Monday, November 29, 2010

My googling is out of control!

Somebody stop me!  I know I shouldn't do it, but here I am in a self-diagnosing google tornado.  This morning was my blood test and we of course were expecting a big fat negative.  Well, don't get excited, but Dr. T called me with a teeny tiny positive.  My beta was at 14, which is *technically* positive (anything over 5 is considered positive), but that is very, VERY low.  He is thinking that this is most likely another chemical pregnancy.  But he wants me to stay on my meds (progesterone and estrogen) for now and take another blood test Wednesday morning to see where my levels are then. 
So of course now I'm in a downward spiral of googling things like "successful pregnancies with low initial beta."  And I'm left thinking things like, oh dear God, is this an ectopic pregnancy?  I found like a million things saying that was a very possible outcome here.  Well, whatever.  I guess this wimpy positive gives us an itty bitty glimmer of hope.  Itty.  Bitty.  But hey, I'll certainly play along and do my part.  So yes, I guess that little chance is exciting, but we're already kinda at peace here with the negative and just ready to move on.  So it brings mass confusion.
So much for my red wine and chocolate fest tonight!  I know I'm grasping at straws here, but has anyone had a ridiculously low beta initially and gone on to have a full-term pregnancy?  Just curious.  I know the growth of the numbers is ultimately more important than the numbers themselves, but still... 14 is off-the-charts low.  (I'm 12dp5dt - to those of you that speak my language.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

That's a wrap.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! We sure did. We drove up to Knoxville to visit with the hub's family for a couple of days. A great weekend filled with food and family! We got back mid-day yesterday and I haven't left the house since! I've been in PJ pants from minute #1, getting the rest of our Christmas decorations up (inside anyway) and now I'm making a mess of it getting all the gifts wrapped...

I'm really hoping I can get it all done today so I can truly have it all marked off my to-do list before December arrives on Wednesday. I got a good chunk of our Christmas cards signed and addressed while on the road this weekend, but still have a ways to go with those. Otherwise, I'm ready for you, Christmas!

So in other news, you may've already caught my tweets from earlier this week, but it looks like this first IVF cycle is a bust. We tested Wednesday night, and then like a million times more over the weekend, and all were negative. I realize it's still "early" - and yes, my blood test is still on for tomorrow a.m. and anything's possible - but I'm pretty darn sure we have our answer here. It was definitely a bummer... it's just hard to go through all of that intensity and come out empty-handed. Or empty uterus, I guess. I suppose dot didn't find it so homey there and left the building. Sorry, dot... we tried! But the good thing is, we are NOT empty-handed here. We have at least 14 frozens waiting for us, which we are so grateful for - and certainly now!

I did not *expect* to get the job done on the first try but oh, we were so hopeful. I just prayed for peace, as I always do, before taking that first test Wednesday night. I didn't pray for a positive, I just prayed for peace. And I was fine. Disappointed, yes, but OK. That is until we ran by my parents' house Thanksgiving morning to drop off Belly before heading out of town... we had to tell them the news. I couldn't get it out of my mouth. Totally did not foresee this happening as I had been completely fine talking about it with the hub since the night before. But when I get around other family, especially my parents who are so invested (literally) in this, I remember there are others I'm disappointing here. And I KNOW they're not disappointed in me - of course not. But it's hard not to feel like you keep letting the wannabe-dad and wannabe-grandparents down. So anyway, I went to the bathroom while over there and as I was washing my hands, I just lost it. It was the first time I let myself cry over it and I was a blubbering fool.

Luckily, the hub managed to tell my parents about our negative pee stick while I was in the bathroom, so they knew why I was such a mess when I came out. So yeah, I had my good cry on Thanksgiving morning. But tears aside, you must know we truly are so grateful for the little babes on ice that await us. While going through this mess, I've connected with other IVF'ers all over the world via Twitter. It's amazing how widely people's results vary. It has become VERY clear that we are so, so blessed to have any frozens at all, not to mention 14+! My ovaries seriously kick ass. We just need to get my uterus in gear.

But again, thank you all so much for following along on this journey and encouraging me with every step! After my results tomorrow, I'm sure we'll get word on next steps. I'm guessing they'll have me sit out one cycle to let the meds get out of my system before gearing up for a frozen cycle in January. And OH, please let that frozen cycle work because I don't think I can handle doing a fresh cycle during tax season! I might die, get fired, or both! But hey, whatever we have to do - if the frozen cycle blows and we have to wait till April to start again, so be it. I just have to keep reminding myself: God's timing is perfect. Because it is. I know he's not making us wait without reason. (Just wish I freaking knew the reason!)

Alright, y'all... gotta get back to wrapping! And we're going to make some chili, so I've gotta get that going soon. Enjoy what's left of the weekend! I know I'm gonna! I'll let you all know what we find out from the doctor tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why I Love Harry So.

OK first, here's a good trailer to get your heart beating quickly! This actually has scenes from both parts 1 and 2...

We of course saw Part 1 on opening day last week! Not the midnight show... I couldn't handle that right now! But I'm planning to do a midnight show again for the last one - those are so fun! But we did go to the prime time 7pm IMAX show Friday night, so there was still lots of excitement. The full theatre applauded once the movie began, and gave a huge audible "UGH!" when it ended. It does leave you hanging, but I thought they split the two parts at the best place possible. More of the book is in the first half (if I'm remembering correctly), so I'm assuming they're going to really play up the final battle scene with lots of screen time.

I was tearing up within two minutes... watching Hermione "obliviate" her parents' memories of her. OMG. They really showed that well. I love the opening scenes, taking us to each of the three kids' homes before they're together again to face their final and most important mission. No spoiler alerts here... I know some people go see the films without reading the books (I don't get you, but I know lots of you.) I'm not sure I would totally follow the films without having read the books - there are so many emotions and story lines that aren't touched on screen. It's just impossible to get those books wrapped up in a 2-3 hour movie. Movies 1-6, you're maybe getting 35-40% of what's all in the book. And a lot of it was changed. Though, I will say I'm glad they did the last book in two parts. If they're going to get the bulk of the book into a film, the 7th one should be it! And they really did stay true to the book for the most part, at least in this first half. I knew they would have to bring the house elves back into the film (when they got ignored in other installments - namely #4!), because they're so vital to the storyline. I won't give away Dobby's role in this first half, but I thought it was very well done on screen. I totally lost it.

I love the films. I do think they've done a good job taking the beloved books to the screen and I have LOVED watching Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson grow into their characters over the years. And grow up! It's been fascinating to watch them become young adults along with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. They were all fresh faces when this started and they've matured into really great actors. I thought this last film was tremendously acted. And I'm still always dumbfounded by Alan Rickman as professor Snape. He is so hauntingly terrific. He was only in this first part a short bit, but whoah, you felt it.

OK so the movies are fun, but why read the books?! All I can say is God bless J.K. Rowling. What an utterly amazing talent. This world she has created... how these seven books are so intertwined... it's just beyond my comprehension. I think many have the misconception that these books are just for kids. They are great for older kids, for sure. But I would not read them to my 5-year-old. They get very dark, very fast. But it's the ultimate good vs. evil, coming of age story. An orphan boy who grew up thinking he was nothing, learning he is the only one who can rid his new-found magical world of its enemy. It's about friendship, love, and having something worth fighting for. I have such great love for these characters. I have laughed with them and cried with them. I always loved reading about how J.K. Rowling really struggled whenever she killed off a character. As real as this imaginary world is for the reader, I can't fathom how captivated she is by this world she has created.

I think it's really hard to convince someone to read something - no matter how much you rave about it. Kinda like how our head pastor at church encourages us just to get people there - then they'll see. So I say, just read it - you'll see. That's how I got into Twilight after all - someone said, you gotta read this - you'll see. And yeah, I FLEW through all four books and loved it! Now just for comparison - which it's really apples and oranges here - but if you're speaking level of ultimate awesomeness... the Harry Potter series trumps Twilight by a LOOOOONG ASSSSSSSSSS shot. Probably the best book comparison for Harry is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You know, Dumbledore is like Gandalf... Harry, Ron, and Hermione are like the hobbits... Voldermort is like Sauron... OK but LOTS easier to read Harry Potter! I love the LOTR books, but holy shit are those a hard read.

But seriously, one of the things I most look forward to about being a mom is being able to one day share these books with my kids. I CANNOT WAIT to introduce them to this magical world. That is how special they are to me - I don't know any other way to put it. I know I have some other fellow Harry fanatics out there... what is it that makes you crazy over these books?!

So in other non-Harry news, Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I'll be out of touch Thursday and Friday since we'll be all engrossed in Turkey Day festivities, but I hope y'all have a GREAT one! My MIL is doing the cooking, but I'm going to bring my own Moo Goo friendly (gluten-free) dressing recipe (in addition to hers) since I can't have the real thing. Normally, I'd let the diet slide some for Turkey Day, but given that we're in such a critical phase right now with dot, I'm stickin' to my guns. I'm also going to do some baked apples with a walnut topping for a dessert. Gluten-free and dairy-free - duh! Had to buy some GF bread and flour for this stuff... damn it's expensive! Ridiculous. Better be good!

Safe travels and lots of love to you and your family this Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Taco Stew

I got something good going in the crockpot this morning! Actually it's a recipe we make ALL the time, but it's worth sharing again. I know I've posted the recipe on here before, but as I continue to get raves and raves for this yummy stew, I thought I'd give it again. It's laughable how easy it is. It's one of those things we always have the ingredients on hand for and it keeps well and makes fabu leftovers. Enjoy!

Chicken Taco Stew

2-3 chicken breasts (I just dump them in frozen)
1 pkg Taco Mix (Taco Bell is our favorite)
1 onion, chopped
1 can black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can yellow corn (I just throw in frozen usually)
2 cans Rotel
1 8oz can tomato sauce

Dump all the ingredients in the crockpot (no need to drain any of the cans), mix well and add the chicken breasts on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken just before serving (it falls apart!)

It's great topped with sour cream and cheese. Or for us non-dairy folks, mix in a spoonful of light mayo if you're after a creamy texture. Sounds grody, but it tastes nothing like mayo, promise! Mayo has become my best friend since going dairy-free.

Alright - last day of work this week!!!! So excited! I'll be back tomorrow with my review of Harry... and for my friend, Jill, my persuasive speech post on why YOU should be reading Harry Potter!

I know lots of you are beginning to travel out there today and tomorrow - be safe everybody!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time for Turkey!

Yay for Thanksgiving week! I just love this time of year and this is one of my favorite weeks of all! So many fun things... Well first, it's a really quiet week at work -which is nice! Our office is closed Thursday and Friday and I'm taking off Wednesday, so it's only a two-day work week! Second, we have a really fun spaghetti dinner at a dear friend's parents' house Wednesday night that we go to every year. Always such a fun kick-off to Thanksgiving! And then of course there's Turkey Day itself... I of course adore the FOOD and family, but I also love the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the dog show afterward on TV. And the turkey-induced napping that afternoon, followed by a plate of leftovers that night! Sometimes we do the Black Friday thing, sometimes we don't... I'm not sure what the plan is this year! If we go, it's just for fun because our Christmas shopping is 95% done! And then finally Thanksgiving weekend is always topped off with the big Georgia / Georgia Tech game on Saturday night. Gonna be a good one! It always is...

Still hangin' in there with dot. We actually had dinner last night with our 2 to 1 ministry team at our leaders' home and they all prayed over us and for dot to stick, stick, stick! A very cool moment - so grateful to be surrounded by such caring friends. (Oh and on that note, I must give y'all the pasta salad recipe I used last night - delish!) We're of course continuing to pray everyday. We certainly want this to be our answer, but our biggest prayer is for continued trust and peace. We're so thankful for our little frozens, regardless of the results of this cycle. Just reciting over and over... "God's timing is perfect."

Now you know the two questions I'm getting most often right now are (1) "When do you find out?" and (2) "Do you think you're pregnant?" OK well first, we have a blood test at RBA on the Monday after Thanksgiving, so that will be our definitive answer. But we do plan to test on our own before then. As to exactly when, well it's nice to keep SOME things to ourselves - at least for a bit. So, mum's the word on that. And apparently some IVF'ers are dead set against peeing on a stick before the actual blood test. Well, not me. I rather know. My life is not riding on this... I just rather know. If it's a *no* - I'll be OK, but I just want to know. The "not-knowing" is truly the hardest part... all these scenarios running in your head. I don't want to go into the doctor's office Monday absolutely clueless and be waiting by the phone all day. No thanks! And, secondly, do I feel like I'm pregnant? Well I must tell you I really *hate* this question. First, how the hell would I know? But really, I hate this question because I personally do not like to speculate AT ALL. Of course I am feeling symptoms (but symptoms of what exactly?). My boobs are sore as hell. But I know that means nothing. Need I remind you of all the massive hormones I'm on and oh yeah, the big dose of the actual *pregnancy hormone* itself that was injected into my butt earlier? So yeah, to that question you get my standard "I really don't know - we'll see" with a stink eye. Sorry.

Yeah someone told me like 5 years ago that I would just "know it" as soon as I got pregnant. I'm calling bull shit on that theory. Maybe that's true for some, but not for me! I've been fooled before, so I really just try to stay chill and not speculate either way. I just hope, hope, hope, and pray, pray, pray... and do everything I can to make sure I'm eating right and taking all my crazy pills and drinking my nasty Noni. That's all I can do! The rest is on you, God!

So aside from the wait - which is actually going by pretty quickly - we've got lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! A huge surprise announcement at church caught me by surprise yesterday. Our church is building a Gwinnett campus in the next couple of years... it's going to be a hop and a skip from our house! This we knew - that was not the surprise. We knew about the Gwinnett campus and figured we would go there once it opened - it only made sense. But we love, love, love our Buckhead campus so very much. We just feel very invested there - we have always been there. We make the drive because we love it. And a big part of that is Jeff Henderson - the head pastor at the Buckhead campus. Well yesterday he announced that he is leaving Buckhead to head up the Gwinnett campus!!! That was a huge prayer answered that I didn't even know I had prayed! I am so, so stoked about this. I am truly sad for Buckhead Church to lose him, but so very excited and grateful that Jeff will be leading Gwinnett! And now we're of course sold on the idea of going to Gwinnett now that we know Jeff will be there. So huge!

And gosh, so much else to be thankful for this season... An amazing husband who gladly walks the trenches with me. Our two silly doggies who keep us smiling! Our amazing family and friends - seriously, we are blessed. Our little embies on ice! We got our own little army chilling in the lab - so grateful! The hub's new job - what a long way we've come since the beginning of this year! God is good. And just thankful for persevering over all this year... through baby drama, through money woes - we've nearly made it! We stuck to our guns and never faltered on the budget. We've got a long way to go with our financial goals, but I feel like we have steady feet now. Just continuing to trust and seek God's wisdom there. I think there are good things to come!

So what are you thankful for this year?

Oh PS, here's the pasta salad recipe I made yesterday. A huge hit! It's basically a caprese salad in pasta form. Love! I of course made it gluten-free with some good GF pasta courtesy of Wally World (and no one could tell the difference). I did nix the shredded parmesan, but I did leave in the fresh mozzarella. The mozz is in big chunks, so it's easy for me to scoot those to the side (sadly enough) to make it dairy-free. I so wanted to devour that cheese - ugh! Fresh mozz is one of my absolute favorites!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry stuff.

Anyone else but me uber excited about Harry Potter this weekend?!  We've got our IMAX tickets for tonight... cannot wait!  I've been listening to the audio book while working to get ready.  I've said it a million times, but if you're a big fan of the books and haven't experienced the audio versions read by Jim Dale, you must-must-must! I have all 7 books on my ipod. 
Only other major thing this weekend is that we're pulling out the Christmas decorations!  I usually wait till the weekend after Thanksgiving, because I really do not like to overshadow that holiday - it's also a big favorite!  But, we won't be in town but for one day next weekend, so we've got to get that rolling early.  I'm excited, but also sort of dreading it because I know we'll come across Charlie's stocking at some point.  I can't believe it's been almost 5 months since we said goodbye to him...  I find myself thinking about him at random times.  The other morning when we were getting ready to leave for our transfer, I could have sworn I heard his bark.  Sometimes I lose my breath when I remember, again, that he's gone.  We sure do miss him!  We're thinking about hanging his stocking somewhere (other than the hearth) with a little halo over it.  Too sweet!
OH and I also ordered like 15 of those cheap pregnancy tests online - $15 total (free shipping) for 15 tests.  Beats $15 for 2 tests at the grocery!  Anyone ever use these?  I've heard great things about them, so I much rather pay only $1/test.  And if they're a bust, Wally World's right around the corner.  We still have a while before we can test, so we're just hanging tight for now.  Somehow we've affectionately named our little embryo "dot."  So the hub and I have been referring to "dot" and talking to "dot."  And I remind him that I'm baking dot and therefore cannot do _____.  Or because I'm working hard on dot, I really need him to _____.  So far, it's worked really well.  I plan to ride this one out as long as possible.
I also have a couple of friends weighing heavily on my heart this weekend.  One friend from my women's small group had some cancerous cells removed from her abdomen last week with surgery - which were not expected to be cancerous, but were.  So now the doctors fear it may've spread to other areas, so they're in the process of finding all that out.  She's of course terrified and not sure what to think - and she's my age, how scary!  She has two very young kids, so this is of course really frightening for her family.  And then my sweet friend, Lucky, just found out her husband is going to be deployed for six months - almost a month to the day before their 1st anniversary.  They've known this was a possibility, but she is so upset and has only a week and a half left with him before he must go!  I'm so sad for her that he'll be away for their first Christmas, anniversary, and many other special moments.  But she is blessed with lots of family and friends here who will keep her going!  I'm so, so proud of her hubby and ALL of our men and women in uniform, but it's never easy to let them go.  So yes, several big line-items on my prayer list right now. 
Alrighty, that's about it for me today.  Y'all have fabu weekends!  I'm trying to wrap some things up so I can get outta here and go see Harry!  Expecto patronum!  Wingardium leviosa!  Stupify! Etc, etc.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IVF: We made it!

This morning was soooo not as big of a deal as I made it out to be! I did pop a couple of Tylenol about an hour before the procedure, which I think definitely helped. And my friend, Jill, gave me a good strategy for downing the water beforehand. My bladder was plenty full after only like 28 oz and was not at all uncomfortable. I mean, sure I needed to pee, but not quite the misery I had anticipated!

And the transfer itself was pretty quick. The room was up in the surgery center (where we did the retrieval last week). But this was no typical exam table for an ultrasound. These stirrups looked serious! And once on the table, after Dr. T came in and got me prepped, they opened the door to this huge lab. The hub and I both laughed later - it was like we were in an episode of CSI or something. And I don't even watch that show. The lights were dim and Dr. T had a very small head lamp light to see where he was goin' down there. Once ready, he called for the embryologist to bring in our little embryo! It was cool because we could see it going in on the ultrasound screen - it was this bright little spec that suddenly appeared once they released it. And here he/she is...

Isn't it a beaut?! We're hoping this is baby's first picture, but either way that's a purty little embryo, don't you think? Of our 14 embryos being watched, 5 made it to this blastocyst stage. We transferred one and the other four were frozen today. The rest of our 14 are being watched for one more day to see if any of those will mature to blastocyst stage, and those will also be frozen. So as of today we have 14 frozen (with the 10 initial frozens from day 1) and the possibility of more! Wow! So thrilled to have those babes on ice. I've said it before - even if this first cycle doesn't work out, we are grateful to have gotten these little frozens! Dr. T said we were the poster children (as for as how well we've done so far) for IVF!

Oh, and we did ask the embryologist about the fact that he used ICSI on all 30 of our mature eggs... and he confirmed that there was some concern over the sperm's ability to fertilize, so they went ahead and manually fertilized them all. Not that we want to add another "issue" to our already lengthy list of reasons why we can't get pregnant, but that is WAY cool to know. We obviously can fertilize on our own since we did get pregnant initially from an IUI last year, but we apparently have some kind of difficulty with fertilization.

So wow, we're done! All the hard work is done. What an intense couple of weeks it was... and now we wait. I'm due for a blood test the Monday after Thanksgiving, so it's not quite a two-week-wait, but close. I'm just focusing on taking it easy, sticking to my high protein diet and all things Moo Goo, poppin' all my pills and drinking my Noni juice. Thanks SO very much for following along! Your sweet comments, tweets, and prayers have been so uplifting and encouraging! I can't tell you enough! I'll keep you updated on how it's going, but yay for being on the other side of this. Now I can really look forward to enjoying Thanksgiving and actually think about some OTHER things!

Current mood: Relieved and Hopeful

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Less than 24 hours!

Eating some leftover turkey meatloaf here... still meatin' it up as best I can.  Protein, protein, protein!  Oh and this is random, but I've finally found a good gluten-free and dairy-free way to get my cereal fix.  In case you forgot, I LOVE me some cereal.  I would eat a bowl almost every night as dessert.  Nothing crazy - I always go for the more "plain" cereals.  But since I've been banned from wheat, milk, and all things cold for the last 6 months, I haven't enjoyed this favorite in a long, long time.  Well, a month or so ago I noticed a couple of different types of Chex had "GLUTEN FREE" plastered on the front of the box.  A lot of cereals are actually gluten-free but they don't always label themselves so... hello, you should.  Case in point, I'm eating Chex now instead of digging through labels on other brands.  We also bought almond milk several weeks ago for the first time.  I can't drink it straight out of the fridge (cold), but hey, I figured I could at least cook with it.  Well the other day I had the brilliant idea of nuking the almond milk for just a few seconds to take off the chill.  So yeah, I've totally been downing bowl after bowl of GF Rice Chex with room temperature almond milk lately.  It's not quite the real thing, but it sure conquers that cereal craving!
Anyway, enough about food.  We got the call this morning - transfer is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30am!  I'm so glad we got a morning time so I don't have to sit and stew about it all day.  I'm going to just end up taking the whole day off tomorrow because I've got an appointment with Dr. Liu later that day at 3pm.  That would leave me a whopping 2.5 hours to get any work done, so what is the point?!  Plus, while I totally could go back to work afterward, a lot of stuff I've read advises you to take it easy.  So I'm good with that!
I'm definitely a little nervous but am ready!  We're excited.  This might sound dumb, but I'm thinking about testing the full bladder thing this afternoon.  I'm supposed to drink like 30-40oz or something ridiculous starting an hour before the transfer.  So I may try that this afternoon and see how long I can hold it.  I'm going to HAVE to hold it tomorrow, but maybe I can build up my bladder endurance today - haha!  And I think I may take some Tylenol before the transfer...  it's similar to an IUI and those are most often uncomfortable (translation: painful) for me, so maybe that'll help a bit.  My cervix can be a little stubborn sometimes.  Ick.
But wow, this is the last big step!  I can't believe it...  Again, I'm so grateful that we've gotten this far.  IVF cycles get canceled many times for one reason or another - women don't respond to the meds, the eggs don't make it or they won't fertilize, or the little embryos don't survive till transfer, etc.  A million things can go wrong.  So we're truly celebrating every day of progress!  I've been praying hard for our sweet little embryos.  I'm curious to hear how many ( of the 14) make it to day 5.  Chances are, not all of them will.  But we're all confident that we'll have that one good candidate to transfer back tomorrow! 
It's go-time.  Uterus, you're on.  Make it work!
Current mood: A little anxious, a lot excited!

Monday, November 15, 2010

We're a GO for Wednesday!

As anticipated, we got the call this morning that we'll be doing a day 5 transfer on Wednesday! So excited! After talking to two different nurses who indicated we probably would be doing day 5, we were pretty convinced - but you never know. So far, everything has gone pretty perfectly (at least as far as we can tell). So I'm just continuing to pray that we stay the course. I'm a little anxious about the transfer - it's the last big step! But I'll know it'll be fine and we'll be on the other side of it before we know it.

I've been on the progesterone fun pills since Saturday and I'll start the Estrogen patch Wednesday. They also have me on some kind of steroid for several days that helps prevent my wonky uterus from rejecting the transferred embryo as a foreign object. It's amazing how much goes into this with the timing and the meds... the science is just unreal. And appreciated! I seriously don't understand how people get pregnant on their own. So much has to happen at just the right time! It's truly a miracle.

Physically, still getting back to 100%. I'm almost there - I just get a little uncomfortable at random times if I try to move too fast. Otherwise, I'm good to go and GLAD to have those million eggs out of me. They were sucking up all my energy - literally. Emotionally, I'm very excited and ready, but easily kicked in the face. It's like I'm all about it when it's just me and the hub or if we're at the doctor's office surrounded by fellow infertiles. But when I go out in the "real" world I find myself a little extra sensitive lately. Like I was at the mall Sunday doing a little Christmas shopping and in a span of 30 seconds I eyeballed three ridiculously cute pregnant chicks. "Aw, you're cute! I hate you." Leaving Kroger earlier that same day toting my fresh pineapple to help with implantation, I stopped as a not-so-well-kept (I'm putting this delicately) teenage girl passed me with her infant in tow. Really?! You can be on an emotional high thinking about this amazing IVF technology with all its possibilities and then you see that. None of this is fair, I know that. But no matter how at peace you may be with it all, life still punches you in the gut every now and then. And that's OK. I guess I just gotta roll with the punches, right?

Continuing to pop my gazillions of pills and herbs here and also concentrating extra, extra hard on maintaining a high protein diet. Moo Goo makes that pretty easy, but I'm really trying to ramp up the protein this week. I'm piling on those meats like no tomorrow! I like me some meat, so I'm not complaining. But I do have to be intentional about it and track what I'm eating. I've been doing that (tracking) off and on forever, so that's no big thing.

Other goings-on this week... duh, HARRY POTTER on Friday! Already got our IMAX tickets for Friday evening. I can't handle the midnight showing in my current state. Maybe we'll be able to swing that for the final film next year - that's always fun to go to because everyone's SO over-the-top excited. What a nice kick-off to our two-week-wait!

Current mood: Super excited for Wednesday!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back to it.

No real news to report on the IVF front other than the fact that a nurse called earlier today with a transfer time of 4:30pm tomorrow. I knew they would go ahead and schedule a day 3 transfer even if they thought our little embryos would make it to day 5. She said they'll most likely call in the morning (tomorrow) to reschedule for day 5. Seems like they're pretty sure it's going to be a day 5 deal, but I'm sending up some extra prayers just in case. Grow, little guys, grow!

I still took it fairly easy today. It was an online church kinda day, but I did get out this afternoon to do a quick grocery run and also some quick Christmas shopping. I had a couple of really good coupons that I couldn't let go to waste! I've just about knocked out my entire shopping list! Of course, our list isn't very big. Neither the hub or I have huge extended families, and outside of that, we don't buy too many other gifts. Plus we still don't buy gifts for each other - not till we're out of debt! But I'm definitely very methodical about the whole gift-buying process. I've got my master spreadsheet with my budget for everyone... I take out the cash and I go! I've got a few things left to grab, so I'd say I'm about 80-85% done.

Alright, off to bed for me. I've got a long day ahead. I really wish I could just not work until we get past the transfer... wouldn't that be nice?! Duty calls, though. I am so thankful that my retrieval fell on a Friday and allowed me to rest up over the weekend. So nice! Feeling much, much better today. Still a little discomfort at times when trying to sit straight up, but even that is mostly gone. Pretty sure I can handle the desk chair tomorrow!

Current mood: Hopeful

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fertilization Report!

As I was getting ready to head out the door for acupuncture this morning, I got the call! Are you ready for this? Of our whopping 40 eggs retrieved, 30 were mature. ICSI was used on all 30 eggs and of those, 24 were fertilized successfully! They went ahead and froze 10 of those embryos and are watching the remaining 14 to see how they grow. We are thrilled! The fact that they used ICSI on all of them really makes me wonder if we've had a fertilization issue all along (on top of everything else). Honestly, that makes me feel good -it's good to have answers. Either way, we are so excited for the results!

Apparently it was quite the party in that petri dish last night! We're supposed to get another call tomorrow to schedule a time for transfer on Monday, BUT the nurse said she is 99% sure that we'll be doing a day 5 transfer on Wednesday (which is ideal)! Super excited! Transfer is the last big step... can't believe we're almost there!

Current mood: Over the moon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

An eggceptional morning!

Egg retrieval went great! I'm lounging here on the couch with our laptop. Sitting straight up is not so comfy, so I'm trying to stay horizontal for the most part today. Gertie and I took a nice nap together as soon as I got home. Nurse hub is being great of course, bringing me water, food, pills, and chick flicks. It's weird being home though - I keep thinking it's Saturday.

The funniest thing this morning was that once I was in my lovely hospital gown, cap, and booties and all IV'd up, they brought back my husband. Except that he was NOT my husband. Apparently they called for a "Scott" out in the waiting room and some other Scott jumped up first. The nurse entered my room first and goes, "and here he is!" I was like, "uh, yeah, that's not my Scott." And I'm sure after taking one look at me in all my hospital glory, he was thinking, "yeah that's NOT my wife - thank God!" Hahahaha...

I had never been to the surgical center before at RBA. Both of my surgeries with Dr. T were actually at hospitals (Northside and then Piedmont) for insurance purposes, so I'd never had a procedure done up there before. It's in the same building as the clinic, but up a couple of floors. It's weird because you get off the elevator and it looks like any nice office building. Waiting room looks pretty normal. But then you go through some doors in the back and suddenly you're in a full-on hospital. Bizarre. So after talking with the nurses, Dr. T, and the anesthesiologist, it was finally time to head to the OR. One of the nurses actually walked me down there with my IV stand while I held my gown tight so I didn't expose my buns. Once in the OR, they had me sit down on the table, slowly lay down and then started my sleep-tight druggies. I don't remember when I fell asleep exactly... all I remember is waking up and wanting to keep sleeping!

I was in recovery for maybe 30 minutes. One of the nurses asked me if I was sure I hadn't grown feathers and started clucking, because they retrieved FORTY eggs! 4-0! We of course don't know yet how many of those were mature, but 40 - wow! Dr. T also said the hub gave a fabulous specimen, so yay us! There's definitely a big party in a petri dish going on right now. We'll get the call tomorrow by 1pm with the fertilization report! We were also told that they'll probably freeze some actual eggs (in addition to embryos) since there were so many. Maybe I should start selling those puppies! Haha...

So now I'm just resting up this weekend and getting prepared for the transfer in 3-5 days. They will go ahead and schedule me for a day 3 transfer (Monday), but if possible they will hold off till day 5 - which is ideal. I start my progesterone and baby aspirin tomorrow. Then my estrogen patch a few days later. The transfer next week is the last big step and then it's pretty much a wait-n-see kinda thing. So glad to make it this far with such good results! Uterus, it's now your turn to work it. Get ready!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I need a nap.

The last couple of days have been nuts!  Well y'all know all the jazz going on with the IVF stuff, duh.  But we've also had some doggie drama as of late.  We've been keeping my parents' big golden, Bailey, for the last week and a half while they've been cruising around on a big ship.  Bailey is very large for his breed - over 100 lbs and probably 25 of that is hair.  He thinks he weighs 15lbs and the silliest little thing will scare him.  So it doesn't take much to wind up with a 100 lb fuzzball jumping in your lap out of nowhere.  And poor thing tries so hard to play with our two girls, but Belly just gives him "eat shit" looks and Gertie runs the other way.  He's nothing but sweet, but the boy has lots of skin and ear issues, among other things, and is in and out of the vet a lot.  "High maintenance" as my mom calls it.  So of course along with his bag of meds, other goodies, and typed care instructions, my mom made sure to inform his vet that the hub and I would be taking care of him for a couple of weeks and that we had decision-making authority for his care, if needed.  Yes, we are talking about a dog here.  We dog people are crazy!
So anyway, Bailey tends to get ear infections quite easily so my parents are always on the offense, trying to keep his ears clear of any gunk.  As I was cleaning out his ears the other day, I felt this large blister-like mass on his left ear.  He's got sweet, soft floppy ears, so this was obviously NOT normal.  After asking my parents about it, we contacted the vet and they said to bring him on in because it might be a hematoma.  So I took him to the vet (well he drug me behind him actually) and sure enough, it was a hematoma and the only real option was to surgically drain it and stitch it back up.  So we scheduled surgery for him the next morning (today).  I brought him home last night and he was so nervous after the vet visit that he threw up as soon as I sat his dinner in front of him.  (He tends to urp when he gets nervous... he did so when my parents were packing for their trip.)  But two minutes later he was fine and gobbled up his dinner.
This morning I dropped him off bright and early.  Surgery went fine and I'll be picking him up here pretty soon.  He'll have to wear one of those big Elizabethan collars for a few weeks!  So I get to play nurse tonight for the fuzzy boy.  His surgery went perfectly and he is doing great!  It was actually weird being at the vet these last two days - I haven't been to any vet in so long because the hub has taken our dogs the last few times they've needed to go, especially Charlie.  So it all made me think of Charlie too - sure do miss that boy.  I think of him everyday.
So yes, craziness with dogs along with craziness with trying to make babies!  I had one last acupuncture session today before tomorrow's surgery.  I did the whole pre-op routine over the phone with the surgical center this afternoon.  Last night the hub gave me the big HCG injection (trigger shot).   I was nervous about it because (a) it's a bigger needle than my others and (b) it had to be done at a very precise time since the retrieval occurs exactly 36 hours later.  But we got it done on time and all was fine!  I had a bit of a sore left bun, but it went away fairly quickly. 
Still feeling pretty sore/achy and just tired overall.  I get really worn out by the end of the day.  And dear me, my boobs were so freakin' sore when I woke up this morning.  And really every part of me just seems extra sensitive.  For instance, acupuncture usually doesn't hurt at all.  I mean, occasionally Dr. Liu will hit a spot that crosses your eyes, but in general it's relatively pain-free.  Well today like nearly every needle going in was uncomfortable.  My follies must be sucking up all my energy!  My belly just feels crampy and tight.  It's still working hard.  Nothing unbearable, but it's that kind of "bleh" feeling where you'd like to just stretch out on the couch with a Snuggie and the remote.
I'm guessing my body will sorta start to get back to normal after these blood-sucking follies disappear.  But I'll be on the estrogen and progesterone junk starting tomorrow, so not completely normal.  My weight has stayed the same - up, but the same.  Still bloated around my mid-section.  It just gets kind of uncomfortable to sit after a while.  So I'm seriously looking forward to being horizontal for much of tomorrow!  I've been craving this drug-induced nap all week.
We're reporting to the surgical center at 8 o'clock sharp in the morning... in grubby clothes and no makeup, mind you, so if you see me and call my name I'll pretend I can't hear you.  Oh and typical with surgery, I can't eat or drink anything after midnight tonight.  Ugh!  I hate that.  I'm a big breakfast eater so my tummy's going to be GROWLING come 8am.  They better knock me out fast!
Well, here goes, kiddos.  Not sure when I'll be awake enough to give an update, but I'll let you know how the retrieval goes when I can!  I forget when exactly we'll get word on how many eggs were retrieved... later that day or next afternoon maybe?  I'll let y'all know what we hear!  Thanks so much for all the encouraging words and prayers... we're so excited to get this far!  Every step is worth celebrating!
Current mood: Pumped! Excited!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let's do this thing!

Well, I'm still waiting on the *official* call from my nurse with all the deets, but I got an email from her saying I'm definitely triggering today for a Friday egg retrieval!  Woot!  By the way, can I tell you how awesome it is to have my nurse's email address?  They do not give out their addresses freely, so if you get a hold of one it means (a) you're lucky and (b) you must be fairly easy to deal with.  (Apparently some patients can be rather dramatic and high maintenance.)
So yes, we'll be doing egg retrieval on Friday morning, which is an actual knock-me-out-cold surgery.  So not scared of this at all since I've been through two (much more extensive) surgeries with this same doctor before.  I mean of course surgery is always a bit scary - anytime you're going under it's a little scary and overwhelming, but I'm ready.  Bring on that IV cocktail and let's go!  I told y'all before that the part that freaks me out the most is the transfer, where I'll have to have a full bladder before they'll do the deed.  I know it's ridiculous but the thought of having a full bladder and not being allowed to pee is awful!  Millions of women have lived through it though, so I'm pretty sure I will too.
As for today's progress, I was at like 30 or 31 follies total.  Lining is still at 6.9mm, so we're in good shape there. So triggering today means last night was my last round of follicle-inducing meds!  The only injection I've got to do tonight is the HCG trigger shot.  It's an intramuscular one - ouch! - and the hub is really looking forward to giving me this one.  I think it's gotta go in my tush... another question for the nurse.  She joked that she would draw a bulls-eye on my butt for the hub to shoot for...Ha!
I will have pre-op stuff tomorrow, whatever that entails.  Also Dr. Liu wants to see me one more time for acupuncture before the retrieval, so I'll be at her place tomorrow at some point.  The hub and I both went to see her today after my morning appointment at RBA and she's making me start that Noni juice crap again.  I knew it was coming... so here's to a nice luke-warm Noni-tini three times a day for the next couple of weeks!  Bleh.
As far as meds post-retrieval, I'll start progesterone (vaginally) and my estrogen patch Saturday and continue those until we go for a blood test.  I'm so glad we're finally moving to the next step.  Each day at the doctor was exciting initially... getting to see our progress day after day.  But for whatever reason, today I woke up with this I'm-OVER-it attitude.  So was not in the mood to be poked and prodded this morning.  And the ultrasounds honestly get a little more uncomfortable each day.  They're never bad, but with every day, things down there progressively get a little more tight and sore and OVER IT.  And the ultrasounds take a little longer as you move along because there are more and more follicles to count and measure.  And then there's the spouse sitting there trying to point out gas bubbles on screen and making you laugh.  Yeah, I was a total grump all morning.  Glad I had acupuncture right after because that definitely helped the 'tude.  These hormones are nuts!  And so am I.
But despite my whining and crappy attitude this morning, I'm so so grateful that we have the opportunity to do all this.  Who knows if it will work - it is a gamble after all.  But there are so many couples out there who face IVF as their only real option to conceive, yet can't move forward because of the cost.  So yes, we're humbled and truly thankful. 
I'll let y'all know how that trigger shot goes.  The hub is WAY too excited about this...
UPDATE:  Of course the nurse would call right as I'm about to post this!  Retrieval is scheduled for Friday morning at 9:30.  So we'll do the trigger shot tonight at 9:30pm.  No doctor visits tomorrow - yay! (Other than Dr. Liu.)  I just have to call in to the surgery center for pre-op questions/information tomorrow.  Alright I've got to dig up a how-to video on this trigger shot...
Current mood: Worn out, but ready.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All's good in the ovary 'hood.

That's what she said, anyway - my ultrasound tech.  More great progress today!  We've got 28 total measurable follies as of this morning.  We also got to see Dr. Toledo today and he says things look great!  My lining measured at 6.9 today - big woot!  And on day 10, wow, it's never been that thick and cushy this early!  Way to kick it, uterus.  I was excited when it was measuring 6.5 on day 13 on my last IUI cycle, so yeah - that is SO good to know.  I was excited to have a good response to the meds follicle-wise, but I was thinking, OK please don't have my sucky lining issues screw this up!  But so far, so good.  Retrieval is expected for Friday or Saturday - I got all the deets on that today.  Oh and my lovely nurse gave me lots of samples for the meds I'll have to take after retrieval - enough to get me to the blood test, so that saved us a lot of bucks!  I love samples.  I'll be on Endometrin (progesterone) which I've done before on our IUI cycles.  Nothing more fun than shoving big-ass pills up your hoo-ha.  And also the Vivelle (estrogen) patch.  That's a new one.  I'm sure I'll get nice and fat with both of those goodies being pumped into my system daily. 
Still feeling OK physically, but definitely still bloated and kinda stiff/sore - especially towards the end of the day.  Gosh, last night I was just aching all over and wanted nothing more than chocolate and a pillow.  Speaking of food, Dr. T did mention that I need to get lots of fluids and stick to a high-protein diet, which hello - Moo Goo has already got that covered, so I'm good.  I eat a good 15-18g of protein at breakfast alone and I make sure I get my meats in at lunch and dinner.  And I'm monitoring all that over at BabyFit.  Now I'm going to have to go warm up my lunch (turkey taco leftovers) because all this food talk is making me hungry!  My follies are whining!
Emotionally, still been pretty good.  Definitely happy and hopeful overall, with only a few minor instances of wanting to scream and throw things.  Like last night I was very tempted to grab Belly and throw her over the deck.  She would NOT stop barking when I got home.  At one point I was putting away a big Pampered Chef stone cookie sheet, and I wondered if the hub would still go through with this IVF cycle if I happened to knock Belly unconscious with the stoneware.  But no worries, I did not beat up my dog or drop kick her into the backyard.  All is well and she snuggled with me all last night like the sweet girl that she (usually) is.  And of course, weird things make me want to cry at really inappropriate times.  Like when Dr. T came in and hugged me today, I seriously had to stop myself from crying and professing my love for him. 
Only thing I really wish I could change right now is the fact that I have to work through all of this!  My office is super flexible, so it is not at all a problem time-wise.  I am very fortunate on that end.  But just having to force myself to *think* about anything else right now is damn near impossible!  Dude, who cares how much tax you're projected to pay next year, did you hear how many follicles I have?!  Seriously.
Looking forward to retrieval and hearing how many good eggs they'll get - hoping for lots of good candidates!  We do not really have a male factor in our case, so the hub's got his end covered.  We've just got to get my girly parts working.  Alright, I'll of course update you with tomorrow's news!  Tonight may very well be my last night of injections!  (Well, aside from the trigger shot I'll take tomorrow or Thursday.)  They really have not been bad.  It sounds bizarre, but I actually look forward to doing the injections.  Well, for one it's kinda fun playing doctor.  But mainly, I think it's just the fact that we're actively doing SOMETHING ourselves to make a baby.  I feel so helpless otherwise, so the fact that we get to actually make something happen ourselves is a pretty cool thing.
Current mood: Excited & Ready!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hooray for Follie-wood

Another good report today! My appointment at RBA this morning got pushed back some in an attempt to see my doctor, but we didn't get to see him after all.  We'll for sure see him tomorrow.  So the hub and I both did acupuncture first thing before heading over to RBA.  I've never done it that early in the day - at least not on a week day.  It was so nice... I just wanted to pull the blanket up over me and go to sleep for three hours.  No such luck though... had to run up the street for ultrasound and bloodwork!
It's amazing how fast those little suckers can grow in only 24 hours... yesterday I had 15 total measurable follies (meaning at least 1cm in diameter) and today I had lots more!  I know one side had at least 10 and maybe 12 on the other?  So at least 20 total.  I forget the actual numbers, but I'm sure the hub remembers.  It's so funny because he gets so excited to see how many we have each time.  He's so fascinated by the ultrasound and is always hitting up the tech with tons of questions.  Today he noticed a dark area on screen.  "What's that?" he asked.  "Gas."  Ha!  So funny.  I was like, "yeah that's right, don't get too close down there!"  All we can do is laugh at this point.  And give each other "the rock" when we score more follicles.
And am I still fat?  Yes, yes I am.  Guess those fatty follies need room!  It definitely wasn't the Mexican food yesterday.  I know y'all warned me against it, but I hopped on the scale this morning and sure enough... still there.  As if I couldn't tell by my bulging stomach and love handles!  It's just seriously fascinating that it appeared not even "overnight," but over lunch yesterday.  A huge, visible difference in a matter of hours.  I don't care - I mean, sure it's annoying that I've got to wear my "fat" pants, but it's just wicked crazy how FAST it came on!  Acupuncture helped some this morning - I don't feel quite as gross.
Definitely still feeling the action going on in the ovaries.  They are working hard.  And my belly looks like it was used as a punching bag.  OK, that's a bit dramatic... not quite that bad.  But it has little bruises and pin pricks all over it from my drug habit!  It's still quite tender to the touch, so please no one hit me in the stomach.  It's hard to avoid the occasional dog paw, but I'm surviving otherwise.  Also have recently noticed just some overall achy/soreness - like kinda sore breasts.  I guess that's normal, I don't know.  I'm not one that gets sore boobs before a period so it's not a normal thing for me.  Mood has been pretty stellar so far except for last Thursday.  I think chocolate definitely helps with that.  (Little bits though... it's totally not Moo Goo friendly. So shhhh...)
But yeah, great progress!  I'll be back tomorrow morning bright and early for another ultrasound and to meet with my doctor.  Really excited to get his thoughts.  At this point, I think Friday is their best guess for retrieval, but we won't know for sure until two days before.  Basically, I'm on Ganirelix, which prevents you from ovulating.  Once I'm to the point growth-wise where they want me, I'll stop the Ganirelix and take a trigger shot that evening which will trigger ovulation.  The egg retrieval will be scheduled for 36 hours after the trigger shot.  Exciting! 
We're very encouraged and hopeful this first cycle works, but if nothing else, I'd be so thrilled if we walked away with lots of good embryos to freeze for later!  As I've mentioned, a frozen cycle is WAY cheaper than a fresh cycle and a LOT easier on me - it's not near as exhaustive of a process.  So keep at it, follies!  More tomorrow...
Current mood: Hopeful

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Did I just get fat?!

That's what I literally just said two minutes ago as I caught a glance of myself in the mirror after throwing another load of laundry in the washer. Well, maybe so because my ovaries are hard at work! Look see!

That's right, 15 total measurable follies so far and counting! I'm on day 8 right now, so still room for more growth. The nurse thinks we'll probably have egg retrieval on Friday or Saturday - which is great! I would love for it to fall over the weekend so I don't have to miss work. It's so not a big deal to miss - my office is very flexible, but I'm trying to save as many PTO hours as I can to carry over to next year for (hopeful!) maternity leave. (We don't have a maternity leave policy at work - so it's either PTO or leave without pay.) Anyway, hard to know at this point exactly when the retrieval will be, but that was the nurse's best guess based on the size of my follies today. I'm still doing great on my current dosage, so no changes yet in my meds. We'll be back at the doctor tomorrow to check my progress and we'll actually get to see Dr. T this time, so I'm definitely looking forward to hearing what he thinks! He is our biggest cheerleader there for sure, so I get excited when he gets excited.

But seriously I just weighed myself and I'm 3.5 lbs heavier than I was this morning. OK granted, we did grab some dirty Mexican after my appointment and I ate a ridiculous amount of tortilla chips. But 3.5 lbs? And it's all in my love handles and belly - I totally saw them in the mirror. Dear me! We're just going to call it sodium intake for now and hope it's back down in the morning. Of course one of my friends told me yesterday that her sister-in-law looked 4 months pregnant by the time she got past the egg transfer. Oh geez... not that it really matters, but sometimes it feels like the only thing I have control over in my life is my weight! Whatever. I give up!

Alright we've got church tonight and mentoring, then back at the doc in the a.m.! I'll give y'all the latest on the other side...

Current mood: Gross

Friday, November 5, 2010

Likin' the Koolaid

We had an excellent appointment today!  I'm responding really well to the drugs, or as the ultrasound tech put it, "your ovaries are definitely likin' the koolaid."  I didn't have any real reason to think I wouldn't respond well, but you just never know.  I'm totally like Tina Fey's character in Baby Mama... great eggs, wonky uterus.  But yeah I knew something had to be going on down there because yesterday - especially last night - it felt like my ovaries were working some serious overtime.  They still do... they just feel heavy or something.  Weird.
So yes, lots of beautiful follies already and my lining looks good so far.  After reviewing my bloodwork they decided to keep my dosages right where they are for now, but I did add a third med to the mix today.  I was instructed to bring my Ganirelix shot with me to the doctor in case I needed to start it.  The nurse told me she'd call me as soon as she got my bloodwork back and let me know if I needed to start it today.  So I went on to acupuncture.  I got out and I had a message from the nurse to take the Ganirelix ASAP.  So I did that puppy right there in my car in the parking lot.  Hope no one saw me!  I totally looked like a druggie I'm sure.
Yeah, I'm definitely feeling some side effects now.  Aside from the heavy over-worked ovaries (I almost typed 'oreos' - weird), I was feeling pretty beat down emotionally last night.  I was tired and everyone at small group was annoying the hell out of me.  I know it was just me - no one was doing anything particularly annoying... I was just very easily annoyed.  And anytime someone asked about how we were doing with IVF or for me to explain it, it was all I could do not to bust out crying.  The stupid questions annoyed me.  Of course they weren't at all stupid - our fertile friends don't have any reason to understand what all this process entails.  But I was annoyed that they didn't know.  "Yeah you don't freakin' know, because you can freakin' have freakin' babies."  That's what I was shouting in my head.  Crazy, I tell you!  The poor hub didn't know what to do with me either.  He just wants to fix me but it's probably best to just let the crazy ride out.  It always passes.
Because look at me - I'm all happy right now!  The acupuncture definitely helps the mood.  Feeling pretty good physically (aside from the hard workin' ovaries).  Oh and we asked the nurse if it was OK to have sex right now.  Not like right there in the doctor's office... but you know, in the meantime.  I knew it was probably a stupid question, but hello, if I'm making all these eggies and by some crazy chance we got pregnant... could I potentially be the next Octomom?  Lord help me.  Rest assured, that is not how it works and they gave us the green light.  But they will give us a "cutoff" date here soon since the hub will need to get busy with a plastic cup next week.  Alright, I've got lots of eggies to grow.  Grow, grow, grow!  More updates later...
Current Mood: Eggstatic

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Protect your heart, for it is precious.

Round #3 - check! Oh we are gettin' good at this. The hub actually did my Menopur injection last night (prepped and pricked) and for whatever reason it hurt like hell! That one usually does sting a bit when inserting the actual meds... but geez. I'm tough though, I can handle it! There is so much poking and prodding that we stirrup fanatics go through. I mean, getting my annual at my OB/GYN is like grabbing a cup of coffee. It ain't nothin'. But I have to say the most painful "procedure" I've been through during this whole process wasn't even specifically IF related. It was getting catheterized after my first surgery. I had a catheter in during surgery of course, but before you can leave the hospital you have to be able to pee. After several attempts, I could not do it. And I needed to go really bad eventually. Now that is down right terrifying and incredibly frustrating - needing to pee like mad and not being able to! So they ended up having to redo the catheter. I was already tired and really achy from surgery that morning and that procedure was the last straw. Total tears. Longest. Day. Ever.

And there have been lots of unpleasant dates with the stirrups over the years. I love how doctors and nurses use words like "pressure" and "uncomfortable" instead of down right saying "this is gonna hurt like hell and you're gonna want to bitch slap me!" And not to mention the fact that you're in like the most vulnerable position possible. The doctor's so far up in your girly parts you can't even see him. Super fun! Ahhh... but the hub and I just try to keep our eye on the prize. Friends of ours that have traveled the same road and now have little miracle babies tell us they'd do it all again in a heartbeat. ALL of it. It's so not the road any of us ever imagined taking to have children, but hey, sometimes life takes a detour. There's nothing romantic about conceiving with a catheter on an exam table. But God bless the doctors that know how to do this stuff!

So why am I telling y'all all this gross stuff? I don't know... mostly, I'm rambling. But also, this month marks 5 years that we've officially been trying to conceive. So in those five years, I've been through pretty much every test/procedure in the IF world... not all, but surely most. So please always feel free to ask me any questions if you find yourself wandering down the same path. Comment here any time, drop me an email, or DM me on twitter. Duh, I'm obviously open about this junk so no question is stupid! I've been so grateful for the people God has put in my life to walk with me through all this. Support from friends and family is so crucial, but it also REALLY helps to have that friend who has really been there. Unfortunately, the scars of infertility are just impossible to really understand unless you've suffered through it yourself. How do you impress upon someone the emotional and spiritual struggle that comes along with it? I used to turn my nose up at girls who "couldn't handle" going to a baby shower because they weren't able to get pregnant themselves. I mean, how selfish and ridiculous! Even in the beginning of my struggle I vowed to never be "that girl." HA! Now I avoid baby showers and kids' parties like the plague! It is truly a daily battle to fight that inner voice (the devil no doubt) that says I'm less of a woman and it's never going to happen for me and I'm disappointing everyone around me. It's impossible to make someone understand that - someone who hasn't fought that same fight before. So many girls keep the struggle to themselves - and that breaks my heart. It's so easy for infertility to become a stronghold on your heart if you let it. Please don't let it!

It will swallow you whole if you allow it. It will take your friendships. It will kill your marriage. All it takes is time. So suit up and say NO! Surround yourself with positive and supportive people and share your journey with them. Take pride in the fact that you and your spouse ARE a family. Children are a great addition, but you are already a family. Seek out someone who has been where you are going and survived to tell the tale! And most importantly, protect your heart by arming yourself with the most powerful weapons of all... God's word and prayer. That is the only true path to peace with all this junk.

"As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way." - Psalm 18:30-36

Well, shit. Now I'm crying at work and I seriously don't know how I got here. I was planning to tell y'all about my weird egg dream and look where we landed instead! Whatever - so goes my brain these days. I have had some wacko dreams lately and will have to post about those later. Another round of meds tonight and then an ultrasound tomorrow to see how I'm responding so far! I'll let you know what I find out...

Current Mood: Grateful (and obviously mental)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Starting to get the hang of this.

As predicted, the 2nd round of meds went much more smoothly than the first!  Besides a lovers' spat over how many cc's of liquid to pull into one syringe, we conquered the task together once again.  I only watched half of one how-to video this time.  Tonight I think we can pull it off on our own completely.  Phew!  No real side effects yet... just a bit of a tender tummy where I've been doing the injections.  I bumped into the edge of my desk just now - yep, a little sore there.  I'm wondering if I should rotate injection sites... did anyone do this?  Guess that would help.  I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how well I've responded to the meds on Friday.  Oh and we get to add another medication that day too.  More needles! 
Anyway, the hub and I had a great anniversary!  Thanks so much for all the sweet anniversary wishes.  We are full of hope for year #9 - bring it on!  Last night we ran in to vote about 15 minutes before the polls closed - it was so the perfect time!  In and out - no waiting whatsoever.  Then we ran over to a local Chinese restaurant and got take-out.  I ate my ENTIRE dish of Mongolian Beef.  I asked for brown rice and they gave me fried rice.  OK I realize frying it turns it brown, but that's not really what I was going for... whatever.  So I ate mine sans rice.  We also rented "Get Him to the Greek" - pretty funny.  Not over the top great, but worth a rent if you like that kind of humor.  All in all, a fun evening in with the hub.  Love that man!
Current Mood: Content

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We did it!

Two big things, actually. First, we survived my first round of meds last night! I spent a good 20 minutes sitting wide-eyed in front of my computer watching how-to videos over and over. Finally, the hub took over and led me through it and BAM, we did it! I did the actual injections myself (into my stomach), but he helped walk me through the prep. It took about 35 minutes from the time I got all the stuff out, watched the videos, prepped the injections, and actually took them. It should go much more quickly tonight and by tomorrow I should have a nursing degree. SO glad to be past that first round! Phew!

Second... today's our 8 year wedding anniversary! I cannot believe it's been 8 whole years. And what a journey it's been! I can't imagine doing life with anyone other than my sweet hubby, so today is truly a day to celebrate. And don't you know we're doing it in style! First we'll come home a little early to go vote together. (Everyone get out and vote today!!!) Then we'll run back by the house to do my meds (fun with needles!). And then we're running out to get a Red Box movie and Chinese take-out. That probably sounds like an average Tuesday night to most (minus the needles), but I can't tell you the last time we got Chinese take-out... I'm seriously so excited! With our budget, the only times we ever eat out (which are few), it's either dirty Mexican or a hot dog at Costco. So yeah, this is pretty thrilling for us to say the least! Super excited...

Also, somewhere cruising around the Mediterranean are my parents, who are celebrating their 42nd anniversary today! A BIG congratulations to them! We love y'all and miss y'all! (And Bailey does too.) So it's a big happy day all around!

Round #2 of meds up tonight! I know I came across at least one person via twitter yesterday who was going to be starting all this fun later this week. Here are some great instructional videos for different medications for anyone who may need them! Just scroll down and find your specific med, then you can pull it up on You Tube. If you're like me, you need visuals!

Current mood: Excited!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cleared for Take-off

Happy November, all!  Hope you had a great Halloween night.  Ours was perfect - the weather was great and we got rid of nearly all our candy.  Thank goodness, because I totally had a Kit Kat binge last night.  Horrible!  And I had the stomach ache of guilt afterwards.  Also, naturally, Flo decided to finally show her face on Halloween.  So we had my first ultrasound this morning and we'll get started on the meds tonight!  I'm nervous.  Just nervous about screwing them up.  There are so many "pieces" and they're so damn expensive.  So I will be watching how-to videos this afternoon.  (And I may be calling you, Jill!) 
I don't have to go back to the doctor till Friday, so that was a good surprise.  I was thinking I'd be there everyday from the get-go, but that won't start till Friday.  So in the meantime, I'll be becoming a pro meds-mixer and continuing acupuncture and all my millions of herbs/pills.  I will try to check in daily to give you, if nothing else, my current state of mind through all of this!  Here's to a successful drugging up tonight... Cheers!
Current mood: Anxious