Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dizzy spells

Hello everyone! I thoroughly enjoyed my recent three day weekend and am just now getting back on track with the online world. We did a lot of yard work (Good-bye weeds, hello new perennials!) and spent some time with my hubby's family over the holiday weekend. I did also get active - we went for a three hour walk on Saturday on some nearby trails. I loved being able to spend so much time outside for three straight days. It was a glorious treat for this office job gal.

Towards the end of the weekend I started feeling really dizzy and lightheaded. Monday morning the hubby and I did some weeding in our flower beds and I started to feel really ill. Every time I stood up or bent over I felt like I was going to pass out. The feeling gradually dissipated as the day went on and by the afternoon I was out in the yard digging holes for our new flowers. Yesterday morning the dizziness returned. It took me forever to get ready for work because I kept having to take a break to sit down. Unfortunately, the feeling stuck with me all day yesterday and is still with me now. I've also had some nausea, which I think is totally understandable considering that my center of gravity is all out of whack.

So, the infertile part of me is getting excited. Nausea? dizziness? Well, that must be an early pregnancy sign, right?!

However, the logical part of me thinks that I'm having a bout of vertigo. A couple of years ago we vacationed in Hawaii. After the return flight home I started to feel very strange - dizzy and lightheaded for no apparent reason. I went to the doctor and she said I had a slight case of vertigo. The long plane ride had most likely wrecked havoc upon my inner ear, making me feel slightly off-kilter. She said the feeling should subside after a week or two and it did. I've experienced this a couple times since - after more plane travel and after I had a nasty head cold. My theory is that this new bout has been brought on by seasonal allergies.

I'm not really keen on going to the doctor just yet because most likely they will tell me that my symptoms will gradually go away on their own and I will leave feeling like I just wasted my time. So for now I'm going to monitor it and perhaps go in if I don't feel better by next week.

Do I want this to be an early pregnancy sign? You bet I do! However, it would have to be a super-duper early sign since I just ovulated last week. I'm trying not to read too much into this but that's pretty much impossible for an infertile woman going through her two week wait. In the immortal words of Frank Costanza - "Serenity now!!!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Motivation needed!

Exercise - something I should do more of, but something I rarely feel the inclination to do. Up until my mid 20's I was blessed with a superb metabolism. My natural body build is tall and slim and I've managed to maintain this physique with little effort. In high school and college I ate horribly. I was a busy student so I ate all the convenience foods I could get my hands on, plus a healthy dose of sugar to satiate my sweet tooth. I don't even want to think about how much soda I consumed in my youth. My parents had a special refrigerator set aside for soda and beer, so there was always a large stock of orange soda ready for my consumption. Nowadays I rarely feel the need to drink soda. I may splurge every once in awhile (there's something about eating a bowl of popcorn that just begs for a companionable soda), but I mostly drink water now. I'm kind of a water fiend. I'm constantly walking back and forth from my desk to the water cooler. 

But anyway, back to the topic at hand... exercise and my utter lack of motivation. I have little to no athletic skill so sports have always been a mystery to me. I don't want to think about following a ball around a field or a tennis court, I just want to be active. I do enjoy swimming, walking, hiking and biking (I loathe running), but I can never seem to create and stick to an exercise schedule. I'm not a morning person, I work all day, and my evenings are either dedicated to whatever community theater show I'm in, family engagements or a plethora of household chores. So, what do you busy ladies do to stay on track? I could really use some pointers - and maybe a good kick in the butt. 

I'm really starting to feel like a sloth and I know my metabolism is starting to slow down. I've stopped weighing myself because the number just keeps going up (and my clothes keep getting tighter). For awhile my excuse was that I would be pregnant soon so what was the point of getting into shape first? I've got to stop living my life that way because who knows if I'll ever be pregnant. A fantasy is not a good excuse to let my body go. I don't need to be super buff but I'd like to at least be able to bike a few miles without getting winded, and perhaps see my waist line decrease (the muffin top look is really not doing it for me). 

Okay, here goes. This is me officially kicking myself to get moving! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Baking making the natural way

I feel like I have nothing to write about these days. The emotional upheaval of early May is complete and my life has, for the most part, returned to a calm state. However, I am frustrated by a couple things. Mostly, by my seemingly obstinate ovaries. I don't chart my cycles by temp - mostly because I lack the discipline to stick a thermometer in my mouth at the exact same time every day. I've never been one to follow such rigid schedules so my doctor suggested that I use ovulation predictor tests (OPT's) instead. Thus, midway through my cycle I begin the pee stick extravaganza. I'm currently on day 21 of my cycle and have yet to see a positive OPT. The test line looked darker today - much darker than it had the previous days - so perhaps my ovaries are doing something.  

After being on Lupron for six months my doctor suggested that we try naturally for a couple cycles. I have to admit that I've enjoyed this nice little reprieve from being medicated, but I'm also anxious to see some results. Let's get this show on the road! This lady wants to get knocked up, pronto!

My cycles tend to be long so I'm not too worried (yet) about my late ovulation. However, if nothing happens this cycle you better believe that I'll be on the phone to my doctor's office right way. Maybe it's time to be reunited with my old friend, Clomid. Or perhaps it's time to move on to greener (a.k.a. more expensive) pastures. 

But for now we're doing this au naturale. Hopefully our little bedroom guests will give us the mojo we need to complete the deal. I'm looking for a miracle any way I can get it. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I'm amazed at how free I feel now that May 10th and Mother's Day have passed. Gone are the sad reminders of my motherless, childless state. The usual infertile anxiety remains but I can deal with that. I'm very practiced at the monthly rollercoaster of TTC. I just can't tolerate the gooeyness surrounding Mother's Day. 

Below is a picture of me frolicking on the Oregon coast in my younger days. It was shortly after my wedding and I had gone to visit a friend. I was so carefree and blissfully unaware of the trials I would soon face. I know I can't go back to being that girl, but a part of her will always remain in my heart. This August I will return to Oregon to visit my friend. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I had a reason for another celebratory dance on the beach?

Monday, May 14, 2012

The annual hibernation of the Infertile Ann

The Infertile Ann is a rare breed that resides in a suburban area of the Midwest. Her habitat is a three bedroom, ranch-style home situated on a half acre lot. She keeps the interior of her home semi-clean and orderly and occasionally attempts to tame the weeds that tenaciously invade her flower beds. Her diet consists mainly of grains, chicken, beef, vegetables, berries, yogurt and chocolate. She does not like hunting and gathering and usually sends her mate to the grocery store to buy sustenance for their household. Her mating habits include obsessively charting her cycle, scheduling intercourse with her mate on her most fertile days and spending the remaining days of her cycle googling perceived early pregnancy symptoms. She has never once reached her goal of pregnancy but she still labors on with a silly sense of hope.

She ventures out of the house every weekday to spend about eight hours staring at a computer screen at her office job. This job provides monetary support for herself and her mate, which they usually spend on cell phone bills, restaurant dinners and clothing. Her activities outside of the office include hiking, singing, watching movies, reading books and volunteering for various community organizations. The infertile Ann is a contradictory animal - she enjoys socializing with other animals but she also craves moments of solitude within her home habitat (affectionately referred to as her cave).

She frequently opts to hibernate in her cave on the second weekend of May, when the majority of her species celebrates the state of motherhood. The Infertile Ann will sleep long hours, stay in her pajamas for a majority of the day and spend sporadic moments crying about her inability to breed offspring and the absence of a mother in her life. She will avoid all forms of social media and TV commercials in an effort to decrease her exposure to the motherhood celebration. She will venture out to buy a card for her mate's mother but will stubbornly refuse to read anything but the humorous cards. The Infertile Ann abhors sappy messages relating to the joys of having and being a mother. 

Once the dreaded second weekend of May is done the Infertile Ann will rise with her alarm, perform her usual grooming techniques and emerge from her cave. She will tentatively begin to search social media outlets in an effort to reconnect with those she has ignored for the past week. Her mood may gradually improve now that the persistent reminders of the motherhood celebration are gone. In fact, she will feel like a huge weight has been lifted from her shoulders now that her species is done focusing on motherhood... and she will thankfully stop wasting so many beautiful days inside her cave. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekend fever!

My snuggle buddy
My recent posts have been so gloomy, I think it's time to lighten the mood. Firstly, I am thankful that it's Friday! I'm looking forward to sleeping in and savoring a nice cup of tea tomorrow morning. I could have slept much longer this morning but my pesky alarm kept going off, reminding me that I had one more work day to get through before my two days of freedom. We slept with the window open last night and it got quite chilly, which means we were all comfortable under the coziness of our down comforter. Our dog usually sleeps on top of the covers but she snuggled up right next to me last night. I love snuggling with her, it's like having a little heating pad next to me all night.

Lovelies from my husband
Yesterday my wonderful husband sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to my office. I was so touched by his gesture because he's usually quite forgetful when it comes to important dates. It means a lot to me that he remembered what yesterday meant to me. What a sweetheart, I think I'll keep him!

I really don't have any big plans this weekend and I am completely satisfied with that. I hope to visit a greenhouse to buy some flowers (I like to plant something in my mom's memory around Mother's Day), get caught up on laundry and housework, take advantage of my gigantic rhubarb plant and bake a pie, watch more Mad Men, and get some packing done at my dad's house. I suppose we'll also plan something to do with my mother-in-law on Mother's Day. I know that I'll feel a bit sad on that day but I also want to spend time celebrating the lovely woman who brought my husband into the world. 

I'm sending virtual hugs to you all as you get through the weekend. I wish you strength and hope no matter what you're battling with right now, whether it be Mother's Day or some other hurdle. And for those of you infertiles who have reached the realm of motherhood - I wish you the very best day! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I loved her

Today is a sad day for me - it's been four years since my mom graced this earth. Hard to believe that it's been that long already. I still have moments where I almost pick up the phone to call her. I wonder if those moments will ever go away. 

I thought I'd list some of the things that I really loved about her:
  • Her laugh was kind of ridiculous. When she really got going you could hear her from a mile away.
  • She cried at everything... except my wedding. She surprised my husband and I at our wedding with a video collage of childhood pictures. She said she got all her crying out of the way while she worked on the collage so she wouldn't have to shed any tears on our happy wedding day.
  • She had a very active imagination. She made up silly stories for my siblings and I when we were young involving elaborate characters and adventures.
  • She loved to scrapbook (and I don't). She surprised my husband and I on our one year wedding anniversary with a scrapbook of our wedding day. I love this book - it's full of her personal touches (pictures she took, insights she had, funny stories). This would be the first thing I would grab if our house ever started on fire. 
  • She always sang to herself as she putzed around the house.
  • Her dog voice - She pretended to speak for the dog and used a special voice whenever the dog wanted to "say" something.
  • Her filing system - I recently discovered that she had a file of information for each of her children and grandchildren. She kept old artwork, piano recital programs, newspaper clippings... the usual mom keepsakes. I was really touched when I noticed that she printed and filed every email that I wrote to her during my semester abroad in Ireland. I have long since deleted all that correspondence but she recognized that it was an important moment in my life and I should have a copy of it. What an awesome gift!
  • She had a mischievous and goofy sense of humor. As a child I thought she was hilarious... as a teenager I thought she was embarrassing (stupid teen angst!) 
  • Her relationship with Santa's elves - she loved Christmas and spent the whole year looking for stocking stuffers for all us (including my siblings and I, our spouses, grandkids and family pets). There were so many stockings to fill that she made a deal with Santa's elves - they could come collect the stockings a week early to give Santa time to fill them. She started this tradition when I was a child in order to give herself more time on Christmas Eve. I thought it was so magical when the stockings suddenly disappeared... it definitely intensified my excitement for Christmas morning. 
  • She was an amazing grandma. Not only did she spoil the kids with gifts, she also showered them with attention. I've seen a lot of grandparents try to win their grandkids affection with gifts - she earned the love of my nieces and nephews by being a huge part of their lives. 
  • She wasn't afraid to try anything new. As a middle-aged woman she decided to start taking piano and harp lessons, because it was something she had always wanted to do. She also loved trying new foods... I don't think I ever saw her turn anything down. She and my dad traveled quite a bit and she loved talking about the foods they encountered. 
  • The long talks we had. We would sit and talk forever about anything and everything. I think it drove my dad crazy because he wanted to be "in" on whatever we were talking about (because he's a nosy kind of guy) but whenever he stuck his nose in the room we would say we were talking about "girl stuff" and he would hightail it out of there. Heaven forbid he overhear something about my period or see us crying about something emotional! 
  • Her big bear hugs. She would totally envelope you and you could feel all her love pouring into you.
  • She was a nurturer and she loved to help things grow - this pertained to both children and plants. When she wasn't busy mothering us she loved to unwind in the garden.
I could probably go on and on. She was the kindest woman I have ever known and I'm so proud to say that I am her daughter. Today is difficult as I think about how suddenly she was taken from us. I wasn't ready to see her go! Both of my grandmas lived well into their 90's so I guess I always assumed that my mom would live a long life. 

Shortly after her death I tried to console myself with a bit of retail therapy. I went to her favorite store and purchased a wall hanging that contained a quote by Abraham Lincoln - "It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." So true - my mom didn't live an overly long life but she certainly packed a lot of life into her years. 

A precious gift - her scrapbook of my wedding

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So glad that I live in 2012

I've recently started watching the AMC series, Mad Men. Thanks to our lovely Netflix account I've been able to start from the beginning and slowly move my way through each season. (I just finished season two last night). Watching the characters go about their lives in 1960's America has made me feel very grateful for how much our society has evolved since then. I know there's still room for improvement but watching these emotionally repressed characters deal (or rather not deal) with heavy life issues really showcases how more open-minded we are in 2012.

One of the characters (picture-perfect housewife Betty) struggles to deal with her mother's death and her husband's infidelities. He flat out tells her that he doesn't want to hear about her grief over her mother. She is expected to provide a stress free home for him to unwind in at the end of the day (after he's done drinking at the office and fooling around with random ladies). Wow, poor Betty! In contrast, my husband has seen me display numerous emotional melt-downs and has always been there to listen and offer emotional support. We work together to keep our home (semi) clean and he never comes home smelling like liquor and perfume.

Another character (newlywed Trudy) struggles with infertility. She faces pressure from her parents to provide a grandchild and pressure from her husband to "stop worrying so much." She also is expected to provide her husband with a perfect home...and a perfect marriage. He doesn't want to hear about how much their infertility pains her, he expects her to keep "her issues" to herself. He does agree to see a doctor and openly gloats when his sperm analysis comes back normal (insensitive jerk!). Trudy gets excited about the possibility of adopting but he puts his foot down that he will not raise a stranger's baby (mega jerk!). Again, I am floored by the contrast to my own husband, who has been incredibly supportive throughout our whole ordeal.

My mom once told me that it was unusual that she and my dad didn't have children right away. They were married in 1965 and didn't become parents until 1968. She said at that time most people had children immediately after getting married, but she and my dad chose not to. She never really expounded upon that fact and I was fairly young when she mentioned this to me so I never delved any deeper. I really wish I had.

I've mentioned to my dad that I'm having trouble conceiving and he said my mom did as well. According to him she had PCOS and she "popped some pills" and a few months later a set of twins came along. I've mentioned this to my doctor and they have ruled out PCOS in my case, but I find it very interesting that my mom and I shared this infertility experience. I know that she had no trouble conceiving her next child (my brother was a bit of a surprise) and thereafter she went on the pill. I was mistakenly conceived many years later...I'm living proof that antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of the pill. :)

I wish my dad knew more details, but he's from a generation that didn't concern themselves much with "women's issues." Once again, I am so thankful for my husband, who actually knows what's going on with me. I also wish my mom and I had had a chance to compare notes. It must have been so difficult to deal with infertility in the 1960's. Judging by Trudy's fictitious experience and my mom's reluctance to talk openly about her real life experience, infertility support has really come a long way. I know it's still a very private issue for most couples and still carries some stigma, but it seems that there are more avenues for support nowadays. Books, blogs, support groups - we're so lucky to have access to these. I'm sure infertile women of past generations would have greatly benefited from contact with each other. I relish the opportunities that I have to communicate with my infertile friends (both online and in person). I honestly don't know how I would cope if I didn't have an outlet for my frustrations. 

I'm so thankful that I don't have to suffer in silence! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Letting it all out

My emotions have been all over the spectrum lately.
  • Happiness - Spring is in the air! 
  • Sadness - May 10th will be the 4th anniversary of my mom's death.
  • Hope (my sometimes friend, sometimes nemesis) - Maybe, just maybe, this cycle will work and I'll be pregnant by Mother's Day.
  • Despair - Damn! My period has come and all hope is dashed.
  • Frustration - My dad is being very unhelpful about the house cleaning project. He seems to think that his kids will take care of everything for him and he shouldn't have to lift a finger to clean out the house HE owns. 
  • Gratitude - For my amazing husband who has listened to all my rantings, hugged me as I cried and helped me find the energy to begin packing up my family's past. 
Towards the end of the workday on Friday afternoon all my emotions bubbled over. To my horror, I was unable to hold my tears back. I did my best to hold myself together enough to rush out of the office to my car so I could unleash the total meltdown in private. My husband had people at our house so I drove to my parent's empty house, sat in the back yard (because I didn't have the house key on me) and sobbed uncontrollably. I felt like a total wreck. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I stop dwelling on my problems and concentrate on the good things in my life instead? 

But you know what? It felt really damn good to acknowledge that there are things wrong in my life and it's okay for me to divulge in a little self pity. I've been so caught up in keeping myself distracted from my problems that I've actually been doing myself a disservice. Brushing my feelings under the carpet has only harmed my emotional state. That's why everything bubbled over on Friday - my emotions were tired of taking a backseat to my busy life. They wanted recognition too! 

So, now I vow to put myself first, especially as I get through the next week. I will not feel bad for giving myself the time I need to process the pain I feel as I continue to struggle with my infertility, my strained relationship with my dad and my grief over losing my mom. I hereby declare this Ann Week! Happy or sad, I will wear my emotions on my sleeve and stop hiding them from the world. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hello Mr. Heating Pad

Well, I was right. My period decided to grace me with its presence today. I know I said in my last post that I wasn't feeling very optimistic about this cycle but I have to admit there was a part of me that was hopeful. It was there in the back of my mind and kept inching it's way forward. 

As luck would have it, I have a fairly busy afternoon and evening lined up. I really hope the Tylenol I took will kick in so these pesky cramps will subside. Right now I am sitting at my desk at work dreaming of my heating pad and the comfy chair in my living room (known to us as "the napping chair" because I tend to take lots of accidental naps while lounging there). I hope I will have a little chance to unwind there between work and my evening obligations. Even just fifteen minutes with that cozy heating pad would suffice. 

Sigh, I guess I should get my head out of the clouds and continue on with my day. I'm also planning a nice sob fest when I finally have a moment to myself. That hopeful part of me is feeling really crappy right now and I want to award her a moment to grieve the loss of another month without a pregnancy. I think she would also like some chocolate...and some wine...and definitely some time with Mr. Heating Pad.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I hate May

I hate May. There's too many sad memories in May. May is the last time I saw my mom alive (I can't remember if I hugged her good-bye or not and I hate that I can't remember). May is when she was snatched from my life. May is when we planned her funeral. May is when I saw her laid out in a casket (I really hate this memory). May is when I cried more tears than I ever thought humanly possible.

May also holds Mother's Day in the U.S. What a loathsome holiday. People should appreciate their moms every day, not just on a commercialized holiday (Hindsight is 20/20 - I really wish I had followed this creed when my mom was still alive). Mother's Day is a horrible slap in the face for a motherless daughter and for an infertile... it's a double whammy for my poor soul. It's a constant reminder of all I have lost and all I have yet to achieve. 

This May I have decided to stay away from Facebook, TV commercials and the greeting card aisle until Mother's Day has passed. Sure, I'll still be exposed to other reminders and advertisements (They're so persistent that it's hard to miss them), but I can at least try to limit the amount that I see. I do not need to let myself get sucked in the abyss.

Easier said than done. May will still be hard, but I'll get through it one way or another. It doesn't help that I'm also nearing the end of my cycle. I'm anticipating another BFN before next week hits - I'm anticipating it because hoping for a positive is too scary. I can't let myself hope too much, not this month when my spirits will already be dangerously low. (Sorry ladies, I probably won't be much of an optimist for the next couple weeks.)

Hurry up, May. Let's get this over with!

Thank you!

I received a pleasant little surprise yesterday - this lovely award. I still consider myself new to the blogging world so I am very honored to receive this award from Elizabeth at Bébé Suisse. Elizabeth is a talented writer and I always enjoy reading her insights on dealing with life after a miscarriage, infertility and living an expat life in Switzerland. Some of her posts are so haunting and lovely that I find myself crying along with her, however she still retains a sense of humor in her other posts that I totally dig. Plus, I really enjoy living vicariously through her Swiss adventures.

So, Elizabeth, thank you so much for honoring me with this award. I'm so glad that you find something meaningful in my little ramblings. Thank you also to my other readers and commentators. I love how much support I've found through my blog and reading your blogs. It's an amazing community we have here!

Here are the steps to follow after receiving this award:
  • Share who gave it to you with a link back to their blog. (See above)
  • Write down seven random facts about yourself.
  • Give this award to fifteen other bloggers.
  • Let them know they've won.
  • Pop the award on your blog.

Okay, here goes.... 7 random facts about me: 

  1. I prefer tea over coffee.
  2. I am not a morning person or a night owl. I need a lot of sleep to feel like a normal human being. 
  3. Braveheart used to be my favorite movie until Mel Gibson turned into such a prick. Wait, who am I kidding? I still love the movie, but I now think Mel Gibson is a prick. 
  4. For Halloween my husband and I dressed up as Han Solo and Princess Leia. He was Leia and I was Han.
  5. My family is obsessed with dachshunds and every summer we have a wiener dog race with the family dogs. 
  6. I'm a fairly reserved person but I love to perform. My outlets include community theater and singing with various local choirs. 
  7. I hate shopping malls. Too crowded, too many stores - it's sensory overload for me. I'd rather make a quick stop at a small, locally-owned store and call it a day.
Next up... Giving this award to 15 other bloggers. Well, like I said above, I still consider myself new to blogging so I'm still building my reading list. Here are a few that I enjoy. I noticed that some of my other favorites have already received this award. Bravo! I am surrounded in this virtual world by so many talented and supportive ladies. I love it!

Now I'm off to work on the next two steps. I hope you ladies are all having a fabulous day!