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Archive for July, 2009

Progesterone, Be Gone

Today was a mildly momentous day: L stopped taking progesterone.

She’d been on PIO shots until a couple of weeks ago. At that time, she switched to Crinone 8% (which is really expensive but fortunately was covered by our medical insurance because it was pregnancy and not infertility related). As a result, the past few weeks have been far more comfortable… and I’m no longer a nightly “pain in the ass” by administering shots. ;-)

All told, we probably have something on the order of $1000 in unused pharmaceuticals and supplies (extras from during and/or after the IVF cycle). At some point, we’ll need to dispose of them. For now, we’re keeping them around as a kind of “military surplus” in our War on Infertility, though we hope to live in peace from this point forward.

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Medical Emergency?

Tonight was interesting. I’m sort of exhausted by it all, but I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version:

After dinner, I developed pain in my chest that started to escalate quickly. Within a matter of moments, I felt like the better part of my chest and upper abdomen were burning. My pulse quickened and my breathing became more rapid. I started to FREAK THE FUCK OUT!

This made the symptoms worse.

Thoughts raced through my head: “Holy shit! Am I having a heart attack at age 32?”


For the past couple of years, I’ve suffered from a mild to moderate anxiety from time to time… mostly when traveling (planes, cars, ships… ironic, I know – as I travel often for work and LOVE TO TRAVEL for pleasure). On two occasions that I can recall, I’ve previously had what one might call “attacks.” In response, I had a full medical work up (which checked out fine, though I could stand to lose a few pounds) and was given anti-anxiety medication to use (my “crazy meds” for flying). In general, these “attacks” haven’t been a big deal.

However, tonight was different! Far worse than any previous attack. And, I was (in case you missed it) FREAKING THE FUCK OUT!

I took some Roll-Aids (indigestion?) and my Crazy Medication (because I’m crazy?). But, nothing helped. I was pacing around the house like a maniac with a (so I’m told by L) “wild look in my eyes.”

In short, I was quickly becoming completely unglued.

I finally told L to drive me to the emergency room. However, I couldn’t stay seated in the car. My anxiety level was so high, I was pretty well convinced that I was going to crash en route to the hospital and die in L’s Jaguar somewhere on the interstate! (Yes, I know… this is crazy talk).

So, I got out of the car, went into the house, and called 911 for myself!

The next few minutes were a blur as I was trying to explain to the emergency service operator that a) I might be dying, but b) I’m also likely just crazy. I remember apologizing a lot. And, pacing around… waiting for the cavalry to arrive (for what seemed like forever).

Eventually, a fire truck and ambulance pulled up outside of the house. At the sight of help, my symptoms started to subside. I greeted the EMS professionals at the door. “Hi, I’m the patient.” More explanations, profuse apologies, and some tests (pulse, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, EKG). The paramedics were really great. And, I was feeling even better.

We made the decision to not send me to the hospital. The paramedics seem to think that I have (in addition to panic disorder) gastroesophagial reflux disease (or GERD). And, that the GERD might be a trigger for my occasional anxiety attacks. This all seemed plausible (and “confirmed” later by Dr. Google – this article was especially interesting on this topic). After more apologies and thanks on my part, the paramedics departed, and I returned to pretty much a state of normal over the next 30 minutes.

So, I’m not dying. However, I am: embarrassed by my irrationality, sorry for having caused L stress in her “condition,” and simply thinking that I might just be (going) bat-shit crazy. Oh yeah, and I seem to be prone to reflux.

All of this will get to be confirmed by my primary care physician (and associated specialists) starting next week. This has been one hell of a year, medically speaking (between L’s infertility treatment and my earlier broken leg – another story for another time).

Good grief!

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Visting the OB/GYN Office

Sorry for the delay in my posts. It was a bit of a whirlwind of a week, having a new direct report starting for me (who’ll also be commuting from Florida to Minnesota) and some other (all good) career-related “stuff” going on (looks like I’ll be taking on more responsibilities / business functions). Needless to say, it’s all good, but doesn’t allow a lot of time for writing.

So, I have some catching up to do…

Established at OB’s Office

L’s now officially re-established at her OB/GYN’s office. After a little thrashing, we opted to stick with the rather large practice that she’s been participating at. It’s a little weird, because the practice consists of entirely female docs. Personally, I don’t get the “for bitches, by bitches” (as L calls it) selling point. Not that I’m opposed to female docs (indeed, my primary care physician is a women), but I just think it’s odd that of two candidates to add to the practice they’d have to pass on a better qualified / trained male for a lesser qualified female candidate simply because she had a vagina.

Marketing. Go figure.

Last Wednesday, we had our first appointment (I attended) and met with one of the eleven docs in the practice (you sort of rotate around to meet them all). As it happened, we’re fellow alums, having earned our respective doctorates from the same university. Oddly, I can’t say that was a comfort either. ;-)

What I did like about her: she was fairly mellow, which serves as a good foil to L’s strongly “type A” personality. Her take on various issues (paraphrasing):

Travel? Go for it. We’ve sent pregos to South America and China. Just no international travel after week 34. Exercise? Absolutely… go back on the treadmill, girlfriend. Food restrictions? The occasional bit of brie, gorgonzola, hot dog, or slice of deli ham isn’t going to cause any problems. Caffeine? You can visit a Starbucks once again. Splenda? Sure. Heck, go wild: make it a Coke Zero (Splenda and caffeine). Sex? Ride ‘em, cow girl!

All of this was a bit much for L to process, as she’s been in uber-careful mode ever since starting the IVF cycle (and per RMG instructions). But, the doctor kept stressing that she’s in really good health (normal BMI, good vitals / blood work) and still relatively young (at 32)… so, really, she’s just another normal, low-risk pregnancy at this point. They’ll let L know if/when there’s something to worry about.

One other “observation” — from what I could tell, there’s another side effect in having an all-female office: they seemed to have potpourri and flower arrangements everywhere. But, then again, it was my might first trip to an OB/GYN office, aside from the RMG. Maybe that’s the norm?

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Family Gathering for the 4th

Today, we had our first full family (L’s parents / my mother and grandfather — yes, a small family) gathering post announcements about the pregnancy and “rest of the story” (i.e., knocked up after infertility treatment — more on that later) . Like always, I was the primary “chef” and opted to serve fairly typical barbecue fare. I can certainly do better in the kitchen, but I was being lazy… almost to the point of feeling guilty for my lack of effort. This really was a walk in the park (despite nearly everything being homemade). :-)

Anyway, I still have more to relate from the prior week, but I’ve been busy with holiday prep work and other stuff.

I’ll try to write more tomorrow, prior to my travels on Monday. July is going to be a busy month. I’m currently slated to be on the road 3 out of 4 weeks.

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Paul Exhales…

Well, I’m back from my brief trip to Washington, D.C. This month is going to be a whirlwind of (business) travel, followed by our planned annual (vacation) journey to London in early August. I actually have a lot to bring you up to speed on: telling the fam about the pregnancy status (and IVF history); first “normal” OB/GYN appointment; update on the PIO shots, etc.

However, I don’t have the time or energy for all of that tonight. I just need to relax… and unwind.


That’s what I need! To take a breather, which we all need from time to time.

This seems especially apropos, as my first column at Exhale Magazine came out today! Yup. That’s right. I’m now one of the regular writers for this smart online magazine for people who have either lost babies or struggle to make them in the first place.

So, I’ll have more to say tomorrow. But, in the meantime, why not go Exhale with me tonight?

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