Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Goal #1

One of my friends over at Conception-Obsession challenged all of us ladies to create nine goals for 2009. After much thought and many drafts, I'm ready to announce them to the world. I realize this is potential pride suicide. If I don't meet my goals this year, I've got a lot of people to answer to. But, I figure I haven't made resolutions in a few years, so I'll pack 'em in for 2009. And besides, I could use the encouragement.

2009 Goal #1:
Get back and stay on the Dysglycemia Diet. When I was first diagnosed with PCOS in 2003, I was flooded with all sorts of emotions: anger, sadness, relief, hopelessness...the list goes on. I tried a few things to get pregnant like the magical Metformin my weirdo RE promised would knock me up. Apparently, Kev and I didn't even have to hold hands and a baby would miraculously begin growing in my womb. Sort of like the Immaculate Conception, I suppose, though raising Baby Jesus seems like a daunting task. Talk about a tough act to follow. Anyway, I also tried Chinese herbs and acupuncture as well as Mayan abdominal massage. I loved these treatments because they were so relaxing and I was encouraged to do things that I would normally consider pamper items such as meditating, relaxing, taking baths (ok, a vaginal steam bath is not quite the same as a relaxing bubble bath, but I take what I can get).

After a couple of years of these treatments (paid out of pocket, I might add) and no baby, I decided to make an appointment to visit my regular doctor. She practices holistic medicine and is a good friend of the family. She recommended that I try the Dysglycemia Diet to regulate my blood sugar. Because I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, my body doesn't process sugars and starches the way a normal person's body does. In a normal person, sugars and starches are turned to energy. In my broken body, sugars and starches are turned to fat instead. This starts a vicious cycle of decreased energy, weight gain, depression, and yes, infertility (on top of some other yucky, more scientific things). Some experts think that the Dysglycemia Diet is perfect for people with PCOS. I followed this diet for about a year and lost weight, felt great, and got pregnant (even though I lost the baby) a few months after quitting the diet - might just be a coincidence, but I'm desperate here. I'm ready to try it again.

One thing I really loved about this diet is that it is vegetarian friendly. For every meatatarian dish, there is an equally delicious and nutritious vegetarian substitution. The document includes meal plans and recipes, reproducible checklists to keep track of what you've eaten each day, and daily menus for 1300, 1600, and 2000 calorie daily allowances. The first few pages also explain how the diet works and what the absolute no-no's are while on the diet, as well as tips for us veggies. It's really comprehensive. It's really a lifestyle change. It's really something I've needed to do for a long time.

If anyone out there is interested in taking a stab at this with me, I'd love to have a diet buddy. The link above takes you to the exact document I used a few years ago and will use again starting January 5. Why January 5 and not January 1 you ask? Because I plan on being thoroughly hungover on January 1 and I will want some pizza and soda. Maybe even some sweets of some kind. Yeah, I'm all over the sweets. Of course, I'll need a day or two to clean out my cupboards and fridge and shop for items on my new menu and plan out meals. Then, it's bubbye to indulgences and hello to a healthier, happier, thinner, more energetic Gina.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


One of my goals for 2009 is to finish the baby quilt I've been working on for the past couple of months.  This is the first thing I've ever attempted to quilt, so I'm a little concerned about how it may turn out.  

My neighbor is teaching me this wonderful craft.  Unfortunately, she is moving in a few weeks, so I'll have to drive to see her for advice from now on.  It has been so handy to have her right across the street.  I'll sure miss her.

I chose these patterns before I had a theme for the nursery.  Because we don't know if we'll be having a boy or a girl or if we'll even be having a baby anytime soon, I decided to go with black and white with a bit of yellow on the front.  The back will be a bumble bee print.  It is too cute.

Hand quilting has proven to be a great lesson for me in accepting mistakes.  Being the ultimate perfectionist (in some things - obviously not housekeeping), I was getting upset when my corners didn't match up perfectly or if some pieces were cut slightly larger than others.  When I voiced my concerns to my neighbor, she told me to relax and not to worry about it.  That I am doing this by hand, so it won't be perfect.  If I want perfection, I need to use a machine; but then if I use my machine, I won't have any excuses for imperfections.  She sold me on the idea and now I see the imperfections not as mistakes, but as character.

Alright, kiddies.  Go on over to see what else is up for Show & Tell at Stirrup Queens.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Past

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the ornaments Kevin and I receive from our loved ones. They are whimsical, traditional, memorial, and always special. We have recently established a tradition in our family when it comes to decorating the tree. Because I'm such an indecisive perfectionist, I have a difficult time choosing a temporary resting spot for each of the ornaments. It drives me insane and I know it makes Kev nuts.  Instead, I'm in charge of unwrapping each of them and handing them to Kev to place on the tree. This way, I still get to savor each one, but I don't have to stress over where to put it. Silly thing to stress about, I know, but that's just how I'm built. Anyway, here are a few of my favorites and the stories that go with them. 

My mother gave me this ornament in memory of the baby we lost at Christmas in 2006.  Since then, holiday seasons have been grim reminders of what we still don't have.  I cry when I hold this ornament.  I think about who that tiny baby would be now... and I cry.

This ornament is a memorial to Kevin's beloved childhood buddy, Jane.  She was a Black Lab "the size of Cleveland," to quote Kevin's mother.  Jane and Kev spent a lot of time together and I know it was hard for him when she left.  

We were given this ornament the year Kevin's dear, sweet Great-Uncle Walt passed away.  We couldn't be here for his services - we were working for Ogichi that summer and knew it would be impossible for them to find replacement kitchen bitches while we were gone.  So we stayed, and the family had another small service when we returned so we could get some closure too.  Harman family gatherings are much different without him.  Uncle Walt was a wonderful, jolly man. He was really kind of like Santa Claus - with a serving or two of scotch added.

Kev's grandmother used to host elaborate holiday dinners at her ENORMOUS and formal dining table.  She would place a special ornament on each person's plate indicating each guest's place at the table.  This was one of the first ornaments waiting for me at that table.  I love how whimsy and elegance are fused in this creation.

Aunt Sally gave me this ornament last Sunday at the gift exchange and family dinner.  She said that this is the first installment in her newest holiday tradition - finding and gifting her nieces the strangest Christmas ornaments.   I think it's hilariously cute.  Unfortunately, I also must admit that this little froggy's midsection resembles mine after all the infertility treatments this year.  Due to all the hormone injections, I've blown up around my middle.  Infertility's cruellest joke - to make infertiles look pregnant.

Kev's lifelong and best friend just moved back to KC after about a ten year hiatus.  His sister's husband has begun blowing glass at his studio located on their camp.  This is one of the pieces he created, though I must say I didn't get the ones I truly wanted because they had already sold at the art opening.  I suppose that's a good thing for him, and I really do like this one.

This is one of many ornaments my mother made a few years back.  She's such a crafty little busy bee.  This nutcracker, like the other figures, is made of bees wax and smells of Christmas spices.  I love them, not only because they are quaint, but mostly because my mom made them and I love her.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


About seven months ago, I found a magnificent place in the cyberworld. This place is called Conception-Obsession and is designed for women who have been trying to conceive for at least twelve months. It's a place where women can get and offer support for pretty much anything, but the focus is obviously on infertility and trying to conceive.

C-O (as it is commonly called) is celebrating its one year birthday in a few days. It's a relatively small group, which is part of its charm, but the women have enormous hearts. These women have helped me through some very trying times this year, and I'd like to think that I've helped some of them.

Consider this show & tell my shout out to Mindy (the creator of the site) and all the women at C-O who have become like family to me. Thank you for always being there and knowing exactly what to say when no one else does. I may still not be a mom, but I am a better and stronger person because of you.

Now, take yourself over to the land of Stirrup Queens to see what other neat stuff people want you to look at.
Show and Tell

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It's been about two months since our homestudy has been completed. It doesn't sound like a very long time now that I'm saying it, but it has felt like an eternity. Just sitting and waiting is driving me crazy. I feel so out of control. Even more out of control than what I felt when we were trying to conceive.

When we were TTCing, every day was a task to be completed to get us closer to the elusive positive pregnancy test. Oral meds, injections, ultrasounds, bloodwork, chart consultation, baby dancing... the list goes on. Ok, so maybe none of that worked, but I at least I felt like I was doing something. The illusion of control is a hard thing to give up.

We've mailed out about half of the letters we need to. There are still a lot of addresses we need, but honestly I wonder how effective those letters are. Do birth and adoptive parents really connect that way? It seems unlikely, but I'm new at this.

We've talked to several of the Catholic churches in the area that have an adoption program. The most popular one has a year waiting list just to begin a homestudy! Even though we already have a certified homestudy, they would have to redo it. We would have to do all the same background checks, etc. I don't like that. It makes me feel like it's about money, not finding homes for children.

Speaking of the Catholic churches, Kev and I have finally found a church that suits us. St. Agnes is racially diverse, supports two or three Catholic schools, and is close to our home. The congregation is enormous, and I'm pretty excited to be a member. Our Sundays now revolve around mass and family. Isn't that what it's supposed to be anyway?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today is Thanksgiving, but I'm finding it hard to give thanks for all things in my life. Instead, I can't get out of my head the thoughts of my baby, long since gone to heaven, who would have been one year and four months today. I know that there are other women out there who feel like this today, and I want them to know that it's okay to feel.

The following was not written by me, but it helped me cry today... something I've needed to do for a while.

A Sisterhood of Sadness

"I was once a member of the Pregnancy Club, my membership card consisting of two pink lines on a stick.

I was eager to pay my dues, just like all the other members. Morning sickness, stretch marks, cravings -- I welcomed them all. But they never came.

And before I knew it, my membership was revoked. No real reason -- at least none I could discern -- other than bad timing, perhaps. Or, at least, that's what everyone's been telling me. That and "God's plan."

Miscarriage is a terrible word. As if one has dropped something, or carried something incorrectly. Similar to "mistake" or "misunderstanding." How I longed for it to be either of those things when I learned my baby was gone. Surely, it was a mistake, I prayed. If they would just look again, they would learn it was all a simple misunderstanding.

But the ultrasound screen showed otherwise.

1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, say the books. That statistic terrified me when I was pregnant. So many lost babies, I thought. How can I keep mine from being one of them? But now that mine is one of them, that 1 out of 5 seems awfully small. Or, at least, it did. Until soft-speaking female voices started whispering to me in my grief, "It happened to me, too."

Their eyes told me the stories of the pain that we shared, the pain that only a woman who has carried a child - and lost it - could know. For some, it was fresh pain. For others, it was dulled by healthy babies since born.

A sisterhood of Sadness. It's a silent group, this new club of which I have recently become a reluctant member. Our membership cards are the scars we will always carry on our hearts. Our dues are paid in blood and tears. It is a painful initiation, and one never ceases membership. Because one never forgets. I am joining, not because I want to, but because I wasn't given the choice.

But at least I know I'm not alone. At least I know there are hundreds of thousands of women with me, however silent and invisible, quietly holding my hand."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We've been working on getting addresses together and our letters sent out to family and friends. I think we're about half way there. We still have a lot of addresses to find, though... I truly hate that part. It reminds me of the tedium of searching for the hundreds of addresses for our wedding announcements six and half years ago. But, of course, I do it out of love. Love for our unborn child who is out there somewhere, waiting to be born. Waiting to come home to Kevin and me to these arms of love and hearts overflowing. And until that day comes, we wait too. I guess we're waiting on God to bring us all together.

I know God has a plan for us. I just don't understand why it's taking Him so long. I suppose it's not for me to try to understand.

While at my parents' house this weekend, I saw a magnet on their fridge that had the serenity prayer written on it. I found myself reciting this prayer repeatedly throughout the day and night and even on our way back into KC late Sunday evening. I've known this prayer for as long as I can remember, and have always known that it had a special import. Even as a child I knew that this prayer was lifted up to God in times of great stress or confusion, but I've never felt as though I needed it. Perhaps I never felt as though I required help to sort things out in my life. Maybe things in my life haven't really been too confusing up until now. Regardless, I've never found myself so moved by this prayer as I have been for the past few days. I think now I need it. I think now that God is speaking in my life. I plan to hold on to this sign from God, to continue to recite it and ask for guidance. Maybe there's something I've been missing for the past five years that has been standing in my way of becoming a mother. Time will tell.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Kevin and I are sending out letters to all our family and friends that just talks a little about what we're hoping to do with adoption. More importantly, it includes a "mini profile" that you can keep in a desk or file or dresser until you run across someone who may be considering creating a plan for adoption.

We just ask that as you go about your day at work or church or with family and friends, you keep us in mind if you learn of someone who may benefit from making a plan for an open adoption.

I haven't seen many of you in years, and obviously wouldn't have your physical address. Those of you whom I see often, I probably don't have yours either. I've just been slacking off - that's it - no excuses. So please send me your address. You never know when God or fate or the universe will need you to help ensure that a child is given every possibility for a bright future.

With much love and gratitude,
Gina & Kevin

PS. Please email your address to kevinandginasfamily@gmail.com

Friday, October 24, 2008


Our social worker sent us the report from our home study. I was really surprised at how thorough it was. It is a seven page document that discusses every (and I mean EVERY) aspect of our lives. Our social worker spent about ten hours interviewing us during the month of October. We discussed our childhoods, our struggles with infertility, and parenting philosophy among many other things. Some of it is ugly to look at and relive, but for the most part, I'd have to say that Kev and I look pretty good on paper. I hope the judge who hears our case thinks so too.

We have a preliminary meeting with our adoption lawyer this coming Tuesday. I don't know what to expect from this except for a big bill. We got our profile books back (they look awesome!) and made and bound photocopies at Kinkos. They turned out pretty good too. I know that we'll have to take four of them to the lawyer. The word on the street is that the lawyer's office that we are working with is the best adoption law office in the city. Hopefully that means they get lots of referrals from women who trust them.

Kev and I are working on some ideas for fundraisers to help offset the legal costs of the adoption. I'll let you all know when we get going on our campaign.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


It's been a month since my last post. I'll try not to let that much time pass between posts again. I just haven't felt all that interesting or loquacious lately. There hasn't been much going on anyway.

Work is wearing me down - as it does this time every year. I am currently nursing a sinus infection that has kept me home on the couch for the past two days and up coughing until 3 am the past few nights.

Kev and I took a little birthday trip to Albuquerque for the annual Balloon Fiesta. Sounds great, right? Yeah. The damn fiesta was a bust. The hurricane that blew in from the Baja kept the 700 balloons from launching all weekend. So we got up each day at 4:30, drove into town, paid the entrance and parking fees, marveled at the fact that so many thousands of people are up for a "carnival" at 5am, and waited patiently until the launches were ultimately cancelled. It was a real bummer. The mini-vacation was not a total loss, though. We rented a convertible and drove the Turquoise Trail, hiked Tent Rocks National Monument, rode the tram to the top of Sandia Peak, and hung out on Nob Hill and Old Town.

Kevin has become quite a local celebrity. Every day for about three weeks, we got phone calls from friends and family saying they saw him on a commercial for KCTV5. We watched for weeks to see what everyone else had seen, but never saw it. Finally, we caught a glimpse - a brief one - of his handsome face saying something about a reliable forecast. He's such a cheese!

As far as the adoption process goes, we finished our home study and are just waiting on our social worker to write up the report. Then, we wait to be matched. We could be matched right away, or it may take a couple of years. Hopfully, we're on the shorter end of that time span. We will be mailing out letters to family and friends soon, so be watching your mailbox for a love note from us.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Who would have thought that my ass would still be sore from the past two years of shots? I haven't had a shot in almost two months, yet both of my cheeks are tender in the target zone. To find the right shot spot, Kev would draw a cross on one cheek, aim, and fire in the upper outer quadrant. Once he hit my sciatic nerve and I promptly fainted. Dr. Z always said, "Do not inject the woman with the pink needle," because it was ENORMOUS. We used a smaller gauged grey needle, but he never mentioned anything about hitting the sciatic. When we started the whole shoot 'em up game two years ago, Kev nearly fainted in the doctor's office when he was giving us oral instructions. He was a trooper, though. The first few times, he had to chug a beer to relax, then take a stab. By the end, he could have done it with his eyes closed. Sometimes the medicine hurt so bad going in that I would cry. Just a couple of tears, but a squeaky sound always escaped my clenched teeth.

Who would have thought that the inside of my elbows would still be bruised from the past two years of bloodwork? I must say, I am not missing getting up at the crack of dawn to go to the basement of St. Luke's to get poked by a two-bit phlebotomist. They were usually nice, and sometimes gentle, but occasionally a newbie would draw my blood, and of course they would stick the needle in my arm and jab around under my skin until they found a vein. St. Luke's proved to be better all around, however, once we figured out that I could get my blood drawn there for $67 as opposed to $297 a pop at the LabOne clinics around town. Take that number, multiply by three times a week, add the fact that insurance covers NOTHING, and you've got quite a hefty bill and a lot less blood.

Who would have thought that I would miss coffee so much? For the past few years I've passed on caffeinated beverages. I honestly didn't realize how much I loved this brewed bean wonder until my dear husband started replacing my morning decaf hot tea with sweet, creamy coffee once we decided to stop trying to conceive. I really do love it. I can't get enough of it. I usually only have one cup a day, but if I could I would drink it until noon. Or later. But then...

Who would have thought that a beer after a rough day of work could be so refreshing? Nuff said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Our home study is starting next Wednesday! It will consist of four meetings at two hours each. I really don't quite know what to expect. I suppose it will be like a giant interview. An eight hour interview. Three meetings will be at our social worker's home, and the last one will be at ours. I guess that means I've got a couple of weeks to catch up on our laundry.

I think we'll get to start the nursery soon. It's really close to being ready - all we have to do is move out the bed, buy the crib, the rocker-glider, move it all in, then decorate it with baby stuff. So really, we're the opposite of being close to ready. Pretty much all we've done is paint. Hey, it's a start. I think I want to make the nursery pretty neutral since we don't even have a clue when we'll be matched, let alone if we're going to have a boy or girl. Here are some ideas that I like. What do you think? Will you please vote over on the right side of the page? Thanks for your input.

Nursery 1

Nursery 2

Nursery 3

Nursery 4

Monday, September 1, 2008


We turned in our preliminary paperwork to the adoption agency today. We completed the 8 page application, budget worksheet and financial information, signed the contract, and each wrote our autobiographies (4000 words each). We still have a lot of work to do, but hopefully we can start the homestudy process in the next couple of weeks. I've been working on our adoption profile all day today, which is a document given to birthmothers to help them choose the adoptive parents. I'm creating a book using Shutterfly. It's basically a scrapbook with some text - most notably a letter to the prospective birthmothers. The pages I'm creating include title page (with a closeup of Kev and I), letter to birthmom with a couple more pictures, our home, fun with pets, my family, Kev's family, our wedding, playmates (kids in our families), travels & leisure. Through Shutterfly, I get twenty pages in the book and I have 18 planned. I need one more page layout. Anyone have ideas?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We met tonight with an adoption counselor and child placement officer. It went wonderfully. She is great - very knowledgeable, understanding, and heartfelt. She explained what modern open adoptions can look like, and how they actually benefit everyone involved. We walked away with a better understanding of the adoption process and a big stack of papers explaining what we need to do first. We're going to plan this weekend. We are going to do this. I'm very excited about adopting. What a unique experience this will be. What a joy to raise a child. This must be what God wants us to do.

Of course, we'll need your help. But I know I can count on you. I love you!

Monday, August 25, 2008


After discussing our options over the weekend, Kev and I have decided to begin the adoption process. Well, we're at least trying to figure out what our chances of adopting are before we go to Mexico. We will be making an appointment to see an independent adoption agent this week and hopefully getting the process started. We've got a few friends who have adopted who are giving us great advice.

I know we've only talked about adoption as a remote, almost last resort option, but the seemingly unending cycle of high hopes and broken hearts is beginning to take its toll on our sanity. After five years of various treatments, tens of thousands of dollars in doctors' bills, fertility drugs, surgeries, and procedures, we're ready for a little good news for a change. I know adoption is not 100%, but we're looking forward to exploring our chances.

We haven't told anyone yet, so if you're reading this, you're one of the first to know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


There will be no baby next spring.

Why doesn't God want me to have a child? What am I doing wrong? Everything was perfect this cycle. Four mature follies - all the right sizes. Positive energy from every direction. No booze, no caffeine, no strenuous activities. Not a dose of medication missed. We did everything right. Why?

Five years of heartache, and it's just getting harder. My heart is getting harder too.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I have a really good feeling about this cycle. Everything seems to be falling in to place, and everyone (Kev, Dr.Z, his nurse) is really positive about this round of IUI. And that brings us to today.

Today marks the first day of this 2WW. I HATE the 2WW. But, I suppose one good thing about going back to work on Tuesday is the fact that it will keep my mind off wondering about the possibility - even if only for 8-10 hours a day.

Let me tell you a little bit about how the IUI works. I first have to pump my body full of hormones for a couple of weeks (see two posts down) to turn my ovaries into super-duper-egg-makers. The night before the IUI, Kev & I do a little baby dance, after which I stay horizontal for as long as possible to keep gravity working in the little swimmers' favor. The day of the IUI, Kevin makes a "deposit" into a sterile receptacle and we rush it to the doctor's office about 35 minutes away. Dr. Z takes the sample and puts it onto a centrifuge and washes it so that there is just sperm - no extra stuff needed. I lie back with my feet in stirrups,while Dr.Z opens me up and inserts a super long catheter into my cervix and injects the sample. PhotobucketHe says a little prayer and a yabba-daba-do, then he closes up my cervix and I lie on the table with cold metal equipment hanging out of me for about 20 minutes. That night, to give us better chances of conceiving, we do another little baby dance.

The whole process is only minorly painful. Mostly mild cramping except for the fact that my ovaries are the size of oranges by this time and are very tender, so when Dr. Z was looking for my cervix and pushing on my abdomen, I yelped like a puppy being punished. He told me to stop laughing. Laughing. I wish. I'm mostly praying my ass off. Please do the same.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I had a doctor's appointment today and it went wonderfully. Everything looked fabulous. Optimum for IUI!

Here's what's going on:

> four follies ranging in size from 17.8 - 19.5
> endometrial lining 8.0
> estradiol 1,954
> HCG inject tonight at 2:30 am
> baby dance Thursday night
> IUI Friday at 3:30 pm
> baby dance Friday night
> baby dance Saturday morning

So after two weeks of injections, we're trying one last time with the IUI thing.

I do have dozens of medium sized follies that might cause me some problems. Because of them, I am at an elevated risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) again. After I get the trigger shot tonight, I will have to take it super easy. No strenuous activity. Looks like Kevo's bringing up the laundry baskets from the basement from now on!

Friday, July 25, 2008


I finished the 21 days of the Pill on Tuesday and am currently on cycle day 2. I had an ultrasound this morning that showed that the three large cysts that were holding us back had withered away and my sleepy little ovaries are still polycystic. This is good news. I will start stimming (stimulating my ovaries with injectable drugs) tomorrow in order to attempt another IUI. So for roughly the next two weeks, I will be getting shots in the stomach and ass, getting bloodwork taken a few times a week, and having ultrasounds a few times a week. Oh, and I'll also have an HSG. The bloodwork monitors my estrogen levels, while the ultrasounds monitor the growth of follicles on my ovaries and the thickness of my endometrial lining. The HSG is a procedure where the doc forces liquid dye through my fallopian tubes (it's terribly painful for some, but I seem to handle it okay). Keep in mind that although I am currently covered under THREE insurance policies, all of these expenses come right out of our pocket. No one covers infertility treatments. Insurance companies act like I've elected to have these disorders - that infertility is something that I've chosen. Bastards.

Anyway, I thought I'd include a picture and explanation of what a month in the life of Gina & Kevin on infertility meds is like. In the above picture, I have laid out all medicines that I will pump through my body over the course of about 28 days. They are aligned from left to right in the order in which I will take them. Follow along...

Pre IUI cycle:

Metformin 2000 mg daily (This is to regulate insulin which my body does not do on its own thanks to PCOS. Without it, all sugar and carbohydrates turn to fat instead of energy like in a normal body. I've been on this for two + years.)

PreNatal vitamin daily (This is obviously to prepare my body for baby. I've been on this for five years.)

Birth Control Pill (I take this between medicated cycles in order to let my body - especially my ovaries - rest from the hyperstimulation. It pretty much gets me ready to go into overdrive.)

During 28 day IUI cycle:

Follistim (FSH) - Injected subcutaneously in my stomach CD 3-7 (This makes my ovaries produce a whole bunch of follicles and tells them to GROW!)

Puregon (HMG) - Injected intramuscularly in my ass CD 8-19 or 20 (This makes my ovaries pick a few - between 1 & 4 - dominant follicles and only make them grow. These follicles will *hopefully* each release the egg inside it after the next step.)

Pregnyl (HCG) - Also injected into one of my bum cheeks once my follicles and endometrial lining reach an acceptable size (This tricks my body into ovulating. The mature follicles each release their egg to make their way through the fallopian tubes, hopefully to meet Kev's little swimmers.)

Prometrium - Taken until I get a period, or if I am pregnant, until my Dr. tells me to quit (This makes my endometrium a nice and hospitable place for the fertilized eggy to attach and grow.)

Crinone (Unfortunately, I haven't ever gotten this far in any of the IUI cycles. It is a progesterone gel that is inserted vaginally that ensures the endometrium stays nice and cozy for the little growing babe. Maybe this time I'll get to use it.)

So there you have it, folks. A month in the life of an infertile trying IUI. We are ready to roll. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


My 2WW is over. This IUI cycle was a bust. We'll just keep on trying. Last night we discussed our options. We could either try IUI again or we could move on to IVF. It really has to do with what our doctor will let us do. We already have the medication we'll need for either treatment. We have about half of the money we would need to cover the $15,000 fee for IVF. Either way, the chances of conception aren't great.

*UPDATE* I had an ultrasound yesterday and we found that I have three huge cysts on my ovaries that I have to chase away with birth control this month. After 21 days of that, we'll start with the injectible meds again for another IUI cycle. If that doesn't work (God forbid), we'll try IVF in the fall. Please keep praying for us.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I am currently in what is known in infertility circles as the Two Week Wait or 2WW. This is the period of time between ovulation and finding out if you are pregnant or if you need to take the next step on your infertility journey. This cycle, Kevin and I underwent a more aggressive infertility treatment than just the oral meds and monthly shots. We did IUI - intrauterine insemination. It was our second attempt - the first cycle, my ovaries basically over-responded to the injections, causing me to be dangerously close to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. A week or two of little to no physical activity and a month of ovarian rest, and we were ready to try again. This month Kevin gave me shots for fourteen days, then made it in a cup. We rushed the sample to the RE's office where it was washed, prepared, and injected directly into my uterus. Thus, we are in the 2WW. We'll find out if the IUI was successful this Wednesday. Keep us in your prayers.

This post isn't about the IUI though; it's about PCOS.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in 2003. I underwent a plethora of emotions. First, I was relieved. There was a definitive reason why my cycles were so berserk. On top of that, it explained the weight, the hair, the acne, the depression. Next, I was angry. Why hadn't anyone found this until now? I was 26 for pete's sake! What the hell is wrong with the dozens of doctors I had seen in my post-pubescent life? Finally, I felt sadness. I was sad for Kevin and me. I knew that this meant that we would have a more difficult time conceiving our family than a couple who did not have to struggle with the hurdles of PCOS.

PCOS is a serious condition that is not only difficult to diagnose, but difficult to manage. As I learned more and more about this endocrine disorder, my life began to make more sense. All the things about my body that had bothered me for years were finally explained. It wasn't my fault. I wasn't doing something wrong - there was actually something wrong with my body. Following is a list of symptoms that women with PCOS may experience. Not all women with PCOS share the same symptoms. Of the fifteen below listed symptoms, I suffer from twelve of them.

Symptoms of PCOS:
infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
infertility because of not ovulating
increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
ovarian cysts
acne, oily skin, or dandruff
weight gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist
insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
high cholesterol
high blood pressure
male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
skin tags
pelvic pain
anxiety or depression due to appearance and/or infertility
sleep apnea

PCOS also could have been the reason for my recent miscarriage. The miscarriage rate in women with PCOS is increased 20-50% when compared to women without this disorder. PCOS sufferers are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Not only is it harder for us to get pregnant, it's also harder for us to have a healthy pregnancy.

Women with PCOS have greater chances of developing several serious, life-threatening diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer. There is no cure for PCOS. Symptoms can be managed through a high-protein, low-carb diet and exercise.

It is the PCOS that continues to make our journey to conceive so difficult.

Friday, June 20, 2008


We have been working with an incredible reproductive endocrinologist since August of 2006.  After several office visits and ultrasounds, he put me back on 2000 mg of Metformin, Clomid, and a once-a-month ovulation trigger shot of HCG.   The very first month (October) I was on this protocol, we conceived!  We were ecstatic.  We picked out names, envisioned the nursery, and started looking for an OB/GYN.  A few days before Christmas, we had an ultrasound that showed no heartbeat or fetal growth.  The baby had stopped developing a few days before, and we were devastated.  The D&C was scheduled for a couple of days before New Years.  It was the hardest Christmas season I've ever experienced.  

We continued trying to conceive using the same protocol for the next ten months.  Each month brought us another BFN (big fat negative).  I underwent a surgery in September 2007.  My doctor performed a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, another D&C, hysterosalpingogram, cystectomy, and he zapped my endometriosis with a CO2 laser.  I was in recovery for about a week, then we picked up with the same protocol.  Month after month I was greeted by AF, which was actually a big step in the right direction in my reproductive health because I had never had regular periods.   Regardless, period equals empty womb.

It seemed like we had been TTC with the same protocol forever.  Finally, this spring we ordered injectible medicines from Great Britain to begin an IUI cycle.  The first month I was on the meds, my ovaries over responded.  My estradiol levels were so high that the lab's equipment couldn't even read the numbers and I had dozens of medium-sized follicles among the few dominant ones.  The cycle was then cancelled.  Damn.  After a month of ovarian rest, we were finally able to try again.  This time, I injected for 18 days and the IUI went off without a hitch.  Now, I'm in the two week wait.  

My blood draw is scheduled for July 2.  Our sixth wedding anniversary is June 29.  If we are pregnant, implantation should occur on the 27th.  Should I test on the 28th?  Theoretically, we could have a double celebration.  On the other hand, it could put a real damper on things.  What to do?   

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Since I was fairly new to the city (and I finally had health care), I searched for a new OB/GYN to discuss my lack of menses.  She diagnosed me with PCOS and recommended that I see a Reproductive Endocrinologist to try and regulate my cycles since birth control-the regulatory stand by- really didn't interest me any longer.  Keep in mind that Kev and I still hadn't come to an agreement about trying to conceive; I was just really concerned for our future fertility, and knew that something needed to be done.  The RE put me on 2000mg of Metformin - a drug that is used to regulate insulin in diabetic patients - and told us that all it would take would be dinner and a movie and I would magically become pregnant.  The only thing that happened was that I became extremely emotional, couldn't tolerate sugar in any form, and had chronic diarrhea.  No periods, no weight loss, and no pregnancy despite our best efforts.  By this time, Kevin was starting to come around.  He agreed that we should keep trying, but that maybe we should use alternative therapies because he hated to see me in pain from the Metformin.  The RE we had been seeing (the one who believes in movie magic) obviously wasn't serious about helping us get pregnant, so we took matters into our own hands. 

We ditched the wacky RE and sought out an acupuncturist who was also knowledgeable about Chinese herbs.  Our insurance obviously did not cover this type of care, so about every two weeks we were shelling out around $140 for needles and herbs.  At first, the herbs were terribly hard to swallow.  It was unlike any horrible thing I had ever tasted.  Eventually, I came to love them - almost to crave them.  The 45 minute acupuncture sessions were always wonderful.  I was able to meditate, relax, reflect, dream, and pray while letting those skinny needles stimulate various meridians.  But still no baby.  On to the next step.
Through my research on the internet, I learned of another ancient therapy that has been known to help infertile women achieve pregnancy.  Mayan abdominal massage therapy is not widely practiced, not well-known, and interested therapists can only get certified to practice by an intense study program under one woman who resides in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  This particular massage therapy has been passed down for millennia  and is an external non invasive manipulation that repositions internal organs that have shifted.  I thought it's worth a shot.  After just one session, I did have a period.  It was the first uninitiated period I had had in years.  I thought this was going to work.  We scheduled another appointment for one month later, in the hopes that we could get the same response.  No go.  And no baby either.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Kev and I fell madly in love in our early twenties.  The first year of our relationship was long distance, with Kev living in Alicante, Spain and me in Columbia, Missouri.  It was terribly romantic.  We wrote letters and emails, and spent hours getting to know one another over the phone, racking up well-worth-it cell bills.  When he returned to the States, we dropped everything to embark on an adventure together.  We spent three months living on Texan beaches and hitchhiking our way across Central Mexico (coast to coast) and the Southern United States.  It was a time when we could concentrate on us, learn about each other, and realize that in one another, we had each found our soul mate.  It was on this trip that we discussed the dozens of children we would one day have.

A couple of years after returning from this life-altering and life-affirming trek, we were married in the Gunnison National Forest in Crested Butte, Colorado.  Because we chose to have an intimate wedding, we used the money we saved and took a six-week honeymoon in Italy-our luna de miela.  We returned from our trip to a new job for Kevin, a new school for Gina, and a new apartment overlooking the river downtown.  We were officially beginning our life together bonded in true love and mutual respect.  

Like many newlywed couples, we were in different places when it came to deciding on a time frame for starting a family.  I, being a year and a half older and suspicious of my own fertility, was ready to begin trying NOW.   Kevin wanted some time to play with each other, travel, and enjoy the perks of a child-free lifestyle.  We discussed it, argued about it, cried over it, and months later we still hadn't come to an agreement on when we would start trying.  
Let me back up.
I didn't get my first period until I was 18.  Yup, 18.  And I only had one.  The fact that I watched all my friends get their first and subsequent periods made me a little worried about my own health.  Yet I never saw a doctor until after my first lonely period.  I eventually started birth control to regulate my cycles, and I stayed on it until Kevin and I were engaged. When I came off the Pill, the menstruation completely stopped again.   So even though we weren't officially "trying," we also weren't doing anything to prevent a pregnancy because if I wasn't menstruating, I also wasn't ovulating.  This is why we fought.  I had an overwhelming desperation to find out what was wrong with me.  I wanted to see a specialist.  My internal mommy clock was ticking.  

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