Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seasons of Life

I got this as an email forward and loved it. It seemed very appropriate to post here.

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly, so he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second son in the spring, the third son in the summer and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and returned, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent and twisted.

The second son said it was covered with green buds and full of promise.

The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen only one season in the tree’s life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season in their life. The essence of who they are, and the pleasure, joy and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all season are up.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, and the fulfillment of your fall.

Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don’t judge life by one difficult season. Preserver through the difficult times, knowing that better times are sure to come.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Update

Our 4th injectable cycle has not been successful. It would have been neat timing to find out we are having a baby on Thanksgiving, but that was not in the big plan for this year. I don't have any idea what is next, and I cancelled my doctor's appointment yesterday in favor of coming home and going to the movies with Jamie and Elise.

But, we are sitting in our warm house on this Thanksgiving Day with our doggies and a beautiful little girl who was given to us to love...and each other! In a few hours we will be enjoying honey baked ham, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, broccoli rice casserole, macaroni & cheese, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, deviled eggs, mimosas, tea, coffee, chocolate pie, and pumpkin cheesecake - we could not be anything other than THANKFUL, for we are extremely blessed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Injectable Cycle #4

I had an appointment with Dr. Dunn earlier this week, and after talking with him we decided to give this another go. In my last cycle, he was pretty happy with my response to the meds, but my body started to ovulate on its own a bit early (which is discovered through testing LH levels in the blood). This caused us to have to trigger ovulation before all the follicles were ready, thus giving us only 2 really good follicles. He thinks if we could have gone another day or so, we may have seen 3 or 4 mature follicles...which would be really super awesome and ideal. So, this time he has a plan to be sure we get that extra day.

I'll be injecting a new drug that acts as an antagonist to hold off ovulation until we are ready. The medication is called Ganirelix. In addition to the Ganirelix, I will also inject a microdose of Ovidrel (same medication as the trigger shot, but smaller dose). I didn't ask if I would also be injecting the Gonal-F on the same days as the microdose of Ovidrel and the Ganirelix...I need to ask about that, but I have a few more days before it will become an issue.

I started the Gonal-F injections today (same dose as last cycle, 75iui). First scan will be on Monday.

Part of me thinks I am crazy to go down this road again - especially during the holidays - but overall I am really glad to be trying again. We still have not totally perfected my protocol, and I'd like to have a few really great, textbook cycles before officially throwing in the towel.

I don't know if this is going to work or not, but I feel really at peace either way. When they did my baseline scan yesterday, they told me I have a cyst and had to send me down to the lab for bloodwork to be sure it wasn't producing any estrogen. The Melanie of 2 or 3 years ago would have been in a panic over the idea that I may have to wait another cycle, but the Melanie I am today wasn't worried at all. There are many things I've tried to control in the past, and if this whole experience has taught me one thing, it is WHO is actually in control at all times. ;)

And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:27,28 ESV

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Everything rides on hope now

Well, I said I was done with this. I was ready to begin the process of accepting our family as complete. I meant it wholeheartedly at the time. But now I am changing my mind.

I've had a series of very vivid dreams over the past 10 days or so. All involving babies - specifically me having them. They are the most wonderful dreams. The pregnancy goes perfectly. I have an uncomplicated, natural childbirth. And I wake up just as I begin to nurse the baby for the first time. I struggle to go back to sleep so I can continue the dream. And I can't stop thinking about it.

I'm not ready to give up. I am going to call the doctor tomorrow and schedule an appointment to formulate a plan. Jamie has never been ready to give up, so he's excited. We have only 2 more weeks of football left, so the timing is good.

I could use tons of prayers, because I'm pretty nervous where this leads us if it doesn't work again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A good day

There are many, many days that I struggle. But sometimes I have good days. Today was a good day. On days like today, I feel totally happy with my family. I feel fulfilled to be the mommy of one absolutely perfect and wonderful little girl. I embrace things the way they are. It's a good feeling when it happens. :)

They say time heals all wounds. Maybe someday, all my days will feel like today. Isn't that a nice thought?

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's hard this time of year

I woke up early last Saturday morning, which was frustrating because it was one of the few mornings I had the opportunity to sleep in! I think I was excited, because I was decorating for fall last weekend and thinking about the holidays. As I was laying in bed debating whether I should just get up or try to go back to sleep, I was picturing our family on Christmas morning in past years and thinking about what our family will look like on Christmas morning this year and in future years. Being a small family of three is hard this time of year.

To me, Christmas is all about kids. It's so fun to see the magic of the season through their eyes. I was thinking about watching Elise rush down the stairs on Christmas morning to check out her loot. I know I probably don't have too many of those years left with her, and I wonder if she feels lonely at our house sometimes.

About a month ago she wanted to eat dinner outside. I really don't enjoy eating outdoors (you know, bugs and all). I told her I was going to eat inside and she said, "That's okay, mommy. I'll go by myself." She picked up her plate and took it out on the back porch and sat at her little picnic table. I was surprised to see this independent streak in her, and I watched out the window as she sat and ate. I felt intensely sad to see her sitting at the table alone.

This is the same sort of sadness I feel on Christmas. I want her to have someone to open gifts beside her and play with her. Sure, we play with her, but I feel like it's not the same as having a "peer" to play with.

I keep telling myself that Elise is perfectly happy (she is). It's just hard, because this is not how I pictured my family. Yet, I know this must be how it was meant to be.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Firsts & Lasts

I was never going to be one of those mothers. You know the type...the ones who stand and cry as they wave goodbye to their children on their first day of Kindergarten. I never understood why moms would feel sad as they watch their children grow, learn, and thrive. This is a good thing after all! I was certainly never going to do it.

If there is one thing Elise has taught me, it is never say never! If I were to make a list of all the things I said I would never do as a parent before I actually had a child, I shudder to think how long that list would be!

I was never going to put my child in bed with me. This particular promise took less than 24 hours to be broken.

My child was going to be taught manners and would never talk back to me. Anyone with a child age 2 or older is probably laughing at this one. Wasn't I cute and naive?

I was not going to let my child watch television.

I was never going to feed my child fast food.

And I certainly was not going to cry when my child went off to school.

As the first day of school nears, I find that I can't even think about sending her to school without crying! I am sure to be a total mess on Monday. And I absolutely loathe crying in front of people - especially strangers! I am going to try to avoid it at all costs, but I have serious doubts as to whether or not I'll be successful.

One thing about people with secondary infertility is that we know exactly what we are missing. We've had the joy of raising one baby, and we know just how wonderful it is. Milestones take on a new meaning to us, because every single first is also a last. Elise's first day of Kindergarten will most likely be the last time I ever walk my child to their classroom on the first day of school. I'm so excited for her, but it makes me intensely sad at the same time.

I don't want to give up on the dream of having another baby, but we are taking a break for an indefinite amount of time. I've always said that when the process starts interfering with our quality of life, it will be time to stop. And the past few months have not been good quality. The drugs are hard on my body and the negative tests are even harder on me emotionally. I'm not doing well, and it's affecting the quality of my parenting as well as my overall happiness - which affects Jamie's overall happiness. I can recognize when I'm in an unhealthy place, and I know I need some help this time. I need to make that first call to the counselor for an appointment, but I'm still working up the nerve. I don't mind writing about my feelings on infertility (it's actually a bit therapeutic), but I absolutely hate to talk about it. I can't have a discussion about it without crying and as I said before, I hate crying in front of people. So, this holds me back from going to see the counselor. I'm sure she sees a fair amount of crying in her office, but I prefer to be strong, independent, and self-sufficient. I've always considered myself to be a capable, self sustaining person. To admit that I need to rely on someone else isn't easy for me (just one of my many faults). But I'm working on it and getting there, slowly but surely.

I can't say if or when we might try another medicated cycle. After 7 failed medicated cycles, I am feeling pretty defeated, and I know at this point the odds are not on our side (if you recall, injections are statistically most successful within the first 2-3 attempts and we have 3 failed attempts). Emotionally I am not sure how much more I can invest before going bankrupt.

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 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.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not feeling it

I hate to say this, and I certainly hate to be negative, but I really don't think I'm going to be pleased with the outcome of this cycle. I've known for a few days now. I guess just call it female intuition. As a matter of fact, I had a complete breakdown early Thursday morning from about 12:30am to a little after 1:00am. I haven't cried like that in a long time. It was uncontrollable sobbing, and I have no idea where it came from. Perhaps a progesterone side effect? I've never taken anything that made me cry so much. But I was laying in bed that night (not sleeping because Jamie was snoring) imagining the conversation between Jamie and I...the one where I have to look him in the eyes and tell him that I'm sorry I can never give him a baby. The one where we finally give up. I don't know how I am ever going to get through that conversation, and I feel like it's becoming more and more imminent now. I feel like anytime I really hurt over this process, I'm hurting 100x more for him than I am for myself.

One of my friends told me that the time period between 2 and 3 years of struggling with infertility is the hardest. The first year was really hard. Really hard. I spent a lot of time in a state of anger and just trying to really absorb everything and come to grips with it. The second year, I feel like we were just kind of coasting. I made peace with a lot of things during the second year - some things not even related to infertility, but the journey has made me face a lot and think about a lot of things. We were getting into the medicated cycles, and we still had a lot of options during the second year. Now the third year has begun, and the fear is setting in. We are running out of options, or at least it feels that way to me.

Jamie and I were talking this morning about sending Elise off to Kindergarten. We've been spending a lot of time shopping for school supplies, school clothes/shoes, talking to her to prepare her for the transition. It's such an exciting time for her, and I'm enjoying every minute. She's not a toddler anymore. The toddler years are so precious, but I am loving my older child even more. Jamie and I were talking about how hard it is going to be to have to start all over if we do get pregnant. I haven't changed a diaper in years, and I think I've totally forgotten how to feed a baby! It's amazing how that knowledge fades in just a few years. I guess there is something to be said for having children close together - everything is still fresh on your mind.

Right now it all just seems so completely intangible and unattainable. Dr. Dunn has passed me the information for an infertility counselor, and I am beginning to wonder if maybe I should meet her sometime. I'm not sure of the cost. I guess it might be worth finding out. What I would really love to do is just find a way to forget about all of this.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A so-so report

At the scan today we learned I now have 10 follicles growing...however, only one is mature. The nurse explained to me that all 10 will release eggs, but the ones measuring on the smaller side will not be mature enough to allow for fertilization and implantation (my mature follicle measures 22, and the next largest is only 15).

My blood work revealed that my LH levels are on the rise, so I had to go ahead and trigger ovulation tonight. (For those who do not know, LH is lutenizing hormone, and this hormone level increases as your body gears up to ovulate. Since my levels are already rising, this means my body is about to ovulate, so we cannot stimulate any further to give the smaller follicles time to mature.) This means we will most likely only have one mature egg. Even though I still remain optimistic, this is a bit disappointing...I can get one egg all on my own without medication. So, I'm feeling a tad bit defeated - like I just injected myself for a week for nothing. I'm already anxious to see the doctor and ask all my questions - mainly...WHAT'S NEXT?

But then I remind myself that we could very well get pregnant this cycle. God can direct this process, and it only takes one egg to make a baby. So, we are okay.

Worrying ends where faith begins.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another scan, another update

I now have six follicles in various stages of maturity (they range from 10-16, with 10 being the smallest measurable size). Yikes. Four of them are on the left and two are on the right. I read the ultrasound myself before I even saw the nurse (yes, I have this ability now), so I knew there were six right away. I was really nervous this would mean another cancelled cycle. Luckily my estrogen seems acceptable to the doctor, and we are still moving forward. The nurse said we will trigger before all the follicles are mature enough to release eggs - she expects us to release 2 or 3 eggs. I'm staying on 75iui tonight and I'll be checked again tomorrow. I was hoping to avoid yet another trip to the medical center over my lunch hour, but it is for a good cause. I'm anxious to see what happens tomorrow and find out when we will ovulate. I'm still hoping for 3 mature follicles, but at this point I'll consider us fortunate if we don't have to cancel. We will be thankful for whatever we get.

My lining measurement increased slightly to 6mm, so if we could thicken it even more, that would be an added bonus.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Injectable cycle #3, scan #2

Got that? :) Good, because I've lost count of how many scans I've had over the past few years! The ultrasound tech and I are on a first name basis. I always get the same lady, and she doesn't even have to give me any directions anymore. We are on the same page.

But I digress...

Okay, everything was looking good today. I have 3 follicles maturing on the left side - this is great, because our goal was to see 3 follicles this time. So, yay! Let's hope they continue to grow. My E2 number was 496. Again, yay, that is right on target.

Interesting that I'm all of a sudden producing follicles on the left. I've *always* ovulated from the right side. Hmmmmm. Well, good to know my left ovary is still alive over there! I'm sure my right ovary appreciates the break. ;) Hey, way to contribute to the cause, left ovary!

I'm still feeling very optimistic. As a matter of fact, I've made a very serious effort to not forget one single dose of my vitamins lately, and I've also added a probiotic back into the routine as well. I've been meaning to do that anyway to prepare for what is sure to be a wicked upcoming flu now is a great time!

I have another scan and more bloodwork on Wednesday. For now there will be no change in the med's working just as we want. I think I'll get a date for the trigger shot on Wednesday afternoon after my bloodwork comes back from the lab. I'm getting excited!!

Time for another new song. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Gene Machine

As we were exploring the game room at Dave & Busters tonight, I happened to notice a small photo booth. It was called The Gene Machine. It takes a photo of you and your partner, then generates a picture of what your children might look like. Of course I couldn't resist. So, in case we never get to find out for sure, we now have a picture of what our son and daughter might look like. It was fun, and I think they are pretty darn cute! We aren't too sure what is going on with our future son's ears, though. LOL

Sorry they are blurry - it's a picture of a picture.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Injectables Take Three - AKA Third time's a charm!

I had a great appointment today - There is no cyst!!!!!! What an obvious and definite answer to prayer. This is the first time I've been able to do medicated cycles back to back.

Dr. Dunn told me that he does not believe my test was faulty. He said the loss was most likely due to a chromosomal other words, my lining was functioning properly and we did achieve implantation. He said we should all be very encouraged by this - and we are!

He ideally wants to see me produce 3 follicles, so he said we will try to push my body a bit further this time. He commented that we still have a lot of wiggle room for adjustments between the dose from my first injectable cycle (125iui) and the dose from my second injectable cycle (50iui). So, for the third try we are going with 75iui, and we'll see how I respond.

He shared with me 2 stories about patients in his practice who became pregnant this year with 5mm lining. He said function is sometimes more important than thickness (not totally sure what that means, but it sounds good). :)

So, I just took my first injection tonight and I am feeling more optimistic than ever. I'll have a scan and bloodwork on Monday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Worrying ends where faith begins

It's been an interesting few days. Very early yesterday (Thursday) morning I got a very, very, very faint positive pregnancy test. When I say very faint, I mean 'I can see the line standing on my head with the test tiled exactly 67 degrees to the left' faint. I had to get a few other people to look at it just to be sure I wasn't dreaming the line into existence. I knew immediately it was not a viable pregnancy (if it was even a true positive result rather than a faulty test or evaporation line). At 12dpo the line would be much darker in a healthy pregnancy. Still, of course I let myself hope a little bit. After all, I've gone more than 2 years and peed on more tests than I care to admit and this was the first one that showed any promise whatsoever. When I got home last night I rushed in and took another test, and I wasn't surprised to see a clearly negative result. So, either it is a chemical pregnancy (a super early loss) or it was just a fluke with the test. I tested again this morning just to be sure. I was up for 2 hours in the middle of the night last night with cramping, so I thought *maybe* my little one was just a slow starter...wishful thinking, but it felt good to think positively for a while and daydream about a potential baby. I haven't done that in a long time. The baby would have been due on March 27 - yes, I even let myself look it up.

I called the nurse this morning after getting another negative HPT. I was hoping she would let me discontinue the progesterone, because it's making me slightly (okay, very) crazy. Much to my disappointment, she said maybe it's just too early, and I should continue the suppositories until my follow-up with Dr. Dunn next Thursday. They want to do a blood test to be sure I'm not pregnant before eliminating the progesterone. As much as I hated to hear that, I'm just trying to be at peace with everything.

My mantra for this coming week is going to be, "Worrying ends where faith begins." I have faith. This is going to work out one way or another. I'm not going to worry about how. I really believe there was a baby. And this is encouraging - we are finally getting somewhere. I feel like if I could do another injectable cycle back-to-back, maybe my lining could be thickened enough to help the next one stick. I'm focusing my prayers on a clean, cyst-free scan once a new cycle begins. This hasn't happened for me in the past, but I know it can happen in the future. The shots are working, and I just need to catch a break.

Thank you, God for that positive test. It gives me the extra determination I really needed to keep going. And I'll let Him do the worrying for me now.

And because my songs change with my moods, I have a new one that I love. Enjoy! :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009


For the past few days I've been torturing myself by visiting the pregnancy forum on a message board. I normally stay out of that area for obvious reasons. But I've been thinking about pregnancy non-stop since I took the trigger shot, and I cannot help myself. I specifically LOVE to read birth stories. When Elise was born, nothing went as planned. Although, looking back now, I must admit I didn't have a very concrete plan in the first place. I knew I didn't want an episiotomy, and I wanted an epidural...but that was about it. I had planned to take classes, but I ended up on bedrest and could not. So I read a few books, and I guess I was just going to wing it!

I would do things so differently the second time around.

It's one of the hardest things to cope with now - the fact that I learned so much from my experience with Elise, and I want so badly to apply that knowledge with another baby. I think I would be so much better next time - at the birth and afterwards. I think I would succeed at breastfeeding. I would handle the exhaustion with more grace, because now I know it gets better. I wouldn't panic in each new stage, because I know they pass. I would make different childcare choices. And I would have someone to share it with now. The list is endless.

Most of all, I want the chance to have the birth experience that I want. I've spent quite a bit of time lately daydreaming about how I'd like to give birth. I would definitely go natural next time (but by choice and not as a result of circumstance!). I've done it once, and I know I can do it again. I'd love a water birth. And I will definitely hire a doula. Along with the excitement of giving birth the second time around, there will be some fear and anxiety. I know I will be at high risk for placenta accreta, hemorrhage, and possible hysterectomy. I will need to keep things calm and focused.

Giving birth is such a personal experience, and when circumstances cause you to lose control over the experience, it's a difficult pill to swallow. I don't know that I've ever moved beyond it. I think having another child could be very therapeutic in that respect - kind of like I could reclaim the process for myself. Of course, it's just one of many reasons we want a baby, but I've been thinking about it constantly since Elise's birthday. I always remember her delivery on her birthday, and I hate that it causes me pain to recall that day. It was scary in the first place, since the delivery happened to so quickly, and it was also the day that I lost my ability to have more children. It makes the memory of her birth very bittersweet.

I want to make a new memory.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Five Years Ago Today

I had just been released from the hospital. I was so excited, because I got to spend the 4th with family and see the fireworks instead of being stuck in that darn hospital bed. Little did I know that just 2 days later, my precious Elise would be born.

Gosh, I can't believe it has been 5 years.

I always think about that day on July 4th. My life was about to change so much - and as it turns out, it changed more than I could have ever expected. Back then, I never thought I would be sitting where I am today, that is for sure. Being infertile is just one of the many things that lie before me in that picture. It's amazing - I'm not even the same person anymore. I've learned so much and grown in so many ways...and I do think my hair style has improved as well. ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The update from today's scan

We still have 2 follicles on the right (none worth measuring on the left). They are now at 18 & 16. E2 is 920. Lining is 6mm. We are going to take the trigger shot tomorrow morning. We're feeling optimistic, and would appreciate all the prayers we can get!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Because I am a dingbat

My whole schedule is thrown off by a day. I spaced out on Monday (which seems pretty much the norm for me these days) and forgot to show up for my scan and blood work at 11:00. I got a call around 12:30 asking why I didn't come in. I really didn't have a good answer for that! I just FORGOT. Pitiful. You would think this would be a big enough priority for me that I would remember to keep my appointments...and it IS, but I just don't know what happened. So anyway, they told me not to worry (yeah, right) and just to continue the same dose of Gonal F one more night and come in the following morning. So, I went in today thinking I might have messed things up if my meds needed adjusting.

God is looking out for us at all times, and things went just fine in spite of the fact that I become more flighty with every passing day. I've got a much more reasonable response on the lower dose - 2 follicles (14 & 11) on the right as well as 4 smaller ones. 7 small ones on the left. My E2 number is 498, which is just about textbook. At this point last time it was already well over 1,000 and way too high. So, it appears from today's appointment that we will not be canceling this time! Hooray!

Of course, there's always a slight bump in the road to accompany good news. My lining is only measuring 5mm. Apparently with lower estrogen numbers comes a thinner lining, which I suspected. But I'm learning that this is my body now, and it's probably not going to change. So, what we need is for God to orchestrate this whole process on our behalf and get the eggs fertilized and guided towards a friendly place to hang out for about 9 months...there has got to be at least ONE spot where an embryo could implant SOMEWHERE in there. So, we're praying it will be God's will for the embryo to find that little spot. The good thing is that my right side is better than my left, and I seem to always produce eggs on that side. So, things are working in our favor in that respect.

Dear Lord, please just do the rest for us!!

I go back on Thursday morning for another scan and more blood work. I'm thinking I may trigger ovulation on Thursday or Friday if things are still progressing nicely at that time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Injectables - Take Two

We started a new injectable cycle on Tuesday. I took my first injection on Thursday, and will be scanned and have bloodwork on Monday. We're on 50 iui instead of 125 iui this time. We will see how it's looking on Monday, and the doctor may or may not adjust the dose.

I have a friend who also uses Dr. Dunn who just recently got pregnant on her 3rd injectable cycle. It's really given me hope - her first 2 cycles were canceled, and the doctor told her there was probably nothing more he could do. She asked to try just one more time, and on the third try her body responded totally differently and she got pregnant! She has been trying longer than me, and I'm just thrilled for her. She's also given me some hope that we still have a chance too.

Jamie said he thinks we should start praying together at night. I love that idea, and I think we will do it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A great post

This one stuck with me, so just linking to it for those who may be interested. Jamie, Elise, and I saw the movie, and it made me cry several times. It is now one of my favorite Disney films of all time.

Read here

This is a great blog, by the way! I follow it and recommend it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two Years

I let our 2 year TTC anniversary pass rather quietly on June 1st. I thought I'd have more to say at this point, but I'm finding myself lacking words when I try to post about it. I forgot about it on the actual day and remembered a few days later. I guess it's like they say: Life is what happens when we are busy making plans.

I'm enjoying our break immensely at the moment. I've lost most of the weight I gained on the injectables and I'm feeling much more like myself again. It's during these times that I begin to dread going back on the meds and question whether it's all worth it or not. I guess in order to really know if it's worth it, I'd need to know the outcome. Hindsight is 20/20 and all.

We are leaving next week for our vacation, and I refuse to give it much thought until we get home. A few days in the crystal clear blue water and white sand will be good for me.

I think the one year anniversary was much harder.

The new song is perfect for my current mindset. We're still standing!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The True Blood TTC Plan

Anyone that has struggled with infertility will be able to appreciate the sentiment of this post. Those who haven't will probably just think we're weird. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine, and Jamie and I have developed a somewhat sick sense of humor lately when it comes to our situation.

We've been watching Season 1 of True Blood in the evenings after Elise goes to bed for about a week now. We're trying to get totally caught up for next Sunday, when new episodes begin on HBO. After all, let's face it - summer TV is scarce at best, so we are kind of getting into this series to have something to watch. It's pretty entertaining.

So, Jamie tells me today that he's got a new TTC plan for us. We call it the Jason Stackhouse TTC Plan. Jamie said we need to watch True Blood every day, and every time Jason has sex with someone, we should have sex! We'll be pregnant in NO time! LOL

Gotta love it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Getting the word out

I know I've mentioned my frustration with the lack of information available about Asherman's Syndrome and the risks of D&C surgery. I belong to a support group for women with AS, and wanted to post this at the request of the author. Please check out her website and share this with others. Knowledge is power! This is near and dear to my heart, since Keely's story is very similar to mine.


Dear Fellow AS Sisters,

My D&C website is finally up and running! It's at

When I was first diagnosed with AS, I had this overwhelming sense that I had to do something to help prevent it from happening to other women. I had searched the internet for years and couldn't find answers on any of the major sites as to what was happening with me (WebMD,, etc.) following my D&C in 2005 for retained placenta after the birth of my only child.

After speaking with Dr. March before my first surgery with him in January of 2008, I decided that information about D&Cs needed to be available to all ,and thus . . . the creation of my D&C website. It has evolved greatly over the past year, due in large part to the contributions from the doctors: Dr. Indman, Dr. Isaacson, Dr. Gallinat, Dr. March and Dr. Vancaillie. If it wasn't for Dr. March, I wouldn't have created this website (on so many levels). He was instrumental in spending countless hours with me, editing, discussing, helping me contact the other doctors, etc. The site has evolved beyond my wildest dreams.

I would like to ask each one of you to please forward my website to your family and friends. I need as many links to relevant websites and blogs as possible to help women find this site when they search on Google and other search engines.

This is all I ask, please have people read this site and link to it, so that it can be found by the women who need the information.

Thank you for your support,

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Postponing our next injectable cycle & counting our blessings

Jamie and I have decided to postpone any further medicated cycles until we get home from Jamaica. This means we'll sit out the next 2 cycles. I'm really at peace with this decision. I finally started a new cycle yesterday, and boy did it come with a vengeance. I was literally in bed in the fetal position for about 2 hours until I finally caved and took some Advil. I have tried REALLY hard to stay away from it, because I know it's not good for the lining. But I was not going to make it without some help last night. I took 2 and was still miserable, so I ended up taking 4 to get relief. I hate that I did it, but oh well. I don't know what it was about the Gonal F cycle that made it so horrid, but I can tell you that I do not look forward to doing that again. I don't know what I would have done if it had happened at work, so I am really thankful I was at home. I'm now wondering if my endometriosis has returned. That kind of pain isn't normal.

Our decision to wait was prompted by 3 things. The first and most obvious is the cysts. I know I'm out for this cycle anyway as I wait for them to reabsorb. The main thing is our vacation. I did the math and figured out that I would be finished with the injections and doing the progesterone suppositories by the time the trip rolls around. In theory I could do that while traveling. In practice, I choose not to put myself through it. I know I'm going to have side effects and may not feel very good while taking it - I felt pretty cruddy during the luteal phase of my last Gonal F cycle. Also, I really would like to be able to wear my bikini without fear of progesterone leaking everywhere! Then there is the issue of taking the suppositories through security at the airport. I am sure I could get through, but I don't really feel like explaining it to the security agent!

Then there is the 3rd reason we are waiting. As I've mentioned, I belong to 3 online communities for moms. Two are smaller private groups, and one is a larger public message board. I'm most active on the large board, and this is a group of women who I've been with for somewhere around 6-7 years. Most of us met on a fertility related site, and we've made a few migrations to different boards as our needs have changed (and sometimes out of necessity due to drama). It's really hard to describe the bond we feel for each other to people who are not involved. Most of us have never met in person (although I have met a few, which is super fun!), but we've been through so much together and gotten VERY close over the years. We've been through marriages, divorces, tons of births...and unfortunately a few deaths. Over the past few weeks, our group has been hit with tragedy twice. One of our members lost her husband following a 5 month battle with cancer at age 33 and another member lost her 8 month old daughter in a very sudden and unexpected manner. To say these 2 horrible tragedies have shaken us as a group would be an understatement.

I really can't come here and feel sorry for myself right now. I've cried for my friends so much over the past few weeks. I've hit my knees and thanked God for Jamie and Elise more times than I can count. I find myself at a total loss for words, and I wish there were something I could do for these 2 dear women who have experienced something no one should ever have to experience. All of a sudden, being infertile does not seem all that bad. If this were the worst thing that happens to our family, we are incredibly lucky.

So, I find myself not as focused on getting pregnant right now.

Of course, I still desire a baby. But I feel like the best thing I can do at the moment is just appreciate what I already have.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's slipping away

For those who read my other blog (It Feels Like Today), you may have noticed my recent post with all the pictures of Elise sleeping. I was just looking back at those tonight. They are some of my very favorite pictures of her. It dawned on me while looking at some of the sleeping baby memories of that time are slipping away. And all of a sudden I feel so sad. I am trying really hard not to be sad that Elise is growing up. After all - this is a great thing! I can have full conversations with my daughter now. She is blossoming and growing into a young girl. This is what I want for her! But at the same time, I am losing track of what it felt like to hold a baby. I have to really strain to remember what it was like to greet her each morning in her crib and pick her up & snuggle her. I know EVERY mother goes through this at some point - regardless of how many children she has. There comes a day when the oldest child is no longer a baby, and the memories begin to fade. It's a universal thing we all experience. I guess in my case, I just feel a little sad that I didn't grasp how important it was at the time. I really took for granted the fact that I would do it all again. Now, here I am faced with the fact that I may never do it again. And I just wish I'd cherished it a little bit more back then.

We had a really great sermon at church today. I've been thinking about it all day. Our pastor is beginning a series on prayer - and what a fantastic subject for me right now! God knows exactly what I need to hear. Anyway, the topic today was focused on some misconceptions about prayer as well as learning about what prayer is meant to be and what it can do in our lives. Something the pastor said has really stayed with me. He was talking about how many incidences there are in the Bible about God being ready and willing to answer prayers - just waiting to be asked. He is there and ready to answer many of our prayers - but first we have to ASK. It dawned on me as he preached that I have never directly asked God for a baby. I've prayed about our situation extensively, but I've never actually come out and directly asked Him for a baby. I guess on some level I have viewed that as a bit overly presumptuous. I tend to focus my prayer on other things - such as asking for strength or grace, asking for His will to be done in our lives, asking for clarity, etc. But maybe what God really wants to hear is my true desire for a baby? Perhaps I need to ask him directly?

I struggle with this concept quite a bit, since obviously God does not answer every single prayer in the affirmative. If this were true, my friend would not have buried her husband today - on what would have been his 34th birthday. She would not have been sitting in that church with her 3 boys under the age of 5 bidding farewell to their beloved father. So, part of me wonders...why bother asking for anything? At the end of the day, His will rules regardless of our desires. But then the Bible tells us to go to God in prayer and He will listen. I'm very torn on this issue right now. I want to be faithful and obedient, but at the same time, I am just not sure whether or not prayer can really change things in our case. Part of me thinks that it can't hurt and it might help - so why not? But I know this is the wrong attitude. Until I can get to a point where I truly believe that taking my wish for a baby directly to God can actually change things, it probably won't do any good to do so. Up until that point, it's just empty words.

So, I think this will take a bit more consideration on my part.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Update from last week's appointment

I talked with Dr. Dunn last Wednesday and got a scan. As it turns out, I do not have a cyst. I have THREE cysts! I just kind of giggled when they told me. I mean - what can you do, right? :) I think it was to be expected - but wow - THREE!

So, the nurse told me to stay on the birth control pills until the entire pack is gone. I'm supposed to get checked again when my next cycle begins. I'm not really expecting the cysts to be gone at that point, so I am going to make an educated guess that we're sitting out at least one more cycle to give them some time to reabsorb. I'm at peace with it. I'll just be thankful when I'm finished with the birth control, because some very weird things are happening to me, and I am wondering if it has anything to do with all the hormones.

I woke up on Thursday feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. I have a lot of pain that seems to be entirely concentrated on the right side of my body - interestingly enough, all 3 cysts are on my right ovary. Hmmm...

Anyway, I am just rolling with it. :)

The plan for my next cycle (whenever we get the all clear) will be to take the Gonal F injections again, but a much lower dose - less than half the dose from last cycle. We are getting closer to our vacation to Jamaica now, so it may have to wait until we get back. I won't be able to do an injectable cycle while out of town, since I have to go in every other day for monitoring. It will work out one way or another! Hey, maybe I'll get knocked up the natural way while we're gone! A girl can dream, right??

Dr. Dunn mentioned egg donation to me during our visit. He said I was such an amazing responder to the meds that I might consider it. He said I have a lot of physical traits that are "in demand" from those who are purchasing donor eggs. I've been thinking about it a lot since we talked. Part of me really wants to do something to help an infertile couple achieve their dream of having a baby - but the larger part of me just can't part with my DNA. I think it would haunt me to know I potentially have babies out in the world who I've never seen and can't raise myself. It sounds weird, but I think I would worry about them. So, unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to donate. :(

Sunday, April 12, 2009

You can't do it alone

I want to talk about transgressions tonight. I know it seems unrelated to my infertility journey, but bear with me. Today is Easter - the single most important day in the Christian faith. The belief in the fact that Jesus went to the cross and made the ultimate sacrifice to save us from our sins is the cornerstone of Christianity. Because God loved us so much that he sent his only son to die for us so that someday we could live in Heaven with Him is the ultimate showing of grace and mercy. We are saved through grace and mercy alone. Because we could never be good enough on our own. No human could ever be perfect enough to earn a spot in Heaven with Jesus based on our actions on earth - we all fall short of the standard He set for us. We all have transgressions.

It is on this day each year that I think most about my transgressions. I think this is even more true this Easter than any other before. I've mentioned several times how dealing with infertility has brought me back to my faith. I've always considered myself a Christian, but I think for a long time (okay, most of my life) I was a Christian in name only - not in action. I think most Christians are aware of their sins on the surface. This has always been true for me. But at some point, just in the last few months, I have really recognized the depth of my sin. I see how it has been pervasive in my life and the number of excuses I have made for myself.

"Lord, I know I shouldn't speak unkindly about so-and-so, but they have spoken unkindly of me."

"Lord, I know I shouldn't gossip, but everyone gossips."

"Lord, I know I should honor my parents, but sometimes they are unfair."

"Lord, I know I shouldn't use your name in vein, but it just slipped out that once."

"Lord, I know the glory for every single blessing in my life belongs to you, but I really like to take some of the credit myself."

"Lord, I know I should not be greedy, but I really want xyz."

"Lord, I know everything I own truly belongs to You, but I just want to keep this one thing for myself."

"Lord, I know you taught us the Golden Rule, but it's just too hard to live by."

"Lord, I know you have a perfect plan for my life, but what about MY plans?"

If I take a long, hard look at myself, it is hard to find an area in my life where I have truly made a sustained effort to live as a Christian. I've always believed in God & I accepted Jesus into my life many years ago, but I've never truly submitted to Him - until now.

I'm having an epiphany of sorts over this realization. A really common question for people enduring infertility is "Why me?" I think I may finally understand the answer to that question in my case. Because if it were not for this struggle, I don't think I would have taken this long, hard look at myself. I've been a very fortunate person in life. Success has come easily to me in nearly everything I've attempted. I was a wonderful student, an all-state athlete, went to college on scholarship, built a successful career. I have a gorgeous little girl who is bright & loving. Jamie and I have built a strong, loving marriage.

I spent the better part of the first year of this battle trying to handle it myself, feeling that I had it all under control. I did all the research. I put my trust in doctors, confident they could fix the problem. I felt certain we could overcome this hurdle on our own.

The truth is, we can't do this alone. We can't fix this ourselves. Doctors can't fix this. If I am ever to become pregnant, it will be through the work of God alone. He has brought me to Him in pain, on my knees, and begging for help. I am ashamed to say that I don't think I would have come to Him any other way. And He knows this about me. And because I matter to Him, He's worked in my life to get my attention. I finally hear him today, and I know I need to change my life. For the first time, I can be truly thankful for all Jamie and I have endured, because I understand that it is not without purpose. I have been slowly coming to this point for a while now, and today I am finally there.

We are sure to experience more disappointed feelings (He never promised it would be easy), but something good has come of this. In a lot of ways, it is probably the best thing that could have happened to us. Jamie and I are a stubborn pair, and He's put us together to go through this. I'm so glad that Jamie is with me in this journey, and I am thankful to God for giving me a Godly husband who wants to grow in his faith with me. We finally hear Him, and we know we can't do it alone. We will never be perfect, but we can do a better job in our daily lives. We can start truly living for Him today.


An excerpt from a song that Jamie and I are enjoying lately...

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

~Casting Crowns, Praise You In This Storm

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Our first injectable cycle was cancelled today following the second follicle scan and E2 blood draw.

I had 9 follicles on the right ovary today and 5 on the left. Although there were a lot of follicles, only 3 were completely mature, so I was somewhat hopeful when I left the office that I might be able to trigger tonight.

Unfortunately I just learned from the nurse that my E2 has risen to 3,333. It is just too high to proceed.

I will begin birth control pills today or tomorrow to assist my body in reabsorbing all the fluid from the follicles. It feels so wrong to take birth control at this point, and I know the pill is quite detrimental to the uterine lining so that is disappointing. I'll stop the pills after 2 weeks and return for another baseline scan once I get my next period. Hopefully from there we can adjust the medication and get a better, safer outcome next time.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, but I am trying not to focus on that. I'm just thankful for the doctor's wisdom and the fact that he's being cautious with my health.

I'll see Dr. Dunn on April 22nd to talk about adjusting the dose for our next try. I guess that's about it for now.

Monday, April 6, 2009

First injectable cycle, monitoring scan #1 **UPDATE

Lining is measuring 7mm *insert happy dance here*

Right ovary has 5 follicles measuring 11.5, 12, 12, 12, and 13. A mature follicle is somewhere around 18-21, so they are getting there.

Left ovary has 2 follicles, both measuring 11. So 7 potential eggs for this cycle. I am sure they won't all develop to maturity, but even if just half of them do, this will be great.

There are about 8 more small follicles (all measuring 10 or less). These are not likely to develop and release eggs, though. They were training a nurse to do ultrasounds, so I actually got a bit of a lesson myself during my scan. It was neat to hear exactly how they read the ultrasound and how they measure the follicles. The nurse was very pleased with how I'm responding to the injections. She thinks Dr. Dunn will want to watch me very closely due to the number of follicles I am producing. Pending the outcome of my E2 check, I have an appointment to return on Wednesday to be scanned again.

It's a bit tricky with the holiday weekend. Normally they would want to see me Monday/Wednesday/Friday, but since Friday is a holiday, they are seeing patients on Thursday/Saturday instead. She seemed to think the doctor may not want to let me go until Thursday without being checked again. She had me go ahead and book a Wednesday appointment and said she'll call me later this afternoon to change it if necessary (depending on how the E2 comes back and what the doctor thinks when he looks at my scans).

In light of my post last night, this sounds kind of crazy...but I think this just might actually work...


Okay, just heard from the nurse. My E2 number is way high. It's 1,154, whereas last Wednesday it was only 59. She expected it to be around 500, so it's more than double that amount. I've been instructed to reduce my Gonal F dose from 125iui to 50iui for the next 2 days and return on Wednesday.

Good news - I am a good responder.
Bad news - If my E2 is too high on Wednesday, we'll have to cancel the cycle.

One step forward and 2 steps back.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How do I make myself believe?

As the months have gone by, I've experienced a diminishing in my ability to believe that I can actually get pregnant. I'm not sure when this shift occurred, but somewhere along the way I have lost faith. I realized it tonight. I cannot honestly say that I believe there's still a chance. I try to talk as though I believe, but when I am honest with myself, I realize that I don't. I can remember some times along the way when I still really believed it would eventually happen. So when did I lose that optimism? And more importantly, why have I let it go??

If I am going to inject myself with high powered fertility drugs for 10 days straight, you would think I would be doing so with the belief that it could actually work. Otherwise, what sense would it make? It's like I am just going through the motions at this point, and that worries me. The mind controls the body, so I need to convince my mind that my body can get pregnant again. How do I do that??

I think I know the key, but it scares me. As long as I don't believe it's possible to get pregnant, seeing negative pregnancy tests doesn't hurt quite as much. It's almost like I've found a way to control the situation. It's a defense mechanism. If I really let myself believe again, the pain is so much worse. But I think I need to do it if I am really going to give this a fair chance to work.

But letting go and allowing myself to believe is really hard. Really, really hard. My desire to self preserve is strong. I have a life to live, a job to do, a child to raise, and a husband to love. I can't afford to be falling apart. I think I've been in denial for a long time about how I am going to feel when we reach the end of the road. Knowing that we have maybe 2-3 medicated cycles left before Dr. Dunn tells us that medicine has nothing more to offer is both relieving and daunting. I've been thinking that I'll be okay when it's over. At least then I'll know the answer and I'll be able to move on. But the truth is, I am afraid I'll be devastated.

This whole journey has changed things. It's changed me, and I'll never be the same again. It's changed our marriage - not necessarily for the worse, but I think we've each dealt with a lot and reacted very differently. Sometimes I feel like we're each going through this alone. The truth is that we've laughed a little less in the last year or so. We've gone to bed angry a few times. The contrast between our first year of marriage and our second and third years is dramatic. The first year was pure bliss. It was hands down the happiest year of my life so far. I really don't think my feet even touched the ground during that time - it was a high unlike any other. And the only thing that's changed since then is infertility. We're still happy, in love, and committed, but it's tempered by stress and sadness much of the time. I think I've changed more than Jamie. I might even go so far as to say that I am the only one who has noticeably changed. I've closed myself off to him quite a bit - buried myself in message boards and books. I think it's the way I've handled my grief, and I know it needs to change.

Sometimes I wonder if it's been worth it. As much as I want another child - and specifically a child that is half me and half Jamie - the effort to make it happen is coming at a high price. I know even when this all ends, we'll never be able to rewind back to the first year feelings. We're different now. We've been through this together, and it's changed us. We can't do one of the major things God commands married people to do. That is a major disappointment, but it's also given us strength. We're a team through it all. I just wish it could have been different. But here we are, and there's a reason for the path we've taken to get here. Don't ask me what it is, because I have NO idea.

I wonder if Jamie still believes? We haven't talked about that - truthfully we don't talk about these things much anymore. I think he tends to be more optimistic than me. I hope he believes. I wonder if he would tell me if he didn't?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Let the poking commence!

I haven't been sleeping all that well, so forgive me for the dumb title.

I was scanned yesterday and the cyst is gone! So, I began the Gonal F injections last night. They also did a blood draw yesterday - I think to get my baseline E2 and FSH numbers. I'll have to go for 3 appointments next week to be monitored. They'll measure the E2 each time as well as do scans. This will allow them to keep close track of how I'm responding to the meds and adjust my dosage if necessary. I believe my last shot will be on Good Friday. Then if all looks good, I should do the trigger shot that day and ovulate sometime on Easter Sunday.

That is kind of a neat thought, should this cycle be successful. :)

The Gonal F shot hurt worse than the trigger shot, but it did not leave a bruise and I have minimal soreness today, which is great. I think I could inject the same site again tonight if had to, but I am going to move them around a bit. From what I understand, I'll get better absorption if I change the injection site each time.

I'm glad to finally be doing something again, but I am also nervous. Since I know this is basically our last option, I worry about my disappointment level if it doesn't work. And I do realize the odds are not in our favor. At the same time, I am glad to be close to an answer, either way.

My writing is not very interesting these days, but at this point I am tired and just trying to get everything documented.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I am waiting

I've been loving this song lately, so I decided to have it playing on my blog. It's the perfect song, I think. But I do wonder when I'll stop waiting and just start living. Soon I hope.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Okay, I feel REALLY bad saying this...

But sometimes - not always, but every once in a while - it really, really bothers me when pregnant women complain. It's sooo wrong of me to feel that way, because I certainly did my fair share of complaining when I was pregnant with Elise. Pregnancy is uncomfortable. It makes you nauseous, gives you heartburn, makes you swell, makes it virtually impossible to find a comfortable way to get the idea. I know all these things through firsthand experience. That's why I feel guilty for thinking badly of other women when I hear them complain. There were some days when I was pregnant with Elise when I felt truly miserable. And I can remember for at least the first 6 months or so after she was born, every time I'd see a heavily pregnant woman I would actually feel sorry for her!

It is strange being on the other side of things now. I'll catch a snipet of a conversation from time to time and hear someone griping about being pregnant, and for a moment or two I'm tempted to snap at them, "Do you even know how lucky you are?? Shut up and quit complaining. You are so blessed." Of course I would never actually say anything. But I have to admit the words do pop into my head.

The really sad thing is that if I ever do get pregnant again, I am sure I will find myself complaining at one point or another. If that ever happens, I am going to have to come back to this post and remind myself to shut up!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Was I just talking about patience?

A new cycle began yesterday, so I went in today for my baseline scan and to learn how to mix and inject the Gonal F. I was ready to get the show on the road, and then we ran across a bit of a problem. A large follicle on my right ovary was picked up on the scan, so they sent me down for bloodwork to check my estrogen. The nurse explained to me that if the follicle was producing estrogen, we would have to call off the cycle. This is because the follicle is not producing an egg, and if we were to proceed with the injections, it would cause that follicle to grow rather than maturing "good" follicles that contain eggs. So, there is your crash course on ovarian cysts.

Anyhow, they had my results this afternoon, and sure enough, I have a cyst. I was all geared up to begin injections tomorrow, but now it will have to wait another cycle. I'm a little disappointed, mainly because I've been anticipating this new course of treatment for a few weeks now. But it's ironic considering that I was just posting about patience earlier in the week. So, it's okay. We'll try to do it the natural way this month, and maybe next month the cyst will be gone and we can try the injectables.

I'm trying to decide how I can best use this time to prepare my body for a potential pregnancy. It helps me to feel like I'm doing something other than just waiting. I added some extra Vitamin D in addition to my prenatal vitamin a while back after doing some research. The amount in the prenatal was not even close to what I really need. I'm wondering what other vitamins I might consider adding. I think I might spend a bit of time researching this more. A trip to the bookstore would be nice too. I want to find something light and fun to read. I'm thankful to have the day off tomorrow to regroup. Jamie and I are going to get our passports, and I am excited about that. We'll be one step closer to the sunny Jamaican beach! :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A beautiful post

Over the past few months I have become an avid follower of Bring The Rain. I know SO MANY women in the blogosphere follow Angie Smith's story, so I am certain that most have probably already seen her most recent post called The Sea and The Scarf. But I loved it, and it really spoke to me with all that we are going through (both with Elise and the infertility journey). So if anyone is reading that hasn't heard of Angie or her story, I highly recommend pouring a nice cup of hot tea and settling in for a wonderful read. Go all the way back to the first post and read them all. You won't regret it. And if Angie should ever happen upon my measley blog, I want to thank her for everything! She touches more lives than she'll ever know, I am certain.

Bring The Rain

Monday, March 9, 2009


I've found that when making tough decisions or dealing with trying situations, people often look for a "sign" that will point them in the right direction. Many people pray to God to send them a sign to let them know His plan. On more than one occasion, I've heard someone in the midst of a struggle say, "I just need a sign." I think we get subtle signs from God all the time in our lives even if we aren't asking for them, but they are easily overlooked and dismissed. One thing I've worked on lately is trying to be more open to receiving messages from God.

He knows this is a weakness of mine. I am just not a very intuitive person. And since He doesn't want me to miss anything, He is getting quite literal with the signs He sends my way. They are literally signs. I mentioned a sign that I saw while driving a few posts ago (the one about counting blessings). I saw another one driving to work today - on a gas station billboard nonetheless. But I know I was meant to read it. It said, "The future happens one hour at a time."

Count your blessings. Be patient.

Okay, got it!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


My weight has been fluctuating like crazy lately. I was at an all time high just a couple months ago and had to go buy all new pants. My jeans are so expensive, because I have to buy designer brands to get the length I need. I have 5 new pairs of jeans that are now falling off my waist. I just bought some of them 4 weeks ago. They are all of a sudden way too big. Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining about losing weight. But the sad part is that I sold all my old, smaller pants to a resale shop. Our closet is tiny, and I just don't have room to store a bunch of sizes that I can't wear, so I got rid of them. I thought I was just getting older and this would be my "new" size. Apparently not, and I am now in a position of needing to go buy a whole new set of pants in my original size. If I didn't have to spend $100+ per pair I wouldn't mind as much. I just want to cry! I practically live in jeans when I am not at work.

I think part of my weight loss is stress-related. I think I have a strange response to stress. Most women I know want to eat when stressed, but I am the opposite. When I feel upset and/or stressed, my appetite is totally suppressed. Infertility is stressful, but I've been dealing with a lot of other junk on top of that lately. I guess that explains my weight loss - or it could be the break from Femara cycles while I was on the estrogen. Who knows. Either way, I've learned a hard lesson, and I will be saving all these jeans that are too big. I suspect I may need them again sometime down the road. And I guess I am going jeans shopping tomorrow.


Okay, but in keeping with counting my blessings...Maybe I can use these larger jeans later when I get pregnant and put on some baby weight! Notice I said when instead of if...I am getting better at this! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A good AS article

One thing that has been incredibly frustrating to me is the lack of information about Asherman's Syndrome. It's something that you just never hear about, yet I feel it probably affects a lot more women than we realize. I'm a member of a yahoo group for women with AS, and this article was posted a few days ago. It's coming from the UK, but still good to see.

Click here to read

I tell women NOT to get a D&C if they can avoid it just about every chance I get. Sometimes it's necessary, but if you have other options, don't do it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Praise! And a spelling lesson...

Okay, so I have been spelling "injectable" wrong. I'm a good writer, but a terrible speller! I have now fixed my previous post, because I can't stand grammar or spelling errors.

Okay, so funny that yesterday I was just saying how my experience with difficulty in conceiving has brought me closer to God and renewed me in my faith. I've recently been working towards giving more in terms of my time and money to our church. I've volunteered to assist with our production of Journey To The Cross (please click the link and check it out - we'd love to have our friends visit and experience this great show with us - I can provide tickets), and I've been increasing my offerings as well.

Tithing is something that I've been thinking about for a long time. I know it's the right thing to do and what God commands us to do. But I have difficulty with it due to some reasons that I won't discuss. Anyway, I've talked with a lot of Christian friends and finally felt led to increase the amount I give. This was less than 2 weeks ago.

I found out today that my medication is going to be covered by insurance - all of it. What would have cost us between $1,000 and $1,400 per cycle is going to cost $150 or less. This huge savings is blessing us *in excess* of what we gave to the church. Furthermore, it is blessing us with financial peace of mind to attempt up to 3 cycles as recommended by the doctor without worry for how we will pay for the medication. I am at a loss for words, other than to say I'm feeling in awe of how God can take my offering, multiply it, and return it to me.

And good things can come of the bad...Wow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Moving on to injectables

Dr. Dunn and I met today (I told Jamie not to worry about taking another day off work). We talked about my lack of responsiveness to the estrogen patches. He said he discussed my case with a few other doctors in the practice, and the general consensus was that each of them had some patients with my condition that just couldn't ever seem to get the lining to regenerate in a favorable way. No one really knows why some people recover better than others, but it is what it is, right?

So, he said at this point, we basically have 3 options.

1. Continue the estrogen for an even greater period of time to see if we can get something good to happen.

2. Try injectable medication.

3. Find a surrogate.

I asked him what his recommendation would be at this point. He said he wouldn't try #1, simply because I've already taken so much estrogen (orally, vaginally, and patches) and we haven't gotten good results. He said he would recommend trying #2 before resorting to surrogacy. He was honest, and said the injectibles are not likely to work...but he said it is worth a try, since we want to exhaust all of our options before giving up. Injectables raise the body's natural estrogen production, and natural estrogen is always going to be better than a synthetic form of estrogen taken via pill or patch. It's going to be the identical and unique match for my body.

The injectable cycle is going to run around $1,500 per attempt. He said if it's going to work, it is usually successful within 2-3 cycles. So, you can do the math...this could be up to $4,500. For something that is not likely to work. Ouch.

Ironically enough, I was just in a discussion on Mommy's Online earlier today about the cost of fertility treatments. It's one of the hardest aspects of not being able to conceive naturally. You feel like all this possibility lies before you, but it is financially unattainable. I put $2,000 in my medical flexible spending account this year, so I have the money available to do one cycle. I feel like I *have* to try it to avoid regrets down the line should we end up not ever achieving pregnancy. What mother wouldn't pay $4,500 for their child? If it works, there is absolutely no doubt that it was worth every penny. Surrogacy runs around $30,000, so when put into perspective, it makes the injectable cycles look cheap!

At any rate, I have a whole packet of instructions. It will be a flippin' miracle if I don't screw it up. I am supposed to begin Provera immediately, which is supposed to bring on the start of a new cycle.

Then the protocol is as follows:

CD1-3: Baseline scan & lessons on doing my own injections
CD3: Begin injections (will continue daily through approx. CD11)
CD7: Scan and Estradiol level blood draw
CD9: Scan and Estradiol level blood draw
CD11: Scan and Estradiol level blood draw
CD12: Trigger shot (assuming follicles are mature)
CD14: Intercourse (how romantic)
CD16: Begin progesterone supplements (will continue daily until CD28, or until pregnancy is ruled out)
CD24-26: Schedule pregnancy test and appointment with the doctor to discuss results

I am not sure which injectible I will be taking, but I was told it will either be Gonal F or Follistim (they work in the same way). Dr. Dunn put me in touch with a mail order pharmacy that gives a $200-$500 discount on the 2nd cycle if the first cycle does not result in pregnancy. His nurse faxed my Rx over to them today.

My thoughts...Wow, one cycle will wipe out my entire flexible spending account for the year, and it's only March. I guess I should have maxed it out at $5,000. If we do get pregnant, there won't be any money left for the delivery. But I guess that would be a very welcome problem to have. Each injectible cycle requires 5 office visits, 4 of those being scans. I don't even know how to ask my boss for time off 5 times in a 28-day period. And I'll have to be gone one day soon to take Elise to the pediatrician for a behavioral evaluation (and that is a whole different story that I don't even begin to have the energy to type).

I'm pretty overwhelmed right now with the issues we are having with Elise at school. I'm overwhelmed by the cost and intense monitoring required for this upcoming cycle. We are in the midst of baseball tournament season, so I'm overwhelmed at home too. It's just a lot to deal with all at once. But I know it's all going to be okay, one way or another.

I passed a sign on the side of the road the other day that said, "Don't add up your problems. Instead, count your blessings." I'm trying to adopt this as my new, personal mantra. So, I have to end this post on a positive note. There is some hope. It might not be a lot of hope, but even a little hope is better than none. I'm blessed with a wonderful support system and family who has rallied around me during the past few difficult weeks. I've been humbled at the level of support I've received, especially from my Pitter Patter group - and I love you guys for it more than I can tell you! I'm so lucky. This journey is really causing me to grow in my relationship with God - I think this is the best part of all. And Jamie and I have been blessed with a great group of friends who called us last night and convinced us to book a 5 night trip to Jamaica with them....I am getting my escape after all! We will be in a group of 6, and it's sure to be a great time. I'll finish up by posting a link to where we will be staying. Every time I feel my anxiety level creeping up, I just click on this site and watch the pictures in the slide show. Ahhhh....I cannot wait.....

Click here to daydream with me

Thursday, February 26, 2009


We didn't get very good news at the doctor today. My scan revealed a lining that is essentially unchanged even after nearly 4 full weeks on the estrogen patches. So, it's not working. The nurse instructed me to keep wearing the patches and make an appointment to see Dr. Dunn next week. I got an appointment for Monday, and the first thing I did when I got home was remove the patches. I can't see any point in continuing to be miserable if there's no benefit.

I have this sudden urge to just escape. I came within an inch of booking a trip to Acapulco yesterday. For some reason, every time I get really down about all this, I get the strong desire to plan a vacation. I guess it gives me something to look forward to. Also, being on a gorgeous beach is a very therapeutic thing for me. One of my favorite moments from our Hawaii trip was sitting in the sand, right at the foot of the waves and just listening to the water and feeling the warm sun & the crystal blue water on my feet and legs. I could really use a moment like that right about now.

Jamie and I are actually giving some fairly serious consideration to a short trip this summer, even though we said we weren't going to travel this year. We're looking at a few resorts in Mexico. Jamie wants to do Cabo San Lucas, but the airfare is considerably higher in comparison to Acapulco. What I'm really hoping is that we'll talk ourselves out of this altogether and save some money. At the same time, can you really put a price on your sanity??

Friday, February 20, 2009

One week to go!

I am so excited to nearly be finished with these dang patches. Of all the treatments I've done, this is by far the worst. I'd rather give myself a million shots than wear these things (well, maybe not a million). I just removed old ones and switched them out for the last 2 new ones this morning, and I have the most awful rash left behind yet again. I keep trying to move them around to different places, but going on week 4 I am out of room. Luckily time has been flying by lately, so hopefully before I know it this next week will be over and we can see how things are looking.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am allergic to adhesive.

I already knew this, but I was hoping the patches wouldn't irritate me the same way tape does. When I had to wear the holter monitor for the cardiologist back in October (whole different story), I had huge, red welts everywhere they applied the tape. And that was only for 24 hours. So, imagine how my stomach is going to look after 4 solid weeks on these things.

I change the patches once a week, so after nearly dying for the whole week last week, I moved them onto my hips this week. It's going much better, thankfully. I'm starting to look back on all the things I've done in the attempt to get pregnant - I've been through surgery, countless pills/hormones, shots, more ultrasounds than I can count, numerous blood draws, and now these patches. The patches are freaking me out a bit, because they are linked to cancer. Granted, that occurs with long-term use and should not be an issue with just 4-6 weeks of use - but STILL. It really bothers me.

Angie, thank you so much for the email. You lifted my spirits more than you could know!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A forced break

Well, our plan of no breaks in 2009 did not last even a full month. When we met with Dr. Dunn yesterday, he had some pretty honest and difficult news for us. I guess I figured that was coming, but it was still a tough day. My lining isn't responding to the medication. It's actually measuring less now than it was about 6 months ago. He said this wasn't really what he expected at the time of my surgery. My body - for some unknown reason - just isn't taking over to reproduce and spread endometrium inside my uterus. There is no evidence of additional scar tissue, but my body just doesn't seem to want to recover. It wouldn't make sense to keep trying the same thing at this point, so he said he'd like for us to take a 4-6 week break and try estrogen patches. He wants me to wear 2 at a time. The patches are more effective than pills, because the hormone is absorbed directly through the skin and into my system. With pills, they must pass through the liver first, and some of the potency is lost in that process. He warned me of some side effects with the patches - mainly bloating. I am used to that by now!

At the 4 week mark, he will do a scan and see if the lining is thickening. I expect it will, but my concern (and the doctor's concern as well) is that with a few periods, it will just shed again and leave me back where I am now. Nothing is going to be a permanent fix unless somehow my body will kick it into gear and begin spreading these cells on it's own.

So, after we discussed that, he finally brought up surrogacy to me. This was a pretty big signal to me that he's beginning to reach a point where he can't help us anymore. I told him that surrogacy was basically financially impossible for us right now. He said most people try to find a friend who will do it for them at a low cost, because they love them. Unfortunately, I don't think Jamie or I have any friends that love us that much. Going through IVF and being pregnant for someone else is a HUGE sacrifice. I don't know one single person who is at a point in their life where they would do that for us at a price we could afford. Most surrogates run in the neighborhood of $30,000.

Then he gave me a business card for a counselor. I guess I must have looked pretty depressed. And I guess I am feeling depressed.

I ordered a full copy of my medical records before I left the office. I need them for the acupuncturist and I also thought I might make some additional copies and see if some other RE's might be willing to look them over and do a consultation - just to see if they have any other ideas. I guess we're grasping at straws at this point, but I want to exhaust every possibility before I give up.

I canceled my acupuncture appointment for today, because I'd rather go in after I have all my records. Plus, I guess I'm not in the right mindset today either.

So, I guess there won't really be much going on for the next month or two.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My First Acupuncture Appointment!

I just scheduled my first acupuncture appointment. I am so excited!!!!!!! I truly believe in the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, and there is scientific data to back it up as well. I spoke briefly to someone from the acupuncture clinic on the phone - he was difficult to understand! :) I will be going this Saturday for a consultation and he said they would actually do an acupuncture treatment while I am there as well. He told me to bring all my basal body temperature charts as well as my medical charts - specifically the information on my diagnosis. This works out well, since we are going to see Dr. Dunn tomorrow and I can get my records from him. I am ready to get started. The only discouraging part is that insurance won't pay for acupuncture treatments related to infertility, so I'll have to pay out of pocket. At $70 per visit this could become costly, but hey, it's cheaper than a $15,000 IVF cycle, right?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Testing out the trigger

It's well known (well, among infertile people anyway) that a trigger shot will cause a woman to produce a positive pregnancy test for approximately 7 days after it is administered. I know this to be the case, but I've never tested the shot out of my system before. I know women who do this, because they want to be sure if they get a positive pregnancy test at the end of the cycle, it's not just leftover hcg from the trigger.

So, anyway, today I decided to take a pregnancy test. I've been feeling so nauseated for a few days now, and I know it's the shot tricking my body into thinking I am pregnant. I've had it all - exhaustion, nausea, cravings, you name it! I truly feel pregnant.

Sure enough, I got a positive result on my test. And I cannot tell you how much that thrills me. You have NO idea how many of these things I've peed on during the last 2 years! To see that second line pop up tonight was enough to make me giddy. Of course I know I'm not really pregnant (or if I am, it's way too early to get a positive test). But still - it's so fun to see 2 lines. It feels so much better than seeing nothing but the control line staring back at me. I am so proud of this silly pee stick that I'm considering saving it! I know people who haven't been there will think I sound nuts, but I am confident that anyone else who has ever tested out a trigger shot will understand how I feel.

Isn't it pretty??

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yesterday's Scan

The follicle on the left had increased in size and is now measuring 20. I was instructed to continue the OPKs (finally got those working properly!) until Wednesday. If I don't get a positive OPK by Wednesday, I will take the Ovidrel shot to make me ovulate. My lining is still looking quite pitiful, measuring only 4mm even after more than a week of estrogen. Still, we will cross our fingers the egg can be fertilized and find a small spot to hang out for the next 9 months or so. Hey, nothing is impossible, right?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What is the deal with Clearblue Easy Digital OPKs??

How the hell do you make these damn things work??

I'm college educated for crying out loud. The stupid thing keeps giving me an error.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My ovaries are confused.

I had my mid-cycle scan and follicle check today. Not the greatest news, but I'm staying positive. I didn't have any mature follicles, but I had one on the left side that was measuring 10. The largest one on the right only measured 5, so it's pretty much out of the game. I'm disappointed to only have one follicle on a medicated cycle - I mean, I can produce just one all on my own.

I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but Dr. Dunn explained to us some number of months ago how Femara and estrogen would interact in cycles where we used both. Femara is stimulating the ovaries and making them work harder to produce multiple follicles. Then we come in and add estrogen, and it confuses my body. During a natural cycle, estrogen levels increase after ovulation. So, by supplementing estrogen prior to ovulation (in hopes of thickening my lining), it confuses my ovaries into thinking maybe I already, they stop working so hard to produce follicles. This is a tricky balancing act, because we have to find just the right amount of Femara to get multiple follicles and just the right amount of estrogen to thicken the lining without preventing the maturation of the follicles. I think the issue is we don't have the balance figured out yet. I'm on extra estrogen this time, since my lining hasn't responded in past cycles. And now I think the estrogen is affecting the amount and size of the follicles.

So, I'm trying to look at this cycle as a learning experience. Now we have some additional information about how my body responds to the drugs. And knowledge is a good thing. I'm guessing some adjustments will be made, if not some changes in the drugs I am taking next time around. I feel like I'm getting pretty close to a point where we might move on to injectibles - which is kind of scary for some reason. I guess it's scary anytime we exhaust one of our options. Plus, injectibles carry a much higher risk of twins/triplets.

I don't really like my nurse. I LOVE my doctor...but the nurse is just not very compassionate. She pretty much said she doesn't think I can get pregnant this cycle. I appreciate a straightforward approach as much as the next person, but gosh, she could at least act like she cares! After all, this news is difficult to hear.

Anyway - she wanted me to come back on Monday for another scan and continue the estrogen in the meantime. She also wanted me to start OPKs to see if I could pick up a surge sometime over the weekend. If we can get that follicle on the left to grow a bit more, we can do the trigger shot early next week and still salvage things. At this point I am just ready to move on with this new information we've gained.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

II Corinthians 12:7-10

"(7)And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (8)For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. (9)And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10)Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong."

This was the verse on which today's sermon was based at church today, and I thought it was really great timing. God must have known that Jamie and I needed to hear a sermon about His grace. Jamie is dealing with some employment related issues at the moment in addition to all of our TTC woes, and it was just the message I think we both needed to hear.

It reminded me that God's grace is sufficient to deal with this thorn in my side. Similarly to how God told Paul that he would not remove the thorn from his side, perhaps he is telling us that he will not remove our thorn. But his grace will see us through this either way.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Medicated Cycle #4

I was able to get in for a scan today, but could not see Dr. Dunn. His nurse talked to him about me, and he gave her instructions for me.

CD 3-7 5mg Femara
CD 8-13 2.5mg Estradiol
CD 13 Mid-cycle Scan

I'll need the trigger shot again this time. This means I jump right in with Femara starting today and will go in for the scan on Jan 15. She said if my follicles are mature on the 15th, she'll instruct me to do the trigger shot that day. If not, we'll continue the Estrogen for another day or 2 and then do the shot. Judging from past reactions to the meds, I am going to guess that I'll be good to trigger on the 15th. So, we should know something by the end of the month.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Feeling down

I'm feeling kind of bummed tonight. And depressed. And resigned.

I need to call Dr. Dunn in the morning to see if he can work me in tomorrow. I have to get scanned tomorrow if I am going to be able to do meds this cycle. And since we never met after my last cycle, I don't have any idea what protocol he wants to do next. That means I'll not only have to see a nurse for the scan, but I'll have to sit with him as well. I don't know if they'll be able to fit me in on such short notice. I guess we'll see what happens. I'm going to be disappointed if I can't get in. Especially since I'll be in the office around 6:30am tomorrow morning to allow time for me to leave during lunch to go to the doctor. Let the fun begin.

We really should have scheduled the sit down with Dr. Dunn for sometime during this last 2 weeks when we were both off work. But we didn't really decide what we were going to do until a few days ago.

I keep telling myself to just let go. None of this is ultimately under my control anyway, so no amount of over-thinking or worrying will help. Actually it would probably just hurt.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Another year and acceptance is upon us

For some reason, all of our TTC woes seem to bother me on holidays more than regular days. Especially holidays that seem to accentuate the passing of time. New Years is one of those kinds of days. Here we are, entering another year, and still no baby. And this year I don't even feel any closer to achieving that much desired goal. Last year I had a lot of optimism, since I had just had surgery in November 2007. I had a lot of reason to believe 2008 would be the year that we would get pregnant. Now that 2009 is here, I really don't have any reason at all to believe that this will be the year.

I learned from experience during 2008 that dealing with infertility causes people to experience the 5 stages of grief. At first there was denial. Why else would it have taken me several years to acknowledge that my body was not normal after Elise's birth? Then anger - I had a lot of anger. It has been primarily directed at the doctor who performed the surgery that left my uterus unbelievable scarred. Some of it has been misdirected at others. Since getting past the anger, I've done my fair share of bargaining, and there have definitely been feelings of depression. And now, as we begin 2009, I feel myself moving closer and closer to acceptance.

This will be the year. By the end of this year, we will either be pregnant or we will accept that our family is complete. We will not carry this burden into another year after this one, no matter what. With that in mind, we decided that we will begin to get VERY aggressive with treatments. We will not take any breaks or skip any cycles (unless medically required). I should begin a new cycle in the next day or two, and I will be on the phone to Dr. Dunn's office to schedule a baseline scan and appointment to determine what meds we will take next. I am also going to do some alternative treatments. Western medicine is a wonderful thing, but don't underestimate the power of acupuncture, yoga, and other techniques practiced in Eastern medicine. I am researching castor oil packs as well as a few other alternative options. I am going to come at this with everything I have this year. If a baby is not meant to be, I refuse to have any regrets about not trying every single method available.

So that's it. This is the year. You have no idea how great it feels to know that no matter what, there is an end in sight.