Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I’ve gotta tell you, I’m kind of sick of being the “Infertility Go To Person.” No idea how all these people are finding out about it, it’s not like I post anything at all about it on Facebook. Some people I know do, which I do a major eye roll about, but that’s their prerogative. I’m too much of a private person, hence the anonymity on here.

I have another friend who has reached out to me about our experiences. I know I have said before that I don’t mind because I know I wish I had had someone to talk to when we were going through all this but right now, today, I am getting a little tired of it. I know that sounds horrible and honestly I really try and be a good friend but sometimes I just don’t want to think about all this anymore. I don’t want to talk about all the crap we’ve been through; the tests, the procedures, the blood work, the monitoring, the surgeries, the medications, the injections… all with a zero end result.

Today I am trying to block out my friend on my team, who recently announced she was pregnant, talk about how now that she’s in the second trimester she really needs to start to work out because she doesn’t want to get fat…. :/

Literally this morning I had looked in the mirror and talked to God about how I would be willing to have the worst pregnancy on earth, throw up every day, be nauseous all the time… if I just had a healthy, happy, 100% take home baby. I don’t care about the gender. I don’t care if there are two… I just want to be pregnant and have a healthy and happy baby(ies).

I feel like it’s a secret club that I more than anything want to join. I really wish I was able to share this experience with my best friend who sent me a pic from her ultrasound yesterday (22 wks 2 days). I have a feeling that when our friends announce at our holiday get together that their first IVF worked it’s going to be a mixture of complete joy and happiness for them and we’ll be getting the side-eye from people trying to see if we’re ok.

I don’t want that. I don’t want people feeling sorry for us. It’s uncomfortable and after this amount of time it’s embarrassing. I just don’t understand why this hasn’t worked for us but I have faith in God that I will get 100% take home baby pregnant… and soon… I just feel it. I’m on CD27 and I feel like I might be getting my period soon. I’m grumpy, I’m breaking out and my lower back is sore… it all just makes me so sad because it’s another month (and another $400 in acupuncture/chiro care) down the drain.

I’m not sure if I want to stop the acupuncture/chiro visits until after the holidays. Hubs and I said that we’d go back to the doctor at that point so maybe I’ll just wait. I don’t know…

I was hanging out with some girlfriends from college this weekend and one said me, “I don’t know if this is too personal and tell me to mind my own business if it is but do you ever feel like saying enough is enough and just give up?”

All. The. Time.

Then I think about how our life would be if we didn’t have children. Not that we wouldn’t have a wonderful life together, I have no doubt about that, but it would always feel like something was missing… as it does now.

My entire life all I’ve ever wanted was to be pregnant… have a baby… be a mom. No matter how exhausting it gets I’m just not ready to give up yet.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanksgiving in October

I am very blessed to have two great uncles who have both lived wonderful, amazing and very long lives. My Great Uncle S just celebrated his 100th birthday. He walks 3 blocks every day to the local YMCA to swim and play chess in a men’s club. He was a practicing physician until his 80’s and continues to take the medical boards every 3 years to “keep his mind active.”

My other Great Uncle is A who was like a second grandfather to me. His wife E was one of my grandmother’s sisters (my grandmother passed away when I was 3) and I spent a lot of time at their home growing up. E was lovely, elegant, cultured, smart, had impeccable taste, an amazing cook and a kindergarten teacher. She was who I wanted to be when I grew up. My grandmother’s 3 sisters’ all got dementia in their late 70’s/early 80’s. E was the last to be diagnosed (and pass away). It was heartbreaking to watch her decline and eventually become a shell of who she was. The one thing that never wavered during that time, or during their life together, was her and A’s love for each other. Their marriage was one for the record books. Theirs was a beautiful love story; no one ever doubted their devotion to one another. Even to this day, when A speaks about E, who passed away while we were on our honeymoon in 2010, he gets a lump in his throat and tears up. He says that he always had the last word, “Yes Dear.”

A’s 97th birthday was the week after S’s 100th and since S had a fancy party in the city I decided to host a “Thanksgiving in October” for A at our home. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Growing up we would go to one of my grandmother’s sister’s homes for the holiday – always with a lavish feast prepared and a day filled with family. Once the matriarchs started to get sick / pass away that all stopped. For whatever reason their children never took on the tradition- all of them with their own busy lives to lead (doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, business professionals). I always said that when I had a home of my own I would host family dinners for my mom’s side of the family like we used to have.

I have had them over many times but never for “Thanksgiving.” I usually host dinners in the spring, summer, and very early fall. We have a lot of steps leading into our home and A walks with a cane, my Godmother has bad Lyme’s Disease which makes it very hard for her to walk and my aunts both have bad knees… I really don’t want to tempt it with icy steps. But since the weather was starting to seem like a mild fall I decided to try my hand at preparing a feast that my Great Aunt E would have been proud of.

I turned to my trusty friend, Pinterest.

Since hubs cousin hosts Thanksgiving I have never made a turkey before. I found online that you should have at least 1 – 1 ½ pounds of turkey for each person. Since we had 10 people and my Auntie R doesn’t eat meat (only fish) I got a 13.4 pound turkey. It was fresh when I bought it but I froze it for a couple days and then defrosted it in the fridge for 3 days. Thankfully we have an extra fridge in the garage because that was a decent sized bird!

I found something on Pinterest called “Turkey How To.” I am not sure about the Pinterest rules and regs in regards to reposting a recipe on a blog (and besides I don’t know how to insert a clicky jumplink) so unfortunately I will not be giving you the exact recipe but I will give you what the pins are called and that way you can find them if you are so inclined.

Anyway – Turkey How To… my mom has always brined poultry when she was making a full bird (and sometimes, if she had the time, she’d also brine if she was doing parts). Brining is where you soak the meat prior to cooking. Equal parts sugar and/or salt are adding to cold water. The meat is put into a container and the salt/sugar solution is poured over it adding more cold water until the meat is covered. Then you let it sit for a while (depending on how large the piece of meat is). The idea behind brining is that it makes the meat moist (I really can’t stand that word but it's the only one that fits, lol) by hydrating the meat before cooking, allowing it to retain the moisture during the cooking process. I am sure that we all have experienced an over dry turkey. Not what I wanted to happen with my first bird. In the “Turkey How To” they had a lot of different brining recipes. I have only ever seen my mom use kosher salt and water to brine so I was intrigued.

I did a lot of the prep work the night before and of course my shopping during the course of the prior week. I had decided on the Orange-Tea-Bourbon Brine

(zest & juice of 2 oranges, 1 pint OJ, 2 c kosher salt, 1 c sugar, 12 black tea bags, 4 bay leaves, 12 peppercorns & 1c bourbon)

While it was simmering on the stove it smelled amazing. I wish I had started the process a lot earlier because it took a really long time to cool. I didn’t have a pot that was big enough so I went out and bought a 5 gallon bucket. Haha.

Prior to putting the turkey in the bucket I rinsed it in cold water and took out the neck and the giblets bag (saving that for making the gravy the next day- yes I went that crazy and made my own gravy, lol). Poured in the cooled orange-tea-bourbon mix and then covered it with cold water. I put the top on the bucket and put it in the extra fridge overnight.

E used to make a “Cranberry Compote” that no one can seem to find her recipe for. I have tried a couple different cranberry sauce recipes and haven’t found anything like it yet. I decided to give the Double Cranberry-Apple Sauce from myrecipes.com (via Pinterest) a try. This was perfect because we have A LOT of apples from our trees that we still need to use. I also have this awesome peeler/slicer/corer that my mom got me that is anyone with an apple tree’s lifesaver. The recipe called for 6 large granny smith apples. Since our apples are not that big I used 8. We do not spray our trees so the apples don’t look at pretty as they do in the store but they taste just as good (even better I think).

There is a (sharp) three prong spike that you shove the apple on. Then you turn the handle and the apple is peeled, cored…

and spiral sliced just like that!! Such a huge help because that part is a pain. You also need to add a package of fresh cranberries, one small lemon thinly sliced (with the peel but without the seeds), sugar, water and dried cranberries. I was a little wary of the lemon but it really added something delicious to the dish and no one could tell what that “different” taste was (of course I told them). I think making it the night before and letting it sit overnight helped all the flavors meld.

The next thing I started on was the stuffing. I chose to make Paula Deen’s Apple Cranberry Stuffing. I first cut up the Hawaiian Sweet Rolls to toast in the oven

In the recipe comments people we a little wary of using the Hawaiian Sweet rolls but everyone agreed that they were delicious. My problem was I had never seen them in my local supermarket but was able to eventually find them near the deli.

This recipe also called for apples (woo hoo) so I was able to again use my handy dandy spiral peeler thing to make quick work of them. The recipe also called for: chicken broth, dried cranberries, butter, onion, bell pepper (I used yellow because I had one on hand), celery, eggs, salt, pepper, cream of celery soup, and cinnamon.

Although this was pretty good and there were very little leftovers I’m not sure if I would make it with this particular meal again. I had also made Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole (I made it the day of and didn’t get a chance to take any pics) and I think with that it was too many sweet dishes. Next time if I make that sweet potato casserole again (I’ll talk more about it below) I will make a more savory vs sweet stuffing.

That’s the end of the prep work I did the night before. It was all put in the extra fridge (along with an awesome chocolate mousse cake I got from a local bakery and the rest of my IF meds, lol) for the night.

The next morning wasn’t as stressful because I did a lot of prep work the night before. I started out the morning making Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole – another Pinterest find. Like I said, I don’t have any pictures of the process but there is a finished product in another picture. This was delicious and pretty easy since I used 2 large cans of yams (that I rinsed in a colander) and then 6 regular sweet potatoes (which I roasted in the oven- per the recipe directions). It also calls for brown sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract, flour and pecans. There was a streusel topping which was amazzzzzzzing. This was a hit with the whole crew.

I lucked out that both the stuffing and the sweet potatoes needed to be cooked at the same temperature (happy accident) so I waited to put them in until the end of the turkey cook time.

Now onto the bird…

I took the turkey out of the brine and, per the directions on the Turkey How To, I rinsed and patted it dry with paper towels. I decided to cook the turkey in this awesome electric roaster we have. This thing is a lifesaver when you’re making a big dinner because you can cook the meat in it and not have to worry about taking up precious oven space. I have made both ham (Easter) and prime rib roast (Christmas Eve) in it and they both came out perfectly. I again turned to my friend Pinterest, who never seems to let me down, and found a wonderful guide called “Perfect Turkey in an Electric Roaster Oven.” I turned up my roaster oven to as high as it could go (without the pan in it) put the top on and let it sit. I put the turkey in the roasting pan (on top of the rack) and I made a butter mixture that I found in the Turkey How To and I rubbed it under the skin and then all over it. I put it in the roaster (still on the highest temp) for 30 minutes then turned it down to 350 for 2 hours.

The trick is to not open the cover. I put a towel over it as well to keep some of the heat in and reminded my mother (twice) to not take off the lid to peek (haha). It’s different than with cooking it in the oven because it loses heat very quickly when the cover is taken off.

When the turkey went in I started on the gravy. I have never made gravy from scratch before and one of my aunts said that it tasted just like her grandmother used to make. It was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. I found the Classic Turkey Gravy on… you guessed it… Pinterest.

This is when I used the turkey neck (which looks disgusting) and the giblets (minus the liver). I also put in unsalted butter, onion, chicken broth, sprigs of fresh thyme, bay leaf. I let this simmer for 2 hours while the turkey cooked.

10 minutes before the turkey was done I put the sweet potatoes and stuffing in the oven. Once the turkey was done I took it out and let it sit on a cutting board with tin foil tented on it. Turkey (and really any large cut of meat) needs to rest in order to retain the juices. If you cut it right away then it won’t be as juicy. Unfortunately it was too crazy in the kitchen from this point forward for me to get a photo of the turkey but let me tell you it was beautiful. The skin was perfectly browned and it smelled delicious (my mouth is watering just thinking about it). My Auntie R – remember the one who doesn’t eat meat – said that it smelled so good that she had to taste it. Then she had two helpings at dinner. If that isn’t a testament to how good the turkey was I don’t know what is!

While that was resting I poured ½ of cup of the broth I had made (after straining it & saving the neck and giblets for making soup at a later date) to the roasting pan and used a wisk to gently swirl it around to get all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (sometimes scrapping with a wooden spoon to loosen them). I then poured everything from the pan into a degreasing cup.

Mine is called a Gravy Separator but it’s the same thing. This is basically a cup with a spout on each side and a strainer in the top (to catch all the bits). As you can see there is a piece infront of the spout that goes from the top of the cup almost to the bottom. As it settles in the cup you can see the fat separating and rising to the top. When you pour it the first bit that pours off is the fat.

I then made a roux (browning flour in the bottom of a sauce pan with some of the fat) then slowly added the rest of the broth. So easy, so delicious.

So here is the table with all the goods. From front to back: sweet potato casserole, stuffing, dinner rolls (that my Godmother brought), salad (that my cousin brought) and the cranberry apple sauce. There are also two gravy boats (although you can only see one). This meal was one of the best I’ve ever made. My side of the family doesn’t come up for any holidays (because they mainly live in New York and the traffic is atrocious) so I was very happy that I was able to make this Thanksgiving in October and they were so thrilled that we were finally able to share Thanksgiving after all these years. I think that my Great Aunt E would have been very proud of me.

Oh, and the chocolate mousse cake… phenomenal! Too bad I can’t take credit for that!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lessons Learned

This morning I saw something on Pinterest that said:

“Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned.”

I thought to myself – I wonder what the lesson is that I need to learn with watching our friends get pregnant over and over again during our infertility journey?

This afternoon as I was walking into a meeting one of my co-workers was talking about how one of our teammates was not going to be in the meeting because she had to go home.
She wasn’t feeling well.
Morning sickness.
She’s 11 weeks pregnant.

I was a little taken aback because I hadn’t noticed anything but then I thought about it and realized she had been wearing really bulky blazers and loose dresses for a while now. She was also visiting the café a lot more than normal. She just started working here in May – we had worked together at our prior employer and I really talked her up to get her a job here. I know that she and her husband have been trying for a second for over a year and she thought that because of the stress level at her last job that maybe that’s why she hadn’t conceived yet. I think that she is a super nice girl and honestly I am really happy for her.

Since I found out literally as I was walking into my meeting, I needed a minute alone to process. I excused myself and went to the bathroom. As soon as the stall door closed a couple tears escaped. I sat there and breathed deep and said to myself over and over, “It’s ok. It’s ok.” Then… it was ok.


It’s almost like a total sense of calm came over me. So another co-worker on my team is pregnant (one of my teammates just came back from her maternity leave in August and there is always at least one or two pregnant woman in my office at a time). Yeah, is it going to be super fun to watch her go through her pregnancy? I will be honest and say that I may have some sad moments. But I’ve done it before and I am sure I will do it again. If there is anyone who knows what a miracle and a blessing being pregnant is it’s me. I’ve had time to think about it and I think finding out my friend’s IVF worked on Saturday hit me as hard as it did because it was such a huge contrast to our experience.

Maybe the lesson that I need to learn here is that everyone goes through their own crap and just because someone has something that I desperately want, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something that they are going through as well.

Life is precious. Every day is a miracle. I can’t be wasting time being Sally Sad Sack because I’m not getting pregnant. Live life to the fullest and every day like it’s your last (is that a song?).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This is a test...

I believe I have mentioned this before… my husband has 4 really good guy friends that he has known since he was a little kid and I have become very close with their wives. Through the years we have also become very close with the sisters (and their spouses) of two of the guys. We really have so much fun together and I think it’s pretty neat (and rare) that there is this group of guys who have been lifelong friends. Anyway- out of the 7 couples (including us) there are 5 of us who have had to seek medical intervention for conception. That’s pretty crazy. We are the only couple (out of all 7) who doesn’t have any children. We also all live in different areas so none of us went to the same Infertility Clinic.

The W’s got pregnant both times with the help of Clomid. The G’s went through a long run of IF treatments and finally got pregnant with the help of an IUI with injectable meds. The L’s were actually taking a break to save for IVF (after doing many months with injectable meds and timed intercourse) and had got pregnant on their own! Mrs. L was told she would never be able to conceive naturally because of the level of her endometriosis (she has had many surgeries for it). Then blamo. Pregnant. They are why we believe getting pregnant after failed IF treatments can happen because they are living proof.

When the R’s were trying for their first child, Mrs. R was on Clomid for a year with timed intercourse without success. They then tried an IUI with injectable meds. It worked! That was 3 years ago. They started to try for their second child this past July. They did a couple rounds of IUI with injectable medication without success. They then moved onto IVF. We all know what each other have been through so since I was the only one with “IVF experience” she turned to me – which of course was totally ok, we’re friends and I was/am more than happy to be there for her. She did the Long Down Regulation Protocol, which is what I did for our second IVF, where she was on birth control for a few weeks, then Lupron, then she got her period and started Menopur & Follistem on Day 3… same thing as I did.

At her egg retrieval (ER) they retrieved 51 eggs. You read that correctly.
Fifty one. 5 1.
At 3 days post retrieval she had 36 Grade A Embryos. Again, you read that correctly.
Thirty Six. 3 6.
Grade A = Perfect.

Since her embryos were doing so well, they decided that they would wait and do the egg transfer (ET) on Day 5 -meaning 5 days since they retrieved her eggs and fertilized them (they are fertilized immediately). They only transferred 1 Grade A Embryo. I didn’t ask why they decided to only transfer one because that’s such a personal decision but I do know that they were concerned with having twins since they already had a toddler at home. They went on to freeze the other 35 embryos. They aren’t sure what they are going to do with them all so for now they are on ice.

She had her blood test on Thursday but I didn’t reach out to her because I figured she’d let me know what the outcome was when/if she was ready.

Saturday morning she texted me. She was pregnant.

I knew she was pregnant. I had this feeling the entire time that it was going to work for her and I was so excited and sending her good baby vibes so when I got her text I wasn’t surprised to learn that it had worked.

What I was surprised about was my reaction. I already knew in my heart that it had worked. I knew that they had gotten their second miracle so I’m not sure why her confirmation of what I had already known rocked me to the core. My knees buckled and I just started to sob. Hubs wasn’t home (he had brought the garbage to the dump – yay country living) so I was alone while I was a puddle on the dining room floor. Our sweet sweet dog lay down next to me and licked my face while I tried to get a hold of myself.

I did not compare our experience and the R’s experience while they were going through their cycle because I didn’t want to make myself crazy thinking about the “why’s” but at that moment I couldn’t stop myself.

51 Eggs Retrieved…
IVF #1 I had 18 eggs. IVF #2 I had 20.

36 out of 51 Eggs Fertilized…
IVF #1 I had 10 out of the 18 fertilized. IVF #2 I had 13 out of the 20 fertilized.

Day 5 Embryo Transfer of 1 Grade A Embryo…
IVF #1 all of our embryos died by Day 3. IVF#2 I had a Day 3 transfer of 2 Grade B Embryos.

35 Frozen Grade A Embryos…
IVF #1 we had nothing to transfer… nothing to freeze. IVF #2 out of the 13 eggs that were fertilized, only the 2 that were transferred back survived. The other 11 died - we had no embryos to freeze.

She’s pregnant after her 1st IVF.
I’m not pregnant after 2 failed IVFs.

I picked myself up off the floor and got in the shower, where I got all of the crying out of my system (it was a long shower). I needed to pull myself together because we were going into the city (NYC) for my great uncle’s 100th birthday party. I had to get a smile pasted on my face, put all this on the back burner and get over it. Hubs came home and I told him the news. He hugged me for a long time, stepped back, kissed me and said, “I am happy for them and I know you are too. This is going to happen for us. I know it.” That was all I needed to hear to pull myself out of the funk.

Life is funny. You think that you have crap that you’re going through, that it’s so unfair and then you learn about someone else’s struggles and you think to yourself, ok well maybe it’s not all so terrible. There was a very bad car accident near my office yesterday. An elderly couple turned in front of a minivan. The elderly gentleman is in critical condition and the elderly woman passed away. The driver of the minivan, a 28 year old woman who was 8 months pregnant, also passed away (along with her unborn child. She had her 3 other children in the back of the van. The oldest boy is in critical condition while the younger two, 4 and 6, were unharmed and saw watched their mom die.

One of my co-worker’s sister passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.
My friend’s neighbor had an emergency C-section yesterday and the baby didn’t survive.

Right now – I have SO MANY things that I am thankful for. SO MANY things that I know I should not take for granted because there are many people who would give anything for what we have… good jobs, roof over our heads, food on the table, a loving marriage, a wonderful family, amazing friends, our health, money in the bank, reliable cars… not one of those things should be taken for granted. Yes there are things that I / we do not have. Yes there are things that I have written about on this blog that we want more than anything. But at the end of the day we are lucky and rich in so many ways.

Life is precious and in a blink of an eye it can all change. Hold close that which you hold dear and never take for granted what it is here today will be here tomorrow.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thinking About... Adoption.

I have a friend who I was pretty good close with in college. We lost touch and then ended up working at the same company for a little while and reconnected again, but then lost touch once more when I moved to another department. We would text each other every once in a while and kept in touch with each other’s lives via the magic of Facebook. We haven’t hung out in probably 3 years. She just texted me today asking which fertility clinic I go to and who my doctor is…

I seem to have become the go to person for infertility questions/advice. I have a couple people I know who reach out to me periodically to ask if I’ve taken a medication or if I’ve done a certain procedure (which 9 times out of 10 I usually have). I really don’t mind – I know that when I was going through all my stuff I would have loved to have had someone I trusted to ask questions or vent to. I know that my friends mean well but unless they knew firsthand what I’ve gone/going through I started to feel like I was just being whiney. Like I’ve said before, I don’t want to be defined by infertility. I don’t want to be seen as a sad sack who always has a sob story.

Anyway, my friend and I started chatting about what’s going on with her and she mentioned that she has a friend who has started the adoption process. I have been thinking about it – that’s kind of like the failsafe plan in the back of my mind that if (God Forbid) we don’t get pregnant then we could at least still become parents through adoption. I know there are so many children out there who need good homes but I have that whole vision in my head – you know, getting that positive pregnancy test, telling my husband, telling our families, telling the world! My belly getting bigger and feeling the life that we created growing inside me… I’m not even that scared of labor (although ask me again when the time comes). But you know what I’m talking about, the whole kit and caboodle. I see pregnant women and I just think they are so beautiful and I am completely in awe of their magical ability to be able to get pregnant and grow a person. I really want to be that beautiful magical pregnant woman someday.

But I know that if I can’t, there’s still hope of having our dream of being parents through adoption. Hubs, on the other hand, is a little hesitant because he works with two couples who have both gone through the adoption process and had a nightmare of an experience. He’s a bit jaded on the whole process and at this point doesn’t even want to have a real conversation about it. “That’s not something we need to talk about yet.” I love that he doesn’t want to give up on us having pregnancy achievement but it’s frustrating when I want to talk about our “what if” back up plan.

My friend asked her friend some questions for me; where she went through (an adoption center in New England), is it an open adoption (yes they seem to be the easiest and most common ones), did she need a lawyer (no it is all a part of the agency), domestic or international (domestic from anywhere in the continental U.S.), how long could it take (6-14 months), how old are they (38, older than us), how expensive ($12,000-$16,000 not cheap by any means but not as much as I was thinking)… her friend even offered her contact information so that I can talk to her. I thought that was so super nice and will absolutely take her up on that offer if we get to that point.

I’ve watched “Adoption Story” and “I’m Having Their Baby” and while that in no way makes me any sort of expert on the adoption process, I feel like I am not totally naïve to what can happen. The look in the prospective parent’s eyes when they talk about their struggles and how they are so thankful that this stranger is giving them this amazing gift… their faces when they go to the first ultrasound and they start to sob in each other’s arms at (finally) seeing THEIR baby on the monitor… I get emotional because I can really see me and hubster in them. The desperation and almost a sense of holding themselves a little back until they have those signed papers in their hands. But the most heartbreaking episodes are the ones where the birth mother decides to keep the baby. That, of course, is totally her right but it always makes me a little indignant and angry for the perspective parents because I feel I can relate so much to them, their struggle and their dream.

That right there is my fear. That we will go through the entire process, the application, the portfolio, waiting to be chosen by some woman who will be able to give us the ultimate gift that we cannot give ourselves… meeting that woman (and maybe her partner/family), connecting to her/them and the baby in her womb, hoping, praying, getting our home and lives set to welcome a baby into it… then blamo. No baby. Just rip my heart from my chest and stomp on it. Not to mention the expense. Do you get your money back if it falls through? Is there some sort of money back guarantee or customer satisfaction policy? I’d like to believe so… but I doubt it.

Every day I pray for a miracle. Every day I pray that even though all the medical interventions have failed that we will magically become pregnant on our own. That through the grace of God I will get 100%-take-home-baby pregnant. It has happened- it happened to one of our closest friend’s right before they were going to start the IVF process. The doctor said that there’s no reason why we can’t get pregnant on our own. Having one tube isn’t something that is considered a “reason” for not getting pregnant. They just don’t know why it hasn’t worked so far.
I think that’s the most frustrating thing of all.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Soft Cups - a review

Disclaimer – as previously noted, I am not compensated for anything I talk about. These are all my opinions/experiences nor am I a health care professional. If you are not comfortable talking about/reading about someone’s menstrual cycle or sexual intercourse – this post is not for you.

I wanted to wait for a couple cycles before I did a post on Soft Cups. I’m going to be honest with you, that first few days of the first period using them I wanted to throw in the towel. But I decided to stick it out and then at the end of the cycle decide if I was going to do it all again.

First things first – you have to be comfortable with your body. I mean sticking your fingers all the way up your biz in order to get the cup in and then out kind of comfortable with your body. The trick is putting it in the correct way. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon and I even watched a couple YouTube videos. I didn’t insert it correctly the first couple times and had to take it out and redo it at the office (not that fun) because I was leaking a little. The first couple times I suggest putting it in while in the shower. That way you can completely squat down to get the cup in at the right angle. You want to squeeze the sides together (making sure that the cup is right side up – that should be self-explanatory when you look at it) and insert it at a downward angle. Push it back with your finger(s) until it sits right behind your pubic bone. DO NOT PANIC – it will not be that hard to get out. I had a moment of, “oh sh*t what did I just do and how the hell is it getting out?”

To take it out… this I suggest doing the first couple times in a squat position in the shower because, as I will cover below, it’s a little messy. The directions say to stick your finger up there and hook it around the lip of the cup and pull it out. This didn’t work for me (causing another moment of panic complete with the thought of #1 having to tell hubster that I have a cup of menstrual blood stuck inside me and then #2 having to go to a hospital to get said cup taken out… yeah I know I sometimes go from rational to crazy in zero --> .5 seconds). I had to take my middle finger and instead of hooking it under the lip of the cup I had to pull the cup down a little and stick my finger INSIDE the cup to get a grip to pull it out.

Then it comes out.

Second – you have to be ok with getting your menstrual blood on your hands… because you will. It’s a little messy. That’s why I suggest taking it out in the shower. You are not supposed to leave it in for more than 12 hours and I don’t know about you but I usually do not take 2 showers in a 12 hour timeframe (unless I work out in the evenings versus the morning). Taking it out in the shower is one thing, taking it out while sitting on the toilet is another. I suggest doing this at home the first couple times. I had to do it at the office twice (because I didn’t put it in correctly, see above). That was a mess. Thankfully we have a handicap stall with a sink in it where I was able to shimmy my way over with my pants down around my ankles and wash my hands without having to touch anything (automatic water and soap dispenser- phew). When you take it out, wrap it in TP (or put it in the pouch if you are inserting another) and toss in the trash. Do not flush these- they are in no way flushable. Even though the package says one time use, some people online have said that they rinsed the cup out and reused it… that brings to mind all of the junk that could be in our water that will now be in this cup inside my body. No thank you. I also don’t want to rinse this thing in anybody’s sink be it at home or the office (omg could you imagine someone walking in and seeing you rinsing this while at work? Hello, HR). There are cups that you can buy that I believe are a lot more expensive that are made to be reused (Diva Cups maybe?) but once again, the whole rinsing them is a turn off for me. I’m ok with wrapping them in TP and tossing them. But I have not researched those cups so I am not sure what the deal is with them.

The first few times I used it (and didn’t have it in correctly) I was cursing out every reviewer on Amazon who was saying how awesome these were. I was going to the bathroom and having a good amount of blood on the TP and/or in the bowl. Depending on your flow (mine is very heavy the first day or two) I would suggest wearing a panty liner, just in case. That first period was tough because I was still trying to figure out how to insert them correctly. Once I got the hang of inserting them, checking to make sure that it was in fact behind my pubic bone, I really liked them. It was so nice to insert it, slap on a panty liner, and not have to think about it for the rest of the day. Yeah sometimes I would go to the bathroom and there would be a little pink on the TP but as long as it wasn’t on the PL I was ok with it. There isn’t an airtight seal on these babies so expect that, once again depending on how heavy your flow is, you might see a little bit of pink on the TP. Use your own judgment as to if you want to change them more than every 12 hours. I’ll be honest that the first night I did use a tampon because of how heavy my flow is. I could definitely tell the difference between using a Soft Cup and using a tampon. I never felt the Soft Cup (except for when it wasn’t in correctly) and pulling out the tampon (when it’s slightly dry)… cringe. It did take two cycles for me to appreciate them so if you are willing to give them time, I think you might like them.

Now for trying to conceive… this is the main reason why I got them in the first place. After you have sex, before really moving, insert a Soft Cup (I keep a couple in my bedside table). No mess. No wet spot. No all-night/day leaking (you all know what I’m talking about). The idea is to keep all of the semen close to the cervix (kind of along the same line as putting a pillow under your butt and having your legs in the air and letting gravity do it's job). There were people singing their praises all over the interwebs and swearing up and down that these are why they got pregnant after such a long time TTC. Ok, duh, I know that once the sperm is inside you, the strong swimmers start the journey up through your cervix and towards the tubes (in my case, tube) and all the other weak ones and fluid eventually make its way out of you. I do not think that with having the cup in there that after an hour a couple sperm are going to be like, “you know what – let’s see what’s up there!” What I do know is that I can go to sleep without having to change my underwear in the middle of night because everything is coming out (once again, you know what I’m talking about). In the morning, before my shower, I take it out (you can see the collection of all the goods in it), wrap it in TP and toss it in the trash.

Now, if you have a history of UTI’s and need to pee after sex or risk getting an infection… these are probably not for you. I’m not sure about using them for your menstrual cycle with that kind of history either… but when in doubt, ask your doctor. There are some people online who said that for one reason or another they were not able to use tampons (due to medical reasons) and these work for them. But once again, I would talk to your doctor first if you have any concerns or a medical history.

So, in a nutshell, if you are (1) not comfortable sticking your fingers inside your body (2) getting all sorts of bodily fluids on your hands (3) seeing all sorts of bodily fluids up close and personal (4) have a history of UTIs… then this may not be the product for you. When in doubt – ask your doctor. But why not give it a try? I got a box of 24 for (I think) $13 (free shipping with Amazon Prime). You might find yourself pleasantly surprised like I did.

Has anyone else had any experience with these? What did you think? Have you been thinking about trying them and something is holding you back? I’d love to have your input!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pretending Not to Care

In my quest to not obsess about all this infertility stuff I have transferred my obsession over to Weight Watchers and WW inspired blogs. Apparently I have a kind of obsessive personality and I need to focus on something (lol). It also doesn’t help that it’s been a little slow at work and where I would have normally checked out some of my favorite IF (infertility) blogs I have started to lean more towards WW / Healthy Life Style blogs. My “Reading List” up until a month ago on Blogger (the list of the blogs that I follow) was filled with blogs about women, just like me, who are struggling with infertility. I used to read them to get some hope, inspiration, commiserate, cry with, cheer on, and just plain follow their stories. I deleted some of the ones that haven’t updated anything in a while and have been filling it up with a lot of inspiring weight loss stories.

Since the miscarriage and our last IVF I have… I don’t know I just don’t want to read all the IF blogs. Isn’t that awful? I feel like that sounds awful. Here are all these woman (who apparently in my mind I think we’re real life friends) share their stories and I just don’t want to read them. I know that most part of it is that I’m jealous.

There. I said it.

I’m jealous that they get to continue on their IF journey and here we are with maxed out insurance. Once again, I know how seriously fortunate we are for having had any insurance at all. The only way we would have been able to do either of the IVF’s and maybe even the IUI’s with injectable meds was because of the insurance. I mean we are a typical regular young(ish) couple with good paying jobs (very blessed there) but we are certainly not “rolling” in an extra $20K. I don’t know many people who have that kind of extra cash. Of course we would get a loan for another IVF but I think I have such a hard time wrapping my brain around handing over a check for that much money with no guarantee. If they were to say – “hey pay us $xx,xxx and you’d get 100% take-home-baby pregnant” I’d be like, “where do I sign and do you take a cashier’s check?” There are no guarantees for any of this and to have to pay off a loan for another failed IVF… I just feel like that would be heartbreaking.

I have been thinking about it and I think that the next step I would like us to do is the IUI with donor sperm. Obviously I need to have a big talk with the hubs about it but something in the ball park of $1,000 is way more feasible than $15,000-$20,000 (depending on meds). I’ve had many dreams about us having two little boys who look a lot like hubster so using donor sperm is something that will be a hard pill to swallow. We talked about it briefly after our appointment with Dr. B in July. I was concerned with how hubs would feel about using donor sperm and not his stuff. He said – “it would still be our baby.” So, I mean, if he’s not concerned then I guess I shouldn’t be either. I don’t know if I would want to tell anyone that it’s donor sperm though (that is assuming that it would work). I believe that we would have to go through some counseling prior to the cycle with using donor sperm, which I think would be beneficial.

I’m both wanting to get this show on the road again and also apprehensive about starting all the infertility appointments back up. The every other day blood work, internal ultrasounds, the medications, the injections, the hormones, the swelling… I think that’s because it has all just seemed like a practice in torture instead of the path to our dream of becoming parents. We’ll have to definitely talk again about the options that the fertility doctor presented us with and when we want this “break” to end. I know that we are/were both hoping/praying that we would get pregnant on our own during this time away from the doctors but I guess I have to be realistic that not everyone gets that lucky.

I know that sounds totally negative and I’m being a little bit of a Debbie Downer. Having a tough day today. Two woman in my office have announced “whoops we totally we’re even trying” pregnancies this week. Let’s not even talk about the 23 year old who I used to work with who got “whoopsie” pregnant and has been posting pics of her pee stick and every craving she has had on Facebook/Instagram. Of course I’m happy for them but it always makes me a little sad for us too.

Ok rant/pity party over. I need to put all that out of my head and focus on us and the positives.
Here’s to believing that miracles do really happen.

Friday, October 4, 2013

WW Week 6 WIN!

I had my Week 6 Weight Watchers meeting last night… I am so glad that I stuck it out through those first few tough weeks. I am down -4.4 lbs! I didn’t go the week before because I went to the doctor that day and got antibiotics for a sinus infection so I just went home and got into bed. I wasn’t thinking I was going to lose much because I haven’t really been working out with this sinus infection but -4.4 in two weeks? I’ll take it! So that’s an -11.4 total loss (7.4lb on WW). This is really working for me. I can’t believe I found something that actually works.

One of my friends at work who was also doing WW said she doesn’t want to do it anymore because it makes her think about food too much. That’s exactly what I need. I need something that’s going to make me conscience of everything I put in my mouth. As my WW Leader said – “Beware of the BLT’S – Bites, Licks, Tastes, Sips.” It’s so true. It totally adds up and I never realized how much I do that until I started to be really conscience of what I am doing instead of mindlessly shoveling food into my pie hole. While making lunches, while making dinner, while doing anything in the kitchen… at the office is really hard too especially with Halloween coming up. Lots of people have candy dishes on their desks and I would just grab some on the way to the copier or the bathroom. It. All. Adds. Up. Does that mean I can’t have that Snack Size Snickers that I have an afternoon craving for? Of course I can as long as I track it. As long as I am making myself accountable for what I am eating. At the end of the day the only person I’m hurting by not tracking is me.

The week before I was sick I tracked EVERYTHING and printed it out to show my leader (because I was so frustrated with not losing, I talked about it in the WW Week 3 post). I felt like I was being more conscience of what I was eating because I was handing in “homework.” Like I was making better choices because my leader was going to see what I was eating. Then I realized I was being more accountable to my LEADER who was looking at my food for the week than I usually am to MYSELF. Oh. Well. That doesn’t make much sense now does it?

I lost 1.2lbs that week with the only workout I did was my Wednesday night Water Aerobics! I think my problem is portions and “eyeballing” what’s on my plate. “That looks like 3 oz” or “That looks like ½ a cup.” Guess what. It wasn’t. Also, I’m going to repeat what everyone else says – Tracking is KEY. If you don’t track it you can’t be accountable for it.

I’m in it to win this time around. I am going to get to my goal weight and be a WW Lifetime Member. Maybe when I get there I’ll actually put in writing how much my starting weight was but right now I’m too close to it and I’m still too embarrassed that I allowed myself to get above and beyond what my heaviest was when I lost 60 pounds 8 years ago. Hubs doesn’t even know how much I weigh because, to be honest, right now I think we weigh the same. Meaning at my heaviest I weighed more than my husband. That was a wakeup call. I can’t blame this on the fertility meds either. Yeah they didn’t help but I was fat before the meds and the combination of the medication and my bad habits just made me fatter. But now that I’m on the right kind of “losing streak” I like the feeling of losing much to stop now.

This morning I got out of bed at 6am to work out. But let’s be real here… really the only reason I actually got up was because the dog had to go out and hubs had already left for work so it was on me. I got up, put on my workout gear, took her out, got my water and went into the den to work out. Then I stood there for a good minute having an internal debate about whether or not I really wanted to work out. For a while the part of me that just wanted to get a cup of coffee and snuggle in bed until 7am was winning. I had literally shut off the DVD player and was ready to walk out of the room but something made me stop. I realized I didn’t want to be fat more than I wanted to get that cup of coffee and sit in bed. So I turned on Leslie Sansone and got to work.

That was a turning point for me. The idea of stepping on that scale at the next meeting and losing, the feeling I got when the receptionist said to me, “Hey nice job! You stuck with it and look what happened!!” That feeling right there was what had me turning back around this morning and turning that DVD back on. Losing feels better than being fat. Yeah I was cursing out Leslie, “Sweaty Betty, Dot, Barb and Cindy”* while I was working out but I did it and I didn’t phone it in either. It finally clicked that losing felt better to me at that moment then getting back in bed. That’s what I call a “win.”
*those are the names that I call her “back up dancers” on that particular DVD. I’m not really sure what their real names are because I wear my iPod (her commentary drives me up the wall but I love her workouts. I also need to hear my music to get me in the groove). This one woman works up such a sweat and is so into it that the name “Sweaty Betty” seemed appropriate. One woman looks just like my Aunt Barb. The other two I just think look like a “Dot” and a “Cindy.” I needed to name them because saying “go Sweaty Betty, get it girl!” or “wipe that stupid smile off your face Barb” (at a particular tough part in the work out) makes me feel like I’m working out with pals. Hey – give me a break, whatever works, right?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fat Old Ladies & The Big D

Ok I I took my first Aqua Aerobics class 3 Wednesday nights ago. I LOVE it! I look forward to it all week, it’s SO MUCH fun! At my first class I was a little nervous to take my towel off but then I realized that all the ladies in the class, with the exception of the nice woman from my WW meeting, were all older grandma type women. One woman came up to me and was like, “are you new?” I said, “yes this is my first week.” She said, “you’re going to love it, it’s just a bunch of us fat old ladies.” I instantly loved her.

I can’t believe how fast the class goes by. Before I know it the 45 minutes are up. Whoa. Usually I’m sitting there staring at the clock counting down the minutes until the workout/class is over. This time I can’t believe it when we start the cool down stretching. Let me tell you, this isn’t some leisurely swim either. Yes you can modify it to be easier but if you do the exercises at the intensity that she’s showing it’s a real workout. Some of the ladies told me that they also take the Water Zumba on Monday nights so I am going to sign up for that one at the next session (they are 8 week sessions)… but I will have to wait and see where I am with the chiropractor at that point. It would be great if I was only seeing him once a week so I can fit in two water aerobics classes.

I was able to put on a pair of dress pants this morning that I have not been able to wear (comfortably and then not at all) in literally 8 months. I am so happy. I haven’t noticed a huge weight loss on the scale but I can tell that all my clothes are fitting differently (obviously since I can now wear pants that I haven’t been able to wear). I seriously think it’s the water aerobics and I’m excited to add another class to my week. I didn’t go to Weight Watchers last week because I had gone to the doctor that day for my physical (more on that below) and it turned out that the horrible allergies I was suffering from was actually a nasty sinus infection. I just went home and got in bed to rest up with some meds, box of tissues, oj, the DVR and my pup. A round of antibiotics later and I’m feeling pretty good. Still have mild sneezing/nose blowing but I know that’s my allergies.

My physical went well – he said I was really healthy (besides the extra weight but he knows I’m working on it). Then he asked how the baby stuff was going… and I lost it. He knows we went to the Fertility Doctor but didn’t know what has happened so I filled him in. His wife is an OBGYN at the practice that I go to so he’s sensitive to all that reproductive stuff. I also told him how sad I’ve been and how some days it’s a struggle to get out of bed. I know why I’m depressed – duh – it’s not like I need to go to a therapist to try and figure it out. I’m having a very hard time with all this… maxing out our insurance for the IF coverage and still not having our miracle, our friends who started trying for #1 when we started trying are now having baby #2, and my age- I can feel that damn biological clock ticking with my whole being. I also have guilt over the fact that we’re not pregnant and I feel like it’s my fault and that hubs isn’t a dad because of me (ok well maybe I need to see a therapist to work on that but I don’t really have the time – or the inclination).

He said he was really worried about my "mental health and wellbeing." He prescribed a very low dose of an antidepressant called Wellbutrin. I’ve only been on it for a week and I seriously feel like it’s helping. I got my period last night and I didn’t collapse in a puddle of sadness. Yeah it sucks that another cycle is down the drain but I was like – ok well bright side is that at least this cycle was only 30 days (versus the last one which was 46, yes I said forty six). I also was not a raging witch for the last few days (which is a sure sign that good ole Aunt Flow is on her way). He said that people who are trying to conceive generally do not take antidepressants but he feels like I need this and when (he didn’t say “if”) I get pregnant he’ll take me off of it or wean me off of it. I see him in another week for a follow up to see if we need to adjust the dose but I think it’s ok.

I’ve decided that I’m going to stop all the “I can’t because I might get pregnant” talk I have been doing in my head for the past 3 years- like going on the antidepressant. “I can’t do that because I might get pregnant really soon.” I bought myself some much needed new clothes yesterday (probably spent more than I should but whatevs) because I have been saying to myself for the past 3 years, well I might as well wait and spend the money on maternity clothes “because I might get pregnant soon.” I need to focus on me. I need to focus on getting myself in a better place, physically and mentally. I’m not ready to give up on getting pregnant but I need to stop holding myself back because there’s a chance “I might get pregnant really soon.” I need to get myself healthy so that I CAN get pregnant soon.