Tuesday, March 30, 2010

After surviving Saturday's egg-decorating class (complete with 8 other moms, 1 early-20's girl, and 1 8.5 months pregnant woman) without really any feelings of self-pity, and having an otherwise really nice weekend, yesterday and today have been a relative mess.

Yesterday was just 100% a hectic, when-is-this-day-going-to-be-over day. Super busy morning at work, super busy afternoon at volunteering, half an hour late for acupuncture, and getting home an hour and a half later than normal on Monday's, it's no wonder I had a headache last night. But, since starting 300iu of follistim on Saturday and still loving acupuncture, I had high hopes that my bloodwork today would be awesome.

Which brings me to today. I went and did the bloodwork this morning, and then ran some errands (bought a strawberry plant to go with our raspberry and blackberry bushes!), then happily planted some more seeds inside (zucchini, peppers, basil, lavender, and oregano), and was about to start another pair of whole wheat loaves, when my nurse called to give me the results of my estradiol level.....

....which was 27 instead of "close to 100" like they were expecting/wanting it to be.

What is the word for when the air gets knocked out of your chest?

I really can't believe it. I can't remember if I've ever had bloodwork 3 days after starting follistim, so I don't know if they have anything to compare that to in my history. Maybe I'm just a slow starter. But I am really battling hard to not feel defeated already. And I do mean battling. It is all I can do to hang on to the faith that if God has plans to bring us a baby through this, He will bring everything to pass in His perfect order and time.

I mean, I have had 3 nice looking follicles on 250iu of follistim in past cycles, so I thought I could be secure that I'll have at least that many this time, right? (By the way, my RE is upping my follistim dose to 350iu...) I guess nothing is ever for sure! I have an ultrasound on Thursday, and I'm just praying that my follies have a growth spurt by then... Is anyone out there a slow starter like me??

Meanwhile, I've been searching for foods that contain natural estrogen, and I'm pleased to see that beans and wheat and some of our favorite veggies are on the list. Guess I will eat a loaf of bread for dinner! Ha!! But, will anyone mind if I run out to get myself my own bag of sunflower seeds?

My nerves are begging for attention, and I really don't want to give in to them.

New Points

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today my acupuncturist did new points since I will be starting follistim on Saturday!

Yah. Saturday.

I am trying not to be too frustrated/disappointed/antsy-in-my-pantsy that I'm not starting the stims today (CD3), but if this helps them manage those of us in the same parts of our cycle, so they can pay extra attention to our little ones in the nursery, then that is fine with me.

Plus, I am confident that God is not up there scratching His head and being all out of sorts thinking "What? I could have sworn you were supposed to start today?!" Starting follistim on Saturday instead of today does not surprise Him...

So I've updated my "approximate" dates which are a little later than I originally estimated, but maybe with acupuncture I will respond better/faster anyway, so I could always be wrong!!

Praying my calendar is soon filled with ob appointments and that Jesus isn't the only baby we're anticipating this Christmas!!

Med Free

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guess what I'm doing? I'm going med-free!

No, no, no, not those meds. (Speaking of which, lupron is going fine, except I think my tummy is getting tired of the nightly puncture....little does it know that it's about to get two punctures per night!!.. follistim should start tomorrow night.... my RE will call to confirm because they don't want to start a ton of girls on stims at the same time, so they try to stagger "us" some people start tomorrow, some start friday, etc.)

I'm talking about cramp-fighting meds!

You read that right. I am proudly mid-day on CD2 without having taken anything for cramps so far! Are you proud of me? I am!

It all started with my acupuncturist. At our very first appointment, I didn't mark "Cramps" on the "symptom" list. She asked about it ("you don't have cramps?"), and I said, well yes, I do, but they are mild compared to what I hear others' are, so I didn't think it was anything to mark.

She went on to say that in Eastern Medicine, any pain or stress or discomfort is a sign of unbalance.

And that got tucked away in my head.

Fast forward to last Thursday, when I brought it up again. From what she had said about any pain being a sign of unbalance and that even the mildest cramps matter in Eastern Medicine, I made the shaky connection that if a person were to be 100% balanced, they would not have period cramps.

Hello, bizarro world!!!

So I asked her about it! And much to my surprise, she confirmed my suspicions!! She said that cramping is basically viewed as some sort of stagnation and that with better blood flow around the entire body, during your period blood will flow better and reduce the cramps (to nothing? I am still in sort of disbelief.). She mentioned that the traditional chinese do not even have a word for menopause symptoms- like we do here. Because of their diet, exercise, and traditional medicine, the women there did not start to experience the negative menopause symptoms until western society began to pervade their culture! Of course the dropping of hormones was always there, but because of the way they lived, they didn't have the side effects. Isn't that crazy?

So anyway, my acupuncturist has been working on kidney points for blood flow, and so I decided that I was going to put this concept to the test. Normally, I take 2 advil every about 4-6 hours for the first 3 days of my period or so.

But this time, so far, so good without pain meds!! And I do think that the cramps are less in intensity!! There were a couple times yesterday when I would have taken some advil previously, for fear that the cramps would get worse, but yesterday at those moments, I just focused on something else! Actually, one time I even focused on the cramps, to really feel how it felt. (Do you think I've lost my mind?) It was pretty neat, to be honest. I mean, we take medicine to mask the pain, but maybe it would be better to learn how to meet the pain and make our way through it!

After all, I'd love a med-free birth, and I'm pretty sure that will be a tad more uncomfortable! And I figured, this is the last time I'll feel these cramps until our baby is born, so might as well try it out now. Ha!!

So anyway, I am really enjoying this new period experience. (I'm pretty sure I have gone bonkers- did I just write that?!) I feel strong- don't need no stinkin advil!! I am so glad that my acupuncturist brought this up- I don't think it would have occurred to me to try a period without advil otherwise!!

I have a faith-based post rattling around in my head- stay tuned!!

Bread Making!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

(Psst. CD1 is finally here!)

Would it help if I said that my breadmaking post was late because I wanted to get/add pictures? Well it's finally here, with pictures for your viewing!

Don't know if you remember, but we recently got a grain mill, and we have picked up our 50lb. bag of wheat berries that we ordered from the local men.nonite's, and we now have two 3-qt containers of freshly-milled whole wheat flour! (Mr. A grinds more as I use up the flour.)

I had been trying recipe after recipe of wheat bread, and none had worked very well. The main problem is getting the dough to rise. Which, from my goo.gling, is a common issue with wheat flour.

From what I can conclude from my past recipes versus the one that worked beautifully is that:

1. I was not preparing the yeast well. The packets say to sprinkle the yeast into a bowl of warm water and let it sit. Well that is all fine and good, but I don't think all the yeast was really getting dunked into the bath, so I don't think it was developed enough by the time I mixed it into the receipe. What worked was that I put the yeast in the bowl and the dumped the water on top of it. Worked much better!!

2. I don't think I (i.e. my mixer) was kneading the dough long enough, before. What worked was that "I" (see previous clarification) kneaded the dough for 10 minutes after it formed into a ball.

3. For a warm space for the bread to rise, I had always turned the oven on for a minute and then cut it off. What worked was that I added a shallow bowl of warm water on the lower rack- rose much better!

4. Previously, after the second rising, I would take the bread pan(s) out of the oven while it preheated for the bake phase. I think this made the bread cold, and so it would fall prior to the baking. This time, I left them in there (while the oven preheated to baking temperature) and just baked them for a shorter time. Bread stayed risen and lovely!

AND, the recipe I used this time was the wheat bread recipe from The Family Homestead (bread recipe here, but it's fun to check out all the links on her homepage!). (Note, I didn't have gluten flour, so I just used 5.5 cups of wheat flour. It tastes awesome- I don't know how it tastes with gluten flour, but I think it tastes excellent without it!). I am going to try some of my previous recipes with some of the situational observations listed above to see if it's those recipe's faults or what I was doing during the mixing. If I were to make a guess, I'd guess it's the latter!!

Here are some pictures of the finished product! If you notice, I don't have two loaf pans, so I have to use one of my oval pyr.ex dishes in addition to my loaf pan!

Happy breadmaking everyone!! Let me know how these suggestions help you!!

Guest Post #2!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hi everyone! Do you remember me? I am Banana! I just wanted to write up this post in between naps this afternoon, because A was telling me how you all wanted to hear how our hike went this morning!

This morning was not like normal Saturday mornings. A woke me up early! Can you believe it? I didn't get to sleep in on the weekend!!! Then after our walk, her and Mr. A were not making normal breakfast (I know what that smells like- can you say, bacon?!)- they were putting water in jugs and getting snacks out of the cabinet. (I was right there, to clean up if any snacks made it to the floor, but no such luck....) I started to understand that they were going somewhere, so I made my way to my chair and curled up, ready for a nap while they were gone.

Imagine my glee to hear them call my name! I was getting to go, too!

But I was still not sure where we were going. Sometimes (last year) when we would go for car rides before they went away for a while, I would end up at the kennel (which I like, but not as much as being home). So I was a little nervous at first, but then I relaxed and enjoyed the car ride.

We ended up going to the forest! Do you know how many awesome things there are to smell in the forest?! I had to pee at least 3 times in all different locations in the first 10 minutes we were there, to make sure other dogs knew I had been there!

Then it was time to go walking with this big group of lively folks. I even made a doggie-friend (picture later)!! Mr. A and A got me this fancy new backpack so I could carry some of our snacks! It is nice and padded and very comfy. Here I am!

So I had an awesome time! It was absolutely 100% gorgeous weather (did you know it's the first day of spring?)!!! And I was very well behaved, except for the times I spotted a squirrel and had to let everyone in a 50-mile radius know about it.

And here is a picture of me with my doggie-friend! (I am in the front and she is the black and white pup.) Her owner is really nice young woman (who brought some friends) who invited us to go hiking with them again! I can't wait!

When we got back to the car, I was super tired. So I slept the whole way home. I didn't even ask for a piece of the hot dog that Mr. A got at the Da.iry Que.en!! But I did overhear Mr. A and A talking about what an awesome time they had and they were so glad they decided to sign up with this group! They are looking forward to going on more hikes with the group, and that would be fine with me!! It was really nice to get outside and go hiking with everyone!

And I just have to say that it makes me so happy to do fun things like this with Mr. A and A. I know that they are sad to not have any kids yet, but it is so nice to see them enjoying their time together so much. I know they are so happy. And that makes me one super excited doggie! (And I promise to be a good big sister when their kids get here!)

So anyway, I think it's about time for another nap for me. This keeping my eyes open thing isn't working out too well.

And after hiking 6-miles with my backpack today, I sure hope A lets me sleep in tomorrow!!!

TGIF randoms

Friday, March 19, 2010

  • I have really been trying to be more present at work, and that is why my posting and commenting have not been so, well, present!! I just caught up on everyone, though!!
  • I also think I am still feeling a little stuck in the middle of thought versus reality. I find myself thinking, this seems too easy-
  • Acupuncture was amazing yesterday- wow, I could have stayed there for hours!
  • Eating more "whole" foods has been going well! Thank you to everyone who suggested great oatmeal recipes!!
  • I think God is preparing me to receive the completion of this path and give a testimony about it to my fellow volunteers at the pregnancy center. It is something that kept coming to me Wednesday afternoon and a little bit yesterday at acupuncture. I hope that it includes my giving my testimony while carrying our little one, but I have just been asking God to show me more about the testimony He will have me give!!!
  • We are going on a hike tomorrow with a hiking group we joined recently- we hope it's fun and that there are some new friends to be made! We even got Banana her own doggie hiking pack! It is so cute- will have to get a picture!
  • I think there are people who used to read that don't anymore because we are trying IVF. Should I take them off my bloglist? (Not that I don't want/appreciate people who have differing opinions, but if they aren't feeling like they want to associate with me, then I feel like why am I making the time to try to force the "friendship"..? I'd love to be friends with everyone, but this is sort of a related to how I felt about/dealt with my acquaintance N...)
  • CD1 should be any day now (due today). Let's not dilly dally. We have a show to get on the road!!
  • I am going to start some seedlings for our garden today!! We are directly planting peas, spinach, and lettuce this weekend, but I'll be starting tomatoes, cantelopes, and broccoli's today!!!
  • Bread making (from our freshly-ground wheat) has been going GREAT. I know I said I was going to write a post about it, and there is one in the making, but it's not finished yet!
  • I added some new faces to my bloglist (Dear God, we want a baby, Adam & Julia, Going for it, Below Average Athlete, and His Plan not Mine) and rearranged some of us. I feel like my bloglist is really long, but I love reading/knowing each of you!!!
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Networking (edited)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We have lived here for less than 5 years. In that time, they only people I've really "met" (other than the wives of Mr. A's coworkers) are the people I volunteer with at the pregnancy center. And they are all at least 15 years older than me. Not that being that age is a bad thing....

I went to a mini-retreat recently, and if you can believe it, I think there were only three of us under the age of 75.... the three of us being me, and two other 50-year old's. Not that being that age is a bad thing....

But one of my goals is to make more friends this year and really put more feelers out. So I was trying not to be (too) discouraged.

So while I was talking with one of the 50-year old's at the retreat, she mentioned that she regularly does 10-mile runs and that she wanted to do a marathon this year. (She is exactly the athletic petite I-love-my-spinning-class 50-year old you are imagining.) My ears perked up- a marathon! I told her I've done two and that it's an experience of a lifetime. Guess what? She gave me her email in case I wanted to run with her sometime!! I gladly took it and plan on sending her an email to followup and let her know that I probably won't be starting to run long distances again anytime very soon (some medication coming up, of course), and that we will be having our first baby in December, so would she like to meet for coffee (regular, until CD1!) instead?

THEN. Last night we had an inservice for volunteering and we got to meet the volunteers in the current training class! And, miracle of miracles, one of the new girls at my table is a mid-late twenties married girl with no kids!!! She asked me if I thought she would be at a disadvantage in counseling since she didn't have any kids. I took that opportunity to tell her no, we don't have any kids, and we are actually desperately trying to have kids, and I still don't feel any trouble counseling our clients. God has been so faithful to me in helping me leave my personal struggles at the door. This girl ("S") was really sweet and said she would pray for us, and that they are starting to throw the idea of kids around, too. (Gulp.) I gave her my email in case she had any questions about volunteering or wanted to meet up sometime!

THEN. I was talking to a current volunteer who goes to a church we've been to several times recently (and are thinking about joining), and she said she is having a get together in a couple weeks at her house- an artist friend of her does the fancy egg decorating and is doing a workshop!! My friend said "It is mostly moms, but.........(long pause)...... not all." (Gulp.) But I figured, oh what the heck. I love going to church and seeing faces I know, and that is something that is so missing right now, so maybe I can handle a morning of mom talk amidst trying to paint an egg. How hard can it be? (I will link back here after I get home from that in tears!! Hahahaha)

So as I got in my car to come home last night, it occurred to me that I've actually been blessed with several opportunities to make more friends recently!! I feel really good about that. I hope some of these prospective friendships work out!! (And Mr. A and I joined a backpacking/hiking group and we are going to our first outing with them this weekend- we are hoping that there are some young couples there, too!) (Do we qualify as a young couple? Haha!)

And the other thing that surprised me as I was reflecting on last night was how easily I brought out our infertility to S. I was just telling my mom on Sunday that it is so hard for me to open up about it to strangers, but that is exactly what I did last night. I was telling my mom that I usually feel like no one really wants to process such a "heavy" topic when they don't even know anything else about you, but S was so gracious and comforting. Thank you God, for bringing both of us there last night!

In networking situations, what is your normal inclination about opening up about infertility? Have there been any exceptions to the rule?


Edited to add that "999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility" used MY suggestion as her #790th reason! WOW! Go check it out!

Some Advice

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Do not, under any circumstances, eat a pop the morning before you go to acupuncture. Not even if you don't have time to make your usual oatmeal because you have to make it to your early RE appointment.

Because your tattle-tale digestive pulse will give you away, that you ate a processed breakfast. And then your acupuncturist will ask you "what have you had to eat today?" and then she will try to keep from passing out when you answer "a pop ta.rt".


She told me (in her sweet organic voice) that a po.p tart is reeeeeally not the best choice of breakfasts, and I am not sure if she believed me that I usually eat oatmeal. But even the oatmeal I usually have (Apples & Cinnamon) is not the best- as I should be eating whole/regular oats, and sprinkling some actual apples and/or cinnamon on there for the sweetness (not to mention, apparently cinnamon is a great herb/spice anyway for warming the body). Okay okay.

Eating organic sounds so idyllic to me. I mean, I don't think we eat like crap- I make a balanced, from-scratch dinner every night- Mr. A doesn't think those frozen skillet meals are any kind of dinner!- and I promise I usually have oatmeal for breakfast. We don't normally keep alot of sweets or fattening snacks (chips, etc.) in the house. But I guess we could always eat better.

Like making old-fashioned oatmeal! Time to break out the small sauce pan instead of using the microwave, I guess!! If feeding my body regular oatmeal rather than processed oatmeal makes it more happy and better for our baby, then you will find me at the stove every morning indefinitely!!!

But all of that aside, I had another great acupuncture session today. Very relaxing, very soothing, and a nice treat to myself. She repeated the same points as last time- focusing on strong kidney and abdomen points, and I again experienced the same warm/"energy" feeling when those needles went in and came out. It is so neat. The one abdomen point on my hand was so powerful that my muscle twitched when she took the needle out!! She also included a couple extra points to try to soothe my face- with all these hormoneys, I definitely do not have the clearest skin....

She also put a seed on my ear (for general calm)! NEATO! And two magnets on the strong kidney points behind my ankles. If I want to, I can massage those points, but just the magnet/seed being there is supposed to keep the good energy flowing. Come on, flow!

And speaking of flow (Aunt, to be exact), my baseline appointment was excellent this morning and we are now just waiting for CD1 to get here!! I start lupron tonight. I better not forget- it has been almost a whole month since I did nightly injections!!

You will be happy to know that even though I was armed with a gabillion questions, my RE patiently and thoroughly answered each of them, and I am now confident in his approach and experience.

Basically, my biggest question was about the lack of estrogen supplementation. He said that in his experience/interpretation of the data available, estrogen supplementation is only beneficial if the lining does not appear to be thickening up to an acceptable point. He said it has not been shown (in his opinion) to increase the response as far as quantity or quality of follicles go. And since my lining has always been great, he does not see the need to add estrogen as a rule. He said that if it looks like my lining is thin when we get to the stim-monitoring stage, he will not hesitate to add estrogen.

AND, Mr. A's detailed/high-stakes SA from Monday came back great! They do not recommend ICSI. I was so thankful- he was nervous with the sickness/meds.

AND, the best part ever.... when we were going over the paperwork last night, we noticed that one page said that the total cost would be $9800, and another page said it would be $7400. That is a big difference! So I asked this morning, and guess what, the cost is only $8100!!!!! Oh my gosh! How awesome is that?! And given that our meds only cost us $200, we are feeling so thankful and blessed regarding the finances of all this, and how God has provided/inspired us to live so that we will be able to pay for it.

You know you're infertile when you are totally stoked about "only" paying $8100 for a 50/50 shot at a baby!!

And now I will round out my great day with some yoga before me and Banana take our walk on this beautiful spring afternoon. Pulled pork sandwiches for dinner, so come on over!!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You will all be happy to know that with my excellent taking care of him (and making homemade chicken noodle soup) (did I forget to mention a big thank you to the makers of and Sud.afed?), Mr. A is pretty much all recovered. Thank goodness! I do not like man colds!!!!

And now that I have a whopping TWO yoga workouts (routines? sessions? what do you call it when you do yoga?!) under my belt, I can say that I definitely like it!! I have done one super low-key and one more active one, but I like them both very much. I am all for keeping the good energy going!!!

I have my baseline u/s tomorrow (CD21), and if everything looks good, I will start lupron tomorrow night. I'm also going to talk to my RE about my concerns about my lowish response and the lack of any estrogen or any other meds. GULP. After my u/s, I have acupuncture- I thought it would be good timing in case I'm feeling anxious about everything.

I have not done a post that is faith-heavy lately, and I hope that it doesn't appear that I've let that go by the wayside. I am firmly clinging to God's promises to fulfill the desires of our hearts (Ps 37:4), feeling comforted that hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). But it takes a while to get all my thoughts in order for one of the ones that you guys (girls) say are inspiring (it's just me writing, and I'm always so humbled and honored that somehow my writing about faith issues speaks to someone reading!!).

I know alot of people do this, but I'm trying to gather a list of things to help my mind and/or body recover from the pressures of this upcoming cycle. So far, here is what I've got:
  • Re-read my favorite devotional book
  • Give myeslf a pedicure using a great set that my sister gave me for Christmas
  • Spend an afternoon at the bookstore
  • Go for a hike and/or backpacking campout with Banana and Mr. A
  • Do a calming yoga routine
  • Make a great dinner and/or a special dessert
  • Watch episodes of The Office
  • Catch up with blog buddies!
  • "Work" in the flower or veggie garden (I don't really consider it work)
What do you do to calm your harried mind or weary body? Let's swap strategies!! (Remember I can't be knocking back glasses of wine right now... haha)

Acupuncture + Wknd

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sorry I haven't updated since Thursday. I think if I hadn't had acupuncture on Thursday afternoon, my head would have exploded during work on Friday. Ever have one of those days?! Aren't Friday's supposed to be easy?

And this weekend was great- don't really know how else to summarize it- !

But anyway, back to acupuncture. LOVED IT!!! I got a very good feeling from my practitioner- she is tall, thin, has the most beautiful hair I have ever seen, left a corporate job to begin a more fulfilling career in acupuncture, and is exactly the type of person you would think practices yoga and acupuncture and eats super healthy. Not to mention, I think she knows her stuff, too (lest I appear superficial!!!!).

She said my kidney pulses are weak. And, in acupuncture, kidney pulses are very related to blood flow, which is very related/important to healthy reproduction systems. (Those of you who are doing acupuncture, I'd love to hear your take/experiences!) So in addition to some other points, she did three points which are very strong kidney points, and out of the 10-or-so needles, I felt the ones at the kidney points when they were going in and getting taken out! Sort of a warm tingly feeling! She said that is a good sign. (Yay!) I felt very relaxed and just really... good after the appointment. I am already looking forward to this Thursday!

(And incidentally, I tried a yoga dvd that I could watch instantly on Netf.lix yesterday afternoon and really liked that, too! I will do all the positive-energy-focusing-things possible! I don't think the one I tried was very high-level, but yesterday was my first try ever at yoga, so I didn't think I needed to take the master class. I am going to try to do yoga every other night.)

(One more aside. My practitioner was telling me that in Eastern Medicine, any pain or stress is viewed as possibly indicating imbalance. Case in point, I didn't mark cramps in the "Women Only" section of the data sheet becuase my cramps are nothing to write home about, and I figured that those are a given for women during their period, and I should only mark the box if they are interfering with my life or something. She said that in her practice, pain or stress doesn't have to be serious or intense for it to be considered. So, my question is, do people who practice acupuncture have no cramps during their period/is that the goal?!)

And the weekend was one of those where I was having such a great time (positive vibes here!!!) that, not like blogging is a negative thing, because I definitely don't think it is, but I just felt like I was on such a roll with things around the house and yard, that I just wanted to keep that going!! And at night on Saturday, Mr. A and I were having fun just hanging out, so I didn't want to have my nose stuck in the laptop. AND, I recently got the book "A New Kind of Christianity", and I am loving it so far!

The most awesome thing I did this weekend (that gave me the most joy!) is that I finally made excellent hand-made wheat bread from the wheat berries we ground ourselves. I want to share alot of details, so I'll write a whole post about that soon. But the bread is SO GOOD!!!

I am really trying to be positive and hopeful about our IVF. But I think it was so therapeutic for me/us to have such a rockstar weekend that had nothing to do with trying for a baby. It was so refreshing and soothing and uplifting!! (Except that Mr. A came down with a crazy cold yesterday and has been 100% miserable since about 5pm yesterday.... luckily he hasn't had a fever, so his detailed SA this morning should be unaffected....God bless him for still going over there....)

I feel really good about incorporating acupuncture and yoga into our routine this time. I am already a positive/hopeful person, but in some ways, I think Eastern Medicine validates my inclination that outlook is important. (ETA: Not that my Christian faith does not indicate that outlook is important- my hope is definitely in/from God.) It is sort of hard to think/accept that relaxing might very well help the problem (since that is such a cop-out reaction to IF), but if I have to admit that maybe stress does create interruptions in our bodies, then I'll admit it.

New Day

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thank you all for your heartfelt comments on my last post. Just to clarify, those are the meds for the ENTIRE cycle! No antibiotics, no steriods, no estrogen! (My nurse says that they use some of those things for people over 40...)

And when I called her this morning to say that I've been doing some reading, she said that I should definitely talk about those concerns (lowish estrogen/response) with my RE next Thursday at my u/s. I know that we don't want a billion follicles, but I am going to be extremely nervous if we only have 3, like last IUI cycle. She just told me not to believe everything I read on the internet (HA!), and reminded me that my RE has been doing this for a very long time.

Overall, I am feeling much better about this than I was yesterday. I definitely have confidence in my RE and his ability to distill fact from fad...

....and above all, I have to keep reminding myself that if this is how God is going to bless us with children, He will bring everything into order as it needs to be.

Luckily, today's exciting news is that I have my first acupuncture appointment!! We decided that although it's out of pocket, we're spending $10k on this cycle, what is another $500? :) I hope I like it!! At least I think it will help me relax, which is the key to having kids, right?


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Okay. I need a lecture on how everyone is different and every doctor is different and obviously my RE has been doing this for a while, so he knows which meds he prefers.

But I am sort of freaking out.

Basically, the only additional med I'm on is lupron (versus my previous injectable cycles). So, I take lupron starting a week before my period is due, and then I add follistim. That's it. No menopur or repronex or bravelle or estrace or anything. Not to mention I have read that menopur helps egg quality and estrogen levels, and since I am not a super responder (i.e. I have never had more than 3 mature follicles, and my estrogen was about 200 points (or whatever units) lower than he estimated last cycle), I am worried that I need that, but that my RE is so conservative he doesn't normally prescribe that.

I feel a little meek calling my nurse and asking about this additional medication I have learned about from Dr. I mean, it's not like they run their practice out of the back of a van or anything! It's a university medical system! They know what they are doing, right? (And to be honest, I guess an upstanding RE practice would not make it a habit of letting their relatively unschooled patients call the shots on what medications they need...)

Just to recap, here are my meds:
Lupron, Follistim, Novarel, and Prometrium

Does that seem too simple? I mean, when I see people's meds all set out on the table, it looks like an amazing amount! I'm barely going to have more than for our IUIs! And I do mean barely!

Ack!! Please tell me what you think!

Deep breaths. I am not their first ivf patient. I am not their first ivf patient. I am not their first ivf patient....


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I am feeling really unfocused these days, with regard to this kid-making-situation (or lack thereof, haha).

This is the first unmedicated cycle I've had since last July, and luckily for me, it seems like my body still generally knows what to do on its own, as I'm seeing "fertile" signs, etc. But even though I haven't been so instructed by my RE, I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to try this cycle, right? I mean, I can't imagine that it'd be good for an embryo to try to implant and in the meantime I start Lupron next Thursday...

But anyway, back to being unfocused. (Haha, see how my mind wanders?)

It is weird to not be trying this time. To have no med to take, no trigger to schedule, no IUI to show up for. Not even a monitor to check! In a way, it is kind of a nice break. But it feels like something is missing. Not that we enjoy having to have all kinds of assistance (and I realize we are about to get some major assistance!), but at least it's something we're doing to move forward with our family.

I think you know you're infertile when you miss your infertility routine.

But in a way, I am thankful for right now, when I don't have anything to concentrate on. It is nice to not have to manage details and appointments. It is nice to not have to dial up another dose of follistim. It is nice to not have to calculate the trigger timing. It is nice to not have to remember follicle counts and sizes to post them on your blog.

Sometimes for me and Banana's evening walk, I take out my contacts. After a hard day's work of details and writing and numbers, I don't want any more details. I just want to step out into the fresh air and see the big picture- the big beautiful world that was created for us. I want to look up and see the bright blue above me- I don't need to see how many birds are flying overhead. I want to watch Banana cruising along ahead of me- I don't need to see how much mud she is getting on her feet. I want to gaze at the mountains- I don't need to see each tree. I want to turn the corner and see Mr. A's truck at home, safe and sound- I don't need to see if he's straight in the driveway or not.

And it is so refreshing. To just think about and take in the big picture.

And I think, as unfocused as that makes me, that is where I am. I have taken out my infertility contacts, and I'm just reflecting on the big picture of our family. I think about when our house won't be so quiet. I think about the day our family grows. I think about what it will be like to have a carseat in my car...and have that feel normal. I think about how much fun it will be being parents, and how much work it will be being parents. I think about how cool it will be to be "mom" and "dad"...and have our marriage be the foundation for our family.

Of course after walking around blurry-eyed for 45 minutes, I am ready to put my contacts back in when we get home from our walk. And we are ready (as we'll ever be) for the upcoming cycle, too.

But it's nice to be out of focus sometimes. Even without the details, I can still see the big picture.