Exhausted

To say this week was taxing would be a huge understatement.

Let’s back up to late last week. I got my genetic testing results. I’m a carrier for a random-yet-fatal disease. Unless DH is also a carrier we have around a 1% chance of having a kid with the disease. In the United States, there are less than 400 people who have it. The test suggested that DH get a genetic test as well but we may hold off due to how rare the disease is and the expense of the test. Other fun fact: carriers have an increased risk of colon cancer so I have that to look forward to. Friday, I got my blood drawn so I could get my progesterone levels checked. I found out during my appointment that my doctor was on vacation this week and the next appointment wouldn’t be until early July. I was crestfallen that we have to wait even longer to see what the hell was going on. At least I didn’t need wait for my doctor for the genetic test results.

This week has been absolutely exhausting. It’s been extremely busy at work and I’ve been coming home and napping almost every day. It sucks because I have zero energy to work out or even go out. Tuesday DH and I met up with friends and that was a bit of a struggle because I was tired even after a nap. We had a great time but I would up going to bed pretty early. Yesterday we had a dinner to go to but I ended up sleeping for almost 2 hours after work and could barely keep my eyes open for the rest of the night.

I guess I should have realized that the fatigue was a sign that my period was on its way. It started today and initially I was okay with it. However, a friend who I work with stopped by my office today to discuss her own infertility issues. We’ve shared our difficulties with each other before and she had questions about getting a HSG and the saline sonogram. I recounted my terrible experience with the HSG and worse one with the sonogram. It was challenging to talk about it and I started thinking about how last year I was hugely disappointed that I got my period right before Father’s Day. Last year I wanted to surprise my dad with the news that he would be a grandfather again and was devastated when my period came. With Father’s Day in a couple of days, I was kind of hoping that I would be able to do it this year but I’m honestly devastated. It’s been almost 3 years of uncertainty, tests, ineffective medicines, and disappointment. Talking to my friend today, she spoke of another friend who was going through IVF and my friend said she and her husband were considering it. IVF is off the table for us because of the expense, even after insurance. I just wish that my infertility wasn’t at the point that invasive treatments like are on the radar.

Days 9 and 10

Day 9:

Breakfast was a breakfast burrito, same as before. DH took half a day to go with me to my reproductive specialist appointment (more on that in a second) so he brought me lunch for a locally well-known sandwich shop. It came with a soda and bag of chips, so I ended up having the soda, chips, and 2/3 of the sandwich. For dinner, I had the remainder of my sandwich and a cupcake we picked up while getting groceries. Thanks to that heavy sandwich I didn’t have much of an appetite for the rest of the day and was under my calories.

Day 10:

Today was annoying. I had to go to a follow up appointment (again, more on that in a second) in which I had to fast. I brought a quick breakfast to work that consisted of an everything bagel and homemade hummus. Lunch was another turkey burger on a thin sandwich bun and a bit of barbecue sauce, and I had a handful of mixed nuts for an afternoon snack. Dinner was a stuffed mushroom with sauteed spinach, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce. Exciting stuff. I haven’t totaled my calories yet but hopefully I’m on target.

***

I had my consultation appointment with my new reproductive specialist yesterday. DH came with me and spent most of the appointment answering a zillion questions. I still hate being asked about if I’ve ever been pregnant and when the nurse asked how long we’ve been trying, I realized that it’s been about 31 months. I felt a bit deflated after that. Anyway, I’m not a fan of my doctor, especially since he started dictating my case right in front of us. Rude. He performed a pelvic exam and said everything looked good but I needed to come back today for blood work and a transvaginal ultrasound. In addition to checking my hormone levels, they’re performing genetic testing to see if that’s why I haven’t conceived yet. I have to go back yet again in 3 weeks to get my progesterone checked. The ultrasound was really uncomfortable because my left ovary wasn’t visible. All of this is a pain in the ass but I’m hoping it’s worth it.

Well, Then

So I think this blog is going to shift more towards health and fitness stuff versus baby things.

I’m just over it. I had to basically harass my doctor’s office for a referral to a reproductive specialist since they couldn’t be bothered to do it. It’s unfortunate because my doctor is wonderful, but the front staff is incompetent.

The referral is now sitting about a foot away from me but I haven’t called to schedule an appointment. Not sure I’ll follow up with the referral because I don’t know if it’d be worth going through the poking and prodding again for nothing. My doctor’s words still ring in my ears; if after 2 rounds of Clomid nothing happens, then the odds are getting pregnant are greatly reduced. Pregnancy odds are already small; I think they peak at 30-35%.  Anyway, I haven’t talked to DH yet about the referral. He’ll support whatever I decide to do but I know how much he wants to be a father. I guess at the very minimum I’ll schedule a consult. But after our upcoming vacation.

Speaking of vacation, we’ll be gone in for about a week soon. I’m pretty excited because it gives me something to look forward to and it feels like DH and I need to physically get out of town for us to not over-schedule ourselves. In the mean time, I was hoping to lose about 10 pounds prior. It’s not impossible, but it’ll be more of an uphill climb since I lost about a week of exercise due to my period (fatigue, back pain) and side effects from my allergy meds (increased back pain). I got back into the swing of things this week though and ran a 5k (on a treadmill! -first time!) by accident. How did that happen, you ask? Well, I figured out a new strategy to keep me going while running on the treadmill. When listening to music, I go slower during the verses, increase speed during the bridge, and full tilt during the chorus. When I was about ready to finish running, I noticed that I was only 3/4 of a kilometer from a full 5k. That was the first time I had run since the 5k and I actually beat my race time by about 5 minutes. My legs were dead afterwards but I was proud of myself for my accomplishments. I’m considering running 2 5ks a week leading up to vacation since I proved to myself that I can do it.

My current fitness strategy is to work out a certain area (e.g., arms, abs, legs) for about 10-15 minutes, then run 1-2 miles. My goal is to work out 4 times week. As far as diet goes, that’s still a work in progress haha.

Updates and Things

It’s been quite a while since I last posted. A lot has happened since then:

-I ran my first 5k! It was rough. My allergies were awful and the night before the race, my period started so I barely slept. I felt amazing once I saw the finish line though. We’re already looking to schedule our next one.

-As noted above, I got my period. I’m feeling a bit frustrated with my doctor’s office because I was instructed to call when I got my period so I could get a referral to a reproductive specialist. I called the next business day and was told that I would get a call from a nurse practitioner with the referral, as my doctor was on vacation. That was 3 weeks ago. I’ll have to call again soon to get the referral. However, I’m feeling more unsure about how ready I’m feeling to have a kid. We’re so busy with work and seeing friends and I don’t think I’m quite ready to let go of that life yet. It’s weird how my desire to have kids keeps ebbing and flowing.

-I passed the national exam for my field!

Since You Asked…

Today someone asked if my husband and I planned to have children. To my surprise, I was candid about our struggle to conceive. I talked about how it’s going on 2 years since we started trying, doctor’s visits, meds, all that stuff.

The person I was talking to?

Our accountant. While he was doing our taxes.

I feel like I’m at the point that I don’t feel a need to hide our difficulties with infertility.  I won’t shout from the rooftops that I struggle with infertility but now I feel comfortable talking about it when asked.

I’m kinda proud of myself.

Marathon

Ugh, I’m so glad this week is over. Work seriously felt like I was running a marathon, to the point that I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful that it was Friday. There are a number of other things too that have kept me running.

First, buckling down on studying for my licensure exam. We’re officially less than a month out now. I’m a little nervous but studying is going alright so far.

Second, started the next round of Clomid. I had a bit of a moment of panic on Tuesday. It was day 3 of my cycle on Monday and I called as instructed the doctor’s refill line. Nothing. Called again Tuesday and informed them that I was late starting the Clomid. After some research it appeared that it was not a big deal but when the nurse called me later, she said I needed to come in to check my hormone levels. That day. It was like 11:30 in the morning and I told I couldn’t leave my job to get that blood test. She said that if the Clomid doesn’t work then I’ll need to be referred to a reproductive specialist. When she said that I felt like the ceiling started caving in. I mean, I knew that would be the next step but hearing it was hard.

Third, I decided to stop running this week. I’m not injured or anything but I wanted to take a week off and do other workouts. I discovered a neat one last week called FitStar* that links to my FitBit and it’s pretty awesome. The 5k is about 3 weeks away but I don’t do well with routine. I’ll take this week to reset or so but will keep active with other activities.

*Not an endorsement of FitStar. Just sayin.

4 am

4 am.

That’s the time I woke up this morning with sharp, stabbing pains. This was apparently my period’s way of announcing itself. I was up for an hour praying for the ibuprofen to kick in at any second. My periods are awful and typically leave me nearly dysfunctional. It makes it all the more frustrating that not only is my period a confirmation that I’m still not pregnant, but also the signal that I will be parked on the couch/bed curled up in pain until the meds work. I’m considering asking my doctor for prescription-level painkillers next cycle if I don’t get pregnant because I can’t imagine doing this monthly for the next 20+ years. I actually went on birth control for 10 years because the pain would be so bad I’d get sick (as in, I couldn’t keep down water for at least 12 hours after my period started) and have to miss school.

As a side note, I have to say it’s pretty cool how intuitive animals are. When I was up waiting for the cramps to subside, the cat jumped on my lap and put her paws on my belly. We’ve had her for almost 2 months now and that’s a first.

Anyway, it’s disheartening to know that this round of Clomid didn’t work. The plan is that I do another round of Clomid 100mg, and if that doesn’t work then try the trigger shot. If that doesn’t work, then do the IUI. And if that doesn’t work, IVF. I draw the line at IUI, depending on the cost. But IVF is mostly out of the question due to expense. I met with a friend today who is going through similar difficulties with getting pregnant and it feels good to know that there is someone who is in the same boat as me. She hasn’t been trying nearly as long but can relate to how I’ve been feeling. She mentioned doing IVF but I’m still on the fence. In addition to the cost, I’m not sure how far I’m willing to go to have a child. While we were talking, I thought about the stages of grief. I feel like I’m in the acceptance stage because it’s appearing that being childless is becoming more of a reality, especially if the second round of Clomid fails.

In the meantime, I’ll try to keep busy and focus on my health. It’s the only thing I can do until Monday, when I call in my next round of Clomid.

How it Burns

I have terrible heart burn right now. It’s been bad since about last Thursday. I’ve had acid reflux for years, even did 2 rounds of omeprazole back in grad school. But it hasn’t been this bad in at least a year. Diet hasn’t changed much, so I wonder if this is pointing to the P word.

Pizza.

I had a few slices last night as part of Superbowl festivities which didn’t help things, of course. I’ve been resistant to taking Tums because the idea of chewing chalk is unappealing, but also feeling like I swallowed a torch isn’t fun either. I’ve taken the store-brand Pepto Bismol inconsistently over the weekend and that hasn’t done much. If it doesn’t subside, I’ll go to my doctor later this week. As a side note, I’ve been having some pelvic cramps and my period is due Sunday. As another side note, when I talked to my mom earlier this evening she suggested that DH and I start looking at day cares. I wonder if she knows something I don’t. Which would be really weird, but typical of my mom. Sometimes I feel like she has some sort of sixth sense.

The Results are In

The doctor visit on Friday went okay. Turns out one of my hormone levels was half of what it was supposed to be, which is why the doctor said it was good that I was on such a high dose. And the vaginal pain was just dryness (“just”) and she said it was a normal side effect of Clomid. My ultrasound identified 2 follicles that were the ideal length so the doctor suggested I get an ovulation predictor kit to see when/if I ovulate. I’m skipping it though because I definitely do ovulate. Also found out that my uterus is a little tilted but the tech said that’s nothing to be too concerned about.

Speaking of results, DH and I ran a full 5k on Saturday and my legs still hurt. It was rather cold here and I damn near died on the trail. It’s been about a month since I ran outside and I struggled hard to make it through. Up until Saturday I had been doing about 2 miles at at time in the gym so I was gassed the last mile. I’ve got just under 2 months until race day so I have time to increase my mileage by about 10% a week. On the bright side, I hit my goal of doing 10 miles a week last week!

Cranky Pants

I’m so frustrated.

This Clomid dose is taking a real toll on me. My mood has been all over the place (although that could be resulting from work stress) but the worst part is that I’ve been experiencing some vaginal pain, to the point that sitting is uncomfortable and toilet paper feels like sand paper. This sucks, considering I need my vagina to help me get pregnant. This only started when I went up on the dose but I’ll definitely bring this up when I see the doctor tomorrow morning.

Work has been a nightmare the last 2 weeks and it feels like it will remain awful for a few more weeks. There are a bunch of program launches happening soon and I’m leading one of them, so I have side projects in addition to the mountain of work I had starting the week. I hate consistently feeling like I’m a little less behind at the end of the day versus getting to a good stopping point. But I guess dem’s the breaks for now.

Running this morning was frustrating. I did 2 miles but I wanted to stop around .8 miles. I didn’t sleep well and I was having a hard time focusing. It relates back to work stress for the most part. I was hoping that running would help burn off some of that stress but it only added to it. My legs felt like heavy weights during most of the run and I was starting to feel hopeless about a 5k that DH and I are planning to run soon. On the positive side, I ran my first sub 13 minute mile in almost 5 months on Tuesday! My legs hurt a little bit after but it was so worth it. This weekend I plan to run outside for the first time in over a month. It’s going to be cold but I’m looking forward to getting back outside, especially since my times are historically better versus on the treadmill.

Speaking of this weekend, I had a nice talk with DH last night about shifting our priorities. Since the holidays (and honestly way before then too) we’ve been spending a lot of time around friends and family, which awesome, but not a ton of time doing things as a couple. I mean, we do things like buy groceries together but activities like exploring have dropped off. Plus, we’ve been on the go so much that our place had become a mess. It wasn’t a pig sty mind you, but clutter was everywhere. We’ve developed a bad habit of dropping our stuff anywhere and leaving it there until maybe the weekend because we had something to run to. I got fed up yesterday and tidied up. I felt much better as our space was way more functional. This weekend though, there is a big event this weekend that we had planned to go (and many of our friends are going to) but I finally had to draw a line. I’m already spent from work and not feeling up to it. DH wanted to go and I was thinking about mustering up some energy to go with him, but when I talk to my mom she suggested that DH go on his own. I normally wouldn’t care but considering the size of the event and how many friends would be there I would feel more comfortable going with him. It’s not that I don’t trust DH, it’s that he tends to get caught up in things and loses situational awareness. We talked last night though and I discussed with him making our marriage more of a priority. As much as we love our friends and our family, we have to start making more time for us. Fortunately, he was in agreement and said that it would be better to spend this weekend to ourselves. We’re going to try and spend one weekend a month together, in that we aren’t schedule to meet anyone anywhere. We’ll see how that works out but I’m looking forward to getting some rest this weekend.