Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Friday, May 24, 2013

I remember the afterglow that you get the day after a night of romance - you know, a little spring to your step!  We didn't get home until after 11pm last night and then SB had some things to do before bed but cervical mucus said it was time so we did something just a step above going through the motions.


Advice is welcome.  I know this is just one late night encounter with two tired people but it felt forced (because it was...) and it turns out I feel something opposite of contented and loved after such encounters.


And I don't even have hope that the baby dance will be fruitful, which kind of makes it even more pathetic.  It feels like I just made us stay up too late to do something that neither one of us were that into at that moment, for no reason.  Anyway, SB is a terrific sport and is always ready to help out, even when I can tell that he really would prefer to go to sleep.  And it's not a bad problem to have - "oh dear, we must have sex right away!" and I'm so lucky to have a partner, let alone one who is kind and recognizes when something is important to me.

This also means that near the end of the two week wait I'll start getting excited AGAIN and feeling certain that I'm experiencing pregnancy symptoms instead of boring old PMS, only to be disappointed AGAIN.


I am starting to get visions of wigs and fedoras and "chance" meetings at mysterious bars that end with anonymous sex with a "stranger".  I hope SB is up for some role playing to get us through infertility!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5 year blogversary!

Ok, today has been frustrating in minor ways so it's a good time for a post about exciting news.  Where I live, getting a name change involves having the proposed change published for 4 weeks, so first you wait for a letter saying that the publication has begun and at the end you get a letter saying that it's all over and you take that second letter back to the court house and schedule a court date.  I've been watching the mail for the first letter and it has arrived along with the page from the paper that has my little notice :)  Everything is spelled correctly, so that is good!

Reading through the other notices is completely adorable.  Most are changes of last names or "Americanizing" first names.  Most of the time there are parts of the old name that remain (including mine) but there are a couple where a complete overhaul is happening!  I do wonder what is behind the name changes of those who are printed in the paper; everyone has a story and even though the steps of a name change are pretty simple, there's a lot of work to be done with notifying everyone and changing information EVERYWHERE.  While the cost is not out of the realm of possibility, I had to save up for it for a long time to make sure I could still afford to change all of my info after paying the court fees (a new drivers license, work ID, checks and bank card, etc, are not expensive on their own but it adds up when you do it all at the same time).  I think it's hard enough that most people don't just wake up one day and just file the paperwork without doing any preparation.  One person is changing from "Jerry Dean" to "Geraldine" and there could have been quite a lot of work that went along with that name change!

I'm so excited for all of them and I hope they are as happy with their changes as I am with mine!  I'm going to post the page on the refrigerator :)


My first blog post was on this date 5 years ago.  It is so wonderful to have moved through and beyond the things that happened.  Toren's death still has me shredded, but that was just one part of it all; I didn't know that was the start of losing everything that was important to me.  Divorce was brutal but I'm so glad to not be in that marriage anymore!  It feels like I dodged a bullet (you know, aside from the whole part where I'm still in therapy from being in that relationship for over a decade and he has been difficult to set boundaries with).  Losing the house was embarrassing, but I do prefer living in this little house and it's wonderful to not worry about expensive repairs.  My career is still directionless and I don't know if I'll ever be able to return to reproductive health research, but I'm doing well trying out different topics and even getting some publications.  I have a great boyfriend and am in a relationship where we sometimes get mad at each other but overall we have a good time together and, very importantly, I feel cared for.

I guess, if I had known five years ago what else was coming up I would have been very discouraged (to put it mildly).  If I had known what was coming I wouldn't have even tried living through it because I wasn't strong enough, but I am now.

A lot of the blog authors who were writing when this blog began have moved on and I've wondered what to do with this blog, especially since I don't write or interact with other bloggers often.  It still feels like an unfinished journey though so it's staying up and public, however, very soon I'll be taking down posts discussing struggles with my current relationship because my boyfriend and I have started a health blog and I think I'll put a link here, which means SnuggleBunny is about to lose his anonymity!

Anyway, here's a song I'm liking lately.

Monday, May 13, 2013

This gets filed under "you can't make this stuff up".  I did end up calling my doctor's office on Friday because the bleeding was starting to get heavier and learned that sometimes an HSG can trigger early menstrual bleeding (which was indeed confirmed over the weekend) and to call back on Tuesday.  So today is CD4, after an 18 day cycle.  I doubt there has been enough time to see much difference in the size of the cysts (it feels like the big one is still there) and I seriously doubt my hormone levels will make any sense after that short of a cycle.  I'll give the office a call tomorrow but I think the repeat of the CD3 tests have been pushed back another month.

You know, my uterus behaves pretty normally EXCEPT when anyone pays attention to it.  Maybe it's lucky that specialists are looking at it right now - maybe the menstrual irregularities would have happened anyway and maybe the cysts will need attention when I wouldn't have known about them without the infertility testing. 

I'm trying not to feel defeated.

That being said, Saturday was kind of rough.  Regardless of the wonky hormone levels and cysts, I was still hoping that a healthy egg was released and that those open tubes encouraged fertilization and a safe journey to a ready uterus (even though I was concerned about there not being much of a lining with the post-HSG bleeding).  Any far-fetched conception is surely washed away now.  On Saturday I took it easy and did some self-care by taking a long nap and riding roller coasters in the evening to get out some screams.

Sunday was filled with plans of yoga class, meeting up with friends at a festival and visiting with SnuggleBunny's mom - plenty of fun things.  Then I was bleeding too heavily for yoga and it started to feel like there was just so much to do - that the house was too messy, that bills were late, that there was grocery shopping to do, a new diet and fitness plan to prepare for, potential work changes... it felt like everything was a disaster and that I was failing at every part of life. 

My washing machine is sort of my arch nemesis.  It is perpetually off balance and will start hopping around, banging against the walls and floor with this loud THU THUNK THU THUNK THU THUNK and not only does it make you feel like losing your mind from the noise, if you don't balance out the laundry (sometimes I have to remove items and spin things in small batches) the clothes will be dripping wet at the end so you have to spin it again anyway.  So there I was, feeling like everything was a mess, and walking to the laundry room, adjusting the clothes, going back to getting dressed, then a minute later the thumping starts again, and on my third trip to the washer (with SnuggleBunny following saying that he would take care of it, because we trade off when it gets too frustrating) it all felt like too much and SnuggleBunny entered the laundry room just as I was pounding on the washer lid screaming "FUUUUUUUCK!".

We canceled most of our plans and went directly to the wonderful appliance store (all used and refurbished items) where we got our amazing dryer from last year.  The new-to-us washer will be delivered on Thursday (and the old one will be taken away for them to repair and sell/use for parts/deal with).  Then to address achy backs from our old mattress I bought a thick, foam mattress pad to ease some pain while we save up for a new mattress.  SB is quite astute and later said that he didn't think the washer was the real problem and we talked about it, and laughed about it, and now we have a ridiculous story about the time I physically assaulted a washing machine. 

SB knows how to calm me down and make me feel like I am heard and that I matter.  I was so relaxed by evening time that when I called my Mom for Mother's Day her comments didn't sting so bad.  And I finally realized that she is kinder when I have no good news, but this time I told her about buying some new stuff for the house and the upcoming positive changes career wise before talking about the latest with the infertility testing.  She is incessantly very broke (part of it is unfortunate circumstances and part is not taking action to get out of her situation) and hates her job; she told me about how her ovarian cyst grew bigger instead of shrinking and surgery was required and her whole ovary was removed and the call ended with her telling me that maybe next year I will be a mother for Mother's Day.  Maybe she wouldn't have said those things if I hadn't talked about my new washing machine.

Anyway, the new mattress pad is amazing!  And please feel free to bring over your laundry once the new machine arrives ;)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This morning I missed the train by 30 seconds.  Waiting for the train happens most of the time (it's rare to arrive at the platform just when the train does) and it's a good time to read or listen to music, but I still hate watching the train pull away.  It feels like a big deal.  This morning I almost audibly swore and wanted to fling my purse and lunch bag around.  I sat down on a bench in a huff (hey, at least there are available seats when the platform is empty) but then quickly settled into listening to the radio.  When the next train arrived, it pulled up slowly, we all squished on, the doors closed, then nothing happened.  Through the train windows, I could see the platform filling up with new people.  We rolled forward a few yards, then stopped, then slowly forward for a short distance, then stopped again, over and over for the miles until the next station.  I eyed the emergency door release handle with delusions of walking along the track to my stop.

I crave control.


Last week's HSG could not have gone better.  I took 800mg of ibuprofen an hour before the appointment, as recommended.  The nurse was amazing and explained what was going to happen before, during, and after the procedure.  The doctor was very gentle and with a soft voice gave warnings of "some pressure is coming, breathe deeply".  There was a bit of cramping, but nothing like what I was anticipating (not even worse than menstrual cramps - thank you ibuprofen!), and it was over in just a couple of minutes.  Everything looked fine and my tubes are open.  I felt fine afterwards but did feel a little achy later in the afternoon after the ibuprofen wore off and after an eventful trip home (more on that in a second).  Finishing the course of antibiotics sucked and I dragged myself around for the rest of the week trying to look like I felt ok.  I'm still bleeding though and my uterus is grumpy, which makes me worried but since it's not necessarily painful I'll give it another day or so before freaking out.

SB went in for a semen analysis last Friday; we don't have the results yet.  By the way, he has been fantastic about coming with me to my appointments!  He isn't needed there but he is coming along to be supportive and it's really touching.  I'll probably go to the next CD3 one alone because I know what to expect now.  The follow-up appointment with the RE has been postponed until early June so that I can re-do the CD3 tests.  Hopefully the cysts will show signs of improvement.

I feel so strongly about all that is going on that I feel nothing, if that makes any sense.


Here's some exciting news though!  I took the day off from work for the HSG and since I felt fine afterwards I told SB to go ahead and drive to work and I would take transit home.  I got off the train before my stop, went to the courthouse, and FILED MY NAME CHANGE PAPERWORK!  To recap, after my ex-husband left, it took over two years to get him to sign the divorce paperwork.  At that time I could have returned to my maiden name for free, however, I didn't feel maiden-like at all so I decided to wait until I could afford the filing fees to get a different last name.  But I was trying not to lose my house for a couple of years, which ultimately didn't work but now with my fantastically cheap rent I can finally afford the court fees and the many fees involved in changing everything that documents "me" (drivers license, social security, bank stuff, I will keep my birth certificate as it is since that was the name my parents gave their baby, which is too sweet to change).

I've been sort of nameless for over 4 years, not feeling like I "belonged" with my ex-husbands family and not feeling like I still "belonged" to my father's family.  The more I thought about it, the more I hated the idea of females being named as a form of ownership.  Changing to your husbands name seems very romantic at the time but after a marriage ends who are you then?  My ex-husbands family hasn't spoken with me in years - I'm not one with them anymore.  My parents are divorced and have different last names from each other, so the family I was born into isn't as it was (the woman who shares my Dad's last name now is just 13 years older than me, go Dad!).  And my marriage was like a lifetime and at the end of it I was a very different person from the girl who excitedly practiced writing out her future married name.

After my husband left, I asked people to call me the nickname I have used on and off since adolescence (my legal name is often mispronounced which made me so embarrassed when I was a hopelessly shy youngster).  For years and years I would introduce myself as "Anna" and then people picked up on my legal name (ok, it's Deanna... but not for long!) because that is what my husband called me.  After we separated, I dramatically thought that I never wanted to be called the name he used for me again, but I also kind of thought I would settle down and get over that.  However, now my family and friends call me Anna (there are just a few clueless acquaintances who can't seem to remember) and I'm only called Deanna at work or in situations where a legal name is needed, and the name I was never really attached to has started to sound foreign.

What my name would be has received a great deal of thought.  I thought I had it nailed down early in April but it wasn't quite right... and really, all along I suspected that I wouldn't have it fully figured out until I filled out that part of the forms while at the courthouse.  I actually figured it out 9 days earlier and the day I wrote it on the forms I smiled to myself (and every single person around!), totally excited that I was actually going through with it.

It's a pretty fantastic name.  All four parts are completely feminine!  The last name is not popular and has no major attachments (that I can find, especially how it is spelled) to people or places.  It's a little otherworldly, and that, accompanied with a change of my first name, means I'll probably get some questions about it, which I don't look forward to but can handle.  I told SB about it afterwards and he asked what last name I chose but he didn't ask about the entire thing so he doesn't know it yet.  I feel shy about it still and I'm worried that it won't be approved (not for any tangible reasons, just because I want it so badly).  I am not practicing my signature yet.

Most people won't notice since I don't use my legal name for any social purposes anyway and I'm changing to my social first name.  It will be hard to get work colleagues used to it but that can't be harder than getting my parents and siblings to call me by a different name.  It should be about 8 weeks until it's official.

That was way more than I expected to say about that!  Back to the original topic, it took hours to get everything properly filed so by the time I got home (another train ride, a bus ride, and a walk later) I was tired, hungry and dehydrated and spent the remainder of my HSG test day resting :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Update on infertility testing

Have I mentioned that my new therapist is hilarious?  She talks A LOT for a therapist and bosses me around, rather opposite of professionals I've talked with in the past who made me get to the conclusions myself.  It doesn't sound like a good situation but it's working for me and I'm learning so much.  We talk about assertiveness and sometimes I wonder if she's waiting for me to tell her that it's my turn to talk.  This week I was rambling and said that I completely failed with bringing Toren into this world and she stopped me and expressed how she wants me to stop saying things that indicate that I blame myself in a situation where no one is at fault.  She made me rephrase that sentence ("ok, that pregnancy was a complete failure", which satisfied her enough) before we could move on. 

As juvenile as that exercise seemed, I feel better.  I keep looking for a cause or a reason and there are none known.  But that doesn't mean it was my fault and even if I did do something that caused his internal organs not to grow, causing him harm was certainly never my intent.

So I'm not going to tell you that I completely failed with my cycle day 3 lab work and ultrasound...

The sonographer was nice and said she would talk me through what she was viewing on the screen and made a couple of jokes about situations where something surprising is found and things get quiet and the doctor is fetched right away.  I can't remember how she phrased it, but she was funny and cute and relaxed me a little, even while I was thinking about how I am one of those people where a surprise was found via ultrasound and the sonographer stopped talking and the doctor was called right away and that moment was the start down a very sad and life changing path. 

With wand in place, she asked me if I was still bleeding...
Me: "Well yes, but it has stopped for right now.  I think worrying about this test has scared it away."
Tech:  "You also exercise a lot..."
Me:  "You can tell from my uterus?"
Tech:  "I read your chart."
So we had another laugh.  I guess she was saying that exercising could disrupt my cycle.  She asked because there was fluid in my uterus.  Bleeding never did re-commence, which is very unusual for me and I will probably mention it before getting the HSG tomorrow.

Things did turn quiet during the test though and at the end she showed me a few images of my ovaries, each of which has a cyst.  A few hours later I received a call explaining that my lab work came back odd - as in uninterpretable.  Estradiol was 215 (while I don't know the specific reference range for the lab used, a range I found on the internet is 11-212) and FSH was 2.11 (in November FSH was 12.5, I don't think that huge drop is due to taking CoQ10).  On the phone I was told that a cyst can cause odd hormone levels.  I need to repeat all of the CD3 tests next month.

Of course I did some (ill advised) internet research and learned (maybe correctly, who knows!) that a high estradiol value can indicate a cyst, which I know is present, and the estradiol can inhibit FSH, which looks like that is happening.  High estradiol and very low FSH can also indicate ovarian failure, which is also probably happening. 

I'm having the HSG and kept my appointment in early May to discuss the results, even though we will probably just discuss how the cysts are interfering with things and no plan for infertility treatment will be discussed.  SnuggleBunny and I agreed to do all of the testing because even if it turns out to be a waste of time and money at least we would have explored it entirely and will not wonder about what might have happened if only we had done this or that test.  I'm doing these tests not to get a baby but to avoid regrets.

I spoke with my chiropractor, because he listens to me and considers my body as a whole and he did some tests for my adrenals, worrying that they were overtaxed from prolonged stress.  My adrenal glands do seem to be functioning well enough but I'm now taking a new supplement to promote adrenal health anyway since the vitamins won't hurt anything and it makes me feel like I'm doing SOMETHING other than just waiting to see what the cysts do over the next month.

I guess *I* didn't fail the CD3 tests... but they all need to be re-done.  Instead of getting closer to answers something unexpected was discovered which needs to be addressed first.  It is frustrating.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I told my mom that I was having more fertility testing done and she was very surprised and pleased.  She thinks I'm having a baby.  She said something interesting though, that she didn't know that I wanted to have a child.  For me, it's been YEARS of waiting (that whole divorce and find a new partner bit) and trying, and YEARS of disappointment and worry and feeling sad.  Apparently I make it look easy!  So to her it probably feels like we haven't even tried at all yet, so certainly there will be a baby with just a little bit of effort.  To me it feels like the road is narrowing and just around the bend it may stop completely.

I never told her that I changed my mind about having children (since I didn't) and she never asked about it, through years and years.  We don't talk very often though and I have only visited her 3 times in the past 6 years.  Not a word has been breathed to anyone else in my family.  I guess I want fewer witnesses to this potential failure.  I guess I didn't feel very supported by them concerning Toren.  My family members would always donate to my March for Babies fundraising but never asked about it after I stopped doing the walk.  They probably think I'm "over it" when what I'm over is feeling miserable walking along with all of the people and their rainbow babies while wondering where mine is.

Anyway... it's nice to know that SnuggleBunny and my mom feel positive about how these upcoming appointments will turn out.  I'm very nervous and upset and have hardly been able to focus on anything for two weeks, which shows. 

Here's a list of things I'm thankful for during this time:
* People being positive for me
* Roller coasters (weather permitting, I'll be going back to the amusement park this weekend for more screaming)
* Gardens
* Budding irises 
* Birds building nests and singing, singing, singing!
* Dinner with girlfriends
* Cooking, cramming as many vegetables into meals as I can
* Eating by candle light, in the dining room and out on the patio 
* Pregnancy safe skin treatments that are showing great potential (until this lousy PMS breakout anyway)
* And even ridiculous ex-husbands for providing distractions and stories to laugh over with girlfriends

CD3 will probably be on Monday so more information about if I'm producing any eggs is less than a week away.

Monday, April 8, 2013

That last post was not nice and I want to clarify that I'm not making fun of her.  If you want to show off your rose garden, go for it!  The funny part is just that I so desperately want to have no contact with my ex-husband but it got to the point where I wondered if NOT avoiding him and NOT ignoring his attempts at "friendship" would be get me closer to closure.  I'm trying out not being unfriendly (which is different from friendly). 

And then I get invited to his girlfriend's vajayjay's birthday party.

What is an appropriate gift?


There is no way for him not to annoy me.  There's too much history and too much hurt.


So today I laughed at myself and at this absurd situation and at how much of a prude I am sometimes and it was all okay.

Then I was in a rush to have dinner with friends and quickly showered at the gym after squeezing in a workout, reapplied make-up and struggled to look presentable with flaky skin from acne medication AND new breakouts and suddenly it all felt like my fault again - I was never fun and confident enough to do a panty-free photo shoot so my marriage ended.  It often feels like I was left because I wasn't adventurous enough.  Even though he creeps me out now and I do not, do not, do not! want any sort of relationship with him, I still feel like tossed out garbage.

I'm working on it.