Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Little Firecracker....

First off, let me apologize for my absence and rest assured that all is well!!!!  (Praise the Lord)!!!!  

Our little Firecracker is doing amazingly well and is due in JULY!  July 11th!!!  We're now 11 weeks along and inching towards the end of the first trimester!  

At 9 weeks I had a second visit with Dr. Katz and everything looked great!  The heartbeat had increased from 150 bpm to 170 bpm and I even got to see the little wiggle worm dancing on the screen!  It was amazing.  At the end of that visit, they let me know that we had officially graduated - meaning no more progesterone, no more estrogen, no more meds - just prenatal vitamins and an adorable graduation present...a sweet little "Made in Charlotte" onesie for this little one!  

The only negative is that I have had CRAZY, C-R-A-Z-Y "morning sickness".  That title is really a misnomer since it literally strikes at all times of the day and night.  Dr. K put me on a medication called Zofran and it definitely helps, but doesn't eliminate the nausea entirely.  Still any relief is good news for me and here's to hoping the nausea magically disappears somewhere in the next couple of weeks as I've heard so many mommies claim.  

I had my first prenatal appointment with our OB yesterday...man that was a LONG visit...nearly 2 1/2 hours!   But we got to hear the heartbeat again and that made me feel better!  Dr. Bale is our OB and he said that as much as the nausea stinks, it is a good sign that my hormones are doing the right thing, so I'll continue to look at it as a blessing :)  

So I apologize again for being M.I.A., it's been such a "delicate" time that I've kind of been afraid to post anything.  Starting to feel better and better and looking forward to our little firecracker's arrival in July!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The most beautiful sound in the world....

One STRONG little heartbeat! 150 beats per minute...our little hummingbird!

Still a long road ahead but so grateful for this day! The Italian can't stop telling people...even shared the news with our gutter guys today...geez! Good thing I'm not trying to keep this quiet...there's no way he could have waited 5 more weeks!

Our estimated due date is July 11th...hot summer baby!

Lots of prayers that this little bugger stays nice and strong! Today's appointment made me forget all about how I had to sleep on the bathroom floor because I was so sick last night :)

What blessing in time for Thanksgiving! Thank you all for your prayers and best wishes for a blessed holiday with your families!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Morning(?) sickness?

Let me preface this post by saying that I am NOT complaining about anything. I'm so grateful for where we are in this process and this post is merely to give you an insider's glimpse of what we're experiencing right now. So here goes...

According to the calendar, I'm only 6 weeks pregnant (SO early!). I've had mild nausea and lack of appetite since beginning my stimulation meds in early October...well now that seems to have exploded into full blown "morning sickness" over the last 2 weeks. (Morning Sickness...thats a laughable term considering it lasts ALL DAY LONG and even wakes me up in the middle of the night. Morning sickness is obviously a term coined by men who saw their poor pregnant wives ill in the morning and then jotted off to work while the little Mrs. spent the rest of her day hunched over a toilet bowl!). Now I should also say that I have not yet gotten sick, but boy I almost wish I would...surely that might make me feel a little better! The sad and demented thing is that I've started to cling to this sick feeling as a security blanket...this past weekend I actually had a few hours where I hardly felt any nausea and was even able to (gasp) eat a full meal...so I immediately begin wondering if something is wrong. I was oddly reassured when the sickness returned and I was once again confined to my bed with my saltine's and ginger ale.

I am more than a little frustrated at my "diet" (if you can call it that) for now. Leading up to and going through IVF I was so conscientious about what I ate...nearly all organic, lots of lentils, spinach, kale, berries (all the "superfoods" you're supposed to eat) and now I can hardly stomach anything...I eat maybe one "meal" a day and that " meal" varies wildly...some days only a small bowl of plain oatmeal, today buttered noodles and on a good day an insatiable craving for crunhy tacos and Spanish rice with a half gallon of salsa or a healthy serving of buffalo chicken dip (gross...shouldn't that stuff make me feel WORSE??? Oh well, I'm not going to question it, if I'm hungry for tacos by gosh I'm going to eat them...I've dropped 12 lbs so far so am starting to get a little worried about my weight.) As long as there is a healthy baby (or babies) in there I'll live with this happily for the next 8 months!

I will say it is VERY difficult to work while feeling this way. It's hard to focus on anything other than the constant waves of nausea and silently trying to calculate how long it would take me to sprint to the nearest restroom in case of an emergency (2 1/2 minutes by the way...and that's too long so my alternate route is a 20 second sprint out our office doors where I'll discreetly yak into the bushes outside of our office...classy!). I share an office with 6 other coworkers so the trashcan is not an option...hello bushes here I come!

Also, the aforementioned "morning" sickness apparently has no sense of time...she strikes constantly at all hours of the day and night. For instance, is now 2:15 am here and she was kind enough to wake me at 12:30 am so here I sit typing to pass the time until it either eases up or I pass out from exhaustion and fall back asleep. 3-4 hours of sleep a night + fear of throwing up on a coworker, client or boss makes for fun work days!

Anyways, we have our ultrasound on Wednesday morning and we're both excited/nervous...just praying and praying that we receive good news! We'll officially be 7 weeks along on Wednesday so I'm not sure what we should hope to see. I also don't know if they'll run more bloodwork or not. I assume so as the nurse mentioned that Dr. K will probably take me off of my progesterone injections and estrogen patches if everything looks good (I'd assume that bloodwork would be required in order to make that decision). My booty is pretty tender so ut would appreciate a break from the nightly injections, but if there is any chane that the injections will help, I'll happily continue them throughout the next 8 months.

Lots and lots and lots of prayers for a great ultrasound so that we have great news to share with our families on Thanksgiving! We certainly have plenty to be thankful for...ickiness and all!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All is well!

Wow - so I've totally neglected update with my results from Monday's blood test but I am absolutely thrilled to say that my HcG levels not only doubled, but they tripled from 700 to 2200.   My IVF nurse said that Dr. Katz said that the levels are rising "beautifully" and because it looks so good, he doesn't need for me to come in for a 3rd blood test.  WOW!  What a blessing!

Now I neglect to mention that I went in for the test at 7/7:30 on Monday morning and was expecting a call by around lunch time...WRONG...I didn't get the call until 4:30 which seemed like FOREVER and I went through the gamut of emotions and obsessive thoughts during that time.  "They haven't called yet because it's bad news, they call and report the good news first." "They haven't called yet because its good news, it it were bad news they would call earlier and let me know."  Anyway, the news was GOOD, GOOD, GOOD!!!!!

I'm supposed to continue my progesterone injections (daily) and estrogen patches (twice a week) and now we just WAIT until November 23rd when we're scheduled for our first ultrasound.  We're praying that we see strong healthy little peanut(s) at that visit!!!!  I'm passing the time by reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (a wonderful gift from a friend and co-worker) :)  I've also learned that I'm currently only 5 weeks along and the little nugget(s) is/are only the size of an orange seed(s)!!!!  CRAZY!  We won't know whether or not we have one or two nuggets until the ultrasound - as long as it/they look healthy I honestly don't care.  Praying for a strong, HEALTHY little one (or two) on the 23rd.

As far as symptoms go, it's hard to say...I've been nauseous and had no appetite since the whole IVF process began.  I basically have to force myself to eat and I don't really enjoy it at all.  No vomiting or anything like that, just generally not feeling great and not enjoying eating (which is not at all like me).  I've lost about 7 pounds but the nurse said much of that is probably loss of fluid and bloating from the moderate OHSS symptoms I had.  Trying to focus on eating healthy foods when I'm able to make myself eat.  I don't know if it's just my mind playing tricks on me, but I'm WIPED out!  Literally exhausted.  When I get home from work I just want to lay down and do NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING!  However, I have also had insomnia where I wake up in the middle of the night around 2am and cannot for the life of me get back to sleep.  That started a few days after the transfer, so I'm working on about 3 weeks of 3-5 hours of sleep a night.  I wonder at what point that will catch up with me and I'll just pass out?  It seems like it's too early to have any pregnancy symptoms so maybe this is all mental.  Anyway, I'm grateful for every discomfort and will not complain about a single woozie moment so long as this all works out in the next 8-9 months :)  

So we're in great shape so far and just praying daily (and hourly) that things continue.  Wishing, hoping and praying for an excellent visit on the 23rd.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for the outpouring of support.  I have to admit that it is very scary to be so open about things this early in the game, but on the other hand I know God hears every single prayer, so the more the merrier!!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My 2ww

2ww normally stands for the dreaded 2 week wait - the time lapse between ovulation and either a positive pregnancy test or Aunt Flo's cursed arrival.  This 2 week wait is different, my 2ww was a 2 week walk with Jesus.  I picked a scripture to meditate on each day.  That Bible is full of meaningful and inspirational messages.  If you're not into it, you're definitely missing out.  I highly recommend spending time daily in God's word!!!   And need to be more disciplined with doing so myself, even when I'm not begging for a blessing from God.

So here is my 2 week walk, scripture by scripture....

Day #1 (Transfer Day)
"Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus."  Phillipians 4:6-7

Day #2
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."  Hebrews 10:23

Day #3
"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."  Matthew 21:22

Day #4
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1
*shared with me by a friend - perfectly suited for that day!

Day #5
"Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them."  Matthew 18:19

Day #6
"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."  John 14:13-14

Day #7
‎"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Day #8
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Day #9
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
*shared with me by a friend - perfectly suited for that day!

Day #10
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Day #11
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4

Day #12 (Test Day)
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last.  Then the father will give you whatever you ask in my name."  John 15:16

So now we're at the end of our 2ww and Praise the Lord the news thus far is positive.  I hesitated as to whether or not share the news as I know what a delicate time this is, but I have been so thankful for all of the love, support and prayers that we've received from you all that it didn't seem complete without sharing the happy news with all of you who have been kind enough to share your prayers with us.  So please know that we are optimistic and committed to celebrating each and every victory.  We have a long ways to go, but are so happy for the gift that has been given to us at this moment.  Praying that this early, early, early pregnancy will continue successfully over the next 8 months (God willing)!  

Love and blessings to you all!    

Friday, November 4, 2011

Short and SWEET...

Got the results this afternoon....


That's right for the first time EVER, I can say that I have a BFP!!!!  (Big Fat Positive)  My HcG is currently 700, which my Dr. said is very, VERY good!  We have to go back on Monday for more blood work to ensure that the HcG is doubling.  So pray for 1400 (or above) on Monday!!!!!

We're cautiously optimistic as we still have a ways to go but are currently much further along than we ever have been in the past.  I have no words to express my thanks for the prayers and support from so many!  I wish I could contact each of you individually with the good news.  Continued prayers are appreciated as we pray for things to continue as they should for happy, HEALTHY, baby(ies) :)

Much love!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

To pee, or not to pee..THAT is the question.

Crass, I know (sorry mom & dad). But now that I'm less than one week away from my first pregnancy test with the Dr. my thoughts are consumed with whether or not I should POAS (Pee On A Stick...I.e. Take a home pregnancy test) BEFORE the formal test on November 4th.

I have lots of IVF sisters and almost all of them did "cheat" before the actual Dr.'s office. The Italian is strongly ANTI-pre testing, he's also anti obsessing and overanalyzing so we're obviously total opposites on that front.

I'm scheduled for a baseline blood test on November 4th (God willing that Aunt Flo doesn't schedule a trip to town prior to that date (stay away Flo! You are a totally unwelcome house guest!). From that test, hopefully my hcg levels are nice and high so that they can confirm pregnancy (yay). After that baseline test, I believe I have to go in for two more blood tests (approximately every other day). To ensure that my hcg levels are rising at the correct rate (approximately doubling every 2-3 days). So the good news is that I'll be testing in less than a week. The bad news is that won't find out while I'm there. They'll process the bloodwork at the lab and then call me at work with the (*hopefully good*) news.

I've decided (for now) that I am NOT going to, cheat and test early (I reserve the right to change my mind on this, hourly if necessary). There are a few reasons for this...

1. My main motivation for "cheating" would be to emotionally prepare myself in case of a negative response. I mean, who wants to receive unexpected potentially devastating news at work? But since I am 100% committed to maintaining a POSITIVE mindset and I honestly DO have faith that this will work I am refusing to feed in to the Princess of Darkness's temptation on this one.
2. As a part of my treatment I had to give myself low dose hcg injections throughout my stimulation phase. This medication can take 5-14 days to circulate out of my system depending on how my body metabolizes all of the meds. So I could receive a false positive home pregnancy test as a result of this. I can hardly think of anything more devastating than having the false assurance of the HPT only to get a different report from the dr. And I honestly want my first ever positive test to be an actual POSITIVE. As someone who has never seen the mythical double pink lines, plus sign or "pregnant" response, I want to make sure that my first positive is the real deal!
3. Patience is a virtue right? And one that will be much needed when we become parents, so I'm considering this a training exercise in patience.
4. No matter what the HPT says I won't have OFFICIAL confirmation until the 4th, so why torture myself?
5. I kind of relate this back to the agony of waiting to open Christmas presents at our house. I had some friends whose parents allowed them to open a present a day or a few gifts before the holiday...not the Gulbransons. My parents were anti opening presents before the holiday (thankfully we opened family gifts on Christmas Eve and then Santa visited that night and we opened Santa gifts on Christmas Day). So here I sit staring at my Christmas presents for another 6 days...counting down the minutes until it's time to open them. I'm sure it will make the news all that much sweeter when it does come!

And please pardon any typos...my MacBook Pro is broken and writing and proofreading on the iPad is proving to be a bit challenging. The autocorrect on this thing is vigilant and "corrects" the craziest things.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Thank you for being a friend....

...Travel down the road and back again.
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confidant. 
bah da dum, dum, DUM

That's right.  I'm making it through Day #2 of Bed Rest with the love and support of the best of friends...Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia.  It's a Golden Girls Marathon and I'm loving every minute of it.  I am a little frightened by the wardrobe though.  Wowzers...those ladies dressed CRAZY!  I have no clue where the costume designer dug these duds up!!!  And why did Dorothy's shirts always come down to her knees, and where do you find a shirt long enough to come down to a 6' tall woman's knees????

Check out Dorothy's wedding dress.  I think this was the series finale.  Too bad I couldn't find this lovely frock when searching for my own wedding gown. 

Dorothy's Sea Green Crushed Velvet Tuxedo Dress (complete with bow tie) with NFL sized shoulder pads + Blanche's Satin Harem Pants, Sequin Top (also featuring NFL shoulder pads) - what could be wrong with that?  I do admire the fact that Blanche was wearing high heels in every single episode...no matter what she was doing :) 
Ready for a workout?


Halloween Costumes anyone? 
Sophia makes the perfect Sonny to Dorothy's Cher. 

Or perhaps Chicken Little, Loosey Goosey & Henny Penney?
The girls put on a musical production of "Henny Penny" for Dorothy's school.

Peachy?  Seriously, did people actually wear stuff like this in the 80's????????  And even more frightening...will this be making a comeback like all other 80's gear?  Talk about SCARY!

Aforementioned knee length shirts....

I think I have 7 or 8 more episodes to go.  The Italians already sick of hearing the theme song :)  How can you get sick of that song?  It's awesome.  We'll see how I feel about it 4 hours from now. 

But in all seriousness the show does remind me of the value of friendships and girlfriends in particular.  I feel SO blessed to have such amazing girlfriends (and so many of them) and feel so lucky to have texts, phone calls, emails and facebook messages from everyone checking in on me :)  And I have no double that when we're in our 60's, 70's and 80's we'll still be there for one another. 

THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND.  I love you all!!!  xoxo

Monday, October 24, 2011

Transfer day...

Today was our day 5 blastocyst transfer. As I mentioned yesterday there was a chance that we were going to need to postpone til tomorrow but I got the email from Nurse A around 8am saying that we were definitely set for transfer today! Hooray! When we got there we talked with Dr. K to debate 1 embryo transfer vs. 2. We decided on 2 which does have an increased risk for multiples, but also gives us a 60-80% chance of safely conceiving one sweet baby. If we transferred only one, the success rate would have been between 30 & 40%. The procedure took less than 20 minutes. They took me back to the procedure room. There were two tv screens - on my left I got to watch the embryologist draw the embryos up into the catheter and then on the right I could see the catheter insert the embries into my uterus. SO wild to see it all happen like that. After that I had to rest laying down for 30 minutes and they brought us a picture of our two embryos....WILD! Dr. K and the embryologist both said that the little buggers had developed substantially this morning which is good and hopefully they'll continue to grow and implant today, tomorrow or Wednesday. We still have 7 at the lab that are still developing. They'll call us tomorrow to let us know how many have progressed to the blastocyst phase and will be eligible to be frozen. Probably 1-3 if we're lucky. Again, I'll be grateful for whatever God chooses to bless us with.

I had spent most of yesterday cleaning and cooking to prepare for my bed rest. If meals were left to the Italian's discretion, I'd be fed take out pizza, Chinese and Chick-fil-a for 3 days. Now there's nothing wrong with that, in fact I enjoy pizza and Chick-fil-a chicken strips A LOT. However, I do want to make sure that I'm eating healthy for the potential little one(s). So I made some healthy goodies so all he Italian has to do is pop in the oven and reheat. Tonight's delicacy was Quinoa and Black Bean Enchiladas and OMG they were DELICIOUS! I kind of made up my own recipe so I don't have exact measurements for spices, I just adjusted along the way to get it where I wanted it.

Corn Tortillas (I used a whole pack of Trader Joe's corn tortillas)
2/3 c quinoa (uncooked)
1 1/4 c water
1can organic black beans
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 28oz. can organic chunky tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt (to taste)
1tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
2Tbsp. Cumin
2Tbsp. Chili powder
1tsp. Garlic powder
1/4tsp. Onion powder
1tsp. Cayenne pepper
1Tbsp. Paprika
1-1 1/2 c. Shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. Nutritional yeast flakes
Salsa, Guacamole, Greek Yogurt (I sub Greek yogurt for sour cream...but whatever you want.)

Rinse and drain quinoa. Add to saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer 10-15 minutes. While that cooks, sautéed green pepper and onion in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add all spices to vegetables and stir to toast the spices slightly. Add 1 can of chunky tomato sauce and simmer. Taste occasionally to adjust seasonings. Drain and rinse black beans and add to quinoa. Stir gently and add maybe a cup of the tomato sauce mixture Just watch to make sure that it's not too wet). Taste for seasoning. Heat the corn tortillas in the microwave under a damp paper towel for 1-2 minutes to soften. Now it's time to assemble. Spray a 9" x 12" glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Take one corn tortilla, place some cheese in the center, top with a few spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture, roll carefully and place seam side down in the dish. Repeat and nestle each enchilada tightly next to one another. I had quinoa mixture left over (which you could reheat and eat on it's own). Top the entire dish with the tomato sauce mixture. I tried to get a little down the sides to keep them moist. Make sure the tops are definitely covered. Top with cheese and nutritional yeast*. Bake At 350 covered with foil for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes. Finish by broiling 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let cool for a few minutes. Serve with salsa, guacamole, whatever your little heart desires.

*nutritional yeast flakes are used by vegans to supplement Vitamin B. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor so if you wanted to make this dish vegan, you could eliminate the cheese entirely and just use the nutritional yeast. I've only been able to find nutritional yeast in the bulk bins at Earth Fare.

I'm on bed rest until Thursday...today wasn't so bad. Kelly + 1 Valium = 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep. We'll see how tomorrow goes. I promise to be a perfect patient and follow the Dr's orders EXCTLY!

If anyone has success stories to share, PLEASE do so! I'm trying to focus 100% on the positive at this point. Look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

OMG I'm dying!

OK, so I'm being a little dramatic...I had my check up today to make sure that I don't have OHSS.  (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome).  As I mentioned earlier I'm crazy bloated (I know TMI) - but it's gross to me...I literally look 3 months pregnant and I'm obviously not.  Blech!

Anyway, that is a common symptom of OHSS so Dr. Katz wanted me to come in to meet with Dr. Teaff for a check up.  I started off with a vitals check with the nurses and the nurse took my Blood Pressure and as she was reading it, she looked confused.  I convinced myself not to be alarmed.  So she said she wanted to try it again.  Still not good, she says, "I want to get another cuff I don't think this one has been calibrated".  So she goes to get another one and tries again, finally I ask, "Is everything ok?".  She said that my bp is reading very low 80/60 and she wanted to check with one of the other nurses.  So she brings the other nurse in and she reads it (TWICE).  Then she puts the stethoscope down to read it with her fingers twice and she says, "Well, it's 84 over 60, she's obviously still alive so we're not going to worry about it."  (That's reassuring).  Now my blood pressure is normally pretty low, but despite how hard I try I cannot for the life of me remember what the numbers normally are!!!!  The nurses before have always commented about how good it is that my BP is low, I've never had anyone seem concerned so this must be lower than usual (ironic that my mom and I were JUST talking about how we both have low BP yesterday...random).   

Then they let me know that they're a little behind schedule and Dr. Teaff needs to run downstairs to perform a retrieval and then she'll be back up to check on me.  So I'm left alone in the exam room to worry about my low blood pressure.  Suddenly I remember that I have my blackberry with me.  Now blackberries are not known for being great for internet, but it will do.  I begin googling low blood pressure, low blood pressure and ivf, etc. and I stumble across several reports that that is a symptom of internal bleeding following the egg retrieval!  OH MY GOSH, I am internally bleeding and they've left me alone in this exam room to die with no pants on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Now I'm not normally so paranoid, but I have been very nauseous, lightheaded and dizzy for the past few days so all of the symptoms do line up.  I frantically try calling the Italian but he had taken our pooch Chance for a walk and didn't have his phone with him.  So I tried to calm myself down but I couldn't stay off of that stupid phone!!!!  It seemed to take 5 minutes to pull up each new page (well, it is a blackberry, so it very well may have taken 5 minutes for each page).  After about 45 minutes Dr. T knocks on the door and enters the room.  She performs an ultrasound and notices that there is a small amount of fluid in the uterus.  I asked her if that was normal and she said, "well...not really, but it will be ok".  I asked her about the low blood pressure and she told me not to worry about it, it's not internal bleeding.  Ok, super relieved that I'm not internally bleeding but now a little concerned about this "fluid" issue.  I'm proud of myself that 10 hours later, I still have not google diagnosed that issue.  I'm trusting the docs that they know what they're doing. 

Then she lets me know that we STILL have 10 growing embryos.  There are two that are progressing rather well and one that is lagging behind and may stop growing sometime today.  The others are a little behind so she said that they MAY want to push my transfer to Tuesday and do a day 6 transfer.  I have to call between 8 and 9 tomorrow to find out for sure.  So now more waiting and more praying that our 10 embryos keep growing.  We want as many as possible to reach the Blastocyst phase so that hopefully we can transfer two and have some to freeze (that sounds so weird to say).  I don't know much about day 6 transfers have mostly read about day 3 and day 5...again this is their area of expertise.  I'm sure they don't need an event planner trying to tell them how to do their jobs.

So lots to be thankful for!  No internal bleeding, 10 growing embryos, a Carolina Panthers WIN and a wonderful day off with plenty of time to cook, clean and prepare for this week!  I may or may not post tomorrow depending on how I'm feeling...thank you again for the prayers and well wishes!!!  Praying for "sticky embryos"!!!!  :)  Want those little suckers to latch on!   

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Short post - we stil have 10 developing embryos so we're definitely set for Day 5 Blastocyst transfer = Monday.  They'll call back today to let us know what time on Monday.  Fingers crossed that these little babies keep developing!!!!!  (and fingers crossed that my check up goes well tomorrow morning - they're still worried about hyperstimulation symptoms so want to see me at 9am tomorrow). 

Weekend is off to a wonderful start! (even though I have to work) 

Definitely makes up for having to miss Homecoming weekend up in Boone!  :)  Cheers to all the APhis causing a raucous this weekend! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

ICLW Round #2

There's a lovely little weekly occurrence in the infertility blogosphere called ICLW.  This monthly phenomenon was created by the Stirrup Queen.  She's a pretty cool chick and an absolutely amazing writer.  This is my second ICLW journey and I'm looking forward to reading more new blogs and hopefully having some new readers here as well.  With ICLW you basically commit to reading and commenting on each other's blogs - it's all about spreading the love, which I love!  So a little about me...my blogging journey began here.  I try to keep things real, but light but every once in a while the Princess of Darkness makes an unwelcome appearance. 

Where I am now: 
We're 1-3 days away from our Embryo Transfer and I'm proud to say that I took my first Progesterone shot tonight like a CHAMP!  I watched a few videos on youtube and made the Italian watch the one from Freedom Med Teach as well as one youtube video that showed a hubby giving his wife the injection.  I'm glad I watched several videos because I got a different tip from each one.  I'll share a few in case there are any reading this who are apporaching progesterone shot time:

1.  The shot is much higher on the rear end than I originally thought.  It seems more like your hip area. 
2.  Count to 20 while injecting the oil so that it's injected SLOWLY...it's very thick. 
3.  I honestly barely felt the needle - the weird thing is feeling the oil creep in to your muscle.  Not painful, just plain weird.
4.  You should massage the injection area for 1-2 minutes afterwards to hopefully prevent little knots from forming (which will make future injections difficult).
5.  I read NOT to ice the area beforehand - the article I read said that it makes it more difficult for the muscle to absorb the oil, so I didn't ice and I'm feeling a-ok. 
6.  As the oil was going in it felt like a little dull pain, almost like when you have sore glutes a day or two after doing a lot of squats.
7.  About 5 minutes later I felt like I had a charlie horse in my bootie...very weird...again, I wouldn't say "painful" just crampy and sudden.  I'm sitting on a heating pad now (about 45 minutes later and it's pretty much gone).
8.  If your doc offers to draw a circle where you should inject take them up on it.  The Italian did fine tonight, but I'll have to do some by myself over the next couple of weeks and I think it might make me feel better to see the spot while I'm trying to twist around and look at it in the mirror while I take my bootie shot. 

So short story long, Progesterone ain't so bad.  I got myself WAY too worked up over it.  I think I'll have no problem giving them to myself while the Italian's traveling for work. 

We'll get a call tomorrow letting us know how many of our 10 embryos are still hanging in there...we're praying for as many as possible and at as GREAT quality as possibility.  The more we have at higher quality then the more likely we will be able to hold off for Day 5 Bastocyst transfer (Monday).  Either way, we'll be grateful for whatever hand we're dealt!  Saying lots of prayers tonight! 

Blessings to all! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And then there were 10

So we got the call from the embryologist this morning ( his name is Luis) and found out that out of our 17 mature eggs, 10 of them fertilized and made it through the night. Music to our ears (I'm not gonna lie though, it's tempting to feel greedy and want MORE), but we'll celebrate these 10 :)

So now we wait until Saturday. They'll check the little babies and give us an update. If most of them are making it and they look good then they'll plan for the transfer on Monday. If by some chance they are not looking great then we'll rush to REACH for the transfer on Saturday. Now there are people who are able to get pregnant and have beautiful babies but we're hoping for a day 5 transfer (Monday). It's likely that only 25-60% of the embryos remaining on Saturday will make it to Monday. But day 5 blastocyst transfers have a much higher chance of implanting so we're praying that most of these little guys (or girls) can hang on til Monday.

Dr. K put me on another prescription today to try to control any hyper stimulation effects I might have. I felt ok earlier today but this afternoon not so much. So now I'm hanging out in bed with a heating pad on my little tummy (well, it's not as little as it used to be...I'm crazy bloated and look like I'm pregnant already.). Looking pregnant while you're pregnant=good. Looking pregnant while you're not pregnant=torture.

And now I'm freaking out about another thing....we had a scavenger hunt at work tonight which had us running all over the place...I didn't even give it a second thought...I was more worried about tripping in my 4 inch heels than anything else, but now I'm hoping I didn't screw anything up. It was only 4 minutes and 38 seconds....hopefully that wasn't enough to do any damage...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweet Sixteen...

So today was THE DAY - our retrieval was scheduled for 10am and I was wide awake and ready by 3am! I'm a little neurotic.

I have to give the people at REACH props...everyone there was sooo nice and took time to explain everything to us in detail. We had to check in by 9am to fill out paperwork and prep. I was in the treatment room by 10:15 and back in recovery just after 10:30...amazing that a procedure that is SO MAJOR to me is complete in less than 15 minutes. I was sedated the whole time so don't remember ANYTHING. The embryologist came to check in afterwards and gave us the great news...things went even better than they had expected! They were able to retrieve 20 eggs...16 of them are mature, 1 not yet mature (but there was still a chance that he/she could progress through the early afternoon and only 3 were total immature/unfertilizable. We were hoping for 10-12 total so this is such a blessing!!!!

Now there's lots of waiting...the embryologists fertilized the viable eggs this afternoon and in the morning we'll get a call letting us know how many actually fertilized. I'm sad to say that it's not unusual for that 16-17 healthy embryos to dwindle significantly over the next 5 days. We'll get calls daily with updates as to how the little embryos are doing.

We're tentatively scheduled for a day 5 transfer (Monday) and I was surprised to find out that there will be 2 days of bed rest after that. I knew the day of but totally missed the fact that there are 2 days afterwards...I will NOT stress out about work, I will NOT stress out about work...I have not taken more than 2-3 days off in a row in nearly 3 years, so I will NOT allow myself to feel guilty about this. (I have to keep repeating this mantra to myself and also need to remind myself that I'm not curing cancer or ruling the free world, work will go on with or without me).

So far today I feel pretty good - very tender (a resultof the 8" needle they stuck up my who-hah I suppose), super bloated and crazy tired but I hear that that is all to be expected. I just have to monitor those side effects as I could end up suffering from OHSS which could land me in the hospital. So I'm being a good girl and following Dr.'s orders to the letter! Luckily light stretching is advised at this point so I may try some VERY GENTLE yoga tomorrow.

The next milestone is Friday...that's the day I start the dreaded progesterone shots. Now I'm not woozy around needles and I'm proud of how well I've handled the other injections but this needle is about 2 inches long and has to go ALL THE WAY IN to my rear end! Luckily The Italian will be here the first few days that I have to take it, but by the end of next week he's got to head out and I'll have to figure out how to administer to myself...I can do it...I hope that the anticipation is worse than actually doing it. Those daily shots will last for weeks.

For those who are curious we won't know the results until 12 days post transfer, so we still have a ways to go. Step by step...we'll get there. For right now I'm focusing on celebrating each little victory and right now am so thankful for our Sweet Sixteen!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wednesday...and then some

So Wednesday is THE DAY. Our retrieval is scheduled for 10am Wednesday morning. I can hardly believe that it's here (almost). Things have been going incredibly well...positive reports from the docs at all of my monitoring visits and now we just have to pray that the retrieval, fertilization and transfer go just as smoothly, if not even moreso. After the retrieval, the embryologist will fertilize the eggs through a process called ICSI. After that, we'll get daily updates regarding the number and "grading" of all viable embryos. Then somewhere between 3 and 5 days they'll transfer up to 2 embryos (God willing that we have two beautiful, healthy embryos). Then we once again have the dreaded 2ww - two weeks of WAITING = pure agony.

I'm so thankful that things have gone so well up until this point...I feel almost guilty for praying for things to continue going this well...I've been so blessed already, I feel like I'm always asking God for "just a little but more.". Sometimes when I say my prayers at night I feel like a little girl praying for a barbie doll or a pony (or the Easy Bake Oven I NEVER got for Christmas)...I hope it doesn't come across that way to God...

37 hours (not that I'm keeping track).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking good!

This will be a short post - I'm actually super tired from all of the meds and have tons of work to catch up on. 

I've been on stimulation meds for 5 days now and had my first monitoring ultra sound and blood work this morning.  During the ultrasound the doc kept telling me how "great" everything looks.  Said I'm in the "golden range" of where I need to be at this point in time.  Hooray!  Later today I heard from my IVF nurse and she said that my bloodwork looked very good as well, so I add another shot to my regimine tonight (3 tonight, 1 tomorrow morning, 2 tomorrow night) and then I'm back to the doc on Saturday morning for more monitoring. 

For my IVF friends out there, my E2 levels are 649 with 6 follies on the Right (14, 13, 12, 12, 11 & 10) and 5 on the Left (13, 12, 12, 11, 10) - for my non IVF friends...this is all normal and I promise I will NOT be the Octomom...not all of the follicles are guaranteed to contain eggs and once the retrieval takes place not all eggs will survive and once what's left is fertilized we may be left with only a few viable embryos for transfer.  We're praying for more than that, but will graciously accept whatever God decides to share with us!  Regardless, Reach has a policy of only transferring 2 embryos, so no octuplets here.   

They have to watch very closely because if I get overstimulated then I could wind up in the hospital and possibly have to cancel this cycle...definitely NOT the direction we want to head in.   

So far the meds aren't as bad as I have heard that they can be.  I'm super thirsty and feel like I'm drinking water nonstop but I have zero appetite and feel queasy pretty much all day and I'm exhausted.  The Italian and I took Chance for a 15-20 minute walk tonight and I was absolutely wiped out by the time we finished.  They assured me that this is all normal, so I'll deal with it.  Thankfully tomorrow is Friday and miracle of miracles I don't have to work this weekend so I plan to sleep, sleep, sleep. 

I can NOT begin to thank you all enough for the thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement you've shared with me over the past several months.  It means more to me than you will ever know!  Continued prayers are much appreciated as we may have up to another week before the retrieval is scheduled.  xoxo 

Mark 11:24 ESV

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

And so it begins

So my labs and ultrasound all looked GREAT on Friday and more importantly, the Italian was able to make it back early from his sales trip so that we could have our consent forms notarized so we are officially (and legally) ready to proceed with our IVF protocol.  Nurse Alice emailed late Friday afternoon with instructions to start injections on Sunday (i.e. TODAY), then I head back for more bloodwork and another ultrasound. 

I'm on an antagonist protocol  (In this treatment, a medication other than Lupron is used to supress the pituitary gland and prevent ovulation. This newer type of medication is called a GNRH antagonist. These medications do not have a flare effect. In fact, the supression of the pituitary gland is almost immediate. This is a big advantage since the IVF specialist can start the medication after the ovaries have been stimulated instead of a two week pre-treatment period as is seen with the Lupron. This makes the antagonist IVF protocol much shorter than the Lupron protocol.) so I start with my stimulation meds tonight.  Two injections a day until Thursday and then more monitoring.  Then there will be more meds depending on how my follies are responding.  Nurse A thinks we'll be scheduled for retrieval sometime between October 18th and 22nd.

I've been so nervous / scared / anxious / excited that I've been waking up each morning around 3am and unable to go back to sleep.  I keep thinking that I've refrigerated the wrong meds and then have to go to check them for the millionth time to confirm that I've followed the directions exactly.  So I'm just watching the clock until it's time for my injection (9pm).  Time is definitely dragging by.  I'm trying not to obsess over things (as I'm supposed to be staying calm) - however if you check my internet history, the spreadsheet that I made notating all of my lab & u/s results and medication dosages per day and/or the binder I put together with all of my infertility invoices, information, or the spreadsheet I made itemizing all of our out of pocket medicat expenses this year (over $30k!!!!) etc., you might think that I have psychotic tendencies.  Sorry folks, but that's how this nerd unwinds...I organize things.  I feel much better when everything is in it's place and it is good to know that some of this infertility nonsense will be tax deductible.

I've also been doing a lot of research on diet and how that factors into infertility and IVF success.  I'm trying to incorporate more plant based protein into my diet and making sure that I'm getting plenty of healthy fats.  I came up with a Lentil & Farro Salad recipe that I absolutely love (the Italian digs it too)...

Lentil & Farro Salad
1 c. Farro, uncooked
2 1/2 c. Cooked Lentils
16 oz. Frozen Spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
1 Medium Onion, chopped
3 Carrots, chopped 
3 Stalks Celery, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/4 c. Red Wine Vinegar
1 T. Dijon Mustard
1 T. Whole Grain Mustard
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cook Farro in salted water according to directions (bring to boil in 2c. salted water, simmer 20-30 min).  Thaw spinach and squeeze completely dry.  Combine Farro, Lentils & thawed spinach in a large boil.  Heat 1 T EVOO over med heat and saute onions, carrots & celery until tender, add garlic and cook 1 minute, season with salt & pepper.  Add to Lentil mixture.  Combine ingredients for dressing, whisk thoroughly and pour over "salad".  Strir to combine thoroughly.  Refrigerate at least 30 min to allow dressing to marinate the ingredients.  Serve at room temperature or heat in the microwave (I'm not supposed to be eating cold foods according to Dr. Wang and Chinese Medicine - so I heat mine in the micro for 45 sec - 1 min).  It's super tasty and really, really good for you! 

If you have any recipes to share, please do so!!!!

Bon Apetit!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Daily Hope -

Oh how I love My Daily Hope that arrives in my inbox every single day.  I cannot even BEGIN to count the number of times that Pastor Rick Warren's chosen topic for the day has spoken to me LOUDLY at that exact moment!  As I've been agonizing over the $20,600 check we just dropped, I received this little nugget this morning.  Full of reminders of God's promises and more importantly his instructions for us NOT TO WORRY.  HE is in control, not me, so I need to practice what I preach and trust in HIM (regardless of the outcome).  Read below and see if this speaks to you...
Don't Worry; Trust God
by Rick Warren
Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life. (Ecclesiastes 7:14 NLT)
You can be a hero one day and a zero the next day, a millionaire one day and bankrupt the next. No matter how much you make, no matter how much you save, finances are uncertain.
So we worry. What does the Bible say about worry and money?

1. It’s unreasonable. (Matthew 6:25) You're going to have fears in life, but there are better things to be scared of than a lack of finances. Life is more than just the accumulation of things. Even if you go bankrupt, it could get worse. Worry about what’s truly important.

2. It’s unnatural. (Matthew 6:26) Jesus reminds us that animals and plants don’t worry. Birds don’t say, "I'd better build a bigger nest for retirement." Only human beings don't trust God to provide for them. Everything else in creation does.

3. It’s unnecessary. (Matthew 6:30) Financial fears come from a misunderstanding about God and what He's promised to do for you. He's assumed responsibility for your needs. He says, "I'm your Heavenly Father; I'm going to take care of your needs. You're my child." We always get into trouble when we doubt the love of God.

Worry is playing God. It's assuming responsibility for something that God has said He will take care of. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
God knows what's going on in your life — and in your wallet. God knows all your needs even before you ask. He wants to help you out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Nope not the pizza (although I could go for a loaded thin n' crispy pie from Dominoe's Pizza).  I'm talking about the dominoes you played with as a kid (or an adult).  I've never played a game with them, but I did always try to set them up carefully in twisting shapes so that when you tip that first domino the chain begins and all of the dominoes tumble one after the other neatly into place.  Well that sort of describes this point in the IVF process for us.  I thought that all of our dominoes were falling neatly into place until Monday night... 

I FINALLY received my confirmation from Attain (the company that approves the partial refund program that we've selected) on Monday afternoon.  Hooray!  We're officially approved!  Then a smack in the face - within the 14 page document that they send to me it states that full paymen ($20,600) is to be received a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the start of our injectibles...WHAT THE HECK????  We're scheduled to begin injectibles THIS WEEKEND and were told that we just had to pay by Friday.  So we launch into crisis mode trying to plan out what money to move where in order to overnight the check to them in hopes that we'll be ready to move forward as planned this weekend.  Crisis #1 averted (we hope - they said to be on the lookout for an e-receipt tomorrow afternoon to confirm that we are A-OK...fingers crossed). 

Then I talk to the folks at REACH this morning and they say that we have to have our completed (and notarized) consent forms turned in by Friday.  They won't administer any instructions unless these are on file.  Well this normally wouldn't be an issue, however the Italian travels and he travels a lot.  He's out of town all week and wasn't scheduled to be back until Friday evening.  UGH - I thought this was going to be drama free...so we rearrange the Italian's travel schedule so that he can be back on Friday before 5pm in order for us to sign the paperwork and get my instructions for the weekend.  Crisis #2 averted.  I have to say although I generally really like the folks at REACH, I was a little disappointed that they didn't help to avoid this stress.  I've been emailing them weekly for the past month just to check in to make sure that I'm keeping up with all of the steps.  I could have easily had this piece taken care of weeks ago if I knew that it was going to be such a crunch. 

Did I mention that this is all happening during our busiest month of the year at work, plus I'm in the midst of a 2 week sales blitz at work on top of my normal responsibilities, plus being a "single parent" to our beloved Chance (woof) and Sasha (meow)?????  No stress, no stress, no stress. 

So short story long...within a matter of hours there were two critical points in our chain of "dominoes" when we thought the whole chain was going to stop and that we'd have to regroup, stand all the dominoes back up and start over again, but we managed to barely round the curves and push the next little domino down so that we're moving forward (apparently) with plans to begin treatment this weekend.  Fingers crossed...I can handle another crisis, but would much prefer smooth sailing at this point.  The next couple of weeks are going to be crazy enough! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This is what $2,114 looks like

Yup - that's right.  My fertility meds arrived yesterday!  I had a moment of paranoia as I carefully read through the instructions for everything to make sure that I'm storing each at the proper temperature.  Some absolutely HAVE to be and stay refrigerated.  I'm stilll paranoid that I did it wrong, even woke up in the middle of the night to re-read the instructions and triple check myself.  So I don't do anything with these goodies until at least Friday - they just stare at me every time I open my refrigerator.  I received about 75 syringes with my package...I'm not normally afraid of needles, drawing blood or any of that stuff - I was surprised at how well I was able to handle giving myself the ovidrel and follistim injections prior to my IUIs.  However, I am pretty intimidated by these progesterone injections.  I think they start the day of the retrieval and can continue throughout the 1st trimester if necessary (some women whose bodies are not able to produce enough progesterone for whatever reason may be on progesterone injections throughout the entire pregnancy).  Progesterone is known as "the pregnancy hormone"...it is responsible for thickening and preparing the endometrium to assist with implantation and is also critical through the 1st trimester (and the rest of the pregnancy) to maintain the pregnancy.  Progesterone injections are intramuscular injections with a much bigger needle (22 guage I believe).  Most people I've spoken to who've had to do those say they are TOUGH - the oil is thick and not only is it difficul to inject, but you can easily feel it going in....ick!ick!ick!!!!!!  AAAAGHHHH!!!! 

Oh well, I'll get through it.  No sense worrying about it now, I have a couple of weeks until that one is necessary.

Oh and this pic does not include the 4 oral meds that I had to pick up from CVS yesterday...luckily those were only $16!  :)  Thank you Health Insurance for covering SOMETHING!!!! 

On to happier topics - had so much fun at a girlfriend's gender party this weekend!  They found out that they're having a boy!  I love, love, love this new Gender Party fad...I've cried at both of the ones that I've been to - it's so exciting to watch the parents to be and their families find out whether they'll be welcoming a boy or a girl to their family! :)  I made a diaper wreath for the other party I went to and I wanted to try to make something different, but it was turning out a little too girlie.  So I'm glad that I decided to make another diaper wreath for this little peanut!  I'll hold off on my other craft until it's time for a baby girl baby shower :)  I had several comments and emails asking about the diaper wreath, so I've included a couple of photos below...

I should have taken pictures WHILST making the wreath so that it makes more sense.  Basically, I start with 5 baby hangers and I place them on a large flat surface in the shape of a pentagon and tie them all together securely so that they hold their shape.  Then I start with the diapers, unfolding the diaper vertically (not opening up the waistband area) and I fold the diaper around the outer ring of the hangers and cinch each one with curling ribbon, then repeat around the inner ring of the hangers and cinch those with curling ribbon as well.  Then curl the ribbon and add a bow to the top and VIOLA!  You could add pacifiers, bottles, forks & spoons tied into the wreath as gifts too if you wanted.  I obviously don't shop for diapers often, but was totally surprised at the fact that I couldn't find plain white diapers!  Even the generic brands have cartoon characters or SOMETHING on them.  So I went with the polka dots, which were a little too boyish since the dots were blue and green, but I tried to neutral it up with yellow ribbon. 

I have lots of time on my hands now that I'm restricted from exercising.  I'm sure I'll come up with more ridiculous craft activities and I'll be sure to post them as well. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

1week and counting...

Thats right...only 7 days until we take our first IVF steps (and write one whopper of a check!). Tuesday, I spent an hour on the phone with the online pharmacy that my Dr's office recommends. For anyone needing fertility meds, I HIGHLY recommend them...Freedom Pharmacy. My pharmacist was SO helpful and even let me know that about 5 of my meds would actually be cheaper through our local drugstore. She saved us about $100 on those meds. At the end of the call I waited while she calculated our final total...I was dreading this part. The nurses at REACH had warned us that the meds would probably be between $3,000 and $4,000 per cycle. "Please let it be $3,000, please let it be $3,000" I silently prayed. As I'm whispering my prayer I hear the pharmacist say, "well, that can't be right, let me run those again.". "oh great," the Princess of Darkness said "it's probably even MORE than $4,000...". The pharmacist comes back and said "I didn't think this sounded right, but your total is only $2114". I thought I'd never be so happy to hear that something is ONLY two thousand dollars, but this time I sure was! Then she and I both laughed at how ridiculous that sounds to say ONLY two thousand dollars and she proceeds to tell me that she's had to give people grand totals as high as six and seven thousand dollars...YIKES! Thank you Jesus that our meds are only 2k! So the goodies will be delivered Saturday morning. I have to be at home to receive them since they have to be refrigerated immediately. The Italian has final bloodwork tomorrow, then I have my labs and ultrasound on the 7th and if all looks right, I'll probably start injections that day or the next. From that point, it's only 9 to 12 days until they go in to retrieve the follies. For my prayer warriors out there, prayers for large healthy follicles and plenty of tthem will be greatly appreciated!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Waiting & Weighting....

Waiting, waiting, waiting...ugh I feel like that is all I ever do.  For right now, I'm waiting until October 7th - that's my next lab & ultrasound date.  If all looks as they hope, I'll wait two more days and start my meds, then I'll wait 9-12 days until the precious little follies are ready to be retrieved, then wait 3-5 more days for transfer (fingers crossed as long as all goes well), then wait 2 more weeks to find out if we have sticky embryos, then waiting 8-12 more weeks until you have a much better chance that all is safe.  In the meantime, that leaves me in limbo land waiting to wait and thinking about waiting while I'm waiting. 

In the meantime, I'm also trying to stop weighting, Weighting, WEIGHTING.  The reduction in exercise and trying to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be eating is doing a number on my figure.  I don't feel like myself as I've had to cut back on exercise SUBSTANTIALLY over the past few months...I haven't run a 9 or 12 mile run in ages.  I'm doing my best to eat healthy although I'll tell you the internet is driving me insane....how am I supposed to know what to eat? 
  • "Eat full fat dairy" / "Eat NO dairy"
  • "Eat fresh, raw veggies, lots of them" / "No raw veggies or fruits, no raw anything" (apparently cold foods throw off my chi - according to my acupuncturist 
  • "Limit refined carbs and sugars" (to control my PCOS - which apparently causes insulin resistance) / "Chow on some full fat ice cream a couple of times a week"
  • "Eat lots of protein" / "Limit animal protein"
  • "Eat red meat a few times a week" / "Limit animal protein"
  • "Drink soy milk" / "Avoid all soy products"
  • "Green Tea is good" / "Green Tea is bad" - (green tea is my other go to when I want to unwind and relax...I drink it all day long. 
  • "Eat a high fat/high protein diet", "Eat organic everything"....

The one thing that seems to pretty unanimous (unfortunately) is that exercise (even moderate) is NO good for anyone who is in good physical shape and dealing with IF (Infertility for those who failed to read this post).  UGH - for those who know me, they know that I'm pretty compulsive about exercise.  And I'm that way for a number of reasons:
1. My sanity - I use my time running as meditation
2. I don't like being out of shape - call me vain if you want, I just don't feel good when I'm mushy
3. I get sad/depressed when I'm inactive and cannot snap out of it till I get back in the groove
4. Energy - when I don't exercise, I'm tired, lathargic and not nearly as productive as I am when I get my daily run in (I have no time to be tired or lathargic with my job).

So I've spent hours (no probably DAYS) scouring the internet trying to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING that will tell me that exercising just prior to and even during the IVF process is A-OK. 

Negatory...see snippets from various studies and articles below...

Women who exercised four or more hours a week for years were 40% less likely to have a live birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to a study of more than 2,200 patients.

Moreover, exercising four or more hours for one to nine years before attempting in vitro fertilization also doubled the risk of implantation failure, wrote Stephanie N. Morris, M.D., Harvard Medical School, and colleagues, in the October issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"Interestingly, the most detrimental effect was observed in cardiovascular exercisers, who had a 30% lower chance of successful pregnancy after their first cycle of IVF," compared with women who didn't exercise, the investigators wrote.

By contrast, walking for one to three hours a week did not increase the risk of IVF failure, but women who walked for four or more hours a week "were 50% less likely to have a live birth compared with women who did not regularly exercise."

The authors concluded that while exercise has "many known health benefits, it does not seem to contribute to successful IVF outcomes."

After reading this, I started to feel like I'm doomed.  I've exercised heavily for more than 15 years (an hour to hour and a half almost daily - with 30 minutes to an hour plus of that being cardio (usually) and filling in the gaps with yoga, pilates, weight training, etc.  But even my weight training is usually high intensity to keep the heart rate elevated throughout.  Now to hear that even walking 4 hours a week can contribute to low success rates?????  What in the world????????? 

So from today forward I'm restricting myself to walking and probably super duper light yoga (not my psycho vinyasa classes).  Siyonara runs...yesterday was my last until this process is finished.  We're investing an INSANE amount of money, time and energy so I guess I need to do all that I can to ease the process along.  I can't undo the hours and hours of exercise I've done in the past (which very well may contribute to difficulties throughout this process) but I can make sure that I'm doing (or not) doing what I need to now! 

Pray for my sanity and pray for those around me...I'm very grumpy when I'm feeling frumpy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apology +

So my last post was pretty gloomy, sorry about that.  I'm really not usually such a buzzkill.  I went back and forth as to whether or not to post it and finally I was like, ya know what?  Good, bad and ugly, I'm just gonna throw it all out there.  I was in the midst of an icky hour when I wrote but literally just a short time after that I was back to normal.  No worries and no need to call the suicide hotline or anything - the PoD has crept back to her hole (for the moment) so you're all safe from her miserable whining.  I have to admit, I did feel better after just letting it out (that's not something I do often...usually she only shares her dismal personality with me so it all stays bottled up inside - blah!)  

I think the fact that work is so INSANELY BUSY helps a lot.  When I'm there I literally don't have any TIME to even think about IF, IVF or any of the issues that have brought us to where we are.  So for once being too busy with work to have any sort of a personal life is a good thing :)  And hey, in this economy the fact that we are so busy is a blessing so I'll take it over the alternative ANY DAY!!!!

Today however is a RARE Saturday off...slept in a bit (7am - I'm usually up by 4:30/5am) and am now half listening to the Mr. give an in-depth golf instructional as to the mechanics of the perfect golf swing (thrilling) in our family room.  He's getting irritated because I keep looking away and typing while he's showing me his demo...never a dull moment at the Randazzo estate...:) 

Later today I'm going to work on a gift for a gender party for next week.  I'm super excited and can't wait to see if the little bundle will be a boy or a girl!  We had one last weekend too and I made a diaper wreath to take (figure since you don't know the sex before the party the one thing you know that ALL babies will need are DIAPERS, DIAPERS and MORE DIAPERS!!!!).  I should have taken a picture of it.  It didn't turn out perfectly, but it looked pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.  The Italian was pretty proud of it and he made almost everyone at the party look at it.  (I don't like to draw attention to myself so would have been happy if it was just taken up to the nursery right away).   I want to try to think of something a little different to do for this mommy to be (if you have any ideas, please share...I have one idea, but I'm not giving my secrets away yet!).  Anyway, that will be today's project (along with sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, changing bedsheets, dusting, catching up on some work (emails, proposals and some contracts I need to process), grocery shopping, etc., etc., etc.,). 

I love this new Gender Party trend...hoping to have one someday soon myself!  I swear, not if but when this happens I'm going to have parties to celebrate every stinking phase!!!! 

Happy Saturday folks!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Princess of Darkness

So I'm generally a happy person. I wouldn't say perky, but definitely a glass half full kind of gal. Sometimes I think I live in my own fairy tale world where there are no "bad guys", unicorns do exist and every good little girl gets her happy ending. I have a unique ability to live in denial at times, ignoring the fact that there are bad people in the world or that bad things happen to good people. The Italian says that I remind him of Princess Giselle from the movie "Enchanted", not only the red hair (totally awesome at the age of 34 to finally have a red headed heroine to look up to other than Ariel in "The Little Mermaid"), but her incessant, and almost annoying sense of optimism and that deep down all is working out for GOOD. I can see how this gets annoying, and I recognize it WHILE it's happening....for example....the Italian's had a bad day, boss is giving him a hard time (old, old job....he liked his last boss and likes his current boss now too), any way he'll just want to vent and complain and I can't take it. As he's complaining about said boss ( insert friend, family member, whatever), I jump into defending the person that he's complaining about because I refuse to believe that anyone is deliberately trying to be an A-hole....surely he/she has SOMETHING going on in his/her life that is causing him/her to act out, talk down or whatever the problem is. Now this drives him absolutely BONKERS! And I totally get it, he wants someone to have sympathy or empathy and I do, but I don't want to think anything bad about the other person, so I spend more time psychoanalyzing the antagonist than I do actually listening to what he's saying. I find myself doing the same thing with my employees at work...whenever something is bad or going wrong the "Annie" in me comes out and I do everything short of bursting into a stellar rendition of "The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow" to help justify whatever the situation is. (hey there's another redhead to look up to, but I don't think she counts cause of the 'fro...I could definitely never pull of that look) Lately however my Miss Mary Sunshine personality has been introduced to a creepy alter ego which I'm affectionately calling "THE PRINCESS OF DARKNESS" (PoD). As hard as I try to keep my chin up, not obsess and not overanalyze the what, how, where and why's of this journey, the Princess just keeps sticking her long, pointy nose all up in my business and filling my head with all of these doubts, questions and self defeating talk...now I don't want to brush over this lightly because there is some pretty heavy (and scary) stuff residing in the Princess's warped mind (I'll save that for later), but recently all she wants to talk about is "Why me? I must have down some (or lots of) REALLY bad things for God to punish me this way.". She's even bold enough to say, "You know this IVF stuff isn't going to work...you're going to spend all of this time, energy and money and still walk away with nothing, so you might as well get used to it, don't waste your emotions on getting excited about it because it isn't going to work.". And another beauty, "your husband probably regrets marrying a defect like you.". (he assures me this isn't true, but the PoD sure does have a loud voice) Now the good princess Giselle/Ariel/Annie in my knows that God doesn't "punish" his followers that way....he doesn't even punish non believers that way. There is a master plan out there that he has designed especially for me, but this Princess of Darkness seems to be speaking louder and louder everyday. I hate her and the thing that angers me the most is that she's always been there inside of me ready to poke her ugly little head out when things aren't going my way...and sometimes even when they are. Ugh...PoD go away...you are a PoS! Okay enough of all of that time to throw on my tiara, hop on my unicorn and get back to my real life which is perfect...at least perfect for me because I'm exactly where God wants me to be today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Teddy Roosevelt...

So my latest obsession has been pinterest....if you have not yet stumbled into this magnificent time warp, BEWARE. You log in and 3 hours (and 800 nutella recipes later) you snap out of it and realize that you have lost hours of your life which will never be reclaimed. Anywho, it is fun and a bit torturous...I have to admit that I have my own bambino folder with pictures of babies, nurseries, etc. It's fun to live in my imaginary Internet world once in a while. Now it's not all psychotic like that, I also have useful boards about crafts, recipes, home projects and m latest obsession....Nutella. I also have an "inspiration" board filled with scriptures, pictures and quotes to flip through if an when I need a pick me up. Tonight I found the PERFECT quote. I posted last week about my ability to compartmentalize my feelings about our struggle with infertility, especially with so many of my friends and loved ones expecting little bundles of their own. I certainly do not want to imply that I'm a saint or that I'm handling this better than anyone else....I had a hard time trying to describe the way my brain has chosen to cope with all of this. Then I found this quote by Theodore Roosevelt... "Comparison is the thief of joy" What wise words! And that is exactly how I have chosen to feel. I'm not going to let my own sadness or self pity allow me to steal the joy that I can feel for my blessed friends! Our journey is our own and I don't want to compare our path to anyone else's. I'll have to remind myself of thus as we take our next steps over the next month. Thanks for the reminder Teddy R! Sometimes inspiration comes when (and from where) you least expect it! Now off to enjoy tonight's episode of "Giuliana & Bill"...another inspiration for me...love watching their story too! Cheers!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Well, Aunt Flo arrived today which meant we had to make some decisions about our next steps. I'm not gonna lie, I was very tempted to put IVF off for a month. Work has been kicking both of our booties and with the Italian still being the new guy at his job it's just scary to think of what could happen if the economy decides to tailspin again. $20k plus the cost of meds (apps $4k per cycle) is NO joke!!!!!! Ultimately, our schedules made the decision for us...so we're set to start the suppression phase tomorrow. That means bcps until October 4th, then back to REACH for labs and ultrasound on the 7th, then starting the stimulation injections on the 9th. That would put us scheduled for retrieval anywhere between October 18 and 22 with the transfer anywhere from 3 to 5 days after the retrieval. Did I mention that we had to figure all of this out within a 2 hr time period (from the time AF arrived until the nurses leave the office for the day...no pressure)? I feel like I should be excited, but right now I'm just nervous. Nervous about money, nervous about giving myself all of those shots, nervous about daily dr.'s visits, nervous about balancing this with work, nervous that we'll go through all of this and it still won't work....I really am normally a very positive gal, but right now I'm just worried...about everything. I don't like this feeling...ugh. And it's all I can think about. If there is one thing infertility has taught me, it's that I am incredibly obsessive compulsive. I'm even annoyed by me. God bless the Italian for putting up with My craziness!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fetal Explosion

That's right over the past two months we've dealt with hail, flooding, hurricanes earthquakes and more importantly, there has been a fetal explosion!  I have seriously had no less than 10 friends announce their pregnancies with joy!  (not here obviously, you all would know about that for real).  Now you would think that since my lady parts are busted that this would be a source of misery for me, but it really isn't...honestly...I'm not lying.  I don't completely understand how I am able to compartmentalize things so much.  I honestly feel JOY and EXCITEMENT when I hear the news (I'll probably hear 2 or 3 more over the next few days as well).  I really hope that no one feels the need to tiptoe around me or worry about hurting poor Kelly's feelings because the happiness that I feel when a friend announces her pregnancy only reaffirms my belief that good things happen to good people.  I can't wait to go to Gender Reveal Parties, throw Baby Showers and hold those sweet little bundles once they're here.  God is good and I'm ecstatic to hear that any (or many) of my friends are blessed.  Much love to all the mommies to be - I can't wait to celebrate with you all!!!! 

I'm scrappy and we Randazzo's will work this out.  I'm getting impatient about starting our IVF - ready to get this party started...but first we have to await the arrival of my dear Aunt Flow...who really seems reluctant to visit now that I'm off all of the meds (further evidence of my busted plumbing).  I've been taking OPKs for the past 3 weeks and no smiley face.  I think it's cruel the way they put the negative signs on OPKs and HPTs.  Instead of saying "no" or having that sad little empty circle (if it's positive there is a smiley face) they should make it more like a magic 8 ball with compliments along with the negative response:

You look so pretty, but not in the pregnant glowing way, but still pretty, honest!
You're free to drink!  Break out the vino!
You are fabulous (just not pregnant).  Better luck next time.

And you should be able to shake it and each time you'll get a different version of that answer.  At least there would be some entertainment instead of just seeing that stupid empty circle and slamming it in the trash. 

Anyways, hopefully my long lost relative will visit soon so that we can begin our protocol and hopefully have good news to report in the next month or so!  :) 

Cheers y'all!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Game - WIMBABM

Now, I don't mean to sound preachy or self righteous.  I'm searching for ways to entertain myself and keep things light around here, so that I don't slip into self pity-land.  So I've found a new game to play - It's called WIMBABM "Why I Might Be A Better Mommy (or mommy to be than some others out there)....

I'm certainly not perfect and have my shortcomings and too many imperfections to list, so this little game is all in fun.  And if your family or friends are pictured here, you should not feel comfortable admitting that in public.

Exhibit A -   I would always make sure that our electrical outlets have the appropriate child proof covers on them.

Exhibit B - I would never where white after Labor Day....

Exhibit C - no words - some parents need to know what photos NOT to post on the internet.  www.badparenting.org WILL find them....

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that.  I won't be a perfect mommy by any means, but knowing what NOT to do is sometimes more important than knowing what to do.  

Happy Labor Day y'all!!! xo

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Ice Cream Diet - infertility has it's privileges

For those who have not been following since the beginning of my blog, you missed the instructions from my doc which would be  a dream come true for most women: "drink two milkshakes a week and lay of the exercise".... I thought Dr. Katz had lost his mind.  So of course I delve back into the world wide web for verification.  I stumbled across article after article linking full fat dairy to increased ovulatory function in women.  Wow - I guess Dr. K's medical degree really is legit!  It must drive doctors nuts that we all think we're pseudo experts via our WebMD degrees.    

I've included an excerpt from a much longer article on The Daily Beast below. If you have time to read the whole thing, it really has great information regarding exercise, getting the right type of protein, and maintaining the right body weight. Which brings to mind, if you are going on the Ice Cream Fertility Diet, keep in mind that you only need 1 serving (=1/2 c. of ice cream) twice per week. It's not much - a whole pint should last TWO weeks! 
If you are having trouble getting pregnant and ovulatory infertility is suspected, think of ice cream sundaes as "health food". OK, maybe that's stretching it, but read on....

  • A fascinating finding from the Nurses' Health Study is that a daily serving or two of whole milk and foods made from whole milk—full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and, yes, even ice cream—seem to offer some protection against ovulatory infertility, while skim and low-fat milk do the opposite.
  • Removing fat from milk radically changes its balance of sex hormones in a way that could tip the scales against ovulation and conception. Proteins added to make skim and low-fat milk look and taste "creamier" push it even farther away.
  • The more low-fat dairy products in a woman's diet, the more likely she was to have had trouble getting pregnant. The more full-fat dairy products in a woman's diet, the less likely she was to have had problems getting pregnant.
  • Before you sit down to a nightly carton of Häagen-Dazs, keep in mind that it doesn't take much in the way of full-fat dairy foods to measurably affect fertility. Among the women in the Nurses' Health Study, having just one serving a day of a full-fat dairy food, particularly milk, decreased the chances of having ovulatory infertility. The impact of ice cream was seen at two half-cup servings a week. If you eat ice cream at that rate, a pint should last about two weeks.
  • Equally important, you'll need to do some dietary readjusting to keep your calorie count and your waistline from expanding. Whole milk has nearly double the calories of skim milk. If you have been following the U.S. government's poorly-thought-out recommendation and are drinking three glasses of milk a day, trading skim milk for whole means an extra 189 calories a day. That could translate into a weight gain of 15 to 20 pounds over a year if you don't cut back somewhere else. Those extra pounds can edge aside any fertility benefits you might get from dairy foods. 
  • Aim for one to two servings of dairy products a day, both of them full fat. This can be as easy as having your breakfast cereal with whole milk and a slice of cheese at lunch or a cup of whole-milk yogurt for lunch and a half-cup of ice cream for dessert. Easy targets for cutting back on calories and saturated fat are red and processed meats, along with foods made with fully or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • If you don't like milk or other dairy products, or they don't agree with your digestive system, don't force yourself to have them. There are many other things you can do to fight ovulatory infertility. This one is like dessert—enjoyable but optional.
On a random note, I find it humorous and insulting that my blogger spell check does not recognize "ovulatory" as a correctly spelled word.