Category Archives: Food

Masquerading as Normal

31 days this time.

And that, my friends, is within the doctor-approved normal range!

But before we get all excited, let’s look at what my chart showed (imagine you can see my chart here, because I’m too incompetent to figure out how to provide a web link. Not that you need to see that, but I’m rather proud of my temperature raise post-ovulation.).

Ovulation on Day 21. Late, but just squeaking into the normal range. I was ridiculously excited by this. Ridiculously excited.

I stayed excited right up until 9 dpo, when my temperature made a slight, but significant dip.

Surely, I thought, it’s not dropping already.

It was.

It dropped again, significantly, the next day, and I had a lot of spotting that afternoon. And AF was there in full force by the next morning.

I called it a 10 day luteal phase, but the tenth day wasn’t ideal, not least because Q. and I had gone away for a minibreak staycation while my parents looked after E. This would mark exactly the SECOND time Q. and I have left E. with my parents for a night. The last time was in November 2013 (when my mother famously locked herself and E. out of the house the following morning, which, if you know how the locks work in my house, you would know that’s quite a feat. Luckily we were still in the city and were on our way home when she called).

Anyway. Last weekend. Just us, a fantastic hotel room, some musical theatre, a great dinner, a bottle of wine, and my most unwelcome hanger-on.

SERIOUSLY, body. You choose THAT MOMENT to decide you couldn’t be bothered with a reasonable luteal phase? After YEARS of inaction?

Ahem.

It was still a great staycation, and even with all the fun of the previous day (musical theatre! tasty dinner!) I think the best part remains when we got to read the newspaper IN BED THE NEXT MORNING UNTIL 11:30!!!!!!!

I did all the puzzles.

I don’t think I’ve done that since E. was born.

Possibilities:

  1. My body is still figuring itself out and this time my LP could be longer.
  2. Something isn’t right with my progesterone levels (or the balance between estrogen and progesterone) and I have an LP defect that would send me to a fertility clinic if I weren’t already at one.

I’m going to withhold judgment until I see what happens this month, but you know I’m expecting more problems. Because that’s just how my body rolls when it comes to reproduction.

In the long run, a 31 day cycle with a 10 day LP is just fine and dandy. It’s only an issue if I want to get pregnant.

And maybe I still want to get pregnant. I’m not sure these days.

So I’m opting to stay off the birth control, delay returning to the clinic by at least one more cycle, and wait to see what happens.

But if my body repeats what it did last cycle, I won’t have to wait that long.

And that in itself is terribly exciting.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Food, PCOS, Second Thoughts

44 Days

I have lots of things I’d like to post about on here but E. is out of nursery school now and we’ve had family visiting and we’ve been travelling and it’s just generally been a fantastic summer thus far, but not one that’s left a lot of room for blogging, especially since I’m still choosing sleep (or snuggles) over getting up early in the morning.

This post is brought to you by an unscheduled quiet time. E. and I went out West (or out Middle of the Country) to see relatives over the weekend and he obviously picked up some sort of bug on the plane coming home. Yesterday, right before lunch, he started complaining that his arms and legs hurt. He then proceeded not to eat any lunch, asked to go up and have a nap (!!!!!!), slept for three hours (!!!!!!!!!) and then woke up with a raging fever (39.8). The rest of the day was pretty rough, last night was not much better, and while he is clearly better this morning (no fever), he requested another nap after lunch and has been asleep for the last hour and a half.

So here I am. At least this post isn’t brought to you by vomit (knock wood).

Why the title?

Because, dear readers, I got my period AGAIN.

And while I can’t be certain of the exact length of the previous cycle, as I didn’t keep track of when my period started, not thinking this would be something worth tracking, I am relatively confident that it was a little bit longer. More likely to be 46 or 47 days.

Annoyingly, I can’t pinpoint when I ovulated this past cycle because I stopped temping in disgust on day 22 when it was clear no ovulation was happening. I knew my cycle needed to be 35 days or shorter to be what the doctors would call ‘normal’, so I threw a bit of a tantrum and then went away for a weekend and then couldn’t be bothered to start up again.

I am pretty sure I did ovulate because I took my temperature one morning on a lark because I felt like I did before my period started and it was sky high, then lower the next morning, then lower again on the third day, and that was the same day my period started.

So if you guessed that I’m back to temping, you’d be right. Today is day 21 and, once again, no sign of a successful ovulation. Lots of signs that my body is trying, which is what it was doing last cycle at about this time as well. So I’m going to show more confidence in it and keep charting and hopefully this cycle will be a couple of days shorter again.

Forward progress, no matter how small, is a good thing.

What I think I really need to do is cut out dairy entirely for a couple of months starting on Day 1 of a new cycle, because I have two friends with PCOS who cut out dairy and had their cycles regulate, but I can’t figure out how to do that unless we take IVF off the table because I need the Greek yoghurt for protein. And we’re not yet ready to decisively take IVF off the table, although I am very reluctant to go in at this point because I don’t want to fuck up whatever my body is trying to do by going back on birth control and then pumping it full of hormones.

I suppose that tells you something about my mindset, in that I am more interested in the option to possibly have a normal menstrual cycle for the next twenty years or so (or whenever menopause hits) than I am in the option where we get another baby. Probably because I don’t really believe that we will get another baby, so the option where we just establish that as a fact isn’t particularly enticing. The option to not have to stay on birth control pills until menopause, on the other hand, is ridiculously exciting.

So. Nothing from me for almost a month and then a long, rambling discussion about my menstrual cycle. I’m excited, but I’m not expecting you to be.

 

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Filed under Cycle Madness, E.- the fifth year, Family, Food, PCOS, The Sick

What to eat (that is the question)

A month ago, I posted that I had been making some diet changes in order to get my body in line if we decided to go ahead with another IVF cycle.

I was doing things pretty casually until labmonkey posted with her numbers explaining why she’d decided to start eating meat.

I hadn’t actually sat down and worked out the specifics until that point.

If I’m aiming for 30% protein and max 40% carbs in my diet (which means fat has to come in at 30%), and I’m eating around 1800 calories a day, that’s 135 g of protein.

No problem, I thought. Look at all the meat I’m eating!

Then I went and actually looked up the numbers.

100g of chicken breast: 21 g
100g of tuna or salmon: 26 g
100g lean ground beef: 20 g
100g pork: 20 g

The point where I realized that I could eat 200 g of meat at dinner (which is almost half a pound!) every.single.night and I still wouldn’t be anywhere near half of my daily requirements was when I started to freak out a little bit.

But I persevered.

My body has not been happy. I’m not sure if it’s all the supplements or the diet changes or both but I haven’t felt all that great these last few weeks. It’s not just that it’s either feast or famine when it comes to the functioning of my digestive system. I feel nauseated much of the time. I’m already beyond sick of eggs. Cashew butter doesn’t taste good anymore. And canned tuna (which I normally really like) makes me want to hurl.

Even with a cup of Greek yoghurt (24 g) with a swirl of almond butter (3 g), or three eggs (18 g) scrambled with a cup of cooked spinach (5 g) and some cheese (3 g), for breakfast, I wasn’t hitting my targets on a consistent basis. And I thought I was going to throw up if I ate eggs at breakfast again.

I figured I had three choices:
1. Add in more dairy (cottage cheese as a snack being the obvious one)
2. Add in a protein bar or protein shakes
3. Eat even more meat at breakfast and lunch

#3 was out- I just couldn’t stomach the thought of more meat. It really didn’t help that E. came down with a hideous gastro bug the night we got back from visiting my sister and future brother-in-law (he started vomiting in the taxi queue of our home airport), which I then got two days later, on a night where I’d made beef and black bean tacos. Nothing like throwing up the remnants of a meal for five hours straight to make you a bit wary of ground beef in the future.

I didn’t like the idea of #2 either, since a protein bar was likely to have a bunch of sugar in it (and probably carbs too). And protein bars and protein shakes aren’t ‘real’ food. They’re not something that’s part of my usual diet and it seemed crazy to add them.

That left #1, but the first rule of diets for PCOS folk is not to eat much dairy (if at all). I hemmed and hawed, but clearly I wouldn’t survive without Greek yoghurt for breakfast and dairy in cooking, so cutting it out altogether wasn’t possible (nor was cutting out legumes- I don’t know how people go paleo. I wouldn’t be able to cope.)

I finally settled on trialling cottage cheese as a snack. Maybe I could alternate cottage cheese snack days with edamame snack days (although, of course, I’m not supposed to eat too much soy either. HOW CAN IT BE THIS COMPLICATED?)

I bought cottage cheese this weekend. I actually quite like cottage cheese but I cut it out of my diet several years ago because I didn’t like its salt content. On balance, however, I thought it made more sense than protein shakes.

I was all set to start eating it.

And then I got my period yesterday.

I’m not on birth control.

I had a period on the pill in the second week of April. And I distinctly remember looking at the calendar and realizing that if I started the new package on the expected day, I’d get my period while we were on holiday (I can’t skip periods anymore on my pill- I get breakthrough bleeding).

Nuts to that, I thought. I’ll wait another week before I start.

And then I got sidetracked because my doctor had prescribed me a new pill which she really liked for PCOS, but when I started reading about the pill, I didn’t like all the bad press. So I wasn’t sure what to do and therefore did nothing. When I was visiting with my sister I talked the new pill issue over with her and agreed I didn’t want to switch, but then I came home and jet lag and vomiting and chaos meant I didn’t start a new package of my usual pill.

And while we were away, I can remember a couple of days where I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on downstairs. In retrospect, I think this was EWCM. I’m not used to seeing it.

So.

It looks like I ovulated about a month after my last withdrawal bleed on the pill, and then had a two week luteal phase.

HOLY SHIT.

If you are long-time readers of this blog, you will know that I NEVER, EVER ovulate on my own. I never have. I used to go off the pill for months in my twenties to see if my body would kick start, and it never did. I hoped I might get my period back when I weaned E., and I never did.

For my entire adult life, my body has not functioned normally.

Today I think something may have possibly changed.

It’s still very early days, of course, and it’s possible that this will turn out to be some sort of horrific random bleeding and not a period after all. Or, if it is a period, maybe it won’t happen again.

But I know two things right now.

I’m not going back on the pill for another few weeks- I want to see what happens.

And I’m sticking with this diet.

I don’t think this can be chalked up to anything but diet- I’m taking metformin, but that’s never helped in the past, and otherwise my supplements are pretty much the same with the exception of CoQ10 and fish oil, and I can’t see either of those being the deciding factor.

So now I’m back to wondering if cottage cheese is such a good idea after all, given PCOS and dairy are meant to be a bad combo. I have some long-term infertility friends who have basically cut dairy out of their diets (except for Greek yoghurt and some cheese in cooking) and their PCOS is under control. They have textbook cycles.

I think I need to sit down and really track what I’m eating for the next few days and see how my numbers are stacking up and then go from there. Maybe I don’t need to hit 125 g of protein (which was what I’d been aiming for) every day for things to be kickstarted.

I don’t for a second think we’d get pregnant from this, but it would be nice to have a PCOS management strategy that wasn’t “stay on the pill for the next fifteen years and then see if you enter menopause”.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Family, Food, PCOS, The Sick

One more reason to love the internet

Microblog_MondaysWhen your son asks you for a watermelon-raspberry cake for his birthday, you can deliver.

‘Recipe’ adapted from here (among many others- apparently watermelon cake is a big thing. Who knew?!)

 

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This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under E.- the fourth year, Food, Microblog Mondays

(Un)Necessary Prep Work?

I’ve been making a few changes chez Turia in the last couple of weeks.

It started when a friend of mine sent me a link to this soundbite (this is a different link from the one she sent me, but it’s the same story).

Basically, this doctor found in a small study of women undergoing IVF that women who ate a diet that had less than 40% carbohydrates and 25-30% protein had vastly improved outcomes with embryos reaching blast, pregnancy rates, and live births.

I was interested enough to send it to my sister, who’s a trained microbiologist and therefore my sounding board for anything scientific.

She was intrigued too. It’s not the actual study- just a report of the presentation of the findings. And the sample size was small.

But I figured, what the hell. I’d already made some changes to my diet as part of my “be mindful of what I eat” resolution, so I figured a few more wouldn’t hurt.

I’ve swapped out cereal and oatmeal at breakfast for eggs or Greek yoghurt.

I’ve swapped out sandwiches at lunch for quinoa salads, salads with tuna or chicken or hard-boiled egg, or home-made soups that include legumes.

I’ve cut out grains entirely for snacks.

And I’ve pretty much left dinner alone, because I don’t think eating pasta for dinner once a week is going to be a deal breaker. Q. has responded with enthusiasm to my request to include more meat in our dinners on the nights he’s cooking, and I’m making sure dinner on the nights I cook is heavily centred around lentils and other veggie proteins (I have a lot of trouble cooking meat- I went vegetarian before I learned how to when I was a teenager, and I can manage ground meat and chicken breasts but struggle with everything else. Plus I don’t think we should be eating meat every night anyway.)

Maybe it’s all pointless, but it’s worth a shot.

Other things I’ve started doing:

  • taking metformin again
  • taking coQ10
  • taking a B complex vitamin with extra B6
  • taking a multivitamin with extra folic acid
  • taking baby aspirin

And I’m still taking my vitamin D (2000 IU a day).

And yet, I could look you straight in the eye and tell you I wasn’t sure if I would do another IVF cycle, and I wouldn’t be lying.

Does that sound weird?

It feels a bit weird to me, but it’s true.

We had originally thought if we did another IVF cycle we’d do it in May after we got back from visiting my sister and future brother-in-law.

But once I decided I wanted to start taking the supplements and change my diet, we decided to push back into July, to make sure I’ve had the three months needed to make a difference.

We’re still not sure we’ll go through with it in July, but I decided that if we were keeping the door open, I needed to prepare so that if we did try again, we’d know we gave it our best shot.

I don’t want to do another IVF off the cuff, have it fail, and then wonder if things could have been different if I’d taken a couple more months to prep my body.

I realized that not taking the supplements, for me, was tantamount to saying “we’re done”.

And we’re not. We’re on the fence still.

So I needed to start taking everything to keep both options on the table. At worst, if we decide in July or August not to go ahead, we’ve spent a bit of money on unnecessary vitamins.

I don’t like being in limbo, but it’s not for much longer, because we will either cycle in July/August, or we will be done.

At that point the age gap will be five years, which was always our cut off date. And we’ll be almost a  year out from our last FET.

July will be the moment of decision.

For now I’m just taking it one day at a time, sitting with both options, noticing (but not judging) how I feel about things, and hoping that my digestive system will adjust to the new regime soon.

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Filed under Choose Happiness, Food, Medical issues, Second Thoughts, Siblings

7w3d and all is well

We had the same ultrasound tech as last time. She was wonderful- put in the probe, took one look at the screen and then immediately turned to us and said, “I see baby’s heartbeat. Baby is growing. It’s a good baby.” She took a more careful look around, confirmed that the baby was still there and growing and then started taking measurements.

Baby measured 7w2d, so still a day behind, but s/he’s grown a week since the last scan which is right on track. The heart was nice and strong – 154 bpm. There was a very noticeable yolk sac- I don’t remember it looking that obvious with E. Maybe it has something to do with where it attaches. Baby was definitely bigger but still pretty blob like. I remember E. being in a ‘peanut’ stage with this ultrasound, but this one still looks more like a blob.

The circle is the yolk sac. The blob is the baby.

The circle is the yolk sac. The blob is the baby.

The empty second sac is still there, and so is the blood clot/SCH. The SCH has actually grown significantly since last week (it’s doubled in size if I read my chart correctly). I saw a different doctor today (mine wasn’t in) and she didn’t seem too concerned about things. She told me to stop the Fragmin as of today (HURRAY!) and to now start weaning off the prednisone. I started weaning off the prednisone at this point during E.’s pregnancy but it took a lot longer to stop since I was on a triple dose because of the hives.

Everything looked so good she told me not to come back for two weeks. When I said I had to be back in next Thursday for another intralipid infusion she agreed I might as well have another scan at that point too since I’ll be at the clinic. I’m happy with that- I feel sick the morning of an ultrasound, but the reassurance is worth the pre-appointment anxiety.

There was certainly no discussion of me taking more time off work. I don’t know if she’s less cautious than my doctor or if he just felt that last week was a really critical one. Regardless, I’m happy to be able to start getting things back into order as I am really behind with teaching prep (to say nothing of the dissertation).

When I got home, I had a proper conversation with E. where I told him that I was growing a baby in my body. Q. and I had agreed we’d tell E. if this scan was all right as it’s not fair the way we’re always talking around him, and I know he worries about why I’m always going to the doctor. So we talked about how I’m going to the doctor so much because they’re making sure that everything is ok with the baby, and that I’m not sick myself. E. seemed moderately interested. He said he wanted a baby sister just like in the Berenstain Bears’ New Baby but then was most interested in pointing out how when the baby was born “it would play with baby toys” and wouldn’t be big enough to play with his own toys. I’m not entirely sure he gets it yet, but it’s a start.

Pregnancy-wise, I am having much more trouble with food than I was at this point with E., although I suspect partly that’s due to the fact that I’m not on a triple dose of prednisone this time around. I get a lot of low level nausea throughout the day. It’s not serious, but it can be enough to put me off my appetite. I still mostly want to eat salt and potatoes. Dinner is the hardest meal as it seems the nausea gets worse throughout the day. Q. cooked a lovely meal last night and I could barely touch the pork, ignored the salad completely and ate almost all the fries.

I also had a completely insane dream two nights ago. Every single part of it was insane, but weirdly I looped back to the first element when I neared the end, so when I woke up it took me that much longer to realize that all of it had been a dream. I found myself lying in bed thinking, “Ok, so the bit where we were all running in the downtown core of a big city while some sci-fi droid things shot at us wasn’t real, and the bit where I signed up for prenatal classes at eight weeks and there were girls there I went to high school with wasn’t real, and the bit with the medieval/dragon boat racing festival wasn’t real, but what about the bit with the mall and my sister’s birthday? Did I actually miss her party because the mall was closing and I couldn’t find the right present?” Eventually I determined none of it had been real, but I felt exhausted that whole day- I think because I’d been so busy in my dreams!

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, A matter of faith, Anxiety Overload, E.- the third year, Food, Medications, Siblings, Sleep, Symptoms, Ultrasounds

6w5d- how to guarantee you won’t have time to worry about the ultrasound

Life is never dull chez Turia.

I got back from the clinic on Thursday mid-morning.

“E. says he’s feeling sick,” said Auntie C. “But he also keeps saying he wants to watch a video.”

“Right,” I said. “He says that most days.”

That afternoon E. actually took a nap during quiet time. This has become such a rare occurrence that quiet time now consists of him sitting in his crib with toys and books with the light on for as long as he’ll tolerate.

He woke up and I was reminded that sometimes when you take a nap when you don’t really need one any longer the results are not good.

About an hour later he finally calmed down enough to be willing to go downstairs and have a snack.

I made him crackers with cream cheese. I ate some of the cream cheese too. I think this will later become quite relevant.

E. ate quite a big snack (the crackers, some apple, some nuts).

“You feel sick,” he said. “You want to watch a video.”

“If you want to watch a video, E., you don’t have to say that you’re sick,” I told him. “You can just ask to watch a video.”

So we watched twenty minutes of side-loading garbage trucks on YouTube (side-loading because E. has decided he doesn’t like garbage truck videos with front-loading and rear-loading ones).

At dinner E. refused to even come to the table.

“You too sick to eat dinner,” he said. “You going to lie on the floor instead until it is bedtime.”

So he lay on the floor next to my chair.

Q. and I raised eyebrows at each other.

I put him to bed around 7:15.

Before 8 p.m. he was up, crying.

“You’ve been sick!” he called.

Q. went up to look. E. had done what could have been just a very wet burp. We changed his sheets; I calmed him down. Q. and I debated whether this counted under the “no vomiting for 24 hours before attending” nursery school policy.

We went back downstairs.

About fifteen minutes later, E. was hysterical. I ran up the stairs and got there just as the second or third round of projectile vomiting started. It was everywhere. We got him out of the crib, and pulled out all the linens and any stuffed animals that had been vomited on (his best bunny got hit again). I stripped the toddler and cleaned him up while Q. gathered up the washing.

By now E. was truly hysterical. “You can’t seep in your crib! You was sick in it!”

We were out of sheets and mattress covers and sleep sacks.

We pulled the single futon mattress into our room, put towels and sheets on it, and then I lay down on our bed while E. fell asleep (which he did remarkably quickly). Meanwhile Q. called Auntie C. to see if she could possibly come over yet again as he had to teach my class on Friday and I was due in at the clinic for an overdue intralipid infusion. Auntie C. got our message later that evening and, being a saint, altered her work arrangements to come over. (Seriously. She is a saint. She has saved us more times than I can count this fall. If we bring a baby home in September it will be in no small part thanks to her.)

At 10:30 the laundry had finished, so we remade E.’s crib, transferred him over, and got ready for bed. I didn’t have to do a Fragmin shot since my doctor had told me to switch to every other day. I was excited about this and told Q. I set up the progesterone. Q. jabbed me.

“There’s something wrong with the plunger on this one.”

We had to redo the entire thing and Q. had to jab me again on the other side. I should never have said anything about the freedom from Fragmin.

Finally, at nearly 11 p.m., we were able to go to sleep.

1 a.m. E. woke up. I stumbled in to check on him and soothed him back to sleep. I then rapidly realized that I was about to be sick myself.

I have not been that sick in I don’t know how long. I was very ill one night while pregnant with E., but I think this was worse. I was sick at least ten times between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. After about the sixth time, when I realized I had nothing left in my stomach but was just continually retching, I gave up on getting out of bed and just used a bowl.

I think it was food poisoning and not the flu. The timing and the onset for both of us was suspicious. And I think it was the cream cheese- it’s about the only thing we both ate that Q. didn’t, and it had been in the fridge for a while.

At 5 a.m. I was planning how I would rebook the intralipid, but by 6 a.m., after not having thrown up for an hour, I felt cautiously better. E. slept until 8:15, so I was able to shower, and I kept down some dry toast and some water.

E. was not at all pleased to have the plans change and was not at all pleased to see Auntie C. He was so upset that when he demanded his usual Friday breakfast of “toast with peanut butter and honey” I, against my better judgment, gave it to him. This guaranteed that he started vomiting right when I was about to get a cab to the clinic.

Poor Auntie C.

I got to the clinic. They didn’t have a cubicle for me. A patient in for a transfer had arrived early and they hadn’t paid attention to the number of rooms.

“It’s really busy today,” said the head nurse. “Can you go home and come back later?”

“No,” I said flatly. “I’ve left my vomiting toddler at home. My sister is taking time off work to look after him. I have to do this this morning.”

They moved the transfer patient to somewhere else (possibly into an ultrasound room) and set me up in the cubicle. While they were getting the IV started my sister texted me. “Is it normal for him to just lie on the floor not saying anything?” she asked.

“Yes, he does that when he’s feeling unwell,” I sent back.

She texted again five minutes later. “He’s fallen asleep.” She sent a picture. E., on his hands and knees, with his head on the carpet, was asleep on the living room floor.

This is E. we’re talking about. The child who never, ever, sleeps anywhere else but in his crib.

I called her. “He must be really feeling ill. He needs the sleep. Keep an eye on his breathing and just let him sleep as long as he needs to.”

She sent me another picture a few minutes later. “He’s rolled on his side and I’ve put the sleepsack on him like a blanket,” she texted.

Meanwhile, I was in a comfortable chair with the feet up and the back down, covered in two blankets, and with the light turned off. I didn’t fall asleep, but it was a peaceful ninety minutes or so lying there. The IV did me a world of good and probably got more nutrients into me than I could have managed at home.

It was a madhouse- they were trying to get a whole bunch of procedures done before the weekend. Three other people were there who had the same first name as I do- says something about the demographics of the clinic and the popularity of the name (which peaked in the late 70s and early 80s). It was also a day to be grateful for what we have. They did three D&Cs while I was there, and an egg retrieval where they only got one egg. They were hoping to get two, but the other one was already gone. When I was getting ready to leave the couple was discussing with the doctor whether or not they could do an IUI as well to try and catch that other egg. I thought of E. at home, and the baby in my uterus, and was grateful, even with how sick I felt.

In the cab on the way home, C. texted me. “Are you in the cab yet? E’s just woken up and he’s not the happiest.”

I got home. I calmed E. down. When C. left, I was lying on the couch and E. was lying on top of me.

He took two more naps that afternoon- just kept passing out on the couch. He threw up once more, but then he started to improve. I decided he might have been running a bit of a temperature, so dosed him with Advil, and that perked him up a little. He also managed to keep down some food (plain toast, Cheerios, plain crackers). He refused (again) to have anything to do with dinner (“You too sick to eat dinner”), including the french fries Q. had picked up thinking they might tempt him (or me- and I was so excited as I had been thinking they would be such a good idea), but he held things together long enough for a bath, and then slept really well last night.

Today we spent the morning watching truck videos on YouTube (including one four minute video with a song about excavators which I now have in my head), before he decided what he really wanted to do was lie on the floor in his sleepsack with a blanket over him. So he’s clearly not over it yet, but he’s keeping food and water down. I’m feeling much much better and only realize I’m still sick if I try to get up and do too many things at once.

The silver lining is it’s made it very easy to spend much of the last two days on the couch. I just have to hope that my body reacted as violently as it did because it was protecting the pregnancy and that the baby in the uterus is still happily growing, blissfully unaware of what we’ve all been through.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, E.- the third year, Family, Food, The Sick

2.0 IVF Day 6

The advantage to having a projectile vomiting toddler?

It takes your mind off of your ovaries.

Yep, it’s hard to stay focused on the fact that your entire mid-section feels miserable when you’re scrubbing puke out of the carpet (and the couch, and the table, etc. etc.).

I’m drinking three 12 oz. glasses of Gatorade a day. I went with the fruit punch flavour this cycle (in 2010 it was the lemon-lime). Thus far I’m underwhelmed. And I’m eating pretzels (lots of pretzels) every day as they had the highest percentage of salt of the snack foods I looked at. I should eat prepackaged processed meals (or fast food) too, but I can’t bring myself to stoop that low. I’m also back on the All Bran, but I don’t think my digestive system is the problem at this stage.

I keep telling my co-dependent cat that she can’t sit on my lap anymore if I’ve got the laptop out. She is not pleased.

On the bright side: signs that you’re really learning something in this parenting gig: You don’t start the second load of vomit-encrusted laundry because you suspect if you just wait a bit longer there will be more.

Sigh. Sometimes I really hate being right.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, E.- the third year, Food, Medical issues, Medications, Second Thoughts, The Sick, ttc

The doctor is in

This morning we took E. to the doctor. One of the things I LOVE about our paediatrician is she works in a large(ish) clinic, and they do walk-in hours for sick children. They always, always have hours on Mondays to Fridays, often both in the morning and in the afternoon, and usually on the weekends as well.

Today their adolescent specialist (whom I have met before- he is really lovely) was going to be there between 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.

E. still wasn’t right, and Q. and I both felt it was time to make sure we weren’t missing anything.

E. had a superb sleep last night- slept from 7:30 p.m. until 7:00 a.m., so hopefully that’s the jet lag sorted! If it is, this will have been the easiest trip to recover from. The last time Q. and I came back from Europe, pre-E. in 2008, we were both waking up ridiculously early for close to two weeks, and we’re both scarred for life by last summer’s epic return from Oz.

This morning Q. woke up at 5:00, and I woke up at 5:30, so we crept downstairs (not an easy feat with our floorboards- if we get pregnant with our first FET and don’t need to spend all the money we’ve been saving on our hoped-for 2.0 we’re going to redo the floors upstairs so we can actually get up in the morning without waking our son). When E. woke up Q. made us all waffles with the new waffle iron he’d bought me for our anniversary (the sixth, where the traditional gifts are sugar and iron). Then I took E. to the park for half an hour where he filled up the park dump trucks with sand.

I tried to get to the clinic about ten minutes before the walk-in hours started, because the only negative thing about his paediatrician is the clinic is so good it is extremely well loved and as a result it is ALWAYS hideously busy.

Today we were lucky- when we turned up at 9:22, the doctor was already in seeing patients, and there were only two people in front of us. We were in a consultation room and the next one to see him by 9:29!

He was great. He has such a fantastic sense of humour, and he is reassuring without being patronizing. Basically the issue is whether E. picked up some form of food poisoning like salmonella to explain what we’re seeing in his diapers.  He then added: “I don’t know how much Goo.gling you’re going to do after you leave here, but if you do, you’ll see things like IBS or Crohn’s. But that’s very unlikely in this situation. It would be like bringing E. in with a cough. Could it be tuberculosis? Technically, yes, but it’s not likely.”

I LOVE that he knows his demographic so well that he anticipates a Mum will be mainlining the Dr. Goo.gle.

He also reassured me that we did the right thing to wait so long before coming in. He said he was giving me “bonus points” for not coming in yesterday because by waiting the extra day it made it much more obvious that E.’s symptoms needed to be investigated. “If you’d come in earlier,” he said, “I would have had to tell you to go home and monitor the situation and come back later.” He also said that Q. and I had assessed the situation perfectly and our approach was exactly the right level of caution and confidence.

He also knows his demographic so well that he knows that a Mum will be feeling guilty if he says the words “food poisoning” and she waited three days before taking her child to the doctor.

Anyway, he made a joke about whether or not E. had been eating cronuts, and then sent me home to collect a sample to take to the lab. The down side is we have to keep E. pretty much isolated until we get the results back, and the little guy just lives to go to the park these days.

One of the advantages of just getting back home after four months away, however, is pretty much every toy in the house is new again. So we had a happy afternoon with E. playing with his train set, and his big garbage truck. While he napped, Q. and I moved his sand and water table outside to the side garden, and I scooped all the lentils out of the water side and filled it, so in the late afternoon I took E. out to play with it. This is the first time it’s been outside since my Mum and stepfather bought it for E. for his first birthday! Last summer we were away for the first half, and then never got around to setting it up. E. did use it all the time over the winter, as I put it in our basement filled with lentils and beans and whatnot, so it has had good use. But it was nice to see it in the garden.

We also spent a few minutes harvesting snow peas for dinner. Our house sitter put in a veggie patch and has told us to eat the fruits of his labour. I can think of no higher praise for his efforts than to say that E. doesn’t really eat green things these days, but he stood in that patch and wolfed down at least ten snow peas before he decided he was ready to do something else.

We’re hoping we’ll get the results back on Wednesday. Hopefully he’ll be clear. The doctor did say that even if it is salmonella or something similar, they may well not treat E. with anything, as adding antibiotics to the mix can actually slow down the time it takes for the infection to leave the system. Obviously if E. were really unwell we’d all be much more interventionist, but with the exception of the state of his diapers, and his complaints that his tummy hurts, he’s fine- no fever, sleeping and napping well, eating and drinking, bright and cheerful. He’s also (I discovered today) cutting his third molar- only one more tooth to go!

I’d planned today to get my study under control but we ended up having to take apart the storage room next to Q.’s study in the basement when I went in to pull out some baby things (we have friends who are due in September, and we’re going to loan them a heap of stuff) and discovered there was mould in quite a few places. So we pulled absolutely everything out, and I washed all the objects that were problematic, and Q. cleaned the floors and the walls, and then we put the dehumidifier in there and shut the door. Once it’s dried out we’ll put things back in, but we’re going to have to be a bit more careful with what we store in there, and how we store it. We did throw some things out, but nothing that probably shouldn’t have been thrown out already (we’ve been meaning to sort this room out since before E. was born), with the exception of my winter boots, which ended up with some seriously weird mould growth on the leather. I was going to need a new pair this year anyway, but now I won’t have the luxury of wearing my old ones to get to the good sales.

Between that, the visit to the walk-in, and Q.’s unexpected Zipcar rental to drop off E.’s sample at the lab (to try to speed up the processing time), it was a pretty disrupted day.

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Filed under Daily Life, E.- the third year, Food, What were we thinking? (aka travelling with small children)

Staying accountable

I’ve written a couple of times on here with the issues I have with my weight and with food and, above all, with body image.  It’s one of the reasons I am so determined to protect E’s natural instincts with food.  If he is hungry, he gets to eat, even if that means he’s then not hungry at supper time.  If he’s full, he stops eating.  If he doesn’t want to eat something, he doesn’t have to.  He eats what we eat, with the exception of alcohol.  He obviously understands that we eat the same things because we’ve had wine with dinner a couple of times over the last week and each time E.’s pointed at the glass with noticeable excitement, saying “Ee-mi have some!” and I’ve had to explain to him that this is a drink for grownups only.  There may well come a time when his eating becomes enough of an issue that Q. and I feel we have to make changes to this, but right now my main mantra with food is “It’s not going to be a battle”.  We provide.  He decides.

It is really interesting to watch what he eats, and how much of it he eats, and how both wildly fluctuate from day to day.  Right now he doesn’t eat many vegetables, but the other day he got stuck in to the asparagus.  (And I’m not hiding vegetables either.  I’ve read a ton of literature that says if he’s eating a lot of fruit, which he is, he’s absolutely getting the nutrients he needs, so I’m not going to set him up to think that vegetables are something which are so nasty they have to be hidden.  Q. has a bad habit of not putting vegetables on E’s plate because “he won’t eat them”, which drives me crazy because how will he ever eat them if they’re not on his plate?)  One night at dinner he ate his way through almost an entire package (125g) of goat’s cheese.  One evening this week we were outside playing after dinner because it had finally stopped raining, and he asked to go back inside for “Some snack!”.  After consultation he decided that what he really wanted was an English muffin with peanut butter and a glass of milk.  He then ate the entire muffin and downed two glasses of milk.  Ordinarily he doesn’t have a snack at all before bedtime, but he was just ravenous that day, even though he’d also eaten a good dinner.  Two nights ago Q. made Niçoise salad, and we had to open a second tin of tuna because E. basically ate the first tin himself (along with two of the three hard-boiled eggs….), and then ate two bowls of yoghurt with cereal (at which point his ignorant parents finally clued in that there was probably a growth spurt happening).  He used to love cheese, and then he wouldn’t eat cheese for two weeks or so, and now he’s devouring it again.

I watch E. eat and I wish I could recapture some of his relationship with food for myself.

There is nothing healthy about my relationship with food.

I can’t tell if it’s actually getting worse as I get older, or if I’m just more aware of it now, or what.  But I do know that I had a much better body image when I was in my late teens and early twenties, when I weighed probably 35 or 40 pounds more than I do now.  I was fat then, but I wasn’t body conscious to the extent that I am now.  I knew I looked hot.  And that confidence made me look hot.  Now I spend so much time worrying about whether I’m fat, or getting fat, or could be maybe on the road to getting fat (when I am very much not), that I can’t remember the last time I felt really good about how I looked.

My eating patterns are very disordered.  I have a bad relationship with sugar.  Every now and then we break up, but I always come crawling back for more punishment.  I have trouble with portion sizes, with self-control.  When I get really stressed my disordered eating skirts closer to becoming an actual eating disorder.  I have so many complex feelings tied up with food.  Q. just eats food.  It drives me crazy, actually.  He eats SO MUCH MORE than I do.  And very occasionally he’ll eat enough more that he puts on a bit of weight, and then he’ll go for literally one run, or a bike ride, and lose it again.  About every three or four months he weighs himself and discovers that he’s exactly the same weight, give or take one or two kilograms, that he’s been for the last decade.  Meanwhile my weight goes up and down like a yo-yo (although the yo-yo has been much smaller for the last five years, and my weight hasn’t fluctuated by more than about eight pounds other than when I was pregnant with E.), and I am constantly thinking about what I’m eating, and how I can eat better, and what exercise should I be doing.  And Q. can have chocolate in the house for weeks at a time without eating it.  Weeks!  Me?  No way.  It actually works best if I have chocolate to put Q. in charge of doling it out, since he’ll at least exercise some form of self-restraint.

Anyway.  The point of all of this preamble is that it’s very hard for me not to be aware of my weight.  I find it very difficult to maintain weight, and usually if I’m not monitoring the situation, I will start to gain weight.  Given I’m tall, I can put on quite a few pounds before they become noticeable in my clothes.  I’m sure the PCOS plays a part in this trend towards weight gain, but not an enormously large one.  I don’t have any problems with insulin resistance.  If I’m careful to watch what I eat I don’t have problems losing weight.  Mostly the problem is I love food and I like eating more of it than I need to eat.  (I don’t need to do one of those internet surveys to tell me that “my” sin would be Gluttony.)

I’ve mentioned before that I put some weight on when the troubles breastfeeding E. started, and a bit more when we weaned him, and then a bit more last summer while we were away.  At one point I was eleven pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.  Over the winter I lost most of it, even though I never managed to get back into running regularly.  I never got back down to the pre-pregnancy weight, but that was the lowest I’d ever weighed my entire life and it was a weight I hit only when training for a half marathon.  I got back to just below my wedding weight, which used to be my baseline ‘happy’ weight, and was ok with that.  I wasn’t happy with it, but I’m never happy with my weight.  Even at my lowest weight while running 40+ kilometres a week I’d look in the mirror and still think I was fat.  I don’t actually think I can fix this.  I think it comes from having once been fat.  It’s impossible for me to believe a) that I’m not fat any longer and b) that I’m not going to get fat again.  Photos are actually useful for that because they’ll make me sit up and take notice and realize that I’m actually quite trim.  I can’t use the mirror objectively.

I slacked off in April.  There was the trip to San Francisco, and then I wasn’t paying attention, and I knew by the time I got over here that I’d put a few of the pounds back on again.

And then I got to the U.K.  The first couple of weeks weren’t terrible.  Yes, there were all the new temptations in the shops and bakeries, all the different treats that we can’t get at home or rarely see.  I indulged a little, but I was also living alone so the dinners I was making were really healthy and not carrying high caloric loads.

Then Q. and E. got here.  And Q. started making dinner every night.  We talked about sharing the cooking, but he loves cooking and finds it a relaxing way to spend the late afternoon, so when I get home from the library I spend time with E. and we stay out of the (very tiny) kitchen.  And given Q. is a bit bored and not really intellectually engaged with being home most days with a toddler, he’s turned his attention to cooking interesting things.  Despite the somewhat spartan nature of the tools available to him compared to back home (no food processor, no rice/slow cooker, only one frying pan, terrible knives, etc.), Q. has managed to cook some amazing dishes.  Veritable feasts, in fact.

And that’s where the trouble lies.  Q. is, in Five Lo.ve Lan.guages-speak, an “Acts of Service” kind of guy.  He shows love through doing things for people.  This used to be a source of tension in our relationship, because I’m a “Quality Time” kind of girl, so I would get resentful that he spent all afternoon cooking and he would be crushed that I seemed annoyed that he’d spent all this time making something delicious, but then I read the book (I’m not normally one for self-help books, but this was a real game changer), and finally figured out where our disconnect was.

So for Q., cooking an elaborate dinner is his way of continually telling me and E. that he loves us.  And Q. is an AMAZING cook.

But.  Q. generally plates up the dinner.  And for years now I have tried to get him to give me less food than he gives himself, because he can eat HUGE AMOUNTS of food with no consequences, and I can’t.

We were making progress, and then I got pregnant, and then I was breastfeeding, and I could eat as much as Q., or more on some days.

So.  We’ve never really sorted this out in the past year.  And it’s very very difficult for me to broach the subject with Q., because if I ask him to give me less food he hears, “I don’t like what you’ve cooked”, which translates in his language to, “I don’t love you very much right now”.  Ditto for if I leave food on my plate (not that I can do that- I was raised in a “clean your plate” household, and I CANNOT leave food untouched as a result).

I’ve tried getting him to serve me less.  I’ve tried refusing to eat seconds.  I’ve tried serving myself.

The ideal would be for Q. to give me half of what he gives himself, and then I could have a small amount for seconds, and I would have eaten the right amount.  It’s just too hard for me to say no to seconds when everything tastes so wonderful.  But getting him to do that is problematic.

For the first week or so they were here, I didn’t worry about it too much because, after all, I was biking!  Every day!  And biking is exercise!

But then I started to look a bit more closely at my day.  And I realized that while, yes, I cycle in and out, for a round-trip of 9.2 miles, when I get to the library, I SIT.  I sit all day long.  I get up to get books, but the blessing and the curse of this library is it’s faculty specific, so all the books are relevant and I never have to travel very far to get what I need.  The library at home would often require me to run up and down several flights of stairs multiple times a day.

If I’m home with E., I’m rarely sitting.  We’re always moving around the house.  If I’m teaching, I rarely sit on those days.  I’m walking from lecture hall to tutorial room to office to bus to subway, etc.

But here, when I’m in the library, I have a sedentary lifestyle.

I started to get a bit twitchy about this.  I looked into buying a scale, but decided I wasn’t going to spend the money.  If I bought a cheap one, it probably wouldn’t work properly.  If I bought an expensive one, it would just get left behind at the end of the summer, which seemed a ridiculous waste of money just to allay my insecurities.

I tried leaving it, but I ended up getting progressively more and more agitated.  I started to freak out about returning home to discover, quelle horreur!, I’d gained fifteen pounds over the summer.  The whole thing started to take up far too much mental energy, energy that could be much better spent on my research.  My eating started to get disordered again, which just made matters worse.  I’d binge on sweet things, and then feel both emotionally and physically sick as a result, and then I’d stress about how much I’d eaten, so I’d end up bingeing again to cope with my stress.  It was a vicious cycle.  The only saving grace is since being here I’ve managed to stop myself from purging after binges, which I was having some trouble with back home particularly this past semester which had been so stressful on so many levels.  That way madness lies and I had been determined to use the fresh start overseas as a chance to really break out of that pattern.

So I reluctantly signed up again for myfit.nesspal.  I had a very brief flirtation with the site in the fall but found the idea of tracking my calories to be a) unnecessarily onerous and b) potentially encouraging of disordered eating behaviour by making me more obsessive.  I don’t, for the most part, think tracking calories is the best route to weight loss.  I have friends who use wei.ght wa.tchers, and I like that their points system differentiates between foods according to their nutritional value.  Fresh fruit has no points count on WW, but on myfit.nesspal those calories (and especially the natural sugars) are treated exactly the same as if you’d eaten a doughnut.

When I first tried it I found Q. and I cooked too much from scratch to make the site useful.  I was constantly having to build recipes.  It took a lot of time.  So after a few days I deleted my account and just used a written food diary instead, which served to keep me accountable.

Over here I thought I needed a bit more help since my lifestyle has changed.  I know how much food I can eat back home.  Here I wasn’t quite so sure.

So I set up a new account because it couldn’t find my old one but still wouldn’t let me keep my old username, put in my details, guessed at my weight, and marked that I had a sedentary lifestyle.  I told it I wanted to lose a pound a week, since I know I’m up a few from where I’d like to be.

Well.  That was a real eye-opener.

If a woman of my age and weight is sedentary AND wants to lose weight, she doesn’t have a lot of caloric wiggle room.

I started doing this on a day where Q. had made pancakes for breakfast, so by the time I’d built that recipe and plugged in the calories and discovered that at breakfast alone I’d consumed more than fifty percent of my calories for the day, I was more than a little freaking out.

But then things got better.  I did the calculations to figure out my cycling speed and added my morning and afternoon commutes.  I figured out what my average walking pace is when I’m belting into town at lunch, or if we go for an after dinner stroll around the village.  Given I’ve classified myself as sedentary, any sort of exercise helps.

I’m still not being super precise.  Dinners are still hard when I have to put fifteen ingredients into a recipe and then figure out how many servings it made.  I often have to guess, or rely on information that someone else has added to the database that no one else has confirmed.  And there are days where I don’t even try to quantify the calories I’ve eaten, such as last Saturday when we were out all day touring and had a delicious pub dinner, but just acknowledge that they were probably too many.  But the main thing is it’s keeping me much more accountable.  It’s really made me aware of what my limits during the day need to be, especially if I’m going to go home to a lavish home-made dinner.  It’s brought an abrupt end to my eating E’s leftovers (which I’d started doing again without really paying attention to it) because I made myself calculate every single bite; this turned out to be both deeply annoying and time consuming and a real wake-up call as to just how much extra I was mindlessly consuming.  Even if I don’t try to quantify calories on days where we’ve eaten out, and I’ve for sure taken in more than I needed to, if I’m generally in the right ballpark for the rest of the time, things should stay under control.

I have to admit that it’s kind of fun to plug in the exercise numbers and watch my daily allotment of calories rise as a result.

I also don’t think I’ll get obsessive about this.  My disordered eating is never going to stray too far in the direction of excessive calorie restriction.  I love food too much and have way too much of a sweet tooth.  My problem is always with portion sizes, emotional eating, bingeing on sweet treats.  And myfit.nesspal is really helping me control that, because when I’m tempted by something sweet in town I now think much harder about whether it’s really what I want to eat, or whether I’d rather have space for one of Q.’s home-made rock cakes after supper that night.  And when I do indulge, having the hard numbers helps me to a) not feel guilty about having a treat because I know I have space for it and b) avoid spiralling into the pattern of “if one sweet treat is amazing, why not have two? or three? or more!” where I end up bingeing.  I’m trying to be mindful in my eating, and to truly savor the treats I do have.  I’ve got a long way to go, but I do think I’ve made progress, even in the week or so since I’ve been using the site.

I’m still not going to buy a scale.  I’m going to go these four months without weighing myself (which is honestly going to be incredibly difficult for me).  I have a pair of jeans here with me that are my ‘skinny’ jeans.  They fit really well before I got pregnant with E.  They mostly fit now, but they’re tighter than I’d like them to be.  I want them to fit before I return home.  That’s going to be my bar.

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Filed under Food, Mirror, Mirror (Body Image)