Sunday, March 27, 2011

Home Body

I've noticed something interesting recently.   I'm not certain it is related to TTC, but I think it might be.  I realize that I don't feel like going out very much right now.  I've been seeing many of my friends to go on walks or do yoga or grab a meal, but on Friday or Saturday night, I haven't been going out of my way to make plans to get out of the house.  Granted, my husband and I tend to be home bodies in general - we much prefer cooking a nice meal at home and playing board games or watching a movie.  We rarely go out to bars, we NEVER go clubbing, and we are usually in bed by midnight at the latest.  So, it's not so terribly strange that we've been staying home more these days.  However, I can't help but wonder if it has something to do with the 2WW.  I can't drink and it's getting a little tough to constantly come up with excuses about why I don't feel like drinking.  I've been exhausted, but as you know from my previous post, I've had some pretty stressful and all consuming events going on.  Plus, I am keeping this whole infertility and TTC thing a secret from most of my friends.  It makes me feel a little dishonest and awkward having to keep this giant thing in my life under wraps. 

Do any of you find that you don't get out much during the 2WW?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Positive Thoughts!

If you are reading this blog, please send some positive thoughts my way the next few days (Friday and Saturday).  I am taking THE most important clinical exam that I will ever take in my professional career.  The results of tomorrow and Saturday will determine whether or not I am granted my license to practice dentistry which is something that I've been working towards for a VERY long time.  I have crazy butterflies in my stomach and I am just hoping and praying that everything goes smoothly.  Calm thoughts, calm thoughts.

On the other hand, only one more week until I will allow myself to pee on a stick!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I've been tagged!

 The infamous Nico over at No Period Baby tagged me in a post of hers!  This was super exciting for me since I am very, very new to the world of infertility and blogging in general.  In fact, I'm supposed to tag 4 people in my post and I'm not sure I know that many people -  And Nico tagged two people I already know!

Here's how it works:

Rule #1: the tagged person must write their answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.

Rule #2: tag 4 people to do this quiz; they cannot refuse (ok, so nothing bad will happen if you don’t participate but I would love to see your answers). The tag-ee must state who tagged them.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are they members of your family? Yes!  I have the cutest dog named Charlie.  He's a golden retriever mix we rescued from a shelter.  He's a little over a year now and DEFINITELY a part of the family.   We spoil him rotten. 

2. If you could have a dream come true, what would it be? 
To ovulate like a normal person...

3. What would you do with a billion dollars? I've actually given this one a lot of thought.  My husband and I dream about buying an entire neighborhood worth of houses where all of our friends and family could live.  What an amazing place to live, raise a family, and share a life surrounded by those who love and support you. 

4. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?  The correct answer here for me is exercise.  If I go on a run or go to the gym or go on a hike and enjoy nature, I will feel better 100% of the time.  However, even though I know this, doesn't mean I always do it.  Wallowing in your misery is way easier. 

5. What is your bedtime routine?  Take the dog out for the last pee of the night (or sucker my husband into doing it).  Floss, brush, and rinse (I'm a dental student so I can't help myself).  Attempt to read in bed.  Fall asleep 2 minutes later with the light on.

6. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your significant other?  We met at college doing musical theater together.  You should hear us singing in the car together, it's out of control. 

7. What kind of books do you read?  I'll read anything that someone recommends or loans to me.  This usually involves new releases.  I also feel like Oprah's book club rarely lets me down. 

8. How do you see yourself in 10 years?  Hopefully living in a nice house with two kids.  I'd love to own my own dental practice and have enough free time to really enjoy my time with my family. 

9. What’s your biggest fear?  Losing my husband.  He really is the best. 

10. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to see outer space?
Oh man, this is a tough one.  I'm gonna need more details.  What does it mean to  "see" outer space?  What does junk food entail?

11. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? I think my answer is the same as many of you ladies - take my temperature. 

12. If you could change one thing about your significant other, what would it be? 
He's sitting across the table right now and giving me the evil eye.  Honey, you're perfect :)

13. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be? I can't imagine changing my name. 

14. If you had to choose between six months of sun or six months of rain, what would you choose? What kind of question is this?  I live in sunny Los Angeles where it never rains, so take a wild guess. 

15. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?  Cereal.  Hahaha.  Just kidding.  See this past post.  Maybe sweet potatoes.  I love em.

16. What is the thing you enjoy about blogging the most? I just started a few weeks ago, but so far the support and community that it fosters is really amazing. 

17. Do you prefer salty or sweet foods?  Definitely sweet.  No question. 

18. What items are in your purse right now? Wallet, cell phone, keys, water bottle and a slew of medication. 

19. If you had to choose between vacationing at the beach or in the mountains where would you go? Definitely mountains.  I prefer hiking and camping over swimming and sunbathing without a doubt. 

20. What do you watch on television that you know you shouldn’t?  I don't think I watch anything too trashy.  I feel pretty good about my tv selections.

Ok, now I need to figure out how to tag people....
Stirrup Queens
Lissie's Luck
A Miracle 4 Us
Mac and PC

Appetite Awareness Workbook

I am recently motivated to get my eating issues under control.  I'm not sure exactly why this is happening now - Maybe it's because I am trying to get pregnant, so I want to be in a healthy state both physically and mentally.  Maybe it's because I'm 30 and enough is enough.  Maybe I'm just ready to get control of things.  Either way, I have a drive to beat this thing. 

I am really fortunate that I am able to share my challenges with food with someone.  One of my best friends has struggled with anorexia and disordered eating over the years.  She also seems to be in the same mental place as I am - let's beat this thing. 

My therapist recommended "The Appetite Awareness Workbook" as a resource to use and work through together.  The book talks about disordered eating, binging, food restriction, etc.  It seems to speak to a wide range of people struggling with different aspects of eating.  However, the underlying focus is learning to listen to your body, to never let yourself get too hungry, and to never let yourself get too full.  Instead of restricting foods or counting calories or keeping food journals, you keep records of your hunger levels and strive to stay within a neutral zone.  This way you are never so ravenous that you overeat, and you strive to eat until you are moderately full instead of stuffed. 

Today I have set short and long term goals for myself and I will start keeping the "Monitoring Your Appetite" logs.   I'll keep you posted on how things go.  If you are struggling with food binging, food restriction, or body image issues in general, I highly recommend giving this book a shot.  

Messing With My Head

I've never been pregnant before, so I have absolutely no idea what being pregnant must feel like.  That being said, every twinge or tickle I feel makes my head spin.  I've been researching the side effects of the Prometrium and the HCG shot and apparently the side effects are incredibly similar to pregnancy symptoms.  Well, that's no fair!  I want to stay level headed and not get carried away so I'm trying not to think about it too much.  But, here's how I'm feeling these days:

1)  I'm sick - I've had a really bad sore throat for the past few days, my throat is a little congested and my nose is a little stuffy.

2) I feel exhausted and have very little energy to do anything - I just wanna lounge around (which works well since today is a rainy Sunday). 

3)  My temp is up - I tend to hover around 97.6 but yesterday I was 98.3 and today I was at 98.6.

4)  I've had some abdominal cramps - mostly on the right where the follicle was, but this morning I'm feeling cramps on the left.  Is it possible to ovulate late from the Clomid on the other side?

As you can see, I'm a total lunatic.  I probably just have a cold :).   And like I said, it's really hard to not think about things when I'm taking 6 pills a day.  I need to work on distracting myself. 

*** On another note, welcome to any new readers!  I'm so excited to have all of you here.  It's so nice to know that there are other people out there who understand.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Learning Your Language

I've been really enjoying reading the blogs out there from people dealing with the same thing that I am.  It is definitely helpful to hear about other people's stories and their journeys.  It is also amazing to see the support that people receive from the community. 

 There is definitely a learning curve in reading the blogs and forums.  It's like everyone is writing in code!!  I had NO idea what people were writing about - DH?  DPO?  BFN?  Man, I had NO idea what was going on.  Thankfully, I chatted with a friend today who explained everything to me.  So now, hopefully, I can actually understand what everyone is talking about! 

In the meantime, I guess I am apparently in the infamous 2ww (see how I catch on?).  I wish I could just not think about it too much, but it's kind of hard when I am taking all these medications.  Metformin 500mg three times a day.  And this morning I just started taking Prometrium three times a day.... not orally...  Man oh man.  Thank goodness for the blogs and forums who gave me the heads up about wearing a pantyliner.  Excellent advice! 

In the meantime, does anyone have any advice on diet and exercise?  I'd kind of like to go to the gym tomorrow and take a body pump weight lifting class and then a kick boxing class.  But at the same time, I'm not sure what I should and should not do.  Also, are there any foods that I should be eating more of or less of?  I currently keep almost a vegan diet - no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no cheese, no butter.  I think I heard that yams are good at boosting progesterone levels, but what do I know.  Any advice?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Go Egg Go!

I have a ton of updates - life has been moving rapidly since my last post on Sunday, and I haven't had a chance to post. 

So, Monday I went back to the RE for a second ultrasound to see if the Clomid worked.  My left ovary is still silent, but my right ovary had one egg that was ready to go!  17mm x 21mm.  Apparently, that's pretty good! 

However, then I got the next piece of news - my husbands sperm analysis came back and while his ejaculate volume is high, his sperm concentration is low.  On top of that, he has a low proportion of sperm of normal morphology. I think both of us are in a little bit of disbelief.  I would never have suspected anything like this, so that makes it a little hard to process. 

The next plan of attack is to induce the egg to ovulate using an HCG shot followed up by Prometrium (progesterone capsules).  And if that doesn't work, they want to try IUI...

I found all of this to be incredibly overwhelming... I felt like I walked into this office two weeks ago and all of a sudden we're on a hard core infertility track.  I felt and still feel like I don't fully understand our situation.  How dire are things?  Would it be completely impossible for us to conceive on our own or are the chances just reduced.  Didn't my body just respond to the Clomid?  Isn't that a good thing?  Shouldn't we give this a chance before we break out the heavy hitters?  Monday was really stressful trying to process all of this. 

The worst part was that I had a final exam that morning and I had to run out of the doctor's office without getting the chance to have everything explained to me.  Later on in the day, I went back to the doctor's office and got the chance to sit down with one of the nurses and have things laid out for me.  This was amazing.  For the first time, I felt like someone was really explaining our situation to me.  All I want is to be able to make informed decisions. 

So, I ended up taking the HCG shot - which by the way was pretty awesome.  There was something kind of cool about seeing the egg on the ultrasound screen and then taking something to force it to ovulate.  All eyes are on this tiny little egg!  Preparing and administering the shot was pretty crazy - quite the experience.  

And now it's just been A LOT of baby making the past few days.  Setting the alarm early in the morning to fit one it.  Getting home early at night to do it again.  It's been pretty intense!  All this work for this one little egg. 

I know that I really, really should not get my hopes up.  I think I'm purely excited that there is at the very least a chance.  That's the main thing that has been missing so far - we haven't even had the CHANCE to try to get pregnant yet.  So, now there's a chance.  And that's pretty awesome. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Lows

Sigh.  I was feeling pretty good last week in terms of eating and body image.  This should be a great thing - but the problem is that feeling too good gets me into trouble.  When I feel good - meaning I've been exercising regularly and eating pretty healthy - I tend to become very relaxed about my eating.   Go ahead, have another snack, you're feeling great!  Have a cookie or two, you deserve it!  Anyone up for going out for dessert?  That'll be fun!

It's almost like I'm pushing myself back into the land of regrets.

Confession - I have no idea what my body looks like.  I really don't.  I think my mind is so distorted that I have trouble seeing myself.  I look in the mirror one day and think that I'm looking pretty decent.  And the next day I feel like crap and look in the mirror and I'm disgusted.

I try and get an outside gauge on what I look like by asking my husband who he thinks has a similar body to me or pointing out someone walking by and asking if they look like me.  He refuses to play this game with me, which is totally smart and I can't blame him, but it doesn't help my situation.

I try to use the scale as a measure, but I don't find it to be too helpful.  My weight is fairly consistent.  I might fluctuate a few pounds here or there, but I'm usually in the same ball park. However, I definitely feel bloated and bigger, even if the scale doesn't change.

I don't think I'm skinny or fat - I'm somewhere in between.  I think that bigger girls think I'm skinny and skinny girls think I'm bigger.  I'm stuck in some grey zone.  This messes with my head.  Now, I know that my body isn't gaining and losing weight in massive amounts on a daily basis and that it's all in my head, but it honestly feels like that sometimes.  

So right now, I'm feel awful.  I look in the mirror and see rolls of fat.  My clothing feels tight and uncomfortable.  My stomach is bloated, my hips and thighs have bulges.  I just feel thick.  The scale says I weigh the same, but I know that something is different.   

So what's the deal?  Was I always this fat and just convinced myself that I wasn't?

Because of my eating issues, it is sometimes easier to try to keep positive and try to convince myself that I'm looking and feeling good.   But when I get into a place where I feel like complete crap, I wonder how delusional I was to think that I was actually thin.  How embarrassing.

So what do I do when I feel this way?  Do I have a lighter dinner or try not to snack so much during the day?  Nope - I just keep on eating and ignore the problem or wallow in my sadness.  

It would really be nice to have some sort of grasp on my body image and awareness of hunger.

Friday, March 11, 2011

No changes

I went back to the reproductive endocrinologist this morning for an ultrasound to see if my body responded at all to the clomid.  Apparently, it's inconclusive....  My uterine lining is still very thin and most of my follicles are still small.  Apparently, there is one follicle that is larger which is sort of a good sign, but actually just makes things more confusing.  They want me to come back on Monday for another ultrasound to see if anything progresses.

I actually have finals this Monday and Tuesday at 8am.  Apparently, the only time they have ultrasound appointments are first thing in the morning... so I'm going back at 7:15 Monday morning and crossing my fingers that I get out in time to run to my final - I don't think it will actually be an issue, but it's difficult to make these choices.  I feel like if I say that I am unable to make an appointment on Monday or Tuesday that I am not making the full commitment to this physician and his treatment.  Unless I make these appointments my #1 priority, I am not gonna get pregnant.  But the problem is that I do actually have a lot of other things going on in my life.  If I miss a final, I don't graduate - that's gotta be up there on my priority list.

It's a lot of stress and pressure.  This is not easy. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Analyze This

My husband went in for a sperm analysis today.  Before we embark on any treatment to help me, we wanted to make sure that everything was good on his end.  He went and reported back to me with a handful of pictures he took on his i-touch.  He showed me the chair, the clean up station, the tv, and then the DVD that was left in the player - "Anal Titans:  Special Edition."  That was pretty awesome.  I guess everything went well aside from it being a pretty weird experience for him.   I have a follow up appointment with my doctor on Friday to see if the Clomid had any effect on me, so hopefully we'll have some results from today. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

My War on Cereal

My therapist is on a mission to rid the world of cereal.  This always makes me laugh.  Since she specializes in treating people with eating disorders, she must hear about the dangers of cereal day in and day out.   I love it!  I had no idea that cereal was such an issue for everyone else!  I honestly can't even keep cereal in the house.  It doesn't matter what kind it is - I've eaten half a box of dry bran flakes before with no problem.  It's out of control.  As a result, I no longer keep cereal in the house.  And if we do have cereal in the house, my husband has to keep it on the top shelf of the pantry where I can't reach it.  I know this is completely ridiculous, but it's my only solution at the moment. 

You know who I may be staging war on next?  Chocolate chips.  


I've been  in therapy pretty regularly over the years - I started back in high school, continued in college, went back a little bit after college, and now here I am again, back in therapy.  I know that I should go to therapy and that trying to overcome my eating issues on my own is a bad idea.  However, I'm not so sure how much I get out of it. 

I really like my current therapist and she came very highly recommended as someone who specializes in eating disorders.  She's great - but I suck at it.  Maybe because I spend so much of my day pretending to be normal and put together and healthy, that it's hard to let that facade down. 

I have a session in 45 minutes and I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to talk about.  How about - "Remember all the things I was supposed to work on since our last appt?  Remember all the tips and recommendations that you gave me?  Yeah - I didn't do any of it.  I thought about it.  I knew I was supposed to do it.  I even thought about it while I was doing the exact opposite!"

At our last appointment I was instructed to do a number of things:
1)  No eating or snacking in front of the TV or computer - Impossible!!
2)  Try to identify a fullness scale where a 6-7 is satisfied, an 8 is full, a 9 is uncomfortably full, and a 10 is ill.  Try to eat to a 6-7 - I'm pretty good at this... until I keep eating and end up at a 9.
3)  Before I purge, sit down and write exactly what I am feeling at the time.  - I thought about doing this... and then I sat down to write and just couldn't.  
4)  Read the book "My Life Without Ed" by Jenni Schaefer.  - This I actually did do.  The book was good and somewhat helpful.  The problem is that I'm not quite sure how to take what I learned in the book and apply it to me.  I'm so excited that this girl learned how to overcome her eating disorder.  I just wish I could figure out how she did it. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

I saw an Ob/Gyn back in November when I realized that I was not going to get my period again.  He looked at my blood work and did an ultrasound of my ovaries and diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  He put me on a prescription of 1500mg of Metformin daily and told me that this would help regulate my period.  Obviously, I went straight to the computer and started looking up things about PCOS.  Things just didn't seem right to me...   Most women diagnosed with PCOS are over-weight, have irregular hair growth, high cholesterol, etc.  This just didn't sound like me, but it felt good to at least be trying something. 

After 3 months of metformin, I decided to get a second opinion.  I saw a reproductive endocrinologist this past Wednesday and it was great!  (Not actually great since this whole situation is still a total bummer, but great in that things seemed to make more sense).  They looked a me, my medical history, and my blood work and diagnosed me with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.   So, back to the internet I went, and the descriptions of women with this diagnosis fit me much better - normal or low weight, history of eating disorders, psychological stress - now we're talking!  However, apparently one of my ovaries does appear to have cysts that correspond more with a PCOS diagnosis, so it could be a combination. 

The doctor put me on Clomid for 5 days.  I am on day 4 today.  He said that if my true diagnosis is HA (hypothalamic Amennorhea), then the Clomid won't have any effect.  It's still worth a shot to try since it's pretty inexpensive and easy.   The next option is hormone injections.   I'm going back Friday to see if my body responded.  

Seeming Normal

Ok, here we go.  I decided to start this blog as a form of therapy for myself to get all of these thoughts and feelings out there.  The name of the blog seemed pretty appropriate - I feel like I go about my days pretending that everything is fine and "seeming normal".  And I must admit, I'm really good at that.  I feel pretty certain that I present myself as completely having my shit together.  I am a motivated professional with a promising career.  I keep a healthy diet and exercise regularly.  I'm pretty funny.  I'm married with a kick-ass dog.  From the outside looking in, I'm doing pretty great! 

But the truth is, I've been battling with bulemia since middle school and while I've been in therapy many times over the years, things are still a major struggle still today.  It sometimes feels like I will never get this under control.  My husband travels a lot for work and when I'm left alone, things are not good. 

The latest struggle and the main reason why I decided to start writing, is the age old tale of trying to make a baby. The problem is that I don't ovulate or get my period.  Since I went off birth control in April 2010, I've gotten my period 3 times.  I've seen an Ob/Gyn and a Reproductive Endocrinologist and have been diagnosed with Hypogonadotrophic Hypothalamus aka Hypothalamic Amenorrhea with a possibility of PCOS.  Bottom line is, my hypothalamus is not signaling my ovaries to release FSH and LH hormones necessary to ovulate.  And thus the journey begins. 

The worst part of all of this is how secretive it all is.   I haven't even told my mother about what is going on.  Both of these issues are so taboo and even though there are tons of people out there struggling with the same things, no one talks about them.  So, I will go on smiling and "seeming normal", but underneath, I'm dealing with some pretty heavy stuff.