Friday, November 25, 2016

Tough Decisions

After all of the gut-wrenching difficulty, pain, and sadness from finding out we were pregnant... to then finding out it was ectopic (you can catch up on that story if you missed it, in The Roller Coaster and the Roller Coaster - Part 2), the difficulty continued on.

After Dr. M confirmed that the pregnancy was in fact in my left tube and that it wasn't viable, we were given our two options for terminating: Laparoscopic surgery to manually go in and remove it or injectible medication called Methotrexate that would help end the pregnancy.  After discussing both options with Dr. M, as well as the potential negative effects of both, he explained that, "If you were my daughter, I would honestly recommend the Methotrexate... but of course, it is completely up to you guys and either option would be ok."

Dr. M and the ultra sound tech. then left the room we were in to give the hubs and I a few minutes to gather ourselves and think about it, and told us we could come into the consultation room to meet with the nurse when we were ready, to discuss next steps.

So they left the room... and my husband and I looked at each other, lost... and we both just cried. How could all of this be happening? It just didn't make any sense? It wasn't fair... but then again, we were so far past the point of "fair" in all of this...

We had no choice, but to do the best we could to gather ourselves, and begin to discuss which option to choose so that we could move forward... And at that point, my naturally analytical mind began to race through each option, from all angles.

The Option of Surgery: Of course this was the more invasive of the two, but then again, probably the "quickest" and most efficient in ending the pregnancy. However, the risk (other than it actually being a "surgery" under general anesthesia), as explained by Dr. M was that there was a small possibility that not all of the cells from the pregnancy actually get removed and can sometimes continue to grow, which would mean taking a dosage of the injectible medication anyways.

The Option of Medication: The downside of this option was that the medication used is a very strong medication, often used in chemotherapy, because it's designed to attack living, rapidly-growing cells within the body (such as a developing pregnancy) and kill them. There were also various side-effects associated, such as severe cramping, nausea/ vomiting, headache, sores in the mouth, and even hair loss (which isn't very common when used for this purpose, but still possible). In addition, Dr. M explained that in a very small number of people, the initial dosage doesn't always work and sometimes a second dosage may be needed, which is even more taxing on the body. Even more so, the thought of pumping myself full of intense, poisonous drugs, all while I'm here trying to eat organically and remove almost all toxins from my body and my environment, seemed ridiculously unfair... and not to mention the irony.

However, based on Dr. M's recommendation, and taking into account that the first option was still surgery, and that I did have some difficulties after my first surgery, we decided to go with the Methotrexate.

From there, we discussed everything with the nurse coordinator, signed papers, and scheduled a time for me to come in the next day to actually be administered the medication (since it took about a day for them to get insurance approval and order the correct dosage for me, based on height and weight).

So the next afternoon, in the middle of my work day, I had to make a "pit-stop" at Dr. M's office to have the medication administered.

While I call it a "pit-stop," it was actually nothing shy of the worst appointment of my life. As I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes early, I just sat there in my car, processing the gravity of what I was about to do. What I had been forced to do.

I sat there and cried. I talked to my little bun (whom we had named "Baby E"). I apologized for having to do what I was about to do. I told him or her how much me and daddy loved them. I thanked him or her for the sacrifice they were making: to only live for a short, short while in my belly, but at the same time to bring hope to mommy and daddy that it was possible to get pregnant. I explained how I knew one day we will be able to be with him or her when daddy and I are called back home to heaven. I shared how much love already existed for this tiny little peanut, from so many people, and how he or she will always be in our hearts. I asked little Baby E to always watch over mommy and daddy... and to also take care of his or her's future siblings in heaven until mommy and daddy get the chance to meet them one day.

...And I cried.

...And cried some more...

And then I gathered myself, as much as possible, took a deep breath,,, and walked into Dr. M's office to do the most difficult thing that I've ever had to do...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Roller Coaster - Part 2

Continuing on from my previous post, The Roller Coaster, even though my HCG levels weren't rising as expected, Dr. M still seemed hopeful and simply wanted to wait a few more days and check again... so that's what we did.

At the next follow up blood test, my levels continued to rise slowly, but again not doubling... and this time, they rose even more slowly than the first time.  At this point, I knew something might be wrong, but I still held out hope and continued to pray and just stay positive.

Of course, cue in the unleashing of my frantic obsession with Googling during every free moment I had, in order to continue to find those hope stories where women had slow rising HCG, but continued to go on and have healthy, full pregnancies... and although finding those cases where few and far between, I found them and held out hope.

Typically, when HCG levels are not rising at the appropriate rate (i.e., doubling at least every 2-3 days max), that's often a sign of an impending miscarriage, due to any variety of things. And even though that was the outcome in about 95% of the stories, blogs, and message boards that I found, I.Still.Had.Hope...

At this point, Dr. M had said let's wait a week and come back in for additional follow up blood work and to try and do a preliminary ultra sound to see if we could actually see anything.

So that's what we did.

A week later, I went in for more blood work and an ultra sound. I was literally beside myself with anxiety, fear, anticipation... you name it. I wanted so desperately to have them be able to see some, even a small, remnant of gestational sac. Something to know that it was really there... that there was some "proof" of our baby that had been conceived...

But there was nothing.

The ultra sound tech. assured me that it was still too early and the likelihood of actually seeing "something" was pretty much non-existent, given that my HCG levels were still barely skirting around 1,000 and that I was merely around only 5 weeks. So again, I still had hope.

Dr. M had me wait another week, and then come back for more blood and another ultra sound. So that's what we did. Like deja vu all over again, I went back it and laid on the ultra sound table in silent hope that we would be able to see something...

And just like last time, even though my HCG levels continued to rise slowly, the tech. said, "I'm sorry, but I'm still just not seeing anything..."  My heart sank, but I quickly tried to remind myself that it could still be early and that as long as my levels were continuing to rise, I clearly wasn't having a miscarriage at that point.

Then suddenly, I heard the tech. say, "Oh wait, I do see something - here it is... Unfortunately, it's outside the uterus... I'm sorry"

My heart sank even deeper...

She proceeded to explain to me that it looked like the baby had implanted in my left Fallopian Tube...

My darn tubes... They have been the problem since the beginning... Ahh...

But this wasn't supposed to happen.  We knew that my left tube had the bigger issue... and even though I had surgery to correct the issue and completely open them back up, Dr. M still played it conservatively and "pushed right" as he called it. Meaning, he focused mostly on my right side and waited for the most mature follicles to develop on the right side. And this cycle, I didn't even have any larger sized follicles on the left side, they were all on the right... so how did this happen? How did a little, seemingly small and immature follicle from the left side produce an egg that got fertilization and managed to implant?!?

What a nightmare.

The next day Dr. M wanted to repeat the ultra sound again, with him present, just to be absolutely sure that we were seeing it correctly and that it was in fact in my tube, with no possibility of it being a viable pregnancy... so that's what we did... and I appreciated this additional check for certainty on his part.

Over the course of the next 24 hrs. we cried, we prayed, we shared the situation with our immediate family and had them pray too... all of us just asking, hoping for a miracle. That some how we misread the first ultra sound and it was in fact in my uterus. That some how a miracle would happen and the pregnancy in some way, shape, or form could be saved. Something. Anything. We prayed, all while still wanting to be in alignment with God's will and plan, no matter what it was... Talk about hard.

The next day, we had the ultra sound with Dr. M present... and he confirmed it, it was in my left tube, therefore it was ectopic. There was nothing any of us we could do, as it wasn't viable...

And we were left only with the choice to terminate, and force a miscarriage...

...And as if that wasn't the hardest part to swallow already, unfortunately the nightmare wouldn't and couldn't just end for us there...

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Roller Coaster

For those of you who regularly read my blog, I apologize for the major hiatus I've been on for the past couple of months... Let me tell you, saying "It's been a roller coaster" is a major under-statement...

In thinking about where to start, a million and one things go through my head.  I've consider making this post short, sweet, and to the point.  I've consider making it long to include all the details and ups and downs.  I've considered taking the time to share the whole story across multiple posts... I've considered it all.  And to be honest, as I sit here and write this, even now, I'm not really sure which route to take, but I think it's time to just start and see where my words take me...

I guess let's cut to the chase...

On Aug. 9, 2016, while at work in the midst of helping provide a huge week-long, back to school training for all of the teachers and specialists I help support, I got the call from Dr. M's office with amazing news... I was pregnant!!!

Literally, the news was surreal, and as I started crying, it still felt like the reality was barely setting in.  To try to explain what it's like to receive news that you've been waiting SOOOOO long to hear, is nearly impossible.  There's a mix and rush of emotions.  There's excitement.  There's a little bit of fear.  There's trying to process what to do next, how to tell my hubs, who to tell after that, and so on... There's literally a million things going through your head at once.

But since I was still at work in the middle of hosting this training, I had to pull it together and go back to what I was doing, pretending as if the best moment of my life did not just happen.

As I wrapped up my work day, I had decided that I didn't want to tell my husband this amazing news over the phone, and that I would wait until I got home to tell him in person.  Unfortunately, I had class that evening for my graduate program, so that only made the waiting with this powerful news even longer, and harder... but I was adamant.

I left work and headed over to class, taking the next few hours to try and decide on a cute and meaningful way to share the news with my husband... all while still bursting at the freaking seems just wanting to tell someone!!... I swear, keeping this "secret" to myself for like 5 hrs. was definitely torture!

Finally class was over (early!) so I quickly drove towards home (trying not to speed, but let's be honest) and decided to make a quick pit-stop at the grocery store.  I bought a small container of poppy seeds and a pack of cigars.  Why you ask, since that's a pretty weird combination... Well, it's because my plan was to go home, tell the hubs I had something for him, and hand him a tiny poppy seed... so that's exactly what I did!  When he asked, "What's this?" a huge smile uncontrollably beamed across my face as I said, "That's the size of our baby right now!"

He was stunned... and shocked... and didn't believe me... and asked 20 times, "Are you serious??"

It was the perfect moment.

We reveled in this happiness and amazement that this was FINALLY happening... after over 2 years!  We seriously couldn't believe it, but welcomed every second of our shock :)

Over the next two days we lived in pure bliss.  Both of us randomly catching ourselves during moments when we'd forget that we were finally pregnant, and then suddenly remember and burst into smiles, or laughter, or excitement.  Saying it was amazing, again, is an understatement.

... However, everything came to a screeching halt two days later when we had our follow up Beta Blood Test... and my HCG levels were not doubling as they should.  They were rising, but just not quite at the doubling rate... and that's when the real roller coaster began...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When You're Walking Through the Darkness...

What do you do when you're walking through a time (or season) of darkness?  When you can't see the light ahead of you?  When you can't see the path that you're supposed to be on?  Not even a glimmer of it to help you continue to put one foot in front of the other?

How do you "keep moving forward" when the uncertainty seems to consume you?

When you're walking through the darkness, what do you do?... The answer is, you just keep walking.

You just keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when you can't clearly see your own feet... Because, this is really the only choice you have.

Infertility is hard. Like really hard. And it robs you of so much. It robs you of things you didn't even realize you could be robbed of in the first place. And it has the capacity to strip you of so many other things as well.

But again, all I can do is keep walking. Keep doing all that I can, whatever I can, to keep moving along. Keep putting one foot in front of the other... because unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I can't let my whole life crumble before me. I can't just stop living. I won't.

Although at times it can (and will) bring me to my knees, make me feel like I can't keep going, and make me question my own ability to keep waking up every morning and even keep breathing, it cannot and will not have the ability to steal my entire life.

In some way, shape, or form, there is a way.

For me personally, that way is my faith. My trust in God. My strength that I receive from knowing my Savior Jesus Christ. The one who gives me the ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even in the midst of the most terrifying black darkness.

God is good, no matter what. And through everything, even through the most painfully, uncertain times, I know that He is still good. He is still in control. And I know that He has a plan for me (and us, including my husband) through all of this chaos.

My trust in God is unwavering and unbreakable. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are definitely times when it's tested and when it becomes a bit more difficult to hold on to, believe me there are. But no matter what, the bottom line is that it will never falter. It will never leave me... and God is the one who gives me this strength.

While this strong trust and faith in God doesn't make my life and my journey any less difficult, it does make it possible...

It makes me realize that no matter how thick the fog gets and how consuming the darkness may become, I'm not alone in it. I'm never alone. I have Him.

God is always walking with me... Always standing next to me... And sometimes perhaps even carrying me...

So at those moments when even I have to ask myself what to do when I'm walking through the darkness, I must always remember that the answer is: I just keep on walking... holding on to my true faith in whatever God's plan is for me, because no matter what, I know that plan, His plan, will always be good...

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Am Blessed

So I'm sitting here in Dr. M's waiting room, waiting to be called back for our IUI #4...

Apparently, it's a happenin' place today, as I sit here and watch countless women and men filter in and out for what I can only assume are all different types of appointments, consultations, blood draws, and procedures.

I feel good about today...

Dr. M said that all of my numbers looked good and things were right where he wanted them. I do think that he approached this cycle a little more conservatively than the last, given that I boarder line hyper-stimmed - so I do appreciate that. And after all, it only takes one good, solid little eggie to get the job done (and whole bunch of prayers, faith, trust - and some good swimmers).

As I sit here glancing around the nearly silent, yet packed waiting room, it's an odd reminder that we're not alone in this battle. Everyone else here is on their own journeys too. Albeit, we may all be in different stages and places along that journey, but the bottom line is that it helps serve as a reminder that the hubs and I are not the only ones going through this.

But I digress... Back to feeling good about today. Yes, that's what I want to focus on. I'm blessed to have my amazing husband by my side at this moment. I'm blessed to have wonderful family, friends, and even complete strangers praying for us today. And I'm blessed because I have the reassurance that no matter what happens, and what the outcome of this cycle is, I know that God is in control... and while it's still a daily (sometimes hourly) struggle, there's nothing that can help bring more peace than that.

I trust in you Lord... Here we go...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Turning a New Leaf

This past month I've (been forced) to take a little vacation from treatments due to a couple of cysts that developed on one of my ovaries, most likely from over-stimming on injections during our last treatment cycle.

Although I didn't ask for, or want, to take this break, in the long run it's probably been good for me. Not having to worry about appointments, shots, and tracking everything has given me both a mental and physical break from everything... and I think I really did need that.

Lately, I've been struggling... significantly. And for awhile, I didn't even realize it. Until things started to bubble over the surface, that is. Numerous emotional breakdowns, random bouts of crying, fits of frustration and anger, spurts of depression and lack of any emotion, you name it... and I probably experienced it over the past month and half.

It even came down to various points of becoming so emotionally detached from the whole thing that I wasn't even sure what I was working or fighting for anymore... it just felt like a surreal daze of going through the motions, because I felt like I had to, and wasn't even sure if or how much I wanted to any longer.

But I've turned a new leaf.

How?... I'm not really sure to be honest; but, I think a catalyst was hitting an emotional out lash of "rock-bottom" in all of this, a couple different times (I'll spare you the details, but let's just say it wasn't pretty). After which I came to the conclusion that I was definitely experiencing a true bout of depression.

It can be expected I guess, given the circumstances, but I was still disappointed in myself for letting things get to this point, mainly in the way I was treating others around me...

You know, I've heard and read multiple times that there are actually various studies that have found the emotional and psychological toll infertility takes on an individual can be similar to that of an individual experiencing cancer. I'm not gonna lie, there's a big part of me that feels extremely uncomfortable even saying that aloud, let alone writing it. But I guess the truth of the matter is - many people truly don't understand the impact infertility can have on a person.

The five stages of grief that are experienced: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance... in any order and nonlinear. I can tell you that I've experienced all five, multiple times. The fear of the unknown. The fear and reality that the end goal is not promised, no matter how hard you try or how many treatments you receive. Grieving the loss of not being able to start a family the "normal" way... conceiving a child in the privacy of your own home, with your partner, on your terms. Accepting that you are "infertile." Accepting that you will have to go through treatments in order to possibly get pregnant. Bargaining with your self, with God, with the universe around so many things. Questioning, analyzing, trying to understand it all as you wonder, "why me?" Looking for anything and everything to "try"... And all wrapped up in denial, anger, depression, and sadness - at any given moment.

Whether or not this actually is comparable to experiencing a diagnosis of cancer, I can't say - but what I can say is that this experience changes you. It changes you at your core... and whether that change is positive or negative depends on you. For me personally, that depends on the day, sometimes on the hour - but the bottom line is, it changes you.

Like I said though, at this point I've turned a new leaf. I've worked to try and navigate my way through all of these difficult emotions that suddenly creeped up on me, and have fought to regain my footing. I've accepted responsibility for my feelings, made my amends with those I've unfairly unloaded on recently, and I'm looking forward at this point, not back.

Currently, we've started a new cycle... and me and the needle have once again become close friends, as of this past Sunday.

I feel good about this cycle and have been submerging myself in positive thoughts, affirmations, prayers, and feelings.

And from here on out it's laser focus ahead to the moment when our little bun(s) come along and join our family... <3

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Learning to Wait...

Waiting, waiting, waiting... Has anyone in life figured out a successful way to wait? Patiently?

It's probably one of the hardest things to master. Lucky for me, I have infertility to thank for giving me the opportunity to practice this skill on a regularly, really a daily, basis.

If it's not the all-dreaded two week wait that we're "waiting for," then it's test results, or appointments, or news on when we can start our next cycle round of treatment, or answers for what the problem is, or... well, you get the picture.

As individuals who are living with infertility, both us women and even men, we have no choice but to learn how to wait... if that's even possible, to "learn." It seems that life these days is filled with nothing but the opportunity to wait. Wait for our drugs to work... Wait for our beta pregnancy tests... Wait for our families to finally grow. No matter what, there's waiting involved.

As I sit here on the crux of yet another session of waiting to come to an end, I can't help but reflect on really how often we are forced to exercise this skill in our daily lives. At this moment, I'm yet again at that cross-roads of waiting... To either find out if I'm pregnant (which I still always hold out hope for) or to start a new cycle and hopefully continue to move forward.

Simultaneously, if I do start a new cycle, then a new waiting game begins over the following few days as I wait to have my baseline ultrasound and blood work appointment, to then wait for the results of whether or not the two cysts on my right ovary have disappeared or shrunk enough to move forward.

Then, as you guessed it, the next waiting game begins... waiting to begin the injections, waiting for the injections to work, waiting for the IUI to be scheduled, and then waiting for that first beta blood test.

At this point in my journey, over two years in, I've learned to (mostly) come to terms with the waiting. I mean really, I have no choice. I've accepted that this is my new normal for the time being and the only thing I can do is turn to the one true thing that can get me through all the waiting... and that is my faith.

I know that all this waiting will be worth something in the end, it has to be. And for the time being, I can only believe that God is allowing me all this practice at waiting only to make me stronger - to allow me the opportunity to grow my faith - to teach me to TRUST in Him even more.

In the end, all the waiting will be completely overshadowed by my new, new normal - a family... and suddenly, it will all make sense. This I truly believe.

...Until then, I just keep practicing my "waiting" skills, with as much grace and faith as I can...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Post Where I Can't Think of a Catchy Title

So I apologize for the little hiatus in blogging over the past couple of weeks - - but now for a much needed update.

Let's see, where did we leave off? Oh yea, I had just found out I was given the green light for IUI #3 after doing a round of injectables, and basically over-stimming.

So I had the IUI, and no major issues there. It was pretty routine. However, shortly after the IUI (like literally, as we were going out to breakfast immediately after), I started having some fairly intense cramping. I mean, it was tolerable, but definitely nothing that I experienced after my last two IUIs - not even close.

The cramping was followed by some spotting and both lasted on and off for the next several days. Again, I hadn't really experienced much of either of these after my previous two IUIs, but I guess every cycle's different... In a way, I was just hoping that the "something different" this time around would lead to a different outcome.

As usual, I went in about a week later for follow up blood and ultra sound... and my ovaries were still super enlarged. About the size of tennis balls they said, which was a little unusual since they should have started shrinking back to normal after the meds., but still nothing too major to worry about.

The next step was getting through the rest of the TWW until my beta blood test.

The morning of the test, I started spotting...

In the back of my mind I knew that it wasn't good, but I still tried to hold out hope and tell myself, "Maybe it's implantation bleeding?" Especially since I was still on the progesterone inserts, and in past experiences it's taken about 2 days or so after stopping those to actually get my period.

By the time I had left Dr. M's office after having my blood drawn and made it to the restaurant where the hubs and I were going out to breakfast (notice the pattern here, ha), I full out had my period.


I swear we thought this cycle was going to be it. I just had a feeling... But then again, I also kind of just had a feeling that it wouldn't be this cycle (I just kept trying to push that feeling away and focus on the other one).

Anyways, it was the usual ride of emotion through the disappointment. Through the anger, Through the shock. And then it was back in for baseline blood and ultra sound to start round two on the injectables.

I am not giving up...

Later that afternoon I received the call from my nurse with the results and what I had presumed would be the ok to start the next round of injections... and ready for the kicker?!

Two HUGE cysts on my right ovary!! Arggg!

Cycle canceled.

And that's where we are folks... Waiting for monster cysts to shrink, while I apparently take a couple (unasked for) weeks to enjoy the occasional cup of coffee or glass of wine.

I'm still not giving up though... Not now, not ever. I will continue to fight for you and wait for you little bun, until you are ready to come join us.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pulling the Trigger-Shot

There I was, bright and early this morning, sitting in the waiting room at Dr. M's office - just like I had for the past 3 days. And today was no different.  I was back for yet another ultrasound and blood work to see where we were at and determine if I had gone too far past the brink of hyper-stimming.

As the ultrasound tech. called me back, we both kind of looked at each other and chuckled as she said good morning and "good to see you again"... I then made a comment about how it's like deja vu all over again because we keep getting to see each other every morning.

The ultrasound was routine and after it was done, the tech. was getting ready to walk out of the room, and said, "Not sure if you will be back tomorrow, but if so I won't be at this office so good luck!" I smiled and said thank you so much to her, secretly hoping that I would not have to be back yet again tomorrow... and then I went to get my blood drawn.

From there is was the infamous waiting game for the phone call to hear my fate about this cycle.

As I sat in a planning meeting at work earlier today with my boss, my boss' boss, the director of HR, and a few other administrators and colleagues, I kept eyeing my phone waiting for the call to come so that I could briefly step out and take it. But in true fashion, of course when the call came in, we were in the midst of an important discussion that I couldn't quite step away from at that moment, so I had to let it go to voicemail.

At this point, I'm dying to just hear what was on that voicemail... but had to wait another hour until our meeting was over.

As soon as it was I ran to car, settled in with my pen in hand and the little note pad that I've been using to jot down my results over the past few days, and let the message roll...

"Hi Tiffanie, this is Kristen from Dr. M's office and I was just calling with your results from earlier today." She then went on to rattle off all of my numbers. As of this morning, I had 15 total follicles (9 on the right and 6 on the left)... ranging in size from 17.8 mm down to 9.1 mm. My Estradiol was now at 2,281 and my lining was up to 10.2 mm.

And then, it was the moment of truth. I fully expected and quickly prepared myself that with those numbers the whole thing would be called off... She went on to say, "So with that being said, Dr. M wants you to go ahead and take the HCG trigger shot tonight and come in on Sat. morning for the IUI."


Praise God!! All the prayers worked and we are officially moving forward with this cycle! I couldn't believe it, but was so so happy! Seriously, thank God!

Shortly here, I will be taking the trigger shot and then looking forward to Saturday.

Seriously, thank you so much to all who have been praying for us - it means the world! And all goes to show that in the end, even during the rough patches and trialing times, God is good! Of course, none of this guarantees a pregnancy, but that's besides the point at this moment. To me it's just a small (well, pretty big actually) reassurance that God is still in control and that all things will work for His glory and good... So here's to a prayerful thank you to the Lord, and to all who have been praying and sending positive thoughts and love.

From here on out, it's still one step at a time, but the small victories are always worth celebrating...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Crazy Eggs...

So although my craziness has seemed to subside and I've been able to gain back control of my mental and emotional state, apparently this level of crazy has found it's way into my ovaries.


So after my baseline ultrasound and blood work that was done yesterday (Tues.) morning, I got a call from Dr. M's office saying that they wanted me to adjust my injectable meds. Initially, they had me on 75 units of both Follistim and Menopur (which I believe is one of the lowest dosages). I took that dosage for four days and then went in on the fifth day (which was Tues.) for my baseline.

As of yesterday morning, I had 8 follicles ranging from 14.4mm down to 8.5mm (6 on the right side and 2 on the left).  Obviously none of them were mature yet, but with having that many in the running, and my Estradiol level at 1,114 and lining at 9.1, Dr. M wanted me to only take 75 units of the Menopur and no Follistim - which I did last night.

Then it was back to the office bright and early this morning for another ultrasound and blood work.

This afternoon I then got a call from the nurse with my updated results from this morning. This time I had 10 follicles total, now ranging from 15.7mm to 8.4mm (still 6 on the right side and now 4 on the left).  Again, none of them are quite mature yet, but a few are getting close.  So, coupled with my Estradiol level going up to 1,709 and my lining being 9.7, they told me I'm now at-risk for hyper-stimulating.


So frustrating!! One, I don't want to develop OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation disorder - which you can read more about here), because that would be no fun... and two, I don't want to have this cycle canceled. Not after all this. Not after getting to this point and finally picking back up with treatments again. Not after having to endure a round of craziness (which was no fun for me or those around me)... No, no no!!

I was ordered not to take any medications tonight and to once again go back in the morning for yet another round of ultrasound and blood work to see how things are progressing.

At this point, all I can do is pray and ask for prayers. I trust that all of this still continues to be in God's hands and that ultimately His will, will prevail. Until then though, I can only pray for the strength needed to continue to endure this trial and for the ability to have faith in whatever His plan is in all of this... and umm, to cross my fingers that some of these crazy little eggs slow their roll and stop growing.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Insecurities, Shots, and Dog Days of Summer

I mentioned in my last post how I've been struggling with getting myself fit and in shape while preparing to adhere to the strict "no high impact exercise" orders from Dr. M's office, once I start the injectable cycle. As a result, I've lost my ability to engage in my number one preferred exercise and stress reliever: running... and have struggled to get myself back into shape, which has fueled some major insecurities for me.

So I've worked hard over the past few days to try and get myself back to being leveled headed and not letting these insecure thoughts and feelings (about everything) take over my sanity... and my marriage (my poor husband - he loves me so much though, even when I'm a crazy person).

Without jinxing myself, I feel like I've turned a new leaf and am over this ridiculous insecurity beast that blind-sided me.

Although I'm still emotional as ever and literary cry at everything. I mean everything, good and bad... including stuff that has no reason to make me cry. Like my brother sending me a picture of Niagara Falls, where him and his family are on vacation right now. Yup, I cried at that. Because it was gorgeous. And because I was happy that my nieces got to see it. Yup. I did. I balled my eyes out.

I told you - - straight crazy.

Anyways, on another fun note, I had my baseline ultrasound and blood work done on Friday morning and then heard back from Dr. M's office that I was to start my injections that night - so I did! And here I am on Day 4 of my shots.

How are they you ask? Oh just lovely... NOT. They hurt. The needle itself is no big deal. I've never been one who's afraid of needles, so I handle that part just fine. It's the darn medicine, Menopur specifically, that kicks my butt. Every time.

I'm on a combo of Follistim and Menopur, that I have to mix together, well really my husband does the mixing. And the injecting - he's seriously the best, did I mention that already? :) So luckily it's just one injection total, but that Menopur, woooooo, that stuff stings and burns like an evil-doer, starting about 3secs. into the injection and then for about 10min. afterward.

I was given the option of injecting into my stomach, outer upper thigh, or back of arm/ tricep area. The first time, I apprehensively choose to do it in my stomach.

Here I am getting ready for the first shot...

To be honest, after all was said and done, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I did squeal a little bit, if you want to call it that - but all in all, not so bad.

Thumbs up to me for taking it like a champ (minus the minor squealing of course).

So of course me being me, the following nights I had to try all three injection spots to see which I liked the best.

And the verdict is...

My stomach. I think?

I did my stomach the first night and it wasn't horrible. Did my thigh the next night and it was horrible. Then did my arm last night and it was even more horrible. So tonight, it's back to the stomach to see if it was as great as I remembered... wish me luck.

Tomorrow it's back in for another ultrasound and blood work to see how I'm responding and then we go from there. I'm being very positive about all of this (opposite of how I was just a few days ago), so just continuing to look forward ahead.

Other than that, today was one of our pup's birthdays! Happy Birthday Payton! He turned the big 3 today, so of course we had to get him a cake. I mean, duh, how else would you celebrate a pittie's 3rd birthday?

Here he is enjoying his peanut butter flavored cake from his favorite bakery nearby...

He was also nice enough to share a slice with his fur-brother Jax, even though Jax had his own goodie from the bakery (a cookie!) - such brotherly love.

And to end this fabulous weekend with amazing weather, our other pup Jax got to play in his pool for awhile (Payton hates water)...

All in all, although it started off rough with some major craziness, this weekend turned out to be great... and now I'm focusing ahead on this cycle and looking forward to what I know God has in store for us.

Friday, May 27, 2016

All Aboard the Crazy Train

So apparently I jumped on the crazy train yesterday and I haven't even started the hormones yet...

I think my emotions have been eluding me lately while secretly piling up and waiting for the imperfectly perfect moment to rear their ugly head - - and let me tell you, last night was the night.

Everything started out just fine (isn't that how it always goes?), until I decided to freak out on my husband as we were getting ready for bed and be not so nice to him... And for what reason, you ask? Well, good question. I'm still not actually sure :( 

Then that turned into me storming away to go downstairs and progressed into me crying about how I can't handle my life right now, am exhausted and over whelmed, hate my body and the way I look (more on that in a minute), and am not looking forward to starting these injectables because 'they're not going to work anyways' - yea, apparently I'm in a pretty negative space and didn't even realize it. 


Honestly though, I think last night was unfortunately just the perfect storm of everything that is stressful in my life coming to a head. Work has been absolutely crazy for me over the past two months and will continue to be over the next couple of weeks until I'm officially done for the summer. 

Typically, as in years past, the last week or two of my school year winds down pretty well and I usually find myself with plenty of unscheduled moments where I can do things like start developing coaching plans for the districts I work with, as well as organize my desk, files, and resources - you know, stuff that there's really never time for during the year. But this year for some reason, my schedule is jammed pack, literally to the minute, with meetings so there's been no time to even catch my breath.

Layer on grad. school that I've started again, as well as a million other little things and I've been riding on like 4-5 hours of sleep per night, for the past 4 nights. And no sleep alone can make you get on the crazy train...

The other thing that's apparently been bubbling, but that I was kind of unaware of until last night, was how unhappy I am with body at the moment. I'm typically a runner and that's been my main method of de-stressing when it comes to working out and exercising for a long time. 

However, in knowing that we were going to be starting these injectable cycles, from what I've researched and from explicit instructions from Dr. M's office, I knew that once I started I would have a restriction on high impact exercises... which means no running. 

So to prepare myself, since I knew that was going to be a big transition, I started taking up walking 3-4 miles a day, as well as continuing with my pilates, yoga, and weight training.

Well unfortunately, because of this switch, I haven't been able to get back to (or even anywhere close to) my typical summer in-shape self. That coupled with apparently hitting the age range where a random, impulse Snickers bar at 8pm (yes, poor choice, I know) takes about 2 months to undo instead of 2 days, has left me with a body I'm not used to having.

Now look, I'm not trying to come off as one of those dramatic people who want to complain about their weight and just want to look good while not wanting to do anything about it - - but this is new territory for me. I've always been able to kick start myself back up when I realize I haven't been eating the healthiest and have been slacking on working out. But that isn't the case this time.

In fact, overall I've probably been eating the healthiest that I have in my entire life (ok, ok, with the exception of the occasional bad choices) and I've been exercising regularly for the past few months... yet I'm still at my heaviest weight in yeeeeeeeears, many of my clothes fit much tighter (some not even at all), and my body just doesn't carry the extra pounds as well as it used to - and apparently REFUSES to let me take them off. Not matter what I do.

I've never done as much as I'm doing now and still struggled like this to try and get fit, so this new and super frustrating and difficult territory for me. Plus, not having one of my usual methods of de-stressing.

I've also been super emotional about babies and pregnancy stuff lately. I mean, all of us going through infertility know that this is a constant battle, but for the most part, I've actually been in a really good place for awhile now and have not had to struggle much with these feelings like I used to.

Well - I guess that's changed too and many of those emotions have blinded-sided me lately... causing me to cry on the drop of dime, often out of no where. Not fun.

All of this and I haven't even start the hormones yet... awesome.

Maybe I need therapy.

Maybe retail therapy?... 

Yea, I think I need a new bag this weekend... I'm sure that will help.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Watch Your Words

So recently, my husband had a very interesting "interaction" with a co-worker. This is a co-worker who isn't aware of our infertility struggles (some of his other co-workers are).

It all started the day after my husband had to leave work early in order for us to go to one of our infertility appoints - specifically, the one where we had the 2 hour training on all the nitty gritty of how to give the self-injections that we'll be starting in a couple weeks (that is unless of course this happen to be our "lucky" month... yup, I still never give up hope).

Anyways, back to the story...

So the day that my husband had to leave work early, I was actually at his school with him in the morning, since I had a team who wanted to observe his math instruction (we're both educators), and then my husband took the afternoon off so that we could go to our appointment together. Well apparently, this co-work of his (we'll call her Brittany) noticed that my husband had taken the afternoon off, and also knew that I was there in the morning. So the next day when she saw him, she decided that is was a good idea to go up and say, "Hey, did you play hooky with your wife yesterday? I saw that she was here in the morning and then I saw that you left in the afternoon."

Caught off-guard by her apparently random comment and question, my husband simply replied, "No, we actually had a doctor's appointment to go to." Brittany then said, "Oh ok... well, you should have played hooky - that would have been fun."  Umm, ok, well thanks for the unsolicited advice??

Then, this Brittany chick proceeded to cross the line... An invisible line, might I add, that she had no idea she was crossing, but nonetheless.

She apparently felt the need to give my husband an earful at that moment about how he should really take the opportunity to play hooky with his wife more often because we don't have any kids yet. And how we're "SOOOO lucky" that we don't have any kids yet. And how it must be nice to just do whatever we want, whenever we want, because we don't have any kids yet. And how she wishes she could go back to the days when she didn't have any kids.  And how we really should appreciate this time in our lives when we don't have any kids, because it goes down hill once you do. And how she's so jealous of us because we don't have any kids yet. And... well, I'm sure you get the picture at this point.

If I were there I would have counted how many times she used the damn phrase: "Don't have any kids yet." Really? We didn't notice, but thanks for so blatantly pointing that out.

Also, thanks for helping us realize "how lucky" we are that we don't have any kids... yet. Oh, and for ironically finding the perfect moment and time and person to vent to about how much you apparently dislike having kids. Yea, awesome.

I felt bad for my husband when he came home and told me that story... And then felt infuriated that he had to deal with that, especially coming off the the whirlwind of just getting an over-load of information the day before about how his wife will shortly begin to drug herself with self-injections, just for the sheer hope that we can "have kids."

Really, Brittany?... The last thing my husband (and me later that evening) wanted to hear from someone who's opinion was not asked for, was how horrible your life apparently is because you have kids - and how "awesome" ours apparently is because we don't. Yea, thanks for offering those thoughts to the infertile couple.

Brittany, poor Brittany... she had no idea what she had set herself up for, and I'm sure she meant no harm. But honestly, please be more thoughtful about your words and your decision to just so openly share - no wait, project - your opinion on someone else.

To Brittany... I hope you can find a moment of clarity in your ever so difficult life and take a second to step back and appreciate the beautiful children God has blessed you with and allowed you to have in your life. I'm sure there are plenty of moments filled with frustration, exhaustion, and plain old defeat, but truly you have a blessing - actually multiple blessings - that so many of us continue to dream of, hope for, pray for, get poked, prodded, and drugged for, spend exorbitant amounts of money for, and spend so many moments each day simply longing for.

I'm sure being a parent isn't always rainbows and sunshine, but it's truly a blessing... and I vow to never allow myself to forget that when my opportunity arrives.

Until then, I can only pray for parents like Brittany (and her children) who seemed to have lost sight of that - or even more unfortunately, maybe never even realized it in the first place.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On-wards and Upwards

It's been awhile since I last updated, so I apologize. Life has been a little crazy lately. As an educator, those that are fellow educators know that this time of year can be, well, NUTS! In addition, I recently went back to graduate school for a second round, so that's added some additional craziness to my plate. But enough of that... It's time for a much needed update on my infertile life :)

As a quick recap, we decided to take a little hiatus from medical fertility treatments for a couple of months - for various reasons. During this break I've been working hard to really focus on some more natural approaches to helping increase fertility... such as exercise (pilates and yoga for fertility), self-fertility massage, and eating as clean and as healthy as I can. After a couple of months, while I can't say that I'm pregnant just yet, I can however say that I do believe these things have definitely helped and increased my fertility, in various ways... and have made me much healthier (and more aware of what I'm putting into my body) in the process!

I've worked hard to cut most processed foods, white refined sugars, caffeine, and other toxins (by eating about 80-90% organic) out of my diet and rid my body of the negative effects they all have, not only on my health, but more specifically on my fertility.

So where do things go from here, you ask?

Well, we're actually ready to go back to fertility treatments (that is of course, unless this month happens to be 'the month' - I will never loose hope!) and we're gearing up for our next step of the plan, which consists of drum-roll please:...NEEDLES! Yup, for this next cycle we (I, really) will be taking daily gonadotropin injections and then we'll have IUI number 3 scheduled.

Yesterday, we actually had our appointment with one of the nurses at Dr. M's office to have our 2-hour "training session" to go over all that basics and nitty gritty of doing the self-injections.

Looks like I have TONS of fun ahead of me here in the near future.

But really though, in a weird way I'm actually kind of excited to start this next phase. I mean, I'm not necessarily jumping out of my chair to start injecting myself (or have the hubs do so) on a daily basis, but I'm definitely looking forward to the hopeful possibility that this next phase represents. I'm so happy that we took a couple of months to just breathe and re-set ourselves, as well as focus on getting even healthier... and now I'm ready to go back in for round whatever we're technically on (three, four?).

So that's that really... Still loving my green smoothies and juice. Still pilat-ing and massaging my way to a baby. And oddly enough, looking forward to apparently beginning to stick needles into myself on a regular basis. Life's awesome! Really, it is!... That wasn't sarcastic!! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Dark Side of Silence - #StartAsking

As part of National Infertility Awareness Week, the organization Resolve (check them out here) has decided their awareness campaign theme this year is #StartAsking. The reality is that 1 in 8 couples struggle through facing infertility... 1 in 8!! While that may or may not seem like a lot to you, in actuality infertility is much more prevalent than many people think or even realize. Think about it... I'm sure many of you can think of at least 8 different couples you know - friends, family, co-workers, people at church, or even acquaintances. Statistically speaking, there's a good chance that at least one of those couple has faced the realities of infertility, whether they are going through it now, have in the past, or may even face it in the future once deciding to try and start (or even further grow) their family... and yes, couples who may have already had a child with no difficulty can even face infertility on their second, third, etc. try - it doesn't only affect couples trying for their first child.

So back to the #StartAsking campaign. This year (to me) the campaign really represents a movement to start opening the lines of communication. Unfortunately, although infertility is a pretty prevalent diagnosis, it's often something that's not talked about... sometimes even considered a "taboo" subject. And I get it, trust me of all people I really do. It's considered a "private and personal" matter for many couples, and often starts with a phase of denial that needs to be worked through.

I spoke briefly in an earlier post (that you can check out here) about how at the beginning of this journey I struggled to really even accept the reality that this was what my husband and I were facing - the dreaded word: INFERTILITY. I didn't want to accept that and didn't want to be "that couple" that struggled to have a baby. I wanted to be like every other couple who got to experience the rush of excitement when first deciding to "try." The couple that gets to fantasize about all the cute and fun ways they will tell friends and family that they're pregnant... and then actually get to use one of those ways to tell people. I wanted to be the couple that was just "normal" when it came to baby-making.

But instead, I got to be one of the lucky 1 in 8's - and from there I had to embark down the long and winding road of living through my infertility battle. No matter how much I didn't want it to be true, how much I prolonged even making that first appointment to see my fertility specialist (Dr. M's) or how hard I tried to wish it away, I couldn't. It was here. It was real. It was a battle I was about to embark on that had no definitive end in sight.

Now, as things stand 2 years later, I get to look back and reflect on parts of this journey and hopefully try to help others with my retrospect.

You see with infertility, especially in the beginning phases, there often comes some denial, as I previously mentioned. Denial in a sense that you just keep hoping that this next month will just be "the month" and then you either won't even have to bother telling anyone about the struggle or at least light-heartedly share about the struggle after you can announce your pregnancy.

Even more so, often times with infertility there comes this weird and sometimes even hard to understand feeling of shame. Shame that you can't get pregnant like everyone else. Shame that as a woman your body isn't working the way it was designed to. Shame that your body can't successfully accomplish the one thing as a woman that seems so easy (an even "accidental") for so many others. Shame that you are "the couple who can't have a baby."

For a long time though, I didn't really even understand these feelings. On the outside, I remember feeling like, "I'm not ashamed about what we're going through, I just don't want people to know. I don't want their pity." But really, once I was able to work through many, many, many feelings, I realized that a lot of it was rooted in some sort of shame that my body was letting me down - that it wasn't doing was it was supposed to do and there was nothing that I could really do to make it.

Yet through all of the "working through my feelings" I was adamant about still not telling anyone (and I mean anyone) about our struggle - for various reasons... and this is one of the major downsides to infertility. This shame of silence that you lock yourself into. The feeling of loneliness that you don't mean to, but actually do choose to lock yourself into. By not sharing (even with just one other person close to you) you prevent yourself from being allowed to have a support system around you. You close yourself off to an outlet for love and support and compassion.

And in my situation, that's exactly what I did... I unintentionally locked myself into this dark place of sealing all of my feelings, fears, thoughts, and frustrations inside - with no way to properly process them.

But even more so, the even darker side to all of this was what I had inadvertently put my loving husband through. He on the other hand didn't hold the same thoughts as me about not telling anyone. I mean, he wasn't all about shouting it from the roof-tops, but he also didn't really understand what was so bad about sharing our difficulties with family and close friends. So unfortunately, what I did was lock him into a dark world of silence as well - one that he had no choice to not be in, and one where he had no one he could talk to (without fear of me going crazy for "telling our dirty little secret").

You see, when a couple goes through infertility it doesn't only impact the woman, it also significantly impacts the man in the situation. He was going through his own range of emotions in dealing with this difficulty, many that were the same as mine, some that were different. But sadly, and regrettably, it took me awhile to realize this. I figured since we were going through this together, he had me to talk to and I had him... which we did, but there's still so much power in being able to open up to someone else about all of it. My husband worked so hard to be strong and supportive for me, that I think he sometimes forgot to take care of himself, and allow himself to process through all the feelings he was having... and I clearly didn't make that any easier for him. Sweetheart, I know you know this, but I am truly so so sorry... you didn't deserve to have to be in that place alone, and I know you allowed yourself to be because of how much you love me - for that, I am eternally grateful, and love you more than I could ever express. I'm sorry...

Of course everything is clearer in retrospect, but looking back I wish I would have opened up sooner to close family and friends about our infertility. I wish I would have let my husband speak openly to whomever he felt comfortable sharing with. I wish I didn't lock us both into this dark and lonely place for so long. But - I did.

So now in moving forward and seeing how far we've come and how amazingly powerful and helpful it's been for us to open up about our journey, my advice to others - whether you're just starting to navigate your way through these waters, or knee deep into the world of living with infertility - is as follows:

- First and foremost, your journey is your own, and ultimately you get to choose who and how and when you would like to open up and share. Just because it was something positive and helpful for me (and my husband) doesn't mean it's right for you... or right, right now

- Communicate openly with your partner and be accepting of the fact that you both may have different needs - and be respectful of how to best have those needs met

- It's a personal choice of who to tell, but consider opening up to at least one person you trust about it... I can't tell you how amazing it was for me once that shadowy wall came down and I knew I had a friend whom I could call and chat openingly with about all the nuances (and frustrations) of infertility treatments. Likewise, it was just as amazing once we knew we had the support of both of our parents behind us... praying for us, sending love and encouragement, and providing support

So in light of this week dedicated to bringing awareness to this issue - I challenge you to start opening the lines of communication. Infertility is a medical diagnosis and we all need to band together to break the stigma, misunderstandings, and taboo culture that surrounds it and start breaking the silence...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spreading Awareness - NIAW

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) coming up in a couple days, I wanted to share an amazing post written by my friend over at Hoping for a Heard. Take some time to check out the information and stats. that she shares regarding infertility, as well as her fabulous tips on what not to say (and what to say instead) when someone you know is going through infertility. I've been wanting to write a similar post on "Dont's" and "Do's" when it comes to talking to someone dealing with infertility, so stay tuned for that - but in the mean time, check out her great tips in her "Be A Lighthouse" post you can find here.

Thanks Paige :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

So Far So Good... and a Mini-Lesson on Fertility, Nutrition & Exercise

So here's an update on my "a bit more natural approach" to infertility over the past few weeks... so far, so good :) I've been enjoying my "green juice" and "green smoothies," which have definitely helped me get a healthy serving of some powerful super food greens, as well as other antioxidants.

Antioxidants greatly help in countering the negative effects of free radicals - which we all have floating around in our bodies and which are responsible for causing damage to your body at a cellular level. Therefore antioxidants help promote healthy cell development and regeneration, for example in egg and sperm development (which is obviously important for both women and men when TTC). Each food obviously has it's own benefits and effects, but in addition to antioxidants, some of the other main vitamins and minerals that are needed to help promote fertility include:
- Follate aka Folic Acid... which is an obvious one
- Zinc... used to create genetic material and help with healthy sperm production in males (preventing chromosomal abnormalities)
- Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids... help promote healthy hormone development and healthy brain development in your growing baby (once pregnant)
- Iron... low iron or iron deficiencies may impact ovulation (or contribute to anovulation - not ovulating)

This by no means is an exhaustive list, as there are definitely other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help with healthy fertility, but these are among some of the ones I've been focusing on... in addition to the vitamin regimen my fertility doctor (we'll call him Dr. M's) has me religiously on. This regimen consists of prescription grade prenatal vitamins, calcium, CoQ10, and a twice daily supplement powder (that you mix into water) called Pregnitude. It's definitely a lot, given that you have to take into consideration that certain ones have to be taken at certain times, with certain amounts of water, within certain restrictions regarding food, etc. - but nonetheless, a small price to pay for this miracle baby that will be coming our way soon (I'm speaking positive affirmations here!).

I've also been incorporating a pilates routine into my workouts that helps promote fertility. This series of pilates moves is supposed to help specifically with any types of adhesions, endometriosis, fibroids, scar tissues etc - and while I don't have endometriosis, I did have some issues with scar tissue and some minor adhesions that were blocking one of my tubes, so I'm hoping this can help keep any of that from forming again (especially post-surgery). 

This routine specifically is fairly simple (even if you've never done pilates before) and doesn't take a ton of time... I think the video is about 17-18min, and a couple of those minutes are the intro., so really about 15min. or less.  

Here's the video from Jessica at Happy Hour Mama (check out her website or her YouTube Channel for other pilates workouts)...

One thing that's made a big difference for me, and really helped motivate me to get back into doing some pilates (and a bit of yoga too), is the point that she makes in her video about the positive detoxifying effects of pilates. 

I try to stay fit and active and try to workout at least 4-5 days a week, but like she mentioned, my issue has been that a lot of my workout routines have consisted of more static movements (running, strength training, high intensity cardio sometimes); so what I was missing was a lot of the deeper movements, including extending, bending, twisting, etc, that pilates helps provide... and that help more effectively detox your body and organs. So it's really a win - win.. positive effects on your body and exercise to help lengthen and strengthen your muscles (and help promote weight loss as well!)

Alright, I'm going to get down from the pilates soap-box bandwagon, but just end by saying that's it's something to look into if you happen to be interested.

Other than that, I'm just here enjoying the patter of rain that we're getting at the moment :)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Faith Through The Trials and Rough Roads

My faith truly is the main thing that gives me strength through this entire journey through infertility. Being able to trust in God and turn to Him during the most difficult and trying times, and even during the small celebrations, is the rock upon which I can stand.

At times, however, it can become easy to overlook and forget about this never-failing support from Him. Getting wrapped up in all of the daily tracking, charting, appointments... and hoping, wishing, watching for any sign that this month might be the month can quickly consume all of you. It's easy in those happy celebratory moments to thank God for the victory, but it's during those most difficult, disappointing instances when your true faith is tested.

Now don't get me wrong, having this faith and trust in God doesn't make any of this easy by any means, because it's still not easy. In fact, it's probably one of the most difficult things that I've been through in my life thus far. But what my faith does do is make it possible for me to continue to get through these trials.

There have been plenty of times that I've questioned God and His plan, been frustrated with it since it clearly isn't aligned with my plan, and even been times when I've been flat out angry and livid with what He's allowing me to go through. But ultimately, I'm still somehow always able to come back to a place of peace knowing that no matter what, and no matter how mad I get at Him, He's still always by my side in all of it. No matter what I do, or how angry I get at Him (or how many times I inappropriately yell, scream, and even mildly curse at Him -- yes, I've done this and am not proud), His grace and love still have the ability to ultimately overcome. And that's what's amazing about Him. No matter what we do, no matter how we sin, no matter how many times we turn away from Him and try to take matters into our own hands... through our trusting in Jesus, He is still always there for us, with open arms - when we are ready to come back. He never leaves us (even when we try to push Him away -- again, I know this from personal experience), and His love and unfailing grace are everlasting.

Putting my faith and trust in Jesus has been the best and most amazing decision I've made in my life. Coming to know Him and His love for me has definitely transformed my life in countless ways... including helping me get through this craziness of infertility. In the end, I know God has a plan in all of this, and through it all is working to bring His plan into fruition.

Why is He allowing us to go through? Why have we been chosen to live this struggle? Where will this all go in the end? What will the ultimate outcome be?... To be honest, I can't say for sure. Because at this point, only He knows. But what I can say for sure is that God's hand is in it... and ultimately His plan will prevail.

I hold on strong to my faith that through God, all things are possible. It is possible for me to get pregnant. It is possible for us to have a baby (and hopefully two, or three, or however many God has planned for us). It is possible and I believe it will happen - in due time. In His time, not necessarily mine... so while I wait, what I'm called to do is to continue to have faith. Faith in the child/ children I know God has planned for us. Faith in the pregnancy I know I will experience. Faith in my amazing God.

I know He wants great things for me (and my husband... and all of us that trust in Jesus), so no matter how rough the road gets, I have to continue to fall back on this promise from Him...

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope." 
~Jeremiah 29:11~

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Green Juice Monster

I've spent the past couple of days strictly following my "all natural" fertility plan that I've put myself on, and so far so good. I've been making (and actually kind of enjoying) my super green juice (so far consisting of tons of broccoli, spinach, and an apple)... not as bad as you would think. Check out this goodness...

I've also been doing some pilates designed to help promote fertility, as well as started a bit of yoga too. I'm going to give it a couple more days to see if I still like it, as well as do a bit more research, but then I will share the links for anyone who's interested... So far it seems promising.

In addition, I started self-fertility massage last night as well, and plan to continue with it daily until ovulation. Again, I'm going to give this a couple more days and then share the info. if I'm still liking it... wouldn't want to promote anything I'm not feelin' :)

Other than that, most other things have been pretty uneventful. I'm definitely continuing to appreciate my temporary break from appointments, but still am charting this month (and probably will do OPKs) just to continue to track ovulation and timing.

I've also mostly gotten over my conjured-up fear of judgement for taking a short break from medical treatment. In my last post I talked about how there was still some guilt that stuck with me in regards to making the decision the take this month off. I kind of felt like others would think, "Well, if you really wanted a baby badly enough, you wouldn't be taking these 'breaks' and would just being doing whatever medical intervention was necessary." I'm sure no one actually thinks that (if you do, please keep it to yourself), but I guess maybe part of me actually thinks that myself and is projecting (ok, now here comes the psychologist in me). Regardless, if there's one thing I've learned through this whole infertility quest, it's that everyone's journey is different... and everyone has the right to choose what's best for them, without judgement. No one knows what it's like to walk in another's shoes, therefore no one has the right to judge or even second guess and question your decision making. It's your call... and so I'm probably speaking more to myself here, but it's ok to choose whatever is best for you and your partner at the moment. Bottom line.

Anyone else who doesn't want to support, well, they can just keep their opinions to themselves... To everyone else, cheers to you with my green juice!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hiatus Ended - Sort Of

Well I'm back from that little hiatus I took. Still not preggers, but so enjoyed that much needed "break" I went on from my crazy infertility ride (see this post for details). It was nice to not have to be so consumed with the daily reminders of my infertility for awhile... doctor's office visits, ultrasounds, medication, blood work, etc. But now it's time to come back to my reality... well sort of.

After 2 failed IUIs (and one non-response to Clomid cycle), I found myself needing to stop for a moment and hit the reset button... before continuing with the next scheduled part of the plan. According to my doctor, after my surgery (see Part 1 and Part 2 for a recap), the plan was 2-3 medicated cycles on Clomid with IUIs... and then if that didn't work, 2-3 more medicated cycles on injectables with IUIs. As of last month, I found myself on the cusp of moving on to that next phase of the plan - injectables, Now I'm not one who's afraid of needles by any means. So the thought of having to give myself (or have my husband give me) daily injections wasn't that hard to swallow. But what did make me hesitate for a moment before jumping into this next phase was the realization of how much more "close monitoring" I would need throughout this process. I guess call me spoiled, but the 1-2 times a week I was already spending at appointments while on Clomid, was stressful enough. So facing the fact that I would now be in the office every 2-3 days seemed more than I was ready for.

Therefore, while taking this past month off, I spent some time reflecting on what would be the next best step for us. Not just medically speaking, but emotionally, psychologically, and logistically. Yes, I want a baby - badly. There's no doubt about that. But my fear of judgement for our decision making was something I had to take a moment to get over. Judgement, you ask? Who's judging me? Well, in reality, honestly probably no one. But in my head, there's still some guilt that if I wanted a baby badly enough, I would be moving forward with whatever the next part of the medical plan would be and not be "needing to take a break"... So the thought that others may think this when they heard we were taking a month off from treatment, was something (albeit silly) that I need to work through.

After much deliberation, thoughtful reflection, and countless conversations with my hubs (he's seriously so awesome and SO supportive), we've decided to take this next month "off" from medical treatment as well. The battle I've struggled with over the past couple of months is wondering if my surgery in late October has in essence "reset my time clock." What I mean is, the fact that it's considered normal for it to take up to a year for healthy (fertile) couples to conceive. Therefore, since my surgery technically corrected the main issue that was causing our infertility, part of me wonders if that's kind of like re-starting my clock... meaning it could be normal for it to now take up to a year for us to conceive naturally - if that's even possible. The jury's still out apparently. However, then the realistic side of me reminds myself that "technically" we probably are no longer classified as that normal, healthy couple (even though I had corrective surgery). And, time is of the essence, at least selfishly. Regardless, I'm still in this teeter-totter of a thought process and not 100% confident of being fully ready to proceed to the next medical phase.

As with last month, we still obviously will "try" this month, but I like to think of it more as "trying the all natural route." This means that I will be embarking even further down the holistic, all natural route. Oh such exciting things I have planned for myself ahead. Fertility pilates and yoga, fertility massage, juicing, fertility smoothies (There's such a thing? Yup!) organic and super-food eating, etc... So I'm about to either 1) get pregnant the all-natural way - come on, fingers crossed... or 2) take a long ride on the crazy-train.

This should be interesting.

Today ---> Day 1 = Juicing with some super-food greens and fertility pilates. Juice was actually pretty good and pilates (plus my 2 mile hike with the hubs and "our boys") definitely helped relieve some stress.

We shall see how this goes and where it takes me... and really, how long it lasts, ha...

Either way, I'll at least be healthier in the end if I'm not pregnant, right?!?

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Few New Additions...

Today's post comes in the form of a few newly added pages to the blog... See the links above or click for More About Me... or to check out Our Fur Family or the Blogs I Follow

Sending love, strength, and positive prayers to everyone today!

Friday, March 18, 2016

I Need a Break...

After that last "Cruel Trick" it was back to square one again, and onto the next cycle. The plan was the same as before: a medicated cycle on Clomid with an IUI. So a couple weeks in, I was back to the office for blood work and another ultrasound scan to check the size of the follicles and determine when the hCG trigger should be given. Well, here we go with more bad news... Apparently I had a "non-response" to the Clomid and didn't have any follicles of decent size. Only one small one. Well, this sucks... I've never had any issues ovulating, like ever. And here I am taking medication to strengthen and increase something that's not really even broken in the first place, and it has the opposite effect. Awesome. So, the nurse sent me on my way and told me to come back on Monday morning (this was a Friday) to see if at least that one follicle has grown some. At this point, I already knew this cycle was going to be a bust, but still tried to be positive. Low and behold, I ended up ovulating on my own at some point over the weekend (obviously, probably with an immature follicle), so even though we tried to take matters into our own hands and time things up well, no dice. AF (Aunt Flow) showed up right on time that month to scream, "YOU SUCK" - Another failed cycle.

A couple weeks later, the Groundhog Day movie that was quickly becoming our reality started all over again as we tried for round three. Third time's a charm, right? Back to the office. Back to the ultrasound scans. Back to the Clomid (this time it worked!). Back to the hCG trigger shot (in the "tail-feather" this time might I add, as I learned from my first rodeo back in this post). And back to another "Romantic" Baby Dance in a doctor's office. Then, time to embark again into the dark abyss of the 2WW... always a fun time to try and keep your sanity and not completely loose all rational abilities (ha, yea right, like that's really possible).

At the end of that torture, on the morning of March 4th, I scurry my way into the doctor's office (frantically having to leave work for a bit in the midst of hosting a huge conference) for my Beta Blood Pregnancy Test... and later that day when I get the oh so personal voicemail: Drum roll please...

BIG.FAT.NEGATIVE... Awesome...

Third Time's a Charm?... How about Three Strikes You're Out!

And now my friends we're fully caught up to speed in this circus act of infertility that has become my life ... aaaaaaaaaand, I.NEED.A.BREAK.

Done for now and taking this cycle off... Oh my goodness, I can feel the relief of pressure already. I just want to have a sliver of my normal life back, even for just a brief moment. To remember what it feels like to not have to wake up to my 6:04am alarm (yes, I'm weird and cannot set alarms ending in :05 or :00) to shove a thermometer in my mouth. To not have to obsessively stalk my own Fertility Friend app. To not have to become best friends with Clomid, hCG shots, or progesterone inserts. To not have to (unintentionally) be aware of every single freaking twinge, pinch, pain, and weird feeling (seriously, I can't even successful ignore this stuff when I try). To not have to try and make a baby with my husband through a catheter in a doctor's office. To not have to live in a doctor's office every few days. To not have to know exactly what day of my cycle it is and what I potentially should be feeling/ seeing on that day if I were to be pregnant this month. To not have to anxiously stare at my phone and wait for those dreaded calls with "results" from the nurse. To not have to accept the reality of my infertility... just for a brief moment.

But let's be real, even though we're technically "taking this cycle off" and not going the medical intervention route (man there's a part of me that feels guilty about this though), as if I'm really not going to still obsess about some of these things. Truth is, we're still obviously going to "try," so many of these things have just become second nature to me. I couldn't get away from them if I tried. Apparently, this is my "new normal"... and you know what, for the most part (and on most days), I've just accepted it and learned to try and take it in strides, with grace. After all, God has a plan in all of this, right? He's got to. I just need to hang on for the ride, learn and grow however I can, and keep looking forward... At least this month I don't have to drop my pants and bend over for a shot... I win.