20 Pounds Gone

Starting weight:  236      

Current weight:  216      

Weight loss so far:  20

Things that weigh 20 pounds: a car tire, a fat cat, 2 bags of sugar, 4 chihuahuas weight

Lately, my weight loss program hasn’t been easy. I’m an emotional eater, and lately, my emotions have been getting the better of me. Our upcoming FET, our empty savings account after paying for our upcoming FET, a toddler who hates to sleep and doesn’t want to quit breastfeeding, an increasingly demanding job, a decrease in “me time.”

I’ve been able to maintain a steady loss, despite falling off the wagon on a regular basis for the last month. I’m glad for that, but I’m disturbed by how often I “cheat” on my program, as that’s really the goal here – to reduce my emotional eating and make better choices more often. I need to restart and refocus in order to get back on track. In a few days, when I meet with my coach again, I’m going to ask about making a few changes to my meal plan. I think maybe it’s too restrictive, leaving me wanting and vulnerable to cravings.

Overall, I feel pretty awesome! I’m proud of myself. I’m more comfortable in my own body. My clothes fit better. My wedding ring fits again for the first time in 2 years! I have a long way to go in terms of dealing with stress and food, but I’ve accepted that it’s going to be a struggle for the rest of my life. If I can make good, non-emotional choices most of the time, I would consider that a triumph!

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FET Update

Visiting the fertility clinic for the first time after a successful pregnancy was a surprisingly pleasant event, at least in my experience. In some ways, it felt like coming home – familiar and (oddly) comforting. I knew what to expect, and I was looking forward to the friendly faces and encouraging conversation I came to know so well. Perhaps it was mostly that the weight of desperation and despair had long since lifted from my shoulders with the birth of my daughter, but, this time, it’s a dramatically different experience.

After registering and updating my information (including insurance, which doesn’t matter anyway, as our infertility benefits have been exhausted), my husband and I take our usual seats near the large windows. I hadn’t really noticed before, but this time it occurs to me that the rather large waiting area, full of comfortable single chairs and sofas, never held more than a handful of people at a time. On first glimpse, you would think they simply overbuilt, but then you notice how the people space themselves for optimum privacy. No awkward glances at someone sitting across from you. No possessively clutching at your purse and coat to make room for someone else. There’s plenty of space for a very good reason.

The first person we speak to after the registration desk is the financial counselor. After recapping our phone conversation from a few weeks ago and pointing out which expenses are included in our prepayment and which are not, I write the second largest check in my life and hand over my credit card for the balance. Ouch.

Next up is the nurse. Again, everything we discuss has been discussed before, and the only new thing is to pick a date for the transfer. The optimist in me finds it strange that I actually get to pick the date of conception. I find myself trying to quickly calculate potential due dates, then decide to make the most of the long Memorial Day weekend, and choose May 26, a Thursday. Since the clinic is 200 miles from where we live, they recommend an overnight stay after the transfer, so that I can rest. It will be a 5-day weekend for the both of us, practically a vacation – or a second honeymoon. You know, just like all those fertile people who get pregnant on their honeymoons!

My FET protocol is about as simple as you can get without doing a completely natural cycle – or at least that’s how it strikes me, compared to a fresh cycle: Birth control, oral estrogen, vaginal progesterone, baby aspirin, and a prenatal vitamin. NO INJECTIONS. I will need to repeat the saline sonogram and trial transfer.

So, that’s it! The fun starts May 9, with my baseline ultrasound. Of course, the first thing I noticed when the nurse showed me the calendar was that I take my last birth control pill on May 5 – the date I miscarried 5 years ago. Has it really been 5 years already?

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The BIG DAY, provided all goes well.

Moving Forward With FET

Butterflies in my stomach! Our upcoming FET is so much more real now. Last week, I spoke to my RE, who was just lovely and very positive about this FET working for us. We talked about breast feeding, and how I will need to completely stop before starting the estrogen, as the hormone is transmitted through breast milk. We haven’t had our calendar visit with the clinic yet, so I don’t have an exact date, but it won’t be until at least March or April. That gives me a little more time for C to self-wean, but I have serious doubts that it will happen that way.

I’ll have to repeat the saline sonogram (which hurt like a motherfucker the last time), and have some basic blood work done. The protocol is simple: Birth control for a few weeks to time it to the schedule, estrogen to plump my lining, then progesterone (Crinone).

We have 3 embryos in storage. They will thaw one at a time, because we’re doing a single transfer this time. Last time, we were okay with the idea of twins, but this time… not so much. For one, I can hardly imagine what it would be like with ONE newborn and a toddler. In addition, I’m pushing 40, and I just don’t want a risky(er) pregnancy. I realize it’s possible that I could end up with twins from transferring one embryo – if that happens, we’ll deal with it – but I’m just not interested in tempting the fates. Considering the fact that both embryos implanted the last time… well…

The hardest part will be the cost. Our infertility benefits were exhausted with our fresh IVF cycle, so we have to pay 100% out of pocket this time. We’ve been saving for it, so it won’t be a huge burden. But if it fails the first time, I’m not sure how we will pay for another try. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but I can’t help but think that we used up all of our luck getting pregnant on our first fresh cycle. Is it possible to get that lucky a second a time?

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Reflections and Resolutions

Looking Back on 2015

Obviously, this has been the year of the baby. C was in her first year for most of it, which meant a lot of firsts, trials and errors, tears (happy and sad), and sleepless nights. One of the biggest challenges has been her sleep. After month 3, things went downhill fast, and they are only just now starting to improve. That means I haven’t slept through the night in more than a year. I read all of the books (which all contradict each other, by the way), tried all of the things (including crying it out, which wasn’t my finest moment), and finally came to the conclusion that C will probably figure this out this whole sleep thing in her own time, hopefully before she leaves for college.

Another big challenge was breastfeeding. The year started out pretty well. My nipples had finally healed and we were in a nice groove… until about March or April. It was around that time that I had had enough of pumping, and I was craving the return of my body to myself. After blogging about it, I had an epiphany – I don’t have to pump! It’s making me miserable, so why not just stop? Could it really be that easy? It was. I stopped pumping while I was away from my baby (my supply had dwindled anyway), C received formula at daycare, and I continued to nurse her when she was with me. It was the perfect solution for us. With pumping out of the way, I enjoyed nursing more.

Among C’s myriad of firsts, I had my own first this year: The first time I was on a podcast. My blog caught the attention of Heather Huhman, the host of a new podcast called Beat Infertility. She asked if I would share my success story to give others hope. Uncharacteristically, I said yes, and I’m so happy that I did. Heather has a built an incredible resource through her podcast, and I’m proud to have my small part in it.

What I Resolve in 2016

I’ve given it some thought, and rather than try to change X, Y, and Z things that are wrong with me, or set goals I know I won’t reach (like going to the gym X times a month), I decided to make my resolutions more positive and attainable. In 2016, I resolve to:

  • Be kind to myself, because I’m only human.
  • Celebrate myself, because I’m a pretty awesome person.
  • Listen to myself, because I’m pretty damn smart.
  • Finally finish knitting C’s baby blanket, because it’s embarrassing that I started it I nearly 2 years ago, and it’s still only about half completed.

Happy New Year to all of you!

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Happy New Year from the only creatures getting any sleep in our house.

11 Pounds Gone

Starting weight:  236      

Current weight:  225      

Weight loss so far:  11 

I started my weight loss program 8 weeks ago, so that’s a little more than a pound a week on average. I have to say, I’m very proud of myself for sticking to the program through the holidays. It wasn’t easy, and I fell off the wagon in a big way on Christmas day, but I’m still glad that I started this when I did. A lot of people said they feel bad for me “dieting” through the holidays, but it was good for me. Knowing that I would have to get on that scale and show my coach what I ate that week helped me to make much better decisions than I would have in the past.

Seeing success week after week has really increased my confidence, energy, and mood. Just this morning, I was dancing – actually dancing! – like a damn fool in the kitchen while I made breakfast for my daughter. For the first time, I could actually picture myself at my goal weight. I still have a plenty of pounds to go – 55 to be exact – but I actually feel as though I can do it. I’ve never felt that any other time I’ve tried to lose weight.

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This has nothing to do with my post. It’s just an old photo from a few summers ago, something pretty to spruce up the page.

 

More of Me From (Slightly) Less of Me

It hasn’t been a month yet, but I wanted to post an update on my weight loss journey. In my last post, I mentioned how, at just 4 days in, I was already feeling better overall – more energy, more focused, less heartburn. After 3 weeks, I still have more energy and focus (my memory is even a little better, I dare say), nearly zero heartburn, and very few cravings. I’m still struggling with old habits, like grabbing a candy bar when I go through the check out lane at Target, or stopping for scones at the bakery down the street from my office. I’m amazed at how powerful those habits had become, to the point where if I even so much as thought about going to the store, I would automatically picture myself picking out my favorite chocolate and eating it. Because I’m more focused, I’m also more mindful of these thoughts when they pop up, and I’ve been able to resist acting on them. You guys, that’s huge for me! I’m giving myself a huge pat on the back right now.

The other big thing I’m excited about is the extra energy for keeping up with my daughter. Before, I felt so guilty, because I just didn’t have the energy to really play with her. Now, I look forward to seeing what new games we can come up with together, or finding new things to teach her.

Overall, I’m more present and focused – with my husband, with my daughter, with my career.

I’m down a total of about 4.5 pounds so far. Even more than the weight loss, I’m proud of the good choices I’ve made over the last 3 weeks. I’m really and truly starting to change the way I think about food. And that’s my ultimate goal.


In other news, my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on November 20. That was also the due date of my first pregnancy (one year after our wedding). It’s amazing to think about all we’ve been through since then.

11-20-10 Kara & Mike (185)

 

The Start of Another Journey

As if the journey to build my family hasn’t been challenging enough, I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight and getting healthy. I broached the topic with my family doctor during my annual exam, and she referred me to our clinic’s weight loss program. It’s comprehensive – an eating plan that starts out rigid to force you to make good choices and control portions, then transitions into something you can maintain long-term; an activity plan that matches your interests, abilities, and schedule; and weekly one-on-one coaching sessions to reprogram how you think about food. I’m only 4 days in, but already I can feel changes:

  • I have more energy.
  • My mood has improved significantly.
  • I don’t have raging heartburn at night.

I was expecting hunger and uncontrollable cravings, but the meal plan keeps me satisfied and feeling good. If I feel myself gravitating towards junk food and overeating, it’s not due to cravings or hunger, but simply habit. I had developed a lot of bad habits surrounding food.

One of the nice things about this plan is that I can stay on it if I get pregnant. Programs like Weight Watchers don’t allow pregnant women to participate (at least WW didn’t the last time I was on it). Not that I plan to continue losing weight while pregnant, but if I’m forced to quit the program while pregnant, I may go back to my bad habits, and the chances of me going back on it afterwards are greatly reduced.

While weight loss is one of the goals of this program, for me, the priority is improving my physical health. My cholesterol test results came back borderline high, and though not tested for it, I suspect I’m pre-diabetic. In addition, I just want to feel comfortable in my body again. I’m not sure what weight that will correlate to, but I have set a long-term goal of losing about 60 pounds. Here are my beginning stats:

Weight: 236 pounds (goal of 170, though I’d be happy under 190. I’m 5’9″)

Cholesterol: 182 (normal is <200, so I’m okay there)

Triglyceride: 190 (high – target is <150)

HDL: 34 (low – target is >=40)

LDL: 110 (high – target is <100)

Even though my overall cholesterol is good, the combination of low HDL, high LDL, and high triglyceride is not good.

So, there you have it! I’ll post updates at least monthly, whether it’s going well or not.