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!

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!

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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!

 

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.

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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.

 

 

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

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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!
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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

 

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.

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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!

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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!*

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! 
     

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!

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Reception Snapshots!

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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.

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A few randoms and our fox friend!

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Colorado Ranch Creek Fox named by Blake

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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.)

 

A Difficult Journey: Infertility- Last Update

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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!

Endometriosis: Treatment- My Lupron Experience

After my endometriosis surgery back in January 2015 I was told that I needed to do a 6 month treatment of Lupron to help clean up both my endometriosis and my adenomyosis. I went for it with lots of different emotions but knowing that it was our best and only chance of having another baby. That was the purpose of the lupron anyway so that we can have another baby and no matter how crazy it made me I wouldn’t change that I did it. Now here it is September and I finished my lupron treatment 7 weeks ago. I blogged about my experience while on lupron here and there. I tried to give an update on how I was feeling and doing with each monthly injection throughout my treatment. Now that my treatment is actually over and I am feeling back to normal I have a few more things I want to share, mostly for anyone else who is currently taking Lupron for endometriosis or any other reason but also to share how truly difficult this treatment was for me. I’m being very transparent here, more so than I ever have been.

I was seriously not my normal self while on lupron. I was avoiding people. I had a super short fuse, shorter than normal. I lost sight of what was important and how important people were to me. I didn’t want to leave my house. I stopped going to the gym to my favorite workout class just because I didn’t want to face people. It is quite possible that I was bordering the line of slight depression. All the things that were becoming me were not me at all.

If I would have noticed how terrible it was back in March just a months into my treatment I would have taken the necessary steps to fix it. I must admit that this post should have made me realize how off my game I was becoming. Instead it took me until June to admit that I needed something extra to help me get through the last few months of the treatment. My doctor gave me a prescription for zoloft to help me relax a little. It was a really small dose and I only took it for a little over a month but let me tell you, if I could do it all over again I would have started it sooner. I should have started taking it back in March. I was being really stubborn and headstrong about the entire situation. For the first couple of days I felt like I had completely checked out and I was just going through the motions. It only took three days and I was feeling really good. I had a new appreciation for everything but most importantly for Blake. He could be a kid without me getting extremely irritated. Without taking this medication the last month and a half on lupron would have been the hardest part.

I also have to say that having the support system that I do made getting through the treatment easier. Andrew was the best throughout this entire process. He constantly supported my madness and assured me that I wasn’t being that bad (even when I was). He helped me maintain my sanity at home and was understanding about what the lack of estrogen was really doing to me. My family and friends offered constant support through, prayers, shoulders to lean on, encouraging words and unconditional love. I was a total bitch sometimes but that didn’t ever alter their support. A few friends that are here in Tulsa really helped me by forcing me to hang out with them or by allowing me to just bring Blake over for a play date and us just sitting there enjoying the sounds of kids playing. Megan and Stephanie you girls seriously helped me keep some sanity and I am forever grateful for both of you! Through the use of hashtags on social media I also found someone who was a month ahead of me in the Lupron treatment at the same doctors office. Connecting with Margret even though we haven’t actually met in person was so great! Hopefully someday soon we can get together, especially since I am no longer avoiding people! I am so thankful for everyone who reached out and offered so much encouragement because it always seemed to be perfectly timed.

My advise to anyone who is considering taking lupron or actually taking it now is

  • don’t let your pride get in the way
  • take your vitamins daily or twice daily they do help a lot
  • take whatever your doctor offers you to help make this process easier
  • listen to your body, this medication is wrecking your body to help you but make sure you listen to it
  • accept help when it is offered
  • don’t stop doing the things you love
  • the menopause will go away eventually, hang in there
  • eat healthy and drink tons of water, it makes a different in daily life but the difference is huge while on the lupron
  • do everything in your power to have sex with your husband more often than you want to (The problem is that it gets uncomfortable, and you become uninterested a direct result of your estrogen dropping; the thing is sex is an important part of your relationship so find a way that you two can make it work. Do it!)
  • thank your husband every chance you get for putting up with you (he deserves it)

Now that I am almost finished with my birth control, we are ready to move on to the next step in this process. I am excited about what is to come for us. Most of all I am excited that I am pain free and having normal cycles. My interest in people is back, my interest in my favorite activities is back, my sex drive is back and my patience (mostly) is back! My hope is now that the remainder of this process goes smoothly and quickly for us.

Happy Thursday friends thanks for reading!

1st Day of School- 4 Year Old Class

This week was back to school week for Blake. On Monday we went to open house/meet the teacher whatever you want to call it. Then school actually started on Wednesday. He will go three days a week this year. Technically speaking he is old enough to go to public school Pre-K this year, but we decided that the four year old program at the same school he attended last year was the right place for him.DSCF6631

On Monday while I filled out paper work Blake was given a journal to decorate. They use this journal everyday when they get into class to draw a picture and practice their handwriting. Anyway he was supposed to put stickers randomly all over the front of it. He just sat there and refused (in a calm quiet way) to put any stickers on his journal because the teacher didn’t give him any letter B stickers. I tried to convince him that he didn’t have to put his name but just put stickers and if you know our boy you know he wasn’t having that! I got him a different sheet that had a B on it so that he could decorate his journal. He used a few letters from both sheets to put his name on it! He really wanted to do Swindell but I told him he had to save letters for the other kids because he already used two sheets and all the other kids only got to use one. He also requested that I take the extra “I” off but I insisted it would be fine. His journal cover is simply his name and one extra letter while all the other kids journals are covered with random letters. To me this says a lot about his personality!
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This year is going to be so much fun for him and his teachers seem to be just as excited as the kids are. They sent home “homework” for us to complete and a special night before school book with “magic glitter” in it. It made Blake so excited about the first day and he also enjoyed doing his homework! I think his “Owl” about me turned out pretty cute! His favorites sheet was fun too!

DSCF6613IMG_0714If you ask Blake you can’t have an “about me” poster without including your best friend. I couldn’t agree more!

Wednesday was the actual first day of school so we have our obligatory first day of school pictures!

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We couldn’t let the day get started without getting a picture of these two best friends! When Ian came into the classroom Blake kept saying “Ian, Ian over here!” He pulled out the chair next to him and said, “Ian I got a seat for you, sit here!”

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He had a great first day of school. When I asked him to tell me about his day he didn’t really offer up much information. I went with my normal method of questioning that forces an answer other than nothing. What was your favorite thing you did at school today? What was your least favorite or what was something you didn’t like very much? He finally told me that his favorite thing was playing outside two times and he didn’t really like writing in his journal that much. I was so curious about his day I ended up breaking down the day into parts to ask questions. I couldn’t help wanting to know what my boy was up to all day! Turns out he had a really great day and I think he is going to love the school year!

Tuesday while we were out grabbing the last few things we needed before school started I asked Blake if he thought we should do something for his teachers as a welcome back to school. He said “yeah lets get them a card that says, good luck teaching us this year” I laughed because he was so proud of his idea and he had good intentions even if it did seem like he was saying “good luck because we are going to be difficult!” I did a quick Pinterest search to save the day and found this idea. I loved it and the teachers did too. I mean who doesn’t love sharpies.DSCF6622

Today Blake is at school and I can’t help but wonder what they are doing at various points throughout the day. I’m sure they are probably eating lunch right now or getting ready to. I can’t wait to see how his day went today especially since when I dropped him off this morning he informed me that he just loves to be cranky sometimes and today he is cranky! Haha love that boy of ours!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Friday and that you have a great weekend!