My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Not what I wanted to hear

Just got a call from the RE nurse and she did not have good news for me.  They have not come to a final protocol for fat girls.  If the BMI is over 40, it's officially a no-go.

They will be taking vitals at the suppression check (August 4) AND at the egg retrieval (est. August 16).

Things that can go wrong:

1)  I don't make weight at suppression check, diet continues for a full extra month.  Don't think this will happen.  I'm at 238.3lbs as of this morning (have to be below 240) and it's only a few more days so I'm pretty sure I can keep it down.

2)  They measure my height again and decide that I'm 5'4" instead of 5'5".  At 5'4", my weight has to be 232.7lbs or lower in order to make the proper BMI.  Not going to happen so that adds another month of this hell.

3)  The stimulation meds cause me to gain a couple of more pounds that I can't fight off and I tip the scales at egg retrieval.  All of the work and expense of an IVF attempt without being able to finish it.  We start all over again with more diet and full IVF attempt for another month.

4)  They check my height at egg retrieval on a different scale (it's at a different facility) and after all of the work of keeping the weight off despite extra hormones, they still cancel the procedure because I'm shorter on that scale than on the other one.  Once again, all of the work and expense, none of the reward.  Considering that everyone will have an hour set aside for my procedure anyway, they can instead spend that hour in the operating room with me ranting and screaming and crying directly at the people who made this decision.  Yup, that's what will happen, right before security physically removes my screaming and ranting ass from the building.

Sooooooooo, continuing hard core dieting.

Fellow IVFers, I've never kept track before, how much weight did you gain between suppression check and egg retrieval?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How I did the diet

It occurs to me that while I've been bitching and moaning about my dieting, I haven't actually given any details that might help someone else.

I am the anti-dieter.  I decided years ago that I'm happier being fat than I am being on a diet.  Seriously, other than not having kids, the whole trying to lose weight thing is the biggest source of misery in my life.  So this need to lose a lot of weight really fast has caused me a lot of tears and absolute terror that I would inevitably fail.  I haven't fully succeeded yet (my weight has popped up before and weigh-in is still 7 days away), but I'll give you a few of the things I've been doing.  Hopefully there's a tip here that might help someone else. 

Disclaimer - I do NOT recommend that anyone restrict their diet as rigidly as I have nor to lose weight as quickly as I have.  What I've done is drastic, but there's simply nothing I won't do for my kids so I did it.  Ok, so now I'll try to give tips without giving a how-to guide to doing things the unhealthy way.

First and foremost - have a supportive partner.  Poor K has had his diet restricted too so that he's not waving food under my nose and he's had to sit through a few sobbing nights where I screamed about my hungry stomach, how impossible my goal is, and how dare those bastards in white coats force this on me.  He's gone out of his way to figure out how to cook small meals (large snacks) with as few calories as possible and will look up the numbers for me before we eat so I don't accidentally eat more than I'm allotted for the day.  If I tell him I did a mile on the treadmill, he gives me footrubs.  Ok, he expects a backrub in return, but still!  Footrubs!

You know what?  That's my advice for all of this infertility bullshit.  Have the right partner.  No matter what gender combination you prefer, having the right person by your side is just about necessary for survival through all this.

Second - I'm already on metformin to prevent gestational diabetes and that really helps.  Last summer when I originally went on it, I lost 14lbs with no effort at all.  If you're really overweight, and your body is threatening diabetes, discuss this with your doctor.  So yeah, I'm kinda cheating in that I've got some medicinal help.

For the most part, I went old school.  Eat less, move more.  More calories going out than in.  According to calculations, it takes my body 2300 to run and maintain its current weight at my current lifestyle (of sitting on my ass doing practically nothing).  3500 calories = one pound whether that's going in or being worked off.

I signed up for Spark People.  No matter how obscure the food, someone has put in the calculations.  I have yet to find a food that wasn't already entered.  I plugged in my weight goal, the date of that goal, and it came up with my daily target range.  Tracking seriously helped and not having to enter every little bit of the nutrition label myself made tracking actually happen this time.  I've done Weight Watchers before, but this was SOOOOO much easier.

I bought some hydroxycut products and coincidentally had an appointment with my GP the next day.  I took those to him, had him read over the ingredient list, and he threw them away.  In their place, he gave me some samples of Alli.  Disclaimer again - this stuff won't do the work for you, but if you work to lose 5lbs, it will help take off an extra one or two for you.  I only took a pill when I ate something with fat in it and did NOT go over 3 pills a day.  I often only took 1 or 2 per day.  Apparently it grabs the fat you're eating and flushes it out of your body before it can be absorbed.

Protein, protein, protein.  This is the key.  It's filler, it's energy, and it's low calorie.  When we went diet grocery shopping, we stocked up on snackable proteins.  90 calorie packs of lunch meat that I just eat on it's own, one slice at a time.  Mush up some beans and put those on celery instead of peanut butter because they are lower in calories.  Cheese sticks.

Shellfish - great source of protein.  We got some precooked shrimp that we kept in the fridge.  I would snack on that when I just wanted one or two bites to tide me over for an hour.  The cocktail sauce for shrimp cocktail is also pretty low calorie.  Crab was on sale so we had a dinner of nothing more than a steamed dungeness crab and some melted butter.  Took forever to eat but even with the butter the whole meal was less than 200 calories and I felt stuffed.

I made lattes at home using this thing and an old espresso maker who's frother is broken.  Instead of my usual 16oz white chocolate mocha, I made a 12 ounce with sugar free vanilla syrup and 1% milk.  Sometimes I would use half a shot of regular sugared syrup and it only added a few calories.  Honestly, this is the best balance for me.  I tried a lot of other breakfasts, but as soon as I went back to a latte of some sort, I felt decent during the day.  The milk has the right amount of fat and protein, and the espresso gives you a little caffeine kick to help you get going.

Fatty spread substitutes - I love the texture of fatty foods like cream cheese.  But obviously, those were out.  Instead, quacamole, bean dip, cauliflower puree with some fat free cheese.  Sorry, but I couldn't find any kind of low calorie peanut butter.  I tried, as far as I can tell, it doesn't exist.  Oh, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray for popcorn and rice.

Thin out the fat so a little goes a long way.  I had a veggie lunch platter with ranch sauce.  I emptied out half the sauce and replaced it with a fat free ranch.  Mixing the two took away the bitter of the fat free stuff, and then I only ate a little bit of it on my veggies.  Yes, it's more calories than going with the fat free stuff alone, but much more satisfying for only a few calories.  A good trade off.

Veggies - the "well duh" of dieting.

Fruits - go for the filling fruits and eat them with a dash of protein so you don't get a sugar crash later.  The protien (like cheese) will carry that sugar energy in your body longer so you don't spike then crash.  Fruits have some calories to them, so make them count.  Melons are good.  Cherries are nice and dense but are also a diuretic, so be careful with those.

Water - I keep a plastic cup and straw with me at all times.  I like a lot of ice so it's hard to measure how much water I'm actually drinking.  So I put a 72oz jug of water in the fridge every morning, told my hubby to leave it for me, and then made it my goal to finish off that jug every day.  Didn't usually make that goal, but I got close.

Split servings in half.  Half a chicken breast.  Half the cocktail sauce.  Half the bread.  If you want the other half, you can go back for it, but you'll often find you don't need it.

Deconstruct what you usually eat and only eat certain components.  I like Reuben sandwiches.  Today, I put 2oz of deli corned beef on my plate, half a cup of sauerkraut, and indulged in a tablespoon (serving size is 2 tablespoons!) of thousand island dressing over the sauerkraut and ate it with a fork.  130 calories and the flavors I actually wanted.

Think a lot of snacks, not meals.  If you're hungry, eat 100-200 calories and make sure some of it is protein (again, I love the deli meat packs).   That will hold off hunger for an hour or two.  Then do it again.  If you satisfy yourself like this all day, if you're awake 16 hours per day and you eat something every 2 hours, that's about 1600 calories per day.  That will get you there and your body will know that you're going to keep feeding it and hopefully not go into starvation mode.

Exercise is my nemesis.  I tried a Krav Maga class and I wanted to die before we finished the warm up.  20 minutes in, I was in the bathroom trying to stave off the dry heaves.  But I knew I couldn't do this on diet alone.

The acupuncturist recommended that even if I could only exercise for 5 minutes, do it before eating anything in the morning to ensure that the body is burning up its own reserves and not what you just ate.  So every day, I've been on the treadmill at a slow speed for 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning, and then again later in the day for a total of around 30 minutes a day.  Thank you Mom and Dad for the hand-me-down treadmill!

We hooked up an old computer on a table next to the treadmill which also serves as a DVD player.  Nice screen, and you've got all of youtube and your dvd collection to keep you company.  Hubby got me The Kids in the Hall: Complete Series Megaset for Christmas last year and I've been working my way through those.  It's really good because it's only 2-5 minutes of commitment to watch through the next sketch.  Keeping yourself on the treadmill for just another 2-5 minutes, until the next sketch is over, it tacks on a lot of minutes when you otherwise would have gotten off the darned thing.  If you go to a gym, get the Netflix app for your phone and stream from that.

Ok, and I'll also say get a hobby that keeps your hands busy.  I have a new job doing pottery which in one way doesn't help matters.  I have to sit on my butt when I'm working.  On the other hand, it's really hard to eat when your hands are covered in clay!  Just decided that I don't care if my water cup is dirty on the outside and that's all I have in my studio with me.  If I want to eat, gotta make some effort to do it.

Hopefully something here can be integrated into what you're already doing for yourself.  I've been miserable, but I'm surviving.  And I'm succeeding at the one thing in life that I've failed at every single day for more than 30 years.  It's not fun.  Others aren't enjoying it.  But, when it's important enough, if I can do it, ANYONE, and I'm looking at YOU "but I'm the exception that will always fail" person out there, ANYONE can make progress.  I'm not going to claim that anyone can be thin, I certainly don't expect to ever be, but anyone can make some progress, turn that into the new status quo, and then make a little more progress again later.

My current weight is lower than it was at my wedding 6 years ago.  I'm still fat, but I'm in a range of numbers I never thought I'd see again in my lifetime.

PS - as soon as I'm done with this dieting bullshit, I'll post for you the recipes for Frango Pie and Chili-getti.  The two most anti-diet dishes ever dreamed up and put on a plate!

Happy feet

That's right!  Oh yeah!  Those are my mutant toes on that scale!  Now it's all just wiggle room baby!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Almost there, no guarantee

Sorry this has kind of turned into a diet blog.  It's temporary, I promise.

So as of this morning, I'm only about half a pound away from my goal.  I still have 9 days to get there, so it's in my grasp!

I emailed my RE nurse and asked her to get someone who is making these decisions to guarantee that once I do the weigh-in at suppression check, that's it.  I can eat like a normal person and I won't be weighed again.  It's pretty obvious that the day I start eating a standard diet again, I'm going to pack on a couple of pounds overnight.  Especially once we add more hormones to the mix.  Once I get that suppression check weigh-in done, I want to start strengthening my body to support a pregnancy, not continue depriving it.

The last thing I want to do is think that I've finished, all is good, go out for a meal, and then have to weigh-in again a week later and having all of my hard work be thrown out the window.  It would be deathly devastating to have to look at myself in the mirror and know that I sacrificed my kids for a fucking cheeseburger.

She called me and said that as of right now, they can't guarantee that.  She's forwarding my email to the doctor, but he's not the final decision maker either.  He's the one fighting the corporation to get some policies in place that will allow them to treat us fat girls.  But because those policies are being written right now, they are changing every 5 minutes. And until they are solid, I can't count on any leeway at any point.

It's pure serendipity that my cycle is right now, that I happen to be right on the borderline of the cut off weight, and that this is the month that the policy war is going down within the clinic.

I told her point blank that if we have to stop my cycle, I want the person or people responsible for that policy, not the front line people like her and my doctor, I want THE person that put it on paper to come into the room and tell me to my face that I'm too fat to be a mother and force him to sit there awkwardly until I stop crying.  Because if some asshole is going to seal my fate without a second thought, the least he can do is sit there and watch the results of that decision.

She'll be calling me tomorrow with an update.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yay! Argh!

Here's the Yay - Spot has been found alive and well!  The cougar didn't get him, he got trapped under the neighbors house when they were setting rat traps.  She heard him meowing last night, checked this morning, and came over to tell K that he's been found.  A whole lot of dust and cobwebs and a can of food later and Spot is running around the neighborhood as he should be!

Here's the argh.  I weighed myself last night.  245.5.  Cried for an hour or so.  I'm eating less than 1,000 calories per day and my weight is bouncing back up instead of pushing down.  I think that 241.2 was as low as it's going to bounce and that's not good enough.  So we might not get to do this cycle.  This morning, 244.5.  I've only got 12 days to get it to 240. 

I'm miserable because I'm eating so little and I'm terrified because I'm not getting the results I need.  I'm practically back to where I started even though I haven't eaten anything.

K recommended we donate a pint of blood the morning of weigh-in.  That outta be a pound or so.  Yes, I'm actually considering it as a viable option.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Back to limboland

So we're back on the fence of whether or not this cycle is going to happen.

The clinic is literally trying to write the policies for fat girl egg retrievals as I'm living the experience.  But the policies aren't on paper just yet, so there's no guarantee that they will be by the time I need to move forward.  So we are back to the question of go or no go depending on my weight.

And my weight has sprung back up.  And they've determined that a BMI of 40 won't cut it, it has to be BELOW 40.  So we can't just say I hit 40 the other day and run with it.

My weight as of this morning:  243.1
Maximum weight to get a BMI of 39.9:  240.0
Date of decision:  Aug 4
Days to get 3.1lbs off my body:  13

This is gonna be rough.  My body has already experienced that initial whoosh of weight loss one gets the first week or two of a diet.  It's now gone into fight mode so I'm gonna have to fight to get every ounce off that I can.  And it's gonna come down to that last fraction of a pound at the last minute.   And it's possible that when she said a BMI of 39, she meant 39 even and not 39.9 (waiting to hear back on that clarification).  If it's 39 even, this simply isn't going to happen.  I would have to get to 234.5 and I don't see that happening for at least a month, perhaps 2.

I'm predicting nothing but water and laxatives on Aug 3.

Cougar power activate!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's gettin hippy dippy up in hee-yuh!


I'm not real big on spiritualism or whatever, but when the universe drops a big ole sign at you, I do kind of take notice and while I don't put my entire faith in it, I'll go ahead and kind of hold on to it.

In the beginning of our relationship, the universe seemed to send me a deer whenever I was concerned about whether or not I found the right guy.  A few months into dating, K and I decided to work on a play together, he directed, I stage managed.  I was concerned that working together would turn into one of those high drama situations where we would drive each other crazy and end up hating each other.  Partway through the rehearsal process, we are leaving a rehearsal, each in our separate cars.  K is ahead of me and for no apparent reason, he stops and gets out of his car.  When I get up to him, I can see from his headlights that there is a herd of deer crossing our path!  Not just 1 deer, an entire herd!  We weren't out in the boonies either, we were in a suburban neighborhood of Salem, MA.  It took about 5 minutes for that herd to fully pass.

A few months later, I brought K to Seattle to meet my family.  We went to visit his uncle who is also in the area and at one point, we were invited to spend the night which K knew I didn't want to do, but he didn't say anything which forced me to speak up and find a polite way to decline the situation.  As I seethed, trying to figure out how to communicate to K that we were going to have our first argument ever as soon as we were alone, we had to stop to allow a deer to cross the road.  And later in that trip, we had to swerve to avoid hitting yet another deer.

So yeah, I do kind of believe that a deer (or a herd!) is sent my way to tell me that K is my partner and I've chosen the right one.

And now, on the first day of my IVF treatment, I'm sent a cougar.  I've never seen a cougar in real life before and they aren't exactly a common occurrence here in suburban Bothell.  I've certainly never heard reports of them being here before!  So let's see what we can find out about this 200lb symbol that showed up on my doorstep last night.

From - In some Native American tribes, it is a totem symbolizing balanced leadership. One source describes a cougar totem that is associated with a controlled use of power; the ability to successfully lead without force.

From Making Magic Work -Panther as your guide may lead you down a more mystical path. The Panther is a symbol of earth and a symbol of personal power.
From The Earth Angel Connection - Cougar is about personal power.  When cougar appears in our life, it is time to learn about power, strength, and using the personal tools we have been gifted with by spirit.  Learning to be assertive.

From One SpiritxCougar- Using Leadership Power Wisely and Without Ego, Balancing Power, Intention, Strength, Gaining Self-Confidence, Freedom from Guilt, Cunning, Savagery, Fury, Remorseless, Hunting, Seeking of  Freedom, Balancing Intention, Power, Coming into Your Own Power, Courage, Swiftness, Balance.

I'm feeling pretty good about that symbolism.  Does it say motherhood is in my future?  No, not really.  But it's about leadership and personal power.  Balance.  Courage.  Sounds like motherhood qualities to me.  And we all know how powerless I've been feeling on this journey.  So, perhaps the mountain lion on my doorstep was bringing me the power I need for this (hopefully) last struggle to get there?  And to provide the ability to be a leader without being a total bitch about it?

Not the exact sign I wanted the universe to send me, but considering all of the bad omens I could have been sent, this seems like a good omen to me!  I'll take it!  So here we go on another IVF leap of faith.

This wallpaper is available for download here

PS - K was just reading up on cougars too.  How elusive they are and they are rarely seen.  In his words, I've been "given a gift".  That's really odd wording for K.  If either of us is hippy dippy, it's me.  I thought he must have read this post and then went looking around for info so he could comment.  Nope, he hasn't read this yet.  Say Hi to the folks in the comments when you do get around to reading this Honey!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unrelated to IVF - Cougar!

I'm totally freaking out!

I heard this sudden burst of activity on my deck and saw various shades of fur fly across it.  I run to the glass door, and what's 5 feet away staring back at me through the glass?

That's what!!!

I live in the suburbs!!  I knew we had coyotes but I've never seen one.  But a friggin mountain lion, on my deck!?!?!?!  Chasing one of my kitties and the raccoons off my deck!

I haven't had an adrenaline rush like that in a long time and I can go a LONG time before having another!

In other news, we haven't seen our orange feral cat, Spot, in several days.  That's probably not "other" news though.

Needle count and weight management

Just for shits and giggles, I'm gonna keep track of every needle that enters my body for this IVF attempt!  I'm doing acupuncture this round and that's going to drastically increase my needle count, so I'm counting those separately.  Keep track with me in the chart on the right.

We're currently not sure what to do with my weight.  My doctor has been battling behind the scenes and has succeeded in changing policy so that fat girls can do egg retrievals.  And continuing with the theme of my horrible timing, this man was telling me 9 days ago that if my BMI is above 40, we can't do an egg retrieval at all.  So policy is literally being determined and written at the exact moments that I'm walking through those policies.

At my blood draw/ultrasound today, they did my vitals as well.  My weight today - 241.2 and they still think I'm 5'5".  I've lost 6.2lbs in the last 9 days.  Yay me!  At 5'5", my weight needs to be no higher than 240.5 in order to register as a BMI of 40.  So when my nurse walked in and says "You did it!" I'm asking her "what did I do?"  They recorded my BMI at 40 so I think a technician fudged a number on my behalf.  Not complaining.

But here's the thing.  They still don't have the policy written that determines at what point in the process your BMI is to be recorded.  Is it the first day of BCP?  Is it at suppression check?  They don't know yet.  They hope to have an answer for me by Friday, but like I said, my timing is just brilliant.

SOOOOOO, if they decide that it's the first day of BCP, I'm golden!  I did it, they put that number on the record for me, pass the nachos and let's do this!  But if they decide that it's at suppression check, then I need to continue the diet for another 2 weeks to make sure no ounces pack themselves back onto my frame.  I'd probably want to lose another 2lbs just to be on the safe side.

I have no idea what to do about dinner tonight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best possible outcome

Things are finally going my way!

I will not be having surgery tomorrow.  My symptoms are inconsistent with gallbladder issues and more consistent with a slightly strained muscle.  Possibly due to the all of the pottery I've been doing (it requires a lot of flexing and stressing of the right leg).  The fact that they found gallstones was just a coincidence.  And even under the worst of circumstances, if for some reason those stones do flair up during a pregnancy, it can be dealt with pretty safely then.


And since my body decided to do it's own thing on it's own schedule, we get to move forward with IVF immediately.  I start BCP tomorrow, and my weight will be taken on Aug 4 to determine if they can do the egg retrieval in the office or if I need to go to a hospital facility.  Behind the scenes, they seem to have figured out the logistics of doing an egg retrieval on a fat girl so my weight no longer determines a go or no go, but rather the logistics of the go and how much it will cost.

I gotta say, it's going to be easier to lose another 3lbs in the next 2 weeks and get that recorded and done with instead of having to be 3lbs lighter 6 weeks from now.  So 2 weeks of intense dieting and then DONE.

Cross your fingers.  With the calendar I've been given, my beta blood test to determine whether or not I get pregnant will be on Aug 30th, the one year anniversary of the day I became pregnant with my girls.  And any new little ones that might come along will be due the week of our family birthdays.

Yay!  We get to do this a month earlier than expected!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rereading the signs

So the IVF clinic sent me a calendar and things got a little more complicated.  They don't want me on BCP for a month, but rather 10 days, with an egg retrieval around August 15th and an implant probably on the 21st.

That means 3 things. 

1)  If I have the gallbladder surgery, we have to delay IVF by a month.  Obviously, I don't want to do that, but in the grand scheme of things, I have to get over it if removing the gallbladder is necessary.

2)  My weigh-in to determine if I'm under the BMI of 40 will be on August 4th.  Two and a half weeks to lose the additional 3lbs or so that I need to lose.  Of course, it would be easier to crash diet myself down for two weeks and have it done with rather than lose it slowly and then maintain until the next potential weigh-in six weeks from now.

3)  If we follow the calendar that is currently written, we will confirm or deny the pregnancy on August 30th.  That's the one year anniversary of the implant date for my girls.  That would also put the babies due date in the first or second week of May, also known as our wedding anniversary and both of our birthdays.

So, we now have a lot riding on what the surgeon recommends tomorrow.  My gallbladder is such that if not for the potential pregnancy, we probably wouldn't even be considering taking it out.  It's not like it's a medical necessity at the moment and I'm a bit gun shy to remove an organ based on a maybe.

We'll be asking the surgeon for all sorts of worse case scenarios and what the likelihood would be of running across those.

Here's what I'm REALLY hoping he tells me.  I'm hoping that he's more conservative and prefers not to remove organs unless there's a medical need.  I'm hoping that he tells me we should just do some laser stuff that will break up the gallstones making them less likely to cause any problems over the course of the next year.  That would be the best case scenario at the moment.

My cycle is weird

And once again, our calendar goes wonky! 

The last few months, my cycle has had a fairly predictable cycle.  First time in my life, but being able to predict was kind of awesome. 

So we were expecting a cycle start for July on or near the 28th.  We figured that would make the August cycle undoable cuz I wouldn't be able to lose the weight fast enough to be under the BMI cut off point at the start of that cycle.  So we figured that we would be starting this hullaballoo again at the end of August.

And then I got a mini-period this weekend.  Hmmmmmmm, well, ok.  Not quite what I had planned.  I email my doc with this news and tell him that my weight loss is progressing nicely (officially 4.8lbs this week!  Only 3lbs to go!), and if I need to do a full cycle of BCP before we do the real IVF stuff, let's go ahead and get that going.

He writes back that the clinic just about has the logistics of egg retrievals for fat women hammered out so the weight loss might not be as vital as it was, and yes, let's do a month of BCP. 

So, I'll be starting my month of BCP tomorrow, a period expected mid August, and then we are doing the crazy part of IVF!  Hopefully to confirm a brand new pregnancy the last week of September.

But did you catch that part about the weight loss thing?  It might not be a matter of saying yes or no to a cycle anymore.  But rather the logistics of doing the retrieval within the office, or having to use a hospital facility for another $2,000.  So the stakes on my weight loss have diminished greatly.  If I fail to get under 240lbs, it won't cost me a baby, it will cost me about $2,000. 

This mornings weigh-in, 242.6lbs.  So obviously, I'm gonna go for it.  $2,000 is a lot of money to save and I don't want there to be any chance of them changing their minds.  So I think I have about 4 weeks until I start my next period to lose that last 3lbs.  That is totally doable.

In other news, I consult with the surgeon tomorrow about my gallbladder.  There's a 50/50 chance that I'll be having it removed on Wednesday.  Hey!  That's half a pound right there!  Woot!

On the serious side of the gallbladder thing, if there's a possibility of it becoming infected during a pregnancy, well, potential infection points I can remove from my body before pregnancy, the less fear I'll have during that pregnancy.  I still feel that we're going a little on the crazy side to remove an organ due to a potential issue that we won't ever know if it's actually an issue, but oh well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Have you had your gallbladder removed?

I have some doctors/surgeons swirling around behind the scenes determining whether or not they would recommend that I have my gallbladder removed, oh, immediately.

I have gallstones and the concern is that while they aren't a major problem now, just some very mild low grade pain, pregnancy could exacerbate the problem to the point of emergency surgery if they get inflamed and start an infection.

And if you know me at all, you know that the magic word to get me to do anything is INFECTION.  That word just sends me into a panic. 

Since we want to start an ivf cycle in about 6 weeks, this decision will need to be made, immediatelyish.  Like going under the knife early next week.

Please tell me your stories in the comments.  Have you had it removed?  What were the life implications (like diet and such) afterwards?  What should I know and factor into my decision making?

Expecting a phone call from the surgeon that my GP is consulting with some time tomorrow but I'd really like some real world experience stories.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Google +

In case anyone would like to hang out with me on Google +, I am findable.  My name there is Alex Remon.  Drop me a line and tell me that you know me from this blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kind of afraid to eat

According to the website where I'm tracking my food, I've eaten just under 1,000 calories today.  In order to reach my goal weight by the last week of August, I'm supposed to eat between 1,500-1,850 calories per day.  So in theory, I've only eaten 2/3 of my daily allotment of food, and I made sure it was decent food. 

But I'm afraid to go to the fridge or cupboards and get something else.  If I eat one more thing, I'm afraid I'll eat 20.

Maybe it's because I really haven't eaten very much and yet a lot of calories have been used up.

It's only a goal of 8lbs over 6 weeks.  Nice and slow and everything.  But I feel like if I count on the plan working as slowly as it's designed to, it won't work at all.  Like if I do that standard diet thing of losing 5lbs really fast in the first week or two, then I'll have a lot of time left to lose the last couple of lbs.  But if I try to do it slow, I can't count on those last 2lbs coming off in those last 2 weeks like they need to and then I'll be totally screwed.

The stakes are so high, and I've been failing at losing weight for so many years, I'm kind of petrified myself into severity. 

I'm such an all or nothing person.  I need to work on that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Do or Die of Dieting

So we had our consultation with Dr. Douchebag today.  You'll notice that he has retained his unflattering nickname.

Here's the big fat issue in the room - my big fat butt.  They have established their policies and settled on only doing egg retrievals for patients under a BMI of 40.  And the reasoning makes me want to tear my hair out.  They have the anesthesia people in one building who are willing to do a retrieval for us fatties.  They have transfer facilities so that the retrieved eggs can be placed back into a big fat uterus.  However, they do not have a means of transporting the embryos from one place to another.

For all sorts of legal liability issues, none of the various companies involved in this process will take legal responsibility for the potential for problems to occur while transporting the embryos from one place to another.  Basically, nobody wants to be held liable in case of a car accident causing your maybies to splatter all over the highway.

So for the want of a Frozen Fed Ex, I can't get pregnant right now.  Yes, my entire future is put on hold because of traffic issues.

But here's the good news.  When they took my height and weight measurements today, they established that I'm 5'5".  I'm really, really not that tall.  I've always been 5'3 1/2", maybe 5'4" on a really good day.  When she said I'm 5'5", I corrected her like a good girl, and she measure again, twice.  And the technician still claims that I'm 5"5".  I did my part in correcting her, I'm not going to argue and force her to say I'm shorter than she wants to say I am.  And my weight (once I took my jeans off) was measured at 247.4.  That puts me at a BMI of 41.  By their calculations, if I can get under 240, I'm eligible for IVF again.

Now honestly, knowing how tall I REALLY am, I would need to get under 233lbs to get a BMI of under 40.  But if they want to put my weight loss goal at 240lbs, who am I to argue?

So an August cycle is off the table.  I officially have 6 weeks to lose 7.5lbs so we can go for a September cycle.  It's going to be one hell of a challenge for me, but it's still a lot more doable than 14lbs.  But I'm really scared that I'm going to fail.  I was 244lbs when I got married 6 years ago.  And 18 months ago, I was 266lbs.  So by the way, can I get a little credit for the nearly 20lbs that I've already lost?  And 4 months of that time was spent pregnant with twins, so I think I've made a shit ton of progress in the last 18 months.

We hit the drug store on the way home to get some hair dye remover stuff (K had to darken his hair for a play a few months ago and we need to remove the color from his hair because it's growing in white and he's looking like a redheaded skunk).  And we got some Hydroxycut Fiber Full Drink Mix, along with some  HYDROXYCUT MAX FOR WOMEN.

Personally, I think these products are bullshit.  If there really were a magic diet pill that actually worked, America would be thin and it ain't.  However, the fiber full drink actually tastes pretty good and fiber can't be a bad thing.  If having that extra fiber puts off my feeling hungry for an extra hour, bonus.  And the Hydroxycut, well, I really think that's bullshit, but it does have a lot of folic acid in it.  I couldn't find any ingredients that seemed harmful and folic acid is a primary ingredient in prenatal vitamins (which I'm not taking while taking this stuff) so I don't see any harm in trying this product.  But, there's a very slim chance in hell that these products might assist me in losing weight (on top of the move more, eat less real diet I'll be trying to follow), that few extra ounces could mean the difference between getting pregnant in September or having to wait another month.  I hate to be an idiot buying into the hype, but it's worse to disregard a potential avenue for assistance in order to save my pride.

I will also be calling an acupuncturist and hopefully starting treatment.  Studies show that they do increase pregnancy odds.  Again, I'm calling bullshit, but even though I think it's a hippy dippy fad, I'm gonna go for it.  And some people use acupuncture to assist with weight loss as well.

The onus is on me of course.  Move more, eat less.  And on that note, I'll be trying my first Krav Maga class tonight.  I'm fat, angry, and feeling powerless.  I'm hoping that kicking learning how to kick some ass for an hour will assist with all three of those problems.

And as for Dr. Douchebag.  He's got some things going for him.  Behind the scenes, he really is trying to get these issues worked out so that they can offer treatment to us big girls.  So he is fighting on my behalf in that regard.  And who knows, by September, he might have the transport issue figured out so I can go ahead even if I do fail at the weight loss (but I'm certainly not counting on that happening).

However, I brought up the little joke he made.  The reaction I wanted was a truly remorseful apology for making me feel so crappy.  Even if he couldn't see the problem in what was actually said, I wanted him to feel bad simply for making me feel bad.  But what I got was a defensive list of rationales for why it wasn't so horrible and a placating apology.  And for that reason, he remains Dr. Douchebag.

And as for why I'm sticking with Dr. Douchebag - well, the other primary clinic in the area has the same BMI restrictions.  So by the time I worked my ass off to find someone who would treat a big girl, do all the preliminary testing that needs to be done, got the money back from my prepaid plan with Dr. D and applied it to somewhere else, well frak, it's September before we could go ahead anyway and there's no guarantee I'll like a new guy any better anyway.  If I stick with where I am, I don't have to deal with all that bullshit and I'll have the added bonus of being a pant-size smaller come September anyway.

I'd love some encouragement from everyone over the next 6 weeks.  I'm going to be tackling the biggest failure in my life that has been a consistent failure for over 30 years.  And I'm doing it with a deadline and the highest stakes imaginable. 

PS - just a little note about an hour after I wrote this post.  Don't take the 2 pills of the hydroxycut on the first day, especially if the only thing in your body is your favorite Starbucks drink.  I think I'm currently a little over caffeinated and a bit jittery.  Can't wait to see the results of what I make on the pottery wheel in the next hour while I'm like this.

Whacked by depression

And shockingly, it wasn't me!  It was K.

There's a lot of talk about how men seem to get over it immediately and that's it for them while we women seem to relive our pain over and over and over again.  That's not really true.  Men appear to get over things quickly because they see their job as fixing things and taking care of others.  And when their woman is crying, they get to take care of someone and suppress their own bad feelings.  Yay!

And K has really been taking care of me the last several months.  While I come up with a million and one disaster scenarios, he insists on not worrying about things until they happen.  I'm a pessimist, he's an optimist.

I think he's been holding himself together through all of this by keeping up hope that the FET would work.  And when it didn't, he sank.  He's been a bit mopey, not exercising, not motivated to do anything, classic depression.  And the other day, he sank lower than I've ever seen him.  Scary low.

So we were stuck in a bit of a quandary.  Do we treat this emotionally?  Make him really go through the pain and hope that he gets beyond it?  Or do we treat it physically by giving him some chemical lifts with natural endorphins or medications?

Well, K is not good at talking about emotions and I had a little fear that all that would do is push him deeper into it.  And the depression had taken on a physical manifestation and I figured that talking wouldn't solve the physical symptoms.

We talked, and I recommended he make an appointment with our GP to maybe get him on some meds for the short term.  Just long enough to get his feet back under him.  My theory was to get him feeling better physically and then see what emotional baggage was left over and deal with it then. 

And I told him that I was going to really pester him to get back to the gym.  He hasn't been going since we were both sick almost 2 months ago.  I've found the perfect motivator too.  "Honey, you need to spend an hour tomorrow doing something to make yourself feel better.  Your options are to go to the gym, or we can sit and talk about our feelings."  He went to the gym.

The next day, poof!  He's 50% better.  And then the next day, he's practically back to himself!  I'm telling you, the dude was DEPRESSED and bam!  Over it!  No meds, just a day at the gym and a good nights sleep.  I'm really glad he's back, but how does he DO that???

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ultrasound for all the wrong reasons

In the last year, I don't think I've gone 2 solid weeks without stepping into a doctors office for one reason or another.

Of course the IVF stuff means getting blood draws, ultrasounds, etc every couple of days.  Then during the pregnancy, I was getting ultrasounds and/or general OB appointments at least every 2 weeks, seeing the peri about the gestational diabetes, etc, etc.  Then after the miscarriage, it was consultations with the IVF people, follow-ups with the OB, a mole scabbed over sending me to the dermatologist, a few appointments for stomach issues with K, the IVF people again for the FET that we only got halfway through, then to my GP due to the prolactin elevation and potential brain tumor, and back to the IVF people for the most recent FET.

This last week I realized that this low grade pain I've had on the right side of my abdomen for the last month hasn't gone away.  I first noticed it the day that I put all 4 Vivelle dots on the right side of my belly.  I figured that mild pain was simply too much of the medication localized to one area since the pain was right under them, so for the rest of the treatment I made sure to spread them out evenly.  But the pain never really subsided and it didn't change locations in accordance to where I put the dots.  But it's very low grade.  Like a 1 or 2 on the pain scale of 10.

But knowing that my brother had to have an emergency appendectomy because he didn't get any advanced notice before it went bad, I thought I should probably report this to my GP before I get pregnant again.  I would much rather just have it out now rather than have it explode when I'm 6 months pregnant.

So I call up my GP and he's on vacation this week.  No problem, it hardly hurts, I'm in no rush.  But the person I'm talking to on the phone seems to think that I really need to be seen, oh, immediatelyish.  So she makes me an appointment for the next day with another doctor. 

Have I ever had any abdominal surgery?  Yes.  I had a D&E in December.  He doesn't know what that abbreviation stands for so I have to tell him and it clicks with him what kind of really shitty year I've had.  Because he sees in my records all the fertility treatments that I've been going through and he spends about 2 minutes just being stunned at what a crappy life the woman in front of him is currently living. 

He checks my ears and my eyes, double checks my skin (looking for jaundice), stethoscope and heavy breathing ensues, and he presses around my stomach for a bit and finds the tender spots.  By the end of the appointment, he's not thinking appendix, he's thinking gallbladder.  Collected urine, blood, and sent me to get an ultrasound early the next morning. 

Side note - I'm actually very impressed, his assistant (technician?  Seriously, am I insulting people when I don't know their proper titles?  I gotta learn these things at some point.) actually got blood very easily from the vein that's been running away from the IVF vampires.

So the next morning, I go to the ultrasound place (different place from the OB ultrasound place).  And I have to fill out those damned medical history forms and forever more I have to acknowledge what I went through in December for the sake of medical accuracy.

Then I'm in the all too familiar position of being on a table, with a fuzzy image on a screen, getting my stomach all gelled up and someone mushing a thingamabobber over it.  The main difference is that they are looking at the area just below my rib cage rather than my lower belly, but otherwise, well, yeah, not what I wanted to be doing less than 2 weeks after confirming that I'm not pregnant, again.

And here's the kicker, she even recorded my own damned heartbeat on one of those things like a fetal doppler (but it's not fetal so just doppler?).  So instead of hearing the double speed heartbeat of a fetus, I'm hearing just mine, normal speed, all alone.  I really wasn't prepared for that.

It really sucked.

The GP doesn't have the imaging results yet, but the bloodwork and urine tests are all good.  To my own untrained eyes that's been googling gallbladders and gallstones, I think I saw what I would interpret to be gallstones.  It looked like a sack with pebbles sitting in it.  Of course, I could have been looking at my spleen for all I know.  I've asked if gallstones are anything that can complicate a pregnancy at all and while I don't have a diagnosis yet, I've been told that there's no reason not to move forward with my fertility stuff.  The people I've spoken to who can't give me a diagnosis because they aren't technically my doctor, well basically we all seem to think that if it's gallstones, there's really nothing to do about it, just wait and at some point I'll probably attempt to pass one and will be in a lot of pain while I do that.  But as for pregnancy, no, it's not a potential complication.

So what's on my agenda for next week?  Well, meeting with my IVF doctor (Dr. Douchebag from recent posts) for a follow up on the failed FET and planning for the next attempt.  That's Monday morning.  Tuesday evening, I've been asked to join a paid focus group to discuss my experience with the medical facility that handled my mammogram.  I agreed to do it because well, I'm the one who wrote a letter about how they need to qualitative research and now that they're doing it, I figured I should be cooperative.  Not to mention, I'm a freelancer in a recession.  A hundred bucks is a hundred bucks.  Then Thursday I have a follow-up with my GP to either reach a diagnosis or continue investigating this pain in my side.

That means that next week will have a minimum of 2 doctors appointments, and 1 appointment where I discuss my doctors appointments.  Depending on what the GP sees when he gets the ultrasound results, I might be heading for a cat scan the week after.  Then (hopefully), we probably start another IVF cycle a week or two after that.

Just like I'm not seeing a 2 week period in my recent history without a doctors appointment, I'm not seeing a 2 week window in my immediate future either.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day, or is that alone day

The Fourth of July was always one of the better holidays for me.  My fathers side of the family owns a waterfront cabin on Whidbey Island and generally everyone gathers there on the 4th.

I don't remember a lot of holiday traditions growing up, but I do remember a lot of 4ths up at the cabin, my uncle bringing the good fireworks purchased from the local tribes, and having them set off on the dock over the water.

It was a good holiday for me.  Lots of people to hang out with, but lots of independent activities when the crowd got to be too much for a shy girl like me.

The 4th was how I introduced K to my family.  9 years ago, we had been dating for a few months, living in Massachusetts, and on a whim, I invited him to travel to Seattle with me to meet my family.  And being the brave man that he is, he decided to come west with me and met my family, everybody, all at once.  The clan is pretty darned intimidating just due to the sheer number of them, and he tackled them head on.  It was a great day, yielded some stories that we'll tell for decades to come, and my cousin snapped one of my favorite pictures ever taken of me (us).  Yes, I'm actually going to show you all a picture of me for a change.  This is K and I, 9 years ago when we were first dating.

I'm feeling a little too independent today.  Today probably would have been the debut of my girls.  They would have been about 2 months old for this holiday and I can't help but think that I would have been just about ready to get the hell out of the house and attempt taking them somewhere.  Every parental figure in my life would be there, probably passing them around for goo-gooing, giving me a few minutes here and there to be baby free after 2 months of constant babies.

Well, I'm baby free.  And I'm sticking around the house.  Not going up to the cabin with a million cousins who either care too much, or don't care enough about what I'm going through (because there is no perfect level of caring that will make me feel comfortable).

Happy Independence everyone.  You have my condolences.