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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fabulous Fall...

It may still be almost 90° here in Central Florida, but I can smell fall in the air. My favorite time of year. Cooler weather, football, being able to open the windows, apple pie and pumpkin everything! Our dogs even get more frisky. It's clearly their most favorite time of year too.

I am a little behind on my updates and for that, I apologize. Although, there hasn't been a great deal to report. I had my cycle day 10 ultrasound and blood work on Saturday. As anticipated, this is a right ovary month, so we sit this one out. One of the other doctor's nurses did my ultrasound. She had skimmed over my chart prior to me entering the exam room and I found it quite interesting that the first question out of her mouth was 'why is it that you are only taking 1/2 a tablet of clomid? I've never heard of anyone taking that small of a dose.'. I think she could sense my frustration, because after I told her I wasn't exactly sure but I feel Dr. D is a bit more conservative with his treatment than other doctors, she said "that can be extremely frustrating from a patient perspective." (um... heck yeah it is!!) She then suggested I schedule a follow up before I left the office, which was my plan and is what I did. My follow-up appointment is set for October 5th. That should be right before my next cycle starts so I am very happy with that day and I am hopeful I will feel a restored confidence in this entire process.

Aside from the ultrasound identifying this as a right ovary month, it also indicated that, as anticipated, the clomid did nothing. I had one follicle on the right measuring 14mm and one on the left that wasn't even worth measuring. Nothing more, not even a bunch of little guys. The ever-so-understanding nurse told me she would note in my chart that we had a conversation about the clomid and the low dosage and that I am 100% on board with upping the dosage or using an alternative follicular stimulator. Yes PLEASE, and thank you!

In case you're unable to sense it through my writing, I am feeling pretty beat up and emotionally drained about this entire process. My mind goes to places I wish it wouldn't; like, what if this NEVER happens. What if I never experience what it feels like to have a life growing inside of me? What if we never have a little boy to watch play pop-warner football on Saturday mornings, or a little girl to pass my first pair of ballet slippers on to? What did I/we do to deserve this? Who will take care of us when we're old? As each month passes, I can't help but do the math: I will be 36 when the baby is born (should any of this actually work anytime in the next few months) which would make me 54 when he/she graduates high school, 58 when he/she graduates college (provided they finish in 4 years) and if they decide to wait as long as we did or have a similar experience, I could be 80 before I have grandchildren. By that time, they probably won't want kids because they'll be taking care of us! I know there is nothing I can do about any of this and I shouldn't waste my thoughts on this nonsense but if I am committed to being completely honest and open, this is it and it's not pretty. In fact, it sucks and it doesn't make any sense and it scares the heck out of me. I wouldn't wish any of this on anyone.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, 
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit, 
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow-- 
You may succeed with another blow. 

Often the goal is nearer than,
 It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown. 

 Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

 - Author unknown 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Intuition - 1. Medical Professional Results - 0.

Well hello there weekend! So glad to finally see you again. I wish I could say the same for my frequent, unwelcome visitor, who happened to grace me with her presence Thursday. Yes, I'm referring to non-other than the b*@^h herself, Flo... ugh! (excuse my language) Not only does this mean the obvious, I'm not pregnant. This also confirms the suspicions I had in regard to my actual ovulation date. Allow me to refresh your memory, according to the ridiculously expensive medical testing (although covered by insurance... one of the only things that is) and their results, I ovulated the day of IUI, Cycle Day 17 and 11 days prior to Flo's arrival. Hmmm... that's 2 days earlier than when she should have arrived and while on progesterone, which is said to keep her away. I have also never had a luteal phase that short. (luteal phase is the period of time between ovulation and Flo's arrival.) According to MY calculations/feelings (non-scientific, nor medically confirmed, although...FREE) I ovulated on or about Cycle Day 15-ish (2 days prior to IUI) which would have given Flo an estimated arrival date of... oh... right about THURSDAY! Have I mentioned the chances of getting pregnant AFTER ovulation are slim to none and 2 days post ovulation is basically impossible. Well, in case I didn't, now you know.  And have you ever had one of those moments when you think, "if ever there was a time I didn't want to be right, let it be now"?  Well, I'm having one of those moments. Darn intuition.

Seeing as there is nothing I can do about changing the outcome of this cycle, but learn from it for future cycles, there is no point in dwelling on the negative. Right? Right! In fact, as you all know, I wasn't feeling too confident about this cycle anyway, so I'm chalking up Flo's early arrival as a blessing. At least I didn't have to wait for her for 14 days past IUI plus an additional 5 after stopping the progesterone.

I called Dr. D's office, (we're talking about the fertility doc this time, not the vet. It's a good thing I don't have them both in my phone as Dr. D. That might be a little embarrassing should I call the wrong one.) yesterday to schedule my cycle day 10 ultrasound and blood work and to ask about doing a medicated cycle this go around. My cycle day 10 U/S and BW is scheduled for next Saturday at 8:15am and I had to leave a message for Dr. D's nurse to discuss the rest. When his nurse called back she asked that I come into the office yesterday before 1pm for another ultrasound. That wasn't happening. I was working an hour away from their office and it was already noon. She was able to schedule me at 9am this morning. I'm kind of over spending my Saturday mornings at a doctor's office. At least I was out of there before my 10:30am yoga class. This ultrasound was needed to clear me for follicle stimulating medication. If any cysts showed, I would not be allowed to take anything for fear that the meds would cause the cysts to rupture. I was all clear and left with a script for meds. Don't go getting all excited now, the dosage is a joke and the drug is one I tried before without a positive result. He is putting me on Clomid, cycle days 3-7 at 25mg. I honestly, have never heard of anyone taking such a small dose. My OB/GYN put me on the same drug for 4 cycles at 50mg and an additional 2 cycles at 100mg. It did nothing, which is why I moved on to an RE to begin with.

As you probably already guessed, I'm a bit annoyed and frustrated, but not as annoyed and frustrated as I would be if this was a left ovary cycle. I don't know, yet, that it's not but it would appear I switch sides every other month pretty consistently. Last cycle was left, so this cycle should be right. This will give me a chance to schedule a follow-up consultation with Dr. D himself to find out why he is so apprehensive about being just a little more aggressive. It should also show that I need more than 25mg of a drug that did nothing for me before, to help generate more than just one follicle every cycle.  I sound like a crazy drug addict begging the doc for MORE! I can assure you, the side effects of "more" can make PMS look like a cake walk so it's truly not something I'm looking forward to. Aside from the chances of the desired outcome being a bit better.

While on the subject of meds, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my cousin's wife for reaching out to me this week, probably when I needed her the most to prevent me from going completely insane. Unbeknownst to me, she and my cousin went through something similar to our experience not long ago. They now have a beautiful baby!!! YAY!!!! She offered to send me the left over meds she had from her last cycle (which was successful, obviously) and they arrived yesterday. Should Dr. D finally agree to me taking this medication, my cousin's wife's donation will have saved us about $500. Praise God!!! Now just as a disclaimer, people donate unused fertility drugs all the time. It's not illegal or dangerous or anything like that. We're not sharing needles or taking something without doctor's orders. A great big, huge, thank you to my cousin's wife (not sure she wants to be named so I would like to protect her anonymity). You are such a blessing, not only for the meds but also for your wealth of knowledge! You comforted me when I needed it most!

Another great big, huge thank you to every one who has sent their love and prayers. You have helped me get through some extremely tough days and I don't know how much more we could take, if it wasn't for your support! There is a lot of love in this house for each and every one of you!!! We're eternally grateful!

That's all I've got for now.

Until next Saturday, if not before...

Enjoy your weekend! And GO BUCS!!!!!! (and Vikes too, but shhhh... don't tell Cozart I said that!)

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51: 10-12

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I love Saturdays...

Aaaahhhh.... There is nothing like waking up and having no place to go. I love Saturdays and even more so after a week full of working with a new, number crunching sales manager, doggie knee surgeries and... What else? Oh yeah, the first 7 days of 14, also known as the two week wait. No big deal.

Thankfully, the vet let Winnie come home yesterday. Not only were Cozart and I very happy to have her home, her brothers (Deuce and Bentley) were too. Deuce spent about 45 minutes Thursday night searching the entire house for her. Poor guy missed his baby sister. Her surgery went well. Dr. D replaced her ligaments with wires that will remain in her knee for her entire life. He did not have to deepen the groove the patella slides in. Praise God! She is getting around ok but would prefer to curl up next to you and just sleep. There is 7 staples in her knee that will have to removed in 2 weeks. I am hoping that by that time she will be putting some weight on her leg. Thank you all so very much for your thoughts and prayers! We have a ways to go as far as recovery goes and having her go back to being a 4 legged fur baby but the scary part is behind us.

I get asked, as early as the first day past IUI, how I am feeling. Whether it works or not, I am not going to "feel" anything this early on and anything I do feel isn't related to actually being pregnant. In my many hours of perusing the internet, over the last few years I came across another blog belonging to a woman also struggling with baby making issues. Ironaically the excerpt below is something she wrote when she was 7dpiui as well. I am using her words instead of my own because, I couldn't have said it better myself. She is extremely knowledgable when it comes to fertility treatments, her body and what it is doing and she tells it like it is. I love that! If you would like to follow her blog, you can find it here.
For the first week of the 2ww, I obviously can't obsess over anything. And I'm surprised over the people who do obsess about it. What I'm more surprised is when people pay attention to the obsessing. It's one thing to keep track of your "symptoms" from 1-6dpo/dpIUI, but to publish them? 
This is why I cannot go to that crazy website twoweekwait.com. I'll admit that I love their hpt gallery and I have gone there quite often. But those are concrete things to look at. HPTs. Hard evidence. The rest of the site? For me, not one word is credible. Seriously - they devote an entire section to women listing out their "symptoms from 0-6dpo". Like I said, it's one thing to think of them yourself, it's another thing to publish them - and it's quite another thing for a website listing them out like they are possibilities. If ~I~ was the owner of the website, I wouldn't list a damn thing about 0-6dpo because, well, it's simply impossible for your body to know it if you were pregnant! 
One of my pet peeves I guess. Those women who say "oh, I knew I was pregnant at conception". Oh shut up. You did not. It is physiologically impossible for your body to "know" it's pregnant until implantation. A non-conceived egg and a conceived egg both have to float it's way through the fallopian tubes before it has a chance to implant. And a conceived egg, while maybe bigger by micrometers, isn't big enough for a tube to notice the difference. Until implantation, when your body goes "oh! there's an egg here, let's start making hCG" it's I.M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E. to know. 
On the same subject, has anyone ever heard of a coincidence? Just because someone says "my left nipple tingled for an hour at 3dpo" and they ended up pregnant, does not mean nipple tingling at 3dpo means jack shit. But I can't tell you the number of times I read crap like this! It's usually from a newly pregnant girl listing out her symptoms and the things "worked to get me pregnant!". No hunny, I'm sorry, but the fact you hung yourself from the ceiling during sex is not what got you pregnant. The luck of timing got you pregnant. It wasn't because you drank a glass of tea before you had sex. It wasn't because you had a bath before sex. It wasn't because you propped your hips up. It wasn't because you relaxed. Those things are not ways to get pregnant every time. If they were, everyone in the world would try those "tricks" and there would be no such thing as "unexplained infertility". If the woman had accessible eggs and the man had good sperm, every single person in the world would get pregnant by just doing what you think got you pregnant.

Again, I couldn't have said it better myself. Although, I do love hearing the stories of how people struggled and eventually their prayers were answered. It gives me that little bit of hope to get me through another day. I do also love hearing what worked for someone else, just because it may be something I have never heard of and who knows, it may also work for me.

Nancy, the blogger quoted above, goes on to state that at 7dpiui she begins to pay attention to the twinges, cramping, sore breasts and bloating a bit more. For me, I won't consider any feeling I have a true symptom until at least 10 to 12dpiui. That's typically when all progesterone symptoms seize (for me) and Flo is on her way. If the "progesterone" symptoms continue past Thursday or Friday, I may allow myself to start getting a little bit excited. Not until then though! ;)

7 days down, 7 to go before I know if my negative intuition was once again accurate or if this is our turn for a surprise blessing.

Have a great weekend!!
G xo

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Prayers for Winnie...

About a month and a half ago, the newest member of our brood, Winnie, was tearing around the front yard like the Tasmanian Devil. (onc of her favorite things to do) Just as she was rounding the tree in our neighbors front yard she yelped and looked down at her leg. She only stood there for a moment or two and began to run around again. As Cozart and I called the 3 crazies inside, we noticed Winnie was limping. We both assumed she had just stepped wrong, tweaked her little foot and would be back to normal in a couple of days. A few days passed, then a week and she was still hopping around like a 3 legged dog. Clearly, this was something more than just a twisted foot or knee.

Cozart brought her in to the vet, while I was in Minnesota for my Grandfather's funeral. After examining our sweet baby girl, he determined that she was suffering from something called patellar tendon luxation (PTL). Basically, her patella is slipping in and out of place and apparently, it is very common in Boston Terriers. He told Cozart that they Grade them 1 through 4, 4 being the most severe. He wasn't sure if Winnie's PTL was a 2 or 3. Grades 1 and 2 typically correct themselves with minimal issues in the future. Grades 3 and 4 must be corrected surgically. Dr. D (the vet, not the fertility doctor. just to clarify) sent Cozart and Winnie home with an anti-inflammatory to give her every day for 7 to 10 days, to see if it corrects itself and she stops limping.

After 10 days on the anti-inflammatory, she had made a considerable amount of improvement but she still wasn't 100%. She walks normal about 60% of the time and hops like a 3 legged dog the other 40%. When it pops out, she kicks her leg straight back and it pops back in. Very strange. We brought her back in to see Dr. D and as we feared, it looks like she is a Grade 3.

Her surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. She's only 11 months old and I worry this will cause her more issues in the future. Poor baby! The surgery will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The plan is to go in and tighten the ligaments above, below and behind her knee. If he finds that the groove the patella slides in is too shallow, he will cut a deeper groove. Lots of prayers he doesn't have to do the 2nd part. If he does have to deepen the groove, she will have to be under longer and it will take 10 months for her to fully recover. That's literally, an entire lifetime for her! And there would also be a pretty good chance she would have to have the other knee done as well.

We would greatly appreciate any thoughts and prayers you could send her way tomorrow. And a few prayers for Mom too! :) I already can't wait to pick her up Friday or Saturday and I haven't even dropped her off yet!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer, Pessimistic Patty......

... or you can just call me Genny.

Round 2: Cozart ended up not working on Thursday so he was home to give me the Ovidrel shot. Thank goodness. Much like the first IUI, I had no side effects from the hormone. Thank goodness again. And there was no retrieving the shot from a bush outside my doctor's office. It was ready and waiting for me all cold and safe in my fridge. THANK GOODNESS! Cozart went in at 7am on Saturday to make his deposit and we both returned at 10am for the insemination. Cozart's numbers weren't quite as impressive as the last time but still very good and well above what they want to see. The insemination was performed by one of the other docs, as Dr. D was not scheduled to be in this past weekend. He seemed nice from what I could gather in the 15 minutes we spent together. His nurse, on the other hand, seemed as if there were about a million different places she would rather be. Understandable when working on a holiday weekend, I guess. The procedure was, once again, quick and painless. When the doctor was finished I was again, left to lie on the table for about 30 minutes allowing for a smooth, direct journey for the little spermies. Before leaving the office we met with Dr. D's nurse to answer any questions, discuss next steps, be sure I had my progesterone suppositories, etc... We left the office and went about our Saturday like we normally would.

We are now 3dpiui and I think the title of this post is a pretty good indication of how I am feeling. I am trying very hard to remain hopeful and positive but am failing miserably. I am a firm believer in the "whatever you believe, you will receive" mentality and from what I believe to be true right now, I anticipate Flo's arrival sometime in the next 7-10 days. I know I should be speaking positively and "by putting negativity out into the universe, I will only get negativity in return" but, I am also not going lie to you about how I am truly feeling. I'm not going to blow sunshine where it doesn't and pretend to be uber confident in this round of treatment when, quite frankly, I'm anything but.

As I mentioned, I have really been trying to be more positive about this round (although it may not sound like it) and I am still giving this one to God 100%. Don't confuse my thoughts/feelings on the outcome of this round with worry, I have the least amount of anxiety I have had in 3 years when it comes to this process. I credit that to finally being able to give this one to Him. With that being said, I am a realist. I have searched for anything and everything that point the odds in our favor, unfortunately I just can't find much. Allow me to explain where I am coming from...

As I stated in my last post I only had one dominant follicle. I also stated you really only need one, so I wasn't going to consider it an issue. After consulting Dr. Internet (I know I know but I just can't help myself and it isn't all misinformation or just opinion, he often brings me much needed comfort), I ran across several women stating their doctors forego any month that they have less than 2 dominant follicles. Their doctors have told them the chances are just too slim and it would be a waste. Now, this is not the first time I have heard this, which is why I had Dr. D's nurse ask him, when the last round didn't take, if we should try a medicated cycle. His response, was no. He felt my body was responding just fine naturally. I accepted that but still didn't feel all that great about it. I would understand had I had 2 or 3 dominant follicles but just one? Why not just give it a try? A little kick start if you will? But, again, he is the doctor and I the patient, he knows best. Right???

In the brief meeting following the insemination, one of the questions Cozart asked (and I am so glad he did) was: "If this round doesn't work, what will we try different next time?". Her response was: "We typically don't change anything until you have done 3 or 4 rounds.". Whoa whoa whoa... wait a minute. That would imply we were here to do an infinite amount of treatments. That couldn't be further from the truth. We have budgeted for 3, maybe (if unmedicated) 4 IUI treatments. That's it, after that, we go back to trying on our own and saving for whatever option we can save enough money for before we're just too old to even consider having kids. (that may sound extreme, but it's true and the reality we live with every day.) I continued on, asking her about possibly trying a medicated cycle. (a medicated cycle means you are injecting a drug that stimulates follicle growth. Yielding 3, 5, 7 follicles vs 1. It also takes the cost of each treatment from approx $600 to $1000 or more.) She stated the reason Dr. D would be against a medicated cycle is due to the risk of having multiples. Cozart, nicely, asked her if we could be the ones to assess that risk. Unless I had some life threatening, pre-existing condition that could potentially kill me if I had more than one baby, we feel 2 is much better than none at all. We quite possibly could be eating our words should twins be in our future but we'll cross that bridge if we come to it. She was very sweet and said she would make a note in our chart but hopes we don't even get to that point. We hope so too. In short, I can't help but feel we could have improved our chances (for this round) had we just had a a conversation with Dr. D about whether or not having multiples is a concern for us. I guess, at least now he will know for next time.

My 2nd reason for being down on this round is timing. After 3 years of "trying" to get pregnant, charting every twinge, ache, pain, pinch, pull, temperature fluctuation, mucous consistency, cervix positioning (that was short lived. I will never figure it out. Not to mention it's gross.), peeing on sticks to track ovulation, I have gotten pretty in tune with my body. Although, I can't tell you the exact moment I ovulate, like some say they can, I think I can identify it within a 12-24 hour window. Not bad, huh? Yeah, you'd think I'd be pregnant by now, wouldn't you? Me too. Insemination, was not within that 12-24 hour window. In fact, after looking back through my charts (35 months worth), I have only ovulated (according to my non-medical professional calculations) past Cycle Day 14 or 15, twice. Insemination was Cycle Day 17. I also start feeling progesterone symptoms approximately 3-6dpo, which is normal. This month they started the day after IUI, before I started the progesterone supplements. All signs point to being a day (or 3) late and dollar (or 600) short. I know I should trust the medical professionals and all their fancy testing and it's true, my charting and relying on my "feelings" hasn't gotten me pregnant thus far but I can't shake what I believe intuition is telling me.

With all that said, I refuse to end this post as the Polly Pissy Pants I started it as. The truth is God performs miracles every single day. I may not be confident about this round but I believe in a God that does great things. Things that I could never dream of explaining and go against all realms of possibility. Our God is an awesome God and for that I am eternally blessed and thankful whether be it with or without child. His will be done, in His time, not ours.