Friday, February 27, 2015

marriage + infertility

I read a post recently about infertility and marriage, and how it's okay to not have a "perfect" relationship.

I agree with that. My husband and I have had an especially rough few months and I'm not sure that it's going to get easier any time soon. It's just the season of life that we're in at the moment.

But what I didn't agree with is the idea that by not talking about the hard stuff, you are leading people to believe (or attempting to) that your marriage, despite infertility, is perfect. We avoid talking about the bad stuff because it puts a damper on the "perfect" image we want to put out there.

Personally, I'm not a fan of airing dirty laundry in public. Especially when it comes to my marriage. I talk about a lot in this space, but grievances in my marriage--even related to infertility--will never be one of them. I don't do that with the intention of "hiding the truth". It is no secret that infertility is hell on a relationship. But I do believe that there are limits and that some things need to stay between my husband and I where they belong.

That said, I do think that it is possible to talk about how infertility affects relationships in a respectful way, without getting into "dirty laundry" territory.  And should we be having that conversation? Yes. Absolutely.

That happens to be on my agenda, and so I'm putting out a request. If you have any questions for me on this topic, please let me know and I'll put together a Q&A or series. You can let me know in the comments, find me on Instagram (@girlryanneblog) or Facebook or you can email me: girlryanneblog@gmail.com.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!






Pursuit of Purpose {Day 2}

I'm following along with Rachel at The Lewis Note for her Pursuit of Purpose Workshop! If you'd like to join us, click here for more information and here for the latest post!

Today the topic is fear. How it changes us and influences our choices. Fear, as Rachel says, is healthy...until it isn't.

My two most predominant fears are failure and being abandoned. I won't touch anything that I think I might do badly at with a 10 foot pole. I hate the time in the doctors office between when the nurse leaves and the doctor comes in. And "being enough" is important to me--because "being enough" will keep me safe.

Rachel asked these questions: What fears do you have that make sense? And which ones are False Evidence Appearing Real?

My answer to both is, both.

I'm a firstborn. If you've ever read anything about birth orders, this might not be new information, but firstborn people tend to be perfectionists, people pleasers, "little adults". More comfortable with older people (or younger people) than with those their own age. We tend to be super responsible, aware of the rules, leaders. We can be stubborn, bossy, and opinionated. It's our way or the highway. We also tend to have more expectations put on us by the adults in our lives than any other birth order, except for some only children.

So when you take that, combined with my background (which we'll talk about later), my fears make some sense. Not in every situation, but they aren't total baloney either.

Rachel asked two more questions: What has living by fear cost you? What has your living by fear cost others?

Both of those questions really struck me. Allowing those fears to influence my life has brought challenges to my marriage and to other relationships as well. It has stopped me from standing up for myself, from living true to myself--because it might mean that I wouldn't meet the expectations of people I care about.

I've been feeling this itch in my soul. It's no way to live your life, trying to meet other people's expectations at the expense of you and your integrity. But it's a hard habit to break.





Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fertility Authority | What I Wouldn't Change

https://www.fertilityauthority.com/blog/ryanne-dunlap/2015/2/20/what-i-wouldnt-change-about-my-infertility-journey
I'm a few days late in posting this, but my second post is up at Fertility Authority! Thank you to everyone who read and commented last month! I appreciate each one of you!
"We talk a lot about infertility and how hard it is, mostly in an effort to get it off our chests or to help people understand what we go through. And that's okay! It's healthy, in fact. But even so, I think it's also healthy to talk about the ways that it has helped us grow. I touched on it a little bit in my previous post, but today I want to talk about a few things that I wouldn't change about the last few years."
To read more, check out the rest of the post!

Again, thank you so much for reading and commenting!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pursuit of Purpose {Day 1}

Rachel of The Lewis Note is hosting/guiding a workshop called Pursuit of Purpose. I've followed Rachel for awhile as she documents life after miscarriage and dealing with infertility, so when she wrote about the workshop I knew that it was something I wanted to do!

Our first assignment has to do with brokenness. Rachel asked us to pick 3 or 4 events of brokenness that have changed and shaped us.

Here are mine:

  • Infertility+Miscarriages
  • Leaving home+Struggles w/ Parents
  • Breakup with first serious boyfriend
I'll admit that two of the three are currently unresolved. I'm hoping that "talking out" my feelings and perspective will bring me some clarity, because I have been feeling so unsettled! It will be nice to do a little guided journaling and soul searching as well. 

If you would like to follow along with this workshop, click here and leave a comment for Rachel that you'll be joining in!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Break 2.0

Heading into month #2 of our break from trying via IUI, I feel like I'm in a funny place. I have some hypochondriac tendencies, and Dr. Google is so bad for that. I had a moment this evening when I looked up what one of my latest blood tests was for and felt like "OMGIMGONNADIE" when I got my answer. And then I convinced myself that I must have XYZ because of this particularly rough period. Never mind that I just had acupuncture for the first time and started on some herbs. It couldn't possibly be related to that...

Oh, and did I mention that increased emotional sensitivity is common after acupuncture? And during your period?

*sigh*

I'm about to turn my brain off and fall asleep to a meditation.

But first, here is my "plan" for this cycle.

Evening Primrose Oil (Depending on how my appointment on Monday goes)
Multi+B vitamins (I'm working on figuring out what exactly I want to do. Good supplements are stupid expensive!)
Acupuncture and herbs
OPKs and temping, because I'm not certain if or how the acupuncture/herbs will affect my cycle and I'll need to know when I ovulate for treatment reasons (certain acupuncture points are fantastic for you, but can't be used if you're pregnant because they can stimulate contractions)

If I'm encouraged to make changes to my diet and exercise, I'll do my best. I've also been listening to a free meditation by Circle+Bloom and I plan to make that a nightly ritual because so far it has allowed me to drift off to sleep easily and without my brain getting off track. Plus I fall asleep to soothing music and happy fertility thoughts. I really liked the castor oil packs, but I'm going to clear it with the acupuncturist before I do them again!

For Chris, I want to start him on a CoQ10 supplement because it's great for a lot of different things including anti-aging and sperm health. If we can afford for him to try acupuncture too, that would be great! He has been so stressed out and if it would help in that way, I think it would be really good for him.

So that's it for now. I'm really looking forward to Monday!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Cycle

The wait is finally over! AF arrived for real this afternoon after 4 days of spotting. Finally, right?

I feel like there's a reason for the spotting, and why it showed up after my first miscarriage and increased in length after my second (this is the second cycle it has happened, and was normal during my IUI cycle in January). I just don't know what it is or where to start trying to figure it out. I hope that this blood work from yesterday adds some pieces to this puzzle!

TTC Thursday: Acupuncture

For those of you who don't know me in real life...I just don't do needles. Like, ever. My girlfriend of twenty years (how awesome is that??) and I got our ears pierced for our birthdays one year waaaaaaayyy back and I squeezed her hand so hard when it was my turn to face that awful little gun! In my defense, I was like 9 years old. Anyway, I've recently graduated from having to be held down for a booster shot (again, I was under age 10...) to giving myself shots in the stomach on a semi-regular basis. And yesterday, I had my first acupuncture session!

Does this mean I'm conquering my fear of needles? Maybe...

I've heard for quite awhile that acupuncture can be ah-mazing for infertility. Especially in conjunction with other treatment, which I'm not doing right now but will be in the not-so-distant future. So when I found a really awesome Groupon deal for a chiropractor in my area, I jumped on it. It was a great deal, and what did I really have to lose?

When the spotting started the other day (I still haven't fully started AF yet--super annoying) I immediately called and set up an appointment. New cycle, fresh start. So I went in this morning. My appointment ended up taking about 2 hours, but I was with someone all but maybe 10 minutes total! They asked me lots of questions, did an exam and got me set up for my session while my doctor and their version of Dr. House (minus the Vicodin addiction and terrible attitude--I really liked her!!) brainstormed about their findings. Apparently I'm contradictory in some aspects--honestly, not a surprising bit of information. But they ended up with a good starting point--acupuncture, obviously, and some herbs to help bring things back into balance. They also did a nutritional blood panel, checking to see if I'm at risk for a type of anemia linked to my MTHFR mutation, to see what my Vitamin D levels are, and to see how much that MTHFR mutation is actually affecting me. Supposedly my mutation isn't a "bad one", but everyone is different and it hasn't been explored other than finding out that it exists. All good things!

We talked a lot about my cycles, since I was there for infertility. They had lots of questions about what I experience month to month, about how this one has been abnormal, etc. I didn't get a solid "this is what's up", but I could tell that they have a theory.

As for my session, I had a really good experience! There were a few places that stung or were a little uncomfortable for a few minutes after the needles were placed, but most of them I hardly felt at all! I was in a darkened area and it wasn't busy so it was pretty relaxing! I think that I will be able to relax more as I get more comfortable with the whole experience. Afterwards I felt good--not like an obvious surge of energy all at once, but I felt good all day and had more sustained energy. I've been feeling run down so it was a nice change! My next appointment is Monday, and I'll get the results of my blood work and their opinion on what we need to do from here. I'm excited to see what they have to say!

Have you tried acupuncture? I'd love to hear about your experience!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What Day Is It?

Last night I was symptom spotting. This morning, AF seems to have arrived. Early. Like a few days early.

So confusing. And annoying.

But I'm not going to worry about it too much unless this becomes a habit. There were a lot of crazy things going on this month.

First, castor oil packs. I've done some reading and it looks like they can cause you to start early or have a longer period because they are supposed to help your body detox and get rid of anything it may have been hanging onto. So, maybe this means it worked? It's a question for my acupuncture consultation tomorrow.

Second, illness. In the middle of my castor oil experiment, I got sick. Icky virus and fever and all kinds of fun stuff. That's not really a good time for ovulation--or for other activities.

Third, stress. It abounds around here lately. Waiting on the job, cabin fever, my parents. I have a feeling that my cortisol levels are through the freaking roof. Cortisol=bad for conception. So they say.

I'm not even disappointed. Well, I am. It kind of sucks to get signs that are saying "maybe!" only to have them do a 180 overnight. And I think I'm mostly confused.

Oh well. Nothing we can do about it now. I'm going for my first acupuncture session tomorrow, and I'm hoping that they can give me some additional tools to help get whatever our issues are straightened out! If nothing else, I've heard that it is really relaxing, which will be good for my stress problem. We'll see!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cycle Day 25

This cycle has been pretty laid back and it has been a nice change! Overall, not a bad break from treatment--so far.

I didn't temp or use OPKs this cycle, meaning that I don't know exactly what day I ovulated. I do know that because I got sick on CD 12, I ovulated late--around day 16 or 17. On those days I experienced spotting and feelings of fullness/ovary pain on my right side. I suspect that the spotting (which can sometimes happen at ovulation) was due to a slightly larger follicle releasing than normal since it had an extra couple of days to grow. I had a little cramping one morning but not for very long, but I felt full and tender on the right side--especially during...ahem...certain activities.

On day 23 I saw spotting once, then it started again yesterday evening and has continued all day today. It has increased in amount just a little bit from when it started, but has stayed pretty steady and consistent in what it looks like as well. I often have pre-period spotting very similar to this, but it is limited to about three days before AF is due and we're about a week away, so obviously implantation is my first thought! I've had it a couple of times--the cycle I got my first BFP and then the cycle that I suspect that I had a chemical pregnancy, but I don't recall it lasting for very long. From what I've read, it can vary a lot from woman to woman as far as length and heaviness, so I'm not quite sure what this is.

I started to have other symptoms as well. Breast tenderness, moodiness and fatigue (that one showed up very obviously this afternoon). This could all be PMS related but it gives me reason to hope! I usually have a 13-14 day luteal phase so as of now I'm about 5 days from when I would expect
AF. We'll see what happens...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Bucket List | Casablanca

(Right to left) Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains in Casablanca (1942). Credit: Warner Brothers, Inc./The Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive, New York City












Casablanca is a perfect example of classic Hollywood.

And yet, I had never seen it.

My knowledge of what could be considered "classic Hollywood" films is admittedly pretty shabby. But you would think that a musical theatre major would have seen Casablanca before now. We're all into that kind of thing. At least, my friends are. Anyway.

When I was creating my bucket list, I realized that I had never gotten around to watching Casblanca and decided that it was well past time to fix that situation. So I did! I planned to watch it the night I got sick and didn't end up doing it because I was so miserable. I watched it another night when my husband was having a "jam session" in the basement with one of the guys. Classic rock to go along with my classic Hollywood. Pretty much sums up my marriage, actually. 

If you've not watched a lot of classic films (like me), I recommend subtitles. Especially in films with a lot of different accents (like Casablanca, or The King and I). Just to make sure that you don't miss anything that could be important. 

I don't think that a review of such an iconic film is warranted. I mean, it's over 70 years old. So all I'll say is that classic Hollywood is fascinating. The people are beautiful--without tons of special effects! The stories are timeless. And the voices. There is something about that old Hollywood sound that just fascinates me. I have no idea what it is, but I love it!

So if you haven't seen it, go out and get Casablanca. It might not be your favorite movie ever, but it is really amazing to see how the industry has evolved in 70+ years!

 And if you happen to love old Hollywood films, what are some of your favorites?! I'm on a kick now...