our logic is pretty simple. Although we’ve been through 3 IUI cycles at this stage, only two of them were medicated, and only two of them benefited from my dramatic (if I do say so myself) weight loss and lifestyle changes. I feel like my body deserves another shot at IUI before I put it through the extremes of IVF.

There were other considerations, too—albeit not as weighted as the reasons above. The timing for IVF would have been awful unless we delayed it another couple of months. Our RE wanted me on BCP for a month with the actual IVF cycle to follow with my August cycle. That’s totally normal and expected, but would have put all of the nitty gritty IVF stuff right in Catch’s first couple of weeks back in the classroom after summer break. She’d have no flexibility, and our RE is a good hour away from her school.

I feel like one more round of IUI also gives us a bit more flexibility for the future. There is somewhat less finality to it. It still leaves us with half of the savings we have left, and while it wouldn’t be easy, it also wouldn’t take me forever to recoup the money we invest in this cycle if it fails. My car will be paid off in January and that will give us a bit more financial freedom as well. It would still give us a shot at IVF somewhere in the future if we decided that’s what we want.

If things stay on track, my period should start sometime on Friday or Saturday. I’m hoping for Saturday because the timing will be better for the baseline ultrasound, but I can’t control my period any better than I can control the weather.

I hope we’ve made the right call. I hope that starting this cycle on the heels of a week of fresh air, campfires, hikes, and alone time will give it an edge that our other cycles were missing. If everything goes according to the same kind of timing we’ve had the past few months, our test date this round will be right around our anniversary. I’d love to think there’s some meaning in that, while simultaneously being sick of sign searching. It’s like symptom spotting, only worse.

I hope everyone has a relaxing, hope-filled week while I’m away.

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Maybe Not

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After Chinese take out and a vodka tonic with my mom last night, I felt like crap. I desperately wanted to get my ass on the treadmill, but me + vodka + treadmill = let’s not tempt fate. Instead, I resolved to get up early this morning and go for a run out in the real world before work. We live in a triplex, so I can’t very well be stomping on the treadmill at 5:30 am.

As I tossed and turned trying to get myself to sleep, I imagined that a 5:30 am run was the solution to all of my problems. I’d start the day with some quality alone time and some good music, and I’d emerge feeling energized and ready to tackle the day. Maybe this could become a regular thing. It would sure take the pressure off of the evenings if I could get my workout in at the beginning of the day. Yes! That’s a great plan! 5:30 runs every day from now on!

My alarm went off at 5:30. I wanted to choke it, but you can’t choke an iPhone, apparently. You can only throw it.

At 5:40, I felt guilty because my alarm had awakened the dogs and Catch, and they sure as hell didn’t need to be up so early. It was guilt that dragged my sleepy rear end out of bed and toward the general direction of my sports bra and running shoes.

5 minutes later, I was stretching on our front steps with Tom Petty in my ear. This is gonna be great.

I ran. Cool morning air. Quiet neighborhood. Grey sky as the sun rises. Honestly, it was great.

It was great until I got home and realized that I couldn’t just throw myself onto the couch and spend the rest of the day being a vegetable. I had to shower. I had to get ready for work. I had to be a functioning member of society.

I did not feel energized. I felt even more exhausted than when I started. Plus, I’m not used to running on concrete and my hips freaking HURT.

Now that the day is in progress, I regret not turning off my alarm and getting some extra sleep. At least then my eyes wouldn’t feel like sandpaper and I wouldn’t be popping Advil like it’s candy.

I’m thinking the 5:30 am run is going to be the exception rather than the rule. But hey, at least I tried.

Dear Early Morning Run,

We can’t keep doing this.  It’s not you, it’s me.

Love,

Not a Morning Person

Where do we go from here?

I’ve been blessed with pretty good instincts. My gut feeling is usually both loud and right. That’s why the position I’m in right now is so hard for me. Someone hit the mute button on my instincts, and my intellect is running in circles. It’s making me positively batty.

We met with my RE yesterday afternoon. I got to keep my pants on for once, and it was all very civilized. Just the three of us in her office with my file between us and my (all clear) HSG results on a monitor.  And of course her wall of other people’s baby pictures.  God forbid their doctor egos could forgo that.

We talked about everything. She said she really thought we had it last cycle, and we told her we thought so too. We discussed my weight loss and how it really seems to be helping to regulate my cycles. We told her we’re tired of being on this ride and that we’d like to consider being more aggressive.

She said that at this stage, she’s not comfortable doing more of the same, anyway. She wants to change it up. We discussed adding injectable meds to another double IUI cycle and then we brought out the big guns and started talking IVF.

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This is where I’m lost. All I can see is our dwindling savings account and our zero dollars of fertility coverage with my health insurance. I have never been much of a gambler, and it seems that’s all this is. You review the odds, place your bet and wait. It’s the only way, and the unfairness of it all is eating away at me.

Catch feels the same way I do. We’re lost.

So the question now is whether we put all of our eggs into the basket that gives us two tries with 20% odds each time or one try with 50% odds.

I’ve been trying to play that mind game with myself where you take an option off the table entirely just to see if you immediately want to yank it back. Trouble is that I yank both options back. I want it all. I don’t want to have to choose.

We have about 10 days to make our decision and a lifetime to regret it.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day looks like burgers on the grill, rafts on the swimming pool, pineapple upside down cake, and mojitos in a pitcher.

I am so grateful tonight for my dad. He drives us crazy, but I couldn’t imagine my life without the man who gave me his red hair & freckles.

He will be an even better grandfather. I can’t wait to give him that chance.

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Mom Jeans

Ever since we started seriously talking & planning for TTC—in January of last year—not a day has passed when I haven’t thought about it. Not a single day. Some days, I don’t go ten minutes without thinking about it. Other days, it’s a couple of hours. No matter how hard I try, it’s always there with me in some capacity. There’s no escape.

I think taking this cycle off for the HSG has been good for me. My stress level has been through the roof at work, and I’m grateful not to have clomid/HCG/progesterone screwing with me on top of it. This is honestly the most clear-headed I’ve felt in quite some time. That doesn’t mean I’m not still a basket case, but I’ve found that I’m able to talk myself through the crazy more easily without the fog of hormones/desperation that each IUI cycle brings.

I’ve been drinking coffee this week. And wine. It’s sort of liberating. Of course, if my 16 year old self could see what we consider liberating at the age of 33, she would roll her eyes and shake her head at me (while sneaking out of her bedroom in the middle of the night.) I feel a bit more like myself with every passing day.

Isn’t that good? It should be good, right? I considered that last night during a fit of insomnia, and I realized something: I don’t want to feel more like myself.

I am ready to put this stage of my life behind me. I want to swap corporate ladders for monkey bars. I want to trade impromptu wine & pizza nights with neighbors for over-scheduled t-ball practices and chaotic pizza parties.

Catch and I will be celebrating 6 years of marriage and 9 years of general togetherness next month. We’ve done this stage of our lives. We’ve got a great marriage. We’re not rushing into anything. We’ve poured our hearts and souls into this incredibly solid foundation and we’re ready to start building on it. This is not who I want to be anymore. I want to be a mom.

We’re not yet certain what our next steps are going to be. We’ll meet with my RE on Monday afternoon to devise a plan. I’m going to let the old me spend a couple more weeks in this place of irreverent floundering, but come CD 1, I’m breaking out the goddamn mom jeans. If I start rehearsing, maybe the universe will give me the part.

HSG with an Iodine Allergy – The Result

photoI reported for my HSG yesterday afternoon, and I’m happy to say that there were zero complications due to my iodine allergy. I took 50 mg of Benadryl 1 hour prior to the test time, and I was absolutely fine—no reaction whatsoever. RELIEF. Supposedly since the dye is not injected into your blood stream (like it was in the CT scan I had when we first learned of my allergy) it’s not as bad.

They were so cautious about the allergy issue. I had an orange wristband that screamed to everyone that I’m allergic to iodine, and every nurse plus the doctor verbally acknowledged it. One also asked me what my reaction is like.

I wish the rest of the HSG had been so easy! Man, that test sucks. For once, I purposely did not read every word google has to say about the test. I knew in general what to expect from other blogs and from my RE’s general explanation, but I don’t recall ANYONE mentioning the part where they shove a needle into your cervix to numb it. A needle? Really? Don’t get me wrong—considering the amount of discomfort I had even with the numbing, I am grateful for that needle, but still.

For me, the worst part of the test was that he had to basically do it twice. The first time, they didn’t achieve a good enough seal on my cervix, so the dye ran out (at least I think that’s what he said?). The doctor pulled everything back out, and then had to shove it all back in again. The second time, he tore me a bit with the speculum—OUCH.

Overall, yes it was nerve wracking and very uncomfortable—and at times a bit painful—but for me, it was manageable.

After the test, I did feel crampy and faint/shaky/weak for several hours. I’m thinking that the weakness was just a result of the Benadryl and the letdown of adrenaline—I was REALLY worked up before/during the test.

This morning, I’m still having some pain. The whole area around my uterus feels very tender and sore. I couldn’t lie on my stomach in bed this morning, and I had to wear loose clothing to work. It’s not bad by any means—just uncomfortable. Other than that, I had some bleeding yesterday, but it seems to have stopped today.

The results were all clear. There are no issues at all—big or small. So basically, I just paid someone $600 for the privilege of getting naked from the waist down and having my internal organs dyed and photographed. Fun.

Monday? No Thanks.

Today is HSG day. As if Monday wasn’t bad enough all on its own! I know that many of you have had this test and several have said that it’s no big deal, but I am dreading it. I just want to get the damn thing over with.

I had a great weekend, and it was pretty painful to wake up this morning and get back to business. I’m really not feeling it. 8 hours of work does not trump the 8 (+) hours of Orange is the New Black that I have waiting for me at home. (Does anyone watch OITNB? Am I the only one who’s heartbroken that Alex is only in 4 episodes this season? They took my eye candy away!)

My mom and I had such a nice time at A Prairie Home Companion on Friday night. Well, except for the guy sitting next to me who was smacking his gum in my ear for the first half of the show. By the time intermission rolled around, I was seeing red. He was over 60 years old… did his mother not teach him to chew with his mouth closed? Major pet peeve. I can’t stand that smacking sound.

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We had a picnic outside the theater before the show. We were sitting there with lots of other people on a blanket on the grass, and this coyote was just hanging out pacing from blanket to blanket hoping someone would spare some of their roast beef sandwich. It was insane. We see coyotes often because we’re in a valley and they live in the hills all around, but I’ve NEVER seen one so tame. I was torn between being sad that he was so desperate for food that he was looking for handouts and being totally awestruck.

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On Saturday, we took the dogs to the Basset Hound Rescue of SoCal’s Spring Games. It’s so silly, but we had a great time. Despite telling her that if she’s not first, she’s last, Twix won third place in the synchronized swimming contest. I told her I still love her, but that she’d better get her act together for next year. We thought Rolo would do well in the treat toss, but he didn’t make it past the second round. Other events for the day included a howling contest, kissing contest, drooling contest and napping contest. All of the things that hound dogs do best. Twix & Rolo were totally exhausted by the end of the day.

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My little third place swimmer

Selfie with my best girl!

Selfie with my best girl!

Rolo gets comfy?

Rolo gets comfy?

Sunday, I spent the afternoon at my mom’s pool. The water is already 79 degrees, which is pretty unheard of for June. It was the perfect day to float in the sun and nap in the shade. I’d love to find a way to bottle that kind of relaxation.

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In Search of Happy

My first instinct this morning was to vent. I am so overwhelmed and frustrated and tired and depressed and just DONE with it all, BUT I am trying to get my head out of that place. Here’s a list of happy things instead.

  1. I have a triple grande soy latte sitting in front of me. It is my second one this week, and it is heavenly. I haven’t had coffee for so long, but I decided my birthday week counts as an exception. Especially since we’re sitting out this cycle.
  2. It’s casual day at the office and I am wearing a new shirt that Catch got me for my birthday. She picked it out all by herself and I actually like it. I’m totally impressed. She also got me some great new running gear. I really need to get back at it so I can wear some of it!
  3. I get to go out with my mom tonight. We’ve got tickets to see A Prairie Home Companion (again) at the Greek Theater (one of my favorite theaters in LA—it’s outdoors and in the middle of Griffith Park). I’m looking forward to a picnic dinner, some overpriced theater wine and a giant bag of kettle corn.
  4. twix_gamesThe Basset Hound Rescue Spring Games is tomorrow. It essentially a big fundraiser festival at a park. There are lots of booths and vendors and such, but the best part is the “games.” Last year, Twix won a blue ribbon for the “swimming” competition. Picture a ring full of baby swimming pools filled with a few inches of water. Whichever hound will stay in the pool the longest wins the prize. There is also a howling competition, a drooling contest, and all sorts of silly stuff. You just have to imagine 50+ basset hounds all in one place competing in this nonsense. It’s fantastic.

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    That’s Twix at the end of the black leash–ready to jump right in!

  5. My two best work friends are taking me out to lunch today for my birthday. I don’t know how I’d manage without the two of them to help me keep my head on straight. They mean so much to me.
Rolo

My Roly bear. Love this little dude.

In less happy news, my handsome little hound boy, Rolo is headed to the vet this morning. They’re going to put him under to do a nasal endoscopy. He’s had recurrent issues with his nose and it’s causing him quite a bit of pain. Our vet finally said that she’s not comfortable treating him any further without us seeing a specialist and having the endoscopy. She thinks it’s cancer, and all we can do is hope with every fiber of our being that she’s wrong. The universe is not allowed to add a cancer diagnosis to this crappy week. It’s just not.

Winding Down

This week has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life—and that’s really saying something. I really need to pull myself out of this fog. I need some sunshine. I need some exercise. I need to eat more vegetables and fewer cupcakes. (I’m not even going to tell you how many cupcakes I’ve had this week because I don’t want to know.)

HR came by my office yesterday to compliment me on how well I managed my layoffs. I understand the intent, but that’s a compliment I never wanted. I do not want to be “good” at firing people. Although I suppose it’s better for the people who are on the receiving end if you are. Catch 22.

In TTC-ville, they are insisting on an HSG so it’s scheduled for Monday afternoon. We won’t be able to sit down with my RE to review the results until the following week. Kind of annoying. They said we’ll also discuss our plans for going forward at that appointment. There won’t be much news on the TTC front until that’s all settled.

photoDespite everything, we celebrated my brother’s 21st birthday on Tuesday night. Isn’t he handsome? I can’t even remotely believe my baby brother is 21. He was born the day after my 12th birthday. I love that we get to celebrate our birthdays together.  We had a great time at a whiskey bar called the Blind Donkey.  They have he best french fries I have ever had in my life.  (See above, re: must. eat. something. green.)

Now that the chaos is settling down, I am ready for some rest. I feel like I could sleep for a week. Fortunately, I just have to make it through a few more weeks and then it’s vacation time. Catch and I are going to spend a week camping in the Lake Tahoe area. I can’t wait. We aren’t taking the dogs, so it’s just going to be the two of us, fresh air and quiet. And vegetables.  Lots and lots of vegetables.

Just 12 more work days. I think I can make it.

Management

If you have never had to sit across from an unsuspecting employee and take away their livelihood, I envy you. I had to lay off my team today. My whole team. It’s just me, now. I sent them off with a few weeks of pay, a few weeks of benefits, and a bankers box filled with their personal stuff. They deserved so much better than this. So did I. I am devastated.