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 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 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 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 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'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 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" 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.