Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Wretched: NIN

Just a reflection
Just a glimpse
Just a little reminder
Of all the what abouts
And all the might have
Could have beens
Another day
Some other way
But not another reason to continue
And now youre one of us
The wretched

The hopes and prays
The better days
The far aways
Forget it

It didnt turn out the way you wanted it to, did it

Now you know
This is what it feels like
Now you know
This is what it feels like

The clouds will part and the sky cracks open
And God himself will reach his fucking arm through
Just to push you down
Just to hold you down
Stuck in this hole with the shit and the piss
And its hard to believe it could come down to this
Back at the beginning
Sinking
Spinning
And in the end
We still pretend
The time we spend
Not knowing when
Youre finally free
And you could be

But it didnt turn out the way you wanted it to
It didnt turn out quite the way you wanted it

Now you know
This is what it feels like

You can try to stop it but it keeps on coming
You can try to stop it but

It is what it is.

i feel rather defeated tonight. i wasn't sure whether to showcase the grief and anger that im feeling in this blog. i had wanted it to be a happy place, a memoir if you will, of what we've been through. it's a known fact im a dark cloud on everyone's rainbow, so i didn't want to fill it with paragraphs of how unfair and shitty this feels.

but im doing it anyways. because this is my story. and this is how i feel and im not repressing it or changing it. it's raw. this is me.

i feel downright hollow tonight.

my period started yesterday. bright red blood from bearing down, and then just rest of the day brown blood on the TP. a lot of bright red from bearing down tonight. and lots of cramping that's intermittant, but it's there.

everything about our IUI was perfect. the sample was great, i had a 20mm, the trigger shot, the IUI itself went perfectly, no backspill or cramping, nothing. i took it easy, i've been super good with doing everything right. and STILL it doesnt work.

everyone has told me that this isn't the last option, that this is only the first step. i just still can't seem to grasp my head around why the fuck can't something just once in a while, go good for me? why does EVERYTHING in my life have to be something i have to work hard for. and don't give me this, good things come to hard workers. "if it's good it's worth working hard for". those are just shit phrases to make you feel better because you aren't normal. crackheads can pop one out after another, but people who genuinely want one have to go into financial debt and almost verge of a nervous breakdown to even TRY to have a baby.

this period is going to be difficult. im going to probably break down because I know i have to go get pads at CVS. I can't even talk to brandon. its like, i have no desire to. I'm angry, and i want to be angry, i want to stew until my innards are cooked, and i want to be pissed off and fucking bullshit. and all he wants to do is just pick pick pick pick pick at me and keep asking what's wrong. don't you fucking know what's wrong? STOP ASKING!! I started half crying when i told him i want to be left alone, i want to be able to feel angry.

when my period comes, i have SEVERE pms. I've often thought I have PMDD, but no one will diagnose it. I can't stand being around anyone, everything brandon does annoys me, im just mentally unstable, i cry over everything, i usually end up crying for no reason on the way to work. it's a nightmare.

and this time it will be even worse.

the other times were hard just because the fact, bfn. but this time is harder. this time we actually DID something. we were monitored, i had 3 ultrasounds, i did the trigger shot, brandon did his sample, we had the IUI. and STILL. negative. big.fucking.fat.fucking.negative. They still want me to go in and have a blood test done on Friday. I think if im flowing by then we can safely say I don't need to do that. My cycle last month started the 22. we're coming up to the 22 again. the nurse said "well if you're bleeding, it is what it is, and we have next cycle".

Yesterday I must have made myself insane at work, googling implantation bleeding. there's one thing i know that all women who are TTC are well accustomed to, and also partially dating: GOOGLE. I searched: implantation bleeding, bright red implantation bleeding, I had implantation bleeding, what kind of bleeding from implanation, etc. In my hopes that possibly this was implantation bleeding. Yet I know in my desire for this to be real, for it to have happened, I'm deluding myself into believing that this is implantation bleeding and not my period. Everytime someone posts "yeah i had bright red blood..." I'd get this flicker of hope. I need to accept that this is not me. This is truly my period. As i sit here writing this, im having cramps.

I was so damn positive too. we were positive. the day we had the IUI we went to target and I saw this cute baby crib bumper set. I haven't gotten baby stuff in a long time. I didn't allow myself to because honestly I believed it would never happen. I felt so positive and so good that I bought it. and now it's sitting in this target bag. It's like an empty promise. a failed future. an unfilled wish that's just now a solid physical piece of depression and all that is my body's failure that's sitting in that target bag. I'm just going to take it back. i don't want it in my house.

i can't focus at work anymore. i keep getting distracted and i want to get lost in the internet. or i want to come home and watch tv for hours and hours on end. just lost in the couch and in the hum of the televion set that lets my mind go somewhere else into other people's lives and problems. maybe it's the pms tonight. maybe it's the mix of that and my utter failure and disappointment.

i don't feel like trying anymore. i don't feel like wasting anymore money. its never going to work. we'll never have a baby. we've been together since we were 16. and we'll never be able to experience having a baby. i don't want to adopt, its not something i want nor could do. i know all the "this isn't the end of the road" crap, but it sure does feel like it. i keep thinking, maybe i'm just too fat to have a baby. maybe im really not deserving of it. you don't see fat women pregnant. i feel like..maybe this is my punishment for being fat. maybe i just need to have the gastric bypass and lose all this weight and then think about having a baby. i'll be over 30 by then. i wanted to have my 2 kids before 30. i don't want to be an older mother.

my life never works the way i want it to. ever. sometimes i feel like giving up on life.

Stalled

Taking a mini hiatus from writing these memories down. Will start writing again tomorrow. Just been dealing with events as of late and lots of work. more to come...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

the boys and girls & Strattera

this entire post is devoted to sperm. if you dont like sperm, you might want to skip it and go read perezhilton.com and find out what brangelina is up to.

one thing we had done while at ob-gyn 2, at the very beginning, was have brandon do a semen analysis. i can't even handle the word semen. even writing it makes my skin crawl. S-E-M-E-N. so instead i referred to his test as the Man Test.

His first Man Test was the summer of 07. It was good, everything was as it should be, great motility, great shape, good. Knowing that only one half of you is fertility challenged is a relief because it's just..well you know, 1 less thing.

Lets back up.

have you ever had to have a man test done?? Oh, no?? let me tell you about the joys of the man test.

You get a cup and a little brown bag, it's always given to you by a nurse who whispers that the instructions are on a piece of paper inside but to call if you have questions. So i get home, read the instructions and it doesn't seem so bad right? I mean compared to some of the things women go through, having a Man Test is like just making love to a cup.

First things first, you have to abstain from sex or self love for 2-3 days before. ok, no big deal, except for some reason, ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS HAVE SEX in those 2-3 days. It's like suddenly there is forbidden fruit and if you don't pick it you might die.

Then there is the time. The hospital we go to will only accept it from 7:30am-2:30pm. Brandon has to be at work at 6am, so it's always an ordeal getting it there. plus you have to setup an appt. It's fun being at work, in a cubicle, trying to set that appt up. Im always so cryptic and I can tell the woman on the other end is contemplating hanging up and simulataneously im thinking, "they work in a lab, they should know when I say 'Im the one with the red hat' what that means to schedule".

So then comes the morning of it. Brandon suddenly discovers performance anxiety because you know, the cup is totally judging his size, and then I can't look because you also know, I've never seen that before, and then it's like, don't listen, actually if you could leave the house for 10 minutes and then come back that would be great. So it's finally in the cup.

Then you have to keep it warm. they tell you to put it in your bra near your boobs or under your armpit. so i've found these new pushup style bras that lane bryant only sells (because large women want you to see their very large breasts ALL-THE-TIME apparently) i found it fit well there. so we take it to the hospital lab, where you can't just sign in and wait. and this particular lab waiting room is so non patient confidentiality friendly. so you walk up to the window, both of us, and i say, I have a sample to drop off. and i get this booming voice (this happens every single time). "OH, samples go AROUND THE CORNER". I try to never make eye contact with the 20+ people waiting who suddenly are just watching YOU and your SAMPLE go around the corner. meanwhile i think brandon might have died but i leave him because I might have to make eye contact with the person waiting behind me.

The first time brandon did it, and he will probably burn my favorite pillow for saying this, there wasn't enough. And the first time I took it i agreed to go alone and take it. So i walk to the samples window and instead of the crusted lab woman or some other older person, I get this incredibly hot guy my age. Like, all the pent up sexual desire from 3 WHOLE days of not having sex, has been poured into a mold and created this lab guy. He looks at it and says, I'm sorry, but it's not enough, we can't run this sample. I don't know if there was a more humiliating moment. then you drive home thinking..well if it had been that semi Greek God i bet that cup would have been full...maybe the cup did say something negative about package size...did brandon self love..im going to kill him if he self loved himself..

second test, good to go. done right, i told the cup basically to shut her tramp mouth and it was fine.

****
Brandon has ADD. our entire house would be burned down if we didn't get him on an ADD medicine. he can't do a stimulant one, so we tried Strattera, almost as a last hope because he couldn't do the others. It worked great, it was wonders for our relationship because we would get into fights about things he does all the time (or doesn't do). He went on this August of 07. His good test was somewhere around june-july of 07.
****
Fast forward to June/July of 08. He has another test. This one is horrible, absolutely horrible. there is 2/3 count, they aren't moving, things look really really bad. we couldn't get pregnant even if i ovulated 30 eggs each cycle because his sperm are doing the equivalent of smoking a lot of pot and eating a lot of food, which translates into sitting on your ass and doing NOTHING. I've also already gone as far as I could with this doctor. In another post I'll tell you about the wonders of an HSG. The fertility clinic in my town will not see me because i'm too fat to be considered. One thing i've learned about all this fertility stuff is that apparently only thin people are deemed worth and competent to be good parents.

So then starts the reading up and researching of male factor infertility, and suddenly im like, are you kidding me, we're both messed up, what did we do to deserve this? i remember it hitting me like a ton of bricks while i was at work. i got the news, hung up, worked on something, then suddenly i was almost knocked out. great. now both of us are messed up. brandon didn't take it to well either.

We took a break until after our wedding in Sept.08. we had an awesome time at disney for our honeymoon and we relaxed. We had our HSG in October.

After the HSG and being told we'd have to go to boston for any further treatments, I think I might have had a mini-breakdown. I couldn't deal, I didn't care, it was all too much. i didn't want to do this anymore, i was sick of the metformin, sick of the charting, sick of seeing other people's babies, sick of caring, sick of obsessing over losing weight and sick of wondering if i was pregnant. so we stopped again. from Nov to about Jan. Without fast forwarding through everything else, let me conclude our Man Test story.

After this brief break, we ended up at another doctor. the one that at the beginning of this tale, I said I had worked for in a twist of irony. We repeated brandon's test, still bad. The doctor contacted a reproductive specialist in boston and asked questions, particularly about brandon's use of Strattera. They suggested a repeat and then if it was still bad, to go off the meds for 3 months and then repeat. So in April09 we repeated and it was still bad, so Brandon made the choice of going off his meds, which has not been a pretty situation, in fact, very stressful and hard for the both of us. We've lost many packages of food being left out of the fridge for random reasons he knows not, and thats just the "silly" side of things that happen. I marked my calender with a big X on each day a month went by. But backtrack to April and to hear, you have to wait for another 3 months, was like a death sentence. I remember talking to the fertility nurse, we'll call her Babs, and she said, "i know it seems like a long time, but it'll go by so fast, and we're going to get you pregnant, don't worry". That for a tiny moment made me feel a little bit hopeful.

Brandon's July09 test came back very good, increased volume, increased count and motility was definitely better. His test he just had in August was even a better improvement.

So women and men out there, if you read this, and male partner is on Strattera, it is highly likely it can cause you to have semen problems! ask your doctors. There's NOTHING online about it, because the drug is so new, but for us at least, it made a worlds of difference.

patience is..

nov 08-aug 09: fert docs.
spring 07-HSG in october 08: ob-gyn2
entire year of 06-metformin: ob-gyn1
entire year of 05: naturally (kinda talked to the np)

I think i wrote about patience last time. yeah. it really only goes for so long. everyone tells you patience is a virtue, that people who are patient have good things happen to them.

Being patient and doing everything "right" and still not having a baby while you watch everyone around you get pregnant by accident, does NOT help in the patience department. I think in one year 4 of my friends, one of my closest who is now an ex friend for a variety of reasons. she left me on voicemail that she was pregnant. she was the one person i had divulged all of what we were going through. and apparently it felt on deaf ears. i remember when she was pregnant, and she was talking about some boss of hers trying to get pregnant, and she said, "i don't know what the big deal is, it's so easy to get pregnant". That was the beginning of the end of that hypocritical and toxic friendship.

when you're not pregnant, you notice everyone who is. i did happen to have people near me who were. bosses, friends. you notice how they take everything for granted and it just makes you insanely angry. you get angry because they weren't even trying and their complaining about weight gain, you get angry because they bitch and moan that they only have 2 maternity tops and they don't like them anymore. I'd think, bitch, I'd wear the same shirt everyday for 3 months and gain 30lbs if it meant at the end I would get pregnant. and that shirt could have rhinestones and puff paint on it too!

I think after the dissolution of that friendship, I really retreated into myself. I didn't really talk to anyone, I didn't want to give out the ammo for attacks later on. i stuck to myself, i talked to brandon, at the time really didn't tell my mom anything, it was too weird to tell her this, i didn't know how she would handle it. plus i didn't really want to say the word ovulate to my mom. or make her think me and brandon had already gone all the way and weren't just holding hands and watching movies on the couch. but it was then i think, that a really dark time fell over me. i got depressed. nothing was happening, I was still cycling, I was still charting, no babies. holidays passed. people had babies. i was expected to be at showers, happy and smiling. and i did. but the whole drive back home i cried.

lately people have been having babies at work in droves. they bring them in, show and tell, and there are always the women who are nuts for babies and they want to hold them and talk about how they want more. i try to avoid these, and yes, it makes you look like an uncaring bitch, but it's almost unbearable when people say to you, "you should have one!!" and you wish you could just unleash this barrage of memories into their head and have them understand.

you can't ever explain how unfair it feels and you can't summarize the wave of emotions that you feel. it's something horrible and truthfully would never wish this upon anyone. you feel useless and barren, you start to wonder, what is the purpose of my being. if i can't have my own children, what is my purpose on earth? to make money and pay bills, to churn out useless projects you don't care about. i tried to blame everyone, i wanted a reason and i wanted someone to yell and scream at. but there wasn't anyone.

i've become so sensitive to everything everyone says. the "you should have a baby" translates to an entire novel you recite in your head on just why you can't have a baby and then suddenly i want to pull my computer out of it's sockets and throw it out the window. except the metformin makes me so tired i probably couldn't even do it.

if patience is not your virtue..i think that's ok.

years.

nov 08-aug 09: fert docs.
spring 07-HSG in october 08: ob-gyn2
entire year of 06-metformin: ob-gyn1
entire year of 05: naturally (kinda talked to the np)

It's hard to really summarize the events that happened so long ago. In many ways I wish I had started writing all this down when it first was happening, but I never thought it would be just about 4 years later. 4 years, 2 weddings (including mine), first bought house, 4 cats, 1 cat death, 3 jobs, and 39393 dunkin donuts coffees later.

After the year of doing metformin only therapy, we quit. i couldn't handle it anymore. I was becoming almost obsessive. I had spent the last 12 months every morning taking my temps, writing it down, agonizing over excel spread sheets to see if there were spikes or dips or ANYTHING to indicate I was perhaps normal. I had spent a fortune on Ovulating Predictor kits, and remember being so angry once I snapped the sticks in half and threw them away, then cried because I had just wasted $30. The thing a lot of people don't understand about going through fertility issues, is the emotional wasteland you become. maybe some people are happy happy rainbows and good for them, but i think a majority of women, go to this wasteland on a regular basis. or at least I did. and I'm not saying i'm everyone.

We took a break. I had been stressing out so much about not stressing out, and every negative preg test was just a little chunk taken out, that we decided from xmas to that spring of 07 we just didn't do anything. we also didn't get pregnant either.

then in the spring of 07, we decided we needed to find another doctor, someone whos' going to take us seriously and not just do metformin. so i went to a doctor I had really liked when i worked at the office. she kept us on metformin. and wanted to monitor us for a few months in cycles. i felt like..why am i wasting..my time. i had brought in printed out excel charts, my lists of temperatures, my medical records from past. and still. more months of waiting.

the waiting can kill you. and you forcefully become a very...patient..person. for a while at least.

cyster cysters

When you're trying to have a baby and you have PCOS, everytime you don't get your period you suddenly get overwhelmed with this anxiety. Am i pregnant, should i have that piece of sushi that's already in mid-air towards mouth? could this really be it? are my nipples sore? (if not you preceed to keep seeing and thus making them sore) did i miss the symptoms? oh im not pregnant, it's the PCOS. Am i pregnant, but maybe i am?

This almost ADD cycle of questions cycled in my head everytime I would miss a period. and being a 'cyster' (yeah, that's the term the forums/docs use) you miss your period a lot. or you get it weird times. or it'll just be like, "hey, do you like this new outfit!! and show you on days that aren't so great to get them, like, oh, weddings".

We unofficially started trying 5 years ago, officially 4. We partied it up for a year and nothing happened, and then knowing something was not going right, i don't have cravings for pickles yet, lets go see someone.

I had always thought I had had PCOS. I had done enough research, I was almost a match to the T sans the excess body hair EVERYWHERE which is a symptom I fortunately did not get. But the nurse practioner I had seen (in highschool) swore I was just not getting my cycles because of my weight (im a big girl) and that I was so stressed out (Im an insane geek/nerd, at the time grades=life). The same thing happened in college when I would go for my yearly visits. Stress, weight, don't eat the cookies, you'll menstruate. But I didn't eat the cookies, and actually lost weight, and no cycle. I finally saw someone else and was diagnosed.

THIS my friends, is where i tell you: ADVOCATE for yourself!!! I was dumb and too busy worrying if i was going to get an A+ in chemistry for nerds, to actually fight the diagnosis. In retrospect, going back, I would have absolutely gotten a second opinion immediately. Think of it this way: you are paying these doctors, it's your money, get a second opinion and if it's the same, well then ok, but if it's not, it could mean a whole worlds of difference.

I had changed doctors a lot. I went to the same NP until I felt irritated about never finding out why my cycles were off. I had met other big girls in college who didn't have this problem. So I went to another doctor, who was the one who diagnosed me, but I never actually saw her. I only saw NP's.

That visit was probably one of the worst.

I already knew I had PCOS. I had already googled it and scared the shit out of myself of all the possibilities and grief and not happenings I was going to endure if I had ever wanted a baby. I had already convinced myself there was no hope, that ALL of my eggs' quality was already at 50% and I was just doing this to have something on paper, and that me and brandon should accept we'll be the cat parents forever. but there's always that little tiny bit of hope in you that says, "you know maybe it's the fact that ok, i do sneak cookies every once in a while and i could stop that".

But seeing your ovaries up on the screen, those little black circles staring back at you like ugly eyes of some sort of creature that's pointing a middle finger at you, except it's a black and circular finger. i remember laying there and thinking I needed a plan. I NEED a plan, otherwise my whole world just fell apart. I just remember feeling angry. I was 23 when it was officially discovered. I had asked about this when I was 16. I think I was replacing my grief with anger. Because you know, you do grieve. You grieve for why can't you be normal, why can't this be easy. Laying there I knew that any baby journey I wanted was not going to be easy, and for a woman, that's not easy to accept. It's not supposed to be injections and tubes and ultrasounds and fert drugs or petri dishes. Its supposed to be you and your partner, intimate, close, creating something. so yeah. it sucked.

That doctor decided i should go on the drug Metformin. metformin is a nasty, vicious, i think created by satan, drug that one uses to control insulin. They started me up on the largest dose, 2000mg, but they didn't tell me all the symptoms. You start up slowly on it, but even then, it punches you to the ground with it's backlash of evil.

This is the time where I guess I tell you: TMI.

Metformin's biggest side effect is it's lovely ability to disrupt your intestinal process. If you loved your salad at lunchtime, well never fear, you will see it again in about..oh..probably an hour. And then you might be reminded of it every 15 minutes afterwards for the next 5 hours after that. The most horrible, rocket like, diarrhea a person can imagine, and followed by cramps where you thought your intestines might have just come out. I lost 20lbs the first 2 months. But it would have been super nice to know this as I had just started a new job at a publishing company. Cute little place in NH, fun sporty women, good times all around. but quiet office. the bathroom. was. on.the.first.floor. and it echoed. it was a nightmare. I actually ended up only staying there for like 6 months anyways.

I went to my MD about these horrid side effects and how I just generally felt like shit. I was told, gotta stick it out, try it with food. TRY IT WITH FOOD??? I had gotten a period on it, actually started getting them in a row, so they didn't want me to stop. Eventually they heard my misery and let me reduce the levels to 500mg, which for the most part I still get cycles with, but not the horrid symptoms (though they do come and go sometimes).

who are you? whats your problem?

Me and my husband have been together for 12 years now, highschool "sweethearts" though that term almost makes me want to wretch. we've been together since we were 15, friends for a year, then boy/girlfriend at 16. we've been through ups and downs and finally decided to get hitched. i always thought when we decided to get pregnant that it would involve a wild threesome night: me, him, and jack daniels and then just get a little crazy and BAM, "hey mom, you're a grandma". but unfortunately that was not the path I would take.

Turns out I have PCOS. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. What is that? Well in long short, it messes your entire menstrual cycle up and gives you a whole lot of other symptoms such as: it keeps you from losing weight! it messes up your insulin/testosterone/estrogen levels so your body holds onto your fat more than most people, no periods or no ovulation, acne, hair loss, and general fatigue. You're ovaries are also covered in tons of tiny little cysts each month, but never ovulate or produces a good follice. Lots of more info here: http://www.pcosupport.org/

I used to work at an OB/GYN office in highschool and the summers during college. I remember organizing the fertility patient charts and their long long sheets of ultrasound printouts thinking, I'll never have to go through this. It was like a foreign world. Follicles, tons and tons of visits, ultrasound appts up the rear end, injections, grief and almost psychotic behavior at times. But here I am.

And in I don't know, if it's a strange twist of irony, but I'm having my fertility treatments done at the same place I had worked.

The beginning

I'm not sure where my journey will end and how things will turn out. I can be guardedly optimistic or the worst of pessimists. Ups and downs, lefts, rights, even diagonals in this emotional roller coaster that is trying to have a baby. My goal for this blog is to leave our story. Something my eventual peapod will be able to read later in their life and see just how much we already love them even when they aren't even a speck of life yet.

And perhaps this will help someone else out there. Some other woman with PCOS who might be almost having a nervous breakdown trying to find out whether her 12mm follicle will get any bigger, and does putting your legs in the air really make it grow.