Monday, December 17, 2007

All Quiet on the IF Front

Well.... after my last post I don't have anything else to add. Except that sometime around Wednesday/Thursday there was a turning point in my spirit (mind, will, emotions). I had the grace necessary for each day. I had the grace to smile and laugh and my spirit wasn't weighed down anymore. I call it a spiritual breakthrough. It's nothing I did differently than any other day. I think I just had to persist and wait for it. I think God will offer us grace, but then we have to receive it. I can be so caught up in my own pain that I don't see it or don't want it when it's there. There is a fine line between being genuinely discouraged and then having an opportunity for release from it - and refusing to take it. A funny situation that occurs and gives you impulse to smile or laugh (when you haven't in days). An offer of kindness by a husband or friend (Starbucks, Target shopping) that is turned down because if you leave home people might forget you're sad (and yet you do want to go). Maybe just a feeling that life isn't so bad, and yet inside you are afraid of life without the pain, so you deny that feeling. Whatever it is, I know the moment I have the choice to make. I know when I'm refusing to partake of the grace offered to me. This time, I didn't refuse.

In Polishing God's Monuments (a book I can't recommend enough), the author states this, in reference to having a huge loss come into your life:
"We feel overwhelmingly sad and empty. No matter how much we still have to be thankful for, the loss of what we value is so crushing and the relative value of everything else is so diminished by the price we put on what is gone, that nothing could offset our pain enough to alleviate it. Once we had the little world we wanted and now it is gone. Thereafter nothing would satisfy but to have things back the way they were. Our emotions balk at any relief less than a return to the status quo."

I know this has been me at times. Nothing less than having my pregnant state back and my baby returned to safety in my womb would make me content. The "status quo." It's painful to realize that I have to settle for less than that. It's been ordained.

So, I am trying to now receive the grace that comes to me. Though outwardly I have no more hope that I did a week ago when I was so lost and distressed, inwardly I have hope in God's working. I am ready to return to prayer with faith, prayer for a miracle this month. And if He doesn't give it, I pray I will be able to be content to wait, in expectancy of a good work sometime (just not my time).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thanks, Wonderful Blogger Friends!

Well.... I'd like to thank you ALL for commeting on my last entry... I'm shocked at how many of you have to deal with SO MANY pregnant people in your friend groups and work. I know one couple in my company of 60-some employees who has trouble conceiving. Everyone else, no problem... As in, we have a father of 12, father of 8, another father of 8, father of 7, father of 5, and so on. Oh yeah, no fertility problems there. The good thing is, most of them work in the Illinois office, so apart from ultrasound/baby pictures and announcements, I am very shielded from it becauses I work alone in a home office. I ignore the "it's in the water" comments (how I've wanted to beg publicly for that water!).

The pregnancies that hurt the most are my close acquaintances/friends. And I told my husband, I watched all these women get pregnant with thier first or second born children spring '06 and now many of the moms with one baby are trying for number 2. I had a hard time then since we'd been TTC ~6 months, but now, this spring it'll be ~31 months. I just am not ready for that yet. I know SO MANY of you have walked through this. I only have 2 of those so far (friends pregnant with #1 & now #2 all when we were TCC before #1).... I love my friends and they are very kind to me. I am happy they don't have to experience the awful pain of IF. I'm glad to see their families grow and be so happy. But envy sneaks in and I just want it too. Yes, envy. Ugly, isn't it? And I don't want to be forgotten (which naturally happens). But I have to make myself stop comparing them to me. My life is different and I can't make it what it's not. I'm trying to love them, they're trying to love me, and we're in different seasons. I can't share all their motherhood joys while I'm in my time of pain, and vice versa. So I am going to have to keep pushing on, whether or not I'm pregnant when they all get their #2's.

Now, I would like to say I have incredible parents. When I was at the end of my rope earlier this week, I wrote them an email about my pain, my doubts, my feelings of dispair. And Dad & Mom got on the phone and called me, just to love me. Dad knows where I am. He has had deep, dark times of pain and confusion and one bad thing after another at seasons in his life. He told me that he can't offer me anything I haven't heard yet... That I will have to find this place so deep down inside of me, and find out truly what I believe. He said that these are questions my very life is hinged on... life or death type of questions. And he just struck such a chord with me.

C.S. Lewis is a writer I never tire of reading. He is logical, clear-headed, and has the ability to put into words the things we don't even know we have thought. One of his books, A Grief Obsered, was originally just a diary after his wife's untimely death. He wrestled with whether or not God was even good. Here's a quote:

“Bridge players tell me that there must be some money on the game, ‘or else people won’t take it seriously.’ Apparently it’s like that. Your bid – for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity – will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high, until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man – or at any rate a man like me – out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

That's what Dad was talking about. This is an experience in my life where I have to really discover what I believe. At one point in his struggles, Lewis said, "Not that I am in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all’, but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'" Yes! When I'm so tied up in my own pain and other's joy, it is a real question to grapple with!!!! I know the truth about God, but my circumstances and definitely my feelings are telling me it's all been a deception.

And yet, I just know, even in my pain, that I believe something different about God. I don't believe he tortures as a vivisectionist. I believe He is the good surgeon, gently cutting out something dreadful out of me. He is working for my good. Not because it even looks remotely like that, but because I have to choose whether to believe His word about Himself, or my feelings/temporal circumstances.

Ah how far I have to go.... But at least I know what I'm up against.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Testing

I received a call from a good friend today... You're right, she is pregnant. Her second. They started trying before us, had a miscarriage, then got pregnant & have a 1yr old. Now another coming. Hm.

Make this my 3rd pregnancy announcement in a week. My 4th friend to enter that realm.

Am I being sorely tested???? You bet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Different

So... Saturday my body was giving me all the signs of beginning a new cycle. This usually includes an acute lower back pain, slight skin breakout (seriously, this time it was ONE bit of acne, but since impending period or ovulation are the only thing I've ever pinpointed to bring this on, well...), and negative HPTs. I'd taken 3 this month, each stark white. Of course, looking at them I knew they had evap lines, but still, we all hope maybe we're just not seeing that pink line but it's really there. But from my one pregnancy, I know that once you see the line, you know. No ambiguity. My first positive that month was at 10dp3dt (i.e. 13 dpo) so I rarely bother with testing very early anymore.

Saturday I also got a call from a longtime friend, Anna. This friend has suffered twice from Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) by the time she was 21. She is now 26, cancer free, and married 2.5 years. She has always wanted kids, but the cancer stopped her cycles completely. She was told she'd gone through menopause. Yet she still prayed. We prayed for one another. I used her as a prayer-target, so that when I felt really depressed about my own situation, I thought about hers and prayed for her instead. Well... she got a period and is now pregnant! This news just was the best thing I could have heard. I was SO happy for her. I had not gotten around to telling her about my pregnancy (I was waiting to tell most people until our 1st ultrasound), but she learned about it & the miscarriage from my mom a few weeks later and called me. She was one person I was afraid might never have her own children. I remember wondering how I would tell her I was pregnant without hurting her. I just felt like to have to suffer from cancer and losing your fertility was too much for one person (they told her they couldn't save/freeze her eggs, which I know there's not good technology for yet). Anyway, I was really happy for her. I didn't even think of being sad/envious. Until I saw my husband. He took it unusually hard. And my heart broke, because I wanted to be pregnant too. And somehow I feel like it must be my fault that we can't get pregnant and that I couldn't keep the baby. So I feel somewhat responsible for his pain. I know this is a lie.

So, Sunday my new cycle did start. And though I took it well almost the whole day (determined in church that I would sing praises to the Lord because He is worthy). Then at dinner it hit me, and I snapped emotionally. (My poor, sweet husband has to be dragged along these roller-coaster rides. He is so incredibly sensitive and strong.) After a while, I just decided I'm making this month my cry out to the Lord month. Maybe it won't change anything but my own spirit. I'm not trying to manipulate God ("Well, Anna didn't try anything medically. She just believed. Maybe if I do that too you'll bless me!"). I truly just want a different month. I don't want to live as I have been... "There's so little hope this month. Sure I ovulate and everything looks perfect, but it's never happened before. But I'll still pray, it could happen! But I just can't wait for IVF#2." Nope. I just want to live IN this month. And to pray like it's my only hope. To pray like I have no hope in anyone but God. I can so easily forget that some people have no medical recourse. I don't really remember to cry out as if my life depends on it. Maybe I just need a re-focus. So that's what I'll attempt this month.

And that's all I have to say today.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thanksgiving Flight

I just wanted to brag about what an awesome wife I am... *grins* Actually, not really, but I figured you guys might find it funny to see how we traveled this Thanksgiving from Georgia to North Carolina. The drive is approx 8 hours, so when we're making a short weekend of it (4 days), flying is the better option because typically it's only a little more expensive and it saves you a good bit of time.

When we flew up Wednesday we got there in a record 2.5 hours. Sweet! However, Sunday we had to leave NC early because weather was getting bad on the east coast. That took 4.5 LONG hours! It's not nearly as comfy to be in a plane as a car, you have to wear headsets (that give me headaches after a few hours) and well... it can be tense for the pilot on days like that. There was about ZERO visibility. Anywhere from 3000-6000ft we were totally IN a cloud & rain & bsome turbulence. You just had to trust the instruments. Plus all the airports kept re-routing us because they were too busy to have us flying directly in their airspace (Greensboro,Charlotte,Atlanta). So as the passenger I just had to hope the Air Traffic Controller knew what he was doing and we wouldn't midair crash with anyone. (I know, silly, but you have little else to think about up there.)

Now you may think I'm being over-reactive. But by being in the copilot's seat I have an up-front view of everything. Sometimes you'd rather not see the conditions you're in! Any for your viewing pleasure, here is our aircarft. After landing, I was praised on not showing any fear (under the circumstances, because I'm not normally scared to fly in anything).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Back! And Back to Updating!

Well, I have finally experienced something many of your talk about. I cried at a pregnancy announcement that was in front of my face. I've actually been able to avoid this so far, receiving announcements via email, phone, or blog, so I've had my own sweet time (or been able to hide my face) if I struggled. Ah, but last night I was caught unawares. Let's get some background.

I love our Life Group. To understand what that is, it's basically a group of about 5-8 couples, of various ages and stages of life, that meet once a week for a meal, fellowship, a Bible/book study, and prayer. Our church encourages you to join one so that you don't get "lost" in the big church as a whole. It is helpful for discipleship, for friendships, and for true help in need. We have had great ones in our previous churches in Charlotte and San Antonio, and were so happy to find one here in Georgia.

Our LG does happen to have 3-4 couples with kids already. It also has 4 couples with no kids (we are included in that figure). I knew one of them was trying and going in for an IUI b/c of previous chemo treatments on the husband. I prepared myself that they may announce a pregnancy soon and I really wanted to be happy, b/c they've been married 4 yrs and really want this, and um, if anyone's had to go thru chemo they deserve not to have other medical trials! Plus, c'mon, an IUI is not nothing when you're new to IF. It may seem non-invasive to a veteraned IVF'er, but I still remember the lack of privacy it introduces to what should be a lovely intimate time between a husband and wife. Anyway, they actually didn't show up. Another couple who joined more recently, been married 8 months, came. I met the wife at a baby shower and when she asked if I had any kids, I truthfully said I'd miscarried our baby a week before. She shared they'd been trying 6 mos, and at her annual the week before she asked her dr was she doing something wrong. The dr recommended OPK's, but she really didn't know how many to buy, etc. I told her I'd recommend her reading TCOYF, b/c she seemed to know nothing about her body. I guess I assumed it'd still take a while.

So at LG last night, all 4 of the ladies & me were sitting down to dinner and this girl then asks the new momma, my friend Kristy, about caffiene consumption and makes a comment about not knowing what she should eat or not eat, etc. And then I knew. She was avoiding saying she was pregnant (& we had talked one-on-one before LG & she did tell me what was new in her life was she got a job). So of course, knowing the reason she didn't tell the whole table was b/c of me, I just said, "Are you pregnant" and gave her a warm smile and congrats & asked the due date. Of course I'd already cried twice that day, feeling so down and sad for my dead baby and our lack of options for treatment. So tears were already just seconds away anyway. I choked them back, but I was bottle-feeding the 2-week old and couldn't just leave. The entire remaining 20 minues at the table was about ob's, deliveries, etc. I felt suffocated. I tried to burp the baby so I could give it back to its mom and go someplace quiet before I made a fool of myself. But in the midst of the stories, Joy (has 2 live kids, but had miscarried her 2nd child) shared about her 5 yr old son's delivery. She already had a girl by c-section and wanted to do a VBAC. After 25 hours of labor she asked for an epidural and then 2 hours later got the most excrutiating pain she ever had experienced. Her dr came over and then rushed her to the OR. Without even asking if she was numb (though she was), she saw him slash her stomach and pull her son out. Her uterus had ruptured and they had only minutes before her and her son's life were possibly lost. SUCH a sad story and yet redeeming. I immediately knew a ruptured uterus meant no more kids, and so I start weeping (silently) as she shared this. And she did mention that in the weeks of recovery she held her son extra close, knowing it was her last. She & her husband had wanted more. Anyway, yes the story was a sad one, but I think the proportion of my tears wasn't quite right for it, so I finally returned the baby and went to "get a drink." I found the laundry room and huddled in the corner, crying out bitter tears of pain. I felt a knife had been pushed in me when we lost our baby, and it remains, and certain things twist and grind it in even more. I held this woman no grudge, I am GLAD she doesn't have to experience IF and losing a child. But I am dumbfounded why I again and again must be tried and found wanting. I thought it a merciful thing that though I started TTC before all my Charlotte friends, we moved before they all started trying (and succeeded their 1st month), so that I didn't have to live with my failure in the face of their success.

Anyway, I tried to compose myself eventually, but I know after crying that w/o makeup you can't really hide it well. So I didn't rejoin the women but went to watch the Steelers vs Bengals. And Joy, bless her heart, came up to me and said, "Have I shown you my daughter's redecorated room? Come see!" I knew, without a doubt, she knew I was in pain from the conversation and she was purposely distracting me and removing me from it. I almost wanted to thank her for it, but every time I tried to, I got too choked up. I figure it's just as uncomfortable to be the preson trying to be sensitive, so I knew I didn't need to mention it at the time. But I felt so grateful for her. Something about the pain she's had herself makes her more attune to others' pain. I so want to be that woman: looking not to myself buy looking out for others.

Of course, on the way home, J asked me how I felt about it. And I spewed out all my frustration, hurt, etc. And you know what? He felt the same way. Bitter, angry, frustrated. He told me, "I don't know why I'm so slow on the uptake, but I finally understand how you have felt over all our friends' pregnancy announcemnts." (Every time before, he didn't "get" why I was hurt at their pregnancies - he thought if they were my friends, I should be glad and that should be the end of it.) It feels so good to at least be in unity, even though it manifests itself differently in each of us. He tends to want to ignore it and get fed up, whereas I just want to try all the harder. So there are still plenty of things to talk about, but at least emotionally we connect on that level. He was super sensitive toward me and while I cried he energetically did the dishes (I think it was pent up frustration!). No matter what, I am grateful to have this kind, wise, and gentle husband by my side through such a hard trial.

So I'm back and will post more often. The RE appt went ok, but basically I was told IVF is our best option, since IUIs haven't worked yet. IVF w/them is 11K plus meds. Can't do that, it's the cost of two at WH. IUI is 1K plus meds (which I need little of & have a little leftover from IVF). We're just praying and considering Dec/Jan, but we may just stay put and wait, or we may not even have dates that work. I have a hard time thinking if I pray I'll get an answer, but all the same, I pray for wisdom. I think my husband will get a clear yes or no, and I want to abide by that, as hard as it may be. More later!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tagged! & Questions Answered

I've known I had some questions unanswered from the last few posts, so here are my answers to you, my Blogging Buddies.

I have not had the genetic testing done yet. I'm hoping I can show our history to the new RE & they will order it for us. If they don't, I will do to my PCM doc (Primary Care Manger) on base and ask him to order it. He's helped us out before, and I feel if I ask he might do it. I just don't want to use that unless absolutely necessary (trespassing on his good graces and all). I want this bad!

Projects to do in the spring while husband is deployed? Yes, actually, I am going to do landscaping. We'll have lived here 1 yr by then & we still just have the ugly/cheap stuff builders put in. I don't want to spend a ton, but I want to make it look beautiful and well kept. I had planned on painting/decoraing the baby's room when I was pregnant, but for now it'll stay as it is unless there's good reason to change it. :/

Where am I doing IVF through the military? Wil.ford H.all in Texas. Yes, we pay about $4,000 for IVF there. Tri.care doesn't cover it or have anything to do with it when it's at a Military Treatment Facility like that & Wal.ter R.eed. Tri.care comes into play when you use non-military doctors. & Tri.care's policy is to cover diagnostics/tests and anything used with natural intercourse. If you start doing IUIs or IVF then they (theoretically) do not cover drugs, ultrasounds, blood draws, etc with that particular cycle. Sometimes they do, but it's hit & miss. All military facilities I know of will not let you use donor sperm for IVF and maybe IUIs too, so you should stay with civilian providers. Good luck!

Also, I was tagged by Wishing, Hoping & Praying. Never been tagged before, so yippie. Here goes!

Four jobs I have had in my life: Turbo Pascal Programmer, Babysitter, Web Programmer, Index Operations Manger (current - work with S&P of the S&P 500 index)

Four Movies I have watched more than once: Sense & Sensibility, Shadowlands (old PBS version), Little Women, Where Eagles Dare (has anyone else see this?) (I watch a lot of favs more than once, but these I have watched a half dozen times & still do)

Four TV shows that I watch faithfully: Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1 (before it ended last season)... none others faithfully, but I like Man vs Wild, and Dirty Jobs

Four Places I have vacationed: Scotland (whoo-hoo), Grenada (nutmeg & rum punch!), Vermont (in the summer always), Napa Valley in Sunny California

Four of my favorite foods: Seared Ahi Tuna with Soy-Ginger Sauce, Pepper-crusted Filet Mignon with Caramel-Espresso Glaze or Bernaise Sauce, Godiva Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, Cheesecake Factory's Farfalle with Chicken & Roasted Garlic (bowtie, pancetta, mushrooms, tomatoes, parmesan, etc - how can you go wrong? the ultimate comfort food!)

Four places I would rather be right now: Starbucks!, Vacationing in Europe, Having a baby(?), doing IVF, (ok those last two aren't what you're looking for!)... fine, then, Tahiti.

Four hobbies I have: (I'm not a great hobby person, but these are things I will do in spare time occasionally) Hunting (prefer it warm, so dove is a favorite), Sewing (need a project), Violin (gotten out of it since married, but used to play in orchestra w/ 3 of my siblings & for weddings, etc & LOVED it), Gourmet Cooking/Baking (if you can't tell from my fav foods. :) 3 of those are ones I perpare at home)

I Tag:
Meg, Ally, and Laura.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back for a Bit!

I've been away, can you tell? We spent a week in North Carolina with our families. 3 1/2 days at my family's house, 3 1/2 days at J's family's house. Busy stuff!!! I especially loved visiting with my sisters, mom, nieces, and J's lil sister! I spend a good bit of time grinding venison, as J got a buck and his sister got her first deer (a yearling). I bow hunted and even got at full-draw, but the doe spooked. I want to get one next week. We love deer meat and I haven't bought ground beef since our first 8 months of marriage. Very lean, and you know what's in it. I hate ground beef at the store.

AF decided to show, so I'm on CD7 right now. Not especially happy about it, but again, what can you do but look forward? J and I have had a few conversations about what to do next. I want to squeeze in at LEAST two IUIs before April/May's IVF. J thinks they're a waste of money. If only sperm banking were free they'd be almost no money, since my tickets are free. But it's not. I have an appt Nov 26th with the RE in Colombus to get the 2nd opinion and beg for more tests. That is our plan: to get a 2nd opinion to our "unexplained" status, and to see if they'll test for miscarriage causes. If I like them, I may ask what an IUI would cost. We might do a medicated natural intercourse cycle (which is free), just depends. I will also ask how serious my rising FSH is. So, that's what my goal is: to get to that appt! I feel like J and I rarely talk about IF compared to how much I thiking about it, and always at my bringing it up (twice a week?). Not necessarily bad, but I feel I'm leaving him out of a big part of my life by supressing it, yet I know talking about it on and on upsets him. Hmm. I guess he doesn't have anything new to add anyway, though. And obviously I don't like being stagnant, which I feel we are, and he doesn't like to waste money/emotional effort, which he feels IUIS at WH would be. So we've agreed to pray about it and I assume if anything comes up at the new RE, we'll talk about the future. I guess my opinion is, we're already doing "nothing" as it is, and IUIs increase the "nothing" to "a little more than nothing" for unexplained, so I'm happier not wasting time - time that may be precious if my FSH levels keep rising. Were my FSH always low I doubt I'd feel so very pressed. A future without good chances is fearful.

So that's our life. We'll go back to NC for Thankgiving, so again I'll be MIA. My wireless card decided to die, so I have to plug my laptop up to a hardwire, which drives me crazy and makes me use it less. :/ Sorry! But I just got updated and left comments for you all!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday!

I guess I've figured out who will go to Oxford with me. My blogging buddies!!!

I will actually write an entry more about why I love Oxford specifically so much, but for now I'll just tell about some of why I love traveling in Europe!

My first trip over there was September '94. I was 13 and went with my Dad, my older sister (15), and my twin brother/sister (11). He had a business conference to go to, his ticket & the hotel/food were covered for 3 days. We stayed at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel those few days. It was September, thus school-time, so during the day while dad was at the conference, we'd do our school work in the hotel room (we were 1 year into home-schooling at that point). There was tea service at 1 and I'd never had a proper English tea time! We adored walking miles and miles around London. I won't go into everywhere we went, but I'd be surprised if we did less than 5 miles a day. :) I distinctly remember buying goat's milk at Harrod's and using it for my tea (and loving it. little did I know in 4 years we'd live on a farm and have goats of our own to milk!). The best tourist-ey thing we did was visit the Tower of London, because they had a "Chamber of Horrors" below with scenes/effects from the Black Plague, Great London Fire, lots of beheaded people, tortures that went on in the tower. Creepy and my youngest sister did not like it (she was the most excited to see it, and then the quickest to want to leave!). We stayed a week, and moved to a less swanky hotel, but we didn't care. All 5 of us shared a room, I remember my younger sister and I sharing a single bed in the second hotel where we'd lay with our heads at opposite ends, our feet near each other's faces. :) But we didn't care, we were young and visiting a foreign country!

Two years later we were to go again, this time including another younger sister, and this time hitting 4 countries. London, England; Paris, France; Munich, Germnay; and Zurich, Switzerland (although we spent very little time in Zurich, we'd take trains to small towns and bike ride all day). My mom actually joined us for the last two countries (leaving the 3 youngest siblings with a wonderful friend who already had 3 of her own kids). This trip I'll have to get into later, as it encompassed such things as visiting Dachau, bike riding in the Alps, "Les Miserables" in London, and lots of pastries in German bakeries!

Five years later my entire family flew over to Scotland to live for 5 weeks. Each week we stayed in a different "cottage/house" and each week we drove hundreds of miles to the next "location" (one being an island requiring 2 ferries). My sister insisted we stay in the Highlands the entire time, so we were always north. (she hasn't yet forgotten the Highland Clearances nor ever plans to). This sealed the deal, I completely wanted to live there! As it wasn't a sight-seeing trip and just a chance to really live there, I have a deep-seated love for Scotland and its beautiful terrain unlike any other place on earth!

To top all that off, my husband and my destination of choice for our honeymoon was none other than Scotland. We flew into London, rented a car, and drove leisurely up to Eilean Shona (an island that doesn't even allow automobiles on it, it's so small/quaint!). But more later, I must keep my audience interested!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Well, It Was a Nice Idea

Got a call back from WH today. Apparently, they don't have the first baseline until the second week of January. Not the first week of January. That was the only possible week we could do. So, I had to tell her take us off the January list and put us back on April. I was sad. More sad than I thought I'd be, I truly thought I wouldn't be disappointed. I handled it well, I just had to cry and then move on. Deployment is deployment.

So, now J will try to get his December deployment. That would put him back in early March. So a go for April. The good thing is, he is in a pretty solid squadron so the deployment dates are very reliable. (One less thing to worry about!)

I must say, I had it all nicely planned out in my mind: IVF #2 in January, if it didn't work, possibly having another embryo frozen & doing a FET while he was gone, and then IVF #3 in April if all else failed. You see how do-able this is! I assume this means that "the heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9). I am planning how I'd like to pursue having children (my "way"), but my daily "steps" for getting there are established by the Lord. That gives me confidence that what is ahead is what is wisest and best. Also, I like to remember, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." Sometimes this is hard to swallow. It means that I made plans for the baby we had in my womb, but the Lord's purpose stood, because it was to not let the baby live. Hard stuff. But if I ultimately believe in God's Goodness, then I believe this is not "evil" when it may look that way to my human eyes. I trust His character because it never fails.

So, right now we're just trying on our own. I am 8dpo which is always a nice feeling. We are leaving in TWO days to visit our families in North Carolina, which we haven't seen since July 4th. I am excited to see them, especially my 3 yr old and 1 yr old nieces!!! Plus 3 of my 4 sisters. My mom and them must do a "Gingerbread House" trip (this lovely coffee/tea/luncheon place that sells the pretties home decor items).

I had a long cry this afternoon with my husband(in front of, rather) . Had to talk about a lot of things regarding the miscarriage and our relating to one another, but it was really profitable.

A year ago today I visited my family in Oxford, England when my dad was studying there. I have this unexplainable, desperate feeling to fly back there. I mean, it grabs me and I literally go looking for tickets to see how do-able it is! I loved that city, I'll have to share more sometime. Wow. I keep wondering if I could do it! But with whom????

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

IVF #2, Deployment, Frozen Embryos & Go Vote!

All right, last night after dinner J and I sat down and talked about his deployment & IVF #2. We named the pros/cons to him deploying Dec vs Jan. And basically, going with his buddy does not mean as much to him as trying again (seriously, I kept pushing that point and he insisted). He also saw something interesting I hadn't thought of. If IVF#2 in January fails and he does the January depolyment, he will STILL be back in enough time to do IVF#3 in April. It's the only way we could do both. I of course am not thinking ahead to "What if IVF#2 fails?" I know the military won't just let you do IVFs forever, but I've been unable to establish WHEN they stop letting you get on the list. I know certain older women were only given 2 shots & then told their eggs were too old & they couldn't help them. I don't know if WH considers my 1st IVF a fail or success. It'll show up as a successful pregnancy, but not that ended in live birth. Anyway, just something that I keep in mind: we don't have unlimited tries with them.

Now I have something to ask. You ladies that have done multiple IVFs and gotten frozen embryos from them. If you have embryos already frozen with a facility, and you add more, do you get charged again? The place WH uses to store embryos is Fertility Center of SA & they charge $750 for cryopreservation, but even though I have one embryo there, they'll charge it AGAIN if I get another to freeze. Is this the way most clinics operate? It seems a horrible way to get even more $$$ for them!

Lastly, if you have ever benefited from Stirrup Queens, The Virtual Lushery, The IF Book Club (forgot its name???), The Lost & Found Connections, or Mel's wisdom, please go vote for her site as best Medical/Health Issues blog. There are 10 to chose from and in the IF community she stands out. She works hard to connect people going through just what we all are! So, you can vote once every 24 hours until Nov 8th! http://2007.weblogawards.org/polls/best-medicalhealth-issues-blog-1.php

Monday, November 5, 2007

-Hold that thought-

Just got a call from J. They want to deploy him Jan25. IF we got in Group #1 of WH (they start groups of 13 people each week of January to keep the patient-load tolerable), we could still do IVF in Jan08. Last time we were Group #2. I don't know if I can request it. There is language in the IVF contract about not being on IVF list if your spouse is deployed, but I don't know about deploying. I feel stuck - because if I ASK for Group #1, maybe I'd get it, maybe not. If not, I'd have to move to April and even then, if they knew J was deploying, wouldn't it throw me off the list? I need to read the contract again, and ask people at the online military IVF community.

BUT... A pilot friend of his is going on Dec 27th. J has a chance to go with him. He would like to go with a buddy (they'd be on the same missions/plane together). I, of course, would rather him be WITH a friend this deployment than with someone he doesn't like or click with or whatever. To me his deployment being a good experience is more important than doing IVF ASAP.

Also, if we tried to cram IVF in January, it could very well mean a potential pregnancy with a potential miscarriage without him. Yes, that assumes TWO events that might both not happen. But I have to think. How would I feel if a miscarriage were to happen without him? How would he feel? Would that really be good for his morale there? He needs to be able to concentrate on his work as much as possible - when other guys lives are at stake.

So, I told him I didn't want to decide on the phone. We'll have today to talk about it. And pray, too. Somehow I already feel like we're going to wait until April08. I am disappointed, but it's nicer to know it's our choice rather than someone else's.

Also, as Andrea asked, we can freeze sperm from J if I wanted to do IUIs while he's away. But WH will not allow IVF with frozen sperm. Some odd rule, because other military clinics do. I don't know if we'd do that or not. I kinda think it'd be a great time for IUIs. Yet, I don't know how much it'll cost or even WHERE they accept/freeze that stuff. Anyone??? It would be awesome if we lived in Florida, because a clinic w/2-3 locations in Florida offer FREE sperm freezing/storage for men stationed at the military bases there. Isn't that great? Too bad we're in GA.

Friday, November 2, 2007

IVF #2

Well, some good news at last! Or rather, potentially good news.

IVF #2 at WH has a "gaping hole" (according to their IVF Coordinator) which they're trying to fill. I am set for Jan 08 (which should really be baseline/stims starting in January, unlike the misnamed "August" cycle that's really September)!

The "potentially" part is because we can't be sure J won't deploy. Currently, they're telling him they have all their navigators scheduled and he won't deploy until April 08. Initially, we figured he could volunteer for an early deployment cycle to avoid that and make our Apr08 IVF. Now, though, we should be able to just let things be. BUT, you can't count on that in the Air Force. They usually like to send new navs over there immediately (understandably). It's a 65-70 day deployment so the soonest he can go and I be clear for IVF is Feb's cycle. Perhaps it'll all work out, perhaps we'll have to have him deploy soon and go back to April's cycle. Not sure.

J informed me not to set my hopes on this. I won't "set" them, but it is nice to know we at least have a CHANCE for January. That's enough for me. A possibility. And with how things have been lately, I'll take any glimpse of a ray of what may be sunshine that I can get. :)

So, how was your week?

Mine has been.... exhausting. Physically and emotionally. I feel SO worn out on the emotional level. I have had two days where I was almost a normal person again. Yeah I cried, but for the most part I was happy, singing, making dinner, and all that sort of stuff. And I've had days I didn't even want to talk to anyone and just wanted to be in a dark corner by myself to cry, or in a hot bath with a glass of wine and a good book to get lost in. I have tried to let in my feelings rather that fighting them. For a while I kept a running dialogue with myself of "Maybe I won't cry today." that I always ended up breaking. I finally realized it doesn't matter how many days in a row I cry. I will heal in my own time.

Now, as far as the RE, I got an appt Nov 26th. Good and fine. I AM going to ask for karyotyping on my husband and I. Insurance will cover it if it's deemed necessary by the doctor. I'd rather the dr get it ordered for me to draw on base for 2 reasons. 1. My husband can't make it to the appt and I don't want to drive 2 hours just for him to give blood another day and 2. Blood draws on base stay in the military's system "forever"and any base in the world can access them. Whereas if the clinic draws them, I have to carry around my sheet/file and it is only a "hard" copy but never in the computer. I can probably ask for some of this. I will also ask for blood clotting panel, and antibodies if they do it. I've always wanted a post-coital exam, too, which I think this clinic does. Basically I want to put to rest the idea that maybe my body kills my husband's sperm! Because IF it did, I'd want to know that IUIs and IVF are our only/best option. I need to know if TTC on our own is even worth it. Because....

Something awful in my medical records. Awful for me anyway. My FSH is on the rise. Oh yes, remember when I posted my concerns
here in May? Well, they are now, on CD3 a 9.5 (August, pre IVF and pre BCPs)!!! Yes. And over 10 is considered high. As in, some clinics won't even let you do Shared Risk IVF with that level. I was floored, angry, and felt like when we had ENOUGH trials, here was another thing being thrown our way. Already we can't cycle much living 1000 miles from WH, and only 3 IVF cycles a year PLUS J's deployments keep us from doing IVF that often. And now to know we may have the clock against us too??? So hurtful!!!

Now, of course, I researched this out because I have a partly OPPOSITE profile of a high FSHer. High FSH is usually accompanied by low antral follicle count (viewed by ultrasound on CD3). My antral follicle count has only been done twice. It was 11+ back in November 06 and 20 when we started IVF in September. High FSHers are also hard to stimulate with drugs. I respond well to everything they give me. For IVF, they started me on their lowest dose of Follistim alone for IVF cycles (150iu) and by 4 days they decreased my dosage to 125, last day took 37.5. I was on stims for 10 days - the "perfect" amount. Had 17 eggs retrieved, 15 mature. The CCCT is suppose to be indicative of ovarian reserve by how well you respond to it. For the CCCT, my FSH on CD3 was 6.6, on CD10 it was 7.4. I think they like to see CD10 FSH the same or lower than CD3, but not sure. They basically don't want either level elevated. But from reading it seems like it's better for CD10 to be lower. Does anyone else have their CCCT CD #'s?


Anyway, I feel I have some bad data points against me. And it just gives me knots in my stomach to think that we've got even more against us than I thought. It wasn't suppose to be this hard!!!!

So, I know I can't do anything about this. I figured when I have my appt in Nov I'll ask that dr. I'll ask WH again, whenever I get there. I keep wondering if the drugs have brought this on or if it would have happened anyway. I don't know, it doesn't matter anyway.

If we ARE told we only have a little time left to TTC with good success, we may just do Shared Risk w/ an RE in Atlanta (forget insurance). That's why we need answers. It won't do any good saving money for WH if we've wasted precious time.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Searching Out the "Why"

Today, I noticed online that my insurance had received claims on my 10/13 ER visit. I figured if claims were submitted, then whatever was done with the tissue from the miscarriage had been taken care of. Either it was tested or not.

So I called the hospital. "Yes, you have a report from pathology that you can come by and sign a medical release form for." So, scared and relieved, I headed out the door immediately. I didn't know how to feel. Would we have an answer? I kept telling myself there may have not been enough tissue to test (although there looked like a complete, 6 week embryo there, seriously). Just like this (warning, it is rather graphic.).

Got to the hopsital, got the report. Irritating. Basically said, "Sectioning through the fragments reveal no obvious fetal parts or placental parenchyma." Bleh. The specimen was saved in formalin and reviewed on Monday morning, as it was about 31 hours old. Theoretically should have been fine. Honestly, the hospital here is NOT advanced at all. In the sticks. Behind the times.

Now thinking about it, I think all they were trying to do was histopathology (confirm that indeed there was a pregnancy). Which they can't even get right! Terribly frustrating, as if someone is trying to tell me I wasn't pregnant based on those remains. The dr on call even removed the placental tissue after the miscarriage as I was examined. Anyway, so it didn't help, but at least if it happens again I will say "I want a karyotyping - count the chromosomes! You have to send this off somewhere, but do it!" Of course, I'm concerned about them getting my tissue in there & testing that instead of the baby's if that happened. Don't know how to go about that. Maybe I'll never have to worry?

Now, here's something to go over. My husband's mom has had EIGHT miscarriages (3 miscarriages, 2 kids, 2 miscarraiges, 3 kids, 3 miscarraiges, 1 kid). Six live children, the last when she was 41 has Down Syndrome. She says the Downs is Trisomy 21 (94% of cases), not mosaicism or translocation (i.e. not genetic or hereditary). But you see, all this bothers me. J's mom: 8 miscarriages & a DS baby. J&me: infertility & a miscarraige. I want to get tested for balanced translocations. It's possible his mom or dad have a blanced translocation and the miscarried babies were unbalanced. Of course, I guess the DS doesn't support this anymore, but still. His mom did tell me they thought maybe her miscarriages were from low progesterone (but she never pursued shots - which I don't get after miscarrying so many times I'd go to hell and back to try to prevent it). She lost all between 8-11 weeks (with 1-13 weeker in there). Um, thoughts, you with experience? That seems late to lose from progesterone problems. My reading says if you have low progesterone, if you don't start taking it from the time of ovulation, it won't help. You have to start at conception. Am I right?????

I got the referral to a "local" RE (i.e. 94 miles away, which sucks b/c if it were 100 miles, insurance would COVER gas charges!). Can't get them to pick up their phone or return messages, but it's my ONLY choice. I at least want testing for that, clotting disorder, antibodies, if I can. Plus further testing on "unexplained" that WH won't do since they only do real basic stuff. We'll see. I don't like the clinic b/c it's so small (1 dr), but I'll take it over nothing. And apparently that's my choice.

I don't really feel like getting into my feelings. Today has been really good though. I cried, but not a sorry-for-myself or depressed cry. Just sad. I guess I like having something to work towards. Back on the TTC wagon. Oops, it's dark and husband will be returning from hunting. Must go fix dinner. More later.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Google Searches - Answers Here!

I always get such fun out of looking at how people find my blog. Some searches are interesting, some downright funny, some cause me to cringe with the innocence of the searcher, and some make me want to cry. In honor of the searchers who've found my blog but maybe didn't get quick answers, look not further here are some good ones.

1. is ganirelix a hsg trigger shot? - No it's not. Galirilex is a GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) antagon. GnRH is produced by your hypothalamus, and if I understand correctly, as estrogen increases from the multiple eggs maturing, the hypothalaums produces GnRH to tell your body decrease FSH production ("Don't work so hard at maturing eggs, we have enough!). Ganirilex supresses the GnRH from signaling so that in IVF all the possible eggs will be fully mature. It's only taken the last few days of FSH shots (Follistim, Gonal-f), as that's when it's needed to supress GnRH. You trigger shot will come probably on your last day of stimulating drugs and will be pure or recombinant HCG (Ovidrel, Novarel, Pregnyl). Y our dose will probably be 5000 or 10,000 units intramuscularly.

2. 4 dpo what to expect now and 4 dpo symptoms - None. Or rather, none related to pregnancy. You don't get pregnant quite that early, although you could have a fertilized embryo in there, it wouldn't have implanted, thus you'd have no HCG in your blood, thus no reason for symptoms. You will have progesterone in your body from the ovulated egg(s)' corpus luteus, though, which reaks havoc on the hormones. Don't drive yourself crazy looking at every symptom.

3. 5 weeks pregnant after ivf did anyone had ultrasound scan - I wish! Next time I want one 5-6 weeks in. My first cramp was at 5w2d and I wonder if our baby died that day. Multiple ob's wouldn't see me until 7 weeks and I miscarried at 6w4d. I won't wait that long again. Everyone is different, but if you have a reason to get seen before, try to use it. Otherwise, you probably just have to wait.

4. blog for hysteroscopy - Well, my blog only has one entry for this, but it was a really good experience for me. I've often been so glad with "unexplained" that I KNOW I don't have things in my uterus keeping babies from implanting. You often wonder with BFN after BFN. Ask any questions if you want.

5. can a positive hpt 9 days after embryo transfer be reliable? - Well, if you didn't test the trigger out of your system, I wouldn't rely on it. 10,000 units can stay in your body up to 10 days, I think. Keep testing, and if the lines get darker, you're pregnant! :)

6. can the guy have morning sickness - Unless you gave him a HCG shot, no. *snickers*

7. clomid iui trigger triplets - Congratulations and yet, I'm sorry, because I know the risks. Be glad you're not like Suz who got quads on unmonitored Clomid and nothing else! Unmonitored clomid is scary.

8. do you still feel morning sickness if you have already lost the embryo - First off, I am so sorry you even had reason to search for this. I hope you were only worried of losing the embryo but it didn't occur. If the embryo has left your body, I don't think you can still have it, although a miscarriage can wreak havoc with your hormones and emotions. *sigh* But if you haven't miscarrried the baby and yet it's not alive inside you, you can definitely have awful morning sickness, because in a missed miscarriage there is still HCG in your system.

9. has anyone got pregnant with a 6 cell, day 3 embryo - Yes! We put back a 3 day, 6 cell embryo (Grade B, with A being the best) and a 3 day, 5 cell (Grade B). I got pregnant, not sure from which one. I did miscarry, but I was pregnant for a little while.

That's all for now. In a few days I'll post an update on how I'm doing. Overall, better. Bad times and good times. You guys are great.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How Things Are

Week #2 has started. I feel like I just lived through losing the baby. J and I were talking last night and he feels like it's been ages ago. It's just different, the long-term effect. I knew it would be and that is ok with me. He is over his grief for the most part while I still am experiencing it in a real way.

Have you every had two delicately chained necklaces somehow get thrown too quickly back into your jewelry box, only to pay for it later when you tried to retrieve them? They're a tangled mess, compounded if they look alike. I used to be the go-to girl in my family for tangled necklaces. I'd diligently labor over those things with my fingernails (well, as a violinist, my left hand had none), untangling it piece by piece. In under an hour, I'd have the necklaces separated and a very happy sister. Even in marriage, I've translated that into helping my husband with fishing wire and a very tangled net... No cutting, just long hard work.

Well, I've discovered my feelings over this miscarriage are much like two tangled necklaces. I discovered I am actually grieving TWO things. The immediate grief, sorrow, and hurt was over losing over baby, our baby's death, never knowing what our baby looked like, never getting to hold it, the hopes of this pregnancy destroyed, losing our firstborn.... This is expected, understood.

But after living through my first week of realizing our baby's death, my feelings the second week turned different. The cutting grief wasn't the same. I was... depressed. I was able to cook and do laundry and work again. But the house brought a deep-seated gloom over me. Quiet thoughts turned dark. I wasn't crying as much, but it was so hard to keep from a creeping saddness over me. I wondered why I should be depressed, when I know our baby has now never known sin, never been separated from Christ, and is being cared for by the one who loved it so much He gave His life for it.... And then I saw the second chain... I began to untangle the different emotions...

I was depressed because of what it took to get pregnant. Twenty-six months to get that baby... 7 medicated cycles, three of them IUIs, one of them IVF. 17 retrieved eggs, 8 embryos with only 3 (for now) surviving (the two we transferred, the one that froze). A few thousand dollars. 31 PIO shots... and now the knowledge that we have a few months to try ourselves, but J's deployment will take 2-3 months from TTC and we miss out on WH's Jan IVF cycle, so we wait until May. So there is my secondary grief. Actually, I don't grieve over that, I'm just depressed looking at all it may take to even get pregnant agian. But weren't we lucky? IVF #1 worked. That doesn't mean IVF #2 will. I keep forgetting not to assume that. Sheesh, so much to think about.

So, last night I called a dear friend who I've emailed for a while, but not talked to on the phone/person since her sister's wedding in June 05. Since she married and moved away, we just haven't been phone people. And it's been fine. But she went through secondary IF and 2 miscarriages before she got her 2nd child. She knows the pain of IF plus miscarriage (an inner circle of Dante's hell, I'm sure). I knew from emails that even with baby #2 she still grieves those two lost babies and misses them. So I talked to her about the new depression. And she listened and validated what I'll feel. She talked about how normal these stages are. She let me talk about our baby (which I want to so much!). She talked about hers. It just helped give me a feeling that I'm not so alone or so crazy or so obsessed. It's ok to think and talk about our child and how afraid I am of what it'll take to get another one to stick around.

I got off and talked to J, that's when he told me he doesn't grieve anymore. And I didn't feel sorry for myself, we are opposite and complimentary, and one's weakness is the other's strength. I know his new emotions don't mean he doesn't care. Not in the least. I'm glad we can talk. He doesn't thinking I'm prolonging my pain. He doesn't think I'm dwelling on it for my purposes. I talked about having only two people (IRL) understand my tangled necklaces of miscarriage with IF. At first he thought I was getting into an me vs them, but as we talked he said he recognized the difference in people's reactions and how they couldn't get it.

So, I don't feel depressed today. I do feel like someone's asked me to hike the Grand Canyon down and up again with no assurance of food or rest at the end of it (I've actually hiked the canyon, so I know what I'm talking about!). Am I weary? Yes. Do I want to go hiking? No way. But I'm promised nothing if I just stay here. So I will climb. I may slip and scream and cry, but I will accomplish the purposes this has been put into my life for. Let's Climb.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Post-Miscarriage Perspective

So, I've almost completed a full work-week since we lost our baby. It's been harder and easier than I anticipated. I did not talk to people and return calls (on the phone) aside from family until Wednesday night. Then I at least felt up to calling back my old friend & life-group leader's wife. It was a good conversation. She let me say everything I felt like saying... I talked about how the miscarriage happened, my daily struggles, my hurt spirit, and our grief over losing this baby after IVF. She never offered any "advice" or tried to help me see a "silver lining" she just listened! She did offer some praise for how we were handling this, which when you feel like you're drowning and failing in misery and sorrow, was welcome to hear. She did mention since I'm not really struggling with anger or questioning God, I might struggle with weariness of this long trial. Totally nailed it, without my ever having recognized it. We are weary of struggling to have a family. With that comes a sort of numbness to "What's next." IVF #2? 7 months away? All right, whatever. I need perspective and hope renewed in my heart, because for now I'm just weary. But knowing what you need is half the battle... right?

On the other hand, I tried to call another friend yesterday, but the conversation was anything but helpful. I know she cares & loves us. No question there. But she was in such a hurry to tell me "you sound like you're doing really good." I felt like she didn't really want me to talk and mainly was interested in hearing anything good... in a hurry to reassure herself I was fine. I felt that way on the phone with another person that day too. So I stopped conversing and let them fill in the rest of the call with whatever they wanted. She even asked, "What's been the most comforting to you?" And honestly, when people tell me they're praying for comfort, I feel like yelling "I don't need comforting!" Definition literally means "to make comfortable", but also means "soothe, console, reassure, relieve in affliction." Am I being crazy? I don't want to be comfortable, reassured, and I cannot be relieved of this! I want perspective and I want grace to handle this. I want hope for the future. But grief is grief! I can't stop missing our baby, but I can sorrow over it less as time fades that grief. I can be assured God loves our child and us, so He will cause this to work for good (Rom 8:28). But comfort? No.

I actually want to address this gently to my sweet friends, generally anyway. But I don't yet have a good enough handle on what I need instead of comfort (in a less verbose way of what I said above). Thoughts, sweet friends who have gone before me here?

I do actually cry less. Sometimes I still feel crushed with how long it will take to do IVF again. April/May 2008. Since our previous IUIs didn't work, at this point we don't see any use forking out 2 tickets to SAT just to try them while waiting. Yeah, we never did a complete injectable/IUI. If I knew we could freeze sperm for cheap I might do it (either while J is deployed, or just so we don't have to buy him a ticket every time I go). Now, our insurance will pay for everything (drugs,blood,ultrasound) used to treat infertility if used with NATURAL intercourse (i.e. no IUI/IVF). I've played with the idea of using an RE in Atlanta just to get a 2nd opinion and maybe see if they'd try some medicated cycles w/with us. I don't know though. I wonder somtimes about pumping my body full of hormones for cycles with little past success and how it'll affect my future health. Plus, it's still 2 hours one-way and maybe insurance won't cover everything. But the idea of only natural TTC by ourselves until April/May just seems such a waste! 7 months! (Well, count 2-3 out b/c of deployment.)

Well, I meant to talk about my grief but got carried away with future treatments... Wednesday night we went to bed and talked about losing the baby, and ended up crying in one another's arms. It actually helped to see my husband cry again, since he hadn't since Sunday and I felt he still was pretty upset about it. It helps to heal together, to ask the hard questions, and to be honest about our very real future fears. At least we're in this together.

(P.S. I'm so glad you all liked the picture, it truly was the happiest day of our lives and we're still very much in love!!!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Introducing Us...

Originally I started this blog wanting anonymity. It was at a time where I couldn't do treatments easily because we'd moved 1000 miles from the military infertility clinic. I also had recently encountered some really frustrating insensitive comments and such from super-fertile friends (hereafter called SFFs). I needed an online community (outside of forums) of ladies who GET IT. I needed the freedom to vent about my "friends" and not be afraid of being found.

As time has gone on, I've had less issues with my SFFs. I'm actually not so afraid of begin found anymore, but I honestly can't imagine being found by SFFs. Why would they come across an IF blog? I keep an entirely separate blog for IRL friends (being military we move so much, it's the only way to stay in touch w/people all over). I have seen people google my & my husband's names to find it. So I won't ever use our full names here, for that reason. What I'm not concerned about is you guys knowing who I am in real life.

With all that blathering, basically I'm trying to say, I care about my online friends and I like those who I actually can picture. So, I'm going to post a picture of us... On the happiest day of our life (3 1/2 yrs ago), this was my husband and me. Just so you all can get an idea of who we are. Because after this loss, you women have been SO AWESOME. Even the smallest "I'm sorry" has meant so much. I can't imagine going through this w/o you amazing women. I hope I can be as good to you all as you are to me.

I am actually feeling better. I am slowly piecing my life and emotions back together. The healing is coming slowly, but you can't just keep crying. I miss our baby, but I desperately want to try again.


Monday, October 15, 2007

34 Hours Later...

Well, I've had two mornings to wake up now in my un-pregnant state.

I miscarried about 1am Saturday night/Sunday morning, and we got home from the ER about 3am. I awoke at 7 and for the first time faced the reality: I had not baby in me anymore. I was not sustaining another life. I was not pregnant. The reality of this was overwhelming - this deep down horrible feeling of hope against hope that this was a nightmare - but not real! And yet, nothing changed this fact! I had lived through the previous night. I had bled, cramped, and passed my sweet baby. This was all real.

Yesterday was so hard. Everytime I get a hold of myself for a few minutes, I find myself unexpectedly weeping and feeling this crushing grief all over again. What makes it worse is seeing my husband cry. Seeing the anguish on his face. Watching him clench his fists and cry for only me to see.

I hate the word miscarriage, because in not even the slightest way does it communicate the depths of what was lost. Not a pregnancy - a BABY. A child with J's features and mine, one of our own making. Our own child we will never see, never know, never even hold. How did I now know the utter unrelenting hurt would feel this way? You just don't know until you've been though it. We loved that baby from the moment WH called and told us we had 8 embryos. From the time 2 were placed in me, I was caring for them. We prayed for them every day, J would put his hand on my stomach and kiss it and tell them they were loved. These were real children. We have lost our firstborn.

I try to go about my life today. J has to work. I theoretically don't (home office). I packed up all my progesterone, needles, estrogen, and BFP tests yesterday and put it in the bag with all this IVF cycle's drugs. I will not throw it away, but it needs to be out of sight for now. I want to do something to remember this child. There are some beautiful charms at http://www.labelledame.com/miscarriage-infant-loss.html that I think I'll get. J gave me a charm bracelet when we were courting that had a heart and our initials on it... rather as a promise we'd get through it and get married. So it's special to me and I want to remember our baby. We loved it and we'll never have another firstborn.

Grief and sadness catch me at every turn. I'll be fine and then receive an email from someone - perhaps with more details than I ever knew about their life and previous losses. Everyone's kindness and prayers have humbled me... and I'm so grateful to not be alone. I can't seem to wash my face or shower without dissolving into uncontrollable sobs. Something about the water rushing over my face frees me to cry as I please.

We miss this baby so much. I anticipate a lot of grief triggers in the future... Pregnant friends, new babies, June 3rd, maybe even IVF #2 will be hard. We will get back on the list at WH for April 08 (our original slot anyway). If J weren't deploying we could take January. Until then, we'll TTC naturally, with what time we have. I don't think I'll ever stop fearing losing a baby again, though, even at full term.

In terms of God, I am not angry with Him, I do not feel mistreated. I would rather deal with the pain of losing a baby than to never have had this one. I did get pregnant. I don't know Why I've been chosen for IF and Miscarriage, but I will walk through it. I'll be real and imperfect, but I will try to let my feelings not rule what I know to be true. Which is God's character never changes. I don't always know His plans, but He calls Himself faithful, merciful, compassionate. And I believe it. I may feel far from His goodness right now, I may feel I've been given more than I can bear, but I AM bearing this, aren't I? J and I are trying to walk through all this means. I want to feel everything and hopefully heal, together. Thank you ALL for your kind, thoughtful, sweet comments. They mean SO MUCH. I was checking my email all day yesterday, getting comfort from every little comment. You are all such a support.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Little Angel

Last night, at about 1am, our sweet little baby went to be with Jesus.

I had some light blood show up at 7pm with cramping, and we went to the ER to get an ultrasound. In the 7 hour wait, I miscarried our precious little one. I saw it... Yes, there had been just one. An ultrasound confirmed no fetal pole, no yolk sac. My blood HCG beta was already down to 42.

J and I are very sad and mourning our precious child in heaven, who only had a little over 2 weeks on earth in my womb. We don't doubt God, but this hurts all the more for what it took to get here. Pray for us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Update? Ok!

So I've been MIA for a little bit. It's odd to try to think of stuff to say on an IF blog when I don't have IF stuff to obess/rant/talk about. However, I can't stop myeslf from reading YOUR blogs, dear readers, so I might as well give you a new page to see here too!

I see my candy post struck some chords.... although not everyone wanted to be tempted with yummy pictures every time they came here... However, since Searching asked for a recipe for the brownies, here it is. http://www.tootsie.com/recipe/a_creamy_mint_brownies.html Unfortunately, I went with pumpkin pie for my dessert of the week, but next week I'll do these. I absolutely abhor frosting in a can, so I plan on making my own. However, I think box brownies are pretty decent.

Now some of you have asked how I'm feeling. Mostly, really well. Hardly different. I tend to get exhausted quicker, but the two times I've really done it were already exerting days. Both times we woke at 5 and proceeded on one day to walk all of Charleston and delay lunch until 3-4pm! The other day (yesterday) husband went hunting and I did house chores, then we went to the GA fair and pigged out, rode 3 non-violent rides (though one did spin around), and it was 90 degrees in jeans and no shade! All that combined to wear me out, which would not have been normal.

The one non-comforting thing is cramping. Starting Thursday night, I had bad cramping. On a 1-10 scale maybe a 7. I think it was gas, as meds and a warm bath took it down to a 2-3. But every evening pretty much I get cramps lasting from 1-2 hours. Usually only a 2-3 level of pain. They feel a LOT like AF cramps. Last week I was 5 weeks 2 days when they started, and that's usually when women are JUST finding out they're pregnant. I think it is normal, as there are no other symptoms (no bleeding/spotting, no fever) and it's always in the evening. I tell myself I may call my ob and ask, but I rather think I know what they'll say. It's not a big deal w/o other symptoms, perhaps they would up my ultrasound date, but even if there is something wrong, I don't think at 6 weeks (today) you can do much about it. Thoughts?! I have never been here before, but I tend to think I'd know if something were wrong. I do find myself taking pregnancy tests every 3-4 days, fearing I may not still be pregnant. Still 2 lines, so I guess I'm ok.

I had my ultrasound date moved from Monday to Tuesday, b/c I switched practices to one further, but who has a midwife! She works under 2 ob's and you have appts with each of them so in case you need them for a c-section/emergency you know them. But she encourages you to have a birth plan and will let you do unmedicated and try to place you with a nurse in the hospital who is good with your type of plan. SO what I want. Anyway, but it did move my ultrasound date. And that's all my news.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Candy!

Ok this post is just to prove what a candy addict I am... plus, as autumn comes so with it come the myriad of wonderfully yummy treats orange and brown to entice your taste buds! I have been baking about one homemade treat a week and I bought new stuff I'm anxious to try out! Come over to dinner so I can have an excuse to bake!

Seriously, I try not to make sweets just for J and me, unless it's in a small amount so we won't have too much and end up unhealthy and overweight. I did make 6 "haloween" cupcakes last night: white cake batter with haloween-colored sprinkles inside, a pale orange almond-buttercream frosting, and appropriate colored sprinkles or black spider-webs frosted on top. I'm thinking of taking 2 to my friend tomorrow, so we each only have 2 each.

Anyway, at Cracker Barrell the other night I came across the new Caramel Apple Sugar Babies and, being a die-hard Sugar Babies fan, had to indulge (or rather, J did since he paid). I can't say I love them, but as a lover of caramel apples (and things like apple jolly ranchers, caramel apple cow tails, and caramel apple pops) they are a very enjoyable.

I also want to try these:

They both seem like wonderful autumn treats. Plus I'm constantly becoming addicted to seasonal treats just so I can drive everyone crazy with my inability to get them the other 9 months out of the year (such as Coffee Mate's Pumpkin Spice and Gingerbread creamers)!

Anyway, I bought these at the store last week & now want to ues one of them to make a dessert for church small-group this Sunday. The Creamy Mint Brownies look so good!



Tuesday, October 2, 2007

2nd Beta Results

My 2nd beta, 48 hours after my 1st one, resulted in a 153. Up from 56, this was a doubling-time of 33.1 hours. Quite good, since all they look for is a doubling time of 48 hours. May be one, may be two. Only ultrasound will tell, everything else is just speculation!

I have an ultrasound on 10/15, where I will be 6 weeks 6 days. I am hoping we can see a heartbeat(s), but know it may be a little early. It looks like J can make it that day too. I would have preferred one at 6 weeks and one at 8 weeks, but apparently they like you to be 7 weeks. Close enough.

The PIO shots are interesting. Even though they supposedly don't have to be done at the same time every night, since stims did for IVF, I have this feeling that the closer I get them timed the same time every day, the better I am doing. My time is 8:00. So far this has yielded 1 shot in an airport bathroom, 1 shot in the parking lot of Home Depot, and 1 shot in Cracker Barrell's bathroom. I'm so quick at it now, I'm out in about 90 seconds. I am SO glad I got over needing ice or heat when I started IVF meds, because otherwise this would be a serious issue. I don't knwo how long I have to be on them. The paperwork says 7 weeks, then switch to vaginal (with no timeframe), which I know my clinic doesn't give and I haven't the slightest desire for! I could ask, but for now I'll just use what I have and ask next time they call me (10/16 maybe).

Now, before I was worrying about feeding anyone else, I typically skipped breakfast (well, I had coffee), had a light lunch (say, an apple or some celery or some raw nuts or a salad) and then had a typical dinner with a lean meat, a salad, and two steamed veggies. Some sort of small candy/chocolate every day. Yes, not healthy. But I work at a computer all day and the sedentary nature of that keeps my appetite low. I also have always been deathly scared of gaining weight simply because of being married. I have wanted to stay my same weight/size, and this course of eating has accomlished that. Mind you, we are fairly active in our hobbies and I worked out (pre-IVF) with aerobic or treadmill, so it was a health/weight thing. Plus, when you work in a home office it's just a bother to have to get up and make yourself something. However, since start of meds on this IVF cycle, I made an effort to be healthier and eat 3 well-rounded meals. My BMI was one the edge of low, and I was afraid my body wouldn't support a pregnancy. I tried homemade granola or cereal in the morning, mid morning fruit/dairy snack, sandwich or soup for lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and my usual dinner. Ever since discovering that someone else was relying on me for their nutrition, I've been a bit paranoid about eating. I eat once every 2-3 hours. I have been attempting to keep it fresh and nutritious (fruit/veggies/dairy/nuts). But I get tired of eating. What do I do?

As much as I am thrilled beyond words and grateful to be pregnant, I guess I thought I would be tempted to be obsessed with it. But I'm not. We vacationed in Charleston this weekend and barely talked baby stuff. Yes we talked of names and a nursery, and we prayed for it/them every day, but that was it. We just were our normal selves - a couple in love spending a romantic get-away.

And this, I love. This is what my husband and I have done together, but it is not ALL who we are. It is part of us. But our friendship and realtionship is first and should always be. I'm wistful for our sweet times together and grateful we have them. I was before, too, but I'm grateful I'm not all about being pregnant.

And so, with very little to say right now, I'll end this. I will COMPLETELY understand if some of you sweet, wonderful, caring, generous bloggers still going through IF without your BFPs decide to stop reading my blog. I know once certain bloggers made it over the hump, I was less inclined to visit their sites. I only HOPE and PRAY you all will have reasons to rejoice soon.... I feel very undeserving to be where I am. But I will keep reading your blogs, simply because I have a sincere interest in your plights and want to offer any sympahty, advise, or info I have. Thank you for being my friends.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

9/26 1st Beta

Sunday was a day that both J and I were really discouraged at this whole thing. I was counting on myself being a multiple IVF'er. Over a lovely brunch in Atlanta, we talked generally about ideas for future plans. WH only cycles 3/x a year, with the next being Jan & then April. Huge chance he'd be deployed in Jan, & if that's even a possibility they won't let you on the list. So it looked like further ART attempts would be a while out. But in the meantime, start adoption paperwork. We DO want to use our frozen embryo, but FET's are twice the cost of IVF and with just 1 frozen, we don't feel like it's really giving it a good shot. Anyway.....

However, after a discouraging day Sunday, Monday I saw the faintest of faint positives. I almost didn't believe it. Never seen that before! I was... optimistic, and scared. Tuesday, perhaps a little lighter line, but still a line. Pink, too, coming up within 10 minutes. Remaining there. I've seen an evap line in the past, but never this. I was actually eager to go to the beta blood draw, since I originally thought I'd be just "getting it over with."

This morning, faint positive, but darker than before. More clear. The Quantitative beta HCG (thank God I know the difference between qualitative and quantitative, b/c the doc almost messed that up) was a huge hassle that took 2 hours to complete. WH gave me an order for it, but the hospital said it didn't have a diagnosis on it. I drove to base and got a doc to put a diagnosis on it and sign it. Then the hospital said the doctor's signiature wasn't legibile enough & I needed to know his first name (which I didn't! Doctor/Major is all I knew!). Finally they made a call & got that.

So I waited, and 1:12 Dr. A called from WH. Told me (real straight faced) I had a positive beta, and to repeat Friday, and when they got the results he'd order a 6-8 wk ultrasound. "We'll see if this is viable" was his words. No congratulations. Did so much for my already nervous/cautious optimism. However, for now I am pregnant. I have gotten farther than ever before. So I'll take that for what it is and give thanks for That! Dr. A is such a crank anyway, I didn't want him to make the call. Maybe Dr. J will call me Friday, he's the nice one. Or Dr. N. (BTW, 13dp3dt beta= 56.4)

J is flying all day and fobidden me from telling anyone but my married sister. My EDD is 6/3/08, right between her girls' birthdays (6/6/04, 5/20/06).

With all my family drama I can't wait to give Mom & Dad the good news. They're leaving Friday-Sunday to bring my grandparents back from CO to live in a home near them. They're overwhelmed w/ their workloads and "damage control" so I feel it's sort of God's way of shining a little happiness and optimism into our lives.

I do not want to take one day for granted, and I don't want to write the end of God's story. He could take this baby (babies?) away from us now, but He still would have done something for us that He's previously withheld. So I want to be thankful and grateful, yet hold this with an open hand and heart.

Honestly, my thoughts are "I don't deserve this." I tear up thinking of all your ladies on here with multiple failed IVFs. With even one failed IVF. If I had not gotten a + beta, I know I'd struggle with feeling like "I don't deserve this, Lord." Either way, his sharp pruning or his gentle nurturing, it's not deserved, because it's not about me, it's about His character, which is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But for now, my heart aches for those hurting, still waiting, perahps a bit despondant. I KNOW THIS FEELING. I am crying now. How I wish we could all be joyful and through this together.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Embryo Quality???

Ok so I skimmed over my fertilization/embryo one-page report after Transfer, but never looked very close.

Also, I just re-read my HCG trigger dose.

I have concerns about both in terms of the doctor's communication. The HCG I think was done wrong (I got a 2500 dose rather than 5000). The embryo thing, I think they just didn't communicate as well as I'd have liked.

Can you guys give me thoughts?

HCG trigger: My Estradiol level at Day 10 of meds came back at 4944. I had a follicle over 21mm & ones close behind, which was the cutoff for trigger. The dr said b/c I had such a high E2 level, he didn't want me on the whole HCG dose just so the smaller follicles wouldn't catch up & me possibly overstim. Fair. However, the regular 10,000 does instruction paper says:
Mix 1 ML water w/ powder. Draw 1 ML mix into needle. Inject 1ML.
My dr scratched out & wrote:
Mix 2 ML water w/ powder. Draw 1 ML mix into needle. Inject 1ML.
Now do the math. I doubled the water & then injected half. By doing both I got 2500 HCG (when he clearly wrote & told me 5000). Right? Shouldn't he have said mix 1 ML water & inject 1/2 ML? Or have you guys done this & it's right?

Embryo Fertilization: We were told we had 17 eggs retrieved, 15 mature, 8 fertilized (1 latecomer). Maybe the dr DID mutter something about others than fertilized & wouldn't have been normal, it was hard to hear. My sheet says:
7 fertilized w/ 2 pronuclei
1 fertilized w/ 1 pronuclei (don't know which one that was)
3 fertilized w/ 3 pronuclei (multinucleation, I think this is called)

So honestly we got a better fert rate than I thought (11 out of 15), but just some abnormal embryos, i.e. non viable. Isn't that interesting? Has anyone else gotten this? I don't know if this is good or bad, 3 sounds like a lot to have an extra pronuclei, therefore a whole extra set of chromosomes. Bad eggs? Not a clue! Who knows something?

And no I'm not upset or even worried. Just interesting! If there's a next time, I'm totally reading this stuff ahead of time (not like they gave me a chance too, I got the paper as I left ET!)

IVF #1 - Freeze Report & Thoughts

Well, in this TWW time, I have been trying to spend quite moments pondering the many things I have to be grateful for in this ICF cycle. Yes, I had some disappointments, but I have things to be grateful for!!! We got to retrieval and had a good nubmer of eggs! No OHSS! We got to transfer with a good nubmer of embryos! And one precious little one made it to blastocyst stage and is now cryopreserved! I have much to be grateful for.

Honestly, after reading a lot of blogs I imagined IVF as this huge deal. I imagined it so emotionally and physically draining I'd only ever want to do it once or twice. But honestly? For me, it was like an IUI - with more appointments. Retrieval was a breeze (although putting on a gown and getting an IV made it seem like it wouldn't be). I will admit that up until Transfer, I was ready to say it was the same emotional investment as an IUI. BUT... Getting the report on our embryos (that we only had 8, that the best growing was only 6 cell, that they were all B grade but no A's), that was emotionally hard. I cried, because I did not anticipate anything other than a few prefect ones (silly, yes)! And then knowing of those 6 left, only 1 kept growing - a bit sad. So, yes, the emotional investment is bigger. But not unweighty.

This TWW has been amazingly easy. I bought a bunch of HPT's before IVF and planned on testing every day from transfer on (to watch the trigger go out). However, I didn't have them with me in San Antonio. When I got back, I tested as 3dp3dt and got a -. But until then? I didn't test until this morning (neg). I just haven't felt the need to know every second what's up. If I'm pregnant, I am. If I'm not, God is still good and this was just His plan. I don't think it serves me any to obsess about symptoms and what's a "line." Now I plan on testing probaly tomorrow, or Sunday, a few more times until my beta (Wednesday), so that I can be prepared and not have to have a doctor deliver me the news.

So, here's just a hello & that I'm alive. But I'd like to leave with this awesome quote from Polishing God's Monuments, a book I can't recommend enough. Love it!

"Christian common sense should also remind us that divine revelation is always a far more reliable barometer of reality than our personal perceptions. Don’t always be awash in how things seem; anchor your faith on how divine revelation days they are. With that adjustment, one can trust his goodness even when God may not seem to be good; one can trust he is acting in character even when he may not seem to be measuring up to his own revealed profile; one can trust his power even when is seems he is weak; one can trust his faithfulness even when it seems he is not being faithful.
Is that bind faith? No, not at all. It is humble faith. But doesn’t that seem like gullibility? No, it is patience – with a biblical memory.
That was Job. Did the faith of a poor tormented soul ever look as misplaced as his stubborn faith? He was frustrated out of his mind and bewildered to the bone, yes, but in the end unyielding, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him!” (Job 13:15). Then, finally- after forever it must have seemed – the Lord intervened and vindicated Job’s trust, restoring his fortunes greater than before. What a historical monument for any confused by the inscrutable ways of God.


"Patience with a biblical memory" - what a great way to say that! More later.

Friday, September 14, 2007

IVF #1 - Transfer

Well, as you all knew, on Wednesday (24 hours after Retrieval), we received a call from WH stating of the 17 eggs they got, 13 were mature (this is common to have immature ones in the group). Of those 13, 7 fertilized. Our next report was this morning.

When we went in for the Transfer this morning, we were told one extra embryo fertilized late, so we had 8 now. However, none of them were perfect quality (meaning, no fragmentation in the cells). No one agrees upon a grading scale/method, but WH uses A-D, A being no fragmentation, B minor fragmentation, etc. D's rarely make it I think, because they're severely fragmented. Anyway, all of ours were B's.

They also look for them to be 7-8 cells on Day 3 (Transfer Day). We didn't have any with that many, but we had a 6-cell, 3 5-cells, 2 4-cells, and 2 3-cells. The 3-cells they do not expect to keep growing. Whatever is still growing on Sunday will be frozen. It may be all, may be none, we don't know. We were offered a chance to transfer 3 (highly unusual considering my age!), but considering that we had no perfect embryos I guess they thought it worth offering. We chose to only transfer the 6-cell and a 5-cell, simply because we did not think we could honestly pray for a triplet pregnancy/babies.

I AM a little discouraged, given my age and our "unexplained" status, that we didn't get anything better. But the Lord has been in control and it remains that way. Thank you so much for all your love and prayers. No matter what, I get a blood test on 9/26 to determine the outcome of all this. So until then just pray for the survival of these two embryos inside me. J flys home tomorrow, I fly home Monday. I'm resting a lot until then. :)

I've only done two of the Progersterone in Oil shots. I have to do this 2 weeks if not pregnant, 7 weeks if pregnant. The first was a breeze... the 2nd, I think I hit my sciatic nerve, because I woke up at 4 in intense pain and could not sleep after an hour w/o Tylenol! So I've got to get better at that.

If you want to see actual pictures of what I'm talking about with cells and fragmentation, just click the pages below.

http://www.advancedfertility.com/embryoquality.htm http://www.ohiorepromed.com/embryo_grading.htm

Thursday, September 13, 2007

IVF #1 - Fertilization Report

WH called today & gave us our report.... Of the 17 eggs they retrieved, 13 were mature. That means 4 were not mature/large enough to have eggs in them. Of those 13 mature, 7 fertilized - over half!

We're (again) grateful to have gotten to this point.

Friday morning at 10 we'll go in for the transfer of the two best looking embryos. We're praying that all of them keep growing strong. Not all usually do, but all that are still growing by Sunday (5 day old embryos, at the blastocyst stage) will be frozen. We continue to ask for you prayers for these embryos to grow strong and well... all of them, if the Lord wills!

Thank you for all your comments! It's been SO BUSY being here in San Antonio trying to visit old friends and do funb stuff in the area, I've rarely been on the computer more than 5-10 minutes at a time. But once I get home (early next week) I'll start reading/commenting more faithfully.