Thursday, February 25, 2010

I want a baby more than I want a cupcake....

It pains me to say this, but I have to take a baking break. I have been trying to lose weight for about a month now and it went great at first, I lost 13 pounds in the first two weeks. But after the first two weeks, and thanks to a lot of snow, I got off track and I gained a lot of the weight back. So I have decided I need to take a break from baking in an effort to get back on track with losing weight.

I am not even half way through the two week wait and I am already pretty convinced this cycle didn't work. So while we will probably do a couple more IUIs, I need to lose this 50 pounds so that if we max out my Clomid cycles and IUI cycles I will be ready to go for IVF. I have four more Clomid and IUIs left before we get to that point, and I will most likely use them all, but I have to think ahead. This 50 pounds isn't going to come off by itself in 4 months.

I may post some recipes occasionally for healthy meals and snacks, but for now the cupcakes are taking a back seat to trying to get pregnant. I just have to keep repeating to myself "I want a baby more than I want a cupcake."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

100 books in 1 year...

I have decided I need some new hobbies to keep my mind off things and to keep my hands and brain busy. So the first thing I am going to start doing is knitting. I started knitting back in high school when I played an old woman in a school play. I never got very good at it. I could only do straight lines and never learned to cast off. As a result I have a couple scarves that are very long and still attached to knitting needles. So I am going to take it up again, and do it right this time.

The second thing I am going to do is read 100 books in a year. I already read a lot. In fact I probably read close to that already b/c I love reading. But I am going to set up some rules. So here they are:
1- 50% of the books must come from the library. After all I don't want to lose half my paycheck on books.
2- I have to read at least 5 non-fiction books.
3- No more than 20 Young Adult books or vampire themes books.
4- At least three of the books have to be classics that I have never read before.
5- I have to have read all the books by Feb. 21 2011.

I am pretty excited about doing both these projects. It will give me something to do and keep my away from baking too much. don't worry I will still do some backing, but I am definitely taking a baking break while I get back on the diet train. The train derailed big time thanks to being snowed in at a hotel for three days with nothing but pizza and Chinese places open.

Anybody want to do the book challenge with me? And if anyone has recommendations for knitting books and websites leave a comment. I want to get good at it.

And the Wait Begins...

Well IUI #2 is finally complete. And it only took three tries! I had one good follie this cycle. And how is this for ironic, after two canceled cycles and four cycles with nothing on the left, my one good follie this cycle was on the left. Oy. I am glad we finally have a chance at this, but I am feeling strangely unoptimistic.

Everything went normally, the hubby's sample was awesome (49 million sperm post wash), at least one of us is fertile! The only problem with the procedure was my b*tchy cervix. It likes to hide and then when the RE finally gets a hold of it the thing keeps moving away. He finally had to get some weird instrument to hold it in place. that thing pinched like a MoFo. But it worked my cervix finally stayed still and we were able to do the insemination.

So now I wait. The dreaded 2 week wait. Two weeks of anazlyzing everything my body is doing. Every twinge. Every bout of nausea. Every little thing I put into my body. Yay. Other than the constant disappointment and feeling of failure, this is the worst part of being "reproductively challenged." Normal women get to stop taking birth control take a test a couple months later and be happy. We get to take pills, go to the doctor's 4-5 times a month, inject hormones, and fret over everything our body does, and then deal with the disappointment when after all that there is only one line. Or if you are lucky enough to get the coveted two lines you get to live in fear for the next 12-13 weeks to see if your little triumph of modern medicine will stick around.

But when it all feels like too much, I look at my nephews and neices and remember that no matter what I go through now, it will be worth it. Even in the middle of the night when you have a puking kid, it will still be worth it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Even the Best Screw Up...

I couldn't resist posting this. Proof that no matter how long you have been baking or how many baking experiments you have done, mess ups happen. For instance my first attempt at making low fat/calorie chocolate cupcakes ended in disaster. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

My Favorite Cupcake Stuff...

Enough with all this sad sack infertility stuff, let's talk about baking! So I have been talking about doing a favorite stuff post, and finally here it is. I took a few pictures of some of my favorite gadgets and such and I will explain why they make my baking life easier!

- This is My favorite Vanilla Extract of all time! I get it at TJMaxx for $13, normally it is $20. I have been know to buy up all their bottles b/c it is not always in stock when I need it. The reason I love this particular Vanilla is because it is filled with Vanilla Seeds. You can see in this pic a ton of little black dots in the bottom of the bowl. Those are the vanilla seeds. It saves me a lot of time and money for recipes that call for scrapping vanilla beans. and even in recipes that don't call for scrapping vanilla beans it adds a ton of flavor compared to normal vanilla extract you get in the store.

- Going along with vanilla extract another thing I love is Vanilla Sugar, it is super easy to make. Just cut a couple vanilla beans in half length wise and stick them in an air tight container with a pound sugar, and shake! It makes the sugar smell amazing. It is great in all kinds of baked goods and even coffee or tea.

- This is one of my favorite gadgets. It is a New Metro Design Beater Blade. they come in different sizes for different mixers, and they are awesome! It completely eliminates the need to scrap down the sides of the bowl. The best part is they aren't too pricey. On Amazon one goes for about 22 bucks. Not too shabby!

- And the last thing for today's post is cake flour. I really don't care about brand, just whatever is available at your local store. Cake flour helps to keep your cupcakes light and fluffy with a smaller crumb then normal all purpose flour.

So there are just a few of my favorite things in the kitchen. I will most likely do another of these in a couple weeks when I get some time as I have a ton of other gadgets I want to rave about. Happy Baking!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Ovaries Hate Me

At my follicle check today both my ovaries decided not cooperate. The u/s tech could only see a little of the right ovary and couldn't find the left at all. She even tried doing an abdominal u/s not just the internal. She said my bowels were full of gas and "stuff" (ewwww) and they were blocking the view of my ovaries. From what she could see of the right ocary there wasn't much going on. I was so scared this cycle was going to get canceled too. After two canceled cycles thanks to the blocked tube the thought of getting another cycle canceled even though both tubes are open was a hard pill to swallow.

Thankfully they ran some bloodwork on me to see if ovulated early and I haven't. The bloodwork also showed that my estrogen level was about 250ish which is an indication that I do have something growing in there. So we are going to wait a day and then Friday go in for a repeat u/s. I have orders to not eat or drink before the next u/s in the hopes that it will help get my ovaries to show themselves from behind my bowels.

Hopefully if all goes well we will be triggering Friday or saturday and goring through with IUI#2 on sunday or Monday. It is about damn time!

Now I realize I haven't posted anything baking related for a while, so stay tuned,I have a feeling there will be some nervous baking going on tomorrow while my hubby is at a job interview!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I have clear tubes!!!

So my tubal Recannalization was today, but as it turned out I didn't need it. The procedure is just like an HSG only they use the dye to guide the wire to open the tube. Well once they got the catheter in they decided to start me on the pain meds b/c I was having a ton of cramping. I was already crying in pain. And leave it to my crappy veins to make things fun. The IV wasn't dripping right so I had four nurses messing with it to try and get the pain drugs flowing. Finally they figured out they needed to be pulled out a little, and I got some relief. So after they got the drugs in me they put the dye into my uterus. The left was open right away, the right began to slowly seep through so the RE decided to try and use just the dye to open it, and it worked!

The RE's theory is that during my first HSG I was in so much pain that my right tube seized and appeared to be completely blocked. Once the drugs started working on me the tube relaxed and opened with some persuasion from the dye. He thinks there was some sludge in there but having me pain free meant that he could work at it more than he could during the HSG when I was crying and writhing in pain. So no wires needed!

I am so excited that I have two open tubes! This means we don't have to move to IVF right away and that IUI has a chance of working now. It also means that I may be able to have an unassisted pregnancy someday. This was one of my big fears when I thought my right tube my never be cleared and my left ovary may never work. I was afraid that my hubby and I would never even have the chance of just having sex and making a baby. Now that is a possibility.

Tomorrow I go in for a follie check to see what my right ovary is cooking up this cycle. Then we will probably do the insemination Friday or Saturday. I am so excited. I am trying not to get my hopes, there is no guarantee that this will work. But knowing that it won't get canceled is a big weight off my shoulders.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Here we go again...

I started Medicated Round #6 this month. I took my first Clomid pill yesterday, now I am just patiently waiting for the hot flashes and crazies to come a sneaking in. So the plan is that on Tuesday the 16th I will be having my tubal recannulization. I am pretty nervous about the procedure. Apparently it will take about an hour to an hour and a half to complete the whole procedure. The thing I am most scared about is the waking sedation. I know that most people do not realize what is happening during the procedure and don't remember it afterwards either, but I am very nervous that I will be one of the few who realizes what is going on.

I am also very scared that the procedure will not work. It didn't seem like my RE or RN were very confident about the whole thing, and this is our last shot before IVF. I keep having these dreams where I am on an operating table and the doctor has cut open my stomach and is shaking his head saying, "nope this is never going to work."

I thought the Summer of Crohn's, as i like to call it, was hard. That was nothing compared to this hell. The Winter of Infertility. I may not be in as much pain physically right now, but emotionally and mentally it is ten times worse. With the Crohn's stuff I knew that the medicine they gave me would fix me, for at least a little while. I don't have that certainty now, and it is hard not knowing what is going to happen. The thought of never having children is with me everyday, and I just can't shake it. I try and act up-beat and optimistic, but really I feel like nothing will ever work. I may never get to bounce my baby to sleep, or do homework at the dining room table, or kiss boo boos. And that thought just plain sucks.

So let's hope that something goes right for once and my right tube opens up on Tuesday, and I have at least two eggs growing on the right ovary, and nothing else bad happens. Cause I am really not sure how much more crying I can take.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A day in the life....

Alrighty, so here is a day in the life of a Crohn's Patient. Today is my Remicade infusion, so let's get this party started.

8am - Rise and shine. My alarm was set for 8:30 but my dear Basset Hound Watson starts whining a little before 8am. Even though my wonderful husband gets up with them, I can't get back to sleep. I have a couple of things to do this morning before I leave for my appointment. I always pack a bag of stuff to take with me since I will be sitting in the same place for three hours. Mostly it is filled with magazines and books, some DVD's to play on my computer, my ipod (which i will probably never put on), and lots of (healthy) snacks.

9:50 - I arrive at my GI Doctor’s office. There is one room for all the Remicade patients, and one nurse, Nurse E, who takes care of us all. We can only schedule infusions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So depending on the day I can be waiting out in the lobby for quite a while. Today it wasn’t so bad..

10:00- Nurse E comes out to get me. She is one of the nicest people I know. She always has a smile for everyone and asks me what’s going on in my life. She actually knows more about our fertility treatment issues than most of my friends. As soon as I walk in she gives me the look and says “any news?” I fill her in on the tube and ovary issues as we get my weight, blood pressure and all that fun stuff.

10:15 - The real fun begins. Time to place my IV. I have horrid veins. They are tiny and extra delicate. Nurse E calls me her problem child. So she gave it one shot on my left hand and it infiltrated right off the bat. Basically what happens when a vein infiltrates is it tears and the fluid starts filling up under the skin instead of going into your veins. I can see right away the back of my hand starting to puff up, I will most likely have wicked bruise later. Nurse E decides not to torture me and went to get the nurse that specializes in children’s veins. So we finally got it on the second try in my right hand. My record is four tries to get a good vein. That was not a good day. Now it is just a matter of sitting here and waiting for the drugs to drip into my body.

10:30 - Nurse E fills a huge syringe with the actual remicade, dose of which depends on the weight of the patient. I am not actually sure what my dosage is. She injects the Remicade right into the IV bag, and we are off. Now it is gossip time! I am usually with the same two ladies while getting my remicade, I have no clue what their names are, but they are both very nice. The conversation usually centers around our various stomach issues. Today we start off talking about my fertility treatments because one of the ladies overheard Nurse E and I talking.

11:15 - The conversation turns to our stomach issues as it always does. Since going on remicade two years ago I have been in remission for the most part. I get little tiny flares sometimes when I go overboard on fiber or really acidic foods. This poor girl who is always in at the same time as me is still having lots of diarrhea issues. Most Remicade patients get infusions every 8 weeks. She is coming every 4 weeks to try and get her symptoms under control. Technically she is in remission for the Crohn’s but now they thing she may have Irritable Bowel as well. Oy, that must suck!

11:45 - Time to turn up the meds again and get vitals again. They check blood pressure temp and heart rate once every hour to make sure you don’t have a reaction to the drugs. They also start the IV off at a very low drip and gradually work up. They do this because if they just put it wide open from the get-go than the patient would almost certainly have an allergic reaction. Some people still get the allergic reaction even with the slow build-up, these people usually get benadryl as soon as they come in and then sleep through the infusion.

12:35 - I am bored. I have read all my magazines, the other patient is asleep, Nurse E is dealing with a problem patient and her problem insurance. I have played a couple rounds of solitaire. The good news is I am now in the home stretch. My IV is wide open and the bag only has about a half hour to go.

So this was a morning in the life of a remicade patient. After my IV bag is empty I will go home and take a nap. It may sound weird but these infusions always take it out of me. Getting such high doses of medication forced into your body is exhausting. But it keeps me out of the hospital and not running for the bathroom every five minutes, so I will continue to do this every eight weeks for the rest of my life.