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: behappy.me 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 MyFitnessPal.com 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.