Monthly Archives: May 2009

She Says… Why Hide the News?

A few weeks ago I came across this article written by a woman who had a miscarriage, but was so happy that she had told people she was pregnant and received support and love from them after her loss. People always say, “I shouldn’t be telling people I’m pregnant, it’s so early” or “Please don’t tell anyone, I’m not very far along”. I had two friends share their pregnancy with me very early on (one at only 5 weeks). They felt strongly that anyone they were sharing the news with was close enough to them to hear if they miscarried, so there was no harm in telling them. Although I’ve never been in that position myself, I can imagine I would feel the same way. One shouldn’t be afraid to share the incredible news, as long as they are comfortable sharing the news if complications come up as well.

Why, then, does it feel different to share the “We’re trying, but we’re having difficulty” news? Friends often ask me (jokingly) “Are you pregnant yet?”. It used to make me laugh — before we started trying. Now it just makes me feel sort of… defeated. And a little uncomfortable. Maybe it’s just because I’m a perfectionist and it’s hard to admit that we are, in fact, having difficulty. Or maybe it’s that no one wants to think about their friend/daughter/sister “trying”.

On the other hand, I recently shared the “we’re trying” news with a close friend, and it. felt. so. good. As of yet, the hubs and I haven’t shared this blog with any of our friends, even the few who know we are trying. In some ways, it feels nice to post things here and share them with the world without feeling like I’m baring my soul (and my medical records) to my friends who I see and talk to regularly. But, the more I think about it, why wouldn’t I want to bare my soul to those people? They are my friends, and they might be able to offer me some comfort and support instead of not knowing what’s going on.

So maybe I’ll start telling people about the blog… tomorrow?

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She Says… Day 7 of The Challenge

I popped the last of the Provera pills this morning. I haven’t noticed any of the unfortunate side effects that the medicine bottle warned me of. This morning I started to feel slightly crampy, and I can feel the beginning of a gigantic zit on my chin (lovely!), but nothing significant.

So… the clock starts now! I should experience withdrawal bleeding in the next week. From there, it’s possible that I could begin cycling normally and be on my way to babymaking! Yahoo!

I was chatting with my sister (who is a doctor) about all of this the other night, and she said that she was surprised that my doctor had given me blood tests and prescribed hormones after only three months. Apparently most doctors recommend that couples wait 6 months to a year before investigating fertility issues. Because I am young, healthy and physically fit, there is a very good chance that my body will sort everything out on its own without medical assistance, and many people (doctors and patients alike) would rather let nature run its course than intervene. However, I really appreciate my doctor taking a proactive approach. If I were cycling normally and just hadn’t gotten pregnant yet, I guess I could understand a doctor saying, “Try for a few more months before we do anything”. But the fact that I haven’t gotten a period at all since February indicates that something is not working properly. Maybe that is why she felt comfortable running some tests. In any case, I feel very fortunate to be figuring things out now, while I am still younger than most of my friends who are having  babies.

She Says… Day One of The Challenge

Lab tests came back: Perfectly normal. “Beautiful” was actually the word my doctor used to describe them. Apparently I am the picture of good health. Except for one thing… that pesky little period of mine that hasn’t come around since February.

So, on to step 2: The Progestational Challenge. During The Challenge I will take Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) for 7 days. At that point, the dropoff or withdrawal of progesterone should signal to my body to have a period (which is actually withdrawal bleeding, and not a “real” period) within the next 7 days. What happens next is like the “choose your own adventure” books I used to read as a kid: 

  • If I do have withdrawal bleeding (go to page 54), that means that I have the right amount of estrogen in my system, but am not ovulating. Anovulation of this kind can be treated with drugs like Clomid, and chances are very good that I’ll be able to conceive as soon as I start ovulating (yay!).
  • If I do not have withdrawal bleeding (go to page 62), that means I am either not producing enough estrogen or have some physical abnormality with my “outflow tract” (a.k.a. the pipes are blocked). I’m thinking this will not be the case, since I was having periods perfectly normally while on birth control only a few short months ago.

So this morning I took the first of seven little, white Provera pills. I’m up for The Challenge. Let’s see what happens…

He Says… Schnitzel as Nana

I can’t believe it, but neither Kate nor I have written much about our dog Schnitzel up to this point. Schnitzel is the love of our lives… he is our 3 year old, 90 pound, chocolate labradoodle. He is (in my completely biased opinion) the cutest and sweetest dog in the entire world. We got him a few months after Kate and I got married. I always knew I wanted to get a dog at some point, but knew it would be a lot of work and time, and wasn’t sure I was ready for the responsibility immediately. But Kate knew she we wanted a dog as soon as we said our vows. Despite my reluctance about the timing, I knew it would be wonderful to have a pet of our own (I grew up with dogs my whole life), so we started the search for the newest member of our family. After a few weeks of doing nothing but searching for puppies on the internet, Kate found Schnitzel. He was bred in Indiana, so as soon as he was old enough to be weaned from his mother, he was shipped on a plane to us in Boston (which I think was somewhat traumatic and we won’t do that to a puppy again). Here’s us meeting him (at the airport) for the first time:

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We absolutely fell head-over-heels in love with him the moment we saw him. Now, two and a half years later, I can’t imagine our life without Schnitzel. He is pretty much the center of all of our activities and conversations, and we sing his name into silly lyrics to every song that comes on the radio (who knew Schnitzel was such a sing-songy name?). I love Schnitzel more than I thought I could ever love an animal. Sometimes I annoy Kate by saying that I don’t know if I could ever love our future children as much as I love him. I realize this is probably not true, but there is a part of me that thinks it could be the case.

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We often wonder how Schnitzel will handle having a baby in our family (someday soon, I hope!), and I actually think that it is one of the things I most look forward to about having a child. I think that Schnitzel will be one of those loving, protective pets who will completely adore and take care of our baby, just like Nana from Peter Pan. The other day I had a friend over to discuss some potential video work, and she brought her 5 month old baby with her. Schnitzel was super curious about this tiny thing that entered his house. He jockeyed for a front-row seat and sniffed the new smells. He even managed a few licks! (I can only assume that not all new parents want a giant dog in their baby’s face, so I had to keep Schnitzel a respectful distance away from the little one). Even in his curiosity he was completely gentle though and I think he will be the perfect Nana to our baby someday. The thought of our absolutely giant dog sitting in the back seat of our car with a tiny baby in the car seat next to him is just a priceless image that I can’t wait to actually see.

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I imagine our baby will be constantly covered in doggie kisses, but hey, dogs’ mouths are supposed to be cleaner than ours! (Although, as a self-proclaimed germophobe, I’m not sure I believe that).

She Says… Blood Tests and Pills

I saw my doctor yesterday to discuss the fact that I haven’t had my period since February. She wanted me to wait until three full cycles had passed before seeing me, but I think I snuck in a week before that deadline. On paper I am perfectly healthy, and upon further examination (hardy har har), she couldn’t see any obvious reason why I wouldn’t be having my period.

– Healthy weight? Check.
– Healthy diet? Check.
– Prime child-bearing age? Check.
– No physical abnormalities that might cause fallopian tube blockage or other issues? Check.

At one point during my visit she asked me if I was having unprotected sex. Um, yes?! Isn’t unprotected sex the first step toward making a baby? I guess she was just checking 🙂  After establishing a clean bill of health, she did a pregnancy test (negative… duh!) and took some blood.

She’ll test the blood for hormone levels to check for thyroid or pituitary issues, and the levels of estrogen, progesterone and all that good stuff that babymamas are supposed to produce naturally. Results come back on Friday, but she doesn’t work on Fridays, so I should hear from her early next week. At this point, I am almost crossing my fingers that she finds a hormone deficiency, because they are quite often very easily fixable with supplements, and I could be on my way to natural conception.

She also gave me a prescription for Provera, to take THE PROVERA CHALLENGE. Doesn’t that sound like a game show or something? I will take Provera (which is essentially just progesterone) for a week, and then see what happens. If everything is connected and working properly, I’ll have a period within the following week or so after stopping the pills. If I have a period, that indicates that my estrogen levels are ok, and my anovulation is a result of my body not returning to normal hormone production after going off the pill. If I don’t have a period, that indicates that my body is not producing enough estrogen, and other tests are necessary to sort out what is causing that.

The drawbacks to the Provera challenge are that taking Provera can be very dangerous to a growing baby if you are pregnant, so you have to be absolutely certain you’re not pregnant before taking the pills. So I have to wait two weeks from the last time we had sex to start the pills. Also, there are some lovely side effects to the meds: bloating, cramps, irritability, acne, weight gain, water retention… essentially it’s like super PMS. Can’t wait!

She Says… Cautiously Optimistic

Yesterday I found out that a very close friend is preggers. With her second. I knew that she and her husband were trying  for another little one (and she’s one of the only people who knows that WE are trying), so it was not a surprise. Still, I expected to feel a little bit of competitiveness or anger or frustration when I heard that she was already on her way to #2 when I can’t even get to #1. However, when she told me, all I felt was joy! Now I realize just how amazing it is when someone gets pregnant.

Reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility has really helped me feel optimistic about my fertility and the chance that we will conceive normally, naturally, and soon. From what I can tell, my current state of anovulation is a perfectly normal reaction to stopping birth control. It takes many women time to regulate their hormone production. Judging by some of the “symptoms” discussed in the book, I believe I am still experiencing normal hormonal cycles, but my estrogen levels just have not reached the threshold that signals my body to have a period.

So… although I do not have a formal update (I’m calling my gynecologist to make an appointment in 2 weeks), I’m cautiously optimistic that everything is fine, I am perfectly normal, and there’s nothing I can do but wait this out. In the meantime, though, to gain a bit of control and set my mind on something else, I am going to start charting my temperature and following the guidelines in TCOYF.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has any experience/advice on temp charting!

He Says… Paranoia

I am not sure when in my life it started, or why, but I have evolved to become a major worrier about certain things. Ok, most things. 

– A few months ago, when the economy seemed to hover at its lowest point, I had visions that we would be broke because I would have ZERO work this year, and I would have to work at Starbucks to pay the bills. That hasn’t happened.

– About three and a half years ago, I was terrified of bird flu. Like, really scared. Kate and I got married in June of 2006, and during the previous winter I remember worrying that everybody I knew would have died from bird flu by the time we got to our wedding. That obviously didn’t happen, either.

And now we are on to Swine Flu (although we aren’t supposed to call it that anymore — H1N1, excuse me) and I am already beginning to feel the anxiety I had over bird flu three years ago. And it sucks. Kate is certainly a more practical and logical person about these things than I am, and she helps to bring me down to earth when I’m worrying unnecessarily about things I can’t control. I am a smart, rational person and I understand how the news media likes to blow things out of proportion… but still, I worry.

As Kate and I are now “officially” trying to have a baby, I am already worrying about how much I will worry about that. And once he/she is born? Forget about it. I can only imagine that the things I worry about now will be hugely multiplied once we have a baby to take care of. Am I destined to become a complete basket case?

Contrary to what you may think after reading this post, I am actually a sane, normal functioning person. I realize what I am writing makes me sound like a complete neurotic mess, but rest assured, I’m actually not. However, I do think I will need to somehow manage my fears of things that are out of my control as we bring another person into our family.

Okay. That is it. I am going to go crawl into my homemade fallout shelter now…