Monthly Archives: November 2009

Changing Body and Mind

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We had our baseline u/s this weekend. No surprises there, everything looks good and I am on my old friend Delestrogen. This is not sarcastic. Of all the fertility meds, delestrogen is by far my favorite. I have my next ultrasound coming up soon in about 2 weeks and then it is transfer time! (That is, of course, if the donor eggs fertilize).

It was also a good visit with family. Brother and newly pregnant wife are expecting 1 bean but my brother is on the pessimistic side and is cautiously optimistic at this point. But they are starting to tell people…SIL is doing very well and is not sick or having any major symptoms.

Thanksgiving gave me some much needed time for reflection. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been nothing but bitter and frankly, as Dr. Phil would say, it is not working for me. One of the things I do when I am upset is that I don’t eat well and I don’t take care of myself.

I am too fat. MO2 is way too fat.

How can this be you ask? Aren’t you in the military? Don’t they make you work out?

Yes and yes but there are few buts in there. In the military in my branch of the service we have a weight scale. The weight scale is based on height and body build. I am at the very top end of my weight. If I go over that weight, I will have to be taped. (This does not mean you try to make yourself smoother with duck tape but rather they measure your waist, neck and wrist and then do an intricate set of calculations to determine your body fat percentage). I’ve only been taped 2x in my career although some people are taped every time. Being taped does not necessarily mean you are overweight but rather could point to someone with a non-conventional body type for military service.

As for the working out, all I can do is walk because of my surgery. MO2 is able to work out but hasn’t because he has been so bogged down in getting all of the medical providers on Ft. Livingroom their seasonal and H1N1 vaccines.

I am not feeling good about my body. My fat clothes are not starting to fit very well. I’d prefer not to buy new clothes unless they are maternity clothes, so I’d better work to get back into the clothes I have. I feel achy and sluggish all the time which I am sure is a result of not eating well, eating the wrong things and basically not giving a hoot about what goes into my mouth.

I’ve decided to clean up my eating, because I feel better when I eat well. I spent yesterday cooking all the things that I need for healthy meals this week…I made a pot of brown rice, steamed a bunch of vegetables, grilled up all the chicken MO2 and I will need for a week’s worth of lunches and shopped for all our healthy ingredients. All the cooking got done but the house did not get decorated…oh well, there is always next weekend.

I will be accountable to MO2 and here every week. I will have to get with one of our nutritionists here to see how I can eat healthy after ET. If you are heavy when pregnant, how much weight should you gain? Can you lose a bit of weight pregnant without harming the baby as long as you eat healthy foods and a fixed set of calories? MO2’s nursing text books claim that while pregnant , one should only eat an extra 300 calories a day. Does that seem reasonable?

I also had a perception shift over the holidays. I was out walking my brother’s dog when I ran into a classmate’s father/neighbor. This family has 4 sons  and a bunch of grandchildren that have arrived easily. However, the youngest son in this family had a myocardial infection which ended in a total heart transplant 9 years ago (he is still doing well) and his brother has a child who has Hodkins x 2. After this conversation, I realized that I don’t have it so bad…Then last night, a classmate’s brother was one of the police officers killed in Seattle. This same classmate left the local police department after an accidental discharge while he was cleaning his weapon struck and killed a fellow officer.  I’m feeling less singled out by fate now and my heart goes out to my friend and his family.

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Putting the Turkey in Thanksgiving

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We are headed home at midnight on Weds to beat the traffic in the NorthEast and to travel the 8 hours home. Hopefully we will be able to meet my brother and his wife (the pregnant one)  for breakfast before they go running off to her parents (we alternate years where they vary what relative they will be spending the holidays with). We will have a relaxing T-Day with my Mom and just hang out.

Friday morning, we’ll walk to breakfast with friends and then prepare to drive to MD to visit my father. My Dad did not invite me this year to Thanksgiving which is usually an omission on his part (he’s not a big planner like that) but apparently is upset that I’m not coming for Thanksgiving (which of course he did not mention it to me but my Stepmother felt she needed to convey ) So we’ll be there Friday for dinner and then at 9 I will excuse myself because my good friend is leaving early that morning for Afghanistan and we’ll see her off before she goes to the lock down area.

The next day, we’re off to SG for our baseline. Normally I would do them here @ Ft. Livingroom but since they want it done on Saturday, the Army is not open, I’ll have to go over the holiday. I take my last BCP tomorrow and first delestrogen shot Saturday evening.

Better Place

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Yesterday I turned in my last and final assignment for my LTC’s course (all 50 slides). If it doesn’t get kicked back (and I’m not sure that it will), I am done, done, done!

It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. Now onto other projects.

My job is still dull but less so because my boss (the Colonel) is away for the week which means I get more done. He is a terrific guy but has a pretty pronounced and semi-corrected hearing impairment.  It can sometimes be challenging to work with him because he doesn’t do well on the phone and sometimes I have to translate at meetings. I am more focused when he is out so I’ve been pretty productive.

I am going to shell out $400+ today for a new dress uniform for my promotion picture. My branch of the service has changed the dress uniform and the wear out date for the old one is fast approaching. I figure I better just bite the bullet and pay for a new one. I’m sure it will be more comfortable than the old one as I am heavier now and the old uniform was some 20 lbs ago !

My brother and I have been talking about how our kids will be close in age and will go to school together. By the time my kid is in second grade, we will have retired from the Army. I own a house about 5 blocks away from my brother and 4 blocks away from my Mom’s. That has made me feel better and I feel less left out.

We are all set to go on our cycle. I have doxy in hand and they added folgard. I have my base line u/s next weekend. Now let’s see if those bad boys fertilize in the coming weeks.

Time to Take the Prozac

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I haven’t been doing well lately (warning: bitterness and resenting mentioned.This is not happy post written from a happy place).

Not at all.

I haven’t been irritable like this since I came home from Iraq the second time. At that point, I was taking 40 to 60mg of prozac and benadryl to sleep. That lasted for about a month until I weaned down to nothing. Of course, my mood improved dramatically when we left Kuwait. I’m really, really angry right now, so much that I’m not sure that I should be around other people. I’m not sure how to stop it because I’m afraid to take medication for fear of messing up my next cycle. I find myself withdrawing because I don’t want to lash out.

Here’s what is going on:

1) I really, really hate my job. I work at a major military medical center. It is not a bad place to work but it is a TERRIBLE place to be an administrator. Our biggest issue  is space. When I got here, we were short 9 clinical social workers. With a lot of work on my behalf, we have completely filled all the vacancies. I’ve hired for a new mandated initiative. I have two social work students (Army officers) and wrote an initiative for five Public Health Officers. Most of my day is spent figuring out how to make the program run. Every worker shares an office. My boss gave up his office because we could put two workers in there. The workers use interview rooms to see patients. Most days, it is an interview room scramble. I have 3 outlying clinics. Those rooms are full as well. The problem is that the union at Ft. Living Room is very aggressive and if I want to move a union employee, it is a battle. This means my military officers, public health officers and contractors get the short end of the stick because I can move them without notice and there is no space requirement. Next year, they want me to take on 5 more students and another supervisor. I have no place to put them unless we go to 24 hour operations. Did I mention that I don’t have a window nor have I had a window in my office for the last 10 years? When you are the officer, you get the sucky places because there is an attitude that soldiers will work where you tell them to and do what you tell them to. I’m screwed.

For the last year, I have been trying to get a 24/7 SW program established in the Emergency Department (ED). Everyone likes this idea but it will cost roughly about $800,000.00 to do that the hospital will have to swallow. After submitting multiple proposals and having them rejected for one reason or another (primarily because we have to wait until the beginning of the fiscal year for $), I was told to write one more proposal which would go to an executive committee for voting (although we know it will pass because of the hospital commander’s intent to fund the program). My HR person and I busted our butts to get it done (they wanted supporting researching and cost allocations) and now it is sitting on the Deputy Chief of Clinical Service’s desk with no action for over the last month. We just want some feedback. Does it suck? It is great? Do we have to do it over? It is hard to tell because he won’t respond to phone or email inquiries about it. ARGH!!!

I have a very bad, disruptive officer who we have been lumped with. My boss and I have been trying to get rid of her for over a year. Every attempt we make has been shot down and we are still stuck with her. She’s been passed over twice for Lieutenant Colonel. In the old days, if you were passed over, you were automatically kicked out of the military. Now you aren’t if you have more than 15 years of service. This person is a human leech who has never deployed EVER (which is shocking). I have been in less time and I’ve done two tours in Haiti, one in Bosnia and two in Iraq! We tried to get her de-credentialed and unfortunately, her hearing (which took 9 hours and they caught her lying under oath) was before the shooting spree @ Ft. Hood. (Maybe if had occurred now they would have taken us more seriously). The attitude is “you deal with her because we don’t want to.” The only revenge we will get is that she will probably get a horrible evaluation which keep her from promotion a third time which she will contest only to find yet another strung out battle.

I’m on the last assignment for my lieutenant colonel’s course and they want a 60 slide brief. Are they F^*king kidding? It took me one week alone just to figure out the assignment (the directions were awful) and at least 2 solid weeks of work (in addition to doing my job) to get it done. I’m still slogging through it. At least when it is done, it is  done. The course was a year and a half of misery (tests and written assignments). I have to complete it to get promoted. It is not optional. It is what as we in the military call a “gut check.”

2. My iPhone was lost/stolen Saturday night and cost me $400.00 to replace. Is it my fault for losing an expensive phone? Yes. I can do all my work on the iPhone so it makes it worth it to me. I hated eating the money but I have a better case and a new hands free.

3. My brother’s wife is pregnant (very, very early, only 1 + beta). I’m not happy about that and mainly because I’m not happy for anything. I appreciate that they had a medically challenging cycle and needed an IUI with injectables to get pregnant but it only took one cycle. My brother knows better than to complain about the costs of meds his insurance didn’t cover! I’m glad I am not going to see them for Thanksgiving, I am now dreading Christmas. I’m sure they will be sensitive as will my Mom but I still dread it and I was so looking forward to going home. I hate being bitter and resentful. I am up to my eyeballs in anger. I have no empathy and compassion left and it frightens me. I can’t be excited or happy for anyone or anything. I’ve stopped hanging out on support boards because I am not a whiner and I don’t want to burden anyone. I’ve no tolerance for anyone else’s whining either. I’ve had no joy for others. I couldn’t even go to church yesterday because I was so mad. I’m a pretty good faker, too so you wouldn’t necessarily know I’m upset. I threw a shoe at the tv when Mrs. Duggar said she was hoping to have twins this pregnancy (don’t be greedy with the 18 kids you already have). Don’t even talk to me about secondary infertility,  how your kids drive you crazy and please don’t whine about your pregnancy symptoms or that you might have a c-section instead of a vaginal birth).

I feel like a character in a classic tragedy who can’t move forward. Any idea how to get unstuck? Right now all I want to do is run and hide. I probably shouldn’t post this.

Check List

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  • AF-check
  • Donor eggs on ice-check
  • Sperm sample on ice-check
  • Notarized consents sent in-check
  • U/S scheduled-check
  • Leave pass turned in for trip to MD-check
  • Medications have arrived-check
  • Defrosting scheduled-check
  • Transfer date reserved-check

All we are missing is the doxy which they forgot to prescribe and we are good to go. Hopefully time will move  along quickly

 

And Away We Go!!!

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AF is here!!! After the slowest presentation ever, she is moving right along and so are we.

I got my chart from my nurse on Friday, which was a blessing. Here’s how a frozen donor egg cycle goes:

  • about 14 days of BCPs.
  • baseline u/s
  • doxy for 7 days and baby aspirin which I already take
  • about 20 days of delestrogen every 3 rd day
  • second u/s
  • Progesterone in oil beginning two days before transfer and until whenever

That’s it. No lupron (so many people complain about lupron but it hasn’t bothered me-yet).

My nurse said that SG’s success rate for frozen donor eggs is up to 80% (in my cynical case, I’m not putting the cart before the horse). I’m still not expecting this cycle to be successful but it is a free cycle so I’m not too worried about it. It gives me something to do when I could be doing nothing. I wonder if other people with pregnancy loss are as cautious as I am or as jaded. Maybe when the time gets closer, I’ll feel differently. My biggest worry is that the eggs won’t fertilize. Last cycle 7 0f 10 fertilized normally. This time, I believe they thaw fewer eggs, which mean that they might not fertilize, although I am not sure how many will be thawed.

My friend who did a frozen egg cycle only had 4 thawed. Only two fertilized. She transferred 2 at 3 days and is pregnant with a hb now.

My nurse also told me that they will let the eggs go to blast if they fertilize well (which surprised me because I only thought they would consider a 3 day transfer). To be honest, I’d prefer to use DS for a better track record. This is MO2’s last shot with his boys and the RE doesn’t think we have any thing to be concerned about as we are not diagnosed with MFI. I’m just paranoid.

I won’t tell you my transfer date (did you really think I’d fess up)? But I’ll give you updates along the way.

When the Enemy Is Inside the Gate

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I don’t know what to say. I have no answers. Yesterday was a very sad day for the Army’s mental health community and for the greater Army as well.

I applaud my colleagues at Ft. Hood for the bravery under fire and for their professionalism. Having been stationed there in the past, I am aware of the sheer size of the installation and know that it took quite a bit of coordination to get the situation under control. In terms of trauma care, it couldn’t have happened at a better place. Most of Ft. Hood’s soldiers have been deployed so many times that responding to a critical incident is second nature. What you read about in the papers and on the net about medics ripping their shirts to make bandages and soldiers transporting one another is 100% Army trauma training. Our medics are called combat medics for a reason and the handled themselves as they were trained. Our military and civilian police responded quickly and professionally. What people don’t realize is how many law enforcement agencies are on Army posts. We have the military police, CID (Criminal Investigative Division), and civilian police who work on post. We also have contracted gate guards. In addition, the FBI and local and regional law enforcement are frequent visitors and colleagues.

I can’t tell you anything about MAJ Hassan. Because I don’t know or understand his reasoning. But it is a scary thought to know we have to be afraid of our own providers. I’m sure there were red flags and the investigators will find them.  I’m sure the people who had daily contact with him are second guessing themselves. It is a terrible place to be.

We’ll get through it, we always do. My thoughts are with the victims and their families and I’m so proud of the brave soldiers and civilians at Ft. Hood who faced adversary and came out shining.

Ms. Cranky Pants

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That would be me and frankly I’m pissed off.

I am STILL waiting for AF after 10 days of Provera. the signs are sort of there. I’m WAY bitchier than usual (and I’m not a PMS sufferer), my face is breaking out and I am crampy on and off. The only thing I have to show for it is two tiny drops of blood (sorry if you are squeamish). This whole experience is enough to make me want to cry. Argh!!!

Another thing that is annoying me is that I discovered that I was given 2 times the recommended dose of lovenox during my last (and so far) only pregnancy. I had been worried all along that my RE was way too cavalier about the lovenox dosage and I always suspected he never checked with the hematologist and just guessed at the dosage. Since I work in a military treatment facility, I got a consult to see our hematologist who was appalled at the 80 ccs of lovenox I was given. According to her, I should have stuck to just baby aspirin until the 8th week of the pregnancy and then added only 40 ccs of lovenox, not 80 and not from the beginning! I’m not sure if I’m to blame on this…perhaps I should have followed my gut and insisted on a hematology review but I figured, “well he is a doctor and a sub-specialist, he must know what he is doing…” Wrong!

It is hard to say what led to the miscarriage. Was it the emergency surgery and all the meds? Was it the f^&*ed up blood thinner? Or was it just my fate?

Strangely I find myself angrier now than I was when I went through everything. I’m hoping this is just the advent of AF and my mood will pass as well.