Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

1. Exercise every day.
2. Lose 30 pounds.
3. Clean house every other day.
4. Write Grandparents a letter, once a month.
5. Knit Christmas presents.
6. Go to book clubs.
7. Have Girl's Night Out, at least every two months.
8. Do something sweet for husband, once a month.
9. Start Family.
10. Be Happy.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holidays, Family and Infertility

I am sure this is a common story, where your family, particularly mothers, know you are trying to get pregnant, and you go home for Christmas, and they remind you about how your womb is aging every second! Or they comment about your weight, which you gained from taking that DAMN CLOMID THAT DID NOT WORK!!!!!

It hasn't been all bad. I have enjoyed visiting my parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, grandmother, and grandfather. Skiing today was good.

I can't remember what my last blog said, so if I repeat myself I am terribly sorry.

I have autoimmune arthritis that is like RA. I take plaquenil and prednisone every day. My rheumatologist wants me to take Enbrel, since I cannot seem to get off of prednisone, which also causes diabetes, osteoporosis, and makes you fat (when you have been taking it for a long period of time). I should not get pregnant while taking Enbrel, so that means I will probably be going on birth control for the six month sabatical from fertility meds. This should hopefully allow me to lose weight.

For example, skiing has caused my knees to swell up like grapefruits.

With all of this going on, I have tried to avoid topic of my fertility issues. And, my husband and I are contemplating adoption if he gets promoted after Jan. 7th.

It is kind of sad, but my arthritis has just added a new layer to my fertility issues. I went inside a Baby's R' Us to use the restroom while shopping at a strip mall in Boise, and I literally felt like someone was kicking me in the stomach, the entire time I was there. I can't look at cribs still.

So, I ask myself, am I ready to adopt, if the sight of cribs makes me ill? My family really does love me. But, they are so good at reminding me that I just turned 30. I actually am doing well with the fact that I turned 30, but it is easier in Seattle than Boise to feel good about being 30 and not having a child yet. There seems to be a lot of older parents in Seattle. It is quite common. I swear every time I go out in Boise, I see ten pregnant teenage girls.

Speaking of family, my cousin who's wife just had a baby has decided to ignore me this trip. It's very bizarre, but in a way, I am relieved. This particular cousin actually had a shot gun wedding, and not that there is anything wrong with that, but in addition to that fact, they were not ready for a baby and didn't really want one. For those of you who are in a similar boat as me, and you want to avoid the new baby in the family, apparently all I had to do was politely invite my cousin to dinner, and this was offensive to him some how, so they didn't show up. This particular cousin who had the shotgun wedding is very religious and politically conservative, and I have a feeling my husband and I who are very liberal offended him on Facebook.

On a happier note, I had a dream the other day of a young hispanic girl in an orphanage asking me to be her mother. I think perhaps my unconscious mind is becoming comfortable with adoption.

I hope everyone who reads this is having a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trying to find some solace

Why does anyone want to be a parent?

My husband decided after going to a funeral for our friend's mom, that it was really important for us to have a family. I think that when we see death, we realize we want to have company on this journey through life. Two people is not enough. Everyone has friends, but friends are not the same as family.

Why do I want to have a baby? Well, this probably sounds crazy to some, but I think it would be fun to wear maternity clothes. I also want to experience growing a human inside me. It is a unique female experience that I want to have, and something I always thought I would get to have.

I think for men, because they don't ever identify with that experience, adoption is more acceptable to them. In either experience, they get a baby at the end of the day. At least for my husband, he doesn't seem to be to bothered by the fact that we might end up adopting. I don't mean to minimize the pain of men with infertility issues. I am sure there are many men out there who really want a child of their own. But, I still think the act of conceiving a child and carrying it, is a unique female experience, and when we are robbed of this experience, it sucks.

My religious background probably fuels these feelings. I am not a practicing Mormon, but I was Mormon for a while. In this religion, motherhood is everything, and so I spent a lot of time imagining what that would be like.

Can I be happy adopting a baby? Yes, I think so. I will probably always be sad, if I never got to carry a child. But, I will cross hell, to start a family any way I can.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Feminism and Motherhood

Feminism and motherhood-can these two words go in the same sentence? Are feminists women who pursue careers, money, and success only? I think this is a stereotype of feminism. I think the true meaning of feminism is the ability for women to chose their destinies. I think some unfortunate results of feminism, is that some women don't understand how infertility can be painful for any woman. I have found this to be the case. Smart, intelligent successful feminist friends of mine are not sympathetic towards me or anyone else who has infertility issues. I think it is this way, because motherhood has been devalued by feminism. I don't think that was the original intent of the Feminist movement.

How do we influence the Feminist movement to value motherhood? If more feminist women valued motherhood, would there be a bigger push for infertility treatments to improve and perhaps we could lower the costs? I started thinking about these issues, because I joined a Feminist Book Club tonight.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hope-a gift or a curse

Like many of you facing infertility, I have read those stories about the miracle pregnancies. Those stories that encourage women to keep going with infertility treatments or try the alternative medicine, because you never know what is going to be the magical combination that gives you a baby. It has occurred to me that those stories are miracles, because they are not the norm. My infertility story may not have the happy ending with me getting pregnant. If I choose to adopt, after infertility treatments fail, I don't want my adopted child to feel like they were my back up plan. I am not sure how to make that happen. I am hoping by writing this blog, I can find peace with whatever happens in the future.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

10 Tips for Surviving Fertility Treatments in Grad School:

How to survive fertility treatments while in Grad School:

1. When you get your period, and you are bummed, go have a beer with your classmates!

2. Keep lots of migraine medication on hand, for those fun hormone swings.

3. Have a hobby group that you meet with at least once a month. For example: I like to go knit in coffee shops or bars with my girlfriends.

4. Avoid looking longingly at the maternity stores in the mall and glancing at baby clothes in department stores.

5. Exercise and work on looking your best. It removes stress, and you will be healthier.

6. Keep supportive friends close.

7. School assignments can be a good distraction for any fertility treatment frustration.

8. No tear jerking movies right now! You have enough things that can set you off right now!

9. Buy sexy lingerie to keep things lively in the bedroom.

10. Plan a trip for you and your husband.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

India IVF-Holy CRAP!

2500 dollars for IVF. Whoa! Dr. Patel is the big infertility guru over there, apparently, and he claims to have studied at UCSF. Perhaps, I shall research this more. Stay Tuned.

Ways to Support Your Infertile Friend

1. Tell your infertile friend, that it's okay to be sad, if the infertile friend is sad.
2. Throw them a baby shower when they adopt.
3. Take them out for ice cream, when fertility treatments go wrong.
4. Pray for your infertile friend to get pregnant or find peace with his or her situation!
5. Keep the discussion about parenthood in a positive light. (At least for me, I don't want to hear about the downside of parenthood.) I want to hear about the happy times.
6. Allow your infertile friend to babysit your child.

30 and not pregnant, as far as I know!

Tomorrow I turn 30 years old. For many years I had this goal, that I would have my first child before I was 30. My mom had me when she was 27. I think more and more women are trying to have kids in their 30's. This is probably why infertility appears to becoming more common. We are living longer as a society, so I think it makes sense for women to wait to become mothers. I don't resent not trying to get pregnant in my early 20's. I would not have been ready to be a parent. In my 20's, I have gotten to go to Asia 2 times, and Europe 3 times. I have enjoyed seeing the world, and I wouldn't have been able to do that, with a kid most likely. Now, that I have seen the world, or a chunk of it, I want to experience parenthood.

I am actually coming to terms with the fact that I will be thirty tomorrow, and I am not pregnant to the best of my knowledge. It is tricky to know for sure when you don't have regular cycles! For this purpose alone, I think I am going to take progesterone to induce cycles, so that I am not constantly wondering.

I am in general just feeling better about things. I dyed my hair today. I am now a red head!
I had a mojito before class, and everything was just better after that!

I guess I am feeling more hopeful today.

A guide to dealing with your infertile friend...

Rule #1: Whatever choices your infertile friend has made, those choices are their's and if you debate them, you are likely to offend them.

Rule #2: Offering sentiments like, "It will happen when you least expect it, or God works in mysterious ways, or Just Relax, or I could go on and on" are not helpful. Your infertile friend at best will ignore you, and at worst will be annoyed.

Rule #3: Losing the ability to have a child feels like a death, in that it is a death to that person's hopes and dreams. The infertile person will go through all the stages in grief, so patience from friends is good.

Rule #4: Telling someone who is infertile, that motherhood is lame or sucks or whatever negative descriptor has the affect of making the infertile person resent those people who are complaining about motherhood. That isn't to say that motherhood doesn't suck sometimes, but perhaps if one wishes to complain about motherhood, they should leave that for their friends who are mothers, and are in similar places as them.

I am sure I could come up with more rules, but I think these are a good summary.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cats and Dogs as surrogate children, in the mean time...

For those of you who are pet owners and animal lovers, I think you know what I mean in my title. Pets can begin to feel like children, and at least for me, raising a puppy and a kitten during the last year, has helped stave off the yearnings for a human baby. With my puppy Ralph, I would spend the night sleeping next to his crate, when I first brought him home, so that he wouldn't be scared. When Ralph broke his leg, I stayed on the couch to make sure he was okay on his tranquilizers. Every morning and every night and throughout the day, I constantly have to attend to Ralph. It is good training or a good introduction, in having another being be dependent on you.

Then there is also, the extreme pleasure in cuddling with my kitten Isa or having Ralph fall asleep on my lap, while I am knitting or watching TV. Until I have the pleasure of having a human baby, my animal babies will have to do.

Good Day at the Dietitian's Office

Today I went to see a Dietitian who apparently was told that I have PCOS conclusively by my doctor at Seattle Reproductive Medicine. That was a surprise to me. I didn't realize this was a conclusive diagnosis.

Most of the information the dietitian told me was knowledge I already had. However, I still think working with her over the next six months is really going to help me lose the twenty pounds. I am going to be inputing my food that I eat into a computer program, and she is going to be giving me feedback each week. She suggested food that will help with migraines and arthritis as well as PCOS. Quinoa was top on the list. She also strongly encouraged me to go to Trader Joes. Cheaper organic food is sold there. I was also told I ought to swap out popcorn and instead eat hummus. I am allowed to have 45-60 grams of carbs at each meal.

I don't know how much diet interests people.

I think being able to do something to make myself healthier is making me feel better about the whole infertility issue. I feel less helpless than I did yesterday.

My journey to the bamboo lotus forest...

Lotus flowers and bamboo are symbols for fertility. I am going to incorporate these symbols into my next tattoo, along with the "Hope" symbols.

Should I try alternative medicine and take herbs and allow people to poke me with small needles (aka: acupuncture). According to some recent study, alternative medicine is not a good idea if you are going to late try fertility treatments. However, this could be a highly biased study. I haven't checked into it enough yet, to have a good opinion on the topic.

I do think having a positive attitude is important. That seems to be the theme in everything I read.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting on the Treadmill, literally and figuratively

Over the past 6 months, I have been on Clomid. As you can guess, it hasn't worked. We tried to add IUI on the last two months, but each time I went in for an ultrasound, no follicles were present. My infertility issues began when I was twenty, and I kept ending up in ER's for abdominal pain and rupturing ovarian cysts. I finally had a laparoscopy, and a large cyst was removed off my left fallopian tube.

Then I tried to get pregnant when I was 27. I tried metformin, and it made me horribly sick all the time. I will spare you all the details for the purpose of this story. That is when the arthritis and weird neurological symptoms happened, and I had to take a break from trying to get pregnant.

Now I am 29, almost 30 in four days. I had originally told myself that I had to get pregnant before my 30th birthday. Now, that is unlikely, unless I am pregnant right now. And, for that to have happened I would have had to magically timed sex just right for when I may have ovulated. Not feeling too hopeful about that.

Since Clomid failed and we went up to 150 mg, my doctor at Seattle Reproductive Medicine said Letrozole is the next drug for me. However, I am taking 6 months to lose twenty pounds. Tomorrow, I meet with the dietitian recommended to me by my Reproductive doc. So, I was serious when I meant I am getting on the Infertility Treadmill, literally and figuratively.

I gained 30 pounds over the last 6 months. It's sad when your stomach looks like you are pregnant, and you aren't actually pregnant. In Clomid's defense, Prednisone played a role in that weight gain.

So, probably some of you who have been trying to get pregnant with more advanced procedures than I have tried, are thinking "Why is she complaining now? She's at the beginning." Well, I am complaining because I have enough health issues, and trying to get pregnant only makes certain health issues more difficult to deal with. Painful migraines made worse by progesterone and Clomid. My joints flare up more when my hormones are in flux. Pain free days are celebrated, but don't happen that often.

When I was twenty and told that getting pregnant was probably not going to be easy, I thought okay, I will be fine. I'll just adopt if I can't get pregnant. I can handle this. It's all good. I think in the back of mind, I never accepted that infertility was my reality. Now that it is staring me in the face, I am in limbo. Part of me is hopeful. And, the other part of me is starting to grieve the loss of being able to have a kid on my own. My husband and I decided a long time ago, no IVF. So, if IUI doesn't work, we will go to adoption as the next step.

I think my next step is to try to be numb, avoid all new mothers and babies, and try to concentrate on the things I love: my husband, my dog Ralph, my cats Mable and Isa, knitting, cooking, and playing games with friends. Oh, and lose twenty pounds in the next six months. See ya later chocolate chip cookies and awesome yummy cheese!

I will let you guys know how that goes.