Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Liebster Award!

Back in September, Anne from The Second Bedroom nominated me for a Liebster Award! I'm just getting around to posting about it now, but I wanted to thank Anne for the nomination!

So, 11 random facts about myself....

1. My first concert experience was seeing Kitty and Otep when they came to the local music venue in my hometown. If you're not familiar with the hard rock scene, Kitty and Otep are known for being somewhat extreme. Since I was only 16, my mom felt more comfortable accompanying my friends and I to the concert. When Otep came out with a (fake) pig's head on a spear, she turned to me with wide eyes and said she was going to go watch the baseball game with the bartender. She never came to a concert with me again. 

2. I have an extremely wide taste in music. If you look on my Pandora, you'd find songs from Dropkick Murphys, Shakeria, Green Day, Celtic Woman, Eminem, Fun, Tegan and Sara, Maclemore, Broadway tunes (I love the soundtrack from Wicked) The Avett Brothers, and more. If a song has a good beat and lyrics I can sing to, there's a good chance that I'll like it.

3. I went to the same university that my dad is a professor at. During my graduation, he surprised me by being up on stage to be the one who gave me my diploma and a hug....in front of thousands of people.


4. I have 7 piercings (two in each lobe, one cartilage, and one industrial) and a Celtic knot tattoo on my foot.

5. Keegan and I were long distance our entire relationship until we moved together to Mississippi. We went to school about an hour and a half from each other, and Keegan did two co-ops, (one in Alabama, one in Memphis,) while we were dating. Since we never spent more than a week together, moving together to a different state was one of the scariest things we've ever done. 5 months after moving we got engaged, and 10 months after that, we were married.

6. During college, I worked at Hot Topic. It was a great job; flexible hours, great music, angsty teens who wanted to shove metal through their faces... But in all honesty, I loved working there. Sometimes I miss the easiness of it all, but then I remember those parents who had to get those band t-shirts for their whiny children on Black Friday.

Yes, we're posing with a cardboard Edward. Those teenage girls (and their mothers,) love them some Edward

7. If I had to shop at one store for the rest of my life, it would be Target. It kills me that the closest one is now an hour away, but my wallet is thankful. 

8. On my university's campus, there is a tiled clover with the word "engineers" below it. Legend is, if you walk across the tiles, you're fated to marry an engineer. I walked across those tiles about a month before I met Keegan, who's a metallurgical engineer. Everyone with me, "aaaaaawwwwwwww"

9. I had Shirley Temple hair when I was young. My mom actually had someone ask if she permed my hair when I was 2. 

10. I still have my comfort item from when I was a baby. He's a little worse for wear than the picture below, and currently resides under my pillows. My dad surprised me with another one for my 21st birthday, so now I have one to give to my future child. 

11. My favorite food is pasta, specifically mac n' cheese and chicken alfredo, and I've been craving both like none other lately. My craving is so bad that I made Keegan promise me that we'll get mac n' cheese from Noodles and Co. when we're in Missouri for Thanksgiving. 

Here are the 11 questions Anne asked:

1. What do you turn to for comfort?
I wish it was something different, but food a lot of the times. There's something special about lunch with a good friend you can confide in, or a romantic dinner with my husband. Perhaps it's not the food that really comforts me, but the people I'm with. Keegan is definitely a big source of comfort, as well as my parents. 
2. Do you have any habits/mannerisms other people consider odd but you couldn't do without?
Yes actually! It's hard to explain, but I do this strange tapping thing with my fingers. I'll go thumb, middle, pointer, fourth finger, middle, pinky, then pinky, fourth, pointer and thumb over and over again. If I'm listening to music, it's in time with the music, but I'll also do it to a tune in my head. I'm one that can't just watch TV or a movie without doing something with my hands, so this tapping sequence keeps my hands occupied. I should probably take up knitting or something more productive. 
3. What is your favorite thing to cook? Or, for non-cooks, to order in?
I am more of the baker in our house, and I love to bake cookies. I found a recipe for chocolate chip cheesecake cookies on Pintrest and they're to die for. I've made them for a lot of get togethers with Keegan's co-workers and they've been a big hit.  
4. It's your day off. No commitments yet. Shockingly, ALL your laundry is clean. What do you wear?
I suppose it depends on what I was going to do that day. If I was just going to laze around the house, probably yoga pants and an old t-shirt. If I was going out to run errands, jeans and a t-shirt. I'm not one to dress up unless I have a special event to go to.
5. You can have one word or phrase stricken from the minds of humanity--they just forget it existed and you NEVER have to hear it again. What is it? "That type of thing..." It's a phrase my co-workers says all.the.time and it drive me up the walls. I've caught myself saying it once or twice and it makes me cringe. 
6. You're a billionaire, hooray! What charity do you make your pet cause?
This is such a hard question. I don't think I could choose just one charity, I'd have to give money to many. I'd give money to a local Humane Society, a woman's shelter, a youth reading program, and any other charities doing good in the community. I'd more than likely keep the money local so that it could affect the community I was residing in. 
7. Do you wear socks to bed?
I do during the winter. My feet and hands get so cold that they'll keep me up at night, and startle Keegan awake if they touch him. During the summer, though, I'm usually ok without. 
8. I've got a gift card for you! You can't spend it on bills. Only frivolous things. Where do you go?
Probably Target or Old Navy. I've found that their clothes fit me best while I'm in those strange in between sizes during my weight loss. Also, they're cute and cheap so I could buy a lot without spending much. Oh, and also Starbucks. Om nom nom. 
9. What one thing that you do on a regular basis do you wish you never had to do again? Honestly? Try to figure out what's for dinner. With this diet, dinners have become hard to plan and it's the biggest pain in the butt to try and figure out what we're eating every night. Every day, for the last two-ish hours of the workday, Keegan and I are texting back and forth trying to figure out what we want to eat. If we had an unlimited budget to eat out, or an in-house chef, that would make life so much easier. Besides that, dishes. I hate doing the dishes. Dishes soaking in the sink make me shudder.
10. If you were an expert in one area, and people came from miles away just to ask your thoughts, what area would that be? I don't think I have the discipline to become and expert in anything. I'd much rather have a little knowledge in many areas than a lot of knowledge in one area. 

I'm being lame and not nominating anyone. I know this award has been circulating for a while now, and I don't feel like trying to figure out who hasn't been nominated. Just know that I love you all, so consider yourselves nominated if you want to answer Anne's questions.

Friday, October 25, 2013

If You Have A Spare Moment...

...send up some prayers/good thoughts/rain dances for Holly and her two babies

As well as Waiting For Baby. She just posted that she's leaking fluid and her midwives are afraid it's amniotic fluid. She and her little Ladybug could use your thoughts. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Am I A Twat For Not Tweeting?

The question is simple really. I don't have a Twitter. Should I get one?

So far, I haven't felt the need to get a Twitter, mostly because it's just one other social media that will take up my time and potentially start drama.

However, I've noticed that a lot of IF bloggers will connect through Twitter more often than they will through Facebook. Is that because you can make an IF based Twitter, while Facebook makes you "like" pages through your personal page? (or maybe no one likes me enough to be my Facebook friend.)

The point is, I'd like to connect with you wonderful ladies more, and the platform to do that seems to be Twitter.

So, let me know. Do you twat? Tweet? Twit? Obviously I'm going to have to brush up on the lingo.

As another plus, if I get a Twitter, you won't have to read posts like this that could have been boiled down to 140 characters.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

It's been a few days since I've written, so I have a lot of topics I want to write about. Bullet points it is!
  • My mom called me Friday morning to tell me that my youngest sister was in a car accident. She was hyperventilating and complaining about her neck and head hurting, so she was taken to the hospital. She's fine, just sore from the whiplash, but she totaled my parent's only working car. I have a very ranty post that was written on Friday which I may post later, depending on how much of my family's "dirty laundry" I want to air. Let's just say that my sisters lack of apology wasn't unexpected. 
  • Thankfully my parents were able to get a rental car just in time to drive down to my cousin's wedding on Saturday. The wedding was on the groom's family "farm" (I say farm loosely because as far as I could tell, they don't raise livestock or grow crops,) and it absolutely beautiful. I hadn't seen this side of my mom's family in over ten years, so it was nice to catch up with them. 
Photo taken by Keegan of the gazebo that was used during the cocktail hour.
  •  I believe that I ovulated late Saturday night or early Sunday. I had a flaming positive on a cheap OPK and a smiley face on the digital OPK Saturday morning, but a negative on both Sunday morning. Keegan and I sexed Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night, so hopefully we covered our bases. So far, my temperature hasn't jumped like it normally does after ovulation. I'm not sure if the Clomid is to blame, or the fact that I've been waking up freezing these last few days. During the night, temperatures here in Mississippi get into the 40s and 50s, but we're being stubborn and not turning on the heat yet, especially since it'll get up in the 70s during the day.
  • Did anyone else have wacky temperatures on Clomid? Before ovulation, my temps jumped around without rhyme or reason. After ovulation, they're taking their sweet time increasing which is odd for me. I'm used to two days of positive OPKs, then a huge jump in temperatures confirming the fact that I ovulated. 
  • I meant to write about this earlier, but I seem to be one of the lucky ones and didn't have any side effects from the Clomid. I was fully expecting hot flashes every day and a five day headache, but I didn't notice anything. I might have had a hot flash the third night of the medication, but I did get sun burned that day, so I don't know if I should blame the 3 minutes of sweating on the Clomid or my stupidity. I did notice that my lower abdomen felt...fuller for lack of a better word. I wasn't crampy, I was just more aware of my ovaries. 
  • The night before ovulation, I had the worst ovulation pain I can remember. My lower abdomen was so tender, that when Keegan snuggled close, I yelped and pushed him off. I'm hoping that this means that the Clomid is making my follicles big and juicy, not exasperating the cysts that are most likely hanging around.

  • I was a dingbat and forgot to sign up for ICLW.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crusin' The Coast 2013

This past weekend, Keegan and I drove down to the Mississippi coast for Crusin' The Coast 2013. Like I've mentioned before, last year as a wedding present, I surprised Keegan with a weekend away at this event and it's quickly become a yearly tradition for us.

The premise behind Crusin' The Coast is to get car enthusiasts and gear heads in one spot to show off their cars and to drool over everyone else's. There is also a swap meet, auction, and industry experts there to sell products and help trouble shoot problems.We were hoping to drive down in Keegan's 'Vette down this year, but it's unfortunately still out of commission.

Since Crusin' The Coast brings in thousands of people, you have to reserve your hotel room for the next year basically as you check out of your hotel that current year. Unfortunately we didn't do that last year, so by the time we got around to looking for hotel rooms, the only ones available were in the casinos with jacked up prices. We decided to splurge and booked a room at the IP Casino in Biloxi.

Friday, we got down to the coast around 7:30 and headed straight for Mellow Mushroom, a pizza joint that I had never heard of until last year, but is amazing. I thought for a second about getting their gluten free pizza, but I splurged and got a regular pizza with pineapple and feta, so good! We drove around a bit, looking at all of the pretty cars, then went to the hotel. I have never been to a casino before, so I didn't know what to expect. The hotel was so busy, crowded and loud! There was live music coming from one of the bars, people of all walks of life wandering around, stores, spas, and more. It was a total overload to my senses, so I was glad to get to our room and crash.

Saturday, we got up and drove down to Bay St. Louis, our favorite spot from last year. All of the cars are lined up in the historic downtown, so you're able to drool over the cars while catching lunch or shopping in one of the boutiques. We had tried to go to IHOP for breakfast, but it was insanely busy, so we ended up grabbing frozen custard. Oh the perks of being an adult. We ate lunch at Trapani's, a local seafood focused restaurant. Keegan got a half shrimp, half catfish po boy and since I don't like seafood, I got a roast beef po boy.

They had the coolest tables at Trapani's. They were filled with sand, shells, starfish and sand dollars from the beach that was just a few yards away. 

We spent about half the day in Bay St. Louis, then drove to Ocean Springs, drooling over cars the entire way. 

Saturday night, we decided to dine in our hotel and ate at Costa Cucina, an Italian restaurant. We went hog wild and did an entire four course meal: appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. We had a really young, enthusiastic waiter that was fun to talk to, and throughout the entire meal, we watch the chefs throw dough in the air for handmade pizzas. Earlier that week, Keegan had gotten a bonus from the general manager of his mill in the form of a $50 money card, so we used that for dinner and only spent $15 out of pocket to cover the leftover and the tip. As Keegan said, best $15 meal we ever had. 

Sunday, we ate at IHOP before heading back home early enough to do some laundry and relax before the impending work week. The weekend was the perfect getaway and allowed Keegan and I to have some us-focused time together. We can't wait until next year!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Want To Thank You

Over the last year or so, I've read many infertility blogs. I've read stories of hope and excitement when a woman who has struggled gets a positive test. I've read stories of women recalling the difficult days in the trenches while their miracles sleep peacefully on their laps. Stories like this give me hope.

But I've also read stories of hurt, sadness, despair, anger, unfairness. Stories from mothers of babies who were taken too early. These stories make me angry and sad and force me to question why these babies had to go, why these mother and fathers have to suffer.

These stories make me scared. While I want nothing more than to be pregnant, I'm also scared of becoming one of those stories. I honestly don't know if I would be able to handle having that hope and excitement taken away from me in an instant.

But, I know that I would be ok, eventually.

I've seen many women, too many women, have to overcome the hurt that is infant and pregnancy loss. It hurts me that so many women that I've met though this blog, women who I call my friends, have had to go through such a horrible experience.

I want to thank those women.

I want to thank them because I know that if I ever have that hope and excitement taken away from me, those women will be there with a shoulder to cry on, helpful advice, or a comforting word. They will be there with extra support when the days get tough, and there to celebrate when things seem to be going ok.

Because of these women, I would be ok, eventually.

I want to thank those women for being so strong. So supportive, to all women, even if they haven't gone through a loss. For being an inspiration.

I'm thinking about all of you today.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Thoughts On A Thursday

So I totally slacked on my "What To Eat Wednesday" post yesterday, mostly because we're still trying to recover from the past weekend and haven't been eating the best. Breakfast and lunch are pretty easy, but at the end of the day, dinners are the last thing we want to think about which means we don't always make the best choices. I unfortunately see this as a trend for October since we'll be out of town almost every weekend. Oh well, eating well two out of the three meals in a day is better than not at all, right?

I'm probably jinxing myself, but I haven't had any side effects from the Clomid (yet.) Mind you, tonight will only be my third dose, so they could still pop up, but I fully expected to have horrible night sweats and headaches moments after taking the first dose. Of course, now that I've said this, I'll be writing a post tomorrow about how I didn't sleep all night and woke up drenched in sweat.

Many of you have asked if I'm getting a mid cycle monitoring appointment, and after my last appointment with Dr. B, I fully expected to. However, when I emailed my nurse to set one up, she said that Dr. B does "monitoring" appointments 33-35 days after the onset of your period...which would put me approximately 5 days after the start of my next cycle. I nicely pointed that out and explained that when I last spoke to Dr. B, he wanted to do a mid cycle appointment to make sure I didn't pop out 10 babies nine months from now, but the nurse was very adamant about scheduling me for November 6. I didn't feel like fighting her about it; honestly I'm just trying to coast my way through these next few months of Clomid before getting referred to an RE who is hopefully more organized, but I will bring it up to Dr. B in November. If I do happen to get pregnant with Clomid, then I will be ecstatic, but I'm not getting my hopes up too high. We all know hope is a bitch.

This weekend, Keegan and I are driving down to the coast for Cruisin' the Coast. As Keegan's wedding present, I surprised him with a trip to Cruisin the Coast last year, and it's quickly become a tradition for us. We'll spend the weekend on the sandy beaches of the Mississippi/Alabama/Louisiana coast looking at vintage cars and eating tasty foods that are horrible for us. Maybe I'll have a post not centered about my lady bits next week and will post some pictures.

I doubt I'll post again until next week, so I hope everyone has a good weekend. If you have a few moments, make sure to send some good vibes into the universe for Stupid Stork. She has two fighting embryos from her last IVF cycle and are hoping they'll survive until the end of the week so they can be frozen. She wants to be that success story when everything looks bleak, and I want that for her too.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Here's To The Clomid Crazies

I swear, blogging about a missing period has the same voodoo abilities as taking a pregnancy test. Hours after my last post, my cramps increased and my period showed her ugly face overnight, just in time for our 13 hour drive to Illinois for our friends' wedding. Thankfully my period was short lived; medium flow on Saturday for the wedding with spotting on Sunday for our drive back home.

The wedding was wonderful, full of good friends, lots of alcohol (not consumed by me of course,) a candy bar and lots of love. Like many friend groups, our small circle exploded all over the US after college, reaching from Pennsylvania to Mississippi to Missouri. We try to get together at least once a year, and having weddings certainly makes this easier. Besides myself, there are only two other women in our group (we all dated and ended up marrying engineers, not exactly a woman-driven field,) so naturally the talk turned to babies during the reception. It was actually a nice talk since one of the girls is dealing with PCOS as well, and the other has been in the loop with our reproductive worries since the beginning. It was easier to have a face to face discussion with them about how things are going instead of trying to explain everything over texts or emails. Apparently I've been nominated as the first in the group to pop out a kid and we've jokingly set our next get together as my baby shower.

I start Clomid tomorrow and I'm nervous. Nervous about the side effects, nervous about it not working, but honestly, more nervous about it working. As much as I want to get pregnant, I'm scared. Before, I thought that a positive test meant a take home baby, but unfortunately, this community has shown me that it doesn't always happen that way. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's complete step one. Here's to the Clomid crazies.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hope's A Bitch

I really wanted to be one of those success stories. You know, those women who get pregnant before they move onto their next big step? I wanted to be able to call my doctor and tell him to forget about that Clomid prescription, because this was our lucky cycle and we got pregnant the "natural" way.

For a second, I thought I was. For a second, I let hope back in.

I started talking pregnancy tests on 9 DPO, even thought I knew logically that it was too early. Negative, of course. 10DPO and 11DPO came up with the same results. I stopped testing because I figured if it was going to happen, it would have by now.

12DPO came and I started lightly spotting which is normal for me a day or two before my period. Since I was having period like cramps, I figured my favorite aunt would come knocking yesterday, on 13DPO.

But she didn't. All day yesterday, I was on high alert, feeling for cramps, waiting for that familiar gush that signaled the start of a new cycle. But it never came.

Today, as I inputted my temperature into Fertility Friend, I realized I was a day late. For as long as I've been tracking, that has never happened. My heart skipped a beat and I rushed to take a pregnancy test. This has to be it, right?


No matter how I turned the test, no matter what light it was under, no matter how hard I squinted, it was negative.

I thought I had come to terms with the fact that this cycle wasn't going to work back on 9DPO when I had my first negative test, but that little bit of hope snuck back in and made me think "maybe, just maybe."

Now, I'm angry. I'm ready to move onto Clomid; heck, I was ready months ago. But once again, my body is proving that it can't do anything right. Even when I want my period to start, it taunts me with that little bit of hope and then makes me come crashing down again.

I hate hope. Hope's a bitch.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What To Eat Wednesday - Pressure Cooker Chili

On my last post about the low amylose diet I've started, I asked if anyone would be interested in some of the recipes we would be trying. I got some good responses, so I figured I'd start "What To Eat Wednesday," a (hopefully) weekly post that will describe at least one meal that follows the low amylose diet.

We're not exactly starting off on the best foot since this recipe is only low amylose-ish, but it is delicious!

I am in no way a food photographer

One of our favorite TV chefs is Alton Brown, host of the show, Good Eats. We've watched all 14 seasons over and over again, and it's honestly the show that we've been falling asleep to recently. Alton is quirky and funny, but what I like most about his show is that he explains the science behind why food happens. We've tried many of his recipes, and we haven't found one yet that we didn't like.

Keegan's been making Alton's Pressure Cooker Chili for years and got me hooked on it pretty quickly after we moved in together. While not 100% low amylose, it's pretty darn close and still full of flavor.

Note, the ingredients have slightly been altered by Keegan. Alton doesn't believe in beans in chili, but we find it tasty. Feel free to omit if you're not a bean fan.  
  • 3 pounds stew meat (beef, pork, and/or lamb) (*we normally just use beef)
  • 2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
  • 1 (16-ounce) container salsa
  • 2 hand full of tortilla chips (~30 chips)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 15.5 oz can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can of pinto beans
  1. Cut meat into about 1" pieces then place in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil and salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pressure cooker over high heat until hot. Add the meat in 3 or 4 batches and brown on all sides, approximately 2 minutes per batch. Once each batch is browned, place the meat in a clean large bowl.
  3. Once all of the meat is browned, add the beer to the cooker to deglaze the pot.
  4. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the meat back to the pressure cooker along with the salsa, tortilla chips, tomato paste, chili powder, and ground cumin and stir to combine.
  5. Lock the lid in place according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the steam begins to hiss out of the cooker, reduce the heat to low, just enough to maintain a very weak whistle. Cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and carefully release the steam. Drain and add both cans of beans to the pressure cooker. Stir to combine then keep on low heat for 5-10 minutes to heat the beans.
  7. Serve with cheese and oyster crackers and sour cream if desired 
To make this recipe more low amylose friendly, you could use water to deglaze the presser cooker in step 3 instead of beer as well as not adding oyster crackers at the end. Unfortunately there is no replacement for the tortilla chips as they're used to thicken the chili.

This recipe is pretty simple; all you do is throw everything in and let the pressure cooker do its magic. Keegan and I get a serving each at dinner, (sometimes two,) and at least one serving for lunch the next day.

If you give the chili a try, let me know what you think!