Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Two of my favorite work people—although there are a lot—have informed me that Eastern medicine is hokum. One has cast aspersions on acupuncture and the other was aghast over the herbs. “You’re not going to take them, are you??” Um, yeah, I am.
Wednesday nights used to be high points for me: Heather would go out to dinner with friends, and I would eat junk food and watch junk TV without her watchful eye upon me. It was terrific. Now, even though I get the TV and couch to myself—I totally sit in Heather’s spot—I don’t get to indulge in McNuggets or cookies. Tonight will be scrambled eggs with (organic) spinach, and maybe a dessert of (organic) cherries. For breakfast this morning, on my boss’ dime, I had scrambled eggs with dry wheat toast. Reader, I gave away my bacon.
Candace, the acupuncturist, told me to eat dark purple and red foods for now. I envisioned grapes, but for some reason she also said eggs. Maybe “red” is different in China. Maybe eggs are different in China. Maybe anti-acupuncture/sweet-potato-doubting Adam and herb-alarmist Grayson, in their everlasting nutritional wisdom, don’t even know about Chinese eggs.
I’m pretty confident, though, that Candace’s instructions are not so open to interpretation that “keep avoiding processed foods” actually means “eat heavily-frosted cake.” I’m also pretty confident that I’m pregnant. Not because I have any reason to believe that I am, but because I’ve not been given any reason (other than, say, statistics) to believe I’m not. Sunday, whilst eating some healthy (organic) cantaloupe, I paused for a moment, turned to the kitchen sink, and vomited up all the organicness. This was a clear reminder that it is a legitimately bad idea to take prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach, but also a sweet moment of fantasy. I plan to keep hold of that fantasy until the (adorably plump) lady bleeds.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Okay, what she did was burn herbs on my tummy. The process is called moxibustion, a procedure in Eastern medicine wherein dried mugwort (she showed me a baggie and it looked just like weed) is rolled up thin, then laid across certain pressure points and lit to attract or generate energy in that area. In this case, Candace laid several around my abdomen, with the intention of drawing energy to my uterus. (According to Wikipedia and the acupuncture site I linked above, sometimes this is used to turn babies in the breech position. Wow.)
It was pretty low-key, to be honest. Candace had started with some light acupuncture, explaining that my pulses weren't in balance (and she checked both my wrists a lot). She placed needles in my feet and ankles, then some behind my knees, some in my wrists, and one at the top of my head. After a few minutes, she came back, taking out some needles and replacing some others. Then she swiped some ointment on my abdomen, then laid out the rolls of mugwort. I couldn't see all that well, but she had one little incense stick (or, that's how it looked) that she used to light the mugwort, and what looked like a hollowed-out cigar to snuff it out. I felt heat, but nothing direct.
I'm not even sure what happened, only that I find it entirely believable that I'm short on qi/energy. Apparently it is not normal when you're comfortable sleeping 12 hours a day. I don't, but I could. So, you know, I'm cool if Candace wants to burn stuff on my stomach if that moves some energy around.
I go back to Candace in two weeks. By then, we'll know what's up.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
My friend Emily asked me what I could do now the inseminations are done. It's slow sometimes, she pointed out, even for straight, fertile couples to get pregnant; is there anything I do now to help it along? To the best of my knowledge, the answer is no.
Last night, Heather and I lay in bed after work, visualizing the embryo (zygote?) burrowing into my warm, welcoming uterine lining. I don't even know if it would be there yet. Maybe the sperm are waiting in the fallopian tubes. I don't know where they are, or if there's anything that might have formed, or where that is, so I'm just going with the uterine-lining theory. Nuzzle, nuzzle, little embryo! When I went to bed, I snuggled into the sheets, imagining the embryo snuggling into my womb the same way.
I've eaten the equivalent of two pineapples since the first insemination. Tonight I guess I need to buy more. Can the lady acupuncturist do anything? It's worth hoping. Meanwhile, I'm drinking water and organic green tea, and putting blankets over my midsection lest the embryo get chilly. Now I just need to keep busy for two weeks. Suggestions?
Friday, July 19, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Earlier in the week, I'd gone to the ob-gyn for a thumbs-up (granted) and to the acupuncturist for some puncturing (punctured), then spent $160 at Whole Foods in an organic haze. The sperm tank was in our entryway (welcome, guests!), and I was surreptitiously checking my cervix on bathroom breaks. I know that sounds dirty, but, jeez, there's never a great time for poking your own cervix.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Last week, I called Dr. King's office, sat on hold for five minutes of "At XYZ Clinic, we believe every patient deserves a close, personal relationship with her doctor," etc. When one of the scarce receptionists answered, I said, hey, is it okay if I have some sperm shipped to you? And they said okay. Meanwhile, I live-chatted with a rep at the sperm bank to check that the clinic was in their database; answer: nope. So she faxed a form to the clinic. I called the clinic, sat on hold for five minutes of "Make regular appointments with your doctor to maintain blah blah blah," and said to the time-shared receptionist, hey, can you see if this fax came through? Then they sent me to Records.
Remember the Records lady in Dr. King's office? I do. I heard that kindly, creaky voice and I knew I was back in hell. Fuck. This is what happened afterwards, as I reported it to my work bestie:
1) I spoke to the admin lady at my ob-gyn for the second time so she would send the form to the sperm bank, which for whatever reason needs a sign-off from a doctor even if the doctor isn't doing the procedure. We clarified that I didn't expect the doctor to do the insemination. Good.
2) Then I went to Heather's office to call the sperm bank and make the order. Then the lady there said she needed a form from me, so I raced back to my desk to fill it out and electronically sign it.
3) Then I raced back to Heather's office to call them again... and the lady said they hadn't gotten the aforementioned form from the doctor's office. I started crying and half hung up on the lady, who was trying to be nice.
4) I reported all this to Heather. Heather reacted by cursing about how the doctor's office sucked and couldn't get it together and she didn't understand why we were using them. I shut the door and raised my voice, telling her that it didn't matter how she felt about the doctor's office, since she wasn't the one calling them or even going there. She told me she hated them, and I cut her off to repeat that every time she said it, I felt like she was reminding me that it was my fault that we were using that office and that, by extension, it was my fault that we were having these problems. She said, no, she just hated the office. I told her that it made things worse when she said that, and that all I wanted from her was to tell me she's sorry I'm stressed and that she hates it for me. I cried a bunch more.
5) Since Heather had ordered from them before and I was losing my shit, she called the sperm bank and tried to order it under her own name... except that the doctor's office listed under her name is the clinic in fucking Nashville, and this particular sperm bank won't ship to our house-only to the doctor's office. So that was a wash, and I was miserable.
6) I called the ob-gyn's office to talk to the admin lady about the form. I got stuck in her voicemail and left a very tense message for her to check on the form shortly and to call me back.
7) She did not call me back.
8) I occupied myself with a Milky Way.
At lunch, I called the doctor's office again and got the lady on the phone. She said, hey, no, I sent the form earlier and got a confirmation email from Spermy McSpermerson. I felt bad for being so hostile, so I thanked her profusely. Back to the store, called the sperm bank again. The lady said, okay, I need xyz from you. Got it. Then she said, hey, we don't have your doctor's form. I said, dude, no, I just spoke to my doctor's office and they got a confirmation e-mail from Spermy McSpermerson. Oh. So she put me back on hold and went to see Spermy McSpermerson to find out. Okay, found it. After all that shit, she offered me two shipping options, and I told her that we need the stuff Tuesday, so the economy option is fine. Nope, she said: you'll have to pay extra for the overnight shipping because we stopped shipping half an hour ago.
Only bad things happen when phones are involved. You have to hang up on nice people, you have to leave voicemail with your birthdate, and then you cry a lot. Someday, I will live in a hole with only my laptop and Uncrustables.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
If this "pre-mester" of preparing my body is really important, than is trying to get pregnant after only a month of following its tenets going to be enough? How many flaxseeds, or acupuncture sessions, does it take to make a difference? Should I wait another month? Or should I just go for it? Heather, impressed that I've maintained self-control for over a week, is ready to make the move.
And, to be honest, there's a part of me that's still pretty cocky: I'm barely thirty, my cycle runs like clockwork, and that one time at the IVF clinic they saw a bunch of follicles. Golden, right? Except that I'm not convinced that anyone is golden. Our previous experience demonstrated how little you know in advance about someone's fertility: outward signs might be great, and even a huge number of tests might look great, but sometimes there are other, buried issues that catch you off-guard.
Nonetheless, I'm doing my visualizations. I'm imagining the follicles growing. My uterine lining is developing into a thick, warm home for embryos. Heather and I have picked a donor, and this is happening in a week.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Virtuous and brave, too: I made an appointment to see an acupuncturist. This is less brave than it is the fulfillment of my modest yearnings for adventure combined with a blessedly absent fear of needles. Lying on a table with a guy tapping tiny needles into my body seems, to be honest, a lot easier than eating kale.
The only trick to all this is that we thought Heather was going to be real easy to knock up, and it took two years for us to feel sure she wasn't. Now I eat half a plum and am overcome with certainty that I'm mere weeks away from nourishing life in my womb. It has to happen the first time to somebody, right?
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Apparently there's an association between the brightness of a fruit or vegetable's color and its nutritional value, as well as an association between the item's color and its particular nutrient, so they recommend a mix of blue/purple items, like grapes and plums and blueberries, with reds, like peppers and tomatoes and watermelon. Dude, I love watermelon. Of course, the trick is that it's all supposed to be organic, lest various chemicals leach into your body, and that's an expensive pain in the ass. I'm not really a farmers-market kind of girl. Oh, and flaxseed: I'm supposed to put flaxseed in everything. This is some hippie shit.
That said, buying $50 of organic produce is a pretty good investment if there's a possibility that it could save us $1,000 in sperm. Even the cheaper stuff is $600 for a vial, before you calculate shipping, and I'd really prefer to keep speculum time to a minimum. The less Heather has to look at my cervix, or squirt sperm towards it, the less wrenching, humiliating pain involved. I mean, until childbirth.