Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year of the Baby

I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions because franky, I never keep them. Usually life comes up and I'm too preoccupied with other things to remember that diet I swore I would follow. This year, however, will be different....slightly.

I'm still not making a New Year's Resolution. Instead, I'm making a New Year's Hope. A hope that 2013 will be the year of the baby. Hope that we will get pregnant and maybe possibly bring home a squishy newborn by the end of the year.

But let's get serious. With my PCOS, baby makin' could be difficult. Since my diagnosis, we haven't actively been trying so I'm not sure how things are going to go. It could happen with my first cycle off birth control. It could happen with my first cycle of Clomid. Or we may find out near the end of the year that we may need a bit more help than pills to conceive. Who knows. I do know that 2013 will be a year of learning, growing (hopefully in the mid-section region!) and hoping.

I'll admit, I hope that 2013 will be the year that we are lucky enough to get pregnant. Keegan is warming up to the idea more and more each day and I would so love to be able to give him that gift. But, we know that it could potentially be difficult for us to conceive so for now we're taking it slow. I'm not expecting to get pregnant my first month off of BC. I even told Keegan that if I did, he could name the baby whatever he wanted. I think the current favorite is a character from his favorite video game.

I'm horrible at keeping resolutions, but I have a feeling that my hope for a baby will be steady until we're holding one in our arms.

Here's to 2013. May it be a year of new possibilities. And hopefully, new life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Low Down on Charting

I've mentioned before that I've been "charing my cycles," and I'm sure that many of you have been wondering what that means. To chart your cycles means to take your basal body temperature every morning at the same time, to see when you've ovulated. FertiltiyFriend defines your basal body temperature (BBT) as: "Your body temperature at rest as measured with a special Basal Body Temperature thermometer. A rise in BBT occurs after ovulation making BBT the only fertility sign that is useful for pinpointing the actual day of ovulation."

Many couples use charting as a way of "natural" family planning, instead of using birth control. By taking your BBT and charting it, as well as other bodily signs, you can tell when your body is about to ovulate, did ovulate, and if you're pregnant. Your body temperature rises after ovulation which will show as a spike in your chart. Of course using things like ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) can also help in predicting ovulation as well.

I started charting in the beginning of November in the middle of a cycle. Normally, you start a chart at the beginning of your cycle, as soon as your period starts, but I wanted to get into the habit of rolling over and sticking a thermometer in my mouth as soon as I woke up, before I started my next cycle. I began charting as a way to see if/when I'm ovulating so that we can give ourselves every possible advantage when we actively start to try and get pregnant. Of course my current charts will not show ovulation because I'm on birth control to prevent just that, but it's a good habit to get into for when the time comes. As a note, I'm using the free version of FertilityFriend online as well as their iPhone app. 

So without further adieu, my first chart! 
A few notes: 
  • I don't have temperatures for the first three days of my cycle because I was in Atlanta for job training and my thermometer broke.
  • Some temperatures show up as clear circles because they were taken at a later time than my usual 8:05 a.m. I'm sorry, but until we're actively trying, I'm not getting up early on the weekends just to shove a thermometer in my mouth. 

A chart that shows pregnancy can look like the one below:

The red cross hairs show the date of ovulation (the vertical line) and the coverline (the horizontal line.) If your month ends in pregnancy, your temperature should stay above your coverline. If it dips below, there is a good chance that you're not pregnant. Of course I don't have cross hairs because I didn't ovulate this past cycle due to my birth control.

Our hopes are that for the next three months after I come off birth control, I will ovulate on my own and I will use my chart to show if/when I do. If my chart shows for three months that I have not ovulated on my own, then I will most likely go on Clomid which forces ovulation. 

So that's kind of a quick run down of charting. I'm going to continue charting and posting my chart every month. If you have any questions, please, ask away! I'm by no means an expert, but I've done a fair bit of research and have been doing this for a little over two months. FertilityFriend has a lot of good information if you're interested in starting to chart yourself.

I was in no way compensated for this post. I found out about FertilityFriend from another blogger, decided to give it a try, and it quickly became my favorite fertility website. All opinions expressed are my own.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

To Eat, Or Not To Eat...

...that is the question.

Thankfully, I haven't had the horrible case of nausea that I had when we bumped up my dosage of Metformin from 500 mg to 1000 mg yet (knocks on wood.) Once I moved up to 1500 mg/day, I held my breath waiting for the all day and all night nausea to hit, but after a week, it hadn't, so I breathed a sigh of relief. However, I seemed to have relaxed a bit early. Mind you, it's certainly not as bad as it was with the last dosage increase, but these last two weeks have been rough. I'm only nauseous a few times during the day, but what's been bugging me the most is huge list of food aversions. It currently includes:
  • cheese (unless melted on pizza....but only sometimes)
  • meat (unless its chicken...most days)
  • vegetables
  • most fruits (except the little cutie clementines)
  • milk in any form
  • pasta (which used to be a huge staple in our house)
  • and more
To say that meal planning is hard would be an understatement. Things like pasta that we used to eat at least once a week haven't graced our dinner table in months. It's also hard to make meals because being in the kitchen seriously makes me sick. If I see food prepared, I can't eat it. Before, Keegan and I would prepare dinner together in the kitchen, but now, he has to cook alone so I can actually eat what he makes. We've also come to the compromise of him loading the dishwasher and me unloading because dirty dishes make my stomach do flips (and I'm not just saying this to get out of chores.)

I was getting so frustrated because I would plan out an entire week's worth of dinners, do the shopping, and then when it came time to make the meals, I couldn't fathom eating any of them. Unfortunately a fair bit of fresh produce has gone bad because I haven't been able to force myself to eat what I had planned for dinner. 99% of the time, I can't decide on what to eat for any meal until I'm about to eat it, so planning a week's worth of dinners wasn't going to happen. This week, I didn't but much in the way of groceries in hopes that I will feel like eating some of the pasta in our pantry or making chili which we already have the fixings for (thank goodness canned beans don't go bad easily!)

I've been feeling like a horrible wife lately because I can't do simple "wifey" duties like make Keegan dinner or clean up the kitchen since it makes me so nauseous. Keegan has helped a lot, but he works 12-14 hours a day and the last thing he wants to do is make dinner and clean up when he gets home. Unfortunately because of this, we've been eating out more than we should. I've had this craving for spinach and artichoke dip lately which is strange because 1) I had never had it before about a month ago, and 2) it's full of cheese which I normally can't force myself to eat. Whatever, at least I'm getting some sort of vegetable in myself, right? I can't eat more that an appetizer's size portion, so getting an appetizer for a meal kind of all works out.

At my last appointment, I asked my doctor about getting a prescription for a nausea medication which he agreed to but failed to write. I've been holding out reminding him in hopes that these food aversions would go away, but they seem to be here for the long haul so I may be contacting him soon. I just hate the thought of taking yet another pill.

Currently, I'm taking two 750 mg pills of Metformin (the white pills), one daily multivitamin (the yellow pill), and a heartburn pill (the two pink pills, it was a bad night when this picture was taken,) all at night plus a birth control pill in the morning. The blue pill pictured was a Naproxen pill because I was having horrible pains from my ovarian cysts the night the picture was taken.

 I spoke to my doctor about the fact that I have to take at least one heartburn pill every night or I wake up at 3 a.m. feeling like my throat was on fire. He suggested that I take Prilosec for 8-12 weeks to hopefully cure my heartburn, so Keegan and I bought the economy pack of the generic version at Sam's this weekend. I'm hoping the Prilosec works; it would be awesome to eventually get rid of a pill each night. 

The big box held the three little boxes of 14 days worth of pills each. 

Besides not eating, not much else is going on in our world of baby-making. I'm supposed to start my period some time this week, so I'll be able to show you guys my first full month of temperature taking (I'll explain more in that post.) I had one more refill of my birth control, so Keegan and I decided that I would take BC for one more month to allow my body to regulate as much as it could, then we'll start trying on our own "naturally" for three months. My doctor said at our last appointment that the first three months after going off BC are a  woman's most opportune times to get pregnant, so we'll see how that goes. If it doesn't work out, we'll talk more about going on Clomid which my doctor has already agreed to. I don't have another appointment until late February or early March so we'll see how things go until then. Who knows, maybe my next appointment will be a baby check up! 

I'm going to try and update more frequently, but honestly, not much is going on over here. Just pill poppin' and nausea. Real fun stuff. I hope those that are taking Metformin are having a better time with it! 

Until next time, 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Date with the Dildo Cam

I had another check-in with ole' Dr. B yesterday.

Let's start with the good stuff, shall we?
  • According to his scale, I'm officially down 10 pounds! For once it was nice to see his scale match up with my scale at home. 
  • I had another date with the dildo-cam (that's not the good part,) and my ~3 cm cyst on my right ovary is almost gone. Now I just have several cysts on both ovaries that are 1 cm or less. Woohoo progress! 

Now the not as good as the "good stuff," stuff:
  • My insulin levels are down in the normal range (woot!) but are at the high end of normal (boo) which is why Dr. B increased my Metformin. He wants to get them in the normal end of normal...or something like that. 
  • My cholesterol is indeed higher than it needs to be, but nothing to be super worried about ("normal" for my age range is 189 (units) and I was at 192 (units.) As Keegan so nicely pointed out, it probably wasn't the best idea to get blood drawn the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. I'm officially blaming my cholesterol spike on the turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes and pie I ate. All things I shouldn't eat, but in my defense, it was Thanksgiving. 
  • I am now on a low-carb, low-fat diet. I'll do a post specifically dedicated to this, but at a quick glance, it looks like I can eat salad.....and that's about it. I can't eat peanut butter anymore!
  •  We talked to Dr. B about actively starting and he's not 100% for it quite yet. He told me that my best chance of conceiving naturally is the three months after I go off birth control. Apparently it takes an average of 3 months for women's bodies to get used to this specific birth control (this is the reason I had a 6 week period last month.) Since I'm now halfway through my third pack, Dr. B thinks that my body is just now getting used to the birth control. He suggests that I continue the BC for at least another three months to really get my body used to having a regular cycle again and that after those three months, the next three will be our best chance of conceiving naturally. 
  • However, he said that if we didn't want to wait for another three months, we could start trying at the end of this pack of BC. He suggests that we use ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) to see if/when my body ovulates. I told him that I've been taking my basal body temperature (BBT) every day and he thinks that's going a bit overboard for this stage of the game. I'm going to continue doing it however, just so I have another way of telling if/when my body ovulates (or doesn't.) 
So that's pretty much it. In and out in about 30 minutes. I have another appointment with him in 3 months, as well as more blood work to see where my insulin and lipids (cholesterol) levels are. Keegan and I need to talk a bit more and decide when we feel comfortable actively trying with the new knowledge that my next three cycles off BC will be our best chances.

Oh! Anyone have any suggestions for OPKs? We took a quick look at Walmart and saw that 20 of the Walmart brand OPKs run about $20, and 20 of the Clear Blue brand run about $35. I'm considering buying in bulk off of Amazon, but I wanted some advice from ladies who have used OPKs in the past. Anyone suggest one over the other?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another Possible Setback

As you all know from my hilarious (I know, I know, it wasn't really that funny,) story yesterday, I got blood work done. Usually my doctor waits to tell me the results until we're face to face, so I thought it was strange that his nurse called me today with the results.

First thing, he's upping my Metformin to 1500 mg/day. Honestly, I was expecting this since it seems to be a pretty normal dose around the infertility land. I am, however, going to ask for some medications to help with the nausea that has plagued me every time we've increased my dose. Last time, all I ate was an apple every 3 days or so. I'm not going through that again if I can help it.

The nurse then rattled off some more numbers which I didn't really comprehend until she said...."and your cholesterol is higher than we want, so Dr. B is going to talk to you tomorrow about putting you on a low cholesterol diet."


I just sat there with my mouth opened until I remembered I was on the phone and asked if Dr. B was going to go over all of the test results again with me tomorrow. The nurse confirmed this and we said our good-byes.

Once again, WHAT?!

Please explain to me how all of a sudden, after almost 3 months of dieting, my cholesterol has increased so much that now I have to go on yet another specialized diet (the nurse said "normal" for my age is 189 (units) and I'm at 192 (units.) Doesn't sound like that big of a deal to me, but apparently it is.) I honestly thought I had been doing so well. My at home scale says I've lost 10 pounds in two months, my clothes are fitting better, etc. Even though I slipped a bit during Thanksgiving, I've been doing well with my diet. Eating breakfast (which I used to not do at all,) eating lunch (although this could be better,) and eating a (mostly) well rounded dinner. I haven't had desserts since we've started this shindig! (except for the two cookies at Thanksgiving.)

Honestly, this totally blindsided me. I don't believe that high cholesterol is common in my family (just like infertility isn't), so it looks like I'm the weird one again. I'm just so scared that Dr. B isn't going to give us the okay to start actively trying until I get this under control.

And let's be honest, I'm not excited about this new diet. I'm currently on a high protein, low carb diet, so add in low cholesterol and I'm assuming I'm stuck with eating salads for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Woohoo (can you sense my sarcasm?)

Anyways, I'll have a full update after my appointment tomorrow. Wish us luck that this cholesterol thing isn't going to be a setback.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So, Funny Story....

At my last appointment, I was told to call the clinic a few days before my next appointment to double check that the nurses had faxed over my lab requests so I could get some blood work done. I was told that I needed to get the blood work done at least 3 days before my appointment. So, the appointment is on Thursday which means that I needed to get the blood work done on Monday, right? Right. So I called the clinic on Friday to remind the nurses to fax my lab requests. Only problem? They were closed due to Turkey Day. Oh well, I decided I'd call as soon as they opened Monday and get the blood work done Monday afternoon.

So, Monday morning at 8 am rolls around and I call the clinic. Nurse has no idea what I'm talking about. Says she needs to talk to the nurse that deals directly with my doctor and they'll give me a call back. The fun part about all this? I have to fast at least 12 hours before I give blood. So here I was, sitting at my computer desk, waiting for the nurse to call me back and staving. So I wait, and I wait.

Around 11, I get a call back from the nurse. She asks me what tests they're going to do which I have no answer for. I told her I assumed that they were checking my insulin levels, but besides that, I didn't know. Since we have terrible cell service at our house, I got about every other word the nurse was saying (and I'm assuming she got the same with me.) The last thing I heard was "If you have any questions, call us back" and a click. The nurse had hung up on me without me knowing if/when they were going to fax over the lab requests. Automatically, I started crying. Not just tears running down my face, but bawling. I was scared that not getting the tests done on Monday would mean that I would somehow mess up my entire next cycle and we wouldn't be able to start trying right away (I didn't say my thoughts were rational!) After settling and beginning to think normally again, I realized that my clinic has an email address and I could just email them my problem (probably something I should have done on Friday while they were closed, but hindsight is always 20/20, right?)

So I send an email explaining my problem and asking the nurse to email or call me back to tell me they had faxed over the lab requests. By this time it was 12:50 and I had a meeting at work at 1:30. I still hadn't eaten, so I run to the kitchen to grab lunch, figuring by now I would have to get the tests done on Tuesday. I open the fridge and realize that Keegan had taken my lunch to work. Great. I look at the clock and figure that I can make it to Wendy's on my way to work. I drive (alright, speed) to Wendy's and order my chicken sandwich with no mayo and fries. I start driving to work, shoveling fries into my mouth. As I open my mouth to eat the third fry, my phone rings. I bet you can guess where this is going, eh? It was the clinic, telling me that they had faxed over the lab requests and that I could go in any time to get the blood work done. Frick! Those three fries and the little bit of soda I had drank was enough to throw my levels off so now I would have to wait until Tuesday.

To top it all off, once I got to work, I pulled out my sandwich and realized they had given me the wrong one. I guess it was the diet gods smiting me for eating fast food!

I ended up fasting again last night/this morning and got my blood work done bright and early this morning, so all's good. Now just to wait until my appointment on Thursday to see how my levels are. If everything checks out, we're going to talk to our doctor about officially starting the TTC process!

Monday, November 26, 2012

All I Seem To Write Are Updates...

Sorry for the silence over at this little slice of the interwebs. Unfortunately, I just don't have a lot to say. Since my last appointment, (about 6 weeks ago,) nothing has really changed. I've still been taking my 1000 mg of Metformin, my daily vitamin, and my birth control as well as a nightly dose of heartburn medicine. I'm not sure what is causing the heartburn, but I've been getting it every night. I'm scared to skip a dose because every time I've taken that risk, I've woken up in the early morning feeling like my esophagus was going to catch on fire. Not fun. At my next doctors appointment on Thursday, I'm going to ask him if he has any idea what's going on.

Speaking of my next appointment, it's going to be a big one. We're going to tell Dr. B that we're ready to start actively trying. Even though Keegan originally said he wasn't comfortable trying to conceive (TTC) until after our one year anniversary, after reading some literature and having a few heart-to-hearts, I think he's realized how difficult this process could be. Due to the fact that with my PCOS causes me not to ovulate, I'm going to have to be put on medications to force my body to release an egg. The most common medications are Clomid and Femara. The only "downside" is that multiples are more common when these drugs are used since the body could release more than one egg at a time. I put "downside" in quotes because Keegan and I would be fine with twins or triplets. However, since pregnancies and births of multiples are more complicated, plus the fact that women with PCOS have a higher chance of miscarriages, it would be a risk and something we'd have to talk more extensively with my doctor about.

On Thursday, I'm going to have another ultrasound to see if the cysts on my ovaries have decreased. If not, I'm assuming that  my doctor will increase my Metformin. If they haven't decreased, or magically increased, I'm not sure if we'll be able to start TTC right away; it all depends on how my body is doing. I'd much rather wait another month or two before starting to ensure that we have the perfect conditions for conceiving.

I've learned that the most frustrating thing about this whole infertility process is the waiting game. Waiting on medications to work, waiting on blood results, waiting on another cycle to start. Waiting, waiting waiting. It can be extremely frustrating at times. Most of the time I feel like I'm not doing anything to "fix" the problem (even though the problem can never truly be fixed.) I am reading books, blogs, articles, anything I can get my hands on to learn more about PCOS and trying to conceive. There's a lot of information out there, and even though every person's body is different, and every couple's situation is different, I have learned a lot and I am able to ask more informed questions.

Another thing I've had to live with is pain. I'm not just talking about physical discomfort (like a 6 week period or the flu-like symptoms the Metformin causes,) but emotional pain. In the last two weeks or so, I've had at least 5 friends and family members announce their pregnancies, 4 of which are expecting their second child. I'm not going to lie, every one of those announcements has hurt. Even though I'm beyond excited for every one of them, it's hard not to ask "why not me?". I see our friends and family's excitement over the announcement and I wonder to myself if I'm ever going to be in their position. Even though we have just started our TTC journey, it's hard not to have those thoughts.

This journey, however, has made me more aware. Aware that maybe the couple that has been married for a few years is also having trouble. Aware that asking questions like "when are you guys going to have kids" can be extremely hurtful for a couple that is dealing with infertility quietly. Aware that maybe the couple that has just announced that they're pregnant have been dealing with infertility treatments for years and are finally rejoicing in a successful cycle. It's also made me more aware of how I say things and how I'm going to say things in the future. When we do get pregnant, if I know that any of my friends are dealing with infertility, I'm going to break the news to them personally. Understand if they don't want to talk to me for a while because it's too difficult. Because I have so many friends and family that live far away, I will update Facebook with progress pictures and eventually pictures of our child(ren), but I'll do it quietly and respectfully because I know how a picture of an ultrasound or rounded belly can hurt. If anything this journey (albeit short) has taught me, is to be cautious. It's not always polite to continue talking about your pregnancy or new baby because you don't know if someone you're close to is struggling and hurting. The same goes with aspects of every day life. Gloating about your promotion while a friend just lost their job. Talking about your new kitchen while a friend is struggling to pay the mortgage. I guess what I'm trying to say is, just be careful about what you talk about and to who. It's fine to be excited about something, but respect other's feelings as well.

So that's what I've been up to. I'll update on Thursday after my doctor's appointment. Hopefully we'll be given the a-okay to actively start trying!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Does It Take?

So ever since I had sex education class in fourth grade, it's been pounded into my head about how not to get pregnant. Don't have sex until you're ready. Birth control and condoms have a 99.9% "guarantee" but abstinence is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy. Now that I'm older, married, and starting to think about having a family, it has come to my attention that I don't really know how to get pregnant. 

Don't get me wrong, I had the birds and the bees talk (in Garfield's in front of a cute waiter might I add, but that's another story,) so I know how babies are made. However, I'm not sure how to increase our chances of producing a baby. With all of the problems that have been thrown our way regarding my reproductive parts, when we actually start trying to conceive, I want to give ourselves the best chance possible to conceive naturally. My hopes are that we won't have to use medications or go all the way to IUI or IVF.

Ever since I was young, I was always scared that you could get pregnant at any time during the month. No one told me so, but no one explained differently so I guess I just assumed (and you know what assuming does....) Anyways, research has shown me that there is only a 6 day window in which a woman can potentially get pregnant (that number comes from the lifespan of an egg and sperm.) Of those six days, three of them hold the best possibility to conceive. Three days a month. 36 days a year. If you think about it, that's not many chances. With such a small window of time, and with so many women having complications of some sort that hinder conceiving, it really amazes me that our population is growing at such a steady rate!

So, to try and increase our chances, I have done a few things. As I've explained before, I'm on numerous medications to try and lessen the effect that my PCOS has had on my body. I'm also on a special diet, similar to a diabetics diet, to lose some of the excess weight that my PCOS has caused. Yesterday, I also started charting my cycles. I signed up for Fertility Friend and learned how charting my cycles can show me when I'm ovulating, thus showing us when those vital 3-6 fertile days are. I know that with being on birth control, my cycle is regulated, but I'm using this time before my next doctors appointment to get into the swing of things. It takes a little bit of concentration to wake up and automatically shove a thermometer in your mouth and writing down your temperature before doing anything else. During my next appointment (at the end of November,) I'm going to talk to my doctor about going off the birth control and seeing how my body cycles naturally. I'd like to have a few months of charting my natural cycle under my belt before we actually start trying so that I can predict when those magical 6 days are. (I also want to get off my birth control because it's caused me to bleed for six weeks straight, but that's a different story.)

Even though I'll probably sound stupid, once we decide to start trying, I'm going to flat out ask my doctor how to get pregnant. Obviously I know what it takes, but I want to see if he has any other tips or tricks to increase our chances of conceiving naturally. I'm a person that would rather rely on my own body's signals and natural remedies than to rely on medications, so anything that keeps me off of medications or IVF is worth trying in my book.

It'll be an interesting experience, but one that will be totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Revelation

This weekend, I had a revelation of sorts. One that made my heart and mind more at ease about this whole baby-makin' thing. But first, let me start at the beginning.

On September 4, exactly one month after I got married, I sat in the doctor's office while I was told that I had PCOS and that conceiving a child naturally would be difficult, if not impossible. I was told that starting a regimen of certain medications and losing weight would increase our chances of conceiving naturally, but we still could need the assistance of other medications or IVF.

As soon as I heard that, my mind and heart went into overdrive. All of a sudden, getting pregnant was all I could focus on. When asking Keegan when he wanted to actually start trying to get pregnant and hearing that he wanted to wait a year, I subconsciously started trying to push him into wanting to start earlier. Every time I would see or hear something baby related, I would make a comment. Every time a friend or co-worker would get pregnant, I'd tell Keegan. I would research baby related things and get in a mood that I wasn't looking at these things "for real," I was looking at them for our future children, whenever they may come. All I could focus on and talk about was babies and trying to get pregnant. I was getting on my own nerves and I know I was getting on Keegan's.

After some reflection, I know why I went into baby overdrive. I was scared. The fact that something I've wanted for my whole life may not ever come true was scary. The unknowing. The fact that I was hurting and sick from the medications I was on. I started asking myself if all of this was worth it. I wanted to start tying to conceive right away justincase we couldn't do it on our own. My doctor has couples try "naturally" for at least a year before adding in the help of drugs. I felt (and still do feel) that we're going to have to have help. I'm no doctor, but I can't be in this much pain and have that many cysts on my ovaries and have things work correctly. I just wanted to get that first year of trying over with so that we could move onto things that will hopefully help us conceive.

I also believe that I felt this way because I'm constantly surrounded by couples older than me. Many of my friends who have recently conceived are older than me, have been married for a few years and have a child or two already. In our professional lives, both Keegan and I are the youngest which means we're both (well, more Keegan than I,) surrounded by co-workers who are married and are at the "right" place in their lives to have kids. It seems like every week Keegan would come home from work and tell me that someone else was pregnant or had their baby. Being surrounded by all of this tricked me into thinking that this is what I should be doing as well even though I am a newly wed and years younger than most of these people.

There are other factors that come into play as well. The fact that I've always wanted to be a young mom. The fact that I want my grandparents to meet their great-grandchild (one set is already passed, the other is, of course, getting older.) The fact that I want my parents (and Keegan's) to spend as much time with their grandchildren as possible. All of these things were weighing on me and all I could do was think about getting pregnant.

I felt this way all the way up until this past weekend. On Friday, we went out with a few of Keegan's co-workers for a goodbye dinner for one of the guys. Saturday, we went over to a friend's house to watch the football game (and we lost horribly.) Sunday, we did nothing. Seriously, we stayed in our PJs all day and only went out of the house to grab food. We also were able to talk with a lot of our friends from college over Skype, something we haven't been able to do much recently. This past weekend was such a nice break from our normal crazy every day lives. Hanging out with friends, more so friends that are around our ages, renewed the "20-something" spirit in me. I felt like I was 23 again, catching dinner with friends instead of the 40-something woman who goes to work, comes home for a few hours and goes back to work again.

This weekend made me see why Keegan wants to wait a bit to try and start having kids. The truth is, we are young. Even though I've always wanted to be done having kids by the time I was 30, the fact of the matter is, that may not be in the cards for us now. It may take us 2 or 3 years to conceive each child, and even though that throws a kink in my original life "plan," I'm more okay with it now than I was before. Who knows, maybe we'll be lucky and we'll get pregnant on our own during that first year. All I know now is that I'm becoming more and more okay with the decision to wait a bit longer. I know that I'll get bit by the baby bug time and time again, but those days, I'll just tell Keegan that I need a date night, or a night out with friends. Something to remind me that I am only 23 and I have years to have a family. As of right now, I just need to continue with my medications and losing weight to get my body ready to one day be the house of a little miracle. I don't know when that'll happen. No one really does. All I have to know is that it'll happen someday, somehow and when it does, it'll be amazing.

Each and every day, I'm more calm than I was the day before. Sure, I still get bouts of worry and deep down, I'm still scared. But I know that I have Keegan, our friends and families to be there to support us through the bad and celebrate the good with us. I know I'll have good days and bad days, so bear with me friends. This is the most emotional roller coaster I've ever gone through, but it'll make the end result (hopefully results!) so much more worth it. It'll happen someday, somehow and I just have to keep telling myself that.

Source: via Aislinn on Pinterest

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Update of Sorts (Otherwise Known as a Pity Party)

I've been holding up on this update for about a week now hoping that something good will come along so that this post isn't so "woe is me," but alas, nothing has come up which means this will be a pity party post. If you don't feel like listening (reading?) to me whine and moan, I don't blame you for waiting for my next update.

Anyhoozle, on the 18th, I went in for a follow up with my doctor and an ultrasound to see if I had any cysts on my ovaries. I must say, I felt pretty jipped as I saw cute pregnant lady after cute pregnant lady go into the ultrasound room and come out with a strip of pictures of their little jelly beans. I went in, had the lady stick a wand up my hoo-ha (sorry, TMI?) and was told I have numerous cysts making my ovaries their play house. I didn't even get a picture.

My doctor explained that I have numerous cysts on both ovaries, the smallest being about 3 cm with a few larger ones. They're nothing to seriously worry about, but we're going to keep an eye on them and ensure they don't be come a (bigger) problem. Dr. B also increased the amount of glucophage I'm on from 500 mg/day to 1000 mg/day. We made another appointment for 6 weeks out which will include blood work to check my levels and another ultrasound to make sure I haven't grown any more unwelcome visitors.

I'm not going to lie, finding out that I officially have cysts hit me harder than I thought it would. I mean, if the blood levels, medications and wonky body symptoms weren't enough, seeing the cysts up on the ultrasound screen proved without a doubt that I have PCOS. I honestly expected to see the cysts, but actually seeing them, seeing that there was no way for this to be a mistake, it really hit me hard.

Dr. B also told me that the spotting and cramps I experienced a week before my cycle was supposed to start was perfectly normal. My body was just getting used to the new routine and such. Little did I know, this would be come my new "normal." I've been spotting and cramping for two.weeks.straight. I was prescribed naproxen for the cramping and I've had to take it once so I could silence the cramps enough to let me sleep. To be perfectly honest, my sex drive has pretty much gone in the toilet, but this new addition pretty much ensures that there will be no "oops" babies in our future unless we are the modern day recipients of immaculate conception.

Some good news? According to the doctor's scale, I lost 4 pounds in a month. Much better than the 1 pound/month my doctor wanted, but not as good as the 10 pounds my home scale told me. I think we need to get that thing calibrated (can you calibrate a home scale?) 

The increase in my glucophage has ensured me that I will be at least another 4 pounds lighter come my next appointment. The medication has made me so flipping nauseous that Monday-Wednesday, I was surviving off of one granny smith apple and one granola bar. Come Wednesday afternoon, the thought of apples made me dry heave at my desk, so off to Kroger I went for my own version of the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet. I got Propel, mini croissants, oyster crackers and ginger ale. I was able to keep down a bottle of Propel, a cup of ginger ale, a few croissants and about 1/3 of the bag of oyster crackers, which was more food than I had eaten in 4 days, so I'm going to stick with this diet until the pukey feeling disappears. When I first started the glucophage, it took my body about 3 weeks to be able to eat full meals again, so I'm assuming I'm going to need to keep a stock pile of crackers and ginger ale for a while.

I've also had the strangest food aversions. I've basically thrown my diet out the window since the thought of meat, vegetables, most fruits and even water makes me become good friends with the toilet. The strangest thing is it's not smells that do me in most, it's the sight or thought of food that makes me really sick.

To be perfectly honest, I few times I've thought to myself, "is this really worth it?" The feeling usually hits the strongest when I'm sitting in bed at 2 am, holding my puke bowl, feeling like my uterus is staging a protest against me and trying to cry quietly so I don't wake up Keegan next to me. Is it really worth it for me to feel this way for the next however many days/weeks/months/years it take us to get pregnant? Once I calm down, I know in my head that it is worth it, that being a mom is the one thing I've wanted to do since I was little, but it's hard for my heart to convince my head of this when I can't even walk into my kitchen without having to run for the bathroom.

I feel horrible because I've been so useless lately. I can't cook Keegan dinner like I normally do. Usually when he comes home, I've had to tell him to fend for himself because I can't even think about cooking. It's not that he can't cook, it's just something that I like doing for him after he's worked a 14 hour day. The dishes have also gone by the wayside since looking at them makes me sick. I finally felt better enough last night to do some laundry which desperately needed to be done. Because I haven't been eating, I've had very little energy. I feel like my work has suffered because I can't get as much done as I usually do. I also had to leave work early yesterday because the apple I ate was making me dry heave at my desk. Personally, if I'm going to spew, I'd rather do it at the comfort of my own home than at work, ya know?

Oh, also, my boobs hurt like someone round-house kicked me in the chest. Showering hurts, it's that ridiculous.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about all of this is that I don't know how to help myself. Usually when I'm sick or hurt, I listen to my body and it'll tell me what I need to do to help myself. Now, all of my usual remedies have actually made things worse. Keegan keeps asking me what he can do to help, but I don't know what to tell him when I can't even help myself. It also bothers me that I basically have all the symptoms of being pregnant without the prize of a squishy baby at the end.

So that's pretty much what's been going on with me. If anyone has any words of wisdom or advice, it would be greatly appreciated right about now. I'd love to hear from someone else who has gone through something similar. Hearing "ya, it sucks right now, but it's totally worth it at the end" would be a perfect pick up I need.

Again, I apologize that this post has been so whiney and self centered, but I think I lost my creative juices about a week ago.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This Weekend Was Rough

Just as the title says, this weekend was a rough one. Since I'm so lazy awesome I'm going to talk about it in list form.

  • The medications I'm on have turned my eating habits a total 180. I've been constantly nauseous for a full week and it's really taking its toll on me. I don't know if this is what the medications are supposed to do or if I'm just having a funny reaction to them, but I can't seem to eat a full meal anymore. My dietitian told me to eat three full meals a day, but since I can't seem to stomach more than an apple at a time, I've taken more to snacking throughout the day. This usually isn't a problem while I'm at home, but at work, it's hard to know what I'll feel like eating. I'll pack a lunch and when it's time to eat, I'll want to eat everything except for what I brought. It's kind of a pain in the butt.  
  • Monday (yesterday,) I started randomly spotting. Usually this wouldn't worry me, but it was smack dab in the middle of a birth control cycle. I'm not supposed to start the placebo pills until Sunday and even then, it takes my body a day or two to get things going. Again, I don't know if this is a side effect of the meds, or if something was wrong. It seems to have tapered off for now, but if it happens again, I'm thinking of giving my doctor a call. 
  • Along with the spotting, I had (what I think are) the cramps from hell. Normally the first day of my period I have bad cramps, but nothing a Midol or heating pad won't take care of. These were pains that I've never felt before. They were bad all day and then kept waking me up at night. Just like the spotting, they're gone now, but sheesh that was horrible. 
  • For the last 3 weeks or so, I've been having stabbing pains in my lower abdomen. I have no idea what they are from. I'm *thinking* they might be from cysts, but since it hasn't been confirmed that I even have cysts, I can't say for sure that that's what it is. I have another appointment on the 18th including an ultrasound to see if there are cysts present, so hopefully that'll provide an answer. 
  • I'm not going to lie, in the middle of one seriously bad nausea spell, I seriously questioned if it's all worth it. Is it really worth me being nauseous for a year? Is it worth paying for the pills? Is it worth the headache of having to count every calorie and carb? I remember looking at Keegan and asking him to knock me up now (not that it would have worked...) so that I wouldn't have to go through all of this. With a clear head today, I realize, of course it's all worth it. Being a mom has been something that I've wanted to do since I was a little girl. Raising a child (or two..or three) to be a wonderful, smart, beautiful, contributing human has been a life goal of mine. I'm sure as soon as I see those two pink lines, I'll forget everything that we've had to go through. Of course it's worth it. It just sucks right now. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mixed Berry Yogurt Smash

I figured it would be helpful for me (and perhaps others) to write down what I've been eating (I'm also keeping track on and in a personal food diary.) Knowing me, I'll find something I love, stick with it for a few months, get bored of it, and move on to something else. Because of this, I won't document what I eat every day because it would be a lot of repetition, but I'll post when I've tried a new recipe. 

Today I tried to make a yogurt parfait, but I didn't feel like dealing with the layers so it turned more into a mix of yogurt, fruit and granola. I've decided to call it a yogurt smash. 

Anyways, my yogurt smash consists of: 

1 cup low fat plain yogurt** (Kroger brand)
1 cup frozen mixed berries (Private Selection brand bought at Kroger)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) cinnamon walnut granola*

Mix well (or do layers if you so please) and ta-da! You have a yogurt smash (or a parfait if you're fancy.) 

Sorry, I haven't become an official food blogger yet so you'll have to deal with my crappy Iphone picture. 

Yogurt: 140 calories, 16g carbs, 4g fat, 11g protein 

Mixed Berries: 80 calories, 21g carbs, 0g fat, 0g protein 

Granola: 238 calories, 28g carbs, 14g fat, 5g protein 

Total: 458 calories, 65g carbs (4 servings), 18g fat, 16g protein (2.25 servings) 

In retrospect, I need to use less granola to get my carbs under 60g and less yogurt to get my protein at 7g or under. Honestly, a cup of yogurt plus a cup of berries was too much for me so I'll probably use 1/2 cup of each next time which will help with the totals.  

*I took Kelly's recipe and added walnuts instead of chopped pecans.
** Using just plain yogurt made the entire thing have a somewhat sour quality to it and left a funny taste in my mouth. Next time I'll use low fat vanilla yogurt and see if that helps. I'd also love to find greek yogurt due to the fact it has higher protein, but Kroger doesn't sell the large tubs and I don't feel like stepping foot into WalMart just for yogurt. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

So Long Carbs

So last Wednesday, September 26 2012, I met with my nutritionist. I must say, it's kind of unnerving to be sitting next to two pretty, skinny women while telling them all the bad stuff you eat during the week. Moving on. 

I was told that I was going to basically be put on a diabetics' diet. Carbs aren't the "enemy," I just need to restrict my intake of them. Also, I need to up the amount of protein I'm consuming as well as the amount of water (even though I'm already peeing every 20 minutes.)

I'm allowed 1500 calories a day. My three meals are broken up into servings of carbs, proteins and fats. Each serving of carbs is 15 grams and I'm allwed 3 servings for breakfast, 4 for lunch and 3 for dinner for a total of 10 servings, or 150 g of carbs per day.

As an example, a serving of carbs is 1 piece of bread, 1 4" pancake, 1 4.5" square waffle or 1/2 cup of oatmeal. Fruits (and some starchy veggies) are also considered carbs.

1 serving of protein is 1 egg, 3 egg whites, 1 oz pork, or 1 tablespoon of natural or reduced fat peanut butter.

1 serving of fat is 1 ounce of fat free or low fat cream cheese, 1 tablespoon margarine or 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Believe me, this diet is harder than it sounds, especially a carb lover like me. For the last week I've been scouring the internet for recipes I can eat but don't sound like cardboard. It doesn't help that I'm a pretty picky eater. I'm not a fan of lunch meat or sandwiches in general, I hate seafood, I'm not the biggest fan of salads and I'm picky about my meat products. Gone are the days of having pasta for dinner. Living in the south means no more fried chicken and biscuits. My days of baking cookies on Sundays for the week are no longer. It has been a harder change than I expected. I never really realized how much I enjoyed a soda with lunch until I wasn't supposed to eat it anymore.

Also, has anyone noticed how small a serving of some things really is? A serving of grapes is 15 grapes. 15! I can fit that many in my mouth at one time! (I think, I haven't tired since I was about 10.) A serving of crackers is approximately 5 crackers depending on the brand. And please tell me who 1/2 cup of noodles satisfies.

I'm hoping that by finding some really awesome recipes, I am able to make this "diet" a lifestyle change to continue after I (hopefully) pop out a few kids. Keegan said he was willing to do it with me (although I suspect that this is only because I'm the one who cooks dinner most nights so he'd starve if he didn't go along.) It'll take some work, but hopefully this diet plus the medications I'm on will make our chance of conceiving higher. Also, I'll look sexy right before blowing up with pregnancy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Beginning of Baby Makin'

Our journey of dealing with my PCOS, TTC (trying to conceive) and our fight for a baby began at the beginning of September 2012. After skipping my period for 3 months for what seemed like no reason (7 pregnancy tests proved I wasn't pregnant,) I decided to contact a local OB/GYN and ask him what was going on. I hadn't done so after the first skipped period because I was busy trying to plan our wedding and I had to wait to get married so I could be added to Keegan's (my husband) insurance. I didn't want to be denied for having a previous condition.

I saw Dr. B on September 4, 2012 and talked through what had been going on. After about 2 hours of questions and my first "well woman" exam, Dr. B per-diagnosed me with PCOS and metabolic syndrome.

I had heard of PCOS before, but I never even considered it a possibility because I haven't had problems with painful cysts, but after talking to Dr. B, I have a lot of the symptoms. Unusual hair growth (Hyperandrogenism), excessive weight gain (I thought that just happened because I stopped swimming competitively,) and skipped periods (I had never had a problem with this before, but we think its because I was on birth control which forced my body to cycle each month.)

I went Wednesday, September 5 to get some blood tests done which measured my insulin levels and confirmed a diagnoses of PCOS and metabolic syndrome.  In simple terms, metabolic syndrome means that my body is producing insulin, but my tissues are not absorbing it. The PCOS is my ovaries' reaction to not getting the insulin. These two diseases combined cause weight gain, unusual hair grown, and infertility. Dr. B put me on a 12 day medication that forced my body to cycle because he wants me to have a cycle at least once every three months.

I'm not going to lie, the diagnosis of PCOS came as quite a shock to me. The biggest shock of all was that PCOS causes infertility. I've always wanted to be a mom and now the idea of not being able to (or at least struggling to) is scary.  With the diagnosis of PCOS and metabolic syndrome will came a huge lifestyle change which I'll post about later.

The current game plan is to work on better eating and weight loss for about a year. Keegan and I decided that we wanted to start trying for a family about this time next year, so I have about a year to get my weight under control. The weight loss, coupled with the medications I'm on ( I'm currently on Metformin (for the insulin resistance,) Azurette Tablets 28s (birth control) and a once-a-day woman's vitamin,) should at the very least get the PCOS under better control. Dr. B said that if I stick with this diet and with him for the next year, we have a greater chance of conceiving naturally. His practice allows couples to try to conceive naturally for a year before they step in with medical interventions. Those will start at hormone medications and will progress up to IVF if needed.

So that's where we stand now. Exactly a month after our wedding, we found out that our hope of being parents will be a bit more difficult than what we thought. It'll be a journey, one that we will do together, and hopefully if everything goes as planned, we'll have a miracle at the end.