Hot Cold Hot Cold

Trying to get to sleep while taking a medication that gives you hot flashes is no easy thing!

First, you have to think about which pajamas you want to wear. The air feels a little chilly on your skin, but you know it’s only a matter of time before wearing anything is a challenge. So you pick a t-shirt and shorts.

Then, you actually have to get in bed. Under the covers? On top of the covers? Either way, it must be on my left side. Lets try on top… Nope, too cold. Okay, under… Nope, too hot. Okay, right leg, right arm, side and back out, left leg and arm under… The left side is feeling just right, while the right side is screaming about being stuck in Antarctica and losing some toes to frostbite. So lets try putting the right arm under the covers and leaving everything else where it is now… Okay, this might work… It is getting a little warm, oh but now it okay… I guess I can live with this. Finally, I can think about falling asleep.

Except that now I have to turn over to my right side. Ugh.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover what happens when you have a furnace that wants to smother you!

The Five Stages of Grief

1. Denial (Ignorance)

Before we started trying to get pregnant I had never had a “normal” 28 day cycle. They had always been long and unpredictable. When we started trying, I assumed that it would happen quickly. I was always warned that, with my mother, she got pregnant very very quickly, so the same could happen to me. That was our hope, as we were ready to expand our family. After a few months with nothing, on the recommendation from a family member, I decided to contact my (OB)gyn and see if I could get some meds. I was referred to a special department that let me know my insurance would not cover anything, not even basic testing. I researched a few of the places they suggested, and picked one. We’ve been doing everything through them for the last 9 months.

 

2. Anger

At the first appointment at the fertility clinic (SCRC) I found out how much it would cost, each cycle, to try and get pregnant. That really made me mad. There are teenagers in this world who have sex using no protection and get pregnant. I am a full grown woman, and I have to pay thousands of dollars for a 20% chance of getting pregnant… every month! Full disclosure: I am a Libra. Libras like things to be fair. This is a decidedly unfair thing in my life that I can’t fix, and it pisses me off. I have been mad about this for 9 months, and will probably continue to be mad about it for the rest of my life.

 

3. Bargaining

As I am not a religious person I didn’t do any spiritual bargaining, but I did a lot of physical bargaining. During the first cycle of actual trying, I didn’t run. At all. After that one failed, I decided that I would try altering my training just a little bit. After that one failed, I decided that I wasn’t going to change a thing. I’d keep going as hard and as often as I wanted to. Also failed. There were times when I would try sending positive thoughts to my uterus, the egg and  the sperm. Clearly that didn’t work either. So I bargained with my doctor about changing up my medication. Maybe that will help, maybe it won’t.

 

4. Depression

I think I’ve been experiencing this throughout the whole process. I’m okay most of the time, but any time I see a pregnant woman I hurt a little. I left my job to have a baby or two (or three if David had his way), and so far I have nothing to show for it. And I may never have anything to show for it.

 

5. Acceptance

After the last three cycles and the results of my doctors appointment this morning (very terrible news) I have come to accept that there is a less than 5% chance that I will get pregnant. Have a baby. Be a mother. For those who don’t know, doing one round of IVF without insurance (most insurances don’t cover anything) is about $25,000. Upfront, now. There is no guarantee that its going to work either. You’ll get about $20,000 back, but you’ve still spent around $5,000 on medication that you will never get back. We don’t, and will never have, that kind of money. We haven’t been told directly by our doctor that IVF is the next step, but he sort of alluded that we’ll try once more the way we have been. After that, I don’t know. So I have accepted: a child is not in the cards for us. I will begin a job search and try to live a satisfied life.

Monterey Bay Aquarium!

We are in Monterey for a 4 day weekend. While we were out exploring the city today, we all decided that we wanted to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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Albatross! She has lived at the aquarium since she was very little. She hurt her wing and is unable to fly. She enjoys being misted with a spray bottle!

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I thought this was a pretty cool tank filled with all sorts of anemones.

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That little thing in the middle is a living creature that pushes those little feelers out to catch food.

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Shark! Really, what more is there to say?

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There is two fishies in there… Can you see them?

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How about here?

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I love watching these just go with the flow.

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So many spiney sea stars!

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Tube fish. Just floating along.

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Some birdies live here.

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This bird swam around and around and around and around in a tight circle almost the entire time I was watching him/her.

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Otters! They. Are. So. Cute.

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This otter had a very specific pattern it followed. Around the outside on the back, then come up for air while turning, then on the back, then another flip. Repeat. Forever.

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Schools of fish are so funny. Around and around we go.

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The jellies were my favorite. I love to watch them move around.

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How do they keep those oral arms from getting tangled?!

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Us! Don’t let my lack of jacket fool you: it was FREEZING outside.

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There are only a few turtles here, and we happened to see one!

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These jellies live their whole life upside down. And they don’t swim. They just sit.

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You see all those little specks? Those are actually tiny jelly fish! If you look at them real close you can see them moving!

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The obligatory penguin picture for my mom. We just missed feeding time.

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At the end of our trip, everyone decided they wanted some coffee and a rest. Both kiddos were asked to sit with Uncle David while everyone else was ordering. After this, Eric decided that he was going to hold Uncle David’s hand and walk with him back to the car. Too cute!

Smashing a Personal Record

I went out for a leisurely run today, expecting to do about as well as normal. I have my Garmin set in half mile intervals, which means that every half mile it beeps and vibrates, and records how long it took to go that specific half mile, along with the cumulative time. My very best ever recorded mile, while running outside, was 8:23. When I first saw that (at the end of each run it lets you know if you’ve gotten a personal record) I was shocked! How on earth could I have run that  fast over that distance!? When I later looked at the half mile splits on the Garmin Connect website, it let me know that I ran them in 4:12 and 4:10. I was very proud of those times.

So like I said, today I went out for a leisurely run. Well at the first half mile notification, I was at 4:13. I thought to myself that if I could do that again, but just 4 seconds faster, I would get a new personal record. No problem! I was feeling great. So I picked it up a bit. Then I heard it go off for the 1 mile mark. I immediately stopped it because I was way out of breath, and when I looked at it, it had a big fat 3:43 across the screen. I did a mile in 7:57. Uhm, what!?!?!?! The rest of the run was slower of course, but still not bad. So when I went to save the workout on the watch, the personal record medal showed up. It let me know that my new personal mile record was 7:55. Oh my freaking gosh!!! So much for a leisurely run!

Menopause Medication

So as ya’ll know I have a hormonal disorder that affects my ability to get pregnant, which is why we have to go through infertility treatment. I have to take medication to get my ovaries to grow eggs and have several ultrasounds to see what is going on.

Today I had my 3rd ultrasound of this cycle. After my ultrasound on Friday, which had less than stellar results, it was concluded that I should wait 4 days before coming in again. This time there was one follicle that had pulled ahead of the rest and decided to grow. Unfortunately it has decided to grow very slowly. I’m really hoping that means it will be an excellent one!

I got a call this afternoon after my doctor looked over my results and was told that a medication had already been called in for me, and that I should start taking it today. I was out at the time and not totally focused on the call, so I didn’t hear what it was that I was supposed to take. After picking it up at the pharmacy I decided to look up what it was. The first result that showed up let me know that I’m taking a medication typically prescribed for women who are menopausal and want hormone replacement therapy. Oh goody.

I was also told, on the phone call, that I’d be transferred to the appointment lady. And I got to make yet another ultrasound appointment. Lucky me.

The inability to have children is not something I would ever wish upon anyone.

The Waiting Game

By the middle of February I had yet to start a cycle since miscarrying in December. I decided to contact my doctor and see if there was anything we could do about that. I went in for an ultrasound and blood test. Everything looked good, so I was prescribed a medication to induce a period. I was told to give it 3 to 7 days after the last pill. Naturally, it took 6. I would have expected nothing faster! It also happened to fall during our family trip to Disneyland. Luckily I started early enough that I didn’t have to miss any family time due to doctors appointments!

So everything was looking good after another blood test and ultrasound, which meant starting medication to get some follicles growing. I was on the exact same schedule as last time: cycle day one on Wednesday, start medication on Thursday, go in for follow up ultrasound the next Friday. That next Friday was today.

Things weren’t looking too great. The largest follicle was only 9 mm. They usually give the ovulation trigger shot when one of them gets to 20 mm. Because of the slow growth this time around, instead of going back on Monday for another ultrasound, I’ll be going in on Tuesday morning. I’m hoping for good growth!

If all goes well and I get (and stay) pregnant, we’re looking at an early December birth. I’m hoping with all my might that that will be the case!

The Year, So Far

I haven’t blogged in a while as we’ve sort of been in limbo for for a few months. Here’s what has been going on so far this year.

On January 3rd I ran in a New Years 10K in downtown LA. I finished in just over 1:01:00. I am extremely happy with that time given what my training schedule had been like. It was also the first time that David and I rode on the Metro. It was so nice not having to worry about driving in downtown with closed roads and full parking structures!

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In January we also went to see a Louis CK show at The Forum in Inglewood. It was enjoyable and very funny.

One of David’s cousins got married!

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The day after the wedding David had his first Spartan race. He was supposed to do one last October, but it was too hot so his day got cancelled and rescheduled for January. It also meant that instead of doing the 2014 course (with about 15 obstacles) he had to do the 2015 course (which had about 25 obstacles). It was not a fun thing to watch, and I’ve let him know that he won’t be doing another one unless he has a full 6 months of serious training done.
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I attended the Los Angeles Cookie and Sweets convention. It was kinda cool, but mostly just really unorganized and busy. I would not go again.

On the first Saturday in February I had my first 5K race in several months. I also had a personal best of 26 minutes and 28 seconds!

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Monday marked 9 weeks since the end of my miscarriage. Usually a woman can expect to get a period within 4 to 7 weeks after a miscarriage. For someone with PCOS? Anywhere between 4 weeks and the rest of your life. I contacted my doctor late yesterday and asked about what our next step should be. He let me know that since it has been so long I can go in for an ultrasound and blood test, and if everything looks okay I can take a medication to induce a cycle. I have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning. I was hoping that by contacting him about it my body would start one on its own, but no such luck.

Looking ahead to the next few months: we have a Disneyland trip with David’s side of the family planned for the end of this month, I have another 5K scheduled in March and David and I are both racing in Big Sur at the end of April. I’ve decided to not let baby planning ruin anything else. If I want to sign up for a race, I’m going to. If we want to plan a trip, lets do it. We have no guarantee how much longer its going to take for us to get pregnant, so we’re going to live our lives while waiting.

We somewhat discussed what are plans are if/when we do get pregnant and have a baby. Because of the way baby making has gone this past year (yup, I’ve been off birth control for more than a year), we kinda figured that as soon after birth as we can start trying again, we will. Sometimes that’s just how it goes. The way I see it is that I’ve found such a perfect partner for me, it wouldn’t be fair if life was easy and we could just make a baby. There has to be obstacles for us.

Here’s to the future!

2014: A Year in Review

2014 is nearly over. It has been a busy, full year. Many ups, and some downs.

January started off with a trip to Sears to buy a treadmill. I started running regularly, and bought my first pair of just-for-running shoes. Looking back at some of the posts about it, I realize how far I’ve come in 12 short months. I did my first 5K in several years, and did it in 37 minutes and 14 seconds. I signed myself up for the Disneyland 5K, and signed David up for the 10K. I also got my first Fitbit! David and I started prepping for a day-long Disneyland challenge, the MiceChat Gumball Rally. I gave my boss my 12 weeks notice so I would have time to train someone before leaving. And cat and Disneyland.

February started off great! I got my first 50 floors in one day badge through Fitbit. David and I signed up for the first obstacle race of the year: Warrior Dash! February saw my first sub-30 5K. It also saw my first 8 minute mile. I did my first 10K in an hour and nine and a half minutes. It was also when I started doing intervals at the track. The tickets opened up for the Gumball Rally, and we signed up! Vacation plans changed like crazy! And cat and Disneyland.

March began with testing out running outside. It went rather well. My running miles kept going up while times kept going down. I was feeling so confident that I started checking out other races in the area. I found one in Temecula that had a 5K and a 10K, and I signed David and myself up for the 5K. We had several other family members sign up and run as well. March also saw the end of our 28 year old heater and air conditioner. They were leaking carbon dioxide into the house when they ran, so they had to go. March also saw us expand our theme park horizons. We visited both Six Flags and Universal Studios, the later of which we got a year long pass for. March 31st was my last official day at work. And cat and Disneyland.

April started with some mud. David and I ran in the Warrior Dash this month. It took us a while, but it was fun. It also inspired David to sign up for a Spartan, which is like Warrior Dashes big brother. I had my for-real last day of work this month. I was excited to move into the next chapter of life. For the first year and a half of living in our house, we had no doorbell. That was remedied in April. At the end of April we participated in a big family race, consisting of David and me, and a bunch of in-laws: mother, father, sister and niece. It was amazing to run with them! David and I took second place in our gender and age divisions for the 5K, and sil took first place in hers for the 10K. We also started trying for a baby in April. And cat and Disneyland.

May was a month of travel! We started off the month with the Gumball Rally. It was our first time doing it, and we got 10th place, which got us medals! We got our new heater and air conditioner installed. I got Fitibit numbers 2 and 3 when our original ones started to fall apart. We also finally paid off my car! It felt so amazing to do that. I also planned an amazing surprise trip for my mom for Mother’s Day. We both flew to Georgia and met up with all the women who are related to my granma and drove to southern Georgia for a 4 day visit for me, and a little over a week visit for my mom. I discovered a little race called the Big Sur International Marathon, and found out the had a relay option for the marathon. I got in contact with my running family and they all agreed to it! And cat and Disneyland.

June was anniversary month! David and I had been married 4 years at the beginning of June. It sure went by quickly. June was 6 months of consistent running for me. I was amazed with how far I had come. We also participated in a “locked room” game, where you get clues and have to figure them out to unlock the door. June was also a month of travel. We began a week and a half motorhome vacation to Utah with a few family members (okay, like 9). And cat and Disneyland.

July saw the conclusion of our motorhome vacation. We visited several National Parks and had a great time! On one of the days I got over 35,000 steps, my first and last time doing that. David turned 28 this month! I learned how to french braid my hair. I had my first ever double-run day, consisting of a treadmill run and a track run. It was also a sickie month. David and I both got pretty bad stomach bugs, though David’s was much worse. I had my first jury summons in about 6 years (though I had postponed it from last October). David had a jury summons too! It also had my first blog post in July, detailing our journey to try and have kids. And cat and Disneyland.

August was the start of fertility treatments. I got a diagnosis for why I hadn’t gotten pregnant yet, and a plan for making it happen. It was also the start of visiting Newport Beach and paddleboarding. I signed up to be a coach with Girls on the Run! I did a 5K test a few weeks before the Disneyland 5K and ran it in just over 26 minutes (back in January it was over 37). I had my first ever visit to Griffith Park for a long walk/jog/run. I rediscovered a love of reading and the library. I borrow more library books this month than in the previous 5 years! At the end of August I ran in the Disneyland 5K with a time of 28:27. David ran the 10K with a time of 49:49. It was also our first stay at a Disneyland hotel. And cat and Disneyland.

September started with a Girls on the Run training day. It was fun to learn about what would be happening for the next several months, though I was a bit surprised when I was asked to be head coach at my school (I grew into the role). Practices started toward the end of the month and we quickly got into a good rhythm. It was also a very hot month, filled with lots of air conditioner. I did my first 9 mile run in preparation for a half marathon. I also bought my second pair of running only shoes. At the end of the month I went on a cross-country road trip with my mom and brother to visit my granma one more time. I’m glad we were all able to go and visit her before she passed in November. And cat and Disneyland.

October was the month of races. I ran a 5K while we were in Georgia, David and I did a half marathon in Long Beach and David did a Tough Mudder. It was my fastest ever 5K at 25 minutes and 55 seconds. I’m very proud of that time considering I was doing half marathon training and I was not at all used to running in the humidity. I ran the half marathon in about 2 hours and 15 minutes and David ran in about 2 hours and 25 minutes. David completed his Tough Mudder without a trip to the emergency room! I turned 25 this month! I signed up for a New Year’s 10K, to be held on January 3th in downtown Los Angeles. I also signed up for a 5K while everyone else is marathon relaying in Big Sur. And cat and Disneyland.

November was a great and horrible month. I finally got pregnant, and subsuquently was told I’d be having a miscarriage. On the upside, I learned to crochet. I registered David to run in the Girls on the Run year end 5K. And cat and Disneyland.

December started off pretty crappy. It sucks when you’ve spent time and money trying to get something and its taken away from you. I finished my first crocheted baby blanket and two scarves for Christmas presents. David ran in the Girls on the Run 5K in my place. I got to give the girls their medals as they finished. We had our last practice and had to say goodbye to the girls for a few months. Our Christmas decorations went up super late this year as we were dealing with other things, which is a bummer because we both love the lights. I got my third tattoo, a poppy flower on my foot. My first and last foot tattoo. We saw the Newport Beach boat parade for the first time. It was super cool. And cat and Disneyland.

We’re looking forward to 2015. Our main goal of the year is to become parents. We’ve also got several races to prep for and we’ll probably sign up for others.

12/16/14: My 500th Arm Poke

So I haven’t actually had 500 needles in my arm, but at this point it sure feels like it. Every time I have to go back to the clinic for a blood test I feel like breaking down and sobbing. I’m hoping that this is all over soon.

Today was yet another blood test. I don’t know why but I was expecting good results. Luckily my numbers are good and I don’t have to get any more shots or blood tests for a while! I’ll know tomorrow when we’ll be able to try again.

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have considered myself a generally happy and nice person. Infertility has turned me into an angry, mean person. The really crappy thing is that since I’m home all the time, really the only person who has to deal with it is David, which means I’m bitchy and mean to him. Another crappy side effect: for a lot of the day I feel like I’m on the verge of tears.  It’s not an enjoyable thing, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

Its like the great John Mellencamp said: Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.

12/9/14: The Big, Dreaded, Crazy, Emotional, Uncomfortable Thing

When I last left you I had just gotten the news that I’d need to go back in for a second methotrexate shot. I did that last Wednesday, and all went well.

On Thursday I got a bit of a surprise when I started bleeding. I called the clinic to let them know, and they told me it was part of the normal process. I knew what it was leading to. I was prepared to face a miscarriage head on. What I was not prepared for was what it was going to do to my body. I woke up to lots of pain on Friday. At about 8, I phoned the clinic asking what I could take for the pain. Because of the methotrexate I was not supposed to take any NSAIDs, which of course are the only thing that actually help with pain. I took 1000 mg of acetaminophen, hoping it would help. By 10 I was in so much pain I was sitting on the couch bawling. I called the clinic back (since I hadn’t received a call from them), and in a bit of desperation chose the “I’m a doctor or hospital” extension, hoping to speak to a person. I got through and was crying while telling the nurse that I was in lots of pain. Of course my freaking doctor was a jury duty, so she had to page him and have him call me back. When he did call I made David speak to him. Luckily he said to eff it and take 600 mg of ibuprofen. I was so thankful that news! The pain quickly went away and I went about my day as usual (except that David did all the cooking. Such a good husband). I was mostly okay after that, and only had to take 2 more pills to help with the pain. For the rest of the cramps, I chose to use the heating pad (which Cordelia did not mind at all).

I did another blood test today. I was hoping for good news, expecting not good news. My levels last week were at about 212. Today they were at 12. Yay!! That means one more blood test to make sure they go back down to 0, then we should be good to go. Today was also the first time in the last 5 days that I felt like I was able to exercise, so I went for a short walk. I was also told that once I stop bleeding I can go back to running! I’m very much looking forward to that as I have a 10K in three and a half weeks.

 

So there it is. The big, dreaded, crazy, emotional, uncomfortable thing no one wants to talk about: miscarriage. I’m not a science-y person, but I feel as though I’ve approached this very logically. I was checking out some forums about miscarriage, and a lot of the people on them take it really hard. I don’t really feel super sad about it. I guess it’s because of the journey that I’ve been through. I know now that using fertility drugs increases the risk of miscarriage. All we can really do is accept what happened and try again. Here’s to a better 2015!