Monday, December 11, 2017

Nighttime thoughts

It's 4 AM and I can't sleep because my cold is keeping me up. Or maybe the meds. Or maybe the anxiety of another blood draw in just a few hours. So here are a few thoughts, mostly unrelated, keeping me company at this hour:

In a few weeks this blog will turn two years old. We calculated that if our first transfer would have worked, our first baby would have been nearly 18 mos old and we'd likely trying for #2 at this point.

There's a part of infertility that feels like you're constantly being held back. The flip side is that you feel everyone else has moved on. No one I know is still in the trenches. No one in real life or in the blogosphere I've met over the past few years. I don't hold it against anyone for moving on - it's what we're all trying to do. But it gets lonely getting left behind. It's also making me wary of trying to connect with new people.

Ironically, the people that have little kids have more of an active social life because they make time to go out, "date night" style, to get a break from the non-stop grind of parenting. We turn in early partly because of our personalities, but in part because the treatment just wipes me out and I can barely keep my eyes open past 8 pm.

Someone posted a link on fb connecting IVF with breast cancer. Obviously correlation doesn't equal causation and I didn't click on the article to find out more because it's a terrifying subject to me. I already have so much history of it in my family - I can't imagine that adding all these hormones is doing good things. But what's the alternative? Another terrifying thought to keep me up at night.

I stopped doing my eyebrows. I'm not sure why. It started by wanting to have them grow out slightly because the lady did them too thin the last time. But when it was time to go get them cleaned up again I just... didn't. It looks horrendous but I'm not motivated to go get it done. I usually do threading and it hurts so I think I'm just being a sissy and not wanting to anything extra that would hurt these days. I'm not big into makeup and I've been blessed with good skin so my biggest maintenance is managing the facial hair. I'd never let the upper lip get this bad but the eyebrows are in a free-for-all zone. It's been two weeks. We'll see how long this lasts.

I've stopped watching what I eat. I'm nauseous again these days and I often forget or skip eating which can't be healthy. I need to get back on the wagon but between cough drops and tissues I don't have the energy to care. I hope this cold goes away before retrieval so I don't have to deal with both simultaneously.

I wasn't allowed to hold or kiss my nieces and nephews at a family party yesterday because no one wanted me to spread my cold germs. Most of the kids had runny noses from day care anyway, but I understand why people would want to be cautious. It broke my heart though, if I'm being entirely honest. Then again if my own kid was healthy and I had a cold I would likely try to keep the germs to myself so I do understand.

Every year during Chanukah I try out a new recipe, usually dessert. Last year it was homemade cannolis. The year before that it was a salted caramel chocolate cupcake. This year I'm thinking maybe cream puffs or eclaires. Still looking for interesting recipes.

We're in between shows right now. We finished watching all of the original Will & Grace from 1998 - they are my favorite characters of all time. We're caught up on all our regular shows like South Park and Last Man on Earth. I have a season of Survivor I saved for retrieval recovery. We try out different stand up comedy specials on Netflix every so often but we have a short attention span and if they don't catch our attention in the first five minutes they've lost us forever.

We still haven't decided about a trip in Jan. We're stuck between wanting to do the trip and not wanting to spend the money. We're worried Tr*mp will do something insane while we're there and we'll be unable to return to the US. Now that I've seen the endocrinologist early, we're no longer bound by that appointment to wait until February for a transfer. We're concerned about the uptick in terror due to the new announcement about Jerusalem status as capital. If we don't do an Israel trip, where's a comparable alternative that won't feel like a consolation prize, especially since anywhere beautiful is still questionable zika-wise.

I read an article the other day about student debt: The Great College Loan Swindle. I'm one of those people who signed on the dotted line not really understanding the long term consequences. My undergrad loan is under control. I pay less than $100/month and will be done in a few years. My graduate degree is another story. I have a crushing monthly payment that barely covers the interest, let alone the principal, so it never goes down. Part of the reason I stay in my current job is that it qualifies me for PSLF, Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Now I'm hearing that Tr*mp has called for the program's elimination by 2018. If that's the case I'm totally screwed. This, coupled with the new tax laws about not being able to deduct student loans or medical expenses, makes everything in my life a lot more difficult. I've never hated a president before because their actions never affected me directly as much as they do these days.

So that's it for now. Gotta try to get some sleep before starting the week again. It's going to be a busy one.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

IVF 7: Day 11

I was due for my yearly cold and it came with a vengeance starting on Friday. Severe sinus pressure, congestion, sore throat; so many tissues were sacrificed for this cold. I wasn't able to sleep at night so when I went in for monitoring early this morning I was distracted and tired.

It wasn't until I was already two sticks in for bloodwork that I asked for someone else. My arm is so bruised and sore from all the bloodwork. I've really come to dread blood draws. They finally got it on stick #4.

After the appointment I went to a funeral. A coworker lost her husband. He was old and ill so it wasn't a surprise. They were married for several decades so it's sad.

When that was over I ran errands getting ready for the week, for Chanukah, and for a birthday party we hosted this evening. We have several December birthdays in the family so we combined them into one party for everyone. The original plan was for me to make most of the food for dinner but because of my cold I delegated to potluck style. Not only did I not want to spread my germs but it turned out really well because I was exhausted this afternoon and ended up taking a 3 hour nap after errands.

I have enough meds to last me through day 12 so if they plan to stim longer I'll have to reorder again. I'm assuming retrieval will be Wed, Thurs, or Friday. Next monitoring tomorrow.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Endocrinologist

A few weeks back I made an appointment with an endocrinologist. At the time I was told that the soonest available appointment is at the end of January. I made the appointment but continued to call every so often just to see if there were any cancellations.  Lo and behold, they had a cancellation for today and I was able to push up my appointment by nearly two months!

I met with the doctor and we went over my medical history. Based on the medical records I had transferred over that she reviewed, she started by saying that I'm right to want to double check. According to her she likes to see TSH between 0.5 - 2.5 and mine fluctuates way too often, sometimes as low as 1.91, sometimes as high as 3.81. Caused by what? Affected by what? I have no idea. But every time I test at the fertility clinic it always comes out under 2; everywhere else it's a gamble. She wants to test for anti-bodies because if those are positive then she wants to put me on a low dose thyroid med.

The other thing she wants to test for is insulin resistance. Apparently it's a symptom of pcos which I was never diagnosed with and have none of the symptoms. Because of that she said it's less likely but she still wanted to test for it. If both those come back within the normal range then whatever issue is that's causing the miscarriages, if there is one, isn't going to get fixed by endocrinology.

After chatting in her office, she took me to a medical room and took vitals: weight, blood pressure, breathing, checking for swollen ankles, etc. Everything looked good to her and she sent me to the lab to get blood drawn, telling me she'll be in touch in a week with results. They took 4x the amount of blood usually taken at monitoring appointments. I should have guessed they were going to take blood and loaded up on water but it didn't occur to me and of course they had to stick me twice before getting blood.

If I do need to go on any type of medication she said it's in my system within 3 days so it's not going to hold up any transfer if it is determined that I should go on those.

I wanted to hear what she had to say before pursuing another transfer so I'm glad I was able to get in earlier than end of January. I'm not sure what I'm hoping for. For there to be an issue so I can go on more meds? That this is the silver bullet? That I don't have a thyroid disease but then we're not any closer to answers for recurrent pregnancy loss? At this point we can only wait and see what happens.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IVF 7: Day 7

What a long, long, long day.

It started at the crack of dawn rushing out the door to get to monitoring appointment. I knew the person who took me back for bloodwork wasn't going to be able to draw - it's my upteenth cycle and she's yet been able to get my vein to date. I didn't have the balls to tell her I want someone else and potentially hurt her feelings. She stuck me once and it stung and hurt so much my eyes immediately welled up with tears as a reflex, and once those started to fall I was actually crying because I felt sorry for myself. She offered to have someone else draw and they were able to do it with one stick. I then waited in the smaller room for nearly half an hour for the ultrasound. I don't know what took so long; the waiting room only had two other people. I thought I had a full night sleep but I had such fatigue and brain fog that I couldn't keep my eyes open.

The largest measured around 8s and my E2 levels rose nicely from last time, but it's trailing a bit from last cycle. I don't think we'll get as many eggs but then again what did it help that we got 28 eggs if we only ended with two blasts and only one testing ok. It's not even a numbers game - it's basically all a gamble.

I finally got out of there and rushed to work where we had such a busy day. I got home close to 8 pm after a full day of non-stop event prep and then the event itself. Half the day I considered snorting coffee just to be able keep my eyes open. I had to constantly take a moment to refocus. It was difficult to stay productive all day but necessary because there was a ticking timeline and things needed to get done.

I had an epiphany regarding work. I did some research and found a title I want that I think may be considered. I'm excited about it and started keeping notes in prep for my review.

Today Tr*mp did more things to get his face on the news. I don't agree with his decision about Israel and Jerusalem and I don't think he realizes he doesn't have to get tv ratings up with wacky ideas and crazy shenanigans.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

IVF 7: Day 6

It's the sixth day of hormones and I'm starting to feel the emotional effects. Not so much physically yet. Already snoozed several accounts on fb because of their copious baby picture posts.

I had my dermatology appointment yesterday. I go every six months as a preventive measure. Of course she found something to slice off. It made her feel better and it was on my leg and I didn't care so off it went. It took about 10 seconds and I'll get results in a few days.

Yesterday a new coworker asked incredulously why I don't have a higher title or position. She was trying to understand the culture and it was asked innocently. I wasn't offended - I completely hear what she's saying. I'm not tooting my own horn but it is weird to be in my position considering my education and qualifications. But seeing it from her perspective was a startling reminder about what we're giving up in the attempts to build a family.

The first reason is because it's comfortable enough to afford flexibility for treatment. The second reason is that it's because I work at a non-profit and people don't leave; they stay for 40 years and then retire, so basically anyone young needs to wait for a retirement party or funeral before a position in management becomes available. The third reason is that my ambition is channeled all toward success in treatment and I just don't have the energy to fight for it every year at my review or put in the effort to look for a new place.

I know they're lame excuses. I know I'm not stuck and I know I can start looking for another job today. Why don't I? Because in the back of my mind I'm also hoping treatment will work and then I'll need the flexibility for the duration of pregnancy and then when having an infant at home. I've gone back and forth in my mind about it a hundred times over the past few years and I always come to the same conclusion: I have the rest of my life to build my career but there is a finite number of fertile years and we'll never regret giving treatment the best chance possible. If I coast along for a few years in a job that offers less stress and responsibility so that I can focus on trying to build a family, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. It still stings though, especially when you realize it's obvious to the outside world.

But I can't tell all that to a new coworker. I came up with a plausible answer and left it at that. Every time I feel like I'm at peace with my choice something like this comes up and makes me second guess whether I'm making the right decision.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

IVF 7: Day 4

Monitoring appointment this morning took less than an hour which is great for a weekend. Quick bloodwork with only one stick. Ultrasound showed 11 on one side, 15 on the other; too small to measure. Quick and painless for the most part. I picked up bagels on the way home and we spent the majority of the day chilling out at home. Toward late afternoon we went on a long walk trying to enjoy the last licks of beautiful weather before it turns cold.

Our friend hosted a pre-Chanukah party last night and it was so nice to see friends we hadn't seen in a while. Since it was an adult-only party, it was also nice to see friends without the distraction of their kids or pets.

The next few weeks are going to be really busy at work before the office closes for winter break between christmas and new year's. I tried to schedule this cycle around specific events, knowing the first few weeks of Dec will be more busy than the next few but it's still going to be tough to take a few days off in the middle. I plan to take two days off - day of retrieval and day after, but depending on how I feel and where it is in relation to the weekend I may take more or less.  There's no way to know in advance but I gave my supervisor a heads up that it's coming.

Full week ahead - have a great one!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

NBC News

I'm not shy about my enthusiasm of NBC news shows, specifically TODAY and Nightly News. My jaw literally dropped when I heard the news about Matt Lauer this morning. It was 7:10 am and, while I'm usually watching at that time, today I happened to be in my car at that time and I heard the news on the radio. Like many people I was shocked. I also thought back to the 2012 Ann Curry debacle and couldn't help but think of that karma coming back around.

It's interesting that every Matt Lauer story is followed by a Meghan Markle story and her upcoming marriage to Prince Harry. What a weird transition. Then again they can't control the headlines.

I love Savanna Guthrie and she was such a class act announcing the news this morning, obviously while still processing it herself. I'm fascinated by all things TODAY to the point that I sort of want to get a job there just to be on the inside when these crazy stories break. I know I'll be following this story closely waiting to hear details.

And yikes about these sexual harassment accusations. How the mighty have fallen. I've always known women will take over the world, but I didn't think it would be because all the men were fired for being pigs. Who will be accused next??

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