Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Testing my patience as a patient

Today is one of those days that I have grown to detest.  We did an IUI about 10 days ago.  I thought it might have worked this time, though I've learned to never be too optimistic about the baby-making process.  I had something that resembled implantation cramping the day after the procedure and I've had a couple of other symptoms that I got the last time the IUI worked.  But I took a test this morning and it was negative.  So frustrating.  This means that I wait for a few days.  Maybe my monthly cycle will start, which will be the best indication that it didn't work.  Maybe nothing will happen and I'll take another test.  Maybe it will be positive.  But for now, I just have to wait.  Of course anyone that knows me knows that sitting with a quiet mind is damn near impossible.  And today it's worse because I have nothing to distract me.  These last five days were filled with socializing and activities and I didn't have time to stew over the state of my uterus.  

Today?  Today I have no errands to run, no cleaning to do, no activities.  Just work.  And when your job involves sitting on the couch with your laptop, editing minutia, it's easy for your mind to wander.  I'm restless and irritated and I'm having a hard time sitting here for more than 15 minutes at a time.  I get up, refill my coffee mug, laugh ruefully at the fact that I've been drinking decaf for three years for no reason, let the dogs outside and sit back down.  I stare at the computer.  I decided to blog, despite knowing that I sometimes regret it when I post stuff when I'm emotional.  The sound of the tv irritates me.  The silence of turning it off irritates me.  Toivo keep pestering me as I sit here and that irritates me.  I order him to go lay down on his bed, then immediately feel pangs of guilt for not paying attention to him because Toivo rarely asks to play.

This marks the first IUI of 2013.  How many did we do last year?  Four?  One of them worked.  Back in May.  Egg, fertilized   Two blue lines on a test. Ta da! Then, around the six week mark, it stopped.  Certainly there was a sense of loss, but I was fortunate enough to have had it happen early on in the pregnancy.  No heartbeat, no fingers and toes, no creepy 3D ultrasound pictures where everyone tries to guess who the fetus looks like.  Just a collection of cells trying to get themselves sorted out.  And they couldn't, so it was done.  Lots of women have miscarriages.  Actually, most.  And it often happens with the first pregnancy.  After an initial week or two of complicated emotions, I finally got my head together and took comfort in the positives that came out of the experience. After all, I was able to get pregnant.  We hadn't even gotten that far before.  So the goal was to get pregnant and stay pregnant in the latter half of 2012.  We did another IUI in the late summer.  It didn't take.  So that brings us to the beginning of this month, where we tried again.

When we started this IUI cycle a couple of weeks ago, my fertility doctor was stunned when we told him that we were only going to try IUI one or two more times, and that if it didn't work we'd be done with the process.  At the subsequent appointment he asked me follow up questions, all variations of asking why.  I can understand where he's coming from.  His job is to get women pregnant.  That is his goal.  He literally measures success by the number of women who have live births.  Once that child is born, however, it is no longer his concern if that child has Downs Syndrome, autism, ADHD, etc.  His patients are usually women who are desperate to have a child and are willing to continue treatments year after year after year into their early and even mid 40s. He said that he has patients who don't even start fertility treatments until their early 40s.  I asked him if he has any moral or ethical concerns about treating women who are older, with the increasing evidence that older mothers (and fathers) contribute to the increased likelihood for certain conditions.  I think he was a bit surprised by my question.  I was lucky that day that the clinic wasn't as busy and he and I were able to talk about the subject for a little while.  

He ended our conversation by saying that the decision on when to end fertility treatments is extremely personal, and he would respect our decision if we chose to stop.  However, in his opinion I am very healthy 35 year old that has a number of more years to try.  I think the physician in him would hate to see him "fail" at getting one of his patients pregnant, but I also believe that he genuinely wants to help us.  He ended our conversation by saying, "I shouldn't say this, but there are a lot of people that make terrible parents.  I know you.  I know your husband.  You would make wonderful parents."

So will wait a few more days to see what happens.  Luckily I'm busy with meetings and trainings and other assorted out-of-the-house things over the next few days.  But today?  Today will be a strenuous exercise in focus and concentration as I try to work.

Update, three hours later:  After prepping a meatloaf for supper, doing a bunch of ombudsman and Compass paperwork and registering for a couple of continuing education webcasts, I am focused and cruising through work.  The pity party is officially over for today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Five years later . . .

Zac and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary this weekend.  On one hand I feel like we've only been together for a brief time but on the other hand I feel like we've experienced so much together that five years scarcely seems long enough to contain it all.  

To celebrate our anniversary Zac found some deals on Groupon and Living Social that interested us.  Zac and I aren't gift-givers.  Usually we don't buy things for anniversaries, birthdays or even Christmas for each other.  Most often we go out to dinner or attend a play or do something fun.  We have enough clutter in our house - we don't need anymore.

Our anniversary fell on a Friday this year, which, combined with the holiday weekend, resulted in a weekend of celebrating.  (Zac's command was generous and gave all the guys a four-day weekend.)  We went out for a fancy dinner on Thursday night, just the two of us.  On Friday we did a bunch of work around the house and went out for sushi with some friends for supper.  On Saturday?  We lounged.  Lounged and lounged and lounged.  It was phenomenal.  Sunday morning we got up and drove to an antiques show and then on to Palm Springs, CA for a night.  We took a tram up a mountain and had supper overlooking the Palm Springs area and watched the city lights twinkle in the dark.  After supper we checked in to our hotel and spent part of the evening watching "Ocean's 11" from the pool.  (Movies by the pool is awesome, weather permitting.)  We slept in this morning, hit up the outlet mall for an hour or so (not enough!) and then came back to the San Diego area where we took a hot air balloon ride.  While I am terrified of heights, this was my second hot  air balloon ride and I have enjoyed them both with no anxiety.  Zac and I did some home shopping from the air, debating the merits of having a tennis court or a stable in the backyard.  Finally we settled on a home that had both, plus an orange grove.  I don't know who lives in these houses we were flying over, but their income level must exceed mine.  

The weather was spectacular all weekend (casting a sheepish look at my MN peeps) and it was an amazing way to cap off four days of rest and relaxation. Here's to the next five years and many more after that!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New calendar, new year

I stopped off at Barnes & Noble yesterday to pick up a 2013 wall calendar, knowing that they would be marked 50% off.  I didn't expect much of a selection, but I was pleasantly surprised that there was more to chose from besides "Only Corgis!" or "Barns of America".  I considered a Marc Chagall calendar, but settled on one that was similar to the one I chose for 2012 - "California the Beautiful".  The gorgeous photos are great motivation to get out and see some of these amazing places before the Navy has us pack up and move somewhere else in 24 months.  We didn't get to see much of California last year, but maybe this year we will find some time to take some weekend trips.

Confession for my B&N friends: I may have organized some of the calendars.  Not all of them, but maybe a few.  Ok, a few more than a few.

Once I got home with my shiny, new calendar, I grabbed the old one off the wall and sat down to transpose birthdays and anniversaries from the old to the new.  I couldn't help but reflect on the year that was.  January - Zac was gone for training, I went to Hawaii to visit friends.  February - we closed on the house, moved in, and promptly decided to hire a contractor to remodel the kitchen.  March - we got estimates on the kitchen, I upgraded my tattoo, my aunt & uncle came to visit, my brother-in-law's family came to visit.  April - my parent's visited, Zac's sister visited.  May - Zac was gone for training, the kitchen was in a state of disarray as it was being remodeled, friends moved in while they looked for a house.  June - friends continued to live with us, Zac's parents visited, more training for Zac, kitchen finished and operational.  July - friends move out, we traveled to Minnesota for a visit.  August, September and October were mercifully without guests or traveling.  November - I went back to Minnesota, the beginning of the holiday crunch.  December - ah, December, and all the chaos that it usually entails, including a road trip back to Nebraska.

Of course it's not the big ticket items that take up most of our time or energy.  Scattered and strewn throughout each month are trips to the veterinarian, Compass classes, ombudsman meetings and trainings, get-togethers with friends, retirement ceremonies, commissioning ceremonies, command events, and, for the second solid year, fertility appointment after fertility appointment.  Every month has, at a bare minimum, markings for my cycle.  For a handful of months the days are also cluttered with my handwriting for dosages, instructions, ultrasounds, blood work.  2012 wasn't a terrible year, not at all, but it was a disappointing year.  We were really hoping that we would be going in to 2013 as trio instead of a duo, but apparently Fate is working with a different timetable.  (It would really be terrific if she would drop us a memo to let us know whether it's on her agenda at all . . .)

As cluttered and chaotic as my 2012 calendar is, my 2013 calendar is still empty, save a couple of appointments that have already started to pop up in January.  As I flip through the vacant months, looking at the awesome photos of California's natural beauty, I wonder what this year will bring.  What triumphs and heartaches await me?  Will 2013 fly by like 2012 did?  And when I sit down next year what will have filled all of those intervening days?  I sometimes wish Barnes & Noble sold calendars that Fate already filled in.