Thursday, October 25, 2012

a rosy outlook

i've decided that i'm not just going to write about the ups and downs of our fertility journey, but i'm also going to include some things about my day to day during the journey towards becoming a parents.  don't get me wrong, our fertility journey will still be the main focus of the blog, and since there is a lot of waiting between doc appointments, tests, and cycles i've decided it'd be better to try to fill the space in between with other things such as recipes, and fun things.  i'm going to try to do this in an attempt to keep myself from obsessing over my daily temperatures, OPK readings, and the general neurosis that sets in during the times of waiting during the infertility journey.

and on that note, i'd like to introduce you to two members of the David Austen english rose family that will be making their way into my life early next year!  i know when people are having trouble trying to get pregnant for any amount of time they will sometimes buy a puppy {or insert animal of choice here}, but since we already have a kitty, chinchilla, and a goldfish we've met our animal quota.... so therefore i decided i'd like to re-try my hand at gardening.

why re-try you ask?... well two years ago i became majorly obsessed with peonies and wanted so badly to grow them myself... well, seeing how i live in so cal and our weather is generally perfect for everything but growing peonies, i thought surely i could trick the peonies into growing for me!  ha! i was wrong and tried to no avail and my peony roots grew but never really produced anything other than skinny branches and some leaves.  {waah waaahh}  so then i discovered these beautiful english roses, which are perfect and just as ruffled and made my heart skip a beat just like peonies do!  so yesterday i pre-ordered my rose shrubs.  the top is called Glamis Castle {which IMO is a dead ringer for a white peony} and the bottom is called A Strophshire Lad, the perfect peachy-blush tone!  I.AM.SO.EXCITED!

so sometime right around my birthday these beauties will come in, and cannot even wait!!  i guess i just bought my first 30th birthday present to myself, haha... these beauts will be sure to bring lots of joy in the days to come.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

prayer + healing

i saw this floating around pinterest tonight and it was such an encouragement to see this little nugget from the bible...

even thought i have faith that God does indeed hear my prayers, knows how many teardrops that i have shed, and can tell when my heart is heavy... it's nice to find little reminders that he hears my prayer and indeed will heal me from the broken heart i sometimes feel over this life i lead without a baby.  i know that he can heal my PCOS, and i know that he can heal the fertility problems my husband has, and he will one day heal my broken heart... it's just a matter of having the faith to pray and seek, but we must ask in order to receive.

i know that i need to be patient during the quite times where i tend to doubt that God is listening to my prayers... i know in what seems like silence to me is actually quiet time for me to wait, because in this quiet time God's preparing my heart for the healing, but i know that there's a road to the healing i seek.

and now tonight, as i head off to bed i can lay my head down knowing that i have a promise from God that there will be an end to this journey; it may not be today, but it's coming soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2nd appointment with the RE: test results + metformin

today was my second appointment with my RE, and i feel at little more at ease compared with last night... just so i can get it off my chest and move on to the point of this post, i must share another facebook story...

i know, i know... but, i happened to log into FB to see a comment from a friend who was wanting to buy our SC tickets for this weekend's game, and there it was... another pregnancy announcement {boo}.  only this time it was this particular couples' third pregnancy announcement in what feels like the past year {but it's actually been more like the past 4 years}.  needless to say, she was announcing that they were so surprised to find out they weren't just expecting another baby, but 3, yes count them THREE babies naturally.  so of course my jaw dropped to the floor and so did my heart to see that not only did they accidentally get pregnant with a third child but this pregnancy will potentially add triplets to their already family of four.  {side note: why do people really call un-planned pregnancies surprises?? seriously people, we're all adults, we know how babies are conceive, is it really a surprise if you aren't doing anything to prevent it??}  ok, rant over... but i really do believe that God has an awesome sense of humor, and it took me an hour or two to get it.... no, i'm not laughing at them or wishing them ill will, i will for sure be praying for that family.  but even though i want nothing more than to become a mom to at least one child, i couldn't even image the stress and fear going through their minds planning for how to cary, birth and take care of triplets.  for the first time since ttc, i am not envious of their pregnancy, maybe God has softened my heart... i'm hoping so!

ok, now back to regularly scheduled programming:

so i met the RE bright and early this morning, and i found out the following...
       *  i am Vitamin D deficient: time to start soaking up more of that So Cal sun, no dear husband pool time isn't as bad for me as you've tried to convince me it is! =) actually dr. M suggested i take 2000mg of Vita D a day to help with that.

      * my thyroid is borderline off... my dad has suspected this for years because i could sleep all day long if allowed to, however over the years the "basic" thyroid tests have said i'm just fine... i guess it took a little digging to get to the bottom of this one... bottom line, not treatment right now, but when i do get pregnant they will need to keep an eye on me to ensure i don't miscarry.

       * my blood glucose levels were on the high end: she said the top of the range is a 5.6 and i was at a 5.5, so she said she felt good about putting me on metformin {hooray}, maybe i won't be saying that in a few days, take a look at the list of side effects + warnings on the bottle... oh dear...

from what i understand, metformin{a diabetes drug} will help balance out what seems like insulin resistance in my body, and lower androgen levels too {which i already know i produce too much of due to the cystic hormonal acne i have, the funky hair growth, funky cycles + lack of ovulation, as well as the tummy weight i've put on in the past year due to being borderline insulin resistant}.  androgens play a big role in PCOS, and it is so not glamorous, but i'm excited to be moving forward to treat this issues that have developed over the past year.  she did mention that this can do a number on your body and act as a diarrhetic in the beginning and can make you nauseous, so she's prescribed 750mg 1x per day for 1 week and if i handle it alright after the first week to add a second pill each day...  i'm feeling a lot better about treating my body in a way that should help get my body to doing what it's supposed to rather than just shocking it into submission by forcing it to ovulate {a la Clomid}.  so this is positive #1 for me today.

       *  the other genetic testing came back negative as well as our STD panels {which we weren't worried about since we were abstinent till we were married, yet it's a test docs are require to do according to CA law}... so it's nice to know those preliminary things are out of the way.

         *  dr. Mo also double checked my ovarian reserve too... this is positive #2 from today!  she said they like to see a number over 1-2 and i was a 12!!!  apparently my ovaries are very healthy, have tons of eggs, they just need to start working on maturing them and releasing them again on a regular basis... so Praise the Lord i have plenty of fertile eggs, and time to have babies.  she did reiterate that because i have so many eggs that i would be at a super high risk of hyper-ovulation if we ever did injectable treatments and i would have to be watched very closely should we even decided to pursue IVF down the road.  but i'll take lots of eggs any day.

so, i'm excited to start down the road to hopefully, Lord willing, getting my body, cycles, and hormones back in balance, and after Thanksgiving we will see Dr. Mo if we're ready at that point to move forward with IUI.


Friday, October 12, 2012

the Choose Joy Event

i can't even express how excited i was to see my SIL post a link to this event a few days ago!  this is a new event happening here in Orange County... and i think it is an incredibly awesome idea, and what and smart ministry that it's almost like "well hellooo, why didn't someone think of this need sooner?!"

if you're in the OC area, or are feeling up to a road trip, the Choose Joy Event will be on Saturday, Feb 9th in South County at Crossline Church.  i know my mom and i are planning to attend, and support this new ministry that is, in my opinion, so needed in churches nation wide!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

dear facebook, gosh i loathe you some days...

don't know how anyone else feels about this, but man... i used to love facebook... i used to love it before i was actively trying to become a mommy.  i swear it is a daily struggle for me, for example there are some folks that post on a daily basis about their cravings, about their sickness, their growing tummy, etc, etc... case in point one person posted about their baby's delivery today, and right there before it was another saying their 2 year old was going to be a big brother to a new little sister, AKA: "suprise we're having another!"  and while i totally understand their excitement and desire to share with people the joy they are experiencing it's just really tough when trying to trust in God, and in His plan + timing when it come to the plan for us to become parents.  and you know, until fertility became an apparent struggle in our lives i never really minded such announcements.  i always just thought, i can't wait till we get to brag to the world about our little bundle of joy.... but now it's like Satan totally knows that is the hardest thing currently that i'm struggling with in this journey.  right now he knows that all he's gotta do is lead me to facebook to where i will find other's joy to blind me from my own.  it's as if he's sitting on my shoulder saying you're not good enough, you're not selfless enough, you couldn't handle having a baby, your marriage isn't in the right place, and the list could go on.  while there are truths to some of the things he likes to wisper in my ear, i know that those aren't facts, that even though we aren't perfect it doesn't mean that we are any less equipped or worthy of becoming parents.

now back to babybook, i'm meeeaan... facebook {whatever it's called it's the root of all evil, i kid, i kid}.  not that facebook itself is a bad thing, but i hadn't ever given any thought to the over-sharing and the constant broadcasting of news, especially about babies.  but, with each day i am growing more aware of the fact that i need to embrace what God is trying to teach me at this current point in our time of waiting.  and while it's easy to image what life will be like once we are finally expecting a little one, i realize that God also has also been whispering in my ear.... although it's taken me a little more time to decipher what exactly He's been trying to say about my issue with the way we communicate in this digital age.  side note: many times in my life God has used my mom as a way to translate what He's teaching me.  now, my mom was a fertile mertle and was able to get pregnant very easily, so it's not as easy for her to relate to what we're going through, but she does a wonderful job of listening, empathizing, and helping counsel in the best ways she knows how.  with that being said, when i expressed my hurt + frustration about constant bump updates on FB, and people over-sharing with me about pregnancy, and generally anything that turns on the jealousy of a pregnancy in me; she told me "i have to believe that God is teaching and preparing you so that one day you will understand what other women are going through."  that's it, no extremely profound words, but boy did they profoundly speak to my heart!

she didn't have to say a lot, but the impact of what she was telling was huge, it's making me tear up as i write this... {woooh, deep breath}  like i've mentioned before, i've had some trials in my life, and by no means does that make me a martyr, nor am i tooting my own horn... but i do honestly believe that prior trials and tests in my life have lead me to this point.  they've helped develop my character, my faith, and my strength.  most people who know me would say that i'm a pretty tough cookie, {yet very melancholy} =), while mentally being pretty strong too.  and i know that strength was given and built up in me by my heavenly father, with help from my earthly father + mother of course. =)  but i know that God's strength is ultimately what has sustained me in the past, and it will be what gets me through this current time in my life too.  i found this little quote over at Waiting for Grace, and when i saw it i immediately thought to myself, "that's exactly how i feel!!!"

there have been so many times that i've thought this throughout my life and said to God, "why? i can't handle any more...  i don't deserve this!  you promised not to give me more than i was capable of bearing!"  but then i reach the mountain top of the trial and realize, wow that wasn't so bad, and i am so much stronger for having gone through that trial.  after reflecting upon this, i realized what God {and my mom} were telling me was this: "you are so much stronger than you know, and in the extra tough times it's ok to let God be your strength, even when you feel like you should just collapse under the burden."  often times i really do question, but i have to remember this scripture:
"... greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world." 1 John 4:4

i know it's tough, and though i don't know how long this journey toward parenthood will last, i do have faith that it will end at some point, and i know my mom is right.  when i look back on this i will in fact be able to empathize with others going through fertility struggles, and that when it's my turn to become a mommy i will be mindful and respectful of how we share our news with our friends, family, and facebook "friends."  because the last thing i would want to do to another woman struggling with fertility is make her feel inadequate, broken, or like i don't understand... because in actually i very much do, and will, and hope that God will give me the strength to be able to share what it's like to get to the other side with His help.  and as Hannah from Waiting for Grace said, this chapter God is writing in my life is my new testimony to Christ's awesomeness, and when it's time all the honor and glory will be to Him alone.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Starting a new chapter: Clomid 50mg fail + 1st RE appointment

welp, as of yesterday we've started writing a new chapter in our journey toward becoming parents... here's a little recap to help with where the hubs and i are in the fertility or should i say infertility journey {it still makes me wince to think that we are, what i used to think of as, "a poor infertile couple." yep, we are}... but anyhow here's the recap:

* since may of this year, 2012, my OB has been aware that i may have the symptoms of PCOS {if you don't know what that is, i've provided a link, it's really special... not}.  since then they've been paying a little more attention to us, with my insistence of course.  but since then I've had a clear HSG, hubs' has had 2 semen analysis{plural, not sure how you spell that?}, i've had a boat load of blood work done, and now the hubs' is having some done too.

* my fertility concerns *
 being that i have some of the PCOS symptoms: crazy hormonal cystic acne all times of the month, seem to not ovulate on my own anymore since March 2012, and have put on tummy weight that won't seem to go away despite improving my diet and getting back into my regular exercise routine since getting off the pill... all signs point to PCOS.  so if i don't ovulate, there's no egg, and no egg means no baby, without of course divine conception, but i don't think that'll be happening! =)

* hubs' fertility concerns *
 well both semen analysis tests concluded he has a high volume, great motility {which is their ability to swim}, however the first test showed 7% morphology + the most recent showed 1% {dang it, it went down}... and in plain english that means that only 7% the first time + 1% this last time were regularly shaped, the rest were misshaped, therefore making it very unlikely that there are enough good guys to make it to my egg {if i actually released one}.  and of all the funky morphed ones, even if they did make it to the egg, they would have two left feet when they got there and most likely wouldn't make it through the egg.  and in the miraculous event a morphed one did make it and fertilize, the odds of that embryo would end in a miscarriage is pretty much a for sure thing.

:: so that pretty much brings things up to late August 2012 ::

Clomid round #1 - 50mg - my OB said we could try Clomid before moving onto a RE {reproductive endocrinologist or fertility doc}, so they scanned my uterus, wrote me a script for 50mg of Clomid and off i went.  the hubs and i weren't getting our hopes up at this point, we also hadn't found out the results of hub's second semen analysis {SA} so we proceeded with Clomid and prayed for the best.... as i made it to day 17 of my cycle my doc thought there was a possibility i ovulated over a weekend and that we missed the window to induce ovulation, but after a progesterone blood test it was confirmed i hadn't.  at that point they told me we could try one more higher dose of Clomid, but after that we would need to see a RE for help.

Reproductive Endo consult - once we got the results back of hubby's second SA we decided it was time to book a consult with a RE, so yesterday we met with Dr. Mo.  she's a sweet yet "tell it like it is" 40 something RE who runs a women's fertility office, which really made things more comfortable for me seeing how i'm a pretty modest person and feel a lot more at ease working with a woman doctor from a physical and emotional standpoint.  she ran through our labs, test, etc. and said since we are young {we're both 29}, that we have options... we can either try a higher dose of Clomid for me, possibly combined with metformin for my high testosterone levels + intrauterine insemination {IUI}.  or the other option is IVF, which would involved lots of med, injections, surgery to harvest eggs, fertilizing them, having any left overs frozen, and then insemination of the fertilized embryos.  another big difference is IUI run about $1000 per round versus IVF which is between $13-15k per round.  while there is a drastic difference in price, IVF does have better pregnancy success rates but only like 10-20% greater than IUI....

the way we left it with Dr. Mo is that we would start with a round of IUI and see how it goes with the upped dose of Clomid and see if my body responds to it this time.  she ordered some blood work from both of us, a genetic test {which the hubs was all to interested to have done on himself, so i happily let him}, and she did a scan to see if maybe i possibly ovulated really late after the Clomid i took at the end of August and that turned out to be a big negative.... she did however say i had a ton of eggs, to which she also said would not make me a good candidate for injectables if the Clomid didn't work, since i have so many eggs the chances of multiples would be crazy high and even if they watched me closely it could be very difficult to control the amount of eggs i could produce.  at this point the hubs asked "like we could have multiples?" and Dr. Mo said no, you could end up with like 60 eggs... um, excuse me??  so basically i wouldn't be allowed to do injectables unless we were doing IVF and harvesting eggs for the future since i have so many and they're so healthy... so i guess that news is the silver lining of our first appointment.  we have a ton of healthy eggs to work with!

since i hate posts that are sans photos, i'll leave you with a shot of our his + her's blood work war wounds... and i swear his arm really isn't smaller than mine in real life!!! =)  till next time...