"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. "

31 January 2010

A day of recovery

I spent the day after my surgery in bed w/ my knitting, my dog and a very attentive B. 
Thanks B, you're amazing!


P.S. - I'm knitting a baby blanket for MY baby. Do you think they will want to get here faster?? :-)

Another fun filled Friday night

This past Friday night, I had my first (and hopefully my last) Laparoscopy. (Warning: the link has a few pictures you might not want to see)

It went pretty well. They found 2 areas of endometriosis and were able to remove it all. Other than not having anything wrong, this is the best possible outcome I could have hoped for. In fact, I actually wanted them to find something.

You see, we've been on this journey for 3 years starting next month and up until now, we really haven't had any explaination of why we can't get pregnant. B's got good swimmers, I make great eggs, they seem to fertilize, so why the hell aren't we getting pregnant??? Well, there's that whole implantation thing that I guess seems to be our problem. Even if we're making good embryos, they still need to be able to implant their way into the uterus and the uterus has to accept the embryo and allow it to snuggle in for a good 9 months or so. Unfortunately, this is the one area of baby-making that the Reproductive Endocrinology world doesn't really agree on how to fix, or if it can be fixed at all.

So, when faced with a problem that isn't straightforward, I usually turn to Dr Google and research the crap out of the issue at hand. Which is exactly what I did with this. After our 3rd failed IVF, I began to see a pattern in my body's response to putting healthy embryo's back inside. Each time, after we transferred 2 or 3 healthy embryos into my uterus, and before I was supposed to get my period, I would develop a fever-ish feeling. The first time this happened, I thought it was just a coincidence. But after the 2nd and 3rd times, I really felt like this was a trend and most definitely a clue into why we aren't getting pregnant.

What could cause this type of reaction?

One theory, is that women with mild/moderate endometriosis develop an immune reaction that doesn't allow an embryo to implant, or attacks the embryo as it tries to burrow into the uterus. Because there is misplaced endometrial tissues outside of the uterus in the pelvic cavity, the immune system sees it as an invader. But the immune system doesn't know how to differentiate between the misplaced endometrial tissue and the correct endometrial tissue in the uterus and therefore attacks both areas. So, the heightened immune response inside the uterus inconveniently causes implantation issues. This of cousre is just a theory, and in fact, many women WITH endometriosis do actually get pregnant.

This is the problem with science and medicine (coming from a very analytical, research oriented person). As a doctor, they have to treat to trends and theories backed by peer-reviewed, randomized, double-blind studies. However, as a somewhat desperate patient trying to figure out how to get pregnant, even anecdotal evidence, or theories that have yet to be shown true in such studies are good enough for me to pursue if they aren't too invasive or expensive. In my mindset, a laparoscopy fits this bill.  However, because I don't fit the typical endometriosis patient profile, I had to basically beg my OB/GYN to perform this surgery on me. I did have some suspicions that I do have endometriosis, but I won't get into those here. It would make an already long post, even longer.

And now I can go back to him in a few weeks at my post-op meeting and say "I told you so!!!" in a very nice and thankful way for taking this chance with me.

Where does this leave me you ask? Well, studies have shown, that in the next 3-6 months after a laparoscopy, success rates increase, no matter how you try to get pregnant (on your own, IUI, IVF)... So we now have a little more hope that maybe it could possibly work on our own!!! But I'm not ready to let myself feel that hope yet. After 36 months of trying, getting your hopes up, and then being let down each and every month, I just can't really get my hopes up too much.

Although, who am I kidding... I'm hopeful.

Cleanse: Days 4-7... ALL CLEAN!

We did it! We survived our cleanse!  I'm all clean! Well, at least cleaner than I was a week ago... Now... where is that nice big bottle of wine that I bought at Trader Joe's???

Right after I posted my previous post, I proceeded to get VERY anxious about the upcoming day without food. It was about 3pm and I was sitting at my kitchen table studying on my day off work. (Side note: I'm an actuary.. and we study on our days off... and its not fun.. but hopefully after this last exam in May, I won't have to study on my days off ever again). Then B got home from work around 4:30 and we both were a bit cranky and anxious and I realized it was the first Friday night in a long time that we didn't crack open a bottle of wine or beer and figure out where to go or what yummy thing we could eat for dinner. 

Instead, the looming day ahead of no food and more importantly a Friday night without something to take the edge off the long week made us both a little anxious... Oh, and for dinner, we could only eat fruits and veggies... not a very promising or 'rockin' Friday night.

Instead, we found ourselves heating up a tasty treat of 'detox broth' and trying to figure out how to pass the time. Thank god for Trivial Pursuit! Why is it with alcohol, even if you aren't doing anything, you feel like you are doing something???

The next day we went to get a massage in the morning, which helps to release some of the toxins out of your muscles that have been loosening up from the diet changes and sauna's in the prior 3 days. It was really nice! And it passed the time without food for most of the morning, so really we only had to make it through the rest of the day. And it seemed to go pretty fast. Then, but the time day 5 came around where were we able to eat fruits and veggies again, the smoothie I made for breakfast was the tastiest thing I'd had in a long time. Then day 6 & 7 seemed to pass with relative ease.

When all is said and done, I'm glad we did the cleanse. I feel more healthy, my skin is happier, my body feels lighter and more energetic and I definitely feel like I let go of some emotions that I've been storing up inside me for a while. However, I do feel like I could have 'done it better'... doing more meditations, more yoga, going to the sauna everyday. I don't feel like I accomplished my goal of making any decisions about our next steps on how to get to our baby. But maybe that's the point. I don't have to be perfect at a cleanse and I don't have to make a solid plan. Its a learning process and the next time I go through it I can change a few things up, both the cleanse, and whatever it is that we try next on the road to our baby.

For now, I'm just happy to be eating chocolate again.

22 January 2010

Cleanse: Days 1-3

I like food...
I really like food...
And I spend much of  my day wondering what my next meal is going to be. In the morning I thinks about what I should have for a snack in a few hours, and then I think about how yummy my leftovers from last nights dinner are going to be at lunch and then later in the afternoon, after my other snack, I start to think about what to make for dinner.

And going through a few days of only being allowed to eat certain types of foods really drives home the point that I focus a lot of my daily energy on food. Even though I've been able to eat a lot of usual things (fruits, veggies, grains) because I can't have other foods, I find myself struggling a bit and really wanting those foods. For example.. Beer and Pizza and Chocolate would be fantastic right about now. Even some potato chips... oh hey, those are veggies, aren't they??? 

And of course I can find a parallel to my baby journey.

I want a baby...
I really want a baby...

And my baby doesn't seem to be 'on the list' right now. So I find myself thinking about my baby often. Daily at least, maybe even hourly. I think to myself.... What are my next steps? Have we thought about all possibilities? Why didn't our 3 IVF cycles work? Why can't one of Madison's best doctors figure that out? Why do I feel like I have to be the doctor and detective and innovator? What will it be like to have a baby in my arms? When will I get to have my baby? If I knew when, maybe I could just be patient and happier in the moment instead of wondering will this ever happen? I'm not ready to give up.

But the parallels end here because I KNOW that on Tuesday night, I can have a beer and chocolate and pizza if I want. In fact I COULD have them right now, but I'm just choosing not to. But I DON'T know when my baby will come. And that's hard. But maybe learning more about being patient, even through food, will help me continue on this journey towards parenthood with a bit more presence.

So, onward with the Cleanse to the dreaded Day 4 ( NO FOOD!) and onward with the baby quest.  But first, let's figure out what yummy veggies I'm gonna fill my belly with this evening.

19 January 2010


I decided a few months ago that sometime in January, I would do a cleanse. And tomorrow's day 1 of 7. I've never done one before and have always been interested, but what prompted me to do this? I'm not really sure, except I seem to be pulled towards it. I feel that its a journey I'd like to go through and also feel that my body could use some resetting after a whole year of IVF meds.

When I reflect on 2009, I don't think my body did anything on its own except for maybe one or two months in between IVF cycles. That's kind of scary.... So now I feel like I need to start from scratch.

A friend of mine in the support group that I run led me to this detox/cleanse program (and appendix) (I KNOW!! and appendix?? what am I getting myself into) that was put together by some doctors here in Madison. It seems like a fairy approachable program with only one day of fasting instead of some of those scary ones that you have to go like 3 or 4 days without real food.

Basically, I'll be eliminating everything except fruits, veggies and whole grain (no wheat) from my diet for the next week... No coffee... No cheese... No ALCOHOL!!! EEP! But somehow, not only am I doing this, but the stars aligned and I convinced B to do it with me. He's such a good supporter! I can't believe he's willing to do this with me.

Additionally, on Saturday, we don't eat any food!  Instead we're going to spend the day somewhat isolating ourselves from the world. Reading, napping, going to a scheduled massage, and maybe a little meditation and yoga. I honestly think it sounds blissful, but we'll see how it goes.

In doing this, I'm hoping for 2 things:
1) For my body to feel different, better and healthier
2) Spend some time reflecting on the past and putting some closure around it. I suppose I haven't told you all yet, but I'm not sure if we are going to do another IVF cycle or not. I just can't bring myself to that whole whirlwind of meds, money, hope, despair right now. So maybe I'm hoping for some clarity to this possibility. We'll see.

Tonight in preparation for our cleanse, I did what any good Wisconsin girl would do....

I ate a ton of cheese and had a beer... (I'll miss you my precious!)

16 January 2010

Mushrooms!!!! (No real point to this post at all...)

For those of you who know me well, whenever B goes out of town and I stay at home for the weekend with the kitchen at my beck and call, I take every opportunity I can get to cook with mushrooms. B hates them... can't even stand the look or smell and I LOVE THEM!!!!

Here's the list so far..
Friday dinner = Mushroom & Spinach Pizza (rice flour crust of course)
Saturday breakfast = Mushroom, Spinach & Feta Omelet
Saturday snack = Raw mushrooms and salad dressing (i know.. weird.. but yummy!)
Saturday lunch = Veggie fried rice (including lots of  mushrooms)

And I still have at least 3 more meals to go!! Any suggestions???

12 January 2010

"Wonka, this has gone far enough!"

There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing 

If you are like me, you may recognize the above from the Willy Wonka movie based on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book, basically one of my all time favorite movies. In my memory, I recall getting a whole bunch of candy and sitting in front of the TV and watching this movie over the holidays. Now, I can't really remember if we actually got candy to eat while we were watching the  movie, of if that was just my DREAM when I was watching the movie. Either way, its a movie that I can usually find some reference to in various parts of my life.

Today, the above song came to mind. Willy Wonka is in the boat going through the tunnel after Agustus Galoop (sp?) gets sucked up the tube of chocolate to take the remainder of the greedy kids (save Charlie) and parents to the next stop on their factory tour.  Wonka starts singing this VERY CREEPY song in the dark tunnel while crazy shapes and pictures of nasty things start appearing on the wall... And about 1 second before the boat stops, Verruca Salt's father yells... " Wonka, this has gone far enough!"


Today's one of those days that I really don't want to do this anymore. I just want off. I want the boat to stop and all of the horrible feelings that I have. I want not be worrying about what I'm eating and drinking. I want not to wonder my temperature is the the first thing I wake up in the morning. I want to not wonder what supplement I'm supposed to take with what meal and what set of herbs I should be using. I want not to feel sad when others feel joy for their pregnancy. And I want this long 3 year road of trying to have a baby w/ B to be over soon, like now.

I just want to be pregnant with a healthy, happy baby in my belly. I want to talk about due dates, and nursery colors, and baby names, and wonder who's nose our baby will have and who's eyes. And I want to feel a baby inside of me more than I could ever have imagined wanting to... 

...And I WANT IT NOW!!! (do you hear another Wonka song coming??)

09 January 2010

Gaga (or "Things you can do when you aren't a mom, yet")

When hearing the syllables ga ga, if you live anywhere near babyland, you might assume this is some sort of baby talk... 'goo goo ga ga' or some such shit...

Instead I will forever now think of a friday night where I did something spontaneous that I would NEVER have done in 2009. I SPLURGED on a concert. I made the decision to go and bought the tickets the DAY OF the concert. !!! And it was a blast. If you know me well, you would understand that that's highly unlike me. I'm usually very planned and have quite a few weekday and weekend nights plotted out for weeks at a time.

Instead, I agreed w/ my sister, L, to go see Lady Gaga in concert last night! It was AMAZING!!! L said, "I can die now. That was the happiest day of my life!"  I was thinking, "Oh, I hope your wedding in September this year will top this, but for now, yeah, it was pretty kick ass!!!"  With bad boxed wine and champagne in hand, we enjoyed watching the theater fill with a subculture of people that certainly live and die by perezhilton.com (I guess I do a bit too, but who's counting). We pointed at amazing costumes and played "Spot the straight guy in the crowd". And then we danced our little butts off  for 2 hours as we watched more of an amazing spectacle than merely a concert.

As I drove the 2.5 hours back from Chicago today, I felt proud of myself for not worrying about the other things I could be getting done at home during the evening and the driving time, or the other things I could have put the money towards (next IVF cycle, adoption, bathroom remodel)...  Instead, I just said screw it and thought of nothing by how much fun it would be to go to see Lady Gaga in concert that night... And nothing more.

2009 was the year of the 3 failed IVF cycles... the year of scrounging every penny to pay for 3 failed IVF cycles. It plain sucked... Yes, I did learn some valuable lessons, and I do believe I am honestly better for it. I've learned much more patience (B may not think so, but I do).  I've learned that I have an amazing family and husband who help to keep me sane through all of this.  And mostly, I've learned that there are many things I used to think were important that simply ... aren't.

2010 will be the year of...I'm not sure yet... but if nothing else, at least I got to see Lady Gaga!!!

05 January 2010

About the name of this blog

One day, while I was in the dreaded two-week-wait of one of my failed IVF cycles, pumped up with hormones and waiting to see if the little 5 day old embryos that we transferred back into me would stick, I was lying on the couch in a fetal position watching an episode of "How I Met your Mother"

Now I don't regularly watch this show, but it was probably the only thing on at the time that would occupy my mind from freaking out about not feeling a twinge in my belly, or not feeling soreness in my breasts, or not having to pee more then normal, or not feeling really anything at all that would indicate that my embryos had stuck.

The scene is at the end of the show where the lead male is in the car with a woman who he used to date but broke up with him to go back to her ex. He is asking her how she knows that the other guy is 'the one' and she says she just does. He looks sad and melancholy but she then says that he will find the woman for him. In fact, she's on her way.... and she's coming as fast as she can....

And I simply broke down in tears...the deepest, shuddering, body-wrenching crying kind of tears and realized that my baby is coming... and its coming as fast as it can...

Somehow thinking that made me feel better, made me feel comforted in the emptiness that I was feeling... that my baby is really trying to get to me and trying as fast as he/she could to get here...

I guess my baby is coming from very far.

01 January 2010

I guess its about time to start writing this stuff down

Happy 2010. I suppose since this is the first day of 2010, I ought to talk about how I'm happy to start a new year and look forward to new hope and honor the lessons learned from 2009 and blah blah blah... but I really wanted wanted to start this first entry out w/ a conversation I had a week ago or so... Its been bugging me and I think I need to get it off my chest.

"M's pregnant again"
"Oh, congrats!"
"Yeah, but this is it for them, she has the worst time with her pregnancies"
"Yeah, she's got hemorrhoids"

Hemorrhoids!!! Are you kidding me??? Is that bad? I guess I have no idea really, but I'd trade hemorrhoids for being infertile.

Its those little things that no one really understands why it hurts me to hear them. And I honestly can't expect everyone to understand what it has been like to be 'infertile' for 3 years (ish), or tailor what they say to me because of it. But I do know that it's ok that I react to it when I need to (internally of course, or after the fact to B when he's being the most supportive husband that he knows how to be during our 3 year journey of trying to build our family).

So here I am, on the first day of a new year, reflecting on the pain of the past and hoping the hardest hope of all...that I will become a mom in 2010.

More on the name of the blog soon...