Reflections upon being pregnant in a war zone – what scares me

The big question: why did I write about something that happened way back in 2007?  Why did I open up some old wounds by writing and thinking about when I was pregnant in Iraq? For the most part, it’s because I drove for four hours on my own, so I had plenty of time to think.  Very dangerous, I know!  Thinking AND driving!  But actually, it is because I have a fear, a fear of being pregnant again.  It sounds rather silly writing it down on an infertility blog. But of course I want to be pregnant more than anything in the world, but this fear is about suffering the ‘side effects’ of severe morning sickness like I did before in 2007.

Hypermesis Education & Research Foundation

Hyperemesis Education & Research Foundation

Last time I was pregnant I suffered severe morning sickness (also known as Hyperemesis gravidarum) and horrific abdominal pains (compared to my normal Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) pains, these were what I considered to be horrific anyway!)  The worst of the symptoms lasted for over three weeks and the nausea continued until the end of my pregnancy of 10 weeks.  There was no way I could have worked during this period.  But to what extent were those symptoms as a result of the environment and conditions I was experiencing at the time – heat, exhaustion, stress, poor food quality and choice?

When Chris and I first met with our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE), Chris asked her if my previous pregnancy could be a clue as to why we were not pregnant yet.  I didn’t think it would be so I hadn’t mentioned the severe morning sickness in my questionnaire.  The RE did confirm that it was not likely to be associated.  But, now that I think about it, perhaps it wasn’t such a silly question after all.  Because quite frankly, any explanation to our fertility troubles would be nice right now.  I’m quite bored of asking ‘Why me??’

Today I am 12 Days Past IUI number 2 (12DPIUI#2), and so far potential symptoms of pregnancy:

  • Short sharp cramps just around both sides of my ovaries
  • Sharp cramp like pains under the left side and right side of my ribs.
  • Sore boobs, but not tender to touch, just achey.
  • Today I have felt a little nauseous, but Chris has had a funny tummy today, so potentially we ate something funny.

And that is it, not much to go by, but the sharp pains reminded me of my previous pregnancy so I have been more positive about this cycle so far.  Just two more days to go til the big test.

I am afraid to be pregnant but want to be pregnant more than anything.

And that sums up my emotional roller coaster right now 🙂 /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/——

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I need my safe place today

14 days past IUI round 1 and I have one negative pregnancy test in front of me….we were good and didn’t test until day 14.  But I’ve known since Saturday it would be negative because I have been having those well known period pains.  But maybe, just maybe I was confusing them.  But no. I was not.

As it is my first time on all these hormones it has been a very confusing month.  My right breast grew significantly larger after I took the Letrozole (and it’s stayed like that); I’ve had horrible ovary pain around ovulation and a swollen abdomen; then after the IUI, sharp pelvic pains that stop me in my tracks, aching lower back, swollen breasts and nausea.  Damn you drugs.

But now I’ve figured all that out this time, surely, the second time round will be easier and less confusing?

Chris was dying as much as I was to take the test, but I knew already and woke up crying this morning because I just knew.  So Chris made me take the test to resolve it once and for all.  I’m not going to put all my thoughts down about how I feel right now, it would not make for good reading.  Maybe later this week when I’m a little more composed.

My safe place is my ‘anchor point’ I developed on a ‘Presentation Skills’ course.  We were taught to have an anchor point that reminds us of our safe place.  Some people on my course thought it was odd and just didn’t get it.  We were made to sit down on the floor and meditate, thinking of a place that makes us feel warm, safe and happy.  Whilst thinking of this happy place we were asked to hold our thumbs to our middle fingers.  We were guided through this meditation to visualise this happy place, smell it, listen to it and feel the warmth of it.  By associating this happy place with this action of holding our thumbs to our middle fingers, we can easily calm ourselves before giving a presentation.  I learnt this ‘skill’ almost 9 years ago and still use it today when I feel anxious.  Today I’m walking around with my thumbs to my fingers, a lot.

IUI round 1: My Big Fat Negative

IUI round 1: My Big Fat Negative

Do I spend more $$ when I am my most “fertile”?

Do I spend more money when I am my most “fertile’? Probably seems a bit of a strange question coming from someone who has been diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’.  But never the less, assuming my most fertile period is when I ovulate (give or take a few days either side), do I spend more on ‘discretionary’ items?

Yesterday I heard on the radio that a Texas university discovered that ladies buy more things when they are in their fertile period of their cycle.  Well this caught my attention considering not long ago I wrote a post on the weird science of ovulation.  So yesterday I started to look at my own spending habits, and of course I have my credit card data, and my ovulation data from the 15 months, what do they look like together overlayed?  Is there any possible correlation?  I plotted ‘discretionary’ spending, which is basically any type of spending where I had a choice (I excluded groceries, bills, fuel and work expenses), against ‘peak ovulation’ days.  Ovulation day is the highest orange peak, with 2 days either side of ovulation day.  Here’s what my chart looked like….

SpendvOv

Nope…doesn’t look like much of a correlation!  But it was interesting to see my ‘waves’ of spending habits!  This analysis is really rudimentary.  What was the radio show really talking about?  There must be some particular way I need to look at spending v ovulation or perhaps I don’t fit the profile because I am actually infertile?? Haha. OK, I’m being mean to myself here.

So this evening I hunted down the source of the research…Asst. Professor Kristina Durante from University of Texas.  Here is her webpage, it has a link to all her research papers on it.  She has done a lot of interesting social science research on ovulation and social effects.  She has even given a TED Talk – Fertile, Flirty & Feisty (I love TED  Talks by the way!) her approach is all related to evolutionary theory.

It turns out her research is in fact far more in depth than the radio makes it out to be…Chinese Whispers etc.  Indeed, the paper merely discussed that ovulation affects women’s preferences, which might contribute to spending on positional goods such as cars and jewellery.  Well the majority of my ‘discretionary’ spending included decaf skinny vanilla lattes and cookies so I think we can safely say my chart is null and void.  But it was interesting anyway whilst it lasted 😎  One way to keep me busy in the 2 week wait and distract from horrible cramps and leaky vaginas – geek out!


Abstract from: Money, Status and the Ovulatory Cycle*

Each month, millions of women experience an ovulatory cycle that regulates fertility. Previous consumer research has found that this cycle influences women’s clothing and food preferences. The authors propose that the ovulatory cycle actually has a much broader effect on women’s economic behavior. Drawing on theory in evolutionary psychology, the authors hypothesize that the week-long period near ovulation should boost women’s desire for relative status, which should alter their economic decisions. Findings from three studies show that women near ovulation seek positional goods to improve their social standing.  Additional findings reveal that ovulation leads women to pursue positional goods when doing so improves relative standing compared with other women but not compared with men. When playing the dictator game, for example, ovulating women gave smaller offers to a female partner but not to a male partner. Overall, women’s monthly hormonal fluctuations seem to have a substantial effect on consumer behavior by systematically altering their positional concerns, a finding that has important implications for marketers, consumers, and researchers.

* Durante, K.M, Griskevicius, V., Cantu, S.M. & Simpson, J.A. Journal for Marketing Research, 2014

Half way through the two week wait and feeling low…

So this is it…the half way point in the 2 week wait (AKA the 2WW).  I am feeling a little low.  It is probably as a result of a mix of things – first of all, being stuck inside all weekend behind a computer, second of all, I am impatient being in the middle of the 2WW, thirdly I am fed up with the progesterone suppositories leaking everywhere.  Is there a chance that my feelings are related to hormones and medications?  Maybe, I can’t tell.

diesel worried

Diesel don’t look so worried, it’s gonna be OK

My lowness hasn’t been helped that I had two course projects due this evening.  Both were programming assignments….the first project I developed a web app that uses the CDC’s most recent data on Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Here is some info on it).  I was unable to fully deploy the app online before the deadline. It worked perfectly yesterday on my computer and all day today I have bee trying to figure out why it won’t go live. Sooooooo frustrating.  Hopefully my graders will see my code and be generous.

My second project was a little dull, statistics and investigating relationships in cars between Miles Per Gallon and transmission types (amongst other things).  I completed my report, but in the last hour before the deadline I could not get it to convert to a pdf file.  Such a simple task.  I am gutted.  I will have to re-take this module as it counts for 60% of the grade.

I will admit that I have screamed and cried at my computer several times this weekend.  I am not very good at not being in control of it!

Our cats, Sushi and Diesel, have been overly affectionate the last couple of days.  I am sure they can sense when we are down or ill.

Next week is a new week, no more snow, warmer temperatures, back to some gentle exercise, and the end of the week we are having friends over to watch rugby, eat some bad foods, and play some board games.  Something to look forward to.  With all that fun it will then be time to take the test. Which incidentally, will be the same day as our 3 year wedding anniversary – it would be a good present to ourselves if we got the big fat positive.  Monday Monday!!!

These guys help when I feel low

Sushi and Diesel being cute together, can’t help but me smile

go home cat, you're drunk
go home cat, you’re drunk – Classic Diesel