HSG results!

I had my HSG on Monday. For those of you reading who aren’t in the fertility game that is a hysterosalpingogram, which  is a test done to determine if your fallopian tubes are clear and your uterus is of normal shape and size. I had read up on the test and was a bit scared going in. It sounded like it was going to hurt, so I was prepared.

It really wasn’t that bad! Not saying I’m going to volunteer to do this again on a Saturday afternoon for funsies, but it was ok. Once I was on the table, I felt very relaxed and comfortable knowing that these people know what they are doing and it will be fine. I had some cramping just as they were filling the balloon and just as the die was entering my fallopian tubes, but other than that, pretty painless! And the pain I did have only lasted a few seconds. I had a little spotting later in the day, but that was it. I guess I am lucky or tolerate pain well.

Side Story: The last time I had any kind of radiological imaging done was in 2009 when I had my appendix removed. As I was getting my Ct the tech said that it may hurt a little as the dye runs through my veins, so just bare with it and it will be over soon. As I lie there I started to feel immense pain in my arm, she said it would hurt, so I tolerated it, closed my eyes and went to my happy place. A few minutes later she came in and said “What is going on, there is no dye in the study?” She looked at my arm and freaked out. I had a softball-sized mass of dye in my forearm- my vein had burst and the contrast had pooled in my forearm. She kind of yelled at me asking why I didn’t tell her this was happening and I said “You told me it was going to hurt…”. Haha, that really complicated my recovery as I could’t use that arm and had to keep it elevated for a few days while it all absorbed into my body (where does it all go??!?).

This, was nothing like that. The tech and radiologist were very nice and gentle and explained everything as they did it and did everything slowly, but firmly. They asked my hubby if he wanted to come back to the room with me and stand behind the glass, which was nice–I thought he would have to be in the waiting room.

And finally…everything was normal! I could tell the radiologist did this test a lot because when she showed me the images, explaining that it was normal she knew that it would give me mixed emotions because some people (and a part of me) want something small to be wrong, giving an easy fix to infertility, but yet it is always nice to narrow down the problem. It was interesting actually seeing my anatomy. She explained that in the textbooks everyone looks symmetrical and beautiful, but in real life our anatomy is not perfect, as mine looked really goofy with my uterus off to the left side. I was worried at first! Just to give you an idea, here is a google image of someone else’s normal HSG. That looks nothing like my textbooks say it does!

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What I am most excited about is that now I can call my fertility specialist back and set up another appointment to see her. It’s been 3 months since I started all the testing, so am looking forward to discussing my situation and options with her. Plus, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read somewhere that you have increased chances of pregnancy in the 3 months after and HSG. It may be a very slim increase, with very little research to back it up, but I’ll take it for some much needed optimism in my last 3 months in New Zealand.

xTally

What to expect when your friends are expecting

This past weekend was a bit trying for my steadfastness. One of my best friends told me she was pregnant. She really did it in the best way possible. I already had suspicions, so it didn’t completely throw me off, but it always is still hard to hear. This year it’s already been my cousin (who is like a sister), my sister-in-law and countless other friends.

We were on a walk and towards the end she told me and said she was nervous to tell me, but I really was happy for her. Let me tell you a few things she did right:  She told me alone. If she had told me with a group of people I definitely would have felt ganged up on. She told me side by side. I can’t quote research articles, but I know that hard things are always easier to talk about when not facing someone directly. I’m sure it’s “better” to face things directly, but not for me. That way I didn’t have to hide an expression or tearful eyes. We were also wearing sunglasses, so it was actually helpful to avoid eye contact to be able hold in my emotions. She told me she won’t bring it up again unless I do. I really appreciated that part. I really am happy for her, but it doesn’t mean I can’t wait to talk about nursery designs, names and morning sickness with her. She told me she knows it must be hard for me. She didn’t pretend like my “condition” didn’t exist, she didn’t patronize me, she just let me know that even though she is one of the lucky ones to get pregnant quickly, she gets me. She followed up with an email. She sent me an email later in the day thanking me for my reaction to her news. She was able to say a little more “mushy” stuff without the risk of me sobbing in front of her. I think she had built it up in her head that I would break out into a sob and throw things at her. There was a chance for that (and I did sob later in the car on the way home), but because she told me graciously, I was able to react graciously.

I had been digesting that news over the weekend, having some bouts of sadness, but overall, just being happy for her. We were having dinner at her house last night with our other closest couple friends and she had obviously since told them as well. I was very glad that it didn’t turn into a big celebration for her and do nothing but discuss baby things. Either my pregnant friend told them to be sensitive around me, or they instinctively didn’t discuss it. Either way, it shows I’ve got great friends. I heard a few hushed conversations between the 2 girls in the kitchen where I’m sure they were talking baby while I was in the other room, but it didn’t bother me. The other couple already has a baby and there were a few points in the night where my friend (the already daddy) made comments about the impending baby for our friends. Commiserating. I won’t lie- It hurt. I want people to make those comments about me– I want to commiserate about pregnancy symptoms. I suddenly felt alienated from my best friends. They have (will have kids), we don’t. They now automatically have something in common and we now have less in common. I know this alienation is self-inflicted, but there’s no way to explain it. It’s just hard.

It really made me start to think about my single friends and how they must have felt when everyone around them started getting married and talking about couple stuff all the time. How irritating I must have been! Socially, I bet they experienced the same alienation I am feeling now. Feeling that your friend group is moving on to the next stage of life and you are staying still.

We have actually started thinking about who our friends will be when we move back home to Minneapolis. Most of our previous friends now have or are having kids. Do we slide back into that group knowing there will be more play dates at the park than nights out; constantly being reminded of what we don’t have but ache for? Do we try to find new friends who are in our same situation? Do we try to find friends who are younger and not yet at that stage in their lives? Or do we try to make friends with older people who’s kids don’t run their lives anymore? I’m not sure what the answer is. Probably all of the above.

So, that’s what I’m feeling today. Happy for my friend, but sad thinking if we continue to struggle with infertility for a long time to come how our relationships will have to change. Whether it’s the same relationship changing into a different stage, or making new relationships to make our lives work.

And on top of all of this I have my HSG today. Pray for good results and minimal cramping!

February Book Review

During our journey to become parents so far I have picked up a few books on infertility. I am a typical “Type A” personality and when I am in a situation I can’t control, I’d like to at least become an “expert” on my situation. 

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While typing that sentence it made me hum this song… 🙂

I found some of them more helpful than others and would love for others out there struggling for understanding and control to read them as well to gain some peace and understanding about things that are out of our direct control. So every month I thought I would feature a different book that I have read. 

The Infertility Cure

By: Randine Lewis, Ph.D.

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I thought it fitting that my first book review would be the first book that I read about infertility. It came to this book by way of my SIL who is very big into natural remedies and holistic health. I was not previously one to put any weight on natural treatments or holistic health. I thought it was just for hippies…Turns out it may be for hippies, but I have turned into one!

 This book is written by someone with both Western and Eastern (called Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM) medical knowledge. The book starts off with some success stories introducing her method of helping women conceive. She then breaks down the Western medicinal approach to infertility, followed by the TCM approach. 

She then breaks down the TCM method of diagnosis. This part was really cool. There was an actual tick list where you recorded things you may experience in life that you would never relate. For example, I ticked that I bruised if a feather touched me, get up several times in the night to go to the bathroom and my feet always feel like ice at night—who knew those were all symptoms of Kidney Yang deficiency. This was a great hook because after seeing how easily I fit into certain categories, I “bought it”.

Then come diet, lifestyle and TCM remedies such as herbs and acupuncture. Also a great recourse all throughout my journey. I wasn’t going to completely change everything about my life, but I did think “hmm I shall put black sesame seeds on this dish” or “I should really eat some wild rice this week”. Really most of the changes are healthy no matter what (avoid excessive exercise, avoid white bread and pastas…) 

The second half of the book breaks down individual fertility diagnoses and how TCM can help either solo or in conjunction with Western treatment. As I don’t have a firm diagnosis as to what my issues are, I perused some of this, but didn’t read it super carefully. It seemed to have some good information along with success stories (which sometimes you like and sometimes makes you want to throw the book at the wall).

 So…the elephant in the room. A Christian seeking Eastern Medicine, isn’t that bad?!?! Well my thoughts are that God made us with such specificity and purpose, why wouldn’t he make us so perfect that all our body systems balance? Wouldn’t he make our ailments treatable using other things he made (foods, herbs) rather than toxic chemicals? I’m not going to a voodoo doctor and chanting curses, just thinking in a way outside of the box of western medicine. Again I’m not a theologian or doctor of any kind, just an average, humble Christ follower and person of some medical knowledge– and that’s just what I think!

 My rating: I wouldn’t use this as a “bible” to live by, but just something to add to your repertoire of things to have in your corner against infertility. Why not pray about infertility, go to your doctor, exercise and eat wild rice? It doesn’t hurt! I’m not relying on this book or TCM to heal me. Only He can heal me, but why not make changes you can to help you deal in the mean time? I chose to buy this book so I could have it on hand whenever I wanted to look something up. Also worth just checking out from the library first to see if it’s something you are interested in. 

Is Facebook out to get me?

So today is CD1 (I think. I get confused as to whether it is the first day you flow, or the first day you wake up flowing–I’ve been told both. Regardless…). Yesterday AF came to visit and it was a really hard day. Both hubby and I had good feelings about this last cycle and I was really let down. I was starting my usual mourning routines of crying, lying in bed, reading infertility blogs and convincing myself I will never get pregnant because I’m broken and my FSH is too high according to all those reliable sources on Google…

I fought with my hubby and just all around was not “the picture of grace” that I try to be most other times. Then, I went to bed, apologized and woke up feeling better. Well, as good as you can feel as your uterus painfully sheds any chance for you to be a mommy for another month.

I didn’t feel up for church (45 min of standing, then 45 min of sitting on uncomfortable chairs) because I get pretty significant joint pain in my whole pelvic girdle during this time of the month and would not make it. So we opted to listen to an online sermon this morning from The Village Church. What was it about? Abortion and the Sanctity of Life Created. Nothing wrong with that and praise God that people are talking about it. But, it included a large portion of time detailing a baby’s growing milestones and how God-filled conception is. Amen. But not really what I needed to hear right now…I know how glorious a baby in the womb is. I just can’t get there, I ache to be there. I had to leave the room and go do laundry and such to keep my mind busy.

Then as I was able to come back to listen to the end of it, I saw a new email in my inbox on my mail app. What was it you ask? This

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Facebook decided to personally email me that a girl I went to college with was having a baby, just in case I missed it. This is not a close friend. She is a very nice girl, and I’m so happy she gets to have a family, but why did Facebook think I needed to know about that? To back it up a bit and set the scene, I stopped going on Facebook about 3 months ago. It was just getting too hard when my news feed was full of baby bumps, babies, questions about babies and mom complaining about babies. I had my husband go in and change my password and set it up so if someone sent me a message or wrote on my wall, I could reply, but that was it. No browsing, no posting. Since then, Facebook has tried it’s hardest to get me back online. I get emails all the time from Facebook telling me about everything I missed (Xena’s big dinner last night and Betty’s trip to the Zoo…sorry not news to me). I usually just delete these email and don’t think twice. But really? REALLY? Facebook.You picked today to email me a pregnancy announcement. Poor form. Instead of luring me back, you pushed me almost completely out. I’m not ready to delete my account yet (#militarybrat, #movedallover, #havefriendsineverycontinentthatI’dliketohavecontactinfoforincaseoftravel!), but you’re pushing me to the edge.

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I don’t actually use twitter, but like the way hashtags look…

So, what is this all about?Is Mark Zuckerberg out to get me for not buying Facebook stock? Is it the devil taunting me, trying to get me to doubt God for putting me through this trial? Or is it a message from God that his plan is for me to have a baby, so relax and enjoy? Or is it just one of those coincidences in life where you can’t say anything but “Why the face?!?”

Hello my name is…

I follow some Christian/infertility/adoption blogs because adoption is always something my husband and I have talked about (even before the big “I”). I really like following these because I find them to be educational, inspiring and uplifting. These ladies really know how to get after my heart. When I’m feeling bad about myself, one of their posts about something they’re doing or going through will come into my inbox and make me say “Ok, Tally, now what are you going to do in response to your circumstances, cry about it?” Well yes, sometimes [read: “a lot of the time”], I cry in response to my circumstances. But I can also believe in God’s plan for me.

Today is one of those days. Its not CD1 yet, but it might as well be. Every month these couple of days of spotting before CD1 makes me deflated. I can’t think of a better word. I feel as though someone has let the air out of me. I tell myself, it could still happen this month, it’s just a little spotting, then as it gets heavier, I question “Why me?”, and “How is my journey to parenthood going to turn out?”, “What did I do wrong this month?”

Some of the blogs I follow are doing this thing “Hello, my name is” where they throw away the names they’ve given themselves, or society has given them and re-name themselves their true names as one belonging to Christ. Today I’m tossing away jealous, awkward at conversations about babies, lonely, forgotten and unfulfilled…

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Chosen. 

I am chosen by God to fulfill His plan. I don’t know what that is, or when I’ll know, but I sit in the peace knowing that someday I will discover what I have been chosen for. Perhaps it’s to give birth to many children, or none. Perhaps it’s to be a mother in another way. Perhaps it’s to do something I can’t even imagine right now. He planned for me to go through a very hard year of infertility and loss of loved ones, He planned for me to dig deeper into His word, He chose me to walk this path for a reason.

What a way to start 2014, huh? To believe that I was chosen by God for something. Makes you feel pretty special, like the coolest kid in class wants you to be on his team. You can’t complain about playing right field when you wanted to be 1st base–you’re still chosen to be on the winning team!!

So today I am standing on ground that I am Chosen. If you want to join the link up go to one of their blogs: Life on a Mission or Glory in the Valley.

I don’t know if they got inspiration for this from this song, but reading their blogs makes me think of this song, which I love!! So maybe have a listen if you haven’t heard it, or if you have.

Blessings,

Tally

Protein Matters

I know all the info surrounding diet and infertility is super controversial. One doctor says to eat cheese, the other says it’s bad. Is gluten really our enemy? What about sugars? Well, I really don’t know who to believe, so I guess I’ll just do what I think is right within the guidelines given to my by my doctors. When I had my first appointment with the full-blown fertility doctor a few months ago she told me there is no empirical evidence to support any of the dietary aspects of fertility, but that a healthy, varied, well-balanced diet is the way to go. She also mentioned that the one part of our diet that is proven to help fertility is to make sure you have enough protein in our diet.

This has always been a problem for me since I am a picky eater by birth. I’ve gotten so much better since adulthood, but still am not a huge fan of meats and beans. I try. I just don’t like it much. So with another month with no pregnancy, I’ve decided to make this month’s target to get enough protein, it can’t hurt!

What is “enough”? The CDC recommends women my age to have 46 g per day. The University of Maryland Medical System calculated that I need 63 g per day. So I guess if I get somewhere in between, I’ll be good. It also says that you want to get plenty of vegetable protein every day from sources like beans, nuts. I took the liberty of calculating what my protein intake was yesterday: 32g. I can do better. My husband is going to help me stay on track by making sure that I have a protein-rich lunch sorted (I often graze for lunch unless we have leftovers).

So how do you increase your daily protein intake without breaking the bank? Here is what I am doing this week to increase my protein.

Breakfast

  • 2 eggs with 1/2 avocado (14g)
  • 1 cup Oatmeal with 1/2 cup yogurt and berries (16g)
  • Homemade granola (I add extra almonds, pumpkin and chia seeds) with 1/2 cup yogurt and berries (about 25g)

Lunch

  • Leftovers (varies)
  • Salad with spinach, feta, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and cucumber (15g)
  • Chicken quesadilla with guac (37g)
  • Chicken on whole wheat with spinach and hummus (37g)

Dinner

  • Mexican Lasagne with salad (45g)
  • Salmon and Millet with broccoli (35g)
  • Homemade chicken strips with sweetcorn and wild rice (43g)
  • Make your own pizza: 1/2 cup Mozz cheese, 1 sausage cut up, spinach, garlic, mushrooms  and salad (37g)

Snacks:

  • 1/2 cup Almonds (15g)
  • Chips and hummus (8g)
  • a few brie or camembert wedges with apple slices (15g)

How do you make sure you get enough protein in your diet? Let’s hope I can keep it up this month!!

xoxoTally

Update on Hey Jealousy

Hello!

A few weeks ago I wrote this post on jealousy. I challenged myself to pray for people I am jealous of or people who have what I want. I have been doing that pretty regularly since then, and am SO excited to announce that God has not only allowed me to get over my feelings, but has completely changed my heart.

I’ve been praying for friends of mine who became pregnant on the first try who previously had made me so frustrated. Honestly, I didn’t wish them ill-will, but I also didn’t wish them happiness. I just ignored the fact the they existed. Now I am actually happy for them. I am able to talk about their upcoming deliveries and how their pregnancy is going without cringing and feeling like I was dying inside. I’m also praying for a good friend of mine who I know just started TTC last month. Before I was secretly hoping she wouldn’t get pregnant until after she moved away (in 2 months) so I wouldn’t have to deal with her excitement face-to-face, but could nicely script an email in response to her future announcement. Now that I’ve been praying she conceives right away, I find myself hopeful for her, and excited that she may be pregnant.

Isn’t it amazing what prayer can do? I seriously am in awe of God’s power that he was able to take away my spite and jealousy and replace it with joy. I can’t stress enough how much I want everyone who, like me, has/had nasty feelings towards those “fertile folk” to start praying fervently for them. You won’t believe the freedom it has given me.

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Blessings,

Tally