Limbo Day

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Each month, as time goes on, I am less and less impressed with the limbo day at the end of the 2ww. You know, the day where you can't decide what's going on, and you probably use an entire extra roll of TP just because you think you're starting every 45 minutes, so that calls for another trip to the bathroom.

Before we began seeing our RE, it used to be a more somber day, but since we have started treatment, and especially since I have lots of shiny sharp objects and expensive concoctions waiting be used for next cycle, the limbo day has been met with more excited impatience: "Okay, fine, this one didn't work, let's get the dirty work over with so we can try again with xyz strategy!"

And even though I had some gurgling in the lower region the other night and I was convinced that the towel had been thrown in for me, since yesterday morning, I am having more significant/increased top tenderness and backache than I usually do before I start, and I had mild mild heartburn after dinner last night. (Usually by the time CD1 rolls around, I have almost zero 2ww symptoms and feel much better than I did the two weeks prior, and I only have mild cramps once it gets a'flowin'.)

Which is maybe all fine and good, but since Mr. A is out of town on some projected-ly critical days next month, my very first month of fancy pants follistim, I desperately need CD1 to be ON TIME this time, okay sweet cycle of mine? Or, if you're going to be late, maybe you can be a YEAR late, as in, high-tail it outta here till next October. That would be very fine, too.

Who knows what today will hold. I prayed this morning in thanksgiving that God has already been before me and has prepared a path for me. I pray that I'll be faithful and trusting enough to follow it! I prayed that I'd have the humility to accept His perfect timing in all things (when I was praying this, I initially was thinking ahead to the potential timing fiasco in October, but then a thought popped into my head that I should also accept with humility the timing He had for us this past month that turned out to be pretty darn good!).

I have learned on this journey that God's timing is not necessarily my own and there's really nothing I can do about it. If I'm actually pregnant this cycle, I think God is up there laughing it up at the hilarious "plan" I have for next cycle and especially that I just told my mom yesterday about the injectibles. If I'm not, that is okay. I'm sure His plan to expand our family will knock my socks off more than I can imagine!

Pumpkin Muffins

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thanks so much for all your encouraging comments yesterday! It is so great to know that we're not alone, isn't it?

As your payment for your sentiments, here is the recipe I used for my pumpkin muffins! It is out of my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. My mom uses one that is slightly altered from this recipe, but I couldn't find her piece of paper! I halved everything because I only had about 3/4 of a can of pumpkin, and it made 12 really nice bigger-size muffins. (Since I halved all the ingredients, using 3/4 can of pumpkin was relatively more pumpkin, but they taste great!)

3 c sugar
1 c vegetable/canola oil
4 eggs
3 1/3 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2/3 c water
1 15-oz can of pumpkin puree

(The full recipe makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease loaf pans and/or muffin tins.

In the mixing bowl, beat the sugar and oil. Add eggs and beat well.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Alternately add flour mixture and water to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Spoon batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 350F for 55-65 minutes (loaves) or until a toothpick comes out clean. (For muffins, I think I checked them at 20 minutes and they maybe needed 5-6 more minutes?) Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to racks to cool completely.

EAT!!! They are heavenly warm with a little bit of butter :)

PS. I have heard that pumpkin helps implantation, so those of you in the 2ww, you better get baking!! If you become pregnant after eating one of these muffins, I get to name the baby ;-) Hahahahahahahaaha!

Another One Bites the Dust

Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't you just love those Monday-morning emails that let you know that one of your closest friends from college is almost 16 weeks pregnant? My close friends are in the middle of a "reply all" firestorm of what is new with each of us, and I haven't replied yet... and after this one this morning, I feel like replying "Well, I'm not pregnant!"


I am "lucky" in that I don't have many geographically close friends who are expecting/have millions of small babies and/or children. I know several friends, struggling with infertility, who are seeing their friends in their second pregnancy while my friends' arms are still empty. I can't even imagine how tough that is.

But for me, the little group of college buddies (we're all spread over the midwest/eastern US) is my paradigm, and it was my comfortable place (until, I guess, about a year ago?) where I didn't feel so behind for not having kids. Most of us were married (more on that in a minute), but none of them were chomping at the bit to have kids- we were just enjoying being 20-something married young professionals. So even though Mr. A and I were trying and praying, it was okay within the confines of my college buddies that our efforts weren't being...fruitful. They weren't obsessing about pregnancies and babies, so it was safe for my heart around them. (They didn't and still don't know that we're trying.)

Fast forward to now, where 3 of them have toddlers, 1 (newly added this morning!) is due in the spring, 2 just got married last year, and 1 of them is not married. And then me. Married almost 4.5 years. All the moms continually send barrages of photo's and updates on what their kids are doing and apparently do not care about anything non-kid related because any time the non-moms send out any updates, it is like we sent an email about grass growing. I knew in my heart that I'd have to field another announcement before my own, but it just stinks.

I know in my head and my heart that I shouldn't compare the timeline God has for me to the timeline He has for them, but I find this news hitting hard this morning. Not only am I being left behind by almost 30's that I don't even know, but now I'm being left behind by the relationships that used to be my haven.

And yet, speaking of havens, my friend who isn't even married has been a rock to me in the last year when the email updates have become nauseating. As much as I feel left out becuase we don't have kids, can you imagine how she feels without a husband, compared to the rest of us who are all married? (Although, thanks to eharm.ony, she is now dating the love of her life!) We have had many uplifting phone calls to bolster each other in our separate journeys. She has been a HUGE blessing this past year. We are each missing something different from our lives, but I think the commonality of missing something validates the disappointment, sadness, and discouragement that we feel. I am so thankful for her- and I can't wait for her wedding!!

I am actually the most upset that I have been in a long time. I don't know why- it isn't necessarily that she's pregnant and I'm not- I really think it's because that whole reality is changing. Without me. It is really hard for me to deal with the fact that pregnancies change relationships- I haven't had one friend (edited to clarify "in real life" friend), who's now become a mom, seem even remotely interested in what's going on with me since they had their kids.

Through the tears, I'll try to hang on to the promise that God has for my life and my family. I pray He will sustain me through volunteering this afternoon, because I will not be able to do it on my own. I feel like pounding on the gates of Heaven: "SHOW ME YOUR FACE, OH LORD!!!"

A post-it on my computer has a verse from Job on it: "I know You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2) That's what I'll be repeating today.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

I thought it was about time for a photo... hehe!

My Stick Family from

My lower abdomen has been gurgly since dinner, which usually happens at the end of my 2ww, so I'm pretty sure this cycle isn't "it". I did have a somewhat soapy taste in my mouth after breakfast, an odd-tummy-feeling afternoon, and I'm still feeling a tad tender up top (which usually has worn off by now), but it's most likely nothing. I am really at peace with starting another cycle- time to bring out the big guns (i.e. needles)!! I'd be happy to start earlier than Thursday, since that would ease the timing with Mr. A being out of town on CD13. We will see what God's plan is relative to mine- if history is any teacher, it will be different!

I did make some pumpkin muffins yesterday, and they were SO GOOD. I promise to post the recipe. I also have a Raspberry Crumble recipe that I've been making with our very own raspberries, but you could use frozen, too! I doubt either recipe fits in with some of your super healthy diets, but maybe you can alter them to meet your needs....

We had a really nice weekend- today was the perfect day for line-drying laundry; I felt like some idyllic wife hanging up the load of whites- super white tshirts fluttering in the wind against a beautiful blue backdrop with puffy white clouds, and the green mountains in the distance!

Cozy Day

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All the windows are open, there's a chill in the air, and Banana is laying on the chair napping under a beach towel with the tip of her tongue peeking ever so slightly out of her mouth. It is SO CUTE!!

I am comfy in the recliner listening to the rain and trying to predict how soon I'll fall asleep if I open my book. Haha!

I felt pretty foggy-headed this morning, so I am so glad I decided to make cinnamon rolls last night (they rise overnight), so all I had to do was bake them this morning and make coffee, and bacon on the Ge.orge for breakfast!! The best thing about that breakfast is that we the uneaten rolls go into the fridge (still in the dish), and the grill plates are dishwasher safe, so the only dishes to do are the coffee pot and tongs (for the bacon)!!! Awesome.....

We don't really have any plans for the day! I imagine I will try to curl up with my book and just take it easy. It's nice to have this calm weekend before next one, when I anticipate having to give myself my first follistim shot!! Times are a'changin'! I am feeling pretty excited about what God has in store for me in the coming weeks!!

Maybe I'll make some pumpkin muffins for a warm treat! What are everyone's favorite warm, cozy, comfort foods? Hope your hearts and homes will be warmed today, too!

Grab Bag

Friday, September 25, 2009

Guess what? I had to pee at 3am this morning. oooOOOOooo! Haha!

It has been a rainy, on-the-chillier-side morning, so much so that Banana didn't want to finish (or barely start) her walk, so we came home, saw Mr. A off to work with his coffee, and read/napped together on the couch for a while before I gravitated to my workstation. She is now laying with her head on my foot- so freakin cute!!

My honeymoon-baby friend responded to an email from another of us mentioning the flooding in GA, and she commented that there are probably going to be alot of babies born 9 months from now. My reaction this morning bordered on apathetic disgust/disbelief. Despite the fact that my good friend wrote this and despite that I'm longing to have this happen to me, with or without a natural disaster, I can't believe that people (in general) are so flippant about statistics like this that it's almost comical to them. It's like putting reproduction in the same category as "prices for oranges will be up this year due to the hurricane". What happens to the couple who has been desperately trying for kids for 3 years who happens to become pregnant this month? How do they respond when they are lumped in with all the ne'er-do-well's who were simply holed up without anything else to do, so they just decided to hop in the sack (and of course, successfully conceived!!). I'm not really upset about it, I just think that it's sad that the miracle of creation gets watered down so much that it becomes a joke to some people.

Off my soap box! (I have always wanted to say that- but what is a soap box anyway? Ha!)

As for a cycle update, I'm 9dpo, and this morning when I woke up for real, I thought, "only 4 more days" might be 5, who knows. I have been true to myself as far as not dwelling on what, if anything, I specifically feel, especially since I've felt it all before and it's never meant anything. That has made this 2ww pretty easy so far. So I am thankful for that! A special congrats to Baby Hungry who just got her BFP this morning on cycle 1 of clomid- she gets switched to the "Baby Bump" category (did you notice I sectioned my blog list?)- I can't wait until there are more Baby Bumps than not!!!

No big plans for the weekend- I think it's supposed to rain again tomorrow, but I am loving the fall temps and would love to just curl up with my book for a few hours!! Maybe I'll make dough for cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow...

Thankful for Infertility?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

While I'm Waiting had this great post yesterday, and I thought, "What a great idea! I should try it myself." In turn, I challenge the rest of you, too! Come on... DO IT!!!!

Top 15 Reasons I'm thankful for Infertility

15. I have heard that babies add like a load of laundry per day. Luckily, with infertility, I only have to do 3 loads of clothes on Saturday morning, and a load of towels and sheets during the week!

14. Since there's no baby in the nursery yet, it's one less bedroom I feel guilty about not vacuuming on a regular basis...

13. I believe that God called me to begin volunteering at the pregnancy center using the extreme awareness of the preciousness of life that has been built by infertility. I'm not sure I would have answered/responded to the call to volunteer without the journey He's led me on.

12. Infertility has provided me with a wealth of experience (emotional, physical, spiritual) with dealing with the struggle of infertility, that some say 11% of couples will experience, but with struggle in general. I hope I'll be able to use this experience in the rest of my days to comfort others who are struggling with any hardship, especially infertility.

11. The longer it takes to get pregnant, the more sick leave I can save for maternity leave!! (We don't have paid maternity leave.) Right now, I have almost 14 weeks saved!!!! (Maybe I should save some for the next maternity leave...oh wait... hahahahha!)

10. Infertility has bestowed upon me a sensitivity for all-things-pregnancy that I never would have had without this journey. I used to scoff (not externally) at pregnant women (okay, sometimes I still do) because I assumed that it happened easily for them. Well, genius, if 11% of couples struggle with infertility, there is a good chance that that pregnant lady knows what it's like to try and try and try.... This also extends to rudely asking other couples/girls who are of childbearing age about their reproductive plans- definitely don't do that anymore!

9. I would have never believed it, but infertility has allowed me to begin to repair my relationship with my mom. She has been a wonderful support since I told her last November, and I can't wait to announce to her that she's going to be a Grandma. In other areas, I think it's helped her realize that people might be struggling with something that they're not telling her, so it's best to reign in the invasive questioning...

8. This time before baby has allowed us to become pretty solid financially. Not that money is everything, but I can't imagine how stressful it is to have a new baby and financial worries. I am thankful that Mr. A took great initiative and set up a tight, but doable, budget for our family in January 2009 that has allowed us to save much more this year than in past years.

7. Infertility has forced me to deal with my inclination toward impatience. Impatience while on this journey gets me nowhere. Patience, on the other hand, allows me to take things day-by-day and not worry about peer comparisons or society expectations. Patience, I have learned, lends calm to my situation, and I've tried to let it permeate other areas of my life, too!

6. I have "met" so many new friends on this road! Mr. A cautioned me a while back against believing everything/everyone that presents itself/themselves on the internet because there are people who say they're something they're not. While I totally appreciate his concern for my safety/sanity, I had to tell him that it'd be pretty hard to fake talking about all-things-RE-related. You'd have to be a pretty desperate faker to go into CM patterns! I so appreciate all of the support I've found through blogging and other new friendships :)

5. Infertility has encroached a couple "old friend" relationships, and while I don't wish this struggle on anyone, I am so glad that my old friends and I can support each other through the ups and downs. I never thought that we'd be dealing with this, but it is great to know that our friendship is there in good times and bad!!

4. I have been blessed with a newfound appreciation for compassion to all. Even pregnant women. What?! Ha! Through my experiences with infertility and my volunteer work, I have come to the realization that everyone has a cross. EVERYONE. And so they deserve compassion regarding whatever that cross may be. It was a toughie to universally accept this- pregnant ladies ordering an entire suite of furniture in Po.ttery Bar.n Kid.s wearing Madd.en shoes and carrying a huge Coac.h bag do not seem to portray a cross, do they? ;-)

3. I have a way more deep appreciation for the magnitude of the blessing that children are. I always knew that children were so precious, and of course I would have been thankful for my child if I'd gotten pregnant easily, but the longing for our first child(ren) has intensified that realization inifinitely so. I know there are many Christian women who become pregnant easily, and I'm sure they are grateful for their children, but I think in some instances, the ease by which they become pregnant, and sometimes (regrettably) the child, is taken for granted. It is always a huge miracle, and I for one intend on celebrating that miracle every day. (Remind me, okay? Haha) Morning sickness? Praise God! Backache? How awesome is the Lord's creation! People don't become pregnant just because they want to (or not, as the case may be?)- they become pregnant because God chooses to create a new soul with their participation on His timeline, whether or not it coincides with theirs.

2. Hands down, infertility has blessed our marriage. Bizarro world! We are absolutely a better team (even better than we were before), and we have become closer through these struggles. I think we cherish these times with just the two of us way more than we did at the beginning of our marriage. We see some of our friends who had kids right away, whose marriage is rocky and un-intimate, because instead of being able to focus on their marriage at the beginning, they were clashing over how their life will change/has change because of baby. I am so thankful for our marriage, and I pray daily that God will continue to bless and sustain it. I think it's also given us, as a married couple, that much more excitement about when we'll be able to announce the big news!

1. Infertility has allowed me to deepen my faith and trust in God's plan (not just my own) to take care of us and bless us according to His will, even when the chips are down. I honestly don't think I'd be where I am, spiritually, had it not been for this chapter of my life!!

Whoa. That was tough!!! Now it's your turn!

Cheese Life

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I forgot to mention that on Monday before the dogs got into it, Glebe's owner turns to me and goes, "What is on your license plate? Cheese Life? I saw the bright yellow, and I couldn't exactly read the first word...?"

Yes. I am advocating a life devoted to cheese. Don't come between me and my parmesean!!!!

(edited to add that my license plate is "Choose Life"...not any reference to dairy!)


Thanks so much for your encouragement to me about my afternoon/evening on Monday!!! Luckily, I'm sure thanks in part to your prayers and hopes, yesterday was great (i.e. noneventful)!!!

Mr. A feels strongly that he should accept the trip offer to go to the conference for his company. And as the leader of our family, I am deferring to his judgement here, but it's not without some fretting on my part. To his credit, lest it seems that he cares only about his career, before he considered the trip further, he did have me check with my RE to see if his absence those days means absolutely 0% of success. My RE's nurse noted that it is fairly impossible to predict how I will respond to injectibles, but most of the time injectibles bump up ovulation a little bit and alot of women are ready for IUI on cd12. Since we're not doing an IUI next cycle, I just substituted in the idea that most women are ready for some optimal babymakin' on cd12. And she noted that the swimmers can live up to 72 hours, so even if I didn't ovulate till cd14 or something, it might not be a complete lost cause. She said since our meds are mostly covered by insurance, she'd probably go for it.

Sounds good to me! And Mr. A, who is walking the fine line between providing for our family and expanding our family. Haha! God bless him :)

And after some prayer and reminders to myself that my ways (plans) are not God's ways (Is 55:8-13), I am feeling pretty peaceful about this new developement for next month. Who knows what God has in store for us between now and then...I am so excited to find out! I pray that God will use all these things to bring us our first child(ren). I know He is going to be beside me always, for I am worth more than many sparrows, and not one of them is forgotten by Him!! (Luke 12:6-7)


Monday, September 21, 2009

I think I am feeling the pissiest I have ever felt before. Like, on several instances in the last 2 days, instead of snapping or talking back in a not-so-respectful-wifely tone, I just close my mouth and go into another room...

This afternon and evening was one of those days where you just want to go to sleep and hope that you don't spontaneously combust or something crazy like that, but given all the other crap that has happened, you definitely pray for protection from spontaneous combustion. Here goes, in bullet form:
  • The good news is that I had a wonderful session with a client (including an ultrasound!), but that meant that I was late in filling out the paperwork/database, so I was late getting home.
  • My printer decided to become possessed so that when I was trying to make double-sided copies for some forms/documentation I have to submit, I swear it kept changing whether I needed the paper print side up or print side down before trying to print on the second side. I swear!!! I probably wasted 15 or 20 pieces of paper!
  • Banana and I saw her doggie friend Glebe just as we were getting home from our walk and as he was starting on his walk with his owner. He is a 120lb doberman mix, and she is a 60lb hound (bear hunter), so since she is fearless, they usually play really well together even though he is twice her size (he is pretty well behaved). Well this time, it was all fine and good until, well, until it wasn't, and one of them got spooked and it wasn't play time anymore! I get so scared (it's only happened one other time between Banana and Mr. A's parents' dog, who has since passed away), and I was trying to pull her away and I think I started to choke her a little which made her freak out even more, and finally we got them separated, and neither was hurt- they were both just really worked up. I was so upset with myself that I didn't do the best job of getting her away (Mr. A was luckily there and helped divert Glebe with his owner), but she doesn't seem to be showing any signs of distress. I was just so upset though... I ended up crying in the bathroom for who knows what reason!
  • Mr. A calls me on his way home to tell me the great news that he's been chosen to represent his company at a show on the west coast in October, oh yah, PROJECTED CYCLE DAYS 13-15!!!!!!!! I mean seriously.
  • I feel fat.
  • At my volunteer inservice, this lady whom I was sitting next to the whole time tugs at my sleeve right as I'm about to leave, and in front of another lady, says "I have this great home remedy for your acne- my son struggled with it in high school and it's the only thing that worked for him." Really? I tried to explain to her that I'm on medication that has seemed to create breakout conditions for me, since I never struggled with it before, but she just looked at me as if thinking "Sure, blame it on 'medication'..." I never had perfect skin, but do you really have to tell me in front of someone else??
  • THEN, when I finally got out the door with my water/vinegar/aspirin home acne remedy, along with an apple cake-bar thing for the road, I get to my car, AND DROP THE APPLE BAR ON THE GROUND!!!! Ha! I just started laughing.
  • THEN, when I finally get home and start to do the dinner dishes, Mr. A goes to put his italian ice container in the trash and has some crazy conniption about how much it stinks. He definitely has a keen nose, but this was just too much for me. I calmly (silently, haha) take the offending receptacle outside and put the bag in the trash can out there, which apparently wafts the vomitous smell into the family room, so Mr. A goes running around closing all the windows as if it's poison gas. I'm not joking when I say I'm buying him a hazmat mask to hang next to the changing table.*
  • I put on new deoderant when I got home from inservice and changed into my PJs so it might refresh me a little, and my armpit just itched, so I scratched it and got mostly used deoderant under my nails- ickkkk!!!
It was the worst day I've had in a while or maybe I'm just being to dramatic/personal about stuff. At 5dpo, I can't believe the baby is already affecting me so much!


(*Disclaimer: Mr. A was an awesome support/cheerer-upper when I was upset about Banana, and he told me several times prior to and following the garbage episode that he thinks I'm the greatest. He's a good man.)

Taking a Breather

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Whew- what a weekend!! My aunt and cousin came over yesterday to help me do some gardening on a particularly weed-prone corner around the pool. My aunt is super master-gardener, and she brought me some cuttings from some of her most aggressive perennials, in hopes to beat out the weeds. We planted them and also some daffodil bulbs she generously brought for in between my day lillies. We also covered a layer of newspapers with a thick layer of mulch to provide a natural (biodegradable) weed barrier. She uses it in her gardens, and she swears she never has to weed!! Sign me up!!!

I am going to divide some of my perennials maybe in October in the front garden areas to make the design/layout more organized. I am a perennial-er for life- I didn't buy any annuals this year, and I have pretty consistent flowers out front! Bonus!

But after pulling weeds, transplanting about 15 plants and about 45 bulbs, putting down the newspaper layer, covering it with 10 bags-worth of mulch, we were pretty tuckered out around 4 pm yesterday. (My 11-year old cousin who came along to "help" somehow was splashing around in the pool, even though the water temp is close to 70F!!! Holy moley!!) Luckily, I had started the base for chicken and dumplings in the crock pot yesterday morning, and all we had to do for dinner was make spinach walnut pesto for over noodles (my aunt is a vegetarian), and the dumplings for me, Mr. A, and my cousin. I tried a new dumpling recipe, and it was GREAT. Yum.

Today it was another early morning- we all went to the early service and then came home and made a big breakfast. (Except my aunt, who is hilarious, ate another portion of the spinach walnut pesto noodles, because she loved them so much last night!) We took Banana for an extra walk, during which my cousin discovered some houses for sale on the route that she'd like to buy. The rest of the walk included her trying to convince my aunt that they should move here. When I told her that she might have to contribute to the down payment and asked how much she had in her bank account, she said "I have $11, but if they need it for us to move here, I'd be glad to give it to them!!!"

Ah, childhood. Haha.

It was a great weekend, but Mr. A and I put in "Char.lie Wilson's War" (one of our favorites) after they left, and I admit I fell asleep for about a half hour of it. Then we went out and surveyed our slowing-down veggie garden and picked what we could...I think it is just about the end of the season, and we are already planning a bigger and better version for next year!!! We picked a watermelon that was obviously not done growing, as it was the size of a cantelope, but I really don't think they're going to get much bigger, since it is definitely not as hot anymore. It was not red inside (more like pink), but it tasted like watermelon!!! Very juicy!! The cantelopes are the size of plums, but we might pick one of those, too, to see what they look like inside right now.

I really have not undertaken any hand-wringing about being in the 2ww (although I do include it in my morning prayers as a general intention), and I'm planning on keeping it that way. It's a really nice break. I'm expecting to start a new cycle on October 1- all aboard for the injectibles at that point!! Or obviously, I'd accept a positive pregnancy test as a consolation prize....

New territory

Friday, September 18, 2009

I have discovered I very rarely title my post before I write it. Or at least lately that is how it is.

I got my follistim and novarel (hcg) on Wednesday... Delivered during a teleconference, which I had to interrupt and put everyone on hold since Banana was barking so passionately, because clearly her life depended on it, at the unsuspecting UPS man. Two big boxes with "PERISHABLE: OPEN IMMEDIATELY" on the side!!!

I waited till after the teleconference was over, of course.

Inside them, I found the follistim pen, two boxes of 900iu of follistim each, alcohol pads, two needles, two other needles, and the novarel (unmixed). Whoa. I sure hope my RE tells me how to mix the novarel, because the powder looks compacted already or something! I guess it is probably vacuum sealed/packed... I have tried to be only mildly concerned that I only got 2 boxes of 900iu, because it was my understanding that to get the copay that I got, the prescription had to be for a 3-month supply, and from what I can tell, if I take 125iu (adjustable per response of course) each day 3-12, 1800iu is only a one month supply!! I am trying not to be worried about how refills will be ordered, or if they will be allowed... I am trying to remind myself that the RE's office has dealt with this pharmacy before and should know how they do things... I am trying not to spend too much time wondering if the monitoring ultrasounds ($500ish) next cycle will be covered, since we're not doing an IUI just yet...I am trying to remind myself that nothing during this whole journey will not be changed by the amount of my worrying...

This is entirely new territory for me, a territory I never thought of visiting or even looking up on the map. I thought for sure that clomid would do the trick for us, since we're only dealing with low progesterone (e.g., no pcos, mfi, etc.). But it hasn't. I think this acceptance/realization somewhat tempers any elation that I experience when reviewing the follistim success rates. I thought the success rates for clomid were pretty good, and look where that got us! It is true that, objectively, we will have a much better chance of conceiving on follistim. That, combined with endless prayers for God's mercy in this regard and faith in His promise of joy to all who believe in Him, has allowed my heart some solace lately.

I think anyone who tries to conceive is in territory they never thought they'd be in. Even if you are trying for your fifth month, it still feels like something is wrong (I remember that), because we all are consistently bombarded with situations where conception/healthy babies happen with no effort at all, and in some circumstances, it seems as if there would be no possible way for conception/healthy babies to happen in the first place (hello, crack addict mom)! Of course people who've been trying a year sometimes grow an infertility ego- "How can she possibly complain about being infertile, they were only trying 4 months!" (I am guilty on a few occasions, the most memorable with Dug.gar...) Maybe they were not actually infertile, but from the time we first learn about how babies are made, we are taught that it only takes one time and that seeps into our subconscious!! Therefore, when it takes more than one time, we're on a street we don't recognize...

Along the way, it has seemed to me sometimes that some of the things we try to do/take/pray are just stabs (get it? injections? stabs? haha...) in the dark. Some are more directed stabs (clomid to help with low progesterone), but others are more random ( or mu.cinex). What occurs to me is that God already knows what circumstances, medicine, or events that He will use to bless our marriage with children. None of the things we do, after seeking His will, are just stabs in the dark to Him. He is using all of these things along this journey for something good. Maybe the something good is related to reproduction or maybe it is related to spreading Christianity or maybe it is related to having an experience with this myself so I can be a "been there, done that" support to someone else who is facing this cross.

We continue to pray that we'll be bringing home a clomid baby, or two, haha, next June. But more than that, we continue to seek what God would have us do to bring children into our home. And if that involves a sharps box, I say bring it on.

FAM (my take)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For a cycle that I thought would be a complete wash, it surprisingly ended up being pretty spectacular. Just goes to show you how much my predictions matter! Come on, God, I am ready for my next surprise (that Clomid #4 will work, obviously!)!!! Ovulation on CD15 (maybe this morning?), with some baby-makin' on CD12 and CD14. We are praying for you, little one(s)!!

Sometimes I wish that it hadn't worked out so well, to give myself an emotional break for the next two weeks. And then I feel a little guilty for saying that. Because obviously being selfish is so ridiculous when the potential alternative (welcoming baby in June!) is what our hearts are longing for. So then I remind myself that dealing with another mysterious 2ww is nothing, and that I should be on my knees thanking God for another chance to work with Him to create a precious new soul.


But on to more fun things! I am not sure how many of you have no clue about some of the abbreviations/techniques I talk about here, but I am happy to shed some light, from my perspective, for those of you who may be wondering like Becky was! And maybe it might even help someone in their quest to better understand their (in)fertility.

We practiced FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) to avoid conception for about 2.5 years after we got married. You can learn about it from this awesome book Ch.arge of Your Fertili.ty. (FAM is not tied to a religion and is slightly different than NFP.) Basically it involves the theory that there is a difference in your basal body temperature (core temperature, essentially) before and after ovulation. So, you take your temperature and chart it out (first day of your period is CD (cycle day) 1), and by doing that, you can see the shift in temperatures which indicates ovulation. The method also includes checking your CM (cervical mucus) and cervical position....the book goes into how to check these things internally, and I tried once, but it was too much hassle for me. Maybe if I had kept at it, I'd be a pro by now, but I didn't, so I'm not... I am a pretty good mucus-producer (ha!), so I just go by what ends up, um, being evident externally. Ha! I know this isn't technically how you're supposed to do it, and maybe some charting purists will be aghast at my behavior, but I think I do okay with how I keep track of that.

You can use FAM for either pregnancy avoiding or pregnancy achievement, and it worked fine for us for pregnancy avoiding, but so far, it has not worked for pregnancy achievement!! Ha! I think, in retrospect (I don't temp anymore because I use my fertility monitor now) it is easier to use it for pregnancy avoiding because you can just wait after about CD10 or so until your temperature goes up for a few days after ovulation and then resume activity. To use it for pregnancy achievement, you have to assume (in conjunction with CM which gets kind of like egg-white consistency right before ovulation) that ovulation is coming and get busy. Lots of people do use FAM for pregnancy achievement, but it hasn't worked for me yet! Ha!

As far as spotting before your period, I do not have this issue (except for very occasionally one day before), so I don't know a whole lot about it, but from what I've read and people I've talked to, it is mostly due to a progesterone deficiency or possible endometriosis/fibroids. Basically, when you ovulate, your body starts producing progesterone to keep the lining nice and plush for implantation to happen. If your body doesn't produce enough progesterone, the lining breaks down too early (spotting), thus not really creating a great place for your little one to land. Also endometriosis can cause spotting, but I don't know a whole lot about why... My friend K has awful spotting (almost her whole LP (luteal phase- the two weeks after the egg is released)), and she just got her progesterone checked, and it was totally fine, so now they are tentatively suspecting endometriosis. I will keep you posted what I find out from her!

I'm trying to think of other things that I've mentioned... feel free to ask anything if I'm leaving something out! I totally recommend the book for anyone who hasn't ever delved into their cycles before- it is really straight-forward, scientific, and objective, and it is really neat to see your temps for a whole cycle charted out. I recommended it to my friend K, who hadn't ever tried it before, and she thought it was the neatest thing!! Happy reading!

Return to Normalcy

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It is quite a different lifestyle, the one with kids. Not to mention middle-to-high-school-age kids. All of whom are involved in a number of different sports and other activities. None of whom can drive by themselves (but one of whom is getting his license in 3 weeks). And one of whom has 3 older brothers and therefore needs to play "spa" 24 hours a day when there is another girl in the house.

But I think I fairly successfully did okay at being mom for 3 kids, ages 11-16, this weekend! I'm pretty sure everyone got where they needed to go, on time, and we still had time for some some hangin' out at home and a dinner out on Saturday night. My aunt and uncle must drive 100 miles a day dropping this person off, picking up someone else, dropping them off, and picking up the first person again! Ha!

I hope they all had a blast like I did- craziness (and leaving for swim practice at 615am on Saturday morning) aside, they are all generally great kids, and I was so glad to be able to be with them this weekend. The one lesson that I have learned is that I need to make all my kids be in the same sport...

I had told myself that I'd take this cycle (clomid #4) easy, and I thought our timing would be terrible, since I was away CD 10-12, but I just got my peak today (CD14), so we might actually have a fairly decent shot.

Speaking of shots, my follistim and HCG (Novarel) for next cycle is being shipped and should arrive tomorrow! Whoa. Never had to answer "Would you like a sharps box with your order?" before! Haha. I had to order them in advance because it takes about a week from the time my RE faxes them the Rx to the time it arrives, and Lord knows that I would be not so happy if I didn't have the meds on the day they wanted me to start them (about CD3?). It is a huge praise that my co-pay for these medications is pennies compared to what they actually cost, and you can count that I'm continually thankful for that blessing. I am a little confused on the dosage, but I'm sure that the RE will help me figure it out.

Well actually, let's be serious, I'm hoping that I don't need the next set of meds, you know? I would love to be able to donate them to my clinic for people who don't have the means to buy them...

We shall see what God has in store for this cycle. We are continuing to seek Him in this journey, knowing that His ways are not our ways!

(Becky, I would love to do a post about all those things you asked about- stay tuned!)

The Big 1-0-0

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It is official, I can't think of anything great and earth-shattering for my 100th post! Ha! I am super busy today- trying to make sure the bread box is stocked and there are good things for Mr. A to eat while I'm sitting with my cousins this weekend. Also doing laundry so, you know, essentials don't run out. Oh yah. And working.

The one thing I did really reflect on this morning was how far I've come as far as reacting to CD1. I haven't been devastated since at least May or so! I'm sure it is a whole bunch of things as to why I am getting better, but I some of the big reasons are the spiritual growth that God has led in my life, the outlet that writing about infertility provides, and also the fact that I'm under the care of the RE! All of these things combine to really enhance my hope and faith that we will be welcoming our first little one in God's perfect timing. And all of these things combine to really give me a calm about sitting tight until then and trying to be positive about what I'm supposed to be doing/learning from what is happening to me right now.

I will probably not get a chance to post again until Monday or Tuesday, so until then, know that you're all in my prayers!

Nothing New

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Feels like quite a while since I last posted, but I really appreciate your comments about my BIL! It totally isn't really my problem, but it was really neat to hear some of your perspectives. I'll let you know how they do, if I try some out!

We had a nice long weekend. Nothing super exciting- just a birthday cookout for one of Mr. A's coworkers yesterday, but I worked some comp time since I probably won't be working much on Friday when I'm taking care of my cousins. I was going to bring Banana, but there are so many things on the schedule that I think it would be stressful for her to be left alone in their (unfamiliar) house so many times per day.

I'm on CD7 and haven't had any clomid side effects to speak of. Like, none. I also discovered that I did have 5 monitor sticks left in the last box, but the box expired this month! What the heck! Have I been relying on sticks that are past their prime- about ready for the dumpster?!? The box I just got expires a year from next's not like I had the last box for a year!!! Can I blame our lack of pregnancy on using almost-expired monitor sticks last month? Hahahahahaha!

I am almost beside myself excited for Building a Nest- she is pregnant using follistim injections!!!!!!! Obviously I would love God to bless our marriage with a child this cycle, but this gives me so much hope that He might specially bless our first follistim cycle, too. God, I beg you to turn Your face to us and bless us with a child...

Not much else going on here- kind of a rambly post- today one of my coworkers said to me "Isn't it amazing how the day after Labor Day feels so different?" I didn't really know what to say- it feels completely the same as last week to me! Ha! Okay, maybe it is a little cooler today, haha. I guess it feels different to him because he is teaching his daughter her first (homeschool) math lesson of the year today... (his wife teaches the other subjects)....

PS. I promise to get back to commenting on your blogs soon!!!

Delivery or Pickup?

Friday, September 04, 2009

I wish CVS had pharmacy delivery services.

No, apparently the drive through is not enough for my laziness today! I think the problem is that I ran out of my refills, so I can't just call in a refill. I guess I could call it in as a new prescription? Do they let you do that? I am so inexperienced!

But, I'd like delivery, please :)

And speaking of pickup, my BIL, let's call him K, is having serious girl issues. Or more correctly, serious lack of girl issues. Unlike my sisters and I, who would have already had multiple hour-long phone conversations with each other to get to the bottom of the relationship mishaps, Mr. A and his other brother maintain a (manly? macho?) "It's none of my business- I'm sure he'll figure it out" attitude. As a sister, I can't handle that.

So, I feel the need to help K out here. And apparently I am not as persuasive as I think I am. Or maybe K is just more stubborn (less confident?) than I knew.

K is very, and I mean very, serious. To the point that I'm pretty sure he must think I am 100% ditz because I talk about things like new dog collars and what to wear for Easter and what my dream car is and what turkey salad recipe is the best. He sees absolutely no point in small talk. If he doesn't have anything earth-shattering or mind-bending to say, he will just stand/sit complete silence. (When I suggested that he could start out the conversation with asking about someone else's interests, he goes "I can't exactly go up to someone and say 'Have you heard about the latest cryptozoology finding?!', can I?" Um, well, no, I wouldn't really throw that out there right away to any random person you meet.....) I should also mention that he went to a military-type college (but is not in the military), so in combination with sitting in silence, he sits or stands in public at pretty close to military attention- very rigid and tense.

As you may imagine, this does not create the most relaxed or inviting impression for ladies who might otherwise be attracted to his good job or the sensitivity buried deep down or the persistence to do whatever it is that he's doing right. Because of his reserved and blank posture, girls can't figure out if he is nervous or having a bad time or just really stiff. I've never been on a date with him, but I imagine I would be trying to get him to loosen up the whole entire time.

I pleaded with Mr. A to talk to K about how he became such a charmer (haha), but Mr. A will not talk to him because he thinks it'll make K feel like an idiot. (And maybe that is a valid concern..) Instead, he got out a legal pad and wrote 2.5 pages of "Small Talk Training" (honestly, he wrote that at the top! So cute!) for me to relay to K. Okay, I guess I will accept the written outline as an attempt at helping his brother out here.

One of Mr. A's most adamant suggestions is that K should take a class at a local college. Not like it has to be the hardest class, but just something to get K into a regular classroom (remember, he went to a military college...not like normal college) where if you get there early, you chat with the other work in groups and talk that way, etc etc etc. I think it is a great suggestion, and I was looking forward to relaying it to K. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: I was thinking about it, and maybe you should sign up for a class! School creates a really social atmosphere, with the talking before/after class and projects and stuff. It might help you become more comfortable with talking to random people!
K: A, I must be the only person who goes to a place for that specific purpose. I go to the gym to work out, not to make new running partners. I go to school to learn, not to talk the whole time. I go to work to work, not waste away my day in the hall.

Um. Crap.

K is resistant to all of a sudden become this outgoing talkative guy because he feels like he shouldn't have to change who he is to date someone. Which I totally agree with. (I'm not even sure he could become an outgoing talkative guy, if he wanted to, honestly.) But I tried to package my suggestions so they would be more like just polishing who he is so that other people could see, too. I don't think he is convinced. He told me at the end that he's just going to not worry about it and do whatever feels natural to him.

Have you ever had a friend/relative in this situation? Was the only option e-har.mony? Haha...


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Haha, I have figured out the first consequence of my Choose Life license plates. I can't tail someone in front of me on the highway in the left lane going 60mph anymore!!! Hahahahaha!! I don't think it really enhances the message if, after I go full steam ahead by them (once they move over, after entirely too long of not noticing me in their rear view mirror, of course), they see that Miss Impatience behind them also wants them to choose life. Ha!


Thanks for all your comments on my last post! Mr. A and I talked about it last night, and since I'm not having any particularly bad side effects (praise God!), he would like to see me take the clomid again, and since we get reimbursed for the monitor sticks from my health savings account, he sees no reason I shouldn't just go get a box. He has really surprised me lately by being very proactive about getting us one (or more, haha) of those kiddo things. Okey doke, I say!

Recap- clomid 1-3

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Aaaaaaaaaand it's CD1 for me. And the Duggar's are pregnant with #19, and let's not forget their grandchild due next month. REALLY???

Some reflections...

My RE gave me another prescription for clomid this cycle, since I won't be available for monitoring with follistim. Keep in mind I also need more monitor sticks. Also keep in mind that if this cycle doesn't work, we'll try follistim in October. Do I really have to pay $50 for 30 monitor sticks when I'm only going to use 10 (u/s monitoring with follistim)? They should really have some lower-quantity packages. On the other hand, I'm half considering not even taking the clomid. The RE said that 80-something% of people who are going to get pregnant on clomid do so in the first 3 months. That bumps up to 90-something% after 4 clomid cycles. I guess a 10% increase is nothing to squawk at, but clearly the statistics are not in my favor. Maybe I'll take clomid and not use my monitor. Or maybe I'll be a real rebel and not do either! *Gasp!!* But then I think I would be worried that my progesterone would return to the dungeon. What would you do?

Not that I had any glaring pregnancy symptoms last cycle, but I am just frankly surprised that clomid didn't work in the first three tries. Of course their published success rate is 45%, which is obviously not 100%, so this is what I get for being in denial about the 55% chance of failure. It's crazy though- I am obviously textbook regular (e.g., last cycle: ovulated cd15, 14-day LP with no spotting, normal flow first thing this morning) with no other complications (low progesterone notwithstanding)- my sister's friend has wild PCOS, and it worked for her on month #3!!! Guess who will be spending some googling time this morning looking for clomid #4 successes? Hmm....

This development easily reminds me that I'm not in control, and neither is anyone who takes any medicine for any condition. We pray and pray that xzy medicine will work, but there are no guarantees, except that God is the Ultimate Healer and one day we will be healed for all eternity. Perhaps clomid isn't what God will use to heal me- maybe it will be follistim or maybe it will be grace to follow another path. It sure seems like all of the things we've done during ttc haven't worked, but I pray I have responded in a way that God would have me respond- God is using each thing, each day, and each struggle for something. Maybe it seems to me like we've failed on clomid (and maybe ttc-wise, we have), but I must not forget about what other blessings have come from clomid. God knows exactly what He's going to use to bring children into our life, and it is up to me to trust Him until He brings those tools into our life. Not that He's holding out on me or anything (I really don't believe that), but He has other things for me to accomplish in the meantime. Who knows what those are, but it is up to me to seek His face through all of this. And that is what I prayed for this morning: Lord, show me Your face!!!!

During our pre-shift prayer on Monday, another volunteer prayed something I thought was very powerful. It wasn't about anything related to me, but I thought it was very applicable to almost any situation we find ourselves in. She said something like,

"God, You can't make (name) seek You and actively participate in Your plan, but come into her heart and allow her to know that the things that are happening to her are part of Your will for her life. Bless her with the grace to see the troubles in her life as an opportunity to seek You and how You would have her react to her circumstances."

Isn't that a great thought? I know it seems a little off-putting to say that infertility is what God wills for my life (that's not very nice, Mr. Lord), but at this point, let's get real, I think it's the truth. (Please Lord, not forever!) God can't make us turn to Him. He can't make us want to live out His will for us at this point with as much gusto as if we were 35 weeks pregnant. But what we are going through is part of His will for us- not because we are a flimsy sticky note buried under 5 notebooks of more urgent prayer requests on His desk. I pray He will bless us with the grace to use these troubles to really seek His face and to turn the focus of what we are lacking to how we can use our struggles to glorify God!

Parmesean Turkey Meatloaf

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Here is my recipe! I think it is awesome :) Mr. A had seconds, too!! (It doesn't matter that he said that A1 and mustard were both required as toppings, does it? Haha! Obviously I didn't think anything was needed!)

(adapted a little bit from actual recipe in WW New Co.mplete Cookbook)

1 onion, finely chopped
1.25 lbs ground turkey
1 cup of bread crumbs (I used seasoned)
1/2 cup of milk
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs grated parmesean cheese (you could use more if you wanted a more cheesy taste)
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 Tb of fresh basil (1/2 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F; spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
2. Mush all ingredients together. Shape into loaf and transfer to the dish.
3. Bake for about 1 hour. Let it stand for about 10 minutes. Slice up. Scarf down.

Happy eating!!!