God writes our story.
I am still learning to surrender the pen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

And baby makes three... or four... Eek!

I've been slowly hoarding projects I can do while on bed rest to keep me occupied.
Last night I learned to crochet and began my first project: A baby blanket.

Who's shocked?!

No one. :)

I went to the store with a good friend and she helped me select the yarn and begin. I choose the colors we are planning to decorate the nursery in. Teal. Chartreuse. Cream/Tan. Heather purple. I began and admittedly so the 'calming' project wasn't so much, but I found out that I am a quick learner and finished my first few lines.

Just another thing I've gained in my life preparing for the baby. Honestly, it's a road full of obstacles, tears, and struggles... but I know it's made me a better person. I've grown, and it's continuing to challenge me. I can only imagine what Motherhood is going to be like...

My heart is full.

Still a ways to go...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Next Step: Lupron + Follistim + Menopur (+Patience)

Hard to believe it's only been a week, but after blood tests we've been approved for the next step again! I know for all of you who do not know IVF steps, this speed is UNBELIEVABLE!
Now I am taking 20 units of Lupron, 150cc of Follistim, and 75units of Menopur. The first shot of Menopur was last night. I know I have Christian readers, and you all are keeping me accountable in my description of how the Menopur felt... however I definitely wasn't accountable when it was administered. It stings like a... whew. It feels like your flesh, your insides, and everything the medicine slowly creeps to Is. On. Fire! I cried, I cursed, I yelled. Walter stood, Walter held my hand, Walter was patient.

Fun Fact: Menopur is actually made from the urine of women in Menopause. Gross right? But explains the stinging.

The Menopur was interesting. Instead of drawing from a vile (like Lupron) or having a handy pen (like Follistim) we actually had to mix the solution ourselves drawing from one vile of liquid and injecting into a vile of powder. We waiting until it fully dissolved, then withdrew and injected. A big pain in the butt. Right now we are using one vile of liquid and one vile of powder... I'm dreading the day (and it will come) where we mix one vile of liquid with TWO viles of powder. Ouch.

Sounds like we should get a degree in this stuff doesn't it?!
We would vote for that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Going to the gym and I'm, going to get f-i-t.

(If you didn't sing this title to the tune of 'Going to the chapel and I'm, going to get married' you need to re-read and try again.)

Been going to the gym lately. Not to lose weight, but to be healthy. For myself. For Walter.

Let's be honest.

For the baby.

Everything for the baby. I feel like I can eat all day long, but facebook friends encouraged just to keep under my calorie goal and continue working out. The hunger is just my metabolism getting its act together. Nice.

You know, I haven't always been fat. In high school, before all this infertility/PCOS thing, I was thin and beautiful. I know I will probably never be that way again, and that's okay.

But I dream of the things learning to be a little healthier will bring me...
Cute maternity photos.
Better-fitting clothes.
Energy to run and play with my children.
More of a sex drive for my husband.

Sorry, getting personal, but sometimes I just don't feel sexy (especially with the bruising and injection sites all over). I get depressed sometimes, but it's only when I lose sight of how far I've already come.

I quit smoking in January of 2010. It's been over two years, and still a struggle.
Still, one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.

Thank you baby for helping me be a better mommy already.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lupron COMPLETED. Now, Lupron + Follistim

I've been taking 20 units of Lupron (aka Luprolide) for a week now. The first shot was terrifying, but it slowly got easier. The first shot I gave myself was a little scary too, but we both survived. :) Now I'm taking Lupron like a pro.
It only makes sense that another injection is added! Now, I'm just joking about the frustration of adding another shot, because we are seriously blessed to be adding it so quickly.
Women with PCOS, what I have been diagnosed with, usually have to stay on the Lupron a little longer than most. Lupron shuts down the ovaries functions and follicles so they can be 'revved up' when the times calls for it. With PCOS women have larger ovaries with more follicles so it usually take a little extra time on Lupron. However, the first chance we got we have been moved to begin the next injection. With the thought in mind that some women with PCOS have to stay on JUST Lupron for 4, 5, 6 (or even more) weeks, I'm so joyful that my body has taken the drug for what it's worth and allowed me to move on.
The Follistim pen is amazing. We still have to draw the 20 units of Lupron from a vile and check for air bubbles, etc... but the Follistim comes in a pen that is so handy. It's a lot like the pens of insulin diabetics use. You just load, dial the dose, and press down. I stuck myself with the first Follistim, but the button rotates as you press and it made me a little nervous, so Walter pressed. I'm sure I'll feel more comfortable with it tomorrow now.

Side effects?
Honestly yesterday I had quite the depression. Feeling alone, feeling like no one cared or paid attention... which is definitely not the case. I feel like I fell into that victim mentality yesterday that I've been trying to safeguard myself from. Can't be on top of things all the time I guess. I know there are going to be some days where I'll just have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. I think I've learned to be humble through this. I think I've learned not to be a victim but a fighter in this. I think I've learned to lean on God for things others can't give from this. It might just be time to learn that sometimes, it's just going to suck, and I can't feel guilty about it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

IVF Life

So my husband and I had just left to go and run a few errands, while just talking about our days, the weather, our plans... All of a sudden he says, "Your shot!".
After a u-turn and a trip quickly home I lay down to give myself shot for the first time! A milestone we WANTED to accomplish before we NEEDED to.
Now, errand time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Day two of shots. Ready to go. Peanut butter M&Ms and a Coke distract me. lol :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hit Me With The First Shot

Thank you everyone for all the prayers! Last night Walter did the first injection. He cleaned off a table, and began prepping the needle. I was so excited and giddy to be beginning to process, and he was so kind and patient with me and I snapped pictures while he concentrated (he is not usually so allowing of my crazy picture-taking). He remembered to inject air into the medicine vial(which I would've forgotten) and he tapped out every air bubble like he had done this a thousand times before. I was impressed. When we were prepped and ready to go I set down his camera phone and laid back on the couch and... "WAIT! Are we doing this now?!" He looked at me with a "yeah duh" expression. "Babe, that is why I've gotten all this ready. There's no turning back now." He said calmly. I was impressed, yes... but definitely NOT ready. I'm usually so good with shots, but it was the tummy shot and it was supposed to sting and the shot came with a whole bunch of 'what ifs' that I honestly I am afraid to think about. I teared up, and Walter talked me through it. After about five minutes I laid down and said "GO" and the shot was over.
Now, here's my moment to brag about him. He. Was. Amazing.He didn't go too slow, which I was afraid of because that would really hurt. He didn't go to fast and hard, which I was afraid of because that would hurt even worse. He sat back and told me not to move for a bit because it was about to sting, and he stood up to clean up our prep area. This, ladies and gentlemen, is when I began to bawl. I kept crying and telling him over and over, "You did it SO well!" and "Babe, you were so so good!" and I was just plain crying due to the relief I felt. He smiled at me and that's when I knew he was relieved as well.

Walter just finished his book that I got him last night. It is a book written by a man who went through IVF FIVE TIMES with his wife. This man is very in-the-know and honest. I should know, I read the book first! It has been super helpful to the both of us. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in IVF for their husbands, and plus, it will give you both a good laugh at a time you especially need it.

More later when I get my calendar in the mail...
Can you tell I am very excited about this?!

Birth Control & Baby Making

Our injections were supposed to be ordered Friday, and arrive Saturday.
Waiting around Saturday I finally called to see when they should be delivered.
They weren't ordered. It appears the lady that called with our insurance had forgotten.
I ordered them Saturday, but OF COURSE, that can't be delivered Sunday... the day I'm supposed to begin injections.
After tons of phone calls and talk of driving 3 hours away to a pharmacy that carries the injection we needed, I finally got in touch with the on-call doctor. He apporoved to me wait an extra day and begin Monday. Whew!
However, I'm supposed to remain on birth control until the injections are begun. So I was now short one pill. The only solution? Order a full extra month for that. ONE. STINKING. PILL.
You know, in the grand scheme of things spending another $35 isn't worth the fight... it's just that I LOATHE I'm spending it on birth control that I KNOW I don't need. *sigh* Oh well.
He called in the perscription and off I go to pick up my 'Birth Control for IVF'.
The sweet, old pharmacist looks and me... and looks at the perscription... looks at me... she is looking like she wants to say something. I'm expecting a question of "How is IVF going?" or more likely "So, what's wrong with you?" (it HAS happened!). Instead she begins, "You know, sweetheart. This pill is called birth CONTROL and it doesn't help you get pregnant. In fact, it's made to KEEP you from getting pregnant. If you're interested in that 'enveeto' this wouldn't be the best thing to take." I stare at her. She continues, "Are you understanding? Um, this birth control isn't for controlling BIRTH, it's for controlling PREGNANCY and you CAN'T get pregnant while taking this pill."

Honestly, I'm in shock.

It takes 20 minutes to explain to her and assure her that I know what I'm picking up. I get in the car, emotionally exhausted and pop the remaining birth control pill I will ever, ever take.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Everyday I'm learning, waiting, trusting...

I re-read my last post today and laughed at my ignorance. I was given a very watered-down story of IVF, and every day I learn more and more of what this crazy journey is going to entail. I'm glad it's a day-by-day knowledge, because though it's hectic, it's doesn't seem much crazier from the story yesterday... so I press on. :) If I were given the detailed, tear-jerking story of IVf all at once, I'm pretty sure this would be a completely different story.

I know I'm behind, and haven't done the best as keeping up the blogging, but I really went through a season where I didn't have much to blog about. Not only was I TIRED of seeing those negative pregnancy tests, I was EXHAUSTED from telling the story and blogging about those BFNs. Now, my everyday life is full of hope, and it's taken me a minute to get back into the blogging swing. I promise though, I will do so. I want to help future women who have to go through this road; I want my friends to know that right now I don't feel like a shell of a woman anymore; I want to vent and cry and laugh so I can hide a bit of the craziness from my husband; ...But most of all, I want my baby (ies) to know how hard I worked for them, and how bad I needed them. Blood. Sweat. And Tears. :)

So... where to begin?

The Treatment Steps of IVF
1) Physician Plan- My doctor made a personalized plan on how she believes is the BEST way to get me carrying ONE baby.
2) Medical Clearance- The doctor must decide if you medically need IVF. Most doctors will point to other routes to attempt first, such as an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) or infertility drugs such as Clomid. Since Walter and I had 5 'rounds' of infertility drugs andan ectopic, we were clearned to jump right to IVF. Semen Analysis collected. This is where we found out my ovaries are 'beautiful' and his semen was 'awesome' but they 'just won't ever met'. Haha.
3) Financial Clearance- Before the months of work, let's make sure we can pay for it okay? Walter and I had the help of my mother up to $10,000 of the $19,000 price tag. We told our doctor to 'push through' and that we'd just recieve good news orbad news along the way. On 02/10/12 we got that good news! Our insurance (UNCOMMONLY) decided to COVER OUR IVF CYCLE! This, I believe is a combination, of good luck and getting a nice agent at random, and having a past ectopic. However, our doctor told us the couple before us were declined and had to go through three rounds of IUIs before the insurance would clear IVF... and the male had had a vasectomy! We got very lucky. We have been beyond blessed by our Lord.
4) Schedule IVF Cycle- Always tentatively, since everything is on my body's timing, however we are scheduled for implantation March 9th-13th!
5)Bloodwork/TET- Testing, testing, testing to proceed. The step also includes the TET (Trial Embryo Transfer) and our Sonohysterography. (More on these later)
6) Medication- We begin our injection medication tonight! (More on this later as well!)
7) Monitoring- How is my body reacting to the drugs?
8) Egg Retrival- The perfect time to grab my part of the baby equation. This is planned down to the exact HOUR.
9) IVF/transfer (ET)- Boy meets girl, in the lab. The smallest baby (ies) are implanted.
10) Pregnancy test- After a GRUELING TWELVE. DAY. WAIT. I go in for a pregnancy test to know the results.

Last Monday 02/06 was our TET and Sonohystography. This is where I sit back, TRY to relax, and go through the embryo transfer minus the embryo. It's a few tests and an ultrasound to make sure baby's first 'room' is ready to go! The doctor is also taking time to measure my uterus, and create a 'blue print' in the direction we will need to move and take when we do have the embryo. We want that day to go as smooth as possible! :)
A few of the tests they did:
First we had an internal ultrasound. Not so painful. We looked at my uterus, my ovaries, and my ovarian follicles. We learned that my uterus is tilted towards my spine, and pretty much learning against it. After a second of panic, she explained that most women's lean toward the front, but have a 'unique' uterus like mine isn't anything to be scared of. "It's like being left-handed" she said. This also means I won't 'show' as much as most mommies do. My ovaries looked good as well, with many follicles like my doctor had expected. I have more follicles than the average woman, thus is the final nail in the coffin in diagnosing me with PCOS. My body won't release an egg, so it creates more 'roads' for eggs to be released. Yet, I never do.
We also took a catheter and measured how 'tall' my uterine cavity was. To be blunt, PAINFUL. This test has me on the couch for two days, cramping and complaining... but, as all this is, worth it. Lastly, another test was to inject fluid into the walls of my uterus, mainly to see what I could carry. After the pain, this wasn't bad... until I sat up. Over-share alert: but now I'm pretty sure I know what a breaking water feels like. Ew.
The best AND worst part of this day? It wasn't the cramping, or hearing the news that my uterus was 'unique'... but it was that these tests were done in the EXACT room I was in while I learned about loosing baby Grace. As soon as we walked down the hall, a flash of memory came back so painful. Walter and I walked in and sat down, shocked. Yes, it hurt. However, it also felt good to lie back and dream and hope of our future and baby Grace's sibling(s). It was a nice band-aid to a moment I don't want to remember Gracie by. This time, we got good news and we were in the clear to proceed with IVF! :)

Tonight we begin injections. I'm still not sure how many there will be overall, and only God and my body will know. This is what I know thus far:
02/13 (today) - 02/16 I will continue birth control. Originally, I was supposed to begin injections yesterday, but they couldn't get the shipment to me in time. After an hour of tears and waiting, my doctor approved to begin injections a day later... after going to Walgreen's and spending another $36 on birth control for ONE extra pill. Go figure.
02/13 (today) I will begin my Lurpon injections. I'm still learning about the medicines and won't get my calendar until tomorrow, but I think I will do 10 days of Lupron injections, and then I will begin my period. On Day 13 will be the egg retrieval (on the 36th hour-whew that is concise!)
Next will be the Follistim, Menopur, and HCG injections. I will post more on this tomorrow when I get my calendar and know a little more. Any of these medications can be stretched longer, etc etc but we're not hoping for that!

For my praying friends, the #1 thing you can be praying for me now (besides the hormone crazies and not killing all around me) will be to NOT do something called 'Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation'. Usually, our ovaries are the size of a walnut. The IVF process will cause my ovaries to be the size of two ORANGES. Yes, they will go back to size. However, if my ovaries are just TOO overworked, the doctors will force a month wait to get my body back into shape because pregnancy could make this situation worse. Yes, it will just be a month wait. Yes, I can handle that now... but let's be honest... I probably won't be 'myself' at that point. :)

For now, I'm still learning, and waiting. Faithfully, crazily... Walter and I are learning to laugh and trust God more and more in these times that seem crazy to most. And that, my readers, is what gets us by.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Marriage Retreat

Every year around Valentine's Day my church hosts a marriage retreat in St. Louis. This year we went to a Hilton, and had an amazing speaker named Jim Burns. He was funny and entertaining and full of wisdom. Walter and I always really enjoy going because it is a time where we can turn off the rest of the world (aka no tv, no cell phones, etc) and just focus on each other. We get to attend discussions, have a great meal with our church family, and grow together. We always come home with a book from the speaker as well. This time, 'Closer' a devotional book for couples.

Some things we learned:

"If the devil can't make you BAD, he'll make you BUSY"

There will be pain in marriage.
It will either be the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret.

Commit to weekly connections.
-Date Night
-Spiritual Growth
-Business Meeting

Create your own personal Engedi to be with each other. It should be an oasis to restore rest and relaxation, away from the busyness of life. Usually a bedroom.

Spend 30 minutes per week sharing:
Greatest joy of the week
Greatest struggle
An affirmation
A wish or hope
Physical goals
Book to read

Spending 15 hours per week together and alone.
Also needing self care/solo time.
On a yearly basis, get away! 2 nights

"Unattended fires soon become just a pile of ash"

Practice 'thank therapy' by keeping a journal of things you are thankful for.
20 reasons daily

Jen's Priorities (in order)
-Family Commitment
-Honesty & Openness
-Domestic Support
-Recreational Companionship
-Financial Support
-Sexual Fulfillment
-Attractive Spouse

Walter's Priorities (in order)
-Honesty & Openness
-Family Commitment
-Recreational Companionship
-Domestic Support
-Sexual Fulfillment
-Financial Support
-Attractive Spouse

OH! And something else we learned...
On our way down to the hotel, we got a phone call from 914. Yes, that was the whole phone number. Odd, right? I showed Walter and almost didn't answer, but Walter said, "Might as well" so I did. It was Winn Fertility, my insurance's fertility group verifying they had my medication list correct in order to ship. After we made sure all was correct, I asked her to repeat WHY she was checking to make sure I heard right. I did. She wanted to order our drugs for our APPROVED IVF CYCLE and to begin the medication! I got off the phone crying, and then had to reassure Walter that I just received GOOD news, not bad.

We showed up at the marriage retreat with tear-stained faces, knowing everyone was probably thinking we NEEDED this marriage retreat... but we both know it was one of the happiest days of our life, and our marriage was as strong as ever.