Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vegas Prologue

Let's see: Vegas trip began with me thinking I was going to die and ended with me wanting to die. More details to come once I have fully recovered -- gimme a couple more days  :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who's ready for a vacation?

This girl is! Good thing too: we leave for the bright lights of Vegas at 0830 tomorrow morning.We're going with some good friends -- everyone except for me has done the Vegas thing before so they have the distinct honor of showing me around. We're staying at the MGM Grand and plan to hit some of the tourist hot spots (Fremont Street, Bellagio Fountains, etc.) and then just relax and enjoy ourselves at the pool or some laid back bars. There is even a possibility of J and I renewing our vows at a cheesy Vegas chapel. And don't worry, I promise that what happens in Vegas will most likely show up on this blog ... unless, of course, we get into some Hangover-style shenanigans and I am sworn to secrecy! For those of you wondering, I did NOT get knocked up during July so I'll be good to indulge in some drinks, of which I'm sure there will be plenty, knowing this crowd. I actually kind of hope this ends up being my last big hoopla before there is a bun in my oven.

The only sad part is that it's a fairly short trip -- we'll fly back on Saturday (to leave Sunday for recovery, or if you're J, heading out for a business trip). I hear that's about as long as you want to stay in Sin City, which is fine, but I could really use a full week of doing nothing. I have had a busy stretch at work and the down time is much needed.

My hope is that once I get back I can focus on everything a bit more clearly. I tend to fall into a summer haze most years and motivation can be hard to find. Honestly, I'm still reeling from the fact that we're suddenly expected to work during the summer after having them off for so long during our younger years. You'd think I'd be over that by now -- right? -- but I know too many teachers who still enjoy this perk and I definitely get a little envious of their schedule.

Actually, aside from the whole summers off thing, one of the many reasons I have always longed to be a teacher is because I also really love the back-to-school part. Getting new pencils, pens and notebooks. Even though schools around here begin as early as August 3, when September hits, I don't just get excited for Hokie football: the whole pomp and circumstance of going back to school gets me going as well. Who knows, maybe teaching will be my post-baby career?

Friday, July 22, 2011

And the culprit is ...

Insulin resistance, as the doctor expected! I heard back from Dr. K’s office today and my initial blood work showed that to be the one problem that could be affecting our ability to conceive. I was relieved to hear that nothing more serious reared its ugly head.

The nurse explained that this is not diabetes, BUT it does put me at risk for one day becoming diabetic and chances that I will have gestational diabetes are increased. My body's cells have a diminished ability to respond to the action of the insulin hormone. To compensate for the insulin resistance, the pancreas secretes more insulin. Apparently that affects a woman’s cycle and all sorts of other stuff that can make getting pregnant more difficult.

I go in on August 4 to meet with a nurse to discuss some dietary changes (read: cutting out carbs and sweets) and get a prescription for a medication that should help regulate everything that is out of whack. I have heard that this medicine can also help you lose weight, clear up any blemishes and some other good stuff like that. Sign me up!

I’ll learn more about what exactly this means and how long before things should get back in the groove and we’ll be back to a high probability of conceiving naturally. I'm not sure how long they will suggest we continue trying on our own without luck before they search out any further issues. Let’s hope it ends up being as simple as getting on this medicine and changing some dietary habits so I can be happily impregnated in a few months!

Why yes, I would in fact like some cheese with my whine.

I’m having a cranky kind of day. Nothing especially bad has happened but all the little things in life that annoy me seem twice as obvious today. You know what kind of day I’m talking about? Well, I’m hoping that by writing some out, I can release the negative energy surrounding them and enjoy the fact that a) it’s Friday and b) I go on vacation next Wednesday. Here goes:

-    Having the elevator stop at almost every floor during my 20-floor ride to the lobby
-    People who feel the need to press the Lobby button even though it’s already on
-    Leaving my debit card in my suit pants from yesterday
-    Greasy hair because I couldn’t will myself to get up early enough to shower this morning
-    The erosion of the tip of the heel on my favorite shoes
-    Feeling defeated by 9:10 a.m.
-    Regret for things in the past that were out of my control
-    Waiting for the doctor to call back from the message I left at 9:30 a.m. YESTERDAY
-    Still harboring resentment for not having summers off in the working world
-    Fighting the urge to gorge on chocolate before lunch
-    A slow leak in my tire that I forget about until it’s almost lost all air
-    Breaking my no Dr Pepper rule just to survive the morning
-    Sweaty feet
-    The endless want from being a product of mass consumption (it’s how I’m programmed to function!)
-    Women twice my age who look and dress cuter than me
-    Feeling a bit lost career-wise
-    Sacrificing the integrity of something just to make certain people happy

I could go on, but I’ll stop there. How about you — what are some of your tiny annoyances? Feel free to release yours here as well!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Box (no, not that bad Cameron Diaz movie)

Oh! I totally forgot about this until just now! When I was visiting my parents earlier this month, I discovered a box in the guest room closet that had things like graduation mementos, old notes from friends and even a few love letters! Also, in a plain white envelope was a letter addressed to me in what looked like my handwriting. I opened it to find a letter we had been asked to write to ourselves back in 10th grade English class (shout out to Anna)! Let me tell you, revisiting your 15-year-old self can be a little scary.

First of all, I was depressed. Most of you know that I have dealt with diagnosed depression since 2000, but it seems it started much earlier than that. I noted how I just didn’t feel like myself anymore — unhappy, interested in the same things, wanting to cry all the time. I think those things could be chalked up to normal teenage hormones, but given how everything played out, perhaps it was something more serious. BTW -- after 11 years, I am finally going off anti-depressants for good (you know, because of the whole trying-to-get-pregnant thing).

Next of all, I talked about boys (duh!). My girlfriends were all dating someone at that time and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I named a few guys I had a crush on and I can tell you that I never ended up with any of them, but I’m not complaining. At that point in time it seems I had a penchant for greasy, stoner types who played hacky sack in the hallway. Um, ew. I have no idea what I was thinking back then. Thank goodness I passed that phase PDQ.

As for the love letters, I should have probably thrown them away, but it was sweet to read a few. I can definitely say that I have been “loved” in my lifetime. And although all my love goes to my husband these days, those relationships and boys who crossed my path along the way helped make me who I am today so throwing them away somehow felt like throwing away a little piece of me. Instead, I just folded them back up and returned the box to its place in the closet.

Opening that box brought back all sorts of memories, but as much as I sometimes miss the innocence and lack of responsibility of youth, all in all I am happier to be 32, married and hoping to bring a child of our own into the world who can start filling her own box of memories.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Friends are friends forever?

Liz and Erica on St. Patty's Day
If I were to try and fill this blog solely with our adventures in infertility, it would be spotty at best so don’t be surprised if you see more frequent posts that have nothing to do with baby-making. Today’s ramble was inspired by a conversation with a friend of mine. I stated that good friendships, like good marriages, require work from both ends. Relationships go through phases and the ones that are meant to last, do. That got me thinking about the friends I have had over the years.

The one constant has been that I have always kept a very small circle of close friends, as in 1-2 at any period in my life. I have yet to determine whether that is by choice or just the way it has worked out. I used to long to be more popular and have a slew of close girlfriends, but these days, I am content with what I have and am happy to say Georgia has treated me well when it comes to friends (see photo!).

I have a pretty high standard for friends, a standard that has been cultivated over the years from too many feelings of being let down by someone I cared about. I need my friends to be an active part of my life and reach out to me as often as I reach out to them. In the spirit of honesty, I admit that I have not always been a good friend. There are more than a few occasions where I acted like the total and complete opposite of a friend. I’m thankful to say that I’m still friends with some of the people I hurt (and you know who you are) the most during my misguided, fickle, jealous youth — proof that the good ones stick.

Friendships were easier to keep up when we were in school; everyone was together all the time. Now that we have grown up and moved all over the country, a lot more effort is needed to keep the connection fresh. Distance and different types of lives make it difficult and while things like Facebook are great for not losing touch completely, I think it also leads to a false sense of intimacy.

I no longer waste time on forcing friendship. I will try numerous times to connect but if all I get is static on the other line, I eventually leave it up to them. In fact, J and I did that with a couple we were friends with in Virginia. We invited them to a million different things, but they always had an excuse so we finally stopped asking and they never took the time to reach out to us. We ended up cutting our losses. Sad, but true.

What about you? Are you still in touch with friends from different times of your life? Do you make it a priority to maintain those connections? The best girlfriends are simply invaluable and I’m curious to see what others do to keep those relationships fresh.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Always be my baby

It's time to show some love for my original babies: Will and Zach. As previously mentioned, I have always loved kids, but these two sealed the deal.

I had worked as a camp counselor my first two summers in college but was interested in something different the next year. I don't even remember how it all happened, but I was introduced to this family from our church with an 18-month-old who were expecting their second. I started four days before Zachary was born.

I spent most of that first summer with Will and was just plain smitten with this kid. Not only was he adorable, but he was also really well-behaved. He was just learning to talk and watching his little personality bud over those couple of months was pure joy. I will forever remember his little hand dance to whatever music I had playing in the car and his fascination with any kind of ball.

The next year, Zachary was older and I would watch both of them. Zach was more active then Will but man, that kid made me laugh. I was even there when he took his first steps. I couldn't imagine being more proud had it been one of my own. I remember gently knocking him down at one point so I could video more steps for his parents!

Not only were the kids awesome, but I became close to their parents as well. They treated me very kindly and made me feel like a part of the family. It was truly the best summer job I could have imagined and consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity. My parents even felt like surrogate grandparents, as I would often bring the boys over to play at their house.

I can't pinpoint what brought all this up, but I got a definite pang of heartsickness today, missing them. They are a busy family and it has been difficult to keep in touch since J and I moved to Georgia. I seriously doubt the boys sit around thinking fondly of their nanny of long ago, but I hope they know how much I love and miss them. They will forever be a part of my heart.

Note: I can't find any photos but as soon as I can, I will add one or two to this post.

Friday, July 15, 2011

One test, two tests, three tests ... more?

Glucose test = done!

I was a little apprehensive about this one solely for the reason that unless there is alcohol in it, I have a very hard time drinking a large amount of liquid in a short period of time . However, I didn't have to drink as much as I feared and although not something I would sip on voluntarily, the drink wasn't as bad as some I have had for other procedures (colonoscopy prep and contrast CT scan, SO GROSS). It actually tasted like a super sweet orange Gatorade. I was tempted to ask if they had it in any other flavors but I already knew the answer.

If you have ever done this test, you know you have your blood drawn, drink the liquid and then wait two hours and have your blood drawn again. I decided to wait it out at the doctor's office and there were a ton of people who came through the waiting room during that time. At one point, I was the lone heterosexual out of three lesbian couples. If you think about it, I guess they are prime patients for a reproductive clinic! There were also two pregnant women who came in for check ups. Admittedly, there is always a small twinge of jealousy that pops up when I see women who are expecting, but in this case, it offers hope as well.

The results from this and last Friday's blood work should come in early next week To avoid going to the office so many times, I plan on asking if there was anything definitive from them or whether we should wait until we do Jarrett's test to start constructing a plan. In the meantime, I'm peeing on ovulation tests and we're continuing to try on our own.

Oh yes, don't be surprised if you start to see me ordering Vodka and Sprite ... a good friend of mine said that was an easy way to make a switch to Sprite only once you do become pregnant and aren't ready to share it with the world. I know the moment I don't order wine or a beer that people would be suspicious of me. Now, since I just let you all in on my little secret, no questions if you see me do it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sugar, we're going down ...

It's time to admit to something I have known for a while but was too ashamed to say out loud: Any problems we could experience getting pregnant are most likely tied to the fact that I'm overweight. Both PCOS and insulin resistance are linked to excess weight. Honestly, part of the reason I was nervous to see the specialist was because I thought she might look at me and say that simply losing weight would cure the problem. That is not at all what she said, but I guarantee it is part of the solution.

I have my glucose test scheduled for Friday. Regardless of how it turns out, I want to renew my conviction to losing at LEAST 10 lbs. in the next few weeks. I know even that little amount can help all sorts of things. It's going to be hard because I have the most pathetic sense of will power of anyone I know. One would think that since it would be a good thing in so many ways -- most importantly, potentially conceiving -- that I could stick to it, but I just know myself too well.

I have it in my head right now, at 10:15 a.m., that I will definitely get on the treadmill after work, but come 3 p.m., I'll be tired and the thought of doing anything but lounging on the couch and unwinding from the day will make me break out in hives. This is the aspect I probably need the most help and support in through this whole endeavor so please send positive thoughts my way!

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's all in the code

I suppose things have a way of working them out, or rather, doctors have a way of coding things to go through insurance.  :)  Overall I feel that things were fine and we're definitely moving in the right direction. I was proud of J:  He only complained about the long wait a couple of times. I give him some slack because he's always been uncomfortable in doctor offices. My goal is to make this process as painless as possible for him.

So, we met with Dr. K and after looking over all the information and asking a few questions, she suggested our first move be an ultrasound. We were able to do it right then. Although most things looked fine, she couldn't rule out either Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or Endometriosis. Some of my egg sacs were a little smaller than they should be but at this particular day in my cycle, she couldn't tell if one would mature.

Given some of my history she believes I could be insulin resistant, which could also be the main cause of my irregular cycles and lack of ovulation. I will have to take a two-hour glucose test to see how my body treats glucose to determine if that is the problem. J also has to have the standard analysis of his swimmers. After those results plus the results from the seven different vials of blood, there will be enough pieces to figure out what the next steps should be.

I'm hoping to get those two tests done in the next couple of weeks. Everything except for J's analysis should be covered by insurance because they do not have to be considered infertility testing and can be coded as gynecology -- yay! We were VERY happy to learn that. Depending on what happens, we can save up for any additional procedures. Hooray for progress and thanks for the prayers and well wishes. We appreciate your support!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ensure you're insured

Our appointment with the fertility specialist is tomorrow. I have a host of feelings about it; so many conflicting ones that I won't bore you with most of them. The one that I WILL share is my frustration with a little obstacle we encountered yesterday.

I received a call from the office confirming my appointment and reminding me that our insurance will not cover the consultation or any following testings, procedures, etc. Hold up ...WHAT? I had called the insurance company back when we made the appointment to check on this very topic and the representative told me our plan covered anything considered diagnostic. We have been under the impression that finding out what, if anything, was wrong wouldn't come out of pocket.

Immediately I was on the phone with our insurance company to find out the truth. Unfortunately, whomever I spoke to before was gravely misinformed. Our plan in fact did NOT cover anything related to infertility. I panicked for a moment ... or two. OK, I panicked for about a half hour. We're not exactly swimming in piles of money. The consultation alone was going to cost more than $500 up front.

After I calmed down J and I talked about what to do. The doctor we're seeing offers free 30-minute consultations. She will review our medical history and make recommendations. The original consultation would have been more in-depth and include some preliminary testing. So, that's what we're going to do. We'll hear what she suggests and if it includes certain tests, which I'm sure it will, we will learn the cost and then save as necessary.

I'll admit that my bubble is a bit deflated. I was so excited to start getting some answers and now I feel like it's still out of reach. I guess we'll just have to see what tomorrow holds and what we can do from there. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Holy guacamole...and catfish...and beer

That is just some of the yummy goodness I filled my tummy with this past weekend. I enjoyed it immensely. I did not enjoy the inability to zip up my pants this morning. Operation Detox is in effect.

We had a lovely time at my parents' new home on the lake. There are few things as fun as floating with friends and night-time boat trips to see fireworks. One of said friends is a sweet little girl age 8. She was giddy to help take care of baby JH3, who was there with us. She kept saying how much she loved babies and wanted to have one, once she was older and married and all that stuff. I couldn't help but smile at how much she reminded me of me. Heck, I still get giddy when I get to help take care of a baby. But this weekend I mainly looked after my own baby, Banana.

And even though I know petless parents resent the comparison, there were some definite similarities about taking care of a child and taking care of the dog. We had fun watching her swim, letting her float on us when she got too tired; made her take a nap if she played too hard; took time to make sure she was fed and having fun; baby gate her in a room for an hour or so when there are too many other people/dogs around. What? You can't do that last one with a kid? My bad.