The Power of Positive Thinking

Call me what you will – debbie downer, negative nancy, pessimist, realist.  Any way you slice it, I’m Bad Luck Ally.  I mean, who else gets pulled over by a cop in her own neighborhood for a rolling stop?  Who else gets hit (and windshield cracked) by a rogue rock from a dump truck she was not behind at the time –twice?  Who else has never won a contest, not even a scratch-off lottery ticket, can never find a parking spot and always catches a red light?

So, maybe my debbie downerness is well-justified.  But maybe I’m bringing some of it on because I expect it.  Maybe my life is one big self-fulfilling prophesy.

Let’s test this theory.  If you love me, let’s try an experiment.  Let’s try some Power of Positive Thinking.

Repeat after me:

  • My recent health problems were just an acid refux flare-up and will be successfully treated with my current medication OR an easy home remedy and I will feel 100% better very soon.
  • AND
  • My fertility issues were primarily caused by the endometriosis and now that it’s gone my husband and I will have no more trouble TTC.

I’m not the girl who asks for thoughts and prayers for an A on a test or my great uncle twice removed’s colonoscopy or some random internet person I’ve never met’s troubles, but I am asking for thoughts and prayers for the above.   If you know me and/or love me, take some time to think some good/happy/positive thoughts with me.  I’m sick of being sick, and I’m sad that my husband and I have not been able to add to our family.   We’ve tried random advice and we’ve done everything the doctors have asked of us.  All I have left to try is positivity and optimism.

In all honesty, it’s the hardest thing I’ve tried yet.

xoxo

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It’s not Kabbalah.

People keep asking me about my bracelet, most of them asking if it’s a Kabbalah bracelet.

It’s not.

I mostly just tell them one of my friends made it for me, which is the truth, but there’s  more to the story.  I actually posted it on my blog before, back on April 8, 2010 for my Project365 when it arrived in the mail with a nice card from my friend Jenny:

I’ve worn it every day since.  So, what’s the story behind this reddish-purple bracelet?

It’s called Infertility’s Common Thread, and to read the back story, click here —–>  The History of Infertility’s Common Thread

Jenny was one of my few sounding boards when I was still in the infertility closet, and she gave me this bracelet as a reminder that I’m not alone.  There are so many women out there, like her, who couldn’t have a child without a lot of help.  Her story is amazing by the way, so if you haven’t checked out What the Blog? you need to NOW.  She’s now in her 2nd trimester with triplets, and I’m hoping some of her luck (specifically 1/3 of her luck) will rub off on me sometime soon.

So if you see someone like me wearing a pomegranate (not red!) bracelet, take a second to mentally wish her good luck with her struggle.

Now, a quick update on me!  We were on a forced 2 cycle TTC break post-surgery.  I have a repeat HSG scheduled next Wednesday to see if the surgery was successful and hopefully we will get the all-clear!   My father also has a procedure scheduled next Wednesday, so if you have me on your thoughts & prayers list, please add him as well.

Thanks as always for everyone’s support!  xoxo

Acupuncture: Helpful or Hoax?

I’m a product of Western medicine.  I haven’t ever put much stock in advice or treatment from anyone whose name doesn’t end with M.D.  A few years ago, I gave a chiropractor a try and although it was a bit relaxing I wasn’t sold.

One problem with this resistance to alternative medical treatments is that I seem to have odd reactions to most medicine.  Sure, I was able to take birth control pills for 12 years, and I haven’t experienced any side effects from commonly prescribed meds such as antibiotics, but I have yet to find something to treat an ailment that has been plaguing me since my teens – insomnia.

If you’re about to give me home remedy advice, trust me, I’ve already heard it.  My sleeplessness comes and goes in cycles.  Sometimes I’ll go a few weeks with no problems, then I’ll start having trouble falling and/or staying asleep and it will last days, sometimes weeks.  This happens whether or not I’ve been getting regular exercise, whether or not I’ve had caffeine during the day, whether or not I’m eating sugar or chocolate or after 6pm or any of the myriad of suggestions I’ve been given and have tried over the years.

You’re probably asking why, when home remedies don’t work, don’t I just pop some Advil or Tylenol PM and knock myself out?  Good question.  One of the active ingredients in PM meds (consequently, the same ingredient in benedryl, which I also can’t take) raises my blood pressure and gives me heart palpitations.   I have tried to take it to sleep, and ended up waking multiple times in a panicked state, then spending the entire next day with a hangover worse than alcohol ever gave me.   I can only imagine what a drug like Ambien would do to me.  I’d be one of those people who sleepwalks to her car and drives across the country on a shooting spree.

So finally, I have decided to give something new a try.  Something I have considered before but for some reason put it off time and again – acupuncture.  I had my first treatment Thursday and to be honest I don’t know yet if it’s going to make a difference.  I wonder if I don’t buy into it if it will work anyway, or if it’s just the process of buying into it that makes it work?  Is it one of those things that fools the brain into making the body work better, just on belief?

If nothing else, the process relaxed me.  I also had a nice consultation with the acupuncturist during which I told her of my other ailments – heart palpitations, digestive issues, even infertility.  Maybe if I try to push my logical/cynical brain aside and try for once to blindly try something out of the ordinary, I might be surprised.

I’d love to hear about anyone else’s ventures with acupuncture.  Leave a comment or tweet me!

National Infertility Awareness Week – a story

I’m guilty of hopping on the bandwagon.  101 in 1001?  Count me in.  Project365?  Sure, why not?  I’ll blog, tweet, facebook, book exchange, GTG, whatever.  There’s one bandwagon, however, I didn’t want to get on.  Several friends in my internet community are taking the time during National Infertility Awareness Week to blog about their own struggles with infertility.  How I wish I could be sympathetic, supportive, and compassionate to those struggling without knowing how it feels on a personal level.  Unfortunately, I too have my own battle to fight.

In honor of NIAW, I decided to tell my own story.  This step is particularly daunting for me since no one, even my real-life family and friends, knows the entire story.  It’s time to come clean.

I always had a suspicion we would have trouble conceiving.  Call it intuition, pessimism, or, when I’m in a darker mood, a self-fulfilling prophesy.  After twelve years on the pill, I stopped hormonal birth control in 2008 and was surprised and thrilled to find that my cycles immediately regulated.  A perfect 28-day cycle.  I could mark on a calendar the day my period was expected to arrive, and it would show up like clockwork.

We used back-up birth control for a few months, then decided to throw caution to the wind and stopped trying to avoid a pregnancy.  I didn’t want anyone to get their hopes up or get excited (or worse, disappointed) so we kept this to ourselves.  After several months of “just playing around,” I started reading message boards about trying to conceive.  This is where I got a recommendation to start charting my cycles.  I could have regular periods, they said, but it’s possible that I wasn’t ovulating.

So, I started charting.  Just temping at first (with a beautiful temp shift on Cycle Day 14 or 15 every single month) and eventually tracked other bodily changes.  As my friend Jenny from What the Blog? says, it’s surprising how much I didn’t know about my cycle.

On paper, we should have made a baby a dozen times over.  Regular cycles.  Temp shift.  Body changes.  Perfectly timed sex.  No baby…not even one pregnancy.  I don’t know if I’d have a problem holding on to a pregnancy because I’ve never had one. Every month, I feel like a failure.

Starting this January, we started letting other people know we were trying for a child.  I thought I would probably need support for what was to come.  I told everyone I decided to get preliminary testing just in case, when in reality we had already hit the “qualifying” time to be considered infertile.  In February, my OB/GYN referred us to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE), a fertility specialist, to see if we could get a diagnosis.   So far, we don’t have a lot of answers.  I had a progesterone test done to confirm that I’m ovulating, and it was normal. My husband had a semen analysis, where we discovered he has a high amount of abnormal sperm.  (For those in the know, he had a 3% strict morph.)  Dr. Google says this is bad news, but my RE doesn’t seem concerned.  With all of the conflicting information out there, how will I ever know what to believe?

My visit with the RE also unveiled a possible uterine problem – either a uterine septum or a “heart-shaped” uterus.  Both are congenital defects, so if either is confirmed with further testing (I have to schedule a HSG next cycle) I will know that I’ve had an issue since birth.  A septum is treatable with surgery; a heart-shaped uterus may not be treatable at all.  Or, simply, we could discover that is is nothing at all.  That’s been the worst part of this entire journey so far – the constant limbo.

I haven’t hit the bitter, angry infertility wall yet, but I’ve been blaming myself more and more.  Is it because I’m overweight? Because I don’t eat well enough or exercise like I should? Do I drink too much coffee?  Is it because my husband kept using tobacco behind my back, or because he drinks so much soda? Or is it my Bad Luck Ally syndrome?  Bad karma?   Is there some truth to the always-annoying advice to “just relax?”  Is it because I stopped going to church long ago?  Because I haven’t specifically asked God to do this for me?   Sometimes I feel stupid, because I waited until I was 30 to even start trying.  Was I wrong for waiting until we owned a home, were financially stable?  Was I wrong for wanting some time to ourselves at the beginning of our marriage without throwing kids into the mix?  If I would have started trying when I was still in my 20’s, would it have made a difference?  How do I explain to myself that some people who are in shape, have strong faith and are in their 20’s still have fertility problems?  Where in the world could they place their blame?  Is it that much worse for them, since they don’t have an “excuse?”  And why do I think these things at all, as a normally logical, scientific thinker?

Since our insurance only covers diagnosis and not treatment of infertility, I was at first overwhelmed with the thought that if our only option is IVF we will have to deplete the funds we saved for a down payment on a new house just to do something that most people on the planet have no trouble doing for free.  Now, with the possibility that even IVF won’t be an option for us, suddenly the money seems like the smallest part of our problem.

I’m thankful for the online community of support I have found.  Most of them don’t know my story, but even by reading others’ stories I’m able to gain some comfort, especially since we haven’t given our real-life friends and family an opportunity to be supportive.  At least I know that while I’m struggling, I’m not struggling alone.