Sunday, March 30, 2014

Maybe Baby

Excuse the diary-ishness of these posts.  Infertility is such a daunting thing to endure, let alone document.  To be honest, I've had a hard time deciding whether or not I was going to share during this process.  But, in keeping with my over-sharing reputation, here it is.  There are going to be some ugly thoughts, some ugly words, and some ugly feelings.  But it’s real.  And it’s hard.  And it sucks.  But, hopefully, it will all be worth it.  Here is the beginning of my still-ongoing struggle with infertility (the second time around).

Early October, 2013

Mr. B caught me off guard by saying, “Roon, there’s something I want to talk with you about.”  He calls me Rooney – or any variation thereof – by the way.  My first instinct was to think, ‘Shit!  What did I buy?!’  He wanted to wait to have our chat until after Little K had gone to bed.  But, as the patient woman I am, I forced him into talking now.

“I’ve been thinking,” he started out.
“Okay…” I tentatively answered.
“You know, I really like going to Vegas with my brother every March….”
“Yeah…” I said, thinking ‘where can this possibly be going?’
“…and your sister is your best friend…”
At this point, I’m thinking, ‘Girls’ trip!!  Woot woot!  I wonder where we should go?!  I have to call my sister!  And Lindsay!’
“So I think we should give Little K a sibling.”

And that is when the world stopped turning and I stopped breathing.  The following words poured out of my mouth: “Who the %@&* have you been talking to?”  You can insert your own expletive here, sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 90’s.  What I really meant, though, was, “Did your mother put you up to this?  Or my mother?”

“No one,” he said, “I just think that it would be really good to have another baby.  But it’s totally up to you.  One hundred percent your choice.  You would have to be the one to sacrifice, so it’s absolutely your decision.  Just think about it.”
He might have hugged me before leaving the room, I don’t really remember anything after that point.  Truly he could have done the naked samba and I wouldn’t have noticed.  Probably he was creeped out by my blank stare and gaping mouth so he sneaked away before things got any weirder.

Late October, 2013

I was pretty non-verbal for a few days.  My brain was working overtime, considering every possible outcome.  I was every variation of selfish and emotional and confused.

My thoughts ranged from, “Fertility treatments are going to wreck my body” and “I may not be able to lose the weight again” to “Fertility treatments make me bat-shit crazy, I don’t want to be crazy mean mommy” and “I really don’t want to stop CrossFitting”.  From “I super don’t want to get fat again” to “I’m not even sure if I want another baby”.  From “Our house feels so tiny already” to “What if we can’t afford college for two?  From “My stomach is already so stretched out and ugly” to “What happens if Little K feels neglected?”  From “We haven’t even been out of diapers that long” to “I don’t function well without sleep”.

From “Oh but I do miss that sweet snuggly stage” to “Oh God, colic was so miserable”.  From “I don’t want to hear ‘I told you so’ from everyone who said we’d have another one someday” to “Poor Daisy will really feel unloved now”.  From “I wonder how I can modify cleans, snatches, push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, and rope climbs to accommodate a giant belly” to “Ice cream every day sounds fantastic”.  From “I can’t let myself eat ice cream every day this time, but what happens if I can’t say no to the cravings?” to “Maybe wrecking my body will be worth it”.

From “Shit!  We just planned a beach vacation for August!  Dammit Mr. B, your timing sucks” to “We’re going to have to wait until after our vacation.”  From “Let’s just cancel the vacation and start trying now” to “Oh God, I’ll be 58 when this kid graduates from high school.”  From “I suck at math, I will be 48 when it graduates… unless it’s dumb” to “What if our kid is dumb?!”  From “I can’t do this, I absolutely cannot do this again” to “Maybe it will be okay”.
From “The vacation is cancelled” to “Okay let’s get the ball rolling”.  From “What if our lives become so busy we neglect our marriage?” to “Our marriage is strong enough to handle anything”.  From “Fertility treatments increase the chances of multiples by a bazillion percent.  I don’t want multiples” to “God will bless us how He sees fit.”  From “Dear God, please don’t bless us with multiples” to “We need to get this process started or I am going to chicken out”.

November 2013
Because it was time for my 12-week hormone implant and my annual well-woman check – which is a much nicer name for what really should be called the probe & squeeze – I made the decision to keep the appointment but cancel the hormone implant.  It is not recommended to try to conceive while synthetic testosterone in your body.

I came prepared with a list of conception and pregnancy questions for my doctor.  Surprising her, since at my previous appointment I had inquired about a tummy tuck and joked about a vasectomy for Mr. B.  She kindly and patiently calmed my fears and answered my questions.  She encouraged me to trust myself to make healthy decisions, to stop worrying all the time, and let me know that because I am so much healthier than I was five years ago, fertility treatments might not even be necessary again.

Because my specific syndrome – which causes infertility, uncontrollable weight gain, hair growth, excruciating cramps, ovarian cysts, and acne (among other equally glamorous symptoms) – can only be controlled with birth control, I wanted to set in place an action plan.

First came a blood test to ensure the synthetic testosterone was all but gone from my system.  I would have to wait for a week for the results to decide on the timing of the next step.
During the week’s wait, I worried and tried to find reasons to change my mind.  But even though the anxiety-level was overwhelming, my heart felt ready for this potential baby.On the 18th, I received an awkward phone call from the receptionist, who told me that the synthetic testosterone was out of my system and that I could “go ahead and… um… well… uh… um… conceive.”  I stopped breathing momentarily.  I immediately texted Mr. B and he said, “Wow!  That is great news!”  He was right.  It was great news.

After a sleepless night, I anxiously stored my birth control away on the morning of the 19th.  Cramping began early afternoon, and I became pretty certain that fertility treatments were inevitable.  If conception didn’t happen naturally, a full hormone panel would be scheduled in three months.

On the 21st I had my first cycle since the progesterone-induced ones I had when trying to conceive Little K.  This is progress.  On a side note, though, I had forgotten how awful periods are.  I told Mr. B that I was certain every woman on the show Snapped committed murder while on the rag.  I simultaneously wanted to kill everyone in my path and also cry about how much I loved them; all while my uterus was trying to claw its way out of my body.

December 2013
This sucks.  I am gaining weight steadily every day.  I hate my body and I hate looking in the mirror.  I’m starting to question if it is even worth it.  All of my hard work is going out the window.  My hormones are jacked.  My stomach is swollen.  My face is zitty.  My upper lip is hairy.  I’m exhausted all the time and I have not stopped cramping since I stopped taking the pill.  I am trying to remember that my goal is to create a miracle.  But I seriously hope this miracle comes quickly because I am not feeling okay with this right now.

Little K keeps asking for a baby sister.  I keep reminding myself of how much I love my sister and how much Mr. B loves his brother.  Siblings are a true gift – even if you don’t realize what a gift they are until adulthood.
I hate feeling fat.  I’m embarrassed to go out in public.  Jeans can go #$%& themselves.  Looking at pictures of myself makes me want to cry.

January 12, 2013
We have moved into a new house, I’ve turned 30, and I’ve gained 25 pounds.  Awesome.

So many times since we started talking about this process, I have thought that I can’t do it.  I know I can.  It’s just really hard.  Without synthetic hormone implants, without birth control to control my PCOS, I don’t feel normal.  I have no energy, no libido, and essentially no control over my body.  I haven’t changed my eating habits yet I am getting fatter.  Right in the tummy area.  Thanks PCOS.
I feel like everyone is staring at me in judgment.  I, very publicly, lost nearly 100 pounds.  I was in the local paper for crying out loud.  Now, I very noticeably have been gaining that weight back.  I feel undeserving of going in public.  I feel ashamed to have people look at me.  I keep word vomiting these unsolicited explanations of why I’m getting fatter (“hormones are a bitch, you know”, etc.).  But I feel like everyone assumes I’ve given up.  I feel like I look like I’ve given up.

Even my doctor said, quite condescendingly, “Oh, and you were my exerciser too.  What happened?!”  The immediate shame and rage I felt was overwhelming.  Shame over my body.  Rage that my doctor was so impolite when she is supposed to be the expert.
Maybe this was a horrible idea.  Maybe I should change my mind.  I keep thinking that I’m not ready for our lives to change.  I love our little family.  Babies are so much work.  I know I’m just afraid.  I know that I am allowing my body-shame to win.

Since going off of the pill, I did have a cycle by myself which is encouraging.  Also two friends have announced unexpected surprise pregnancies.  I’m really happy for them, really I am, but it’s a reminder that my body will never do on its own what it is supposed to do.  I’ve gone through an entire jumbo-sized box of pregnancy tests.

Yesterday I had blood-work done to check on what my body is doing right now.  My current doctor is a wait-and-see sort of physician.  I am not.  I demanded requested these tests be performed now.  She obliged.  If the tests show I ovulated on my own, then we will continue to try without help.  If I haven’t, then we will start with fertility treatments.
I’m hoping that a plan will be put into action this week.  I can’t let my body and hormones be out of control any longer than necessary.  I am cautiously optimistic that I will be able to do this on my own this time, without the help of fertility treatments.         

January 14, 2014
I recently read something about there being two kinds of women: those who have cried in bathrooms, and those who haven’t.  The author was referencing her struggles with infertility.  I am the first kind of woman.

Today my doctor’s office called.  My progesterone levels could literally have not been any lower.  “Your progesterone levels were 0.0,” she said.  “Oh,” was all I could come up with for a reply. 
“Which is non-ovulatory,” the nurse said.  “No shit?!” I wanted to say; luckily my sarcasm filter was working.  She asked if I wanted to wait another month and test again, or make an appointment to discuss fertility treatments.  I explained the havoc PCOS is already wreaking on my body and made an appointment.
Then I called my husband, turned on a movie for Little K, and sobbed as I took a shower.
If someone were to write a theme for my life, right now it feels as though it would be “How Kelsey’s body continues to fail her.”

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