Thursday, March 29, 2012

1.7

So proud of myself for keeping a healthy routine for a whole week...ok, so I fudged a bit and was lazy most of today; but I had a burst of energy and got a crapload done this evening.  Also, my Wii Fit Balance Board was so inspired it got the shivers.  It was pretty darn cute.  I've finally done enough Wii Fit (since Christmas) that I unlocked the ultimate stamp.  It's pretty stinkin' cool!  *SPOILERS* It's a drawing of my Mii!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1.6

Phew!  Had a bit of a scare today...

Last night I removed my cup before going on a date, because I was so light.  I just put on a pantyliner.  My date lasted about 3.5 hours, and when I came home, there were just a few spots in my liner. I changed to a regular pad before bed.  I woke up in the middle of the night with no blood in my pad and no blood when I wiped.  Ditto when I woke up in the morning.  So I took my Vitex.

An hour later, I had NEON pink spotting.  Now, I think it's just leftover from my period and it's stopped now. But I had read that you shouldn't take Vitex while menstruating.  So I freaked.

Did the research again, and while it's not recommended to take Vitex during menses so that your body cleanses itself naturally, it will do no harm to take it from CD1 to O.  Still, do not take it after O without asking your doctor first, because it does mess with your hormones and could hurt you and your baby if you are pregnant.  I plan not to try to take it during menses, but will not flip out if this happens again.  We'll see if I flip out when Fertility Friend gives me crosshairs and I realize I kept taking it for days after I O'd...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1.5

Definitely a shorter, lighter period this cycle.  I attribute it to the new, healthy lifestyle.  I plan to start the Vitex tomorrow.

Thankful for my sis convincing me to go on a walk with her this morning and a date with Hubby tonight ;-)

Monday, March 26, 2012

1.4

A little about how I got here:

I've always been a "skinny streak of nothing" and been the "family catcher" (virtual cookie to whoever can get either of those references).  My menarche didn't show up until I was 14, and it has never been regular.  As a teen I'd go for months on end without a visit and then when it finally came, it would last 2-3 weeks.  Not a lot of cramping, but I would throw up a lot.

My freshman year of college, right around the time my Grandma died,  I had a "period" that lasted for ~80 days.  That finally freaked me out enough that I mentioned it to my doctor.  She put me on birth control and sent me to a gynecologist who diagnosed me with Von Willebrand's Disease.  I was referred to a hematologist who was a real jerk--he yelled at my mom whenever she asked a question, told me I was a mental case (I was, but he really didn't know and was quite rude about it), and his phlebotomist wouldn't believe me that I was about to faint and then gave me a lovely scar on my arm.  I asked to be transferred.  My new hematologist told me I was perfectly healthy and there was nothing wrong with my blood whatsoever.  With no answers from the hematologists, the gynecologist switched me to a second form of birth control and called it a day.  I basically had morning sickness every day for a few months, and then I started bleeding when I was not supposed to. I also began to experience debilitating cramps while bleeding.

I had to cancel my mission trip to Europe to go to the Mayo Clinic, where I spent only 2 days.  At the time, it seemed like a miracle that all it took was 2 days...in retrospect, it was just incompetence (this is in no way a commentary on Mayo in general, just the particular group of doctors I encountered).  After many painful tests, I was diagnosed with "anovulatory cycles" and given a different brand of birth control.  In case you didn't know, anovulatory cycles are not a condition, they are a symptom.   On this new birth control, I was not supposed to have a period for 3 months. The doctor figured if I wasn't ovulating anyway, why bother bleeding?  That fall, I transferred to a university from my junior college.  Within 6 weeks of moving into the dorm with a good friend as a roomie, I was bleeding a month early, fighting with my roommate and her boyfriend, skipping classes to sleep or vomit, and having suicidal thoughts (fantasies of jumping out of my 22nd floor window or cutting my wrists with my leg razor).  I dropped out of college and moved home, where I secluded myself in my bedroom for another 6 weeks--frequently considering jumping out my second floor window as well.  I had been quasi-dating a guy I had met at summer camp, but we were keeping too many secrets from each other and lived too far apart, so we "broke up".  It was devastating to me, because although we had never officially defined our relationship, I felt that he had cheated on me by dating another girl without telling me until they decided to make their relationship exclusive. He felt that I had lied to him by keeping my health problems a secret (though I believed no guy would want to know about my female problems).  During this time period, I went off of the birth control medication and once my cycle returned to "normal" I almost completely forgot that I had been suicidal.  It was like I was remembering a movie about a suicidal girl, not my own thoughts.

I returned to junior college the following semester and took some fun, non-transferrable classes just to remain on my 'rents' insurance while I got my health straightened out.  I got a new gynecologist, who did some more testing and told me I had PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.  She also decided I was allergic to contraceptive pills, since 3 brands had made me progressively sicker both physically and mentally.  She put me on medroxyprogesterone.  This solution worked well for the next year or so.  Around the time I was getting this all settled, I met a guy.

By the time fall rolled around, I was as healthy as I had ever been, things were serious with my new boyfriend, and I re-enrolled in uni (with special concessions from disability concerns like a note to all my profs that let me miss class on my period as long as I made up the homework, and a single dorm room on the floor with the elevator).  Looking back, that was the best *full* school year I ever had in college.

My boyfriend graduated that spring, and the night before his cap and gown ceremony, he proposed!  That summer, I went on a mission trip and enjoyed planning my wedding.  I had one year of college left, and it was an internship 30 minutes away from my home and 20 minutes from where my fiance' wanted to look for a house.  I tried the Nuva-Ring during our engagement, to get acclimated to it before our wedding.  It only stayed in about 3 hours, which I spent vomiting and developing a painful rash on my stomach. We were married on New Year's Eve and spent my last week of Christmas break on our honeymoon.   Nerd that I am, I spent portions of our trip finding material for lesson plans on the Mayans and  killer whales!  I was blissfully happy.

But going back to school as a married woman was more difficult than I expected.  I had learned my lesson to be honest about my health problems early in our relationship, but Hubby wasn't fully prepared for the shock of living with them.  Plus, he had his own full time job, so it was harder for him to cater to my needs than it had been for my retired parents. The stress of a wedding and international travel screwed up my cycle again.  My workload was heavier the second semester of my internship, and I began to be a nightmare to live with.  I started to get my equilibrium with school back around March.  I was excited for my birthday and school was finally going well.

Then I suddenly started throwing up every morning, loosening my bra, and craving Chinese food (which I have always hated and hate now).  We were hoping that I could finish school and teach for a year or two before having a baby, but the test I took the morning after my 24th birthday confirmed that I was pregnant.  I scheduled my first blood test and OB appointment for the upcoming spring break.  In the week that intervened, I was on a physical and emotional rollercoaster.  At times, I wished I wasn't pregnant, and thought of even getting a divorce and leaving the baby with Hubby (a weird consideration for a girl whose lifelong goal had been mommyhood).

The day before spring break, March 20, 2008, I was *for once* early to school.  I was setting up some things in the classroom, but excused myself for a much needed bathroom break when my cooperating teacher arrived.  That is when the worst season of my life began. Four years later, and I'm shaking and crying as I write this.  For as I sat in that little stall, I was met with a rush of bright red blood.  I screamed, and as soon as I was out of the bathroom, I ran back to my classroom to tell my CT that I thought I was miscarrying (we had told no one of my pregnancy yet!).  She took me to the school nurse and called Hubby.  I was rushed to the nearest hospital, where I was told--not in so many words--"You idiot; can't you recognize your own period?  You've never been pregnant a day in your life!"  12 hours after that oh so kind diagnosis, I passed an obviously recognizable fetus.  I had believed myself to be 4-5 weeks pregnant, but based on fetal development, I was probably about 6-7 weeks.

Less than 24 hours after my miscarriage, we attended the Good Friday service at our church, where we shared the experience with the elders and a few friends...The one good thing I've always felt came out of the whole situation was that on that Good Friday, I finally understood the lyrics that say, "How great the pain of searing loss!  The Father turns His face away."  For the Father had also experienced the death of His Only Begotten.

That week of spring break was series of difficult doctor appointments in which each ob/gyne I saw had a conflicting opinion.  Some said, yes I had a miscarriage; others said, no I had never been pregnant.  I went back to school the next week, and almost all of the faculty and half of my fellow student teachers refused to discuss my miscarriage.  One of my former CTs had heard I was pregnant but not about my miscarriage, and came over to congratulate me.  I went home in tears that day.  Also, over spring break, the school secretary's daughter had given birth.  So I had to hear about that all week.

The final straw was the Friday of my first week back.  I was still feeling physically ill, so Hubby had to drive me to school.  When I walked in the front door, there was the school secretary, holding her newborn grandson.  I ran back to the car and told Hubby to drive, as I whipped out my cell and called my CT.  She spent the entire 20 minutes of my drive home telling me I was a failure and that if I didn't get my @$$ back to school, I was never welcome in her classroom again and I would never be a teacher.  This woman had previously been such a good friend and mentor that I had invited her to my wedding and voluntarily hung out with her outside of school.  As we pulled into our own neighborhood, she must have looked at a clock, because she hung up without saying goodbye.

We pulled into our garage, and I tried to send Hubby to work.  My plan was to get on the internet as soon as he left and Google the most painless form of suicide.  He could tell something was wrong, though, and refused to leave my side.  As the morning wore on, I grew more and more desperate--he finally had to wrestle me into the bed and sit on my back while he phoned our Pastor for help.  Pastor, in turn, talked me down from the ledge, and got me an appointment with an excellent therapist.  However, such severe suicidal thoughts and also my physical state after the miscarriage required that I also go to the ER for an evaluation.  Once there, I was kept against my will and Hubby was threatened with legal action if he interfered.  They took away my clothes and for almost a week I had to wear scrubs and was not allowed to shave my legs.  It was the most terrifying and humiliating week of my life, but I also had some great times in God's Word alone and with Pastor, and went to some great classes on managing depression.  I again experienced conflicting doctor's reports--one doctor told me to my face that I had experienced a miscarriage, not knowing that I would be given access to my chart that evening; the chart on which he wrote, "She is delusional; she was never pregnant."  Another doctor tried to diagnose me with schizophrenia when I related how a few nights previous I had woken up to a sound that I thought was my baby crying for me.  It turned out to be the neighbor's cat.  Hubby heard the cat as well, but the psychiatrist insisted that I was hearing voices and had to be given very strong anti-psychotics.  I was almost kept in the "Nut Hut" even longer for refusing those meds; but we all finally compromised on some antidepressants, officially dropping out of uni again, and a minimum 3 month wait to TTC.

I wanted to break the last part of the deal.  For the entire 3 months, I tried to wheedle, seduce, logically convince, and outright trick Hubby into TTC.  Two months after my m/c, we had to relocate for Hubby's job.  We were given a basement apartment by Hubby's company, as we were only going to be there a few months.  We continued renting our duplex and came home two weekends together, and I came home for two separate weeks alone to help with Vacation Bible School at our church and my parents' church.  We also went on vacay for a weekend.  But other than that, I spent the entire summer in that basement, because we only had one car and there was road construction and gangs that made walking in that neighborhood unsafe.  Other than daily phone calls with my mother, and the occasional visit from my BIL and his then-GF who went to uni nearby, I was alone.  Also, my new antidepressants were the wrong kind AND the whole town reeked from a soy processing plant, so I threw up every morning.  When my period was late, I was convinced I was pregnant again.  I must have peed on 50 sticks that summer.  All BFN.  Aunt Flo finally showed up after we moved back home.  Then we started trying.

Every month I charted.  Every month, we BD'd when we were supposed to.  We ALWAYS BABY DANCED.  We never made love anymore.  Every month, I POAS at least once. I started buying "internet cheapies" to make my habit more affordable. In December, I had another wonky cycle.  I got frustrated, and I decided to take a break from TTC.  My period didn't come at all in January, but I wasn't sure when to expect it anyway.  Hubby was tired of TTC as well, so I took to POAS while he was at work.

The day before Valentine's Day, I finally got my BFP.  I secretly went in for a beta, and that was positive, too!  I bought Hubby a stuffed animal that played a lullaby, put a diaper on it, and wrapped it up with a Valentine decorated with my pee stick.

When I was 6 weeks pregnant, I started spotting.  We rushed to the emergency room.  They gave me a 3D ultrasound, but Hubby was not allowed to come into the room, and they were out of paper for photos.  The baby was perfectly healthy; I'd had a cyst from a previous cycle that had burst on the opposite side of my uterus.  Just in case, I was put on bed rest.  Which totally sucked, because I'd just started a career as an Independent Beauty Consultant a month before my BFP, and while I was on bed rest, I lost almost all of my clients.  Three years later, my business has never recovered.

The day after I was taken off of bed rest was a Sunday.  Getting dressed for church, I noticed that many of my clothes no longer fit.  I made Hubby take me shopping for maternity clothes.  I will forever regret that excursion; because I will never be sure if I overexerted myself walking in the mall and harmed my baby that day.  We started looking for a house...sometimes I wonder if I walked too much on those trips as well.

On March 10, 2009, I woke up in the wee small hours of the morning with horrible cramps.  I called the doctor's office.  They said not to worry unless I started bleeding, and to come in for an ultrasound that afternoon.  At my ultrasound, we were told they could no longer find the baby's heartbeat and she was about 2 weeks too small.  They wanted to schedule a D&C.  I told them I wanted a second opinion before I made that decision.  I went home and prayed and cried and slept...three hours later I got a call from the hospital to let me know I was scheduled for surgery ON MY BIRTHDAY.  I yelled at everyone I could get a hold of from both the hospital and my doctor's office--how dare they schedule a D&C when I told them I wanted to wait for a second opinion!  That night I miscarried naturally.  Being at least 8 weeks preg. when the baby died, and 9 weeks by the time I miscarried, it was much more like going into labor.  Instead of coming out in one piece like our first child, this baby sort of fell apart.  The only thing that was in tact  was a pair of startlingly blue eyes.  They were so beautiful.  I still have nightmares about them.

After the fiascoes with both of my miscarriages, I could not bear to see my gynecologist anymore.  A friend referred me to a married couple who shared a practice and volunteered with a ministry to women who had lost pregnancies.  My new doctors did another round of blood work, and discovered that I have a heterozygous mutation for MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase.  This may or may not have been a contributing factor to my miscarriages, but it was certainly affecting my menstrual cycles and my overall health.

Once my body recovered, we started TTC again, but not as aggressively.  Our offer on a house was rejected and we decided to stop looking.  But then, as I was walking around the neighborhood in which we lived, I noticed a house that we had both frequently admired was up for sale.  Without much hope, we inquired about it.  It was just a little above our price range.  We made a counter offer.  It was accepted and they cancelled their first open house.  We were the first couple to see it, and it was ours.  We always say that since God dropped this house into our laps, it's His.  We want to use it for His glory in any way possible.

In October, I had another wonky cycle.  I thought I might be pregnant, and I almost cancelled our trip to Six Flags.  I wasn't pregnant.  We decided to take another break.  My period in November was short and light. I still wasn't pregnant.  In December, I got another BFP. My new doctors put me on baby aspirin, progesterone suppositories, and Zofran.  I never gained much weight, because I couldn't keep more than one meal a day down; but my beautiful, healthy son was born exactly 25 minutes before his due date.  He is now an intelligent, affectionate, and rambunctious 19-month-old.  My OB put me back on birth control--low dose progesterone only--but that too made me ill, and when I had the first suicidal thought I'd had since before my son was born, I decided it was time to get off.  Clearly all forms of hormonal birth control do my body more harm than good.

When our son was 6 months old, Hubby and I started inquiring about adoption.  I've had a heart for orphans since I was a young girl, and I definitely want a daughter and I wanted to avoid the morning sickness.  Hubby doesn't care how we get more kids, as long as our son is not an only child and as long as we don't have so many that he can't spend quality time with each of them. He too has a heart for orphans; although he is just as content helping them through a ministry like Compassion or Holt. We were told that I'd need to get the okay from my therapist, and that we couldn't start the process until DS was at least a year old.  Shortly after his 1st b-day, I returned to therapy.  In the intervening months, I've been told that I've made a lot of progress; but it will be years from now--if ever--that I am stable enough to adopt.  So we've started thinking about TTC again, so that DS will have a sibling close to his own age.

When DS was 11 months old, my cycles returned.  They were more regular than they had ever been--even than they had been on the best of medication.  Until Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Day, I started feeling ill.  The next day, I had a huge argument with my MIL, with whom I am usually great friends.  Three days later, I was expecting my period, but it didn't come.  For weeks, I tested--BFNs.  DS was in the process of weaning--he finally gave up the breast all together a week before Christmas.  I think that is what caused all my problems.  I had a 50 day luteal phase.

The next month, I had a 9 day luteal phase.  Aunt Flo visited 4 days early; and about 2 days after we started talking about TTC in the near future.  At the time I was very concerned about a possible luteal phase defect. Looking back, I wonder if I had a chemical pregnancy.

We decided the next month that we were not trying, not preventing.  We were going to be okay with whatever God handed us.  Pretty words coming from me.  My husband at least followed through with that sentiment. Three days after I ovulated, one day before I realized that I HAD in fact ovulated, I started having  a lot of nausea and frequent urination.  I had a triphasic chart, and my period was almost a week late.  But every test was a BFN.  Other women in my "buddy group" on Fertility Friend got their BFPs.  I got very angry with God when my period finally came.  And that's where you met me.  Here we are.

I pray that whatever the outcome of my journey to physical and mental health, that somehow God uses it to draw YOU, dear reader, closer to His Son.




Sunday, March 25, 2012

1.3

I don't know if it is my new regimen or not, but my period is much lighter this time.  Normally I would be filling my cup 3-4 times a day (you are supposed to empty it a minimum of twice daily), and every time I check it, it is nearly empty.

I am feeling a bit alone right now, as I am the only woman I know who is charting/trying to be really in tune with her body, while NOT TTC.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like the other women I know who aren't TTC are either just starting to get in touch with their bodies or not bothering to understand their cycles at all...even amongst my "ovary owners" support group...And all the woman I chat with on Fertility Friend are all about the BFPs every month.  I DON'T WANT a BFP this month, but I still want to pay attention to my body.  Does that make me a freak?

However, I am immensely thankful for my SIL, who is holding me accountable, and giving me good advice on this journey.  I'm also glad we live near each other so we can exercise together. :-)  And God's timing on this was so perfect to speak to her about sharing these things with me on a cycle that I am frustrated with the status quo and NOT TTC, so I can just get myself in shape before TTC again.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

1.2

Here's the regimen:

Menstrual Phase
1000mg Vitamin C
100mg B6
400mg echinacea
800mcg folic acid w/ B12
nightly massage and/or acupressure w/ vanilla, rose absolute, and lavender in grape-seed oil
Wii fit yoga (no shoulder stand) daily
running once a week
swimming once a week
all the caffeine I want
Basal Body Temperature monitoring every day
Wii fit body test every day
cloth pads, Diva cup, Instead softcups
long walk once a week (weather permitting)

Follicular Phase
 400 mg Vitex
1000mg Vitamin C
400mg echinacea
100mg B6
800mcg folic acid w/B12
nightly massage and/or acupressure w/ vanilla, rose absolute, and lavender in grape-seed oil
Wii fit yoga daily
Wii fit strength training once a week
Wii fit aerobics once a week
Wii fit balance games once a week
swimming twice a week
running twice a week
little to no caffeine
Basal Body Temperature monitoring every day
check cervical position every day
check cervical mucus every day
Wii fit body test every day
Pre-seed as needed
long walk once a week (weather permitting)

Luteal Phase
100mg B6
800mcg folic acid w/B12
Bayer low dose "baby" aspirin (not recommended for everyone--I have methyltetrahydrofolate reductase)
nightly massage and/or acupressure w/ vanilla and lavender in grape-seed oil (NO ROSE ABSOLUTE)
Wii fit yoga daily (no cobra or difficult balancing acts)
swimming twice a week
running once a week
long walk once a week (weather permitting)
little to no caffeine
no POAS unless and until AF is late!
Basal Body Temperature monitoring every day
check cervical position every day
check cervical mucus every day
Wii fit body test every day


As Needed Throughout Cycle
acupressure w/ lemon and vanilla in grape-seed oil for nausea or respiratory discomfort
Wii fit plus
cranberry pills for urinary tract discomfort
Maalox for heartburn


I will try to update this blog daily to let you know how this regimen is working and any tweaks I make.

1.1

I started a new cycle today.  At first I was a bit angry with myself for having false hope (even though we weren't officially trying to conceive) and angry with God that He let my previous (3!) cycles be so wonky.  It's a good thing He's a big God and can handle my pettiness.  After the initial pity party, though, I thanked my Father for this new beginning and made a decision to take my physical and mental health into my own hands rather than letting the chips fall where they may.  Not to say that I'm taking it out of His all-capable hands.  Just that I'm tired of the status quot and trying to cope with what my broken body and fallen world hands me.  I'm tired of taking the expected route and reacting to the negatives.  With the help of my dear sister-in-law (who has similar health issues) and my wonderful gynecologists, I spent my son's nap-time pulling together the aggressive holistic health plan that will be the focus of this blog.  I am weaning myself off of antidepressants and beginning a regimen of dietary supplements, exercise, and essential oil aromatherapy to regulate my menstrual cycle and my mood.

Disclaimer: consult a physician before starting or stopping any medications!  Not everyone should wean off antidepressants and nobody should do so without doctor supervision and prayer!

Also, Wii Fit Yoga rocks my socks off for relieving cramping!