Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Attacked

We're alive, by the way. The trip is not so bad. I have some hilarious pictures of the hotel we're staying in tonight but right now I'm just going to whine.

Something happened today that really upset me and I can't get it off my mind. Someone made up complete lies about TOIAW and I--mixed them in with a distorted version of the truth--and sent it in a not-so-professional work email to several people. It doesn't affect TOIAW in any professional capicity but it really upset me. I was furious. I'm still working on that. I hate that I cannot stop thinking about the person who said these things and how I want them to be punished. Why can't I just let it go? Instead, I want to speak this person's boss. I want to speak to her boss's boss. I want to write a letter to Hillary Clinton. I want to request a Congressional Inquiry. I want her to pay for upsetting me because she and TOIAW got off on the wrong foot when he was trying to protect me by making things easier for me because I was sad about moving to a foreign country with my daughter in an urn and not in my arms.

And while I know my feelings are normal and natural I also know that it's not what God wants for me or any of us, really. My sister-in-law once told me that "bitterness is a poison you give yourself." So very true.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Road Trip

We're going on a little road trip this week. I'm really worried about safety on the roads. Tomorrow won't be bad because we're driving between two major cities on a Sunday, but I'm concerned about getting to the other two cities.

When we picked up the car, TOIAW told the clerk where we were going and she didn't say anything like, "Oh, you're surely to die on those roads." So that's good, right?

I'm off to pack!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Happy Day!

I had a great day! I still can't believe I'm 36 but, hey, I guess it was going to happen eventually.

TOIAW made pancakes this morning. He's very proud of himself when he does this and he shows me every pancake so as to impress me with his pancake-making prowess. He apparently hasn't figured out that the mere act of cooking is more than enough to impress me. Also, he does dishes!

I spent the rest of the day working out, reading, and going on a date with TOIAW. I chose to have Mexican food for my birthday meal. Duh. Some may say you can't get good Tex-Mex out of the U.S. but the waitresses there always tell you to be careful of the hot plates so I know it's authentic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Confusion, Fear, & Disappointment

***Once upon a time I could spell. And I had decent grammar, too. I just went to my blog so I could read the blogs in my reader and what stared back at me? Dissapointment. That's how I spelled it. I'm horrified. I even blushed. The smog and pollution are killing my brain cells. I have to get out of here.***

The last three days have been trying.


Saturday started out good enough. We're thinking of ordering a car before we leave here (special prices and tax exemption) so we did a little research on that and then went to my appointment. The first thing the doctor said--after the ultrasound--was, "I'm going to continue treating you for one more month." My heart dropped. TOIAW proceeded to ask many questions about my diagnosis and possible dates. It was a little better than I originally thought but the best-case scenario is a transfer at the end of April. Of course I'm dissappointed but what am I going to do? So on the way home we decided I would go to the U.S. during TOIAW's next trip and then come back and do the transfer. That plan certainly helped soften the blow and I was thrilled with the idea of some time at home. I love spring in Oklahoma!


When I got home I called my parents and my mom told me my dad was sick. He had been to the doctor on Friday and had medication but wasn't feeling better yet. We went to dinner with friends and when we got home I really felt like I needed to call him again. I did, and he was feeling worse and had a pain in his leg so TOIAW and I encouraged him to go to the ER. Long story short, he did and he has an infection in his leg so he's in the hospital at least until Thursday. I hate not being there! I talked to my mom before I went to sleep last night and he seems to be feeling better finally. (Interesting side note: The first antibiotic they gave him helped initially but then it was determined he needed a different one. The one the doctor wanted to give him is about $1200 for a 10-day supply and the doctor had to check to make sure his insurance would pay for it. It did, but seriously? What is wrong with health care these days?)



It's been sunny and warmer the past few days and I seem to have a bad case of spring fever so I was excited to finalize my tickets yesterday. Before I did so, however, I wanted to check with the clinic to make sure it wouldn't interfere with our plans. The doctor said he couldn't okay it until after my next appointent on April 3rd. I am 95% positive there will be no issues with me being gone that week but what do I do? I am so tired of planning everything around appointments and cycles and IVF plans! I'm really confused about this plan anyway because of some things the doctor said and I'm just so tired of being in the dark when it comes to his plans. My patience is wearing thin with ALL of it. I'm trying to stay positive. Maybe we'll do a transfer sooner (although I doubt it since the doctor gave late April as the best-case scenario) or maybe I'll still be able to travel if the ticket prices aren't cost prohibitive by the time I get the all-clear. No matter what, I will be leaving here in four months so at least the end is in sight and I am terribly excited about the next stop on the world tour!


In the meantime, it looks like I need to buy some food because it seems TOIAW has decided to work from home most days and he expects three meals a day. I told him if he wants three square meals a day he should go to prison or join the military. He wasn't amused.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'll Seriously Do It

Despite celebrating our anniversary yesterday, it was a rough day. I was totally feeling sorry for myself (for Sarah, for living here, for not having a life here, for having to move every year and not being able to pursue my life, for TOIAW's annoying ideas about us traveling to random places within the Mystery Country, and a whole host of other things I can't recall right now). Eventually I gave into the massive headache I had after a huge sobfest and took a short nap. Afterwards I felt better and we went to dinner which was nice. TOIAW read the Harvard email when we got home and everything ended well.

It feels good to greet the new day with a plan. Then I remember my appointment Saturday and all the uncertainty comes crashing down again. Ugh. My new doctor is far from sunshine and roses like my last one (which was part of the problem) and I have never left an appointment with him feeling good about everything. I know it's important to be realistic but I just want to hear good news tomorrow. I'm not entirely certain what he's looking for but I hope he finds it and we can get a decent idea of what the next cycle's plan is. TOIAW has a lot of travel he needs to plan (aha, an additional reason for my pity party yesterday because being here is no fun and being here alone is practically torture) and a timeline would be helpful. But mostly I want to hear good news. Should I dare to dream? My heart isn't convinced.

If one more person around here wishes me a "Happy Spring" I am going to punch them in the kidney. Someone once brilliantly decided spring would begin on March 1st and, despite the fact it snows 3-5 times a week and the sun rarely shines, people keep reminding me it's spring. I just want to leave I just want to leave I just want to leave I just want to leave I just want to leave.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Decision

After a LONG week of negotiations, research, dicussions, and prayer TOIAW and I have reached a decision: Boston. Well, Cambridge to be exact but we probably won't live in Cambridge. We will most likely live on an air force base near the city.

This decision has dominated nearly all of our conversations this week and I'm glad it has been made. I am also beyond thrilled for TOIAW. He will be attending one of the most prestigious universities in the world and he was accepted by three of top schools in the United States.

I have so much more to say but I'm tired and it's our anniversary (good thing he got the final good news today because the gift I ordered him didn't make it here in time!) so I'll leave it here for now. I'm going to dream of fall foliage in New England!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Odds and Ends

TOIAW comes home tomorrow. I can't wait! I'm tired of being lonely and not having anything decent to eat because I won't cook for myself. I've missed him so much I may not complain when he wants to watch sci-fi. But I'm not going to commit to anything just yet.

It looks like my dream of living in Manhattan is over before it began because most buildings don't want German Shepherds. They're loss. So now we have to decide between Brooklyn on an army base or Brooklyn in an apartment or New Jersey or a different school. And speaking of decisions, it would be nice if the final top choice school would make their admission decisions known. That way we could stress over all the information at once.

I'm continuing to take my medication while praying it's doing whatever it's supposed to be doing so that I can begin the next cycle soon. Taking medication four times a day is complicated for a forgetful perfectionist. I have a major congestion thing going on but I'm afraid to take anything because I don't know if it might interfere with my other meds. This kind of stuff seriously keeps me awake at night. Oh, and when the clinic called to check on me yesterday I mentioned that I had just finished my walk on the treadmill and the IVF coordinator told me that was not allowed. Oops. I am usually a stickler for doctor's orders but this I find one ridiculous because if I worked I would be walking to and from the subway which, given the hill involved, would probably be more strenuous than my treadmill walks because I don't use the incline feature.

I better get to sleep now because tomorrow my cooking and laundry vacation comes to an end. I'm secretly excited. I made out a menu and everything!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Choose Your Safety Schools Wisely

While I'm happy to market myself as an admissions essay editor*, I would apparently be a horrible private college counselor (or whatever you call the people you can hire to help you choose where to apply). TOIAW and I researched the best programs for his field of study and decided on 3 reach/ideal schools (all Ivy League so, you know, he's not a failure in his dad's opinion), 1 very good school, and 2 safety schools. So far he has heard from three schools: two of the reach/ideal schools have accepted him and one of his safety schools wait-listed him. Awesome. Every time I read the wait-listed email I laugh out loud. When I get to the part where TOIAW is encouraged to "contact us with any questions or comments" I have to restrain myself from penning the snarkiest of snarky replies.

But, again, I am thrilled for TOIAW and so proud of him! I'm even viewing NYC apartments on Craig's List just so I can be prepared if he tells me he can't not go there (Lord have mercy if I have to live that close to my in-laws...). He's currently traveling with several people who are in the same program as he is and he was very surprised to hear that very few applied to the top programs. I asked him why and he said most didn't think they would be accepted and/or they didn't want to work that hard in grad school. I was so shocked that they wouldn't even try (and TOIAW was disgusted because he has zero tolerance for people who don't want to work hard). I mean here is an opportunity to get a free mater's degree--I saw someone on the Today show today who has $85,000 in student loans--from a top institution while earning a very respectable salary...and they didn't even try. TOIAW, on the other hand, had horrible grades as an undergrad and average-ish GRE scores but he wrote great essays, he high-lighted his professional accomplishments, and he had superb recommendations. His admission was by no means a sure thing but he tried and it paid off.

Cheesy cliche of the day: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Moral of the day: Reach for the stars and even if you miss maybe you will move up the wait-list and get into your safety school anyway...or something like that.


*Trust me, I'm just kidding...after going through the process with TOIAW I am positive no one could afford me. He barely did.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Physical Abstinence

Remember yesterday when I proudly boasted I was going to go against my doctor's order of 'physical abstinence' and walk on the treadmill? Well, soon after I clicked PUBLISH POST, I began feeling icky so I took some Ibuprofen (the hard stuff: 800mg, a.k.a. Ranger Candy, if you know what I'm talking about) and went back to bed. I woke-up drenched in sweat and denial because I was sure I didn't have a fever (and at the point I probably didn't). I took it easy the rest of the day and felt okay until evening when the shivering set in once again and, suddenly, the same thing I had dealt with in the daylight hours became scary and frightening prospect to face while it was dark outside.

TOIAW and I had been texting throughout the day and when I told him I thought I had a fever he demanded I take my temperature. I really didn't want to know the number so I ignored him for awhile but when he called, I relented. In order to keep myself calm I decided I wouldn't panic unless it was over 102.5; I have no idea how I came up with this arbitrary freak out threshold. Thankfully, however, those extra 4 tenths saved me because I was at 102.1. I was happy taking some more Ibuprofen but TOIAW demanded I call the staff clinic. Now, these people are nice but I'm pretty sure they think I'm nutso and I was hoping to not remind them of this again but he insisted so I called. She's amazingly kind so she was very sweet and told me not to worry--which I was done with at this point because TOIAW was paranoid enough for both of us--and several other things I already knew.

I eventually made it to bed and woke-up refreshed but still a little weak. I need to get some fresh fruits and vegetables but today was a Mystery Country holiday and everything was closed but that was probably for the best anyway. Tomorrow I'm going to be up and out the door bright and early!

P.S. Rachel, your comment about me being brave to face treatment here made me laugh because last night when I started feeling bad again I sent TOIAW a text stating how stupid I felt thinking I was somehow strong enough to face this alone.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Medical Report

Do you watch The Office? Have you seen the episode where Michael hits Meredith with his car and when he gets to the office and announces it to everyone he says this, "Ladies and gentlemen, I have some bad news. Meredith was hit by a car. It happened this morning in the parking lot. I took her to the hospital and the doctors tried to save her...life...they did the best they could...and she's going to be okay." To that Stanley replies, "What is wrong with you?"

That's what I wanted to say to my doctor yesterday. When he gave me the report he told me his hypothesis about my uterine cavity being too small was correct and he removed a little tissue to make it larger. He also said some parts of my endometrium were not healthy which he will treat with medication. We were doing well until someone asked (the IVF coordinator of my friend Sarah) when I could begin the next cycle and he said, "maybe weeks, maybe months, I don't know until your next ultrasound." I broke down in tears which completely through him for a loop and I tried to explain that I understood why I had to wait but that it was frustrating. He stared at me with bewilderment before saying that, if everything looks good at my next appointmet (2 weeks from yesterday), we could start that day. I wish Stanley had been there to ask, "What is wrong with you?" He then went on to say he hoped to proceed as soon as possible because the it's ideal to cycle soon after a hysteroscopy.

Another item of note is how amazing my language skills are when I'm in distress! When they took me in the operating room I was freezing and they had already given me one part of the anathesia, however, the remainder of the dose would come when I was on the table. The doctor asked me to slide onto the operating table and I told him I would as soon as he got me a blanket. Everyone laughed, I saw someone put something in my IV, and I can only assume the nurses moved me and that I never got a blanket. Then, when I woke-up I kept speaking to Sarah in the local language asking her where I was. And, when she stepped out to get a bite to eat I called the nurse and told her I was in pain. Big mistake because the shot she gave me brought me to tears. Who knew that when you get me a little loopy those many hours of language come back to me?

It seemed like forever until I was ready to leave but I finally made it home sore and tired and really missing TOIAW. I managed to make a spreadsheet for my medication schedule and then went to bed. I woke-up this morning with a pounding heart that I know is due to anxiety and I hate it. It's normal now. Because I love you I will give you this helpful hint: If you haven't eaten all day and are craving spicy chili, do not--I repeat DO NOT--eat chili and then go to bed. I rarely have indigestion but I had it most of the night and it's still lingering this morning. It's safe to say I won't have chili for quite some time.

Okay, I'm off to follow my doctor's orders of "sexual and physical abstinence." It's number one on the list so it must be important. Don't tell him but if I feel okay later I will probably walk *slowly* on the treadmill otherwise I'll never sleep tonight.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Logic and the Lack Thereof

As soon as I opened my eyes this morning I had a sinking feeling. I'm dreading the results I will receive tomorrow and I'm dreading that TOIAW will not be there with me when I hear them. I've been fighting tears for several hours now. I know, at the very least, I will likely hear that I have to wait another cycle which would mean a transfer in the dreaded month of May. Why so long? I don't understand. I don't want to wait any longer. I am feeling seriously defeated--as in 'I'm done with this'--for the first time ever. You know, because the news I get tomorrow could be worse.

But then the far corners of my brain scream for me to be logical. They remind me I've had 2-3 tests performed within the past 2 years that would have diagnosed this problem were it really a problem and, by they way, they were also performed by experienced doctors and clinicians. I can't find much on google about a small uterine/endometrial cavity and what I do find points to some kind of septum and if that hasn't been discovered in 3 surgeries, 3-4 tests, and countless transvaginal ultrasounds I will throw in the towel. Another confusing factor is that he gave me my measurements at 20mm with 30mm being normal but Dr. Google seems to think 7-9cm is normal; even if you do the conversion something is seriously off there. Logic tells me to have some faith and relax (is it odd that the logical part of my brain is the part cheering on Faith?) but after nearly 4 years of disappointment and heartache--with a glimpse of hope thrown in for a few priceless months--it's becoming more and more difficult to rally. And, yet, the will is there...amazing.

I am so thankful that my sweet friend, Sarah, will be with me. Sarah who is pregnant with a daughter who is due to arrive a few days after what should have been my Sarah's first birthday. Coincidence? Probably. Although I really want to believe I will have an angel with me tomorrow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

2

That's how many friends I have here in the Mystery Country. They both offered to go to the clinic with me Saturday and it would be a huge sacrifice for both because one has four kids and her husband is traveling with TOIAW and the other is 7.5 monts pregnant and has a 15 month old. I declined both offers but my pregnant friend insisted and I--gratefully--accepted.

I move a lot and I often lament that fact but I have met some amazing women in every place and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

So Confused

Or maybe I'm frustrated. I don't quite know at the moment.

I had my appointment today to see if I'm a go for the hysteroscopy this month. I am and I'm having it done Saturday morning (and, sadly, having a minor procedure done in no way affects my weekend plans...pathetic, I know), so that's the good news. And I don't have any bad news, just odd news.

After my ultrasound today my doctor told me I have a small uterine cavity and it's, "the reason for ALL my problems." All my problems? Yes, it is the reason for your recurrent miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, not getting pregnant with the donor cycle, and Sarah's preterm birth. Hmmph. I might buy some of that but not all of it because my tubes are partially blocked and my eggs suck. I didn't say that to him but I did ask him if this was a new thing or something I have acquired and he said it was genetic. I reminded him I've been treated by several doctors and no one has ever noticed this before and--have I mentioned he's a tad bit arrogant?--he said, "this is something only a very experienced doctor would notice." Right. Because I just went to crack pots before you. Now don't get me wrong, I actually like and trust this doctor and have had good experiences with him and I know he seems to find something wrong with everyone and he is the praised hero when they magically get pregnant. So why am I terribly anxious right now with thoughts of what if he's right and I can't get pregnant or what if I get pregnant and have another preterm delivery? And I don't need any help in the anxiety department lately but that's a post for a different day.

I will know more after the hysteroscopy Saturday. I just don't know if I'll want to know what I will know. I'm hoping and praying this is just another case of the Mystery Country's practice of alarmist medicine. The doctors here like to be needed and it's annoying because they play with people's emotions but it's innocent in that they don't rush to put you on medication or recommend crazy treatments and/or procedures. Don't they know I'm "very emotional"? A more plausible suggestion is that I have a slightly tilited uterus. I seem to recall this being mentioned before--although never as a liability--and I know, at times, it has been difficult to find my ovaries so, you know, maybe, right?

Oh, and Dr. Google is no help at all, darn him.

P.S. Just to end on a happier not, my email situation finally resolved itself!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

90 Steps: A Travel Log, Pt. 1

As I mentioned prior to our trip to Krakow, I:

  • was quite apprehensive of taking a 19+ hour train ride--particularly after TOIAW shared his Mystery Country overnight train experiences with me
  • had not ever considered a week's long holiday in Poland
  • did not like the idea of a spontaneous trip (especially one in which I had no part in planning)

I managed, however, to get over myself and had a lovely time. I'll begin at the beginning. TOIAW and I arrived at the train station hungry due to the lack of provisions in our cupboards (why go on a big shop before leaving for a week?) so we decided to stop by McDonald's before boarding the train. I went to find a table while TOIAW ordered our food. When I was sitting down, a young European woman came up and asked me if she could have the table because she thought I was leaving but I explained I was just arriving and she said apologized and walked away. The apology wasn't necessary but there were two guys sitting just a few feet away who somehow came to the conclusion that I had offended her and began yelling very ugly things about me and my country. Not cool. I ignored them at first thinking TOIAW would be along soon but they kept on...and on and on...and people were staring...and they kept saying, "You're a stupid [expletive] [my nationality] and you don't speak [the local language]," and then I kind of lost it and told them I did understand and I did speak the language. Oddly, this did nothing to help the situation (sarcasm, in case you didn't notice) so I shamed my gender and went to tell TOIAW to come and defend my honor. The little punks assured him there was no problem. He told them not to talk to me, not to look at me, and if they ignored his rules he would settle it with them outside. As soon as he walked away they began again--in earnest. I ignored them and opened my purse to find my some lip balm and what happened to be on top but our passports which TOIAW had--for some reason--placed there. At first I was annoyed because the last thing the situation needed was for me to flash my passport around like some wild west sheriff's badge but in hindsight it probably saved TOIAW from injury from my new friend Scar Face (a very ugly and fresh scar that I can only imagine was acquired in an unsavory manner) because when they noticed the bold gold letters proclaiming our status in the Mystery Country they quickly left (and I heard one of them tell the other what he had just seen and then say it was time to go). TOIAW was concerned they would be waiting for us outside but I was pretty sure they weren't that stupid and I was right. Off to the train we went...happy to be uninjured and leaving the MC for a few days!

The births consisted of three beds (top, middle, and bottom bunk) and even though our friend tried to buy us the entire "room" the attendant would not allow him to, "waste his money," so I held my breath until we left praying no one else would be bunking with us. Thankfully, we were indeed alone. Additionally, we were in an international car so the toilet facilities were far better than those in the domestic cars--thank you, Lord! We stayed awake for a bit chatting with our travel companions--lamenting that our car attendant's smoking was stinking up all our rooms--and retired to bed about 23:00. I recall commenting to TOIAW that the heater that had seemed so strong earlier didn't seem to be working as well but he attributed the cold to the window being cracked in order to mitigate the inhalation of second-hand smoke. Oh, and one key bit of information is that it raining/snowing a little.

About 02:00 I woke-up shivering. I had to use the facilities and when I stepped into the hall I quickly noticed it was frigid as if I had just stepped outside. When I tried to flush nothing happened and when I pressed the button to wash my hands the water barely sputted out. In our room I tried to shut the window--choosing asphyxiation over hypothermia--but it wouldn't budge. TOIAW tried also but eventually declared it was frozen open. I then played around with the heater but the metal face was ice cold and nothing I did seemed. I then asked (begged) TOIAW to sleep with me so I could benefit from some body heat. The bad news is I didn't get any sleep. The good news is TOIAW slept soundly and I managed to stay alive. In the morning I discovered, not surprisingly, that neither the heat, nor the water pump were working but that they would attempt to repair it when we stopped at the border. I knew right them we would not have heat until after we left the train. Nevertheless, the rest of the trip was long but mostly bearable and TOIAW and husband-half of our traveling companion couple were able to take the kids for a walk and score some pizza for lunch. Also, I was able to cuddle up in the fetal position for a couple of hours and take a nice nap.

When we arrived in Krakow we immediately went set out to find out apartment. I was concerned after reading some of the reviews but it was very nice and in a great location. The only problem was the 90 steps required to get to the fourth floor. It honestly wasn't that bad for us but we were traveling with a family of six and the two youngest had some problems getting up and down the steps. But, again, the apartment itself was lovely and we had an amazing view of the main town square. Shortly after arriving we set out again in search of real food and found delicous and authenic Mexican food. I could have eaten there every night :)

Join me for Part 2 tomorrow when I tell you all about seeing the sights of Krakow!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Freaking Out

I cannot log into my email account. It says my password is not correct and when I go to reset it, I get a message telling me that service isn't available. TOIAW also has an AOL account and his is working just fine. Any ideas or suggestions will be very appreciated!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Detour

Today I was going to post a trip recap but instead I'm going to take a short detour and I will tell you all about Krakow tomorrow. So why the change? Well, last week I dutifully called the clinic on Cycle Day 1 so they could schedule my hysteroscopy. They told me to come in on Thursday which is okay but not ideal because TOIAW will be out of town. In any event, I had dealt with it and made arrangements. I thought it was odd, though, that I wasn't instructed to fast so I emailed the IVF coordinator about it. She emailed me back and said that my appointment Thursday is only for an ultrasound to determine if I will do the procedure this cycle or next. WHAT?!

I broke down in tears and TOIAW was a little confused until he read the email. He then called the clinic while I left the room so they wouldn't hear me sobbing. It seems they want the conditions to be "optimum" and that might not happen this cycle. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I completely appreciate this but I'm on a tight schedule more or less because we would like to have time for another cycle if this one isn't successful. I cannot proceed with the frozen embryo transfer until I have this procedure. I just want to get the heck out of the Mystery Country before TOIAW starts traveling 2-3 weeks a month. I want to be pregnant, I want to see my dogs, and I'm tired of living here because I never intended to live here this long.

That's not to say I don't want to maximize my choices but I don't intend to wait cycle after cycle waiting for everything to be perfect. I need to learn how to say "Work with me, people!" in the local language (actually, I already do know it--I just checked with TOIAW and I said it correctly!). Anyway, if you're so inclined please pray that this works...or that I'm not terribly dispappointed if it doesn't work this month.

Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled programming (and commenting) because I *should* have my new power cord which means I will no longer be competing with TOIAW to use his teeny tiny laptop.