Posted by: Sweetpea | June 25, 2009

+Positive family news

While we were driving back from our weekend house on Sunday my cell phone rang. I couldn’t pick it up because I was driving, but I later saw that it was my brother overseas. Hmmm… what’s going on? He has been known to call me before, but it’s not all that often.

I call him back and we small-talk for a little while. I then ask if there’s anything in particular that’s going on and the reason for him calling. He tells me that they are pregnant. It’s really early – only 5 weeks – but they had just told our parents so he wanted to tell me too. Wow! I have to admit that I had a little trouble focusing on the details he was telling me, but from what I can remember I think it was their second attempt with frozen embryos from the cycle that resulted in my precious nephew a year and a half ago. Wow. I’m SO HAPPY for them and for me and for the whole family. It’s the most wonderful news and I congratulated them – cautiously… since it is early one can only hope and pray that things progress well at this point.

It also felt strange inside and on some level I felt envious of the additional chances that the frozen embryos give since we never had anything to freeze from both our cycles. All those doctors visits and painful treatments during such a long time and then not to have a single embryo to freeze was such a disappointment. And apparently I’m still sad about it; about not having been given that second chance that I felt I deserved. Well, it’s obviously not about getting what one deserves. I know that all too well. I think of all the wonderful people who want nothing more than a biological child of their own and who would make the most fantastic parents can end up with only disappointment and sadness. That’s just the way life work sometimes and there’s nothing fair about it. And there’s nothing to be done to change it. It’s so sad and so final.

I haven’t had any of these thoughts for quite some time now and it feels heavy inside my heart right now, for me, for myself and my own path. But I’m very, very happy for my brother and sister-in-law. It’s really nerve wrecking, though, because anything can happen at such an early stage. Cross your fingers and hope they are as lucky this time as they were a couple of years ago. Congratulations and hang in there!

Posted by: Sweetpea | June 24, 2009

Fatigue is my middle name

I can’t shake this fatigue that’s been gripping me. I’m always tired. My husband tells me that I got to exercise or I’ll turn into a lump. I keep coming up with reasons for why I can’t exercise that particular day. Yes, I’m lazy. However, I think it’s more than that. [**Warning: this is an extremely long and boring post about diet, symptoms, and stuff most people really couldn’t give a hoot about, but I just need to write this out in letters since it’s been on my mind for a long time now.]

I’ve been tired for as long as I can remember. I fight it and and get on with my life, but the statement ‘I’m tired’ has been heard way more than anyone wants to hear. I used to think it was just graduate school. I thought it was traveling and moving a lot. I thought for a while it might have been depression. Perhaps I was just imagining the whole thing anyway. Maybe it was the toothgrinding at night and I didn’t sleep as well as I should. I could think of a lot of different reasons, but the tiredness, the fatigue, was the one constant that wouldn’t go away. Sometimes it was better, but it was always there in some way. When we started the IVF and went throught the exhausting treatment, it was no wonder I felt totally drained – who wouldn’t, right?! And then the incredibly disappointing results and the marriage drama and then fixing things and getting to terms with things and moving on… ~sigh~

So yes, in my mind, I’ve had my reasons for feeling tired. And yet, I still think its root can be found somewhere else. I have a theory. I’m becoming more and more convinced that I have celiac, or at least gluten intolerance. The longer you’ve had this autoimmune (!) disease the more damage it would have done to your body. Fatigue is definitely one of the symptoms in addition to the stomach problems (from one extreme to the other), lactose intolerence, tooth enamel defects, cracks and rashes around the corners of my mouth that didn’t go away until I started taking mega doses of vitamin B (vitamin deficiency despite a really good diet indicates that the intestine is damaged and can’t absorb the nutrients properly) and a dozen other symptoms that I have.

Together with my mother and my brothers, we make the perfect celiac family (and it is genetic): my mom with a mysterious late onset type 1  diabetes, my brothers with ulcerative colitis and crohn’s — all pointing to severe damage to the body by celiac that has not been diagnosed or treated. Mom has long said that she gets stomach aches from white bread and pasta, so I’m pretty sure about her, but my brothers have probably not considered that idea… or have they? If I do have it, it’s probably had it for quite some time and with severe fatigue and even depression on the celiac symptom list, I might finally have found the culprit of my constant energy drain as well as other health issues.

I obviously don’t want to have a terrible autoimmune disease that will restrict my diet even more than it is right now with lactose intolerance, but to find the missing puzzle piece would be such a relief.  I can’t tell you how incredibly sick and tired (no pun intended) I am of feeling exhausted and saying ‘I’m tired’ all the time. My husband must be sick of it too and I just hate the thought of him thinking that I’m just really lazy. I’m not happy about that. Okay, I’ll exercise. But I don’t think that’s going to solve it.

I’m starting to figure out what a wheat and gluten free existance would look like and it’s going to be HARD! Since I’m already lactose intolerant and my husband is a vegetarian, our menu is going to be a real challenge. Since I haven’t actually been diagnosed, I won’t cut it out completely (and I’m not sure I could at this point), but I’ll cut down on wheat as much as I can and see what happens. Depending upon how damaged the intestine is, it could take anything from a month to a couple of years to heal and get better, so I don’t expect miracles, especially since I won’t go cold turkey on all gluten. It’s apparently important that you don’t cut it from your diet before you get diagnosed since it would affect the test. I don’t mind taking the blood test, but I just don’t want to do the small intestine biopsy where they lower a small tube down your throat and take a piece of your intestine as a sample. YUCK! I seriously doubt that I would not throw up if someone tried to do that to me. I have a really, really sensitive gag reflex.

Well, I’m not there just yet. I just need to ponder this whole thing and hope that there really is a cure for my constant tiredness. I’m ready to feel energetic and on the ball!

Posted by: Sweetpea | June 12, 2009

Catchup please

Time flies! The house is getting organized little by little. Just got a couple of beautiful chairs. A couple of weeks ago I had some time to think about adoption and to search online for information and for potential agencies. Then I got side tracked on other things; weekend fun and hiking in the mountains; trip to NY to pick up my renewed passport (it’s totally ridiculous that I have to go in personally to the consulate in NY to both turn in the application and then to pick up the passport – it takes most of the day – precious vacation days spent on the trains, yuck); oops I forgot to pay my student loan; filling and sending forms to the US Immigration to remove the conditional status that was put on my permanent resident card for the first two years after the marriage started, or rather the first two years after I received the green card in the mail, which took almost a year after the wedding (and they now want $545 simply for me to check a box saying yes, we’re still married, please let me stay [it’s pure blackmail] after we have already spent thousands of dollars to get to this point); and finally some dog drama where Cujito was limping and obviously not feeling well at all.

D. drove with him the other night to the Poconos (a 2-hour drive) so that the vet could take a look the next morning; expensive x-rays showed that he had good bones/sceleton, but a bone in his wrist (it that what it is called in dogs too?) apparently moved or shifted a little sometimes, which would cause intermittent pain. The beginning or artheritis as far as I understand. He may also have tore a tendon. Not much to do except to take some pain meds and to rest the leg. So what did he do last night and this morning? He paced and whined and paced and whined and paced… Stop walking around, pup! Just relax and go lay down. But no.

I discovered that the flights to Europe are REALLY cheap right now. Last summer a seat cost $1200 and when I searched a couple of days ago, I found seats for only $520 per person!!! So I emailed my brothers to find out when they would be around at the end of August, and got some messy answers. Well, we’ll see, but we really want to see my small nephews. I saw them in December, but D. hasn’t seen two of them, (the [adopted] now 6-year old and the [IVF success baby] 1 1/2 year old, since last summer and he’s never met my 2-year old nephew who got adopted last August. Small children change so fast that we can’t really not go, even though the cost is very difficult right now. If we don’t go, I will surely regret it. I think it will also be good to spend some time with children, including adopted children, at a time when we’re making final decisions on that front ourselves.

What else is new? Not much. Nothing bad. I just had a meeting with my councelor and we made the next apointment in 3 weeks. D. still has not felt the need to go back to her and we’re doing our best to have our weekly talks ourselves to keep the lines of communications open. We’re not back to complete and total happiness, but we’re actually happy and we’re still working on us. I had to face up to some not so great things that I had done/said to D. a couple of weeks ago and it felt bad when I realized how he felt about it. We all make mistakes and put a foot in the mouth from time to time, no? I’ll be more thoughtful and respectful in the future. I’m sorry, sweetie.

Oh, and on Sunday I took my last little green pill (sea.son.ique) and then waited. Wednesday night I had cramps and Thursday too. They were pretty strong, so I was quite disappointed. I took extremely strong pain meds and felt nauseous and dizzy at work yesterday, to the point where I finally gave up around 2pm and just went home. D said ‘I thought you said you’d never have those cramps again’. Yes, I was optimistic. But on the bright side, I’ll only have cramps once every 12 weeks instead of every 3 1/2 weeks. I should admit that it’s tempting to attempt 24 weeks straight instead… has anyone tried that?

Posted by: Sweetpea | May 29, 2009

For old friendship’s sake?

Something’s been bothering me a lot lately. I have a childhood friend (in Europe) whom I haven’t spoken to or heard from in over 15 years. One day in March I got an email from her. She had found me on one of those old classmates sites. She was very excited and wrote a lot, asking me to write back as soon as possible. I think I took a week or so before I replied.

I got to give you some background information here. The past year has been incredibly stressful for me as I have been battling infertility treatments, marital crisis, and depression. Around the time of the email, we were in the process of buying a house and at the same time I was also in the midst of a cancer scare. It took me a month to write back to her the second time and while part of me felt bad about taking so long, another part of me felt okay about it because she’s virtually the only friend I’ve emailed in a year – better late than never. I apologized profusely for taking to long to reply and explained what had been going on. Well, that’s it. I have heard nothing back from her.

I’m now assuming, of course, that she’s pissed with me for not replying right away. And that makes me pissed. Here’s a woman who was a very close friend of mine since I was 9. As a teenager, when she met a guy (it turned out to be her future husband, but nonetheless, at that time he was only a boyfriend), she would drop her friends, including me. It was quite hurtful and I remember thinking that I would NEVER do that to a friend, ever — and I don’t think I’ve ever done that.

Well, she got married to this guy when she was around 24 (I was at the wedding) and not too much later I remember very clearly her saying “I don’t understand women who say it’s hard to get pregnant. I had barely gotten my pants off before I was pregnant!” She had a baby boy. And then she had another one. I also remember her saying that she didn’t understand how women scream while giving birth because you need all that energy for pushing. And, the favorite, she said that the birth was so quick and easy that her doctor told her that she/her body “was perfectly made for giving birth.” Wow. Top that.

So, so far I’d say she’s got a pretty good life. However, a couple of years later, she divorces her husband (I recently found out that it was because she no longer felt any physical attraction to him) and during that process meets another man, at work. She’s a part-time mom and sees this man for several years before they move in together. They build a summer house on their own and, from my point of view, she’s living a darn charmed life. Yes, yes, I am a bit jealous. I’ve had to fight really hard for everything I’ve done and have. It’s been a struggle.

So here’s my problem. She’s a woman who has had most things in life going her way without too much struggle. She’s also the girl who dumped her friends as soon as she met a boyfriend. I’m the girl who got dumped. And I’m the woman who didn’t meet the man in her youth and who didn’t have the perfect body for having children, not even an embryo. I’ve gone through a hell of a year. Actually, I’ve gone through several difficult years, without any family in the country to support me, but the last one was intense. I’m the one who tried to keep in contact with my childhood friends several years after I moved to the US, but got little effort back. So in the midst of a stressful time in March, I don’t get back to her in time and now I’M THE BAD GUY!?? I’m pissed. And I still feel bad, which makes me even more pissed. Who is she to judge me?! Who is anyone to judge me?!

A few weeks ago I had a dream where I was trying to make it up to her by driving her around in my car, but I don’t think she appreciated it and I was probably wasting my time. Back to reality. What do I do now? What do I want to do? Do I want to be in contact with her, or is her charmed life with her now beautiful, blond and tall teenage sons too much for me to bear as I try to come to terms with my own life the way it is right now… I just don’t know.


Posted by: Sweetpea | May 28, 2009

To have and to hold: meds post IVF

It’s interesting to find out that I’m not the only one with a secret stash of old IVF meds. Actually, I wonder what most people (like me) do with them. Throwing it all out in the trash seems like such a waste (and it can’t be environmentally safe). Selling it is illegal (and I’ve never sold anything online in my life so I wouldn’t know what to do). Donating it seems like the most reasonable option… unless you have waited too long, of course. It bothers me because the amount of meds I have is/was worth several thousand dollars. I had enough for at least an entire cycle since I was first sent the wrong meds for the last cycle.  Oh well.

I do agree that the old meds do serve some kind of purpose in the recovery after unsuccessful IVF. At least for some people. Maybe there are some pragmatic infertiles out there who quickly realize the futile in keeping them for even a minute longer than necessary and are strong enough to just let them go. But I bet there are a whole bunch of souls like me out there who still have this secret last hold out stored in the back of a dark cabinet at home (actually, I still have a pack of in the fridge since it’s worth its weight in gold). When we moved last month, I finally decided that it was time to part with the IVF information and documentation. It felt good to see it go in the trash. I do admit, however, that I still have the photos of the embryos left. How can I ever throw out what was the closest to a (biological) child that I would ever have? Maybe there will be a day when I’m ready to let those photos go as well.

I’ve also been trying to get rid off used needles for the longest time, but without any success. I won’t throw them in the trash as they’ll probably just dump them at the bottom of the ocean — the worst place ever to put trash since it’ll move either around the ocean or land on our beaches. I refuse to drive all the way back to the IVF clinic because it’s far and because I never want to set my foot in that place ever again. Pharmacies around here apparently won’t take old needles, which I think is strange; in my home country, all pharmacies do that. I was instead given a number to poison control that would be able to tell me what I should do with the needles. However, when I called the number I had been given I discovered that I had reached what sounded like a 900 number, not a 800 number, some sort of phone sex line. Shocked and appalled I hung up (what is DH going to think when he sees the phone bill ~grin~). That’s it. The universe will not allow me to get rid off the traces of my failed IVF.

Onto a more happy note. I’m in love with a little green pill. No, it’s not a hallucinogen or an opioid (had to look that up), but I am delirious while on it – deliriously happy to be free from Aunt Flow (AF). It’s Sea.sonique. I’ve said it before, I know. As soon as I started the pill I felt a big relief and I soon declared that I liked it. Now I have grown to love it and I repeat this to DH frequently as I lovingly hold the triple layered green pack in my hand (I admit that it must be really annoying to hear all the time). A life without AF is heaven. There hasn’t even been any signs of breakthrough or spotting.


When I think of how many years I’ve been spending in pain and agony every three weeks or so, swallowing way too many painkiller meds (either too early or too late – it was so hard to estimate the timing), I just can’t believe I put up with it for so long. I should have done this a long time ago. I need to call my nurse for a prescription renewal since I only have about a week and a half left. I wonder what will happen at the end of this 3-month vacation…

Posted by: Sweetpea | May 27, 2009

Take this, analyze that.

It seems my time is filled with shopping, cleaning and organizing our new house. And I don’t even like to shop. There’s constantly something we really need for the house or for a room. And we don’t even have the money to spend. I’m one of those odd people who keep a cash book and write in it religiously. It must be dating back to my decade as an impoverished graduate student. It’s just amazing when you see on paper exactly what you spend money on and how much it adds up to. Right now, however, it’s just making me really anxious. It has to stop. The shopping, I mean. I don’t care if we need it or not. Enough. There, I said it.

With all the shopping, cleaning and organizing, I can’t seem to find the time to do what I really need to do: journal (and blog, of course). My councelor is probably getting a bit frustrated with me because every time I see her I pathetically admit that I havn’t gotten around to any journaling and yes, yes, I totally agree that it’s the best way for me to resolve issues that I need to get past. So why don’t I do it? Just do it. Actually, I sat down yesterday and made a list of all the things that I really need to do. No wonder my head feels constopated. The list is wayyyyy too long. Hey, instead of having written this long list, that ended up making me even more anxious than my cash book, I should just have journaled about my anxiousness (is that a word?).

There is a clock ticking inside me, but I’m not sure what kind of clock it is… it’s just very persistent and irritating. It can’t be just a plain biological clock, could it? Maybe it’s the decide-about-adoption-already clock. There’s certainly some of what-are-you-going-to-do-with-your-life ticking going on in there too. But I drown out the ticking with some more cleaning and organizing. A procrastinator, that’s what I am. I’ve always been a procrastinator. Whenever some paper or chapter was due in school, I’d start finding all kinds of places to clean and organize (there’s a Sponge Bob episode on this that is hilarious and that I identify with like crazy – just love it).

I’ve also been thinking of all the leftover IVF medications that I have a huge stash of in the closet. At first, I just couldn’t even look at them because it was too painful emotionally so I ignored them. Then after a few months, I got mad and thought that hey, I went through all this pain and disappointment that even though we didn’t pay full price for the meds because our spectacular insurance covered most of it, I damn it want some return on my pain and effort — I’ll sell them (at discount, of course). Why should I walk away from this whole thing with absolutely zero? But I couldn’t actually bring myself to do anything, other than to think angry, greedy, and self-pitying thoughts about the hidden stash, so it just sat there. Now the meds are already expired and I just don’t know what to do with them. I’m wondering if they have played some strange role in my grieving/healing process and if so, does that mean that my reluctance to still let them go in fact is a sign that I’m not as far along in my healing as I thought or as I wanted… oh, I don’t know. That’s kind of silly. I just need to get my  act together and get rid off them, regardless of exactly how I’ll do it. Don’t overanalyze it. Me, overanalyze?!


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