Friday, November 30, 2007

What $750 Buys at the RE's Office

Warning: to anybody uncomfortable with women's anatomy and specifically my anatomy, please stop reading this post now.

Frequently while sitting in the RE's office, often while my legs are in stirrups or I'm enjoying the pleasures of the ultrasound wand, I find my self thinking about the irony that I'm paying to do all this. But it was not until I experienced the joys of an HSG that I truly understood the truth of these thoughts. So let me share with those unfamiliar with the joys of an HSG what exactly $750 bought me on Wednesday afternoon.

The purpose of the HSG is to determine whether I have any uterine abnormalities or blocked fallopian tubes. Basically it involves injecting a dye into my uterus and tubes that can be seen by an x-ray. For many reasons, I would not quite describe this procedure as pleasurable:

1. The stirrups: these are not your run of the mill stirrups. Rather these are the HSG extra special stirrups. In sum you have to try to rest the back of your knees on them without having them fall off as your RE sticks a wide variety of apparatuses better fit for interrogation than the practice of medicine in your vee-jay.

2. The speculum: not only do they stick the enemy of every woman in me once, but twice. And yes the aforementioned torture devices were involved both times.

3. The gynecological equivalent of an obstacle course: once they've inserted the aforementioned torture devices, they ask you to find a way to propel yourself backwards on the exam table. Then when dye flow is not satisfactory they ask you to twist your body in crazy directions. And finally when the whole thing is done you have to propel yourself back to you original position. Of course all of this must be done without dislodging the torture devices.

4. Sharp instruments and the cervix: frankly these two items don't mix. I mean this sounds like the basis for some video entitled "Pap Smears Gone Wild". Definitely a horror flick.

5. A "little" bit of cramping: do RE's receive specific training in this lie they feed women during their fellowships? What I experienced could not be characterized by the term "little". I mean talk about the understatement of the century. How about an overwhelming, shooting pain in my lower pelvic region especially on the right side? Mine may have been worse due to some possible blockage but couldn't they at least give a girl some forewarning about that???

So the result of all this, as you may have ascertained from #3 and #5 above, is that no dye went through the right fallopian tube. The RE who did the HSG (not my regular RE) was very non-committal about the results and said this could be due to (1) a blocked right fallopian tube or (2) the left fallopian tube is just super open and the dye goes through the path of least resistance or (3) the HSG is wrong. Obviously I am quite upset about option #1 as this means my left ovary is my only option ruling out at least 50% of my cycles...maybe more as my left appears to be much lazier than my right. Also I'd want to know what caused the blockage. I'm quite worried about the possibility of endometriosis especially because I've had low grade pain on the right side of my pelvic region for 3 or 4 years now that my regular doctor was unable to diagnose even after an ultrasound. It's not like I need endo on top of an undiagnosed ovulatory dysfunction. I mean hell, let's just throw some crazy uterine abnormality in there for good measure, and then my reproductive organs can serve as some personal, self-contained contraceptive device. Option #2 certainly sounds better but does that mean that sperm also takes the path of least resistance? Then option #3 sounds the best on one hand but does this mean I need to do another HSG?

I won't know the answers to any of these questions until I meet with my regular RE on December 13th. In the meantime, I'm taking the stance that if the world was fair, any woman who under went an HSG would automatically get pregnant. I mean it absolutely kills me knowing the things that so many women must go through to have a baby when others have kids with no problems and have absolutely no comprehension of just how lucky they are.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yarn...the Answer to Emotional Eating

I've been trying to start dieting for several months now. I usually gather enough inspiration over the weekend to start dieting on Monday, but unfortunately I rarely make it past Wednesday or Thursday. I find the biggest problem is that I'm an emotional eater. If I'm bored I want a chocolate chip cookie. If I'm feeling upset I want some scrumptious chocolate. If I'm frustrated I grab a yummy cake donut from TopPot. If I'm sleepy I'll grab a gingerbread latte from Starbucks with whip cream to balance out the nonfat milk. So obviously I need to find some ways to break this habit. I've done it before so I know that I'm capable. It's just a matter of gaining some momentum.

So now I've made it through 4 days without having an emotional eating attack, but only for 1 reason. Yarn. Yesterday after I had a bad doctor's appointment (more on that later) I almost went to the Starbucks drive through for a Gingerbread latte and cookie. But instead I realized that I was (1) not hungry and (2) that stopping at the Yarn Stash in Burien (which I'd never visited) on my way home would be just as soothing and much more healthy than food. I just love to touch all those yarns with there various textures and colors while dreaming about future knitting or crocheting projects. I purchased a couple of my favorites and greenish blues were apparently my color of choice yesterday. I haven't decided exactly what to do with them yet, but I'm thinking the multi-colored yarn (Butteryfly yellow/green/blue 2nd pic) might be good for the Danica scarf. The other (Cascade 220 superwash teal 2nd pic) I might use to knit a cardigan for the baby my stepbrother and his wife are expecting. It's not really a traditional baby style of yarn. But it is soft, and I think it would make for a funky sort of look that would suit them well.

So the yarn obsession will help with the dieting. It's just a little more expensive. Oh well!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Flashback Wednesday

As I promised with complete disregard for your feelings on the matter (it is my blog after all), it is another Flashback Wednesday. Seeing as how the holidays are upon us, I felt it might be appropriate to re-visit my first Christmas.

I was what you might call as high-energy and demanding child that tended to get into everything. It seems that I used up all that energy as a child but that's off the point. I was almost one by my first Christmas and apparently greatly enjoyed Christmas trees. I think this picture was taken at my grandparents house. (And seriously check out those happening pants I'm wearing! Can you say 1978?)

At home my parents came up with a more creative solution. Tree in a playpen of course! Oh and don't you love the yellow end table and orange carpet in the background. I'm not quite sure what interior decorators of that era were thinking.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I just got my membership to, and it might just be the coolest place on the internet. It is like a myspace for knitters and crocheters. I gave up on the football game around halftime and got on my laptop to set-up my profile, load my projects and enter my inventory of needles and yarn. You can join a wide variety of interest-based groups (e.g. motorcycle riders who knit), take a look at the work of other people who are working on the exact same projects, get ideas for new projects, and even trade yarn. I even learned about 2 local yarn shops near me that I didn't even know about. I was so enthralled that I almost missed the Seahawks come from behind win.

If you knit definitely join. It takes a few weeks to get your invite but its totally worth it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Belated Happy Thanksgiving

Jeramy and I had a very good Thanksgiving. We went to his mom's house for a nice dinner with his mom, stepdad, brother & his girlfriend, sister and niece. Julia, of course, was the star of the show, and she spent the evening teasing Jeramy who wanted so badly to play with her. It was a fun time just hanging out. Yesterday Jeramy went to Moses Lake to ride quads with his dad and brother leaving me with the house to myself for the night. I didn't get lonely though as I went out for our friend Bob's 34th birthday and then took Jeramy's stepmom to get a new puppy this morning. She got an adorable 8 week old boxer puppy they named Roxy. So overall its been a good time hanging out with family and friends.

Also Thanksgiving marked the start of a new cycle for me, and I got my baseline ultrasound this morning. The bad news is that the cyst is still there, but the good news is that its much smaller at 2cm and appears to be deflating. However, since there is still a cyst, they want me to go unmedicated this cycle. I am definitely sad about that, but there is no way I'd risk having the meds stimulate the cyst. It's just not worth it. But of course this cycle won't be RE visit free as I need to schedule that lovely HSG. Ugh...I've got to stop dragging my feet on that!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Flashback Wednesday

I've decided that every Wednesday from now until I decide not to (because its my blog, after all), I'm going to post a picture from sometime in the past. I've got a ton of old pics and its a ton of fun to go through them all. So anyhow, here is your first Flashback Wednesday:

We look crazy young here, especially Jeramy. This was grub tolo, which is a dance where girl asks guy with casual dress and matching outfits. This is senior year, I think. However this caused an extensive discussion between Jeramy and I last night about whether this was junior or senior year last night. Jeramy thought we did the Abbey Road T-shirts in senior year, but I disagreed based on other pictures of this dance. It's a good thing that forgetting the mundane details of cheesy high school dances is not a sign of early dementia.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Was that thunder or an airplane crashing?

Just before midnight Jeramy and I were both awakened by some incredibly loud, booming, crashing thunder. It was so loud that it either hit within a quarter mile of my house or my sleepy ears distorted the sound. Now thunderstorms are very rare in Seattle, so this sound caught us and our dog completely off guard. Due to our proximity to the airport (e.g. airplanes land and take-off over our house), I'm always thinking there has been a plane crash when I'm awakened in this manner. Cujo goes ballistic with frantic barking forcing us to lock him inside before he completely annoys our neighbors, since he probably already has them on edge with the frog issues.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Holiday Preparations of a Different Kind

The holiday season is almost upon us, and this year for the first time I am feeling a slight sense of dread coming over me. I suspect that my apprehension stems from a fear of uncomfortable social situations related to Jeramy and my efforts to start a family. While I am relatively new to this whole infertility gig, I have heard wise veterans share enough horror stories to understand why this frequently becomes their least favorite time of year. So being the open and unabashed sort of gal that I am, I figured a post letting friends, family and complete strangers of the blogging world know what not to say to me this holiday season was in order.

As such, I would very much appreciate it if you would refrain from making the following utterances for the next couple of months...

"Just keep it fun!"
Now this is a novel suggestion indeed! would have thought? However, spend a few months letting your favorite physician handle the "dirty work" of procreation for you and you'll see how the baby-making purpose of sex quickly loses its luster. Furthermore, it is especially important that all family members refrain from making this statement, as (1) I don't want to know their definition of fun and (2) I prefer to retain my ignorant belief that all familial births were the result of immaculate conception.

"Just relax and it will happen"
So perhaps I'm a bit of an obsessive/compulsive, crazed, type A planner. But in all seriousness folks, it is medically impossible that a reduction in my stress level will cause my cycle length to shrink from 65 days to 28. In fact, this whole comment though frequently used is quite insulting. After all, are you trying to tell me that this whole thing is my fault? Just ask my husband how I feel about being blamed for things beyond my control (or blamed for anything for that matter). He'll tell you, it's not very pretty.

"Aren't you afraid of multiples?"
The medications I'm currently on have a very low risk of multiples (5-8%) and practically all of those are twins. So at this point, I'm not worried. But regardless, do you have any better ideas for how to get me pregnant?

"Just get really drunk. It worked for us!"
Number one, I've tried that. Didn't work. However, I am seriously considering both crack cocaine and going on welfare.

"Oh, I was hoping that you'd tell me you were pregnant for my present" (said in a dejected voice)
Ummm...if you are upset about my lack of news, don't you think I am?

"Have you tried (insert crazy-ass activity here
)? My sister in law's cousin's best friend's daughter did that and got pregnant."
Unless you personally have experienced success in getting pregnant after infertility via a particular method, keep such advice to yourself.

I'm not posting this to personally complain...rather everybody has been very kind regarding the obstacles we face on the baby-making front. Rather, view this as my attempt to maintain a harmonious and festive holiday season while laughingly venting about a few of the excruciatingly insensitive comments that normally well-meaning albeit clueless individuals sometimes let slip.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Scarf Done

I'm busy knitting bunches of scarfs as part of an online knit along, and I just finished my first one. It is my first knitting project that involved substantial cabeling. I haven't decided whether to keep it or give it away as a Christmas present yet, but I think it turned out well.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Catching a break

I'll tell you a secret, but we must be vewy, vewy quiet.

When you are struggling to get pregnant, sometimes it feels like you can never catch a break. I've definitely been feeling that way lately given that my last 2 clomid cycles cysts rather than positive pregnancy tests. But yesterday at the pharmacy, I finally felt like I had a little luck on my side. My insurance actually covered my letrozole prescription saving me $106. But shhh...they probably only covered it because its FDA approved for breast cancer and IF is an off-label use.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Treatment Changes on the Baby-making Front

3 posts in one day...I'm going a little crazy over here.

As I mentioned the other week, my second cycle of clomid resulted in yet another ovarian cyst. Because cysts aren't very conducive to our baby-making efforts, we are making a small change in course. Basically this involves doing 2 things:
  1. Changing from clomid to letrozole. For those blog-readers not as familiar with infertility(IF) treatments, letrozole is similar to clomid in that it is an oral medication and relatively inexpensive with a lower risk of multiples than injectible medications. Letrozole is actually FDA approved as a breast cancer treatment, but doctors have been using it off-label to treat ovulation disorders for several years now. My RE says that Letrozole carries a lower risk of cysts, so hopefully it will agree better with my ovaries.
  2. Getting a Hysterosalpingogram. Can't spit that word out? Me neither. We'll just call it an HSG. Anyhow, this does not really relate to my cysts but is simply something that we need to get done before going much further with treatment. Again for the IF-naive, this is an x-ray procedure to determine whether my fallopian tubes are open and my uterine cavity normal. This involves injecting dye into the uterus and tubes, and the word on the street is that this is not a particularly pleasant experience. Oh and not cheap either, but I've gotten used to that.

We'll do these things starting with my next cycle, provided the cyst is gone. I can't quite say when that will be as good 'ol Aunt Flo appears to be nowhere in sight. So in the meantime I'm just sitting tight, waiting, and doing just about anything to keep my mind busy elsewhere.

Sad News

Jeramy's mom called last night to let us know that his step-cousin, Nicky had died (she is his stepdad's niece). We knew this was coming soon as she had fallen into a coma over the weekend due to an aggressive brain cancer that had grown back despite a lot of chemo and 2 surgeries to remove the tumor over the past 18 months. It is just a horribly sad story as she is only about 23 and discovered the cancer after a seizure when she was 7 months pregnant. Her son was born premature after an emergency delivery prior to her first surgery, and obviously he is still very young.

So if you can, take a moment to pray for her family and remember just how precious and fragile life can be.

Cujo and the Frog

Apparently a frog has taken up residence in the grapevine in our backyard. I know this, because my dog is determined to kill it. The other morning while getting ready for work, I heard Cujo in the backyard which is a bit unusual for him that early in the day. When I opened the back door I saw him barking in the direction of the grape vine, seemingly at nothing. I admonished him and told him to come inside and quiet down. It was 5am after all and my neighbors might like to sleep. However, the second I went into the bathroom, I heard him exit the dog door again and start barking. So I went and got him again. This course of events repeated itself over the next half hour when I had to give up and go to work.

Later Jeramy told me that he has heard a frog's croaking coming from the grape vine. We know from past experience that Cujo does not like frogs (that one often involved barking at croaking coming from the fence line around midnight). And as lazy as Cujo is, he can be quite determined when it comes to frogs. So I wasn't surprised this morning when the whole frog in the grape vine routine played out again at 5am. My take is either a frog is going to die, get smart and figure out this particular grape vine is not the safest of homes or my neighbors are going to have my dog taken away for disturbance of peace.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Spring Blooming Bulbs Planted...Check

So the bulbs I ordered arrived on Friday and were put in the ground Saturday. So hopefully I'll have some lovely crocuses, tulips, daffodils and lilies blooming this spring. That is unless I planted them all upside down. Or the squirrels get them all. Crap...I'm starting to panic.

On other fronts, I made some progress on knitting my first sock yesterday. I worked on learning to turn the heal during the Seahawks game. And let me tell you I'm not sure what was more frustrating, the game we lost in OT 33 to 30 or the heel that I now realize I messed up at a key juncture and must redo. I really want to learn to knit socks because they seem like a fun, quick and portable project if I can just figure out how to do the first one! Jeramy of course thinks I'm crazy to spend all this time knitting something that I could buy at the store for $1. Whatever. I never claimed to be logical...just determined!

Friday, November 2, 2007

My last halloween post, I promise

Just a few Halloween pics...

First, Jeramy decorated the house. He put up danger tape, carved 2 pumpkins, and pumpkin lights. We got the pumpkins for free, because our neighbors plant them in their garden and the vines come through our fence. Whatever grows on our side we get to keep. Now that's how I really like to garden!
Then Jeramy's sister stopped by with Julia. It is her second Halloween, and she was dressed up as a duck:

Check out Julia's pig tails...seriously cute!
Finally it got dark enough for Trick-or-Treaters. We got about 10 this year, which is pretty typical for us. Our favorites, of course, were Krystel (Tigger) and Emma (the chicken) from next door.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Irony of a Pumpkin

We had a pumpkin carving contest at work, and one entry was particularly witty. But first you have to know a little background...

A couple weeks ago there was a "big" windstorm in Seattle involving winds with gusts up to 40 or 50 mph. At my work, crews have been building a large sculpture with steel tubing and glass representing an artist's rendition of a double helix. They had finished it just days before the windstorm arrived. Well somehow the structure failed and this was the result:

This last week our department hosted a pumpkin carving contest. Well this was our facilities department's entry:
It got first place. The irony was just impossible to beat.