Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 12 years old. I got my period for the first time when I was 11 years old, and at first, everything was regular and normal. Over the course of that year, my periods got longer and longer. Within a few months, AF would last for at least 2 weeks...heavy bleeding the entire time. Pretty soon, I was bleeding all the time. If I was lucky, I would have 1 or 2 days without bleeding every month. I mentioned the fact I was bleeding a lot to my mother, and she told me to tell my doctor. I told my male pediatrician and he smiled, patted my head, and told me it was normal. I think he made some sort of patronizing comment about how tough it is to be a young woman in an attempt at sympathy. I was embarrassed, didn't want to complain, so I didn't say anything else about it.
At some point, my mom came to me. She had to have an embarassing discussion with me. Apparently, my father (who did all of our laundry at the time) was noticing that ALL of my underwear was blood stained. My mom felt the need to explain to me that I should be wearing pads when I had my period, and she didn't understand how I could be that disgusting. I responded to my mom that I did wear pads. And tampons. Every day. And changed frequently. But the blood was heavy and leaked anyway.
My mom paused for a minute, and then said "Why don't you wear the same few pairs of stained underwear when you have your period instead of ruining all of it?" I turned bright red and explained, quietly, that I always had my period. A look of surprise went across my mom's face, and she again, needing to clarify, asked "What do you mean you have your period everyday? For how long?" I paused, and in almost a hushed whisper responded..."for at least 6 months now."
She was stunned. She asked me why I never said anything, and I told her that I had said something and everyone kept telling me it was normal. The next morning, my mom was on the phone with her gynecologist and she hauled me in for my first appointment.
I have to say, that was pretty scary. I was given an internal exam and the doctor told me I had cysts on my ovaries. She sent me for an ultrasound. Back then, all the ultrasounds were done abdominally. I had to drink 64 ounces of water and sit there while they poked and prodded my very full bladder. After about 1 hour of torture, it was all over. About one week later, I had a diagnosis: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). They did not conduct bloodwork at the time. The doctor told me all I needed to do was to take a pill, Enovid, and it would go away.
Funny, but I never thought of it as a devastating diagnosis. Kind of like "you have an infection." I was relieved to know there was something wrong and they could fix it. I was young and I knew it had nothing to do with my general health, it was just one of those things. The gynecologist put me on Enovid, and I put on weight. A week or so later, the bleeding was still happening, so she doubled my dosage to 10 mg. My bleeding stopped, but I packed on about 30 lbs in 3 days - a grand total weight gain of 40 lbs in under 1 month. I was humiliated and embarassed. My body was covered in angry red stretch marks...on my breasts and on my hips. I refused to go to school. I quit taking the medicine (I figured bleeding was better than fat), and I immediately lost about 30 lbs. Ever since then, I've struggled with my weight.
My mom felt terrible about the situation, and quickly sought out an adolescent gynecologist. She approached me about seeing a new doctor, but I wouldn't discuss it with her. The bleeding had stopped, and I decided I was "all better." Weeks went by, and my mother continued to ask me about seeing the doctor. I ignored her...the bleeding was still gone, and I was "fine." Month after month went by... and no bleeding...in fact, no period. One month became two became four became nine months. I was "fine" and I was done talking about this PCOS thing. Then, one Fall day, I had a nasty visitor - AF hit me with a vengeance. I think she was only there for about 7 days, and I thought "this is normal!" The next month, right on cue, AF arrived again...but this time, she stayed for 10 days. By the following month, AF was trying to move back in - she arrived as planned and overstayed her welcome - over two weeks.
Finally, I had no choice. I went to my mom and told her I needed to see another doctor. She scheduled an appointment when I was almost 14 years old with Dr. B. Dr. B was wonderful! She did another exam, reviewed my test results, and confirmed my PCOS diagnosis. She told me that the other doctor put me on a medicine that was too strong, and she suggested that I take the "mini-pill" - a lower dose estrogen birth control pill. I was afraid to go back on medication, but she told me that the previous doctor made a huge mistake when she put me on Enovid, and she apologized I went through all of that. Somehow, I was comforted! She understood me...she wanted to help. Frankly, birth control pills in high school were kind of "cool" - I didn't have to be embarrassed about taking those. Not that I was having sex. She told me everything would be fine, that I would take birth control pills until I was ready to have a baby, and that if I had trouble ovulating when I one day wanted to have a baby, they'd give me Clomid and I would get pregnant. Again - nothing sound bad, dangerous or devastating about the diagnosis. I was getting medicine that would make me regular, I would bleed less time, and it would make cramps go away. What could be bad about that?
The first pill she gave me was a packet that slid in and out of a brown suede-like pouch. I cannot remember the name right now, but all I know is it made me throw up every morning, like clockwork. I toughed it out for almost 2 weeks, and then I called Dr. B. She said "Oh, no, not a good match...let's try Demulen instead!" Demulen (now Zovia) came in a little green plastic packet. I took Demulen the first night...and there was no throwing up the next morning! I was in love. My periods quickly stabilized, my skin was nice and clear, I lost weight, my breasts grew a cup size (which, at the time, was a good thing!), and all was right with the world. My Dad would pick up my medicine for me, insurance covered it, and I never had to worry about any stigma associated with birth control pills. I felt like an independent woman, and I didn't care which of my friends knew I was on medicine. My periods only lasted 3-5 days, and never happened on weekends. Turned out several of my friends were on bcps for "painful periods." My mind-numbing, stop you in your tracks cramping pain that happened mid-cycle disappeared. I was cyst-free and happy!
About 12 years later, I was working as an attorney and my mom sent me a newspaper article about PCOS. According to the latest studies, there were tons of health problems associated with women who had PCOS. I was shocked to read about the increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This was the first time I ever thought about PCOS as a "bad" diagnosis. According to the article, the reason for all of this was the hormonal imbalance. The article said that women with PCOS should be on metformin, even if they were also on bcps - that metformin was the best defense against developing future health problems. My mom asked me to go see an endocrinologist and ask about metformin. So I did.
My endocrinologist did not feel comfortable just giving me metformin without running blood work. She said that the standard for diagnosing PCOS had changed, and they liked to check blood levels and not just the ultrasounds anymore. However, because I was on birth control pills, she said the hormone studies would likely be inaccurate. She asked me to go off of birth control pills for three months, do the tests, and then go back on medication. I did as she asked. After three months, I went in for my bloodwork, and much to my surprise...it came back normal! I was frustrated, because my periods were clearly getting abnormal again, and a gynecological exam showed I had cysts on my ovaries. My endo sent me for additional testing - she did a glucose tolerance test with insulin levels. After all of that, only my second insulin level was *slightly* higher than it should have been (although technically within normal limits). She felt that with my high normal numbers and my symptoms, she could comfortably diagnose "hyperinsulimia." She prescribed metformin for me, and I have taken it almost continually since then.
In 2003, I briefly went off of birth control pills and metformin for a few months. My prescriptions ran out, and I was "too busy" to go to the doctor. In the third month, while I was busy at work, I felt a HUGE gush. I looked down and there was blood everywhere! Naturally, I was wearing a beige suit that day and had taken public transportation to work. I had to grab a sweater to cover myself up and try to get home without causing a scene. Dr. B. called in a prescription for methergine for me. I took pills to make my uterus clamp down and stop the bleeding. All I can say is that was one of the worst nights of my life - the pain was horrible! Worse yet - it did not stop the bleeding. She suggested I come in for a D&C. When I hesitated, she told me to try taking 3 Advil (yes, Advil - apparently it stops uterine bleeding), put my legs up, and call her in the morning if the bleeding didn't stop.
Well, wonder of wonders, the bleeding stopped! I ran around having blood drawn for Dr. B and my endo, and immediately started my medication the next day. The following year, I started spotting mid-cycle, even on medication. I talked to Dr. B about it, and she told me it was probably just low estrogen, and she gave me estrogen supplements to take.
I had one more massive bleeding episode in 2004, but the Advil worked yet again. In 2005 I met my husband, and in 2006 we were married. I was certain that we would have some issues getting pregnant because of my history with PCOS. When I first went off of bcps, everything seemed okay. We tried several months with good ovulation and good timing, and nothing happened. Then, my cycles started getting crazy...a little longer each month. By this time, I had gone to see an OB. Dr. B "doesn't do babies" so I went to a new OB for advice. The OB told me that she would help if my cycles got crazy. I called to tell her they were crazy, and she tested my progesterone at 7 dpo. It was 4.85. Basically, it meant I was having an immature ovulation, and it was unlikely I could conceive that way. Suddenly, my OB went MIA. The nurse suggested I try progesterone, but I asked how that would help with pregnancy if I wasn't ovulating well. She suggested I call again with that question in 6 months.
In a fit of hysteria, I called my trusty Dr. B and told her what was going on. Dr. B decided to put me on Clomid. She said I should do 2 months at 50 mg, 2 months at 100 mg, and if I wasn't pregnant, go to the fertility clinic. I decided to take the Clomid...and I also made an appointment at the fertility clinic. I decided that we should have DH tested, and I wanted some more monitoring to find out what was going on inside my body.
Two weeks later, I had an appointment with Dr. L - I was in love! He was such a kind, sweet man, and he told me that while we were coming in a bit early, the testing was a good idea and he would monitor my future Clomid cycles. He wrote me prescriptions for tests...HSG, bloodwork, and a semen analysis for DH. I ovulated (late) on CD 25, but my progesterone was nice and high and Dr. L was happy. Over the next two weeks, I became convinced I was pregnant and would be able to skip all those "awful' tests.
And then the phone rang. I think it was a Friday evening, right at the end of September 2007. Dr. L called to give us the results of the s/a, and unfortunately, the results were awful. He felt that IVF w/ ICSI was the only way we would conceive because DH had severe MFI. Hello? I thought infertility was MY cross to bear!! We cried - we were a total mess.
The next day, I had to go shopping for baby things for my pregnant (accidentally) SIL. It was perhaps the worst day of my life. I pasted on a smile and pretended that I wasn't dying inside. When we got back in the car, I fell apart. I thought I hid it from my SIL, but my mom noticed. She drove my SIL back to the house, made up some story about needing to run an errand with me, and then she did the most wonderful thing ever...she listened. And then she told me about how hard it was for her to get pregnant, and about her two miscarriages, and how they also had to use Clomid. It helped.
I started to do some research, and we decided that we needed DH to quit cycling and start on a vitamin regiment. And then...AF arrived. With a vengeance. I was hemorrhaging, and knew something was really wrong. About two years before, my mom had multiple hemorrhaging episodes due to a fibroid in her uterus (and ultimately had a hysterectomy because of them). It dawned on my that my symptoms were like hers, and I wondered if I had a fibroid. The next day, I was scheduled for an u/s with Dr. L (the first of many trips to see the vampire and the magic wand). About 30 seconds into the ultrasound, my fear was confirmed - there was a fibroid sitting in my uterine cavity. Dr. L ordered a saline ultrasound to get a closer look, he canceled my cycle, and he told me that I needed surgery. After three weeks on bcps, I had the fibroid removed via hysteroscopic surgery. I spent the next month on estrogen and progesterone to rebuild my lining, and in December 2007, we were cleared to resume TTC.
Over the next months, we did IUIs (with Clomid, with Clomid plus injectibles, with just injectibles), but DH's motility/forward progression just... sucked. It was devastating. I spent half the time on birth control pills due to cysts. For someone trying to get pregnant, most of the months we were trying I was on the pill!! It was miserable, I was pretty negative about the whole thing, and I was packing on weight by the boatload.
Finally, in March 2008, I had enough. I told DH that I was done wasting time and I insisted we move forward to IVF. It was a bit of a fight, and I had to really pour my heart out and explain to him how I was feeling. He finally put his reservations aside and we jumped into IVF.
On April 25, 2008, after only 1 IVF, we found out we were expecting our first child. I still remember that joy, and I speak of that often on here. I know I was one of the "lucky ones" despite the fact we had to do IVF. Instead, I'd like to focus on what I've learned:
1. PCOS is a real medical condition. It doesn't just require treatment when you are trying to get pregnant. It is important to look into metformin, and perhaps stay on metformin as part of a long-term health management plan.
2. Be persistent. If you are finding a doctor unhelpful, find one who is more responsive. Don't give up - you will get the run around, but when you find the RIGHT doctor, it is worth it.
3. Don't pay attention to arbitrary time lines ... like waiting two years if you are under age 34. If your cycles are irregular, or if you are certain you are having well-timed sex and there is no conception, then there is likely a problem. Get some basic testing done and try to get some answers! You can do some of the "waiting" while you are testing.
4. Don't waste too much time with a regular OB. They can do certain basic things (like give you Clomid) but if what they are doing doesn't work within 3-4 months, it likely isn't going to work. Save your money and move on!
5. Don't be afraid of going to the "big guns." Spending thousands and thousands of dollars on "less expensive" treatments doesn't save you any money if they are repeatedly unsuccessful. Give each treatment a reasonable chance - 2-3 attempts, but then move on.
6. Don't waste time with doctors that don't monitor you or who will make you hold an IUI so they don't have to work on weekends. In most cases, the timing will suck, and that will be the cause of the treatment failure. Fertility clinics are almost always worth the extra money!
7. You are your own best advocate! Don't be shy and make sure you are heard.
8. Only 1/3 of infertility is female only. 1/3 is male only. 1/3 is both. Just because there is an issue with you (or you think you are to blame) don't forget to have your partner checked! We never would have guessed DH had MFI. Also, men's fertility can change - just because they successfully knocked someone up once doesn't mean their boys are still good this month. My DH had previously had a perfectly normal s/a - nearly 10 years before we were ttc. And yet, his problems were more severe than mine!
9. Motility and morphology problems seem to cause more issues than low count. Remember to look at the whole picture. My DH has a great sperm count - but his boys don't swim. If the boys won't swim forward quickly, or if they have bent heads and cannot fertilize an egg, IUI may not be your best option.
10. Fertility treatments will fail a large percentage of the time - but that does not mean you won't eventually find success. Just because something does not work once does not mean it will never work, or that the next treatment won't work. TTC is a marathon, not a sprint, and it is about the endurance - you have to stick it out even when you think you can't. Don't be afraid to have backup plans and explore other options, but understand you could be in it for the long haul. Once you finish, it will be worthwhile!
11. If you think your doctors are missing something or should be trying something else, you are probably right. Don't be afraid to question/second guess your doctor. If you don't like the answers you are getting, find another specialist!
12. Waiting and waiting doesn't win you awards. I have to say, I really do not understand when I hear that people spend years ttc naturally without success. It is important to be patient, but at some point, if you really want a baby, you have to bite the bullet and get help. Religious beliefs aside, getting help isn't shameful, and it does not take away from how special the experience is. I was worried that we were being robbed of a "special" moment when we did IVF - but it turned out, IVF was our special moment, and DH was able to get involved very early in the process. He knew Micah from the time he was just a follicle! Don't regret wasted time. My only regret is that I did not get the testing done even earlier - I wish I knew about my fibroid before we started TTC because I resent all those months I had to wait when I was ready and I could not get treatment. Think of it as you would any medical condition - do you think people with infections should get antibiotics, or diabetics should take insulin? Well, people with fertility challenges should be treated, too.
I think that is all I have for now. Feel free to ask away if you have any questions. What I left out of this post are the hundreds of hours I spent researching all kinds of fertility issues - I am a font of useless information about ttc, infertility, and especially PCOS and MFI. I know a bit about fibroids and endo, too, and can tell you all about the different types of treatments and meds out there.
It has been a while, so I thought I'd post some recent video of Micah. He is getting so big and active! He plays with toys, he crawls, stands, cruises. Unbelievable!
Getting into trouble:
Monday, September 28, 2009
We went to synagogue as planned, but Micah was pretty miserable. We took him to the doctor at 2:00 pm, and we learned that he has a massive ear infection and a sinus infection. I was a bit frustrated, especially since they told us on Thursday and Friday that his ears were clear and it was NOT an ear infection. Anyway, they prescribed antibiotics for Micah, so hopefully he'll be getting better soon.
Oh - and picking up the antibiotics was a nightmare! The pharmacist was sitting doing nothing, and when he finally got off his ass to fill my prescription, he decided the dosage was wrong. After taking 1/2 hour on the phone and talking to the doctor - he ended up dispensing the medicine as prescribed. What a mess!
Break fast (the dinner we eat after fasting for 24 hours - breaking our fast) was nice - we had a quiet dinner at home with my parents. Bagels, lox, cream cheese, blintzes, tuna fish and egg salad were on the menu! It was a good evening.
This time of year, I often find myself reflecting on my life. Have I been a good person? How can I be a better person? Last year, I was 28 weeks pregnant and I was experiencing pre-term contractions. I spent Kol Nidre night in the hospital, and I was running for an ultrasound on Yom Kippur Day. What a difference a year makes! This year, my little man is sick - figures he would continue the trend of causing me stress on Yom Kippur! Perhaps he will be feeling much better tomorrow.
Year in and year out, I resolve to improve and change, but sadly, I suspect I often fail to make progress from one year to the next. It worries me - I've had such good fortune in the past year, and I hope that I have earned it. I wonder if I have been good enough to those I love, and kind enough to strangers. Last year, I promised myself I would stop procrastinating and focus more on improving my business and staying organized. I promised I would work on being kinder to those I care about, and far more considerate. Unfortunately, I think I have probably failed to make sufficient progress on my New Year's vows. As I sit back and reflect on the past year, I find myself wanting to make the same vows again. Perhaps this year I will make more progress.
Speaking of being considerate, here is a bit of a non sequitur. I am constantly amazed by how thoughtful, caring and considerate some people can be. I have a few friends that are like that - they mail thank you cards promptly, always remember to call before important life events, send gifts on time, and send a "thinking of you card" or a little token for good luck. I wish I was more like that. I have to say, I am not spontaneously thoughtful. I have great intentions to call or buy cute little gifts, but I get distracted and forget. I so appreciate when people think of me - perhaps this year I can learn to be more considerate towards others.
To everyone celebrating this high holy day, I hope you have an easy fast.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Oh well...perhaps I'll have to skip the song metaphor approach. Maybe I'll just take a dictionary approach instead? I went to dictionary.com and looked up some key definitions. I think this could work as a theme, so....
Fire away (verb phrase): to begin to talk and continue without slackening.
Another insane week for me. I woke up on Tuesday pretty early with Micah, gave him his bottle, and played with him. I finally bundled him off to his nap while I did my best to pack in a hurry and straighten the house up so the cleaning lady could clean. When Micah woke up, I took him to his class (which he loved) and then ran him over to the babysitter's house. I hated to leave him like that, but he seemed perfectly content to stay and play. I ran home, grabbed my bags and headed to the airport.
I arrived at the airport in plenty of time, made my plane with no problems, and then arrived in Orlando on time. My friend who lives in Miami drove up to meet me, and she picked me up at the airport.
Fire (noun): burning passion; excitement or enthusiasm; ardor
We checked into the hotel, and headed out to a wonderful dinner. At dinner, we had some good discussions - we talked a lot about work, and it made me remember how we were back in college - full of enthusiasm (fire in our bellies) and ready to embrace life and work and what was ahead. I think my enthusiasm and ardor has ebbed over the years - or perhaps it has been redirected. I love what I do for a living, and I love how I help people, but it is no longer my first priority. For more than ten years, my job was my first priority. I cannot imagine living that way ever again. My friend is still at a point in her life when her job is her top priority. In some ways, I envy that - I did not have that kind of passion to stay on that career path I was on ten years ago.
We ate far too much, but it was so nice to relax and catch up with a friend. After dinner, we wandered around Downtown Disney. I dragged her over to my favorite Candy shop there, and we each bought a chocolate caramel apple. I LOVE these apples - mine was a green apple, dipped in caramel, chocolate on top of that, rolled in oreo cookie. A little slice of heaven! Did I mention my friend is my diet buddy? Yeah, we were NOT such good influences on each other.
Fire (noun): strength, as of an alcoholic beverage.
I called DH after dinner to check on my two boys. Unfortunately, the news was not so good - Micah would not go to sleep and he was waking up every 10 minutes and crying. I tried giving DH a few tips, and I felt a little guilty that his first night as a "single dad" was so rough. DH was trying everything, but nothing seemed to have enough fire to make Micah feel better. He gave him some Tylenol, tried some Mylanta, and lots of good old fashioned cuddling. When I finally said good night to DH for the last time at 2:00 am, Micah had just gone back to sleep.
Fire (noun): fever or inflammation.
My biggest fear was that DH would fall asleep and not hear Micah cry out during the night. I was very proud of him, though, because he really did manage to tune in (which now just irritates me that he doesn't do that at other times, but I digress). Micah woke up one more time during the night, but then he slept until almost 9:00. When Micah woke up, DH realized he was running a fever. This is when I started to worry - DH had planned to have Micah in daycare, and fever meant no daycare. He called the doctor, and the doctor thought it was likely just a reaction to the flu shot he had on Monday. He was told to monitor the temp, give him Tylenol, and bring him in if the fever was not gone in 24 hours.
Fire (verb): to inspire.
Meanwhile, back in Orlando, I had a busy conference day trying to arrange everything. I was in touch with my parents and coordinating help for DH with Micah. I attended conference sessions, and visited the exhibit hall, and met with all the different exhibitors. It was actually a productive conference for me - I found a bunch of resources for my client, made some good contacts, and flagged a few issues for my client we had not previously considered. I was kind of excited about the prospects for our project, and all fired up with ideas for my client.
I made it back to the room around 5:30 and checked in with DH. Unfortunately, Micah was not doing any better. Despite my worries about my little guy at home, dinner was inspiring. We went out to dinner and had an INCREDIBLE meal - at Portobello in Downtown Disney. I was surprised to have such a delicious dinner there. The meal started off with roasted garlic and bread. We ordered fried risotto croquettes filled with mozzarella cheese to share, and we each had a glass of wine. I ordered a red Italian "drinking" wine - it was subtle and matched my meal perfectly. My main course was a delicious ravioli with perhaps the best marinara sauce I've ever had - rich flavors, tangy, light, not sweetened, and laced with garlic. I ate the entire dish because I wanted more sauce! We topped off our decadent extravaganza with a piece chocolate cake that we shared. From start to finish, dinner was divine!
Fire (noun): A state, process or instance of combustion in which fuel or other material is ignited and combined with oxygen, giving off light, heat, and flame.
We spent the remainder of the evening wandering around the shops, picking up presents for family members, and having a pleasant evening - although I think my credit card was on fire from my purchases. We talked about staying for Disney's nightly fireworks/New Year's celebration on Pleasure Island, but we decided to call it a night earlier. When we got back to the hotel, I had a bit more work to finish before bedtime.
The next morning, Micah's fever was over 102 degrees. DH called the doctor and arranged to take him in for an appointment. As I suspected, the doctors had no idea what was wrong, told us to give him Tylenol and come back on Friday or Saturday if he did not improve. In Orlando, I did a bit of work sorting through my contacts, headed to one last meeting for the trip, and then had some fun time with my friend before my flight. We grabbed breakfast at IHOP, got a manicure/pedicure, then stopped off at the outlets. I had no intention of shopping, but I couldn't resist. I bought a cute sweater from Ann Taylor Loft, and I ended up buying two outfits from Michael Kors - a dress and a skirt. I was actually surprised because I usually don't buy labels like that. The clothes were well-made, reasonably priced, and fit well. I really needed the clothes - I will be wearing the outfits for Yom Kippur and my upcoming business trips, so I do think it was money well spent. I also bought everything on sale at insanely reasonable prices!
Fire (verb): to hurl, throw.
I got to the airport in plenty of time...unfortunately, my flight was delayed by an hour. I was inflamed - I cannot stand that the flights are always delayed! Why does that always happen when I'm so anxious to get home? As I sat and steamed at the airport, my mom was spending time with Micah. My plane took off quite late, and I finally landed a little after 7. Try as they might, they just couldn't keep my little man awake. He had another rough night, so I did get to go in around 12 and cuddle him back to sleep. I missed my little man terribly! I brought back a great surprise for DH, too - his very own chocolate/caramel/peanut butter cup apple, a chocolate peanut butter pretzel, and a chocolate caramel pretzel! He was kind enough to share, and it was delicious.
On Friday, Micah's fever climbed to 102.5, so we decided to take him back to the doctor. They did a nasal swab, checked his ears and chest, and everything came back negative. By Friday evening, his fever hit 103.5. I called the doctor again, and she suggested I give him motrin in addition to the Tylenol. She said to wait an hour, but if it didn't go down, I should take him to the emergency room. One hour later...his temperature dropped! He finally stopped crying and we were able to put him to sleep. He woke up again at 4:00 am, we gave him more medicine and brought him into bed with us and he slept until 8:00 am.
Fire (noun): severe trial or trouble; ordeal.
Today was a rough day (under fire). DH had to work, so he was gone all day. Micah wouldn't eat much, but the motrin and Tylenol kept his fever lower. He had several crying sessions during the day, and he was very clingy/needy. I called the doctor, and she said I could bring him in for a chest xray and blood work. Since he isn't coughing, I decided not to bring him in for the chest xray. She said blood work wouldn't tell her much either, so I decided to hold off on that as well.
Micah did not nap well in the morning, he barely ate anything for lunch, and when he finally fell asleep for his afternoon nap, he woke up one hour later crying. I brought him downstairs and he curled up on my chest and fell back asleep - for three more hours! He woke up crying around 5:00, and I quickly gave him his medicine and a bottle. He finally started to feel better, and he had a few hours happy and smiling before bed time. It is now 11:40, and he has woken up and cried a few times, but he has quickly fallen back to sleep each time. Here is hoping he actually sleeps through the night tonight!
Fire (verb): to dismiss from a job.
I have so much work to do in the upcoming weeks - I have a few conference calls this week to debrief about my last two trips. I have promised people information, and I have work proposals to write. I need to get myself in gear because I'd hate to risk any of my clients.
So - I made the theme work? It was a rough fit, but it was a challenge!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
***Edited to add: Sure enough, the day after I wrote this post, Micah figured out how to pull the bib over his head. We are in BIG trouble now.
Speaking of eating, Micah is eating real table food now! I'm still amazed by how "grown up" he is. We give him pureed food, too (especially since he STILL doesn't have any teeth), but he has been eating small pieces of chicken, brisket, potatoes, carrots, mushroom barley soup, squash soup, broccoli stew, lentils, couscous, quinoa, rice, cheerios, bananas, melon, yogurt, macaroni and cheese...pretty much anything we eat, he is eating, too! For good measure, here is a video of him feeding himself scrambled egg yolk and cheerios:
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
He went to daycare after the appointment and did just fine all day. I'm off on another business trip - I leave this afternoon and will be back on Thursday. I'm so sad to leave my little guy again, and a bit scared that this is the first time I'm leaving him overnight with his Daddy (alone). My biggest fear is that DH won't wake up if Micah cries - he just doesn't hear things at all. I think he would sleep through World War III if it happened while he was sleeping. Wish us luck!
Monday, September 21, 2009
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, but nearly missed our plane because they changed the gate and we did not realize it. Because we were the last ones on the plane, we were forced to gate check our bags. We arrived in Atlanta, rented a car, then went to check into the hotel. We stayed at the Omni Hotel, and I have to say, that was the MOST incompetent staff we have ever experienced. First, as we arrived the valet was giving car keys to a very drunk woman. We complained to the manager about that, and supposedly, they took her keys back. The woman checking us in could not find our reservations. It took us almost 1 hour to check in, and they did not give us the correct room rate.
When we finally made it to the room, we were exhausted. I called my mom to check on Micah, and apparently he had a great dinner, but it took a little while before he fell asleep. We did our best to leave familiar things with him (his blanket and the mobile). I thanked my mom again, and hoped he slept through the night. We discussed what they needed to do to get him to daycare in the morning, and I said good night.
I woke up early for meetings beginning at 8:00 am, and DH was scheduled for an afternoon tour of some of our client's facilities. Apparently, Micah had a good day. He slept until about 7:30, he had his bottle and breakfast, and then my dad and Micah dropped my mom off at work and drove down to daycare. Monday night, DH and I had a working dinner, and then I spent the rest of the evening finishing my two presentations for Tuesday. I did call a few times to check on the Micah man, and he did well at daycare. My parents gave him a bath and he went to bed easily.
The conference began bright and early Tuesday morning. My presentations went well, and I think I generated some new business. Micah had a great day, too. He woke up at his normal time, ate breakfast, and hung out with his Grammy in the morning. It was his first day of music class, and my parents took him there (I was so sad I missed taking him!). They said he had a great time singing, playing and listening to stories. Apparently, Micah was smiling, clapping, and all over the place - far more interested and active than the other children in the class. My mom went to work after the class, and my dad brought Micah home to their house for lunch and his afternoon nap.
I have to say, I was quite impressed by my father. He was very hands-on as a dad, but so far, as a grandfather, he has been a bit more hands-off. He mostly has seemed uncomfortable with the idea of caring for Micah (or really any of his grandchildren) alone. Much to my surprise, he spent a lot of time alone with Micah last week, and he did a great job! He changed diapers, fed him, put him down for naps, played with him on the floor. Mostly, I was pleased to hear that he was so comfortable with Micah. They seem to have bonded this week, and I love seeing that.
Anyway, back in Atlanta, DH and I had a reception Tuesday night, and we were too tired to go out to dinner. Once again, DH and I stayed in and worked on our presentations for Wednesday. I have to say, we were in the same building as the CNN Center, right near the Underground, the Coca Cola Museum, and all of downtown Atlanta, and we not only barely left the building the entire trip, we couldn't even explore WITHIN the building.
On Wednesday, I had a third presentation, and DH gave two presentations. Another great day for both of us! Micah went back to daycare (after helping my dad drive my mom to work). He had a great time there, my father picked him up around 4:30, and the two of them went and picked my mom up from work. They had a wonderful evening, a good dinner, playtime, and my parents gave him a bath. We called to say goodnight to him - I was having a tough time missing my baby.
After DH's presentation Wednesday night, we took a friend of ours out to dinner at Flip, the burger restaurant owned by Richard Blaise (from Top Chef last season). I had trouble deciding what to order, so I got both the falafel burger and a mushroom burger to taste. They were delicious (thankfully, DH finished the burgers for me). DH and our friend ordered an organic burger. We ordered a few sides, too - french fries and tempura squash (think squash fries) - and then we topped it all off with a nutella and burnt marshmallow shake. The shake was pretty cool - it came in a glass with liquid nitrogen dumped in it to turn it into a milk shake as we waited. After our fantastic dinner, we headed back to the hotel to crash.
Thursday morning we were up bright and early again. We had a few more meetings, and then we left for the airport. Meanwhile, back in Micah land, my mom spent the morning with Micah, and my dad took Micah to his gym class in the afternoon. The other women from my playgroup were there, and I got a bunch of text messages telling me how much fun Micah (and my dad) were having. On our way to the airport, DH received a call from the airlines informing us that our flight was delayed. As we pulled into the airport, we received a second call with bad news - our flight was canceled. When we got to the airport, we stood in line and begged the attendant to let us on a flight. All of the flights were booked, but we managed to get booked on a flight into a different airport near home. Luckily, my father was able to come pick us up, and we made it back home in time to see Micah before he went to bed.
All in all, it was a successful trip. My parents and Micah had a great time. We missed Micah terribly, but it was a good experience for all of us.
I have PCOS and fibroids, and DH has MFI. In December 2008, after several rounds of Clomid, IUI with injectibles, and finally IVF w/ ICSI, I gave birth to our first son, Micah! For a more detailed description of our TTC journey, click here. DH & I are in our second month of TTC #2. We are starting by TTC naturally again (with the help of the CBEFM and Instead cups). Yes, I'm aware that this is likely a futile effort. Our current plan is to return to fertility treatments in December or January. We will probably start out with another 2 or 3 rounds of IUI w/ injectibles (why not) before going for another round of IVF next August.
Although my goal is to try to keep my cool during this time of TTC "naturally," I failed miserably last month and got a case of the crazies. My cycle was much shorter than I expected and I started spotting at 5dpo (which contributed to the crazies), but this month I am really going to try not to let the crazy things going on in my cycle rattle me, or worse yet, give me hope. If this month is just as crazy, I may go back on bcps until we are ready to undergo fertility treatments.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Today was particularly harsh - Micah woke up crying at 5:00 am. I guess he must have been hungry. I went in to comfort him, but all he wanted was to crawl into my arms. I tried to take him back into our bed to see if snuggling would put him to sleep, but no such luck. I finally had DH make a bottle, and he guzzled all of it right down, but still no sleep. He stayed awake until 10:30 am before taking a nap! Of course, that messed up our whole schedule. Today was the second day of Rosh Hashana, and we were supposed to go back to synagogue for services. Micah slept until after 12, and when he woke up, I quickly gave him a bottle and lunch and we ran over to services. We arrived just in time...for it to end. Oh well - next year we'll try again.
Anyway, Micah took a great nap this afternoon, but he was a bit tough to put to bed. He just woke up a few moments ago, and I hope he is down for the night. Let's hope he sleeps until at least 7:30 tomorrow!
We've actually had a great holiday - we had dinner with my family on Friday night, and Micah got to spend time with his Aunt, Uncle and cousins. On Saturday, Micah slept late (until 9:00), and he fell asleep in the stroller on our way to synagogue. He was pretty good during services, although he felt the need to sing along - much to the chagrin of some of the people there. Overall, he was very well-behaved, and I was impressed he was able to stay as long as he did. He took another nap for about 30 minutes before we left services, and he drank his bottle on the walk home. He had a big lunch, and then we went back to my parents' house for dinner. We actually took some time that afternoon to visit one of my parents' neighbors - a close family friend. Their daughter was in town, and the grandmother was there, and everyone was thrilled to spend some time with Micah.
Tomorrow is Micah's 9 month appointment, and we are back to the work/daycare grindstone. What a crazy week! I have to leave for Orlando on Tuesday, and I'll be gone until Thursday. I hope DH can handle the time alone with Micah!
Essentially, according to ancient Jewish tradition, the duties of the priesthood were prescribed to the first born son. Following the exodus from Egypt, the duties of the priesthood were taken away from the first born sons and given to the descendants of Aaron (the tribe of Levi). Nevertheless, because there was still some sense of sanctity belonging to the first-born sons, it became necessary to "redeem" these children from their priestly duties. The ceremony is traditionally held at least 30 days after birth. A descendant of Aaron (a "Kohen") performs the ceremony and asks if the parents wish to redeem their son. The parents pay five silver coins to the Kohen and say two blessings:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us with His mitzvot (good deeds), and instructed us regarding the redemption of a son.Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.
The Kohen then gives a blessing over the child and a blessing over wine. Everyone sings a congratulatory song, and the ceremony is done. The entire exchange takes about five minutes.
Our next ceremony was blessing the house. It is customary in a Jewish home to hang a mezuzah on the door - it is a little decorative tube with a blessing inside:
Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One.
Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.
You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.
And it will be, if you will diligently obey My commandments which I enjoin upon you this day, to love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, I will give rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be sated. Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them. For then the L-rd's wrath will flare up against you, and He will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce, and you will swiftly perish from the good land which the L-rd gives you. Therefore, place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, to speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates - so that your days and the days of your children may be prolonged on the land which the L-rd swore to your fathers to give to them for as long as the heavens are above the earth.
The L-rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and tell them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to attach a thread of blue on the fringe of each corner. They shall be to you as tzizit, and you shall look upon them and remember all the commandments of the L-rd and fulfill them, and you will not follow after your heart and after your eyes by which you go astray - so that you may remember and fulfill all My commandments and be holy to your G-d. I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d; I, the L-rd, am your G-d. True.As is tradition, we said a blessing over our house and said the prayer for hanging the mezuzah. At long last, we have made our house "officially" our home!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
It makes me think about how wonderfully simple life is right now for Micah. I wish Elmo could make everything better when I am having those moments of heart-wrenching sobs. It saddens me to think there will be a time when Elmo can no longer solve all of Micah's problems. Or a kiss from Mommy.
At the same time, however, there are things in life that do always alleviate the bad times. A nuzzle from my puppy, or a glorious smile from Micah. Maybe life always leaves us a little Elmo to make it less bad. Do you have an Elmo that makes it all (or some) better?
Friday, September 18, 2009
This is a time of year we think about the past year, seek forgiveness from the sins we have committed against others, and seek forgiveness from G-d for the sins we have committed against G-d. It is a time of self-reflection, and a time to make resolutions and wishes for the New Year. Mostly, it is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over fresh.
So, to all those out there, I wish you a Shana Tovah Umetukah (a good and sweet New Year). We also say "Shana tovah tikatevu v'gmar chatima tovah," which loosely translates to "May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year."
This week, while we were out of town in Atlanta on business, Micah stayed at my parents' house. They have a split-level house, with about 6 or 7 stairs going from the family room level to the entrance level, and then another 12 or so stairs from the entry level up to the bedroom level. Apparently, the very first night at my parents' house, my mom plopped him in front of the stairs to see what he would do (something I've avoided for quite some time!). Micah crawled right over and climbed up the stairs. According to my mother, it was "effortless." We're clearly in trouble - I think it is finally time to install those baby gates!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Just before Labor Day, my computer started to give me a hard time. It was repeatedly crashing and not saving documents properly. Finally, on Friday, my computer froze. I tried rebooting it, and my computer informed me it did not detect a hard drive. My heart STOPPED in that instant. My life (my work, pictures of Micah, videos, music, tax information, emails, writings, everything) are all wrapped up in this tiny little computer. And worst of all, I have been delinquent about backing up my hard drive.
After a few more tries and a restore session, my computer seemed to boot. At least I could see my files. My computer informed me there was a fatal error on my hard drive, and instructed me to backup my files, shut the computer down and get a new hard drive. I desperately tried to do a complete hard drive backup, but it kept failing. I managed to salvage all of my picture files (at least the ones that were not lost the prior three days), my outlook file, my pictures, my music, and most of my work files. It was a holiday weekend, so I could not get Dell to ship the part until Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Dell guy arrived at my house with a new hard drive.
After swapping out my hard drive (and fixing a few other things that were wrong), I was informed I would have to completely re-load all the software onto my computer. Since the move, I have no idea where my disks are. Dell had to send me fresh disks, and I was not able to start re-loading the software on my computer until Saturday. It took me most of Saturday and Sunday to get my computer up and running and restored, and Sunday afternoon I flew off to Atlanta for work.
This has been a very long week so far - meetings all day every day from 8 until 7. I did get to catch up with an old friend, but these weeks take a lot out of me. To top it all off, I'm flying to Orlando Tuesday through Thursday for another conference next week. I'm off to Minnesota and Chicago in October and Kansas in November. I'm dreading all this travel and time away from Micah :(.
I think I need to renew my efforts to "grab happy." I have so much happiness in my life right now - a wonderful family, a good job, and amazing friends. Sometimes, I wonder if I truly appreciate all that happiness and hold on to it. My goal is to "grab happy" in the small moments - the beautiful Micah smiles, the cute little snuggles from my dog, and the beautiful rose bush DH brought home on my birthday.
Today, I am posting from an airplane far above on my way back home from 4 days in Atlanta (isn't technology wonderful?). It was a long week at the conference, and I've been missing the Micah man terribly. As we were going to the airport, we learned our flight home was canceled. I went through the usual emotions, but after standing in a very long line, a wonderful woman re-booked us on a flight home to an alternate airport. We are actually arriving 20 minutes earlier than planned. So, today I am grabbing happy in the thought that soon I will be on solid ground, snuggling my little man and putting him to bed.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Here is a cake I made for my niece's birthday. She wanted a Little Mermaid cake. I considered a bunch of different styles, but decided to use the Mattel Shimmer Princess doll and decorate around her. The mound was a strawberry cake, and the bottom layer is chocolate. I made the shells from white chocolate (using candy molds). I wanted to make a Flounder and a Sebastian out of either white chocolate or using my edible image printer, but my printer and computer were malfunctioning and I did not have enough time to make them out of chocolate. I sprinkled some brown sugar to make sand. I also had made coral out of royal icing, but it was not dry enough to attach to the cake. So, here is the end result - not quite what I envisioned, but my niece was thrilled! Funny how I always look at these cakes and see the things that did not happen as I planned.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Sorry for my long absence - I've been experiencing technical difficulties. My computer hard drive died, and I've been without technology for almost 1 week! I'll catch up over the next few days.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Nevertheless, infertile or not, here I sit thinking "I could be pregnant!" I'm reading pregnancy signs and symptoms into everything. I should know better. I DO know better. We don't get pregnant without a little help from an RE (and a magic wand, a few tubes, and an entire lab of assistants). And yet, somehow, I still think well-timed intercourse could lead to 2 beautiful pink lines. I must be certifiable!
What set this off? Yesterday, I started spotting at 5 dpo. Dark brown, very light, and it lasted through tonight. It seems to be gone now, but the crazies have me thinking, no, believing, that it must be implantation spotting. I'm sure I've spotted other cycles - I just can't remember right now. Or I'm sure there is some other logical explanation for the spotting - not that I can believe right now. Suddenly, my breasts now feel tender (it couldn't possibly be from weaning, you know), and I feel like my uterus is tightening. I'm going to feel like an idiot when AF arrives in 8 more days.
I forgot about the ups and downs of TTC - how much we agonize every month, despite every promise to relax and enjoy. I'm really okay if we aren't pregnant this month - or any time before our IVF. That is what I expected. I'm not in a hurry to get pregnant again - I'm still so thankful for my little Micah and enjoying every moment with him. These were just the first months I was willing to risk that remote possibility of the miracle infertility BFP we all dream about. It is the *hope* that is killing me. Why on earth would I even start hoping I could be pregnant our first month of actually trying? Infertiles like us don't get pregnant this way. I just need to keep repeating that to myself, over and over again.
Ugh - I hate the 2ww.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
On Monday morning, Micah woke up bright and early. He had his breakfast, played for a bit, then went down for his nap. When he woke up, he said goodbye to his aunt, uncle and cousin and we bundled him off to his first day at the new daycare around 11:30! DH walked him over there, dropped off his stuff, and did the initial check-in process. He then met the rest of us at the brunch place we selected - we went to a delicious place that is well-known for their crepes! After brunch, DH's family packed up their things and left for home. It was a nice visit, although a bit short. I felt terrible that they drove all that way for only a few short hours of Micah time.
We picked Micah up at 5:30, and he seemed to have a great day. We were pleased with his caretakers, and he was in a good mood. Our only challenge: Micah would not take a nap at daycare. Not really a surprise - there is so much going on there! Hopefully, it will get better with time.
On Monday night, the ladies from my playgroup took me out to celebrate my birthday. It was a nice dinner, and we had a great time catching up. I cannot believe how the summer has just flown by.
We sent Micah back to daycare again today. This time, I dropped him off. He cried a bit when I put him down, crawled over to me, started whining "Mama" and put his arms up to be held. He was so cute. I think he was just in a clingy mood today. When I finally left, he was smiling and playing with a toy while his caretaker held him.
As of this weekend, Micah is officially weaned - or at least he is no longer nursing. He is still getting 1/2 breast milk and 1/2 formula, and will for the next few weeks until we run out. I am hoping to start playing with sippy cups again - hopefully we can get him to drop the bottle and take his milk by sippy cup.
DH & I are officially in our first 2ww since April 2008. I know the odds are low, but I keep thinking "what if." I've decided not to test at all this time (we'll see if that actually works). It seems so silly to keep wasting money! I think I am going to call the RE's office in October to make sure we do not need to do any other testing or paperwork to get started with IUIs in December.