Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Maybe I should've paid more attention in Computer Science

My freshman year in college I took a computer science course. We learned how to program in C++. It was probably the hardest class I took in college for three reasons:
1) I had NO experience in programming.
2) The class was taught on macs and the computers in the computer science lab were all macs and I had never used a mac before.....I love them now but at the time it was so confusing.
3)The professor would lecture in class and then expect you to just go out and program.
4)Programming in general is very frustrating because it is like learning another language and after you've written line upon line of code your program won't run because you left out a comma in line 37 or have an extra space in line 52.
5) I was an education major and most of the other classes were pretty easy.

Anyway, as I'm trying to update the template in blogger tonight I'm thinking that I probably should've paid more attention. It took me forever to figure out how to add "We're all in this together" and get 7 blogs linked there. I have more to add but I'm going to go watch Big Brother now.

On a side note: I made a B+ in computer science because there was a cute boy who helped me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I like to share....but not with boys.

Last night I realized something about myself. I have no problem sharing the details of infertility with friends and strangers alike....but only in small group settings and mainly with girls. Last week I had lunch with two of my friends from college. One of the college friends invited her other friend who I've never met. Despite the fact that I'd known the girl all of 45 minutes I had no problem sharing the story of our journey thus far.
On the other hand, we had our small group from church at our house last night. People were giving updates on their lives and prayer requests--jobs, engagements, babies, housing, whether or not to move overseas, etc. Despite the fact that all the people in this group know about our problems--some in great detail, others vaguely--I couldn't bring myself to talk about it. Maybe it was because it was a mixed gender group and I really don't feel comfortable with my husband's friends and my friend's husbands thinking about my uterus. Maybe it is because I know that these types of conversations about other uteruses (uterui? what is the plural?) make JW uncomfortable.
We are sharing life with this group. I covet their prayers for us....but at the same time I would rather just explain it to the girls. Men do not want to hear about wombs and ovaries.....let's face it even most women don't.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sushi and good friends.

Last night we went to eat sushi with our good friends, T & N. They had never had sushi before so it was exciting to see them trying different stuff and finding things they loved. The sushi place is less than 5 minutes from their house and I think they might be regulars after this!!

It was also a good night because they told us about their plans to do a FET in a few weeks. T has already started her medications and they are looking at the beginning of September for their transfer. I'm so excited. It made me happy to see that infertility had knocked them down but not out.


What the journey has cost...but I'm not talking about money.

Someday I will sit down and calculate how much money we spent on our infertility journey...but today is not that day.

Today I was thinking about the other things that it has "cost". Here is my list:

1) My skin. I'm sorry I'm vain. I have adult acne. I stopped using all the good medication two years ago because we were trying to have a baby and they can cause birth defects. However, the clearisil isn't really cutting it....especially with all these meds.

2) Alertness. I'll be honest that I was drinking too much caffeine before. I was easily drinking 64 oz of soda before I got home from work at 4:30pm and then I'd drink coke at dinner and throughout the evening. It was kind of disgusting when I think about it...but now I'm more or less caffeine free. I'm sure that it is better for my health but there are some afternoons when I'm dragging and just want a big vanilla Dr. Pepper from Dairy Twin. Yes, you read that correctly--Dairy Twin. It is located next to the Dairy Queen in the town where I work and they have this ice that is amazing. It is better than Sonic.....and I don't say that lightly.
3) Hot tub time. We have a hot tub in our beautiful backyard courtesy of the previous owners. It is great.....but we never use it because I'm always afraid during the 2ww and of course because I don't want JW in there because it might affect his counts. This isn't a huge loss right now though because it is summer and too hot to sit in 100+ degree water anyway. I think it is kind of ironic because once we finally have a kid I'll probably be too tired to enjoy it much then either.

4) Sanity....which comes and goes throughout the month.

I'm sure I could think of more but I need to go run errands.

I've also gained so much through this journey.....ah, but that is for a different post, my friends.

Teaching...it's what I do.

Well, yesterday I had lunch with two of my really good friends from college. It was so fun to hang out and catch up. They only live about an hour and a half away but life just gets so busy and we don't see each other often enough.

Anyway, Jessica and Sharee were some of the first people to know that we were trying. I told them ages ago that we'd probably have kids as soon as JW was done with school. Two years ago in September I saw Sharee and she jokingly asked, "Are you pregnant yet?" We'd only been trying for a month at that point so I just laughed and said "Not yet but I'm doing my best." Of course it doesn't take a genius to figure out that it is two years later and we still don't have kids so something must be up. I don't mind sharing the details and so I told them where we were at. I told them about how we'd done 6 months of clomid. I told them how we'd done three months of injectibles with IUI. I had to explain what IUI was which was kind of weird because all of our husbands are friends too. I was basically giving a little lesson on how the female body works, what all the drugs do, etc.
When I was talking about giving myself shots they seemed shocked that I have to give them to myself in the stomach. I'm not really sure why the stomach was more frightening than the thigh, arm or butt but they seemed pretty disturbed. It might have also been the matter of fact way I stated that you just pinch up the fat roll and poke it in. I did tell them the needles were small.....because the Gonal-F pen needle is pretty small.

So I'm suppose to be off this summer and taking a break from teaching but I'm still teaching....just a different subject and different students.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

He's almost here....

My friend Kristi is an infertility success story. She did three cycles of IUI with injectables and now her little boy is due next week. Today she posted on her blog about her last doctor's appointment before the big day. Her OB/GYN and her RE are all in the same building so she was writing about how she has driven up to that building with so many different emotions in the last year.

Anyway, here is a little bit of what she wrote:
I got the phone call from my new doctor telling me that it would be really difficult for me to get pregnant. After many tears and several weeks of denial, I finally called her back to see what the next step would be. And what do you know....they had a doctor on another floor who deals with infertility and could help us out. So I began going back to that same building, now not feeling as hopeful, and also a little ashamed at how difficult this would be for me (why am I not normal?), and a bit like a fool for thinking having a baby would come so easily (hello, high school students getting pregnant on prom night!!), and we began the long process of fertility treatments. I visited that building every other day during the three cycles we tried.....and those visits always brought the roller coaster of feelings.....hopefulness as we began and went through a new cycle, then feelings of despair when it didn't work, and then another glimmer of hope as we began a new cycle, and so on. I began to despise visiting this building!

Finally, on one visit last November, I got the overwhelming news that I was indeed pregnant! I liked this building again!! Nothing can top the elation Matt and I felt that day when we found out that all we had been through had paid off!

And now her little boy is about to be born. Stories like Kristi's give me hope. They are such a great example of the Lord's blessing and provision. I can't wait to meet their little boy!!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Note to self....

Someday I will be a mom and we'll probably decide to try for baby #2. I assume that we'll head back to Dr. K's for some help. Anyway, when that day finally comes we will remember not to bring our child with us to the REs.
Today there was a woman and her husband at Dr. K's who had their baby with them....and it bothered me. I think it bothered the other women in the waiting room too. I don't think it was wrong of them to bring their baby and I'm sure there was some reason for it but I just know I won't bring my baby with me for round 2.....just like I'll never ask someone "So, when are you going to have kids?" ever again.

Side Note: It bothers me when people bring their kids to the gynecologist too but for totally different reasons. No kid should have to see their mom in stir-ups....talk about scarred for life!

Friday, July 20, 2007

400 visits??? Holy moley!!

At one time I was convinced that no one really read my blog....except my sister. So, I put a counter on to see if anyone was actually following our journey. Amazingly, our visitor count rolled past 400 today. So, either there are readers or my sister needs to stop checking it so much!!

I think the number 1 thing I've learned through blogging is that we are not on this journey alone and there are so many couples out there who are down in the trenches with us. Thank you for the encouraging comments and for sharing your lives on your own blogs. I have drawn encouragement from some many of you.....and I look forward to the day that our infertility blogs feature baby pictures!!

Friday.....should be great, right?

During the school year, I love Fridays. At school I usually go to Friday lunch at Rosa's with the 8th grade teachers....the food is delicious and the company is usually hilarious. Plus everyone is in such a great mood because it is Friday and there are only two class periods left.

Anyway, now it is summer and Fridays are more or less the same as other days since I'm only working when I want to this summer. Today should've been a great Friday since JW stayed home from work so that he could watch the British Open. I had two things on my agenda: an 8am appointment with Dr. K and a research paper for grad school that is breathing down my neck.

So I went to the doctor's office at 8am. They weren't there yet. By the time they opened the doors there were seven of us waiting in the hall. It was kind of crazy and I felt like I should start a conversation but didn't. I was the second one called. They did blood work and put me in a room where I waited for almost 30 minutes (yes, I timed it). Dr. K had some retrievals or something this morning which is why he was running behind but it was so uncomfortable to sit on the exam table undressed from the waist down for 30 minutes. Anyway, the ovaries are looking good and everything is on track. When I was leaving there were still girls sitting in the waiting area who had come in with me at 8am....but it was now a little after 9am. I was glad that I wasn't working because it would've stressed me out for a bloodwork and ultrasound appointment to take over an hour.

Anyway, As I was walking out of the office I hear someone say my name. I turn and there is my good friend T. She was suppose to have her beta this morning for her first IVF cycle. She had her IVF done up in Virginia and was going to her OB/GYN's office for the beta, estradiol and progesterone...but her OB/GYN can only get the beta results on the same day and her clinic in VA wanted them. So, she came over to Dr. K's to have her bloodwork done.....but then it turned out that Dr. K's office wouldn't get the results until after her clinic in VA closed so she wound up going back to her OB's office....but we did get to have a nice 20 minute talk.

Sadly, T's beta came back negative. I know they are really sad and it is kind of scary because they are our age and healthy and did everything "right" so it should've worked, right? Their situation is complicated because they live here in Texas but are using a clinic in VA. So in addition to the financial cost of IVF they have to deal with the financial burden of traveling to and from VA, staying in a hotel while there and missing work. Right now they aren't sure when they can try again and when they'll have the money to return to VA for their frozen embryos. My heart is just aching for them. There are really no words.

So then I was just left with an afternoon to work on my research paper and think about failed IVF and IUI cycles. Two verses from the Bible keep going through my head:

Psalm 121:1-2: "I lift my eyes up to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."

1 Timothy 4:10: "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

I have put my hope in the Lord and I know T has too. The Lord has a plan for us both and will provide us with families when the timing is right. We will not hope in doctors or counts and numbers....we will hope in the Lord.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Good bye, Clomid!!

I think I've taken my last clomid pill!! I'm so excited. This should be our last IUI with clomid and injectibles and if it doesn't work then we are moving on to IVF....which means new drugs but no more clomid!
This was my 9th cycle to use clomid (not 9 in a row though). Anyway, the interesting thing to me about clomid was that my side effects were a little different every time I took it. Hot flashes, moodiness, nausea and headaches were the most notable although they didn't happen every month.
So now I'm down to just a few more shots of Gonal-F and one big ovidrel shot. Knowing that this is our last IUI has made this cycle seem very final and huge. I'm excited about IVF and the possibility of it working but it seems to be a huge step. I think sometimes because I have unexplained infertility that I'm in denial of the fact that something is wrong with us. Having to go all the way to IVF seems to just confirm it though.
But we'll cross those bridges when we get there. For now I'm going to celebrate not having to take anymore clomid and that IUIs have about a 20% chance of working....which is one out of 5....and this is IUI #5......so there's always a chance!!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” (Ps. 138:8) What else do I need to know?

**This verse is from the New American Standard Translation.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A work in progress....

Well, I'm taking my shots and clomid as directed and having all the usual side effects. JW is traveling a TON for work right now and I'm a little worried about him being out of town on the IUI date. The stressful part about JW's work schedule is that he might not know he's going somewhere until 3 days before or the depositions might get cancelled or offered by phone at the last minute. Ahh....it is just all part of this infertility process I guess.

I'm going to blame my total lack of work ethic on the fertility drugs too---because that seems like a good out. I have about two and a half weeks before my final project is due in my Monday night grad school class....haven't even started yet. Definitely need to get on that this week. I'm such a procrastinator.

On a semi-related note, I have a good friend who just finished her first IVF and is scheduled to have her beta on Friday. I am so excited and nervous for them at the same time. Someone was talking about it yesterday at church about how hard it must be for them to wait 2 weeks to find out......all of us who've done the 2 week wait more than our fair share can sympathize with the craziness/agony/hope of those 2 weeks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can I put a sticker on my file, Dr.K?

I want a big sticker for the front of my file at Dr. K's office. I want it to say "FREEDOM" really big on it because that is the name of the pharmacy I use. I wrote the information down on my paper work. I know for a fact that in my file it says that my insurance company will only let me use this ONE pharmacy....however, in the three medicated cycles I've had with Dr. K's office they have called a different infertility pharmacy and ordered my meds. This results in that pharmacy calling and me having to tell them "sorry, the nurse was wrong" followed by a phone call to Dr. K's to say "Hey, I have to use the Freedom pharmacy."

So, I wish they would just stick a big sticker on the file folder so we wouldn't have to do this dance every month. They could stick it right next to the one that says "Easily frustrated" or "Hormonal."

Am I asking too much??

CD 1. Cycle 23.

Well, the stick predicted her arrival. The blood test confirmed it was inevitable and today it became official. We're starting cycle 23. Our last IUI cycle before moving on to IVF. Honestly I wasn't too upset yesterday when I got the blood work results because I already knew that it would be negative.
I'm sad but I also feel like there is some light at the end of the tunnel....one more IUI to go....maybe it will finally work and if it doesn't then we'll be able to move on to IVF. I know some people have reservations about IVF but I'm ready. I'm okay with the shots at this point and I'm just ready to try something that the doctors think will actually work.
So I kind of feel like I'm going through the motions of shots and IUIs to just get to move on to IVF but I also know that we could get pregnant this month. Ah. I'm the eternal optimist about this baby thing.

Of course I'm not 100% optimistic....in the back of mind I've also been thinking a lot about if we do proceed to IVF how many attempts will we be willing to take. Our insurance covers 6 but I'm not sure if I could endure 6 failed attempts. I know we'll cross that bridge when we get there but it is already floating in the back of my head.

I just want to trust that the Lord has a plan for us and that He will provide a family for us when the timing is right. I understand that His provision doesn't always look like I anticipate but I know that His provision is always good and always just what we need.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Let's get technical.

Yesterday for the 4th we spent some time with my family. First we went to my sister's house under the pretense that we were going to help them move some furniture because their baby crib was coming on the 5th.....she tricked us though and the crib was already set up. It's beautiful. Now all they need is a mattress and a baby....they are in the process of adopting domestically. I'm really excited because there is a good chance that they'll have a baby within the next few months and hopefully we'll get PG within the next few months which means the cousins will be close in age.

Then we went over to my parent's where we cooked out and played board games (because it was too rainy for the pool). Toward the end of the night my sister was asking me some questions about IVF and I gave her the whole run down. It feels so good to be able to put my medicine degree from the Google School Of Medicine to work sometimes. Actually, my understanding of the IVF process came from my friend Traci who let me borrow this informational book her clinic (GIVF in Fairfax, VA) gives to its patients. I'm sure that my brother-in-law wasn't so excited to walk in on the end of our conversation about ovaries.....but he survived. ***And a special "Good luck!" and "We're praying!" for Traci who has her retrieval this Friday!!!

I know IVF is a good shot for us to get pregnant....I just keep hoping that we'll get pregnant from these IUIs because sooner is better than later.....although honestly later is better than never.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Twins Are Here!!

Our sweet friends from church had their babies last week. Two healthy little boys. We stopped by the hospital but the babies were in the warmer so we went over tonight to see the little guys. They were both so small and sweet. Baby A was a little over 5 lbs and Baby B was 4lbs 11oz. I know these aren't bad weights for twins (especially because their mom is a teeny, tiny former gymnast) but they seemed so small compared to the other babies I've held lately. Anyway, they are the cutest things ever. Even their little 5 days old cries were even cute.

We had a nice little visit taking turns holding the boys. JW even held the babies. It was wonderful and these boys are such a blessing.....but it definitely made us realize that if we are lucky enough to have more than 1 healthy embryo that we'd better think seriously about how many we really want to the transfer!!!

I'm still waiting....

I'm waiting to see if this last IUI took. I've been totally overwhelmed with grad school and work even though I'm should have the summer off!! I have written three other posts and not posted them. I'm read several other infertility blogs that are deep, inspiring and profound. I don't feel like I'm any of these things. I'm more whiny.

I did however have a really deep talk with my accountability partner about the whole infertility struggle and I'll try to remember some of that conversation later and post it....because it was so deep I had to roll up my jeans.