"For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord..." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Test results and findings thus far....

I have been holding off posting anything regarding test results, in hopes we would have heard something more by now. We have not, and that's ok. I will share results from the previous doctor and his interpretation, as well as our current doctor's interpretation of those results and any new findings from the current doctor. I know this is all very exciting stuff {sarcasm} as I am sure you are reading this on the edge of your seat. DISCLAIMER: I'll do my best to explain the tests and findings but let me take this opportunity to apologize if I'm misinforming based on my own understanding. You see, Dr. Internet doesn't issue PhDs in Reproductive Endocrinology just by researching for a couple of years, I have a few years of schooling ahead of me should I wish to be Genny Lawrence, MD. Off we go... (said in my best Simon Cowell voice)

As I had mentioned in a previous post, we weren't really given a detailed explanation of the tests and their results by our first doctor. He just stated everything looked normal. He did, however, comment on the test that indicates the age of my ovaries or my ovarian reserve. He also explained that a woman's ovarian age and her chronological age are not always the same. I don't know if this is the best way to explain this? Every woman goes through menopause long before their life has expired. So how would your chronological age ever be the same as your ovarian age? Unless of course, you're the extremely rare woman who can still give birth at the age of 90. Let me take a moment for a brief explanation. Every woman is born with a set number of eggs. You don't make more over time, what you have is what you get. Every menstrual cycle, you let go of one (sometimes more) of the little eggs in hopes of being fertilized and one day becoming a little person. As you get older, the number of eggs (the reserve) is obviously significantly less, in turn making it more difficult to get pregnant. As your reserve depletes you approach menopause, you are out of eggs and can no longer have children. What I believe Dr. T (previous doctor) was getting at is that the age of my ovaries, ovarian reserve or number of eggs I still have is that of someone much younger than 34. Praise God, right? Well, maybe. Dr. D's (current doctor) thoughts are, although this is great, there has to be a reason why. His concern is that my body is not allowing eggs to be released. Not only am I, myself stubborn, my eggs have decided to carry on that trait as well, that's just fantastic. This could be due to a lack of LH (luteinizing hormone - the hormone secreted by your brain to trigger egg release right before ovulation) which would be a simple fix using a hormone injection. I will have another blood test done to measure the amount of LH as well as FSH (follicular-stimulating hormone - also secreted by the pituitary gland to regulate the development of the follicles by which the eggs are released.) in the next couple of days. Those results to follow.

I have forgotten so many of the results that Dr. D went over based on Dr. T's testing but the next test I do recall is the progesterone test. Progesterone is the hormone your body releases post ovulation. It is measured on a scale of 1 to I don't even know how many. By way of a blood test. I do know, any test resulting in less than 10 likely means you did not ovulate. They like to see between 12 and 15. Above 15 and rising, post ovulation could be an indication of pregnancy, although they would never tell you that, as to not get your hopes up. My abnormally high ovarian reserve number could also have been indicative of me not ovulating at all. My result with Dr. T, approximately 7 days post ovulation, was 15. The result with Dr. D, also approximately 7 days post ovulation, was 17. Yay! At least we know we have confirmation I have ovulated 2 of the last 8 months. This is good news!!

The next test, which I have already discussed the findings, was the HSG test. This is the test done by shooting dye into my uterus, followed by a series of x-ray pictures taken to show whether or not there are any blockages in my fallopian tubes preventing the sperm from metting the egg. Dr. T's results were sent over, not on a disc but photocopied. If you have never seen a photocopy of an x-ray, allow me to be the one to tell you, it's worthless. Dr. T had, however, noted that there was possible blockage, inflammation or a collapsed right fallopian tube. Thus resulting in his recommendation to have the laprascopic surgery. The surgery is performed by making a small incision in my belly button by which a scope is inserted and used to travel down through the tube to see what is blocking it. If possible, the doctor will attempt to unblock it at that time. If all goes well, I would have 2 clear pathways for my eggs to travel. But, with every invasive, although minimally so, procedure there comes a caveat or 2. These caveats were never discussed by Dr. T. Dr. D, however, explained how the risk can often out weigh the reward when performing a procedure like this. You can often build up scar tissue having the reverse effect on the tubes, blocking them worse then before. He assured us, he would recommend this procedure only as a last resort and after he has seen for himself what is going on inside me. He went on to explain, people get pregnant every day with only 1 tube and he does not see this as the reason behind us not getting pregnant.

Both doctors also requested we have an ultrasound at our first appointment. As you may recall, both commented on my beautiful uterus. (thank you, thank you very much! just kidding) Makes me wonder what an ugly one looks like? Eek! Nothing else was noted during Dr. T's ultrasound, other than it was done just prior to ovulation and he was able to see a few follicles on each ovary. Dr. D's ultrasound was done during the first week of my cycle. He was fully prepared to see nothing at all until he scanned my right ovary. Attached to my right ovary was what appeared to be an egg hanging on for dear life. This egg would eventually fade away but should not be there based on where I was in my cycle. This may further support his theory of me having stubborn eggs. Interesting!

As mentioned in a previous post, Dr. D had order more blood work and had indicated there were other tests he would be doing that Dr. T had not. That blood work has been done and there is only one thing we have been made aware of to date. One of the tests he had done was to identify the presence of a gene mutation called MTHFR, and no, that's not short for a very bad word. It's short for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. I don't even know how to begin to pronounce that, so we'll stick with MTHFR. I have tested positive for the presence of MTHFR with a C mutation. The nurse did not get into explaining what this is, she just said I had to come in for a 2nd blood test. This blood test was done a week ago yesterday (Friday) and will identify whether the mutation is heterozygous or homozygous. She did however, explain that I would need more folic acid by way of injection or liquid. As well as the possibility of needing blood thinners when I finally do get pregnant. I did, of course, consult Dr. Internet to see what else I could find. From what I have gathered, the MTHFR gene mutation means I do not process the protein folate. Folic acid is critical for someone trying to get pregnant as it reduces the risk of having a baby with birth defects, spina bifada and downs syndrome. The fact that I do not process folate greatly increases the chances of having a baby with one of the aforementioned. This little genetically transfered mutation also can cause blood clotting increasing the chance of miscarrying, early onset Alzheimer's, heart conditions, stroke, and aneurisms. Although it sounds scary, it's easily controlled by taking a baby aspirin every day for the rest of my life. The last drawback to this mutation and most interesting to me at the present time is, it can also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterine lining. No implantation = no pregnancy. Although it may be premature to assume this is the answer to all our prayers, it does feel like we're getting somewhere with all of this. I am finally feeling at peace with our situation and I have the utmost confidence in our doctor and for that I feel blessed. (Praise God)

I have to schedule another blood test to be completed on day 2 or 3 of my cycle. Aunt Flo should be here today, although there are no signs of her arrival, she has a tendency to be very ninja like some months. I anticipate her to come at the most inopportune time, like right in the middle of warrior II in my 4 o'clock yoga class. Ugh! I will also have to schedule my 2nd HSG test to be completed on day 5-10 of my cycle. I will be very thankful when the test poking and prodding is completed and we have some answers. Or at least I pray we have some answers.

Until next time... Happy Saturday! xo

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Home Stretch...

Well we're coming into the home stretch with this whole going back in time thing. I may have to think of some other creative topics to keep your interest, once you've been brought up to speed. We don't lead very exciting lives, aside from the fertility thing. And that isn't exactly something I would call exciting. I would imagine a reality show about Cozart and I would last all of about 2 episodes. Unless of course, it aired on Animal Planet. Let's just say I wouldn't even be in the running if they did a Real Housewives of Seminole County. And that's completely fine by me! :)

The discontinuing of my treatments with Dr. L came at the perfect time, right before Thanksgiving. Cozart and I would be traveling back to Minnesota for the holiday; the babymaking hiatus couldn't have come at a better time. I also felt, for the first time in 2 years, that I could turn my mind off, when it came to all things baby. I can't think of one other time, in 2 years where I thought I could just NOT think about it. One thing that so many people who haven't had a problem having a baby can't comprehend about people who are babymaking challenged, is that you can't just NOT think about it. You can't just relax, as we are so often told to do. You can't just not worry. You literally don't go a month, week, day or even an hour without thinking something baby related. Is it obsessive? Yes, absolutely but we are programmed from a very young age that the harder we work at something the better we will be rewarded or the better the end result will be. So how is it we are expected to change our way of thinking when we are doing everything the exact way we are supposed to do it, and doing a very good job at it mind you. :) (aside from maybe starting to try before the ripe age of 32) Everywhere you turn you are reminded of this constant battle, that is infertility (eew, ugly word). I don't know if you realize this or not, but babies are EVERYWHERE!!!! And everyone is having them but ME. I know it sounds crazy and a little selfish but these are real thoughts, from a real person, fighting a real battle to do something so many take for granted all too often. And I know I'm not the only one thinking these things, I'm just not afraid to admit it. So the next time you, mother of 2, 3 or 4 beautiful children, are talking to someone who is trying to have a baby, stop before you tell them to, 'Just relax. It'll happen'. I know you mean well and it's not bad advice but you're asking us to do the impossible. Trust me, I am protecting you from getting an atomic elbow (if you don't know what that is, ask Cozart, I am sure he would more than oblige) to the forehead by your hormone raging, wanna-be-mommy, best friend, who you didn't know had a black belt in karate. Ok, I'll step off my soap box now and we can continue...

I did pretty well with keeping my baby thoughts away over the next 2 months. In the back of my head were always thoughts of when our most fertile time was, how many days before I "should" be ovulating, how many days until Aunt Flo's next visit and the slight possibility of her not coming at all. But there were no OPKs, no HPTs, no stress about if it's the "right time" and most importantly, no doctor visits. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years came and went pretty quickly and with the new year came discussion of what we do next. We had friends who had announced they were pregnant earlier in the fall. They had struggled with trying to have another child for years so, this was very exciting news. We were able to speak to them about who they had seen, as far as doctors and their experiences. They had used the clinic I had originally told my OB/GYN about at my last visit. The same clinic he said he didn't have a problem with as far as the doctors, but he had had patients state they were less than satisfied with the staff. Our friends had wonderful things to say about the doctors and the staff. They went as far as saying they consider their doctor family. (LOVE that!) There was something about this clinic that gave me a very good feeling, even before I had heard about any first hand success stories. And I couldn't help but think, God had lead us to this clinic.

I called at the beginning of March to schedule our appointment. The girl I spoke to apologized because she couldn't get me in to see the doctor of our choice for another month. I felt like saying: "A month? Honey, We've been waiting more than 2 years, I think we can wait another month." Over the next 30 days, God was hard at work confirming to us that we were on the right path. In researching the doctors, I was happy to find out 3 of the 5 are in the top 1% in the world for their specialty. Cozart's cousin told us she had seen one of the doctors and had a wonderful experience, even though she ended up getting pregnant on her own. A friend of the family also saw one of the clinic's doctors 20 years ago and couldn't say enough about her experience. But even with all this confirmation I couldn't help but wonder what this doctor would be able to do that the other one couldn't? All the tests had been done and they didn't find anything. What could this doctor possibly find, if the other one didn't? This doctor may be a better fit personality wise but what if we still don't know what is preventing us from getting pregnant and he just jumps right to IVF? I was skeptical and running low on hope. We completed our paperwork, to be dropped off a week prior to the appointment. (we'll see if they look at it before) We had our medical records sent over from the other doctor. And we waited for April 6th to get here.

Just like the first appointment with the other doctor, I was overflowing with emotion. Still skeptical, anxious, nervous, irritated that Cozart wasn't moving out the door faster. They asked us to be there 30 minutes prior to our appointment and I failed to ask them why, so I could tell Cozart. (you see, I'm a "do as I'm told" kind of person and Cozart's a "I'll do as I'm told if you give me a good enough reason") We arrived 25 minutes prior to our appointment, to my frustration. We were fully prepared to sign a few waivers and wait and wait and wait. So we signed the waivers and were called back literally 5 minutes later. (if you're keeping track, you're right, we were seen BEFORE our scheduled appointment.) So far so good. The nurse who brought us back to an exam room was very sweet and genuinely so. I felt no pity from her, I didn't feel like I was interrupting her day of much better things she had to do. She was doing her job and she actually seemed to like it. We were sat in an exam room to wait for the doctor's office to become available. Again, we were prepared to wait and again we didn't have to. She came to get us and escorted us to Dr. D's office. He shook our hands and asked us to have a seat. After a couple minutes of small talk he opened our file to pages of notes he had taken while reviewing our questionnaire and medical records PRIOR to our appointment. (hallelujah!) As he confirmed the information and reviewed the test results with us (I will outline his findings in a future post), he pointed out things that looked good but may still be of concern. He identified test results that were missing because they had never been done. And most importantly, he listened to everything we had to say. Everything!!! Cozart asked about jumping right into IVF and his response was, "Wouldn't you like to find out what is preventing you from getting pregnant in the first place, first?". Oh my goodness! This guy is a GENIUS!

We were then lead into an exam room where he would perform an ultrasound. And again a comment was made about my beautiful uterus. Careful doc, you're inflating my ego here! After the ultrasound, I was sent into another room (not a closet) to have some blood drawn. The blood draw was complete and we sat down with Dr. D's nurse (I wish I could remember her name. I am so horrible at that) She gave us a list of to-do items and sent us on our way, but not before Cozart left a "sample" of his own. Poor guy! I don't know how any guy could do that. :(

Before we left, I scheduled another blood test, to be completed the following Friday, the 21st day of my cycle. On the way home, we discussed the night and day difference between this experience and the one we had with the other doctor. And for the first time, in a very long time, I smiled and thought to myself, "We're going to have a baby.". And it's no coincidence, Dr. D is the 3rd doctor we have seen. ;)

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Flash back Part 2...

I'd like to start by promising that I will do my very best to make all my posts much shorter than the last (after this one... you may want to grab a coffee and a comfy spot on the couch for this one too). I should be able to end this post with where we are in our journey as of today, or at least I'll come very close. Every entry after will be as things transpire. So, unless there is a whole lot going on in any given day, which I can't imagine there will be, I should be able to keep it short and sweet. Thanks for going back in time with me, we're almost there... or here... or right now... or... whatever, you get what I mean. :)

As I had mentioned in the last post we had been left feeling pretty hopeful post D&C; that we would be able to get pregnant again fairly quickly. I had read several things online about girls getting pregnant even before they got their next period. Yes, I do realize I need to stop consulting the internet for these type of things however, our midwife had told us the same thing, as well as hearing stories from friends and family. On a side note; it is truly amazing how many people tell you they have been through the same situation when you go through something like this. (Almost 20% of KNOWN pregnancies end in miscarriage) Makes me wonder if it would be easier to deal with or if I/we could have been better prepared, had more people shared their stories before? No, I don't believe you could ever completely prepare yourself for something like a miscarriage. I just wonder why it's so taboo when it happens to so many people? But I digress, we decided to wait until I got my period before starting to try again. Something just made me feel better about waiting, even if it was only a couple of weeks. Like clockwork, (I have always been extremely regular. Except for the 5 years I didn't have a period at all) 28 days post D&C, I got my period. GAME ON!!

We continued to try for months and months with negative pregnancy test, after negative pregnancy test. It was time to start researching... Why hello there, Dr. Internet!!! I'm back and I want to know everything you can possibly tell me about the best things to do to get pregnant. I'm not messing around here! You want me to stand on my head? Done! You want me to eat powdered herbs, that taste disgusting? Done! You want me to sleep with a bowl of full moon drenched water under my side of the bed? (Love you Ash) Done! You want me to get Cozart to wear big baggy smiley face satin boxers and sweatpants so as nothing is "hugging too tightly"? This is probably where he'll be drawing the line. You want me to wear a statue of kokopelli around my neck and do a tribal dance while chanting in a loin cloth, under the full moon, in my front yard? Annnddd... that's where I draw the line! I did, however, find a website to chart my morning temperature to pin point ovulation. I also charted every twinge, ache, pain, emotion and possible symptom of pregnancy. I charted when I exercised, got less than 8 hours of sleep, when I had a glass of wine, and so on. I read books about what to eat, drink and exercises to do that promote fertility. We practiced the "Sperm Meets Egg Plan". And I did a whole lot of praying!!! I did all of this for a year. I lived my life (and still do) in 2 week intervals. 2 weeks until ovulation, 2 weeks until Aunt Flo's arrival, with high hopes that she would stay away for 9 months. But she didn't. She and a flood of emotions came every 25-28 days without fail for another 12 months before I went back to my OB-GYN for my annual exam and to ask what to do next.

I went in for my exam and, just like many OB/GYN's do, because they are not trained or certified to do anything else, he ordered a progesterone test 7 days past ovulation and followed up by putting me on clomid for 6 months. Clomid is a drug that helps those who do not ovulate, ovulate. I do ovulate so putting me on such a drug isn't really doing anything for me, except for possibly increasing my chance of having multiples. I still took the little pill on days 3-7 of my cycle for 6 months with no luck. So it was back to the doctor I went and this time, I wasn't leaving there without a referral for a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE for future reference). I had done some research (I know, weird, right?) before going to see Dr. S (my OB/GYN). I had found an RE right near our house to ask him about. Dr. S was in complete agreement that I should move on to a specialist. I asked him about the RE I had found and he told me, although he had no problem with the doctors, he had had other patients state they were not happy with the staff. He suggested we try a different RE, we'll call him Dr. T, although I have a few other choice names for him but Dr. T will be sufficient and much more pleasant. I scheduled our visit as soon as I consulted with Cozart.

As we made our way to our appointment I was drowning in emotion. I was nervous, excited, scared, nauseous, kind of sad it had to come to this, but mostly I was hopeful. More hopeful than I had been in quite some time. I was also very prepared with all of my charted information printed out for him to analyze. I was very proud of my charting and thought he would be very impressed with the amount of information I was able to provide. We checked in and had a seat. We waited, for what seemed like forever, not surprising for a doctor's visit. The nurse called us back and sat us in 2 big comfy chairs in a very dark office. We waited some more. And waited. And waited. Finally Dr. T came in, introductions were made and he had a seat in his big comfy chair at his desk to review our file. Clearly, this was the first time he had seen the information I had sent in a week prior to our appointment. He quickly paged through the questionnaire, asked us a few questions and stated we would start blood work and be doing an ultrasound today, followed by an HSG test in the coming weeks and Cozart would have to have a semen analysis test done as well. He said something about IVF being one of our options but we will discuss that further when the test results come back. He completely dismissed my charts and told me I was just driving myself crazy tracking all this stuff. :( He also dismissed any concerns we had of my eating disorder having any lasting effects on my body. Possible damage caused by the D&C was dismissed. Anything else we brought up, also dismissed. And by dismissed I mean, he didn't even allow us to finish the question or statement before he completely shrugged it off, scrunched up his face in a funny way and said "No, No, not a concern to me.". We were lead from his office into what appeared to be a closet. Where his not-so-pleasant nurse drew blood and I was escorted into yet another room for the ultrasound. I was told everything looked great and I had a beautiful uterus. Wow! Thanks Doc, that's one I've never heard before! After the ultrasound the doc lead us back out to another nurse who answered any questions we had and she lead us to the financial counselor. She gave us cost estimates on every procedure, put everything in a generic green folder and we left.

On the way home, we discussed the appointment. I was trying very hard to feel more hopeful than I did when we arrived there that morning but something didn't seem right. I thought I would leave feeling like there was no doubt in my mind we would have a baby, I didn't. I had talked to people who had been to RE's who had said things like "You WILL be having a baby before you are done with us." or "We will do whatever it takes to get you pregnant.". We didn't hear anything like that. In fact, I had even started thinking, maybe I was a lot tougher case than he's seen before. I mean, I'm 34, never given birth before. I don't have a specific diagnosis like endometriosis or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) nor do I have the symptoms so they don't have something specific to treat. Maybe I'll be one of those who are labeled UNEXPLAINED and just can never have kids. I know now that these are all very irrational thoughts but I wasn't really given much else to work with. So I prayed that God would tell me if we were in the right place and in the meantime, I would just try to be positive about the experience.

The nurse called and left a message with my blood test results and said they were NORMAL. Mind you, I don't even know what specifically they were testing for, other than progesterone. So what the numbers were and for what tests? I hadn't a clue. I figured I'd start my list of questions and ask when I went in for my HSG test in the next week or so. In the next week I spoke to many of you and probably sounded much more optimistic than I am sounding right now. That was me doing my best to stay positive. I didn't pay for all those acting classes in college for nothing.

On the first day of my cycle, I called Dr. T's office to schedule my HSG test as instructed. The Hysterosalpingogram or HSG test is done by injecting dye into my uterus which travels up into my fallopian tubes. They take a series of x-rays while the dye is traveling through my uterus and tubes. The pictures can then be used to identify any blockages, damage or problems that could prevent the egg from traveling down the tube(s) to meet the sperm. The test is done on day 5-10 of your cycle. Mine was scheduled on day 7. Cozart would be giving his "sample" on this day as well. The day of this appointment was much like the first appointment. We came, we waited and we waited. I was called back but Cozart had to wait for them to call him so he couldn't be with me. The nurse who called me back told me I had to give a urine sample and disappeared, leaving me in the middle of the hallway with several other patients moving from room to room. I didn't know where the bathroom was, where the cups were in which I was to pee in nor did I know where to put said sample when I was finished. A fellow patient must have noticed the look of utter confusion on my face. She said, "The bathrooms over there, the cups are in the bottom drawer and you have to bring the sample to the nurse.". I said thank you and she turned and said, "Get used to this.". Yikes!! At that moment my Hope-o-meter went from a 1 to about a -2 when it came to ever seeing a little Genny or Cozart. And unfortunately, the appointment didn't get much better for either myself or Cozart. After peeing in the cup I was left to walk around with it until I found a nurse to give it to. (Cozart had the same experience with his sample. Like it's not bad enough he had to do THAT in a restroom with tons of people walking around right on the other side of the door.) Luckily she was also the nurse who would be assisting with the HSG so she kindly escorted me to the other closet where the procedure would be performed. She was by far the most pleasant person I had seen or spoken to in both visits combined. She did however, give me the I feel so bad for you, type of nice and proceeded to complain about her kids. I would imagine rule #1 in dealing with those having difficulty having children of their own would be, don't discuss and definitely don't complain about your own kids. As we wrapped up the small talk about her "crazy kids" Dr. T came in and flipped through my chart. I am convinced he was trying to figure out who in the heck I was and what he was supposed to be doing with me. He came across a piece of paper from a urologist. I had complete forgotten that Cozart had some blood work done to test his testosterone and had the results sent over to Dr. T. His levels were on the very low end of normal which I had read (Dr. Internet) could have some effect on male fertility. I explained this to Dr. T to which he responded: "It's on the low end? So what, that's like saying you're kind of pregnant' You either are or you're not.". And tossed the results at me for my own records. Even with very VERY little knowledge I have compared to this man, I still know that what he just said makes no sense what so ever. So we proceed with the test. He injects the dye and proceeds to steer with my legs to get different angles. Can you say AKWARD?! He had some difficulty with the right side and I felt a pinching/pressure at the same time. In a matter of minutes we were done. He shook my hand and I asked him another question. I honestly, can't remember what it was now but I know it was in regard to the test. He told me to hold all other questions for my next consultation. Seriously? You can't take 5 seconds and answer it now? On the way home Cozart and I discussed our unfortunate experiences. Although it wasn't said out loud, I think we were both thinking, and God was telling us, this was not the right place for us right now.

The nurse called a few days later to tell me Cozart had "Super Sperm". A few days following that we had what would be our next and last visit with Dr. T. The last visit was a consultation; where I was allowed to ask all my questions. He reviewed the findings of the HSG which were that I have a possible blocked right tube. He suggested we proceed with laproscopic surgery to unblock the tube followed by IVF. He also brought IVF up at our first appointment. Weird seeing as he hadn't run any tests yet. We still weren't clear on the different blood tests that were done, just that they were normal. Cozart questioned other options such as IUI. He said it would be a waste of time but if we couldn't afford IVF, he would do it for us. Gee thanks! Side note: Fertility treatments are not covered in the state of Florida. The laproscopic procedure would be but not for me (insurance change) until April and it would still cost around $400. IVF with the meds is upwards of $18,000. We left Dr. T's office and again, sat with the financial counselor and went over the cost for the lap surgery. She told me I would have to call and find out what the hospital charges would be. I wanted to say: "Isn't that your job?". But I didn't. I felt completely defeated. I know he didn't tell us we couldn't have a baby at all but he couldn't find anything, aside from a "possible" blocked tube, wrong with us. I was just hoping they'd find something. That probably seems like a crazy concept to some I know. I guess I was just hoping they would find something, we could treat it and even if we had to do some crazy expensive treatment, at least I would know. If we wanted to have a 2nd child (God willing), it's all this all over again and still no answers as to what is preventing us from getting pregnant.

Over the next couple months, I turned to eastern medicine. Acupuncture and chinese herbs. At my first visit Dr. L told me I would be a difficult case as there is no diagnosis but he would treat for inflammation of the right fallopian tube. I can't say whether or not it actually did anything for blockage but it gave me 30 minutes to do nothing but relax and boy did I need it. Dr. L had just branched off a much larger practice and had started one of his one. Over the course of 3 months every time I went in the herbs, would be $2 more than the last bottle or he wanted to try another treatment along with the acupuncture. I began to feel as if he was trying to make up for lack of patients by adding unnecessary treatments and hiking up the price of the herbs for his current patients. So I stopped going. Again, I wasn't feeling very confident and the little hope I had left got washed down the drain with the disgusting herbs he had me taking (36 pills and 4 tablespoons a day to be exact). It had been 2 years, one miscarriage, 2 doctors (not including my OB/GYN) and enough OPKs and negative HPTs (home pregnancy test for the baby making novice out there) to pay for a round of IVF. It was time for a break...

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

 (almost finished with the time warp, I promise!!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

[insert: Wayne's World dream sequence music]

Ok so I fibbed. We're going to take this a bit farther back than 3 years. Because, let's be honest, every girl's dream of having children begins long before she and her husband/boyfriend/partner have a conversation about starting to "try". (ie pulling the goalie) And on a side note: a big HUGE HIGH FIVE to any women out there embarking on this journey alone, as a single parent. For the record, you're either mentally unstable or completely AMAZING. My opinion is the latter.

 Growing up, I was your stereotypical girlie girl. Loved frilly dresses, wore bows in my hair, hated loathed getting dirty and loved nothing more than playing with my dolls and I had a TON of them. (yes, Mom, this is me publicly admitting that I was spoiled) Then my sister came along (we're 7 years apart). OMG! My own live doll to play with!!! And much to her disliking, that's exactly how I treated her. When I left for college, although I remained (and forever will) a girlie girl, I didn't think kids were something I ever wanted. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was the daughter of a daycare owner, who had to share her house with "other people's kids"? Or maybe it was because, I was going to be on broadway or travel the world with some renowned dance company. (too bad the size of my cahones, didn't match the size of my dreams, when it came to the entertainment biz). As with everything in life, things change. I stopped dancing, moved home and started a "real career", my priorities had changed. (it wasn't quite that smooth of a transition but with the hope of this post being shorter than War and Peace, we'll leave it at that)
Me and my live doll, Katey xo

As with any 20 something girl, I was on a quest to find love (which would lead to marriage, which would lead to kids). And as with any 20 something girl, on that quest, you inevitably come down with a couple bouts of heartbreak. I was no different. Unfortunately, my heartbreak was not treated with pints of Ben & Jerry's, a few bottles of wine and a box of tissues. (although, I did watch You've Got Mail about 300 times) My heartbreak was sent into a starvation tailspin. ENTER Ed (short for eating disorder) my long hopefully-forever-lost enemy, anorexia. (anorexia is another word I hate and will likely use ED as an alternative) My hunger pain masked my pain of heartbreak and just got completely out of control. At the request (more like on her knees pleading), of my Mom and several friends, and after seeing other doctors and counselors, I agreed to see our long time family physician, Dr. B. I had a full physical, head to toe exam and when he was finished he asked if we could talk. I have seen this man for everything, dislocated knees, sprained ankles, strep throat, colds, I hadn't even gone to an OB/GYN for my first annual exam because I couldn't imagine seeing anyone other than Dr. B. I had all the respect in the world for this man. So when he asked me where I saw myself 10 years from now, (this is 12 years ago now) I didn't think it was odd at all, but I still had no idea where he was going with this. I told him I saw myself married, with a career I loved and with 2-3 kids. He looked at me, tried to clear the lump in his throat and with tears in his eyes said: "Genny, you're less than 80lbs. If you continue on this path, that will never happen." I had no internal woman organs left. I hadn't had my period in a couple of years, my body was literally eating itself, because I wasn't. It was an eye opener and exactly what I needed to hear.

And to think I thought I looked normal???

Over the next few years, I got better. It wasn't comfortable and it wasn't pretty, (I looked like a blowfish for quite some time) but by the grace of God, I got better. As you can imagine, being less than 80lbs makes the quest for love a wee bit more challenging. 1. Who wants to date someone who resembles one of their favorite He-Man toys: Skelatore. 2. Any guy in their right mind knows that dating the walking dead = a heck of a lot of emotional baggage. So abort mission love quest, embark on mission GET GENNY HEALTHY. And with my new mission came a new home, in a new state with lots of sunshine and palm trees. How can you NOT get better in the Sunshine State??? 1 year into my quest for health, 6 months in a new location, what do I find? Why LOVE, of course!!! I say of course for all of you that say/said "Stop looking and you'll find it" well I'm here to say YOU WERE RIGHT!!! Love came in the form of Cozart or was it Cuisinart? Mozart? No it was Quaylude... wait a minute, what's his name again??? Come on you've all done the same thing, and I was no exception. I wasn't sure I was capable of love, or at least not yet. Boy was I wrong!! We had our ups and downs but one thing I could never deny was how much I loved this guy with a crazy name and a bald head. He was, is and hopefully always will be the love of my life!

He proposed in May of 2006 on the beach and it was a complete surprise. I had no clue what-so-ever. We married a year and half later, on the beach in Treasure Island, FL. It was a blast and so beautiful. I wish I could do it all over again, once a year. (You can probably hear Cozart groaning right now!) Married life wasn't much different than before but I will admit I had a few freak out moments. OMG this is FOREVER! I know he can say the same so this isn't news to him.

Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence YAY!!!

Although, I would have liked to start trying to expand our family right away, God had other plans. I worked in the mortgage business and we all know what happened to that. I was left to reinvent myself. (I think I'm still in the process) Cozart was in the pool business which was also hit pretty hard by the "economic downturn" so as you can imagine, we weren't exactly in any position to start a family. As for my health, I am proud to say Mission GET GENNY HEALTHY was and continues to be a success. At this point, post wedding, and even today, I could even stand to shed a few pounds... the healthy way. :) My body has restored/regenerated all that had been shriveled up or eaten away (PRAISE GOD) and from what my doctors had said, I should have no problem having children... (little did they know)

Finally we are to the point where I said we would be starting yesterday. (I probably should have told you at the beginning of this post to grab a cup or coffee, a comfy place to curl up and settle in for a little while. Sorry 'bout that) September 2009, I had recently started a new job (there was a lot of that over the last couple/few years. Hey, I said my reinvention is still IN PROCESS, didn't I?), I was happy (or so I thought), my insurance just kicked in, Cozart had gone back to school and would be done the following year. It seemed like a good time to start trying. After all, it probably wouldn't happen right away and we definitely were not getting any younger. We decided to just see what happened, pull the goalie if you will. I started researching (I have a love/hate relationship with Dr. Internet and all it's minions in the cyber world. I love that it's there as a resource but I hate the misinformation it often provides... more on that later) best times to try, what my body was doing throughout my cycle, etc... Probably doing more than just the "casual trying" we initially discussed but I wanted to know what to expect, no fault in that, right? I also wanted to make sure we were doing it right. ;)

The first month comes and goes with a visit from Aunt Flo, same with the 2nd. No surprise or concern at this point. The 3rd month we did the same thing, only I am armed with 2 months worth of internet knowledge and an ovulation predictor kit (OPK for future reference). Go big or go home, right? A little over a week after seeing the two dark lines on my OPK, I attend a birthday celebration at a local bar/restaurant for our friend Andy. Cozart was working. I ordered a beer, as I normally would, but it tasted awful! I couldn't even finish it. At the time, I chalked this up to it being a "school night" (it was a Wednesday). And with the thought of my lengthy To-do list for the next day, in the back of my head, I just didn't feel like drinking. The weekend came and by Sunday night I knew something was different, not a completely foreign feeling but too soon to be Aunt Flo knocking at the door yet again. I went to bed thinking, just for the heck of it, I'll take a test in the AM. My neighbor and dear friend had just had her 3rd and final baby and she bequeathed to me her over supply of pregnancy tests. I was fully prepared for what could be months of trying and testing. I shot out of bed the next morning filled with so many emotions. Do I still feel... funny? Yes! Could it be? There's only one way to find out... So I did, what has become all too familiar to me, I peed on the stick. And let me tell you, when they say that's the longest 3 minutes of your life (let me take this opportunity to point out that 3 again), they're not kiddin'. I left the room, paced and paced and walked, slowly like I was creeping up on a live animal or something, like it was going to jump up and bite me in the nose, back into the bathroom. And what did I find???? Yep, 2 LINES!!!! No! It can't be! Really? Maybe it's an error? Maybe I should try another one? But I don't have to go to the bathroom and they say, only use the 1st morning's urine. Ugh! I obviously needed to take a moment to let it all sink in. Cozart was at work and wouldn't be home for another hour. I took a shower started to get ready and broke the news to him as soon as he walked in the door. I felt like I was telling him I did something wrong. It was all very surreal. And he wasn't convinced. "Are you sure? You need to go to the doctor and have a blood test. I don't know how accurate those things are." Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for but I think he was just in shock.

A week later, we went to the doctor, where they did another URINE (not blood) test to confirm we were definitely with child. I was over the moon! And Cozart was too, even though he was chronically exhausted from working full time, going to school full time and fitting in clinicals somewhere in between. We didn't want nor did we even discuss waiting to tell every one. We were too excited to wait and in hindsight, I'm glad we did. Some may disagree but I am grateful for the support we had because everyone knew. Besides, it was December with Christmas Parties and New Years Eve. Not that I'm a big drinker but our friends would know something was up. I was going home to Minnesota for Christmas so I did wait to tell my family until then. I wrapped up a webcam and attached a note from the baby about how he or she can't wait to talk to them over the computer, or something like that. It got the exact reaction I was hoping for. There was a lot of jumping up and down and crying and hugging. Still one of my favorite moments, even today.

Our first appointment was more informational than clinical. Our 2nd appointment, at 8 weeks, would consist of more physical exams and clinical stuff. The holidays had came and went. I started to feel less and less like I was pregnant. It was weird, the symptoms would come and go but seemed to come back fainter and fainter. I added this to my list of questions to ask at our next appointment the 2nd week of January. By the time the day arrived, I felt completely normal, and by normal I mean normal pre-pregnancy. I had my energy back, I didn't have any food aversions (not that I had many in the first place), I didn't have to pee all the time, my chest didn't feel sore or swollen like it had. Something was wrong. As I said before, this appointment would be physically examining me. I went through an exam like I normally would for my annual. He commented on seeing a little tinge of blood but nothing to be alarmed about. I asked him about the subsiding symptoms and he said that was normal too. I asked if we would be checking for a heartbeat, as Dr. Internet and his minions had informed me that that is what happens at the 8 week appointment. He said no, he doesn't like to add stress or raise unwarranted concern if they don't hear anything, which you sometimes don't at 8 weeks. I left feeling better but not convinced. I continued to consult Dr. Internet which just freaked me out more, so I decided to just try to not think about it. (yeah right!).

Exactly a week, to the day, after my appointment I woke up in the middle of the night with severe cramps. I got up, drank some water, grabbed the heating pad and tried to go back to sleep. I know many of you are thinking, she called the 24 hour nurse line immediately and got herself in. But I didn't. I think I was kind of in denial. I went to work, it was a Tuesday so we were in the office all day make cold calls (NIGHTMARE!!!!!). By around 10am I decided maybe I should call?? I did and they asked if I could come in today for an ultrasound. I called Cozart and we decided to meet at the doctor's office at 2. I know I said I thought I knew there was something wrong before but, in that week's time I must have done a pretty good job of convincing myself otherwise. As we were walking in to the doctor's office I remember thinking this was just an added bonus, we would get to see our baby via ultrasound earlier than expected. The next thing I remember was lying on the table staring at the ultrasound monitor with her measurement reading 5 WEEKS. I wasn't 5 weeks, I was 9. And that was the first question they asked me: "Are you sure of the date of conception or the date of your last period?". Ummm... You are the ones who confirmed the pregnancy at 4 weeks. That would mean that day was the day of conception and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have gotten a positive pregnancy test. The U/S tech left the room and the doc's midwife came in. (Love her by the way!) She started in with how sorry she was. She would confirm with the doctor but what she sees is what she believes to be a blighted ovum. (there is a placenta, just no embryo) This was and never would be a baby. I could let it pass naturally or I would have to schedule a D&C. Which is what we did. Needless to say, we were devastated. So what did, I do? I went back to work. Talk about commitment! (NOTE: this is the same company that would, 4 months later, "let me go". I won't go there now.)

The D&C took place Friday of that week. It was fairly quick and painless from what I remember. (I was REALLY drugged up though) Thanks again to all my girls for coming over that night to sit on my couch and drink wine while I laid completely comatose. You know who you are (probably better than I do, I don't remember much from that day) and I love you so much for being there that day and always! Anyway... recovery wasn't bad physically. Emotionally was another story. I had restored faith and hope from hearing many stories of people who had miscarried and gotten pregnant right away following. Apparently your hormones are still surging like crazy which in-turn makes it easier to get pregnant. *information courtesy of Dr. Internet. Unfortunately, this would not be the case with us. And so the real journey begins... And with that I will leave you for now. (I'm getting yelled at by the "boss", or so he likes to think, to wrap this up for today) Until next time...xo

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Third Time's A Charm...

Ever wonder what's the significance behind the number 3? There were 3 wise men, 3 strikes and you're out, the genie always grants 3 wishes, they even say plane crashes happen in 3's, 3 blind mice, 3 amigos, the 3 bears, 3 little pigs, 3 musketeers and of course the Holy Trinity... I could go on and on... and on (I added the 3rd 'and on', on purpose. 2 just didn't seem right) but I'm sure you get my point!

Cozart Age 3

So what on earth am I doing starting my blog with a post about 3's? Well... this is my 3rd attempt at starting this blog, and the 3rd time I have completed this exact post... as the old saying goes... Third time's a charm. So no matter how horrible I think this post sounds, how many grammatical errors and lack of punctuation there is IT WILL BE PUBLISHED!!!!

My intention for this blog is 3 fold (there's that 3 again!).

1. To share with so many friends and family members we don't have the pleasure of spending time with but once or twice a year.
2. To bring all of you up to speed on how our journey to start a family is going. I know it's uncomfortable for some of you to ask; you're afraid it may be too painful to discuss, you feel it's too personal of a topic to share and for some of you this may be the first you've heard we were even trying. After all, we do have 3 dogs that we treat like real children, we just may be "dog people". (Yep I just said we have 3 dogs!! Now do you see what I mean?) Oh and no, we are not exclusively 4 legged, furry baby parents; we have a few extra kennels for the 2 legged human kind too. JUST KIDDING!!!!
3. Any of you who know me well, know trying to get pregnant (BTW I hate the word infertility and refuse to deem myself infertile so I may use it here and there but will likely find a way to avoid it) but it is not the first battle I have fought in my life, nor will it be my last. One thing I have learned with every obstacle I have been faced with is that I will eventually be able to use my story to help others. God has blessed me with my trials and tribulations so that others can make it through just another day. There is no doubt in my mind of this. It is my deep desire that this blog is passed on to someone, somewhere going through the exact same thing and is ready to hear something other than how so and so just stopped trying and they got pregnant or as soon as they adopted they got pregnant, "my sister's, friend's, cousin's co-worker tried for 10 years and all of a sudden they got pregnant", "you need to relax and it will happen", "it's just not your time yet"... They are all great stories and could one day be my story but sometimes you just need to hear: "I know how you feel. I know what you're going through." "I got another negative pregnancy test last week too." and really know how they feel, know what they are going through. For those of you who have never fought this battle you may not find some things as humorous as I, and those who have been in my shoes, do but I'll try to limit the "inside jokes" or at least point them out so you're not left scratching your head.

Me Age 3

And last but not least, before we time warp back to the beginning of this journey (in my next post)... I hate that I feel like I have to say this but I do. I am an open book and will be sharing thoughts, feelings (both physical and emotional), body functions you never knew were happening to you right now as you read this and some that hopefully are not, and I will write about my faith in God. He is my everything and the only reason I am still fighting this battle. If you have an issue with any of the aforementioned you don't have to read on and if you so choose to, please refrain from commenting negatively.
Whew... now that that's off my chest... Let's go back in time, 3 years (well, almost anyway)......... TO BE CONTINUED

"The vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT)