I’ve been really bad about updating here, or journaling in general for that matter. So, this will likely be a disorganized mess of thoughts and such, but I do need to get some of it out in one form or another, so here goes. Please pardon the long depressing post. I’ve put TL;DR’s on there for anyone curious, but doesn’t feel like reading a damn mini-novel.
TL;DR: We’ve been trying to have a baby for a year. Both of us are healthy and physically should be able to produce a child. It’s not happening. I’m also gone half the time that she’s ovulating because of work. We’ve finally gone to a fertility clinic and we’re trying IUI twice, then we’ll do IVF if that doesn’t work. My wife hates my job. I looked at what’s available locally and I’d take a $30-40k pay cut.
Just shy of a year ago I had a vasectomy reversal. Obviously that was with the intention of having a child. Three months after the surgery my sperm count was zero, but that’s not totally out of the ordinary. At six months things were normal, though motility was slightly low. Overall though, mechanically, things were working as they should. So, the trying to make a baby process started. There’s a bit of a hiccup in this whole process though – my job. I travel a lot. I don’t always get to set my schedule. Sometimes something comes up and I need to have my butt on a plane within a day or two to go deal with something. As luck would have it, some of my normal and/or unplanned trips happened on ovulation days. So, we didn’t get to try every month like any couple who’s trying would normally have.
A month ago my wife seemed upset. Sometimes she’s upset, but she’s not one to talk about what’s bothering her and she usually goes about her business and whatever it is seems to pass. This time though, she looked sad. In the 7 1/2 years we’ve been married, I’ve only seen her cry a handful of times. She’s just not someone who cries about much unless she’s truly in distress. After a little coaxing I was able to get the main thing that was bothering her out into the open which had to do with her frustration with not getting pregnant, and my being gone half the time which made things even more frustrating. After talking, we decided that technically it had been almost a year, so it would be reasonable to go to a fertility clinic at this point. When the surgeon did my reversal, that was his suggestion; give it a year, and if that doesn’t work, look at other options.
The appointment was made and my wife talked with the doctor that originally examined her to make sure she was healthy and wouldn’t have any real issues with carrying to term. We explained the situation and the doctor suggested we try IUI first. For those not familiar with the process, they basically take a sperm sample, separate the healthy sperm from the not so healthy, then put the healthy ones in a syringe and push the syringe through the cervix and deposit the sperm directly into the uterus. Leading up to this, medications are taken to cause more than one egg to be produced during the normal cycle to increase the potential for pregnancy to occur. That’s all fine and good, right? Here’s the problem. For this to work, my wife needed to have an ultrasound a day before ovulation to see if there were indeed eggs. If there were, then 24 hours later, this procedure needs to take place. The problem is that I’m writing this from Florida where I’ve been in mandatory training all week and this all needed to happen Monday and Tuesday of this week. Though it’s not optimal, I went in Friday of last week and produced a sample for the procedure which was cryogenically frozen for a whopping 4 days before unthawing an using. That kills healthy swimmers. It’s also expensive to have them frozen, regardless of how short or long. Either way, in a couple of weeks we’ll be able to see if this worked or not. If two tries of IUI don’t work, then it’s IVF.
So, that’s having a baby stress. I’m 40, and certainly am not getting any younger. She’s 31 and is concerned about egg quality. So there’s that pressure, too. If this didn’t work this month, we try again next month, and regardless of what’s going on with work, I’m calling out on the days for the test and procedure. In my wife’s tears in telling me how frustrated she was, she said “you need another fucking job.” She doesn’t say things just to say them, or in the heat of the moment. My travel for work has been a strain on both of us for awhile, and we agreed that if it became too much that we’d say something. Now something’s been said. So, there’s that stress taken to another level now, too. I’ve been looking to see what’s out there, and in the area I live, I’d have to take a $30-40k pay cut to work locally.
TL;DR: The usual. We need another person and management won’t approve hiring one. Because of this I’m gone too much. For the aggravation and my wanting to max out my annual 401k contribution I asked for a $7k raise which now has management shitting their pants thinking I’m going to leave. They are getting whatever approval is necessary for the raise. Also, work travel is incredibly lonely and isolating. I have no social life at all and basically no friends that want to spend any time with me anymore.
Work stress.. I’ll not belabor this one. We need another person. Desperately. Executive management won’t approve the hiring of another person for our region, so there’s no chance in my territory reducing any. Reduction in territory would mean less travel. Problem solved. I cover 5 states and 11 offices, all of which support up to a 50-100 mile radius. Because of the frustration and aggravation, I asked for a $7k raise this week. That’s getting pushed up the chain for approval. Management is now terrified that I’m talking with other companies or that there’s an offer on the table. Who knows – maybe that will change something. Maybe not. Why $7k? That will let me max out my pre-tax 401k contribution per year so that I might have a chance at a decent retirement someday. Also, from what I have heard from absolutely everyone with a kid, kids are expensive, so there’s that, too.
Somewhat work-related stress.. I have no social life. I know sometimes people say that, but no, I mean I literally have no social life. I’ve tried reconnecting with old friends, but unless I’m the one calling them, there’s never any desire to spend any time together, be it dinner, a movie or whatever. Work travel is lonely. It’s so, so incredibly lonely. I’m not an extrovert. It’s hard for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger to begin with. Adding to that, I couldn’t possibly care less about sports, which in the midwest, is the ritualistic male meeting/bonding ritual. If you can’t talk sports, you’re not part of the tribe. I generally get along with women fairly well, but I’ve reservations about approaching random women at the hotel bar and starting a conversation. So, that’s out. When I’m traveling for work, things wrap up after dark, so I eat dinner and go to my hotel room. I get up, work, eat, go back to the hotel room. At some point, it’s dark and I go home, where I’ll sit at home. I love my wife and cherish the time we spend together, but it’d be nice to have a friend or two, too.
One of the most terrifying days of my life:
TL;DR: Had many symptoms of a stroke that were getting worse over several days. In the middle of that, one of our dogs (the stupid one) ate something that got stuck in his stomach which ended up having us spend many hours at an animal ER. I went to the ER for myself because of stroke-like symptoms and a ton of doctors were unable to figure out what was wrong with me until they brought a Neurology professor down and he told me I was having an atypical migraine. Up until he came in and gave this diagnosis/answer, I was terrified that something was really, really wrong.
Also potentially work-related stress.. The Friday before last I was working from home and I was replying to many emails that had come in throughout the week and as I was proofreading them, I was noticing that I was dropping words from my sentences. Sometimes so much so that it was almost gibberish. I’d correct, finish proofreading, then proofread again. I’d notice more words missing, or where I’d repeated myself in the email. This is unlike me. After noticing this, I had a conference call that I had to be a part of. I was having trouble remembering common words and terminology. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I felt pretty nauseous as well, so I ducked out of the call, set my out of office and went to sleep. Saturday I woke up feeling really nauseous and I noticed I was having trouble with my balance and coordination. Also, one of the dogs had puked literally 18 times overnight all over the house, and not little bits, either. So, off we go to the animal ER. I felt like I was going to pass out on the way there. After a couple of hours at the animal ER we found that the dog had something lodged in the bottom of his stomach. They gave him some medications to help whatever it was to hopefully pass and sent us on our way. They wanted us to come back 12 hours later for another x-ray to see if whatever it was had moved down his digestive tract. Luckily, it did and he eventually passed it. In that 12 hour gap, I couldn’t eat or even drink water. Nothing would stay down. I slept. Sunday I just felt tired, my balance was still bad and I had no appetite. I slept pretty much all day. Monday morning rolls around and I feel somewhat ok, so I go to my psychiatrist appointment and she noticed within minutes that I was having aphasia. I didn’t, but she did. She gave me the quick neuro test for stroke and had me call my primary care doc from her office. They instructed me to go to the ER. So, off to the ER I go. By the time I get there, I’m barely able to communicate what’s going on. They take me straight back, strip me down and send me for a CT scan. No stroke. No brain bleeds. Basically, it’s not something wrong with my brain. I’m fucking terrified at this point. Making matters worse, I’m seeing many, many doctors come in to examine me, all of which are at a loss. Blood tests are normal. Urine test is normal. Tox screen is normal. O2 is normal. EKG is clear. Finally, after being there a few hours, they have one of the Neuro professors come down with his flock of students to examine me. I’m told this is an atypical migraine, and it’s far enough along that I have to “wait it out.” I wasn’t back to normal until Thursday.
Current state of things:
I don’t know what to do. Obviously stress is affecting me in really negative ways. Lexapro helps with this and I’d be coping fine with it, but I can’t take it while we’re trying to conceive. The sexual side effects are too unpredictable. Starting last week I’ve been waking up more nights than not at around 3:00am in the middle of an anxiety attack. Not mild anxiety attacks, mind you, but the type that feels like you’re having a heart attack. I have klonopin, but it doesn’t seem to touch them when they are like this. I’ve also started having them during the day at work. I truly, honestly don’t know what to do at this point. I’ll call the psychiatrist and see if she can give me a stronger dose of the klonopin or something, but that’s just a bandaid for a much larger set of problems. Next Wednesday night we fly out for San Francisco for a short 4 day vacation. Honestly, that’s just more time on a jet and in a hotel, which is the last thing I want right now. I just want to lay in my own bed for a few days and vedge out on Netflix. I’m hoping for the best with the vacation, but I expect to return more tired than when I left. Oh, and as soon as I get back, I pack and leave for a week on the road for work.