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

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The results are in...

Well, it comes as no surprise to me that this round did not take. Even though I wasn't as confident about this go round as I could have been; it still doesn't make a negative result any easier to take.

I went in last Friday for blood work, as I had previously mentioned. They were testing my progesterone levels; looking for a result higher than 17.  Last month my P4 result was 10.7 (not great) and the month before it was 17. Neither month was I taking progesterone suppositories. Just so you know what these numbers all mean; the higher the number the greater the likelihood ovulation did in fact occur. A 10 is borderline, it probably did happen but it isn't what they would call a "strong ovulation". 17, without progesterone supplements of any kind is good and would be considered a "strong ovulation" and anything 20+ is great, or "very strong". They say progesterone isn't indicative of pregnancy but many women who have a P4 result of say 30 on 7dpiui (that's day past IUI) or 7dpo (days past ovulation) are udually pretty thrilled and have a good chance of staring at a + on an HPT 7 days in their future.  Progesterone number will continue to increase should you in fact be pregnant. My result on 8dpiui, while taking progesterone suppositories, was 17.5. I was less than thrilled. Yes, my number was above what they wanted to see but it also had been .5 below that without the help of the supplement. I wasn't overly confident before these results and any hope I did have was squashed to just about nothing after finding this out.

When the nurse called in my results she also informed me that I would not have to come in for blood work the following Friday (today) to determine if the IUI did in fact work. She said I should use an HPT (home pregnancy test, just a reminder for any of you who may have missed the post previously breaking down my acronyms) that evening (a week ago) to be sure the trigger shot was out of my system. If the test was positive, use another the following morning and so on until you get a negative. The test was negative that afternoon and again this morning (and yesterday morning). Boo!!

I have spoken to very few of you as I haven't really been in a very good place with this news as the icing on my bad-news-week cake. I am feeling better about it today than I was yesterday. Yesterday was just, well... BAD!  Just to give you an idea, I have copied and pasted my response to a dear friend's,  whom has experienced all of this herself, email telling me she was thinking of me: (please note: I feel 100% comfortable being completely forthright with her. I'm so lucky to have her.)

 The treatment didn't work. 221 million sperm and not one could find my egg. I am waiting to hear back from the doctor with how he would like to proceed next month. Mostly just needing to know if he would like to add any drugs to the next cycle. 

I'd like to say I'm being really upbeat and positive but today I'm neither of those things. Maybe tomorrow will be different but today I'm angry, frustrated, confused, and feel cheated. I haven't talked to anyone else because I know they'll say: "just think positive.", "you never know, you haven't gotten your period yet, there's still a chance." or "you can try again next month.". I may verbally assault whomever even breathes anything remotely close to that so, I'm glad YOU are the one emailing me and I am responding to you because you KNOW how I'm feeling. And you won't think I'm being a super negative pissy-pants with a piss poor attitude and tell me it could be worse, I could have lost a loved one this week too. Oh that's right, that happened 2 days ago. I clearly forgot to mention I'm also having a bout of poor me syndrome!

Ahhh... I feel better. Thank you for letting me vent!

I am better today than yesterday but still a tad bitter. I received a call from Dr. D's nurse and he doesn't want to deviate from the original plan of going au naturale. I will admit, I was a little disappointed seeing as I had only one mature follicle with an unmedicated cycle but I'll trust his judgement, even if a little unsure of it. That's why I pay him the big bucks, right?

Flo has yet to rear her ugly head. (effective immediately, we will cease from referring to the "red headed beast" as "Aunt" Flo. Cozart and I have far too many Aunt's whom we love dearly to share the title with something we have come to so greatly despise.) Flo (or "red headed beast"; which I really like but have 2 darling nephews with red hair so it just doesn't seem appropriate either), is held at bay while taking progesterone supplements, for most women. I have since stopped using them and should be expecting her to make an unwelcome appearance some time in the next 2-5 days. On the day of her arrival, we start the process all over again with me calling to schedule my cycle day 10 ultrasound and get a script for the ovidrel/trigger shot this time. I've had my fill of searching for syringes in trees. If the ultrasound shows I am ovulating on the left side again, it's game on. Trigger shot, Cozart's deposit, the spermies get a bath, I go in for my part and yet another excruciating 2ww (week wait). If it's the right side, we sit this month out.

More for me, than for all of you, and maybe a little hokey but I really feel like I need to end this post on a positive note. A lot has happened in my life over the last 2 weeks and it has been very easy to start questioning things like why would God take a life and the hope of a new life from me all within 72 hours of each other? Why does everything come so simple for others and not for me? What did I do to deserve this? Am I being punished for something? And so on and so forth... But the truth is, I have so many things to be grateful for, I am not being punished, there are so many others who have much more difficult roads ahead, these events are not the consequences of previous actions. My Grandfather is breathing easy, in a place I long to one day be. I know I was put on this earth to be a mother and I will be one day soon. I have a husband that is an amazing partner and my best friend. I have friends and family that love me and a job that will allow me to hop on a plane to be with family without asking any questions at all. I'm healthy, with a roof over my head and food on the table. (I feel like I'm writing a country song. Actually I would have to have all these things taken away and maybe I'd have a hit on my hands?) And I have my faith and because of that, I know I never have to face any of the bad (or good) alone. Amen to that!

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently" - Roman 8:25 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 17th, 2012

When I woke up yesterday morning I had an uneasy feeling, the best way I can describe it is... empty. But with all that has transpired over the last 10 days, it didn't really come as a surprise that I would be feeling down or a little "off". I left the house and made my trek to the booming metropolis of Leesburg, FL to prepare for my luncheon with one of my doctor's offices. Throughout the luncheon I couldn't shake this dark feeling. By the time I had packed up my stuff and got back on the road, I found myself unable to hold back the tears. I sat in my car and did what I always do while having an impromptu emotional break down, I begged God for some relief. I tried to explain to him that I didn't think I was as strong as he thinks I am and that I just didn't know how much more I could take. It the midst of my sobs, Cozart called to check in while on his lunch break. I pulled myself together and proceeded to tell him my stuffiness was due to something in the air. I just didn't want to hear what I already knew in my heart, which was I AM strong enough and God knows me a heck of a lot better than I know myself. He would never give me more than I could handle. Which is exactly what Cozart told me last night when I confessed my little lie. Cozart and I finished our conversation and I continued on my route with intention of seeing at least 3 or 4 more offices.

1977 - Me with my 2 Guardian Angels - Grandpa and My Dad

No sooner did I pull in the parking lot of my next stop did I get the answer as to what this horrible feeling was. My phone rang again and this time it was my Uncle. I knew why he was calling and hesitated before hitting the glowing green ANSWER button on my phone. "Gen!" (it's mind blowing how much he sounded like my Grandfather in that moment.) "Hey!" I said, and for a split second I thought he was just calling to check in. (not that that is a regular occurrence). Unfortunately, he was in fact delivering the news I had been dreading for the past week. "Grandpa passed away about 25 minutes ago." , he said. Neither of us could say anything but a few muffled I love you's and see you soon. I made a few phone calls to Cozart, my Mom and my Sister and decided I wouldn't be seeing anymore doctors for the day. I started on my hour long journey home. (note to self: never tell God what you can handle, chances are he does know better than you and will likely prove you wrong)

1980 - Me & Grandpa

After about 15 minutes of driving, squinting my way through the tears, I felt overcome by peace. The same peace I felt when I got the call saying he only had 2 more weeks to live. He probably has dreamt of the day he could see his wife and 3 sons since the day they died and here it is. Reunited with not only the 4 of them but his brothers and sisters and his parents and all the other loved ones that have gone before him. What an amazing day for him! As a smile finally, probably for the first time all day, came to my face I realized how dark the sky was getting. And the thunder was so loud with one crash after another. One of 3 things was happening and none of them had to do with weather. Either I could still hear my Grandfather grumbling from heaven, (this wouldn't be surprising, he liked to grumble about things just for the reaction),  or, there was a stampede of loved ones rushing to greet him into heaven or he was just making his grand entrance. Probably a combination of the 3.

Richard Eugene Dahl
January 9th, 1935 - July 17th, 2012

My Grandfather was a wonderful man and the memories I have of him I will cherish forever. In going through pictures of him in preparation for his wake and funeral, I just couldn't help but notice that every picture I have of him and me, I look happier than I've ever been. He kind of had that effect on me. I look forward to the day I see him again and hopefully make my own thunder crashing entrance...

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living  - Romans 14:7-9

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Please keep hands and feet inside the cart until the ride comes to a complete stop..."

I have always been a fan of roller coasters. Roller coasters of the emotional variety... not a fan at all. I have definitely been on quite a ride since my last post. I was fully prepared for this 2 week wait to be anxiety stricken, long and extremely drawn out. Never could I have fathomed what it would truly entale.

From the moment we stepped out of the doctor's office, 2 weeks ago Thursday, I wanted to fast forward time. I've experienced the "2 week wait" several times in the past 3 years and it has never been fun. I knew this particular 2 week wait would be even worse for several reasons. One, we were now financially vested, aside from the $10 boxes of OPKs and HPTs, in this process. Two, from what the tests have shown, this "should" work for us. Three, I have this overwhelming feeling that this will not only be disappointment for Cozart and I (if it doesn't work), but also for all of you who have taken the time to read my ramblings for the past 3 months. The anticipation is almost unbearable.

After spending my first weekend post IUI trying to think of ways to fast forward the next 2 weeks; I received a call from my Aunt which would force me to slam on the brakes and want to go BACK in time. My Grandfather, who has been battling lung cancer, for the 2nd time, over the past year was, ironically, given 2 weeks to live. I was able to spend time with him while I was in Minnesota in June but never did I think it would be the last time I would see him. He was far from picture perfect health but he was up and about. He came to my brother's graduation and we went to the cemetery to see my Dad's grave. It's amazing how quickly things can change. Although I am selfishly, very sad at the thought of my Grandfather having limited time on this earth; I am overwhelmed by a sense of peace because I know he will soon be with his 3 sons (one being my Dad) and his first wife, my Grandma Clarine. He lost them all too soon and I know he has dreamt, just like I have, of the day that they will meet again. I pray for peace while he is still here on earth, and eternal happiness in heaven with those who loved him most.

As I mentioned, this past week and a half has been a roller coaster of emotions. Anxious of the wait to be over but cherishing every moment I can hear my Grandfather's voice over the phone. I am hyper-sensitive to every twinge, cramp, tingle, ache or pain I feel in my body. And crying over anything and everything that reminds me of my Grandfather. Unfortunately or fortunately, he is the one who taught me to drive and I spend about 80% of my day in the car. I can't help but smile when I pull into a left turning lane. 20 years ago, in my Grandfather's Ford F150, him the passengers seat, I in the driver's, I thought it was ok to make a right turn from the left turn lane. I'm glad I didn't lose him by way of heart attack on that day. That's just one of so many fun, loving memories I have of him. He's such an amazing man and will be deeply missed by many.

3 more days until testing. Throughout the day, I go from feeling really confident that it worked to thinking it's all in my head and we'll be trying for round 2 in another 2 weeks. As of right now, I'm thinking exactly that.... bring on Aunt Flo, next cycle and another torturous 2 week wait. Ugh!!! Only time will tell which voice in my head is right.

Until then, I would like to leave you today with the prayer from my Girlfriends in God daily devotional. It seemed so fitting for today and this week and I know a few of you may find it appropriate in your own way.

Lord, I confess that when life is hard, I tend to lose hope. I want my hope to be in you, Father. I want to walk in faith and in your will for my life. I am so tired of being defeated. Please show me how to walk in obedience, and by doing so, walk in hope. Amen

Friday, July 6, 2012

And now we wait...

What a week it has been!!! Yesterday went well, or at least I think it did. Cozart went into the doctor's office at 8am to "make his deposit" which resulted in more super-human-like numbers than the last 2 analyses. Just to give you an idea of what I am talking about; normal sperm count is 40 million, they want to see anything over 20 million. Cozart's count was 698 MILLION pre-wash and 221 million post-wash. Dr. D suggested we frame his results and hang them up somewhere. I would not be surprised if Cozart just so happened to swing by a Michael's today to do just that. Although the count is fantastic and much better than we could have hoped for, there still needs to be at least 1 swimmer that can figure out where it needs to go. Luckily, Cozart has no problem asking for directions, hopefully his swimmers share the same mentality.

The procedure itself was very quick and virtually painless. Some cramping but nothing intolerable. Many of you have asked how I am feeling today or if I am on bedrest and the answer is, no, not at all. IUI, unlike IVF, is extremely natural. I wasn't sedated, the only drug I took was a natural hormone and the procedure was minimally (if at all) invasive. Other than having to be at the doctor at 11:30, yesterday was just like any other day. I even went to yoga last night. It's actually a little weird how normal I do feel. It has felt like such a huge deal, leading up to this day, you would think I would feel different, but I don't.

As far as my feelings about whether it will work this time around; I'm leaning more towards the negative than the positive. Only because I felt so unprepared and unaware of what to expect. Like I said in my last post, this feels like a practice round. I went into the ultrasound on Tuesday thinking I would have to come back Wednesday to do it all over again and possibly Thursday too. It all happened so quickly and, although everything worked out, I can't help but think we missed something along the way. But I can't dwell on what I wish I would have known, and didn't or what I wish we would have done, and didnt. If it works HALLELUJAH, if it doesn't, we will just be better prepared for the next time!

Another question I have been posed with a number of times is; who will we tell if it does work? That's kind of a tough one to answer and something Cozart and I have to discuss further. I mean, I have kind of sucked you all in and how would I not tell you now that you've been given a play-by-play of this experience? But, at the same time, even just leading up to yesterday, I was asked questions like; where will you deliver? Do you want a boy or a girl? Do you have names picked out? And have been given parenting/pregnancy advice. Of course, I appreciate every one's excitement and I know that it comes from a good place but I am an EXTREMELY superstitious person. Talking to me like I am already pregnant, freaks me out! I can't help but think I jynxed it all!!! So with that being said, I would love to have a moment where we all jump up and down with excitement and start buying baby clothes but until I know we are in the clear, I may not feel like posting it on Facebook or putting it on a billboard on the side of I-4 for the world to see. BUT.... (there are so many BUTS) if it doesn't work, obviously I will be walking you all through this process again. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself and should just say, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it... in 14 (very long) days.

My next appointment is on Friday to have more blood drawn to test my progesterone level. Until then, I will do my best to stay busy and try not to think about it too much (YEAH RIGHT!!!).
"It's hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it's harder to give up when you know it's everything you want."
          -Author Unknown

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

D Day...

By 5:00 yesterday, I had decided to write this month off due to lack of communication from the doctor's office. I guess, there was a slight chance I may still hear from them today but would it be too late? And it's a holiday; I wasn't able to find the drug/hormone (Ovidrel) at any pharmacy I called and even if one did have it, they would be closed today so there would be no chance of getting it. I was pretty upset and concerned that next month would be a right-ovary-ovulation-month because this month was a left. That would then mean we would have to wait another 2 months. Again, what is another 2 or 3 months when you've waited almost 3 years? Either way, I was pretty disappointed.

I hung up the phone with my sister, around 5:15, choked back tears and decided to get ready to go to watch fireworks at a friends' house. I might as well make the best of this disappointing day and enjoy the holiday. No sooner did I finish my personal pep-talk, my work phone rang. It was Dr. D's nurse, Kathy, calling to tell me to give myself the trigger shot tonight. Although, I was so happy to hear from her, I was still not pleased that the call didn't come until the 11th hour. (literally, I would have to administer the shot within the next hour) I explained to her that I didn't have the shot, I had no luck finding a pharmacy that had it in stock and I didn't have a script for it even if I was able to find it. After some back and forth discussion of ways to remedy the situation I was put on hold. Kathy came back to phone to let me know they had found one in their office and she would leave it in a tree, near the employee entrance of their Orlando office, for me to pick up. Umm... YAY??? I think?? We then scheduled Cozart's "deposit" for 8am, Thursday morning. The sperm washing will take approximately 3 hours (I thought it was 8, apparently I was wrong) and I am scheduled for insemination at 11:30am.

After driving to Orlando and retrieving my hormone injection from a tree. I met Cozart at the facility he was dropping a patient off at so he could give me the injection.

I am completely over the moon with the fact that this is finally happening, but I can't help but think that there is a pretty good chance this may just be a practice round for us. I'm not being negative, just trying to have realistic expectations. On the flip side, if this does work, we will have one heck of a story to tell our future child.

Last but not least, I ask for your prayers: 1. that the insemination works, 2. that I am able to sustain the pregnancy if it does work and 3. if it doesn't work, we ask for prayers for continued patience and faith in God and his plan for us.

Thank you so much for continuing to read and all your prayers and support.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another Year Older...

Tomorrow's forecast for Minnesota is lots of sun and 10° warmer than it will be here in Florida. My homesickness is cured! At least until September when the leaves start changing and my internal clock starts to tell me the weather should be getting cooler and it doesn't. Until then, I will enjoy the "cooler" Florida weather and be thankful I'm not at my parents' house or at my sister's in Michigan where neither have central air conditioning. ;)

 I celebrated the 6th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday on Saturday. I've never been one to feel the need to fib about my age or been embarrassed by it. After all, you truly are only as old as you feel, right? This year has been a little bit of a kick in the teeth though. In the world of baby making 35 is the magic age when a woman moves from normal, healthy, low risk, nothing-is-of-concern, still good (not as good as in your 20's but still good) chances of conceiving on your own to, high risk, chances of natural conception considerably drop, if you haven't been able to have a baby on your own and have yet to see an RE GO NOW... RUN... TIME IS RUNNING OUT!!! And now you're REALLY up against the clock. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating just a tad. There are plenty of people that have healthy pregnancies, birthing beautifully, healthy happy babies well into their 40's, I understand this completely. The feelings of panic and being up against a clock are, however, in no way an exaggeration of how I've been feeling these first few days of my 35th year.

Despite falling into the high-risk category by turning a year older; I did have a very nice birthday. Cozart always does a great job making my day very special and this year was no exception. We spent Saturday at the beach with friends. Thanks to Beth and Vince for allowing our rowdy bunch (floating watermelons and all) to hang out by the pool all day. Hot sun and drinking can make for a crazy group. Saturday evening I came home to flowers from both my Mom and my Aunt. And Sunday, Cozart made dinner for me and his family. All in all it was a great weekend but a birthday wouldn't be complete without a little time to reflect on where I am and where I thought I would be at age 35. In an effort to be more positive, let's just say, I am NOWHERE where I thought I would be; but where we are, is ALWAYS where we are SUPPOSED to be.

In baby-making news: I had my first ultrasound this morning to see which side I would be ovulating on this month, as well as blood drawn to test my estrogen level. Good News: They found a predominant follicle on the LEFT SIDE!!! The nurse who performed the ultrasound said that she would venture to guess I would be administering the trigger shot this evening but I would have to wait to hear from Dr. D's nurse when she calls this afternoon. I'm starting to get a bit nervous as the end of the business day is fast approaching and I have yet to hear from their office. The shot is not given until between 6pm and 8pm but... I haven't been able to find a pharmacy that has the hormone in stock and if it has to be ordered, it will not be in until Thursday due to tomorrow being a holiday. Grrrr.... It's always something!!!

I will keep you posted....