The Turnaround

17 May

I had taken a break from blogging because I felt I was droning on and on.  I needed to take a break from the TTC black hole that was consuming my life.

ImageCan you see the black hole in her eyes?

I started concentrating on the bonding project, but if the bunnies fought, it felt like a personal insult.  Sometimes I would skip dates because I just couldn’t deal with the potential brawl.

Image

I started watching TV and doing nothing all day.  It took a long time to figure out that I was dealing with depression again.  I had come off my Prozac while dealing with cycles without the hormones I had depended on for the last decade. Not my brightest move.

I found myself an OB/GYN who scolded me for coming off the SSRI and gave me a prescription.  I also did something drastic to improve my mood right away.

I joined a martial arts class.

Taking care of my body, pushing myself to do things that I didn’t think I could do, and just getting stronger have helped me so much.  The other day I felt a rush that I couldn’t explain… it was joy.  Just pure joy.  There is a lot of wisdom in the mantra “healthy body, healthy mind.”  You don’t get joy from Prozac.

Image

Doesn’t he look happy?

Update

21 Mar

The dog’s owner was found!!  Which is fabulous for this household… I didn’t realize how much this was starting to stress me out until I got the call. 

The new plan is to bond the bunny.  She was a rescue bunny, and wasn’t properly socialized.  A well socialized rabbit will behave a lot like a dog.  Our bunny is standoffish and only recently allowed us to pet her while she’s outside of her cage.  She has come a long way in the three years we’ve owned her, but it’s been rough.  They say that when a rabbit is bonded, it is happier, more friendly and gets into less trouble.  I’ve also read that two are easier than one lone rabbit… that we will have to see about. 

In other news, our lease is up at the end of April, so the talk about whether or not we will move is on the table.  Where we are now, there is a lot of space, a great layout, and a great neighborhood.  But it’s got its issues too.  

The Beginning of Housewifery Misadventures

19 Mar

I have been a housewife for a grand total of 18 days.  The first week I spent most of it sick, but damn it if the house wasn’t presentable, the laundry done, and the majority of clutter removed from the guest bedroom by Friday.  I even worked out a little schedule that lists daily chores, weekly chores by day, monthly and quarterly chores to boot.

The-Housewife-May-1912

The second week I very nearly followed that list, getting most of the items checked off and feeling pretty good about it.  It was a damn busy week too.  I met with 4 different friends, popped up to Maine to visit my grandfather, and hosted dinner twice.

This week, I wanted to go strong again.  But, I had a dentist appointment that was supposed to be a cleaning that turned into the start of a root canal.  But while battling the pain and refusing Vicodin (because vomit), I still managed to host another dinner with help from the Hubs. Tomorrow the root canal and crown go in, so today I scrubbed down the bathroom, but I’m not sure I’ll be getting too much other stuff done.  I’ve been researching how terriers and rabbits get along (yuk yuk yuk) because some friends of friends found a lost terrier roaming the streets of Watertown.

Fun fact about terriers: they are bred to hunt rabbits.  I have a rabbit.  For kicks, I’m going to try to behavior modification therapy on a dog to train it to not bother my rabbit.

Yorkshire-terrier-puppy-toy-rabbit om nom nom nom

The dog is a really sweet guy, but oh boy did he get excited to see the bunny.  Bunny was not as pleased to see him.  Her heart rate was up, but she quickly figured out that the dog couldn’t reach her in the mansion.  She also came downstairs (her mansion is two stories) and nose-to-nosed the dog three separate times, but ran away each time.  The dog eventually stopped spazing near her cage, but still kept his little eye on her every time she moved.

The guys who found him can’t keep him.  They’ve called the lost and found dog hotline, posted an ad on craigslist, and they are keeping a look out for missing dog posters in their neighborhood.  This is probably going to be more like a foster situation, and if it really becomes impossible, then the MSPCA will have another dog on their hands.  I want to help, the sucker that I am, but my previous pets have to come first.

Speaking of previous pets, there is the cat to worry about too, but we have a lot of experience with getting her acclimated to new animals.  In that situation, we fear harm to the DOG.  She goes from sweetest cat in the world, to a murderous looney in one sniff of dog dander.  She goes for the eyes… it’s scary.  “Kitty Exile” has worked for us in the past, and she eventually gets used to the dogs that come around here often.

 

We’re just shaking things up.

 

March Madness?

14 Mar

I visited my grandfather yesterday, and they were really hoping I had news for them.  I didn’t, but this month I wasn’t too sad about it.

The Hubs and I have been battling colds, sore throats, and the deadly flu since I’ve been off the pill.  I nearly cried when my iPhone announced two weeks ago that I was entering my fertile window and my throat was so sore that I couldn’t talk.  At least, until I had an epiphany.

What was this revelation?  It’s March, and that would mean a December baby.  The Hubs is a December baby, and it royally sucked for him.  Granted, as an adult, he can get into any restaurant in Boston for his birthday without a reservation.  As a kid, though, no friends around to celebrate with, no in-school recognition, and presents doubled up as both Xmas and birthday.  Not that we want to raise a materialistic child, and I’ve planned enough toddler birthday parties to know how much stress that is, but I still don’t want to rock the December baby.  Especially since I hate Christmas with a passion.  As soon as my birthday around Thanksgiving comes, I start to get anxiety that doesn’t end until the new year.  The last thing I want is to be 38 weeks pregnant, or with a newborn and still be expected to shop, travel, and pretend to be happy that it’s Christmas.

It might be fine to take the next couple months off of the rigorous trying and move into “not preventing.”  A birthday that has weather warm enough that an outdoor party is a real possibility is a beautiful thing.  Removing the scheduled baby-making-sex might relax us a little too!

 

Then again, it is day 31 of my cycle and I have yet to see Aunt Flo…

Stress and Periods

16 Feb

I just spent the last hour writing a post that I can never actually attach to my name on the internet.  What it boils down to is that there is too much stress at work.  Probably because of that, I failed to conceive. I have no idea if I even ovulated because I have a batch of crappy Ovulation Predictor Kits.  With the stress though, I would not be surprised if I didn’t.

I also found that charting just sucks.  I stopped doing it half way through because in the first couple weeks my temperature was all over the place anyways.  At work I can’t test with the OPKs (which are to be done in the afternoon and evening, so I can only do it once a day) and I suspect that I’m one of those women whose cervical mucus has no real pattern (that I kept up with the whole cycle).  And on the regularity issue: Cycle 1 was 33 days and Cycle 2 was 29 days.  That’s a huge difference when you only ovulate 2 days of any cycle.  I’d have better luck playing darts blindfolded than guess when ovulation SHOULD occur, if it does at all.

All I can do is hope.  I take my vitamins, and hope that eventually I will get regular.  I can hope that in two weeks when I’m a housewife, I will find that less stressful than raising someone else’s children and that I might actually ovulate. I can hope that I might have natural conception and implantation of the zygote to the uterus.

All the snow has not helped my mood.  I wonder if this would bother me so much if it wasn’t the middle of winter.

Vitamins Arrived! Charting Achievement Unlocked!

24 Jan

Guys, guys, guys, guys, looooooookiiiiiitt!

photo (7)

 

Our vitamins arrived!  They make me very very queasy, but if I’ll have a regular period and/or a baby, I can handle it.  The funny thing is, about 8 months ago, I tested out a TON of prenatal vitamins to find some that wouldn’t make me vomit.  I experimented with times of day and with and without meals using probably about 5 or 6 different brands.  Which is a very expensive way to find a good vitamin.  I finally settled on Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite.  I have to take them with a snack around 11am.

And no, it’s not crazy that I was looking for vitamins before we had even started trying.  Doctors now recommend taking prenatals 6-12 months BEFORE you start trying.  Trying to get your folic acid stored up is apparently good not just for baby, but for helping mama avoid morning sickness as well.

I will take the Fertility Blend in lieu of the prenatals until I suspect that I’m pregnant.  All the lovely ingredients that help you get pregnant, are also very harmful to a new fetus.  Then again, so is Clomid, the medication fertility experts give women who are trying.  I’m not sure if I should stop taking them during the two week wait, or if it’s okay because the zygote isn’t attached in that time or not.  The instructions say “if you are or suspect you are pregnant stop taking Fertility Blend immediately.”  But you don’t suspect you are until your period is “late.” Right?

Now I have an all new routine I do everyday in order to chart.  When I realize I’m a little awake somewhere around 630-7, I feel around for the basal thermometer, and scribble my temperature down on a pocket calendar until a time when I can enter it down on the free charting software I found at fertilityfriend.com.  Your Basal Body Temperature (or BBT on mom forums) is your waking temperature in the morning.  This is taken before you move at all.  Your body temperature drops while you are asleep, except for when you enter the luteal phase of your cycle (the days right after you ovulate until you have your period) when it surges.  Doing this for a few months should give you a better idea of when you ovulate.

The second thing I do in the morning is pee.  This is only important if I’m missing my period.  The best time to take your pregnancy tests is first thing in the morning.  Morning urine has the highest concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is what the tests are looking for.  Now, if I’m in any other part of my cycle, I don’t worry about peeing on sticks (yet).  Instead, I get to root around in there and feel for my cervix.  The cervix gets low near menstruation and gets higher during ovulation.  Normally, the cervix feels hard like a nose, except during ovulation when it’s softer and feels more like lips.  It also opens up a little during ovulation, and again during menstruation.  After checking these three things, I then check the cervical mucus (CM or CF).  During ovulation, CM should look and feel like raw egg yolks and should stretch an inch or two between your fingers.  This type of fluid is like an inter-vaginal highway for sperm to reach the fallopian tube from outside the cervix.  BUT, not all women have this lovely stuff… hence there is the special (and extremely overpriced) sperm-safe lubricant Pre Seed.

My morning has only been 3 minutes long so far, but I already have 90% of my charting information ready to be plugged into the software.  Cervical mucus and basal body temperature are the primary signs that indicate ovulation, but you can also use other secondary things to guess your ovulation date.  One of the more indicators is to test for the Luteinizing Hormone (LH).  When you ovulate, your brain releases LH which then triggers estrogen, that then triggers follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).  All these hormones are basically indicating “mature egg on deck!” Your “LH surge” is the first sign that ovulation is occurring or about to occur.  You test for LH using ovulation predictor kits or OPKs.  These you dip in your pee once in the afternoon and once at night.

Who would have thought that bodily fluids could be so informative?

Other things can also be recorded from mood to energy levels (after ovulating, your body produces progesterone which makes you really really tired.  If you become pregnant, your progesterone level will remain high, keeping that BBT reading high as well, and your fatigue level can remain high until the second trimester.)  The website I’m using allows you to record things like increased sex drive, irritability, headache, etc, which I’m recording for the PMDD.  I have a new doctor, so having these charts available with recorded symptoms could be useful; especially if I have to prove to my health insurance that I’m not uninsurable, I just have hormonal imbalances because of  this very treatable and very inexpensive-to-treat condition.

At the end of the day, I record all these observations on the website, and it puts it all into a neat little graph.  Some women choose to share this on the site with other wannabe mamas (though it discretely removes the recorded intercourse section). It is nice to see that a majority of women don’t fall into a 28-day cycle.  In their online courses, the website claims that only 30% of women have the 28-day cycle, and can just knowingly have sex 14 days before their periods. The rest of us ladies need to chart.

I do like learning about my body a little more, and I feel like I SHOULD have known this stuff before.  It might have made life a little bit easier.

 

 

 

 

Normalcy Is Not For Me!

14 Jan

I am a non-conformist, right down to my lady parts.  In high school, I never knew when my period would appear, how long it would last, or just how bad it would be.  I would go MONTHS without it sometimes. Fortunately, I wasn’t sexually active, so there was no fear of becoming a teen mom.  But that fear absent, there was no motivation to help me to learn about my body and why it misbehaved so.

The moment my father put me on birth control was after I needed him to help me put on my socks and shoes before school in the morning for 3 months because I had this back pain so intense that I couldn’t touch my feet.  I didn’t know what I had done to myself.  I protested gym class all the time, I wasn’t an athlete, what the hell did I do?  Well, my period started and I was magically able to touch my toes again without even the slightest of aches.

The pill solved some of my physical complaints and regulated my cycle, but it wasn’t the cure-all.  In college, I thought the depression I had stemmed from having chosen a crappy school; that classes were what caused all my stress, and some of my less charming personality traits were born out of that stress.  I eventually found a magical doctor (magical in that he actually listened and was able to think outside the box) and he prescribed 10mg of Prozac daily.  Gone were my crying spells, my mood swings, my feelings of being a nutter.  After a couple of successful months of this low dose of the drug (people with depression are given 20+mg a day) he determined I had PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

Symptoms

The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS. However, they are generally more severe and debilitating and include a least one mood-related symptom. Symptoms occur during the week just before menstrual bleeding and usually improve within a few days after the period starts.

Five or more of the following symptoms must be present to diagnose PMDD, including one mood-related symptom:

  • Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Feeling out of control
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Mood swings marked by periods of teariness
  • Panic attack
  • Persistent irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating

I dutifully took my BC and my Prozac and became a functioning member of society.  I achieved balance, and was better equipped to handle stress and inconveniences.  It was amazing.  Gone were the days of temper tantrums that left me feeling guilty, ashamed, and out of control. I had the tools I needed to grow up.

 

zen_monk

 

Well, here we are, my first unmedicated cycle.  No more calming chemical improvements.  I am now subject to the whims of my disorder and prisoner to my uncontrolled mood swings. Things went well until right after ovulation. Then I had fatigue, I could have hibernated if I had the opportunity. The internet soothed by fears by telling me that my progesterone levels are increased and that’ll make a gal sleepy.  I figured that I didn’t recognize this because I had so rarely ovulated in the last decade.  But things continued to go down hill.  I speculated that since every member of the family I work for, and my own dear husband (DH on TTC boards) had H3N2, I was probably getting the killer flu as well.  I had headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, etc. I couldn’t function. I just didn’t have the high fever and chills.

As my period didn’t come and didn’t come and all the pregnancy tests I took were negative, I began to worry about the endless luteal phase of doom.  That would mean I would ovulate only 4 times a year.  The internet did nothing to mollify me this time.  Every page on irregular periods wants you to test for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (last year I had month-long periods from the Implanon so I had already had ultrasounds inside and out).  Pages would say things like:

it is very important to clear out the old blood and establish a healthy cycle again.

Derp.  This is my natural setting.  I don’t get “healthy” cycles. Without advice or consolation, I just waited for my period to come.  And waited and waited. By 230AM Sunday, I had experienced EVERY SYMPTOM on that list.  My poor poor husband.  I turned to facebook (complete with a TMI warning for family) and had an outpouring of support. My husband and I determined we would try specialized vitamins FertilityBlend which contains supplements that also improve regularity like Vitex and Dong Quai, as well as supplements to promote ovulation.

My stress faded and I got the first full night of sleep in days.  What would have been day 34 of my cycle, became day 1 when Aunt Flo decided to stop by after all. My hope is restored, as I could ovulate as many as 8 times this year (still not a good as 12 times a year, but a big improvement over 4), but I won’t know until I have a few more cycles.  It is time to learn about charting.