Archive | Fitness RSS feed for this section

18 week update

14 Jan

We hit the 18 week milestone on Saturday, which officially puts me into my fifth month of pregnancy. FIVE. Months. Pregnant. Insane. Since the beginning I’ve had trouble answering the question, “How many months are you?” Weeks makes sense to me. Months does not compute. But most people think of pregnancy in months, not weeks.(For those of you with the same struggle, I just found this handy chart which makes it all so clear.)

We’re at or nearing the halfway point (most gastroschisis babies don’t go to full term so I’m expecting a delivery before 40 weeks for sure), which feels like a huge accomplishment and is also a little disheartening. It’s like reaching what you think is the summit when hiking, then turning a corner and realizing you’ve still got a few more cliffs to climb.

I WISH I was one of those women who claims to love pregnancy but holy hell, this has been a physical challenge. And it frightens me that the worse is still to come.

Here’s some of the things I’m experiencing these days related to pregnancy:

-Acne. Lots of it, especially in the past few days. I’ve got zits on top of zits. But then again I’ve never had perfect skin, so this isn’t the biggest annoyance.

-Nausea. OMG, finally, FINALLY starting to ease up. Not totally gone at all, by any means, but my days are finally getting a little more manageable. It’s enough to have me contemplating starting some kind of exercise, though I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

-Hunger. Pretty much have to eat constantly or else the nausea comes rolling on back.

-Heavy, full boobs. Not sore. Just heavy, full feeling, and criss-crossed with blue veins.

-Heavy, full belly. The bump has been a legit bump for a few weeks now and I feel like it hasn’t grown too much over the past week or so. That said, after a day chock full of stuffing my face, my belly is so full, round and hard in the evenings, it feels like it might burst open. This can make getting to sleep uncomfortable. And I’m about a few days away from caving and buying a REAL pregnancy pillow (aka calling in the big guns).

-Achy-ness. Mostly in my back, especially after sitting in my desk chair all day. The pain is mostly mid-back and no stretch seems to satisfy it.

-Tiredness. Basically all the time.

-Swelling. My wedding rings are starting to get tight, and I had a pregnant lady warn me this weekend to stop wearing them before they’d need to be cut off. Yipes! I am thinking of buying a cubic zirconia ring a few sizes up, just to have something on my finger. Otherwise, I feel naked! (And also judged.)

And now for some non-physical updates:

We have finally settled on a first name that we both adore! But I am going to be one of those annoying women who doesn’t share the name until the baby is born. Sorry! It’s kind of a thing with me that I can’t quite explain. I do plan to write about the name choosing process soon. We’re still hunting for a perfect middle name.

We’ve settled on a shower date and started building a registry. Which has turned out to be an unexpectedly very difficult process because I have no idea what we want and there are so many choices! It’s kind of overwhelming. Creating a wedding registry? Way easier.

Our crib is here! It’s in its box in the future nursery for now. So much needs to be done in the room that I don’t see the point in setting it up now but I feel a little better for now knowing at least we have a place for the little guy to sleep, when he does finally come home.

OH! And we’ve started using our doppler again and can finally find the heartbeat fairly easily whenever we want. Even though we have the privilege of frequent ultrasounds, I still love to find his heartbeat every few days. It’s such a lovely reassuring sound and it feels like it’s working on some subconscious level to bond me with the baby.

Signing off for now…

Moving forward…

3 Jun

After a 50 day cycle, AF is finally here in full swing. But where I thought I’d be shouting hooray! and doing a little jig because it’s finally time to jump on the IVF funwagon, really I’m just feeling a lot of other confusing things.

Like hopeless. I don’t know why this will work when everything else has failed. I don’t know why we will get to be the lucky ones when so many others just like us have played this game and lost. I know IVF can be successful for some people and yet, I no longer hold any preconceived notions that we will be one of those people.

So then I start feeling helpless. And confused. And very, very scared. Scared that this will fail. Scared of what the drugs might do to me. I’ve read some horror stories about long-term effects of Lupron but yet I’m moving forward with it. It feels like there is no other way.

I also feel like I’m not taking this seriously enough. Like I need to be exercising and eating lots of fruits and vegetables and going to acupuncture and meditating and doing yoga and going to support groups and going to therapy and taking better care of my body and my mind to ensure that this will be a success. I wish there was a way to make getting ready for this process my full time job.

So I’ve started Googling “ways to prepare for IVF” and here’s what I’ve come up with. This is a list of things I know I want to do/not do and a few things I’m on the fence about. I would truly and sincerely welcome ANY suggestions from veteran IVFers out there. Let’s start with the physical, because in some ways that’s so much easier.

Physical

-Cutting caffeine and alcohol. This won’t be hard for me. While I do need a good boost of caffeine some mornings, I’ve also gone long stretches without it as well. For me this will mean no coffee, no chocolate, and very little caffeinated tea. I also rarely to never drink alcohol so I’m lucky that won’t be difficult either.

-Drinking lots of herbal tea (and water). I’ve really been getting into Yogi herbal teas. I love their blends and I love the little messages on paper tabs of each tea bag. Right now I’m drinking a cup of Women’s Energy with another bag of Red Raspberry Leaf thrown in to help ease my cramps. I’m also loving the Peach Detox blend. There’s something so cozy and comforting about having a warm mug of tea in hand. And the water, well, I just think it will help me in all areas to make sure my system is being flushed out daily. I really have to force myself to do this though.

-Healthy eating. I never want to go overboard, ever, where my diet is concerned because I have perfectionist tendencies which have led me to disorder my eating in the past. But generally here I want to focus on eating whole grains, lean meats and dairy, fruits, and vegetables, and cutting refined sugar and carbohydrates when possible. And in general eating lighter when possible.

-Weekly moderate exercise. Exercise is something I’ve struggled with so much these past two years and the motivation to work out has usually been tough for me to access. Now that this cycle is here, I’m trying to get away from the “lose a few pounds” mentality, and instead focus on keeping my blood moving and giving my body a chance to sweat out any impurities a couple times a week. Sticking to a regular gym routine can sometimes cause me stress but at the same time, I need to push myself to do what I know is healthy for me as my body prepares for this treatment.

-Prenatals with DHA. Every day. Obvious, but I must admit I sometimes slack in this department.

-Weekly yoga class. The most I could work in would probably be about one class per week on the weekends but I think any amount will help, both physically and emotionally.

-On the fence about: acupuncture. I’ve done acupuncture in the past for two straight months and while I thought it felt nice (most of the time) and could see how it helped ease minor aches and pains, I struggled to see the greater impact it had on my fertility. Of course thought, acupuncture with an IVF cycle is different and I’ve read that it has been shown to improve chances to some degree. Still, the thought of making still more time in my schedule for appointments feels daunting. So, is it worth it?

-On the fence about: refloxology. Have any of you ever tried it? I must admit I am terribly curious to try but feel it would be going overboard to do this PLUS acupuncture, and acu feels more legit to do with IVF for some reason.

-On the fence about: Buying an at-home yoga CD. Does anyone know if there are any specifically designed for the IVF cycle? I need to research this.

Emotional

-Daily meditation. My father regularly practices Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day. He had me officially trained as a teenager but I almost never do it. I just have trouble keeping up with for some reason. So for my birthday present, I asked him to look into the Circle + Bloom program for IVF. I definitely believe in the mind – body connection and want to do everything I can to strengthen mine.

-Gathering in my support network. I’ve told a few select friends, family members and coworkers that IVF was coming up for us but now that it’s HERE, I think it’s time to let them know that and clue them in on what we will be going through. None of my friends and family have any firsthand experience with this so I doubt they will know how to treat us during this time. To be honest, I don’t know exactly how I wish to be treated either, but I guess I’d like them to just generally be aware, not gloss over it, ask us how we’re doing and then we’ll share however much we feel like sharing. For my coworkers (this means telling my bosses too), I just want them to be aware that I’m going through a big physical and emotional ordeal. I may have appointments that will intersect with working hours (though usually I’m able to get my monitoring done before work at least) and will certainly need time off for my retrieval and perhaps a day or two after my transfer as well.

-Read success stories. I truly want to cultivate hope as much as possible going into this cycle and I know one way to quell the skeptic in me is to show it real life examples of people just like us whom this has worked for. If anyone in particular has stories of younger couples who have dealt with infertility and repeat losses that found resolution through IVF, please please PLEASE tell me them! Any good websites or threads about this as well that you know of would be helpful too.

-Ask questions. Sometimes I feel rather intimidated by my RE, his impressive background, and the clinic in general. This leaves me feeling shy about asking questions, especially ones that may call into question their experience or decision making. I had to do this last week when my blood results came back inconclusive and the nurse told me I was either just about to ovulate or just about to get my period. I know that in order to keep my anxiety in check, I’ll need to get a little bolder about emailing my RE when I have a question about something.

-Be extra loving and supportive toward DH. We have been snapping at each other and fighting a lot lately. I can’t help but think it’s in part due to the IVF. But I want our relationship to be in a strong, loving place come retrieval and transfer, so I am going to go out of my way every day to show him how much I love and care for him. When our relationship is good, I always feel that much more centered.

-Identify stresses and coping mechanisms. I got that tip from SART’s info page on preparing for IVF emotionally. I know I get stressed out when my routine changes a lot, but I also know that that will be unavoidable, especially given everything I’ve listed above. I’m hoping to find a nice balance between actively doing everything I can to ensure success while staying mindful and dialing back when it becomes too much.

-Steer back to the positive. Like I said, a part of me (a very vocal part) is skeptical that this will work. While I know that trying to shut down this part entirely won’t help because it thinks it is playing a very vital protective role for me (and in some ways, I know it is), what I’m going to try to do when those thoughts come up is hear them, appreciate them, and then steer back to the positive.  Steer back to “this can work.” And when I can’t get to positive, at least get to present. “Just here, just now, just this.”

-On the fence about: seeing a therapist. I’m a big believer in therapy and before my wedding I was seeing a great therapist near where we used to live who really helped me a lot. I’ve been seriously thinking that it might be helpful for me to talk to a professional who specializes in infertility about everything I’m going through emotionally with IVF. But, the process of finding a good therapist that I connect with and getting accustomed to having those appointments in my schedule every week once again feels daunting. I need to think about this some more and decide if it’s something I really want to do or not. Has anyone ever seen an infertility therapist? If so, how do you know for sure that they are true IF specialists? A lot of therapists list infertility as a specialty along with many other things. This makes me doubt that they have either been there themselves or are truly equipped to help with this very specific psychological dilemma.

-On the fence about: going to a support group. RESOLVE has a group that meets once per month led by Keiko Zoll of The Infertility Voice. The next meeting in on June 14th and I’m strongly considering attending. But for some reason I’ve held back in the past because I’m scared of the support group setting and I can’t quite identify why. But I’m thinking I’ll still give it a shot. Has anyone ever been to a RESOLVE support group?

What am I forgetting? Any thoughts/tips/questions/comments/concerns/compliments/high fives/air kisses most welcome. We start Lupron on June 21st. Holy sh*te!

On waiting and weight.

8 May

I am so impatient sometimes, it’s ridiculous. Actually, I always have been, with most everything in life. I hate waiting. I hate wasting time. And infertility has brought out the worst of this quality in me.

I literally can’t wait for this IVF cycle to start. I’m getting obsessive about it. We’ll begin Lupron on CD21 of my next cycle but that feels like a lifetime away. First of all, I have to wait for my period, which – where is she? I don’t think she got the memo to stop by. We messed with everything so badly this cycle. Forcing my poor ovaries to grow five eggs and then abandoning them to burst and die. I think she’s going to play hide and seek just to spite me.

And then I get mad at myself because I realize how lucky I am just to be able to say we’re starting IVF next cycle. Lucky that life events aren’t making us wait a few months. Lucky that my body is physically able to move forward, as far as we know. Lucky most especially that I live in a state where we have IVF coverage. Otherwise, forget it. We couldn’t dream of affording even one IUI cycle, let alone IVF.

So every time my brain goes into impatient territory now, I’m going to try to coax it back to normal by reminding myself of how lucky we are in so many ways. And when that doesn’t work, I’m hoping to channel all that impatient energy into exercise.

I’m so sick of my infertility weight. My miscarriage and chemical pregnancy weight. My depression weight. It’s become too much to bear. I just had to go up another jean size a couple weeks ago. It makes everything somehow so much worse. I tell myself sometimes, this all wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to be fat too. Of course I don’t HAVE to be fat but it’s hard.

Here’s what a typical TTC cycle is like for an infertile:

Week one: AF is here. You feel pretty crappy, physically and emotionally. You’re so tired of trying, tired of another failed cycle. You hit snooze as long as possible in the morning and then come home and crash on the couch at night.

Week two: Time to rally and get into the routine of having sex every other day. Which is hard for lots of reasons, including the fact that all this newfound infertility weight makes you feel the opposite of sexy. It’s such an effort that maybe you work out, maybe you don’t. But you better do it this week because…

Weeks three and four: The dreaded two week wait. Wherein you may or may not be pregnant. Just in case it’s your exercise routine that’s been keeping you from getting knocked up, you “take it easy” on the workouts or maybe probably just skip them, just in case, just to be safe.

Then it starts all over again. Or at least that has all been my experience. It’s even harder during an ART cycle because during week 2, my one work out week, I’m stimming and going in for check up appointments at the crack of dawn a few mornings a week, so it’s hard to work in gym time too.

As a result, I’m up 20 lbs. since my wedding day nearly three years ago. SIGH. So in a way, there is a little part of me that’s glad for this little break before IVF. I’ve told myself I’m going to use it to get back to the gym, and maybe shed a few of these pounds I’ve been carrying around. Of course I know I can’t lose all twenty, or even ten, or even maybe five. But if I could just lose a few, I think I’d feel so much better going into IVF.

We joined a new gym recently so I’ve been going as much as I can push myself to go without making myself crazy. (That’s a whole other story for a different day.) In the past two weeks, I’ve gone swimming four times, done one Zumba class, one yoga class, and one regular workout on the elliptical and treadmill. I’m pretty proud of that! Hopefully I can keep it up and arrive at IVF’s door a little slimmer, a little happier and a little more confident.

That should do the trick, right?

Distractions

3 May

With our first IVF cycle not due to really start for a good month, and the actual transfer almost two months away, I’m going to need some distractions to keep me busy while I wait.

Here’s what I’m planning…

-Fitness. I have really, really let this fall by the wayside this year. I had lost 10 of my IF lbs last fall and now I’m right back where I started, which is a little over 20 lbs heavier than I was on my wedding day. Wah! I don’t feel like me anymore. I really want to get back to the gym and am already making a big effort to do so. We joined a new gym about three weeks ago that we can go to together (I was belonging to an all-women’s gym before). This new gym is AWESOME! It has lots of free classes, a pool, a big work out room, a gymnasium for DH to play basketball, even a rock climbing wall and a cafe! I’ve already been swimming one night this week (a good exercise that I can continue into pregnancy, should we be so lucky) and to Zumba last night! I plan to go swimming again tonight. I just feels so. good.

-Busy weekends. Our weekends are pretty much booked up from here til June. This weekend is pretty much the only one where we’ll be home until June. I’m planning to plant my deck and we need to paint the steps and the lattice on the front of the house. On Saturday night, we’re going to a Cinco de Mayo party at DH’s coworkers house. They are South American (not sure which country) and make the BEST “Mexican” food. YUM, can’t wait. Then next weekend, I’m in the wedding for one of my best friends. She’s getting married in an airplane hangar! I can’t wait to see her as a bride. The following weekend, we’ll be camping with our wedding photographers. So random! But we’ve stayed in touch with them since our wedding and they have a young dog too so it will surely be a blast. The following weekend is the long Memorial Day weekend and we’ll be going home to see our parents. Then bam! It’ll be June.

-More reading. I used to be such a big reader and I haven’t felt the motivation to do it much lately. So I’m trying to read at least a little bit every night before bed and on the weekends too. I just finished “If Beale Street Could Talk” by James Baldwin and it was excellent. I want to post a quote from it on here actually. Now I’m reading “The Crimson Petal and the White” by Michel Faber? It’s a big one but it has excellent reviews. I’ve only had it sitting on my shelf for… four years or so? I actually have about 50 books on my bookshelves that I have not read (yes, I counted once). I went through a serious used book buying phase after college. I had to stop myself!

How did you pass the time waiting for your IVF cycle to start? I’d welcome any tips and tricks to make the time go faster!