Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Good-bye 2011

Well it's been awhile since I have written and I wish I could say that it's going to change anytime soon. Probably not.

I have hope that things will improve to the point that I have more optimism. I really want things to get better and we are going to be working on it in the new year. I am working on getting out the frustrations now so that I can start the new year in a better frame of mind to make things better from this point forward.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Long time, no update - things could be better for certain

Where has the time gone? I am sure that I could explain but it's not the place for that kind of honesty that could result in bad things in my life.

I have to keep myself from going to that dark place again. I have just started to come out of it and going back is scarier than I can describe.

Yes, this post is a different tune than the other ones. Things in my life are more of a struggle than they ever were with the infertility journey. That part of my life has been put on hold indefinitely, which is probably the best thing right now as difficult of a decision as it was for us to make at the time.

We are in a tough place right now, I thought it would get to be easier by sticking it through the really tough times we have had lately but it isn't any better yet. We were making some progress with things and then got a swift kick in the butt back a far away.

Who knew there would be something worse in my life than infertility??? After nearly 2 years of trying to have a baby: 7 months of fertility meds, 3 inseminations, 6 weeks of shots and limited activity, 15+ pounds of weight gain due to meds, 1 painful egg retrieval of 14 eggs, 2 egg transfer, and 2 days of solid bed rest - I found something that makes all of that look uncomplicated and painless. Who knew such a thing existed??

Someday, all the bad things that have happened to me will be explained and I will have a reason for them. Someday, all of the dreams we have had for years will come true. I have to believe it or I will lose faith in many things.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things are just a mess

You know sometimes in life things are just chaos without a reason? This has been my life since the IVF treatments were done i,n August.

I wonder often how I have found the strength to get through things and move along from day to day. Right now, I am wondering how I am going to get through all there is now and come out the other side successfully. The details of what is happening are not necessary except that they are incredibly difficult to deal with and make the journey through infertility seem simple and not complicated in any way. Wow, never thought I would feel that way about anything after how difficult IVF was this summer but somehow it's true.

Thank goodness for my friends and family. They are my strength right now when I don't have enough for myself. I can never thank them enough for what they have done for me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

1 year later

Well here it is one year after our chemical pregnancy and we are not any closer to our dream than we were then.

Someday it will be our turn.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Small Update

We are putting TTC to the back burner for awhile.

I have some serious work load between teaching and graduate school this semester, trying to give those things my attention and TTC is probably not best for my health. I am not sure when we are going to return to all this, but we will return.

I am probably not going to be updating much right now due to work overload, just letting you all know.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Settling into the school year??? Yeah, right.

It is quickly coming to the end of the 3rd week of school and I would love to say it's calmed down, however that would be a gross understatement to the truth. It's chaos wrapped in anarchy with a side of nuts for extra flavor.

My teaching has become more intense than any of the previous years I have taught. With teaching special education, varying levels of ability within  a class is par for the course. However, this year is a new challenge that has required me to seek out additional supports from other teachers, I have no shame when it comes to this - help is needed and therefore asked for. I do find it interesting though how many teachers do not always seek assistance and allow their own ego of "I have taught for x years and therefore should be able to solve this problem without help." Really not me particularly with this year's challenge. Thankfully, I work in a district where the help is not only available but they are more than happy to provide additional supports and supplies. Makes the journey a little easier when you have people to help!

I am grad school 2 nights a week (makes for REALLY long days - leaving the house at 7:30 am and not getting home until 7:30 pm or later). The classes I am taking are interesting, just very involved though. I am taking special education law, which I have not taken since I was a junior in my undergrad (approximately Fall 2000 - Spring 2001) so it's quite an adventure. I am glad though because so much has changed in the laws particularly recently. They are just going to be a HUGE time commitment.

In terms of the TTC stuff, I started the Femara on Saturday and finished the dose last night. Now comes the fun of ovulation tests 2 times a day until we know it is happening or not. Certainly better than 3 shots a day of stimulation medicines again, I can handle a break from that for awhile longer, particularly with the level of work I have between teaching and grad school. It would be more of a challenge.

The only thing that was tough was that the hormones took awhile to get out of my system as I talked about in my previous post about not feeling like myself. Now I am FINALLY feeling more like myself than I have in more than 2 months, thank goodness. It was driving me nuts, I felt like my body was on a 10 all the time, a state of constant going. This presented itself with a whole new level of challenge - how to get it to shut down to go to sleep at the end of the day, how to do anything to relax when the stress was too much, etc. Aaron and I talked about it, we are going to do this Femara step until probably next semester when I am done with these 2 really involved grad classes. Who knows? Maybe we will get lucky and it will work for us, it would be our luck that we went through IVF and would get lucky just trying on our own with medicine. Just seems to be our luck lately.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Really want to feel like myself again

I am struggling.

I am struggling with feeling disconnected from myself in all aspects of my life, I do not feel like I am doing a good job at any part of my life. I feel like I am struggling as a teacher, a wife, a friend, and everything else. I feel completely disconnected from it and I am struggling with what to do to get reconnected with things.

I have not had an easy time since the call last week about IVF, even after the call from the doctor last night that brought some comfort. I have been really upset every time I think about the situation and still feel like I am processing it all. However, the problem is that I cannot process with so much going on all at the same time. The start of school and getting things in order for that part, along with dealing with the emotions that go with the IVF ending, plus graduate school starting = overload on so many levels.

This week has been hard, I have broken down nearly everyday in tears to some degree even if it's only for a few minutes at a time. I am trying but man do I feel like I am doing a terrible job at all aspects of my life right now.

I am not looking for sympathy or thoughts of "it will get better," so please don't do that. I just needed to get it out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recommendations from the RE for the future (info specific and possibly TMI - just a warning)

I spoke the RE today about the whole situation with the failure of the IVF. We talked for nearly a half hour, I have to say that I really like her and appreciate all her effort on our behalf through all of this. She has been an advocate from the very beginning and calls me at home on her own time to make sure we are doing all right. She answered our freaked out call at nearly midnight when we were concerned about a sharp pain I was having after the transfer without hesitation and explained everything quite well. I think that makes it easier to deal with in the long run.

First, she is frustrated that it didn't work for us because as they (they being all 6 REs in the practice, including 2 that were some of the first to do IVF in our area) could not find a specific reason for the failure aside from the fact that we just had the bad luck of falling into the nearly 1/2 who don't work. She said when they looked at the whole protocol and results of the egg quality, there are only small changes they would want to make for the future.

This is comforting and frustrating all at once. It is nice to know that there isn't anything else we could have done to have a serious change of events for us. But at the same time, to not have the medical explanation for the failure.

Secondly, she said they as a collective group definitely recommend us doing IVF again if that's what we decide to do because of all those things. She said that my egg quality was good and I responded very well to the medications and we have good information from the first one to help us make small suggestions for change for the future. But she wants us to be set and comfortable before we jump back into it all again and not to do it before we felt prepared on all levels.

Third, she was completely all right with us taking time before doing it again without stopping all together. She is going to have me take the medication that I was on with the inseminations to help keep me regular (which I am very much not on a normal basis) and that will allow us to "try" with simply doing it on our own with timed intercourse to positive ovulation tests for a few months until we are ready to talk about it again. This is great news because it allows my ovaries to heal up from the over-stimulation but doesn't stop us from trying while we are working up to IVF again. It's a great thing and she is very comfortable with this and wants to do anything she can to assist us with this time of healing.

Other benefits to this step are that since I can be regular on it, I can work on continuing to lose some weight as I have been since about April slowly but surely. I am down nearly 16 pounds since then and that is with gaining and losing weight with the stimulation medication for all that time. With my period being more regular, it helps the metabolism which for people with PCOS (like me) is a huge issue in losing weight. This will also help to make my egg quality become better which will then help with the potential retrievals down the road.

So we are going to start the medication this weekend to do the timed intercourse for the next month and see where we go from here.

At least the question of what could we have done to make it work has been answered and it's nothing. That does help some of the issues of healing for us. We are going to give ourselves time to heal completely before doing this and have to figure out many things logistically before doing it again. We have to figure out money, and how I am going to balance the back and forth to the hospital for the appointments and still be at work, as well as when we will be mentally ready to put ourselves out there again. It's such a huge commitment to the whole process from both me and Aaron and we need to make sure we are completely ready for it all again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Better than the other day, but a long way to go

After a few days of dealing with the news and doing lots of thinking about what to do from here, we are feeling better (not great, that will come with time) about our decisions.

We are going to take our time with starting up anything again, we really need to heal and to allow us to heal at our pace. We don't want to put a time frame on it, we have said that we would re-evaluate the situation every few months to see where we stand on things. That's about our only idea at this point and I am very happy with the choice. We have spent nearly 2 years working toward this every month and with the IVF taking so much time/effort/energy, the idea of taking a step back for awhile although frustrating is the best thing to help with healing.

Our friends and family have been amazing the past few days and we would not have made it through without them. The support all along the journey to this point has been so helpful and I am not sure how we would have made it otherwise. I know that no matter what we decide to do, try IVF again, seriously look into additional adoption options, or whatever they will be there to support us 1000%.

Sometimes I wish we had an easier journey, sometimes I wish we would have gotten our dream sooner. But then I think about how much we have gone through and how much more we are going to value our child when they are here because of everything. It's not easy to be trying for so long, it's so draining on every level. But, at the same time, it has made us re-evaluate so many things in our lives as important to us and that changes as we go through month to month.

We are working on how we feel about it and going to spend some time doing soul searching for our dream. I hope we can eventually get what we want, it is just going to take longer than we had hoped.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Failed IVF - A Reflection of the Journey

We had our blood work done yesterday and it was negative. Heartbreaking news to hear to say the least.

I had told the nurses to call and leave a message on my voicemail because I wouldn't be able to answer the phone and didn't want to answer it until after school was over because I knew I was going to have a strong reaction either way. When I checked my phone, the doctor's office had called 4 times and left 2 voicemails - it freaked me out and I had to find out what the deal was. So I listened...and immediately crumpled to my desk with the news. I had to leave the school and come home, I could not be there anymore with all the emotions I was going through in that moment. Thankfully, I have amazing co -workers who took my class so I could leave. My principal walked me all the way out to the car and hugged me in support.

I came home and cried for about an hour straight - sobbed uncontrollably while feeling completely defeated would be a better way of describing how I felt.

My RE's nurse called me and we talked for about 20 minutes. She said the my RE meets with the other doctors in her practice every Tuesday to talk about the IVF patients that did not have success. They figure that 6 doctors looking at how it went may help to see something that someone else may not have seen and give suggestions. I told her that I would like to hear what they have to say about recommendations for the future to help us make a decision about doing it again so we can have all the options.

Aaron and I talked about it at great length and we came to a few conclusions:

1. We need to heal - physically, emotionally, mentally. This could take a great deal amount of time and we are not going to put a time restraint on it, when we feel ready to start we will start.

2. We need to listen to the recommendations of the RE after their meeting as to which protocol we would follow if we decide to do it again.

3. We are going to reconsider all of our options, including adoption before we make any major decisions about anything.

Things we learned through our journey:

1. We are stronger than either of us thought we could be to get through all of this.

2. We have amazing friends, family, and support that have helped us get through the past few months without completely losing our minds in the stress of it all.

3. Aaron and I are stronger as a couple than we were at the beginning of our marriage, our relationship has become very strong because we have had to be there to support each other. It makes me happy that we can work through anything.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Side effects or possible pregnancy symptoms??? Who could tell???

So I have been on progesterone since the day of the egg retrieval 8/3. We are officially 7dp3dt as of today and still have too many days to go before we have the blood work done on Friday. Ugh...too long from now. I want answers as to what I am feeling. I do feel things but I am not sure at this point if they are side effects or possible pregnancy symptoms.

Here are the side effects of progesterone:

Bloating; breast tenderness; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; fluid retention; headache; heartburn; irritability; muscle pain; nausea; stomach pain or cramping; tiredness; vomiting.

Things I am feeling:

All of the above.

Unfortunately, those are many symptoms the books say can be early signs of pregnancy as well, who could tell at this point what is what? This is so frustrating.

The one thing I am tired of hearing lately is how we have to give ourselves time to heal before we make a decision about to do next if it doesn't work for us this time. I know that people have the best of intentions, but what is that old saying? "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." We have many people who fall into that category, not all advice is desired or needed when it comes to all of this stuff. I know that when we decided to be open about our journey to being a family that we have to take the good with the bad, but it's never easy to deal with when it is completely unwanted.

The only thing we know at this point is that we are going to have to sit down to have a long conversation about what we want to do no matter what the test results are going to be. If it is positive, we are going to talk about the options for the possibility of it being multiples. If it is negative, we are going to talk about how we feel about IVF again and if/when we would consider doing it again. There are many things to talk about on either end of the spectrum and it is going to take some serious thinking. It's not going to be something we jump to make a decision on and make an announcement to the world about it. We will tell people when we want everyone to know (sorry blogger world - privacy is very important with this until we make a final choice).

Ugh, 5 days til the test and an eternity to go. It has taken us 21 months to get here and these last few days may be the worst of the wait - that's saying something .

Friday, August 12, 2011

Finally feeling better

For the first time since the retrieval, I feel better. I would not go so far as to say I feel good, but better than the way I was feeling for the past week. Small steps of improvement finally.

We have a week until our blood test and this week went surprisingly fast.

My dear friend came to keep me company for a few days and that time when by way too quickly. It was nice to have someone here because I was starting to lose my mind with it being just me all the time.

Then I have spent the last 3 days at school getting ready for the new school year. I am officially back full-time as of Monday and had lots to do to get ready. Thankfully, I had moved all my things into my new room before the summer started because we were pretty sure that I wasn't going to be able to now and I am glad that I did.

It's hard to believe the summer is gone for me now. It went by in a blink.

One week to go until we find out what has happened and have to make a decision about the next step. We decided that no matter what the results are, we are going to be very reserved about it until we have processed it properly enough to be ready for the inevitable questions that come with either outcome. I know that I have been open about all the steps in this process (maybe to a fault?) but Aaron and I are going to need some privacy whether it's positive or negative for us to deal with it in the way that's best for us. Yes, it will be tough to not just tell everyone the news but we have to protect ourselves first and foremost.

Just ready to know, it's been a long time in the coming and we have never been so close before in the 21 months we have been trying.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Update - 4 days post 3 day transfer (4dp3dt for short)

I am doing all right, the first 2 days after the transfer I wasn't allowed to do anything at all by dr orders and husband orders. It was not as glamorous as it sounds though, very frustrating. Aaron had to lift my laptop onto my lap desk to be able to use it because it was beyond my lifting ability. I started doing some light duty stuff on Monday, but am still not back where I was before.

I am dealing with the side effects from the progesterone shots - sleeplessness, constipation (with pain since that whole area is sensitive right now), and a soreness on my lower back muscles since that's where they have to be injected. I hate them!! I am glad if they are helping, but I dread it when Aaron tells me it is time for the shot because they hurt. Found out the side effects the hard way on Saturday night when I had a really sharp pain on one side. At nearly midnight, we called the emergency exchange because it was very sharp. That's how we found out that I was going to need to add stool softeners to my medicine cocktail to help since the progesterone can slow the bowel down. Great.

I went into school today to start getting things together - school starts Monday with kids on Tuesday. I am working on building up my energy level since I have been so low in activity for so long now, I am not used to it. I think the first week is going to completely exhaust me more than it usually does anyway.

We did find out that none of our embryos made it to cryopreserve so if we don't have luck this time, we have to start over with the injections again to have another chance. That was discouraging. We know they put the best 2 in me, but we were hoping to have a few to try before going through all of that again. We are staying positive about our chances now, but it took our back up plan out of the way right away. It's been a rough pill to swallow for the two of us and it's been pretty hard.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

We had our transfer today

We got the call this morning at about 7:30 am telling us that we were set for our transfer this morning!! We were so excited to get going on it.

The doctor showed us how our 8 embryos had been doing while we got set up for the transfer. We had 3 that stopped growing by this morning, so they will not be used for even the potential of cryopreserve. We were transferring 2 today and we have 3 they are still going to watch to see if we can freeze them for the future (we really hope so but we won't know until the end of the week, they have to watch them for a few more days before we know for sure).

The transfer itself wasn't too bad, mostly bad due to having a full bladder for the ultrasound to be used coupled with the swollen ovaries I still have and the uterus cramping I still have from the retrieval the other day. Once they got the catheter in the right place, it was pretty easy. I had to then lie down for 30 minutes after before we were discharged.

As I was lying there, Aaron and I talked about things. We are nervous we won't have any embryos to freeze to try again before having to do the whole injections all over again, we are nervous that we will have gone through all of this and come out with no baby. We talked about it and I am not sure how I feel about going through all of this again, it has been so tough on both of us (me physically more than Aaron). If we get one baby out of this, that is going to be it for us. I would love for both of them to take, but if only one does we are just as happy with that as we would be with anything else.

We have an appointment for a blood test on 8/19 - just under 2 weeks from now.  I am not going to do any home pregnancy tests because they can be inaccurate due to HCG shot I had to take before the retrieval. I could get a false positive and that would be devastating. I am just going to wait.

Now we have done everything we can to make the situation as best as it can be and it's out of our hands. It's kind of relieving actually to have it be out of our hands. The prep work for this has been extraordinary and I have worried every step of the way that I was going to do something that would mess it up. Now, there is nothing else I can do but wait. It's actually a relief to be at this point.

Please let this be our chance - 21 months of trying and now 2 weeks to find out if our best chance has gotten us our dream.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Results from retrieval

We have 8 eggs that fertilized of the 14!!

All 5 of the ones they injected the sperm into fertilized and 3 of the ones they put the eggs and sperm in the same dish fertilized. This is awesome news.

They will watch for until Saturday morning to decide which are the 2 best ones are to transfer. If they are all looking pretty good or look like they need a little more time, they will watch them until Monday. We won't get the call until Saturday morning about coming in, so it's a waiting game now.

We are going to transfer 2 - we have a good chance of both of them taking which would mean that we won't have to do this ever again.

I am so excited and relieved right now.

I feel much better today than yesterday, still sore and a little crampy but pretty much better than it was.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Retrieval complete

The retrieval went really well.

They got 14 of the 16 follicles with strong and good eggs!! The cramping was bananas though with the whole they have to go through the uterus wall thing, but it's much much better now than it was this morning after the procedure.

I have been chilling out, I came home and slept nearly 4 hours in a row. We will get the fertilization report tomorrow to see how many actually fertilized. Transfer set for either Saturday or Monday depending on how they develop over the next few days. The hard part of this process is done now, the transfer is about the same as the IUI.

Now back to resting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good-bye 3 shots a day - Hello egg retrieval!

I just got the fantastic call from the doctor about the ultrasound results from this morning and we are good to go for the egg retrieval!!!!

I sat down and cried for a few minutes to let it all sink in.  It has been quite the journey to this point and we are beyond ready for the next step.

No more 3 shots a night, no more bloating from swollen ovaries, and time to get ready for the surgery.

We are scheduled to do our HCG trigger shot tonight and our appointment for the surgery is Wednesday morning first thing.

I can hardly believe after all this prep: almost 4 weeks on Lupron, 11 days of 3 shots a day (ugh), swollen ovaries, no pants fitting, tough time sleeping from nerves and side effects of meds, 6 doctors appointments 45 minutes away in 12 days, 2 ultrasounds and 6 blood draws.

It's almost surreal at this point.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Good news!

We went in for the ultrasound scan of my ovaries this morning after 8 days of stimulating. I was so nervous that I could barely sleep last night because I was so worried that I had been on these meds and that my body wasn't reacting as powerfully as they wanted it. I was nervous, nervous, nervous!!

The scan went really well, they want to see the follicles (sacks that hold eggs in ovaries) to be at 18 mm to be considered ready for retrieval. I had a 3-4 that were at about 15-16 mm all ready and then I had 12-13 remaining at about 11-14 mm. They tend to grow 1-2 mm a day on the medicine depending on the dosage so we may only have a few more days of this before we are ready for the retrieval. THANK GOD! I go back on Monday for another scan and blood draw to check the hormone levels and there is a good chance that we may get the green light to do the HCG shot which would signal us to do the retrieval!

I feel like a hugely puffed up balloon and today I saw why, my ovaries are huge on the screen. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to see them on the screen because I never have fully understood what I see on the screen. The follicle sacks were very clear on the screen and man alive were my ovaries huge.

It means that all of this has been working and that makes me happy that this has been working the way they want it to. It means we are on track for the retrieval to take place this week and hopefully have the transfer either at the beginning of the weekend or the beginning of the following week. It's exciting and nerve-wrecking all at the same time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A test of faith to a large degree

After taking the new medicines for 3 days now and feeling the effects of the stimulation drugs, I am convinced that this is a test of faith. Faith in the process, faith in my doctors, faith in myself to handle all of this, faith in my relationship with Aaron to survive all of this, and faith in general.

The first 2 go hand-in-hand - faith in the process and my doctors. I have to trust my doctors know what they are doing by recommending these medicines in this order on these days of the stimulation. I have to trust in the fact that they have had success in the past with people who have a similar medical history as I do and are only going to do as much as they need to in order to get us where we need to be. I have to tell myself that several times a day.

Faith in my relationship with Aaron is simple. I know there is very little doubt that we can survive this, we have gone through other challenges and come out the other side stronger than ever. We just need to remind ourselves over and over that we have done other things and we love each other. This is bringing us closer to our dream that we have shared since the beginning of our relationship.

My faith in general has been shaken to the core with the infertility aspect of my life. I have never considered myself necessarily religious, but I have become much more spiritual throughout it. I have to remind myself that things happen for a reason and there is a bigger plan at work that is beyond my control. Yes, it would be nice for things to happen when I believe they should, however that is not in fact the case.

Finally, the most difficult one is faith in myself. There are moments in the day nearly everyday that test my ability to think I can handle these medications. It is tough when your body has a mind of its own without giving you a heads-up to the length of time they are going to stay and how intense they are going to be. I worry that I will not be strong enough and will allow the temporary pain to overrun my thoughts and consume me. I worry that my body won't respond well to the medicines and I will suffer from even more serious effects. And, more importantly, I worry that my body will fail me when we get to the retrieval and I will not have any eggs that will survive to even try to be our babies. It's a scary way to feel and I have to focus on how I have been through terrible and painful (physically and emotionally) in my life and have been able to come out the other side stronger than ever. I have to remind myself daily how I have done that and be strong.

Friday, July 22, 2011

We have the go ahead from the RE - IVF time!

I went to the RE yesterday morning to have an ultrasound and a hormone check blood draw. We were checking to see if the medicine I have been on for the last 2 weeks has been working the way we need it to in order to start the stimulation part of IVF. It was nerve-wrecking time to wait for the results because if it didn't go well, we could be looking at pushing things back a week or two. Having to wait longer is so freaking scary at this point since it has been so long since we started and we want to be parents.

I received the great news yesterday afternoon - my hormone levels were right where they wanted them to be and the ultrasound showed many follicles just waiting to be stimulated! This means it's time to start the stimulation medicine today to hopefully have many of the follicle grow to where we need them in order to use them in the IVF retrieval.

Tonight starts the upping of the injections and the lowering of my activity level to keep from doing more damage than good. I have been stocking up on the things I can do from the couch or that are more just laid back to help keep from doing more damage. All of that starts today!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A email from my uncle that made things so much easier to deal with

I wrote on Facebook on Father's Day last month about the 2 men in my life who took the place of the man who chose not to be in my life as a father - my 2 uncles. This is what I wrote:
happy Father's Day to all the men who were "fathers" in my life (uncles, brothers, & moms who had to be both), all those who are fathers (friends and family), those no longer here (my father-in-law I never met who passed away on Father's Day 10 years ago but know through the family), & the man who will be the father to my children someday (Aaron)
Here is the email I received from one of them and it changed my whole day. I am very lucky to have him in my life for more reasons than I am sure they do not even know:


I was getting ready to post a message to Facebook yesterday  (now that I am more willing to use the social networking stuff….)

And I realized that I had failed to respond to your Facebook photo/post on Father’s Day – and, for that, I apologize

That you would post for all the world to see (or at least all the Facebook folks) – that you consider me to have played a fatherly role is very humbling and gratifying

I should have replied immediately and on the Facebook site –for everyone to see how honored I was that you should consider me to have fulfilled an important role in your life.

I know that growing up with an absentee father was difficult for you – and formed some parts of the you that you became – in many ways. 

One of my favorite memories is of helping you learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels – there were some anxious, frustrating moments, an argument or two, and maybe a small scrape – but you were determined – and succeeded -   as you have in so many things through the years.

I wish you hadn’t had to grow up so quickly and take on many responsibilities that you got at an early age – but (as all the “cool” kids say) it is what it is/was -  and you became all the better for it in the long run.  (at least that is a good way to look back on it all now).   
Although I was always away when you were growing up – either at college or on an Army assignment somewhere -  I tried to make the most of the short interaction times I had with you during holidays or other visits to the Chicago area   (and your brothers and sister and cousins no matter the then-current state of family dynamics) .

We share more than a birth month and the fact of being the youngest born child - 

I see many similarities -  a career devoted to serving others,  a willingness to venture out on your own at a young age, a love of learning, a bit of a temper, a smidgen of stubborn-ness,  and an strong independence.

I think I have told you before – and if not – another failure on my part

The day of your Master’s graduation – when I saw you enter the auditorium and take your seat – I was overwhelmed with pride – I literally could feel my heart rate rise and chest swell with pride.

Pride -  For all that you have overcome in your lifetime -  illnesses, familial situations, relationships, academic demands, external demands on your time, financial needs (and getting jobs to pay for what you needed and wanted)

Pride  - For all that you have become -  a wonderful person, a great wife, a outstanding teacher, a mentor and friend to many.

Uncle Bill

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trouble sleeping again


I am barely sleeping at night right now, it's not so much fun. I have been tired as hell and not able to sleep for the past few nights without knowing why.

Now I do, I investigated some of the side effects of the Lupron and here is what I found: hot flashes (flushing), increased sweating, night sweats, tiredness, headache, upset stomach, breast changes, acne, joint/muscle aches, and trouble sleeping. 

Apparently, the first 2 weeks you are on these you can have an increase in hormones before they begin to decrease and these symptoms are at their worst. Well, that is right smack dab where I am right now. 



I like sleep and this struggling to sleep is tough on me. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hot Flashes & St. Louis weather = new look

Well I am on one week of the injections and I have to say that the only thing I really don't like is the hot flashes! They are intense. Not to mention that it's July in St. Louis which is in the mid to upper 90s with humidity and heat indexes up into the triple digits. So you can see my issue.


1. Buy more powerful fans to have on me at night when they seem to be the worst

2. Cut my hair to help my head not be so heavy and hot!



I have had it this length before, actually when I met Aaron 4 years ago it was about this length. I like it, it's quick and easy - not to mention that I have options on the style more. The only thing I think I am going to miss is the being able to pull it all back into a ponytail but there are options to choose from.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I hate today - fender bender and undue stress

Today started off with great intentions, I was going shopping and going to have lunch with a friend.

On the other hand, the reality of the day is that it was a pile of shit.

I was in a fender bender in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. It wasn't serious and no one was injured. But what a pain in the ass it turned out to be. It was just an accident - we both backed into each other out of our parking spaces. Both of our tail lights were cracked and broken off, we each had some cracks and dents in our bumpers. Since it was on private property and the cop said it looked like we had just backed into each other, neither of us was ticketed for fault.

The rest of the day was filled with back-and-forth's to my insurance agent's office and the auto body shop to get an estimate. The damage is about $1200 to my car. I have to wait for the official police report about things - she was a terrible person to get into a fender bender with. She was yelling and acting like a fool, trying to convince the cop to give me a ticket and blaming me for everything. Grow up! It was an accident, not a tragic situation. Inconvenient, yes - the end of all things, nope.

I don't need this stress right now, dealing with insurance companies and the auto body shops to get it all taken care of on top of the injections for IVF and prepping for it all. UGH. Not at all what I need right now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

3 days of injections and doing okay

Well I have 3 days of injections under my belt and I am feeling somewhat better about the whole thing.

The first day was really nerve-wrecking, I started and stopped about 3 times before I finally had the nerve to do it and get it over with. I was surprised with how much force it took to put the needle through the skin.

The second one was easier and so was the third. I am hoping by the time we are up to 3 shots a day, it will be almost second nature to me to have to give myself the shots.

My issue: side effects. I get some soreness at the injection site that lasts a little while, I feel a little bloated in my abdomen, and hot flashes have started. I was reading online about the side effects and apparently this is pretty common due to the concentration of the medicine going into the body. My problem with this is that is in the upper 90s this week in my area and just dealing with the air temp is hard let alone the hot flashes at the same time.

I still get nervous as hell as soon as I am going to inject myself and have to take a deep breath every time.

It will all be worth it in the end...if I just keep telling myself this over and over it may get much easier to deal with all the injections time after time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Information Overload

We just got home from orientation - while I am glad in some respects for clarifications that they gave us, I am still nervous as hell about starting to give myself injections tomorrow. They showed us how to do it all but I think until I actually do it, I am not going to feel better about anything. I am kind of a person who learns by doing.

New things we learned today:

1. Progesterone injections that start the day of the egg retrieval will last not only through the positive pregnancy test, but for 8-10 weeks into the pregnancy as well. (This makes Aaron kind of nervous because he is going to have to help me with this one and he is afraid of hurting me or doing it wrong).

2. My ovaries will begin the whole process as the size of a walnut, but by the time we do the egg retrieval, they will each be the size of a tennis ball. (YIKES!)

3. When we start stimulation (potentially 7/22), we have to keep my activity level low - this prevents me from jarring my ovaries and causing pain/damage to myself. This means I will be lying VERY low from that point on and will need lots of entertainment that involves me doing only a small amount of activity.

4. At one point, I will be on 3 injectable meds, antibiotics, plus my prenatal vitamin and metformin.

5. The most eggs we will have transferred during the transfer is 2 - the number of eggs is depending on your age, since I am under 35 recommendations are not to do more than 2 to lighten the chance at multiples (my specialist does not want multiples to be the goal).

6. My specialist's office prefers quality of the eggs over the quantity of eggs.

7. I am in the high risk for multiples category: I am less than 38 years old, have not had any failed IVF cycles, I have a normal uterine cavity, and I have not had endometriosis. This means that I have more than 33% chance of having twins (that's considered a high risk and that statistic is based on my specialist's office statistics from 2002-2009 as a whole). We are all right with this because that would mean we would not have to do this again because we only want 2 kids.

8. I have the option of donating my eggs to someone who could use them after we have had a successful pregnancy (we haven't discussed this at great length yet, but it is definitely something to consider, if we can help out another couple who is struggling, then I am pretty sure we will strongly consider doing this.)

9. The IVF process has the same % chance for miscarriage as a regular pregnancy, there is no difference in terms of chances for miscarriage.

10. The statistics for my specialist's office for a "fresh" (meaning we will use the embryos immediately) and "frozen" (embryos that are fertilized, but are not being used right away so they are cryogenically frozen to be thawed at a later date. ie. IVF didn't take the first time without having to re-do all the injections) fresh = 56% worked and frozen = 46% worked. That is an amazing statistic.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Orientation is tomorrow

Tomorrow we have orientation and I am not sure what to think yet.

I am sure they are going to go through everything step by step to make sure we get it all and are comfortable before starting injections. I start on Friday and I am scared to death. I am so afraid that I am going to mess it up and it won't work.

Paranoia? Probably. We will see what happens after tomorrow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nerves, Nerves, Nerves

Well I am nervous.

Things I am nervous about:

1. Giving myself injections and doing it wrong
2. Side effects that are going to make me gain lots of weight
3. Fear of infection from the retrieval
4. That it will not work and we will have to do it again

I know that many parts of all my nerves are normal and part of the whole process. I have spoken to people who have done it before and they say that all of these feelings are not out of the ordinary.

Things I know:

-I have a great amount of support of people who will help me with anything I need during this time
-I have amazing doctors and nurses who answer all of my questions even when I feel as though they are not rational questions
-I have survived worse than this and can do it, nerves and all.

It's astonishing to me that people do all of this while working full-time, I am on summer vacation and can barely handle the amount of stuff that is involved with the whole process.

I love everyone who tells me stories of how IVF has worked for someone they know because they are trying to help me feel better and less scared of the process. Here's the thing about that though: those stories just make me sad because we are not one of them...yet.

I think about how long we have been doing this - since November of 2009 and all of the things that have changed during the time we have been trying. It's amazing to me that people who got pregnant when we tried are about to celebrate their child's 1st birthday, I am thrilled for them and so happy to celebrate with them. What I don't want to tell them is how it can make me a little sad, not in any way to take away from their joy and the joy I have for them and their child. But in a way because if we had been one of those couples fortunate enough to pregnant right away, how it would be our child's birthday that we would be celebrating.

I know that is selfish for me to think that, but I can't help it. I adore my friends and their wonderful children, I enjoy being parts of their lives. But at the same time, it's impossible for me to think about why this has happened to us and how we weren't one of those couples and the reasons why. I may never know those answers and could easily drive myself crazy trying to figure them out.

Can't wait for the nerves to go away and for us to be started in this process.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Consent Forms

Well today we signed all the final consent forms for the IVF. Talk about a scary moment as we read through all the potential issues that can come up from the medicine and the procedures themselves. We also had to sign that we agreed to have the eggs, sperm, or embryos frozen and they will be destroyed after 1 year or will stay as long as that's what we want to happen. We then had to both sign it and have a 3rd party person sign it stating that we have read through all the risks.

Someday we will be through all of this, right??? Someday this will all be part of the bigger story we tell our kids about how they came into our lives. Someday, we will be able to tell our kids how much mom and dad wanted them, that they went through hell and back to bring them into the family.

All of those "somedays" don't make me feel better right now - I am scared and ready to not be so scared anymore.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Countdown - 9 days to meds

9 days until I have to start injecting myself with meds and honestly, I am scared to death.

I am not sure what to do or how to do it, what if I do it wrong? AHHH! Great more stress to a stressful situation and I have no idea how to calm myself down.

We are going to orientation on the 7th (next Thursday) and they are supposed to go through everything - all the meds, how to inject, when to inject, etc. We are both very nervous about it all because it's so unknown, this is intense. Aaron is worried about giving me the injections when he has to, I am just worried that I am going to do wrong and screw it all up.

What I am hoping is that there are some people who are at the orientation who live around us that we can talk to about what's going on through the process. Our friends are great and supportive as much as they can be, but they do not know EXACTLY how we feel with this stuff. We don't know many people who have gone through IVF that are here for us to talk to when we need to and it will be great to be with people who are at the same point as us. I wouldn't trade my friends support for anything, but it's different with people who are going or have gone through the exact same thing.

The specialist's nurse called me today to tell me she was mailing out my calendar for IVF with the times and dates of things we have set up right now on it. She said it also has the dosages for the suppression meds to begin with until my first appointment with blood work and ultrasounds.

Wow this is really happening and we are getting close to starting now. Everyday that moves closer to the date, the more nervous I get and the more I want to talk about it all to talk out emotions. I also want to curl into a ball on my bedroom floor and cry a little everyday.

Talk about conflicting emotions.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

IVF Meds - Wow

So this is what approximately $3000 worth of IVF medicine looks like. This is just for one "fresh" cycle (in IVF speak - that means doing the medications to then retrieve eggs to be used immediately as opposed to "frozen" or ones that had been retrieved with another cycle.) It takes nearly 6 weeks of medicines to do ONE cycle. One of the medicines alone can average $2000. 

I had to order the medicine through a specialty pharmacy because I can't just go to the Walgreens down the street to get it. When I got home, I had to lay it all out to see what the deal with it all was and was instantly overwhelmed by the amount of medicine and supplies (it came in a shopping bag that rivals the local retail stores for large purchases)

I have to admit that it looks overwhelming and is a little scary all at the same time. We are excited of course, but DAMN...that's a lot of medicine.

Monday, June 20, 2011

2 Year Wedding Anniversary

Today is our wedding anniversary - we have been married for 2 years, but I can hardly believe how quick it has gone by.

2 years ago, I said "I do" to the man I almost didn't get to meet in life and it was the best day. we had people from 9 different states who came in for our wedding and it was a day full of much love and support from our loved ones. It was such a wonderful day and I couldn't be more thrilled to spend today remembering what a day it was for us.

I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a man beside me through all we have gone through in the past few years without a single change in his support. He is my best friend, the person I want to spend time with over anyone else, and the love of my life.

We knew from only a few weeks into our relationship that this was the real deal, although not everyone thought we should get so serious right away, clearly they were wrong. Something instantly felt different for both of us and we knew it was something very serious. We were living together before our 1st dating anniversary, became engaged just after that, and married after 2 years.

It has been the best relationship of my life and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Happy anniversary baby, I love you more today than I did the day we married. Here's to many more years together and the beginning to the next chapter of our relationship - becoming a family.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day - always an interesting day

Father's day is not a day I am a fan of for a few reasons:

1. My father was not really around when I was growing up. He made the decision to not be in my life when I was a kid and I made the decision when I was old enough not to be involved in his life. Thinking of all the things that he missed out on when I hear the stories from other people who were fortunate enough to have good fathers in their lives makes me sad on Father's day.

2. 10 years ago today, Aaron's dad passed away. Yes, he actually died on Father's day specifically and this day always makes Aaron so sad. He doesn't talk about it much, really only a small amount in the past several years. Every year since we have been together, he keeps to himself doing his own thing. I don't bug him much because I know he doesn't want much attention from me today. He is still greatly grieving this loss even after 10 years and I don't want to push the issue. I am sad that I never got to meet him, I am told that we would have gotten along fantastically.

3. I wish we had a little one for him to celebrate him being a father now. Last year was hard with him knowing we were trying to get pregnant and it was Father's day. This year with it being the 10th anniversary of his passing and we are still not pregnant seems to make it even harder for him. I really hope that next year, we can turn this sad time into a more positive time for him. I know that he will be an amazing father and his dad would be so proud of the man, husband, son and friend he is now.

I hope to have a good memory to associate with this day next year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not much has changed

Still in the waiting phase - can I just say that this is an insane waiting period???? I feel like we have been building up to this for awhile now and the time for it all to get started is taking forever.

I have spent the last week or so getting caught up on everything from the time we didn't do anything. I did load after load of laundry (seriously - 11 loads in 2 days and I am still not completely done! YIKES! It makes me believe we have too many clothes, but I just can't bear to get rid of anymore) took 11 bags of stuff to Goodwill, cleaned the house, and worked on organizing things for our friend to move in this week.

It will be great to have her here. I know how it feels to go through a break up when you have been living together for awhile and you just need a place to get your feet back under you again. It will be nice for her to have a place with friends around her and some down time from the stress she has been under for awhile. She is going to stay for awhile to give herself time to save some money for a new apartment and where she wants to go from here. I know how that feels and am glad to help out someone who has been in the same situation as I have been.

Still waiting for the period to show up so we can get a schedule set up for the IVF stuff all ready. I just feel like we have been waiting an eternity right now between the waiting each month and the 20+ months we have been trying to get pregnant. Ugh...just tired of it and want it to end all ready.

Isn't 9 months long enough to wait for a baby???

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Not much to say

We are still in the waiting phase - waiting for the period to show up, waiting for the insurance to give clearance for everything, waiting to see how the meds will make feel. This is tougher than the waiting for 2 week wait from ovulation to my period only because there are so many more variables to the deal.

That's about all that's going on right now.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

IVF appointment

Yesterday was the big appointment and we both spent the day being very nervous/anxious for it.

First let me say that I love my RE - she is amazing when it comes to being down to earth and explaining things easily and answering all of our questions before we had a chance to ask them. She was great and sat down with us for about 40 minutes to explain it all to us.

Here is our plan:

-Wait for my period to show up on either the 17th or 18th
-Originally we were going to 3 weeks of suppression meds to keep my ovaries from releasing eggs, but after the RE looked at everything in my file, she wants to skip that step due to the family history of blood clots. Although I haven't shown any symptoms of developing them
-Will then start the stimulation meds for 10-12 days with multiple ultrasounds and blood draws to check hormone levels to get (hopefully) many good eggs
-Once they are happy with the eggs, we will do the withdrawal of as many eggs as possible - 30 minute procedure where I am knocked out - Aaron will make his deposit
-They will fertilize the eggs and monitor for 3 days
-After 3 days, check to see if there are any eggs showing fertilization. If there are 2 really good ones at that point, they will pull them and we will do the transfer. If there are a few, may wait 5 days and pull the 2 best ones - freeze the others for up to 1 year
-Transfer will take place (not much more complicated than IUI
-Wait 2 weeks to see if it implanted
-If no implantation - hopefully we will have more to try again

Both of us had to have STD blood work since it had to be within 1 year - which makes sense because they are dealing with human tissue. We have to attend an orientation about the injections and the whole process which we are going to do in the first week of July. Have to have a "trial transfer" which is them using the same equipment for the transfer and will measure the uterus to assure proper placement when the transfer is about to happen. Not so much looking forward to that part because I have had something close to it.

We have to wait to see what the 2 insurances will cover since we do have coverage to see what's going to be out of our pockets for all this because it has to be paid in full before the procedures. I got a call from the billing department today that both insurances are going to cover it, but I am just not going to know how much they will cover until they have been submitted and that should be done very soon. 

So that's pretty much it.

Dr said we are good candidates for IVF with Aaron's sperm count being so high on his sperm analysis as well as the 3 IUI's and that I was responding to the Clomid and Femara, I should respond to the meds well enough to have multiple eggs be able to retrieve so we could get multiple transfers without having to do all the injections all over again.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Short Update

We had an AMAZING time in Vegas. I will post more information and some pictures as soon as we get somewhat settled from the trip - you know, unpacking, etc.

I had to come into school to return my school laptop, so I decided to get some work done in my classroom in case we are able to be successful with IVF and then I shouldn't be moving stuff. It's not too bad right now, it's quiet and I can get work done.

I hope everyone had an amazing 3 day weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Day of School

Today is the last official day of school.

It is an awesome day in terms of being done with all this in order get to some much needed relaxation of the summer! The last few weeks of school, for someone who is not in education, are the equivalent of torture for both students and staff. The kids want out, the teachers want out, and it's a power struggle through the last day to get anything accomplished.

We head out tomorrow night to vacation in Vegas for the weekend and it could not be coming quickly enough in some respects because we are both so stressed and tired of the day-to-day stresses. Getting to a new environment for a few days, just the two of us will be amazing. We have not had any kind of time like this since our honeymoon nearly 2 years ago and with all the TTC stuff, we need it. I want to go be without the stress of TTC, without the stress of teaching, and without the stress of graduate classes for a few days to recharge my batteries to it all.

We have our IVF discussion appointment next week and we are ready to get going all ready. I have finished up this month's Femara to at least keep me regulated until we can do the IVF (thank goodness, my RE allowed me to do that or who knows how long it would be until we could get started - no ovulation on my own means no period, which then leads to IVF starting = not okay with us to have to wait that long.) We are ready to get in there and find out exactly what the deal is because I am pretty sure we have it built up more in our heads than it will be in reality. I am definitely one of those people who make it worse in my own head - I am a jump to the bad conclusions first kind of people. What we are hoping is that we will be able to get a good amount of viable eggs and be able to get a couple of transfers from the same batch (so to speak) to help with the giving myself injections thing. The less I have to do that, the happier I will be!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not going to be sad today

I refuse to be sad today - my period is here in full force and I have a call into the specialist to see what the next steps are going to be specifically for the next month.

I will not cry, I will not scream, I will not allow myself to be angry when all of this has brought us to the next step that will give us our best chances of being a family.

Maybe if I keep telling myself this over and over today - I can will it into the truth of how I feel.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

100th post

I was looking at my blog today and realized I was 1 away from a 100 posts. I know this is not a huge milestone, but it kind of is for me. I also thought that I don't want the 100th post I put up to be about how sad I feel or frustrated, I am doing something different: 100 facts about me.

1. I was supposed to be a Christmas baby, but was born a month early
2. I am the youngest of 4 kids by mother and 4 kids by my father - confused?? Each of my parents had 2 kids when they married then had my brother and me. I technically have 3 older sisters and 2 older brothers, we all just don't share the same parents
3. My middle name Nicole comes from the doctor who fought to save my mom and me while she was pregnant - through blood clots and many other things
4. I contracted bacterial meningitis as a small baby and live in the NICU for weeks, I nearly died multiple times
5. I was born on the way south side of Chicago - Palos Heights
6. We moved to where I call home when I was 5 - Round Lake Beach, Illinois
7. We had a parakeet named Prince because my sister was obsessed with Purple Rain
8. I had my first kiss in Kindergarten and I smacked the boy who did it
9. I used to kick the wall in my sleep, so my mom put a pillow between my knees to keep me from hurting myself
10. I used to have the worst dream that T-Rex was coming around the side of my house and looking in my window at me while I was sleeping
11. I was afraid of thunderstorms until I was 9
12. I loved playing floor hockey with my siblings and cousins in my gram's basement
13. I have been to Disney 2 times - once at 4 and again at 6
14. I had the WORST hair ever in middle school - curly and growing out, but it grew out before it grew down - yup I rocked a white kid fro
15. I played soccer as a kid but always wished it was volleyball instead
16. I went to sleep away camp for 3 summers in a row and it was amazing
17. I am an excellent swimmer - I was always top in my class for speed and technique as a child, then competed for 2 years from middle school into high school
18. I have always hated the way I look in a swim suit - even when I was skinnier
19. I took French for 4 years in high school and 1 advanced conversational level in college
20. I hate math - period.
21. My freckles come out more when I have a tan
22. My favorite subjects in high school were social studies and English
23. I was copy editor of my year book as a junior then assistant editor as a senior
24. My first serious boyfriend was a year and a half long
25. I was dumped at my senior prom by first serious boyfriend
26. My best friend in high school was a guy - I miss him since we don't talk much
27. My first car was when I was 18 and it had 174,000 miles on it when I bought it from my brother
28. The summer between freshman and sophomore years of college I ran a day camp for kids with special needs
29. I have a bowling ball in my favorite color with my initials on it that I received as a Christmas present from a boyfriend
30. I loved working at Walgreens both the corporate and stores, lots of fun
31. Working at Target frustrated me because my manager was a jerk to college kids on Christmas break
32. My hair is naturally curly but it has relaxed tremendously over the years
33. I belong to the best sorority anyone could be a part of - Alpha Xi Delta
34. Some of my best friends are sorority sisters still today
35. I loved college more than high school
36. I went to Australia and New Zealand for 3 weeks in 1995 with People to People Student Ambassadors (a branch of Peace Corps) and was one of only 30 kids in my county to be selected - I was 14
37. I barely did homework in high school - except math
38. I had amazing professors in college who inspired me - from all subject areas
39. My mom and I went on a trip to China in 2001 - it was amazing
40. I have visited at least 15 states in the USA
41. I spend way too much money on my classroom every year even though I say I won't
42. I sometimes miss Chicago and the fun stuff to do downtown
43. My hair was once a purple color in college because I was bored with it
44. I have 6 holes pierced in each ear - but have let 3 top ones close up
45. I suffer from anxiety attacks from time to time
46. I love being a special ed teacher - but not when I was a middle school special ed teacher, I wanted to quit teaching
47. I am not a good person to get out of bed, but once I am up, I am good
48. I dislike mayo - it tastes nasty
49. Soft cheeses make my stomach ache - I avoid them like the plague
50. I spent part of high school being completely lactose intolerant - no dairy at all
51. I had my tonsils taken out when I was 17 and it was miserable
52. My gram is one of the only reasons I survived through college - she's the best!
53. I have issues with cell phones - they don't like me and I have to have them replaced
54. I had 3 cars in 2 years because they had so many issues
55. Moving to the St. Louis area was the best thing I have done in my life
56. I love that I have rekindled friendships from years ago living here
57. I collect pens at work - I love lots of options of colors and hardly write in the same color on multiple days in a row
58. I color code my folders at work with my folders that I keep assignments in to help me be organized
59. My desk is organized chaos at work
60. I live about 5 minutes away from school
61. I love that I now drive a "family car" - it's pretty awesome compared to my tiny little compact I used to drive
62. I hate redundancy
63. I hate redundancy
64. Sometimes I feel like a bad wife/friend/daughter/etc for no apparent reason - just feel like I could be doing more to help
65. I love to cook and have about 25 cookbooks
66. I am not good at baking
67. I miss my puppy from when I was younger - Snickers, he was the best dog
68. I love cooking shows on Food Network and the Cooking Channel
69. Criminal Minds and Law and Order: Criminal Intent are two of my favorite shows
70. My favorite color is purple
71. My honeymoon to St. Maarten was one of the most relaxing and fun vacations I have ever been on
72. Sleeping late is not something I do well
73. I tend to skip breakfast - but I am working on it
74. I carry too much debt
75. The Princess Bride and Ever After are 2 of my favorite movies
76. I still watch kids shows
77. I received my Master's Degree in Educational Technology with a 4.0 GPA in 2008
78. I enjoy taking classes to learn more - I never want to be a stationary person in learning
79. My husband is the best person in the world for putting up with me
80. Meeting him was a complete and total curve ball of fate that I am grateful for eveyday
81. Someday we will retire and travel the world together
82. I think we will be great parents when it happens for us
83. I married into a really awesome family
84. My mother-in-law and I get along very well
85. I have 2 furry kitten babies - Kibbles who is 8 (not technically a kitten but I still see her that way) and Maho who is 1
86. I love football and we watch every Sunday during the football season
87. I admit - I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, even though they have been really bad lately
88. I can swear with the best truck driver's around when I really get rolling
89. My voice carries loudly even when I don't mean it too
90. I HATE flossing my teeth - ick
91. I am awesome at Bejeweled Blitz and have scored over 900,000 in one minute
92. I love taking fun snapshots of my friends to remember fun times
93. I wish I had musical talent - but I don't
94. I don't like Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, or cooked spinach (I do like raw spinach in salads though)
95. French toast is my favorite breakfast food
96. I could never give up Sprite as my soda of choice, it's my favorite
97. I do not get hangovers no matter how much alcohol I consume and it drives my husband crazy
98. I am terrible artist
99. I want to be a mother more than anything after 19 months of trying
100. Aaron and I are a great team - even when stuff is really hard, he is the best support in the world

Monday, May 16, 2011

90% sure we are moving on

After another couple of days of really promising temps - then this morning on 12 dpo (which is typical for a month where my period is going to show up) a drop. Take that with a negative test again and we are pretty sure we are moving on.

We have an appointment to discuss IVF on June 1 and I am glad we all ready set it up because we will need it.

All I have to say is...


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Well the testing begins - yes I know it's early but I don't care

I confess that I tested this morning.   

However, I used the internet cheapie tests that are only about $4 for 20, instead of going into debt to do this. I am cheap when it comes to this stuff because we have spent so much money through the last 19 months. After all this time, I refuse to pay the prices in the stores unless I have to, I would much rather spend less money and have many more options to test - even though they are not really accurate at 8 days past ovulation.

Hell, I may start couponing just to manage the medical bills coming in for the procedures (stupid insurance deductibles and co-pays). This is an incredible business that that is thoroughly profiting from women who are desperate for the positive, they are willing to sign over their 401(k) in order to have the family. I can't imagine at this point how much more money I would have in my checking account if I had done this all the time we have been trying, using the internet cheapies. It's sad and makes me sad for my checkbook.

I just want to know and I don't care if it's too early. I have come to a point where I just don't care about waiting any more because I am ready to know if I can move on to IVF or not.

I know, I know, I know...statistically, 8 days past ovulation is WAY too early to test.

It's only approximately 69% accurate at this point.

Seriously, this is what the commercials are pushing??? 

This is a great marketing scheme - you can know sooner, so why not buy it? The thing is women are not reading the information insert that comes with the test that shows the true level of accuracy of the testing. I think if more people would read that, those tests would stop flying off the shelves because it's not that accurate.

This is the 6 days sooner idea but really it's about as accurate as flipping a coin or just guessing yourself. Let's go out and spend approximately $12 for 2 tests that are as accurate as reaching in your purse, getting a coin, and flipping it. If you flip it enough, you may get your positive. Wouldn't that be cheaper than spending all that money??

Man people are suckers, myself included. I am in the wrong profession.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A meltdown the day after - a reflection

I was doing so well with Mother's Day yesterday until about 9:30 pm when something hit me like a ton of bricks and down, down I went. This one was rougher than many of the other ones I have been having recently.

A meltdown - no let me rephrase that, a HUGE MELTDOWN.

I sat on my bathroom floor for a good hour and just cried. Why the bathroom? When I get that upset, I tend to get sick to my stomach - bordering on a panic attack. I went in there so I wouldn't have to try to run to make it if I felt the urge to throw up. I did throw up, but only a little - the feeling passed quickly.

Aaron followed me in to see if I was all right and we sat on the floor to talk for almost an hour.

I confessed to him that I felt just awful after the appointment last week when we found out his numbers were so strong. I told him it just highlighted to my brain where the problem is - me. And even though I know that I can't change me, I still felt very much to blame. To blame for all the stress and strain we have gone through in the past 19 months and to blame for the way things haven't worked month after month.

I confessed that I cry nearly everyday when it sneaks into my brain, usually after Aaron leaves in the morning but before I head out to school for the day. I cry because I am sad, I am sad everyday about this journey and I want it to be done. I am sad for the way it has invaded the rest of my life. There is not a part of my life that has not been sincerely affected by this and I hate it.

I want my life back - I want to be happy again. I had to make sure Aaron understood when I said that, I wasn't referring to being happy with him. He is the bright spot in my day and I look forward to spending time with him.

I just want to be able to smile easily and laugh hard. I want to not be consumed by all the "what ifs?" that go with TTC everyday. I want to feel like me again - not some hormone-crazed person who feels like she is running in circles more than moving forward. I want to stop seeing that look on his face when I am crying and he wants desperately to make me feel better but can't.

This meltdown was hard and when I was done - I crawled into bed and just crashed for the night. I am not sure I even moved too much throughout the night because I was just physically and emotionally exhausted.

9 days until we find out what the next step will be - pregnancy or IVF and it feels like 9 years instead.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wishful thinking on Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to everyone who has any kind of interaction with a child/animal/etc that needs love and to be nurtured. This day is for you.

Does it make me sad that I don't have a little one to celebrate the day with aside from my fantastic furry kittens and my wonderful husband? The answer of a person who isn't letting it bother them would be - nope, not sad at all. Me on the other hand, am sad today but I am working on it.

When we started our journey to being parents all those months ago, we had no idea how long it was all going to take and now 2 Mother's Days have passed since we started and that's just a little saddening. No, it's not the end of the world. However, we took a moment today to allow ourselves to be sad about it because it was the right thing for us to do.

When you want to be a parent, waiting just through the pregnancy seems like it will never end. Then add in all the waiting game we have gone through so far and we are talking about a serious amount of time.

We are hopeful but nervous about this cycle, we still have days to go before we will know what's going on. That's hard to deal with today. I would much rather be celebrating that we are off this part of the ride and onto the next part of the journey. It's about time we have the start of our dream isn't it? I can't wait until we can celebrate that - it's long overdue.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Negativity anyone??

I feel so down right now - just negative and not feeling this month. I wish that I felt differently or knew what brought it on. Last night, I was lying on the bed watching TV and chilling out when I was just hit with a wall of sadness and down-feeling. Why? I have no idea. But, I have to say that I am not a fan of it at all and I want it to go away. I don't have anything to be sad about really aside from the general fear that this IUI won't work and we will have to move on to more intensive fertility treatments. That's all I have to be sad about and normally, I can just push that to the side since we are still 2 weeks from finding out if it worked and usually I don't hit this point until about 5 days beforehand. Why now??? I don't want to spend the next 2 weeks feeling like this - get out stupid thoughts!! I don't like you and you are not welcome!

Tonight, I am going out with some good friends to have some Mexican food (they will have margaritas, I will be drinking Sprite - darn people who get to drunk on Cinco de Mayo and I have to be the designated driver) and I hope it helps me shake this feeling today. I am going to see if I can cram some other fun stuff into this 2 week wait to help the time pass faster. I like to be busy sometimes because then I don't have too much extra time to think. I don't want to think too's bad for the brain.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

3rd time's a charm?

I can't tell you how many times people have said this to me when they found out we were preparing for our 3rd IUI. I know these old sayings are supposed to be in order to help deal with the stress someone can feel. I wish I had that kind of confidence. I am not sure why this cycle feels so different all ready for me, I can barely find the motivation to get into it and I wish I knew why. I want it to work, but I can't bring myself to get really excited about it even though I do want to be excited.

This morning went really well, no complications or difficulties like last time. The nurse was able to get it right away, the whole thing lasted about 2 minutes total. We now have 2 weeks until we find out. I am calling tomorrow to get our appointment set up in case this doesn't work and we are sitting down with the RE to talk about moving on to IVF.We just want to have all our bases covered, we can always cancel our appointment if we get good news in 2 weeks. I am hoping for a Murphy's Law kind of thing - you know, schedule the appointment and that will make this one work kind of thing? I don't really believe any of that

Aaron's #s were amazing today - 38 million before washing and they were thrilled with the #s he was showing as we have done this process (1st month was 26 million and last month was 88 million) they want anything over 10 million before the washing and we more than covered that amount. This is kind of a double-edged thing to me - so his #s are great even after they did the washing and that means the problem comes from me. While I am happy it's not both of us because that's a whole different set of issues and strains, at the same time it makes me feel more to blame.

YES, I know I am not to blame. This is the way I was born, there is nothing I could do differently to make myself different and able to be an active contributor to the process without medical interventions. I am doing everything I can and the doctors are helping us as much as possible. But it's still a painful realization. HOWEVER, knowing I am not to blame and feeling like I am not to blame are not the same thing.

Aaron never makes me feel as though it my fault that we are going through this, he says it's what we are going through and he has never blamed me. I will be forever grateful for that because that would be an extraordinary level of pain added to what I all ready feel on any given day. He started dating me knowing this was an option in our future - we had this conversation when we were only dating a few weeks because I knew I could never go through someone looking at me differently due to the infertility as I had in the past. But hearing it then and knowing it with all the specifics are different things completely. He could be angry at me or treat me differently because of the medical issues...but he never does. I am so grateful for that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Here we go

I woke up this morning and here is what I saw:

So that means tomorrow is the final IUI. It's nerve-wrecking and exciting all at the same time. I really hope this one is the one that works. Aaron and I haven't really been able to do our part recently due to a whole bunch of reasons, so we are going to "get on it" tonight before we head in tomorrow morning.

It's weird but both of us have not had much interest in our time this month, but I am not really sure why. Maybe it's because we know it's the last one, maybe because we know moving on to IVF is a much better % of success...maybe it's just a month where we are tired of it all - the whole fertility issues thing that has been weighing on us. I am not sure, but it's been a struggle to get into this month for both of us.

I am just ready to move on to whatever at this point

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gearing up again...3rd IUI and final month before IVF

Here we go again.

I should be getting a + OPT either later today or tomorrow and that means that we heading in for our 3rd and final IUI.

I am ready to go and get moving all ready. We are ready to move on if that's what's in store for us, we are ready to be pregnant if that's what's in store for us. We have made our peace with having to move to IVF if needed and are gearing up for it.

Unfortunately, it pushes us into 2012 before the baby would be due and that's going to be tough. We have me covered by both insurances (mine and Aaron's) and we will be starting over with our deductibles, which means it will be more out of pocket than it would be if we were able to get it done in this year. That part kind of stinks, but at least it will be covered pretty well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thank you - these words are not enough to say how I feel today.

I have received so much positive feedback and thoughts on my blog - I was in tears reading some people's thoughts because it was amazing to hear.

When I started writing this, I wasn't sure I was going to share it with anyone aside from some close family members. I wasn't sure I wanted everyone to have a window into my emotions and struggles - it is difficult to open yourself up to the outside like this and particularly for me. I am a private person about many things, those things closest to my heart usually stay there except for the few people whom I choose to let in. I have been told that repeatedly by former friends and relationships - I tend to close people out when I am protecting something, build a wall, shut the door, etc. I think it goes back to the sense of losing myself again. I have been scarred (physically and emotionally) by allowing people into that center of me in my past and it has greatly affected me.

When you have been violated this way by people you "thought" were ones to trust, it changes you. I changed all those years ago when I was still a young woman by those experiences and honestly, the woman I am now is a direct reflection of that pain. It's not a bad thing 100% or a good thing 100% - I would say on a good day my past is 49% bad influence 51% good influence. Depending on the hormone level that definitely switches up and down.

So why would I choose to share my inner thoughts and feelings on one of the most sensitive and emotional things you can go through? I have been asked this question by a few of my friends and family over the last year - honestly, I don't have a good answer. I have asked myself this a 1000 times maybe because it is so hard I wanted to overcome something that has plagued me for a better part of 10 years (my painful experiences happened when I was 19 and are more than I can share here, even now.) I "think" I wanted to try to work past this and that's when I went on blogger and started this up.

It started out as a place for me to get out what I couldn't put into verbal words ("if I don't say out loud, it's not true" kind of thing - maybe?) but as time went on, I discovered something pretty remarkable. I looked forward to sitting down and getting out how I was feeling because I knew I had a safe place to put the thoughts/anger/sadness and could tell people about it or not. At least it was not sitting on my heart and mind weighing me down as though I were sinking into the deepest part of the ocean. Cliche I know, but hey what do you expect?

Then something else amazing happened - people took an interest in what I had to say. I was floored. I was always so afraid of letting people in and here they were commenting or emailing me telling how amazing my blog was to them. WHAT??? I couldn't believe it and even now, it's so strange to me that people want to read what I write.

I never could have imagined what this blog would do for me. It has now been featured on the RESOLVE (National Fertility Awareness organization) site and has people reading it and commenting all the time. I have been asked by several people if I ever considered turning into a book because they enjoyed it so much (seriously??? Me?? I am just a teacher who is struggling, I am not an author, I just write what I feel when I feel it.) I have people write me and tell me how this has inspired them to be more open about their struggles. All of this because I took a chance and made my struggle public. I am truly humbled and at a loss for words (despite the long post to the contrary).

Thank you.

There need to be new words to express gratitude and appreciation for all the support we receive everyday of this journey. The English language needs a new intensity for these two words - the thesaurus doesn't have a strong enough word to really express these emotions aside from.


Thank you for listening to me ramble on and on.
Thank you for taking an interest in me.
Thank you for sharing in this long and winding journey.
Thank you for caring.

AND, most importantly...

Thank you for allowing me to fight back by giving me strength.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NIAW: Myth: A higher-power is telling you that you should not be a parent. - BUSTED!!

I am taking the NIAW challenge to write a blog during this week to bust an infertility myth, here is the rationale behind it: get people to talk about infertility during National Infertility Awareness Week®, April 24-April 30, 2011.  “Bust a Infertility Myth Blog Challenge” is brought to you by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, the largest nationwide non-profit improving the lives of people diagnosed with infertility.

My myth I chose to bust in my blog this week is one I was thinking about long before I knew about the blog challenge: A higher-power is telling you that you should not be a parent.

First, let's talk about how absolutely freaking mean this statement is to a person of any level of spirituality in any part of their journey. I mean seriously people???? I have to admit that I have heard this myself in my journey and it devastated me. Why don't you just tell them their mother/father/puppy/favorite childhood friend just got hit by a semi-truck which was then blown away by a tornado?? Wouldn't that be more humane than saying something hits you in the stomach like a punch and stop you in your tracks? People have the best of intentions when trying to be supportive, but as I have stated previously, saying nothing means more than a statement that cuts to the deepest parts of people. When I heard this, it felt like I was being stabbed from the inside repeatedly.

Second, why in the world would someone decide this is a socially acceptable thing to say to someone??? When did it become normal behavior for someone to take one of the most personal and painful subjects and say something so unbelievably out of line without knowing ANY information?? I must have missed that day in school when they passed out the jerk pills for people to take and I am personally glad I missed it. I would never in my life say something to someone like that. Good grief people, are you parents aware of what kind of person they raised?? The old saying of "Think before you speak" seems to have lost some of its shine. I am the first person to admit that I can put my foot in my mouth because I am often guilty of the "open mouth, insert foot" reality. However, one thing I have noticed about myself as we go through this journey is how much more concerned I am about other people's feelings. Usually I am just a say you want need to say person, but of all the changes that this has brought to me - I think I will keep this considerate.

Third, who are you to judge my higher-power and their plan for me? Last time I checked you were not the one in charge of what gets to be parents and who doesn't. I have struggled with my own spirituality for a majority of my life - it's no one's fault but my own. I have read the Bible, attended church, talked with religious leaders, participated in church events, etc. But does this make me a religious person? My answer is no...I am spiritual person. I have come to believe that all of these struggles I am facing, all of the pain Aaron and I go through day after day is going to be worth it in the end because I believe there is a purpose to it all. My higher-power has a plan and it includes having to struggle through many difficult times in my life to come to great things.

"Problems are the price you pay for progress." II Corinthians
"There are some defeats more triumphant than victories." Michel de Montaigne

Give me a break people, infertility isn't a punishment for a lack of spirituality or religious belief. It is a medical condition that does not discriminate in its location - it's happening all around the world by couples of all socioeconomic status. It is not about who deserves a baby and who doesn't. It's not about who believes in a god and who doesn't. It's not about being "worthy" or "not worthy." Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system.  It does not discriminate and affects all races, religions, men and women equally and people all over the world. According to the RESOLVE website, "Whether or not you resolve your infertility journey by choosing to become a parent is a function of your determination and not a higher-power. Parenthood is attainable, if that is truly your goal.  You may or may not be fortunate enough to have a biological connection to your child, but if you want the experience of being a parent, you can achieve that dream."

I did this post as part of the RESOLVE National Infertility Awareness Week and please feel free to go here for more information on NIAW and it's background.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week Myth Busting Challenge - breaking the silence

My current facebook status:
Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering experience. April 24th begins National Infertility Awareness Week. Whether you, a friend, a family member, or a colleague has fought this difficult disease MILLIONS men and women face, post this as your status if you or someone you know has walked to hell and back for the chance to be a MOM or DAD!
Today begins National Infertility Awareness Week. It was designed to draw attention to this issue that so many people are dealing with, unfortunately they are dealing in silence.
One thing that continues to astound me is the amount of silence that is involved with infertility. So many couples do not talk about it, it's often kept from friends and family, and many suffer in silence.
Here is my question - Why?
Why is it something people feel like they need to be ashamed of? People are born this way, the same as being born with green eyes instead of blue. It's not something that needs to be pushed aside, people need support and the more the support, the better as far as I am concerned. 
As I have worked through this process and dealt with the stages of it all, denial, etc - I feel as though I am drawn to being an advocate for people with infertility. 
Where are the support groups for this? I looked at different websites and found that most of the support is online only. How does this help when you have found out for what seems like the 900th time that what you are doing hasn't worked and your heart is broken again? Writing is therapy for me (hence the blog) but it does not take the place of human interaction for the people who are suffering. Sometimes, the best way for me to deal with how I am feeling is just to allow myself to have a break down and cry session - you know: sobbing, wailing, going through a box of tissues as you attempt to make sense of it all. People who are going through this know how it feels and can help by being supportive of each other. 
I wish sometimes that we were not one of the millions of couples who were going through all of this, that we were just those people who could be in the same room with each other and end up pregnant. 
Then, there are other times I am so grateful for the struggle as difficult as it could sound. This terrible situation has forced us to be connected and honest with each other to a level that many people never achieve, I am glad for that. It has helped our relationship to be even stronger than it was before. No, it's not always easy and often I hate it, but we are more in love than we were when we got married because of the struggles we have gone through in the past year and a half and because of infertility. 
All I can hope is that other people are going to find peace for themselves, I am still struggling from day to day with this part. 
I wish for all of us that we can get the dream that has eluded us.
EDIT: I want people to know that I am not telling anyone they need to be as open to the world as we have chosen to be. PLEASE do not think that...I just don't want people to be ashamed or embarrassed that they are struggling with infertility and allow or disallow whomever they want into their journey. Please do not misunderstand my intentions with this - it was only directed at the general silence and shame some people feel due to this and how I hope they find peace. 
I did this post as part of the RESOLVE National Infertility Awareness Week and please feel free to go here for more information on NIAW and it's background.