When one door closes…

As trite sayings go, that one is pretty high up there on the wtf index. I like my metaphors to actually have a basis in reality, and to me, when you close a door – well, that door is closed. There is no guarantee that another door – or even window – is going to open unless you’re going through a set of double automatic doors.

Yet that saying keeps coming to mind right now because one door was firmly closed for me this week. I did not get the promotion I’d been gunning for for nigh on six months now and, although it went to someone I feel deserved it, the whole event was still another punch to the stomach. It doesn’t help that the entire process was convoluted and counterintuitive. That happened. I can’t change it. At least it’s over.

After the initial disappointment (and anger [and grief]), I realized that the potential for a promotion had been blinding me to my ongoing dissatisfaction with my job to begin with. Sure, it would have led to more money and more complex work, but it wouldn’t have fixed the underlying issues. I am not happy here and I haven’t been for a while, although it’s been better than it was. For a few months there – before TTC was even thought of – I would start crying the moment I stepped into the elevator.

My recent performance review didn’t help at all, either, when they dinged me for using “too much” sick time in the past year. Considering there were quite a few days I came into work sick when I shouldn’t have been here to avoid that conversation, I was a little miffed. What kind of employer gives their employees sick time, then chides them for using it? The kind I don’t want to work for. That coupled with a slew of other, relatively minor, grievances have made me more than happy to have an end date more or less set in stone come next winter.

But maybe that’s not soon enough. I still need to sit down and really weigh the options – because honestly, health insurance is a biggie right now – but what with Lady graduating soon and other things, it might actually be feasible for me to quit and look for something else. Barring that, I wonder how a discussion about cutting my hours would go. Too bad HR is so damn rigid that probably will lead to nowhere.

I’ve been looking at job postings online and remembering how much I hate working in an office. Ideally, I’d have work that was outside and moving around sometimes, flexible, and gave me an overall feeling like I’m contributing to the world – instead of moving paper around. I don’t really know where to begin looking for something like that – or what that would ultimately look like, but I’ve stumbled across several non-profit job search sites and begun browsing them with increasing interest. It looks like I’d have to volunteer first to get the right skills, but I could do that and something else on the side for the few months we have left before we relocate…

Even though this punch still stings, I appreciate that it’s forcing me to look up and around for other opportunities. I think, ultimately, I won’t be quitting as soon as tomorrow, but knowing that I have nothing left to lose – so to speak (except health insurance *shakes tiny fist*) – has me asking myself a lot of uncomfortable by important questions. Honestly, I won’t be the breadwinner pretty soon anyway, so it’s about time to start looking.

After all, that door ain’t gonna open itself.

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The Full HSG Experience

Basically: it was easy peasy (pumpkin squeasy).

The rest of the day was what sucked, but that has nothing to do with TTC and everything to do with work and I am out of fucks to give right now in that regard (plus, it’s boring and depressing).

I was worried about the HSG because I’d read a mixture of people’s experiences with it, ranging from mildly uncomfortable to full on worse than labor. The only uncomfortable part for me, though, was the speculum. Fucking specula. They’re just never going to be remotely pleasant, are they?

I suspect the major reason it wasn’t bad for me, though, was the valium my doctor prescribed beforehand. It’s a muscle relaxer, so not only was I super chill – and a little loopy – but it’s apparently difficult to get cramps when everything is, well, relaxed.

Although we waited in various rooms for almost an hour, the procedure itself only took 5 minutes. I was a little cowed by the giant x-ray machine at first, which has a big round bit wot comes down over your abdomen and looks like it could crush you with ease. But the nurse reassured me that it would start beeping and displaying “patient collision imminent!” errors if it got too close. Well, tried to reassure me. What was actually stopping the thing from making such bold declarations before it crushed the patient anyway? Okay, maybe years of playing games with large things wot would crush you might have made me a wee bit paranoid…

Anyway. Valium + 3 naproxen sodiums = no cramps. Everyone but me put on lead jackets (very reassuring, btw), then they shot me up with whatever that liquid is, and I didn’t feel a thing. I could just barely see the screen from my angle and it looked like a tiger, with two pale eyes, two ears, and a big old dark uterus shape for a nose. I tried to point this out to the doctor (see: very loopy) and he was like “huh?” and I was like “the ears are right there!” and he was like “…that’s the *insert scientific name here*” But the nurse saw it, so I wasn’t crazy. My abdominal cavity is a tiger and that’s pretty awesome.

It’s also apparently all good up in there. Tubes are clear and the dr kept going on about what a lovely shaped uterus I have – to the point that even the nurses were side-eyeing him a little. But he wasn’t creepy, just… excitable?

Then it was time to hop off the table, put on my pants skirt, affix a pad, and go home to take a valium-induced nap. Afterwards, we celebrated by going to the Welcome to Nightvale liveshow and staying up waaay too late.

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Practicing Optimism

I need some optimism right now. I need to find it and grab it and shove it in a petri dish and culture it until I can turn it into a contagion and release it into the wild.

…that escalated quickly.

But I do feel that nurturing my optimism will only increase the net optimism in the world. And I’ve been working so hard to turn around those thoughts. I almost think it’s working, although a tiny voice still whispers that that’s only because everything is going smoothly now, that soon everything will be shit again.

It won’t be shit. I won’t let it.

Things are getting better. The desert is awash with flowers (and pollen). I’ve started the metformin protocol and picked up the thyroid medication yesterday. The HSG is tomorrow (?!) and the OB called yesterday to schedule the D&C(!!) for a month from now. Which made me realize that in just a month family will be coming to town to celebrate Lady’s graduation. Both sides, which is a rare thing.

My synopsis is coming along slowly, but surely. I’ll be able to query some more soon. I’ll have more beta readers soon. Hopefully I’ll even have some responses from the first wave soon (??).

My diet is frustrating but I’m sticking to it and it’s getting easier. I have bad breath and things that weren’t remotely sweet before now taste sweet, which means I’m either in or borderline ketosis, which is what the doctor wanted. I have zero carb cravings and haven’t even thought about alcohol since over a week ago.

These are all facts and true. I can state them and there is no room for me to negate any of the positive aspects.

These are not facts but are still true:

I have a performance review today and it is terrifying but I will get through it and I will be fine.

I have an interview for the promotion tomorrow and it is even more terrifying but I will get through it and I will be fine.

The HSG is tomorrow and it is equally terrifying but I will get through it and it will give us more answers.

Although it may take some time to see, this will all be worth it.

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Springtime in the Desert

Since this is our (*finger’s crossed*) last spring here in the desert, I’ve been trying to drink it all in and really appreciate it. Over the past five years, I’ve learned to love the desert and all its tiny surprises. Like bedecking terrifyingly spiny cactus monsters with gorgeous and colorful blooms.

The desert can certainly feel very dull, especially by the end of summer, but the spring (and winter [and part of the fall]) make it worth it. There are bright yellow mesquites, orange ocotillos, pink prickly pears, and orange and yellow and red chollas. In a few more weeks, we’ll have white saguaro blooms too.

I’d been meaning to get out and go for a spring bloom hike for weeks now, but it’s been difficult to carve out time. Finally I just threw up my hands and said WE’RE DOING IT RAIN OR SHINE OR WHAT HAVE YOU and we did it and it was good.

I will certainly miss this very particularly desert style of spring. Everything has to get its blooming in before the heat really sets in and ruins it for everyone. I’m still going to whine about the upcoming 100 & 110+ days but, well, this makes it worth it.

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And the results are in…

The RE called with the blood test results this morning. I’m still waiting for them to send me a copy, but the over-the-phone prognosis is that the results confirm a PCOS diagnosis and I might also have a slight thyroid disorder.

Drugs have already been prescribed and I’m to be on the them post-haste. Metformin is still squicking me out, especially because it’s called glucophage for god’s sake (phage = eater in Greek, so glucophage = glucose eater). But also because it’s for diabetes and high insulin levels and I’ve had routine blood checks done for the past three years and they’ve always been perfect. Not even close to problematic. I don’t need my glucose getting eaten. :<

But then I found a study about metformin for PCOS ladies who are both insulin resistant and not and it said that it helped either way:

“Considering the favorable effects of metformin treatment in PCOS patients both with insulin resistance and without it, it is purposeful to use this drug in both groups of women.”

So. That’s easing my worry a little. That and finding out I have a family member with PCOS who is similar to me in activity level and nutritional awareness and body fat percentage and after starting metformin she felt like a new woman. I’m still a little worried about it lowering my insulin levels when they’re not problematic to begin with, but I can also just take this stuff and see what happens and go from there.

And re: the mild thyroid disorder. My reaction: what?! That feels a bit out of left field, and I really want to see my actual numbers before I accept that as a diagnosis. It could just be low iodine – I’m not as good about eating seafood and seaweed as I should be on a paleo diet. But idk. I guess it could explain why I feel so fatigued most of the time?

I’m still a little bowled over right now, even with the doctor’s suspicions earlier last week. I’ve been googling everything I can about PCOS, but it’s all about losing weight and controlling your insulin levels, which is less than helpful. I’m at somewhere between 24-27% body fat, so I don’t need to lose weight, and like I said above, my glucose levels and other markers are fine.

Basically: I don’t know. We’ll see how the metformin goes and in the meantime I’m going to keep digging through the google results for more information.

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Control Redux

Plans.

We’ve got plans, guys.

They’re liable to change, but right now I’m clinging to them with the force/hope of a tired TTC-er. Hope? Did I just use that term? Maybe I did… maybe this forced optimism is working.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how much I like having control, or at least the semblance of it, and right now I feel like I have control again. Plans are really helpful like that.

I think it was also a really good idea for us to go to the RE during a break. So now we have two to three whole months to do tests, get things fixed, and see how things shape up without worrying unduly about missing cycles. And there are a few things that need to be done.

First plan: our donor doesn’t have the best count/morphology, but it’s not dismal and there are lifestyle changes he can make to better things. He has two months to see what he can do. I am confident that’s all the time he needs. Although he has to stop drinking (like me), which he didn’t seem too pleased about. I might have told him to tally all the beers he didn’t drink and we’d reimburse him when this was all over and that probably was a terrible idea. :P

Second plan: getting the HSG and D&C done and seeing what those tell us. HSG is scheduled for next week. I’m not too worried about what that will show because whatever it does, we can probably fix. Then the D&C will make things squeaky clean and hopefully we’ll be done with procedures well before Lady’s graduation.

Third plan: focusing on my own care. Like our donor, I’m no longer drinking and shoring up my diet wherever I can. This will likely take about the same two months to see any changes, so again – good thing we’re doing this during a break.

Fourth plan: see where we are in two months. Ideally, we can restart at home insems at that point.

Fifth plan: stay focused on the eventual outcome. By the time we leave AZ, one of us will most likely be pregnant. I am focusing on that more and more right now, and I’m hoping that will make the individual attempts less stressful. We have a lot of months ahead and I will have (more) regular cycles soon, with or without meds. We’ve got an RE involved now so we won’t be flailing in the dark like we were before.

I know a whole lot more could go wrong. I know there are still no guarantees. But just having this longer term Plan is really helping me feel like I have control again, and helping me to chill the fuck out. I’m also trying so hard to be optimistic, and seeing this plan laid out before me looks a whole lot like we might get somewhere.

We will get somewhere.

This will happen.

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10 Vials Later and CD3

Things continue to move along on the TTC front. Our donor went in for an analysis last week and I just got back from giving the lab about three liters of blood (or at least, that’s what it felt like). I’m a little woozy still, but food is helping. Still, probably not going to Crossfit today.

When I called the RE to let them know I’d started this weekend, that I had gone in for labs, and that it was time to schedule the HSG, they said they wanted to have a “quick” meeting about our donor’s results to discuss “options.” I tried to get them to tell me any deets they could over the phone, but they weren’t able, so I guess we have to wait until tomorrow to find out. I’m assuming they’re not positive results, otherwise the doctor wouldn’t want to meet up with us. I’m also not too concerned – my knee-jerk reaction was to wonder if we’d need to go the anonymous donor route after all, but I took some time to rephrase my reaction. “Options” means there are other things we can do, probably. And I know sometimes it’s as simple as cleaning up diet for men. I’m worried, but… no matter what it is, it won’t stop us. I just need to remember that.

As of yesterday, I am officially low-carbing it. I had a last alcoholic hoorah with friends on Saturday and since then I’ve been eschewing fruits and eating even more vegetables than usual. I’m having a hard time with fats, still, because you can only eat so much avocado and I apparently don’t care for nuts like I used to. I keep thinking how much easier this would be if I could eat eggs, but if wishes were horses… well.

Also, if anyone has any good cover stories for work for all these appointments, I’d love to hear them. My coworkers are super nosy, and although I could just tell them to mind their own business, I’m sure you know how little that helps. So what other horrible thing takes a lot of appointments and bloodwork? The more ludicrous, the better. <3

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