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....


The Hormoney's

Friday, November 06, 2009

My face is not too happy with all these hormoney's. Don't know what a hormoney is? Watch this...

(Obviously, the part about the lump and twin is not exactly what I wanted to have on today's post, but I can't find a clip without that part...)

Anyway, my co-volunteer who graciously told me her home remedy for acn.e would probably fall over if she saw my face today. It is pretty ridiuculous. I don't quite know how to describe it- it's mostly under the skin I think- but the bottom half of my face is splotchy and irritated and ICK. I never break out this bad EVER. Maybe I'll have to take her up on her water/aspirin/vinegar remedy...

Speaking of aspiring, I'm trying baby aspirin this cycle, too. My RE said it wouldn't hurt, so he wasn't going to tell me not to take it, but he said he wouldn't recommend it, as in, he's not going to say "take this so you'll get pregnant". But I got the chewable kind, and they are yummy!

And I think the hormoney's are also affecting my handling of the situation where we suspected there was a mouse in my office (heard some scurrying and Banana was on high sniff-around-the bookshelf-alert), so we put out some traps last night. Now, logical-A says mice are not house pets you want to encourage, what with their legendary bad hygeine, nor do you want to have them running amuck around clean dishes and pantry shelves just because that is a little creepy. However, hormoney-A says hello, we live in what used to be a cow pasture, so we are actually in their home and they're probably just a little chilly and they probably don't have any disease, and they are sort of cute and furry....not to mention what kind of karma are we going to have going into the IUI after setting a mouse trap?!?!


Unfortunately for the mouse, he was a little too interested in the cheese... and I am dealing with it well. If I'm going to have babies in this house, it better be clean and not housing crawly critters!! No matter if they are furry or not!

Just talked to my friend O, and I'm so excited to be hanging out with her and her hubby and baby again tomorrow for some football! Before we do that, though, we have to do the trigger shot tonight!! Should I call my RE this afternoon and make sure he remembers we're coming for the IUI Sunday and that he told the washer-guy that he has to come in on Sunday morning? Ha! Hello, I am a micromanager!

I am feeling really positive about the IUI, and my two baby follicles. I'm pretty sure my heart has already run far ahead of my mind...

cd11 u/s

Thursday, November 05, 2009

First thing's first, go PRAISE THE LORD for Grace in My Heart's baby boy!!! Oh, and while you're at it, don't forget to cheer her on, too, by leaving a comment!! If you're not familiar with her story, read her links on their background- they experienced a failed adoption last year but have continued to trust in God for the expansion of their family!!! Glory to God!!

Thanks for all your comments on yesterday's post... I have actually written several times to N in the last year something to the effect of "What's your favorite thing about motherhood?" (to try to get her talking) and "I'm not sure where you'd like our friendship to go? But I'd love to still get together..." at the end of the email, but she has never addressed it and responded only with similar-style emails as what she sent yesterday. And boy would I love to have the guts to write what misfit suggested!!! I just don't know if I can handle being the one to say that without specific instruction from her to do so... it would break my heart to be the unfriendly one, I guess!!

I realize she might be struggling with various things right now, or maybe she is busy (probably), but come on, we used to talk about ewcm patterns! And now she can't tell me that being a mom is harder than it looks? Maybe she doesn't want to complain, but I think if I were in her shoes, I'd probably say something like "well, some days being a mom is tough. I don't want to complain because I know you would give anything to be a mom, but I really appreciate you asking. I'd be happy to talk more about it with you, as long as you'd be okay with hearing the nitty gritty!" Or something. (Aren't we all perfect in hypothetical "someone else's shoes" situations?)

Had an u/s this afternoon, and it went pretty well. I have 1 16mm and 1 18mm follicle, both on my right ovary. If you're paying attention, you'll notice the small follie I had on the left is pretty much not a contender anymore. I am not sure why only the two have been growing, or why they are not growing quite as fast as they probably should be. However, I was thinking/praying about this on my way out of the RE's office, and I got a feeling that they are doing exactly what God would have them do. I felt comforted by this thought, and any time on my drive home that I began to wonder what is up (especially on 150iu instead of 125iu), I was reminded that this cycle is in God's hands, and He knows what He's doing. I pretty much feel that there is a reason that only the two are growing strong- maybe they need to be the only ones to be the best darn eggies they can be, and I'm hoping God has big plans for both of them (since I'm being honest here!). Or maybe God is protecting me from OHSS or something not-conception related. So if you could pray that they will continue to mature and that if it's God's will, that they'd become our little ones in August, that would be awesome!!

So since the follies are not quite where my RE wants them size-wise (I still have a beautiful uterus and lining!!), I'll trigger tomorrow night about 930pm- any tips on mixing the trigger?!?!, and the IUI will be at Sunday at 930am!!

I also had the blessing to have lunch with my friend and her little girl!! Mr. A and I are going to try to join them at their place for some college football on Saturday afternoon. I am so thankful for this dear friend- I'll call her O from now on :) I am sad in that I don't think they'll be here much beyond 2 years, but we plan to make the most of her time here!

I've had more pre-ovulation headaches this cycle, but I experimented with various headache-fending-off methods and found that green tea worked the best to keep them as much in the background as possible. I know we will have to stop BD'ing 24 hours before the IUI prep Sunday morning, but I would also like to add that the lack of worrying about timing that "activity" has been refreshing this cycle... it has been great to just go with the spark of the moment instead of wondering if we do it today, if it will be okay to do tomorrow, or if we should not do it today so tomorrow will be good, or if we should have two days in a row... hahahahahaha.....

And my sisters and I are trying to plan our annual Christmas shopping trip!! YAH!!!

Budgets and etc.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

This morning as I rounded a bend on my walk with Banana, in the clear sunrise-ready heavens, what did I see but two perfect thin lines of parallel clouds. I am obviously not even near the end of this cycle yet, but I just had to laugh out loud. REALLY? This is just ridiculous!!!

I am having more headaches this cycle already, but luckily they are mild. Thanks for your comments about the IUI- I think (unless the doc says otherwise), we'll do it Saturday morning and just adjust the time of the trigger accordingly (Thursday night). I guess this time I won't be able to have the NP mix the trigger for me- I hope I can manage!! The follistim shots themselves are still going really smoothly!!

Went to the grocery store this morning!! We follow Dave Rams.ey's budget concepts, using cash only for living expenses. Mr. A picked up one of his books at my parents' house last Christmas and was instantly hooked. We didn't have any credit card balances at that point, but we were spending way more than necessary using our debit cards, i.e. not saving as much as we could. Mr. A set us up a budget last January (2009) that allowed us to rapidly increase our savings and pay down our mortgage at the same time. It does take a little time to set up the budget, but it is so worth it. We have about 15 categories we use cash for, and we have sacrificed the most on our restaurant budget ($25 per month), but we have also cut back on every other category, including our monthly grocery costs ($300), personal "whatever" money ($15 each), and clothing ($13). Mr. A goes to the bank on the first of each month, withdraws the cash, and we separate it into our envelopes. When there is no more cash in the envelope, that is it for whatever the envelope is for, until the next month!! I think last year I was spending so much more than I needed to on groceries; the cash only system makes me be a super shopper- today I saved $63 with store and coupon specials!!! One time I saved a little over $100, no joke! The other cool thing is that we've been "feeding" our Christmas envelope all year, so it is almost stocked and ready to be used on gifts!! No extra spending necessary!!!

It may seem a little odd to use cash-only in such a plastic world, and making (and sticking) to a budget might take some personal sacrifice/discipline, but it has really been a blessing to us!! When Mr. A was telling me how it worked, I thought there was no way we were spending too much- it's not like we had to use credit cards- but even if you use your debit card only, there is no objective limit to how much you can spend on groceries, or latte's, or....!!! I definitely recommend Ramse.y's strategies to anyone, especially if you want to start saving in a big way!!!


Monday, November 02, 2009

I realize that I'm way overdue for a post, and I've been freakin awful at commenting!! I promise to get my rear in gear asap!!

Had another u/s this morning, and I have two 12mm's (right) and an 8mm (left). I wrote an email to my friend T when I got home that I'm initially tempted to be disappointed that the 150iu isn't making a big wonderful difference (especially to the left ovary), but I am reminded that it would be much more of a disappointment to me if I had way too many follies and they would cancel the cycle. I am thankful for not overstimming, that is for sure, and I credit my RE for taking things slowly and cautiously in this regard. So I stand grateful for my response and praying for continued success!! The lady who took my blood this morning used a regular needle and not a butterfly one, and boy can I feel the difference!!! Sheesh!! OW.

I go back for another u/s on Thursday, and my RE thinks I will be ready to trigger then. That leaves us with the option of the IUI on Friday afternoon/evening or Saturday morning (adjust trigger accordingly). What would you choose? I am leaning towards Friday for the following reasons:
  • I read somewhere that the swimmers need a couple hours to get acclimated to the totally tubular (HA!!) environment and get ready to pounce. If we do the trigger Thursday afternoon at 1pm, and the IUI Friday afternoon, with ovulation happening supposedly Saturday at 1am, that gives them time to get situated.
  • My RE is on call (OB) at the hospital Saturday so we have to go there for the IUI, and I'm nervous as to what happens to us if he has to go deliver a baby!! Maybe his NP will come in and help us? Also, even though I'm sure they have great consistent lab procedures, doing the IUI at the big hospital in their big lab hypothetically leaves more room for switcheroo errors (*GASP!*)... although my RE said they don't do lots of IUI's per day (esp. Saturday), so it's not like there will be 20 samples...
I am leaning towards Saturday for the following reasons:
  • Easier for Mr. A (he won't have to take off work)
  • Mr. A can be with me during the IUI itself (how romantic! ha!)
  • If we do the trigger Thursday evening at like 11pm, with ovulation supposedly at 11am Saturday, the swimmers will be super fresh and rarin' to go.
Which would you choose? I am praying in thanksgiving that God has already gone before us here, and I am praying that we'd feel His guidance if the choice of when to trigger is indeed up to us (i.e., if my RE says that one option is not going to be better than the other).

Speaking of good ol' God...

I want to encourage everyone to continue to seek His will for their family in all respects. It's not easy, and I have not always found it so easy to volley all lack-of-child-related problems back to God. I have done alot of growing up in the last year as far as understanding what Christ mean when He said "Take up your cross and follow Me." Last year I did not understand so well. And just because God has blessed me abundantly with the gift of faith this year does not mean that anyone who is struggling with faith is any different from me. I would encourage you to pray for faith to trust God's timing in all things!

That is way easier said than done of course. And something I still struggle with sometimes.

God has really transformed my heart this year, and here are some books that He's used:

Longing for a Child- a Devotional Journal (Kathe Wunnenberg)
Prayer: Does it Make any Difference? (Philip Yancey)
Disappointment with God (Philip Yancey)
Hannah's Hope- Seeking God's Heart in the midst of IF, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss (Jennifer Saake)
Duh... The Bible
The Prayer that Changes Everything -The Hidden Power of Praising God (Stormie Omartian)
Empty Womb, Aching Heart (Marlo Schalesky)
Reaching for the Invisible God (Philip Yancey)
3:16 - The Numbers of Hope (Max Lucado)

I wholeheartedly recommend each and every one. They have all played a part in my perspective shift. Go get one today!!!

What God has infused into my life is that He is with me and that He is for me. It is easy to imagine Him so focused on someone else (whose prayers are being answered, by the way!) and imagine Him forgetting us in our darkness. But when Christ said "Take up your cross and follow Me", He did not mean that He was going to be bee-boppin' along ahead of us, without a care in the world, cruising down the highway in a convertible, while we are crawling along. Nope. I think He says "I'm going to be up here ahead of you, showing you how to suffer gracefully for someone else (I think, for my child(ren)). I'm going to show you that you.can.get.through.this. I'm going to show you that the glory on the other side (I think, once I'm a mom) will redeem your suffering. And since you need an example in all this, I'm not leaving you- I'll be in front of you the whole time, tears and all." Of course there is a whole global message, too, about salvation after death, but I think it works to apply the message to my current-day issues, too.

I absolutely cannot take credit for this transformation of heart and perspective, though. It is all through God's grace and the Holy Spirit. I just can't emphasize that enough. It is hard to have faith that God knows what He's doing, when it seems like nothing is working (the way we think it should). It is sometimes completely backwards!! And sometimes "having faith" feels hollow and fake and cliche. And that is okay. God knows we're human and will falter. He just wants us to come back soon.

I have said many times that even though I have come to a place where I can trust that God has great plans for our family, I really struggle with "hearing" Him on specific issues. I prayed to Him many nights last cycle for Him to put in my mind thoughts about last cycle. I tried to quiet my mind, and what popped back in, but visions of motherhood. Clearly, that is not what last cycle was about. (Well I'm sure it prepared me in some way, but, you know what I mean...). I am in awe of people who seem to have a direct line to what He's telling them about any given day or problem or prayer. I pine for this kind of discernment. I want so much to have one of those experiences where people pray that God will open xyz door, and guess what, it's all of a sudden totally open! I am trying to work on this aspect of my prayer life, because prayer is supposed to be a two-way "conversation", right? At this point, since there's obviously no burning bushes or pillars of clouds around here, I have begun to interpret peace as an affirmation that we're on the right track. It'll have to do for now! I pray that God will grace me with more tangible moments of His presence in the future.

Anyway, this has gotten lengthy, but I wanted to write about how I'm not some super-Christian who has had an easy time with faith along this jagged IF journey. It's been a great year for a spiritual growth spurt for me, but I did not always handle it this way. It is kind of neat to look back and see how God has allowed me to use my infertility for good. He uses all things for good if we allow Him into the situation!

I have been taking all of this into consideration and have been praying, this cycle, for more immediate ttc-related intentions. Like, at this point, I was just praying this morning that the u/s would show a good response. (This also encourages me that some things are going right! Ha!) Now, I'll be praying for a continued good response, and maybe if I get ahead of myself, that God would allow us to conceive this week.

I watched the IN.G NY.C Ma.rathon broadcast yesterday, and I literally had tears in my eyes when the first woman and man crossed the finish line. (Yes, Mr. A thinks I'm crazy!) I remember how that felt to me, the two marathons I ran. But as glorious as finishing is, you never forget the incremental training you committed yourself to go get to the finish line. In alot of ways, this speaks volumes to validate the incremental things we do to try for kiddos, and the incremental ways we follow Christ. We are each so human, and we know we won't ever be able to follow Him perfectly, but each time we choose to be Christ-like in our actions or responses, we have another mile behind us in our journey to our Heavenly finish!!

I think if you are still reading, you deserve an honorary degree in English! Ha! Be blessed today!