Thursday, December 31, 2009

Although it's terribly cliche, I wanted to take some time to reflect on 2009. I haven't been blogging a whole year yet, so I can't go back and read how I was doing last year (but that is something I'm looking forward to doing this coming year!), but hopefully I will be able to read this next year (in between feedings) and realize the value of each step in our journey to have kids, no matter how big or small, forward or backward, the step might have felt at the time.

Other than our family still comprising only the two of us, 2009 was actually a great year. We made lots of progress with increasing our savings and decreasing our mortgage, we played alot with our pup (who is now spoiled!!), we became involved with the crisis pregnancy center, and we generally had a blast hanging out together. I feel very fortunate that the only struggle we have is the empty nursery, when I know so many others have so many more weights on their shoulders.

And I might add that I think we have been blessed with dealing with the empty nursery a little easier than others might have it. I think I've said before that I feel a little guilty about how we have been able to handle this cross, when I read that so many of you are feeling so crushed underneath. By the grace of God, neither of us are all-consumed with this hole in our lives...sure it is there, but we both feel compelled to fight against letting our lives crumble around the missing piece(s) of our family. I think we're both feeling like we want to use this time before kids to really make our home the happiest place on earth, because that is where we want our kids to be welcomed into.

The hardest part of the infertility struggle for me this year is that my college friends are (most of them) either already have kids or have them on the way. Not even that they're already moms, but that they don't seem to realize what gift they have been given. I don't think it would bother me (so much) if it appeared like they were truly thankful for their kids. I don't think it would bother me (so much) if they were still interested in what is going on with those of us who aren't moms (by choice or not). One of the biggest reasons I cringe at the thought of who is going to be pregnant next is that their attitude will be the prevailing "here is my kid, check that off the list".

We have been excited this year to see the RE, and even though we had the recent setback of low progesterone on follistim, and even though we're not pregnant (yet), I feel like we are going to get there in 2010. I feel like we have tried to follow what God would have us do, to the best of our ability, and that has led us (especially recently) to the idea that progesterone supplements (supposit's) during the LP might be the puzzle piece we've been missing. I hope and pray we'll welcome our first baby in 2010- that God will bless our faithfulness and persistence with precious life.

I have been humbled with the gift of faith this year. Trust that I have no idea where it comes from (hello, Holy Spirit) has been the foundation for our path. Courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Compassion that causes me to say that if God is using my response to infertility to encourage someone else, then this has all been worth it.

I think the posts that consider a previous year that was filled with anguish, compared to now which is filled with joy, are so powerful, and in some ways, I wish that reflecting on my 2009 was a little more dramatic so that next year (when, God willing, we will be a family of three (or four, haha)), there would be a deep contrast in how that precious life has changed our lives. And no doubt, I am positive that a child will be such a happy blessing to us. But on most days, I find most of my happiness in thanking God that this is the day that He has made, and rejoicing that God has a great purpose for me! On somber days, I try to remind myself that my happiness should stem from doing what God would have me do, and not whether I received everything on my Christmas list. (What is my Christmas list compared to God's plan?!)

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Ps 118:24

Today, the last day of 2009, I rejoice that God has blessed me with His grace, that I have the opportunity to serve Mr. A as his wife, that Mr. A is a loving husband to me, that we have the cutest pup in the world, that our house is sound, that we are not struggling financially, that our home is warm and comforting, that our families and friends are well, that we have good jobs, and that we have hope that we'll be blessed with a baby in 2010!

Old Fashioned

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's been a great break-from-injectable-IUI month so far. It's been fun to do things the old fashioned way, you know, not have to do the shot before dinner, not have to have an ultrasound every other day and bloodwork sprinkled in there, too, and not have to anticipate the day of the IUI. You know, get some fun, spontaneous use out of that lawn-jer-ay that may or may not have been in circulation in the last few months. Not that we haven't been taking care of business, but it's just been a little less light hearted. I'm pretty sure we have the light hearted covered this time!! (or uncovered.... hahahahaha....!!!)

That's not to say that we're not keenly aware that, especially right now, it's getting to be the time where it is mucho important that we are spontaneous on a regular basis. (Oh, the irony.) I expect to ovulate either Sunday or Monday, so maybe it'll be like the movies and three weeks after New Year's Eve, I'll cluelessly realize my period is late and take a HPT and it'll be blaringly positive!!

Here's hoping that some old-fashioned lovin' brings an old-fashioned adorable cooing baby in 2010.

Hello Again :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Do I really have to work today?

I would much rather be cleaning this house. Did I just write that I'd rather be cleaning? That is right- since we are taking down the tree early in preparation for our wood stove installation next Monday, I have been inspired to do some decluttering around here. Don't tell anyone that last year's Christmas cards were still in the basket on our island until yesterday afternoon....

We had a nice Christmas with Mr. A's family! It was very low key, and we didn't get to the family movie that his mom wanted to go to, but we all played Tri.vial Pursuit together which was way more fun/interactive and way less expensive!!!! (Mr. A and I would have chosen to play the game over going to the movie any day...) Banana did well at their place, but she is glad to be home. I feel like everyone was so generous and thoughtful with their gift choices this year! It was alot of fun to see everyone open the gifts we'd chosen for them.

I am really trying to take a mental break from trying this cycle. So I am happy to say that I didn't really find myself getting teary-eyed because we didn't have a newborn this year at Christmas. Although I would have loved to tell everyone we were pregnant, it didn't ruin my Christmas to have no news to share on that front. I'm just trying to take this cycle one day at a time instead of scheduling and calculating and projecting and extrapolating and all those ttc mind games. It gets old after a while.

All of that being said, I brought two library books with me to read (which are now, um, overdue...). One was clearly about having hope (from the back cover blurb), and it was pretty predictable and somewhat cheesy with how everything comes together in the end. But uplifting nonetheless. The other was just a random book that caught my eye. How does that random book end up dealing with a character who gets dumped by her husband, she moves to another country, then you find out she was infertile (but her ex had gotten someone else pregnant), and then the romantic foreign guy that helps her find an apartment and then they start dating and doing you-know-what-else (like twice), and then she ends up pregnant....

How many other books were on that shelf when I went looking for something to read? How many other explanations could the author have come up with to try to explain in the least the background for the character's broken marriage?

As I've said before, I have alot of trouble with discerning what God might be saying. I have alot of faith and trust and I really love to pray for others, but if you ask me how much cereal God thinks I should have for breakfast, I would still be standing in the kitchen 4 hours later going back and forth and wondering if I'm thinking 1.5 cups or if that is really God's will for my cereal or.... And as much as I doubt alot of what others might take as a die hard communique from the heavens, I would like to think that God places things in our lives to give us encouragement or a nudge in one direction or another.

SO. I've found myself praying "What am I supposed to be gleaning from this?". I mean, if you believe that God has a plan for your life and that He uses each thing in your life for something (which I do), these fictional books are not inconsequential. They are on my desk for some reason. I have found myself not wanting to ask "Why" because to me that seems a little like a dead end question. I feel like if I am praying to seek what I'm supposed to be learning/hearing, that is a little more fruitful prayer for action in my life.

And on that note, I have sort of decided that I should not doubt what God might be saying to me. I do not doubt that I'll see His hand in the creation of our family or that He loves me, but when I see a cute little bird that makes me smile, I doubt whether God really used that bird to lighten my heart or whether the bird just happened to be outside my window and I just happened to see it. Isn't that crazy that I have no problem believing the big miracle kind of stuff, but the little, every day participation of God in my life seems a bit far fetched. As if our big God is too big for small things, too. (Not!)

So when Mr. A proclaims that even though we are taking a break from follistim and just using clomid, he wants to really knock this cycle up out of the park because he really thinks the progesterone fluctuation in the 2ww is the problem which the supplements will fix and then we'll be pregnant, I will reflect on that. The head of our family has strong feelings about this cycle. This cannot be insignificant! I am careful not to be sure that it for sure means we'll be pregnant this cycle, but I think that it's a good indication that maintaining good progesterone levels might very well be the culprit (Hey, maybe I am discerning something!) and this cycle will definitely show improvement from the supplements.

Do you have trouble believing in the little things that "randomly" come into your life? I do because I have tried to believe in them before, perhaps too literally, and so I have been burned and I tend to doubt any relevance in them at all. But maybe I shouldn't totally discount them but instead really pray about what they might mean in my life- maybe a broader message or encouragement. I think if I can keep this mindset, I will be able to accept the small messages instead of rejecting them for fear of (another) broken heart.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

I wish everyone a blessed Christmas!! I finally got our snow pictures uploaded from last weekend! Here are a few of my favorites :)

(I guess we aren't going out the back door!!)

(Mr. A shoveled a great path to the front door instead!)

(Banana goes face first into the snow! HA!)

(Staying in the groove has never been more important..)

(Yes, the snow on our deck drifted so it almost covered the chair!)

(Banana can't wait until she can see over the snow!)

Favorite Things!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

(I promise I'm trying to get around to commenting to you girls!!) I can't give away refrigerators and $300 face cream like a certain daytime talk show host does, but I thought it'd be fun to tell you 10 of my favorite things! I wanted really badly to embed that scene from the Sound of Music, but I can't find it anywhere!

**Soft cozy blankets (especially ones that your sister makes for you!)
**Homemade Cinnamon rolls with Hazlenut coffee
**My "Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking" cookbook (especially the biscuit recipe!!)
**Sour Patch Kids
**My Calphalon pots and pans
**My Lodge cast iron dutch ovens, skillets, etc.
**Chicken Pot Pie
**Always Infinity pads (seriously, I know they cost more than the normal ones, but if you're trying pads because you are worried tampons aren't good for ttc'ing, the Infinity's are worth the extra $$) (I have heard tampons can cause an internal pH change, which can be detrimental to swimmers, and also my friend K (who does accpuncture) asked her practitioner and he told her that they can cause blood stagnation in the uterine area which carries over to the time when you want lots of vitality/blood flow around there!)
**Our Lazyboy recliner (hello, I fall asleep there every night!!)

What are your favorite things? :) Get that song in your head! Time to really belt out the lyrics!!! Chin up, girls! Chin up!

Tonight, please pray for Mr. A's coworker who just found out today that their IVF cycle is BFN. And please continue to pray for my nurse at the RE whose dad is not doing well. And finally, please pray for good friends of ours (neighbors at our first place) who the wife just buried her dad December 9- she is really missing him this Christmas (obviously).

I'm still here, don't worry!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hi all :) Sorry for falling off the face of the earth. My sister graciously said she'd post this for me! We got, oh, 28" of snow between Friday night and Sunday morning! It is by far the most snow I have EVER seen :) It was very cool to finish wrapping presents while watching the big flakes fall outside the window. Banana hates it, especially since the snow is taller than her!, but since they plowed our street (finally!) last night, this morning's walk was a little more bearable for her. Mr. A and I have been busy shoveling a tunnel, I mean, a path out of our driveway and just staring out the window in awe of all this snow!!
The other reason I haven't posted is because Mr. A has been taking his laptop to work with him, so I haven't been able to read up on any of you- I'm hoping I'll get a chance to tonight! You have been in my prayers nontheless :) I'll also post pictures from this snowfall once I get them all uploaded...
As for me and my cycle news, today is CD1. Of course we are bummed, but this means I can have as many cups of coffee as I want while opening gifts this year!!!
It also means that injectables/monitoring this cycle will be virtually impossible because of the days the clinic is closed in the next two weeks. (An aside, please pray for my nurse and her family- her father is very close to passing away.) So, I called my RE to see what he suggests and to hear his thoughts on the low progesterone at 9dpiui.
Basically he reiterated that he is flabbergasted that the level was so low. Of course the peak is supposedly at 7dpiui, but he thinks that it would have also been on the lower side since it was SO low at 9dpiui. I told him I'd read about people whose progesterone level falls too quickly, and he said yes, that is a version of a luteal phase defect, and so we will be monitoring progesterone very closely in any upcoming cycles. I am growing more and more convinced this is what has ALWAYS been the problem, since I get headaches at about 9dpo every cycle, and if my progesterone is only up for 9 days, that generally does not give the embie enough time to safely implant.
Anyway, Mr. A and I were thinking of taking this cycle off (since injectables are out), but my doc suggested that I give clomid another try with progesterone supplementation starting a day after ovulation. Why not? I'll still use my monitor (have to dust it off!) to know when to start the supplements, but we are looking forward to a month of less scheduling and more spontaneity. (Cue romantic music.) If we're relaxed, it will happen, isn't that right? Haha! I will get a progesterone check at 7dpo. And then on 14dpo, I'll get a BFP.....
Thank you for all your prayers! Not sure how much I'll be posting this week (I'll have to figure out how you can email the post to your blog?), but I hope that all your Christmas'es are truly blessed :) Here's to a wiggly 3-month old in Christmas 2010!

Thank you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thank you all for your comments on yesterday's post!! I will write more about that in a minute, first I have to tell you about the worst morning ever....

I had to be at my office for an 8:30am meeting today, so I drove up last night and stayed with my sister. She rents a townhouse in one of those nice communities that have 800 townhouses and 13 parking spots designated for visitors. Know the ones? And WOE TO YOU if you are a visitor and park in a non-visitor spot. Even if you park in a visitor spot, their HOA has now mandated that you must ALSO have a visitor tag on your mirror. Then you have to do a jig and walk backwards 20 yards and then skip forward 15 feet, but not before asking "Mother may I?"... Well, not really that last bit of stuff... haha!

Anyway, as it happened, the visitor tag I had put on my beads that hang from my mirror fell off the beads sometime after 9:15pm when I left it ON the beads. So when I went out to get in my car this morning, the parking spot was empty. PANIC! When we finally find the towing lot, in the most sketchiest of warehouse districts (thank God for her principal who allowed her to be a tad late for school so she could help me get my car!!), I tell the attendant "see, if you look through the window, you can see the permit tag on the floorboard." Unfortunately for my case, it had landed face down (probability is a bitc.....), but I thought for sure once I showed him the other side, it would be fine for me to not have to pay.

Not so.

He called his manager who devilishly said that since it wasn't hanging on the mirror, they still had to charge me but they'd give me $50 off. WELL THANKS, that still leaves me paying $75 for a freak event of nature!! (I give the attendant lot some credit, as he only charged me $50, but he was not the super-nicest guy either...) Who am I to know when the molecules in the plastic parking pass will adjust and send the pass fluttering to the floorboard?!?!? Next time should I sleep in my car to make sure the pass stays put?

Cue the hysterical tears. I promise it was not for show- I honestly couldn't stop the emotions, and I was so upset. Upset that I had to pay $50, upset that my sister would be late to work, upset that I was late for my meeting, upset that these apparently-heartless fools couldn't have some compassion and decency to give me a break. It's Christmas, for pete's sake!!!! Haha.

I called Mr. A during my hysterical crying and left one of my signature indecipherable messages, to which he called back shortly, worried that I had been hit by a bus. Haha! I love that man!! I was still crying when I walked into my meeting (after, of course, going into the complete wrong building and getting all the way up to the 8th floor before I realized it). I don't make this stuff up!! When I sat down at the conference table, the facilitator looked at my big teary eyes and said gently "We're not going to start for 5 minutes, if you need to go to the bathroom."

Ha!! In other words, "You look like a mess, go pull yourself together!!"


Then on the way home, I was still steaming about all of this, and Mr. A encouraged me to settle down because the stress probably isn't good for the baby. Touche. Fine, I'll settle down for the baby's sake.

Speaking of the baby, I am so glad I got the progesterone supposit's. Ever imagine you'd read that sentence? (I was able to get them at CVS, thank God!) I feel very good about having them (Bless you, Ann, for saying "Mama knows best!!"), and so far I have had no leaking. None! Is that odd? Somewhere I read that your body absorbs all the progesterone it needs and the rest is what leaks, and of course I'm hoping that I'm absorbing it all because the baby needs it. Is there any other reason why my body would be soaking it all up? (I'm sure there is... maybe it's so excited to have some progesterone it is just taking all it can get.) I dare someone to tell me that they always had some leaking until they got pregnant and then it was all absorbed because it was needed for the baby...

Low progesterone?!?! (clarified)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ever heard of the saying that "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans"? That is what I feel like is happening now!!

Here I am, trying to be great and not obsessive during this 2ww.

However, since my progesterone hasn't been checked since June (50mg clomid), I asked to get it checked again this cycle. The RE staff assured me constantly that since they could see I had four follicles and I had the trigger shot, my progesterone should be more than fine, but I was just curious so I had them put in the order.

Oh, what did the voicemail say last night? "Progesterone is a little low, so RE thinks you would benefit from some supplements."


The nurse didn't leave the actual progesterone level, and she said she would call me first thing this morning to go over the prescription with me so she can call it into my mail pharmacy so they can overnight it to me by tomorrow (Wednesday- 11dpiui). Isn't progesterone something I should be able to get locally?

When she hadn't called by 8:15am, I called her, and low and behold she is out sick today. GREAT! So I called the receptionist, and she said she'd talk it over with my RE and get back with me. So now that it is 8:49am, my foot is getting tired of tapping on the floor...

More than the low progesterone level, I am so upset with myself that I didn't ask to have this checked each follistim cycle. Here we had rockstar follicles this time, and the poor babies aren't getting enough progesterone. I could just kick myself. Luckily, my crazy optimism has worn off on Mr. A because when we were talking about this last night, he goes "Well, just look at it as now we have another piece of the puzzle. We don't even know for sure that you're not pregnant yet, even with the low progesterone. If we have to try again, next time, we'll just do the same thing over but this time with supplements."

God, thank you so much for my husband...

I will update once my RE calls back and I can get the actual number. I just pray that if I'm pregnant, God will protect that baby until I can get him/her some more progesterone!!!

PS. Since I broke my not posting about the 2ww streak anyway, it might be interesting to note that I threw up my dinner from 7dpiui 5 hours later at midnight (8dpiui).....

UPDATE: HAhahahahahaha, I have no freakin idea what the HECK is going on here- my progesterone level was FIVE!!!!! Ha! They are calling in the progesterone (supp's) to my local pharmacy, so I'm going to pick it up this morning. I asked if there was any hope that I'd still be pregnant, and she said, well, progesterone is a funny thing- over 3 means you ovulated, so I wouldn't necessarily give up hope. Ha. Not exactly the resounding, "no way, don't give up hope!" that I was looking for!! Ha!

Clarifications based on comments: I had my progesterone checked 9dpiui (yesterday).. I know you're supposed to get it 7dpiui, but I was out of town and couldn't get there that day. So, I know it might be a little less than what it was at 7dpiui, but FIVE?! That leads me to believe that even the test at 7dpiui would have also been low.

Also, I have never asked for progesterone supplement before, and my RE as never offered. Since I had a good level on 50mg clomid in June, they extrapolate that if you're on big-daddy follistim and the trigger, your level will be just fine. I have been wondering about this since I began follistim, but especially last cycle and this one (our IUI's), and I am so glad I was persistent about them checking. The RE kept saying this morning how my low level was "curious" because they don't usually do progesterone checks on people on FSH. (Maybe I will be a trend setter!) I can appreciate them not wanting to drain their patients of blood, but I definitely should have asked sooner for another test and/or supplements, especially since my non-medicated progesterone was low, too (but higher than 5! Ha! Go figure!). I had never heard the "a level of 3 indicates at least ovulation" either, but that is what they said this morning. I think they just want a higher level to show a stronger/more follicles ovulation? My RE wants medicated cycles to be at least 10.

Thanks for all your comments! Keep them coming :) Incidentally, I hope the baby is enjoying this blast of progesterone ;-) Haha!!

Turn Around

Saturday, December 12, 2009

(First, did you hear that Mic.helle Du.ggar had her 19th baby December 10, three months early by emergency c-section? And that the baby girl weighed 1 lb 9 oz?? WOW. I don't have any specific problem with God blessing them with 19 kids (who am I to question what He does), but I respectfully wonder if her body is growing weary of being pretty constantly pregnant...)

Have you noticed that I haven't posted yet about my 2ww? I have been trying to incorporate my overall dealing-with-infertility strategy of taking the focus off me and trying to see what I can do with this time in my life for others... and so this 2ww, I have also been trying to take the focus off me and post about fun other things. I am secretly keeping track of my symptoms, and I'll be sure to post them when (get it?) we test positive!!

As I was falling asleep last night (after the most awesome sisterly Christmas shopping trip in our tradition's 3-year history) (the kind of shopping day where, when you get home, you only want to look at what you bought and reflect on the great job you did finding great deals on things that will surely bring a smile to people's faces!), I was thinking about how sometimes I feel a little guilty about how I seem to have an easier time with this infertility struggle, without alot of the drastic up's and down's that I read about that others of you are dealing with. I can't tell you how passionately I pray for you when I read that you're having the awful-est of days. It honestly breaks my heart to read your pain- emotional, physical, and spiritual!!

What came into my head last night is how Jesus, who gives us an example of grace while suffering, also gives us another suggestion on how to live our daily lives:

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31)

Do you see? This is the verse that popped into my brain as I was trying to think of why I felt so at peace with trying to take the focus off of me and my struggle and instead focus on others and other fun things. Jesus could have said "You shall love yourself as your neighbor", putting the focus on YOU, not others. But instead, His second greatest commandment puts others first. Straight from His mouth, I felt sure that is why this works so well in the search for peace on this bumpy trail.

Christmas is a time when those of us who're fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads and food in the pantry do our best to think of others, so this theme is pretty prevalent in our minds today, regarding giving to others who lack basic things that we take for granted. (That was a tricky sentence. I first wrote "who are not as blessed as we are", but who am I to say that I'm more blessed than they are? Everyone is blessed to play some part in God's plan!)

This Christmas season, try to expand the idea of giving to others and putting others first to your struggle with infertility. Of course it doesn't heal all wounds, especially deep and painful ones, but I bet it will lighten your heart even the smallest bit! I find it especially helpful during prayer time if I have a zillion people to pray for, I have less time for whining about our empty nursery!! I find that, in praying for others before myself, I end up so involved in lifting up their situation that my situation does not seem so helpless anymore. And, if you are not the praying type, maybe keep in mind that things are not always as rosy as they seem: Maybe that 19 year old girl is pregnant, but does she have a loving, supportive place to come home to?

I humbly ask (and thank you) for your prayers for us as we enter week two tomorrow! Praying our dreamed-of miracle is close at hand!!

An Angel's Message

Friday, December 11, 2009

"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people." (Lk 2:10)

Two years ago (2007-2008), my sister and I were teaching Sunday School, and so last Christmas some of the kids brought small gifts for me (and my sister). We were just about to move to our new house, so although I opened each gift and sent thank-you notes, the gifts (most Christmas-related ornaments, candles, etc.) were re-boxed and put in the Christmas totes. Last year we went to my parents' for Christmas, so we didn't get a tree, so I didn't even unpack most of the Christmas decorations.

This year, when I went to unpack the Christmas totes, I re-discovered the small precious gifts from my adorable students. Admittedly, it'd been so long since I'd seen them, I'd totally forgotten what was hidden in the boxes.

Imagine my quick breath when I pulled this angel out of her case

As I read her tag, my eyes started to tear up:

"Angel of Dreams: Somewhere you will find a miracle to match your dream."

Tell me that doesn't speak to your (my) aching, baby-longing heart.

Prayer Request

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am writing this morning to request your prayers for the client I saw this week at the pregnancy center. When I called the pregnancy center in January to say I'd like to start volunteering as a peer counselor, the director told me she was so happy that I called, and that she firmly believes that God Himself brings clients and peer counselors together. Never have I felt this to be more true than this week.

I can't share alot of the details in the interest of her privacy, but I'll call her "E".

E was a walk-in to our center this week, and while we usually have no space for a walk-in appointment, we did have one for her. And I got to see her. It was an amazing counseling session. She has so much love for her baby (8w), but she is afraid of what her boyfriend will say. She clearly stated that she does not believe in abortion, and if that is what he suggests, she will leave the relationship. She is unsure about whether to parent the baby or whether to place the baby for adoption. She has a wonderful example of a positive adoption situation within her immediate family.

I couldn't help but think of readers who are going through the adoption process right now. As I was talking to E, I was silently praying that whereever you are, there are moms in her same position that are being encouraged to consider adoption as a life-giving choice for their baby.

Please keep E in your prayers, as she weighs her options of parenthood or placing the baby for adoption. Also, E is not a Christian, but she does believe in something bigger than her, so please pray that God would continue to whisper to her heart about the comfort and guidance that He provides, especially when we are scared and can't see where we should go next.

Winner and Hilarity

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Last night, I asked Mr. A to tell me a number between 1 and 12 (number of entries on the Giveaway post), and he picked 6!


The winner of the wine pourer set is....


So Melissa, please email me your snail mail address (email linked in my profile), and we can get the ball rolling to ship the set to you!! Hopefully it will be a great addition to your kitchen!


In the "hilarity" portion of this post, I just want to share last night's conversation between me and Mr. A about how much to put in our health savings account for next year (deadline is Monday!)...

me: Since it will be too early to tell if we're pregnant on Monday (9dpiui), maybe we should put in more than this year but not the maximum, in case we actually won't need it to help pay for IVF.

him: Well I just don't want to put too much in there and then lose it if we don't have to do IVF.

me: I'm pretty sure that if we're pregnant, I heard you can use it for accupuncture, and we'll still have plenty of medical things to pay for...especially whatever the insurance doesn't cover for the hospital stay and delivery...

him: Doesn't F.ed Ex charge like $20 for delivery? Why can't the stork use Fe.d Ex??

Hahahahahahahaha!! Thank God for husbands! I guess I'll be calling the stork today to see what delivery options we have (next day? express? guaranteed by August 28, 2010?)!!!

"Blizzard" in Photos

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

"What do you mean there is still snow on the ground?"

Landscape just before sunrise

Banana bounding out of the snow "drift"

Sun finally peeking over the mountain!

I forgot to buy new laces for my boots and had to use kitchen string...

Must smell under the pine tree even if she has to stick her nose through 4" of snow!

Banana scouts ahead of me

She is convinced she'll get to grass at some point...

The start of our woodpile after lots of splitting by Mr. A!

One of my favorite trees in our yard

Mr. A's truck was totally full Saturday! He's doing an awesome job splitting all of this!


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Okay everyone! Time for the Blizzard Baby Giveaway :) I hope this will instill in him/her the idea that giving to others is alot of fun :) Pay attention, baby!

Here is the great product that the great folks at All Modern are allowing me to give away! (Remember to check out the great dining room furniture at another of the online stores (Dining Rooms Direct) that is part of the CSN Store collection of web stores. See my favorite here!)

For all you wine-lovers, this will be an awesome addition to your wine cabinet! It's a set of a decanting pourer (left) and a vacuum stopper (right)!!

I am not a huge wine-o, but from what I do know, decanting your wine will allow the flavors to all mix around together and therefore enhance the taste of your wine. (Also if you have sediment at the bottom of your wine bottle, it will make the sediment stay out of your glass- bonus! You don't have to eat your wine anymore!) AND, the vacuum stopper (which I probably need more than the pourer) enables your wine to stay fresh for longer after you open the bottle! That is particularly desired in households (like mine) where only one person likes wine (me), and on normal occasions I don't drink a bottle of wine by myself in one sitting ;-) Ha!!!

So here is the deal :) To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Christmas tradition! I will take comments until Monday at 10PM Tuesday at 9AM (EST), so be sure to leave your comment ASAP!

I'll randomly pick a winner (or I'll get Mr. A to help me), and then I'll announce it Wednesday! Then the winner will need to email their address info, then I will pass that along to my contact, and then it will be shipped to you! Enough "then"'s for you? Haha :)

I will start off the Christmas tradition list with three of my favorites:
1. For the last three years, my sisters and I have met at an outlet mall in early December to go Christmas shopping!
2. Mr. A's family goes to church together the evening of Christmas Eve, eats a big dinner, and then we all watch "A Christmas Story" together and inevitably all fall asleep in the living room...
3. We tease my mom endlessly about the hassle of this tradition, but it is a neat one- each Christmas (or Thanksgiving, now that we alternate being with them) at the big meal, she goes around with a bowl of honey and traces a Cross of honey on our foreheads to remind us of all our sweet blessings from God. Of course everyone ends up with honey dripping down their head and then you wipe your forehead and forget that honey was there, and so now you have honey all over your hands and your forehead, but it has been in her family for many generations, and someday I'll get up the guts to carry it on when we're having our own celebrations!

PS! Tell all your blog friends about the giveaway! Feel free to link here, etc.! The more the merrier, and it will be so fun to read about everyone's traditions!!

PPS. I am extending commenting for this giveaway until 9AM Tuesday morning to give more people time to enter!

PPPS. Need some bar stools to shimmy up to your home bar?

Blizzard Baby(s)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

That's right folks. I am officially calling our prospective offspring our blizzard baby(s)! Isn't that cute? We woke up to snow this morning, and it has steadily accumulated to about 4" right now! I think estimates are around 8" for this snowfall, but it looks like it is tapering off. Banana hates the snow (where is the grass to poop on?!), so she is less than excited, unlike me who is completely stoked that it's snowing! Our area is just breathtakingly gorgeous under a blanket of snow.

ANYWAY, by the grace of God, we arrived safely at the RE's this morning (the interstates were a bit slushy/slippery, but no snow on the road thankfully). And safely home, obviously. Mr. A is again the star of the day, as his part of the event this morning went really great! :) I feel like I was gearing up to ovulate early this morning (pretty bloated/gas pains), so I'm pretty excited about the IUI timing! During the IUI itself, I had some cramping, and I am cramping right now, too, as well as still feeling kind of bloated. I have way less spotting than last time.

I am praying our blizzard baby(s) will find a place to snuggle in!! Baby, it's cold outside!

(It is totally not a real blizzard. Which makes me calling them our blizzard babies even more hilarious because every time I call this a blizzard, Mr. A emphatically expresses how ridiculous I am being!! HA!!!)

The coolest part of the morning is that in between Mr. A's appointment and the IUI itself, we went to look at wood stoves! We are hoping to have one installed in January in front of our fireplace, since wood stoves are more efficient than fireplaces. (And since Mr. A has a ton of friends with property so we can get free firewood, this would drastically decrease the cost of heating our house in the winter.) I think we picked one we both like, and I'm pretty sure Mr. A is going to order it on Monday! He's actually meeting up right now with my sister and her hubby to clear some trees they have down on their swim club property. (Yes, somehow he convinced them to meet up while it is snowing!)

It was really fun to go wood stove shopping :) Much more fun than running a red light and crying in the Burger King parking lot like last time!!! I think the wood stove is going to look great in our family room and do a wonderful job of heating!!

I am going to write up the Giveaway Post this afternoon and have it publish tomorrow. Basically, all you will need to do to enter is leave a comment on tomorrow's post (I'll cut off comments Monday at 5pm EST), and then I will randomly pick a winner! But I'll be more specific in tomorrow's post. I also wanted to mention that I'm not getting paid to do this or talk about their site- I just thought it would be a fun thing for you readers!

Hope everyone is staying cozy today! Thank you all for your prayers :) Here's praying (begging) for a week-before-Christmas BFP and a late August little one (or two, haha)!!

**Edited to add this verse my friend T emailed me this morning- I love how powerful and comforting it is, having waited for such a time already!!!

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." ~ Habakkuk 2:3

Fun Times

Friday, December 04, 2009

Last night for dinner Mr. A and I had the other portion of the ravioli my sister and I made a while back! The ravioli's were just as good as I remembered them! I am asking for the pasta maker mixer attachment for Christmas so I can add homemade ravioli to my list of fresh foods in the freezer that become quick and easy dinners!!

While we were eating dinner, Mr. A leaned back to give Banana a pat on the head, and apparently the armrest of the chair is not a spring chicken anymore, and so Mr. A almost fell out of his chair...ha! Needless to say, I almost lost a ravioli. Ha! It was pretty funny. But it sparked our discussion (did I say "our discussion"? I meant "my monologue"...) about how we need to get a new kitchen table. The one we have was given to me 7.5 years ago from a coworker right after I started my job- her family was getting a new kitchen table and they heard my straight-out-of-college apartment was only furnished with just an old couch and a computer desk from I.kea.... So our current kitchen table and chairs is probably at least 15 years old. And it's kind of retro looking, so lest you think I'm giving a classic, timeless wooden set the boot, don't you worry. Our set has served us well, but it's time to keep our eyes out for something new. (Never mind the hilarious fact that Mr. A just exchanged his broken chair for one of the two that we never use, since it's a 4-chair table, and there's only two of us... Lord help the person who sits in that chair after we forget it's broken! Ha!)

Which is pretty convenient, because a few days ago I received an email from CSN Stores, saying that they want to let me do a giveaway to you girls (guys?)!! I was surprised and honestly a little skeptical, but I asked some not-so-subtle "are you for real?" questions and requested other examples of giveaways, and as sure as I can tell, you readers are in for a treat! Luckily the guy was not offended by my "are you a scammer?" inquiries...

Anyway, back to the kitchen table situation. I found some great casual dining room furniture at one of the online stores (Dining Rooms Direct) that is part of the CSN Store collection of web stores. This is one of my favorites (pic from website):

This is just one example of the wide variety of furnishings you can find in their online stores, so go check it out! (Edited to add: I have in no way, shape, or form convinced Mr. A to buy this table! Just a dream of mine! Haha!)

I've decided I'll be posting about/doing the giveaway this weekend in honor of our IUI! So stay tuned! Here is a hint: those of you who enjoy a glass of wine will definitely want to enter to win! And even if you don't like wine, I'm sure you know someone who does, no?

(PS. As I've had more email conversations with this marketing guy, it cracks me up that he'll be checking my blog, complete with gory IUI updates and dpiui information, to see how the giveaway is going... ha!)

(PPS. That trigger shot just kicks my butt. I am exhausted this morning! Can I please go back to bed???)

Spilling the beans

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Leave it to the infertile to spill the beans about her 13-wk pregnant cousin to all the rest of the cousins.


Since my parents knew about her baby, I thought everyone did, and that I was just way behind the times. So when my cousin was the only one to still not have sent me her picture for the calendar yesterday, I "reply all"-ed to everyone and said "Go get on [cousin] because her baby picture is the only one I'm missing!!"

Apparently I'm not the only one who was behind the times...


Darn "reply all"...

I emailed her my profound apologies, and she responded that she also thought everyone knew, what with the family grapevine of news that normally lights up. Guess the grapevine is out of order this time! I cannot believe she is not more upset. I really lucked out, if she truly doesn't mind my speaking out of turn. Can you imagine the wrath I could be experiencing?!

Is it some sort of cosmic joke that the infertile spilled the beans about somebody else's baby? HA!

got hope?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Does God really go around putting "got hope?" message-bearing bumper stickers on cars and then making them pass me on the interstate?

In response, I said to God: "YES LORD, I sure do have HOPE! I probably have more than recommended actually, but I can't BEAR to NOT HOPE!! God, I pray you will use this IUI to bless us with our first baby(s)!! PLEASE! I actually would love to have MORE HOPE, but I'm not sure my heart can manage the already bubbling-over volume of HOPE I have stuffed within me. God please FULFILL the desire of my heart to conceive and bear our first child(ren)!!! My HOPE is based in YOUR mercy and love, Lord, and I pray that it's Your will that my HOPE will not be misplaced this cycle!!!"

Resume twanging along with Joh.nny Cash's version of Silent Night...

And thus you would have found me driving back from my u/s this morning.

Which, by the way, was great. I even had to drive to the actual hospital, instead of the normal satellite office, because my RE has an egg retrieval and an embryo transfer and another surgery scheduled for the rest of the day there. Busy guy! I was a little nervous (aren't hospitals hard to navigate around?), but the whole time I felt completely at peace. I was exactly on time and where I needed to be, and the u/s showed two beautiful follicles that are 18mm, two beautiful ones that are 16mm, and one that is 12mm. (Three on right, two on left.) WHOA. (!!!!!!!!!) I am officially hoping for happy and healthy twins in August 2010. Ha! Did I just write that??

After the u/s, I could not shake the happy feeling. I tried not to smile because I felt like a complete goofball, but I just wanted to smile. I think my doc is also really happy with the response this time, and I am just praying that the Lord will bless at least one of these follicles to become our first baby!!

I met my friend O for tea after the u/s. It was such an awesome time for fellowship with her!! We had such inspiring conversations about our volunteer work at respective pregnancy centers- it is such a neat thing to share with someone else!! She has a heart for volunteering there especially since her daughter's birthmom considered abortion and then decided against it, choosing life and to make an adoption plan instead. So powerful!! I am so thankful for the friendship God has provided me through her!! She is so excited for us, especially after the u/s results this morning! She was telling me how great and fun motherhood is and just beaming the whole time. I felt so loved by her and that she is praying so hard for us!! It was so neat to see, and it made me all the more excited about being a mom! I just can't wait. Well, you know, I can. And I will, but you know, I just can't wait!!!

My RE's nurse just called- IUI will be at 9am Saturday!! Somebody wipe this smile off my face! (Good luck- Bra.d Paisl.ey Christmas is the CD that's playing!!!!!)

(Updated: Nurse just called again and we're moving the IUI back to 10am on Saturday...)

Back in the Saddle

Monday, November 30, 2009

How do people get back up to date with all the blog friends' stuff after being gone for almost a week?! I promise I'll get around to everyone soon... I have read up and will be praying for you all, even if I don't get around to commenting for a bit!!

We had an awesome Thanksgiving at my parents'. Among a ton of other things, I am so thankful that my sibs and all our significant others get along so well- we just have a blast when we're all together! We had our annual contentious Mono.poly game (e.g., new rules include alliances and co-op's), we invented "nu.t po.ker" (e.g. a walnut=$1, a pecan=$0.50, an almond=$0.25, and a filbert=$0.05...), and we played corn.hole, which I renamed "but.thole" because that is what I immediately think of when someone says corn.hole, but we always used to call this game "the bean bag game" when I was little. The roasted turkey turned out PERFECT...probably the juciest white meat I've ever had (hint: use herb butter under the turkey skin)- and I had so much fun cooking in general. And I didn't hit any deer on the way there and back- bonus!!

Just had my u/s... I have FOUR follies!! Two on each side, if you can believe it: the right had a 16 and a 14, and the left had an 12 and an 8. My RE wants to give the left ones a chance to be good and mature, so I'll be on follistim 200iu for another three nights, with another u/s Wednesday morning...and probably trigger Thursday night if everything continues on the same track. That means IUI on Saturday morning!! I am so excited that the increased dosage has caused some production on the left side. (I am also excited that the resident who gave me the u/s last Monday, who apparently has not had the "how to do a gentle vag. u/s" class yet, was not there today...yowie..). Oh yah, my lining is 10mm, so my RE is very happy with that :)

It's a good thing that everything is looking good down there, because my cousin who got married 2 months after we did emailed this morning that she is going to email me her picture for Grama's Christmas calendar after her 230pm u/s. Oh, hadn't I heard that she was pregnant? Oh, yah, they are pregnant!!


Apparently everyone else except me knows, too, and my mom said she didn't tell me because she didn't want to upset me. While I appreciate her sensitivity and the "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation it puts my mom in, it's not like it is any easier to hear that someone is pregnant if they are further along. At least my cousin is due in June, not, you know, in February or something. I'm doing okay really, it's just another occurence where my mouth gapes open and all I can think is "REALLY? Seriously?!".

At least I have opened up the Christmas CD case. That provides a helluva lot relief right there! There is nothing like singing along with Josh Groba.n to "Little Drummer Boy". Mr. A got our tree yesterday and as I was having so much fun decorating it and the rest of the house (while belting out the "Joy to the World" with Whitn.ey Houston), I was thinking to myself what a fun season to conceive. Here you are, walking around signing all the time with a big smile on your face, what better time for a baby to be snuggling in. Let's just hope that my fantasies come true.

It is so easy for infertiles to identify with Advent, what with all the waiting and anticipating and joy at the end. I'd like to think that God uses an infertile's Advent in a special way because He knows how much we are anticipating (other than the coming of His Son, obviously). We went to church with my family on Thanksgiving, and the pastor's sermon was so moving to me- I actually let loose a few heavy tears. It is so humbling to think that God might bless us with a baby during the season, especially since the Scriptures associated with this season are so hopeful and sure that God's promise to His people will come. At the same time, though, it will be so easy for my heart to run away with the promises with how relevant they are to my waiting right now. I am confident that no matter the outcome of this cycle, God has great plans for us this Advent season. All I can do is take Him at His word: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened for you." (Matt 8)


Monday, November 23, 2009

I had visions of me going to my RE today and having the u/s and him being like, "What are you talking about? That was just heavy implantation spotting- You are pregnant!"

Haha. Sometimes I really crack myself up!!

Back to reality, my u/s went great today- a few baby follicles, but no cysts, thanks be to God! And, contrary to what I was thinking, my RE is getting bold and bumping my injection to 200iu per night!! I think he is a bit frustrated that my left ovary is a total moocher and has not produced any contender follicles. No more Mr. Nice Guy, left ovary!! No more letting Miss Right Ovary do all the work around here. I hope I don't respond too quickly on the increased dosage, though, because the first I'll be able to be monitored is a week from today!! He said after three injectable/IUI cycles, the chances of that method working are pretty slim, so I don't know what our stats are supposed to be- this is injectable #3, but only IUI #2. I'm anticipating an IUI late next week, but we'll see how things go :) It would be awesome to have it on the weekend again...

And just because Mr. A and I are totally type-A and want to have advance information on anything we do, I asked for the IVF cost sheet. Gulp. $9865 (not including meds). And when I told my friend K that, we both remarked that, as sad as it was, that is actually lower than we were anticipating!! Haha!

I don't mean any disrespect to your IVF'ers out there, but I hope we don't have to do IVF. I guess no one does though. I know some people don't agree with IVF, and it's not like we're considering this lightly and hoping to carelessly create a million embryo's that we then don't know what to do with and thereby cause them to be thoughtlessly killed. For those of you not considering IVF, I hope you'll continue to read anyway...

All that comes to me whenever I pray about IVF is that God is still the creator. It doesn't matter how many eggs you retrieve or how many are fertilized or how many become blasts or how many are transferred back into mom. I happen to believe life starts at conception, and God either allows conception during IVF or He doesn't. He sustains that baby or He doesn't. It is still in His control and out of ours, no matter how much we wish otherwise. The reason I feel so strongly about this? Even the percent success of IVF is not anywhere near 100%. Don't you think that scientists would love to be able to "play God" and guarantee IVF success and come up with a way they could certainly make it happen? But they can't. Because life is ultimately up to God.

There are many choices which a Christian considering IVF needs to pray intensely about, and you can believe we are going to be on our knees about it. Well, first we'll be praying that this IUI works and we won't have to try IVF. But we are already praying for discernment about IVF.

I probably won't get many chances to post in the next several days due to Thanksgiving (I will be too busy eating)! I have alot to be thankful for, that is for sure. I will be praying for safe travels for all of you, and those of you doing IUI's/monitoring over the holiday will especially be in my prayers.

So Happy

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I have been wanting to write a post about this for a while, and I think today is a great day for it. I am hoping that no one thinks I'm just being delirious or in an awful state of denial, but this has been on my heart for a long time, and since it has made a world of difference to me, especially in the last 24 hours, I am ever the more inspired to write about it this morning.

Even though our first IUI didn't work (anyone notice I never attached "#1" to the IUI before?), I have been so happy and lighthearted and uplifted in the last 24 hours. You think I have lost my mind? Here is why: God has given me an aaaaaawesome husband.

It is dinners/nights like last night that soothe any open wounds on my heart about not having kids yet. We decided to take it easy and order pizza (actually we got the deal from Domin.o's with one pizza and a brea.dbowl pasta, and I had the pasta, and it was GREAT), but we had so much fun eating together. Most dinners are actually that way to be honest, I usually catch myself at least once have a sort of out of body experience where I'm kind of looking at us eating and thinking, wow, this is perfect! Last night our conversation was so fun, and at least twice we found ourselves doubled over with belly laughs!! I am beaming right now just remembering. Then after dinner we put in a DVD of one of our favorite series'es (sp?) which prompted yet more healing laughter. Like honest to goodness, laughing that comes from being so comforted and so safe and so loved.

It's not like we didn't talk about the cycle not working. We have prayerfully considered what directions we're feeling led towards, and Mr. A has considered our savings and budget for next year and come up with a general idea of what avenues we'll take. (As if our plans matter... hehe.) I am confident in his leading the way on this- I know it's not very modern, but I love that he is the leader of our family already. I love to respect him in this manner and see how faithfully and honorably he responds. A few months ago, we got a mailing from the local food bank that wrote about how 43,000 kids in our area are experiencing hunger this fall. He immediately exclaimed, "43,000 kids?!?!" As I've written before, we're on a set cash-only budget that accounts for every cent of our income per month, so extra's like this are not really allowed for. (We do have charitable donations built in, but not to this particular food bank.) And he said that we should send in $100 immediately. It was one of those "be still my heart" moments. I am so proud to be his wife!

Anyway, what I'm trying to convey is that alot of times, and especially in the last day, I am pretty much overcome with how happy I am right now. Of course we are praying for our child to come hang out, but God has blessed our marriage SO MUCH in the meantime. It is times like last night that I feel confident that if God chooses not to bless us with children, we will embrace that calling with all the gusto and happiness we can find there. (Although I believe that if He has placed the desire to be a mom in your heart, He will fulfill it in some way.) Think of all the things we could become involved in to help others!! It is times like today that I really reflect on what a blessing it is to have a great marriage that is so full of grace. It is times like today that I am so reminded of the blessings that we've been given that allow our hearts to be so happy and hopeful and calm in the face of disappointment.

We are certainly prayerful that our marriage will be blessed with children. I really honestly think one of these upcoming cycles will be blessed. But in the meantime, we are loving the place God has us right now. We are learning so much about trusting His will and His timing for baby blessings. We are being washed with thankfulness for having peace right now.

I know it might seem like I am a little unnaturally positive. Haha! I get that alot. Ha! I'm serious! People don't have to be around me too long to make some observation of that! But it is such a gift from God, even if it makes me naive sometimes. When I read blogs of people who are so burdened and so down, it just stings my heart. I have been given a great gift of faith and trust, and I immediately feel called to pray for you whose hearts are low, that God would give you peace and happiness for where you're at. Of course this doesn't mean I don't hope for kids (don't even get me started on how much hope I have!), but I really think they key to surviving this journey is seeking (or trying to anyway, one of my struggles is to read Him correctly all the time!) what God would have you to be doing right now and then being at peace with that. Just because He's not answering your prayers the way you want them answered doesn't mean He's not working in your life. If you knew how He was working, wouldn't you want to embrace that and want to live that to the fullest?! Like yah, I get to be a part of God's plan, even though it might not be mine right now! All right!!

So anyway, this weekend before Thanksgiving, I really encourage you to happily embrace where God has you. Go lay one on your sweetie. Go smother your dog with a rib-squeezing hug. We are all longing for kids (well, if you're pregnant now and reading this, I'm pretty sure you were at one point), but God is longing for our companionship and for our active role in His plan TODAY. Rejoice that He has a plan for you today and for every day! It makes me so happy that He loves me so much that He has a part specifically for me to play, and you better believe I'll want to do my best in that role!!

Edited to add: I hope I don't seem like I'm bragging or anything, because that was totally not my intent! I'm sure I will have down days again, but I just wanted to celebrate the peaceful feeling while it's here :)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Hello, dark red spot! At 12dpiui, no less, a full 3 days earlier than expected! I am stumped. I don't think it is quite CD1, but probably tomorrow, so I called my RE and scheduled an u/s for Monday. The nurse thinks they'll let us do another follistim IUI, even though we won't be available for monitoring next week (first monitoring will be on CD10)...I guess since my left ovary is a slacker and the most follicles I've ever had is three, they're not too worried about 10 popping up all of a sudden...

Move over turkey, make room for the follistim in the fridge!


I am doing pretty okay. Bummed of course, but not devastated or feeling like it's never going to work. I really do think that God will bless one of these cycles. I just have a peace about that, you know?

Now as far as trusting my gut goes, that is out the window ;-) What was I thinking? Haha!

Mr. A said to ask the doc if we can step it up a notch. I told him the next notch is IVF ;-) I think we would have specific requests for IVF, if we go there, as far as quantities go, so we're really going to have to do some soul searching as far as that goes. Has anyone ever read "Christians and IVF: Wise Choices and Life-Affirming Options"? I haven't, but I'm thinking it may be a good purchase. Of course I'm praying God will bless us in the upcoming cycle!

Sticky Notes!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is my new favorite website to play with- making online sticky notes!!!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers! I am feeling pretty decently assured that I might actually be pregnant- I have never quite had these kind of changes in the bb area before- even Mr. A has now made a comment!! (Of course, there is the disclaimer that I know all of these things people have normally without being pg! Remember, I'm going with my gut for the first time ever?) But I am offering up all these things to the will of God- He alone knows at this point!! My friend K and are hanging in there together- she is 14dpo, and I'm 11. We are hundreds of miles apart, but we have talked every day for the past week to compare what is going on. We have been praying that the Lord would grant us the blessing to be pg buddies after this IF struggle, but above all we have been lifting praises for blessings that have been bestowed on us regardless of whether we've been given baby blessings or not.

You should make your own online sticky! It is so fun!

Prayerful Persistence

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sorry for the not-writing situation the last few days. Monday's are always so busy with work and volunteering at the pregnancy center, and yesterday I had to drive up to my office, and on my way home, it took me an hour and a half to go 25 miles, and I about lost my mind. I was SO glad to arrive home safely, albeit a full hour late!!

I had lots of time to say lots of prayers, so you can bet that you're covered :)

I am having alot of inconsistent symptoms, like nothing is present all the time, but everything comes and goes, and luckily my friend K is 12dpo today, so we have been talking every day to compare what hilarious things we are currently experiencing imagining. I'm 10dpiui, and I think the earliest I would test is Saturday because, as you all know, I am a certified testing WUSS. I need a badge or something!

I have really felt uplifted by the constant reassurance from friends (IRL and blogging!) who tell me they're praying for us!! Moreso than ever before, actually. (Not that you weren't sincere before, because I know you always are, but for some reason, I am just basking in the prayerful support this time!) I feel a great positive momentum still, and I prayed yesterday that if God has blessed us, that He'd use me to be a olive branch of hope to those who are still waiting.

In the car yesterday, the daily devotional on the radio dealt with Noah and the dove who brought back the olive branch. The gist was that Noah looked out from his ark and saw flood in every direction. But he still sent out the dove to see what God was doing out of sight. The first time the dove came back with nothing. Was Noah deterred? Nope, he sent the dove out again. This time, the dove brought back a symbol of hope to Noah in the form of an olive branch. Noah could not see past the floods that surrounded him, but in this dove's mouth was a small token from God that was to give Noah hope for the good things God had in store for him.

Do you see floods in all directions around you? Do you feel like the waters will never recede? Be persistent in your prayers (Luke 18:1-8), not being deterred if you don't see results right away, just as Noah wasn't (Gen 8:1-22)!! God might not bring complete resolution to your situation immediately, but if you trust in His providence, He will give you hope to give you a glimmer of what He is preparing to you :)

You Know...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You know you're in the 2ww when...

1. You imagine nausea
2. You are pretty sure your bbs are tender again, as in, they were right after the trigger but then not, but now they are again
3. You see a piece of hair on the shower wall and you think it looks remarkably like a dividing embryo
4. You pick up a book today (that your sister gave you about a month ago) that you have been meaning to read for a while and that you know nothing about, and you are shocked to learn it's about a pregnant woman and you think it is veeeeery interesting you didn't pick it up until now...
5. You catch the last half of "Dinner Impossible" and realize that he's cooking for a picnic for a huge gathering of TWINS, and you are sure this can't be merely a coincidence!!!
6. You have an awful, fitful sleep and you are sure that it's not from the beef stew you ate last night.
7. You are particularly suspicious when you start feeling a little dizzy when standing up after kneeling down to pet your dog.
8. Is that heartburn? You never get heartburn...
9. You have no explanation for the funk/snappy-ness/lack of patience that overtakes you and causes every single thing to go wrong/be complicated, well there IS an explanation you can think of...
10. You wonder if you're extra thirsty or if that's a figment of your mind...

What is your 2ww giveaway? :-D


Friday, November 13, 2009

Two things yesterday that came from out of the blue:
1. My parents' house got broken into
2. EWCM with a thread of red through it, followed by light light brown on the next trip to the bathroom, followed by nothing more.


Okay, let's start with #1- it is easier to wrap my head around, as hard as it is to wrap my head around!! My dad got home and the window on the back door was smashed and the door was wide open. My mom's closet was totally all over their bedroom. The thieves took alot of her gold jewelry, a ring and a watch of my dad's, and my brother's prep school class ring. They did not touch any of the china, any of my dad's tools, any of their credit cards/checkbook, or my dad's bicycles (he rides alot and his bikes are not cheap!). The police said they are having alot of these type break-in's, and they suspect the burgulars are only looking for gold that they can send to those cas.h for gol.d places. Kind of sad. At least they didn't vandalize the house or anything. I think it would have broken my mom's heart to lose all her china (the pattern is my maiden name!) right before she is hosting like 15 people for Thanksgiving. (Not that my mom values her china over her life, but I'm sure you know what I mean.) Oh, the other thing they took was the collection of state quarters my mom was accumulating- the thieves ever-so-nicely took the quarters but left her the list that she had been keeping of the ones she had! I don't know about you, but that I think that is SO cute that she was doing that and especially keeping a list!! My sibs and I are going to try to collect her all the state quarters for Christmas...

Please keep my dad and mom in your prayers as they will return to a house this evening that has been invaded. I pray that somehow they will feel safe there.

On to #2. I even hesitated to mention it, for fear of looking like an idiot. Ha!

Yes, on a random naive trip to pee yesterday, I ended up staring at plentiful EWCM with a tiny thread of red ("streaked"?) though it. In disbelief, I went for a second pass and this time came up with light brown CM. FREAK OUT!!! Hello, I was 4dpiui yesterday. I did have some really mild cramps yesterday around this time. I went again to the bathroom about an hour later and all that was there was light brown CM, and I haven't had anything more since then. Totally nothing this morning, cramps or spotting. What is up?! Of course all of creation says that implantation can happen at 5dpo at the earliest, but I have to be honest here- I think it might have been implantation! I mean, everyone's bodies are different, right? Of course all my gut feelings are historically incorrect, but I'm going to ride this one for a while. What else could it have been? I took the trigger an entire week ago, so I don't really think it could be ovulation!! I spotted a ton on Sunday after the IUI, but I had been clear since Sunday evening. I have never ever had this type of spotting so early!! Should I call my RE? Oh my gosh, please baby be here!!

In other great news, I got my car back!!! Yah! It took almost a month to fix after the run-in with the deer. I sure hope we are accident-free forever after this :)

It finally stopped raining! So I was able to have a great prayerful walk with Banana this morning, instead of trying to get her to do her business as quickly as possible in the torrential downpour and then turn around and make a bee-line for home!! I have been praying for all of you- thanks so much for praying for us!

From Scratch

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I love cooking, and luckily so do my sisters! My sister who lives 30 minutes away, especially, because sometimes we can cook together! Like on our day off. Like yesterday!

She has one of those mixer pasta-maker attachments, and she's never used it. We were going to use it to make our hubbies fresh ravioli for respective romantic Valentine's Day dinners, but the night before Valentine's Day, our uncle was rushed to the ER and eventually needed brain surgery, so her and I had to go sit with his kiddos so his wife could be at his side. (By the grace of God, he is totally healed today!!)

ANYWAY. We decided that since it was a cold rainy day, what better activity to do but be cozied up in the kitchen in our warm sweaters with steaming hot chocolate while making ravioli pasta from scratch! It was so fun!!

We had never made pasta dough before, and so we were a little alarmed at the dough consistency once it was mixed. It was VERY dry. Not exactly crumbly-dry, but definitely not pie-crust damp. But, we went by what the instruction book said and, what do you know, it worked PERFECTLY!! (We made our separate fillings prior to making the dough- ground turkey, ground beef, and pumpkin!) We had to let the dough sit for 20 minutes, during which we stared out the window at the constant gentle rain and remarked that we couldn't believe it had been raining for 14 hours straight (it is still raining today!)!! Once it was time to actually put the dough through the maker, we again followed the directions, against all previous dough-preparation-knowledge, but the maker worked exactly right! Soon we had neat little sheets of pasta dough!! We then went to work making our own little ravioli's, using a ravioli cutter that my mom gave me for Christmas last year. I made 29 ground beef's, and 6 pumpkin's!! (Mr. A will not eat the pumpkin's- I'll get to eat those when he is out hunting or something!) I think she got about the same total amount of ravioli's, but she made more pumpkin's.

She took hers home on cookie sheets (you have to transport them in a single layer so they don't stick together), and I froze half of the meat and all of the pumpkin, saving 14 for dinner for us last night. They were SO YUMMY.

AND! Mr. A and I used the pasta sauce we made from our tomatoes this summer! And we ate bread I made yesterday! I was so proud of our home-grown dinner :)

I wish I took better pictures...I didn't even take any of the finished ravioli's- oops! And when it was time for dinner last night, you can bet they weren't on the plate for very much time!

This morning I sent Mr. A off to work with his thermos of coffee and two pumpkin muffins, made on Monday night, totally 100% homemade, even using fresh eggs from a friend who has chickens, and beginning with fresh pumpkin puree I made a few weeks ago and froze!

I think it is so fun to make things from scratch. It might take alot more time, but I think overall, it's healthier for everyone and usually tastes better, too. Not to mention there is some sense of pride knowing that all of the ingredients are actual foods and not perservativ-ed to death. Also not to mention that Mr. A is now spoiled and does not think those super-easy skillet meals are any kind of contender for dinner. Ha! (I have to admit, sometimes I wish he liked those, but I have a bunch of quick dinner recipes that are my go-to if I don't feel like cooking something more complicated.)

I sure hope our baby will like home-made baby food ;-)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wow, thank you all for your prayers on Sunday!! I am so thankful and appreciative- I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such positive influences!!

I have to admit that I always chuckled when I saw people write "dpiui" my head I always say "dpewey". Ha!!

If my physical symptoms after the HCG shot are in any way indicative of how I'll feel once the baby starts making HCG, I will be easily tired and have a tender lower abdomen feeling. Also really sensitive up top. I am pretty sure I was like this last cycle, too. Hopefully there won't be a subsequent cycle until next fall...

Mr. A and his brothers pretend to be philosophers from time to time, and one of their favorite theories to ponder is Schrodinger's cat. Are you familiar with it? Basically this scientist said that if you put a cat and some poison in a covered box, there are two outcomes that exist simultaneously, until you open the box and see what has happened: the cat is both dead and alive at the same time. I don't really agree with the conclusion, because I think just because both possibilities exist at the same time, it doesn't mean that both actualities exist at the same time- even if you can't see what the outcome is, there is still only one reality, and my own personal conclusion makes the discussions about this concept with them all the more fun and hilarious.

But for the sake of my current situation, and because I think it is completely funny to antagonize Mr. A with my disagreement of the fancy conclusion of that cat experiment, I am choosing to believe that I am indeed pregnant. Might as well choose the positive outcome if both exist! Ha!

Anyway, since I am pregnant (haha), I was telling Mr. A that, while I would accept being pregnant at any time of the year, I am particularly excited about being due in August. Why, you say? I have a couple friends who were due in August, and all they can tell me is how hot it is to be pregnant then. WELL. Luckily, I can just go float around in our pool!!! Literally ever since we've started trying, I have always thought how good/healthy it would be to be able to swim while really pregnant, and how refreshing it would be to be able to feel buoyant when 8 mos pregnant. So this is just perfect! Awesome how these things work out like this.

Nothing else particularly exciting going on. Just praying that God has allowed conception of our first baby to take place and that he'll/she'll/they'll be born healthy and happy next August. Also praying for my friend T who's just beginning the adoption process, and GIMH who is bringing her adopted son home today!!! And also praying for my friend K who is in the midst of her first 2ww under an Eastern Medicine doc's care- so far it is looking much better than her previous cycles, and the Wife who's 9 weeks pregnant today!!! And also praying for all of the rest of you...

We made it!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

We made it! COME ON BABY(S)!!! IUI is complete :) Complete with emotional (hormoney) A. Ha! More on that later...

Friday night after dinner, I mentioned to Mr. A that maybe we could "snuggle" after the trigger shot. He was alarmed by this, since we had to abstain 3 days prior to the SA, he could not understand how it was allowed to only abstain 36 hrs before the IUI. I thought I remembered the NP saying we only had to wait 24 hours, but of course since Mr. A brought it up that it seemed odd, I spent an hour googling/mildly freaking out that I mis-heard what my NP said and that all would be lost at the IUI if we didnt' abstain. Well of course google is so NOT scientific, but so many people said that it was okay to do it after the trigger and then wait till the IUI, I felt okay with still suggesting that we do it. Especially since we have no male factor issues. I guess I am just not convinced that ovulation really doesn't happen till 36 hours after the trigger, so I wanted some swimmers in the vicinity in case the eggies were early. So anyway, snuggling and triggering took place withouth incident.

The funniest part about the trigger was when I was reading the directions to out loud... We get the powder dissolved and drawn into the syringe, and I prepped my backside for the injection. We were using a 25G 1.5" IM needle, which is not a tiny or short needle by any stretch of the imagination. So I'm reading the instructions, with Mr. A leaning over ready to do the injection...

Me: "Hold syring like a dart, insert the entire length of the needle..."
Him: Stands straight up, saying "Are you freaking kidding me?! The whole length of this thing?!"

HA!! It was so funny!! He said he was afraid he'd hit a bone. Which is sweet, because as I look at my backside, I am definitely not bony! HA! Anyway, he did a great job giving me the shot!!

Yesterday was fun- we made a big breakfast and had a great time hanging out with my friend and watching some football. Not much else really! Mr. A was tired from getting up early to go hunting yesterday morning, so it was a pretty low-key day.

This morning was good- walked Banana early, and we had time for coffee and an english muffin before we had to go. Got to the clinic a few minutes before our appt. No one is there. Elevators don't work, and we can't find the stairs.. Umm..... Good thing I left my doctor's business card with the "weekend IUI" number on the filing cabinet at home, 40 minutes away. :-P Luckily about 5 minutes (which seemed like an eternity), the washer got there- whew! She was really nice, and got us set up. The whole time I was praying that God would bring forth the ones He has destined to meet up with my egg(s)!!! Anyway, Mr. A was such a trooper, and we had about an hour to kill while they prepared the sample. So, we did what any healthy people would do- scarfed down some egg's! Ha! It was a treat- we don't eat out that often!! Then we had some more time before we had to be back at the clinic so we decided to see if Best Bu.y was open. Here's where the waterworks start...

So I'm not exactly familiar with all the convoluted intersections of the college town where our RE is, and believe me, there are some convulated intersections. So I'm driving along and I see 2 stoplights that are within, literally, 10 feet of each other. They are both red, and I didn't see any signs to explain, so I just proceed to the furthest one and stop. Then the left turn gets green so I turn and then I notice a police with his lights on in my rear view... Mr. A is like, oh great, you should have definitely stopped at the first red light (he says he saw a sign to stop at the first one)... which is what the police says, but I honestly didn't see any sign to that effect, and he didn't write me a ticket (whew- God bless you police man!), but in his passion for the concept of stopping at ALL red lights, Mr. A's tone of voice was perhaps a little "emphatic" which hormoney-A interprets as really pissed off, so I lost it in the parking lot. Then he proceeds to tell me that I should calm down because I shouldn't be stressed before the IUI. YA THINK??? Ha!!!

So we get back to the clinic a few minutes early, and I'm proceeding to finish my coffee cup. To which Mr. A shortly observes "Should you even be having coffee today?" Haaaaaa...... (less tears that time)

Luckily, we get up to the clinic itself and they are ready for us, and the doc says that the sample count was 68 million motile!! Way to go, baby!! I am so thankful for good results- surely at least one can step up to the plate, right? My RE seemed really pleased with that (said anything over 40 million would give optimal results), and I think Mr. A was a little astounded and relieved and excited to hear such a big number like that. The IUI itself was completely painless to me (although the RE said I might have some spotting today because my cervix is really sensitive), and I haven't had any cramping or anything, so I hope those eggies really do come out to play. Should I be alarmed that I haven't had any cramping (ovulation and/or IUI related)?! I laid down for about 15 minutes after the IUI, during which Mr. A wondered how they come up with the sample count, and I said "they count them, that's why it takes a while!" Ha! Such a jokester ;-)

So we've arrived safely back home, but I am definitely feeling weepy still. I am praying that God will work a miracle today with the little that we have to offer. I feel so uplifted by so many prayers, and I am very at peace with the outcome that God has for this cycle. I am sensing alot of positive momentum surrounding us, and I just pray that God is behind it, with a baby blessing!! I can't wait to see what He has in store for us!! Thank you so much for praying for us- I love to pray for you, too!!

(ETA: Just want to clarify that Mr. A is still as totally awesome and amazing as usual- I am just a tad teary-eyed today!!)


Saturday, November 07, 2009

I just came up with the greatest idea EVER, in honor of venting vagina's CD1, or anyone's CD1, for that matter! Here it is: Starbucks should give out one free grande specialty drink to any girl on CD1!!!

Now, listen up you executives. This idea will expand your clientele to women who wish they could attend the mom's coffee club in those extremely comfortable chairs over there in the corner that is cozy, but still has ample room for baby-transportation equipment. And heck, once they get pregnant, they can bring all their other pregnant friends to the shop for (decaf) coffee clubs! And, since we all know that it is a requirement of moms with newborns to visit the coffee shop with their fancy strollers which convey the cutest little sleeping-like-an-angel babies ever, just imagine how many customers you will get once the girls who you give free coffee to today become moms and meet the other thousand new moms who want to meet up at Starbucks!!

Now, it is up to someone else to figure out how a girl would modestly prove it's CD1....