Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let's Get Physical

I've been remiss to have blogged about everything in baby-obtaining news but not to have described exactly, in excruciating detail, what the pain since my last uterine surgery feels like.  You're just dying to know, right?  So here we go, medication side effects and all.

I think this new medicine, amitriptyline, is helping my pain.  Hold your congratulations until it stands the test of time; I might have jinxed it.  The downside of this med is that it's also making me super drowsy.  I almost didn't make it through a meeting this morning without nodding off.  Not good.

Although I think the medicine is helping some, I still have my moments.  Like right now.  The pain is burning on the surface of my skin on my entire abdomen, from under my ribs downward.  I hadn't experienced burning pain (other than heartburn) before the surgery in March; if you haven't, count yourself lucky.  It's pretty awful.  Sometimes the burning pain radiates up through my chest and pulsates down my arms.  Awesome.

The pain is also unique in that it sometimes feels like hunger.  I'm very well fed these days, thanks to Lyrica making me eat everything in sight, so I don't think I'm actually hungry.  But whenever the burning under my ribs mimics bad hunger, I'll do anything to make it go away.  So I tend to eat, which is not really helping the whole expanding waistline issue.

I'm not a fan of the whole "abdomen on fire" feeling, but I'm afraid to take anything else this afternoon.  Something is making me nauseated and possibly something else is making me drowsy, and I don't want to throw another pill into the mix.  This sucks.  I have another post half-written about gloomy thoughts that come to me when the pain is bad, but that will be a post for another day.

My therapist mentioned at our last appointment that I need to find things to focus on other than the pain.  I quickly let her know that I do this all the time.  Sometimes I get so distracted that I forget why I'm suddenly irate at my husband for forgetting to take out the trash.  Then I check in with the pain and it's bad.  Oh...right.  That's why Mean Wife came out.

I do have some positive news, though.  I have been working out.  For real.  I mean, not any crazy long workouts or anything, but I'm sitting on my bike trainer for 10 minutes per day and actually doing a little pedalling.  I even did a tiny bit of yoga yesterday and my legs are sore today.  Loving the sore muscles.  Have not felt that in a long, long time.

I have bits of other posts written up but can't seem to finish them.  I'm too sleepy.  All I can write about this afternoon is the sensation of pain, meds for pain, and med side effects.  Fascinating, I know.  Are you wondering why you read this far?  :)

And to continue with the litany of medical problems, I'm having a lot of trouble believing that the PT is working.  Yeah, the pain is a bit better now, but it never seems to correlate with how much or how little PT I'm doing.  I took a week or two off and couldn't tell any difference.  I want to think it's the reason I'm improving and that my nerves are learning how to be normal again, but I just can't.  One week until I see the new PT.

Seriously, the burning throughout my entire pelvic region can go away.  Please.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why It's Better Not to Count

I've always loved counting.  This was particularly annoying to my family on vacations to Florida, when counting mosquito bites and lizards was a favorite pastime.  I was so cute...hee.

In the vein of counting things for no good reason, I came up with some figures for my recent medical drama, starting with surgery on 3/9:
  • 1 surgery
  • 4 specialists' opinions about my craptastic recovery
Hmm, the number of specialists is really subjective.  I didn't count two RE fellows or the urgent care physician.  Now, let's add up appointments:
  • 10 doctors' appointments
  • 1 ER visit
  • 1 urgent care visit
  • 5 PT sessions
  • 3 acupuncture sessions
  • 3 abdominal massages
  • >10 phone calls with doctors
I am so sick of talking to people about my health or lack thereof.

I am intentionally not tabulating the number of therapist or psychiatrist appointments because I'm afraid to count them up.  I don't feel like I'm going all the time, but there are a lot of appointments when I look back at my calendar.

I've had a few diagnostic procedures:
  • 1 CT scan
  • 4 ultrasounds
  • 5 urinalyses
These numbers are only since March.  If I go back farther, say between November and March, I had 2 saline infusion sonograms (3D sonos) and 3 hysteroscopies.  How about some drugs:
  • 10 pain-related medications
  • dozens of trips to the pharmacy
They've memorized my name and birth date at the pharmacy.  And now for the really depressing ones.
  • 71 sick hours used at work; total >10 days
  • >$7000 spent for medical care so far this year
So.  Depressing.  Maybe counting is for the birds.


Mr. Detour is out of town for 9 days visiting his parents and I panicked before he left, worried that I would spend every night feeling lonely in a quiet house with no one but the dog to talk to.  So I did the reasonable thing and made plans with every friend in a 30-mile radius, leaving me zero time alone to do critical things like recharge and do laundry.  And sleep. 

But it's been pretty fun.  This week, my social calendar includes:
  • watching a kid's triathlon that my niece and nephew raced in
  • eating two brunches with friends (breakfast food is THE BEST, am I right?)
  • visiting a friend's house who recently adopted a baby
  • watching a movie (Magic Mike, which was pretty dumb but had good eye candy)
  • receiving a massage (social because a good friend is my massage therapist)
Phew.  No plans tonight, though, so I will be crashing.

My blog is having an identity crisis.  I'm going to update my header but haven't figured out how I want it yet.  Hence the uber boring one I currently have.  Blogger doesn't provide a lot of creative options.

I also changed my blog name from "Detour" to "Detour to Motherhood."  Not a huge change because "to motherhood" was already in the url.

Hope you guys have a good week!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dr. Fourth Opinion Throws a Curve

Hi there, those of you who are ICLWers new to my blog!  I'm a 35-year-old infertile, TTC #1 with two miscarriages and an inhospitable uterus.  My focus lately is severe pelvic pain that's been around since a surgery 4 months ago.  My husband and I are starting to think seriously about adoption.

Today was the big day.  My appointment with Dr. Fourth Opinion, the man who has all my hopes and dreams riding on his shoulders.  Poor guy. 

He was really great.  Spent a ton of time with me, really listened, had an excellent bedside manner, and seemed very competent.  Also young.  No offense to any young'uns around here, but this guy was probably born in the '80's and it makes me feel old to be at the age where my doctors are younger than I am.

He agreed with everything my previous doctors have said about the causes of this pain.  I don't know if I'm really describing it accurately, but it has to do with pelvic floor muscle spasms.  The spasms cause trigger points in my upper abdomen, giving me horrible burning pain below my ribs.  The pain migrates around and is now worst in my lower pelvis, where the pain is both dull and burning. Burning is symptommatic of neuropathic pain, which I admit I don't entirely understand.  Isn't all pain related to nerves firing?

Anyway, I asked Dr. Fourth Opinion The Big Question, namely what is his prognosis, particularly around a possible pregnancy.  Am I foolish for considering pregnancy after all of my body's freak-outs?  His answer terrified me.  He said my prognosis was great, that he expects a full recovery, and a pregnancy would probably not make anything worse.  Shit.

Just when I think I've got it all figured out, Dr. F.O. throws a curveball.  Part of me really wants to be done with this chapter, as you all know.  But on the two days a month that I'm feeling reasonably good, I think about pregnancy.  I want it.  I wasn't expecting the desire to grow a baby to switch off entirely, at least during my childbearing years, but when a physician tells me that it might be possible....I pretty much ovulate on the spot.

So, that's about it.  Dealing with lots of mixed feelings.  My big family-building decisions need to be put on hold for now until I really start getting better.  I'll continue to research adoption as much as possible, also keeping in mind that the biological route is not out of the question.  Grr.  Back to in-betweenness where the main thing I have to do is wait.  Wait and heal.

Dr. F.O. added a tricyclic antidepressant to my medication cocktail.  He said his clinic likes to use tricylics and Cymbalta to treat the types of pain I'm having.  I can stay on Prozac, which is very good because withdrawing from it would give me a 3-month hangover.

I will also be seeing a new physical therapist whom Dr. F.O. highly recommends.  I was feeling wishy-washy about mine, anyway, so I'll look forward to seeing someone else.  I mean, as much as you can look forward to the eleventieth medical appointment you've had since the beginning of the year.

I imagine some people reading this are like, "Just freakin adopt and be done with it."  I'm even telling myself to just adopt.  I KNOW.  I know and also don't know from lack of experience how difficult the adoption process can be, but there is something very attractive about starting a different difficult process.  One that doesn't involve my body.  And yet, it is so expensive.  Depressingly expensive.  And difficult.  I can't even begin to express all my thoughts about adoption vs TTC right here, right now.

Phew.  This felt really good to write.  Your comments about my last few posts have been so helpful.  Some of you have said that choosing to adopt is not necessarily closing the door on a biological child, and I appreciate that reminder.  Starting to research adoption is bringing me so much hope, so many daydreams about nurseries, and I'm so lucky to have your support along the way.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

NURSERY, Newborns, and Annoyances

You can't talk about domestic adoption for long without someone bringing up The Photobook.  This is what an adoption agency shows a birthmom when she's choosing an adoptive family, so it needs to be exceptional.  I'm totally overwhelmed by it, but a friend in the know emailed me some great tips.    Lots of happiness, love, and uniqueness need to be projected or you won't get chosen for many years.  No pressure or anything.  (Those weren't her exact words...I might be exaggerating.)

Somewhere along the way, amidst tips about showing how awesome you are as a couple, my friend mentioned that it wouldn't hurt to show a photo of the nursery if we have one.  The NURSERY.  OMG.  The email was chock full of serious, helpful advice, and NURSERY is what I can't get out of my head.  Must. Decorate. Nursery.

Of course, we haven't even decided for sure that we're doing adoption.  We have NO idea what agency we'd use, or how to start a home study.  But now is a good time to be thinking about nursery paint colors, right?  Because I can decorate.   I can paint a wall, hang a picture, and make a bed.  Finding the right agency to connect me with my child is a whole other ballgame and slightly terrifying.

In the vein of avoiding huge decisions like choosing an agency, I took a first step in decorating the nursery.  I dug a couple of huge teddy bears out of the closet and set them on a rocking chair with a cute baby-appropriate quilt.  They're sitting where I can see them as I walk by and I've been noticing my feelings about them.  They aren't freaking me out too much in a "wow, you're overconfident that you're going to have a baby" way, so they're staying there for now.

Will we be part of a nursery?


My new baby niece is so precious.  We were over at my brother-in-law's house for a total of 5 hours visiting on Sunday, and I held the baby for approximately 4 of those hours.  I generously let the mom hold her some, and even let my husband hold her for a tiny bit.  I was hoping that my husband's holding her would speed up his manological clock.  It's about time he felt some urgency, right? 

After I'd gotten my fill of 2-week-old baby adorableness (NOT—give me more babies to hold, STAT), we returned home to news that our neighbors had adopted a newborn baby girl.  It was a surprise to us, although not entirely unexpected; we'd speculated for years that they were fellow infertiles. 

On Monday night, we inflicted ourselves on the new parents to see the baby and share infertility war stories.  Baby was gorgeous and they filled us in on their adoption journey.  WOW.  I do not know how they persevered because they really went through hell trying to adopt, and that was after several years of infertility. 

We've been neighbors with these people for 4 years, had them over for beers numerous times, and didn't realize they going through infertility (beyond our private speculations).  It makes me sad.  Someone really needs to come up with an infertile handshake that we'd use to identify one another.

So, yeah.  Two newborns in 2 days and I've got baby fever BAD.

I am totally seeking validation in my decision to stop TTC.  People (not you guys) keep reacting as if I'm making a rash decision based on inadequate data.  I get what they're saying to a point, but People, have you not been around the past 4.5 months when I had severe pain every single day?  Have you not heard about the five different pain medications I'm taking because none are effective enough on their own?  Have you not seen my body morph from fairly athletic to soft and rounded?  Have you somehow missed seeing me shuffle around painfully?

I'm irritated because this morning, my PT refused to offer an opinion about my prognosis in terms of pregnancy.  She said we wouldn't know anything until I got better from this, just wait and see how it goes, ask your physician, blah blah blah. 

Ok, totally not helpful.  You are the person probably most intimately aware about my condition, so give me an opinion!  Yes or no!  Don't tell me I'm a crazy person for thinking that biological kids are out of the question at this point.

Obviously, I'm struggling with being in limbo.  I want decisions to be made, action to be taken, and a baby to land in our laps.  I'm sick of this waiting crap.

Update (I wrote the PT stuff yesterday):  my sister reminded me that my PT doesn't know (or has forgotten) about all the TTC hardships we've experienced, which partly explains her not understanding why we'd stop now.  She seems to see my case as being based around my last hysteroscopy, which is only part of the picture.

Most of my stress can probably be attributed to dread about my upcoming doctor's appointment with Dr. Fourth Opinion.  If you count the urgent care doctor who tried to troubleshoot with me, this next appointment is the fifth doctor's opinion, but who's counting.  Anyway, totally dreading this next appointment.  Dreading the unknown; will he give me new information about my condition or just reiterate everything I've already heard, making this a waste of a $40 copay and my morning?  Will he agree to take on the pain management aspect of my case?  And, most importantly, what does he think carrying a child in my irritable abdomen would do to me?

Maybe I'm most afraid of not getting any answers.  I hate limbo.  Appointment is Monday.


And now, a baby birdie photo.  These are house finches who grew up on my front porch.  They're huge and I expect most of them to fledge (leave the nest) today.  I am not kidding, our yard is an aviary.  This year, on our 0.5-acre lot, we've had visible nests of house finches, bluebirds, cardinals, wrens, and mockingbirds.  So cool.
They tend to sit with their beaks open when it's really hot.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Where I'm Supposed to Be

"You are exactly where you're supposed to be." 

My Dove chocolate wrapper just told me that.  Whoa.  After announcing to you guys, some family and friends, and myself that I'm done with trying, I appreciated the reassurance from Dove. :)

So, yeah.  Last week was a little crazy.  I can't remember what tipped me from "maybe I'll try again" to "no way in hell," and it felt weird putting it all out there.  But it also felt like a great release.  I've found that all kinds of good stuff happens when you open up.  Like finding people to talk about adoption with.  After telling my sister, she met an adoptive parent this week who is super pumped about adoption and would love to talk with me about it.  Yay!

The person who was probably most surprised about my decision is my husband.  Maybe before this week, I hadn't communicated clearly enough that this was coming.  That the pain has made me realize I'm really not cut out to grow a child.  He's reluctant to accept defeat and wants a doctor's opinion about adding a gestation to my pelvic woes.  He also thinks I'm just saying this because I'm miserable right now, and I'll change my mind once my body calms down.  It's possible but I doubt it.  I'm pretty close with my body, and it's told me in no uncertain terms that it doesn't want a uterine occupant.

Like I said before, it's not all about the 4 months of hellish abdominal pain, either.  I kinda wanted to stop trying after my second miscarriage last fall.  I don't want to ever go through that hell again.  I'm not convinced that my uterus is any more inhabitable than it was when it kicked that baby out.  Also, although one miscarriage doesn't increase your odds of another, two miscarriages start making you more likely than the average woman to miscarry.  Avoiding pregnancy started sounding very appealing at last fall.

I had some bad moments last week after my announcement, though.  Moments where I doubted that we'd ever have a child, that we'd never agree on an agency/birthmother/child.  But I think we'll get there.

In general, I feel happier than I've felt in a long time.  I keep thinking my body will reward me for the happy hormones I'm allowing it to produce, all the "I'M RELAXED SO YOU'D BETTER RELAX, DAMN IT" vibes coming its way.  But the pain is still bad.  I played hooky from PT for a while because I felt like it was making the pain worse, but I've started back up again.  I'm going into it a little tougher than before, more Jillian Michaels than Rodney Yee (yoga guru).  I'm due to call my pain doctor again this week and can't wait to interact with the oh-so-helpful triage nurse again. Fun times.

I feel like I've taken back my body and it feels amazing.

It's also nice to have a goal again.  I'm happiest when I have something to work toward, and there's much work to be done on the adoption front.  We know that if we chose to adopt, we'd do domestic, but we don't know a lot beyond that.  I went to a couple of adoption seminars last year so I'm hip to the lingo, but know we wouldn't use either of those agencies.

Hope you guys had a nice weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

I've started and deleted this post three or four times because I'm not sure how to say this, but I think I've reached the end of the road with trying to conceive.

Instead of feeling bereaved, I feel light.  My husband and I are talking about adoption and I'm excited to see what it holds for us. 

Oddly enough, I'm not grieving.  I think it's because I've already grieved this loss for a very long time.  Most recently, miscarriage #2 felt like our last chance slipping away.  After that, my heart really wasn't in TTC, but I thought I'd try for at least one more pregnancy.  If I miscarried again, that would be it. 

Then the chronic pain started and changed everything.  I kept thinking the pain would be gone tomorrow, or after my period ended, or at least by the time of my 3D sonogram.  But 4 months later, I don't feel much closer to getting better. 

Several month ago, sometime around miscarriage #2, a post by a childfree blogger (forgive me for forgetting whom) resonated with me.  She said that at one point, she would have given her right arm for a baby.  I found myself nodding my head because that was me.  Up until around the time of my second miscarriage, I would have given my right arm for a child.  And like that blogger, I wouldn't anymore.

I never imagined myself saying this, but in some ways, the pain has been a gift.  It's reminded me to value my health, to cherish my ability to do yoga and take walks.  Not knowing when I will get better is terrifying, but once I do, I'll do everything in my power to stay that way.

I never would have predicted that this is what the end of this phase looks like.  I always thought it would involve several IUIs, a couple of IVFs, or more miscarriages.  But my pain, the little minx, brought an entirely different way to find the end.

I reserve the right to change my mind about all of this, but I'm pretty sure this is it.  I can see my husband and me being happy together in a number of situations, and I really see how lucky we are to have each other.

I feel like a different person lately—one who doesn't scowl at pregnant women.  Yesterday, we went to the hospital to see my new niece and I was fine.  I can't wait to see her again, actually.  Who am I?  Last year at this time when the niece's older brother was born, I wanted nothing to do with him.  I would ask my therapist how to avoid holding him.

I'm sure we have a tough road ahead of us, but I refuse to make it any tougher on my body.  I feel empowered knowing that my body will not be my RE's experiment anymore.  No more drugs, surgeries, or miscarriages.  No more months of mourning my period's arrival.  I will be healthy for my child(ren).