Monday, December 26, 2011

2 Years

Babe,

I want to be a mom really bad. But you know, even if that doesn’t happen this upcoming year or the one after that, I’m still going to be an incredibly happy woman simply because I’m your wife. Being married to you has been, and will continue to be, my greatest joy in this life. I am so grateful for your gracious understanding and constant affection. You have never given me a reason to question or doubt how much you cherish me, inside and out. Infertility or not, these have been the best two years ever. You have made my life so wonderful and I am crazy in love with you sweetheart. :) Happy anniversary! 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas story starts with the pregnancies of two special women - an older infertile woman named Elizabeth, and a virgin girl named Mary (Luke 1). Of all things to tell us about the birth of Jesus, God chose to start out with work He did in the bodies of two women, who by all accounts, were not supposed to be pregnant. Isn’t this interesting?? The Lord is so thoughtful to include these little details in His word! My Father, the Miracle Worker, is just as powerful now as He was then. I am so thankful that He sent Jesus into the world, so that He would eventually die an awful death and bear the full weight of God’s wrath in my place. Praise God for His goodness and grace! Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Here we go!

You know when you're sitting on a roller coaster just before the first big drop, and you kinda wonder if you're going to regret getting on it? That's kinda what I feel like right now. The weightiness of this process hit me pretty hard last week as I anticipated the start of our in vitro cycle. I felt kind of depressed about it to tell you the truth. I'm glad that we're moving forward. I'm glad that we're whipping out the big guns and giving this our best shot. But at the same time, I'm also feeling kind of sad that we have to do this, and I'm scared that it's not going to work. I know a few women who have done IVF in the past few months and none of them ended up pregnant. Naturally that puts a damper on things, and  makes an already anxiety filled, uncomfortable process seem so...daunting. Right now, the anticipation of a failed cycle, is so much greater than the hope and excitement of it possibly, maybe, actually working. I hope that feeling goes away as I get into the hussle and bussle of appointments and meds. 

I got to touch base with my IVF coordinator this morning. I start on birth control pills tomorrow. It seems odd, I know. But it will bring my hormone levels down so that Dr. Q is in control of my cycle and can raise and lower my hormones as he needs to. I'll be on those till the first week in January, when I'll start on actual meds for a couple weeks, followed by the egg retrieval and fertilization, and (God willing) three days later, transfer our em-babies into my ute, and wait to see if they implanted. That is our plan, but of course, each step is up to the Lord and I don't know what He has up His sleeves for us. So in the meantime, I'm gonna take a deep breath, pray, put on a happy face, and sing along with Journey at the top of my lungs. 


hahaha :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Catching up

Hello friends. It's been a while hasn't it? There are a few random things I've been up to, none of which are long enough to write a full post about, so here's a chaotic sort of summary. :)

Thanksgiving was wonderful! We did dinner at my brother & sister in law's house, and she made the best turkey I've ever had. Actually, I'd be willing to say that the whole meal was probably the best Thanksgiving feast I've ever had. It was a great family night of eating, chatting, laughing, and mercilessly beating the guys at Monopoly cards. muah ah ahhh. ;) 

Our long weekend continued with the Five Families get together. And what are the Five Families you will ask? Well, we are the result of what happens when you grow up and fall in love at the same church. A picture explains it much better than words could. See me there at the bottom in the stripes? If you work your way around the circle clockwise, Ryan is next to me, and his sister Meghan is next to him, followed by her husband Jordan, who is followed by his sister Ayla, who's husband is next to her and also happens to be named Jordan. Jordan's brother is Aaron, and Aaron is married to Krista, who's sister is Kimi, who's husband is Mike, who - what are the odds - is my brother. Sibling, spouse, sibling, spouse, etc. And the best part is that we're all friends, AND our parents are friends! So yeah, we've done a few holiday get togethers since we've all gotten connected. It's pretty glorious. 


On the infertility front, we were able to save our goal for IVF, so we are moving forward with that in about two weeks. yay! eek! gah! I'm looking forward to the possible results at the end of this process, but I gotta be honest, I'm not looking forward to everything I'll have to do in between. It's been so nice to just kick back and not think about what cycle day I'm on, or requesting time off of work for doctor's appointments, or having to give myself injections. ::sigh:: But all that jazz will be well worth it if I get to see a positive pregnancy test in January, so here's hoping! :)

I bought my very first Christmas ornaments for our first tree today and I'm uber excited about it. We were moving last Christmas, and got married the year before, so we haven't been able to get a tree yet. Anyway, getting some of the basic stuff was  a lot more of a process than I thought it would be. Mainly because I had no concept of how many ornaments I would need to fill up our tree, and I didn't know how many strands of lights to get for it, and then you have to choose a nice topper for it, and decide on the colors to go with. All the while, passing by wreaths and table cloths and other holiday home decor that you feel like you really should have. lol. But I managed to walk out of the store with just the essentials. I'm so looking forward to putting everything together. :)

Ok, I think I've rambled on enough for one post. I'll check back in soon. Till then, enjoy my new favorite Christmas song to go with my festive new blog look. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cheers

There are two things that I distinctly remember about Thanksgiving as a kid. 1) I didn't like any of the food. Horrific, I know. Yes the girl who lights up at the sight, smell, or thought of food, was at one point quite a picky eater. lol. My family will never let me live down the legendary Thanksgiving meal of bread, butter, and 7Up. ::covers face in shame:: So yeah, that's one thing. 2) My parents did a great job of making Thanksgiving special. On Thanksgiving evening, my parents would whip out champagne glasses, Martinelli's, and candles for a "romantic" night of toasting. We would go around the table and each of us would say something that we were thankful for and then we'd toast. And we'd keep going as long as there was still cider on the table. I want to do this with our kids one day. It's just good to have a tradition of reflecting on what God has done for us.

Here it goes folks, in a chaotic sort of nutshell. I am thankful for late night cuddles, movie marathons, constant kisses, silly laughter, and comfort food in the back room with my best friend and love of my life. I'm thankful for all of the shirts that I've stained with tear soaked mascara, because they remind me of the husband that has held me through so many nights of heartache this year. I'm thankful for the medical help that is available to us through the battle of infertility, and for the ability to afford treatment. I'm thankful for colored walls and picture frames in the house that God has so graciously given to us. I'm thankful for love, understanding, and wisdom from my parents. I'm thankful that I get to see my brother and sister in law every Sunday, even if we don't have time to talk very much. I'm thankful for little grins, raspberries, chubby legs, and girly sighs from my beautiful niece. I'm thankful that marriage has made me a daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, and cousin to  the wonderful family that I've been added to. I'm thankful for the friends who have become family; the Friday night dinners, ridiculously blunt conversations, laughing till it hurts, and tearful hugs when things aren't as great as we'd like. I'm thankful for a pastor who loves us, a building to worship in, and the nursery kids who always decide to cry at the same time. :) I'm thankful that the King of all Kings chose to adopt me into His family. I'm thankful that He loves me more than I can even imagine. I'm thankful that He is persistently molding and chipping away at me, to make me the Godly woman He wants me to be (even if I try to talk Him out of it sometimes. *teehee*). I'm thankful that there is a purpose in all the struggles of life. I'm thankful that He is somehow allowing me, a broken person in a broken world, to give Him glory. I could to on and on, but let me wrap it up by just saying, praise God for all of His blessings, and the hardships that are blessings in disguise. He is so good and faithful to me. Cheers!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another big December (hopefully)

Well Ryan and I looked at what we've saved so far, and have projected that we should be able to move forward with IVF at the end of December if all goes according to plan. I'm a little aprehensive that our savings plan will actually be what we want it to be as we get into the gift giving season and holiday festivities, but we're hopeful. lol. :) On the flip side, I'm very happy that even though we will have taken a break for three cycles before being able to do IVF, it's during the busiest time of the year. The time is totally flying by, and we're continuing to add stuff to our calendar so I know that the end of the year will be here before we know it.

December tends to be a big month for us. We got married the day after Christmas in 2009. In 2010, we moved into our house the week before Christmas. And here we are in 2011, probably starting in vitro around Christmas. I guess it's only fitting. I don't think we realized the full ramifications of getting married during the holidays. We kind of set ourselves up to always have big things going on in year increments. lol. But whatevs. I would definitley rather do it around Christmas than wait till January. :) So that's where we're at folks, just wanted to give you an update on our progress.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another bump in the road

When we talked to Dr. Q a few weeks ago, he gave us a rough estimate for the cost of a Mini IVF which we thought was totally doable. However, after going over finances with the office manager this week, it turns out that the estimate did not include the cost of meds. I got a quote from the pharmacy yesterday which confirmed that my insurance is not covering anything, and my cost for meds alone is over $2,000. That brings our total IVF cost to over $7,000, which we simply can't pay right now. We're going to need at least another month to save before we can move forward. ::head desk::

I was pretty frustrated yesterday, I’m not gonna lie. As ridiculous as it might be, I had secretly hoped that maybe God would surprise us this month with a natural pregnancy. But I started my period just prior to the call from the pharmacy, so there went that idea. Earlier this week, I thought that my period would mean the start of the IVF procedures. Instead it ended up being an annoying reminder that we can’t get pregnant on our own, and as a result, it is going to cost us seven grand. And it’s not even guaranteed to work! For crying out loud, why can’t we just conceive for free like a normal couple??? ::sigh::


Oddly enough, Ryan and I happened to have a Bible study planned with another couple from church last night. I wasn't exactly in the mood for being social, but I decided to pull myself together and get through our lesson. And whatdoyouknow, our passage was Philippians 4:6 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and pettition, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Great. Just when I feel like being mad, I have to go read that verse. hahaha. ;) It was just what I needed to hear. I have a lot to be thankful for. The God who has provided abundant blessings for me, is the same God who is in control of our struggle right now. And He wants me to talk to Him about this. He wants me to ask Him for a baby. My infertility is not too small a problem for Him to listen to, and it is not too big for Him to fix. My job is just to lay it at His feet continually, and trust in Him to do the rest in His timing, not mine.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The next step

Last Wednesday, we walked into Dr. Q's office thinking that we were deciding between a final IUI, and moving on to adoption. Upon leaving the office, we tossed the idea of another IUI out the window, and started seriously considering a third option - in vitro fertilization. We have done a lot of mental processing and talking things out with each other in the last week and a half. We have also sought counsel from a few key people that we trust, and have received unanimous affirmation that IVF is the option that makes the most sense. We feel that God has confirmed this as the next step in our journey, and we are excited to move forward in the coming weeks. :)
Now, those of you in the infertility boat are actually a minority of my followers, so I need to take a minute to explain what IVF is. So far what we've been doing is IUI (intrauterine insemination). Which is putting the sperm directly into the uterus at about the time of ovulation. The hope was that at least one of my peeps would meet up with one of Ryan's peeps and the two would become a baby and cozy up in my ute. IVF will be different, in that embryos are conceived outside the body and placed in my ute afterward. I will go through more ovary stimulation to produce a larger quantity of eggs. The eggs are then harvested, fertilized in a lab, and then the resulting embryos are transferred into my uterus in the hopes that they implant and become a pregnancy. Below is a simple 3D animation of the process if you'd like to check it out.


Our plan is to fertilize two eggs, God willing we'll be able to transfer two embryos, and then pray for two babies. We're goin for twins!! ::grin::

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quick check in

Just checking in to say that this break from treatment has been so nice! I like life without meds and appointments! ::content sigh:: There has been a ton to think about since our appointment with Dr. Q last week. It went very well and gave us quite a bit of clarification on our options. I really appreciate having a doctor who takes the time to talk through our concerns and give explanations without being condescending or adding pressure to us. Ryan and I are so relieved that we have the time to process everything and come to a decision that we feel comfortable with. We are going to talk to a couple more people before going public with our decision, so you'll have to hang in there a little longer for that. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Confirmed

IUI #2 was a bust. Curse you, infertility!



haha! Ok, in all seriousness, I'm actually doing totally fine. I'm really looking forward to having a break from meds. I've been on something every day for the last two months. It wears on ya. We have a follow up appointment with Dr. Q on Wednesday to discuss what our options are for a potential 3rd IUI. The temps on my chart are a little suspicious, and I'm not convinced that my follies are releasing eggs when they're supposed to.
You may remember that a temp shift indicates that ovulation has occured. The vertical line is when my insemination was, cycle day 12. I was expecting to see a shift in temp the next day, but it doesn't go up until 4 days later, cycle day 16. I'm wondering if I have a slow response to the trigger, if I'm even responding at all. If that's the case, we're completely off on our timing! I know it's possible for the meds I'm on to make my temps kinda wonky, but for my own peace of mind, I'd like to see what we can do to ensure that our insemination timing is actually accurate. I'd also like to see what he thinks of back-to-back inseminations (one on one day, and a second the following day). ::shrugs:: So that's it folks, that's where we're at right now. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If You Want Me To

I added another negative test to my collection yesterday. It was a couple days early, so it's not a sure thing quite yet, but I'm not counting on a different result when I test again. Ryan and I have decided to take a break in October if this IUI is in fact unsuccessful. We need time to process, pray, and seek counsel on what to do next. We're not convinced that we want to give it a third shot, like we originally thought we would. It is possible that the third time would be the charm, but at the same time, if it's failed twice before, what are the chances that a third time would actually result in a pregnancy? I want our decision to be logical, not just emotional. And I want to be open to what God would have us do. I've been feeling tugs at my heart toward adoption and I'm wondering if God is leading us in that direction now. It's going to be hard to transition my emotions and efforts from trying to get pregnant, with all the meds and treatments, to adoption, with all of it's paperwork and more waiting. On one hand, I feel like I'm giving up. On the other hand, with all the prayers going into this endeavor, and all the best case scenarios I've had trying to get pregnant, if it doesn't happen I am confident that He has another plan for us. And I will be excited to seek out the blessing He is preparing for us in someone else's womb.

This is not easy. This is really hard. This is not the way I anticipated things going for Ryan and I. But you know, of all the trials that God could have put in my life to bring me closer to Him, I know that this one is accomplishing it's purpose. I am fully confident that this is bringing Him glory, and that makes the hurt well worth it. I came across this song today by Ginny Owens. It pretty much sums it up for me right now. Enjoy -



P.S. In case you're wondering, yes, I will post again once I get the results of my final test. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All done with IUI #2

Today's IUI was much easier than our last one, thank God. We didn't have the emotional shock factor, which was nice. And I was actually able to get my body to relax enough for Dr. Q to quickly get the catheter in without too much trouble. There was some discomfort, but it was not nearly as bad as it was last month. I think that taking some ibuprofen beforehand helped. ::sigh of relief:: 

Looked like two of the eggs released earlier today, and there was one still showing on my ovary during the ultrasound. Dr. Q said it would probably release shortly after the IUI. We've got 35 million of Ryan's best in my ute right now - Godspeed my little friends! :)


Saturday, September 3, 2011

THREE!

Guess who's going to release three eggs for her IUI???!! ME!! :D Dr. Q told me yesterday at our monitoring appointment, and I immediately jumped off the table and did a Carlton Banks happy dance in the examination room- 


Bahaha! Just kidding. But that's what I felt like. :) I have three follies measuring at 15, 12, and 11 mm. As I've mentioned before, 18 is mature. So I have a couple more injections to take, and we're going to give them a few more days to grow. They should all be mature by the time I trigger ovulation on Tuesday, and then the IUI is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. I'm so happy that God allowed three follies to grow. I feel like we actually have a good shot this cycle. :) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Moving right along

Yesterday's appointment went well. Basically, Dr. Q wants to be careful not to stimulate too many eggs (4-8) since I’m young and haven’t established a history of failed IUIs just yet. So we’re going to try to get two or three eggs again, this time using only injectable meds instead of the Clomid/inject combo that I did last cycle. This will help both the quality and quantity of my eggs. It's a little more aggressive, without being too risky, which I am happy with. I started my injects yesterday, and I'm really hoping that I can get three good sized follies from it. I will feel like we actually have a good shot at this with three. But we'll see what God has for us this time around. :)

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

Monday, August 29, 2011

On to IUI #2!

Thank you all for your words of encouragement this week. We were really discouraged Monday through Wednesday, but things got better as the week went on. I trust that your prayers had something to do with that. ;) One nice aspect of going through treatment, is that after a failed cycle, you move right into the next game plan. It helps keep things moving, which I really like. Ryan and I are going to see Dr. Q this afternoon to get our next plan of action. I've been meaning to talk to him about our goals, but I have never actually verbalized it with him, so we're going to do that today. Basically, we're only going to do one or two more IUIs, we do not plan on moving on to in-vitro at this point in our lives, and we're not afraid of twins (on the contrary, we'd actually be pretty stoked about twins *teehee*). So how aggressive can we be this cycle? Cause we really need it to count.  lol. I'm eager to see what Dr. Q has in mind for us. I'll try to post an update tomorrow. :)

P.S. I love this-

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Part 4 - Closing thoughts

Everything that I've said up to this point has been under the assumption that the struggle of infertility has already been shared with you. But what about all the couples that have not "come out of the closet"? Believe it or not, not all infertile couples are cool with putting all of their business on the internet for the whole world to see, like I am. haha. ;) My encouragement is to deny yourself the pleasure of fulfilled curiosity- do not ask people or tease about when they are going to have kids. :) You do not know what is going on in this private area of their life as a couple, and they should not be put on the spot to tell you. She could have gotten a negative pregnancy test that day. They could have just experienced a miscarriage. They may be on their third year of trying. It is always best not to go there, unless invited in. You will be appreciated, whether or not you know it. :)

Well that's it folks. Thank you so much for the positive feedback you've given me through this series. It makes me so happy to know that there are people who are trying to be sensitive, and eager to know how they can encourage others. :)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Part 3 - Giving prayer support

We're in another lull phase folks (story of my life, lol). So I want to finish up my series on how you can love and encourage your infertile friends. :) If you are new to the blog, you can catch up on the previous posts here- Intro, Part 1, and Part 2.

Praying is an incredibly important service to your loved ones. I rely so much on the prayers of others. I know that God is the only One who can/will help me, but at times, my heart grows tired of my own repetitious requests of Him. I sometimes feel as though I have run out of words to bring before the Lord. It is so comforting to know that when I do not have the strength to pray, I have loved ones coming to God on my behalf. Of course, prayers for the blessing of a baby are needed, I think that goes without saying. But below are some other topics to keep in mind when praying for your infertile friends (in no particular order). 

Feeling comfort / love from the Lord – I mentioned a while back in this post, how I lost sight of God’s love for me. It surprised me how easily heartache can blinded me spiritually. I felt alone, I felt that God had stopped listening to my cries, I felt that He must be trying to teach me something that I was too stupid to figure out. The  emotions of this whole ordeal really skewed my perspective of who God is, and how He relates to me. But He has proven His love for me! First by sending His Son to die for me (Romans 5:8), and He continues to show His love through faithfulness and provision day in and day out. I know this in my head, but there have been down days when my heart has forgotten. 

Emotional endurance - I don't think I have to say too much about this. Infertility is a roller coaster of emotions. High hope, disappointment, hope, disappointment, over and over and over again. It's draining.


Strength to recognize and conquer sin – This trial has definitely revealed sin in my own heart. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, impatience, self pity, idolatry, and an unloving attitude toward others, just to name a few. :) Unfortunately, this sin pattern is paired with heartache and an increased amount of hormones, which makes it particularly hard to recognize and conquer. But I am responsible for my response to the circumstances that God has put me in. I need Him to give me eyes to see when I am not responding properly, and the strength to seek forgiveness and get back on the right track.

A strong, loving marriage - I thank God that this time has only drawn Ryan and I closer together. My wonderful hubby and I have been partners in this 100%. We've cried together, learned about fertility together, and have even had some good laughs along the way. :) However, infertility can drive couples apart. There are high emotions, added hormones, sex on a schedule, and sometimes disagreements on the appropriate course of action. It can be draining on a marriage, so pray that husband and wife quickly learn how to support, encourage, and serve one another through this difficult time.

Wisdom in making decisions - There are so many decisions to make! What are the risks and side effects of the medications and procedures? What are the moral implications and/or dilemmas of this particular treatment? How will I respond to this dosage of medication? Will it help me at all? Will it help too much? How aggressively should we dive into treatment? How many cycles of treatment can we afford? How far should we take this? At what point do we need to look at our other options? How do I feel about the other options? Is that a biblical way to feel/think about them? It can be a little overwhelming at times. Many of the decisions are based on results of another, and the next step needs to be decided right away. Ryan and I are constantly in need of wisdom to make the decisions that God would have us make, and not be blindsided by our own emotions in the moment. 

As always, I can't thank you all enough for your continued prayers on our behalf. We definitely feel them. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

IUI #1 complete!

Wow, what a day. Such a mix of emotions. I was feeling anxious throughout the day at work- super ready to get the IUI over with. 2:20pm finally hit, and as I started cleaning up my desk and getting ready to leave, I was suddenly overwhelmed with sadness. I have been pretty good emotionally throughout my last couple treatment cycles. I'm comfortable with my doctor, and I was totally ready to go to the next stage of aggression with this IUI. But it dawned on me at that moment, that my husband and I cannot make a baby in the privacy of our own home the way most couples do. I was about to lay on a white table, in an all too familiar white room with my legs in the air, while a doctor put a catheter up my hoo ha. Then I have to wait another few weeks to see if it actually worked, or if I have to go through it again. Getting pregnant the ol' fashioned way seems like such a distant luxury now. One that I think a lot of people take for granted. I cried the whole way there. 

But after a long hug, a prayer with Ryan, and a few encouraging text messages, I walked into that office with a smile on my face. Dr. Q had a hard time getting the catheter in, so that part was a bit painful. I'm glad that Ryan was able to be in there with me. Once the cath was in place, Dr. Q put the ultrasound camera in so that we could see the sperm go into my ute, which was pretty cool. :) We've got an army of 56 million in there as we speak! woohoo! :)

I'm feeling pretty good right now. Just crampy and a little tired. I'm happy that it's over and I get to relax at home with Ryan. ::sigh of relief:: I cannot thank you all enough for the amount of love and encouragement you continue to pour out on us. We're so blessed to have such a wonderful group of cheerleaders and prayer warriors. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Here we go!

Well folks, my monitoring appointment showed that I will probably only release one egg for the IUI. I know that it only takes one egg to make a baby, but I can’t help feeling a bit disappointed that the injections weren’t able to help me produce a couple more. My dominant follie is measuring at 21mm (18mm or larger is mature). I have a second one on the other ovary that’s measuring at 14mm. Follies grow a little every day, so I suppose it is still possible for that little guy to catch up and release an egg for me, but I don't know how likely that is. Since the bigger follicle is mature and ready to go, Dr. Q wants to do the IUI earlier than anticipated. I triggered ovulation this morning, and I’m getting sperminated TOMORROW! Ahhh haa hai!! Why yes, that was a mariachi yell. It seems appropriate for some reason. Baha. ;)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ahhh needles

Well, we're in full swing of treatment. I've decided that rather than rushing to finish my mini-series, I'm going to just put it on hold until we hit our next waiting period in a few weeks. Not ideal because it breaks up the flow of topics, but I would rather do that than get behind on what is happening currently. Hope that's ok with everyone. :)

The latest and greatest is that I have successfully given myself my first couple FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone) injections. woohoo! We actually recorded our first shot at it (buh dum bum. lol), so you can see for yourself if you so desire. :)


My memory card filled up before I was able to tell Ryan how I felt. :) Aside from a little sting because I was injecting too fast at first, it wasn't bad at all. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it went. I haven't felt the full weight of side effects yet, but I'm sure I will this week. Clomid has affected me a little more than last time even though it's a lesser dosage. Kinda weird. I've had several headaches, fatigue, achy ovaries, and of course, the return of my ever faithful companion - Madame Hot Flash. Fun times. :)

I am going to see Dr. Q this week to see how I'm responding, and talk about our next steps. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin"

*teehee* Just wanted to pause the series to briefly give you the latest news on treatment. My baseline monitoring appointment went well and we are moving right along. Dr. Q dropped me down to 100mg of clomid, and then added five days of injectable meds to the mix which I will start this weekend. This is what my dresser looked like after I brought everything home-


Vials of injectable medication, syringes, oral medication, ovulation trigger shot, alcohol wipes, gauze, and bandaids. I feel like such a druggie. haha. Anyway, Dr. Q is hoping that this combination will give us two or three eggs to work with for the IUI. For those of you who don't remember, an IUI, or IntraUterine Insemination, is basically bypassing the plumbing by putting Ryan's good swimmers right in my uterus with my eggs. So that's it, we're just cruisin on meds for another week or so. Giving myself shots for the first time should be interesting. I'll definitely let you know how that goes in my next update. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Part 2 - Ways to encourage

Though I have been cut by people's words regarding my infertility, I have had an amazing amount of encouragement through this journey as well. Ryan and I are so blessed by you- our family, church, and friends who have hopped on the bandwagon with us to find Baby Miller. Thank you so much. We feel very loved and supported. Below are some practical things that you have done to uplift my spirit. :) 

"I’m sorry." Simple, but it’s a really refreshing response when everyone else seems to imply that you’re overreacting and need to relax.  A few months back, I was having a particularly bad day at work. There was a baby shower at the office for a coworker, everyone kept telling me to get to it and have a baby already, along with lots of other unwanted advice. I eventually snapped, and had to apologize for my sharp response, so I felt down about that too. One of the ladies was on her way out at the same time as I was that day, and genuinely asked, “So what about you Denay, no babies for you yet?” I simply told her "No, I can’t seem to get pregnant." She looked in my eyes and said with a sympathetic smile, “Honey, I’m so sorry.”  That was all I needed that day. She didn’t pry further with questions, she didn’t offer me advice, she was just a woman who showed that she actually cared that I was hurting. I don’t think she’ll ever know how much that meant to me, but I’ll never forget it.

Let them know you’re thinking of / praying for them. When you have a person on your heart, I think it’s always a good idea to let them know. There’s probably a reason that God put them in your thoughts at that particular moment. Quick text messages, cards, emails are a huge blessing. When you’re thinking about getting pregnant every day, it’s nice to know that someone else is thinking of it too. :) 

Follow up. Once a person shares this struggle with you, it is (usually) not taboo anymore. It’s ok to ask them how an appointment went, how they’re feeling, how they are responding to medication, etc. Infertility is lonely struggle. Showing a simple interest in the details of this journey goes a long way.

Give positive feedback. "You’re going to be great parents one day....I’m so looking forward to seeing who God gives you...I admire ________ as you go through this hardship...You’re an encouragement to me..." You get the idea. It’s easy to be down on yourself when your body's not doing what it’s supposed to be doing. In addition to that frustration, you’re in a constant battle of ugly feelings like bitterness, jealousy, anger, discontentment, and plain ol' sadness. It’s very encouraging to me when people express the positive way they’ve been impacted through our journey of infertility.

Non-verbal Responses – Words can be overrated. Paul knew what he was talking about in Romans 12:15, when he said to "weep with those who weep." There is something incredibly comforting about someone wrapping their arms around you and letting you cry. It’s even more comforting when they cry with you. When I've been at my lowest and most vulnerable emotional point, there is nothing that has helped me more than someone else sitting right next to me with tears in their eyes too.

One of the major ways to support that I left out of this post is prayer. There are so many things to bring before the Lord! In my next post, I will share some specific things to pray for that would silently, but abundantly, bless anyone struggling to get pregnant. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Part 1 - Avoid trying to fix or lighten the problem

Before I share the positive things that have personally impacted me, I have to share some of the things that have not been too helpful. I think that most people subconsciously feel the need to give some sort of advice to fix, or at least lessen the weightiness of the problem that their acquaintances or loved ones are going through. It's a natural response. But infertility is a medical issue, and there is unfortunately no such thing as a quick fix for this problem. A great majority of the responses I've received come across as more belittling than helpful. Below are a few examples of "tips" that I've been given. :)

Relax / Just stop thinking about it. 
This is the most common response, hands down. It's also the biggest myth ever. lol. There is no proof that relaxing can somehow make ovaries produce eggs, perfectly time sex, or make a man with low sperm counts suddenly produce more. Saying this insinuates that it is the infertile woman's fault that she can't conceive, because she is simply too uptight. The truth is, we're not stressed out about getting pregnant all the time. There are some key days when anxiety and frustration really hit hard. But when you are working with a doctor and making decisions about your health that will change your life, isn't a little stress natural? Offering the quick solution of relaxing, is belittling and not encouraging.

You should just adopt, and then you'll get pregnant. 
Ryan and I want to adopt. We always have. But that doesn't change the fact that I'd like to see a little someone with Ryan's eyes, laughing and running around my home. I want to feel a baby growing inside my womb. I want to nurse. Call me a psycho, but I even want to experience labor and delivery. lol. Mentioning adoption so casually, can sidestep a person's fear and grief that they might not get to experience these gifts of life. 

This suggestion also makes less of adopted children. It makes them second-string children that will fill the void until you get what you really want, which is a biological child. Especially for those of us who want to adopt, it is hurtful to speak about adoption as though it is just a means to an end.

Another thing to consider is that many can't afford adoption. It can cost anywhere from 5 to 25K, depending on which route you go with. While many couples would love to move on to adoption once they've reached the end of fertility treatments, the hard reality is that many can't afford it. 

You're young and have plenty of time. Just enjoy being with your husband.
Well, I may be young and I may have plenty of childbearing years ahead of me, but I may not have any. People don't usually go into the decision of trying to have a child lightly. Ryan and I went back and forth on the idea for a good month or two before we both felt comfortable moving forward. Much like couples that are 5 or 10 years older than us, once we decided to try, we knew we wanted it more than anything. :)

It'll happen when you least expect it!
So...I should try not to expect getting pregnant, when I'm having unprotected sex for the purpose of getting pregnant? ::confused face:: What does that even mean??? lol. This response is very common, even my OBGYN said it when I told her that I still wasn't pregnant after 9 months. ::head desk::
  
Take prenatal vitamins! Have more sex! Lose weight! Try organic food! Stand on your head and let gravity help the sperm!  The list goes on. :) But as with most other heartaches in life, your loved ones need you to be listeners, not advice-givers. So what things should you say? Glad you asked! That's our next topic to cover. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Supporting your infertile loved ones

Since it'll be another several days before I can give any updates, I figured it would be a good time to share something that's been on my heart for a while now - how can you love and encourage couples going through infertility? One in six couples is dealing with infertility, so chances are, I'm not the only person you know who can't seem to get pregnant. You have the opportunity to come alongside your loved ones, and help carry the load of this emotional roller coaster. Because this is such a private area of life, few people talk about it, and because it's not spoken of, there is a lack of understanding, and therefore, people with good intentions have the potential to say things that are unhelpful. It's a vicious cycle, and one that I hope to break through this little mini series. :) I hope that I can give some perspective from this side of things, and help you as you seek to love those around you... so stay tuned! :) 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm baaaaaaack!

What a wonderful vacation! :) Ryan and I thoroughly enjoyed our time away. FYI, Charleston, South Carolina is really hot this time of year. I thought I knew what that meant, but I seriously had no idea. haha. Never fear, a little sweat didn't stop our fun. We got to tour some cool historic places like Fort Sumter (where the Civil War began), a working plantation, and the downtown area with pretty, old houses.


I think we would have done more touristy type things if it wasn't so flippin humid. Alas, we resorted to game playing, eating, movie watching, eating, swimming, eating, and catching up with our family (did I mention eating? lol). It was a total blast and incredibly refreshing. I'm so happy to be a Miller. :) 


Now that we're home and our schedule has calmed down a bit, I'm eager to get back in the game of fertility treatment. I anticipate starting meds at some point next week, but it just depends. I'll keep you posted! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Long time no...see? Talk? Read?

I have no idea what the appropriate phrase is for my subject line. Oh well, you know what I mean. :) Not much has happened in the past couple weeks. We spent the first week of July wishing we were dead because we were just that miserable. ;) Our AC has never worked and we've been in denial of that fact since we moved in. haha. We eventually just ended up crashing at my parent's house all last week, till it got fixed. But you know, the change in pace made the time go by fast, which was nice. Actually, this whole month is full of out of the ordinary activities, and that has really helped keep my mind from dwelling too much on our forced pause in treatment. Next week we're getting on a plane and spending several glorious days on the east coast with the Miller clan. I CAN'T WAIT! I'm thankful that I get to enjoy a vacation and time with the family, completely void of hormonal hot flashes, irritability, and headaches. :) Anyway, by the time we get back I will be just a few days away from my next cycle when we whip out the big guns of intrauterine insemination. Yeah baby! 

In other news, I came across the first song I've ever heard mention a struggle to get pregnant. It's not new, I just must not have ever paid attention to that part of the song before. Anyway, though it is just a very short verse (starts at 2min 15sec), it made me happy, in an eyes-welled-up-with-tears sort of way. It's what I envision happening some day for us. And yes, it's country. Don't hate. ;) haha

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Peace in seemingly cruel coincidences

Our next step is IUI (intrauteral insemination). I'm going to be on another 150mg of clomid and hope that we get two follies again. Dr. Q will trigger me to ovulate and put Ryan’s swimmers directly in my uterus with my egg(s) and we'll see if anything takes. There is a little more monitoring involved in this procedure, which needs to be done on specific cycle days. Unfortunately, we're going to be out of town on days that I would need to see my doctor. So I’m on the bench this month; I can't get treatment. We'll have to wait till August to move forward. 

I actually ended up being late. Two days late to be exact, and with the most beautiful chart I've ever had. As you can see in my average curve (in blue), my temps consistently drop, which mean that pregnancy did not occur. But this time they stayed high, and gave me hope that maybe the clomid worked, even after I got the first negative test. I figured I would test again this morning if my temp remained high. Alas, this morning's temp was a nosedive, and I started my period. Not only am I not pregnant, but I am also two days too late to do the IUI in July. 

I thought that I would be pretty discouraged about all this, but God has given me a peace in my heart about how everything worked out (thank you for your prayers!!). Why did God choose to lengthen this cycle, of all cycles? Furthermore, why lengthen it just enough for me to miss my small window of opportunity to move forward next month? I don't know. But it is just too specific for me to doubt that He has a better plan. Maybe He wants to display His power by letting us get pregnant next month without medical help, maybe my body needs a little break for the IUI to work in August, or maybe this is buying time for just the right adopted blessing to come to us. I don't know. But  I'm ok with that right now. God is good. I trust that one day I'll be able to look back and be so thankful that He used one specific sperm and one specific egg, in one specific cycle, in one specific way, to make one specific baby for us. When I look into that child's eyes, I don't think I'll care how long it took for him or her to be mine. :']

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord..." (Psalm 27:13)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Smooth Criminal



I don't usually test unless I have a good reason to. Being late is one reason, and a temp rise when it should have dropped, like what happened this morning, is the other good reason. So I tested. My body is playing tricks on me. I saw the Not Pregnant results pop up, and suddenly heard Michael Jackson singing, "You've been hit by, you've been struck by, a smooth criminal!" ::sigh::  I have to get to work. More to come later.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grace as it's needed

I've been reading Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges. It's about God's grace, not only to save, but to sanctify us throughout our lives, in good times and in hard times. I like the way he words our daily dependence on the Lord, and the need to be content in the circumstances that He has placed us in- 
God always gives us what we need, perhaps sometimes more, but never less. The spiritual equivalent to food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8) is simply the strength to endure in a way that honors God. Receiving that strength, we are to be content. We would like the "luxury" of having our particular thorn removed (2 Corinthians 12:8-10), but God often says, "Be content with the strength to endure that thorn." We can be confident that he always gives that. 
Be content with the strength to endure. wow. Mr. Bridges makes an illustration of God's distribution of grace by going to Exodus 16:16-21 and noting how God provided food for the Israelites in the wilderness. Every day the people were to gather as much as they needed for that day, and not to save a supply for later. I need to look to Him for strength daily - physical, emotional, and spiritual. I can't store up grace for next month or next year. He provides day by day, and sometimes even hour by hour. But His grace is sufficient, and I have the opportunity to give Him praise by simply resting in it. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

::Jeopardy music::

Are you all hearing Jeopardy music or is it just me? ;) Nothing much going on folks. I'm smack in the middle of a waiting period, so I guess that means you are too. haha. :) Welcome to the club friends. Feel free to play a game of Tetris to pass the time. *teehee*



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blog housekeeping :)

Several of you have told me that you can't figure out how to post a comment. Well, I love getting comments, so let's remedy that problem shall we? :)

You can comment through a few different profile options, but I think the easiest way if you don't have a blog yourself, is to go the Anonymous route oooooor through a Google account. Simply select Anonymous from the drop down, type your comment in the box, and remember to put your name at the end. vua la! You can set up a Google account here (it's a quick & easy set up), and then just sign in when you want to post a comment. This will allow your name to be displayed as a header instead of having to sign your name at the end.

Also, since most of you follow via email, you may not have noticed that I added a "Trying to Get Pregnant?" tab to the website. I still have more to add, but it was updated yesterday with lots of new content. :) I hope that it will be a helpful resource to ladies who are currently trying, or will be trying in the near future.

That's all for now folks. Have a good day! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Daddy's Girl

My dad tells our birth stories every year on our birthday. To be honest, the three stories blend together, and after all this time, I’m actually not 100% confident on which details are mine and which belong in Brother’s or Janelle’s story. lol. The one thing that I know is distinctly my story, is that I was crying when the doctor handed me to my dad for the first time, and he said, “What’s the matter?” I looked at him intently, batted my eyes a little, and stopped crying. :) 

It’s fair to say that I still look up to my dad with the same admiration as I did on day one. He’s a wonderful father. :) Growing up, he made sure that I did not have reason to seek the attention of boys – he gave me plenty. Never holding back to tell me how pretty I look, calling me his girl, and always ready to give me a hug or put his arm around me. He also set the bar for how I saw men, and taught me to recognize a strong man as one who knows his Biblical role and strives to live it. He challenged me set high standards for myself, and not settle for anything less.

Ryan Miller met those standards. :) Something I will always vividly remember, are the few moments with my dad before I walked down the aisle to meet Ryan on my wedding day. As we stood in the lobby of the church I grew up in on December 26, 2009, he squeezed my hand and said, “Apart from your commitment to Christ, this is the most important moment in your life, Sugar. I am so happy that I get to share it with you.” I felt like we had accomplished something big together that day. We had found the one that would take the role of my loving protector and provider, and my dad was officially handing me over to his care.  I was just as honored to hold my dad's arm, as he was to escort me to the love of my life. :)

Looking at Ryan's family, I know that we're probably going to end up having boys. :) But I hope that the Lord gives us at least one girl, because I can’t wait for a precious little lady to feel about Ryan the way that I feel about my dad. :) My husband is going to be a wonderful father. <3


Love you Daddy, happy Father's Day! : )

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Odds of conceiving twins

What are the odds that I could conceive twins? (good question Rachel!) While researching a bit this morning, I found that the odds of conceiving twins naturally is 3%.  However, the number of multiples has dramatically increased with the rise of infertility treatment over the last few decades. As a result of Clomid, I'm releasing two eggs this cycle (as far as I can tell). This ups my chances from 3% to 7-12%. Actually, one of the statistics that I came across was that 1 in 5 women on Clomid may have twins. Not sure how accurate that is, but it's an interesting tid bit to consider. According to this page, I'm less likely to because I'm hispanic. Interesting huh? 

So my take away from this brief research is that, yes it is in fact possible that both of my eggs become babies. My odds are higher than that of a woman conceiving without fertility meds. But it is still not likely. I might not even be able to conceive one, let alone TWO.
...

Wouldn't it be a total riot if I did though??? I feel like just saying that it's not likely, is going to jinx me somehow. hahaha. ;) 



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

::High fives all around::

I HAVE TWO FOLLIES!! : D Both are measuring at 23mm. 18 is mature and healthy, so we're in good shape! yay! I'm so happy and relieved!


Thank you all so much for your prayers. Aside from the hot flashes, I had less side effects than I anticipated, and I can only contribute that to prayer. It is such a huge comfort to know that when I feel like I'm out of words and I'm not sure what to pray for any more, there are others that will come before the Lord on my behalf. : ) So now we wait for ovulation, and then wait some more to see if we successfully preggo-d those eggos. ; )

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wait

I have a monitoring appointment today to see how I responded to Clomid this cycle. I.can't.wait. I've been thinking about it all weekend. ::sigh:: So I will give an update on that soon. In the meantime, I came across this on another TTC blog and had to share. Enjoy! :)


"Wait”

Desperately, helplessly, longingly I cried:
Quietly, Patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
and the Master so gently said, "wait"

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply
"Lord, I need answers. I need to know why!"

My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to wait?
I’m needing a yes, a go ahead, a sign
or even a no to which I’ll resign
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe we need but to ask and we shall receive
Lord, I've been asking and this is my cry: I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate as my Master replied again, “wait.”
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut, and grumbled to God "so I’m waiting.... for what?"
He seemed then to kneel, and his eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign."

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be,
You'd have what you want but you wouldn't know me.
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair; you'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You would not know the joy of resting in me, when darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love
when peace of my spirit descends like a dove.
The glow of my comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
from an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should you pain quickly flee
what it means that my grace is sufficient for thee.

So, be silent, my child and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
and though often my answers seem terribly late,
my most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

Well folks, my first medicated cycle didn't work. Dr. Q felt comfortable prescribing Clomid when he did because I hadn't ovulated yet, but I'm not sure how much good it did since it was pretty late in my cycle when I started taking it. For those of you who don't know, ovaries grow follicles, and the dominant follicle releases an egg. My monitoring appointment a couple weeks ago showed that the dominant follicle grew and looked nice and healthy after taking Clomid. But that could just as easily be contributed to normal growth while approaching ovulation, as it could to the Clomid. So it'll be interesting to compare the results at my next monitoring appointment. I'm hoping to see more than one hefty follie this time around. More follicles = more eggs. The tricky thing is that we want more than one to grow so that it ups our odds, but not too many because we can't run the risk of having a crazy amount of multiples. If I have more than four follies...we'd have to skip trying this cycle. Obviously, that's the last thing I want to do, so we're hoping for two or three! That'd be optimal. :)

I'm actually doing pretty well right now. Yes, it's another unsuccessful cycle, and that always kinda sucks. But I'm thankful that we are getting help from a doctor, and that we have steps to take over the next couple weeks to keep me busy. I need to get bloodwork done and have my first monitoring appointment to make sure that I did not develop cysts on my ovaries. Assuming that I'm all clear, I'll fill my prescription and start another round of Clomid. On to cycle 15!


This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Growing in Patience

Ryan and I have been talking recently about patience. Isn’t it a shame that patience is something that you can only learn by not getting what you want? Haha! I just want God to zap me with it, instead of building it slowly, over time – but I suppose that would defeat the purpose wouldn’t it? ;) At church a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine was warming up a bottle for her baby boy. He had about two minutes to wait, and he was just crying like the world was over. I had to smile because I realized in that moment, that God starts teaching us patience from infancy, and continues to build it in us throughout our lives. The waits get longer and harder over time, but He gives just enough to stretch us to the next level of endurance. :) It seems like simple enough concept to grasp, but I think sometimes, in the heat of a trial, it’s easy to forget the basics of what we believe. The trial of not being able to get pregnant has been both emotionally and spiritually challenging for me. I feel like I’m finally able to see some aspects of the struggles in retrospect, instead of being overwhelmed in the thick of it, but it’s taken me a long time and I have not "arrived" just yet. :)
I’m not the type of girl who loves work, and is seeking to build a career for herself. I have only ever wanted to be a full time wife and mom. It is spiritually confusing to know and desire the roles that God has called me to, and yet not be granted the opportunity to fully act on them. I prayed diligently when we first started trying, then I got convicted that maybe I was making an idol of this desire, so I stopped praying about it. Then my heart felt heavy because I was not bringing it before the Lord. So I tried again for a while, and ran out of things to pray, and felt like God wasn’t hearing me anyway, so I stopped praying all together. Then I felt distant from the Lord, and stopped reading my Bible. Before long my perspective of God had changed from loving Father, to a heartless figure who gave me a test that I was incapable of passing. And that was my lowest point- I forgot that God loves me. I forgot that He is teaching me patience, because he loves me and is keeping His promise to sanctify me, and make my heart more beautiful in His sight. I am so thankful that the Lord snapped me out my false perception of Him, and called me back to the reality of His grace. I’m still going to have down days. Actually, now that we're getting help, I think the highs will be higher and the lows will be lower. But I need to keep reminding myself that the Lord is not bullying me, He’s on my side. I’m still His girl, and He will not give me more than I can handle. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nests and Hatching Eggs


I’ve been reading a book called Adopted For Life by Russell Moore. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is considering adoption, or is at all interested in this subject. He has expanded my perspective to see adoption the way God sees it, beyond the physical aspect of adding a member to our family. I have been blessed to reflect on my own personal adoption into the great big, multicultural family of God. :) I have also appreciated what Moore has to say about infertility. He speaks compassionately from experience, yet charges those struggling with infertility to check themselves for sin issues that this emotional roller coaster tends to surface. There is literally a heading that reads, “Adoption For People Who Are, Or Think They Might Be, Infertile.” ::cue Twilight Zone music:: How did he know??? ;) haha. Anyway, there is a lot of other good stuff in the book, and I still have a couple chapters to go before I finish it. But I wanted to share a little tidbit that was encouraging to me this week. As we move forward with fertility treatment, it is so good to be reminded of God’s loving care and sovereignty in this aspect of my life.
Whatever your views about how God’s kingship fits with human freedom, you know as a Christian that God is at work in bringing about His good purposes for you. Your decisions fit, mysteriously, into that overall plan. Don’t worry. As you move forward, remember, that your God is King; so “do not be anxious” (Matthew 6:25-34). Just as our Father provides food for the birds of the air, He also provides them with nests and hatching eggs.

<3