Monday, January 29, 2007

Hmmmmm, Something About You Seems Different......

I made a donation to Locks of Love on Saturday.

So, uh, yeah. I got a hair cut. In fact, I had quite a lot of my hair cut off this weekend. It's the shortest it's been in 20 years. And I'm glad I had enough to donate to Locks of Love, although, as Dave pointed out, what child with cancer really wants a wig of curly gray hair? How desperate must they be, indeed. But hopefully they can use it for something or someone.

It looks ok. It looked better at the salon when they were able to put all the product in it. I have most of the product, but I still can't do my hair as well as they can. (And if you're a curly girl and you say that, you know you've found the salon you'll never leave)

It is just a wee bit too short. I wanted it to be shoulder length and it's about 2 inchs above my shoulder. It was well below my bra strap before hand. It's been down to my booty before.

Honestly, I really don't think it looks all that bad. But here at work, few people have commented that they notice I've had it cut, much less that it looks good. You know that is the discrete version of "My GOD! You look like Snape with a perm!!!" (a thought I had while she was cutting my hair)

There are quite a few weird things about having short hair again.

1) I don't need to put my hair in a pony tail holder when I run. I can just be free when I'm slowing slogging all over my neighborhood. I think that actually, I'll end up wearing a bandana though because it sort of freaks me out, and if I position the bandana correctly on my head, I can hold my new MP3 earbuds in my overly sweaty and freakishly large ears.

2) I am going to use a hell of a lot less product. Already, I am using a third of the conditioner and styling goop than I used to use. I Will Save Money on my hair. As cheap as I am, I should have thought of that earlier.

3) It dries so quickly! My hair would sometimes not be dry by the time I was leaving from work. Now it's dry before I leave FOR work. Wow!

4) My husband and I can Breathe! While we Sleep!!! One thing about being Cousin Itt is that if I didn't go to sleep with my hair in a pony tail holder, one of us was bound to roll under my hair and be unable to breathe at some point in the evening. Now, we're both able to sleep in the freedom of knowing we won't suffocate under my hair.

So, there!!! I've cut my hair! It's SHORT! Not too short. But SHORT compared to how I've been for a long, long time.

Female Colleague: OH MY GOD! Your hair looks great! It's fantastic!!
Male Colleauge: Oh. Yeah. I thought I noticed something different.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Good news!?

I've found a study that shows that women are *four times more likey* to get pregnant within the three months after an HSG than in any other 3 month period.


Thursday, January 25, 2007


Nurse: So do you know what's going to happen?

Me: You're going to shoot dye up my coochie and see what happens.

Nurse: Pretty much.

The HSG was fine and a big nothing as far as pain goes. The good news is that 90% of women don't have pain, and 90% of the time, they find nothing. I had no pain; they found nothing.

However, both nurses and the doctor pointed out that finding nothing is good and that for the most part, they consider an HSG to be therapeutic. It is the "first step" in infertility treatment. It cleans out the debris in one's (tiny, tiny!) fallopian tubes.

Debris. In. One's. Fallopian. Tubes.


Has somebody been throwing a party in my belly and there are leftover plastic cups smelling of stale beer and used paper napkins? Or is it more like a coffee shop at the end of a busy Saturday night and papers and crumbs have been left helterskelter?

I have no idea, but I'm hearing that 20-30% of women who have a HSG get pg within 3 months. In fact, once we determined there was no problem with my tubes, the doctor pushed through a big surge of the dye with a rousing "Here we go! Now we're going to clean out the plumbing!" It was a rallying cry I can certainly get behind.

Fingers crossed that we have good news in the next 3 months.

A Little Breather

Good googly moogly, I've been busy.

You may have noticed my absence over the last few weeks; school started back.

You also may have noticed that I haven't been posting as much as I normally have over the last few months. Part of the reason is that I've submitted six (6) single author or first author papers since Nov. 30th. (That's a bit of an exaggeration because I started working on the first submission due on 11/30 in mid-October.) Nonetheless, the academics who read this blog just dropped their coffee cup all over their keyboards. For the rest of you, I'll just say "I've been working my a$$ off." (Should I mention the $1 million NSF grant due at the end of this month? Well, I just did.) Again in the vein of full disclosue, three of those paper submissions were conference submissions, so now I and my co-authors are working on moving them to journal submissions. Still, I'm pretty proud of how much work we've done in less than 8 weeks.

That doesn't mean I haven't been thinking of things to blog. Brilliant, witty blog entries that are hovering over my head waiting to be committed to word and fading because I can only keep so many ideas hovering over my head and right now the focus often turns to my research or my babymaking. How focused am I? I've made major improvements on my work with thoughts that spring before me when I wake up or take a shower. It suggests to me that my best work could come from more sleep and more showers! (Dave suggests the latter helps in babymaking, too)

Of course, there is also a level of tension that does not thrill me. I am always thisclose from a headache. For the last week or so, I get a headache every time I put on mascara. WTF, you ask? Apparently, my head is so tight that lifting my eyebrows to assume to proper mascara application position scrunches up my forehead muscles which sort of freezes my face in an unnatural position and gives me a headache. I'm ending each morning's toilette with 4 ibuprofen. Why not give up wearing makeup? See babymaking priorities above.

I still really don't see a break anytime soon. Fine. That's life as an academic with a fertility clock ticking loudly behind her.

I have started taking a meditation class at our church. The first session/practice was last night. I'll be talking more about that, but I'm really digging that already.

I leave you with this scene from Monday. (I need to stop this thought bubble from floating around the top of my head)

The Scene: A Somewhat Befuddled Professor at the front of the class trying to figure out the computer/projector set up.

SBP: Does anyone know how to work this thing?

Class: (murmur, murmur) No.

(SBP getting quite desperate, begins randomly pushing buttons on the podium.)

Suddenly, an Automated Female Voice says: Please wait. Your call is being connected now. Please wait. Your call is being connected now.

(SBP realizes she does not want to make a call much the less wait for such a call to be made and has no idea to whom said call is going. She quickly presses more buttons)

AFV: Please wait. Your call is being connected now.

A Disembodies Male Voice answers: Hello? Are you having problems?

SBP (trying to gain composure in front of her class): I'm trying to turn on the LCD projector and I can't figure out how.

DMV: Press the "on" button.

SBP: There is no "on" button.

DMV: There should be a red button that says "on".

SBP: OH! The one that says "System On"! (She presses it; the class points out they hear the LCD projector turn on)

SBP: Ok! Great! Now it's working. Thank you, disembodied voice that I do not recognize for helping me out.

DMV: You're welcome!

(A lengthening pause)

SBP: How do I hang up on you?

DMV: I'll do it from my end. OK, Bye!

SBP: Bye!

(A great deal of laughter from both the professor and the class as the incredibly enlightening and engaging lecture begins)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Brown Nose Baby

The Mommy: Did you sleep well last night?

Adorable Toddler: I sleep well. I had dreams!

TM: What did you dream about?

AT: ((thinking hard to find the words))
((deciding that thinking hard is too hard))
((looks around for closest parent))

Mommy! ((Grabbing Mommy around the waist and giving a big hug))
I dream about Mommy!!!!

Suck up.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Categorizing Myself

I still have a really hard time categorizing myself as Infertile or even having Secondary Infertility problems. I keep looking at Conor and thinking that "Well, heck, there's evidence that things are working right there. I'm just having a bit of bad luck." And then I hear this GIANT clock ticking behind my head and I realize that if I was 10 years younger, even 5 years younger, I'd have a hell of a lot more wiggle room for having this next child.

It's just that with 2 miscarriages and 3 chemical pregnancies under my belt, I guess I ought to think we're having problems and I should call myself something else besides just regular TTC. Yes, you read that right: 3 chemical pgs. The good news this month is that finally something happened. The bad news is that it didn't stick.

It was a very weak "something" although I thought it implanted early on, by the time I broke down and bought a FRER test, we had the "light of a thousand suns" faint positive. The problem is that at 12 dpo when I took the test, it should have been a clear positive not a barely-there-can-I-really-see-it-positive. And whatever signs I was having were gone by the next day.

So we're scheduled for the HSG. Even if it doesn't do anything and even if just had a chem pg, as Dave said, if it helps even a little, it seems like we should give it our best effort. So there we go.

We're just rolling the dice. Every month, we're just rolling the dice and hoping that we finally come up with our lucky numbers.

I'm just not sure I'm ready to call myself infertile yet. I'm merely pregnancy challenged.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Well, Hey There!

I was not trying to be coy to ask for all y'all to say Hi and then leave. Honestly, I was working on two conference papers which, after working all weekend, I turned Monday morning and took the day off with my boys. Then, school was back in yesterday and it was busy.

So, yeah. How cool to meet you all! I knew of some folks and am quite flattered to hear from the others. I have to admit that I pretty surprised to see the international readers! Half of me wants to say "Hey, Canada! Do you know my friend Catherine? Tall, blonde, really pretty? Plays violin???? Toronto??" And wow to Australia and Singapore.

But oddly, no, it is not as weird as you might think to have all these people who don't know me learn about My Freakishly Large Ears (stay tuned for an exciting upcoming episode). It would be much, much weirder to think my colleagues or students had found this and learned about my ears, which among the more modest body parts I've discussed on here.

So until we get to the ears, here is a video of Conor and his Disco Duckies. I'm bummed because my video camera ate the first video of him using the ducks, so this one is not nearly as exciting. But dang, blinking ducks in a bath. It can't be all bad!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Delurk Thineself!

I've never done this before in fears of having absolutley no one respond, but apparently this is (Inter)National Delurking Week.

Say Hi! I'm working and would much rather be obsessively checking my site for new comments.

If you'd like, you can give a brief Howdy-Do and maybe a name, interest in being here, location, credit card number, password to all your checking accts.

JUST KIDDING! But it'd be great if you decided to say Hi!

I've Got The Baby Boy Blues

Life is tough for kids in this household.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Growth Spurt, Per Chance?

At daycare today, Conor's caregivers told Dave that yesterday Conor ate 3 bowls of cereal at their breakfast. They did not know that Conor had already eaten a mini-bagel and a bowl of oatmeal at home.

This morning Conor ate a mini-bagel, an egg, half a piece of toast and an entire banana along with his milk before he went to school to get his "official" school breakfast.

Have I mentioned that he is now 38"? He's hanging right in with the 90th percentile for his age.

We are so screwed when he's a teenager.

Conversation This Morning

"Scarlett certainly is enjoying her ascension into the Queen's throne."

"Yes, and I must have lost my invitation to the coronation ceremony she conducted on the bed at 2:30 this morning."

"I'm not sure 'Get The F*ck Off Me!' is the proper way to address the Queen."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Feeling Her Catnip

Until now, Scarlett has always been the "lowest" animal in the house, certainly not by our standards, but in the animal kingdom. The first night Patches was here, he curiously sniffed at Savannah and Duncan and tried to eat Scarlett. Simba wasn't thrilled with Duncan but constantly chased Scarlett the house trying to beat her to a furry pulp. Patches, head collie cop, never let that happen.

Now, however, things have changed.

I really don't know what is up, but Scarlett is regularly whacking Patches on the nose. She is now taking the empty seat at the dinner table and inspecting what we're eating in case she wants any. (Aside: 1) we're not going to give it to her but 2) she looks so darn cute with her gray ears barely peeking over the table.) Nonetheless, this sends Patches into an "awwrooorrroooroooroooorroooo" frenzy of policing/being a tattle tale.

Just today, she jumped up on the kitchen island, and in full view of Dave, started licking the butter dish. Now, we know she does that, but that doesn't mean she's allowed to do it in front of us. This afternoon, when Conor and I got the mail, she made a significant try at getting out the front door.

There is shifting of the pet power around here, people. Scarlett sees an opportunity to move up the ladder and she is taking it. Simba's presence and departure still has its consequences.

We're definitely on a new world record for days with out inappropriate pee! YIPPEEE!

Friday, January 05, 2007

It was a Boy

Certainly, that was the most dramatic thing we learned yesterday at the doctor's office. The doctor really didn't want to tell me, and after I forced him to, it was all I could do not to cry. But now I'm glad I know that the last miscarriage was a little boy. He did not have a genetic makeup compatible with life, but now at least he feels more like a little person to me.

And just in case you're wondering, I was convinced it was a girl because of all that morning sickness I was having. From all that indigestion I had starting at implantation, I just *knew* it had to be girl. I was wrong. Go figure. (I just checked the urban legends site and heartburn is a sign of a boy. I had none with Conor.)

So here's the scoop. Because the last m/c was a genetic abnormality, 1) there's not likely to be some big undiagnosed problem like a clotting disorder that's causing the miscarriages and 2) we're likely to be ok the next time we get pregnant. We are just concerned because we have not gotten pg for 4 months, our new personal record (PR) and one we don't want to celebrate. OH! And btw, the diagnosis for my last miscarriage was genetic abnormality and advanced maternal age. (!) I knew going into this whole process years ago that I'd be diagnosed with AMA. But geez louise, it's irritating to see that on paper.

Dave did point out that the good part of that diagnosis is that the doctor did not turn to us and yell, "Good LORD, you old hag! There is NO WAY you're going to get pregnant again!" To be honest, after speaking with him, I felt better than I have in a while that we'll actually get pregnant again and have a healthy child.

So, here's the POA:

We are clearly ovulating and that is good. We did have a little discussion on the validity of using temperature shifts as an indicator of ovulation. He's not so fond of it because it's so variable and prefers OPKs and cervical fluid changes. (Although he uses the term mucus which bugs me as a feminist and I can talk about that later. OK! I'll talk about it now: do you say seminal fluid or seminal mucus, cause it's the same sort of thing)

ANYHOO, with 2 years of charting data, I am a pretty good N=1 design and I know when I've ovulated or not based on my temps. I think when I threw out that phrase "I am my own N=1 design" I should have remembered that even though he's a doctor and I'm a doctor, we're not the same sort of doctor. He kind of laughed and took a moment to translate what I said to what he knows (he's won research awards, so I know he knows research) In any case, N=1 design is a strong research methodology where you can see great cause and effect results when 1) a "cause" keeps being added and removed---like progesterone before and after ovulation and 2) an "effect" is observed that changes regularly when the "cause" is added or removed--like my temp low before ovulation/increased progesterone and higher after ovulation/increased progesterone. SOOOOOOO, I am my own N=1 design with a good 24 months worth of consistent temperature changing data.

So there. HA!!!

Back to the POA: The next step is a HSG to see if there is some scar tissue from the D&E's or some blocked tube problem we didn't know about. The good news about this is that the doctor has seen the diagnostic test kind of clear out some of the rubble (!) in one's tubes and women can get pregnant immediately after the procedure. Of couse, I just checked the med journals and the research is not all that enthusiastic about the HSG at all. Whatever. I'm willing to give it a try because the anecdotes from my mommy boards are supportive. Sometimes, I wish I would not look up the research. I'm sure you do, too.

Step 2 will be a sperm analysis, just cause it's cheap and easy. (I'm sure Dave LOVES my referring to it that way!) And then if we're not pg after that, we're moving to the RE.

We may get pg this month. We may get pg the next month we try. I don't know. I feel a boatload better today than I did last week. Even if I now know it was a boy. Honestly, to protect myself, I haven't really thought of the last m/c as a real being. I've healed enough now to let myself think of him. Although I swear to God(dess), I thought it was a girl.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Off to the Doctor for a POA

Sometimes, you POAS. Sometimes you just need a POA---a plan of attack.

We're off the my OB/Gynie today to figure out what we can do to try to have another baby. It's been 4 months since miscarriage #2 and we're not pregnant again. (We're in the midst of Month 5, so who knows). This is the longest we've gone without getting pregnant; before now, we've gotten pregnant every 2 or 3 months of trying.

So, I just want to go to the doc and find out what he thinks our options are. And if we're not all that into those, then we'll go to the infertility clinic and see what they think our options are.

At my age, IVF is really not all that promising, despite when it happens to 47 year olds, who then decide they don't want children. And it's not cheap. Adoption is not cheap either, but you're guaranteed a child by the end of that process. (Unless, you've adopted from a 47 year old who then changes her mind.)

So there you go. We'll see what the doc says. I hope I know enough to know if his advice is lame or not.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Caught in the Mist of Croup

Thank God(dess) for the weekend sick clinic and the on-call triage nurse is about all I have to say.

Clearly, that isn't all I have to say because I'm still typing. Conor came down with The Croup this weekend. (And yes, it's a real disease, not some southern made up word for funky cough) Conor has had a "croupy cough" before but this time he had the Real Deal---the Croup. There was fever, there was the bark, there was massive pain and crying for our little boy after each cough.

Because we'd dealt with a croupy cough before, I thought we could handle it. But with New Year's Eve approaching--and thus the doctor's office not open---we thought it was in our better interest to take him in to the sick clinic. Sure enough, it was The Croup and they gave him steroid shot so that he would not need to be rushed to the emergency room at 2 am the following morning. Conor responded to the shot by carrying his father in a straight arm press over his head out of the doctor's office. Actually, he just let out a silent 2 minute scream.

Thank God(dess) for the steroids though. He still had the cough, but we never got to the strider part. His voice is very gravelly though. The doc said the same thing that gives us laryngitis gives them The Croup. Apparently after steroids, children get laryngitis, too. He now sounds like a very young Bette Davis. It's a bit freaky.

But he's all better, mostly. And I'm almost out of time before school starts back. I am SO NOT READY for this semester. I did not get a break from work and I don't see a break arriving at any point until May.


More green tea for me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

G is for Guitar

The Scene: I working at home alone. I come in from the office, and I hear this voice saying the same thing again and again and again.....

Doesn't that toy seem guilty, like it was just caught doing is something it ought not have been doing?