Sunday, December 16, 2007
It's hard to seem happy all the time; it's hard to have light conversations when our mood is so heavy.
For so many, infertility is a struggle that they are distant from. In this group of friends, I feel sorry for those who are:
single and have no children: they know that this is heavy but it's not where they are in life so it seems hard for them to relate to the difficulty.
married but not ready for children: they seem to be pretty focused on fun couple life - something we should too be involved with or celebrating - but don't feel like it.
married and who have children, but are done trying for other children: they have really moved into a phase of their life where they excited about all the new stages of their children's development (which is very exciting and interesting) but it feels like we are SO FAR behind these friends - and it feels like they have other friends who fit their circumstances better.
married and are trying for a child or a sibling: this group of friends have a hard line to walk. Trying for children, for most couples, is an exciting time. These friends know that it's a sensitive subject for us, so they are very delicate in their communications with us. We are appreciative of that, but wish it didn't have to be this way.
those who are pregnant: these are the ladies I feel the worst for. I've had a couple of friends fall into this category in our 16 months of this struggle .... and they were very thoughtful about how they handled telling us the news, they also have done wonders at being pregnant around us. I wish I could say "this is no big deal" ... but it is a big deal. I had a very open conversation with a friend about how she said she'd be scared to tell me if/when she got pregnant. We discussed that at the time when she tells me she's pregnant it will be "bittersweet" news ... bitter b/c of our circumstances but also very sweet - as children and pregnancies are a precious gift from God.
A sweeping apology to my friends: I wish it weren't awkward when a group of women are together and it's clear that I don't fit into the "recent baby happenings" stories or when you have wonderful pregnancy news to share with your friends and I happen to be one of the recipients - I'm sorry that it's hard to share this news w/us. It should be just as wonderful and celebratory a time as it feels to you.
I'm really hopeful that some day soon, this won't be as much of an issue for us. I'm hoping that baby making can be a happy, exciting topic for us and that the awkwardness that people feel about having these types of discussions with us will be lifted.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
But we are rebounding and looking forward to our future attempts at babymaking. I went into the RE today as I am in the beginning of my next cycle. It turns out I have cysts on my ovaries (never had those before ... that I know of). It is very common for women who have gone through a medicated cycle and who have developed many follicles (eggs) to find themselves with cysts. It's even more common for this to happen to women who cancelled their cycle (as usually those women don't ovulate the developed follies/eggs and they just stick around). For us we cancelled, but we triggered and thus ovulated our many eggs ... so we were less likely to find cysts. However, we found two small cysts (13mm & 18mm)
The RE is putting me on birth control pills for ten days to restrict the estrogen the cysts need to maintain their size. (The irony huh? To a woman in my shoes - birth control is the enemy!) So we go back in on 12/10 for a follow up. It is around that time that we start again on a medicated cycle.
Boy oh boy would Berilac and I love to celebrate our Savior's birth with a conception party of our own!
So, I will take the mean, bad, evil pills and keep you updated.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It's stories like these that make me sad ... sure, I've never had to deal with a screaming 2 year old, but I know I would never beat and kill one.
However, these people did.
I'm thinking the mom didn't try for years going through heartbreak after heartbreak to have this baby. And look what she does with her blessing? How sad. How incredibly sad.
Mother reportedly tells police she, stepfather beat 2-year-old to death
updated 6:08 p.m. PT, Mon., Nov. 26, 2007
GALVESTON, Texas - A woman believed to be the mother of a 2-year-old whose body was found in Galveston Bay told police she and the girl’s stepfather beat and tortured the child to death, court documents show.
The details, in a statement Kimberly Dawn Trenor gave to police, paint a chilling picture of the last days of the girl investigators called “Baby Grace” as they worked for weeks to learn her identity.
Investigators are awaiting DNA test results but said Monday they are “fairly confident” that the body a fisherman found in a plastic box Oct. 29 is that of Riley Ann Sawyers. Trenor, 19, and her husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, were in custody on charges of hurting the girl.
“It was a few weeks ago I held up this little shoe and asked, ’Who is Baby Grace? Who does this belong to?”’ sheriff’s Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said at a news conference. “We’re now fairly confident we know the answer to that.”
An autopsy revealed three skull fractures, but the cause of death has not been determined.
Tuttoilmondo said he could not discuss details of the little girl’s death, but Trenor said in her police statement, first reported by Houston television station KTRK, that she and Zeigler, 24, killed her July 24.
The girl was beaten with leather belts, had her head held underwater in a bathtub and then was thrown across a room, her head slamming into a tile floor, Trenor said in the document. She said they kept the body in a storage shed for one to two months before they put it in a plastic bin and dumped it into Galveston Bay.
Trenor’s attorney, Tom Stickler, said she has cooperated with authorities. He declined to comment about her statement to investigators.
'No doubt' on ID
“But from what she said, there is no doubt that the girl found is Riley Sawyers,” Stickler said.
Trenor and Zeigler were arrested early Saturday and charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence, Tuttoilmondo said. Bail was set at $350,000 each. The couple’s next court appearance was expected to be scheduled on Tuesday.
Wendell Odom, Zeigler’s attorney, declined to comment on the case except to say Zeigler grew up in Spring, about 75 miles north of Galveston, and works as an instrument technician in the oil industry.
Trenor and Zeigler met a couple of years ago playing an online game, World of Warcraft, and she moved with her daughter from suburban Cleveland to Spring in June, Stickler said.
Riley’s paternal grandmother, Sheryl Sawyers, hadn’t seen her granddaughter in months when she saw a police sketch of “Baby Grace.” Thinking it might be Riley, she called authorities in Texas.
In Mentor, Ohio, on Monday, Sawyers wiped away tears at a news conference and held up the Elmo doll she had already bought Riley for Christmas.
“It’s hard to think that I’ll never see her again,” she said.
The Sawyers family’s attorney, Laura DePledge, said they take comfort in knowing that the girl is “resting peacefully and is no longer subject to abuse.”
DePledge said Trenor and Sawyers’ son, Robert Sawyers, also of Mentor, had been high school sweethearts. Sheryl Sawyers said she has not seen Riley since the girl and Trenor moved to Texas.
Robert Sawyers, who works in an auto-parts store, was never married to Trenor but lived with her and their daughter in his parents’ home for about two years. He and Trenor split up after March 31, when he was charged with domestic violence against her.
DePledge said there was insufficient evidence to support the charge, which was reduced to disorderly conduct. Robert Sawyers is now married and has a 3-month-old son.
Riley “had a very big imagination for such a little girl,” he said of his daughter. “She could play with anything and have fun with it.”
Tuttoilmondo said Trenor had told relatives that someone claiming to be a social worker from Ohio took the girl in July.
Tuttoilmondo said investigators became emotionally involved in determining the little girl’s identity.
“Any way you look at it, we carry a piece of her with us and will always carry a little piece of her with us,” he said. “She’s still our little girl.”
Monday, November 12, 2007
So last night Berilac and I were SO EXCITEd to finally find a matching sleeper love seat to our already acquired Ikea couch ... we had been looking on Craigslist for a couple of months. Sunday afternoon I found a new post offering the love seat and we jumped at the chance. We headed out that night to check out the couch and make a down payment on it for a future pick up (we pick it up tomorrow night).
So as we walk up this very nice woman in her late twenties/early thirties greets us and is somewhat quiet and reserved.
Here's how the conversation goes: (and no, I'm not kidding)
Her: So, would you guys like to buy it?
Me: Everything looks good. Now I know in my email I mentioned that we'd pay the entire amount and pick it up on Tuesday, but honestly we don't know you and we'd hate to pay the entire amount without having anything to take home, I was thinking we could pay half? (no, this is not where I was kicking myself - I'm just this direct with my thoughts)
Her: Yeah, that's fine.
Me: Ok, so here's $20, $40, ...
Her: So can you hold on while I go get my counterfeit marker - cuz I don't know you guys at all. *wink*
Me: ha, ha, that's so funny. No, seriously, you never know ... did you hear about what happened to one lady doing a Craigslist transaction?
Her: No, what?
Me: This lady went to go pick up her item - as most Craig'slisters do
Me: and the lady got shot and killed by a teenager b/c the teenager thought it would be funny to kill someone.
When we were done w/our ever so stimulating conversation she HIGH TAILED it outta there. (big surprise) DH and I got back into the car and he was like "that was a great story honey" *huge smirk turning into a laugh growing over his face*
... but the worst part is that she has to see us again tomorrow night and we'll be driving a big, creepy van to carry the couch home in ... poor lady.
Because I'm horrible at tact, I was actually contemplating bringing it up again when I see her (to rectify the situation!!) but Berilac was like "I think you've done enough"
... he's not even letting me go back to her house.
Note to self: Not every comment needs a "witty" rebuttal.
Friday, November 9, 2007
So there we were left with little concrete info to make a decision, though we *knew* what our decision was going to be ... we induced ovulation yesterday morning in an attempt to force ovulation before all the follicles grew to a size large enough to ovulate and we scheduled a follow up ultrasound for today to in fact SEE if the two under-achievers caught up, giving us the potential five follicles.
We went in today for a scan and found SEVEN follicles of mature size ... SEVEN!! (evidentially, my ovaries - are machines!) So we could have a few babies to divy up and give away come 9 months from now ... anybody want one?
Ok, so I'm lying.
As you know, Berilac and I aren't willing to consider selective reduction, so, like good, responsible adults, (and unlike the desparate infertiles we feel like) we are cancelling this cycle and we will have no babies come late July/early Aug.
Up and down, back and forth ... man, this rollercoaster is making me nauseous.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
During our ultrasound today we found SIX follies all of similar sizes!! The big ones slowed down and the little ones sped up! Because we are not willing to do selective reduction (aborting extra babies in the womb) our RE does not feel comfortable going through with this cycle with this many eggs (as six eggs puts us at a high chance for high-order multiples).
Our current plan: We are going to stop the meds and go in tomorrow morning for another u/s hoping that 1 to 4 of the eggs pulls out in front and we can continue with the cycle. Otherwise, it's a cancelled cycle - and we're out a good bit of money and bummed.
Would you pray that a few of my eggs dominate and that we can continue down the path we've started? Also, pray that we would make the best decision and that we would be content with the outcome - knowing it's in His hands.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Today's ultrasound showed 6 eggs developing (yowzers!) the good news is that size-wise two of those eggs are in the lead with a third trailing it (in terms of development) and the last three are all in a tie, bringing up the rear. So the RE thinks that since we are not shooting for six eggs, we will definitely have two eggs and hopefully have three eggs - we are stoked about this response.
We keep checking in with the specialist this week - and we go back in on Wednesday for another check-in. If we get pregnant this cycle we'd be looking at a late July or early August baby - heck, I'm not picky ... a healthy baby is all I'm asking for!
For those in the infertility world, let me share a little detail: today is CD9, lining is at 9mm (yay!) follies were 13.8, 13.4, 11, & (3) @ 10mm. I've been moved from 100iu Follistim to 125iu for the next two days. Projected trigger of Wed or Thurs w/IUI on Fri or Sat! Ok to BD given that we don't anticipate 6 eggs to release.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
I got married six years ago, and the entire time - man, I tell you - I've been struggling with this. Everytime it's meal time or if there's a vacation on the horizon that needs planning or WHATEVER?!! I always need to communicate my needs/preferences about the topic and make sure my needs are met. I can't just keep my trap shut and assume that other people are involved and the world doesn't revolve around me. "Woe is me"
This whole infertility struggle has got me questioning how well I'm doing in this department. Yes, I know this is a deep and painful struggle, but do I have to suffer so poorly?
This past Friday night, Berilac and I went out on a double date with a mature older couple from our church and during that time they really encouraged us and comforted us in our recent struggles, but an ah-ha moment that came out of it for me was when the wife described a new perspective on how to look at the Bible (and in a more applicable fashion - how you can expand this example to apply to your life) so she said "did you ever think of the Bible as a picture of what God does in the lives of His people (as in, He's working through all of their choices and circumstances) rather than a story about a bunch of different people?" I'd never thought of it that way. If you look at it like that you see much more clearly that it's not about Moses, Abraham, Noah, Isaiah, David, you get the idea ... it's really all about what He's doing in all of their lives - it's all about Him and not really about us ... if you can make that leap - you can also understand that this life is not about YOU.
And these losses ... they are not about us. We didn't do or not do anything to cause them. It hasn't been a twisted form of punishment. There's not something I could have done. God is not withholding blessing from me. It's not about doing enough "good things" to finally earn a child. It's not about doing XYZ in order to deserve a child. And I know that's true because you know what? it's not about me.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Berilac and I are so excited, the net of it is: I am responding to the meds better than the doctors had hoped!
As I mentioned in a previous post, we are aiming to release 3-4 eggs this cycle in an attempt to find the "golden egg". Our doctor has been candid in communicating to us that we would most likely NOT respond well to the meds and we might not get more than 1 egg this cycle. Imagine our surprise when we did an ultrasound and found that my body is gearing up to release 5-6 eggs this cycle!!! This is wonderful news b/c we got more than 1, this is also great news b/c we can always slow down the meds to not actually release 5-6 eggs (so we're not worried about too many ... just yet!)
The RE was so excited about our response she LOWERED my dosage (rare for someone with my diagnoses!) So now I don't have to give myself as much of a shot each day, just 2/3 of what I was doing. I go back in on Monday morning for a check-in.
Things are looking good. We are just continuing to pray that we trust God in all that He's doing in our family. That we would recognize that this is all about Him and whether it's not becoming pregnant at all this cycle or conceiving septuplets (please Lord, NO!) that we would be obedient to Him and trust that He is in control.
This whole experience is such a rollercoaster - It's so nice to be enjoying the ride ... even if it's just for awhile.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
One thing that I don't like about struggling with infertility is that the days seem to S...L...O...W...D...O...W...N (as you try to patiently wait for the next "opportunity" - be it ovulation or a period). However, conversely the years FLY by (as you realize "it was this time last year that I was __________" [getting ready for a treatment, a few weeks pregnant, ... you fill in the blank])
It is my prayer that I can stay present, in the moment ... able to enjoy the weather, the hubby, the friends, the conversations, the dogs, and yes even the job ... and not get too distracted by something I have no control over anyhow.
Today is November First ... let's see, what would normal people do on November 1st? ... I think I'll put up some fall decorations in preparation for Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Berilac didn't think I'd be able to self administer and said he would do it for me if I needed (pa-lease!) I had no problem.
I chose to go two fingers left and two fingers below my belly button, I iced it for like 5 mins, wiped with the alcohol swab (and let it dry), primed, aimed, injected slowly, held for 5 seconds and pulled it out. Only a couple of drops of blood. I was so proud of myself!!
My biggest fear (totally irrational, I know) was anaphalactic shock (yes, I'm a serious worry-er) ... but instead the only "odd" thing that happened was as I was injecting the drug I felt a rush of heat radiate over my body, and I got blood drops afterward ... perhaps I hit a vein or something? Berilac thinks it was anxiety ... but usually when I have anxiety symptoms I imagine them ahead of time - this totally caught me off guard.
Berilac got it on camera ... video taped! after I was done he pretend fainted w/camera in hand - too cute!
And yes, I am so glad we waited until 9PM to administer vs. 8PM given the sizable earthquake that we experienced last night!! The epicenter was only 17 miles from our home ... it was more "rolling" than "shaking" ... it felt like Berilac and I were slow dancing, swaying to the music! It was actually quite exciting and fun - but those darn doggies of ours didn't give us any warning howls or barks ... what good are these two?
... So that's it no bruises, druggie tracks, or side-effects to speak of ... we are off to the races!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
So tonight I take my first shot.
We went into the doctor today for our day 3 baseline ultrasound and she found more than 12 antral follicles (in one of my older posts I lamented about my lack of antral follicles - that count of 8 pointed toward diminished ovarian reserve) Well, the RE was so encouraged this month to see an AFC of more than 10. She even stopped counting she saw so many. AND she didn't investigate deeply, hunting/scouring for these - she saw them from a distance and stopped counting! She was really optimistic & excited.
So positive about the results that she lowered my initial injects dose! Which I am grateful for. As I mentioned earlier, we are trying to be conservative in this stimulation - so I am on 150iu of Follistim each day. I go in for a follow up on Saturday morning to see how the drugs are affecting my developing follies!
Lord, we pray for good quality eggs!!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The latest to happen in our saga (as you read in some of our September posts) was that we conceived while waiting to start an IVF cycle - only to lose that baby days later ... I went to the RE during the loss to do a miscarriage follow-up appointment and at that appointment our Dr indicated to us how amazing it is that we have a 100% success rate of pregnancy each month attempted, when, for our age, it should be more like 20%. She was especially amazed given our FSH values (most women with elevated FSH cannot get pregnant, much less stay pregnant). So given that my body seems to do something right (get us pregnant with an insane amount of ease) perhaps we don't need to go down the most invasive route to successful pregnancy (the route of IVF), she suggested we try one cycle of a less invasive procedure - injectibles. The hope is that we will produce more eggs on a given cycle and play the numbers game - the more eggs I release the more likely one of them will be chromosomally normal. That's what the Dr's say.
So Berilac and I talked about it and prayed about it a lot. These kinds of decisions are very stressful and require a lot of processing. And we have decided that we will try one cycle of injectibles before we move onto IVF. The thing is: we made this decision two weeks after our miscarriage, thinking it would only be two more weeks before we start the treatments - as they are coordinated around your menstral cycle ... but following this latest miscarriage my body has decided to not cooperate - and it took 6 weeks for what most ladies' bodies get done in 28 days. "God, are you really testing my patience in a time like this?" (the answer is yes for those of you who are wondering).
So here we are ... waiting for my cycle to start so that we can move forward with a medicated cycle that we were so hopeful (back in early September) to avoid. The reason I'm finally upating the blog is b/c we're about to start that cycle anyday. So I needed to introduce you to the idea of what we're doing before I update you on the progress of the procedure, in the coming weeks.
We will be doing the sub-cutaneous shots twice daily to super-ovulate me. Once the ovaries have produced mature follicles (somewhere between 2-4 follies - this translates into approx. 2-4 eggs) the Dr's give me a drug that induces ovulation and we're off to the races! Some couples opt to do an IUI to assist in this process - as they have a hard time acheiving pregnancy. We will do an IUI for diagnostic purposes. And hey, since we're spending so much money on the drugs, we might as well get the best chances out of this thing, right?
So, let me tell you why this procedure is a good thing. Then let me tell you why this is a bad thing:
- This is a good thing b/c each month my body will put into the "egg" race any number of potential eggs, but my body on it's own will only ovulate 1 (rarely 2) of those eggs (the ones that start out in the race that I don't ovulate will end up being discarded in my body). These drugs will help to mature more than one of those eggs and will give us more "opportunities" to fall pregnant (fewer of the eggs will be discarded on this cycle). So 4 eggs give us better odds of getting a good egg than 1 egg.
- This is a bad thing, b/c if you think about it ... this means that either the bad eggs will not fertilize and thus not become babies (that has yet to happen to us, remember we are three for three in achieving pregnancy with three abnormal embryos) OR the eggs will fertilize and I will be pregnant with multiples and will most likely end up miscarrying none, some, or all of the babies. Wow - if I don't like miscarrying one at a time, I cringe to think how this will go in an all-at-once scenario. This does not sound like fun.
My prayer is that we only develop 2-3 eggs and that only 1-2 fertilize and that those that do fertilize will become healthy, viable babies. Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again - I do not wish for multiples (like, very understandably, many infertile women do) I am a big fat chicken and I do not want to deal with the stress the risks of multiples bring to mother and babies. The thing is ... this treatment is the treatment that risks high order multiples (as in triplets, quads, etc). In IVF they can choose how many babies they put back inside the woman. So if you only put two babies back, it's rare that you'd end up delivering four. In an injectibles cycle they can monitor how many follicles/eggs you develop, but they can't limit them ... they need to dial in the drugs just right to get the appropriate number of eggs. The thing that puts me at the greatest risk is my age. The younger you are - the more likely multiples is. And given that I'm 30 and most RE's don't deal with a lot of twenty-somethings (although many infertile twenty somethings do exist) I am one of the younger patients these specialists see. Especially in this area, there are many 40+ year old women that finally want to start a family after their careers are in place. (sweeping generality, I know, but this was from a specialist's mouth, not mine).
One thing that could happen, that I didn't mention, is that my body could totally not respond to synthetic hormones and not cooperate at all. I could be 3 for 3 in natural cycles, but drugs change the playing field - so we'll see how I respond and if my body completely rejects the process or loves it.
So that's it. That's what we're doing. We start in a couple of days.
Lord we ask for your will to be done. We pray for strength and courage and above all continued faith in You.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
God has put it on my heart to start a new ministry at my church - a support group for those struggling with infertility. Berilac and I have prayed about it and we are ablaze with excitement and passion (ok, mostly I am ... but he hasn't got a lot of spare time having just started graduate school).
Here are some of the ideas we're building off of:
1. Meets weekly at our church (4 times per month - 3 of those times, ladies only. 1 of those times couples gather)
2. Structure the meeting similar to Celebrate Recovery.
3. Open to all who are:
a. currently struggling with infertility or
b. those who have struggled in the past
c. dealing with primary infertility
d. dealing with secondary infertility
e. those who struggle with getting pregnant
f. those who struggle with staying pregnant
4. Limit (or prohibit?) discussions about current living children.
5. Initiate invitations (via informational flyers) at local fertility clinics and perhaps OB/GYN offices.
But there are some questions that we're trying to answer:
1. What do you do when a member becomes successfully pregnant (besides celebrate of course!)
2. Is childcare provided? (for those who aren't infertile and reading this - know that babies are not allowed at fertility clinics)
3. Is it permissible to discuss the clinical aspects of our struggles? Do we encourage people to share infertility ideas/suggestions ("have you tried this test?" ... "my doctor does this protocol for someone with your issues", etc.)
We are just starting to develop this whole thing. I will definitely share more later as the details unfold ... but I wanted to ask anyone out there who is struggling with infertility or loss to leave a comment sharing about something specific that they benefitted from in a support group that they participated in or an idea that they would appreciate if they were in a support group. I'd love to hear people's opinions/suggestions on the ideas we've already started forming and questions we're already asking.
Honestly, it scares me that I'm prayerfully responding to this call. To me it SCREAMS that God has plans, that if I start something like this, I will need to be infertile for years to come (just so I could facilitate such a ministry) ... like any good infertile, "I hope to be successfully pregnant in a few short months" (*said with gritted teeth and much forced enthusiasm and optimism*) ... "I" do not plan to be struggling with an empty womb for many months, and certainly not for many years. But who knows what God has planned for me. It does make me wonder - if God is putting this on my heart - then surely I can't start it only to step down a few months later. Yikes
... But I move forward as I can't deny this tugging on my heart.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Psalm 68:19: Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens
... if I'm feeling this way, I can only imagine the heavy load He's carrying on our behalf.
Isaiah 40:31 says: but those who hope in the LORD, will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.Will you pray for my hope to be restored? Clearly God has me on a path to renew my hope ...
Romans 5: 3-5 ... Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.So as you can see ... getting to hope is a process ... a process I'm having hard time with.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Anger. Sadness. Frustration. Betrayal. Fear.
Anger: When we learned that we were pregnant (for the third time) I thought ... heck, this has got to be the one, right? I really had a positive perspective ... I wasn't the little nay-sayer that I usually am. I was optimistic ... and not "cautiously" optimistic as most people who've experienced loss learn to be. I was REALLY trusting that God was going to bless us with a wee-one this time. I was confident of it. I started spotting on Sunday night and I was SOOOO proud of myself that I just let go of the concern thinking to myself that many pregnancies go through spotting - it doesn't mean it's over.
Sadness: I was not sad when I first realized I was miscarrying. I used the word numb in a previous post and I think that best describes what I was feeling. It was really ... pretty surreal ... unbelievable. Sadly, I'm having an easier time emotionally getting over this loss than our previous losses ... strange, huh? I really do believe that any loss whether it's 4 weeks or 40 weeks, whether it's your first or your 12th (yes, I've seen girls that have had 11 losses!), whether you already have a living child in your arms or not ... they are ALL painful, unexplainable, unfair, sad losses. For us, the first loss was a COMPLETE surprise - so the only thing that would top that pain would be for a late first trimester loss - you know like after 12 weeks when you think you're in the clear ... or perhaps a stillbirth or infant loss - I can't even IMAGINE that pain ... and I hope and pray to God that I never will have to experience any of those types of losses. Our second loss shocked me as I didn't think I could have a second consecutive loss - truly I started having anxiety attacks because I was starting to realize that this whole childbearing thing might not ever happen for us. But the third loss wasn't quite as shocking ... when you've miscarried 100% of your pregnancies ... it's not so surprising when you miscarry again (in fact, I think I'll be in more shock if/when I actually AM able to make it past 9 weeks ... in the words of one of my favorite bloggers "second trimester - what's that?")
Frustration: I think I'm filled with more questions this time around. With the first two - they were so new, so unexpected. I was told my losses were due to "flukes." Now that I've had tests and diagnoses AND even more so, now that I've been treated for those issues ... it proves even more frustrating that the identified "potential reasons for my earlier losses" when treated ... still allowed me to lose the baby. This is frustrating because it makes me think we're back to the beginning ... really we have no idea why I'm miscarrying.
Betrayal: This is my life-long struggle. I've had pretty major trust issues my entire life and I'm not exactly sure why. I think it's a stack of many small reasons, rather than one specific childhood event or something I could point to in the past. But this is the emotion that haunts me the most. I struggle so badly with trusting that God wants the best for me. That He has a good plan for me. That He cares enough to pay attention to my life and my feelings and my desires. I know that He does (in my head) but my heart doesn't comprehend as well as my head does ... it never has.
Fear: Directly on betrayal's heels (in terms of how I struggle in my life) is fear. You wanna meet someone who lives their life in fear? Well, I'm her. I am so weak to the enemy's lies ... his whispers that my plane is going to crash, that my boat is going to sink, that my body is running a muck with horrible cancers, that my body will never be able to produce a healthy baby. I hate fear. I battle fear. Fear is always nearby.
In these days following the loss I'm not really entertaining ideas of what's next ... thinking about IVF next cycle, etc. I'm just trying to marinate in this grief, trying to face it, trying to deal with it and process it with God. Because when this kind of pain gets backed up ... it doesn't look pretty.
Thanks for your continued prayers and calls and emails and PM's and love - I appreciate it and I need it more than I care to admit.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
(Thank you Daisy for a wonderful distraction from ... well ... moping)
4 Jobs I've Held: what, only four?? Ok, I will list all of them, but I will only comment on four of them.
- Foster's Freeze: (similar to a Dairy Queen) I worked there through high-school (and beyond! five years total) as it was the only job that would support my cheerleading/dancing schedule ... yes, I was a cheerleader, big surprise? No. When I worked there - somedays I felt unaccomplished ... but now that I've had very high-visibility, high-stress jobs I long for the days to drop a quarter in the juke box, hop up on the counter, and kareoke to Peggy Lee's "You give me fever!" I think this job was my most pivotal and important job as it was here that I came to learn about and accept the Lord. Here's an unbelievable plug for the good that can come from shameless bible thumping in the work place! (some people [me] just need to get knocked hard in the noggin). Wanna hear something funny? I've been in the professional working world for about 10 years now and my job at Foster's Freeze is the one I've held the longest ... tee hee.
- U-VU Networks: (Internet streaming media company ... back in 1997, before there WAS streaming video - yikes!) This was awesome b/c I asked the president of this company if I could have a job ... at the time I was working at the Foster's Freeze and had ZERO computer experience (wasn't quite sure how to use one really) and I got this job. I thought it was b/c of my intellect and obvious "bright-ness" but no, it was b/c he was a 32 year old pervert and I was a cute 19 year old ... yikes, yikes, double yikes. BUT, it got me into my current field and was the creepy start of my career. (God works in mysterious ways, no?)
- Business Analyst at a telecomm company.
- Presales/Technical Software Sales: This was a favorite job of mine b/c I got to travel 80% of the time with my wonderfully dear friend of mine (Daisy) and we ventured to Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Scottsdale, etc together and we survived a near plane crash together - oh how a near death experience can bring two people together.
- Enrollment counselor at University of Phoenix: Really, I must say that although my title was "enrollment counselor" the job was actually more like a full-court-press sales position. They wanted me (someone who looks like their 12) to ask 50-something year old non-college-graduates "how it made them feel" to be where they were in life w/o a college degree ... I was lucky I wasn't hauled off and slapped silly by some (understandably) angry old losers. (HA, just kidding, just wanted to see if you're really reading ... they weren't old, nor were they losers)
- Project manager at an ecommerce company.
- IT consultant for a Microsoft partner.
- Systems Analyst for a noteable private university.
4 Films I could watch again and again:
- As good as it gets
- Beauty and the Beast (Hubby and I love to sing the Gaston/Lefou song, he plays the role of Gaston, me as Lefou)
- It's a toss up between Tommy Boy and So I married an axe murderer
- Finding Nemo, Toy Story 1 & 2, Shrek 1 & 2, Incredibles, all the animation movies - I so appreciate the skill.
4 TV Shows I watch
- Oprah - it's sick and I know it.
- Biggest Loser - it's inspiring.
- Last Comic Standing
4 PLaces I've lived (the first three towns are no more than 15 miles apart)
- Little town in northern California
- A different little town in northern California
- Another different little town in northern California
- A town on the Peninsula in the Bay Area, California
4 Favorite foods
- Lamb, marinated in olive oil and garlic - YUM!!
- Pretty much anything deep fried my favorite is mozerella sticks dipped in ranch (fat, cooked in fat, dipped in fat ... does it get any better?)
- GOAT CHEESE!
4 websites I visit everyday
- Yahoo mail
- A fertility site that helps me track my cycles
- My favorite blogs (listed on the right)
- google - to search for all things fun
4 favorite colors
- sage green
- celery green
- forest green
- olive green
4 places I'd rather be right now
- At home
- Traveling around the world
4 names I like but wouldn't or couldn't use myself
- Oprah (ok, just kidding)
And my 4 blogging friends that I'm tagging are:
- Maine n' me
- Fresh Mint. Hot Pink
- Mandy Dawson
- Wishing and Hoping - Fortune Cookie Says Don't give up
Monday, September 17, 2007
My test results just came back in and they show my HCG level to be 10. The level should be upwards of 1600. I sit here numb. Thinking about the loss, feeling little, unable to really express whatever is going on inside.
Making a baby, starting a family, is supposed to be the most wonderful experience of one's life ... this is not what it's supposed to be like.
How do I cope? Drink, heavily. No, not really. Honestly, I try to distract myself. I try to do the laundry, respond to work emails, go to unnecessary meetings and pretend like I'm paying attention. As I had to go to work today, as I stumbled through this loss (with many trips to the bathroom) surrounded by ... my unaware colleagues ... I spent the day keeping my chin up, just trying to keep it together. There were times during the day that my mind would wander (while doing said above activities) and my eyes started to well up ... then someone would address me in a meeting or walk into my cube and I would snap back into the present and I would will myself not to cry. It was a rough day.
Today, as I found moments of quiet - walking from building to building, waiting for a bus, waiting in the clinic lobby for my blood tests ... I tried to ask God what was going on ... but I didn't get an answer. The only thing that resounded with me was what our pastor said a few Sunday's ago: Suffering comes when our timing does not line up with God's timing
... and so we wait.
In loving memory of our youngest little baby in heaven, gone today 9/17/07 ... Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jer 1:5 ... we'll miss you and we look forward to meeting you someday.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I go in tomorrow for all of my "confirmation" blood work - as we just returned today from our vacation and before I even get a chance to start obsessing about HCG blood levels and whether or not they're doubling ... I started my period.
So I've emailed my infertility specialist and my endocrinologist to let them know what kind of test results we might be expecting tomorrow.
I'm really not being "negative" and assuming the worst. I started cramping this afternoon and started bleeding like a period this evening ... so I took a pregnancy test this evening to see if the line got darker (which would hint towards a higher level of HCG and therefore a progressing pregnancy) but the pregnancy line looks just about gone.
All of this totally stumps me as I still have pregnancy symptoms ... and I'm not on Progesterone (which mimics and can prolong false pregnancy symptoms)
I'll let you know tomorrow what I learn. Till then, please pray for us as this (if it happens) will be our first natural miscarriage experience ... and I'm sure if a miscarriage is confirmed our hearts will be broken and we'll deal with feelings of anger and confusion, grieving and loss ... all over again.
Thanks for your prayers and your love ...
Friday, September 14, 2007
I don't have time to go on and on, but I wanted to say...
The entire time we were on the cruise I was struggling with constant sea sickness! As I talked with others - at my table, sitting next to me, enjoying the same activities I was ... I learned that NONE of them were suffering with sea sickness after the initial, first day adjustment. I thought they must have all been crazy. Even Berilac said that his sea sickness had subsided after the first day of the five day cruise.
I was convinced these people were lying to me, or just not as "in touch" (ha!) with their bodies as I am ... until I got off the boat and learned that the sea sickness was not so much due to the sea! It's been over 24 hours since we got off the boat and I'm still nauseated!
My guess ... well, I am pregnant.
Yay for morning (read: all-day) sickness!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Well folks - when it comes to us "trying" to get pregnant ... we are three for three. We are pregnant - again :-) I guess we're not going to try IVF in September!!
We are so excited and at the same time we are fighting off fear. Please pray for us that we will not let the enemies lies get to us - that we will be strong and steadfast in trusting our Lord for this healthy little (and we're talking tiny) baby in my womb.
I just took the test this morning - I still am having a hard time believing it's real ... but oh baby, let me tell you that I'm am going to enjoy this pregnancy - whether it's days long or 36 more weeks long (we are 4 weeks pregnant) I will be living it up, glowing like all pregnant ladies should. I'm going to start fantasizing about maternity wear, looking dreamily at beautiful pregnant bellies, (ok, maybe I was already doing these two things - so sue me!) taking advantage of every craving or "pregnancy" excuse ... and most of all praising my Lord for this blessing - no matter how long it lasts.
We covet your prayers for a healthy, full-term pregnancy. We covet your prayers for the absense of stress and an abandoning trust in the Lord.
I am currently on a boat off the coast of Baja Mexico, cruising North on the Pacific. (Yes, it turns out there is Internet access on the ship!) We are so excited we are shouting it from the bow of the ship "we're the king (and queen) of the world" (think quote from Titanic)
Yes, we know it's very early to be sharing this news ... but, what's new? That's how we did it the last two times. We know that if we miscarry again ... we want all of you surrounding us again, lifting us up in prayer, loving us through the pain. Besides if we only get weeks with our pregnancies (as opposed to ever being able to carry a baby to full term) we don't want to miss out of the joy of sharing the news - these fertility ailments have twice now stolen my ability to enjoy the second trimester of pregnancy, a baby shower, maternity clothes, the labor & birthing process (not that that's fun), the list goes on and on ... at least I can celebrate for awhile the life that's in my womb - and I will. The Lord givith and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Today, let's bless His name because He has given!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
So Saturday Berilac and I went to our "injectibles" class.
The nurse showed us four different types of FSH drugs, they are:
Basically these drugs all do the same thing with slight drug variations or administering tool features - outlined below. The nurse gave us the whole down-low on every drug, the benefits of each, and the make up of them. This wonderful nurse of ours is a patient advocate and has completed a research study on patients choosing their OWN medication ... so a major part of the injectibles class was informing us about our options and helping us to make a decision on the drug that we feel is right for us. How strange is that? Have you ever had a Dr talk with you (and allow you to choose!) regarding the various brand name and generic drugs she's about to prescribe to you? It just doesn't happen, so it's neat to feel like I have even a LITTLE control in this whole process. When I share this information (that my RE office is allowing me to pick my meds) with my infertile friends on message boards and the like - they are all shocked. They are all under the impression that the different drugs are needed for different types of patients - but in reality they are very similar and the preference a Dr might have when prescribing a drug ... is likely due to marketing and a good relationship with the sales guy! (ok, now I'm getting way off track ... but I found this QUITE interesting)
Ok, as far as I understand, here is the breakdown:
Follistim & Gonal-F (from here forward referred to as: F&G) are similar.
Bravelle & Menopur (B&M) are similar.
*administered by easy small dose "pen" tool
*"G" is the most expensive of all 4 products as there is only one pharmacy in the US it's distributed out of (it's own) but b/c of this it has the best customer service ("hello operator, yeah, I've got a needle stuck in my butt ... can you help me?)
*administered using the type of syringes you see strewn about in alleyways.
*is mixed together with 1cc of dilutant so it allows you to mix ALL your doses into ONE shot rather than having say 3 shots. (this is really good because as I will most likely need to take boatloads of drugs, I don't need to take multiple shots!)
*these puppies sting the most out of the different types.
*"M" has LH in it, so it's needed in all IVF cycles, so I will most likely be required to take this in addition to another FSH drug.
*derived from the pee of Russian and Chinese women (and no, I'm not just trying to be funny, it's true!)
*"B" is the cheapest of the four!
So Berilac and I have decided that we prefer B&M ...
need to use the M anyway, so if the two go together, where's the decision? (it's pretty obvious). So the sad part is - I don't get to use the easy, nifty pen applicators - so I'll look like a street druggy if I'm ever forced to take my evening shot in public (like in a case when I'm not at home between 7-9pm, b/c we're actually out LIVING a life!)
So the BEST part about these drugs - is that they are subcutaneous (Sub-Q) ... meaning they get injected into the inch I can pinch on my tummy. The drugs just go into your skin. They suggested that over the many days of injects we migrate to various parts of the stomach area - but not to get too close to the belly button - yikes, that just sounds creepy! The nurse had each couple that was in the class set up with swag (many a free goodies) to take home including vials, needles, syringes, icepacks, DVDs, carrying cases, etc. But my favorite was the silicon block (stamped with expected company logo's) that we were given ... this is what we used to practice with (yay, I wasn't the pin cushion!) So we enjoyed injecting the drug into the cube, then trying with all of our might to SQUEEZE the liquid back out of it (… not paying attention to what the nurse was saying, because hey that's boring and it's only my skin at stake!)
During the class I was all about asking about the intramuscular (IM) shots that's Berilac would be giving me ... the nurse thought I was a glutton for punishment as (I guess) the Saturday session we were in was created to teach about sub-q injects NOT IM injects ... um hello? You're going to spend 2 hours showing me how to prick myself with a 1/2 inch needle, but we'll just postpone the ever so casual event of handing Berilac a one and one half inch needle to shove deep into my ham hocks! Yeah, that sounds right! We then learned that we get our one-on-one 30 minute training session with a Dr the day before Berilac is to give me the shot ... and during that session ... he gets to actually inject me with saline, so that they verify that he's doing it right ... once I learned this … I was less excited to get moving on the IM training session ... nursy, nurse - take your sweet old time! (on a side note: no, that picture is not of me, I did blog-lift it from a fellow fun (and immodest!) infertile)
Friday, September 7, 2007
Anyhow, I wanted to say that Berilac and I are going on vacation starting tomorrow morning. We'll be on a very large ship in the middle of the Pacific, so I'm not sure if we'll have the Internet access to provide regular posts.
If you think to pray for me, while I'm away, I'd love prayer for:
-safe flights that are absent of anxiety (I was in a near plane crash 9 years ago, and I have a hard time not getting freaked out being 30,000 feet in the air) Praise the Lord the flight is only a little over an hour!
-a good time to relax for Berilac and I ... a time to rejuvinate and enjoy each other (a time to get our minds off of ttc)
-a heart to love on the people God puts in our lives while we're floating out at sea!
-my attitude. I've been kind of bummed all week (hence my not posting) so I'd love it if you think to lift me up in prayer, that my hope & trust will be in Him.
We will be back on Sunday August 16th so ... look forward to fun pics of our trip that I'll post upon our return!
Thank you for your support and love!
Friday, August 31, 2007
I think back to my days of youth (oh the days!) and I remember how I postponed even the thought of childbearing. How I enjoyed living on my own and being single for 6 years before I got married at age 24. How I enjoyed being married and carefree for almost 5 years before we started this whole TTC journey. I remember being that girl who ran by me today - caring more about my cool workout outfit than my ovaries. (Now I'm lucky if my socks match in the morning, as I try not to allow EVERY minute to be consumed by thoughts of "So God, do you have plans to grow our family?") I think back to all those times I sat in a restaurant, walked through the mall, spent a day at work ... never giving a thought to whether or not today was a fertile day. I remember hearing stories of women who were: pregnant, newly motherhooded, or chasing around a few little tykes at home ... and I would listen to the story or anicdote, make a good-active-listener type of comment and quickly change the subject to something "important".
These days, I realize that I spend a lot of time looking at women strangers at restaurants, on the street, on the bus, wherever ... and as the ages vary, so do my thoughts:
- Under 30: Man, does she realize the gift she has?
- 30-something: Does she have children? Is she struggling like me? Is she even aware of the infertility struggle she could have or others do have?
- Over 40: Does she have children? Did she want to? Was it a struggle for her? Does she have pain around this whole topic that she doesn't share with anyone, a pain she just carries around quietly?
I was sharing this "comparison attitude" I'm having, with a friend of mine recently. We agreed - It's so easy to look at a woman (and in my case a woman who has six children) and think "why can't I be her?" But in reality, who KNOWS what kind of struggles she has? ... What if she doubts herself as a mother? what if she's drowning financially with the "burden" of all these children? What if she feels overwhelmed as a mother and then shames herself for wishing she wasn't tied down with all these kids? ... worse yet, what if she's not in touch AT ALL with any issues/concerns/hurts that she has? What if she just thinks "it's best to not have ANY issues" (and thus pretends that everything is wonderful and thus misses out on the pain AND more importantly the GROWTH that comes with affliction!)
Here is where I would add a scripture reference for not comparing ourselves to others as the Bible talks about, however, I'm not finding it ... (insert your grace here)
When I look at women I see walking around at work, riding the bus, or at the grocery store ... I wonder if they're hurting, like I'm hurting. I've found that I not only look at women through my "fertility goggles" like I've been posting about, but through my pain I've picked up a new set of goggles, "compassion goggles."
... I think God is just starting to work on my heart.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Well, my husband is one of those people. You know, the kind of person you love to hate. Now, I'm not trying to get a sympathy vote - I know I'm a pretty smart cookie ... but my husband is irritatingly smart. The kind of smart that earned him a free academic ride through college, the kind of smart that didn't need to do much studying to get straight A's through Electrical Engineering school, the kind of smart that uses higher order math in his everyday job, the kind of smart that doesn't ever need to study so much that he looks like this:
My hubby has the kind of smarts that allowed him to pass his first two equivalency tests ... he read two text books and passed two equivalency tests as if he had actually taken the courses! Who has that kind of discipline? That kind of attention? That kind of comprehension?
I complain now, because I'm jealous ... but not really. I get to ride this wave of intellect: This man brings home the bacon, this man responsibly manages our finances, this man challenges me, this man encourages me in the decisions I make, and this man counsels me.
So it's time to celebrate the hubby! Good job Berilac you have shown us once again ... you is smart!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Yes, she did.
She told me more than once. Did I believe her? ......... No. Seriously, what person goes through menopause at age 36?
... When she told me she was one of the women that had, I thought she was:
-trying to get some attention by being a little dramatic
-trying to instigate a heated discussion about women's plausible menopausal ages
Well, I was wrong. She didn't misunderstand ... she was misunderstood.
You would think that I kick myself every day for this, but surprisingly I don't.
Meet my dogs:
Did I tell you that the reason we own these two little "bundles of joy" (sarcasm thickly being lain) is because the hubby and I couldn't agree on the timing of childbearing?
By the time we got married, my six years of part-time college up to that point hadn't been enough to earn a bachelor's degree. So my hubby generously allowed me to quit my job and go back to school full time. In May of 2004 I graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science. I was 3 years married and READY to have chit-lins. Conversely, Hubby thought I was fresh out of college and ready to put my skills to use for a couple of years, cause hey ... he married a spring chicken, I was still young. (I was young; it's my poor little rotting eggs that weren't!)
So because he wasn't agreeing with my perspective on family planning timing - I gave him an ultimatum: "Your choice: Child or Dog?" ... He chose Dog.
I can honestly say that Berilac doesn't hold a grudge against me for not believing my mom (and thus giving us some sort of warning for our current circumstance) and I can honestly say that I'm not bitter with Berilac because he chose dogs over babies (at a time when potetially my eggs were in such better shape!)
Who knows what would have happened if we would have started sooner. But I can't waste my time wondering what could have been. I wish we would have started sooner ... but we didn't.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
So thank you Lord for good results!!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The goal of the appointment was to:
1. check for bacteria
2. size up my plumbing (to determine the best tools to pull from the tool chest on go-day)
3. send Berilac and I away to get many MORE blood tests
Well, thank you for your prayers ... our results were: great!, good, and great-so-far ... respectively.
The reason I report a "good" on the sizing up of the plumbing is because they were trying to get their wicked step-sister to squeeze into this little Cinderella's glass slipper. Let's just say they needed to try a couple of different types of instruments before they actually got one to work. I'm purposefully being a little vague here because if any men-folk are reading this, they might blush ... basically they were trying to find the right tube that will deliver our little embryos straight to the source come embryo transfer day. Evidentially, because I've never had a baby there's not much through-put ... if you know what I'm saying. (Yikes, and come the ever hoped for day of labor & delivery they are going to have me push what??? through where???) During this investigation the Doctor did tell me that I have a small uterus. (Let's see ... I'm petite, normal weight, small framed, have you seen my parents? ... is this really news that I have a small uterus? ... Ok, I guess I was freaked out to hear this because a wee uterus doesn't exactly pair well with the high rate of twins that IVF boasts ... one third of successful IVF pregnancies are twins or more!!) [note: please don't read this as I desire to have "twins or more". I understand how serious the risks are with multiples]
The "great-so-far" result in regards to the blood tests was rated as such since we were sent out for MANY tests, and only most of them have come back; albeit those that have come back have shown great results! So since the end of May that makes it Polly: 33, Berilac: 5. Yes, I win. I've taken six times as many fertility tests as he has! But in reality I haven't won at all because all of his tests have come back normal, and mine turn out to provide less-than-adequate results (my struggles in this area are worthy of their own post!)
Ok, so in the midst of all of the blood tests they had me take, they accidentally re-did my TSH and T4 levels ... early (they were supposed to allow one more week for the Thyroid drug to get into my system before re-testing me) but they learned that I'm responding really well to my meds!
Results that pointed toward my Hypothyroidism:
TSH: 5.8 (range .34-4.82)
T4: .7 (.6-1.6)
New & improved results:
TSH: 1.9 (range .34-4.82)
T4: 1.2 (.6-1.6)
This is exactly what they want to see happen ... a decrease in TSH and a rise in T4 - so thank you Lord!
Finally, I did want to say, on the note of awaiting blood tests: There is still one test from July 12th that we are waiting to hear back on. It's called Fragile-X and I guess if Premature Ovarian Failure is familial for a women (as it seems to be for me) there is a 1 in 15 chance that the woman (me) is a Fragile X carrier. Being a fragile X carrier could mean an increased chance of having children with mental retardation. Obviously, this would be very difficult to learn about and would definitely require a long meeting with a Geneticist to understand all of the implications. Let's pray that this is not the case for us. Let's claim Philippians 4:6 ... "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." So what should I be anxious about? ... nothing. So I guess, as they say: no news is good news.
Thank you again for your continued prayer and support. We love and cherish all of you!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I am the white car in this picture that is between the guy who's legally already entered the intersection and the bus that realized he's not going to make it.
Then you get the shot of me mid-intersection praying that we don't get T-Bone'd.
The third shot is my favorite as I look like a full-on celebrity (sunglasses and all!) who's been caught by the Papa Ratzi! Although you can't see me clearly, you can tell from my dumb-blond facial expression ... "who me? I'm innocent. Where's a hansome officer when I need one?" ... I knew I was flash-bulb BUSTED.
The ironic thing is ... you can't see the passenger (she's been blurred out for her personal protection!) but my poor mom is trusting me to take her safely home; she requested that I drive her through the vicious city so she wouldn't have to deal with all of those whacked-out drivers.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Following our last appt I told my RE that we have numerous questions (12 and counting!!) so I suggested that we have an IVF consultation appt and I mentioned that I was just starting my cycle so perhaps it was a good time to consider making forward steps toward IVF. That Doctor's office whipped me in there so fast, I think I'm going to file a whip lash claim.
So TOMORROW I start my series of appointments.
Tomorrow: Catheter and Culture - they measure my uterus for the embryo transfer portion of the IVF procedure. They also verify that I don't have any uterine infections as that increases the risks of miscarriage.
Saturday, Sept 1: Injections class. Yes, I have to stab myself each day with horrible needles in the butt, thighs, and stomach for many days through out an IVF cycle. Good news is they are subcutaneous, bad news is they are LARGE needles. And to boot - Berilac gets opportunities to stab me too (note to self: be extra nice to Berilac or he will avenge you with big scary needles) ... honestly, I'm wondering if I'll be able to poke myself with a sharp needle - usually I do anything I can to avoid pain.
Friday, Sept 7: IVF consult and signing of the consent forms. This is where our growing list of questions will be answered and where we'll need to identify what we'll have done with any "extra" embryos we might be able to fertilize. (duh? of course - we're ganna put em back in!) (this is also where we have to answer the tough questions - please do pray for us as we walk through this moral minefield)
So for those of you that don't know what IVF is, I'm learning myself (very quickly these days) as to what exactly the process is made up of - so here it is in short:
- Prep for 1 cycle: take Birth control pills for 1 month to regulate your cycle
- Super ovulate: at the beginning of your IVF cycle they do all sorts of blood work and ultrasounds to monitor your plumbing. They make you give yourself thousands of dollars worth of injected fertility drugs. They monitor you in order to catch you when you're just about ready to ovulate. They require precise timing around you giving yourself a trigger shot that enduces ovulation.
- Egg Retrieval: 34 hours after the trigger shot they put you under and do an egg retrieval. They use a needle and collect all of the eggs you've developed during your super ovulation. (I think in a lot of cases they are looking for over 10, but in my case I will most likely have very few)
- Fertilization: They take all of your eggs and they put them in a test tube with hubby's sperm. They light some candles, put on romantic music, and step out for at least 10 minutes. Actually, it takes 1 day to learn how many eggs get fertilized.
- Cell Division: They support these young embryos in the lab, tracking their growth. 3 days after fertilization they are looking for eggs that have divided properly and have a cell count of 6-8. These are considered Grade A embryos. They watch and grade all embryos. They can opt to wait until 5 days after retrieval and allow the embryos to get to blastocyst stage. The decisions around what to do at the various stages of this process are made by the couple (and the RE when needed). This is where, I'm sure, they'll see that my eggs don't allow for proper development - hence our two previous chromosomally abnormal miscarriages.
- Embryo Transfer: On day 3 or 5 the embryos are put into the woman's uterine lining in hopes that implantation/conception occurs.
- Pregnancy Test: 14 days after the embryo transfer a pregnancy test is taken to see if the implantation occured or if the woman's body didn't cooperate. If pregnancy comes back as a big-fat-negative, of course it's back to the drawing board. But if things go well, couples move onto the next step.
- Making sure it sticks: This is where couples pray that they don't miscarry the baby. Of course it can be a long and stressful wait-and-see process. Most miscarriages occur within the first 8 weeks of pregnancy, but our first one happened at 9 weeks. Really, you're not out of the clear from miscarriage until week 20 and at that point if you lose the baby it's called a stillbirth - I'm not sure this "making sure it sticks" phase gets resolved until you're holding a healthy baby in your arms. And from what I've heard, the worry that consumed you during pregnancy is nothing compared to the concern and protection you have over a precious little one once you realize that they are their own person and you only have God to trust for their future and safety.
So I hope that helps people a bit. If anyone is reading this and they know more than me, please feel free to chime in. As usual, I will provide upates as to how the apppointments go.
If you remember to pray for us, please do. Yesterday we heard ANOTHER frighteningly appropriate message from the pulpit. Our pastor spoke on Esther 8:1-17 the three elements discussed where: Timing, Method, and Outcome. His specific examples were in the area of "finding a home" and "infertility". (HELLO!! Seriously, I think the pastors just ought to call us up and ask us what's going on in our lives in order to develop their weekly sermons ... cause it's a little frightening how well the messages match our life situations!) The scripture doesn't directly speak on these three things, but if you understand the story of Esther basically you can see God's timing, method, and outcome in the context Haman's persecution of the Jews.
- Timing: God allows a strange 11 month delay on the entire persecution of the Jews.
- Method: His method was odd in that God was going to allow war and allow the Jews to fight back.
- Outcome: was strange in that 75,000 people died in the process - and it righted a wrong from earlier in old testament history.
For Berilac and I, as our personal response, we see God putting together pieces of our life's puzzle in his timing, with His method, and blessed by His outcome.
- Timing: Do I even need to say that our timing to have children would have been when we were pregnant the first time? So, obviously the timing is unknown to us and different than what we would expect.
- Method: IVF (or assistance in general) is not what we would choose.
- Outcome: well I guess we'll have to wait and see what outcome God has for us. But the point is is that it's God who is in control of our outcome, He knows better than we do.
So onward we march. Let's see what God has for us in walking through these amazingly quick steps towards IVF.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
So, as promised I'm posting about last weekend and my girlfriend's really great 30th birthday celebration. It was a wonderful weekend. My girlfriend, Esmerelda, was so generous - she rented out a really cool house for about 15 of us girls to stay at for the weekend, then on Sunday all of the families came up to celebrate with a BBQ. It was such a relaxing, refreshing weekend.
For me, the weekend was life giving. I was able to spend time catching up with a good girlfriend of mine, Sandybanks. I was able to share my struggles and recieve her love and support. I enjoyed our conversations, we bounced on a trampoline, we floated in the pool, we enjoyed massages ... it was renewing. I felt again like I was apart of life and not just a spectator. For months now this infertility affliction has made me feel like I'm just waiting ... just waiting for something to happen. I have been less involved in conversations and less involved in the activities of life. Well this past weekend I wasn't. So thank you Sandybanks.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Let me just lay out some of what's coming at us in the near future:
Today: Berilac has two equivalency tests - Stats and Economics (he's trying to test out of as many classes as he can to help shorted his MBA program from 3 years to 2 years ... he can attempt to test out of 7 classes - and of course he will do whatever is needed to save time and money!)
For the next 4 weeks: Many more fertility tests to take, many more school tests for Berilac to study for, a lot of hunting needed to find a place to live.
Sept 7th: a second round of equivalency tests for Berilac to take.
Sept 8th: 5 night cruise to Mexico followed by a long weekend in Sandy Eggo. (we return Sept 16th)
Sept 15th: We're officially kicked out of our home. But don't worry, we'll be in Southern California soaking up sun ... oh how I hope we can move BEFORE our vacation!
Sept 17th: Berilac starts school.
Sept 25th: a third set of equivalency tests for Berilac to take - this man is crazy!
Now, how are we going to move prior to our vacation when the hubby has major tests he needs to study for? He needs the entire Labor Day weekend to study - I'd like to move that weekend! Since we don't have a place yet, I guess it's a moot point.
On July 15th our landlords told us that since we wouldn't renew our lease (for one year @ $2,650/mo) that they were going to be asking us to leave on 9/15/07. Well guess what? it's 8/17/07 and we have no home to go to! I mentioned in a previous post that we were hours away from following through on a couple of offers on two homes that we had made. Well, now we are looking in the rental market again. I'm just so concerned to make that big of a financial commitment right now, the decision to buy something worth 3/4 of a million dollars. So we are looking for a rental ANYWHERE on the Peninsula. We are looking for something that has 2+ bedrooms, takes dogs, has a yard of some sort, and has a washer/dryer or a hookup. Oh and did I mention it needs to be less than $2,250/mo ... perferably less than $2,000 a month! Our current rent of $2,650 is the equivalency of paying a mortgage on a $500k home, but there's not too many of those laying around the Bay Area (though Berilac is STILL looking and hasn't given up yet!)
So we are 29 days away from the eviction date and we are homeless. DH is going to be CONSUMED with studying. I'm going to be CONSUMED with fertility tests. Somehow we're supposed to enjoy a vacation during all of this. And it sounds like we won't be able to move out by the 15th and we'll be coming home from Mexico to some angry landlords! (and yes, that ought to bode well with our NEXT set of landlords!)
When it rains, it pours.
Anybody know how much professional movers cost?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Ok, so we got the second set of data points that helps to guage the time left on my biological clock. And as you can probably guess from my ever-so-cute introduction on this post, the results weren't stellar.
We had two tests done:
- Repeat FSH level
- Antral Follicle Count
Celebration, cheers, excitement, etc, etc...
Then we learned that the more accurate predictor of biological time left for a woman is found via an exam called an Antral Follicle Count (AFC). There is an interesting news clip about it if you're curious. Mind you, this video is a wee bit bias in that the story is written from the viewpoint of a fertility center who is trying to get you to use their IVF technology so that they can get your money ... but still, it gives all you non-infertiles the gist of the test.
The data on the web that answers the question "what do the follicle count results mean?" are below and they are a bit skewed towards a woman's responsiveness to IVF, so it doesn't tell you exactly how much longer a woman has, instead it gives you a range of the potential outcomes so you can see my data in context.
A follicle count of ...
Less than 4: Extremely low count, very poor or no response to IVF.
4 to 7: Low count, concern about poor response to IVF.
8 to 10: Somewhat reduced count, higher than average rate of IVF cycle cancellation.
11 to 14: Normal (but intermediate) count, IVF responsiveness is sometimes low but usually good.
15 to 26: Normal (good) count, should have excellent response to IVF.
Over 26: High count, watch out for overstimulation complications in IVF.
... anyone just skimming this post in hopes that I'll FINALLY reveal our results?! (You're killin' me smalls!)
Ok, so I got a count of 8. The good news is, 8 is not in the low count categories, but it's seriously flirting with the low count. Our RE is recommending that we not wait more than 3 months to get aggressive.
Wow. Even though I saw the writing on the wall last month ... I'm really bummed with these results and a bit in shock and denial ... People, I'm "thirty, flirty, and thriving" not "thirty, ready to have kids, and fresh outta eggs!"
The hubby and I backed out of buying a house last night because of this news. We made two offers, they both got countered with the sellers asking us to close sooner (no issues with our low bids) and we have opted to not follow through on the counter offers and we'll continue to rent. Better to have cash money in the bank than bet on equity that might not be available to us in these crucial reproductive couple of years - and ... no better investment of your money than a child - don't you agree?
Honestly, these test results are a little more hard to swallow than last month. Getting confirmation is rough. It's making me really think what if we can't have children?
I'm having a hard time with my faith right now. If you think of me in the near term, please do pray for me. I want to trust God. I want to believe that He has a plan for me - plans for a hope and a future.
Monday, August 13, 2007
It's been about a month since my last FSH test (the one where they learned that my body is starting to show signs of early menopause) and since you can test this once a month, we are getting near our next test date. As a matter of fact - the test is tomorrow morning! Unlike other tests that I've faced in life, there is no studying for this one. I've got no control over the outcome: I can't cram, I can't cheat, I can't suck-in, nor can I stand on my tiptoes to affect the outcome. I must simply show up and get stuck with a needle. (given that I've been stuck with needles 59 times in the past 6 months you'd think I'd have tracks by now, but no ... the forearms are still looking fresh and pasty white).
After my blood draw, they are going to count the number of follicles that I have. (this has got to sound strange!) They can count these follicles (by doing an AFC) and the result correlates to the chance of success with medical reproductive treatment, as well it'll provide (or hopefully it won't provide) supporting information for early menopause.
Of course I'll post the results when I get them. Until then, here's to low FSH and high AFC!!
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Let me start by saying that this blog (I think?) is read by many online friends (mostly women who are trying to start/grow families) and by many IRL (in real life) friends ... clearly, I am one of those people who is very open about what is going on in my life. (Know that most infertility type of blogs are shared among the infertile community, not usually shared with friends and family - kind of a sad reflection of our society if you think about it, huh?)
So why am I creating this post? Well, because I get this feeling. I get the feeling that some of my IRL friends may think that I obsess over TTC (trying to conceive). I can't really confirm that as no body has come right out and said it, but ... I have a hunch. (I'm guessing this is one reason why most infertile website's are not shared with RL friends, but kept private for only the infertile community to obsess together on).
So here I am dealing with one of the biggest struggles of my life - will I ever have children? I'm not saying this is the biggest struggle faced by man but for me, it's:
- my biggest struggle
- on my heart, daily
- what God is using in my life to get my attention
The way I see it:
- God is in control (Psalm 32:8)
- His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9)
- The one thing I know is that He has gifted me with being able to go through difficult stuff and to learn from it, and to pass along the compassion and love that I receive to others who face similar struggles. (2 Cor 1:3-5)
Not being able to get pregnant and/or having miscarriages ... these topics are taboo in today's society!! WHY?? When was the last time (ok, besides when you ran into me) did you have a conversation about these topics at a dinner party? It just doesn't happen. And sadly, often these conversations don't happen in families or within close friendships. (Unless of course, you know me and I force you to talk about it ;-)
So here's the deal: I (like SO MANY women you probably know who are quietly suffering!) am struggling with infertility and it just is a daily "obsession" but I am willing to share my grief, my struggles, my frustration, my confusion with my friends and more importantly with those that are dealing with similar problems - in hopes that we can love on each other and support each other ... in the hopes that the Lord will pour His love out of me and into many hurting women.
So I can't pretend like it's not a daily issue (thus it's an obsession) and ... so what if it is? Is that surprising? It really is a pretty big deal. If you find that you have issue with how much this is apart of my life, please give me some grace. In the months to come, if your patience wears thin with me ... know that my heart is broken in the loss of our two babies, my hopes and dreams are teetering on a very thin tight rope, I cannot escape reminders of what I so badly desire - but just can't seem to be blessed with, and societally ... I'm supposed to be a good 50's housewife who just takes the pain and smiles.
In all this ... I actually think I'm preachin' to the choir. As I feel like my IRL friends have been more than supportive (except that I have/had a feeling like they think I'm crazy/obsessive ... really what's new?) and if it's just my supportive friends and fellow infertiles reading this - then yes, I am preaching to the choir.
Lastly, and a little bit off topic, I want to add that my heart breaks for women who are struggling, quietly with this battle. Especially those that use a blog to share information with other infertiles, thinking/knowing that they can't share this struggle with RL family and friends - so they remain completely anonymous. Shame on us as a community. Wouldn't it be great if their friends and family were good listeners? supportive? concerned? (not always telling them that if they "were just less stressed about it, they'd get pregnant" ... let me tell you, I don't think that less stress will lower my TSH, my FSH, nor will it change my genetic mutation of MTHFR ... but go ahead and keep telling women who don't know why they can't get pregnant that it's essentially their fault - that really helps them!! [I hope you can detect the sarcasm, cause I'm layin' it on pretty thick])
Whew, ok, my rant is over. Now go hug your friends who are struggling with infertility! And talk about their issues with them, perhaps the release will allow them to not have to struggle with their internal thoughts and emotions that rarely get expressed (hence causing obsession) ... wow that was deep, I should be a shrink or something!
Seriously, I mean it, stop spending time at the computer on such a wonderful day and enjoy RL!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
But what has been weighing on my mind is the sadness of my brother's wedding.
My brother had NONE of his immediately family at his wedding ceremony. There are 5 of us in our nuclear family: my dad, my mom, my oldest brother (the one getting married), my not as young brother (both brothers are older than me), and me. Because my maid of honor (from my wedding 5 1/2 years ago) planned her wedding on the same day as my brother's wedding ... I knew that I would be going to my maid of honor's wedding (because I was in it) and then I'd be showing up late for my brother's wedding, missing the ceremony, but being there for the reception.
So when I showed up, and saw my brother and his wedding party taking pictures I felt sheepish (feeling guilty about missing the ceremony, though it was planned) and gave my brother a huge congratulation hug and he whispered in my ear that "none of the family made it to the ceremony" ... in the conversation following I learned that my father, my mother, and my brother were all LATE to the wedding. My brother was supposed to be a groomsman, and he missed the wedding. My parents arrived to "catch the tail end of the ceremony"
My brother, the groom, had an entire row reserved for his family ... and the lonely row was empty. There were over 100 friends at the wedding, but not an immediate family member in sight.
How sad is that? Can you imagine if that happened to you? My heart breaks for my brother. I cried when I heard that this happened to him, how disrespected would you feel? I ended up mourning this for my brother during the entire reception - I had a hard time enjoying the celebration.
Dad, mom, brother ... if you're reading this ... sorry to expose you, I know your heart breaks as much as mine does. This is something that has been on my mind and heart for days and I needed to share.