Tuesday, December 22, 2009

BABY HOLLAND AT 17 WEEKS, 5 DAYS

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We have a thumb-sucker! I'm completely in love...

This was taken at last week's appointment. The doctor is recommending a level 2 sonogram in a couple weeks to double check on measurements. I also have an appointment with a cardiologist next week to check on my palpitations, arrhythmia, and chest pains. Im sure it's nothing, but it's better to be sure than unprepared.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SHOW & TELL: WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN THEY ASK "HOW"?

For this week's Show & Tell, I'll do the showing, but you're going to do the telling. Read on, and after you leave a comment, mosey on over to Mel's place to see who else is showing off cool stuff this week.
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There are a lot of people in my life who know that I've been battling infertility for a long time. Some of these people are family, close friends, and coworkers. By now, just about everyone in my life knows that I'm pregnant, and they're all very happy for us. However, not all of these people know that Kev and I conceived through IVF. It's not something that we choose to broadcast for many reasons.

One reason we don't share our IVF experience with just anybody is because some people have very strong opinions, mostly based on religion, about why IVF should not be an option. I'm not saying they're wrong; I'm just saying that Kev and I obviously don't feel the same way. If you would have asked my opinion on the subject about ten years ago, I might have had a very different answer from what I have now. But fighting infertility and the heartache it has imposed for six years has made me see things differently. Now, I believe that God gave me the mental and physical fortitude as well as the monetary means to be able to pursue IVF after all our other options failed. No one can say we didn't exhaust other options. And I don't know that I could handle hearing someone telling me that my child was conceived through sin. On the contrary, our child was conceived through many years of hard work, commitment, and faith. Yes, faith.

Another reason we don't tell people we conceived through IVF is because... well, it's OUR business. Why should it matter to people who are not intimately involved in our lives how our child was conceived? What really matters is that we are finally going to bring a child into the world, right?

I know people don't mean to be insensitive, but some of the things they say really cut me. It feels like I'm being judged. It feels like my unborn child is being judged. The comments that are hardest to deal with are, "I thought you couldn't have kids" and "How did you do it? I thought you couldn't conceive naturally."

So my question is this: When people who vaguely know about my struggles with infertility ask me how I conceived, what should I tell them?

And now for your viewing pleasure, our peanut's first picture, taken about ten weeks ago. I should get another one next week!
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Now, I've shown you my treasure; it's your turn to tell me how I should handle questions like these.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

YES. I'M PREGNANT!

I realize that my falling off the face of the earth and neglecting my blog for nearly three months is maddening to those of you who were following my story. And to you, I apologize. Let me try to explain...

I told people of my pregnancy shortly after my first blood test three years ago. The pregnancy did not last. Needless to say, I was devastated. But one of the hardest things was having all those people ask me how I was feeling and telling them that I had lost the baby. It took at least a month for people to stop asking me about the baby that they thought was still nestled in my womb.

I don't know how many people in what circles of my life read this blog, so I was playing it safe and laying low for a while. Should something terrible have happened, I would only have to tell the select few people (mostly family) of my heartbreak. But through the grace of God, one of the two little ones inside will join me in a few short months. I'm done hiding.

I am fourteen weeks, 3 days pregnant! The little bundle is due to join the world on May 20, 2010.

So, if you're still with me, I thank you for your patience.

It will probably take me a while to get back into the swing of things in blogland, but I'll be around. You can't get rid of me that easily.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SHOW & TELL - BLASTS AND BRUISES

So far, so good!

I got the call yesterday morning that the first two blastocysts the embryologist thawed survived. Kev and I went in for the transfer at noon and I currently have two itty-bitty, teeny-tiny, soon-to-be-babies looking for a nice place to implant inside my uterus. Everything this cycle has been absolutely textbook. My uterus should be a nice cozy place for those little ones to snuggle in for the next nine-ish months.

My beta is in one week - September 9th. Let's look at that again. The date is 09/09/09. That's got to be some kind of sign for great things.

And speaking of great, my great - as in huge - gluteal region is now adorned with several lovely (and quite painful) lumps and bruises from the daily PIO shots. It makes sitting a little less fun, but I'd do it every hour on the hour if it meant that we get to bring a baby (or babies) home from the hospital in a few short months.



The picture makes it seem harmless enough, and most intramuscular shots I've had are pretty harmless. But those damn PIO shots are a bitch (at least they're not as bad as Hep.arin). For Mel's Show and Tell, I was pretty tempted to take a picture of my ass as proof of bruising, but I didn't want to completely disgust my readers with my lumpy, black and blue bum. So instead, you got a cartoon.

You're welcome.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAVE?

Boy, was I ever wrong about the Lupron. I thought I was going to end up being one of the lucky few who did not suffer severe headaches while on this medication. That definitely did not happen. In the last three weeks, I have had a combined hour count of about 72 that were not infiltrated by the infamous Lupron headache. At least, that's what I think is causing them. I suppose it could be coincidental that the headaches started right around the time I started injecting Lupron, but I think it's just too close. The headaches actually feel more like migraines, because I get a great sensitivity to light. Several people have asked me why I was making faces at them as we had a conversation. How do you tell them you're just trying to block out the sunlight (without squinting them out of your line of sight) without sounding like you're complaining of a headache? People always want to give you something to take care of it, but Tylenol doesn't even put a dent in the Lupron headache. So I would just giggle, apologize, and focus on the ground for the remainder of our outdoor conversation, while inching my way to the nearest sun-free cave.

I was also wrong about the medications - well, just one of them. The patches that I wear are not progesterone patches, but estrogen patches. I am currently wearing three and changing them every other day. Soon, the dosage will be upped to four every other day. Metformin, baby Asprin, Lupron, and prenatals are still part of my daily med intake. Beginning on Tuesday, I will add the progesterone in oil shots that I've been dreading. Although I do not look forward to bending over for that one every morning, it does mean that we are that much closer to transfer. The day all the magic happens is...

September first, babies! Momma is getting her body ready for you. The nursery is ready, your pets are ready, Momma and Daddy are ready. We just need you! Hurry home, little ones.

Friday, July 31, 2009

ROLLING RIGHT ALONG

I'm back on the Lupron. I really don't think I mind it too much. I've heard a lot of women complain of headaches while on it, not me. The first night I injected it, the medicine hurt going in. It didn't sting or burn and the needle obviously doesn't hurt much (it's tiny), but when I slowly pushed the plunger, that medicine wanted to hurt me. The second night's shot left a golf ball-sized bruise on my tummy. I can handle the bruising, and I can even handle the burning when I'm short on patience and don't wait for the alcohol to dry before injecting the needle, but I don't like the pain. I don't think that's supposed to happen. Have any of you experienced a dull pain when injecting Lupron before?

I stop BCP in a couple of days and begin loads and loads of progesterone very soon. I will be wearing progesterone patches, inserting vaginal progesterone suppositories, and getting shots of progesterone in oil in my rump. I let Kev give me those shots for a few reasons:

1. the needle is enormously thick and I would never be able to jam it in
2. I would laugh hysterically with the needle poised inches over my skin, thinking about how unpleasant it will be and never actually do it
3. the solution is so thick it takes a very long time fully inject all the medicine
4. I hold my breath while the meds are going in, and because it takes so long I would undoubtedly pass out with the needle hanging on to my muscle at a ninety degree angle


I know, call me a wuss. I have a very high tolerance for pain, but a weak resolve to inflict it upon myself.

I'll also be taking a few other things to help prepare my uterus for the frozen embryo transfer. I hope they like it in there and want to stay a full nine months!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

FET COMING UP

We had our frozen embryo transfer planning meeting yesterday. I think we both felt a little disappointed by how we were treated. We weren't treated badly, but we weren't made to feel as important as when we were planning and going through the entire IVF process. We waited over an hour before we were seen, then the consult only lasted twenty minutes. We were informed that although we were told we had a substantial credit to use toward this transfer, we actually did not and would be paying full price instead. We were also told that the transfer would be September 1st. It's really not that different from the original "end of August" date, but just to hear that it is in yet a different month broke my heart.

It seems our infertility battle just keeps going and going and going. We've had such a long journey, and after six years of heartache, I'm ready for some good news.

I couldn't help but cry at the appointment. I've been doing that a lot lately. Honestly, I've cried (hard) every day for the past nine days. Maybe it's my body trying to regulate from the massive amounts of hormones I pumped into it for two months to prepare for IVF. Whatever it is, it's driving me and Kev nutso.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

STABBED

I've been putting this off long enough. I just need to get it out. Here's the last installment of the story of how our IVF cycle turned into a nightmare. If you missed the beginning of this story, you'll want to read this post first, then read this one.

Deep breath. I can do this.

Once admitted to my hospital room, I had a team of nurses buzzing frantically around my room. Though they worked quickly and seriously, they did a nice job of keeping everyone thinking that this problem was, in fact, fixable. It was now after 5:00 AM and I had been violently ill for over two hours. The nausea and vomiting was getting worse; I gasped for air between painful retches. As I continued to be sick into my trusty hospital-issued mauve bucket, Kev stayed by my side, dabbing my face with a cool rag. Meanwhile, Nurse #1 attempted for fifteen minutes to find a vein in my left arm for an IV. She stuck me several times, but found no usable vein and no blood - I was too dehydrated. Nurse #2 took over and began sticking my other arm. She tried for another fifteen minutes and was about to give up when she finally was able to find a vein on the back side of my forearm near my elbow. As soon as the IV fluid hit my bloodstream, I suddenly felt life again coursing into my fingers. I hadn't realized until that moment how dead I had felt. Although I was still vomiting, I raised my hand to my face, in an attempt to see color return. I couldn't see anything but the bottom of that ugly mauve bucket.

I was given the first of six shots of Hep.arin in my stomach and a shot of nausea medication in my IV. In addition, I was given an initial round of nine bottles of Alb.umin in my IV. Over the next two days, I would be given somewhere around 20 bottles of this medication (I lost count). I was very hopeful that the vomiting would immediately stop as the nurses had promised, but I was so far gone that the vomiting lasted another eight hours for a total of eleven grueling hours of the most extreme nausea I didn't know existed. Once the vomiting finally stopped around 2:00 PM, I felt I had returned from the dead.

My fertility specialist came to my room around 3:00 and told me how much better I looked. I don't remember seeing him prior to this; apparently, I had my head in the mauve bucket the first time he came to check on me. He ordered that my abdomen be tapped to drain the excess fluid that had built up over the previous four days.

Oh God, give me strength. This is where it gets ugly. The squeamish may want to skip the next paragraph.

I was wheeled down to the radiology department where the nurse sonogramed my abdomen to find the best place to make the incision. He X'ed me with a magic marker and left me there for over an hour as I waited for the doctor to perform the procedure. The doctor finally showed up and shot the local anesthetic into my abdomen. It stung a little at first, but I gritted my teeth and the pain quickly subsided as the anesthetic began to work. Then it was time to make the incision. He began cutting. At first, I only felt pressure. But as his scalpel reached beyond the superficial layer of my abdomen, I felt the blade of the scalpel stabbing, cutting, tearing deeper and deeper. I screamed in pain. I screamed and screamed and begged him to stop. I screamed and stretched and waved my arms out in an attempt to find something to hold on to. There was nothing there to hold. There was no one there to help me. He screamed for the nurse to turn on the light. I screamed for a break so I could catch my breath. I don't know what he did with the light, but he soon asked for it to be turned out again so he could watch the sonogram and finish the incision. And so he did. And so I continued crying and screaming as the scalpel stabbed deeper and deeper. Several minutes later, he was finally through. He inserted the drainage tube and attached the collection bag to my leg. As I lie there trying to stop crying and to catch my breath, the nurse brought me a form and a pen and told me to sign. I was shaking so hard and had tears clouding my vision, so I asked him what it was he needed me to sign. He did not tell me. He just repeated that I needed to sign it. I asked again and got the same response. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of there and away from the man who just stabbed me. I signed it. The nurse helped me into a wheelchair and took me back up to my room. When my mother-in-law saw me white as a ghost and shaking, she went limp, obviously worried, and asked me what had happened. I couldn't speak. All I could do was shake my head and quiver.

I don't know what went wrong. I don't know why I could feel the scalpel slicing my flesh open. The doctor who performed the procedure came up to my hospital room and gave some lame excuse that his needle wasn't long enough to reach all the layers of my abdomen. I know that has to be bullshit. I'm not that big. He fucked up and was trying to cover his ass. I will be filing a formal complaint with the hospital. I don't want anyone else to have to endure that terrifying pain. Imagine a small child in that man's poor care. He needs his cutting license removed. I'd like to cut him. I digress.

Over the next 30 hours, over two gallons of fluid was removed from my abdomen. As disgusting as that sounds, it was definitely sweet relief to no longer have that fluid crushing my organs. I was given more Hep.arin, several shots of Dem.erol, and loads of Darv.ocet. Neither of the pain medications did anything to alleviate the torture of the drainage tube lodging itself into my enlarged and extremely tender ovaries. Once the tube was removed, I was pain-free for the first time in five long days.

I was sent home Wednesday evening around 9:00. I had an appointment for embryo transfer the next morning. At the appointment, I told my doctor that I had been extremely dizzy since 4:00 PM the previous night and that I still was not urinating. The embryo transfer was cancelled. I was still too sick with OHSS too transfer. He said it would have been inevitable that I would have ended up in the hospital again if the embryos implanted. The OHSS would be worse and would last much longer. Weeks or months. I was crushed.

Writing this post has been difficult. I had to stop and cry a couple of times, but I think it has helped me. Maybe now that I've gotten it out, the insomnia and nightmares will stop.

Now on to our frozen embryo transfer in August. We have ten embryos frozen and waiting for us. I can't wait to meet them. I love them already.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SHOW & TELL - BROKEN UP

Is it possible to Show and Tell about two completely different things? I'll try. Let's see how it works out.

First, the show:

Our new puppy Polly. She's about ten days old and I can't wait for her to come home.

Next, the tell:
I'd like to continue the story of my recent hospitalization, but honestly, I'm getting to the traumatic part that I keep reliving over and over and I don't think I'm quite ready to write about it. If you missed the beginning of the story, read this first, then read this one. You'll have to check back soon to get the most intense part of the story. I promise I'll write about it. I just need a minute to catch my breath.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MISERY



If you missed the beginning of this story, read this first.

To follow up on the story from yesterday...

After the egg-retrieval I spent two hours in the recovery room because my nurse's computer crashed. This made me VERY uncomfortable and unhappy. I just wanted to see my husband and get the report from the retrieval and go home. They finally released me, escorting me in a wheelchair to my car. And so the super fun-time OHSS party begins.

I began feeling very ill in the car. We only had a fifteen minute drive from the hospital to our house, but somewhere on the highway, I informed Kev that I was going to faint. And so I did. As he maneuvered the highway, he held my unconscious head in his hand, in an attempt to keep me sitting upright even though I had gone completely limp and fallen between the two front seats of our little SUV. As he later recalled the story to my sister, he said that people probably thought he was some kind of creep riding around I-35 holding on to a cadaver. I regained consciousness at some point, but don't remember the rest of the ride or our arrival at home. Somehow, Kev got me into my PJ's and brought me downstairs to lay on the couch - my new home for the next four days.

If I remember correctly, my sister and sister-in-law came to visit later that afternoon. I was already incredibly bloated by the evening, and walking from the couch to the bathroom was excruciating. As I walked, I was a slow, hunched-over, crying mess of a woman. The Darvocet prescription I was given did nothing to alleviate the pain. I was not in pain from the procedure - I was in pain because the excess fluid on my abdomen was crushing my organs.

Maybe now would be a good time to explain Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome for those of you who are fortunate enough to not have experience with it. OHSS may occur during or after a controlled ovarian stimulation for an IUI or IVF cycle. I have experienced OHSS twice - once during an IUI cycle which we were forced to cancel, and this time, which also caused us to cancel the fresh embryo transfer and postpone two months for a frozen embryo transfer. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Mild symptoms cause discomfort, while severe require hospitalization and have, in rare cases, caused death. Symptoms include collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity which causes bloating, shortness of breath, organ pain, possible organ failure, ovarian torsion, decreased urine, dehydration, dizziness, fainting, and vomiting. Here's a good article on the subject written by a woman who has experienced OHSS.

By Friday evening, I was bloated, dizzy, fainting, short of breath, had very little urine which was tea-colored, and in moderate pain. Saturday, my symptoms worsened and I was in so much pain from severe bloating that I could barely breathe, while movement was excruciating. I fainted every time I tried to walk somewhere. That evening, my symptoms were worrying me and I decided to phone the doctor on call. I described my symptoms and she said that as long as I was still urinating and not vomiting I would be okay. She told me to stay on the couch and only move to the bathroom with assistance. She called in another prescription for Darvocet and some nausea medication. Sunday, the pain subsided a bit and only hurt when I moved, as opposed to constant pain, even when at rest. I did, however, faint about six times.

Urination was painful and infrequent, but because I was urinating a little bit, I didn't think I was dehydrated. I was wrong. Very wrong. I wish someone would have described the symptoms better to either me or my husband. I would have gotten help by Saturday when I really needed it. Perhaps the hospitalization could have been avoided.

Monday morning, I woke up and took two bites of an English muffin with jelly and promptly vomited - violently. I took some nausea medication and slept for a few hours. When I awoke, I called the fertility clinic and told them about my morning, but also told them that I was feeling better. Once again, I was told that I would be okay. My embryo transfer was scheduled for Wednesday.

Kev brought me a delicious portabello sandwich for lunch at about 1:00. I was starving. I ate the whole thing. I took more nausea medication and went to sleep. Four hours later, I woke up and began vomiting violently. This time, it didn't stop. Thirty minutes into this frightening episode, I reached for the cordless phone and managed to dial Kev's office. Between retches, I begged him to come home and help me. He promptly left, but got stuck in traffic. Wonderful. When he finally got home, he called the doctor on call and she said that if the nausea subsided then I would need to take more of the nausea medicine. She said that I even needed to be woken up during the night to take it. She scheduled a visit to the clinic for the next morning, so Kev called my parents and asked them to come in to town to take me to my appointment since he had to work.

I woke up to vomit at 3:00 AM. I didn't stop. Kevin woke up at about 4:00 and asked me what the hell I was doing in the corner of the dark basement with my head in a trashcan. I told him I didn't want to wake anyone up, but that I had now been vomiting for over an hour. He called the doctor on call again and told her that I needed to go to the emergency room. Escorted by my mother and father, I carried my giant white trashcan to the car as I continued to vomit violently. I have never experienced such extreme nausea and pain. I wondered if it would ever end.

We got to the hospital at around 4:45. Thanks to the doctor on call, I was able to bypass emergency and be directly admitted - still puking into a mauve-colored plastic bucket - to the last room in the entire hospital. It was a double room, and my poor roommate had to listen to me vomit for hours. That's not to mention the poor man with whom I shared an elevator. I can only imagine what he must have been thinking when he heard my wailing and retching. At one point, I actually cried out to God to help me.

There's more. Lots more. I'll finish up this story tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 6, 2009

DANCE FOR ME

I guess I should at least start to record my awesome fun-time carnival of IVF with ICSI.... Wait a minute. I mean egg retrieval and severe OHSS. So...

Kev and I awoke bright and early to go to the hospital for egg retrieval on Friday. We had a very short wait - in fact, they called me in even before I sat down in the waiting room. I went potty like a good girl, then changed into the lovely blue open-back dress and was escorted to the staging area for surgery. I signed papers stating that I understood that I could die under the anesthesia, blah blah blah. They stuck me for the IV and blood shot all over the nurse, onto the floor, and covered my hand. I didn't see this as a good sign. I'm never nervous before a surgery, but I was now nervous for this one. Kev was allowed to come in, and he kept me entertained by spelling words on a calculator. "Boobs," "boobless," "shells." Then he kissed me goodbye.

The nurses came to get me and told me that they would first give me something in my IV to relax. They said it has an amnesiac effect, so that I wouldn't remember anything afterwards. They assured me it was "the best margarita you'll never drink." The male nurse by my head squirted half of a syringeful of this magic cocktail into my IV. I shot the guy an inquisitive and worried look, and he assured me that he would give me the other half of the cocktail once we reached the surgery room.

He didn't lie.

Once we were in there, I was definitely feeling the effects of that "margarita." Feeling no inhibitions, I informed everyone in surgery that the room was pretty boring with all those lights and instruments, so I suggested that they dance for me to liven things up a bit. That's the last thing I remember....

...Until I woke up and asked them if they danced while I slept. The very last thing I remember from that room is hearing the anesthesiologist say, "Holy shit. She remembers!"

The best (er, worst) part is yet to come.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

NO TRANSFER

No transfer. I'm still at an elevated risk for OHSS and another hospitalization. Instead, we are freezing the embryos and will transfer in two months, when I am recovered. I've been totally bummed the past few days. I may not update for a while.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A WHIRLWIND

I am way behind on ICLW because I just returned from the hospital last night around 8pm. I was admitted at 4am Monday via the emergency room for severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). I will explain it in every gory detail at a later date - I'm still groggy and exhausted from my little adventure right now, so the details will have to wait.

Update on embryo transfer: I will call the clinic today with a report of my progress and health overnight and we will determine from that conversation if I am well enough to handle the transfer today. It is very likely that my symptoms will quickly return upon transfer, so this is a very delicate situation. If we do transfer today, we will transfer two embies and I'm pretty sure we will have plenty to freeze for future cycles! I'm so excited!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

1dper

Thank you for all the well wishes. The ER went smoothly. The doc retrieved 20 eggs. Did ICSI with ten and all ten made it through the first night, and the other ten were left to do the magic on their own. Four of those fertilized and one split, so we have fifteen total today! I am hoping for another good report tomorrow.

I have severe bloating, pain, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. I am pretty sure I have OHSS to some degree, but the clinic is not open until Monday. I've just been resting since I got home yesterday, and that's what I am going to have to go do now. The dizziness has caught up to me once again. I don't want to faint again.

Until tomorrow.

Edited to add: I misunderstood. We have 16!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

SHOW & TELL - TOMORROW



Those are my plans for tomorrow. Wish me luck.

See what the other kids are showing off this week.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

BREAKFAST FOR MY BRO

Frozen banana pineapple cups



Southwest soy-sausage and egg casserole



Breakfast upside-down cake

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BLOGOVERSARY


The one-year anniversary of this blog came and went in May without even a peep.

I started this blog last year when we were beginning the first of three failed IUI cycles. I was very excited about the prospect of this blog quickly transforming into a chronicle of pregnancy, then of baby's first few years. Quite obviously, that did not happen. Looking back, I now see how naive I was about the success of IUI. I thought it was our magic answer. After all, we'd been trying for several years. We were DUE, right?

Actually, I've been naive about this whole process - about all the treatments. With every new procedure or plan, I find myself calculating due dates and sneaking peeks at baby furniture catalogues. This time has been no different. Kev and I have already decided that we have a pretty good chance of having a baby (or two) on his birthday next year. And last night, I fell asleep envisioning what additions I'd make to the nursery if we were somehow fortunate enough to be blessed with twins.

The word "naive" has such negative connotations. I think I need more positive language in my life right now. Maybe what I've got is not naiveté, but hope. Yes. Hope. That sounds better. But then again, hope can be dangerous, as I've found. If things don't go as I had planned, despair moves in where hope once resided. This is one thing I fear. That crushing despair can be so dark and lonely and consuming and convincing. It's this fear that has kept me from allowing myself to get as excited as I would truly like to be about our upcoming IVF. I am hopeful, of course. It's just a guarded hope.

So with that same guarded hope, I'll continue to trace my journey on this road to baby. I will continue to blog about it with the hope that I will soon be able to transition into a pregnancy blog then a bouncy baby blog.

And I hope to see good follies at my scan tomorrow too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GIVE ME A GROWN-UP ANSWER, PLEASE

Kev and I decided to find a new clinic to do our IVF. When we interviewed the clinic, we met with a certain IVF coordinator - let's call her B. She was very professional and knowledgeable. She asked all the right questions and answered ours very much to my satisfaction. Having been working with a Reproductive Endocrinologist for three years, Kev and I are pretty up on the infertility lingo of reproductive mechanisms. B did not treat us like idiots. She didn't assume (as medical professionals sometimes do) that Kev and I don't have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the female anatomy - however broken mine is - and she spoke to us in just enough medical and lay terms so as not to offend or alienate us. We left feeling confident that B would do a superb job coordinating our IVF. Honestly, B had a large influence on our deciding to use that clinic (as opposed to the other clinic who didn't even know what questions to ask me - I ran!).

I did NOT want to be bloated, slow, and moody for the hectic end-of-year rigamarole of high school English, so we decided to wait until summer to start stims and do the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. In the meantime, I got an email from some other lady - we'll call her C - saying she's new to the clinic and that she's going to be our IVF coordinator and do I have any questions. Uh, yeah. Who the hell are you? And, no you're not going to by my IVF coordinator. I met B; I trust B; B will be my IVF coordinator. It's not okay to switch on someone in a situation like this. There is just too much at stake.

Ok, so I got that straightened out. B will be my coordinator. Done.

Well, B called me last Monday to say that she would not be in the office on Thursday (the day of my first appt. for suppression scan, catheter measurement, drug order, protocol explanation, etc.) and that she wanted to tell me personally because I had specifically requested to work with B. I was okay with this since she called; plus, it was a one-time thing, and she assured me that she is going to be my coordinator. I was hesitant, but agreed.

Upon my first meeting C, she went over the protocol for our IVF. It is called the lo-dose hCG protocol because I will be injecting a small amount of hCG along with Lupron and Gonal-F every day. This being my first (and hopefully last) IVF, I was confused about the hCG. In the past, I had always taken a very large dose of hCG to induce ovulation, so I wanted to know what function the small amount of hCG has. What does it do? How does it make my body react? Simple question, right? It should be for a professional. C looked at me, baffled, and proceeded to cough out some crap about it being a "helper hormone." I wanted to reassure her that she could speak to me in medical terms and explain to me what exactly it does in my body. So I told her I was just curious about what role it plays in the stimulation. She coughed a little again and spat out the same shit about "helper hormones" and then told me that it was okay that I was just confused.

I'm confused?! No, no. I believe you're confused. I dropped it. She obviously didn't know the answer.

When Kev arrived at the appointment, I told him about the interaction. He was curious as well, and decided that after the scan, he would ask her the same question after giving her sufficient time to find the correct answer (while in my scan). I was amazed that this time she said that she was confused (not him, not me) and again that it was a "helper hormone." Are you freaking kidding me? That's it? You've had fifteen minutes to either ask someone for the answer or look it up in one of the hundreds of medical reference books and databases at your disposal, knowing that you would have to see me again, and you didn't find the answer for me?

I will just say that I am glad C will not be coordinating my IVF. She's a nice enough gal, but I need to trust that my questions can be answered professionally and to my satisfaction. Should I say anything to B this Friday when I go back for my first follie scan?

Wow. These hormone shots must be getting to me. I just realized that I've ranted about this for about an hour. I'm not usually this negative in my writing. Maybe it's a good sign that I'm cooking some strong, healthy eggs!

Monday, June 8, 2009

HERON BY MOONLIGHT



It's been a while since I've posted a pic from "on the road," so here is one from Northwestern Missouri, captured at the lake my family retreats to once a year.

Kev and I went with my mother, my sister, her husband, their daughter's boyfriend, and my great-niece and great-nephew on a moonlight fishing outing on the pontoon. The moon was beautiful, the lake was calm, and the critters were stirring. The little ones had fun pointing out marmots, snakes, and owls, while I was enchanted by this magnificent bird.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A MESSAGE FROM GOD?

Every year, my family rents a few cabins at a little local lake that has been a well-kept secret for a decade or more. It's absolutely gorgeous, cost-effective, and relatively quiet. I don't know why more people haven't heard about it, but it's fine with me. I like having the sunset to myself. I like knowing that the cabins will be available next year on the weekend I want. I like being able to enjoy my family while participating in all kinds of outdoor activities. We camp, build bonfires, boat, fish, golf, play bocci, cook for each other, play board games, fly kites, walk dogs, play our own version of volleyball, and about a dozen more things. This year was no different. Family fun was had by all, and a few family announcements were made, as well.

That's right. My nephew, who just got married two months ago, announced that they are expecting a tiny bundle of joy at the beginning of 2010. It's a wonderful thing! My nephew's new wife brings to the union a beautiful (and quite tall!) five year old princess from a previous marriage. With the promise of a new baby on the way, they are sure to be the perfect little happy family. And they're all just as sweet as can be. Which is why I hated the way I reacted when I heard the news. I simply said, "Oh, that's great!" and promptly left the room to keep from crying. I couldn't even squeak out the word "congratulations" before sneaking out. I wanted them to know that I am excited for them and that I think they are going to be wonderful parents together and that I wish them all the happiness in the world. I just couldn't say it. And now I feel like such an asshole.

My sister-in-law saw how I was affected by the announcement, and she came outside to talk to me. She comforted me and assured me that she prays for Kev and me all the time. Sometimes people say this and you can just tell it isn't true. But somehow I knew that she was telling the truth. She went on to say that recently she has been getting the feeling that when she prays, she should no longer be praying for a child for us, but for peace instead. When she told me this, I about lost my mind. What it sounds like to me is that I will not have children, and that I need to find peace in my heart and accept this fact. Terrifying. She reassured me that this was not the feeling she's been getting, but rather, God has the babies figured out for us and we need peace until that happens. I hope that's all her message from God means. I am definitely not ready to give up trying to create a family. I am not giving up. I am not! I don't want to seek that kind of peace.

I also explained to her that now that we're doing IVF, we will have to pull our adoption profile because we won't be able to afford both IVF and open adoption. She told me that she strongly feels that we are not supposed to pull our profile. She thinks that we are supposed to leave it in place and if we get matched, we will roll with it. She said we should not worry about the money, that the money is not important and that it will come if we need it. I hadn't considered this. I thought it had to be one way or the other. But, honestly, I like her idea better. I like keeping our options open. We've been trying to start a family for six years. I don't like closing any doors to that opportunity - no matter how financially prohibitive they seem.

So I think that's our plan. We pursue IVF and keep our adoption profile in place. If we are matched for an adoption, wonderful! If we conceive through IVF, wonderful! If both happen at the same time... DOUBLE WONDERFUL! I can't imagine a happier answer to this infertility question we posed six years ago.

For this idea, I would like to thank my sweet (and brilliant) sister-in-law. I would also like to thank God for giving her the grace to talk to me about this. I would also like to congratulate my nephew on their pregnancy. Maybe we'll have kids a few months apart. *Fingers crossed*

BACK ON TRACK - A NEW TRACK, THAT IS

I haven't been writing much lately and there is really only one reason for it: I haven't been writing for myself. I have found myself holding back from what I truly wanted to say out of fear that I would offend someone, that a reader would comment something I didn't want to hear, or that I would turn someone off by not writing what they wanted me to. Because I haven't been writing for myself, I have felt out of sorts. I haven't known what to write about. I haven't had many thoughts that I felt worthy of posting for this imagined judgmental audience that I dreamed would flog me for not doing what "they" wanted. I must be delusional. I have also felt that I haven't been honest with myself or with my readership.

I probably wouldn't even have started this post had it not been for Mel at Stirrup Queens writing on this very topic. I needed someone to remind me of the reason I started this blog. The point was to document my journey through infertility. To explore my thoughts, joys, questions, fears as I navigate my way on this (so far) heart-wrenching trip. Of course, I expected some people to come along for the ride with me - well, at least to read about it - but that's not solely who this blog is for. I needed to hear from Mel that transitions in regards to the world of infertility are worthy of blogging about. That transitions are hard but important. Which leads me to what I've wanted to write about for the past few months.

During the course of writing this blog, Kev and I have gone from monthly Femara with injections of HCG and timed relations to a more aggressive hormone treatment and three failed IUI's to being approved for domestic adoption and waiting, waiting, waiting to our most recent additional plan for starting our family. It's a big move. We're moving on to IVF.

Kev and I start stimming for IVF on Sunday evening. I've been taking Lupron injections for a little over two weeks, and this Sunday I add Gonal-F and low-dose HCG to the mix. I will give myself three injections per day for the first few days. This number of injections will likely be bumped up after my next scan on Tuesday.

That feels good to get off my chest. I feel as though I've been holding back for you so you wouldn't get upset that I'm moving on to IVF. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that I'm writing this for me. I do still feel that I have to explain a little. Hopefully, this compulsion to justify my actions will go away again and I can get back to writing for real.

This move doesn't mean that Kev and I are no longer exploring adoption at this time. As far as I can tell, we are still waiting. I do imagine, however, that there will be some of you who disagree with our decision to pursue IVF while waiting to adopt. This doesn't mean that if we are matched tomorrow that I would reject the match. Not at all! We would love to be matched and explore an open adoption with a birth mother. I hope that people realize that this move doesn't indicate our closing a door, but more of our openness to beginning our family by any means available.

We've been trying to start our family for six years. We need to be able to explore many options. We need your support. We need your prayers. I need to be able to express my thoughts, ideas, fears, and joys through this process - through this transition - for my own peace of mind. Maybe this was the peace my sister-in-law was talking about last weekend.

How wonderful! I now have something to blog about tomorrow: the advice I got from my sister-in-law last weekend.

Thanks for the reminder, Mel. I needed to get back on track.

Friday, May 29, 2009

AN APOLOGY AND A PROMISE

Next month I am going to do a much better job with IComLeavWe. This time around there were just too many things going on. Mostly, it was the end of another year of teaching, which brings with it essays to grade, tests to make, files to clean out, books to count, and the list goes on.

I didn't do a bang up job with ICLW this month. I only got around to returning a few comments, and I didn't reach my daily goal of comments to leave. It's not that I didn't want to be an active member of this community, it's just that the "teacher" part of my persona had to take over the "blogger" part and I had to get down to business. Therefore, my blog suffered. Terribly.

But don't hold it against me for too long. I promise I'll do better. School is out for the next several weeks, and I will finally be able to take a deep, reflective breath as soon as I decompress.

I'll be decompressing by spending the weekend with my entire family at the lake. Oh yeah. Sun, water, camping, food, games, love, kids, laughs... That's just what I need to get back on track.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

INFERTILITY'S STORM


Today my department had a potluck lunch to celebrate the end of the year. It was also a sending-off of sorts for our department chair who will be staying home next year to raise her son.

Cue the jealousy.

When I began working there, Kev and I had already been trying to conceive for two years. The chair and I became friends and she soon decided that she also wanted to start trying for a family. Of course, you can imagine how that worked out. For a couple of months, we shared our frustrations about OPK's, negative pregnancy tests, timing, etc. It was so nice to finally have someone to talk to who understood how complicated the whole process can be for some of us. Then she stopped talking to me. Until she announced her pregnancy, that is.

Then I was suddenly on the receiving end of complaints of swollen ankles and morning sickness and not fitting into a favorite pair of jeans. I had to listen to the common woes of pregnancy that I would gladly give an eye for. And I listened and I was patient and I was empathetic and then I quietly went back to my room and cried.

For the next year or so, I listened to stories - you know the stories - of growing babies. The chair was not the only person with a new baby at home. There are four children under 3 who belong to members of my department. It makes group lunches incredibly difficult to bear for a person who suffers with infertility.

Sometimes I can stay the entire twenty minutes for lunch, but other times I can't even poke my head out my door. It's strange how infertility's storm of emotions can erupt with no warning.

Now that her son is almost two, she has chosen to stay home with him. I don't blame her. I would have done it long ago.

The position of department chair has been passed on to me. I hope the position of Mother follows suit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

AM I CRAZY?

Since beginning Lupron about six days ago, I've been a terrible person to be around. At least for Kev to be around. Poor guy, he can't seem to do anything right. But truthfully, I don't know if it's the Lupron that is making my fuse short or if it's really Kev being an ass.

A few days ago as I changed my clothes, I looked into the mirror and began pouting and harumphing about. Kev asked what was wrong and I said that I felt that I had gained back all the weight I lost this spring. He told me that I should exercise more and I wouldn't feel that way. Oh boy, did I ever blow up! He's right, but I told him that what he had said was not helpful and that I just wanted him to say something supportive.

Later that night, we went to his parents' house for a lovely dinner. Once we got home and I had changed into my PJ's, Kev asked me if I wanted to go over to a friend's house for cocktails. Um...NO. Not now! I'm in my PJ's! So he said he'd be back in one hour. One hour and fifty-five minutes later, he was still not home and hadn't returned my calls or texts. My mind started going crazy. I just knew he was in a ditch somewhere between our house and theirs. So I threw on my slippers and drove, looking down every side street for his abandoned car. It was now after midnight and I was totally surprised to see his car parked in front of our friends' house and all the guests were outside on the porch! Oh, the embarrassment. Kev was quick to insinuate that I had embarrassed him too. In fact, he called me a lunatic. And I was.

The next day, Kev's baseball team came over for a cookout. I had grocery shopped, chopped, cooked, cut, plated, and prepped all day. Kev did not say two words to me the entire time they were here. They were here for seven hours. One of them actually said, "Man, it must suck being married." To which, Kev responded, "It's not that bad." Not that bad? Are you freaking kidding me? This is the response to the moron who just ate my food and is sitting on my deck under my patio umbrella and assumes that being married must "suck"? I expected my husband to put the moron in his place, but instead, they just continued drinking beer and exchanging misogynistic comments. When the last two idiots finally left, I had already packed our bags to spend the weekend with my parents. Kev got a tongue-lashing in the car as I drove his inebriated ass to my home town an hour away.

And tonight Kev is going to a baseball game with some co-workers. When he told me that he'd have his phone on him at the game, do you think I believed that he would actually answer my call should I try to reach him? Do you think I believed him when he said he'd be home long before 11pm? I believe the last thing he heard was the sound of my slamming the phone down.

I absolutely hate the way I'm feeling. Every little thing he's done in the past five or six days has been infuriating. Is it the Lupron or is he being an ass?

**As I was getting ready to publish this post, I heard someone try to open the front door. I ran upstairs to see which neighbor needed what. There was Kev, peering in through the crack in the door held in place by the chain lock. I opened the door, and he handed me a bouquet of flowers. He then proceeded to apologize for being an ass. God, I love that man.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

TEASER

I'm on Lupron Pictures, Images and Photos

Those of you who have battled infertility know what this means. I still don't really have the balls to come right out and say it, but I really might as well have. I'm on day three of Lupron and a few other things.

If you know the implications of this, please wish me luck. If you don't have a rat's ass of a clue, go ahead and wish me luck for now, and I will fill you in on the details when I take care of some "business."

This is big.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

DETOURS AND A SECRET

secret Pictures, Images and Photos

For the IComLeavWe'ers new to my blog, let me give you a brief-ish run-down of how I came to travel this TTC road. I've gone from Point A (amenorrhea) and hit all the detours common for women with PCOS, and am still trying to get to Point B (baby... Duh).

Point A: No period until age 18 (1995)
Detour 1: Put on birth control to regulate cycles
D2: Got engaged and stopped birth control and menses also stopped (2001)
D3: Diagnosed with PCOS and given Metformin. Still no regular cycles (2003)
D4: Tried acupuncture
D5: Tried Mayan abdominal massage
D6: Tried dysglycemia diet
D7: Tried Chinese herbs
D8: Still no regular cycles after three years of alternative therapies, so I found a local RE (2006)
D9: Was put back on Metformin and added Femara and HCG to the mix and got pregnant
D10: Miscarried
D11: Tried for another year using the same protocol with no luck
D12: Three failed IUI's and one good bout of OHSS (2008)
D13: Got approved for private adoption and wait, wait, wait to be matched
D14: And today... on to the next leg of our journey trying to get to Point B

When I get a little more nerve, I will blog about it. But for right now, it stays a secret. Check back soon to see if I crumble under the pressure of secrecy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

BUILD ME UP, BUTTERCUP

Photobucket

Mother's Day is fast approaching and I've realized that my heart has become calloused to the build-up of this widely celebrated day. Don't get me wrong.... I definitely celebrate my mother and mother-in-law and all the other mothers I know (which is nearly every woman in my life) on Mother's Day. They are life-givers and nurturers and deserve to be celebrated more than just one day a year. Really. They do.

What I mean is that lately I have found that as an American consumer, I am barraged by Mother's Day jewelry offers, radio ads, full, two-page spreads, and the like. As are most of you. You can't escape it. Click on the TV lately, and you'll see Jane Sey.more Hoff.man pushing her mass-produced synthetic diamond heart pendant. Go to a Roy.als game and listen to the 610 AM pre-game in the parking lot, and they will interview players and ask them how they plan to honor their mothers this weekend. Open a magazine or newspaper, and find article after touching article about the women who make the world go round. Americans love their mothers. Yay for our moms!

I should be mushy too, right? I mean, I have a mom. I love my mom. She's the best woman I know. Strong, caring, forgiving, smart, loving, funny, beautiful Mom. She's the best. I'm the luckiest kid in the world to have such a nearly perfect mother. Really. She's always been the best. Even when I was a shitty teenager and hated everything, she was still the best.

So why does my stomach immediately tie itself into knots at the mere suggestion of a Mother's Day advertisement? I can't control it. I don't cry into a pillow. I don't roll my eyes. I don't leave the room. I experience something in my stomach that shifts uncomfortably and uncontrollably and I stop breathing. It's almost like a mild and quick panic attack.

Remember that feeling you got in your high school freshman speech class right before you had to stand in front of 30 judgmental teens and talk for five minutes about the Titan.ic or Medgar Ev.ars? Remember how your stomach felt kind of like it was collapsing in on itself? Your heart raced, your breathing became shallow, your eyes widened, noises swelled to an inaudible roar? That's it. That's what happens when I see a florist peddling beautiful mother's bouquets or a jeweler pushing gemstone and diamond mother's rings.

What the hell is wrong with me? Is this a feeling of jealousy? Is it self-pity? What the crap is it? I need to know so that I can fix it.

My weekend is planned around my mom and mother-in-law. It's going to be all about them. I'm taking my mother-in-law to a percussion show and dinner Saturday night, then spending the entire next day with my mommy. It shouldn't be any other way. Right?

I just want this weekend to hurry and get here so I can focus on the amazing women I call Mom. But I really don't want to see or hear those ads anymore. They remind me of how insufficient I am. Deficient. Broken. Worthless? Maybe that feeling in my stomach is anger. Frustration. Maybe I just need to scream and get it out.

Or cry. I'm pretty good at that. Maybe I'll try that.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A ROYAL HIGH

Kansas City Royals baseball Pictures, Images and Photos

I am so in love right now.

I've been a fan my whole life, but they have broken my heart every season for years. Not this year. This year, my Royals are on fire. This year, my Royals have a new stadium and a fire under their collective ass.

Have you been paying attention?! Comment your love only, please!

Go see what everyone else is showing off this week.

Monday, April 27, 2009

ANOTHER TRIP TO THE STIRRUPS? TRY FERTILITY SOCKS



Emily at FertilitySocks.org has started a movement in the world of infertility. It's kind of a pay-it-forward gift exchange with a one track mind. The idea is that something as simple as a pair of silly socks can lighten the load placed upon those of us who are reproductively challenged.

She's right, too.

I've found that I do strange things as well to help me cope with the gravity and sometimes seemingly unending pain of infertility. At my last appointment at the infertility clinic (before I had heard about fertilitysocks.org), I planned my outfit to include a pair of knee-high trouser socks with Chinese dragons printed on them because I thought they were reminiscent of sperm. I asked Kev to play along, so he donned a nice paisley tie - also spermesque. It seems silly, stupid, or maybe superstitious, but it did provide a moment or two of giggles. Because, let's face it, having your legs propped up in stirrups and a camera inserted into your holiest of holies is no laughing matter. In fact, it's nerve wracking. So the little things like printed socks help.

What Emily has created is a service to other infertile women living in the land of pills, shots, blood tests, etc. You just give her your info, and she sends you a pair of brand new socks that have been donated by other women in a similar boat. It's a small gesture, but to someone who's dealing with the isolation of infertility, feeling connected, if even remotely, is a welcomed and much needed solace.

I signed up to receive a pair of socks, and within a week, I was greeted with a package containing some green fish swimming in a sea of blue cotton. Despite my fatigue after a long day at work, I was inspired right then to go out and purchase some socks for Emily to gift on my behalf. I bought a lightweight pair of Gold Toe Premier with a floral pattern and one pair of knee-high fishnets. I hope whoever receives them has as much fun wearing them as I did picking them out. I also wish her, whoever she may be, fertile thoughts and baby blessings.

If you've been touched by the wide-reaching web of infertility - maybe you or your sister, friend, cousin - check out Emily's site and donate a pair of socks to brighten someone's trip to the stirrups.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

SHOW & TELL - TWO FROM THE HEARTLAND




Two weeks ago, Kev and I took a day trip to Lexington, Missouri to see what we could see. It's a cute little town I'd never even heard of, but it was on the map and on our way to find Kev's ancestors' burial sites in Carrolton (another town I'd never heard of). The relatives we were looking for (and found!) are also relatives of General Patton (brother, uncle, grandfather, something - I don't remember). But I digress. Look closely at that picture of the courthouse above. In the lower left quadrant, you'll see a column with some writing on it. It reads, "Battle of Lexington Sept 18, 19, 20 1861." Directly above the writing, you'll find the canon ball that has been lodged there ever since. Pretty cool, huh?

After spending about ninety minutes looking for the Patton plot, we headed home. We did not, however, make a beeline home; we stopped at a local winery for a tasting and a bottle (or six) to go. It's funny how wine from those little local wineries can taste so good - even though I would not normally touch wine that sweet. Although, I must take this opportunity to give props to my home state. The story goes that most of the wine that is currently produced in France is actually grown on vines that were sent there from Missouri to replace the plants that were devastated during France's bug blight of the 1860's. Also pretty cool, huh?





Go see who else is standing at the head of the class today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

...MY SUMMER BREAK BEGINS

SUMMER Pictures, Images and Photos

Six weeks left until...
One hundred eighty classes left to teach until...
Fifteen ten-page research papers left to grade before...
Twenty-six expository papers to grade before...
One hundred fifteen paraphrased, translated Shakespearean monologue recitations to listen to and grade before...
Nineteen literary analyses to grade before...
One hundred ten Missouri State End of Course Exams to proctor before...
Three finals to create before...
One hundred fifteen English II finals to grade before...
Twenty-six English IV finals to grade before...
Nineteen Senior Composition finals to grade before...
Two Shakespearean plays to teach to three very different levels of students before...
I can't wait until...

Friday, April 10, 2009

GOOD FRIDAY - WHAT A LOAD OFF

Today is Good Friday, and the public school at which I teach is out for the day. I don't really understand how a public district can do that without getting a bunch of flack from the non-religious community, but it gets me out of a day of work, so I don't ask questions.

Lots of things have been going on in my world lately, and you probably wouldn't understand most of this unless you are one of my dearest friends. But at times I just need to vent, so here goes.

1. We are NOT moving to Mexico. Not now, not ever. It's been one year of living in limbo. Here's what we've been hearing: "You're moving in three months. You're not moving now. You're moving in six months. You're staying here. You'll be out of the country by the beginning of the year. You are not moving. You'll be in Mexico by June. We're not sure when/if you're moving." What a relief to finally know one way or another. Now, I feel like I can plan my life with confidence that I know what country I will be calling home. Some areas of my life that I feel like I can work on again are: family, career, home repairs, major purchases, projects... the list obviously goes on.

2. My department chair is leaving at the end of this year. She is a friend, but I am also excited to see who will take her place and how the dynamics will change. The English department in my building is huge - there are twelve of us - and we've never really felt very connected. Three of us are being considered for the position. I am the most junior in age, experience, and tenure, and I really think one person in particular would be great. The question is will she take it? She'd be perfect for it. Time will tell who it will be.

3. I've been photographing for friends and family lately and I am having a super blast. I shot my nephew's wedding two weeks ago and got at least one photo I'm totally in love with. I would really like to share it here, but I want them to see it first and I feel I should have their consent to publish it. My husband's dearest friend and his new fiance (woo hoo!!) have asked me to do a photo shoot for their engagement announcement photos. I am truly honored that they would ask me to do this for them; they could afford the best photographer in the city and they chose me! I am a little nervous because I want the pictures to be perfect for them. We've got this Saturday planned for the shoot if the weather is good. Wish me luck.

4. I'm down at least 20 pounds now. The bad news is that my jeans don't fit anymore and I hate shopping for jeans.

5. Kev and I decided to make this Easter just about us (and Jesus, of course!). This is the only holiday that we feel we have to choose between his family and mine, and I always miss the one we're not with. So this year, we (mostly I) decided to just spend the day together. We're planning on going to church in the early morning, then we're going to the Royals vs. Yankee's game at the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium. We scored incredible tickets six rows up from home plate. I've also got a little surprise for Kevo in the form of a (very manly) Easter basket.

6. As far as my struggle with infertility and family-building... things are in the works. That's all for now.

There's more going on, but I'll have to save that for another day.

Have a good Good Friday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

SHOW & TELL - ICE LAND OF INFERTILITY

Kev and I enjoy exploring;, however, our grown-up lives don't exactly allow for extended adventures the way they used to. Before we both had careers and before the stain of infertility was spilled onto our seemingly blissful marriage, we knew how to throw caution to the wind and let the spirit of travel take us where it may. Some of our previous adventures include a three month hitchhiking trip across Mexico and a six week exploration of Italy. Now, our adventures are more like tiny jaunts to local spots. If we happen to have a free weekend, we might grab our atlas and find some place nearby to "explore."



These photos were taken last year on the Kaw River after the last big freeze in our area. Before I snapped these, we sat in awe watching seven bald eagles soar and land in the tree line high above the water. Despite the accumulated ice on the river, the water rushed by the frozen spots at a speed that was, at times, a bit frightening as I stood on the bank and contemplated nature. What makes some of that water stop and freeze on the banks while the rest of it carries on down the channel?



Lately, I have felt like this ice. I am frozen in time and progress as the fertile world rushes by like a river fighting the pause of winter. I watch as my friends and co-workers, nieces and nephews discover life-changing news, hopefully anticipate nine months, and welcome a beautiful miracle into their lives. And they should. And I'm happy for them. I only wish I could jump into that same water with them and enjoy my own ride to parenthood.

But I am stuck in the ice land of infertility.

More show & tell...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PLEASE DON'T

Every day, I come home from work and fly down the stairs in the hopes that the answering machine light will be blinking. Each day it happens to blink, I hold my breath in an attempt to stifle the pounding hopeful heartbeats as I hit the 'play' button. Inevitably, the message is from a well-wishing relative or an automated recording alerting me to the dangers of not refinancing my mortgage.

I realize that it's tough times for everyone in this economy. People are losing jobs, unable to find work, and dipping into 401K's just to make ends meet. But, come on. You can't do this to people who are daily waiting for the call that is to be the beginning of an open adoption.

You cannot call and leave a message like this:

"Hey, guys, it's me. I have some really important information for you and I need you to call me as soon as you can. Love ya."

Upon hearing this, people who anxiously await "the call" begin to dream. Maybe [caller] knows of a birth mother considering open adoption! Maybe [caller] is going to help us in some way! Hurry! CALL HIM BACK! NOW!!

And when you call the loved one back, you get an overly eager invitation to invest in a fail-safe-not-a-pyramid-scheme-money-making opportunity. And if you don't invest, it must mean that a) you have all the money you need or b) you're not interested in making money. How could it be anything else? Only fools do not invest in sure things.

Please. Don't do this to people who have been dealing with infertility for six years. Don't do this to people who are relying on loved ones to help them become adoptive parents. Don't do this and then try to make them feel foolish for keeping their hard-earned savings safe for the child they have been working for so long to bring home.

I know times are tough for everyone. But some of us need a call that will get us closer to our dreams of being parents - not yacht owners.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

SHOW AND TELL - A BLAST FROM THE PAST

Kev and I are coming up on our seventh wedding anniversary in June. To celebrate, we always do something to remind us either of our wedding day or our honeymoon. Our wedding took place in the Gunnison National Forest in Colorado - kind of hard to duplicate that here on the Great Plains. Our honeymoon was a six week adventure exploring all of Italy. As strange as it may sound, pieces of that trip are actually easier to duplicate. Think wine, picnics, beaches, fountains, gelato, leisurely meals.

Anyway, one of the silliest places we visited on our luna de miele was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We couldn't justify being in Italy for that long and not at least seeing it. Talk about a tourist trap! It really is just a building that leans and is supported by cables. Vendors have set up shop all around it selling things like mini versions of the tower that light up, t-shirts with corny slogans, etc. How aggravating!

We are more the kind of couple who enjoys spots off the beaten path, so this was not our idea of fun. So instead we made our own fun. We donned our snorkeling gear and walked around asking people to take pictures of us. Everyone we asked actually snapped a shot for us, and some of them were great. Here's my favorite.



Be sure to check out what the other kids are showing this week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

KILLER PANTS? NO MORE!

It's been nine weeks since I started my diet, and I'm officially down 15 pounds. I realize it's not exactly a drastic change. I haven't been like Ruby who's on average dropped that each month, but I've got something going on. I definitely feel better. I feel like I look better too. I noticed today that for the first time in many months, the waist on my slacks didn't bisect me. I actually made it through an entire day of teaching without the clasps on my pants digging into my fat rolls. Hallelujah!

Honestly, I haven't adhered to my diet as well as I should have, but come on, it's a really strict diet. Not only am I limited to a few hundred calories per day, but I cannot have ANY sugar - none. And grains? Why, I can have an entire half piece of whole wheat bread per day. Throw on top of that the fact that I am already a strict vegetarian, and I'm pretty much left with a diet consisting of tofu, veggies, and soy milk.

The first month I was on the diet, I followed it very closely. I used the menu to plan my meals, measured everything, and never cheated. But, really I was miserable. I didn't feel like I could ever eat at restaurants or even at my mom & dad's. I felt guilty for being polite at dinner with my in-laws and eating what I knew was not on my diet. I felt guilty when my mother bought special groceries when I went for visits. I felt guilty for eating something that might have been made with too much olive oil or the wrong kind of cheese. I ended up feeling guilty a lot.

So after the first month (and first seven pounds), I reflected on my goal and decided that I needed to make a change. I decided not to be so hard on myself and to allow myself to enjoy good food (and even comfort food once in a great while), no matter how far off my diet it took me. And so, in my second month of dieting, I enjoyed non-fat frozen yogurt, pizza, key lime pie, and I even really splurged and had a serving of mashed potatoes! I did all that and continued to lose weight.

Has the splurging set me back a bit? Yeah, I probably could have lost more weight. Am I a little happier now that I allow myself occasional yummies? Maybe. Probably. Do I still feel guilty when I do splurge? Definitely. But at least my pants don't injure me anymore.

Friday, March 6, 2009

YOUR OPINION

I've been curious about what you all think. I'll write more later, but for now, I just want to ask the question...

What do you think Kev and I should be doing right now to grow our family? We've been eight years without contraception, six years trying various therapies, and two and a half years undergoing more aggressive reproductive treatments. We were approved for domestic adoption six months ago.

Please go to the right and vote.

More later...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

SISTERHOOD

Now that I have found terrific support from women all over the globe who also suffer from the heartache of infertility, it's hard for me to imagine how I dealt for so long with the awful feelings that are inherent to this affliction. I don't clearly remember how I coped during the years when I felt that I was dealing with the loneliness, the alienation, the overwhelming depression of infertility by myself. That's not to say that my husband isn't a great support, but he once said it better than I ever could. Because it is my body that is missing the child within, and because it is my body that endures the suppression, the hormones, the SHOTS, and because it is in a woman's nature to nurture, the sadness that I feel is much more profound than what he has ever felt on this long road of infertility.

But about nine months ago (what a symbolic number for those of us in this circle), I discovered that there is an entire population of women (and a few men) on the web who have reached out to others dealing with all kinds of infertility and loss issues. I discovered support sites that offer articles and expert advice, discussion forums specifically designed for infertility, and I discovered that by blogging, I found many wonderful people to lean on who feel what I feel, know what I know, cry what I cry. Now, this burden doesn't seem quite so hard to handle anymore.

Colleen, one of the women who has been a great support to me, nominated me for an award today and charged me with the passing on of this award to women whom I feel have had an impact on me. How do I choose? It's going to be tough, but here goes...

ONE
TWO
THREE
FOUR
FIVE
SIX
SEVEN
EIGHT
NINE
TEN

So here are the rules:
Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude.
Be sure to link to your nominees in your post
Let your nominees know they have received the award by leaving them a comment on their blog
And be sure to link this post to the person who nominated you for the award.

Monday, February 23, 2009

DIFFERENT

Since our convalidation last weekend, people have been asking me if I feel different. I'm pretty sure they are expecting me to say yes. That somehow having a priest bless our rings and our saying vows in God's house this time is supposed to make me feel different. My husband said he felt different. But I honestly don't feel any different. How am I supposed to feel different? Should I be happier? Should I suddenly feel as though I'm not living in sin? Should I feel less stress in my life? Should I have more hope now that God will give us a baby? Maybe I haven't fully considered the magnitude of celebrating this sacrament. I don't know. I'm so confused. I feel like God has always been approving of our marriage. Then again, maybe I've been kidding myself this whole time. After all, I am barren.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CONVALIDATION CELEBRATION




Last weekend, we renewed our vows and had our marriage blessed by the Catholic Church. Afterward, we had a magnificent meal at EBT Restaurant with our wedding party (parents, grandmother, priest). This is Kevin and I dancing our first dance as a married couple in the eyes of God. Now, bring on the babies!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

AFFORDING INFERTILITY

This is an oxymoron. There really is no such thing. It's like an awfully good jumbo shrimp.

In our six years of infertility treatments of varying intensities, we have spent tens of thousands of dollars. Every penny we save goes to our next infertility venture. Sure, there was that one time four years ago when we spent a week on the Mayan Riviera with my brother, and the jaunt last fall out to New Mexico for the weekend, but other than that, we know where our money is going before it gets here. It will go to our next infertility treatment, surgery, procedure, injectable drugs, ultrasounds, adoption home study, or whatever is coming up. Until life outside our most intimate world happens, that is. At that point, the infertility money becomes home repair, or new tires, or taxes.

So my question is this: How does a couple who makes under $100,000 a year pay for the average $15,000 IVF or adoption when thier health care pays for no infertility coverage and insurance offers no adoption assistance? I know you have some ideas concerning my existing spending, so let me enlighten you. We own both cars, we have basic cable (REALLY basic - $14), we never buy new clothes, never buy new things for the house like pillows, decorations, etc., rarely eat out, but we have massive student loans, and a small credit card debt. There it is... my life on the line. I would love some suggestions. I am desperate. My Mommy Clock has been ticking and ticking and ticking faster.

I feel I've already said too much. I fondly await your esteemed responses.

Respectfully,
~G

Saturday, February 14, 2009

SO SORRY FOR MY RECENT ABSENCE

Kevin and I are 'getting married' tonight. The Catholic Church is blessing our marriage in a convalidation ceremony. My parents and Kev's mother and grandmother will be our witnesses. No one else will be there - with the exception of the priest, of course.

I just can't help the superstitious thoughts from running a loop through my head.
*Maybe God has been angry at us for not getting married in the Church six and a half years ago.
*Maybe if we get our marriage blessed, God will give us a baby.

I know those thoughts are incredibly unhealthy and irrational, but how do you stop yourself from thinking like that?


~ And I do apologize for not keeping up with the infertility blog community for the last couple of weeks. There has been a cloud of funk following me around lately - and I'm not talking about body odor - that has kept me from thinking, speaking, and acting in a clear-headed, purposeful way.

I think I'm better now, though.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SHOW & TELL - WHAT I VOW TO NEVER NAME A CHILD

Kev was perusing his vast baseball card collection tonight and shared the funnier cards with me. I must say, this one topped even Oil Can Boyd.




Really? Dick Pole? I bet he had to endure years of kids' mocking. At least he made it to the big leagues!

Way to go, Dick Pole!

Be sure to check out what the other kids brought this week for show & tell.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CONVALIDATION (AND 2009 GOAL #8)

Kev and I were married six and a half years ago in the Gunnison National Forest in Colorado. We didn't originally set out to have a destination wedding, but we couldn't get the guest list below several hundred without feeling guilty for not inviting dozens of cousins, distant relatives, co-workers, grade school friends, parents' acquaintances... you get the picture. So we decided to ditch the traditional and opt for some place out of the way yet beautiful to exchange vows. Our most immediate families and life-long friends joined us in the majestic mountains of Crested Butte as witnesses to our love. There were about 30 people in attendance as my father walked me down the makeshift aisle to Willie Nelson's "I've Loved You All Over the World." The minister gave an incredible ceremony based on the simplicity and spontaneity of nature before we, newly married, skipped back up the aisle to Cat Steven's "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out." I know everybody says this, but everyone there said it was the "coolest" wedding they'd ever been a part of. I don't know...I like to believe it.

Anyway, as unique and fitting as our wedding was, there was one thing missing. That was our Catholic faith. We are both cradle Catholics (I just learned that term from my priest & I know I'm overusing it, but so what?) and have had all of our sacraments except holy matrimony. We honestly hadn't given it too much thought. We love God. We are spiritual, religious, curious, devout. Over the years, we've engaged in various religious retreats, one being the year-long Jesuit retreat called The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I think we've both felt blessed and loved by God despite the fact that He hadn't officially blessed our union. We're still married, right?

I guess people change. We are both in a place now where having our marriage blessed by the Catholic Church is very important to us. So this Valentine's Day* we are celebrating a convalidation ceremony so God and the Catholic Church will officially recognize us as the soul mates we really are. How romantic, right? It will just be our parents and us and our sweet, wonderful priest after the 5:30 mass. We will then all go out for a nice dinner to celebrate love, commitment, and God. Who knows, maybe this has been the missing piece in our puzzle that is baby-making.

*I know it may seem strange to celebrate a very Catholic tradition (the sacrament of HOLY MATRIMONY) on a day that is no longer recognized as a saint's holy day by the Catholic Church, but at least the day does have Catholic origins. Do you think God will mind?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SHOW & TELL - BEATING THE ODDS



Not quite knowing why I had to, I jumped in the water and snapped this shot at Itaska State Park a year and a half ago.  For some reason, I just HAD to record this sight.  It was not until several months later that I realized the reason I was drawn to this tree.  The tree was growing out the side of the low bank.  However, it was not about to fall; the roots were deep and holding tight to the earth.  Notice the healthy leaves and branches reaching for the nurturing sun.  This tree is alive.  This tree is beating the odds.  One would think gravity would pull this tree into the water, ruining its chances for life.  But this tree is strong and its roots are holding tight, supporting the massive trunk and sun-reaching limbs.  


We who endure infertility are like this tree.  For one reason or another, our bodies or our situation grows in a way that makes it difficult for us to conceive our dream.  The gravity of infertility tries to make us fall.  But we find strength in our roots.  We hold fast and send our branches high into the hope of the skies, reaching for energy to keep trying for our dream.  And no matter the outcome, we too will beat the odds.  Whether we get the two pink lines, adopt, or decide to enjoy a childfree lifestyle, we will have endured the pain and heartache of infertility and come out of the trials strong as oak.  We are infertile, but we learn to grow in ways most don't.  We are women and men of incredible strength and resolve.  And we beat the odds.   

Go now to Mel's Show & Tell to see who else is standing strong.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

WHY I CRY

My head is full.  


I can not even remember what it was like to be oblivious to the woes of infertility.  Every day, I am reminded that I am in my thirties and not yet a mother.  My friends are parents, my nieces and nephews are parents, my parents are parents, my students are parents.  I am not.  I try to get pregnant.  Nothing.  I try to adopt.  Nothing.

My heart aches for a child.  

I've heard some fellow teachers say that their students are enough children for them to handle.  They say that they don't need their own kids because their students are like their kids.  I can definitely understand that.  As a high school teacher in an urban district, a lot of my energy is sucked from me, er, devoted to the well-being of the 175 adolescents who walk through my classroom door each and every day.  But honestly, that doesn't do it for me.  Those people leave my life - most forever - after a few short months.  

My soul yearns for more.

Yesterday I sat in my classroom after work and sobbed into my hands.  Nothing really sparked the tears.  No one asked me why I don't have kids.  No one inquired about our seemingly stagnant adoption process.  No pregnant student came to me for advice.  Yet, this is what I do.

I just cry.

I cried yesterday because it was after 5:00 pm and I was still working in my classroom.  I had been there for over ten hours - eleven once you factor in my commute - and the only person who honestly knew it was me.  I really never have a reason to go home early.  Granted, "early" in my teacher world means after the American standard eight hour day, but no one would know the difference if I left my job at 3:00 instead of my usual 4:30 or 5:00 or later.  No one is waiting for me at home.  When I finally do make the thirty minute journey to my slice of the world, I unlock the front door to an empty home.   No babies crying, no kids latching onto my legs, no nothing (except for little Nacho begging for a treat, of course).  Just a dark, quiet house that faintly smells of the old people who lived there before us.

I used to be oblivious to this.  Going home was just that - going home.  Now, it seems as though I just go to an empty house.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

GINA AT A QUICK GLANCE

For the IComLeavWe'ers, you can find a brief outline of my IF journey in the side bar.  Look for "Baby Making Road Map."  For a more detailed (but still relatively brief) account of how I came to be a traveler on this infertility journey, click on the links under "You Are Here:  How It All Began."


Quick outline:

I.  Infertility related
A.  TTC for roughly six years
B.  Not preventing for eight
C.  Diagnosed with PCOS & endometriosis
D.  Tried alternative therapies
E.  Tried infertility drugs
F.  Achieved pregnancy
G.  Miscarried
H.  Three failed IUI's

II.  Who I am without infertility
A.  Married almost seven years
B.  High school English teacher
C.  Daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend
D.  Vegetarian
E.  Vespa driver
F.  Cradle Catholic

III.  Current state of affairs
A.  Waiting to be matched for domestic adoption
B.  Waiting for summer
C.  Wanting to be a mommy

I look forward to hearing from all the ICLW'ers!  Welcome to you.  

Those of you who are regular visitors, welcome back.  Thanks for being here.

 
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