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.

The Old Green-Eyed Monster Returns

Damn. I was really hoping to avoid it this time. I thought there was a good chance, too, since I have my swee20523193968_7d332bd912_zt rainbow baby to keep me busy. But, here it is: Jealousy.

I’m jealous of pregnant women, specifically those who already have one or more kids. It doesn’t matter if they also suffered from loss or infertility. I want what they have, and I want it now. I realize I sound like a bratty child, but that’s how I feel.

I don’t even have a right to be jealous, really. I only JUST had my first postpartum period a couple weeks ago, so we haven’t even started trying yet. But already I’m dreaming of a sibling for C. He (or she) is already a part of our family in my mind and in my heart, so the longer it takes for him to get here, the more I miss him. Yeah, I know, he doesn’t even exist yet. But I think many of you will understand this feeling.

Of course, on the other hand, my fear is that he isn’t out there waiting to join us, that the picture in my mind was never meant to be. Part of me wishes my heart could just remain neutral on the subject: If more kids are in the cards, great, but if not, no big deal. Alas, that’s not the case.

For now, I wrestle with jealousy, and try to remind myself every day of the blessing that is my daughter.

Trying, Not Trying

I’ve mentioned before our plan to start trying for #2 when C turns a year old. Well, that time is here. I still find it rather comical that we’re going to try on our own first, but M thinks it’s a good idea. I don’t disagree that we might as well give it a try, no matter how remote the chance of conceiving on our own. It doesn’t cost anything (except perhaps my sanity), and – as everyone likes to tell me – you never know. I’m all for saving a few thousand dollars.

If   When I don’t get pregnant au naturale, we will do a FET, most likely next spring. That gives us about 6-7 months of trying on our own. The last time we TTC without help, I charted hardcore and used OPKs. I’m not sure I want to do all that again, so it may be that rather than try try, we’ll simply not prevent. I think I can handle that.

Of course, I have to get my cycle back first, and that means putting an end to breastfeeding. That will not be an easy task. C doesn’t nurse very often any more, but it’s a central part of her sleep routine, so I’m hesitant to take it away from her before she’s ready. And she isn’t showing any signs of being ready. Lots of women get pregnant while breastfeeding, but it seems I’m not even going to get my period until we stop. And even then, who knows? Part of me is tempted to just keep doing what we’re doing, and not worry about weaning until FET time. In other words, throw TTC on our own out the door.

So many emotions and thoughts…. Are we ready for this? Am I ready for this? This morning, as I was getting dressed, I looked down at my ankles and remembered how swollen they were at the end of my pregnancy. I thought about how difficult it was to carry around all that weight, and how utterly exhausted I was. How can I possible handle that again, this time with a toddler to take care of? I already feel like I’m missing a huge chunk of C’s life by working a full time job. I’ll miss even more when I’m too tired to play with her, and later when I’m caring for a newborn. I know people do it all the time, but that knowledge doesn’t seem to help with the guilt.

Not to mention the fear. Fear of miscarriage and stillbirth and premature birth. Fear that I won’t get pregnant at all. The optimist in me wrote the above paragraph, but the realist in me knows there’s a very good chance C will be our only child. As of this moment, I think I’m okay with that, but I know that trying and failing to get pregnant will take its toll on me.

Did I Give Up?

Did I Give Up?

I love everything about this post. It’s not about “giving up.” It’s about making choices, the best choices for you and your family. It’s not “giving up” when you choose to stop fertility treatments and move on to surrogacy or adoption. It’s not “giving up” when you choose to stop pursuing parenthood altogether.

So, I refuse to say that I gave up.

And, I refuse to say anyone who stopped trying gave up.

Instead, I think we as society, need to celebrate those who make difficult decisions and attempt to figure out what is best for them today and into the future, regardless of what they choose.

Year One

I know every parent says this, but I can hardly believe that my daughter is a year old already!

Just two years ago, on the cusp of IVF, we didn’t know if we would ever be parents. IVF was a scary thought – a lot of money for a small chance at parenthood. It was our last resort, we had decided together. My RE didn’t give us great odds – with my low AMH, she said we could expect 4-5 eggs, and possibly have one embryo to transfer, nothing to freeze. We were elated when they retrieved 9 eggs, transferred 2 embryos, and froze 3. That two week wait was the craziest emotional roller coaster ride of my journey, by far. When we learned that both embryos implanted, I was pretty shocked. One was only half the size of the other, so we pretty much knew that twins weren’t in our immediate future right away, but still I think back to that time and get a little sad that I basically had another blighted ovum. My medical chart still mentions something about a twin pregnancy, but the whole idea that I almost had twins is a bit surreal to me. If this had been a “normal” (i.e. non-IVF pregnancy), I wouldn’t have even known about the twin, most likely.

But back to the topic at hand. I have a one year old. A toddler! She is simply amazing. I love watching her work things out on her own, like figuring out how to stand up without help, and fitting different shapes into the right spaces. I keep expecting her to get frustrated with her lack of coordination and tactile agility, and sometimes she does, but not often. Already I see that she prefers to figure things out on her own, and that she won’t accept help unless she asks for it.

Even though I hate when people call her this, my daughter is a mama’s girl. She makes it known that she wants no one except me, and she won’t let me leave a room – or even cross one – without her. She can wander away from me, but if I take a step away from her, boy, do I hear about it! I love that she’s so attached to me, but it makes things really difficult, like leaving her with a babysitter, or even with her dad. I can’t get much done around the house, which causes tension between me and my husband. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal, but day to day, it’s a struggle. Soon, she will be more independent, and I’ll be longing for the days she wanted only me.

The most surprising thing to come out of this past year is that I don’t lack instinct after all! I always used to snark when people talked about following their gut, but my gut instinct has served me very well during this past year. It told me that my daughter had more than a cold – it turned out to be RSV and she needed a nebulizer to help her breathe. It told me that letting her cry it out to sleep was not right for us, despite her doctor and others telling me that we needed to do it if we ever wanted to sleep again. There are other examples, but these were the big ones. I am so much more confident now that I know what is best for my daughter and my family. That’s huge for me!

That One Time I Was on a Podcast

I mentioned in my last post that I was interviewed for a podcast called “Beat Infertility.” In that post, I shared my thoughts on what it means to “beat” infertility. Well, you can now listen to my episode hereor through whatever podcast listening app you prefer – just search for Beat Infertility; my story is episode 8.

While you’re there, check out the other episodes, too. The personal stories are wonderful – it’s like an infertility blog come to life. You’ll also find bonus episodes on different topics like endometriosis, PCOS, and strengthening your relationships while going through infertility, all packed with great information from experts.

Hope you enjoy!

08: Endometriosis & Ovarian Cysts