Monday, March 31, 2014

Grey Hairs and ... Acne?!?!

When I originally started toying around with idea for this post, it was going to be called "Grey Hairs and Wrinkle Cream" and be about my continuing worries that I really am getting to be too old to have children. I don't know about your mothers, but mine liked to blame her grey hair on me and my brother. Obviously I don't have that option, and the cats don't cause me that much worry. I suppose I could try blaming the grey hair on IF...

Instead, I am discovering the incongruity of breakouts worse than I ever had as a teenager and quite how obvious those grey are. Seriously, why is never the grey hairs that fall out, just the normal brown ones?!?! Besides, I thought pregnant women were supposed to "glow," not be covered in zits. And yet somehow HCG is making me break out like mad. On top of that, I ended up with several small scrapes on my inner elbow from the post-blood work pressure bandage, which is not helping my mood.

Clearly I am approaching the point where I should probably keep my hair colored... right as I am realizing exactly how broke we are and having to cancel my hair appointment. (In my over dramatic way, I am starting to wonder if I'll be able to afford any non-necessities ever again. The joys of hormone fueled moods...) My mother went grey early, so it's not surprising that I would do so, too. It just makes me feel old. The acne, on the other hand, is just irritating.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex (NSFW!!!)

Now that everyone's done spitting out their coffee...

If you're of a certain age, that phrase probably brings to mind the Salt 'N Pepa song, which may well be stuck in your head now (Sorry!). What I really wanted to talk about are the multitudes of euphemisms for sex, both when TTC and in the wider world.

If you're TTC, you might say:

  • doing the deed
  • baby dance
  • getting I's on the chart
  • date night

In the wider world, there are the ever popular:
  • the horizontal mambo
  • go all the way
  • hide the salami
  • make love
  • roll in the hay
  • sleep with
  • burn the sheets
  • be intimate
  • making whoopee
  • boink
  • roll in the hay
  • mattress dance
  • bedroom rodeo
  • doing it
  • getting busy
  • getting down and dirty
  • coitus
  • intercourse
  • congress
  • spelunking
  • playing putt-putt
Which expressions do you like and which do you hate? What do you actually say? I'm not a big fan of "doing the deed," since it really makes it sound like crossing something off the list, plus it sounds like it's a one time thing. Baby dance is just a big ol' no in my book. (Hello! No baby.) Boink is just fun to say; I think I have to try using it more often. I also like horizontal mambo, but we're dancers, so that one should be natural. Most often we talk about getting I's on the chart, which, let's face it, is a little boring. Maybe trying out some new euphemisms will be good for making things more interesting - or at least a laugh.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Irish and One-upmanship

In Irish, instead of saying "Hello!" or "Good morning!" what you say is a bit more complicated.

If person one says: Dia dhuit!
Person two answers: Dia's Muire dhuit!

However, if the first person is showing off or is feeling particularly ebullient, he or she could start with: Dia's Muire agus Padraig dhuit!
To which the proper reply would be: Dia's Muire agus Padraig agus Brigid dhuit!

Under no circumstance can you simply repeat what was said to you (thus the one-upmanship). What I find wonderful is that none of these actually mean "Hi!" or "Good morning!" To translate them literally, Dia dhuit is "God be with you;" Dia's Muire dhuit is "God and Mary be with you;" Dia's Muire agus Padraig dhuit is "God, Mary, and Patrick be with you;" lastly would be "God, Mary, Patrick, and Brigid be with you." Thus the reason for the one-upmanship is simply wishing the other more well (or at least more aid from Ireland's favored saints).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Return to Clomid

We had a follow up with our NaPro doc on Friday; somehow those appointment always seem overwhelming. It always feels like a giant data dump, with too much to take in at once. We didn't really do anything over the weekend, which helped me work through things a little bit. Despite it seeming like a lot of information, I'll try to keep this brief.

The biggest change is that I'll be switching back to Clomid next cycle. My post peak estrogen levels have been far too low on Femara, which is the reason for the switch. I've done 9 cycles on Clomid previously when we were working with a local RE. I will be continuing the post-peak HCG. Husbandido was not thrilled about my going back on Clomid since I had so many side effects; realistically, though, the only side effect I had on Clomid that I haven't had on Femara/HCG was the hot flashes. This will be a lower dose than I was on previously(25 mg days 3-7 vs 50 mg days 3-7), so I may not have as many side effects (we can at least hope). I'll also be taking clarithromycin and flagyl for 14 days during this cycle and the next 2, in case there is still any kind of infection (still having TEBB and quite a few 2Ws during the 2WW). To counteract the disruption of the gut flora, I'll also need to go on a probiotic. He also suggested adding 200 mg CoQ10 to help improve CM. 

We'll be re-checking my vitamin D levels at my next blood draw to see if they have increased at all. Our doc doesn't check reverse T3 since it's an expensive test that not all labs can do; it also doesn't change how he treats thyroid conditions. Since everything but my anti-thyroid antibodies is normal, he feels no need to put me on anything for my thyroid. I am of mixed emotions about that one, since I do have a lot of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

Lastly, our doc has changed his dietary recommendations. Instead of GF, he is now recommending Paleo. After brief consideration, I told Husbandido "If you think that's what it takes to have a child, you're going to need a new wife." Fortunately for me, he is even more adamant than I am about that not being required. Here's the thing: I can understand the rationale for going GF, given the purported structural or sequence similarities between gluten and the target of the anti-thyroid antibodies. I will be waiting to see whether being GF has lowered my antibody titer, though; if it's not having an effect, then I may go back to eating gluten containing foods. I find much of the rationale for going Paleo specious; evolution did not stop in the Paleolithic era. Please note that I am not saying no one should try or adhere to this diet; I am however saying the arguments that everyone should be Paleo have not convinced me. If an individual tries it and feels better, has more energy, etc., then yes, that would be evidence that it is a good fit for his or her genetic and biophysical makeup. Is it true that most Americans consume more carbohydrates and sugars than they should? Yes. Is it likely that being aware of the glycemic index of what you eat can make a difference? Maybe. I'm coming to a point where the questions isn't "Do you want a baby?" (As Jelly Belly's foolish acupuncturist asked) but what and how much am I willing to sacrifice for a chance at getting pregnant. I'm willing to try and cut back on carbs and sugar, but there is no way I am giving them up entirely. I do have to maintain some quality of life here. Besides, there is a high probability that the medications I will be taking will make me queasy, and the last thing I want to eat when I feel like I'm going to throw up is MEAT. 

Over the weekend I had a few doubts, wondering if maybe I should try going Paleo. Fortunately Husbandido (not literally) smacked some sense back into me. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The BRAT Diet*

You know it's bad when you ask the pharmacist what you can do to avoid or manage diarrhea while you're on this prescription, and he looks at it, then says "With a dose like that, you're going to have diarrhea." Gee thanks. He then went on to suggest Pepto and the BRAT diet, which might help somewhat. Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.... hmmm. The toast is a little problematic (not sure I want to use expensive GF bread for plain toast), and I'm not sure if I like applesauce. Whatever, I'll give it a try. As if coping with more severe cramps and heavier flow courtesy of the HCG isn't bad enough, I also have to worry about making it to the washroom quickly enough.

We have a follow up with our FCP this evening, and I've already thought about the pesky questions about checking for CM. "Do you check every time before a bowel movement?" I think the recent answer will be something along the lines of "When possible." I'm not quite sure what kind of response I'll get to that one, but it's honest. Gotta love the things we end up discussing with our FCPs.

In short, I'm cranky; I don't feel well, and I'm getting tired of having the meds govern what I can and can't do all the time (and this is only month 4). Hopefully I'll be done with the worst of AF soon, so I'll just be coping with letrozole side effects.

* Alternate Title: Tied to the Toilet

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Faith Sharing

I really didn't set out to become the Energizer bunny of bloggers... honest! I had planned to scale back my writing after 7 Posts in 7 Days was over, but I keep having things to say. Thanks for continuing to read! I do intend to slow down soon.

Last night at our Pastoral Council meeting our Director of Faith Formation brought up the importance of faith sharing in adult faith formation. I can't say I had given much thought to it before then, but it struck me that much of what we do in our blogs and in commenting on one another's posts is exactly that. We're sharing how we live out our faith in our day to day lives. It also got me started thinking about what makes faith sharing comfortable or uncomfortable. It certainly seems easier when there is some level of similarity in backgrounds. It also seems easier once you have some level of familiarity with the people you are sharing with. A certain amount of faith sharing happens naturally at the bible study I am part of, even though that's not the focus of the group. 

Personally, I think I do more faith sharing online, with others going through similar experiences, than I do with members of my parish. How do you share your faith? What makes it more comfortable for you to do so?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Waking up Cranky

I hate using the word cranky to apply to myself; it always makes me feel like I'm describing a toddler, and who wants to describe themselves as a toddler? Some days, though, there's just no other word for it.

I went to bed still feeling down over the blood work, but I hoped a good night's sleep would leave me feeling better in the morning. (I can't begin to tell you how many times I heard that from my mother: "you'll feel better in the morning" or "you'll feel better after you eat," etc.) Somehow when I woke up what was on my mind was a memory from last year's 4th of July picnic. 

Steve's aunt and uncle host a huge picnic/cookout that day, inviting family and friends. His aunt and uncle have a niece, on the other side of their family (so no real relation to us) that drives me a little bonkers. A few years ago her daughter from her first marriage, who was about 7 or 8, latched onto us the whole day, to the point of getting upset about not getting to see us again until the next year. She almost wanted to come home with us. (Her mother had recently remarried and seemed to be putting most of her energy into her new relationship, certainly not to the point of neglect but enough to be hard on her little girl.) Last year this woman was pregnant with twins and bitching extensively about having to buy a minivan, as well as the cost of minivans ("Can you believe they want $40,000 for a minivan?" with minivan, of course being sneered). What, your limit is 1 child per husband? (No, I didn't say it, but I thought it - and still think it.) Needless to say, that memory wasn't quite how I wanted to start my day. 

It did get me started thinking, though. I don't have any problems with people who have children of any number when they don't take for granted what they have. If you are blessed with 10 children, and though they sometimes drive you bonkers and frustrate you to no end, you know that they are a blessing, it bothers me not at all. 

It got me thinking about consciously pairing the ways in which we are blessed with what we do to give back. One example is having plenty of food and giving to the food bank. I was fortunate enough to get a bread machine from Freecycle, and I will use it to make bread for our parish's meager meals program. We are blessed with a strong marriage, and we're making a conscious decision to invite our step-great niece and nephew and our SIL's sister's daughter to family events that we host, so that we can serve as an example of what a good relationship should be like. (I'll be writing more about that soonish.) In what ways are you blessed? How could you couple that blessing to giving back?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Good News/Bad News

Bad news: We have mice.
Good news: They're pretty well confined to one area.
Bad news: That area is the kitchen.
Good news: They haven't been anywhere near the food. (unless you count a few random ketchup packets)

The exterminator came today, and we have a mixture of poison traps and snap traps in the mouse-infested cabinets. We also identified their points of entry, so we can fill up those spots to keep them out. 

Good news: My P+7 estradiol was higher this cycle than it was in January.
Bad news: It's still only just over half of what it should be.
Good news: At least increasing the dose of Femara from 6 to 8 tablets did something.
Bad news: That dose of Femara is probably going to be upped again for next cycle, which likely means increased side effects (again). 

I'm currently waiting to hear back from the doctor's office as to what the plan will be for next month, while trying to accept that in all probability there will be a next month. (That kind of estradiol number makes it rather unlikely that we succeeded this month.) I suspect I will be calling the pharmacy and letting them know that my doctor's office will be calling in a new prescription for a higher dose; they had called yesterday to ask if I was ready for a refill.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Always Lent, But Never Easter

You've probably started seeing the lists: "100 Things to Give Up for Lent," "What to Give Up for Lent - 20 Weird Ideas," "101 Things to Give Up for Lent," etc. (I have no doubt that there are countless others that I haven't seen.) If you have a lot of Catholic friends, these articles could be taking over your Facebook feed, like they are mine. 

Lent is coming. It starts Wednesday. 

I find myself deeply apathetic about Lent this year. Living what often feels like an "always Lent, but never Easter" (or to quote C.S. Lewis, "always winter, but never Christmas") life makes it hard to get excited about the official season of Lent. Lent is a season of sacrifice, of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, but when you are constantly living a season of sacrifice, trying to surrender your hopes and dreams to Him, giving up foods you enjoy, things you enjoy doing, using your limited resources for doctors and medicines, biting your tongue and struggling to be charitable and generous when people say stupid and hurtful things, it is hard to find something else to do during the season of Lent. 

Here are some of the suggestions (and my snarky answers):
  • Give up snacking? Are you volunteering to clean up after I've thrown up? What you call snacking, I call attempting to manage nausea.
  • Give up kissing? Do you really want to make intercourse more mechanical and less unitive than it already is? 
  • Use your weekends to babysit for free? You really don't want to go there. 
  • At dinner each evening, have each member of your family share something they are grateful for? Two things - that'd be over in 30 seconds. (I know this is meant to be a great conversation starter, mostly amongst families with children, and a great way to talk about what is important and what we value. But I don't think the cats have much to offer this discussion.)
  • Alcohol? I can't say I drink often, but there are times that I really need that glass of wine. The alternative is having a screaming/crying fit - or saying something very uncharitable. Just promising myself a glass of wine later can keep my tongue in check. I think I'll keep the wine.
  • Being picky - eat whatever is set before you? Lady, I haven't given up normal foods for fun; there's a medical reason for it. And I'd rather not end up making myself sick eating something that turns my stomach even more (vomiting at the dinner table is so passé).
  • Give up gossiping? You might not have noticed, but my life is somewhat akin to that of a hermit. Who would I gossip to, much less about?
  • Spend half an hour a day in meaningful conversation with your spouse? Umm - who do you think I talk to? Alright, yes, I spend a lot of time talking to the cats, but I talk to Husbandido even more than that.
I could go on, but I'll spare you.

Here are some of the things I/we already do: monthly donations to the food bank (Husbandido's office has a collection the last Friday of each month), monthly donations to our Parish and now the Diocesan Capital Campaign, being generous to those in our families who are struggling (even when those struggles are a result of their own choices), weekly Bible study, consuming almost no caffeine (I cut way back when we started TTC), being GF, wasting as little as possible (yup, even those overcooked noodles get eaten, and if it can't possibly be eaten [hello, mold], we compost it), regular prayer. 

Here's what I had already decided to do for Lent: reading daily Lenten reflections from Father Barron (you can sign up here) and going to a weekly series exploring the 7 Deadly Sins & 7 Lively Virtues at our parish, using the Father Barron series). I'm not sure if I should do more or be content with that; I'm trying to be aware of my own limitation while still listening for what He is asking me to do.

What are you doing for Lent?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Of Snow and Mice

Today was supposed to be a fairly relaxing, typical Sunday. Other than Mass and an evening dance class, it was going to be calm, with lots of time to read or just take it easy. By the time we got up this morning, though, it was snowing pretty heavily. They seemed to be ignoring our road for most of the day, likely because of salt shortages. After having replaced 8 tires in 2 months, we've gotten a lot more cautious about when and where we drive; our budget really can't handle any more major expenses. We ended up not going to Mass, simply because we weren't sure we could get there and back safely (we live on a somewhat steep hill, and if the roads aren't cleared it can be quite hazardous). 

As Husbandido was preparing his attempt to make a GF version of Chik-fil-A's spicy chicken biscuits, I noticed Biscuit (the cat) paying an unusual amount of attention to one of the cabinets, so I urged Husbandido to check and see if there was a mouse in there. Yep, there was a mouse; unfortunately it scurried away before we were able to kill it. That, however, led to us inspecting all the drawers and cabinets. I will refrain from discussing the amount of mouse pellets discovered. (You should thank me. You really don't want to know.) We don't just have *a* mouse; we have a mouse problem. Instead of a day of rest, we have spent the day inspecting and cleaning much of the contents of our cabinets. We think we have found the loose spots in the mortar right outside that wall where the mice have gotten in; those spots will have to get fixed as soon as the weather is more cooperative. In the meantime, we have a call in to an exterminator, who is supposed to call us back tomorrow. While I hope it doesn't cost too much, I really want to be rid of the mice in the kitchen. (Rebecca, I promise that nothing we used in preparing or serving last weekend's dinner came out of an affected cabinet!)

Seriously?!?! I assumed having 3 cats meant that we wouldn't have mice. Unfortunately the darn buggers are smart enough to realize that if they stay in the cabinets and walls, the cats can't get them. Ugh. Just ugh. 

You have no idea how tempted I was to say "Let's just rip out the kitchen and really redo it. AND put in a concrete liner so the (insert bad word here) mice can't get in! Okay, I did say it. Unfortunately, that is so very not in the budget right now.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Salt and Butter

It's amazing how much energy trying not to throw up can take. Though I might wish otherwise, I'm sure many of you are familiar with the same medicine induced nausea. Lately it seems I am either becoming "The Devourer" or feeling queasy. I've got Ginger Chews and Queasy Drops and Sprite and... 

To be completely blunt, most of it works only briefly. If I'm lucky, being full will keep the queasiness at bay, but I'm not always that lucky. Lately, it seems worse in the afternoons and evenings, though some of that could be due to the fact that I tend to not have that much time elapse between breakfast and lunch. Often what tastes best are salt and butter - popcorn, mashed potatoes, even just buttered noodles. Realistically, I need to ignore all that and eat more fruits and veggies, even though those are often what is least appealing. 

Salt and butter... yum.