Ovulation tests

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I have a stack of Wondfo LH (ovulation test) sticks that expire in November.  I don’t have them with me at the moment, but I think there are about 10 of them or so.  I won’t need them next month.  Is there anyone here in the States who might want them?  I can pop them in the mail on Monday to the first commenter who can use them.

Suboptimal Outcomes

A million years ago in another lifetime, I got myself hooked on some infertility blogs. I was in my early twenties and single. Getting pregnant was the absolute farthest thing from my mind. No matter, though—I sat there scrolling through tens of thousands of words from women going through precisely the thing that I am going through right now. Was it some kind of subconscious intuition? Am I psychic? Probably not. Probably, I just really loved the drama. Also, the women whose blogs I followed back then were intelligent and witty and interesting.

So, I have been following Julie at A Little Pregnant for over a decade. That’s crazy, right? Oddly, I don’t believe that I have ever once commented on her blog. Mostly because back then, I was afraid to jump in amongst a crazy group of infertile women when I was just a casual observer who could not in any way fathom what they were going through. Now that I AM a genuine member of Club Infertility, she is a genuine parent—which can be just as hard to relate to when you’re sitting where we are.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Julie posted a response to this article about the overuse of IVF technology. Her response is funny and poignant, and anyone who has stared or will stare IVF in the face should read it and enjoy a smile.

I hope that ten years from now, we’re all making school lunches for our own suboptimal IVF outcomes.

Puppy Love

When Catch got home yesterday, Twix greeted her at the door with TWO apples in her mouth.  She had pulled a bag of apples off of the counter, and there were apples scattered all over the house and the yard.

When I got home yesterday, Twix greeted me at the door with an empty bag that once contained a full loaf of whole grain bread.  Her belly was so full it looked like a balloon about to pop.  That was a fun mess to deal with.

This, my friends, is life with basset hounds. Nothing is safe from the nose of a hound. Over the years, Twix has consumed:

  1. A bottle of red Nyquil – on the bed
  2. A box of chocolate cupcakes
  3. A bowl of Halloween candy
  4. The dinners of unsuspecting house guests
  5. At least 2 pounds of butter
  6. Enough platters of appetizers to cater a gathering of football players
  7. Vegan Thai curry AND tom yum gai soup
  8. A 3-lb roast
  9. A bag of Twix bars (in her defense, it did have her name on it)
  10. 3 squirrels
  11. Cat poop
  12. A baggie of pot followed by an entire pan of cornbread (it wasn’t ours!)
  13. An entire bag of dog food—in one sitting
  14. ANYTHING wrapped in tin foil
  15. The entire non-plastic contents of the trash can (x100000)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have funded our veterinarian’s retirement over the years with these two hounds.

Regardless, they are my favorite brand of trouble. No matter what Twix gets herself into, she will always curl up with me in bed at the end of the day, scooting herself as close to me as she can possibly get. I can actually feel my heart rate decrease the moment she drapes her head over my legs. They are little monsters by day, and my saviors by night.  They give so much more than they take.

It’s hard not to love these two goofballs.

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Duck, Duck, Goose

I am having a tremendous amount of work-related anxiety and stress—we’re talking sleepless nights, daily headaches, heart palpitations, neck pain and tears. It’s worse than IVF and that’s saying something. I have no idea what I’m going to do about all of it, but something’s gotta give before our embryo transfer next month because I won’t go through that when I already feel like this.

To make matters worse, my iPhone keeps autocorrecting the word “fuck” to “duck.” Sometimes you just need to vent to your wife via text, and you do not need Apple trying to make it PG.

Also, I had an extremely vivid and real dream last night that I was pregnant. We all know how much fun those are.

All of that is a very long way of saying that today really sucks. I am coping with the suckage by obsessively listening to my Harry Potter audiobooks and knitting with a vengeance.

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Over the weekend, I cast on for the Hitchhiker scarf/shawlette with some beautiful variegated turquoise wool yarn that my mother in law brought me from their Route 66 road trip last year. I don’t have the label anymore for some reason, but I remember that it was hand dyed in Taos, NM.  I already love this scarf so much.  I have no idea how I’ll part with it, but I have to because I can’t wear wool.  I know–what kind of knitter can’t wear wool?  This kind, apparently.

Unfortunately, I cannot knit OR listen to Harry Potter at work, so who wants to help me with my resume?

One Lovely Blog

First, thank you to both Julieann081 and Samantha (The Boy Who Never Lived) for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award. You ladies are so sweet. If you don’t know these two ladies, I have linked you to a specific recent post that will give you a good idea of what’s going on with them at the moment.

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The criteria for accepting a One Lovely Blog Award are:

  1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Include 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.
  5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

I know you are all anxious to learn 7 things about me, so here we go:

  1. crossed-eyesI was born with crossed eyes. They were surgically corrected when I was a year old, which basically means that I look like a clown in every single one of my baby pictures. Even worse, the surgery resulted in a lazy eye, so I was the kid with the eye patch for several years. I am still ALMOST legally blind in my left eye and glasses don’t help it because the optic nerve just never properly developed.
  2. I once (BRIEFLY) dated a Starbucks Barista who was twenty years older than me. She had a teenaged son who thought his mother brought me home to fix me up with HIM. One night, the three of us were playing Yahtzee and he went to grab us a couple of Coronas. As he handed mine to me, he said, “Are you even old enough to drink?” He also tried to kiss me once while she was changing out a load of laundry in another room. It was about then that I realized all of the free coffee in the world wasn’t worth this.
  3. I absolutely HATE talking on the phone with anyone but my mom and Catch. SO MUCH ANXIETY. I won’t even call to order a pizza.
  4. ALL of my closest friends are Scorpios. It’s very bizarre.
  5. I have an embarrassingly large collection of lesbian romance novels. Really large. Really embarrassing.
  6. I resisted Harry Potter mania for YEARS. I saw all of the movies, but never read the books until two years ago when my mother finally convinced me to give it a shot. Now? I freaking LOVE Harry Potter. I am actually sad that I missed out on Harry Potter when it was a big THING because I totally would have dressed up as Hermione and gone to midnight book releases. I may have dressed up as Hermione for Halloween last year and served butterbeer from my office.
  7. I was a vegetarian for several years until I moved in with Catch—the great-granddaughter of a butcher. It is SO hard to cook for a meat and potatoes girl when you are a vegetarian. One night, I lost my vegetarian virginity to a Dodger Dog. (The hot dogs served at Dodgers Stadium are Dodger Dogs.) OF ALL THE THINGS, I ate a freaking hot dog. NOW, Dodgers Stadium serves veggie dogs. Go figure.

The “rules” for this nomination say that I now have to nominate 15 other bloggers. There is no possible way that I can nominate 15 of you. It’s all or nothing. Some of you have already done this, but if you have not, and if you would like to share 7 facts about yourself and encourage some others to do the same, HAVE AT IT. Consider yourself nominated by HoundMamas. I love you all, and I don’t want to make anyone feel excluded or obligated by putting names on a list.

If you take just one thing away from this post, let it be this: Never invite me to game night, because I refuse to follow the rules.

Consider Yourself Warned

I am so sick of thinking about babymaking. I am sick of peeing on sticks. I am sick of examining my cervical fluid. I am sick of planning my life around a 4-week(ish) calendar.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about how I might knit my RE a scarf for the holidays, and I realized—CRAP. I will still be seeing my RE over the holidays no matter what happens with the FET. I have enough goddamned time to knit my RE a freaking scarf. (To thank her because she takes really good care of me/us… EVEN IF I AM NOT PREGNANT.)

Also, I am fucking sick of acronyms. OPK? Why is it called an Ovulation Prediction KIT when it’s just a flipping stick that you pee on? What about that makes it a freaking kit? In my mind, a kit is something a bit more involved—with bottles and charts and beads and laces or something. It should be an Ovulation Prediction Test. Or hell, if I’m going to nitpick, let’s nitpick the “P.” Prediction? My ass. If those stupid things were truly capable of making predictions, half of us would be pregnant by now.

So yes, good morning. I apologize for the early morning swearing. I got very little sleep last night, and whatever side of the bed I woke up on was most definitely wrong.

Today is cycle day 14, and Fertility Friend is officially wigging out on me. I stopped temping ages ago because I am the worst sleeper in the history of sleep, but I do use FF Fertility Friend to track everything else. Unfortunately, all of my medicated cycles have confused the hell out of the poor app, and it has absolutely no idea what’s going on with this “natural” cycle. (Can you really consider it natural when you have surgery on your uterus?) So according to Fertility Friend, I should be ovulating sometime between last Sunday and the next millennium.

The only reasons I care about ovulation this month are a) I’d like to get this FET frozen embryo transfer rolling, and b) my right ovary feels like it’s going to explode.

It’s odd, because I do not recall having pain quite this significant when stimming for in vitro fertilization. (See what I did there?) You would think my ovaries would have been most sensitive when they were totally enlarged and filled with a whole mess of large follicles, but no. It seems that righty here is still mightily pissed off about the whole needle-stabbing/suction bit at the end of August and she wants me to be totally aware that I got anesthesia while she got mauled by surgical steel.

Fortunately, there was a glimmer of hope in a darkening ovulation prediction test this morning. I am hoping for a positive tomorrow, which is still within a pretty reasonable normal window. Having said that, it probably won’t happen because not a single thing about my cycles has been normal since January of 2013.

How are you this morning? Please try to keep your responses acronym-free lest I lose my fragile mind over an “OK.”

I should really know better than to throw something like that out there because the last time I said something comparable, this was what happened:

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Discrimination, Fear, and… Blogging?

The Knight Initiative—aka Proposition 22—was on the ballot in California back in 2000. I was 19 years old. That initiative provided the language within our state constitution that only the marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized here.

I was so young, naïve and idealistic back then. I had lived a fairly sheltered life. Private school, single mom, no siblings in the house, and a very small and select group of friends all ensured that my exposure to the “real” world was fairly limited. When I realized that I was gay—at the age of 16—I could really only name 5 other gay people. One of them was my girlfriend, two of them went to our school, and of course there were Melissa Etheridge and Ellen DeGeneres.

Up to that point, I had experienced very little adversity due to my sexual orientation. This was partially because I wouldn’t even allow my girlfriend to think about holding my hand in public. Coming out to my mother hadn’t gone particularly well, but she had never resorted to name calling, and never once suggested that this was something I should try to “fix.”

So the Knight Initiative is on the ballot and I am really just a kid. I created my own “No on Knight” web page. I drove with my girlfriend for an hour and sat in pouring rain to hear Melissa Etheridge speak at a small rally in West Hollywood. It felt good. It felt like we couldn’t lose.  (What can I say? I wasn’t exactly listening to NPR’s political commentary back then.)

Of course in the end, Prop 22 passed. By a landslide.

I consider that entire experience—from the moment it made the ballot to the moment it passed—to be my first real experience with discrimination.  It’s hard not to take it personally when 61% of your state tells you that your relationship is inferior.

Since then, I have dealt with my fair share of bigoted jerks. I’ve been called a dyke. I’ve had things thrown at me as I walked across the street with Catch. I’ve faced workplace discrimination. I lost my oldest friend when I married Catch. At 33 years old, I consider myself fairly well indoctrinated into the world of bigotry. I will say, however, that it gets better every year. I’m not sure if that’s due more to changing opinions or thickening skin, but I’m not complaining either way.

That was a very long-winded way of getting to my point, which is that although I handle it better now than I did then, I still do my very best to avoid discrimination whenever possible. No matter how much the world has changed and will continue to change, the fear is still there.

I will readily admit that ironically, that fear has blossomed over the years and has sprouted its own bigotry within me. Organized religion and references to god and prayer make me positively twitchy.

It’s not right, I know. It’s not particularly rational, either. My own fear of being discriminated against has lead me to discriminate. It’s the ultimate defense mechanism: hate that which you fear.

In the infertility blog world, there is much prayer. We are putting our bodies and our minds through some of the most intense challenges we’ve ever faced, so naturally, we are filled to brim with the word PLEASE. We bargain with higher powers. We beg. We plead. We focus. We meditate. We pray. Who or what we pray to is entirely dependent upon our personal beliefs, but I will tell you this—I do not believe in god, but I certainly do still pray. My prayer may be a golden retriever and your prayer may be a German shepherd, but at the end of the day, our prayers are both still dogs.

As I float through the blog world, I may encounter someone whose blog I don’t follow, but who is going through a hard time. A two week wait. A cancelled cycle. A miscarriage. Whatever it may be, it is hard for them and I can relate because I know my own version of hard. Usually, it’s moments like that that cause me to pause for a comment or to click that follow button. The exception takes hold when that person mentions god. It’s in god’s hands. All I can do is pray. When I read those words, that person has lost me to my own insecurities.

In my mind, this is the sequence of events that takes place:

I comment.

Said person reads my comment and thinks, “Hmm… who is this stranger offering their support?”

They click on the link to my blog.

They see the bit about the lesbian couple trying to conceive.

They delete my comment in disgust, or worse, throw bible verses at me condemning my lifestyle.

It’s really quite lovely to be inside my head sometimes.

My point is this: I am going to try to do better. I am going to try to take more chances and reach out to more strangers and to stop allowing fear to dictate my every move within this space.

Do you know why? It’s because of all of you. At some point, all of you reached out to me. You commented. You clicked a follow button. You offered me kind words when I needed them, and nothing bad happened to either of us.

I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: Thank you. 

Hysteroscopy / Polypectomy

The hysteroscopy/polypectomy went well. Spot was removed along with another small lump that was popping up alongside Spot. I was pretty paranoid about taking the Cytotec the night before, but the cramping/pain ended up being very mild.  I took the Cytotec plus 600 mg of ibuprofen as directed and went to bed. I did wake up once in the night feeling pretty uncomfortable, but I was able to go right back to sleep.

Unfortunately, my body is protesting its second round of anesthesia in two weeks. Did you know that redheads require up to 20% more anesthesia than the average patient? The anesthesiologist was all too excited to be working on a redhead after a day filled with boring-haired people. She got a bit too happy as her eyebrows raised and she asked, “Is that red hair I see beneath your cap?”

Anyway, the anesthesia has left me feeling very tired and weak with a pounding headache. I ended up on my knees in the bathroom around 4 am on Sunday, which was positively lovely. There are few things I hate more than throwing up. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I was sick before this.

I managed to drag myself to work this morning, but I’m deeply regretting it. This is the longest I’ve been upright since Friday morning. I would have loved another day in bed with my Harry Potter audiobook and my puppies.

Speaking of the pups, Catch snapped this photo yesterday while I was asleep in my mom’s guest room. We spent Saturday night over there because it’s been well over 100 degrees and we don’t have central air conditioning. We decided that if I’m going to be stuck in bed, it may as well be a properly air conditioned bed. I’m not sure if Twix & Rolo spent the weekend in bed with me because they were worried about me, or if they just did it to remind me that the bed is OURS and not MINE. The Golden Retriever on the floor is my mom’s dog, Goose, trying her hardest not to be left out of anything, even if it is just marathon napping.

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This was the two of them as I was leaving for work this morning, reminding me why a) I rarely make the bed in the morning, and b) I would like to be reincarnated as one of my dogs.

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Thank You

I want to thank everyone who commented on my post the other day. I was really, really down, and the moment I hit the “publish” button on that post, your comments started coming in and I felt a bit better with each one.

I’ve gone for some nice long walks the past couple of evenings. It felt so good to put my running shoes on, even if I’m not back to running just yet. I haven’t been able to quit it with the chocolate, but I have been eating vegetables like a boss. Baby steps. I know I will be doing myself a huge favor if I can keep up the self care for a while.

I am back on doxycycline for 3 days while we evict Spot. Tonight at bedtime, I’ve been instructed to take one Cytotec tablet orally, and another one vaginally to dilate my cervix so it’s ready for the lights, camera, and action tomorrow. Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream?

There is so much fear and anxiety and heartache in this community lately, and I just want to say that you are all in my thoughts–especially those of you who have reason to celebrate, because you give the rest of us hope.  Let’s all try to be kind to ourselves this weekend.  We deserve it.

Lost

I wrote a post yesterday, but never posted it. To sum it up: I am depressed and I am really struggling. Every morning, I wake up hoping I will feel better, and my panic and anxiety increase as soon as I realize that I do not.

Add a seriously frustrating and bad day to my existing lethargy and anxiety and I’m pretty much just done.

I hate my job. I hate my body. I hate feeling like this. I would probably even hate a puppy if you put it in front of me right now.

This is what I’ve been reduced to—a puppy hater.

After spending the entire weekend on the couch with a remote control in one hand, my iPhone in the other hand and a pint of ice cream in my lap, I can honestly say that I do not even recognize myself these days. Am I in there somewhere? God, I hope so.

I tried to remember the last time I felt happy and healthy. It was sometime in June, I think. Is it a coincidence that we started our first cycle of injectables at the end of June? Probably not.

We’re having a going away party for Spot on Friday. It involves a couple of Cytotec tablets, some Doxycycline, and a camera with a blade shoved through my cervix. Should be fun. Bring a friend.

Please tell me this is going to get better. I don’t even have a good reason for feeling this way. I am actually relieved that we didn’t do a fresh transfer, and Spot just is. He’ll be evicted on Friday and that will be that. I am over it. I am over it all! I just want to feel like myself again.

You know I can’t even remember the last time I ate a vegetable? Clearly, I am really taking great care of myself.

If you’re out and about, keep an eye out for a happy redhead. She may be jogging. Or eating vegetables. If you find her, please return her to me. I will reward with wine.