Posts Tagged ‘PCOS’

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Slapped

August 18, 2009

Sara and I have been best friend since 8th grade. Though we went to different colleges, and now live in different cities, we remained close talking on the phone every week and visiting at least twice a year.  I don’t have many close friends and I cherished her presence in my life.

Sara is an OBGYN resident. In January 2008 when we began TTC I told her my fears of PCOS. She brushed the idea away and told me to wait a year. She was my best friend and an OB-GYN so I said okay. A few months later I told her I planned to switch doctors because progesterone induced cycles seemed pointless if I had a deeper issue. I didn’t think the doctor knew what she was doing. I wrote about it here but to sum it up Sara got pissed and told me that there’s nothing I can do about what’s happening. I should stick with the doctor and maybe in a year seek diagnosis and if I can’t have kids so be it, its just not in our control what happens to us. I was thrown off by this conversation. In 17 years she’d never snapped at me like this. I told myself she had my best interest at heart and agreed with her. Luckily some IF bloggers e-mailed me vehemently disagreeing with my friend and urging me to switch doctors and try getting diagnosed. Thanks to these bloggers I met different doctors until I found one I trusted and was diagnosed with PCOS.

I felt confused by Sara. I had textbook PCOS and she’s an OBGYN. After the diagnosis I told her I had PCOS. Her response was oh, followed by silence. Then she said she had to go. Okay, fine. She’s my friend, not my doctor, but I felt hurt by her response. No words of sympathy, just awkward silence. I told myself I shouldn’t hold this against her but I found it harder to call her or return her messages.  Four months went by. In the meantime I got pregnant and had my first miscarriage. The day of my miscarriage she had left a message saying it’d been a while. I thought of her and how close we’d been. I called her back. She said she was sorry to hear and I knew she genuinely felt bad for me even though she didn’t know what to say. We changed topics to other things such as what she planned to specialize in once her residency ended and that’s when it happened:

Sara: Sometimes I consider going into RE. Its good hours and lots of money.
Kate: You should definitely do it!
Sara: But then I don’t know because I don’t believe in it. I can’t practice RE in good conscience.
Kate: Why not?
Sara: Because if you can’t have a kid you shouldn’t and I’m sick of people trying to fight nature, living unhealthy lifestyles, and then coming to me to try and get pregnant.

I felt for a few moments like I could not breathe.You have to understand Sara. She has a gentle lilt in her voice and wears pink skirts and has a hello kitty phone. Never could I imagine these words coming from her mouth. She made this comment so nonchalantly I just sat there like an idiot unable to formulate a sentence.

That was in May. She’s called a few times since then and left messages but I have not returned her calls. I know she’s upset that I’m bad at keeping in touch. She has no clue how her words affected me. Jack asked me the other day You and Sara were so close you haven’t called her in the longest. I told him what happened but he said Sara is a good person and I shouldn’t end things with her. Maybe in this one area she sucks as a friend but that doesn’t negate her as a whole being. He said she’s all alone in Chicago and maybe she’s frustrated and took it out on you. Besides she doesn’t understand because she doesn’t have IF issues that she knows of yet.

But if my friend gets hit by a truck I’m not going to say people should be careful where they walk because I don’t know what it feels like to be hit by a truck. I don’t know what to do.Thanks to her I wasted a lot of time TTC in vain but I could get over that since she isn’t my doctor so I can’t blame her for giving me bad advice. But her last comment, I don’t know how to get past that. I really don’t want to let a 17 year old friendship go down the tubes but I don’t even know how to confront her and frankly, I don’t want to confront her. She called and left a message today, annoyed that I hadn’t called her in months. I know the right thing to do is tell her how I feel but I’m under enough pressure as it is with everything that’s happening, the thought of that ugly confrontation wipes me out before I begin.  I wish I knew what to do.

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Co-existing with infertility

August 16, 2009

Sitting in the doctor’s office after my last miscarriage, Jack on one side of me, the doctor on the other, I felt as if I was part of an intervention. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Jack said shaking his head and patting my hand. Dr. D nodded, In your life when you put your mind to something you’ve accomplished it, but in this matter there’s a lot that’s out of our control. She’s right. Since I was a child, the lessons imparted to me by my parents, teachers, society, was If you work hard enough you can achieve your dreams. And this was true, until now.

In the realm of infertility and pregnancy loss, I can take my Metformin to keep my insulin in check. I can pop the baby aspirin to thin my blood so it won’t strangle a future fetus. I can take the prenatals and make sure I’m eating a balanced baby friendly diet. I can try Clomid. IUI. IVF. I can jump on to lovenox after a positive pregnancy test. I can work as hard as I can and while I should keep my feet moving I have no control over whether any of this will work. This is hard to accept. Perhaps this is why I start sign hunting by checking my boobs, debating the degree of nausea and exhaustion during each two week wait. But sign hunting won’t give me the end result, its just a maddening way to waste two weeks (and in my case often longer) of your life.

Things such as sign hunting and the devastation that follows when you see blood made me think of stepping out of the baby making game for a while until I had my head in the right place emotionally. I told my therapist this thinking he’d agree because if anyone knows how much of a wreck IF has made me, it should be him. I was surprised when he disagreed. You’re in the game and I think you should keep moving, you need to learn to handle the challenges better but I don’t think you will take a time out. I think its an intellectual exercise to debate whether you should or not, you’re too deep in to step back. I think he’s right. I could never stop. The challenge for me is not taking some time off, but learning how to co-exist with my infertility. To walk side by side with this challenge and not let it wear me and turn me into a one dimensional person.

In an effort to co-exist with my IF I decided to focus on things in my control, so I can keep on moving on in this journey but not be paralyzed emotionally while I do so.

No more Sign Hunting. What do I get out of checking my boobs and gauging my levels of exhaustion? If I’m pregnant I am and I’ll find out soon enough. Some people say its good to have your hopes up and be positive. Maybe this works for some, but for me getting my hopes up means they are crushed in a bloody heap at the end of the cycle. Most people get that a miscarriage is sad, but most non-IFers don’t get that the end of a cycle that did not work is heartwrenching too. It is also a loss. I’m not sure how I’m going to succeed here but I’m not googling for signs and symptoms anymore and the goal is to firmly tell myself not to read into things when the urge strikes. If that means chanting a mantra you’re not pregnant, stop it! or Google is not a fortune teller. So be it.

Focus on the things I have control over like . . .

My fitness and nutrition. Exercising burns adrenaline and calms me but when I’m stressed or depressed the last thing I want to do is go for a run. My neighborhood is full of rolling hills and my plan is to stick on the iPod and power walk. I’m also considering yoga. With PCOS losing weight is challenging but its possible. Its time I took greater control.

My hobbies. I love to read. Scrapbook. Try new recipes. Write poetry (of questionable merit).  Instead of imploring Dr. Google to predict my future status of motherhood I will do things I enjoy.

My writing. Though my writing is technically a hobby at the moment since I’m not paid to do it, I have a finished manuscript that I’m revising one last time before submitting to agents. Since the miscarriage issues I’ve neglected it entirely. I need to update my query letters, and pursue this dream.

Reflecting. A dear friend reminded me how important it is  to take advantage of silence and down time to contemplate and reflect. When she first suggested this I wondered what I needed to reflect on or contemplate, but after a few days of plugging out for a few hours from TV, music, cell phone and internet and just taking a walk, or making dinner in silence I saw what she meant. The world comes into sharper focus. I realized its hard to really think clearly when you’re always plugged in. This act of taking time out for silence each day is helping me in ways I could never have anticipated from the simplest areas of appreciating things I never thought to appreciate such as the brilliant orange of a carrot I’m cutting for dinner, the sound of its crispness as I slice through it, the sweet flavor of homegrown tomatoes. Being plugged in, you can end up just doing things by rote and not realizing.  It’s not always easy to co-exist with silence because sometimes thoughts that are unpleasant that I’ve tried running from also make themselves known, but now at least I can begin tackling these thoughts instead of pushing them away, because the truth is, even if we don’t think about things and reflect, they are still there, poking us under the surface, stealing our peace of mind.

My Marriage. Its easy to take Jack for granted. He’s my best friend and he’s always there for me. While I’ve gotten better about dumping all my IF issues on him, I still can’t forget when he said he wanted his wife back. I hope as I try to flesh out the other parts of me that go beyond my desire for motherhood, Jack will see his wife returning. I cannot control all aspects of my marriage but I can control my end of things.

I hope by focusing on the areas of my life I have some measure of control over, I can take away the tunnel vision on IF that has taken over my life. I accept that no matter how much control I take over my life, IF sucks and failed cycles will always hurt, I just hope that I will bounce back faster and not allow IF to take over all of my life. The best I am praying for is it to co-exist with my infertility and not let it wear me as it has for two years.

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Battling my deepest fear and desire

August 12, 2009

Thank you guys so much for your feedback on my last post. I really did not make the connection between my exhaustion and the fact that I’ve suffered two miscarriages, one just two weeks earlier. It seems obvious now that you’ve mentioned it but until then I really didn’t understand. I felt determined to find out the hormonal root of the issue when the truth is, I’ve been pregnant or suffering from a miscarriage this entire year . . . something’s got to give I suppose.

Speaking of pregnancy, I know I said in previous posts that I didn’t want to wait for my cycle to begin TTC again. We BD’d every day this week save yesterday due to back pain on my part, but today I awoke to discover EWCM. I know for many this is very ho hum sort of news but for me, this is perhaps the fourth time I’ve ever seen it in my life. The lovely sort, the sort that could be photographed for a textbook definition of EWCM. I don’t know if its real EWCM or if its my body misfiring post-pregnancy as it resets itself but its EWCM and its glorious.

I saw the EWCM and at first I was practically giddy with joy. I sat impatiently at work waiting to get home. And yet, as we drove home together the previous post began gnawing at me. I am so tired. If this is a manifestation of my physical and mental state due to the losses I’ve experienced then am I ready to try again so soon even though to my core I feel I am ready?  I mentioned to Jack that I seem to be ovulating and he felt mixed about it. I’m scared about your mental well being. I want you to enjoy your pregnancy. I had to laugh a little. Whether its this cycle or ten cycles from now I’m never going to enjoy my first trimester ever again. That innocence is gone. I know I will most likely be able to talk Jack into it if I assure him I’m confident but I’m sort of scared too. This would be an egg early in the cycle so it won’t be a “late egg” that some attribute to early miscarriage, and I’ll get lovenox upon a positive test. Two variables different from before. But. . . But . . . But . . .

I want a baby. I don’t want a miscarriage. I’m ovulating tonight. I never ever ovulate this early and with so much EWCM. I’m most fertile post-miscarriage so why not take advantage. What if things go wrong again and I blame myself for trying to soon. All these thoughts run through my head. I wish I knew the right answer. It could be that its too late and I’ve already conceived since we BD’d the day before yesterday and maybe . . . or maybe despite EWCM and all the perfect circumstances I won’t conceive… so many variables at play but all I know is this EWCM feels more precious than yellow diamonds and pint sized ocean pearls. It feels painful to think of letting it go to naught.

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Tired

August 11, 2009

Each morning  I feel so exhausted I doubt my ability to get out of bed, and on the weekends that ability crumbles and I find myself in bed until noon at the earliest, and even when I get up I know full well I could have slept for several hours more. During the day, I remain tired and though the amount of exhaustion ebbs and flows the common theme is a strange sort of exhaustion which affects me physically and mentally. I can’t figure it out, the hormones have surely left my body by now, why am I so tired?

I’m trying to lose weight and doing all the right things. I’m watching what I eat and working out but the scale won’t budge past 4 pounds. I’m going to continue trying. If you eat less and expend more, science tells me I must lose weight. I know have PCOS so this makes weight loss more difficult, but it shouldn’t entirely preclude weight loss.

Its been two weeks since my last miscarriage and I’ve channeled all my energy into losing weight and contemplating the steps to take for the next pregnancy. What to do when in-laws come. Lovenox versus Heparin. Timing of ovulation. I’ve been so busy trying to plan for the future perhaps hoping it will allow me to forget what happened in my recent past. But you can only run for so long and then the past, it catches up to you.

Today after days of being okay I sat watching TV and a beautiful name on television made me think I want to name my daughter that. That’s all it took. I gasped as it hit me as though anew: Yeah you’ve been pregnant twice, but what have you got to show for it? You don’t have a baby. You don’t know when you’ll have a baby. Will you ever get pregnant again? Holy shit, it hits me as though its some sort of revelation: I lost my babies. They aren’t here. They’re gone. I’m empty. I’m literally empty. I don’t know what will happen. The future is blank.

Before I met Jack I had bad luck in the guy department. When we married I remember waking up in the middle of the night sometimes in a cold sweat from a nightmare that I had dreamed it all, that I hadn’t met him, that I hadn’t married him, that I just thought I did and it was all a making of my mind. I’d wake up and see him with his head buried in the pillow and breathe a sigh of relief.

This is the opposite. My dreams are haunted by a little girl. She wears gold earrings and short black hair. She wears a blue dress with red frills. She is beautiful. I chase her around the room while she giggles and then I lift her up and kiss her. She flashes me a large toothless grin and I feel a love I cannot bear. Then I wake and its me alone in my darkened bedroom. No crib. No tiny shrieks of joy. It’s just me. No breath of relief  just a stifling of grief always waiting to carry me away.

I fight my grief, I promise you. When my friend Lucy called me today and as I told her I’m leaving my job she saidYou should just have babies and make them your life, I think that’s what you were meant to do [oh and yes she knows about my infertility, I know how to pick them it seems] I shook my head and told myself she didn’t mean it, I hung up and went on with my day. I say this to say I’m trying like fucking hell to not let my feelings own me, but sometimes like now when I’m feeling so physically tired, the emotional strain is more than I can bear. Some days like today it feels like my feet are made of bricks and heavy boulders weigh on my head.

I just want to rest. I’m so tired.

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The weirdest angst ridden post yet

August 10, 2009

In my previous post I said I planned not to wait for the next cycle before TTC since after miscarriage #1 the time frame until my first cycle was my most normal ovulation cycle ever and I regret not having taken advantage of that. It appears, I may have ovulated. It’s hard to know if its legit since it should only be about CD6 so I’m basing it on EWCM. Maybe after miscarriage it can happen at any time for no reason as the body readjusts to normal. I know its normal to be worried about a third miscarriage due to low progesterone levels, and the clotting disorder, and PCOS, but that’s not why I’m worried if it turns out I get pregnant this month or within the next three months.

I’m worried because there is a wedding on my husband’s side of the family in my city in November and my in-laws, all of them, will be staying with us to attend. I wrote a little about why I’m freaking out about this here, but to put it short, despite having PCOS and irregular periods whenever I saw my in-laws I’d get my period. Something about being around them (or some huge fucked up coincidence) causes me to bleed when they’re around. I had both of my miscarriages while around them. This past time I miscarried I hadn’t seen them since my last miscarriage when I was at their house (almost four months ago). My conundrum sounds silly but feels frightening. If they come in November I could be anywhere from 2 to ten weeks pregnant all within the danger zone and as tough as a third miscarriage will be anyways, to bleed when they come again will be awful beyond words. I mentioned this to Jack. He said he could fly me down to my parents for that weekend but then I’m afraid to be without Jack during the first trimester.

Now I’m seriously considering waiting to TTC until after November so I can be assured I won’t have to see them for a good long while before I conceive. But Speckie was to be born November 3. I’d really been hoping to be pregnant before his due date. This is a stinky place to be. Wanting a baby beyond belief. Wanting to TTC, but wondering if I should not based not on science but a coincidence that has haunted me for years with my in-laws.  It all feels so confusing to me as there is fear in waiting since who knows if I’d get pregnant anyways in these next few months, and fear in trying because if I do I don’t know how I can deal with his family. I mean, its a wedding, they’re coming, I can’t stop them from landing on my front porch. sigh.

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To TTC or not TTC, that is the question

August 8, 2009

The first time we tried to conceive I remember walking around with the satisfaction of knowing we’d conceived. 1 + 2 = 3 after all, right? I’ve since learned, I can’t do math.  Each month we tried and each month found me in the cold morning hours sitting on the tub staring at the HPT begging for that second line, thinking if I could will it, it would appear. It never did, not for 13 months and then on month 14 there it was, the second red line so faint but there. I miscarried ofcourse and planned for another long infertility filled road ahead, and then about 8 weeks after my miscarriage I saw the line again, darker this time, silly me thought that meant this one would stick.

My miscarriage seems over though a beta on August 13 will decide on that definitively and I noticed yesterday the beginning of what appears to be a normal cycle. And I have a confession to make. I cringe  but this blog is the one place I can be honest, so I’m going to be honest: I want to try. Now. This cycle. Getting pregnant is so hard for me that the fact that I got pregnant twice makes me want to try the party trick a third time.

Maybe its the latent addict within me. Fucking hell if those positive pregnancy tests are not the most beautiful thing that technology has ever created. I keep all my positive tests and when pregnant they lay on my table and I walk by from time to time just to marvel at the most beautiful line that ever existed. Damn I want to see that line again. Damn I really don’t want to have to wait.

I’ve done my research and it seems that doctors typically want you to wait a cycle because then they can figure out when your due date is, but with me we always have to determine via ultrasound. It seems my issue is clotting which my doctor has already set up a protocol for next time I’m pregnant, and I’ve decided that I would not try to conceive after cycle day 20 because I’ve heard that egg quality worsens upon late ovulation. Considering each time I ovulated it was past CD24 the odds of me conceiving even if I were to TTC now are slim to none because like I said, I refuse to TTC anymore on late ovulations if that means an increased risk of miscarriage.

But- what if this time I ovulated a bit earlier? What if the EWCM is glorious? Right after miscarriage 1, two weeks after my HCG went to zero I had an ontime ovulation. It felt amazing to have a normal cycle and sometimes I really regret ignoring Jack’s urging to go ahead and try. Maybe we’d have had a nice perky egg, maybe it would have made all the difference.  I don’t know. I could never be sure.

So that’s where I am right now, playing tug of war with my heart and mind. I wish there was an easy answer, a simple solution. Perhaps my PCOS and its nonovulating nature will take care of the answer for me but for now I remain the idiotic optimistic deigning to think I may ovulate and deigning to think I have any say on matters of my own conception.

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Disjointed thoughts on the path towards healing

August 6, 2009

If you are struggling with loss and infertility you should read Peggy Orenstein’s book Waiting For Daisy. Not only is her book awesome she’s awesome. After my first miscarriage I wrote to her thanking her for telling her story and she wrote back with wonderful words of encouragement and perspective. We wrote back and forth for a while and then after miscarriage #2  I e-mailed her  again asking for advice on how to get through this tough moment. She responded with great advice but one thing she said truly affected me: Treat yourself as you would a super close friend who was going through this. That one statement threw me. If I treated a friend the way I’ve been treating myself I’d have no friends. Cruel and hurtful thoughts even if towards oneself constitute emotional abuse which I don’t deserve.

Yesterday I came home early from work and flipped on Oprah for the first time in two years. The episode was about people coping with serious health issues. One person, a former ice skater, talked about surviving testicular cancer years earlier and then finding out he had a brain tumor. He said the first thing that came to mind was God, haven’t I done my time? I nodded  as so often this thought comes to me. Wasn’t the infertility struggle enough? You have to shove my lollipop into the dirt after I worked so hard to get it? Twice?! Yet the man who is certainly in a more difficult situation than I am, is coping, dealing, living. I must learn to accept the waves of grief and uncertainty surrounding myself but I must teach myself to float and not sink to the ocean floor.

One of our friends almost got divorced recently. It was horrible with the little boy dragged into the mix in ways that will certainly yield therapy bills when he’s older. They’re back together now. They still resent one another but they don’t want to leave for the sake of their son. Another friend of ours is divorcing after fifteen years of marriage and four children. Through tears he told us, In the past ten years there is not one memory I have of a happy or peaceful moment with my wife. I looked at Jack and considered his recent words where he told me he wanted his wife back. He missed the girl he married. Life is difficult, but I must appreciate and not push away the only things keeping me afloat. Even walls crumble if left unmaintained.

I’m lucky for many things. More things than I can name. Just as lucky as I am to have those good things, I have to accept that the flipside of lucky also exists in all our lives including mine. Yet even in the misfortunate of infertility and miscarriage I’m lucky to live in a day and age where infertility treatments, and medication exist to diagnose and possibly treat what ails me. I look at blog rolls like Baby Loss Directory and Stirrup Queens and am overwhelmed with the fact that the majority of listed links are those who are now parents. The odds are in my favor and yours that we will be successful one day and get the thing that feels more dear to us than anything. I must tunnel vision towards hope with the determination to block out darkness as best I can. I know there will be times of darkness to come in this road but at least I’ve made some realizations that will hopefully help me bounce back faster when I stumble and fall.