Mr. Scale

Confession: I have gained 3 pounds in the past 6 weeks. Honestly, I expected it to be worse. My stomach feels larger than it was 6 weeks ago and my face is rounder. It doesn’t seem like a measly 3 pounds could have made such a big physical difference, but there it is. 6 weeks ago, I couldn’t wear the maxi skirt I wore to work yesterday without a safety pin, but yesterday I required no safety pin. Again—3 pounds? Hmmm.

I would love nothing more than to point to clomid and follistim and birth control pills and progesterone and declare, “THOSE EVIL BASTARDS ARE MAKING ME FAT!” except that the reality is that I had ice cream for dinner on Wednesday night. I cooked a wonderful, healthy meal for us, but was nauseous and didn’t feel like eating until several hours later when Catch asked if I could get us ice cream. Suddenly, HELLO APPETITE. Zucchini & tomatoes were a no go, but I wasn’t about to turn down rocky road. Excellent.

So, here I am 5 days from our first real IVF appointment and I am up 3 pounds, haven’t stepped on a treadmill in weeks, and I’m eating ice cream for dinner.

Houston, we have a problem. I will call the problem burnout.

All those months ago (November!) when I started working out like a fiend and dieting like a boss, I had the clearest picture in my head: it’s going to work. And in January when I surpassed the goal my RE had given me and she was so impressed saying that her patents never actually lose the weight she recommends, I was floating on a cloud. It’s totally going to work. I earned this. I am a rock star.

And then—well, three strikes, you’re out. It didn’t work. I am anything but a rock star.

So, yes—I’ve been feeling defeated. It’s also been hotter than hell and we don’t have central air conditioning. Not the greatest environment for the treadmill. Plus, we’ve been traveling and crazy busy and all of these things combined lead us right back to ice cream for dinner. Although points for me that we didn’t already have ice cream in the house and I had to actually go get our scoops. I guess that’s something.

This is all my very lengthy way of saying that I need to put an end to this behavior. Now. Last week. Whatever. So far, I’m doing better. I avoided my mother’s cheese and bacon laden tomato pie last night, opting instead to roast myself some veggies and make a turkey patty. Progress.

I started taking the Glucophage XR last night. (They are giant horse pills that taste like snot. Yay!)  I will not allow myself to take drugs for insulin resistance while continuing to count rocky road as a nutritious alternative to zucchini. I may feel like crap, but damnit, I am going to eat my vegetables and we are going to do this.

Again.

sigh

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

It’s not a race. Or is it?

I have this friend who drives me insane about all things weight loss and exercise. 

A few years ago, I’d guess that she weighed around 275 pounds.  She was tired of not being able to keep up with her young kids, and so she started a program of Weight Watchers and exercise that really worked for her.  She lost 80-ish pounds.  She really transformed herself—major props to her. 

The thing is that it has turned her into a fitness fiend.  You can’t have a conversation with her without it turning to weight or exercise, and she has this way of being very high and mighty about it. 

For example, 6 or so weeks ago, I went on a business trip to New Mexico.  I posted on Facebook that I’ve lost 30 pounds and it’s going to be REALLY hard to keep my weight loss plans in check when I’m in a land of seriously yummy food and have no choice but to eat every meal out at a restaurant.  Whatever I said and however I said it, I made a joke out of it. 

Everyone else said, “Good for you!”

This friend said, “Don’t eat your feelings.”

?

She doesn’t know what we’re going through in the land of TTC, so I can’t even attribute her comment to that.  It may be more understandable if I could, I suppose, but still… would you write that on someone’s Facebook post? I sure wouldn’t.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that we both have Fit Bits and are Fit Bit friends, so we can cheer each other on and see each other’s 7-day step counts.  I have (admittedly) become totally neurotic about beating her. 

There were two days last week that I couldn’t run because I had a massive sinus headache that just wouldn’t quit.  I was okay if I could just sit still and not move, but the minute my heart rate increased even slightly, I was miserable.  My misery was compounded by the fact that as a result of those days off, my friend’s step count FAR exceeded mine.  It was driving me bonkers.

I finally caught up this weekend.  It took me 39,000 steps to catch up, but I’m ahead of her by about 4,000 steps for the week right now. 

It’s ridiculous, but all I want to do right now is run.  I want to turn my 4,000 step lead into a 10,000 step lead.

“Don’t eat your feelings.”

Don’t choke on my dust.

God, that was bitchy.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets competitive like this.  Ugh. 

Period Watch: (Almost) April Edition

If my last positive OPK was correct, I should be expecting my period to start sometime around the middle of the week (HUMP DAY! OMG, I love that camel commercial too much).  Fertility Friend says today is 11 DPO.  Of course, having put that in writing, it probably won’t happen.  BUT IT’S SUPPOSED TO, and that has me feeling a bit… happy.

Here we are on the last day of March.  As of today, I’ve lost 36.5 pounds.  Physically, I am feeling fantastic.  Better than I’ve felt in ages.  I am expecting to hear something about last week’s blood tests today or tomorrow. I’m still a bit concerned about the glucose test because of my family medical history, but I know that no matter what the result is it’ll be better than it would have been back in November.

In short: Bring on the clomid, please! We are ready! I am dying to order those vials of sperm so I can stop obsessively checking our (determined, hard-working and gregarious) donor’s supply.  (I do love those donor summaries!)

Baby making aside, we had a lovely day on Saturday wine tasting with my mom in Santa Maria.  My mom came home with 2 cases of wine, and we came home with about a case. I’m hoping that the fact that we just spent a fortune on wine means that I jinxed myself and I will totally get pregnant this cycle so I can’t drink any of it. 

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Me in the vineyard at Kenneth Volk
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Enjoying a bottle with our picnic lunch at Foxen
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I took a similar picture the last time we were at Cambria Vineyards… I just can't resist this little spot. It's perfect.

On Sunday, I saw Divergent (loved the book and liked the movie) with my parents at a new theater by their house with the most wonderful reclining seats ever.  I’m not sure if I can go back to a regular movie theater now that I’ve been there. 

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I hope this week brings good things to everyone. I am thinking good thoughts for all of us. 

Goal.

In November, I said that I wanted to lose 28 pounds by the time we started trying again.

I took an unofficial month-long break from dieting over Christmas/New Year’s because I couldn’t handle the stress of it all.  I didn’t REALLY get back on track until we met with our RE toward the end of January, and I have truly been working my ass off since then. 

Here’s my progress:

November 18th – First weigh-in

December 16th –  11.9 lbs lost

January 20th – 12.3 lbs lost

February 17th – 19.6 lbs lost

March 17th29.5 lbs lost

Patio2

I consider myself agnostic, but Catch was raised Catholic.  Our differing belief has never been a huge issue.  I know that neither of us can really understand where the other is coming from, but we acknowledge this difference between us and treat it with respect. 

Last night, we had dinner out on our back patio for the first time this year.  I spent the day cleaning up the yard and it was such a nice place to be in the early evening.  When we sat down at the table and Catch asked if she could say something, I prepared to raise my water glass for a toast, but she made the sign of the cross.  I folded my hands and tried to ignore the way my body involuntarily tensed up.  I can’t recall her exact words, but the sentiment was, “Thank you.”

Thank you for everything we have.  We know we have a lot.  There’s just one more thing…

It suited us.  She talked to god.  I threw the sentiment out to the universe.

So, I’ve met (and exceeded) my goal.  The same goal the RE set for me in January.  We’ve picked a new donor from a different cryobank (also at the request of the RE).  The financial end of things has been addressed, and our savings account is ready.  I’ve had all of the requested lab work done. 

There is nothing left to do but wait.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep working my ass off and Catch is going to keep praying to Saint Anne.  We make a good team.  No matter how the next few months pan out, I am so incredibly grateful to have her on my side.

Some Numbers

5

The number of miles I ran on Saturday.  No walking. 

15.8

The number of miles I ran last week total.

27

The total number of pounds I’ve lost so far.

1.6

The number of pounds I still have to lose to reach the goal the RE gave me.

1

The pairs of work pants in my closet that do not make me look like a homeless person. (Technically, this is not true.  They are not in my closet—I am wearing them.)

12

The approximate number of people who commented on my weight loss last week.  All of a sudden, people are doing double takes.  It’s kinda fun.  I’m not one for attention, but I’m trying to let myself enjoy it.  It would probably be even more noticeable if I had more clothes that fit me properly.

2

The number of pregnant people I’ve secretly given dirty looks this morning at work.  Proof that I’m still me no matter how good I’m feeling at the moment.

239,876

The number of times this weekend I wished I could just fast forward to my next period because I am sick to death of waiting.  I am so ready to be back in the game. 

Whatever

When we decided to pause TTC and get healthy, I looked at the calendar and thought, you can do this.  It’s only 4 months.  You can be maniacally healthy for 4 months if your prize is a baby.

It turns out that I can’t be maniacally healthy for 4 months no matter what the prize is.  If I could be, I wouldn’t have taken 4 weeks off from dieting over the holidays and I would likely be well beyond my goal already.  Even now, while I am certainly on track, I would not categorize my behavior as maniacally healthy. 

I really would have thought I could do it.  I thought that if I just kept baby baby baby in the back of my mind constantly, it would be like a magic pill that would cause me to stop wanting cupcakes and margaritas and melty cheese.

It didn’t work.

I’ve learned to negotiate with myself.  If I eat a cupcake, I run an extra couple of miles.  If I am desperate for a margarita, I drink lots of water and run a couple of extra miles.  My philosophy on weight loss basically boils down to: Will run for carbs.

All around me on the internet, there are women with PCOS going whole hog gluten free and paleo.  They ditch their morning coffee in favor of herbal tea.  They don’t allow a margarita to pass their lips once a week. 

I can’t help but think that those women must want a baby so much more than I do.  It makes me feel like I must not want this as badly as I think I want it.  If I did, I’d be more like them, right?

The stubborn part of me is SCREAMING at me from within: STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE!

The scared part of me is sobbing:  It’s too hard.  It’s all just too hard.

I don’t know what the right answer is anymore.  There are days when I feel like I’m on top of the world.  My pants are too big!  I’ve lost 25 pounds!  I can run MILES!  We are SO getting pregnant!

And then there are days like today when I feel like it’s probably not enough.  Like maybe it will never be enough.  I will never be enough. 

I remember sitting next to my grandma at her organ when I was a very little girl.  She would play and sing, que sera, sera—whatever will be, will be—the future’s not ours to see.  It always sounded so hopeful to me then.  Now, it just makes me sad. 

What if whatever isn’t what I want?

In which I swear far less than I really want to…

Today is CD1 following a fantastic 48-day cycle.  It’s also 3/3, and you know how I feel about the number 3.  I had resigned myself to waiting out another cycle and pushing things back until mid-to-late-April, but I have to be honest—I’m disappointed.  3/3 would have been a great day for CD1 if we were trying this cycle.

Here are (a few) of the reasons why we’re not:

1)      I am still 4 pounds from my goal.  (So. Close.)

2)      We decided to err on the side of caution and paid off the small 401k loan I took out for baby making so that we could take a larger loan.  When I first borrowed that money (from myself), we really had no clue what we were in for.  Now that we know more about my body and its issues, we are taking more than we hope we will need, but enough to get us through some of plan B if plan B is needed.  We can always pay off what we don’t use. We’re still waiting for that to be processed.

3)      I still haven’t taken care of getting copies of all of my recent blood work to the RE.  Dealing with my doctors’ offices has been an absolute nightmare, and the thought of having to talk with the bitchy women at the front desk while sober makes me want to hurt someone.

So we wait.  Possibly another 48 days. Hell, who knows? Maybe I’ll bleed for another 30 days like I did in September.  Gosh, that would be fun.

I should know by now that having a plan is meaningless when it comes to TTC.  There hasn’t been a single thing over the past 13 months that has gone according to plan.  I don’t even believe it’s possible at this point. I think plans are like fairies.  We should just stop believing in them and then they’ll die and we can move on with more abstract outlines of theoretical possibilities.

Also: Fuck plans.

Sorry.  It had to be said.

A big loss and a little lost

I love it when Monday mornings are good to me. 

-24 lbs as of today.  I’m only 4 lbs shy of my 28 lb baby-making goal, and depending on how we proceed, I likely still have several weeks left to get there. 

I remember sitting in that appointment with our RE last month.  She looked at my weight on paper, clucked, and said, “Here’s where I’d like you to be.”  She said it skeptically—like she had no faith that I would take her seriously and make it happen.  To that, I say IN YOUR FACE, doctor lady.

I’ve been expecting my period to start any minute since last Saturday, but it still hasn’t. Today is CD 41.  Kind of a bummer because it really throws our plans off.  We had planned to start again with my March cycle, but were anticipating that it would be around the 20th of March based on my last 3 or 4 cycles.  At this point, chances are good that I won’t start this period until March, which means we’re likely looking at bumping things back to April. 

I’m torn because on the one hand, I feel like we said that we’re going to start in March, and if this cycle starts in March, then this is the cycle we start with.  I have a thing about the number 3, and since this will be my 3rd period of the year in the 3rd month of the year, there’s part of me that says YES, let’s do it. 

The flip side is that I likely won’t have reached the 28 lb mark by then (unless I start jogging now and don’t stop until next week), and I’m a bit superstitious about that, too.  Also, I am really enjoying my diet/exercise routine, and there’s no way I’m going to be jogging 16 miles a week during the 2ww (side note—I ran 16 miles last week!!!).  I really want to give myself a chance to hit that goal number—it feels like a big deal, and I am SO CLOSE. 

I had lunch with a good friend last week and she remarked that it’s been over a year since we hopped on this TTC train and she doesn’t know how we’re staying sane.  Honestly, I’ve been channeling every ounce of frustration into the treadmill.  Every step I take.  Every increase in speed.  Every extra mile.  I crank up music on my iPod that reminds me of the goals we’re working toward. When I get tired, I make eye contact with that ridiculous stuffed sperm that’s perched in front of me and tell him GAME ON.  Sometimes I even grab him by the tail and jog with him for a few minutes.

I feel more ready than ever to start trying again, but I don’t feel as ready as I want to feel.  Part of me wonders, though—will I EVER feel as ready as I want to feel?  BFNs are certainly never going to be easier to look at, and 40+ day cycles are not going to stop stressing me out until we’re done trying.  Whether I lose 2 more pounds or 4 more pounds or 10 more pounds, it’s not likely to make THAT big of a difference considering I’ve already lost 10% of my body weight and then some. 

I’m not sure what the right answer is.  All I can do is let this (neverending) cycle be my guide and hope that when the time comes to make a decision, we’ll know what to do.

It’s Not a Sprint

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One Step Forward:

Last week, I ate more wonderful food than should be legal within the span of 7 days. 

There was the chile relleno on a loaded plate bigger than my head at Sadie’s in Albuquerque

Then there was pollo adovada (and a margarita) at El Pinto in Albuquerque. (My assistant had the carne adovada and it was AMAZING.)

I ate every last bite of the incredible stuffed Portobello mushroom I had for lunch (with a perfect glass of pinot grigio) at Season’s in Albuquerque.

For Valentine’s Day, Catch and I celebrated at home with our favorite cheese fondue recipe and cupcakes from our favorite local cupcake place, Yummy Cupcakes.

We spent Saturday & Sunday at my in-laws place in the San Diego area, and on Saturday night, I enjoyed the carnitas at a little place called Añejo

All of that is a long way of saying, “Weight Watchers, what?”  You can imagine how terrified I was to step on the scale for our regular weigh-in yesterday.

BUT, courtesy of my newfound love of running (still can’t get used to that) I managed to maintain.  Actually, I lost one tenth of a pound—a whopping 1.6 ounces.  Fist pump!

In between plates, airports, time zones, obligatory romance, and traffic, I managed to jog 12 miles last week.  That may not seem like a lot if you’re a “real” runner, but for me it’s HUGE. 

Mind you, I’m SLOW.  Yesterday, I challenged myself to jog a 5k on the treadmill and I managed to do the whole thing (with no walking) in 44 minutes.  That’s a pace of 14:11 per mile.  SLOW.  But I’m doing it, and I am ridiculously, insanely proud of myself. 

One Step Back:

I was floating on a cloud of weight loss and exercise, feeling pretty invincible.  My past few cycles have been NORMAL.  Normal for me, anyway.  I’ve been ovulating.  Cycles have been about 31 days.  It’s all been pretty textbook. 

Granted, I did two rounds of clomid in Ocober/November, so in the back of my mind I knew that my cycle success could just be the clomid working its way through my system.  I chose to credit weight loss instead.

Unfortunately, today is CD 35.  I’ve had EWCM since Friday.  There was a bit of random spotting on Saturday that got my hopes up, but only EWCM since then.  It’s totally bizarre because I never have EWCM before my period.  Looks like Clomid wins this bet.

All along, I’ve been planning for our insemination cycle to start around March 20th.  That’s what it would have been if my cycles had stayed on track.   Now I have no idea where we’re going to end up.  I could start my period tomorrow, or I could start in two weeks.   

I’m trying not to make this speed bump into an obstacle.  Considering the journey we’ve been on, it’s par for the course.  No matter how much control I attempt to take over my body, I am ultimately at the mercy of my biology.  There are plenty more things I could be doing—accupuncture, gluten-free, etc.—but I’m trying to take one step at a time.  One slow step.  Eventually, we’ll win the marathon.