Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Closing the door on my 20's

:: written on monday, january 28th ::

well folks, today is my 30th birthday... it's a little bittersweet seeing as i thought i would've been a mommy by now.  and according to "my plan" i would've been, but in the past year and a half God's been trying to teach me that it's not about what i had planned but what he has planned, and how much greater his plan really is than mine.

with that being said, despite not having a child at this point in life, i realized i was able to celebrate this milestone of turning 30th not once but twice with the wonderful friends God has blessed me with!  last weekend J sent my close girlfriends and i for a spa day which was awesome, but this past weekend one of my college girlfriend's flew in from Chicago just to celebrate my bday {i know, how cool is that! i felt so loved} so we decided to go for a Duffy boat cruise followed by dinner with a group of friends from college.  it was an awesome part deux of my big 30!  the tricky part of this was not "celebrating" with a cocktail... now mind you i am not a big drinker but i'll have a cocktail or two on special occasions, but being that it was my 30th i think expectations were on "drinking" to celebrate by some in attendance.  however, since my doc said act as though you're pregnant until you get the results of you beta blood work back, that presented a challenge since most of the friends we were with don't know about our fertility challenges.

one such friend thought it would be a great idea to buy me a shot of really nice tequila since we were at this awesome Mexican restaurant for dinner... thankfully there was a couple there who knows about our struggle, and our recent iui, and i had discussed with her my concern about how the night was going to go down in terms of "celebrating" with cocktails.  since we were at one end of the table she moved quick to help, while we were ordering she had her hubby chug a bunch of water, then under the table she dumped the tequila in the water glass, then repoured water in the shot glass. Then we went through the theatrics of me "taking" the shot of now water... i think they had no idea, at least i hope we were that smooth. =)

then the rest of the night i ordered a blackberry mojito sans rum, and a girly "champagne drink" that was really only ginger-ale, i think we made it through without anyone catching on??

but all that aside, i still had a great time with friends that day.. i'm really thankful for all the friendships i've been blessed with, each one so very different yet totally fulfilling... yet another thing to be thankful for despite not having a baby yet.

this morning on my actual birthday,  J gave me the "morning off" {from getting up and making his breakfast} and brought me my green smoothie in bed... i love that he even found my fun striped straws that i love.  that was a very cute touch on his part... it's the little things =)  later my mom picked me up and we went for the day out to the Cabazon outlets near Palm Springs for a girls day, something she and i haven't had a lot of time for in recent months unfortunately... so it was a great day despite not finding much in the way of shopping, but quality time was better than actually finding anything!

below is a photo from my two celebrations, 
the top one from our girls day at the spa, and the bottom from our duffy day + dinner...

when i look back on the past decade of my life, it's crazy to think i'm now 30, it always seemed so old.  but here i am 30, and i remember all of my 20's like it was yesterday, i remember being in college, joining Kappa Alpha Theta, meeting my future husband, all the fun trips and social events while at USC, J then proposing 4 years later in Jackson Hole, our wedding day + honeymoon to Tahiti, both of my grandpas passing away {over the age of 90}, my grandma's 95th birthday celebration, all of my close friends weddings {and becoming an auntie to some of their new babies}, starting my event planning business, my mom's lymphoma diagnosis + her 2+ years in remission.  when i look back on my 20's there was quite a bit to be thankful for, i will cherish those memories forever, even the bittersweet ones because they are all part of the story and my journey through life.... there's one thing from my 20's that i do hope i can leave behind, and that's our journey through the land of infertility.  it will always be a huge part of my story, but i do hope that now as i enter my 30's, 
it will just be a chapter in the past.

i'll leave you with one of my favorite songs of the past decade of my life, i never realized then that turning 30 would be so bittersweet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

praising him while we wait

i ran across this great reminder today while i was on pinterest {aka trying to distract myself}, and it made me think about i keep telling myself i just want these 2 weeks of waiting to hurry up and fast forward so i can know the outcome of our iui.  but that's just my silly human nature trying to tell myself, yeah i've got this... when really i need to be so incredibly thankful and praise God for getting us to this point.  

this point being a successful cycle leading up to our iui procedure, this point also being a good place for J and i, and the ability to be able to afford to see Dr. Mo despite not having any fertility coverage whatsoever through my insurance.  

it's so easy to forget all that has gone into getting us to this day in our lives and this day in God's plan for us.  this little inspirational reminder was a good one to make me stop and think "right now we really are waiting in the hallway" during this 2ww {2 week wait}.  and no matter how long we have to "wait in the hallway" {read: what the outcome is of this iui cycle} i will praise Him for getting us to this point in our infertility journey... while i still have no clue how much longer it will last, i am so BEYOND thankful that i don't have to hold the reins or be in charge of the master plan, that's up to God.  though at times resigning that control to Him is very hard for someone with a personality like me, it is comforting and reassuring to know He's got it all figured out and the more i can learn to Praise Him for that, the more appreciative i will be upon that next door opening.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

cd 19: iui day!

so, to pick up where i left off in my last post, yesterday was the day of our iui! finally... it seemed to me like we were never going to get a green light.  and i guess i was a little apprehensive due to that clomid cycle i did with my OB last fall that just kinda fizzled out around cd 17 with my follicles not progressing.  yet another reason to work with an RE, they're in the business of trying to get you pregnant!

anyhow today i indeed tried to do something my future self will thank me for should this cycle be successful... this morning i had to drive J's sample down to the office at 9.  for those of you unfamiliar with transporting these types of "samples" it's recommended to keep it close to body temperature, which means i usually transport it zipped up in my hoodie or workout jacket... glamourous eh? it also needs to be at the office within and hour of the time it's produced, so i know J is very thankful we live about 20 mins from Dr. Mo's office that way he can do this in the privacy of our home. 

after dropping off the sample i hung out for a bit in the area and did a little work before driving to J's office to pick him up and head back to Dr. Mo's for the procedure.   

we knew Dr. Mo wouldn't be there for the procedure, and that one of the nurses would do my ultrasound and the PA would administer my iui... so, in fact they started with my scan and we were told that the follicles ended up measuring 22mm + 18mm and my uterine lining had gotten even thicker at 11mm, woohoo! so i guess that extra day and a half with the estrogen patched help bump my follicles + lining to the ideal range.  yet another answer to prayer, i was really excited to know that there were two possible eggs in the running, and that my lining was a healthy thickness {ideal thickness being 8-11mm}.  the nurse also said that the outlines of the follicles looked a little jagged which is a good indicator that ovulation had already started or was underway.  

after that the PA got me ready for the actual iui, she told us that J's numbers after the wash were 36 million, and 86% motility.  she said that they look for the motility to go up after the wash, and his did by about 20%, so that's great news!  an iui is prepped pretty much like a pap test, but they have a syringe filled with the washed sperm and there's a really thin catheter on the end of it which they insert past your cervix and up to the top of your uterus.  none of that really hurt as far as i noticed, but just as she asked are you feeling any pinching, and i said nope i felt it... it being an uncomfortable instant cramping similar to what an HSG feels like.  the only way i can describe it is a change in "cabin pressure" in your uterus... meaning it's all of a sudden filled with fluid that's not normally in there in that large a quantity.  after that she told me to hang out for about 10 mins with my knees up and then we would be free to go.  she did mention that she noticed that my cervix was pliable and bled a little when she touched it with the catheter, which in her words she said is a sign that there was "some action already going on" probably ovulation underway!  while laying there, J decided to check out the ultrasound machine, which led to him tripping over the stool where the PA had sat for the iui, the stool went flying and he almost landed on his face, and that made me start cracking up!  so i'm laying there trying not to laugh for fear i would disturb the new peaceful balance in there... oh it was terrible, between the air that was now trapped in my uterus, and clenching my abs trying not to laugh at him... ugh that guy!

after we left i noticed the little crampys getting more apparent, and by the time i got home all i wanted to do was curl up on the couch... and so i did... the rest of the afternoon, misty kitty and i had a nice long snooze.  when i woke up i tried to go about my normal routine i noticed the cramps were still there, ugh it killed me when i had to alioop my TJs groceries out of the cart, into the car, then carry them upstairs when i got home. soo, when i got home i got he temperature sensitive items in the fridge and ditched the bags right in the middle of the kitchen and resumed my place on the couch with kitty.

i'm a wimp right now, but hey i think i've earned the right to be a whimp after today!  and now folks we wait, it's official we're in the 2 week wait and i'm currently taking distractions as i really need them so i don't go crazy these next two weeks...

cd 17: a green light and early morning date

let me just preface this post by saying i'm currently sitting here at the Whole Foods killing time before picking up J and heading back to Dr. Mo's for our iui procedure... but i probably won't get to post this till after i'm home again.

but let me back up to saturday morning and my early morning date with J to Dr. Mo's for my cd 15 check up.... she came in on saturday to see us and what seemed like about 3 other couples, apparently i have some other cycle buddies, and to my surprise they all seemed to be about our age which i guess seems like we're all younger than i expected people to be with fertility challenges.  so when Dr. Mo came in for our ultrasound, she asked how the estrogen patches went and i told her it felt like there was a lot of action going on since i put them on last thursday.  and low and behold my feelings were right, my dominate follicle was at 18mm and the other was at 16mm!  she said she wished she could give the 16 a few more days to catch up, but at least the dominate one was at the appropriate size for us to get the HCG ovulation trigger shot.  on that note, i was saying my follicle sizes were in cm's but it's actually mm's.  back to the check up, she said that my estrogen patches sure did work because my lining had grown to 8cm {i think that's measured in cm's, i don't know anymore}.  

so we were given the green light to trigger ovulation sunday morning, and before we left we were given the tutorial on how to mix the hcg trigger shot and then we were done.  it was very surreal to know that we were just on the cusp of being able to "try," well with the help of an iui, but still it was a good feeling to know that my cycle progressed {albeit slowly}, but progressed without any issues thus far.  thank you Lord for that, because i know if this wasn't part of His plan the door could've been closed at any point.  

after our appointment we headed off to brunch at one of my favorite brunch places, Plum's and had a little post doc's visit brunch date.  mmm waffles... =)
it really was a great time together, we don't have a lot of time during the week to really talk and enjoy our time together.  it was really nice and very needed especially given all the conversations these days seem to revolve around babies, and trying to start a family... it was nice to just talk and enjoy each other's company like the old days.

we were told at our appointment that sunday morning i could go ahead and remove my estrogen patches and administer my hcg trigger shot.  so that morning J let me sleep in a little bit and came and woke me with the shot all mixed and an ice cube to use to numb the area.  so i sat for a few mins with the ice cub numbing the spot on my tummy chub {yes i said chub} for J to administer the shot.  i will say it did hurt a little, but it really wasn't that bad, however now i'm kinda wishing i would've done the upper thigh injection because anytime i sit down now it feels a little bruised and my waistbands seem to hit right on that spot.  

also, J had planned an early 30th bday celebration for me on sunday with my close girlfriends for a spa day, which couldn't have been any more perfectly timed given that the iui was going to be the next day.  so after getting my shot i hopped in the car with my green smoothie J made me and went to meet the girls at Burke Williams.

 i hadn't been there before, but it was amazing to spend time with 6 of my closest pals to loung around in robes, sit in a whirlpool {my last time doing that for a little while} with cucumber eye treatments, sauna, steam room, and all the amenities.  can i just tell you they have some of the best lemonade i've ever had!  they also had fresh fruits, spa water, tray passed frozen grapes, teas.... can you tell i enjoyed myself? haha, also since it was for my birthday i was given a complimentary enhancement to my massage... it was honestly one of the best massages i've had, i tend to really carry a ton of tension in my back so my firm Swedish/deep tissue massage was just perfect and just what i needed to take my mind off our iui that was coming up today, and it really helped relax me... just what the doctor ordered!

after our spa day we went and got a delightful lunch and headed home where i proceeded to pass out on the couch the rest of the day, what a bum i am!  later that night i realized after taking my last bath for awhile {RIP evening baths per Dr. Mo's orders} that my estrogen patches + my hcg injection site were super red and the injection site was raised and felt a little bruised... no bueno

the bottom red area is from one of my patches the top one is from my injection, yeah, note to self: if we do another injection i want to try it in my thigh.

so that brings us up to today {monday CD 19} IUI day!

as you can see above on my fertility friend chart it looks as though i did in fact ovulate!  temping for ovulation typically follows a pattern of ups + downs in the first 2 weeks of the cycle, then a low temp dip followed by a thermal shift up of at least .5* which it appears happened with my temp on iui day today. 

post iui procedure update to follow...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

cd 15: bring on the estrogen!

today was another check in with Dr. Mo, she asked if i was making any progress, and i thought "how the heck would i know??"  she checked my ovaries and my right one is proving to be a total dud, i remember the first ultrasound i had with the clomid round last fall with my FAVORITE u/s tech Marty {which i can't wait to start going to see her again}, anyhow Marty said that my right ovary was really "shy."  meaning that it's waaaay off in right field, so it really doesn't surprise me that i don't have any follicles growing on that one.  but on the left today Dr. Mo said i now have two follicles in the running, one that's 15cm and one that's 13cm!  hooray, that means there may actually be more than one target to hit when it comes time for the iui.

while my follicles are starting to look good, she did say my uterine lining was pretty whimpy.  she said she'd like to see it at 8cm, and right now it's at a measly 5cm... dang it.  when we tried the clomid round each ultra sound i had Marty commented on how beautiful or fluffy my lining was {almost like being told you look prett, haha}. so it's a little odd given that one of the major side effects of taking clomid is that it can thin your lining, and the up side to femara is that it usually doesn't... but o'well c'est la vie.

they had a solution, and i am now sporting two new vivelle-dot estrogen patches...  and i didn't really think before and i just slapped them on.... upside down, go me!

the nurse said you can either double them up on one side of your lower tummy, or one on each side... and now that i think about it, i probably should've just doubled them up on the left for the sake of helping my left follicles to grow, but i did one on each side.

Dr. Mo also said she's thinking our iui could be monday or tuesday, but would need to see what happens this weekend... huh?  as far as i knew my RE's office wasn't open on weekends, so i asked "sooo, when should i come back in for my next scan?"  she said saturday, so ok 9am saturday it is, and you better believe J is coming with me and taking me to brunch after =).   i guess they open up shop if patients need to be seen, which is comforting because i was starting to wonder what would happen if something needed to be done on a weekend, especially since fertility and cycles still march on over the weekends.

funny thing is, as soon as i drove away from the doc's office all of a sudden i got really flushed and felt little throbbing type feelings right under the areas where my patches were {kinda like i could feel my ovaries working}.  so i'm gonna assume that means the patches were already working... hormones + hot flashes here i come!  yeah, probably should've asked what the side effects are of the patches but i like to live life on the edge, i'm figuring out that sometimes in this process it's better not knowing what i "might" expect...

oh, and on a happy note: i got my hair did tonight, last month i had my friend/stylist add more lowlights to my hair, which i'm not really a big fan of too many lowlights since i feel like i start to look my hair is always dirty {it's a blonde thing}.  so tonight she added more of my platinum back in just in time for my big 3-0 that's quickly approaching on the 28th, ack!

 and it's also just in time for our glorious so cal weather to return again, hooray! will follow up after saturday's check in...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

femara 5mg side effects?

for the sake of trying to remember the details of this first round of femara + iui i thought i'd just jot down some of the side effects, or health things that happened in the past week.

started the femara on monday 1.7.12:
but it wasn't until about thursday or friday i really felt like my ovaries had kicked into hyperdrive.... meaning that i was feeling some little pains coming from them, sort of like what ovulation can feel like, but times ten.  if you've experience what ovulation can feel like then you'll understand what i mean.  man this stuff really forces you to get to know your body really well!

finished femara on friday 1.11.12 {pretty sure i goofed up my doses}:
so on thursday i realized i was up one pill and thought i must've forgotten to take in the morning on wednesday due to J being up in nor cal for a hearing, which totally threw off my normal morning routine of getting up early to make his breakfast and start my day... shhh, don't tell him but i actually slept in that morning and man was it awesome!  needless to say, i thought i forgot to take my AM pill.  well on friday night i was down to 2 pills and decided to just double up and take both so i would be done with it that night {still don't really know why i did this??}  but right after i did i read the label and it said take 2 pills each evening, ah what the heck!? the pharmacist told me one in the AM + 1 in the PM!!  was i doing it wrong this whole time??  and dummy me i had an extra pill because i picked up my rx in the evening monday so i only took one pill monday, awe geeze...

saturday 1.12.12:
we skipped breakfast and had a late lunch, which i happily offered to make because i had seen a clean recipe on instagram for chocolate protein pancakes with a peanut butter/chocolate + bananas topping, and it looked DEVINE and J is always game when i try to make recipes that looks so delicious and yet are still supposed to be good for you...  well fast forward a few hours, the pancakes went down great, but man i was in pain, i thought i was going to throw them up.  they totally were not sitting well in my tummy and the photo i had posted of my recipe victory on insta kept getting likes and comments galore and it was all i could do to keep shutting the screen off so i wouldn't vomit every time the photo kept popping up... even now, five days later i still can't bear to look at them, i actually thought to post the picture of them here, but i had to delete the photo of them from my phone so i wouldn't see them again anytime i look at my photos... yeah, it's still making me sick when i see the photo, bleh!

anyhow later that day i started to get really bad chills and then my lower back started aching like crazy, and i thought, huh... that makes a little more sense i guess i'm just getting the flu.  so i proceeded to stay curled up on the couch the rest of the night half awake, half trying to be unconscious so as to not think about throwing up or how much i ached, or how i couldn't get my nose, hands or feet to warm up to save my life!  the nausea continued on sunday, however the aches and chills subsided quite a bit.  yet i still was pretty worthless most of that day too...

so monday and yesterday i still wasn't too sure of my stomach, and truthfully i kept getting these little burps, that had like a metallic/pepper/onion type taste to them that was just gross... and all i can attribute that to is the femara since i have heard that meds can cause a metallic taste... but today is the first day i kinda feel like im rounding the corner on it and may have graduated back to solid foods again, praise the Lord!

are we there yet? {cd 12 doc visit}

ain't that the truth?... well, yesterday i saw Dr. Mo for my cd 12 check in and like i had a feeling we aren't there yet, but that's as i suspected.  so i rushed to make it down to my early, early appointment {no, i'm totally not a morning person, which i know will have to change when i'm a mommy}.  but after rushing to get down there early i did have a few minutes to sit in the ultrasound room and enjoy the view from Dr. Mo's office.

pretty sweet huh?  Dr. Mo is located right next to Fashion Island in Newport Beach, and yesterday morning was a beyond beautiful morning {something i am likely to miss being that i prefer not to make it a regular occurrence to be up and out of the house before 9 normally}. =)  the past week we've had really chilly days here in so cal and yesterday we'd had some santa ana winds that had blown away the smog and revealed this beautiful view of the ocean all the way to Catalina Island...  thank you God for the pretty gift you blessed me with while i was waiting for my check in.  i was reminded of Lam 3:22-24 "His mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness."  and this picturesque view was a reminder that He is indeed faithful and with every new morning i need to be reminded of that... and if i had to start my day off that early and not get the best news, at least i was able to sit an enjoy this calm before the doctor came in to discuss the next plan of action.

any who, back to the visit itself... she checked me and said my uterine lining was indeed getting thicker {yay}, and that i had a bunch of little follicles but only one that looked to be the promising one, however it was only about 11cm, and they prefer it to be closer to 18-20cm before they can give me the HCG trigger. so we're in a holding pattern until thursday.  i'll go back and get checked again to see if any other follicles have started maturing and how the dominant one is growing.

it's kinda surreal that we are finally actively pursuing fertility help, it feels like it's been a long time coming and we {really i} have had so many thoughts and concerns swirling in my head about moving forward with fertility treatments... one of which being that if we start really using fertility meds we run the risk of possible multiples out of the treatment.  and truth be told, while i had mentally and emotionally come to terms with the "idea" of having multiples it really was freaking me out a little bit!  twins are a total possibility given that J's family has a history of twins, but the thought of more than two, yeah i was letting my imagination get the best of me when i thought about that possibility....  but, after my first check in and hearing i really only had one follicle in the running my heart sank a little.  i was kind of hoping to have more than one follicle since that would up our chances of conceiving, but it would also up our chances of conceiving multiples too.  so its a little bittersweet to think that there's only one so far in the running.  but, i do know a guy, and He is in the business of creating miracles, so i can rest assured that if that one little follicle is meant to be our future child He will see to it that it all works out according to His plan and not mine.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

a new year, a new cycle...

{just FYI i drafted this over a week ago and am now finally getting around to posting it}

happy new year to anyone who may have happened to stumble upon my blog, i'm convinced due to my blog analytics that anyone reading this is viewing my blog completely by accident due to the "keyword" searches being done to end up here, but whatever... as of Christmas there hadn't been any sign of late ovulation so i went ahead and started a progesterone challenge to start a new cycle knowing that i should end up with a new cycle right around the start of the year.  after about a little over a week my cycle started, which was a relief i think to both my husband and i... i personally think you start to get a little hormonally outta whack when you go too long without a period, and i think he would agree with me that i was getting quite snippy without actually PMS'ing...  we discussed that when we got back from traveling to see family for Christmas and being up in Arrowhead for new years we would move forward with our first IUI cycle this month.

so i will warn you that due to a random series of events leading up to yesterday i'm a little down emotionally, but i'm determined to blog whenever i visit the doc for posterity's sake.  anyhow, yesterday was CD 5 {cycle day}, and the protocol is to go in on days 3, 4, or 5 to have an u/s {ultrasound} to check your uterine lining + follicles, and yep they're both still there.... it was interesting because my u/s lasted no longer than 2 minutes, and they had me back up at the front desk.  since i have no fertility benefits/coverage they did let me know now that they're actively trying to help us conceive, they wouldn't be billing insurance.  cash it is... and that 2 minutes of my time was a solid $105, which could be worse, however when i told my attorney husband he said "man i picked the wrong profession." and on the topic of money, we've decided since we have a nest egg saved {we had originally intended that money to be for purchasing a home, we've since decided we will use some of it to go towards IUI rounds}.  now if the IUIs aren't successful we may have to revaluate things when we get there to decide what our priorities are at that point.  but for now we've decided since we have the money saved we'll just use our Starwood card to pay for all of it and pay it off as we go with the funds we have saved, in hopes that we might be able to use those points to go on a babymoon {well that's more my wishful thinking perhaps}.  also, i did ask Dr. Mo what she thought about Femara vs. Clomid, and she said it's for women who haven't really responded to clomid... and then said we can do Femara, and seeing how my OB only did one cycle of clomid at 50mg {the lowest dose}, we could've tried a hight dose, however i was leaning more toward wanting to try Femara and stay away from Clomid if possible.

so here they are... my 10 little femara pills which i'll be taking twice a day for the next 5 days till i get to CD9.  Dr. Mo started me at 5mg {the mid range dose}, so we'll see how that plays out.

also, she wanted to make sure i was on a prenatal + DHA, so they gave me an assortment of prenatal samples that fit the bill {let's be honest at $100+ a visit i would sure hope there are freebies coming along with my expensive visits}!

so i'll be on this regimen till friday {1.11} and then i'll head back for my CD12 scan to see where my follicles + uterine lining are at.  and not to sound like a debbie downer, but knowing me chances are good that i won't be ready for the trigger injection yet.  just knowing that it took some time to see results when i was taking clomid last september i'm thinking it might be the same with the femara, but we'll see.  and just in case i forget what the tentative plan of attack is they gave me a cycle guide for the next month of my life, which you'll see in the photo above....

so i'll check back next week after my CD 12 doctor's visit