A Difficult Journey: Infertility- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Now that I feel like I can breathe again I think I can write this post. I’ve only tried to write something that makes sense about a million times now. I’m going to skip over the detailed lead up to IVF for us and just get right into how the process has been for us. Before I do I have to say that when we first started our journey down the road of infertility I was against doing IVF. I felt like it was an extreme measure but as they years went by I began to look at it differently. I started to feel that not even considering IVF was silly and I couldn’t go on without knowing that we truly exhausted all of our options. (Thank you Tess for opening my eyes to this.)

That’s when we decided that IVF was our last option that we needed to exhaust it. It wasn’t until after a lot of thinking, discussing, talking with doctors and 4 failed IUIs (inter uterine insemination) that we came to our decision. My new doctor (we changed doctors back in March) referred us to a fertility specialist in St. Louis, MO after we had a DNA fragmentation done on Andrew’s sperm and the results came back with an abnormality. That opened the door to more of why the IUIs weren’t working. We had a phone consult with Dr. Alhering at the Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine (MCRM fertility) in St. Louis in May or early June I can’t remember. We were happy with all the medical advancements that MCRM offers and that they specialize in male factor infertility (even though we have both female and male). For us most importantly we were looking for a doctor who is confident in what they do and could lay out a very clear plan of action for us. We found exactly that in Dr. Ahlering. After our phone consult with him we decided to start making the final decisions to move toward IVF. We had a lot to figure out, timing, financing, and wrapping our heads around how big of a deal this entire process is. It took us a few months to get everything in order but by August we were set for an IVF cycle in September.

We got ourselves all set for our September cycle but for me it seemed like it was going to be forever before September got here. I still remember running a race with my friend Megan at the beginning of August and us talking about how far away September seemed. Then all of a sudden September was here. Sometimes time flies and other times it drags.

I had been on birth control since the beginning of July because of a cyst on my right ovary, which by the way throws a big kink in fertility treatments. I was given a calendar at the end of August telling me when exactly to stop the birth control and what to expect for the month of September.

September 8th – I had an initial ultrasound here in Tulsa to determine my AFC (antral follicle count) and blood work including testing for infectious diseases. AFC measures a woman’s ovarian reserve. That ultrasound showed 18 follicles on the right and 12 follicles on the left. Those were good numbers so I was happy to move on with our process.

September 12th- I started stimulation medication. The medications I was on were to stimulate my ovaries to grow mature follicles, inside each follicle there is one egg. The medications I was prescribed were Gonal-F, menopur, and cetrotide. I also did a dual trigger but that wasn’t until right before egg retrieval. The medications were all injections and I did them every night or morning in my abdomen. There were days that I only had one injection and days that I had four.

September 16th- I went in for blood work here in Tulsa (estradiol and progesterone were what they were monitoring) to determine how my body was responding to the medication. The results of the blood work also determined how my medication would change for the next week.

September 19th- We had our first face to face meeting with Dr. Alhering as well as another ultrasound and more blood work in St. Louis. During this ultrasound he counted my follicles and measured the bigger ones. He stopped counting out loud at 20 and told us it looked like he would retrieve 20+ eggs. After this appointment I had another change in medication and was scheduled for another ultrasound and more blood work so Andrew and I stayed in St. Louis for a few days.

September 21st- ultrasound and blood work. They counted and measured all 20+ of the follicles. It seemed like that ultrasound was never going to end; oh and since I forgot to mention before all these ultrasounds are transvaginal. After this appointment we had a date and time set for egg retrieval. We would retrieve Saturday September 24 at 12:45. Andrew and I went home for a few days before the actual procedure!

September 23rd- 12:45 AM I had to wake up and do my dual trigger and by wake up I mean I fell asleep at midnight and woke up every 10 minutes until my alarm went off at 12:30. It had to be done exactly 36 hours before egg retrieval. My dual trigger was lupron and hcg. It was so simple and I celebrated my last shot by going for a pedicure with my friend Brooke at a normal hour later that day!

September 24th- Egg retrieval day! We woke up SUPER early and drove to MCRM for our appointment. Egg retrieval goes like this, get there an hour early and wait, change into a medical gown and cute socks then wait. Haha if you know anything about infertility treatments its a huge game of hurry up and wait. Before I actually went back Andrew went back and gave them a semen sample so they could prepare it for the eggs that they were retrieving from me. We used sperm nanobead selection process offered at MCRM to help get the sperm that were malformed out of the sample. When they took me back to the procedure room I got sleep drugs in my iv and fell asleep quickly before I even remember seeing the doctor come into the room. Egg retrieval is done through a transvaginal ultrasound with a needle and hose attached to it. The doctor goes through the vaginal wall and “pops” each follicle individually sucking the egg and follicular fluid into the hose and into a vile. Then it goes directly to the embryologist lab right next door to be counted and determine if the eggs are mature or not. We knew before we left that he retrieved 22 eggs. I was excited but feeling crazy from the meds. Andrew wouldn’t let me just sit in silence after the procedure. He was prodding me so I was very alert even though I was feeling completely exhausted and like my brain wasn’t functioning quite at full speed. When the nurses felt I was ready we got back in the car stopped for gatorade and lunch then went right back home. Talk about a wild day!

September 25th- fertilization report call day. We had 17 mature eggs and 14 of them fertilized! The fertilized eggs were then watched as they grew for 5 days. Since we had a genetic abnormality we decided to do genetic testing.

September 30th- We got the phone call that of our fertilized eggs only 2 made it to freeze and biopsy. I was happy to have two that made it and called them my little fighting embryo! I was also terrified because results of genetic testing can be so scary. I mean the reality was that we could have both of them come back normal, neither of them come back normal or just one. I had to have reality check by a friend who has supported me throughout this journey since she just went through it herself, she said, “this entire time you have been saying all you need is one, focus on the possibility of one coming back.” Thank you Elizabeth for that reality check it got me through the week of waiting!

October 6th- (yesterday) I knew I was getting the phone call this day. I woke up sick to my stomach. I tried to out run my nerves and it helped for 30 minutes but once my run was over they were on top again. I cleaned our house, and took a longer shower than normal. I hoped that nobody would call me because it made my heart stop for my phone to ring. I kept myself busy until I had to get Blake from school. At this point I just knew that the phone call was going to come while I was there and it did. Luckily I’ve got some good mom friends at the school that didn’t mind watching Blake on the playground while I stepped away to take the call. We had ONE come back PGS normal! I cried and was shaking; I couldn’t speak. I was so happy! I think I said thank you 20 times and that was all I could get out. We have one frozen embryo waiting to be transferred in November!

Now we wait, again, for my calendar that details medication to prepare my body for a transfer! While we wait for that calendar I’m trying not to think about the possible negative outcomes of transfer but instead that we do get to transfer!

When we decided to go to MCRM Fertility in St. Louis there were many things that factored into our decision to drive 6 hours instead of using someone local. Besides the fact that Dr. Alhering knows his stuff they also offer so many different options to fit your needs. Here is what our treatment package included plus a few that we added.

  • sperm nanobead selection process
  • embryo biopsy
  • PGS/PGD/NGS embryo testing (Genetic testing)
  • intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
  • Morphologically selected sperm (MSI)
  • embryoGlue
  • Cryopreservation of Embryo (freeze them or THE ONE for us)
  • ednometrial scrathcing
  • assisted hatching
  • Fertilization and culture of embryos through day 6
  • ultrasound guided embryo transfer

I have been sharing this journey not only to help myself get through it but also for all the girls/women out there that struggle with infertility but are too scared to talk about it. What I learned is that more people are struggling with the things you are struggling with in life than you could imagine. So if you are struggling with infertility know that you are not alone!

Now that the first part of our IVF process is finished we have to focus on transfer. This part is pretty scary but I am going to continue to trust the process and lean on our fantastic support group. It’s not over yet so please keep sending all the love, prayers and good vibes our way.

PS- I’m part of a wonderful FB group of ladies who all go to the same clinic and without those ladies sharing their hearts with me along the way this process would have been so much more scary and difficult!

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

2016

It is a new year and just like every other person out there I’m taking time to set goals and a focus for this year. Last year a lot of things happened, more good than bad actually, even though the year ended on such a sour note for us. If you missed it you can read about it here.

Throughout our infertility journey I have had many people tell me how brave I am to share my journey. Here is the truth though, I don’t feel brave, I actually feel scared. I was thinking about a word for the year today. I have never actually declared a word for the year before but last year my word was hopeful. I didn’t have to declare it I was hopeful for things to turn out the way my heart longs for them to. While I will remain hopeful this year too it is time for a new word.

This year I am feeling a pull toward the word brave but the word trust also hit me pretty hard. I quickly realized that in order to trust I must be brave. While I do not necessarily feel brave all the time I am much better at being brave than I am at trusting. So TRUST and BRAVE are my words for this year. I can’t just pick one because the combination of these two hold a lot for me. I ran across this quote while trying to decide on my word and it literally brought me to tears. (Thank you Michael Goodman for sharing this book. I saw it and had to pick it up!)

Trust that all you’ve learned was worth learning, no matter what answer you have or do not have about what particular use it has in your life. Let whatever mysterious star-light that guided you this far guide you onward into the crazy beauty that awaits.                     -Cheryl Strayed

In that moment I knew that trust had to be my word. I know that I need to learn to trust my body, trust the unknown (to me) plan for my life, trust my people, trust science and medicine, trust the journey, and trust in myself. I’m not sure exactly where these words are going to take me but I’m excited to find out!

IMG_2639

Some other areas of focus and goal making I’ve also been thinking hard on over the last few days.

Health– I want to gain muscle back. I lost a lot of it over the last year not being able to work out like used too. I have a plan to help me reach my goal. My plan to gain my muscle back is to get more consistent workouts in and focus on my nutrition. My workout plan of attack is to get my workouts in early starting with before 8am and working my way to earlier. I’m being realistic here I know that I’m not going to get up before 6am right off so I’m working my way there. I also plan to attend workout classes at the gym twice a week. For my nutrition I will follow the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan, basically more greens and less crap. Simple right! I am also participating in the Tone It Up Challenge, hard core for the next three weeks since I’m on a free pass for workouts and everything until my body rest is over aka my pack of birth control. 😉 Once my “free pass” is over I will have to cut back a little as not to destroy any future baby creating progress but I will hopefully have a good workout routine down by then. (I ate really well this morning then got off track this afternoon, tomorrow will be better!)

Everything Else (Ha!)- I bought a notebook to use as my daily journal for ideas, to do list, etc. It fits in my purse and is super simple. I had to have it when I saw the words on the front “trust your crazy ideas”

When I very first became a stay at home mom I made a weekly cleaning chart and I really hope to get back to it. I will have to alter it a little but it gives me a focus for each day. I love feeling like I really accomplished something big each day even if it was just making the beds. My house will also stay a lot cleaner, yay!!!

I always meal plan but I’m convinced there is a way that we can avoid wasting so much food. I put a few days of left overs in our week to try to help prevent so much waste. I’m not sure this week will be the best test since Andrew is gone for 3 nights but we will see. I will keep you updated! How do you avoid wasting food?

I also plan to read more. I’m going to try to hit as many of these prompts as possible even though I’m not sure that I will actually be able to read 26 books. Who knows maybe I will read more than that! I’ve already downloaded 3 books to my ipad and started reading one. I’ll share the books I read with #26BOOKSwithBringingUpBurns. Feel free to join and follow BringingUpBurns on Instagram, she is one creative and talented woman!

Today was a great day. Thank you for reading, I hope you had a great first Monday of 2016!

 

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

A Difficult Journey: Infertility- Miscarriage

A little recap for anyone who is new here. A year ago December 2015 I went to my 3rd doctor for help trying to conceive. We had been trying for over a year. I was finally diagnosed with suspected Endometriosis and scheduled a surgery early January 2015. During the surgery it was discovered that I have stage 3 endometriosis and adenomyosis. I took lupron injections for 6 months which put me into menopause at age 30. After the injections were complete we did a round of IUI in mid September which was unsuccessful. We decided to try on our own until the new year. Which brings us to now, the hardest part thus far.

I went to the doctor for my yearly exam on December 9th. During that exam it seemed that my endometriosis was making a come back. My doctor was puzzled but we put a plan in place. As soon as I started my next cycle I would go back on birth control and we would check my ovaries, uterus and everything else to possibly prepare for another round of IUI. Then on December 14th I was at day 31 of my cycle with no signs of it coming so I took a pregnancy test. It was faintly positive. I was shaking, crying, scared, nervous, excited and had no idea what to do at all except call the doctor. I called them and text my fertility nurse. I called Andrew and almost couldn’t even tell him because I was in complete shock. Did this really happen after all this time, did we really get pregnant on our own? I went to the doctor and had blood work done. It came back with low numbers showing an early pregnancy. They put me on progesterone twice a day and I was to go back for more blood work in a week. The morning I was due to go in December 21st I was spotting. Bright red blood that was preceded by intense cramps. I called the doctors office as soon as they opened. I called Andrew and told him. The rest of the day I think I spent crying, shaking, worrying and just flat out not knowing what to do with myself. As the day went on the bleeding increased from spotting to full blown period. Andrew and I went to the doctor around noon for blood work and an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that it was not an ectopic pregnancy which was a relief, if that is even possible. The rest of the ultrasound showed that although it was early there was no sign of a viable pregnancy. I just had to wait on the blood work to back it up. The call came Monday evening that in fact my HCG level had dropped from 64 to 9. Late Monday evening I guess you could say the miscarriage was complete. What was forming as our baby passed. It was thick dark red/maroon and the shape reminded me of the round top of a balloon, it was bigger than a water balloon and smaller than a standard balloon. That part was followed by a white/pink thick thing that made me think of a slug. It wasn’t painful it just happened and then it was over. All of a sudden I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

How could it be so emotionally wrecking to loose something that we only knew was there for 7 short days? How can it hurt so bad but not be physically painful at all? Maybe its a good thing it happened early instead of after we heard a heartbeat. Could it have happened at a worse time? Is there even such a thing as a good time for a miscarriage, NO there isn’t. Why did this happen? Did I ever really want to add this to my life journey, NO NEVER. Is it going to happen again? When will the day come that I can stop walking around pretending that this didn’t happen or actually accept it? When will the sight of Blake crying or upset stop making me completely break down? When will nights not be so hard? When will we truly understand what this means for us? When will this seem real? There are so many questions and feelings that I have been experiencing over the last few days and I know that I will continue to feel for a while. I know that this is part of the grieving process, I know that with time things will be better.

This Christmas went from being the most exciting one to one that I will never forget and not in a good way. I was absolutely dreading spending time around everyone and pretending to be okay. I guess lucky for me I happened to get a bilateral ear infection right before we left town to celebrate with family which gave me a great reason to sit back and be much more low key than normal. I am very thankful that we have the best most supportive family but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell them. I can still barely type it let alone say the words out loud without breaking down. I know that with time this will get easier but right now its still fresh and raw. Right now it still hurts deeply.

There has to be a silver lining in this though right? I have somehow been able to make it through this entire journey with hope that good things are coming. I thought this was finally our good thing, I though this difficult journey might actually be over for us. Clearly it isn’t. So back to the silver lining and all the good that I am trying to pull out of such a horrible thing. This has shown me that I/we can get pregnant after all. Our miscarriage has shown me that giving up is not what we should do. (I was done after my appointment in early December when we thought my endometriosis was coming back, I had completely given up.) Even though our baby did not survive this time it gives me hope that we can continue on this journey. That we can go on to have a healthy baby and healthy pregnancy in the future. I’m not sure how near future that will be but I have a restored hope that our family will grow at some time in the future.

I got a bracelet for Christmas from my cousin Alyssa. It is a Lokai Bracelet. The particular one I received is the red one for feed the children. Thats not the part of the bracelet that means so much though, the thing is the bracelet has a white bead and a black bead to represent the highs and lows you experience during life. They say the white bead is a reminder to stay humble when you are on top and the black bead is to remind you to remain hopeful when you’ve hit a low. Each time I look down at the bracelet I am reminded to stay hopeful, that maybe this low is a sign that things could happen for us after all. Thank you Alyssa for giving me this bracelet and restoring my hope without even knowing it.

A friend of mine that I haven’t been close to in a while also dropped off the most heart warming gift when she found out about my miscarriage. She had a miscarriage of her own fairly recently. A lady sent her this bracelet and she brought it to me. It says “one day at a time” It is a reminder that the pain doesn’t go away but it does get easier with time. Now when I put this bracelet on each morning not only is it reminding me to take each day as it comes but its also like I’m wearing a peace of her heart on my wrist. I don’t think I will ever have the right words to properly thank you Hannah but I know that you know exactly how I feel and until I find the exact right words thank you.

Now that it has taken a me a week and another trip to the doctors office (OBGYN and Primary care) to write this post I really am ready to share. I get to start 2016 off with a reset of my body. I am taking a month to allow my body to heal from the miscarriage, the bilateral ear infection, and the allergic reaction to a second round of antibiotics. As hurtful as the end of 2015 was I am looking forward to taking on 2016.

 

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

Christmas Tradition- Elf on the Shelf

As we gear up for this holiday season I decided to share a few of our family traditions with you. I’ll start with a new one that isn’t my favorite but it is so much for Blake.

We jumped on the Elf on the Shelf train when Blake was a baby = we bought him one and set it out as a Christmas decoration until he was old enough to understand. Last year we started with the Elf on the Shelf.

We kept up with it for the entire season even if it was moving it early in the morning before Blake woke up. We did put thought into placement and notes but it quickly became a daunting task. I was over it by day 2. I tried to take a picture of all the fun places we placed our elf just to document our attempt with the elf. Andrew and I were both hopeful that this year we wouldn’t be bringing “Elfie” down from the attic but Blake has already been asking when he is coming back. He has also decided that his name is not going to be “Elfie” anymore. The new name is so much better!

I did come up with a few guidelines for our elf on the shelf shenanigans.

  • No big messes that I’ll have to clean up
  • No spending extra money for elf surprises
  • Blake can touch the elf if he is down within his reach
  • Don’t make this bigger than it is
  • We don’t have to stick to the “rules” from the book

Here are a few shots of “Elfie’s” shenanigans from last year.

_ABS3835 _ABS3858 _ABS3859 _ABS3863 _ABS3866 _ABS3867 _ABS3869

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see “Elfie” became friends with all the snowmen and mostly just found himself sitting around random places throughout our house.

This year it will be very similar. Blake loves it so I’m willing to do this little thing that will bring a smile to his face. As much of a pain as the elf on the shelf can be it is fun to watch his excitement everyday as he hunts for his elf friend. I’m sure this year he will be found with legos and star wars toys more than once!

I can’t wait to share more of our family traditions with you as we near the holiday season. I’d love to hear about your traditions as well.

 

 

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

Blake’s 2nd Annual Halloween Party

Last year I threw a halloween party for Blake and his friends. I limited the people he could invite to close friends and neighborhood kids only. This year we had a halloween party that was close friends and school friends! There were about 18 kids running in and out of our house for 2 hours. It was perfect!!! That’s not to say that I wasn’t freaking out a little about having so many kids in our tiny house or how we were going to fit everyone even in our backyard. Our house isn’t tiny but it is small but like I said before, it was perfect. I’d do it all over again and most likely will next year.

Before the party my brother, sister in law, niece and Blake painted pumpkins. Blake and Chloe (my niece) went between giggles and serious faces the entire time they were painting. DSCF6939

DSCF6938 DSCF6935

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF7010

My mom made all of our halloween costumes this year. Well, she made my brothers, Chloe’s, and mine. She did a great job! I sent her some Pinterest ideas and she ran with it to make Blake’s request for me to be Princess Leia happen. My brothers family made the cutest Flinstones family while we rocked the Star Wars look!
DSCF6955

DSCF6990 - Version 2

After we had a little family time our other guest for the halloween party started to arrive. I had Blake escort his friends to the backyard where I had planned for most of the party to take place.

The kids played the games I had set up in the backyard and played in the house. They ran, laughed, screamed, and just had the best time. It was so much fun just watching them. There was one point during the party that all the kids were in the house and all the adults were outside. One sure sign of a good time is when every kid is exhausted at the end of the party. Look at this adorable group!

DSCF6975

One of the major parts of the party this year was games. I told Blake he had to decide on a few different games but not go overboard. The games we decided on were witches hat ring toss, “feed the ghost”, spider web walk, pumpkin cookie decorating, bobbing for apples, cauldron ball toss, and pumpkin bowling. I also did a photo backdrop area that covered the front of our shed. We bought the witches hat ring toss game at target. My mom made the ghost on her corn hole board for the party last year and never took it off so of course we used it again. We took boards out of our garage and screwed them into the frame of the sandbox to make the spider web walk area. My friend cut out jack-o’lantern face pieces from sugar for the cookie decorating. A big frankenstein tub made the perfect apple bobbing tub. I used the cauldrons, eyeball ping pong balls, and pumpkin bowling set that I had last year.

DSCF6940 DSCF6943

 

 

 

DSCF6946 DSCF6945 DSCF6944

DSCF6949DSCF6972 - Version 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year Blake was very insistent on bobbing for apples at his party. I was hesitant about it at first but it was so much fun to watch the kids try to get an apple. Watching them come up with different solutions to getting the apple out without using their hands was great.

DSCF6959 DSCF6969

It quickly became a common theme to grab the apple by the stem! The pure excitement on their faces was the best.

DSCF6964 DSCF6967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF6950

We made the cutest goodie bags full of “crappy” halloween toys (vampire teeth, bouncy eyeballs, goo, and spider rings) for the kids and I never took a picture of them. Blake helped decorate the bags and picked out all the goodies inside.

Throwing a party can be a lot of work but watching the kids enjoy themselves is worth every second. My secret to an easy party = I saved myself a lot of time and money by reusing a lot of the things I had from last years party. I also went with things that were simple and cheap. The dollar store is my favorite spot for halloween decorations. I also let Blake pick a few games to play and be involved in the party set up process. Blake helped clean the house, the appropriate amount for a 4 year old, make the invitations, and set up the games in the backyard. I made sure that the kids had access to our playroom. (I put away a lot of toys or turned tubs so that they couldn’t be easily opened, like legos.) I went with minimal food but still provided a snack because lets face it, kids are always hungry.

Our invitations were super cute if I do say so myself! Blake helped me do the stamping on the background of all of them. He also helped me glue some of the pieces on. It was fun to create an invitation with him this time.

IMG_0233 IMG_0342

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading about Blake’s second annual halloween party and sharing such a fun time with us!

Have a safe and fun halloween!

 

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

A Difficult Journey: Infertility- My IUI Journal Part 1

  

I decided to stop sharing weekly about our infertility journey as we approached “go time” for our intrauterine insemination or IUI. I just wanted to keep it as low key as possible and I thank you all of you for being so understanding about it. Now that I am ready to share here is my day by day or more like doctor appointment by doctor appointment journal from our IUI process.

Preface: I started taking follistim and metformin on Monday, September 21st. My follistim injection was 50Ius every night. I took metformin every other day for 5 days then started taking it daily over the weekend. At this doctors appointment I had about 20 tiny follicles in my right ovary and about 15 tiny follicles in my left ovary. My doctor started my follistim does off smaller than he normally does to prevent me from growing 5 large follicles, after all we aren’t after 5 babies just one. 🙂 If 5 follicles were to stimulate we would have to stop all work toward this round of IUI. At the end of this appointment I made a follow up for Monday September 28th.

Monday, September 28th: I shared a little about that visit here. The little details that I left out were this, I have one follicle that measured at 13mm and they want it to be at 20 mm before IUI. I had been taking 500mg of metformin every night and 50IUs of follistim. I had blood drawn so they could check many things but especially my estrogen level. When they had the results of my blood work they decided to up my follistim to 75IUs in order to get the follicle ready by the weekend! I was so excited I was basically dancing out the door and everywhere for the remainder of the day! I mean seriously how can I not be excited about this, it could mean that our difficult journey is over. It could also mean that we are learning a lot about how my body works and we can be better prepared for the next round. Staying realistic here. I made a follow up appointment for Thursday October 1.

Thursday, October 1st: I’m back in the office for another ultrasound of my ovaries and my uterus as well as more blood work. I’m all smiles because I’m super excited. My uterine lining was not quite as thick as they wanted it to be but it was really close. My follicle had also gone up to 17mm! That means its go time! I got my instructions for the next few days. Tonight I do my last injection of follistim, Friday night I will have my trigger injection in my butt at 10pm (I have happy faces on my upper butt hip area to direct where the injection is supposed to go), Saturday we just enjoy ourselves, Sunday Andrew has to take his semen sample in at 9am and I will go in at 10am for the insemination, Monday we will repeat the same process. Then we wait to see if it worked.IMG_0270

How am I feeling: I feel like I am incredibly constipated but I’m not. It’s the activity in my ovaries. It hurts to wear jeans and even my workout pants are uncomfortably tight. I have been having some serious mucous discharge which is normal and expected. I have some serious tightening feelings going on in my uterus/ovaries. I can tell exactly where each ovary is and there is no question that they are both growing those follicles. I can also tell that the right one has the biggest follicle, it is more “sensitive” I guess I could say.

Sunday, October 4th: Andrew took his sample to be washed at 9am. Now I’m at the office waiting for the doctor to arrive and holding the gorgeous specimen (that’s what the lady called it) that will be injected into me. It’s funny how this is funny. It’s kind of like a right of passage, one of those little sperm in there could be what makes our baby! As Andrew said, you are holding half of our future kid! I can’t even see anything in there it just looks like light purple water.

So now I wait. Anxiously and impatiently! By the time my doctor finally arrived 30 minutes later, so much for time sensitive, I was relaxed. It wasn’t the most painful procedure but I would say it was an uncomfortable one. He had to navigate past my c-section scar which was a little more work for him and pain for me. When he did the actually insemination I couldn’t feel a thing. That part took seconds. Then I laid there on the table with my legs up and played on Pinterest.

Tomorrow same thing all over again!

Monday, October 5th: Here at the doctor again waiting my turn. I’m excited and nervous all over again. I am a little more relaxed about the actual process this time since I know what’s going to happen. I’m still nervous though. I mean I just heard them say my name and I got a little excited. Thankful for a very funny conversation with a good friend as I made my way to the doctor this morning. Laughter is good for the soul no matter the situation!

Today was painless. They asked if I was okay and I was so confused why. I didn’t hardly feel a thing! He said it was because his angle was much better today than yesterday. My wonky uterus was just tilted the right way today. He said it’s possible that yesterday one of my ovaries had slipped behind my uterus and today everything was in a more workable position.

Today when they asked me to verify that in fact that was my husbands name on the side of the specimen we joked about the importance of getting it right. (It was his!) Also that men’s handwriting is much worse normally than women’s! Seriously the people at my doctors office make this so much easier! I’m so thankful for them! Still hopeful that the egg inside that big follicle was a good one!

Friday, October 9th: I feel better today than I have all week. I actually made it through the day without taking a nap! I have taken at least an hour nap every day this week. The only thing I did differently today was just sit at home and fold laundry instead of trying to go out and do anything. I got the hint from my body to slow down so I did. I am going out of the house tonight for an Oktoberfest party with my boys but I rested up all day so I should be fine.  

I’ve been reading a lot of things about how women feel after having an IUI and I can pretty much relate to all of those symptoms and feelings. For anyone who is about to have an IUI or considering it I decided to break it down by days past IUI (dpIUI). It will be helpful for me too as I continue this two week wait!

 

  • 2nd IUI day- complete emotional meltdown at the end of the day.
  • 1dpIUI- a little bit of cramping, extreme exhaustion
  • 2dpIUI- extreme exhaustion
  • 3dpIUI- extreme exhaustion, light pain on the right side but seemed more like a muscle pain
  • 4dpIUI- light cramping on right side more like ovary cramping than muscle, more energy than previous days this week
  • 5-8dpIUI- completely aware of the exact location of my right ovarie, exhaustion, swinging through every PMS symptom there is
  • 9-10dpIUI- same feelings as previous days with the only addition being breast enlargement (my boobs only get large fast when one thing is happening, my period which is hind site now that those days have passed)
  • 11dpIUI- major cramping followed hours later by the start of my period/bleed. I’m not talking spotting either, I’m talking full flow. Bring on the tears, defeat, sadness, frustration, etc. I called the doctors office to let them know that I won’t be coming in on Tuesday for my blood test after all because I see no point. Unless if they call back before then I won’t be going in.

Friday, October 16th: I was having a lot of intense cramping and then it came. The hope shattering period. If I said I handled it well I would be lying. As hard as I tried not to get my hopes up I was so ready for this journey to come to an end. I knew as soon as I felt that first gush that the IUI hadn’t worked. It was a long day. Andrew and I were both pretty(really) bummed about it. I have the best husband and friends ever though! My friend Stephanie showed up at my door with ice cream and flowers and most importantly a hug. Andrew came home from work a little earlier than normal with flowers too. (They are both so pretty still almost two full weeks later!) I tried to make sure that everyone who knew the IUI took place knew that it didn’t work and also informed our parents that we had done the IUI and that it didn’t work. Let me say that one more time, this round didn’t work. I was done. Defeated. Hopeless. Frustrated. Extremely emotional.

  

 

Tuesday, October 20th: All day long I was expecting a phone call from my doctors office because my nurse was going to be back in the office from her vacation. She called and I held it together while talking to her about our next steps and decisions we have to make. When I got off the phone I decided that I could have done without hearing some of the percentage facts she shared with me and that one of her 5 girls that went through the IUI was successful. I know that she had her reason for sharing that information and I get it now but that day I hated hearing it. I took a few minutes to be sad or emotional in whatever way I needed before I pulled myself back together and got on with life. I thought a little about her instructions for us to try on our own this month. I held onto this “sex every other day for the remainder (if/until your next cycle starts) will keep sperm in your fallopian tubes. Don’t take any ovulation test, that will increase the stress. We know your body is working. Call me if you don’t start in 32 days or call me when your next cycle starts and we will set up for the next round of IUI if you are ready. Hang in there.” I’m not going to even get into the sex every other day thing but I do have a post in the works on that. Stress. Anxiety. Defeat. Questioning everything.

As the days have passed I have become a little less emotional about it not working. I have also constantly reminded myself that the odds were not in our favor (1 in 4 IUIs are successful) but it was worth it to try. After all if it would have worked the money we spent wouldn’t seem like a big deal at all. Every time I think I’m completely over the fact that round one was not successful I realize that its easier to discuss with some people than it is with others. The true peace with it is coming though and my hopefulness is being restored. I went all the way from “screw all this” to “lets keep trying” in a few weeks. Now that brings us to today Thursday, October 29th. We are in the midst of trying on our own. I’m hopeful, and nervous, and anxious, and full of a million different emotions but most of all I’m okay.

I’m working on myself and accepting that sometimes things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would. I’m working on changing that image that I hold in my heart of my family of 4 to the image that I see daily of our beautiful family of 3. I’m working on getting my head and my heart in the same place. I’m loving my family hard and fierce. I’m holding onto hope and trying to live in the here and now more. I’m trying not to focus on the what to do next but instead on the what to do now. I’m being the best mom, wife and friend I know how to be. I’m more than okay, I’m absolutely perfect in my own way and exactly how I should be at this point in our journey. I’m very sure that tomorrow I will be even better and better each day after that. I’m feeling like my season of growth and expansion is here. It is here for a reason and although I don’t clearly see that reason yet, I will. So with no end dates set and no exact plans on what to do next we go on and that feels both freeing and scary. Answers and understanding will come along with peace and a renewed happiness.

Thank you all for understanding my need to process this before sharing and for allowing me to share it with you now. Thank you for reading and for all the love and prayers that are constantly coming our way. 

I’m off to have a fantastic Thursday with my boy who stayed up entirely too late last night watching world series game two. I hope you have a fantastic day too!

 

 

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

It Finally Feels like Fall

It finally feels like fall and that means. Cool crisp air. Falling leaves. Color changes. Sweaters. Sweatshirts. Jeans. Boots. Scarves. Cardigans. Soup. Chili. Fires. Darker beers.

***I can’t even currently focus on fall anything because our dog is outside being a psycho! It’s very distracting and incredible annoying. I’m sure our neighbors hate us. Someday maybe I’ll be able to upload a video of the madness until then there is one on my Instagram. Now do you see why I am so distracted by it?***

Anyway back to fall. I have been ready to wear my boots and scarves but I think mostly I have been ready for easy dinners that are even good reheated. Soup. Chili. Soup. and more Soup! I don’t do soup or chili when the temperature is over 75 degrees so we haven’t had either in a while here at the Swindell house. Yesterday Andrew made gumbo which if you haven’t figured out yet we love to make! Tonight I made Vegan Chili. Tomorrow night taco soup unless the weather really does get to 80 degrees then it will be tacos. Wednesday vegetarian pinto beans. Thursday…you get the point! With the weather staying in the mid to low 70s most of the week its time to start eating soup again! Here is a look at our menu for this week.

IMG_0367

The vegan chili that I make comes from Ohsheglows.com. You can find the original recipe at the link. I make a few minor adjustments but just as she has it is really good too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 3 med/large cloves of garlic diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno seeded and diced (since I’m feeding a child who hates hot this is pushing it)
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced (red, yellow, or orange whatever I have)
  • 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth divided (I start with one but end up adding another to make it saucier)
  • about 3/4 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can (15oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15oz) bean of your choice if you want more beans which we normally do!
  • 2 TBS chili powder
  • 2 TSP ground cumin
  • 1 TSP dried oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Saute onion in oil over medium heat until soft.
  2. Add jalapeno, celery, and bell pepper saute until soft.
  3. Add garlic saute until fragrant.
  4. Add diced tomatoes, broth, and tomato paste. Stir until combined. Raise heat and bring to a boil
  5. Add drained beans along with spices and stir. Let simmer until thickened. 10-15 minutes
  6. We add hot sauce in our individual bowls as well as vegan sour cream (when I make it), cheese, cilantro and green onion. However you like it!

I’m terrible at taking food pictures but here it is on the stove cooling off just a tad so we can enjoy it!

IMG_0365

It is one of my favorite meat free chili recipes. Do you have another meat free chili recipe that’s awesome, please share it with me in the comments or by email! Of course let me know if you try this one out!

*EDIT- The weather this week did not cooperate with my daily soup adventures. I did however make soup twice and tacos once. Then I was saved by dinner at the fair one night and an Oktoberfest celebration another. Come on already fall weather get here and stay!*

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

Weekend Adventures #3 

We kicked off our weekend at the 50th anniversary family fun night for Blakes school. He had the best time running around playing on the bouncy house and doing all the other fun stuff with his school friends. All the kids sang a few songs that were really cute which is why Blake wanted to go to begin with. He is a little performer!  Here he is with his friend Lillie.  

Saturday was game day! We got up super early to head to Norman for the OU game. We picked my dad up on the way and Blake, my dad, and I sat together to watch the game while Andrew and his buddy Darren sat somewhere else to watch. It was a great day in Norman!  

   

  

 When we dropped my dad off my brother and niece were at my parents house. Even though she was wearing orange she was still as cute as ever! 

Sunday Blake and I went to a birthday party. I did our calendar for October and Andrew made gumbo! We had a really relaxing Sunday. 

Hope you all had a great weekend and have enjoyed this beautiful fall Monday! 
     

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

Colorado Adventure- Wedding Reception

A few weeks ago we spent 3 days in the mountains in Evergreen, CO. We stayed at the most beautiful ranch called Willow Creek Ranch Lodge. The main house was incredible. The top floor was the master sweet and a sitting room, the second floor was the main floor with two bedrooms and the bottom floor was a walk out basement which was a huge game room. The house was spacious enough to sleep 10-12 people without having to use an air mattress even though they had some. We loved it so much Andrew and I started talking about going back with friends before we even left.

The reason we went to Colorado in the first place was for my brother in laws (Chris) wedding reception! I gained a new sister (Charlotte) this month. I love when our family grows especially when I gain another sister! Chris and Charlotte rented out the entire ranch for the weekend and all the immediate family members stayed at the ranch. We had the main house, bunkhouse and barn lofts.

We spent our first afternoon preparing decorations for the wedding reception, exploring the property and an evening drinking, playing games, doing more decorations and hanging out. The next day we prepared for the reception by finalizing decorations and setting up last minute things. We got all dressed up for family pictures and then it was party time! Our last day we had brunch complete with mimosas and later went into town to do a little shopping.

One reason it has taken me so long to post about our trip is because we took a ton of pictures and I’ve been weeding through them slowly. (The other I’m having a hard time focusing on more than one thing right now!) I hope you enjoy the all the beauty from our trip that we captured through our pictures.

A few pictures from our hike!

DSCF6753

DSCF6757

DSCF6755

 

Reception Snapshots!

DSCF6822DSCF6820

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF6877 DSCF6823

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF6780 DSCF6842 DSCF6839 DSCF6845 DSCF6844 DSCF6831 DSCF6806 DSCF6803 DSCF6798 DSCF6761

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people in these pictures are siblings- Sarah aka Rahrah (blue dress), Jason (jeans), Chris (the groom), Mirranda (blue shirt), Charlotte (the bride). Parents- Jamie (white skirt), Larry (white shirt) Kara (purple shirt).

 

 

 

 

Shots from around town in Evergreen.

DSCF6894 DSCF6893 DSCF6899 DSCF6879

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few randoms and our fox friend!

DSCF6921

Colorado Ranch Creek Fox named by Blake

DSCF6926

 

 

 

 

 

 


DSCF6857 DSCF6862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had such a great weekend celebrating Chris and Charlotte. I can’t wait to see all of them again soon! Just a side note, if you are looking for an affordable vacation rental in Colorado consider this place. It is beautiful, secluded, and has a friendly fox friend! (They have no idea I am suggesting this place, this is all my own opinion.)

 

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone

A Difficult Journey: Infertility- Last Update

image

This isn’t going to be my last update on our journey but it will be my last update for a while. We decided a long time ago that we would share until we were ready to stop. Now we are ready to stop. If the IUI does work we will stick to the plan of not telling anyone until we are completely ready, you know the typical 12 weeks or out of the first trimester! 😉

I do want to share that my appointment went well today. Things are looking to be right on track for the IUI to take place anytime. I am filled with so much hope and excitement about this entire situation. I appreciate all the prayers, positive thoughts, love and energy everyone is sending our way! I just know that good things are coming for us!

I did get some great advice today and as soon as I’m finished being on a high of excitement I am going to start training my brain to focus this way. “The easiest way to emotionally deal with the stress is to expect it to not work. That way when it does you are pleasantly surprised and not super disappointed.” I know this is the easiest way to deal especially since it came from a friend who has been in this situation before. I’m going to enjoy the excitement but also know that the possibility of it not working are real. There is an emotional balance that has to be kept while battling infertility. It is possible to face reality and not give up hope. I do it daily!

I’m anxious to share more of this journey with you when we get to a place that we are ready. Until then I am going to keep a journal of the remainder of the process and share it when I’m ready!

Thank you for your continued support and understanding of our need to keep this between just us for the remainder of time.

Love you all!

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone