Movin’ on up!

After a long haitus, I’m rejoining the blog world. Please join me in my new home at http://pcos.cmsdesignblog.com/. See ya there!

Add a comment August 13, 2009

OHSS hits hard

It’s official, I have Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). For once Dr. Google was right in his diagnosis. I don’t know whether to feel vidicated or freaked-out. Basically, my ovaries are bursting with so many folicles that they’re bumping into my other internal organs down there and causing me a lot of pain.

My emotions have been all over the place this week. B was abroad for business, my pregnant sister turned 30 and I went to a pilates class for the first time since I don’t even know when. I realized that if I don’t have someone telling me to go to sleep, I just stay up all night. Every night this week, I’d wake up to find myself asleep on the couch, fully dressed, with contacts glued to my eyeballs.  I killed my neck in pilates by looking at the instuctor instead of at the ceiling. And my abs are screaming in agony from a combination of that class and the injectables. I think I may also be constipated by the uncomfortableness is all rolled into one so it’s hard to figure out what’s really going on. The stress of my sister is another topic entirely. Let’s just say that she has everything money can buy so she’s the hardest person to shop for. On top of that, she always gets great presents for everyone else. I spent hours scouring the mall the other night only to come home with a present for B and the next book for Mel’s book club.

I hate that my life is all about me complaining. I actually had a break in the clouds yesterday. Maybe it was the pilates or the fact that I didn’t have to shoot myself up with ovarian hyperstimulation serum, but I felt downright cheerful. It was nice to feel like myself and concentrate on other things outside of IF.

B thinks we should go the States for a bit and try out treatments there. I need to see, realistically, how much it would cost us but I’m very tempted to go. I could be near my family, who are just supportive, fun people. I could deal with doctors and fertility clinics in English, which would be such a relief. And because it’s so expensive, people take you seriously. Not that they don’t here, but I’m just one of many. Even my private doctor, outside of the Israeli health system, has a waiting room which is always packed with people. All of these people are always pregnant which makes me want to shoot myself.

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I wrote this a week ago. Since then I’ve been pushed to the point of tears from my constipation pain, I can’t get up out of bed without wincing from ovarian pain, and found out that my ovaries are each 10 cm wide. That’s about 3 times the size they usually are. I’m so bloated that I have to wear my fat pants every day. Skirts are completely not an option as I can breathe when I zip them up. Speaking of breathing, everytime I take a deep breath I have intense pain in my lower abdomen. It’s so many symptoms most people experience during pregnancy and I’m going through them with the hope that I’ll get pregnant.

There, I said it. The word Hope. I always downplay my hopes because I know they’ll be crushed. Last week my SIL told me I shouldn’t get my hopes up for this cycle. And as I protested that I really didn’t think this would take, I realized how much hope I was holding inside of me.

I have a few days before I get my beta. It could be this worked and I risk my OHSS getting a lot worse. Right now my case is moderate. I have some fluid, which isn’t great, but I don’t have to be hospitalized. These were the words my doctor said. Of course, she never told me that being hospitalized was an option in the first place, so I was understandably shocked and relieved at the same time. The other option is that I’m not pregnant, my hormones return to normal and my stomach retreats to it’s original skirt-wearing size.

I’ve waited almost 2 weeks in physical agony. It’s strange to think that this cycle will come to an end and I’ll have to start all over again in a couple of weeks. I told B the other day that I didn’t know how I’d make it if this cycle didn’t work, but now I know that it will be fine. I’ve done it before. It will be terrible and then I’ll move on. I’m not sure at what point I’m going to break.   

2 comments November 13, 2007

Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston

Thanks to Melissa for organizing the Barren Bitches Book Tour. Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/.  You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
 

1. Elinor seemed to turn all of her books on the subject of infertility backwards on the bookshelves, where Roger found them while cleaning. Why do you think she did so? In what ways do you think people who are struggling with infertility help in keeping infertility such a “taboo” topic? Do you see infertility ever becoming a more accepted or understood topic?

I could totally relate to Elinor’s turning all her infertility books around. Before I miscarried, over a year and a half ago, I bought every pregnancy book I could find and since then they have been relegated to my bedroom squished between the wall and my night table. I could never display them in my bookshelf for fear of anyone seeing them. It’s partly that I don’t want people to think I’m some sort of weirdo buying pg books when I’m not pg and partly that I don’t feel like my infertility should be water-cooler conversation. Also, those books make me sad. I don’t need reminders that I don’t have children. I think Elinor turning them around showed she didn’t want to have to look at them either.

After reading this question, I realize how much I’m helping to promote the idea of keeping infertility issues taboo. In my community especially, the goals are to get married and procreate. A nice Jewish girl should be popping out babies. Walking into synagogue and seeing the inevitable baby parade is enough to send me running out of there. Those who don’t have children stand out so predominantly that to discuss infertility on top of that is almost a joke. Everyone knows that if you’re in your 30s and happily married without kids, you’re having fertility issues. I know it’s easier for me and my husband  to hang out with couples who don’t have kids or with single friends of ours. I know some people really need to be educated on the world of infertility but the thought of that makes me tired. Is it really my job to make people understand what I’m going through? I guess it is but I’m really not there yet.

2. The end of the book was left open to the reader.  Do you think that Elinor and Ted stayed together, or that they really finally separate?  Did she pursue adoption on her own, or did they do another round of IVF with PGD?  Do you think she ended up happy, or did she continue to struggle?

I think Elinor needed to hit rock bottom before she could decide how to move on with her life. Even after all her treatments failed, she still wasn’t moving on – she hung out in the laundry room, couldn’t really focus at work, etc. When she got pregnant unexpectedly and then had that taken away that destroyed any last hope of having a biological child and then she was able to move on.

I think she left Ted, went to Dublin and adopted a child. She was hanging on to Ted, not really being with him, and needed something to forcibly wrench her away. She ended up happy because she was able to change her expectations. She was free of her own rigid boundaries and was able to be fulfilled in a different way, through adoption.

3. On page 66, Elinor reveals that she was more disappointed about not being able to have Ted’s child versus not having a child at all.  How did you react to this revelation?  Can you understand her feelings and if so, how do they relate to your own?

My husband has this baby picture of himself which is just irresistable. It’s his same loveable face but in a super chubby baby body. Everytime I see it, I have such a bittersweet feeling inside. I wish so much I could have his child that it really hurts me. I know how much he wants a baby and not being able to give it to him destroys me. My own separate feelings of having a baby are very strong but somehow it feels more selfish and less deserving. To be able to have a baby with him which has some of his qualities (some, not all, I would like my children to remember to put the milk back in the fridge after they eat cereal) makes everything else in life seem like it doesn’t matter.

12 comments October 28, 2007

Injections: not as fun as it appears on YouTube

In this IF world things are either really slow or really fast. After meeting with my doctor last week, I’m suddenly on injections. It’s called monogen here which is like menopur in the US. I wasn’t sure what she was going to tell us when we insisted we needed to be more aggressive. Even after all my googling, I was surprised to be receiving IVF drugs when we were not actually doing IVF. Then I freaked out when I saw the potential side effects. B was really annoyed that the only one our doctor chose to mention was the risk of multiple births. I had to pull myself away from the computer so I’d be able to sleep at night.

In any case, the medical system here leaves much to be desired as everyone is covered by national health insurance. For any serious medical issues, you have to see a private doctor which means you pay out of pocket. The only problem is when your private doctor writes you a prescription. You then need to take said prescription to a doctor within your health fund so that he/she can write a new prescription. Usually it’s not a problem. I have a system down pat which includes an awesome family doctor and my office’s fax machine. Except when dealing with a fertility drug. In order to get the pharmacy to hand it over a ‘special’ doctor who took a special course has to write out the prescription. I ended up trusting my life to the secretaries at the health fund who amazingly lost all my information which my private doctor had so thoughtfully written up. After a few days of going down there and crying, my information miraculously appeared only for them to tell me I was waiting for the wrong doctor. I ended up running from one office to another, begging secretaries to help with my fertility issues not caring who was listening in, all the while desperately trying not to cry. Also, because I live in Israel, I was doing all of this in Hebrew – a language I haven’t exactly mastered. At the end I managed to get the medicine and save the cycle although my success was somewhat marred with the very real pain in my ass after the shots. Today was my fourth day of shots and I have to force myself not to walk around clutching my bottom.

I’m drained, broken and disheartened. Tears threaten to burst at any given moment, I’m always ready to take a nap and B is going to the UK next week for business. I went from someone who never took any medication (besides advil for pms cramps, but they’re really like m&ms) to someone with an entire medical regimen. I take 10 drops of my homeopathic remedy in water every morning. After breakfast I scarf all my vitamins and Glucophage. At dinner I have another Glucophage. I’ve been  getting a shot in the tush in the morning before work and pretty soon I’ll be shoving progesterone up my bajingo. All the while being voilated by ultrasound wands. I also just made an apointment to meet with a Chinese doctor. What was I thinking? I know what I was thinking, that someone somewhere has a magical pill to help me. Part of me thinks that all of these treatments are getting in the way of each other and I should just wipe the slate clean and start over.

I went the supermarket today and on my way there I stopped in a bookstore which sells a pathetic selection of English books. I was kind of out of it and patting my aching butt when I saw Melissa’s (of the Town Criers) book club book of the month. As I lunged for the book, my mind was in total disbelief and happiness. I usually like to keep my fiction far away from my reality but right now I just need someone who understands.

2 comments October 26, 2007

Where oh where did my vacation go?

A couple weeks ago I was in a hotel by the beach. Our room had a balcony which had a view of the sea and every night B and I would sit there and watch the sun set orange over the water. We were there with my pregnant sister and my super skinny brother-in-law. We all ate enough food to never deserve to be hungry again, it was fabulous. We did other things like sit by the pool with trashy magazines and steal lotions from the maid’s cart, but nothing that required large amounts of energy. It was fortuitous that I O’d right around the time we were there and began my 2 week wait focusing only on whether to get pancakes or omelets at breakfast (I had both).

I returned from vacation to a hellish workload and the nerve wracking end of the 2 week wait. From Sunday-Wednesday I took about 10 hpts. Each one more negative than the one before. Of course I was not convinced so I went for a blood test early Wednesday morning. I didn’t get the results until 7pm so I was going a little nutso at work but I didn’t really believe I was pregnant so I was sort of ok.

So there I was. Home from work, alone in my apartment, I went online to see if my blood test results were posted and then I saw it. My HCG wasn’t negative! BUT, it was 9. What the hell is 9 you ask? I asked it too. My poor heart was racing. At first I believed I was really pregnant and then I started to cry. It was such a relief to see a number that was higher than 2. I just thought about how long it had been since I miscarried – almost a year and a half ago – and I was overcome with tears.

After trying to talk myself out of calling B and waiting for him to come home (that lasted a total of 3 seconds), I shakingly told him the news and couldn’t stop crying out of relief and also confusion. I mean, really, a 9??? B is always the one who likes to be cautious and won’t let himself be excited, but even he had a smile on his face and believed it was something good.

I took another blood test the next day and called my Dr. She said straight out that a 9 was negative. Just like that I was completely crushed. I was so ready to see a negative HCG number and when that didn’t happen all my hope came rushing back. It took one moment to destoy all the work I’ve done at trying to squash all possible hope from my system. Did that really have to happen? As the song goes “why do you build me up, buttercup, baby, just to let me down?”.

In the end my HCG actually went up to 13 which caused my Dr. to rethink he original diagnosis and say that perhaps I was just really early along. I spent an agonozing weekend thinking I had an ectopic pregnancy and not being able to sleep until I found out yesterday that I was definitely not pregnant. And so goes another cycle.

For the few days when I thought there was still hope, I felt my life clicking together. Everything made sense, my skin was perfectly clear and I could really see myself with a July baby. I know I have a good life but I can’t get a handle on this. It’s so ridiculous already that I want to scream out in frustration. I also feel like my Dr. is not giving this the attention it deserves. I sometimes feel like everyone is waiting until I’m 40 before they get drastic.

We actually have an appointment with the Dr. on Wednesday night. I’m going to ask her to refer me to a really aggressive specialist who can start us on IVF asap. I need my situation to change immediately. I was talking to B last night asking him if it was this painful before we got together when we were wondering when and if we’d ever find each other. I was crying while we were talking and I could see in B’s face how torturous this whole thing is on him. I need someone to tell me this is going to change.

1 comment October 15, 2007

A time to pray

Last week I went to see the holistic doctor and I’m still processing the experience. The day I went, work was crazy busy and didn’t have a second to prepare myself. I went in with absolutely no expectations. I guessed I would start crying, I didn’t realize how quickly it would take before I was sniffling into a crunchy paper towel.

This healer is an ultra-orthodox man with a great sense of humor. His questions were probing, unapologetic and coming from every direction. Questions ranged from talking about my favorite foods  to describing my greatest fears. His questions also reached out to uncomfortable places I don’t usually let myself think about, like why I wouldn’t want a child. So many questions were ones that don’t come up on a day to day basis but as soon as he asked them, answers sprung out of me like they were always on the tip of my tongue. Uncoventional questions but ones that made sense for him to know and made me wonder why no one had asked me them before. I’m sure it’s standard for this type of therapy, but it was all new and very enlightening to me.

What I really liked was how he analyzed me and told me what he thought my problems were. It was extremely refreshing after the typical “let me sit back and silently judge you” look I would normally receive from a psychologist. One thing he told me was that I ask too many questions. I’m constantly questioning the future and trying to predict what will be. I just need to stop. Since leaving his office, I keep feeling those questions rising up and I’m doing the best I can to squash them. It’s really not an easy thing for me and it’s taking all my energy to force my mind away from my calendar and calculator. I need to just be in the moment and not try and plan out my future. Whatever has to happen, will happen regardless. It’s a constant struggle going against my instincts but I’m really trying.

The other interesting thing that happened was when he asked me if I prayed. He said he wasn’t asking it because he’s religious but just to understand where I’m at. I told him the truth, that I have a block against it. His eyes almost popped out when I told him my middle name. Mainly because both my first and middle name are names of women in the Bible who had problems conceiving. Both prayed and were then able to have children. He said G-d needed to hear their prayers and that’s why they were infertile at first. When he said it his eyes pierced mine and he really saw me. I didn’t even bother to hold in my tears at that moment.

In my normal life, if someone who looked liked this homeopath told me to pray I would roll my eyes, but when he said it something opened inside of me. He wasn’t saying anything earth shattering but he was talking directly from his heart to mine. He was so honest and genuine when he was talking about what I needed to do that him suggesting I pray wasn’t preachy, it was just the truth. At that moment my mind let go and my heart knew what it had to do. I didn’t know how ready I was for this, it was a great and happy surprise. I’m now going to receive a Calcium based remedy which a pharmacy in another city is preparing and will mail to me.  I’m not thinking of it as a pregnancy potion but more of something which will help me cope. He told me to come back in 2-3 months. My gut response was to say “I’m not going to be pregnant by then??!” But I stopped myself and didn’t say a word. It was the first time I felt in control of my emotions.

It helped when I went to get ultrasounded the next morning. I usually wait at least 45 minutes before seeing the technician so I had planned to pray quietly in the waiting room hallway before I was called in.  By some miracle I only waited 3 minutes before it was my turn and I panicked that I didn’t have time for real prayer beforehand. I needed it for strength not for answers. So there I was lying down waiting to see what my follicles looked like and I started to talk to G-d asking over and over again for things to be ok. I know I can’t get rid of my Doctor appointments, tests and procedures but ultimately this is not in science’s hands and that finally sunk in. It happens to be that my follicles are growing nicely and hopefully I’ll be able to do the IUI this month. I left the ultrasound room full of gratitude and relief. 

When I was at the homeopath, he didn’t talk about G-d, just about praying. There were no lectures on religion but I walked out of there with a lot of my faith patched up. I clearly have a long way to go before winning “Jew of the year” but I would not have been the same going into Yom Kippur without seeing him.

1 comment September 23, 2007

Always an aunt, never a …..

This past Sunday my sister-in-law gave birth to her 5th child, my beautiful new nephew. She now has 5 boys and has abandoned all hope of ever having a girl. We all have our issues. The great news is that she has a delicious little baby. I didn’t know how I would feel holding him, if it would make me sad or not. Turns out it was perfect. I saw him on Sunday, hours after he was born, and leaving him was extremely painful. I hope I don’t turn into one of those creepy people who ends up stealing other people’s babies. That would be bad.

This month is packed with Jewish holidays one after another. It’s already Yom Kippur on Saturday and then Wednesday night starts Sukkot. It’s providing a good distraction from my own monthly issues. I’m going for an ultrasound on Thursday to make sure my follicles are progressing as they should. I’m a bit traumatized from last month and very worried about what I’m going to see. Hopefully I’ll ovulate before Sukkot starts, otherwise I’ll miss the chance for an IUI. Usually at this point I’d have my calendars aligned and Dr.’s appointments set up for the big IUI day but I’m having trouble believing it’s going to happen.

In other news, I’m going to see a holistic doctor tomorrow. My ex-therapist had suggested I do this and I wasn’t into it because I really wasn’t into her. A friend at work went to see this specific doctor and had a great experience so I called up and got an appointment faster than I had hoped. I’m nervous but not because it’s something new. I know that I’m going to have to talk about all my issues and getting that all out into the open takes a major wear and tear on my emotions. He’s going to listen and say the right things and make me hopeful and then when this doesn’t work I’m going to be crushed. The other option is to stand still doing nothing and watch life pass me by. It’s time to try the next step. Not just with alternative medicine. I want to start IVF next month. It needs to happen already. It’s just ridiculous that I’ve gone on this long. How many private doctors do I have to pay before someone gets really aggressive? What are they waiting for? Me to turn 40??

1 comment September 19, 2007

Barren, aka the worst word ever

B is home! He arrived a couple hours before Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and it was the best way to start a new year. We did the whole emotional airport scene and I couldn’t stop smiling. We spent the holiday – all 3 days – with his sister, her husband and their 4, soon to be 5, boys. There was a lot of laughing and even more food and it was so much better having B with me.

On one of the days of the holiday, we went to synagogue where they read aloud the portion from the Old Testament of the story of Chana. She was one of the wives of Elkanah. His other wife, Pnina, had tons of children but Chana was barren. The story goes on to tell how Chana prayed a silent prayer, which wasn’t really done until then, and promised to devote her son to G-d if she could only have a son. She did and her son did. That’s a brief and really understated version of the story. The real thing is very moving and good reading material for anyone going through all of this.

I, unfortunately, missed the day of synagogue where they actually read this aloud. Instead, I read it to myself the next day as I was listening to the shofar being blown. I stood there with the siren like sound echoing in my ears while reading the heartbreaking tale of Chana. It was almost too much for me. Reading phrases like “G-d had closed her womb” hit me in a such a visceral way that I had to close my eyes and take a breath. I just kept reading and reading even though my eyes burned with tears and the lump in my throat grew larger and larger. I was so struck at the similarities between an old biblical text and my current life. At one point it says of Chana that “she would cry and not eat” and I completely understood her depression.

 What I got out of this story was the power I have to pray. It’s not easy when you’re as out of practice as I am, and definitely easier said than done. But standing there in synagogue surrounded by mothers and their children, I was struck by this epiphany and it felt so real and true. It felt like a direct line had opened up to G-d and it took all my strength to keep my tears from falling. I was more connected to my faith then I let myself be in a long time.

The other thought I had was that of my middle name, Chana. My mother gave me that name because I was her first child after suffering a miscarriage. For all of those months before she gave birth to me she felt like she would never be a mother, just like Chana. All of a sudden it hit me that I was fulfilling my name. So ironic that the name my mother chose out of happiness of finally having a baby turned out to bite me in the ass. It’s funny because I’ve never really liked this name and now it’s become who I am.

1 comment September 15, 2007

New beginnings

I’m one of those people who likes to find meaning where there’s usually no meaning at all. I remember when I was younger I would suddenly get a pang and think ‘today is the last day of March in 1988 forever’. I wouldn’t do anything special to note the loss of that date, I’d just savor the feeling of being in a moment I would never be in again. I assumed everyone did things like that until I mentioned it to a friend of mine who looked at me like she couldn’t understand the words coming out of my mouth.

As I got older, I liked to think I could somehow figure out what my plan in life was supposed to be based on different signs only visible to me. It could be the grade I received on a paper or a restaurant i was taken to on a date. I needed to feel that there was a plan to my life and if I looked for clues I could find them and therefore not feel so lost. Obviously, it was only when I gave up control that my life really started to happen.

From the start of all my infertility crap, over 2 years ago, I have been trying to give up control. I know intellectually that having a baby is not something I can make happen. But every month, with every pill I swallow and every ultrasound and procedure I endure, it gives me the sense that I am doing something which should result in pregnancy. On top of all of that, my regular thoughts play tricks on me as well. I find myself truly believing that G-d’s plan was for me to get pregnant the month after my sister. This was, of course, based on nothing but my own feelings but still, I believed it as if it was the gospel truth. Whether it was ‘knowing’ somehow that I would for sure be pregnant by the end of 2007 or that my sister-in-law and I would overlap in pregnancies, I had myself so convinced that each month I would honestly be in shock when I wasn’t pregnant.

This Wednesday night is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Coincidentally enough it’s also the night I’m starting my next cycle of Clomid. Immediately my mind raced thinking that of course this was some sort of sign. And now, sitting here writing this blog, I know that it doesn’t mean anything. What I’m left with is the emptiness of not knowing what this year or what my life will bring.

With B in the States, it’s made me realize how grateful I am to have him in my life. Last year, around this time, we went on a belated honeymoon to Italy. It was romantic and fun and we cracked ourselves up by butchering the Italian language. I know I’m lucky enough to have married my soulmate. I need to accept that it may just be the two us for quite some time, if not for always. As much as it hurts me not to have a little baby to wrap my arms around, I have to be ok if that never happens.

 A co-worker today said to me that some people just aren’t meant to have things come so easily to them. For the first time in a very long time I finally looked at myself as a part of a community instead of a lone sufferer. I have to get back to my more compassionate self instead of always focusing on my own crap. This week when I’m in synagogue I hope to gain peace with myself by surrendering control to a much higher power. If next Rosh Hashanah comes and I am still battling these infertility issues, I just hope to be a better person for it.

1 comment September 10, 2007

Lonely, I am so lonely…

While B’s been in the States for work I have, of course, been missing him like crazy… and at the same time enjoying have our apartment all to myself, until now. I think I was so jet-lagged this week that whenever I was home, I was passed out or in some sort of fog world. I was also about to take an hpt because I hit day 35 today. Last night I managed to get 14 hours of sleep, I’m amazing I know, and woke up to see my great my period. With the clarity of sleep and the realization that of course I’m not pregnant, it suddenly made me acutely aware of how much I miss B. It feels like a part of me is disconnected. It’s good to know how much I love and miss him but now I’ve come to this point, I just want him home.

Add a comment September 8, 2007

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