Welcome to adulthood

I’m not very diligent about picking up the mail because the only things we ever receive are either (a) junk mail bound for the recycling bin or (b) junk mail addressed to the four hundred bajillion previous residents and their assorted businesses, also bound for the recycling bin. In short, there’s usually nothing fun in the mail, thus why bother picking it up daily?

My theory was only confirmed this past Saturday, when I picked up our mail on the way back from exercise. (Our neighborhood only has community boxes. We’re farthest from the box, but still only a block away. I’m just lazy. And it’s cold.) I brought it into the house, sorting through the junk mail and the junk mail addressed to previous residents when I spotted something that I have been dreading for years.

JURY SUMMONS

The first thought that went through my mind when I saw those words was does this mean I’m an adult now?? My heart sank as I opened the envelope. I’ve never gotten a summons before and I was hoping to keep the streak alive, but, alas, there it was. I’ve been summoned.


So what’s the big deal – you ask? You just go and sit in a big room for a while and leave – you say. The big deal is that jury duty day will bring together so many of my neuroses that I’m sort of losing track. All of my irrational fears and dreaded parts of adulthood, wrapped up into one glorious horrible day. Let’s discuss:

Travel: For those of you unfamiliar with the DFW metroplex, traffic behaves of its own accord – smoothly flowing one day and a clusterfuck the next. However, I must arrive promptly at 8:30. If I truly want to arrive *promptly at 8:30* I’ll need to leave my house around 7:45. BUT. I also don’t know how to get there or where to park so I should give myself more of a cushion, just in case I get stuck in the stupid one ways and morning traffic. So maybe I’ll leave at 7:30. BUT. That’s a freaking hour before I’m due to be there! That is ridiculous. Surely that can’t be right. ……. And back and forth I’ll go until probably the morning of, making a last minute decision based solely on how long it takes me to get ready.

Parking: The courthouse has an underground parking garage. I’ve actually already been to it (which – PRAISE BE – reduces some of my anxiety regarding the garage). However, it might possibly be hell on earth in terms of trying to, you know, actually park. The spaces are narrow, the entrances are hidden, the gatekeepers are cranky. NO GOOD CAN COME IN THIS PLACE.

Courthouse: Ok, this is the real crux of the entire neurosis here. After I park, I will have to find my way out of the parking garage and into the actual courthouse. I will need to follow signs (I hope there are signs, please let there be signs lest I have to ask someone – eep!) to find my way to the waiting area. So maybe not so bad, but still, it’s not my routine. I won’t know exactly where to go and what to do. I’ll have to talk to strangers and probably some weirdos. I will also have to try really hard not to immediately sweat through whatever shirt I’m wearing because I want to appear cool and calm and collected.

I just. Am terrified. Slightly.

If y’all don’t hear from me after February 10th, just assume that I never found my way out of that damned parking garage.

Cycle Trackers

or there’s an app for that.

When I was on the pill, I never tracked my cycle. Why would I? It came like clockwork. And any time it didn’t, it stood out in my mind. (To this day, I still remember one time it came about 48 hours late. I was a sophomore in college. It was summer. I distinctly remember walking to my car after class, talking on the phone to Liz, going over what my plan would be if I were pregnant.)

When I went off the pill, I quickly turned to my smart phone. I knew there were cycle tracking apps – plenty of them. I did a quick scan through the list and selected one of the better rated ones and off I went. I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. It was a very basic calendar-type app. It made some loose “predictions,” but nothing else.

After a few months of trying, without success (right around this point), I went back to the app store in search of a different app. I was looking for something to help me get pregnant. Now. (Now, I know that an app is obviously not a miracle worker, but I was also desperate and feeling so useless that I wanted something, anything, to help.) When I saw a sponsored blog post about Glow, it felt like a sign.

I quickly downloaded it and happily spent an afternoon transferring data from the old app to the new. Glow was so sleek and shiny. So much data! I can quantify every day! Wheeeeeee! It was around this time that I also started tracking my temperature and Glow made it simple to track. Plus they had a built-in user board, where women could ask questions or commiserate or even follow each other’s pregnancies (I saw several, private boards with names like “May 2015 babies!”). How nice.

But then. I discovered the downside of having quick access to communities. I could not stop reading through them and every time I did, I would leave feeling more upset and miserable than ever. I wrote this, mostly in jest, but there are underlying issues.

It’s so unfair that she’s pregnant when she doesn’t even know how ovulation actually works.

It’s so unfair that she’s pregnant and she’s clearly overweight.

It’s so unfair that she’s pregnant and she tried “forever” which was actually two months.

And over and over and over and over until I felt terrible about myself and my poor non-cooperative ovaries.

To be perfectly fair, I had no right to judge these women. And numerous women clearly thrive in the communities. I just couldn’t be there, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t leave without comparing myself (which, again, was unfair to those ladies AND to myself). And, like an addiction, I couldn’t stop going there. In the parking lot waiting for exercise, sitting in traffic, on my lunch break. All the time. I couldn’t open the app without going into the community. Even after I made it hard for myself (hiding all of the boards), I still sought it out. I thrived on being able to give advice to other women (those wanting to know about BBT tracking) or giving my two-cents on an ovulation test reading (I have seen A LOT of ovulation tests and that one is far from positive). And as much as I enjoyed that, I would inevitably click on one that I knew I shouldn’t have and end up depressed.

After a couple of weeks of that nonsense, I deleted the app and went in search of a new one.

Ovia Fertility had good ratings and, more importantly, no community feature. I transferred my data and never looked back. In case you’re in the market for a fertility app, I do recommend it. The app makes it very easy to track numerous things like BBT and cervical position, how much you slept and what you ate, your weight and how many steps you took in a day, any symptoms (from PMS to sickness), and, of course, your period. They have an online portal that allows you to do everything you would from the app. It creates charts and reports. It’s not pink, if that bugs you. (It’s yellow, if that does.) It’s positive and cheery, but not in an annoying way. It gives you feedback on the signs/symptoms you enter.

For instance, I just logged on and saw: You reported feeling happy. It’s excellent that you’re feeling happy right now – let’s make this cycle the one!

Thanks Ovia! I really want to make this cycle the one too!

Can we talk about buying meds?

So. I picked up my newest prescription of clomid this morning and I have to say I am more confused than ever. 

My biggest complaint with the medical instustry is how opaque the billing process is. Why can’t you just walk into a clinic and see a list of prices? If I’m getting a check up, I should know how much it’s going to cost up front. If I’m getting a couple of shots and having my blood drawn, I should know how much it’s going to cost up front. Same with pharmacies. It drives me crazy that there’s this black curtain between the actual cost and what you end up paying. Plus, I for one tend to think that all doctors charge the same rate for appointments and whatnot, but I have a feeling that’s not actually the case. I love my doc, but if she’s charging $100+ more for ten minutes of her time than my neighborhood clinic, I at least have the right to know and decide if I, comfortable with that. 

As a perfect example, I paid $25 more for my current round of clomid than my last. 

I did change insurance plans, to be fair. However, both plans are with the same company, they are both high deductible plans, and fertility drugs are not covered under either. So what gives? 

(And before you point out that my prescription changed, let me assure you that I actually ended up getting the exact same thing. Last time, they gave me two rounds of 50mg pills in one fill – so ten 50mg pills. This time they gave me one round of 100mg in one fill – so ten 50mg pills. I guess they don’t have 100mg pills???)

I just. I have no idea. 

….

I got so worked up about it that I called the pharmacy just now. Apparently this new insurance plan, which was supposed to be exactly like the old one, is actually not. Clomid was (amazingly) covered under my last one. But not under this one. Bull shit, I say. WTH. 

At least I know it was a legitimate price increase now. 

I still can’t stand how you get billed for medical stuff after it happens. I wish the health care reform would have forced insurance companies and clinics to produce a transparent price list and stick to it. 

Rinse and Repeat and Repeat

I had another follow up appointment today. Always with the follow up appointments. The recent turn of events meant that this appointment was at least a little more exciting. At least I finally had something positive to report rather than the seemingly endless reports of no change. Even if it just meant everything was more confusing because I ovulated the first time but not the second.

My doctor, as usual, offered to go ahead and refer me to a fertility specialist. I, once again, declined. We have one more option to explore with my GYN first: raising the dose. I was at 50mg of Clomid and I’ve been bumped to 100mg. It’s now or never, in a way. Or at least, now or be-referred-to-a-specialist-because-there’s-nothing-else-I-can-do-for-you.

(On a side note, one thing that I really like about Clomid is that you take it at the beginning of your cycle. In my case, I start on CD 3 which just makes me feel like I’m doing something productive, you know? It makes me feel like I’m taking action.)

So now Luffy and I are back at square one in terms of outcomes. Although, not really, since all roads lead to a fertility specialist now. At that point (three months from now, after, you guessed it, another follow up appointment), we’ll have been trying for over 18 months. If this round of Clomid doesn’t work, we might decide to take a bit of a break from the trying. Give my body a chance to recover a bit from all the hormones (after all, in an anovulatory cycle, I’m taking some sort of hormone-affecting pill for 15 out of 28-ish days). As much as I hate to appear to give in to the JUST RELAXXXXXX people out there, it would be nice to relax a bit. To not have to remember to pee in a cup each morning. To not always track my temperature so diligently (although, tbh, I’d still probably do this just so that my period wouldn’t sneak up on me all crafty like). To not pay $20 a month for wasted ovulation sticks. To not feel so useless each time it doesn’t happen.

I mean, in all honesty, taking a break from the pills and the test sticks and the doctor’s offices doesn’t really mean that I won’t think about it. I’ll probably still get frustrated at each 45-day or 60-day or 150-day cycle. On the other hand, there’s a part of me that’s curious to see if my body would bounce back. Probably not to a perfect 28 day cycle, but maybe something a little longer. I always wonder, when I start the progesterone pills to override a cycle, if I’m just being too impatient. Maybe I won’t ovulate today or tomorrow – but what about the next day or the next week??? Perhaps my body just likes to take its sweet time.

Anyway, I didn’t mean for this post to escape from me and end up sounding so melancholy. I am thrilled that my doctor agreed to continue Clomid. I am somewhat worried about the 100mg dose (I had absolutely no side effects with the first two rounds, but with the higher dosage that might not hold true), but also excited at the prospect that I will once again ovulate and we’ll have a chance at conception! We’ll just have to see where the next three months take us.

(although we all know the destination: another follow up appointment)

Back to the trenches

After a brief respite yesterday, I’m back to the trenches of work. Always busy.

Yesterday, however, was glorious. Luffy began work (today) at a new firm and he had Monday and Tuesday off. I took Tuesday off too so that we could just pal around together. And that’s exactly what we did. Luffy goofed off on the internet all day; I goofed off on Netflix all day. (Mind you we were in the same room, which is basically the only essential piece for us. We don’t necessarily have to be doing the same thing, as long as we’re both doing it in the same general space.) We had pho for dinner and PB&Js for lunch. Wonderful day. Unfortunately, today, it’s back to reality.

Luffy, at least, gets to start a new career. Should be fun. The only downside is that the firm is based in another state which means he has a lot of travel to do initially (which should calm down to about once a month afterwards). So tonight, for the first time in almost a year, we won’t be sleeping in the same bed (it’s been since this happened). I feel like such a wuss when I complain about that because, clearly, I survived for almost 25 years sleeping on my own. But now. Now I’ve grown accustomed to Luffy being there. His very presence soothes me and I’m bummed at the prospect of several nights alone. (For the record, I’m totally just whining right now. I know, in the grand scheme of things, a few nights apart are nothing compared to the couples who travel all the time or do long-distance or something. But still ….. waaaahhh.)


In other news, I’m almost to the end of my latest round of hormones and I’m happy to report that this round seems to be going just fine! Totally lends credence to my theory that the side effects were compounding each month (I really do remember my first round in August being nearly symptom free. Then the mood swings and itching hit with the next few rounds, getting increasingly worse.) Anyway, I’m hoping that I can keep those symptoms at bay just a few days longer!

My follow up appointment is scheduled for Friday morning, so I’ll have more to report on the Clomid front then. In the meantime, give those loved ones a hug and keep your fingers crossed that I remain blissfully un-itchy and non-moody!

 

January Doldrums

Blech. And blugh. And blah.

I seem to be in a bit of a funk lately and I can’t even blame hormones for it this time around. I can’t even really put my finger on it, tbh. I guess I’m just ready for something new or different, instead of the same old routines. A new year usually fills me with optimism, but I just can’t muster the positive vibes this year.

Some of it’s tied to my troubles ovulating. Back in December, I was so, so happy when I successfully ovulated. Even though most women find the two week wait unbearable, I pleasantly sailed through it, over the moon that we even had a chance. A chance! In cold hard numbers, I ovulated twice – TWO TIMES – the entire year last year…. And one of those times I had a deficient luteal phase that wouldn’t have supported conception, even if it had occurred. So basically once. One chance. In an entire year.

And since the Clomid didn’t work this time, I’m feeling more useless than ever before. I’m surrounded by friends and acquaintances who are currently pregnant (a shockingly large percentage of which are due in June so does September have magical, fertile properties???) and while I’m so happy for them, I’m also floundering a bit. I’ve been very proud of myself so far in that I’ve been 100% focused on them (when talking with them) and have genuinely felt nothing but happiness and love and support for them. But then off they go and I’m left feeling a bit deflated and sad. Empty, I suppose, would be the best descriptor.

Beyond that, I just don’t know. Perhaps the doldrums are a sign that I need to change jobs. Or find a new hobby. Pick up a new book (speaking of which, I just got to check out The Girl on the Train and I am very excited about it) or make a new recipe (and, now that I’m thinking about it, last night we tried a slow-cooker black bean soup that was very delicious (I won’t link to the recipe cause I immediately changed it, so I’m no help there)).

So maybe that’s the key to shaking these January blues. Stop focusing on summing up 2015 as year of failure re: conception.

Note to self: Don’t focus on the past.

Another note to self: Find small things to look forward to, even if it’s hard sometimes.

Another note to self: Stop talking to yourself….

(I feel like I’m giving myself a pep talk. Perhaps in the bathroom mirror. You can do this Belle and woo!! and ENTHUSIASM. And also cat.

Because reasons:

and etc.)

I’ve always found that writing things/feelings out helps me work through them. It’s cathartic and self-healing to write down, in black and white, what I’m feeling. Anyway, thanks for listening.

Wonders of the Internet

As an almost thirty-year-old, I grew up right as the internet was becoming a thing. I remember dial-up and AOL and instant messenger in grade school (although mostly at my friend’s house because my Dad disapproved of IM). I remember having to get off the internet because someone needed to make a phone call. In high school and college, I did a lot of research for projects and papers online, but I also still went to the library. I had numerous teachers who had not fully embraced the web yet and required a certain number of sources be in print. And now I’m sitting at my desk with several internet tabs open, my work email that receives hundreds of emails a day but a work phone that hardly rings, my (cell) phone’s at my desk and my iPad’s in my drawer, and I’m writing all of this down so that lovely strangers all over the globe can read it. In the midst of all of this wonderful technology that I’ve become reliant upon, I occasionally still manage to do something that amazes me.

This weekend I purchased a CD. On Amazon. From Japan. For $11.

You see, I’m re-watching one of Luffy’s favorite anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The first four seasons happen to be on Netflix right now and it’s been a few years since I watched them, so I dived right in. I usually don’t go for them for daily watching (you know, where I’m essentially using the TV for background noise as I dick around on the internet) because I prefer the Japanese voice actors and therefore have to read the subtitles. Which makes the whole thing more involved. Plus the story’s not exactly lighthearted. (On a side note, it’s somewhat refreshing, in a way, to have to focus on one thing. I’m so used to having multiple forms of entertainment now – I have Netflix on while I’m browsing Buzzfeed on my iPad and checking on my kitty game on my phone.)

Anyway, I watched several hours worth of the show over the weekend and on Saturday night (after a shared bottle of wine), Luffy and I went down a rabbit hole of anime title songs. We watched several, hilarious, videos and then Luffy brought up the one for Fullmetal’s second season opener: Hologram by NICO Touches the Walls. I already loved the shortened version, but absolutely fell in love with the full length version. I quickly discovered which album the song had been on and off I went to Amazon to purchase the CD. Except, they wanted $40 for it – for an album that was at least five years old. Ebay was no better. Luffy reminded me about the option to buy used merchandise through Amazon. And that’s how I ended up buying a CD from Japan.

After I purchased it Sunday morning, I had this moment of wonder. I just bought a CD from Japan! What kind of crazy life is this?  Before you know it I’ll be flying around on my hoverboard and the year will be 2015….. er… wait a minute.

Even more, the shop contacted me Sunday, to make sure that I was aware that the DVD included with the CD was a region 2 DVD. Through the power of email and (probably) Google Translate, some Japanese shop owner was asking me a question to ensure that I would be satisfied with my purchase.

Just incredible.

Can’t wait for my CD. In the meantime, I’ll be humming along to myself and lamenting the fact that the band hasn’t discovered Spotify yet. Cause can you even imagine? I could stream it and wouldn’t even have to wait the three to six weeks for it to be shipped across the ocean!! INSTANT GRATIFICATION