Thursday, May 28, 2009

Did you know?

Did you know you would be infertile?

Maybe you had something already diagnosed. I have a friend who got diagnosed with PCOS as a teenager, and I know she has always had a nagging fear that she would face infertility once she started TTC.

If you didn't, did you still know? Did you know without knowing?

I did. I had my spotting, which was enough to set me on edge. I knew. I lurked on the Nest Trouble Trying to Conceive board....before I was even TTC. I read without commenting on two infertility blogs....before I even started TTC. Crazy, no? I would have been ashamed to admit it then, but now I look back and I think I knew.

But honestly, I didn't know. How could I really? I'm sure there are many women out there who have irregular cycles who fear being infertile. But then they TTC and, with a big sigh of relief, they find out they are pregnant. I could have been them. So when we started TTC, I was hopeful. Excited. Nervous. I vividly remember the first time we had unprotected s.ex and we felt giddy with excitement. Maybe we just made a baby! Oh my gosh!

But then as each month went by, I knew a little more. By month 3 I was scared out of my mind, and by month 6 I was convinced. I tried to hold onto that hope that it can take up to a year...but really, I just sent my husband in for a semen analysis. And then I really did know.

And here I am. Will infertility treatments work for us? I sit here on the verge of starting treatments...two surgeries behind us that have been "successful" in improving our fertility, although we are not fertile by any means. Will I ever be pregnant?

In my heart of hearts, I don't believe the treatments will work.

Do I know? I can't, really. I'm not trying to be a pessimist. I want to be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. And I feel wrong for even thinking this, and writing it has made my heart pound and my eyes water. I want to hope, I want to try, and I want to believe!

I will move forward and hope with great hope each cycle that I am pregnant. We will pursue treatments as long and far as God guides us.

I also wonder -- is God giving me this doubt to show me how amazing are the works of his hands? That he can get ME pregnant? Or that he can open my heart to adoption and build our family through that? For God to show me that I DO NOT KNOW, and that he does?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Home from surgery

I'm home from surgery and feeling surprisingly well!! Thank you for all of your prayers and well wishes -- I very much appreciate them. :) Overall the day was pretty uneventful and everything went smoothly!

Before getting me set up for surgery, I had to pee in a cup for a pregnancy test (I knew I wasn't pregnant, but I appreciate that they make sure!). However, I hadn't drank anything since about 8pm last night, peed when I woke up this morning, and it was about 11:30am at that point. Needless to say, I had NOTHING to pee. Nada. I tried and tried and tried...ran the water, put my hand under the water....but felt absolutely no urge to pee. I got a little stressed at this point and wondered if they might cancel my surgery if I couldn't prove I wasn't pregnant!! However, they just hooked me up to my IV and ran some fluids to generate some pee in me, and it worked. :)

They let my DH wait with me until I was wheeled back, and we had a private little room. It was so nice to have him there and it took my mind off of any fears that could have surfaced. I looked at a home decorating magazine and DH and I daydreamed together about things we would like to do to our house, which was fun.

I was a little nervous about being put under with the anaesthesia, and it really is a bizarre experience! I started to get really really dizzy, but I didn't know he had started giving me any of the anaesthesia! I actually started to panic that something was wrong with me and they would cancel my surgery, and just when I was about to speak up and say, "I'm REALLY dizzy," to warn them, the doctor told me he had given me some of the anaesthesia and that I might be dizzy. He could have told me that a little sooner, lol!! And just after he said that, I was OUT.

I woke up in recovery feeling like I had just had the most wonderful nap, which is what I said to the nurse. They asked if I was in any pain and offered meds, but I honestly felt only the mildest discomfort (I would say 1 out of 10 on the "pain scale") so I declined. Of course, I felt really sleepy and out of it, so they said to rest a little longer. They told DH to expect to come back to me in about 20 minutes, but apparently I slept for another hour!

DH spoke with Dr. Ob/Gyn after the surgery and she said it went well, although a couple things she hoped wouldn't happen DID happen. Hearing that wasn't the best news, but it sounds like it was nothing major -- things just weren't "ideal." One is that she hoped it would be easy to get into my cervix, but apparently it was rather difficult and she had to use a smaller scope because of this. Secondly, she had described to me in our office meeting that often times once a fibroid is sliced open, the "ball" inside will just fall out....kind of like a marble. However, mine did not just fall out, so she had to scrape away at it and cauterize what remained. I don't think this is anything BAD, but it just wasn't the best. Oh well. :)

They did give me advil in my IV and said I could take another dose later tonight....but so far I am feeling great. I have a prescription for vicodin called in, but at this point I can't imagine needing it. I just feel groggy.

I'll be on a low dose of estrogen for the next 4 weeks to aid with healing, can return to normal pelvic activity in 2 weeks, and then can TTC again in July. I can't wait! July here we come!

Thanks again, friends, for your prayers and kind words!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

I LOVE three day weekends. Love them. Who doesn't, right? And I think I've decided that I like it best when the day off is Monday because there is so much anticipation and the whole weekend feels different... :) We've had a blast -- lots of friends in town, 3 bar-b-ques, and staying up way too late make for a fun and social weekend. I hope you are having a GREAT weekend as well!!

Since my surgery is on Wednesday and I took Thursday off to recover, I must admit I am also excited to have two days off this week. Of course, if I had a choice I would not choose to have any kind of surgical procedure and just go to work....but since I need to, I'm just looking at the bright side. :) Lazy days at home sound good to me, as does a two day work week!

A funny side note... at church yesterday I wanted to go up and get prayer that my surgery would go smoothly. Normally there are 3 pairs of people to pray with, usually set up as female/female, male/male, and female/ male. Yesterday there was only a female/male pair and one lone guy available, probably because of the holiday weekend. The couple was on the other side of the room and was constantly in use, so I thought about just going up to the lone guy and just being vague about a surgery (I mean, I wouldn't go into details anyway so who cares!). I knew the guy and he's a newlywed younger than me, so I kept debating it during worship and then asked my DH what he thought. For some reason it seemed awkward! He had the great idea to just come with me, and the prayer guy and my DH both prayed for my surgery. I'm glad it worked out.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baby Bucks

That's what we're saving: Baby Bucks. We haven't drastically changed our spending, but we're not buying anything big or going on vacation. My Christmas bonuses and any extra money we've gotten has gone STRAIGHT to our Baby Bucks fund. Because every infertile needs to start stashing away the cash in case you have to 'buy a baby,' right? IUIs, IVF, or adoption...those options loom ahead of us and we need all the baby bucks we can get.

Last night we went out to dinner for date night, and we had a one of those surprise 'coupons' that has to be scratched off by the manager. Probably 99% of them are for 10% off your meal (hey, I'll take it!), but there were a few really good prizes listed! A couple vacations, free dinners for a year, and, you guessed it, BABY BUCKS! Well, they called it cash, but I read it as Baby Bucks. :)

Being the reasonable person that I am (haha), I knew there was a very small chance we would win the Baby Bucks. But I did crane my neck and stared intently as the manager scratched off our coupon and revealed....

10% off your meal!

Ah, well. Maybe I should put that $2.00 of savings into the Baby Bucks fund. And we did get 2 more scratcher coupons, so I'm thinking we'll be back at that restaurant for a couple more date nights.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Small celebrations

It is often so easy for me to notice the negative. Especially in the face of infertility, you know? We didn't time it perfectly this month. I started spotting a day earlier than usual. I spot too much. Why didn't AF come when I wanted? Now I have to go in for this test on the weekend... etc., etc.

Instead, today, I will celebrate something small. Something went RIGHT and I'm happy. :)

My fibroid surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday, and the doctor wanted it to fall between cd 5-10. She said the closer to AF the better because it will be easier to open the cervix, and that can be a tricky thing in this procedure.

However, when I was in the office it was cd 7, I didn't know when I would ovulate, and I wasn't really tracking things this cycle. So I counted the weeks and told the doctor's office to schedule the surgery for the week of Memorial Day....and hoped AF's arrival would cooperate. I really didn't want her to have to work really hard to get into my cervix -- ouch!

My goal was for AF to arrive on or after May 18. If she arrived on May 18 my surgery would be on cd 10 and the last day in the desired window. If she arrived before May 18, I might have had to reschedule! And in my mind, any extra days after May 18 would be GREAT!

Sunday, May 17th came and went. No AF. Whew, at least I didn't need to stress about postponing the surgery.

Monday, May 18. No AF! An extra day!

Tuesday, May 19...no....Wednsay, May 20....no...!!

AF just came today, on Thursday May 21!!! So my surgery will be on CD 7, which sounds perfect to me!

For once, something went RIGHT. I should probably rephrase that and say for once, I noticed something going right. :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Surrender

On Sunday at church we sang a song that is quite popular at our church right now. There is this one verse in that gets me right here...right at the heart of me and my infertility. It goes like this:

Take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

I feel like when I enter worship at church each week...or open my Bible to read...or seek God in prayer... I am coming before him with all these infertility fears and failures. You know what fears I am talking about! The day to day fears and the BIG fear we all carry: what if I never have children? And my failures of worry, anxiety, self-focus....this list could go on.

I love how this song reminds me that I give those things to God, and HE is what fills me. He is my satisfaction and having a baby will not 'fulfill' me. I desire that joy, that experience, that blessing of being a mother and having children...but, for me, it is not what my life is about, as much as I might feel like it is in the midst of this. I give my life to follow, everything I believe in...my life is about glorifying God and being satisfied in him. My heart bursts and aches and is filled with joy at this thought!! And, somehow, I seek to surrender my infertility to God. He is my hope.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Infertility free weekend!

We had such a wonderful, no-IF weekend. Well, almost, but can we ever be completely free of those IF thoughts?

Anyway, yesterday was DH's birthday (he's officially 26 now!) so my IL's came up for the weekend to celebrate with us. As I've mentioned before, we always have so much fun hanging out with them -- they're like friends and parents at the same time. :) And they help us do projects around the house!

On Friday night we went out and got burritos and frozen yogurt. Is frozen yogurt such a craze in your neck of the woods? Here is So. Cal it is insane -- we've had three frozen yogurt places pop up in the last year! And it's not what I used to think of as frozen yogurt...it's tangy and sweet. Anyway, we're joining the craze and taste-testing the different shops. I get mine with strawberries and chocolate chips -- yum. And if you're ever near a Pinkberry -- you do have to get some!!

On DH's birthday yesterday, his youth group guys came and 'kidnapped' him for breakfast. It was so sweet and I know he loved it! In the afternoon we went to Home Depot and, through money gifts from my parents, grandma, and DH's parents for DH's birthday we got a BBQ!! DH and FIL put it together while MIL and I did some gardening. We then went out for Middle Eastern food for a birthday dinner and got to sit at an outdoor table with a fire pit. Fun night, and I was happy DH had a great birthday. Isn't it great how when you love someone their happiness makes you happy, too?

This morning we went to church...and that was where my only IF moments occurred. My MIL even said what I was thinking, "Wow, it looked like everyone was either pregnant or had a newborn!" It was true. But it was an amazing service and I love how God's word ministers to me.

We spent the rest of the day hanging a new porch light, going for a walk, and BBQed an AWESOME dinner on our new BBQ...steak, baked potato, red bell peppers, and corn on the cob all on the grill! The only items not grilled was the salad, and strawberries for dessert.

What were you up to this weekend??

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Office (spoiler warning)

If you didn't watch last night episode and are planning to, you may not want to read this post because there's a spoiler in it. Sorry!

Remember how a few posts down I said that The Office is the only show I watch? I love that show! I love the characters and each of their quirky personalities.

Last night was the season finale...and what a finale it was. Surprise pregnancy and all. *sigh*

I knew a new plot twist would be Jim & Pam having a baby. And I like them as a couple, so it could be cute despite my emotional angst surrounding pregnancy in general. But I didn't think it would happen so soon...I was expecting the wedding first!

And their reaction was so sweet. Thrilled, emotional, shaky, joyful...I teared up as I watched. I want to experience that with my DH! And the fact that it was a surprise pregnancy...she was probably on bcp. It just looks so easy. As I thought about it, it seems like most tv/ movie pregnancies are portrayed as surprises. I don't expect them to portray infertility (how's that for comedy), but doesn't hollywood ever show a relationship where they actually decide to try for a baby and it takes a few months!?

We were watching the episode with friends, so I had to act normal and into it. I feel ridiculous saying this...because I KNOW this is fictional....but it was almost that same punch-in-the-gut feeling when you hear about somebody's IRL pregnancy. When we got home DH said, "Even Jim & Pam can get pregnant."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The sweetest

I cannot believe I almost forgot to tell all of you about my friend, Katie, who is THE SWEETEST!! These are two texts she sent me on Mother's Day:

"Happy mother's day hillary! I hope you are having a good weekend!"

Followed immediately by:

"P.s. I am thinking of you today and continuing to pray for peace! xoxo"

Seriously! She is a young newlywed who has no experience with infertility...but she sends me a special message and realizes it could be a difficult day for me. She's amazing. I'm so blessed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alternative stuff

I know of this woman in my church who was TTC for two years. Apparently, she didn't ovulate and hadn't in a really long time. She went to some sort of homeopathic doctor, and, through her diet, began ovulating again. And then she conceived and gave birth to a baby girl in January.

I know of this other woman who went through menopause, and it was horrible. I don't know what it's like to go through menopause, but I guess it can be bad. Like, she lost all of her hair TWICE bad. She went to this same homeopathic doctor, starting eating differently, and got her hair back. And now has appropriate hormone levels.

Those stories are pretty neat, huh? But overall, I just like to listen to them as stories. I mean, really, everyone has stories of things that have worked for them...diet, acupuncture, IVF, chiropractors, herbs, vitamins....and one thing doesn't work for everyone, you know?

So I've always thought I would just stick to what I now. Homeopathic stuff, acupuncture, and whatever else are just strange to me. I know how to go to the doctor and take medicine. And I don't want to do something just because I heard this story about somebody it worked for.

But I am starting to waver. I have known about these two women for quite awhile now and have never given it a second thought. I mean, really, is it necessary to take out all the good things I like to eat? I am not overweight and I generally have a healthy diet. But I like coffee and sweets and meat on occasion.

But now, I have this fibroid and I read some things that say fibroids feed off of estrogen. I asked Dr. Ob/gyn if she thought I could alter my diet to prevent fibroids and she said no, you just get them. But I think I am just admitting to myself that I feel off hormonally. I have no proof of this, and maybe I'm wrong, but ever since I was on bcp I don't feel right. My bbs can ache at random times in my cycle, or the whole cycle for that matter. Of course, there's the spotting, but that could be just the fibroid. Low libido, but is that just psychological?

So now I'm considering finding out who this homeopathic doctor is. It would be all out of pocket, but I heard that it's about $400 for the initial appointment and testing and then it can be pretty minimal from there. Another friend (daughter of the menopause woman) went to this doctor, did the testing, and was told her hormone levels were fine. So maybe they will tell me that, too.

What do you think? Am I going crazy looking for things to help me get pregnant? I just want to be as healthy and ready as possible...and, I confess, I hope if my hormone levels get 'corrected' then maybe my FSH will stay below 10. My 8.7 reading still freaks me out if I think about it too much. (Thank you for all of your reassurances on that freak out post, I know I can't know how quickly it could go up...). But I don't know if any of it has to do with FSH, lol.

One random thing is that I have become worried about too much estrogen because of what I read about the fibroid. But, I'm supposed to wear an estrogen patch for a month after my fibroid surgery to help heal!!! So then I think I can't do any hormone altering diets since I will be taking a hormone. I'm rambling here....

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

Growing up, Mother's Day was never a big holiday in our home. My mom never seemed to care all that much if we made a fuss about it, so we didn't. Plus, her birthday is this month....as well as my dad's....and one of my brothers....so Mother's Day usually got lost in the midst of birthday celebrations.

What is the purpose of Mother's Day? I've always thought about it as a day to 'celebrate mom.' To show her how much you appreciate her and all that she does for the family. For many people, this seems to involve flowers and gifts, a nice meal out, and the family gathering. It's a time to tell mom in a special way that you love her.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I am not a mother. We have tried, prayed, and hoped that I would be a mother by now -- or at least have a little one in my belly. But my belly is empty, too. So as I think about Mother's Day, I realize that I don't want to be celebrated or lavished with gifts....that's not what I'm missing. What I am lacking is a child.

I believe that one day, somehow, I will be a mother. And once Mother's Day rolls around, I want a quiet day to celebrate the fact that I am a mother. I want to sit back, look at my child with a full heart, and be reminded how utterly thankful I am that I am actually a mother....and relish the fact that somebody calls me mom...and reflect and rejoice in where God has brought me.... and how he has guided my path. I want Mother's Day to be a thanksgiving that I am a mother.

And if they want to get me flowers on that day, that would be fine, too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

8 things tag!

This is a great way for me to get my mind off of things this week. :) I've been tagged by gringa -- thank you!

8 Things I Look Forward To:
  1. I'm not working today!!!! It's already happening so I'm technically not looking forward to it....but I look forward to the rest of the day! (We're having a major wildfire here -- it's not directly near our house but our whole city is being effected. At least 20 homes have been burned :( It's a sad reason for a day off, but I'll admit I'm glad for the day off).
  2. Having my friend over for lunch today.
  3. Going to my IL's house this weekend.
  4. Memorial day weekend (3 day weekend for DH & I!)
  5. Watching The Office tonight.
  6. Our 4th anniversary next month
  7. Getting chores done today that I normally do on the weekends (I haven't washed my car in soooo long!)
  8. Catching up on all your blogs today :)

Things I Did Yesterday:
  1. Worked by myself in the office all day (it was nice to not have anybody working with me....I could just do my own tasks without getting more added!)
  2. Drove through an evacuation zone to get home. It was crazy and made me want to cry. If you have ever been near a wildfire you will know it feels like you're in hell. Seriously. It was dark and orange and hot...people were frantic and there were police and firemen every where. It took me 45 minutes to get home when it usually takes 15-20.
  3. Drank a smoothie for lunch.
  4. Took a walk at lunchtime.
  5. Made an awesome summer dinner....grilled flank steak salad with sweet potato fries and lemonade.
  6. Went to my church homegroup and did a Bible study.
  7. Got a new computer!!!! Our laptop stopped charging last weekend so we ordered this little netbook that is so awesome! DH set it up for me late last night and I tried it out. I'm so excited to not have to use our old, heavy, and slow laptop anymore. This one is tiny!
  8. Slept with our ceiling fan on...that thing is awesome. It made the temperature in our room more comfortable and we were able to sleep.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
  1. Get pregnant!!!!
  2. Quit my job and not have to work. (haha)
  3. Take a nice long, relaxing vacation.
  4. Visit our friends who are missionaries in Bosnia.
  5. Remodel our bathroom.
  6. Be artistic (I am not very creative).
  7. Motivate myself to do the 30-Day Shred dvd that I started...but then stopped.
  8. Pray more and worry less.

8 Shows I Watch:
  1. The Office.
  2. Um...this is the only show I watch. Sorry that's boring.
  3. When I am somewhere watching TV I like to watch:
  4. HGTV
  5. TLC
Anyone who wants to do this consider yourself tagged! It's fun! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Imagine a world...

...where there are no internet search engines. Other technologies are the same as the present day. You could still have infertility treatments and an excellent RE. You could even still have your blog.

The only thing you couldn't do? Google everything like mad. Find every obscure thing that could be wrong. Diagnose yourself with something horrible. Predict your future based on some comment on a random web board that popped up in the search.

Instead, you would have to just trust your doctor. He would tell you that your bloodwork is normal, and you would believe him. He would tell you your best options, and you would probably choose out of the parameters he gave you. You wouldn't have to go home and second guess and worry about every.little.thing.

*sigh* This is my dream world right now that I am turning into my reality. No more googling for me this week....and I might extend those restrictions longer if needed. But I think google is making me crazy.

Disclaimer: Obviously, it is great to be well informed and overall I am so thankful we have the internet. I believe I have already made decisions for our treatment with more informed confidence and it has been a little easier because of it. I just need to learn to limit it for my own sanity. This is no way an anti-do-your-own-research post.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oops!

I had my appointment with my ob/gyn on Friday....the one whose office I have been going to a few years but have never met (only seen the NP). But I chose this office because I had heard great things about her (and thought I would get pregnant and get to see her!), and after my conversation with her I feel like I am indeed in good hands.

There wasn't too much new discussed -- she explained a little more about the fibroid removal procedure, what to expect, etc. I asked if my spotting would stop once I had the fibroid removed, and she said it depends if that is what is actually causing the spotting. I hope so. I hate spotting.
One funny realization I had while meeting with Dr. Ob/Gyn is that we actually have this team of doctors now, and they all know each other. Dr. RE, Dr. Urologist, and Dr. Ob/Gyn....in fact, Dr. Ob/Gyn deliverd Dr. Urologists' baby!

I scheduled my fibroid removal surgery, but when I got home on Friday and was entering it into the calendar I realized I had scheduled it for the wrong week! OOPS! The doctor wants me to have the surgery between cd 5-10 of my next cycle, and somehow when I was counting it out I skipped a week in May and scheduled it for the week after that window. I called the office at 4:45 to let them about my mistake and get it changed, but they had already closed for the weekend. Hopefully it won't be too difficult to correct today!

If I am able to get the date changed, my surgery will be the last week in May.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The results are in

And there was IMPROVEMENT in my DH's count and motility!!! Oh my gosh!! I almost feel like I got a BFP today. :)

I think we were both preparing ourselves for bad news all week (hence me being an emotional wreck). Last night I prayed and prayed for peace. I wanted to be able to surrender to God whatever the outcome of today's SA was, and I just prayed and prayed. I had written a blog post in my head to tell you all the bad news.

And this morning as we got ready for the doctor's appointment we were so very quiet together. My heart rate steadily increased as the time of our appointment drew nearer. We drove separately since we each had to go to work afterward, and I put on my Dashb.oard Confessional cd that I haven't listened to in a few years. I feel like an angsty 16 year old when I play that, but I had so much emotion rumbling through me that only emo music would do (and even though the songs are about lost love, heartache, and betrayal, somehow the sense of loss feelings seemed to match my own emotions...). I turned it up loud and sang loud.

Once we were at the urologists office, the nurse took DH's vitals while his chart was sitting there on the counter. And I saw the SA results clipped to the top but couldn't read it! She even said, "It looks like we have the results from yesterday," and as she left the room I hoped she would just leave them on the counter. But she took them. We were soooo close.

But it was only a few minutes later that the doctor came in and we heard some beautiful words. His count increased dramatically. The motility increased some. In her opinion, we would be candidates for IUI with these numbers! Not just straight to IVF without passing go.

SA 1 (November 2008):
Volume: 6 m/l
Count: 74 million
Motility: 3%
Total motile: 13.32 million

SA 3 (April 2009):
Volume: 4 m/l
Count: 145 million!!!
Motility: 10%
Total motile: 58 million!!

As you can see, the motility percentage is still very low (50% motility is normal). But since it is a percentage and the count is excellent, it is not as huge of a problem. I have read the many doctors like to see 10 million total motile to qualify for an IUI -- and we passed that threshold!! Whoo--hoo!! We're not exactly "fertile" or "normal" but I'll take whatever I can get.