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Archive for the ‘When did I turn into this evil crazy woman???’ Category

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Last week, I met up with a bunch of Stirrup Queens (Mel, LJ, Murgdan, Barren, N, J… am I missing anyone?) for ice cream.  Since it fell on a Thursday, my typical day to get to see Barren, but also a day when I was feeling particularly antisocial, the lovely Ms. Barren convinced me that it would be good for me to get out and go hang out with these lovely ladies for the evening.  So hang out I did, and she was right, I had a lovely time, as I knew I would, antisocial status and all.  (Nothing against anyone else – I just get into my little funks and I have a hard time getting out of them and when I’m there, I get antisocial – don’t take it personally).

But after we finished ice cream and we were disbanding, I told Barren I’d drive her home (it’s not entirely altruistic, mind you, it’s a selfish way to get to spend quality 1-on-1 time with her, but don’t tell her that!  It can be our little secret, okay?).  But first she had to run over to the bookstore with me to pick up a book that my therapist wanted me to read called: Stop Walking on Eggshells which was located in the section on “Personality Disorders.”

While perusing the shelves in search of my book, I stopped short, because this is what we saw:

Infertility Personality Disorders

What I found particularly humorous was that there wasn’t just one fertility book there – that could have just been a filing error (but, um, hello?  That’s one HECK of a filing error!) – but there were two!  The Fertility Diet AND Taking Charge of Your Fertility!  (Now, admittedly, I so despise TCOYF that I think it kind of does belong in the “personality disorders” section… or at least maybe I belonged in the personality disorders section after having read it, but I’m sure that was a bit of an overreaction on my part. )

Well, I always knew we were a little bit crazy.  It’s all those hormones.  Or maybe just the waiting.  Or the stupid things people say to us.  Yes, I think it’s that last one.  Like, “Just relax” or “if you just stop thinking about it or adopt, you’ll get pregnant.”  Or “Have you tried propping your hips up?”

Yes, those things would give anyone a little bit of a personality disorder, don’t you think?

 

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Ever since I got pregnant with my babies, I have endured an endless parade of questions dancing around the “Are they natural?” question. Most people simply come right out and ask it. Some people say, “Do multiples run in your family?” Some people say, “Did you know you were having triplets?” Others say, “Did you do fertility?” or “Did you take those pills?”

Personally, I find all of these questions offensive (with the possible exception of whether multiples run in my family, which I mostly brush off). I believe that asking me any question about how my children were conceived is flat-out rude and is akin to asking me about my sex-life. How would someone feel if my response to “are they natural?” was, “Did you have sex to have your singleton?” I’m quite certain most people would be quite taken aback, as well they should be. It’s not a polite question to ask, is it?

So there’s a prominent family in our community, and their daughter just had triplets a month ago. I was called upon to help them in a variety of ways. Their daughter came down to stay with them for the holiday (and probably will stay for several weeks afterward). We had lunch with them last week and it was lovely and I got to hold and feed the triplets and, well, I was in heaven. I do so love babies. It helped remind me of why I’m going through all this crap. I mean, not to have THREE at once. But that snuggly little baby. Oh yes.

Anyway, I mentioned to another friend that I’d had lunch there and she said, “Oh! Did you get to see the triplets?” Of course I did. “So, um, do you know if… well, you know, we’re all speculating… though I guess we really shouldn’t be, but you’d know better than any of us, whether they were – “

I cut her off right there.

“I wouldn’t answer that question, even if I did know the answer to that question. It’s not anyone’s business.”

I should mention that the friend I was speaking with is pregnant right now, with twins. This is her fourth pregnancy, a spontaneous, surprise pregnancy, with her fourth and fifth children.

I explained that the question is completely inappropriate and, in my opinion, is akin to asking about someone’s sex life because it’s asking about the conception of one’s children. “No it’s not! It’s completely different! There’s nothing wrong with that question!” She insisted. Furthermore, she said, “People ask me all the time if I did fertility treatment to have my twins and it doesn’t bother me a bit!”

“That’s because you didn’t do fertility treatment.”
“That’s not true!”
“You did do fertility treatment?”
“No, I didn’t. But if I did, I wouldn’t mind people asking me.”

Yeah.

I wrote about her earlier, actually. When I’d first found out she was pregnant. I couldn’t find the post to link to it. But she’s one of the sweetest, most generous, most supportive people I know. But she’s also one of the most clueless people I know when it comes to this stuff. She never could understand why I was petrified throughout my HOM pregnancy despite the fact that she was there through the times I was in and out of the hospital for preterm labor and through all the monitoring and bed rest and scary stuff that happened to me. But when I got to the end and had healthy babies her answer was, “See? You had healthy babies just like I said you would, I told you you shouldn’t be so worried.”

Right.

Here’s the thing. If you acknowledge that you’re speculating about something behind somebody’s back. And you acknowledge that you probably shouldn’t be. And if you’re not willing to walk straight up to that person and simply ask them the question outright, then surely you must recognize and acknowledge that there is something indecent and inappropriate about the question in the first place, don’t you??

The family isn’t sharing the details, and it’s none of anyone’s business. I know that I’m a bit of an enigma because I don’t exactly hide the fact that we did fertility treatment to get our three. But you know? There wasn’t really any hiding it anyway. We went through five years and a foster son before having HOMs – I’m pretty sure everyone figured it out!!! They’re not as dumb as I’d like to think they are. So I don’t hide it. But neither do I bring it up as casual dinner conversation, either, unless I’m with fellow infertiles or people who “get it.” It’s not something I expect people to bring up by asking if my children are natural.

All babies are natural. There’s no such thing as a baby made out of space-age polymer.

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I’m going to say something that’s going to sound absolutely contrary to common sense. I do realize that I’m taking Lupron every day and that likely has something to do with my lack of sense right now and I probably shouldn’t be held responsible for my actions. Hell, being on Lupron should be reason enough to keep me away from a keyboard at all times, lest I do something stupid, like type something as nonesensical as I’m about to type. But, alas, if I kept myself away from the keyboard every time I was on Lupron, how would I fill the (virtual) pages of my blog? How would I keep my faithful readers on the edges of your seats?

No, I simply cannot stay away from the keyboard every time I’m shooting myself up with that G-dforsaken drug. That wouldn’t be fun for anyone, would it?

ANYWAY. On to my complete lack of logic.

I am petrified to get pregnant.

No, really! I am. I’ve had such a phenomenally crappy year that… I just… There’s this huge piece of me that just feels like it just couldn’t turn out well right now if I did get pregnant. But then again? Part of the crappiness this year has been the NOT getting pregnant and the canceled cycle, etc. So I dunno.

It’s really stupid, I know. But there’s also the fact that my two pregnancy experiences weren’t… great. The first one I bled for the entire first trimester and then miscarried a day into the second trimester. The second one was an HOM pregnancy in which I went into preterm labor at 17 weeks and spent most of the pregnancy petrified of losing all of the babies. I know that we’re doing everything right this time to avoid exactly that scenario, but there is good reason to believe I won’t necessarily have the easiest of pregnancies. You know, if I actually got pregnant in the first place, and if it lasted long enough to get to be crappy.

Sigh. I know that I’ll be ecstatic if I get pregnant and devastated if I don’t, so this is probably an exercise in frustration and futility. I don’t know why I’m even whining about it.

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I am such a nerd that I have created a separate twitter just for IF-related updates. My twitter username for said updates is, predictably, notaclowncar, so feel free to add me there if you wish (I haven’t changed it in the sidebar, and I have the clowncar twitters protected).

Anyway, I keep wanting to tweet IF related things, but I can’t because my chezperky twitter acct. is followed by too many real life friends and links to my facebook status… so… I made a separate account.

Because I’m a nerd.

But I’m a 21st century girl and I believe in taking full advantage of the Web 2.0 culture, so there you go!

Off to bed with me.

Oh, by the way, my cleaning lady? Or, ex-cleaning lady, I should say, left me a message saying she’d still like to clean my kitchen for Pesach (at no charge to me) this week. One thing she IS very good at is turning things over for Pesach. Tempting…

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So the good news is that I confirmed with my doctor that I am doing a 20-10 decrease on the Lupron once I start the stim protocol. My poor nurse. I made her check with him about 6 times. “But you’re sure he knows that last time I did 20-20, right?” “No, I mean, really sure because I think he thinks I did 20-5.” “Okay, but you’re absolutely certain that my record reflects 20-20, right?” “I mean, definitely he knows I did 20-20, and even though he said increase on the phone, he actually meant decrease, right? He *does* know what he’s doing, right? RIGHT?”

Um.

Not like I didn’t think SuperDoc knew what he was doing or anything.

I, um. I mean. Of course SuperDoc knows what he’s doing!

Um.

Ohmygod whatthehelliswrongwithme? When did I turn into *that* patient? I must be stopped. Hopefully they just think it’s the Lupron talking? Maybe they just think I’m a little knackered? A lot? Surely they *must* know these drugs make their patients crazy, we don’t all start out this way. Right?

The bad news is my head hurts. Shocker. Maybe when I decrease to 10units, life will be dandy again. I can dream, right?

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So last summer I went for my, uh, we’ll call it annual physical with my PCP. Yeah. Annual. That’s right. Something like that. And I was pronounced in good health, post delivery of HOMs. My weight was down significantly from my pre-pregnancy weight (though, of course, I could still stand to lose weight, my doctor was thrilled with the weight loss and never ever tells me I need to lose more – I love her), my cholesterol was down, my triglycerides were down, my blood pressure (as usual) was low, I’m not diabetic. The perfect picture of health.

So when she asked if I had any other questions, it would have been easy to just skip right on out of there and go on with my life… but something odd had been happening every month, like clockwork. Since delivering my babies, I’d been having a period every single month. As if that weren’t odd enough, for the 10-12 days before my period would arrive, I was … not myself. Raging lunatic would be a better way of putting it. Crying, depressed, incapable of coping with even the tiniest disruption in my expectations for the day. Screaming at my husband. Big, fat, rolling tears at every little thing. Sensitivity to every change in routine. This wasn’t a little PMS. This was PMS on crack.

Without even a little hesitation, my wonderful PCP diagnosed me with PMDD – premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Now, I’d never really noticed it before because except for the medication-induced periods, I’d had very few periods in my adult life. But you know? Come to think of it, before each treatment cycle began before I finally got pregnant? I did pretty much fall apart – screaming, fighting, rip-roaring angry for no good reason, crying at the drop of a hat, etc. All about 10-14 or so days before I’d go in for CD3 monitoring for each of my cycles. I always worried that my husband would say, “That’s IT, clearly this is all too much for you, we’re not doing any more of this crap, we’re DONE! because that would have just made everything that much worse!

Fortunately, I have the world’s most wonderful husband, who would never suggest such a thing and he just sits there and takes it. Mostly.

And here I am, a few days before I start Lupron. About a week before I’m going to get my period, and where am I? Crying. Screaming at him. Unable to cope, pretty much at all, with every little change in our projected schedule for today, and NOTHING worked out today the way I’d anticipated. Everyone melted down, including and especially me. Surprise! My old monster of a friend, PMDD. I’d forgotten about her. That dark monster who lives inside me. That black, gooey friend who seeps into every pore of my being and doesn’t let go until the last second.

I never did anything about it last summer because I was breastfeeding and usually you treat PMDD with SSRIs (e.g. Prozac) and Prozac and breastfeeding are… well, not necessarily incompatible, but not really great either. And then I stopped breastfeeding the same week I met with the Doc at the Hatchery, so it wasn’t really the best time to do anything about it then either. And then I started my IVF cycle, and that seemed like a really bad time to start it then, because what if I get pregnant? And really, if I get pregnant, problem solved anyway, because it’s really only those 10-12 days that I need anything regardless (many women with PMDD take SSRIs all the time because they can’t predict their cycles, but most take them only for the second half of their menstrual cycle). But then the cycle failed. But it’s on to the next one, right?

It’s a vicious cycle. How many cycles are going to fail before I do anything about this, do you think? I wonder what SuperDoc would say about me starting an SSRI. Will I have the cojones to ask him about it? Probably not.

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How do you feel NORMAL?

It was an important question. An innocent question, actually. Posed by a friend of mine over Shabbos dinner last week. It was my fault, really. I had told him that in any given IVF cycle, a woman could be on 10-12 (or more) different medications.

Just as an example, here’s what I took/take:
Doxycycline
Baby Aspirin
Birth Control Pills
Lupron
Follistim
Luveris
HCG Injection
Zithromax
Estrace
Prenatal Vitamin
Metformin
Progesterone in Oil Injections

Now, I didn’t list out my medications for him, but just at the sound of 10-12 (or more) medications, he was shocked. Visibly shaken. How do you feel NORMAL?

He immediately tried to retract the question, sensing, perhaps, that he may have stepped over a line into territory that was too sensitive. But, honestly? It was an honest question. It was an important question. And it deserved an honest answer.

The truth is, you don’t feel normal. Nothing about this process is normal. And nothing subsequent to this process is normal. A friend of mine who has four children, including a set of 3 year old IVF twin girls is still so completely traumatized by her IVF experience that she can barely remember any of it – she has so completely blocked it out of her mind. She herself is a physician, and so had a deep understanding of the clinical aspects of the process, and yet she has retained nothing of her one IVF cycle because being forced through this emotionally draining experience was too much for her to process. And, in fact, it was the sheer number of medications that pushed her over the edge of sanity with the whole experience. To her, it was taking someone who was, on the surface, a completely healthy human being (save slightly elevated cholesterol in her case), who took no medications in her life and suddenly handing them this enormous box of medication that would become their life for the next month. That aspect alone was so life-changing for her that it seems that she will never be the same, and possibly will never be over the bitterness of the experience.

I, for one, am fascinated by this, as I’ve always been a person who has to take a handful of pills before I go to bed at night, so the boxes full of medication don’t bother me a bit. That being said, there’s nothing normal about giving yourself injections three times a day. There’s nothing normal about any of this, of course. There’s nothing normal about going in for ultrasounds every three days, or every other day, or in some cases (like mine) every day by the end. There’s nothing normal about all the bruises we end up with all over our bodies. On our arms from the blood draws. In our hands from the IVs from the egg retrieval anesthesia. In our stomachs from the subcutaneous injections. In our buttocks from the PIO injections. There’s nothing normal about any of this, is there? How could we possibly feel normal?

Nevermind any of that, he said, if you’re taking all of those medications, sooner or later the side effects have to add up! That’s for darned sure. The debilitating headaches. The hotflashes. The exhaustion. The snippiness. The crankiness. The nausea. The headaches. The weight gain. The weight loss. The headaches. The weepiness. The mood swings. The headaches (have I mentioned how much I hate lupron?). You’re right, my friend, we don’t feel normal. We feel like shit.

And yet, we are expected to lead our normal lives. We are expected to lead our normal lives without letting on to the world that there is anything at all out of the ordinary going on in this very private aspect of our lives. We are expected to sit quietly hoping and praying for a miracle. We go to work each day. We come home each night. We shower, we get dressed, we socialize (if we can). If we already have children, we still have to tend to them, run their carpools, help them with their homework, take care of their appointments, get them to soccer. We are expected to sit at baby showers and smile as if they don’t bother us. We are expected to ooh and aaah at other people’s pregnancy bumps. We are expected to be normal, functioning members of society with all of these hormones injected into us – side effects and all.

Yet, we cannot lead our normal lives. This week alone, I’ve had to cancel three meetings and two lunch dates. Last week I had to keep three people on call for Shabbos to have things arranged so that I had adequate child care and halachically appropriate arrangements for me to go to the clinic should I have to go for retrieval on Shabbos (I did have to go on Shabbos). Things change at the drop of a hat. I had only 48 hours notice to make my arrangements for retrieval on shabbos – a complex set of arrangements to make – and that included moving my entire work schedule around on Friday so that I could go into the office in order to sign all my consent forms ahead of time, since I wouldn’t be able to sign anything on Saturday. This week, I was supposed to have Transfer on Thursday. Then Tuesday. Then Thursday. But maybe Friday. Who knows!

We can’t schedule vacations. Heck, I can’t even schedule lunch with my friend L who wants to take me out for my birthday which was last week.

So, no, my friend, we don’t, and can’t, feel normal. But I thank you for your very honest, and very important, question.

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Okay, Really? Is all this emotion really necessary? Like the estrogen in the BCPs wasn’t bad enough? I cried all day Monday, Tuesday, and most of Wednesday. My nurse pretty much said I could blame that on the estrogren in the pill. Whee! Hopefully, she said, things would be better on Lupron. I started Lupron Wednesday. Now, honestly? I don’t feel any different on the Lupron (not so much with the crying, though, which is good). I feel completely normal. But my husband sure can’t stop screwing up. And can it seriously ALL be him? (I mean, sure, it COULD be – but since he’s a damn near PERFECT husband most of the time, I am going to pretend for ONE second that maybe, JUST maybe this could be the Lupron talking here – okay, now I’m done giving him any slack, yeah, it’s all him and he’s just a big old poopy head).

Anyway, we’ve been fighting since Thursday. And I will say, he started it and it was all his fault that we started fighting. But honest to murgatroid, in the six+ years that we’ve been married we have never had a fight that’s lasted this long. Ever. I am quick to anger, but VERY quick to get over it (he’s the opposite of me – very, very slow to anger, but takes a while to cool down). Now, he did say something to me that crossed a line, but the fact that I’m still not over it is a little ridiculous. And I’m sitting here telling myself to get the eff over it and yet? Not over it.

And hey, remember how I said I don’t feel any different on the Lupron? I totally lied. I’ve got this ridiculous headache that won’t go away. It’s not a migraine. Migraines I can handle. It’s this dumb sharp pain that … I don’t even know how to describe it. It feels like it’s slicing diagonally through my head. I don’t like it. Probably that is not helping my mood either.

I do not like being cross.

I do not like being whiny.

I do not like being so damn irritable and irrational.

I do not like that I can’t just talk myself out of this one.

For the love of ALL that is holy, when is this going to stop?? Those of you who’ve been through an IVF cycle before… please clue me in. (Note that when I start stims, my Lupron dose will not be going down… it’s staying at 20 units, but I’m not sure for how long… and then, of course, night of egg retrieval, I start estrace, so MORE ESTROGEN YAY!, and oh boy won’t those PIO injections be fun??)

Hey, imagine if I’m still screaming at my husband when I have to start trusting him to be jabbing me with a 1 1/2 inch 22 guage needle in the ass? Oh yeah. I think I’d better go make nice with him. NOW.

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