I feel so bad now. In my last post I was mad with my upstairs neighbors for keeping us awake through the night. Just about ten minutes back she was here with her baby to give me an adorable surprise. Her little girl who is just learning to speak has learned how to say my name! Apparently, yesterday she just started saying my name while playing at home. She has not even learned her father’s name yet! I was so touched, I almost cried. Clad in the cutest little outfit, she prattled away repeating my name again and again. I believe it was a sign from God. Just don’t ask me what kind of sign. The fact that it got me to smile on this absolutely glum day says a lot, innit?
It’s a weird irony of nature that the HPT is typically taken a few days before AF is due (obviously because if it’s negative then AF will follow)… it also happens to be a time of emotional and physical disturbance for many women. PMS is often ridiculed in pop culture as a time when women acquire rabid overtones and express behavior that borders on irrational, either breaking down into a slobbering mess at the slightest provocation or screaming their heads off, sending the spouse running to the nearest watering hole to drown his sorrows. BS I say. Try being a woman who genuinely suffers from PMS for a day and I can safely say that the brawniest man out there will eat his words.
Every twinge in my tummy, every indication of soreness or that dull cramping sensation, every heightened emotion reminds me that the bloody (literally!) beast is on his way and I have no choice but to accept that. Last night was absolutely awful, the upstairs neighbors decided to enact a rather complicated tap dance routine right about 2 am. The spouse valiantly slept on, aided by his two loyal minions–his ear plugs! (I can’t wear ear plus since none fit my ear. No kidding. I’ve tried many times; the darn things just fly out -projectile style- before I have a chance to twist them in!) At 6.30 am the sunlight came to say a cheery hello again (did I mentioned I’m not a morning person?); poor DH retreated to the couch as has been his routine past few nights whereas I flitted from room to room, pillows and blanket in tow, cursing the world at large in a remarkably un-ladylike manner.
So now, at the late, late hour of 11.26 am I am sipping my protein smoothie, feeling extremely pissed off with my upstairs neighbors (who continued making the floorboards creak well into the morning), irritated with my husband for snapping at me because I was clumsy enough to trip on my own flip-flops (okay third time I tripped in two days but still!) and annoyed with my sticky, pasty hair which needs a good wash and my runny nose (allergies are back) and those three gargantuan pimples that befriended me a day after my last period and haven’t left my side since then.
I feel ugly, bloated and just an all out sad sap. I mean look at me. The other day upstairs neighbor was seeing some pics from our wedding and she casually remarked at how much younger I looked then, even though it was just 1.5 years back. I replied, politely, that the ttc process can take a toll on you (I am all about full disclosure, btw. People are welcome to form their own impressions which, I surmise, they eventually will either way). She laughed and said oh if this is your state planning for a baby, you’re in for trouble when you have one. Now she wasn’t being catty or anything and I suppose with a 1.5 year old girl she even knows what she is saying. However, I thought that comment was entirely out of place. As soon as they left I rushed to the mirror and kept looking at myself. I remember who I was not so long back. I was dating my husband-to-be and all my attentions were devoted to looking sexy and well groomed. Not to say I have underarm hair growing down my waist now. I still take care of my appearance, get my hair cut regularly, wear good clothes. Just that the zing is gone somewhere. I attributed it more to getting caught up with my PhD and a certain marital comfort rather than the ttc process which, I feel, we are still relatively new at. But when someone makes a comment like that, you do start questioning yourself. Do I really look that much older?
So, once I get over this frustration-struck phase of letting last month’s failed attempt pass, I am going to ‘perk’ up a little bit, put on some make up every now and then, and finally get my irritatingly long hair cut into a short, sleek style… something I’ve been dying to do for a while now but refrained from because the spouse likes the long hair. Well, I have a sneaky suspicion he likes my sanity even more. So there!
The implications of a negative HPT always hit me harder the next morning when I wake up. I feel gloomy, hopeless and just struck by a general malaise. There is a pattern of sorts here: I POAS, see the damned single line, bawl like a banshee till I tire myself out and then sit in a corner sobbing my heart out. DH holds me, comforts me, rocks me back and forth like a baby and whispers soothing words of assurance (the man’s so patient, I tell ya!). Done with the tears, I move on to raging against the world, lash out at God and just say stupid, bitter things that seem silly to me even as I am saying them. All ranted out, I dust my misery off and agree with DH to go out. So last night we decided we’ll do Thai and a movie. Damn the diet. One day won’t make a difference. And I have this policy that on a negative HPT day I am allowed to indulge. Although, in this case, with the Thai place closed indulgence was simply a non-organic chicken wrap that we ate more because we were running out of time to see the movie (Avengers–waste of time, if you ask me… unless, you are dying to see Robert Downey Jr. do his thing which was, quite literally, the saving grace of the film). Yet I felt immensely guilty after doing so. Came back home after the movie, exhausted since it was almost 2 am by the time and flopped into bed. Refused to take supplements, refused to brush my teeth… serious stuff this day long rebellion is.
Anyhow, FF to this morning. I managed to sleep in longer than I usually do (quite the feat considering we have a virtual deluge of sunshine attacking our bedroom early in the morning and still have to get drapes) but I was in that half asleep-half awake place where the realization of the negative test would keep hitting at me reducing more and more my inclination to get out of bed. I did temp as usual, more for a morbid curiosity now that I know AF will be here soon, and even had the presence of mind to wash the thermometer (forgot to do it yesterday) when I went to wee in the middle of the night so it would be clean for me to use! A slight drop from yesterday which I suppose makes sense, considering all things.
I am sitting in my living room right now looking out. It’s almost noon and I still haven’t eaten. I should eat but I don’t feel like moving. Writing this blog is the only thing that gives me any modicum of peace. It’s as if my fingers need to just keep clicking on the keyboard for sanity to stick around. I look outside at the sunshine-y day and I feel so distant and removed from it. It’s someone else’s sunshine-y day, not mine. There’s work to be done, a presentation to prepare, grocery run, food to be cooked but for now the body, egged along by the mind and heart, is on strike.
So basis my doctor and acupuncturist’s advice, here are the following things I am doing:
1. Diet: since I am IR, I am on a strict no carbs, no dairy, no sugar diet. Initially, I was religiously observing this rule but I found myself feeling faint on more than one occasion. My acupuncturist expressed concern that my blood sugar might be falling too low and recommended eating small quantities of carbs everyday (small helping of brown rice, quinoa etc.). I have always been on the thinner side and within the first 10 days of adhering to this diet, I lost 3 pounds going from a 105 to a 102, something I clearly did not need! Plus the sheer stress of trying to figure out what the heck to cook is overwhelming (I’ll talk more about food on a different post)… I am north Indian and we eat carbs like they’re going out of fashion so trying to plan carb-less meals is a pain in the backside and then some!
Currently, I am maintaining a diet that is protein rich and includes only whole grain carbs (brown rice or brown rice pasta), if at all. I largely refrain from eating out since it’s usually not organic plus they cook in vegetable or canola oil which is a no-no for me. It’s going well so far; I am lucky I have Whole Foods nearby to rely upon. Discovering new items to eat which are suited for my condition has become something of a weekend pastime!
2. Rx: I take a ton of supplements. At the time, this is what I am taking:
Fish Oil (3000 mg)
Vitamin D (50000 IU weekly)
L-Carnitine (1000 mg)
Circumin (2000 mg)
Metformin (500mg daily)
I was prescribed a higher dosage of some of these supplements but since I have a serious gag reflex, I am currently taking these. My acupuncturist has promised to make this a more manageable list for me so more on that when I hear back from her.
3. Exercise: I am quite lazy when it comes to exercising but now that we live in such scenic surroundings, it is tough to find lame excuses. However, I do have a PhD to complete (thank God for the diversion!) so I don’t always have the time to step out for long, leisurely walks. What I do, instead, is light yoga in the morning (Yoga for Fertility DVD–check it out, it breaks down yoga poses for different phases of your cycle), a brisk walk in the apartment for 20 minutes after lunch and a 15 minute stroll within the apartment complex with DH after dinner. Plus I do a lot of household chores which keep me active.
4. Other stuff: this is the first cycle after my myomectomy and also the first cycle that I have started noticing CM and charting my BBT (this I started only towards the end of the cycle). My doctor has advised FSH injectables and an IUI for next cycle but I don’t know whether or not we are ready for that. I have to write to him when I get AF (blast) and I’ll probably discuss it with him then.
5. Attitude: I was pretty positive all along this cycle. As I mentioned before, I live in a really nice place so it’s hard to get down. Of course I have my moments, but I largely get over them myself (nothing a quick chat with God won’t help!). I was pretty darn sure something was up this cycle… had all these symptoms but as acupuncturist told me, most of them were prolly due to the Metformin which I started only this cycle.
I have always been a ruthlessly competitive person. Getting me to do something is as simple as showing me someone who is doing it or has done it. Of course this does not hold true for everything at large. NOTHING in the world can make me take up adventure sports, for instance. I find nothing thrilling about hanging upside down from a rickety elevator, yo-yoing headfirst between valleys and cliffs or plunging down vertiginous heights with a mere seat belt type thingy strapped to my torso. No sirree, that’s never going to be me. But yeah, show me a woman who has an immaculately kept house, an envious career and a killer fashion sense and, hands down, I will surpass her in a few months.
Stupid, I know. Juvenile even. Competition is healthy within limits. Competition in personal life is just plain madness. Sadly, I fall into that category. As a little kid, sanity was still a good friend. All I wanted was to be the best student my parents could imagine. In high school it turned into a healthy sibling rivalry (rather one-sided though since my darling brother was too mature for such trivial pursuits even then!) where I would slog away at the books in a desperate bid to perform better than my rockstar older brother who was incredibly intelligent. Towards my teenage years this competitive streak became a (rather pathetic) desire to have a boyfriend; if my friends could, why couldn’t I? Somewhere in my mid-twenties this became a longing to get married. All my good friends were doing it, why should I always be left behind?
And now? Now that I am finally married, after much pining and waiting to find that elusive dream-machine (he’s mine now-yayy!), all I see around me is moms and to-be moms and I want to be them with every damn fiber of my being. I want that swollen belly, I want to share scary stories of childbirth, I want to whisper sweet nothings to my little jellybean, I want to suffer sleepless nights… I want it all.
Which is where the envy rolls in. Like some B-grade Hollywood starlet, made up to the hilt and expecting to be treated like royalty, she swishes into my life, her emerald green cape in tow. She digs her nails into my heart, she wails like a banshee in my ears and she demands, demands, demands my attention 24/7. I log into facebook, I see another friend pregnant. My heart sinks and I deactivate my account (it’s been close to a year and I have not had the strength to get it back on). Yet they keep coming. The pregnant ladies. I see them in the mall, they pop up at school, they litter my neighborhood, they are everywhere! And I wish them well, I do. I am not a monster. I might be short-tempered, irritable, catty, snappy, bratty all that. But I cannot wish harm on even a fly. Or an ant. Or an atom (you get the drift!). But it effin’ hurts when someone you’ve known for so long turns up with a nice, round tummy when you’re slugging it out with your insane dietary needs, your daily temperature taking, your timed intercourse, OPKs et al only to see that stupid f***in’ single line on the HPT month after month after month. Doesn’t help that this someone was also probably a smoker, drinker, typical girl in the city kinda thing. Whereas here you are, diligently avoiding rice, rotis, sugar, ice cream, sodas, chai, any fried stuff, any non-organic stuff etc. etc.
Yeah I know you can’t compare. But it’s tough not to, especially when you have this past of being the last one to find someone, the last one to get married blah blah blah. So I have decided instead to accept it. Accept what I am feeling as a pure manifestation of what I am going through and forgive myself for it. Accept that my feeling envious does not mean that I have transformed into a super-bitch who eats jealousy for breakfast. That I do wish the pregnant lady well and that, when I am pregnant myself, I might even look back upon it and smile, shaking my head wondering how I ever thought I was being mean. After all, people will have sex and they will procreate and the luckier ones will get knocked up sooner. Doesn’t have to mean my turn won’t come.
If you’re a newbie to the baby-making world, the online deluge of 2, 3 & 4 letter acronyms can be absolutely overwhelming. It’s like everyone is talking their own version of gabblegook! Here are some of the more popular ones (I will try updating this list frequently, feel free to add yours):
TTC–Trying To Conceive
HPT–Home Pregnancy Test
BFP–Big Fat Positive
BFN–Big Fat Negative (Duh!)
FRER–First Response Early Result
DPO–Days Post Ovulation
IUI–Intra Uterine Insemination
BBT–Basal Body Temperature
HCG–Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (Pregnancy Hormone)
ART–Assisted Reproductive Technology
LMP–Last Menstrual Period
POAS–Pee On A Stick
AF: Aunt Flo (Period)