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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good things come to those who wait...

Have you ever seen the email, subject entitled: Why men shouldn't take phone messages? The email opens up to a picture of a note on a fridge that says: Someone from Gyna Colleges called. They said the Pabst Beer is normal. HA! Funny right? Well sometimes I wonder if when we're praying we are actually leaving a message for God's answering service. Maybe my prayers are getting to him but not in the correct order, are being misinterpreted or God's secretary happens to be male? (just kidding boys) I have prayed for the last 30-something months that Aunt Flo please not visit yet she arrives, like clockwork, every 28 days. Then, the one month I pray that she comes on the 28th day and she shows up 2 days late. Such is life...

I will be leaving for Minnesota on June 8th and will be gone until the 17th. If Aunt Flo would have arrived when she was supposed to, we would have been able to start the monitoring (ultrasound) in preparation for insemination on Monday June 4th. The trigger shot (HCG/hormone) would then occur on the 6th or 7th and insemination would occur on the 7th or 8th. Due to her tardiness, we will now have to wait until July's cycle.

On the bright side, I am a little relieved we will be waiting. I know they say flying doesn't necessarily adversely affect an impending pregnancy but, I'd rather not take my chances. Not to mention, my trip to Minnesota isn't with the intention of getting some R&R, kicking my feet up with nothing to do but take in the beautiful Minnesota summer weather. I will be helping with and attending a graduation party for my youngest brother and the wedding of my 2nd youngest brother. I would rather spend the week following insemination in my normal routine, not worrying that my brothers' 2 very important, life impacting days go off without a hitch.

With that being said, perhaps God DID get my message and I'm, once again, misinterpreting his blessings. Hmmm...?

On a side note: I have added a FOLLOW BY EMAIL box to the bottom of this page (scroll all the way to the bottom). Some of you have commented on the web address not working or wanting notification when I have posted a new blog entry. Well now you can get just that. All you have to do is enter your email address and hit SUBMIT. It will take you to another page where you have to enter a few lines of information (nothing more than your name, a login and password). They will then send you a confirmation email with a link to click to confirm. (be sure to check your junk mail to ensure it didn't get dumped there instead of your inbox) Then you're done! You will then receive all new blog entries via email. If you don't want more email sent to your ever expanding inbox, you can also click on Join This Site box to the right of the page. This will enable you to post comments but I don't believe it sends notifications when I post updates.

Thanks for reading!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Have a great day...

It is with a heavy heart that I compose this post tonight. It is a very sad day in my little hometown of Owatonna, MN. They have lost a wonderful woman, the wife of a good friend, the mother of 2 beautiful girls, a dear friend to many and one of the strongest fighters I have ever been blessed to know. She battled the "big C" for what seems like decades and she was finally called home to be with God this afternoon.

In reading through he caring bridge journal, which she started back in 2009, there were many things that resonated with me. 1. Her strength and optimism. Even at her worst, you would never know just how bad it was by reading. She wrote about getting back to work and living life. Loving life and what her plans were. 2. She ended every post with her signature line BStrong (friends and family called her B). So fitting being B is/was one of the strongest people any one who knew her knew. And 3, every post she said "Have a great day/night/weekend/holiday etc". Something about reading that little line over and over really got me thinking.

Her journal is nothing like the one you are reading now. She was fighting the battle of her life, literally. Not knowing how much time she had left, not knowing what her next PET scan would reveal or if her numbers would be where they needed to be. And yet, she told us, the readers, who aren't battling a deadly disease, who aren't living lives within the hospital walls, who aren't wondering IF we're going to see our daughters go to prom or IF we'll make it to our 40th, 50th or 60th Birthdays. She took the time to tell us to "have a great day.". Yet, her days were probably worse than any one of us could possibly fathom. I can't help but think that little line is more than just a cordial way to close out a journal entry. She is telling us we need to have a GREAT LIFE! Because we're not battling a disease, we're not up against a clock, our days are number but nothing like hers were. It's time to have a great life now.

I am so guilty of telling myself "I'll be happy when...", as I am sure many of you can say the same. I'll be happy when I graduate from high school, when I graduate from college, when I find my dream job, when I find a nice boyfriend, when I get engaged, when I get married, when we have a child, when God answers my prayers. But why can't we just be happy now? I'm healthy, I have a job, I have great friends and family. I'm not fighting for my life, so I might as well start living it happily. It is such a sad day for anyone who had the pleasure of knowing B. But she is no longer suffering. She's living a great life in eternity. And for that we can be thankful, celebrate her life and doing as she had told us to do... B STRONG B HAPPY and...

Have a great night....

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

Monday, May 21, 2012

Moving Forward (sans the insanity)

Albert Einstein's definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. I am pretty sure, if I had the chance to have a conversation about our baby making journey with Mr. Einstein he would personally escort us both to the funny farm himself. 30 months of doing the same thing while remaining hopeful the outcome will be different; we're definitely skating a fine line between having a strong faith in God and being completely nuts. My opinion is the first but then again, how many crazy people do you know who actually admit they're crazy? It is time we stop the baby making insanity!!!

As I had previously mentioned, I was scheduled for a 2nd HSG test the 2nd week of May. This is the test done by injecting dye into my uterus while taking a series of x-rays to determine whether or not there are any blockages in my fallopian tubes and/or any obstructions in my uterus. If you recall, the first RE (Dr. T) had performed this test and had determined my right fallopian tube was inflamed, folded or blocked by scar tissue from an unknown cause. The test was performed a 2nd time by Dr. D because the pictures provided by Dr. T were, for a lack of a better term, crap. The 2nd test showed the same result as the first. My left tube and uterus are completely clear and a-ok. The right, however, is still not allowing dye to travel through, therefore it has been determined it is blocked by scar tissue. Although, this isn't the best news possible, it is still not a major concern for Dr. D. He stated that even with one tube, we should be pregnant by now. He gave us the option to have the laparoscopic surgery although it would only confirm what the blockage truly is. There is no guarantee they could open the tube back up and there would also be a risk of developing more scar tissue because of the procedure. No thanks! Following the 2nd HSG test, we scheduled a follow-up visit/consultation to discuss what we do next. This appointment took place Friday.

Before every appointment we have been to throughout this journey, I have been overwhelmed with emotions. Nerves, anxiety, excitement, hope, fear, anticipation, this appointment was no different. Aside from the MTHFR gene mutation, every test result has come back just as it did before. Everything has been normal with no indication as to what is preventing us from getting pregnant. I felt it very hard to believe this doctor could have any different thoughts in regard to a treatment plan than the previous doctor. IVF would be the only answer and how in the world would we afford that? Would we just have to... I hate even typing it... give up? Would we just have to learn to live a life without children? Would we eternally be the Aunt and Uncle with all the animals? I know my thoughts and emotions seem severe and rather extreme especially seeing as we haven't even spoken to the doctor yet but I just want you to get an idea of just how much of a roller coaster ride this has been.

Our appointment, again, was in the early morning. We arrived at the office and were called back rather quickly. We waited for over an hour for the HSG test. I was afraid I had sung their praises too soon after our first visit but they did not disappoint this time. We sat in front of a computer where Dr. D went through the series of x-rays from the HSG test. He again, explained what he was seeing and pointed out the differences in the right tube and left. He discussed the option of laparoscopic surgery and how he doesn't even do the surgeries himself anymore. We determined it wouldn't be an avenue we would like to pursue. We then went over all my blood work and discussed how everything looked good. He brought up the MTHFR gene mutation and said I should just take 2 extra folic acid tablets per day with my pre-natal vitamins. He explained that he would be concerned if I had 2 mutations but seeing as I only have one, the additional folic acid would be sufficient for the problem. Dang it! I was really banking on this little anomaly in my, otherwise, perfect test results would be the answer to our problems. Who would have thought a doctor telling you you're basically normal would be such disappointing news? Back to the drawing board...

We then moved on to Cozart's results. I had already heard all of this over the phone, so I was fully prepared to listen to yet another person inflate my husband's ego by describing his sperm analysis findings as super hero like. I even stopped Dr. D before going through all the results forewarning him that Cozart's head needed to fit in my car to get home. He proceeded with, "Well, it's not all super.". YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! Finally something! Although, Cozart's count and the numbers that go along with it are great, there is one other thing they tested for which is call sperm agglutination. Sperm agglutination is a condition in which the sperm cells stick to one another. We didn't discuss what the cause of it may be but that it can interfere with the process of effectively reaching and fertilizing the egg. This coupled with an issue I have with lack of cervical mucous, (we mentioned this to the 1st doctor who dismissed the issue but we failed to mention to Dr. D) could very well be what is preventing us from getting pregnant on our own.

***Sorry if this is all a little TMI. Please refer to my first post forewarning about the discussion of bodily functions. Which may include but is not limited to bodily fluids.***

Could this really be it? The answer we've been praying for? Perhaps... but now, how in the heck to we get past this?

Well, according to Dr. D, IUI is our answer (or at least where we're starting). IUI, short for intrauterine insemination is when they take sperm and insert it directly into my uterus using a turkey baster like apparatus. It's not quite that easy though. Nothing else has been so why start now? It is, however, much easier and more natural than IVF (in vitro fertilization) . Not to mention, MUCH MUCH less expensive! PRAISE on all accounts!

We will not begin the IUI process until 10 days into my next cycle. I expect Aunt Flo's arrival on Saturday of this week, so 9 days from Saturday. I will have to go in for an ultrasound on day 10 to determine which side I will be ovulating on for that particular cycle. (Female Anatomy 101 Fun Fact #1: Most women only release an egg from one side or the other each month) If it is the right side, we will have to sit that cycle out because of the blocked fallopian tube. (Female Anatomy Fun Fact #2: Just because said women released an egg from her right side on one month does not necessarily mean it will be the left [or vice versa] the next.) If they see that I will be ovulating on my left side, I will be sent home with a drug called Ovidrel to be injected when instructed by the doctor. Ovidrel is the HCG hormone. It's basically just giving my egg a little push out of my ovary in an effort to guarantee ovulation. Cozart will have to provide a sample the next day. His sample will go through an 8 hour process called sperm washing. This just ensures that the healthy and strong swimmers are what they are injecting. After the washing is complete, I return for the insemination. Then we wait... and pray... and pray... and pray somemore!! I will go back in 2 weeks following insemination to have a blood test to determine if it worked. We will not be able to use an HPT as the hormone the HPT picks up is the hormone I will have been injected with. Even if it doesn't work, the HPT will still read positive.

So that's it! We may not have a baby yet and the chance of this working may not be 100% but I just can't help but feel so incredibly blessed. Blessed to finally have a doctor we feels so comfortable with. Blessed to feel like we're finally getting somewhere. But mostly, blessed to have such an amazing support system in each and every one of you. We have amazing friends and family and we just can't wait to have a little one to share all of you with!!! Our journey definitely isn't complete but at least my hope has been restored to sustain what's yet to come. That alone, is an answered prayer.

"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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Babies...

I have been asked by a few people if I have forgotten about my blog or if I have fallen off the face of the earth. No and No, I'm here!!! I have just been lacking in the fertility news department as well as creativity and I may or may not have been completely consumed by a certain series of books referred to as "Mommy Porn". Yes I was sucked in by all 50 Shades and boy was it good! But much to my husbands liking, I have returned from fantasy land and will forget about Christian Grey until the movie comes out or until E.L. James releases a new book.

I have been mulling over what to write about seeing as we don't have another doctor's appointment until Friday. I hope to be able to report our plan of action and when that plan will be implemented following that appointment. Until then what else is there? I could write about the aforementioned series of books I just completed but I don't want to ruin it for any of you who are still reading. For those of you not reading them, although I highly recommend you do, I may lose you. I could write about other things I enjoy like wedding planning, yoga or the beach. But in honor of Mother's Day I would like to take some time to introduce you to my kids.

Every year around Mother's Day, since I was in my mid to late 20's, I get asked, like most women of the same age; "Are you a mother?", "Will you be celebrating Mother's Day this year?". Or some question of the liking. To which I respond, "Yes! But my kids have 4 legs, big ears, tails and fur." Sometimes I get a funny look or they laugh but mostly they just say, "Well, Happy Mother's Day then!". I know some of you just don't have the same feeling about your animals as we do and you just don't understand, you don't have animals at all or you just don't agree but I think having pets can be a lot like having kids. You're right, I've never had kids so how would I know? And maybe I'm not right in thinking that but after staying up all night with Winnie, our 7 month old Boston Terrier, while she threw up every hour. Even if it's not like having a child, it's pretty good practice!

Each of our "kids" very much has their own personality. Each of them assumes the same role that many of you who have multiple children may be able to relate to. And for those of you who already know them, maybe you'll get to know them better. For those of you who have yet to have the pleasure of meeting our brood... I give you... 

Tinkerbell (aka Tink, Stinkersmell, Stinker, Bell Bell, Bells or Bella)

Tink is 11 years old. She's been around the block a few times, or so she would like you to think. (she is kind of a know it all) I found her online while still living in Minnesota and sent my Mom and sister to the humane society to pick her up for me. They believed her to be about 8 months old and thought she was part Siamese. We believe her to be an Egyptian Mau not Siamese. She's not your ordinary cat. When people come over, she wants to be in the middle of all the action not hiding under a bed somewhere. When handing out treats to the dogs, she is right there begging with them. She prefers steak over fish any day. Tink is a talker, sometimes we can't get her to shut up. I can't blame her, it was her and me and 3 boys for about 5 years. That will give any woman a lot to talk about! Tink is also very independent, sassy, a lover and a daddy's girl. She loves no one more than Cozart.

 Bentley (aka Beezo, Mr. B, Bees, Mr. Mans, Sweet Boy)

Bentley will be 6 years old on May 23rd. (I can't believe it!!!). Bentley is the product of my Mom's dog, Archie who is a yorkie-poo and my sister's dog, Boo who is a peek-a-poo; which makes Bentley a porkie-poo. (I made that up in an effort to make him sound like a designer dog. I know, he's a mutt) He came from the first of several of their OOPS litters. He was 2lbs when I brought him to Florida with me on the airplane. I was asked by several people if he was a guinea pig. He was so cute! I fell in love with him from the first time I saw him. Bentley is our needy, extremely sensitive, problem child. And I don't mean problem as in he gets into trouble, I mean he has problems. (poor guy). He had a recessed testicle just like his big brother Uno, who has since passed on. He has allergies. He's a picky eater and has been prone to urinary tract infections. He lost his big brother and best friend in October which was extremely hard on him. And in an effort to ease his mourning and get him a new friend, he became the new friend's prey. Not fun, for him or me. Bentley is a Mommy's Boy and is spoiled. (There Cozart, I said it, YES HE IS SPOILED!) He loves to be carried. In fact, if he could spend the rest of his life in my arms, I think he'd be perfectly content. He is smart but stubborn and loves, loves, loves to chase squirrels and hunt lizards.

Deuce (aka Deucy, Deuce-Doo fka Ugh! That damn dog)

Oh Deuce, you have taken years off my life and are solely responsible for every wrinkle on my face and probably a few grey hairs on my head, if you could see them. Deuce is a 2 yr old boxer who we got from the Florida Boxer Rescue after having to put our 11 yr old boxer to sleep, in October. I knew he was going to be a hand full before even meeting him. You see, when looking for a new dog from a rescue there are certain words and phrases you need to be cognizant of when reading their bios. Much like when translating a description of a home for sale. You know that cozy = small, has potential = fixer upper, etc... When reading a dog description you should be aware of things like, needs strong pack leader, extremely energetic, likes to be an only pet. All of which can be translated into: this dog is bat shit crazy, will likely attack anything in it's path and will destroy your home. Ok maybe that's a bit extreme but you get what I'm saying. Deuce, who was Diesel at the time, was in need of a "strong pack leader" and had been in 4 homes in his short 18 months of life. I saw this as a red flag, Cozart saw it as a challenge and the perfect dog for us. Ugh!

When we went to meet him, he was very hyper but nothing abnormal for a boxer. He seemed sweet enough but something about him still didn't sit well with me. After some lengthy discussion I agreed to giving him a try. Deuce came home to us and was relatively well behaved until... he snapped. He attacked our poor little Bentley. This happened a couple of times before we hired a behaviorist. It happened a few more times after the behaviorist before we got him a shock collar. And it happened a few more times after the first shock collar before we got him a stronger shock collar. I felt the same way about the shock collar that many of you do but we honestly have had to actual shock him a handful of times. I was completely against the collar and thought it would be best to just return him to the rescue. I am so happy we didn't and am proud to say he is one of the best behaved dogs either of us has ever had (and between the 2 of us, we've had a TON of dogs). We could have just given up on him and eventually someone would have probably put him to sleep. I get a lump in my throat and my eyes water just thinking about it. He walks without a leash, he listens like he knows exactly what we're saying and he hasn't even curled his lip at Bentley in months. He is still a wild man when people come to visit but he's a boxer. It's what they do. He's a keeper.

Winnie (aka Nene, Winnie Pooper, Winn Winn, Sweet Baby Girl)

Winnie is our newest addition. She is a 7 month old Boston Terrier and the cutest thing you will ever see. I have always wanted a Boston Terrier and with the issues we were having with Deuce; I think Cozart had a feeling we may have to give Deuce back. I continued looking online for dogs, mainly Bostons, even after we got Deuce. I came across an ad for Boston puppies being sold for significantly lower than anywhere else I had seen. It was meant to be. We picked Winnie up the first week in December. She was TEENY weighing only 2lbs. The same as Bentley but without all the fur she looked even smaller than he was. We got in the car to drive home when Cozart started to say he was a bit concerned about her being too timid and not having any personality. No sooner did the words come out of his mouth she was climbing up his chest to give him kisses. He was sold and the love for her has just grown stronger and stronger. She has such a personality and gets along great with her 2 big brothers. Tink still isn't too sure about her. Some of Winnie's favorite things to do are steal toys for her brothers, run as fast as she can through the grass, go for walks and sleep in bed under the covers. She makes the funniest noises and is so excited to see you when you come home. She is definitely the baby and spoiled according to her role. She is BOTH a Mommy's and a Daddy's girl.

I may not have given birth to them but they are my babies and I love them with everything I have. I hope you've enjoyed getting to know them a little better! Feel free to come visit them any time, they love company!

Until Friday...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lessons in humble humility and patience...

Over the past (almost) 3 years, throughout the baby making journey, the beginning of each cycle brings a flood of emotions. It is a time I am forced to reflect and apparently also causes writer's block. After 29 months of continuous visits from the unwanted and certainly uninvited Aunt Flo, you would think it would get easier. It doesn't. In fact, quite the opposite. In the beginning, all the emotion was centered around the fact that we would go one more Christmas, Easter, Birthday, Mother's/Father's Day childless. Over the last 29 hope-filled months there have been significant estimated due dates (should we actually be pregnant at the time) such as, my Mom's birthday, my Grandmother's birthday, our anniversary and the most recent, my oldest brother, Bryce's birthday. All of which have come and gone.

With each passing month I have found my emotion covers a much broader spectrum. Not only am I sad, frustrated, disappointed, angry about being 34 and not having a child; I share the same about not knowing what I want to be when I grow up, failing to stay in better contact with people in my life that I truly adore, not being a better Christian, not following my dreams, forgetting birthdays or anniversaries, not speaking my mind when I should and speaking it when I shouldn't (oops), not being the best daughter/sister/wife/friend I can be. I go from sadness, hopelessness, frustration, anger, disappointment to complete and utter failure. It sounds extreme, but I can convince myself that there is not one thing I have succeeded at in my 34 years and baby making is just one of them. I have been in this dark place for the past 6 days, the same dark place I go to at the beginning of every cycle. Slowly I break myself out of it and start to see the light but I know there is another big black cloud looming.

A dear friend, who I miss terribly, came into town yesterday from Atlanta. We celebrated her homecoming, although only a 4 day stay, with dinner, cocktails, good friends and great conversation at her Mom's house. Exactly what Debbie Downer (me) needed. While talking to another dear friend, the person I credit with inspiring me to rekindle my love affair on the mat i.e. yoga, I felt a break in the clouds. A light at the end of this dark tunnel, if you will? And a light that may stick around for more than 3 weeks at a time. Our conversation centered around yoga, as it so often does. We were discussing recent injuries we both have/had and how our practice has been effected by them. For many yoga practitioners, the most difficult thing to learn is not how to do king pigeon or feathered peacock it's to quiet the mind and check your ego at the door. I am no exception. It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in those practicing around me. To start placing judgement on myself when the person next to me is bent over backwards, with their head between their legs and I am struggling to stay in full wheel for more than a minute at a time. When you're injured you are forced to take it easy, bring yourself back to the basics, practice with caution and to practice patience. Patiently waiting the injury to heal. With that you remember where you came from, how you often take for granted or fail to notice how far you have come. How you may not be where you thought you would at this point in your practice but you're a lot further along than when you started. You're faced with humble humility. I believe it to be a necessity for growth in your practice.

It's amazing what an hour and a half of yoga practice a day can reveal about your life off the mat. I mentioned, the emotions I feel upon the arrival of a new cycle are more than just baby related, they're life as a whole related. Just like with my injury, my thoughts and emotions are reminders that I have a long way to go to get where I want to be, but also that I have come so far from where I started. They're reminders that this may be MY life but it's according to God's plan. The emotions, although dark and negative, force me to check my ego at the door. They are my injury, sending me back to practicing the basics. They're lessons in humble humility and patience. And I believe both to be necessities for growth in life and in this journey.


"The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions." - Dalai Lama