Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas everyone!

I am wishing everyone a wonderful, happy, and healthy Christmas!! I have been blessed beyond belief this year!


Although my hair is in the way, this one shows my bump off really well. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

14 weeks and . . .

14 weeks and feeling GREAT!

My CF appointment went well. My lung function is stable, and I have gained weight - obviously the doctors are thrilled about that! We talked about different breathing exercises for when the vest will no longer work well. I think we have awhile until that point.

My energy has suddenly returned, and so I have been busy getting ready for Christmas and taking care of household needs. Dishes, laundry, bathrooms, dusting...all of these things got pushed to the back burner the last trimester. Yes, they got done here and there, but not consistently. I'm definitely ready for a clean house again.

Belly photos. I started taking them, but they have NOT been consistent. A big part of my problem is how self-conscious I am about my belly scars and how they look now that I'm pregnant. Yes, you can see them through my shirts. I need to just get over it and document my bump anyway because this could very easily be the only pregnancy I have.

Weight gain is around 6 pounds now. It's hard to believe, but I am thoroughly enjoying the surreal feeling of watching that scale go up every few days. I started at 117 and I'm now 124. Not too bad!

I am starving all the time right now. Even after I eat. If I don't eat every two hours or so, I swear my stomach is eating itself!!

I'm ready to feel baby all the time. I think I have felt baby here and there for brief seconds at a time, but I am ready for the kicks and the punches! Bring them on!!

Overall, I'm doing REALLY well so far. I'm pretty shocked at how easy the pregnancy has been to this point. I'm certainly  not complaining, and I am enjoying every second that I have of being pregnant. I know I will miss it a year from now. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Pregnancy Funny

I have a CF appointment so I will probably post about that tomorrow, but until then. . . .

I woke up to use the bathroom for a second time last night (it was about 4 AM), and I was so tired that all I could think was, "six more months, and I will get a full night sleep again."

Then, I literally started laughing out loud at myself. I laughed so hard!

In six more more months, I will officially be up ten times more than I am now!!!

And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way! :) 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

12 Week Ultrasound

Since my teenage years, I have often dreamed of what it would be like to see my baby move on an ultrasound with my husband by my side. I would lay in bed, imagining the scene with a smile plastered on my face knowing that it would be an incredible feeling. 

I can now say that it was even better than I could have imagined! 

The last time David had seen our baby, he/she was just a little "blob" with a flickering heartbeat. Yes, it was exciting, but David had yet to see baby looking like baby (other than the 9 week ultrasound picture that I brought home). To him, it hadn't become fully real yet - until this appointment! 

This was our 12 week screen which would check for the probability of Downs Syndrome and other chromosomal issues. Because of this, we were nervous about the appointment. As soon as the ultrasound wand touched my belly though, my worries melted away. Our little baby looked perfect, and seeing the look on David's face as he saw Baby looking like a baby was priceless. Then, Baby started moving and he was shocked. Our little Peanut was turning and twisting every which way. In fact, it took quite awhile to get the measurements needed because of how often Peanut twisted away from the camera. Thankfully, the measurements came back perfectly normal (and now we are waiting on the combination with the blood test results). 

After the measurements were done, the sonographer took her time showing us each part of Baby. We got to see arms, legs, feet, and we even took a peek to see the gender (even though it is WAY too early). Nothing is there yet, but that doesn't mean anything ;) We also heard the heartbeat (this was the first time hearing it for David), and found out it was measuring at 161 BPM. Apparently, that's right on target, although I expected it higher since the last appointment it was in the 180s. 

She then printed out our picture:

Our beautiful baby at 12 weeks 4 days

And then she gave us a real treat. She turned on the 4D ultrasound machine, and we saw Peanut in such a neat way. Usually, 4D photos actually look "strange" to me this early on, but since it is our baby I was not freaked out by it in any way. Neither was David. In fact, we cherish that picture and we both look at it each day. It's the closest we have been to "meeting" our baby so far, and it felt amazing! 



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finding Out

I want to thank everyone for their sweet words and comments from our previous post. We are so excited, and I can't wait until we can announce our news publicly.

Since I ended up spilling the news early to everyone, it's now time to backtrack a bit and talk about the transfer, the days after, and the first time I've ever seen those two beautiful lines on an HPT.

The difference between my first embryo transfer and my second, frozen transfer was night and day. The first time around, I felt miserable. The bloating in my stomach, the nausea, and the pain from the surgery were all present for the day of my transfer, and while I tried to remain positive it was hard when I felt so crummy. It also took an extremely long time for the first transfer, and it was difficult for the R.E. to get into the uterus (probably due to the swelling from surgery). It was painful and uncomfortable, and I seriously dreaded my second transfer following the first experience.

Thankfully, the second time around was incredible. First, I felt great. I was calm, positive, focused, and I wasn't in pain or swollen anymore. I also brought a book to read to help me relax in the time after the transfer while you are required to lay down. Trying to make the whole experience as relaxing as possible really helped my feelings toward the transfer in general. Then, the transfer itself was smooth and easy. It took awhile to get past the cervical mucus, but after that the catheter went into the uterus on the first try, and the R.E. slowly pulled the catheter out which I believe helped.

After the required 30 minutes of lying flat on the table, I got dressed and we went home. I enjoyed the rest of the evening relaxing on the couch and trying not to focus too much on what had happened.

By the next day, I officially had my first pregnancy symptom. I know that seems incredibly strange and early, but I have had a few others who have had positive IVF cycles claim to have the exact same experience so I do believe it's true. The very next day, I was exhausted. I was so tired that all I could do was lay around and sleep. That feeling continued every single day until my positive test.

For the symptom watchers out there, I will post my other symptoms:
6DPO, I woke up from my nap with an "I'm pregnant" feeling that I can't describe
7DPO, extremely tired
8DPO, cramping, still exhausted
9DPO, Started getting angry at little things and had to take a break while walking due to feeling slightly out of breath. Obviously, still tired.
10DPO, More cramping, more exhaustion, but one strange thing: no sore chest. Every single cycle my chest is sore by this point.
11DPO, So tired that I couldn't even focus on a book. Cramping and light light pink spotting. Chest still not sore and my tastes were off. Subway tasted terrible.
Tested after spotting and saw the faintest BFP ever! Best feeling in the world!
12DPO, still exhausted. Took 4 more HPTs and all were positive (yes, I was addicted to them). Started spotting a bit heavier.
13DPO, Could feel my heartbeat was faster and lower back was a bit sore. Chest still not sore, and sudden gag reflux kicked in. Took another HPT and the line was even darker.
14DPO, Officially pregnant!!! Beta came back at 165 (good, strong number)!!
18DPO, Beta needed to be above 660 and was 737.8!
21DPO, Beta came back at 1808!!

When I took that first HPT, I was in total shock. I had left it on the counter of the bathroom and waited the required three minutes, fully expecting a negative when I came back (even if just because it was too soon after transfer to test). As I picked it up, I noticed that there was a faint second line, and I immediately began shaking and laughing. I don't think the smile left my face for hours after that.

My husband wasn't home at the time, and I was out of HPTs so I ran to Walgreens to get another package. I then waited the suggested 4 hours betweeen pee breaks (I hadn't done this the first time), and I took a second test to make sure it was really positive. Sure enough, the line was even darker. I told my husband by wrapping a onesie that said, "My daddy loves me" and a baby book.

It was one of the best days of my life. Hands down. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Ultimate Blessings of 2012


** This is a long post, but worth reading! Also, if we are Facebook friends, I ask that you not post about the contents of this post. Thank you**

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have thought about the many blessings in my life that I have to be thankful for. I have an incredible family, access to great health care, financial resources to get my medications, a sweet puppy who makes my days great, a beautiful home, a reliable car, I live in a place where my vote counts and I have an overwhelming amount of freedom. . . the list goes on and on. This year, however, there are two things that I am especially thankful for.

Out of those two blessings, the first is that my sister has completed her final chemo session. You may remember that my sister was undergoing chemo after we found out (back in March) that she had Stage IV colon cancer. Our lives were immediately changed forever, and we (primarily Ellen but also her back-up team) started fighting with everything we had. She underwent over 8 hours of surgery on June 12 to take out the infected bowel and liver, and an ileostomy was placed to help prevent infection. She then went back to rigorous chemo that made her feel miserable day after day. At one point through her treatment, her white cell count plummeted and she was given a shot to help build them back up. This shot made her feel worse than the chemo. She also suffered from a pretty serious allergic reaction about three treatments ago. She was taken off of one of the drugs but still kept going with her chemo, and thankfully she stayed reaction-free for the last treatments. She has dealt with swollen tongues, nausea, pain, sensitivity to cold, swollen hands and feet, and just feeling miserable. BUT…she is finally done! Her CEA level is within normal range, and she will be having a reversal of the ileostomy soon! We are so thrilled at this news, and we are going to be celebrating during my family’s Thanksgiving! I’m getting a cake, balloons, streamers, the whole nine yards. We need to celebrate her amazing achievement, and I am so very proud of her.

With that blessing explained, it is probably hard to believe that there could be anything worth celebrating that even comes close to that good news. Normally, that would be 100% right, but this year we have been doubly blessed in an exciting way. . .

Basically, our Christmas present (the best Christmas present ever) came early this year. . .

Best photo we own! Baby's hand is front of its face, and we got to see Peanut move on this ultrasound.


That’s right! That picture is our little Peanut at 9 weeks and 4 days! I have been extremely quiet about the results of my last frozen transfer because I wasn’t quite ready to share the news with the world yet. I wanted time to enjoy it ourselves and to tell our immediate family and a few close friends. I still have a few family members who do not know such as my niece and nephew and my cousins. I will be telling them once I hit 13 weeks (so beginning to mid-December). But we are incredibly happy and blessed to announce that we are finally expecting a sweet, precious baby. My due date is June 12 or 13, depending on which ultrasound you listen to, and my husband and I couldn’t be happier. We found out on the first of October, and it has been INCREDIBLY hard not to write about it all this time. We were waiting until I got further along before sharing the news, but I couldn’t resist any longer.  So, as I write this, I am 10 weeks and 2 days, and believe it or not, I already have a little belly. I’ve had one for about three weeks but it’s gotten a bit bigger each week. I know they say you don’t show this early with a first pregnancy, but they obviously haven’t seen my body. It never goes down so it’s not just bloating that’s for sure, and it’s quite firm! I will have to post a bump picture very soon, but for now the ultrasound picture will have to tide you over!

Over the next few weeks, I will post about how I found out and what has happened from that point on. I’ll be looking back at the beginning of the pregnancy and explaining thoughts and feelings, and I also want to focus on the CF and CFRD aspects of the pregnancy.

As you can see, we really have been blessed with two of the most incredible blessings in the entire world this year. We are so thankful!

Again, if I can ask those of us who are Facebook friends to not post about this. Since a good amount of family does not know, I really don’t want it getting out on Facebook yet. I also want to wait for a public announcement to everyone who actually knows me until 13 weeks. Thank you all so much for understanding!

Stay tuned for all the exciting details about the last 8 weeks! :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lung Function Update

If you read my previous post, you know that I had clinic today and was hoping for an increase in lung function.

I'm back up to 83%!!! So very happy about that!!

Feeling really sore today though, so I'm just headed to bed once my nighttime treatment is done. 

Thankful Thoughts

It's November 8, and I have been less than committed to my "November Blessings" this year. Since I haven't posted in a week or so, I figured it was time to update what I'm thankful for today.

Today, I am thankful for the right to vote, which I exercised on Tuesday. I realize how lucky we are to live in a country where we can vote (regardless of gender, race, or religion), our voice is heard, and we are given the opportunity to vote in new candidates over time. I believe I am so blessed to live in this country.

I am also thankful for access to great healthcare. I have had a variety of doctor appointments in the last two months or so, and I am so blessed that I have the financial ability to be at one of the best hospitals! My CF care team is phenomenal, and all of my other doctors are great too. I can't even begin to describe how different my life would be if it wasn't for this standard of health care.

And finally today, I am thankful for my insulin pump. I recently decided to go on the pump so that I don't have to inject myself 5+ times in a day, and so that I would have better control over my sugars. This transition really deserves its own post, and I will try to do that somewhat soon. I've been on it for over a month now, and I love it. My sugars are in GREAT control (80s in the morning, under 120 two hours after eating..wonderful numbers), and I only have to inject myself once every three days to change my site. It has made my life a lot easier, and for the first time (in a long time) I forget once in a while that I have diabetes. And that, my friends, is definitely something to be thankful for.

I have another CF appointment today. Last time, my lung function had dropped from 85 to 78. I never see numbers that low, and it terrified me. Hopefully this time they are back up. My respiratory therapist, who is amazing, will be there this time. She wasn't at the clinic last appointment, and my doctors said that they will wait to see what my numbers are when she is back. SO, I'm hoping my FEV1 will be at least 83! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Fun, and November Blessings

Last night was a blast! Halloween is, by far, my husbands favorite holiday. He loves to decorate, he loves to see the costumes, and he loves to watch me hand out candy so he doesn't have to do it. This year was spent with our normal family traditions: eating big macs (a tradition passed down from David's father), watching scary movies, and enjoying our decorations.

Yes, our decorations are fun, and for many kids they are scary. We always have kids who have to bring mom/dad to the door because they are too scared to go alone, and we have other kids who hesitantly walk up on their own (parents laughing in the background), and they sit there and stare. This year we actually had a child try to come in our door to touch the decorations, and we had another girl who was so impressed with "Feddie Koogles" that she kept asking everyone to come see him.

A little different than last year, and you can see our orange and purple lights in the background on the walls. Also you can see the awesome cobwebs that David put all over the lower wall. 


Oddly, we had a lot of kids pass our house up this year as well. We've never had that happen before, but apparently other adults had the same issue. I'm not sure if kids just are unsure of how to trick-or-treat anymore or what. Although our trick-or-treat hours started at 3:30 so many people weren't even home.

Overall, we had a great time and we were out of candy by the end of the night! I always enjoy our Halloween celebrations, and I'm not sure what will happen once we have a kid. I'm sure they will change quite a lot.

On to November!

Since it's November 1, it is time to start my "what I'm thankful for. . . " each day I post this month. I have so much to be grateful for that it is quite hard to pick out just one thing to celebrate with each post so sometimes I will have more than one. Today is one of those days.

Today (and everyday) I am thankful for God. I have received many blessings recently, and I know that He is responsible for them all. I am overwhelmed by His love and power, and I don't know what I'd do without Him being such a big part of our lives. We are so blessed each and every day.

Today (and everyday) I am also thankful for my husband. David has been working very hard recently, and he has been helping me pick up some slack at home when I'm not feeling well. He has basically been running the house and managing a full-time job on top of it. I am so impressed by his dedication and love to me, and I wish I could do more for him.

As November continues, I encourage everyone to take a minute and think about what you are thankful for today!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Setting Change

I was notified by two readers, via Facebook, that my blog setting had turned to private. It means that some of you probably have not been able to access my blog the last few days. I'm really sorry about that! It should be good to go now, and tonight I hope to have Halloween pictures to post! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fading of Fall

My favorite season is quickly leaving me, and I have let it pass me by this year. I have been so busy with life that fall has seemingly come and gone. I look outside my window and see that most of the trees in my neighborhood are now bare, prepared for the winter chill, and I'm quite sad about this. Normally, this time of year for me is a time of picture taking, open windows, and pumpkin farms. This year, however, it has been a time of busy life happenings: doctors appointments, things related to David's work, lots of chores, extra naps, illnesses, and just being overall too busy to stop and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Thinking of fall passing me by, I realized that there is one tradition that David and I used to do all the time before we got married but have not done once since being married: carving pumpkins. I totally miss it. We used to each pick out a pattern from one of the books, enlarge it to our pumpkin's size, and carve away until we had some pretty awesome jack-o-lanterns. But for the past few years, we haven't even bought a single pumpkin, let alone carved one. I think the mess and time of it has recently outweighed the finished product to us which really saddens me. I feel like it's about time we reinstate the pumpkin carving tradition simply because it makes me happy in the end, and I can cook the pumpkin seeds (the funny thing is I don't even like the taste of pumpkin seeds, but I love to bake them).

This realization about the pumpkins led me to think of what else we need to do that we simply have never done together: apple picking. I love  the idea of apple picking, and I have never done it. I just have this desire to go and pick my own apples then come home and make a dozen different products with the fresh produce. I don't know why this idea is so appealing to me, but I imagine it has something to do with reminding me of many colonial literature books I read when I was a kid. It just sounds romantic, fun, and organic.

So, I'm hoping that before fall is over, we can at least carve pumpkins this year. And my goal is that next year or possibly the year after that we will finally go apple picking! I'll let you know how these goals turn out, but hopefully there will be cute pictures of jack-o-lanterns covering my next blog post!

Wishing all my friends and family a wonderful remainder of this beautiful season! Enjoy it while it lasts because the cold and snow is coming soon! :) 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Confession #3

Confession #3: I am NOT consistent in many things in my life...

As you can tell from my lack of posting recently, consistency is not my forte. I admit this, and I struggle with it on a regular basis. Trying to get a routine down is very difficult for me, and truthfully the fact that my treatments are done every single day is pretty impressive!  I have tried getting into routines, and I have failed miserably.  Really, any advice or tips I will happily take!!

So what have I been up to? Sleeping a lot. It's about all I do right now. I think it is due in part to the changing of the seasons. I'm feeling the need to hibernate, and I've been extremely cold recently. I also have been spending time doing things around the house, reading, and watching a lot of mindless TV. Yes, I've been lazy!!

Tomorrow I don't get to be lazy though. I have my CF appointment, and I just hope that my lung function is still good. I haven't been exercising as much recently (shame on me), and I really need to get back into it. I just hope that my lack of effort doesn't show too terribly on my PFTs. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Confession #2

My second confession is that I rarely ever remember my dreams.

If I do remember my dreams, they are usually sad, frightening, or just plain strange. Out of the dreams I do remember, I can count on one hand the number of them that were really nice. I also don't have recurrent dreams like many do. Being married to someone who does have recurrent bad dreams, I'm glad I don't have to experience the same dream again and again.

As far as the subjects of my dream go, they are often about losing people in my life or being chased by a vicious killer, or a bunch of randomness thrown together. Just last night, however, I believe I had the saddest dream I've had in a long time.

I dreamt that I could never have children last night. I've never had this dream, but it was so sad and discouraging. I remember feeling extreme sadness and despair in my dream, and I was breaking the news to my parents with tears rolling down my cheeks. I woke up overwhelmed with sadness, and I'm still finding it hard to shake this dream from my memory. It was incredibly sad, and I sincerely hope it doesn't end up becoming a reality.

So after today, I'm somewhat glad I don't remember many of my dreams, because this one was just too depressing!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Confession #1

It may not surprise you that when I was a child, I was the *annoying* kid in the classroom who always had her hand up to read out loud. Even if I just read a paragraph, once the teacher would ask my hand would go up again. I simply loved reading out loud. Sadly, I think part of it was that I was really good at pronouncing hard words that the other kids couldn't pronounce. I also enjoyed adding tone and inflection to my reading because the other kids made it boring to me. So as often as I could, I would read out loud. 

Here's my confession: I still like reading out loud, even if no one is around. Sometimes stories just sound better read out loud, especially certain passages. Also, if I have a hard time understanding a passage, reading it out loud significantly helps me to grasp and retain the information. But more often than not, I'm reading young adult novels and they just sound GREAT read out loud. I try to convince myself that I'm practicing for having children, but it's not true. I just do it for fun.

Yes, I'm strange and I'm totally ok with that. :) 

About the title of this post: I plan on writing different confessions for awhile. I feel like revealing more about who I really am. This may be a dangerous idea as I may end up with no readers. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Commitment to Compliance

When I was teenager, I was never compliant with my treatments. I used to do them sporadically at best. It was hard to understand what purpose they served because I didn't cough often, I felt really well nearly all the time, and I had really good lung function. The teenage mentality had hit me, and I couldn't understand the concept of doing something now that would help me later. 

Sadly, I do believe some of the neglect to do my treatments was due to fear of the disease. I feared other people finding out about it, I feared what would happen if/when I got sick, and I feared dying from it more than anything. It took me a long time to get over these fears, and I struggled to be "normal" for as long as possible. Unfortunately, these fears and lack of compliance with treatments have taken their toll, and my lung function is nowhere near the 100+ that it used to be. It truly saddens me to think that I couldn't be responsible enough to take care of my body at a younger age.

Fast forward to 2012.

It's 4 AM, and I am sitting here doing my treatment. In fact, I can't tell you the last time I missed a treatment because it's been years. I don't care if I'm super busy, I don't care if other people are around, and I certainly don't care if I'm too tired to do it (a common excuse I used to give and still sometimes try to pull off until my husband gives me the "are you kidding me?" look). I do my treatments. Every day. EVEN when it's not easy.

Today was a prime example of not easy. We were lazy this morning and I didn't get my first treatment done until 2 PM, and I needed to do chores/get ready to leave for a surprise baby shower for my sister-in-law so I put off boiling my nebulizers to sterilize them. I should note here that I have to boil my nebs every single day. Insurance won't let me have more than 4 nebulizers, and I've cultured bugs in my lungs from tap water so the healthiest thing for me is to do daily boiling. It's a little inconvenient at times, but it's not too big of a deal.

Well, I got dressed and did my chores, and I left the house without boiling my nebs (shame on me). Because it was an awesome party, and we don't get to see David's family enough, we didn't get home until 10 PM. That meant I was sterilizing nebs at 10:15 PM. This meant that I was looking at 12:15 before I could do my treatment because the nebulizers need time to air dry. Sometimes, there are really hard times when I just want to go to bed rather than do my treatment. I force myself to remember that tiredness is not worth the way I will feel in the morning if I skip a treatment, but I also compromise. I usually take a nap when late sterilization happens. Today was one of those compromise days.

So I went to bed. And slept. And slept. And slept. Sometimes, compliance is more than just a one person job as I need a kick in the behind once in awhile, and thankfully I have a wonderful husband who does just that. He says he does it because he wants to see me around for quite some time, but sometimes I think he just enjoys seeing me extremely groggy and confused from being in a deep sleep ;) . Today was one of those times where, if it wasn't for my other half, I wouldn't have woken up and my compliance streak would have been broken. But he woke me, and I grumbled and got out of bed to start my treatment at 4 AM. And, in my opinion, anyone who wakes up and gets out of a warm comfy bed when it is 32 degrees outside, stumbles downstairs, and does a treatment this late in the night just so she doesn't skip a treatment, is 100% committed to compliance.

I've decided I want to be here a long time, God willing, but if I don't make compliance and exercise my priorities, I won't have that luxury. So, while getting up at 4 AM is not fun, it's one of the million things I'm willing to do to try and keep myself healthy. AND my lungs will thank me in for it in the morning.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Dog's Halloween Costume

We don't really dress our dog up for Halloween, but if we did I'd have to make her a Jedi from Star Wars:


Then again, some may argue that she just looks like she's medicated and dealing drugs. . . .

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Perfect Reading Weather

If you're a reader, you will understand this post perfectly.

Yesterday evening was the perfect reading weather. To be honest, I have four to eight different "perfect reading weather" situations which correlate with the different seasons, but it's been awhile since this one has visited me.

Around three o'clock yesterday the air turned extremely cool, and by the time I went to pick up David, I was sorry I hadn't grabbed a sweater. As the sun continued to set, the air continued to turn cooler and the wind picked up. I was secretly hoping it was coming and sure enough, by 8 o'clock, I had my perfect reading weather.

It was extremely windy and the rain was slightly tapping against the windows. The air was so crisp that I debated over opening a window for the evening, but I couldn't resist the lure of the fresh air filling the house. So, I opened the window just slightly, lit my mulled cider candle, and I grabbed a big, warm, and fuzzy blanket from the closet.

As the rain steadily ran down the windows, I cuddled that blanket up to my shoulders and I read for a good amount of time. My current book is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, which fit the rainy setting and helped to chill me even more.  It couldn't have been more perfect; a scary book, autumn chilled air, a warm blanket, the drizzling rain, and the scent of a cider candle filling the house made for the best reading weather I've had in a long time.

In case you were wondering, my other favorite fall reading weather is when it is beautifully sunny outside and the colors of the trees are painting the sky with vivid colors that can't help but make you smile.

What about you? If you're a reader, what is the perfect reading situation/environment for you?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Feelings Over my FET

It's hard to believe that a month ago, I had just finished my first full fresh cycle. At this point, I was pretty sure that the transfer had failed, and my body was sore, exhausted, and desperate for normalcy. In fact, I dreaded the frozen transfer because the fresh cycle was so difficult on my body.

Now, I feel like I'm not really preparing for a transfer. It's interesting to notice the differences between a fresh cycle and a frozen cycle. After so many ultrasounds, blood checks, injections, and surgery I felt like I needed to rent an apartment in the city to make it easier! This time around there are two appointments. That's it - just two. Yes, there is a daily injection (as opposed to 3 - 4), and there is some medication, but that's the extent of it. It is, in a word, strange. 

This cycle is just drastically different from the fresh transfer. We've been keeping it very quiet as well because we want to experience it ourselves, so the pain or excitement of the result can be processed as a couple. Doing so allows us to feel like we're "normal" even when we're not. Also, the fewer appointments allows it to feel less medically involved also, which is a great feeling. 

I've reached my point, however, where I am beyond ready to be pregnant. I need this to work now. It's so crushing and depressing to find out your body doesn't work the way it's supposed to month after month, and it's been eating away at me over the past few days. I've been in a dark place, and I just keep praying that this is my time to carry a child - to experience the joy of having a living being growing inside of me. We have heard a few comments from people over the last few weeks, and they've irritated me to no end (the Lupron may be partly to blame for this irritation/sadness). Here they are, from least to most irritating:

"Just wait - having kids means no more sleeping in!"  - I don't sleep in now, and getting up for a baby would be a much better reason to not sleep.
"You'll never have free time once you have a kid." - Great! I'm ready to someone to love, teach, discipline, and just be with every second of every day.
"You're lucky! You don't have kids to take away your life yet" - Really? This is one thing you should never say to someone with infertility. YOU, dear parent-friend, are the lucky one.

"I can't wait to see you guys try this - it's not as easy as it looks." - I never said parenting was easy. In fact, it's the hardest job there is - I can't wait to be blessed enough to experience it.

and my personal favorite:

"Well, it's ok that you're not pregnant, you have PLENTY of time - you're YOUNG." - One, it's NOT ok that I'm not pregnant. It is in no way, shape, or form, ok. Second, you obviously do not a thing about me because I don't have plenty of time to have a baby. My prime baby-carrying time is NOW. 

Needless to say, I've been staying away from people over the last week or so!
So, those are my feelings right now. Sad, I know..but I promise the next post will be more uplifting! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank Goodness its Thursday!

I am so glad that this week is going by quickly. I am desperate for the weekend right now. I want to cuddle with my husband in bed on Saturday morning while the sun streams through the window. The chill of the autumn air making us pull the covers around our chins. The smell of coffee brewing downstairs. The peaceful look on our dogs face as she catches the last few minutes of sleep.

Without a doubt, this is my favorite time of the week. I look forward to it each Saturday morning, and it changes slightly throughout the year depending on the weather outside. I think I've been craving these times increasingly more because of the beginning of the school year. With David coming home and working until 11 PM on school work, we don't have as much time together as I'd prefer. It makes me long for the weekends.

My other Saturday favorite - coffee in our huge mugs from Disney


While I wait for Saturday, however, I have plenty to do. I have a house which desperately needs cleaning. It astounds me how the house can be clean one night and a disaster the next night (and we don't even have children yet)! I also have laundry which needs to be done, and I am kicking myself for not making my own laundry detergent yet because the store detergent is expensive. Today, I have an appointment with my ENT at University of Chicago as well. I've been having bad sinus headaches, bloody noses, and swollen lymph nodes in my neck/shoulders, so I think it's time that I am seen. I'm not looking forward to the drive, but hopefully I can find some relief from the pressure.

So, it's a busy time until the weekend, but it will all be worth it the moment that I wake up with my sweetheart next to me and knowing we have nothing to do for a few hours. Best. Feeling. Ever. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ready for Relaxation

The arrival of September also brings the chaos of the new school year, and this year is no different. I have been feeling the strong inner pull to write for the past few weeks, but I've had so little time as I help my husband prepare for and start his new year. Although I posted about this just a bit ago, I am amazed by how much time is still being taken up by school work.

As soon as the rhythm of the new year is down, I will finally be able to attend to the things I have been craving. I've been breathing in the cool bite of the end-of-summer nights, and it has led me to crave pumpkin rolls, caramel apples, soups, homemade bread, and the distinct smell of turning leaves. I've also been dreaming of getting back into my book which I have taken a hiatus from writing. I thoroughly enjoy writing in my blog, but the words I put down for my book are much more creative and (in my opinion) beautiful. It's a whole different style of writing, and I long to get back to it.

I also am preparing my body as much as possible for this transfer, and I'm proud of that. I've been exercising and eating more often throughout the day. My weight is up to 119 which is about where I was prior to the egg retrieval. I have never felt such a strong desire to be a mother, and I sincerely hope this is my time. No matter what, I will know that I'm doing as much as possible to help the process along.

So here's to September, to cooler nights, the tastes of fall, more writing, and hopefully a successful transfer. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lupron, My Dear Friend

Tomorrow morning I will begin taking Lupron injections again to get my body all prepared for a frozen transfer.

Wow, it's coming quicker than I expected.

I'm honestly GIDDY from the excitement I feel around this next transfer.

I've got quite some time to go, but I'm one step closer!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

8/23/2012 Clinic Update

I don't know many of us CFers who get excited for clinic days. I know they are always a source of anxiety for me, as I worry that my lung function has decreased or I've cultured some new bacteria. That, however, is the extent of my worry because my CF team is truly incredible. They are always sensitive about my health, cautious about antibiotics, and hopeful for my future. In all honesty, they make it much easier to go through clinic days.

I was extremely worried about this clinic day because I have been fighting a rough upper respiratory infection for weeks now. It is getting better, but I was worried about what damage had already been done in the past few weeks.

Thankfully, when my doctors listened to me there were no crackles, and only a slight diminishing in my upper right airways (which is where the infection has seemed to reside).  As for my PFTs, my FVC was up to 156%, and my FEV1 was at 85% which is right where I was before. I was stunned at the numbers. I really expected to be down, but I definitely have an angel watching over me.

With these numbers, it means I continue to up my treatments, increase my exercise, and up my sleep per day to try and continue to kick this infection by myself. It also means that the doctors are 100% behind my frozen embryo transfer!

The other, astonishing news, was my culture results. As of my last culture, the aspergillus that I was culturing has gone, and my P.A. which I have cultured for many many years was gone as well!!! The Cayston is working! Despite the P.A. results, I'm staying on Cayston until we have a few cultures where it's negative for P.A. I'm actually starting Cayston a week early as well to try and help combat my infection so that the P.A. can't take a hold and grow while I'm already sick.

The one thing I have to work on is my weight - I still need to gain about 3 pounds. I'm working on it!! Overall, fantastic appointment, and I just know I am blessed. Truly very blessed. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

As summer winds down

I haven't had much time to post recently as I have been helping David get his classroom ready for the last week or so. This time of summer is always difficult to find time because David and I cling to our last few days of togetherness before he goes back to work.

We truly live for summers. As a teacher, my husband has an insane amount of work. I should mention that he is a perfectionist which really impacts the amount of work he actually has. Due to his job, once summer ends we get very few hours together a day. This is why, the last week before school starts, I'm pretty hard to get in contact with.

This school year brings changes upon changes. David has two new administrators and a whole new curriculum. He also is trying to help his students find the passion in reading, and we spent dozens of hours working on setting up his classroom library. The kids will be free-reading each day, and they must meet different genre requirements (for example: they must read 4 historical fiction books, 4 realistic fiction, 4 traditional lit., 4 poetry books, etc.).  The goal is that at the end of the year, the students will have read 40 books. The idea was taken from a teacher in Texas, Donalyn Miller, who does this with her students. She has written an amazing book about it, and we feel the research she includes proves that children need more time to read in class. So..a classroom library it is!! Many hours and hundreds of dollars later, we have over 300 award winning and popular books for the kids to enjoy! We're pretty proud of this library, and it will hopefully get the kids motivated!

David's library. The bins are all labeled by genre so the kids can easily sort them. 


So now that David is back to school, my blogging will probably pick up again. I'm getting ready to start the process for a frozen embryo transfer so that will keep me busy over the next few months. Also, I have CF clinic tomorrow, and I've been fighting bronchitis for awhile now so I'm pretty sure we'll be discussing antibiotics at this appointment. I'm just praying that my PFTs haven't dropped too much. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

And the Beta Result is . . .

Negative.

It's taken me quite awhile to update my page, and I'm sorry for that.

I actually found out that it was negative on August 8, when my period started. My beta was actually on August 9, but we told everyone else it was on August 13. There were a few reasons for this little white lie (which I do feel terrible about, by the way). First and foremost, we had a dear friend's wedding that we were involved in on August 11, and we felt that, regardless of the outcome, we wanted them to have their day FULLY about them without worrying about how we were doing or having others ask us about the results. This was their day, and we weren't going to spoil it one way or another. The second reason we lied to everyone was so that we could have time to process the results ourselves, good or bad, and boy am I glad we did that as we needed time to mourn ourselves.

The evening of August 8 was extremely hard as I knew it was over once my period arrived. I cried for a few hours that day, and I had to keep reminding myself that we have other chances. I felt defeated though, as if someone had sucked all the joy out of me and would never let it return. As the night continued, I began to feel a little bit better realizing that we could look at doing a frozen transfer in a few months.

August 9 rolled around, and I was still required to go in for my beta. What a trip that was. I ended up being stuck twice, as if to add insult to injury, and the phlebotomist wished me luck with a giant smile. Also, I saw enough pregnant people to make me sick for the rest of the day. I took some time to myself after the blood draw, and I simply drove around town letting myself feel upset and down. Truthfully, it helped tremendously to handle it alone (as strange as that probably sounds).

The next day, the nurse called with my results and sounded devastated for me. I told her it was ok, and that I had already known. She then asked if we needed time off or if we wanted to schedule a frozen transfer. I immediately jumped on the frozen transfer and have felt much better since making that plan. I actually got my schedule in the mail today, and I began my birth control pills again already!! It's well over a month away, but it gives me something to look forward to!

I want to thank you all for your support, well wishes, prayers, and good thoughts throughout this first IVF round. Although we are quite sad it was not successful, we believe in our hearts that God has a plan that is far greater than any plan we could ever create. He does not make mistakes, and whatever is His will is what is meant to be. Hopefully that includes a child in our future, but if it doesn't then we just pray that God gives us the strength to understand his choices. Thank you again for your understanding, patience, and love that you have given us - we are truly grateful!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Stress of the 2ww

The stress of the two week wait has officially gotten to me. I was doing pretty well until yesterday when I began spotting. The spotting stopped yesterday evening, but then started up again today.

Well, today was my first official breakdown. I just started bawling, and I got that overwhelming feeling that I was sure this cycle didn't work. I've lost all pregnancy symptoms..no cramping, no tender breasts, no nausea, nothing. Also, the spotting makes me think my period is starting as well.

After that, I went into an even darker place where I became sure that IVF would never work for us and we were destined to be childless. Dramatic much?

I just have so many emotions and so much desire put into this IVF process, and I'm so terrified of getting my heart broken if it's negative. We'll find out soon...but the wait is definitely the hardest part of the entire process! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To Test or Not to Test?

Ahh, the dreaded decision for many women going through infertility treatments (or just women who are trying to conceive).

Do I test early or do I wait for my first beta draw?

I'm truly not sure what I want to do at this point. It's far too early to test yet, but I'm not sure if I want to start at 6 days past transfer or not.  There's the risk that I could get a positive, but it's a chemical pregnancy which  would be so hard to take. There's also a chance that it will be negative, but I could still get a positive beta.

It's almost like taking the test (even if it's positive) won't allow me to stop worrying anyway. Plus, I don't want that disappointment of seeing a BFN yet again.  Part of me worries that even with IVF we are not meant to get pregnant, so testing will just result in a BFN each time.  This could stem from the fact that all I've seen are negatives so I'm just kind of used to them at this point.

Other than the dilemma of me testing, I've come down with a pretty nasty cold..what wonderful timing! Sore throat, congested chest, and sneezing like crazy. That means I've been taking it really easy and hydrating as much as possible.

I've been trying not to "symptom watch," but it's a very difficult thing to avoid. I know that at this point there wouldn't be any symptoms anyway, but when I got a wave of nausea this morning prior to eating breakfast, I thought "hmmm....maybe..just maybe!" More than likely, it's NOTHING except my mind getting itself all excited!


Monday, July 30, 2012

One Sweet Little Blastocyst

After getting home from transfer, I took it extremely easy and slept a lot which is why it has taken me this long to write about the day. Just as a warning, this post will be long and it will contain words such as uterus and cervical mucus. If these words make you uncomfortable please ignore this post and wait for the next one.

The story of our first transfer:

We got up to University of Chicago very early. See, the problem with U of C is that one day your trip could take you an hour and the next day it could take you two and a half hours so you always have to prepared for the latter. When we arrived, we were the only ones in the waiting room, and it wasn't long before we were taken back to the transfer area. 

By this point, I had been waiting for them to call and say that none of the embryos had made it this far, but instead they told us to go ahead and get changed.  This is when I figured we had to still be in the game, and one of our sweet embryos was strong enough to survive to this point! I put on my hospital gown, cap, and booties, and David got to don an extremely unattractive white sterile jumpsuit, cap, and booties as well. After changing and giggling at how ridiculous we looked, we sat down and waited. 

Because we were so early, we waited for quite awhile as they had to take two other ladies before us to do their transfers (we were scheduled after them). Our transfer time was set for 9:30 AM, and we watched the clock anxiously the entire time. David ended up reading his book while I played games on my phone, and then we decided to take a picture of ourselves in our outfits since it was such an important day.

Finally, it was our turn! 

We were led back into the transfer room and I was told to sit on the nice, uncomfortable exam table with stirrups while David got a stool to sit right next to my head. Our nurse then went over all discharge instructions including the date of our first beta. She even offered to write us an order to get the beta drawn locally so we don't have to commute so far for just a blood draw.  After she was done with the instructions, we waited just a bit longer for the Dr. to get dressed and the team to be assembled. 

He ended up coming in with a nurse, a resident, and the ultrasound tech, and then the quizzing began! We had to repeat our names, birthdays, and reason we were here about 10 times! Once they were satisfied we knew who we were and that we weren't lying, we began talking about the embryos.

From my research, typically 50% of embryos from day 3 die out by day 5. This happens because the weaker embryos that wouldn't make it to a viable pregnancy are weeded out and the strong ones will make it to day 5. We originally had four mature eggs. Those four mature eggs turned into four perfect embryos. We expected to lose at least two of them by day 5. 

And this is why I began crying when he told us we had four embryos that survived to day 5.  All I could think is "What a miracle," and my tears had the nurse and resident tearing up as well. I was just so overwhelmingly happy and excited, and the only thing I could do was cry. 

As for the grading of our blastocysts: We had one that was absolutely perfect, two near-perfect, and one that was still in the morula stage which means it's being a little sluggish and is not yet a full blastocyst. They are going to watch that one until tomorrow and see how it does. If it does ok, we will be freezing that one along with the two near-perfect blasts that we decided to freeze today. For the transfer, we decided to use the "perfect" blastocyst. 

***This is the part that gets a bit medical and might be gross for some to read***

The transfer ended up taking longer than most because it took him 20 minutes to scrape/suction out my cervical mucus which he said was as hard as a rock (this is due to my CF). This could explain why we haven't been getting pregnant as he was just stunned by how hard it was. By the way, when you have something abnormal and are going through IVF, the idea of all the people looking at you during labor seems like nothing because so many people have already looked at you just to GET you pregnant. Everybody had to take turns looking at the mucus, and I just had to lie there and pretend not to care! It's quite an uncomfortable feeling.

Once he was able to get the mucus out, he then wanted to repeat a mock transfer to ensure that everything went smoothly. It was hard for him to get into my uterus the first time which he told me was because I'm young and healthy so the uterus is not easy to get into. I hope this also means that it's not easy for the embryo to get OUT of either! :)

After about twenty more minutes and some intense cramping (which he waited to subside before doing the transfer), we were finally ready! They quizzed us about 10 more times about our names and reason we were there, and then the embryologist delivered to the Dr. one sweet little blastocyst in a catheter.  From there it was only a matter of a few minutes before the catheter was inside and the transfer was complete, and then...the most amazing thing I have EVER witnessed happened:

We saw our little blastocyst on the screen..in my uterus. It was there! It was alive and there, and we created it (with help, of course). It was miraculous to witness this because so few people are lucky enough to see this part of conception.That tiny little white dot on the ultrasound screen could end up being our child. It's truly beautiful. 

After holding back tears at the sight of the blastocyst on the screen, we were then told to relax for 30 minutes (we pushed it to 35 minutes), and then we were allowed to get up and go home. I spent those 35 minutes praying, thanking God, and thinking about being pregnant.  It was such a relaxing time, and it gave us a chance to reflect on everything that brought us up to this point. We witnessed a miracle today, and I will never forget it! 

And that's it! That's the story of our IVF transfer - a day I will remember forever!

Now, the waiting begins and we see if the little blastocyst decided to stick or not! 

Transfer Day!!

After only four hours of sleep, my eyes flickered open this morning. It took a few seconds, but once the realization of today's significance crept into my mind my eyes popped, and a smile crept over my face. Suddenly, I was flooded with that giddy feeling that accompanies children on Christmas morning, and at the same time I immediately felt the pangs of nervousness setting in. 

Today is transfer day! It means (hopefully) at least one of my little embryos has survived until today. Although we won't know for sure until we are up there, we are hopeful that one of them is strong-willed enough to make it to this point. 

It's truly hard to believe that today we will (hopefully) transfer an incredibly tiny bastocyst (the term for a day 5 embryo) into me, and I will (hopefully) be holding my future child whose gender, looks, and personality are already determined. Oh! It's such an amazing thought!!

When I look back on the entire process, it is overwhelming how incredible each step of the journey is. The fact that we, as human beings, have drugs and technology capable of overcoming fertility issues is truly nothing short of miraculous. I don't know that there are many harder pains than those felt by a woman suffering through infertility. The desire to have a baby is a consuming feeling which leaves you exasperated and despaired if it doesn't work month after month, year after year.

Therefore, regardless of what happens in two weeks, at my first beta, I've decided to revel in the remarkability of today! I've decided that today is about thanking the good Lord for bringing us to this point safely and strengthening our marriage along the way. I'm determined to be nothing short of stunned as I (hopefully) watch my little sweet blastocyst be transferred because today is a miracle to me. 

A true miracle. 


My Prayer Tonight. . .

About to head to bed, and needed to add another prayer in tonight which was:

Please let my little embryos make it to day 5 so we can do a transfer tomorrow morning!!!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

I May Have Overreacted . . . .

Long-post warning! Sorry for the length, but writing about it all makes it so much easier to sort it all out in my mind. :)

Ok..I'm admitting it...I may have overreacted about the progesterone shots.

I won't say that the first one wasn't a doozy because it CERTAINLY was just that. I think it was a weird adjustment for my body and coupled with anesthesia it didn't sit too well for me.

That said, the shots have gotten better. I once in awhile get a hot flash, and I'm still dealing with the constipation issue (though not NEARLY as much thanks to some help from some fellow CF friends). I do think one of my problems is that I have virtually no fat on my backside so I do wind up with extreme muscle pains from them each day. It takes about a full day without a shot for my one side to feel better, and by that time another shot is due to be injected in that same side! Needless to say, I've been sitting on heating pads a lot as it hurts each time I take a step.

It's worth it though. Definitely.

Other symptoms from the shot have included an increase in appetite (which is good since my weight is down to 113...ouch), and I'm pretty tired, but it's nothing I can't handle!

Tomorrow, after my transfer (did I really just write that?!?!), I will switch to the suppositories so it will give my skinny little bum a chance to heal!

In other news, I did test for the trigger shot today. I was actually excited just to see a positive since I've never personally gotten one, and even though I knew it was going to be "fake," I wanted to see it. Well, surprise surprise..the trigger shot is already out. I don't know if this is because I metabolize things quickly or not, but I was a bit disappointed. On the bright side, if I decide to test early now I know that a positive is really a positive!

I also found myself very down yesterday after hearing from more than one person (indirectly) that they really don't think IVF will ever work for us.  I have obviously been worried about that from day one as I injected myself with crazy hormones for the process. Hearing it from other people is hard, though. I've been trying not to be pessimistic, but I've found it so difficult. I look at the statistics of it, and I realize that more than likely it will definitely take more than once to make it happen. I also worry that our little embryos won't make it to day 5, and I won't have a transfer at all. I know this is supposed to be a time of relaxation, but it's the farthest thing from it. As a fellow reader (and CFer) commented, it's completely out of my hands which is why the worry is there.

In a way, the worry shouldn't be there at all if it's out of my hands since God has a perfect plan..regardless of what I want to happen. He knows when it's right, and I have to trust Him. Also, I truly believe that with Him anything is possible. Even the impossible.

I will say that my negative feelings have been a bit way off from the beginning. I was sure that I wouldn't make it to egg retrieval..then I was sure that I would ovulate early, and we would wind up with no eggs. From there, I just knew that our eggs wouldn't fertilize, and then if they did, they wouldn't make it to day 3. I am not normally a negative person at all, but I think I'm just safe-guarding my heart from failure as much as possible. This is by far the most emotionally invested I have ever felt about something, and failure would hurt. A lot.

The two things I have tried to focus on are God's power to do anything - even the impossible, and the fact that not only did the eggs fertilize, but all 4 of them look perfect on day 3. The fact that we have created embryos and they have done this well for this long already is truly miraculous. It fascinates me, and it amazes me. It also makes me think that perhaps the problem really has been that egg couldn't meet sperm before. So maybe once that problem is out of the equation, the end result will be success.

Ok...I'm ready! Bring on the transfer!!

To Transfer or Not to Transfer?

At 5 AM this morning, we were up and going.  I had to shower, do my treatment, eat breakfast, make coffee, and then of course take my progesterone in oil shot.

Then, we began our journey to the clinic for what felt like the millionth time. We ended up making great time, and we got there before 8 AM. We went in, and the doctor wanted to check all of my vitals for signs of OHSS. So, we did just that.

Well, my vitals looked GREAT! My pulse was a little high, but it always is so he wasn't concerned. So with my weight being the same as on transfer day, my vitals being good, and looking good, he wasn't concerned about OHSS. I could have told him that, but I get why it's better to be safe than sorry. Also, he did suggest a couple more options to help get rid of the constipation safely so that's what we'll work on when the issue arises again.

Then, he brought up the sweet little embryos that have been growing over the past 3 days.

Ahhh our sweet embryos! Who knew I could feel so nervous and excited for little dividing cells!

He told us that they have decided to push the transfer off because. . . *drum roll please*. . .

We have 4 PERFECT 8 CELL EMBRYOS!! This is the best they can be on day 3 so that's super exciting!

David and I almost cried lol..honestly. David even said, "I never thought I'd be this nervous about it," and Dr. agreed saying that he is ALWAYS nervous about how the embryos will do.

So, now we're hoping that they keep growing and dividing exactly the way they should, and we will have the transfer (provided at least one makes it to day 5) on Monday morning.

YAY!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Transfer Day?

Is today transfer day? That's the big question we're all waiting to hear an answer for. 

We were hoping (and still are hoping) for a day 5 transfer since it seems those have the best odds. Yesterday, however, I did call the office to ask about what I can do to ease the constipation issues I have been having. Rather than giving me a nice easy answer such as, "Try this product," or "switch to the suppositories to see if that makes it a bit easier," they told me "Come in to the office tomorrow."

They want to evaluate me for OHSS (which I'm 99% sure I don't have as I'm not gaining weight or unable to pee), and they will decide at that time whether or not we'll be doing a transfer today. 

Yesterday, I was NOT excited about this one bit because I was in so much pain from constipation..I could hardly breathe! At 3 AM, though, things MOVED and now I'm feeling conflicted....I feel now like I don't want to go up there because there's no point (I felt like this yesterday anyway), but I feel excited that today might be the day when an embryo is transferred! I definitely want them to make it to day 5 though, so I'm kind of disappointed that it may come early. I almost feel like I'm failing them if they decide to put one in early.

Yet..at the same time...I could have my future child transferred to me today...HOLY COW!!!!!!

:)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Progesterone in Oil, How I Hate You

There are very few things I hate in this world...but progesterone in oil is definitely one of them.

Within the first 12 hours of this shot I have felt the following:

- Flushed all over my face and my left arm
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme bum pain to the point where I can't sit at all unless it's on a heating pad
- Irritability/sadness
- Nausea
- Extreme boob pain to the point where I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack until I realized it was just my boobs being sore.
- Extreme constipation starting already despite having taken miralax. I may be upping my dose to twice a day or something because this is ridiculous.
- Sensitivity to smells. My beautiful Subway sandwich (which I was ALL excited to eat) smelled like something you would catch a whiff of at the baboon house of the zoo...Also water smells funky, and I can't stand my perfume.

Yep...all within 12 hours. My husband is convinced it's all in my head, but I truly don't think my head could make up all these symptoms.

Needless to say, I'm terrified for tomorrow's shot, and I'm quite ready to be done. Good thing this wasn't the first part of this IVF process or I never would have made it through..they tease you by putting it at the end: sadistic people I tell you...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We have embryos!

That's right!! We have four little sweet embryos growing in a lab and trying to get where they need to be for our transfer!

Out of the six eggs retrieved, only 4 were mature, but those four are fertilized! The nurse said we're still hopeful for a day 5 transfer because of me being so young. After the first progesterone in oil shot, however, I wouldn't be opposed to a day 3. HOLY COW.  I still feel like I have a charlie horse in my butt. I also got flushed like crazy in my face and left arm.  I also started having a bit of shortness of breath, but I don't know if that's from the oppressive humidity here, muscle soreness, the shot itself, or from the anesthesia yesterday. It's not bad enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, but it was/is noticeable.

They won't call tomorrow, but they will be calling Saturday morning to let us know how everything is looking, and to see if we'll be doing a day 3 or day 5 transfer. I'll keep you updated as we find out :)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And the egg count is. . .

6!

We ended up with 6 eggs after the retrieval today which surprised me for the number of follicles I had. That said, it only takes 1 to make a successful pregnancy, and my lining is nice and thick so hopefully it can burrow in nice and deep!

As for the pain? Not nearly as bad as I imagined. I have some cramping, and once in awhile I feel a twinge of sharp pain, but overall REALLY good (praying to God it stays that way).  I've taken one tylenol, and the anesthesia they gave me was great because I felt wide awake an hour after the whole process. I ended up forcing myself to take a nap, and I have been doing nothing but relaxing all afternoon. In fact, we're ordering Chinese food so I don't have to cook anything at all (but so that I can have something more than a sandwich since my husband does not have a strength in cooking).

They did switch things up a bit on us...originally we were planning on doing regular in vitro where they put the eggs and sperm together and let the "best one" win.  However, with the limited number of eggs and the sample given it was decided that ICSI (where one "healthy and well-chosen" sperm is put into each egg) was the best option.  They gave us the choice, but suggested ICSI. I was still under at that point, but my husband said if they felt it was best..that was the way to go. I'm proud of him for making that choice because he usually struggles with big choices like that. He did well :)

So as for me, I'm planning on taking it easy at least through tomorrow, although I do plan on cooking a nice meal tomorrow if I can manage it.

Thank you for all your good wishes, prayers, and thoughts. You all are wonderful, and I'm so grateful!

Also, I'll be posting tomorrow as soon as we know how many eggs ended up fertilized.  If the little embryos don't do too well, then we will do a day 3 transfer, but we're still hoping for a day 5. 

Egg Retrieval Day is Here!!

Being a CFer, I should really be used to surgeries and procedures by now.

I'm not.

They still scare me, and I don't do well with the anticipation.

Take last night for example: 4 AM and I was up with a massive panic attack. Then, I started coughing and felt like I couldn't stop. Normally, when a coughing fit ensues, I drink water but since I was required to be water and food free past midnight, that was out of the question.  So I coughed..and coughed, and coughed. Then, I was positive I couldn't breathe which set off my panic even more. I finally managed to get to bed by 5:30, and now it's 7:40 and I'm almost out the door for my "big day."

So what scares me about surgery? There's a couple things, but the major one is anesthesia.  I'm always afraid that I'm not going to wake back up. I worry that they won't be able to reverse the anesthesia meds if they need to. I know it's silly, but it's always a fear when I get put under. I hate the idea of not being able to fall asleep on my own with it too.  The fact that they control when you sleep and when you sleep terrifies me.

My name is Megan, and yes I have some control issues...

The other thing that always scares me is complications. This surgery is a very "easy" surgery by definition. I just worry that with all my scar tissue from my previous surgeries the doctor will have trouble getting where he needs to be, or he will hit something that shouldn't be where it is due to adhesions pushing it there.

Ok, well that's it..the list of my fears this morning as I head off to this procedure. I will update whenever I'm awake enough from the sedation to do so...be prepared it usually takes HOURS for me to stop falling asleep from anesthesia! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Day Before Egg Retrieval...

Bear with me if I manage two posts in one day yet again since writing helps me to deal with my nerves.

So tomorrow, by this time, I should be just about ready to go home after having my egg retrieval done. I should know how many eggs were collected, and hopefully I won't be feeling TOO terrible.

I've read the horror stories (shame on me..I should truly stay away from Dr. Google), and I hope that these stories come from women who have no pain tolerance. Someone I really respect had IVF done, and she stated that the retrieval wasn't too bad, but I should plan on staying in bed at least the first day. I totally plan on doing just that. I will stay in bed, and I will NOT use my vest tomorrow. I know it sounds terrible, but over the last 5 days I've had to cut back on my use of the vest and increase my accapella use to ensure I can clear my chest. The vest, on anything except the lowest setting, causes INTENSE pain in my ovaries for hours afterwards and increases nausea (as I found out this morning). So, I will be huff coughing and using the accapella like crazy over the next day or two until I feel less swollen and sore.

Overall, I have to admit that even the day before egg retrieval, I feel pretty good pain-wise. I had more pain in the beginning of the stimulating process than I do now, and I feel like the majority of that pain was related to constipation. Now, I feel a little full but overall I feel like I could go shopping for a few hours, and I'd be ok. Like I said, the only time I feel pain is with my vest.

As for the trigger shot, it went well. I watched the clock CAREFULLY, and I gave myself the shot at 11:01 after a bit of hesitation. I didn't feel anything after the shot, and I slept the best I've slept in weeks knowing that I wouldn't have to get up to give myself any injections today (WooHoo)! Today, however, I'm feeling the effects.Wow. Holy..Nausea...Batman.

I figure this is because the amount of hcg in my body went from non-existent to SUPER high. The vest made it worse this morning, but now I'm just trying to take it easy, and I think I'll be drinking a lot of water and eating easy foods today. I also have a pretty rough headache which could be contributing to the nausea. Otherwise..it's been pretty good! Now..on to tomorrow's surgery! Ahh!

P.S. My big fear today is that I will ovulate before egg retrieval..thus making this whole cycle pointless. I'm feeling super flushed and my temp is up which worries me that I did, indeed, ovulate. I sure hope not!

Monday, July 23, 2012

In One Hour. . .

In just about one hour, I will be giving myself my trigger shot to induce ovulation!! Holy COW!

Looking back at everything, I am amazed at how we got to this point. I am truly impressed by our dedication to the process, and I am overwhelmed by the love I feel for these eggs that aren't even embryos yet (yes, I know it sounds odd). 

It's been a little bit of a rough road, and I'm truly glad to be done with all of the injections (minus my last one tonight..AHH)! I was thinking back to the beginning of this and doing some calculations in my head, and here's what I've come up with (These numbers do not include trigger shot or anything beyond tonight):

Total Injections: 45 between the lupron and the stimulating meds.
Total Ultrasounds: 7
Total Blood Draws: 8
Approximate miles spent driving back and forth: 880 
Total spent on drugs and other costs (excluding fuel) so far: 2000
Total amount of time spent googling about E2 levels, OHSS, and all other random worries: WAY too much

How much I want this to work: Indescribable 

It's crazy looking at all this and seeing what has gone into it. I just can not wait for Wednesday so that we know how many eggs are retrieved and then how many grow the way we would like them to.

Going into the retrieval my stats are: Estrogen level is 2200 (slight concern over OHSS due to how rapidly my estrogen rose), lining is 11mm (nice and thick!), and mature follicles number at 11 prior to trigger shot.

As for the OHSS, my estrogen tripled in two days so they are slightly concerned. I also am at risk due to being young and thin. I pray that I don't get it for many reasons (especially CF reasons), and I pray that we are able to do a day 5 transfer on Monday, July 30!! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yes, 2 Posts in One Day!

I wanted to update everyone to let you all know that FedEx did come (I know you were on pins and needles waiting to hear the news ;) ).  I ended up getting my full dose of Follistim in, and I will take my Menopur in just a few minutes! I'm excited for my ultrasound tomorrow to see where my follicles are at. It feels weird not feeling pain anymore so I surely hope they are still growing!

We've been busy cleaning all day today. My dear husband has been working his behind off over the last few weeks to get our spare bedroom organized and cleaned out. I should explain that we have two spare bedrooms, but one serves as an "attic" since we have NO storage in our house whatsoever, and having a teacher at home means needing storage. So we have managed to throw away over ten bags of garbage(!), and we have organized the attic to the point where if we found out we were pregnant three weeks from now, we'd be all set to convert our current spare bedroom to a nursery. Ahh! It feels incredible just typing that out!!

Other than that, I've been catching up on laundry and dishes that have been building up over my last few days of pain. I am determined to make my own laundry soap in the next month or so because I'm so tired of all the detergent I go through. It's expensive, filled with chemicals, and makes me feel yucky when I breathe it in while doing the laundry.

Also, I'm determined on my next store trip to buy a journal which will allow me to record my thoughts and feelings for my potential future child. I've always wanted to be able to give my children a diary of the feelings I had during pregnancy, the thoughts that kept reoccurring, and the overwhelming love I'm sure I'll feel from early on.  Over the last few days, I've felt that desire to start the journal grow very strong. I figure I might as well start it during the IVF journey as there are so many emotions running through my heart and mind.

Well..off I go to do some more cleaning and anxiously await tomorrow's appointment. 6:45 AM can't come soon enough! :)

Please Hurry FedEx!

The doctors appointment went well! I now have 7 follicles that are above 10mm with one weighing in at 19mm (we will probably lose this one as it will be overmatured by the time we have egg retrieval).  My lining is also thickening up and is now 10mm which is great, and my estrogen level just about tripled to around 630. 

With these results, the doctors decided to up my meds yet again. This wouldn't be a huge problem except that I have NO additional Follistim which is the drug they want to up.  I was on 75 units, then 150, and now 225.  I'm currently waiting on a package from FedEx which was shipped for overnight delivery. The problem is I'm supposed to take these meds at the same time every day, and I normally take them at 10 AM (and it is 9:55 AM currently) Ugh. Please FedEx..hurry!!

Other than that, my dear CF friend really helped me out with some issues over bowels, and after taking some miralax, I FEEL AWESOME. I have NO pain. It feels AWESOME. My ovaries don't even hurt anymore (unless I walk), so I feel amazing. Without the horrendous pain, I'm able to focus on the beauty of what we are going through that much more. I love it!!

I hope everyone is having a great day!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ovaries are Working!

Well my ovaries are definitely working and growing those follicles because I feel constant twinges and pulls. It's kind of a neat feeling, but it hurts at the same time. Other than that, I feel GOOD. For the first night since starting the stims I feel happy and not concerned about the cycle.

This is due, in part, to the moment I had yesterday...I was lying in bed completely upset and devastated about increasing my meds. I felt my heart rate increasing, and all of the sudden my breathing got extremely shallow, and I realized at that moment that this..worry..this fear..is silly. I have NO control over what happens in this situation, and the only person that does is God. I know that He has a plan that is far greater than any "plan" I may have for myself, and I just have to trust it.

Trust.

That's what I'm working on. I need to trust that whatever happens, good or bad, it's the way things are supposed to happen. My husband has a feeling that this egg retrieval will go through, and our first transfer will work. I have that feeling too, but I'm trying not to get my hopes too high. Then again, I'm trying not to be too pessimistic. Again, trust. Trust allows me to not worry quite as much about whether it will or will not happen..it allows me to see the beauty of the entire process, and it truly is beautiful.

I held my stomach today while lying in bed, and I realized for the first time that one of these little follicles growing inside of me right now could eventually be part of my child. And I was content.

So here's to trusting the rest of the cycle, and to trusting God! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 6 of Stim Meds

First some random facts:

*Day 6 of the stim meds and my stomach looks like a pin cushion with some very nice yellow bruises and some very tender areas.
*My eyes and other random muscles keep twitching.
*Nausea has set in but only when the pain is bad..and the pain only gets bad when I have really bad gas.
*Gas-X has been my best friend recently.
*I'm losing weight which could be from the fact that it's consistently over 100 degrees here, and it's quite frankly too hot to eat!
*
My headaches continue to be a fun issue, but they're getting slightly better which is a good thing
*Oh yes..I'm ready to be done with these drugs!!

Now to continue on to the juicy appointment details from today...I have 14 follicles on my left ovary and fewer follicles on my right ovary. Of those follicles, only 4 are larger than 10 mm which means that I'm not stimming enough. My estrogen level is 216 which also means I'm not stimming enough so the doctor has doubled my dosage of medication. Prior to today, I was taking 5 units of Lupron every day, 75 units of Follistim, and 37.5 units of Menopur. Now, I will continue the 5 units of Lupron, but I will take 150 units of Follistim every morning and 75 units of Menopur at night. The goal with this medication change is to increase my estrogen level and increase the number of follicles that are above 10mm. My lining, however, looks pretty good and is 8mm thick which I guess is right on target (YAY)!

So what did I do with all this news, you may ask?

I broke down - I got really upset about the fact that more follicles haven't grown yet I feel like I have softballs in my abdomen. I looked at the "guideline" sheet when I got home, and it says that my estrogen level should be in the hundreds, and my follicles should be growing. That's all it says. So according to that, I'm right where I need to be..so why the sadness? I guess I just really want this cycle to work, and I want enough eggs at the time of retrieval that we have enough to freeze.  I know it's asking a lot, but that's my wish. I ended up tearing up and panicking all at the same time this afternoon due to this news about the increase in medication. It seems silly because it's not a huge deal, but whether it be from the hormonal rollercoaster I'm riding or something else..I'm certainly emotional.

So for now..I will continue taking my new doses of drugs, and I will return Friday for another ultrasound and more blood work.

P.S. Sorry about the HORRIBLE quality of my writing lately..I just have been jotting down ideas without actually working at it. Hopefully once my emotions are better, I will feel more like my old self and feel like writing properly again. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A week from tomorrow. . .

A week from tomorrow and I could possibly be having my egg retrieval done. It's crazy that it's all moving so quickly, but I'm ready to be off of all these meds already..that's for sure.

No real "updates" per say, but I have been getting TERRIBLE headaches with the Follistim injections. They are to the point where they make me sick to my stomach and I don't want to move. It's like intense pressure all through my head, and it happens in the afternoon each day. When I take the Menopur, it starts to get a bit better. It's strange...

Also, I expected the Menopur to be terrible after reading many reports of how bad the injection burned. Well, I've had Lovenox (blood thinner) injections so maybe that's why burning has a different definition for me, but the Menopur injections aren't bad at ALL. I do push the drug REALLY slowly to avoid any potential burning, but honestly the Menopur is a piece of cake. To be fair, all the injections have been easy (this could be due to my CFRD and taking insulin already), it's just been the side effects that are rough.

It's late morning now, and I can already feel that headache creeping in from the morning injection of Follistim. It is truly some of the worst head pain I've ever felt....but...it will ALL be worth it when I hold that precious little angel in my arms...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CF Clinic and First Ultrasound

Wow! What a couple of days it's been!  I have decided that I truly hate driving in Chicago rush-hour traffic! I've also realized that each ultrasound appointment requires me to drive in Chicago rush-hour traffic so I'm not away from it by any means.

I'll start of with Today's appointment which was CF clinic. We began our day by finding out that our normal route was going to be inaccessible as the road had buckled and was creating a traffic nightmare, to say the least! The travel times were over two hours from about 20 miles north of us so we decided we'd try a new and different route. I'm so glad we did! We found an alternate route that got us into the city in just under an hour (an amazing time given our location and that it was 7 AM in the morning)!

As far as the actual appointment goes: AWESOME!! My FEV1 was 86% and my FVC was 136% which is awesome, and I was NOT expecting it to be that high. I was so happy, and I have been thanking God many times since getting this news. I was concerned that it would be down thus cancelling my IVF cycle in order to go on antibiotics. Instead, I got a good report and was told they were all hoping for a positive pregnancy test for me! Couldn't ask for better! :)

Now for my ultrasound report: AWESOME as well!! At this point in the IVF cycle, the follicles should be really small, there should be no cysts, the uterine lining should be really thin, and the estrogen levels should be less than 100. My follicles were tiny with no cysts, I have a very thin uterine lining, and my estrogen level was 24.  I start stimulating meds on Friday!!! I will be injecting both follistim and menopur. The menopur needs to be mixed, and I'll be heading over to my dad's house to make sure I do it correctly (he's an E.R. nurse so he's pretty good at that stuff)!

I'm not sure how I'll feel during the stim meds, but I imagine to feel bloated and a little uncomfortable. I'll be sure to let you know, though! :) Next ultrasound appointment is Wednesday so we will see how everything looks then!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tomorrow's Ultrasound

I've been staying pretty far away from all social media, including blogging lately. I've just felt the need to disconnect and focus on my husband and the IVF process. I truly didn't know what I would feel going into the IVF process, and I'm surprised by how personal it feels. Despite the few anger/crying jags that I've experienced, the process has brought us closer together. The connection we feel is so strong and incredible at this point, and we just keep focusing on how much we're doing to get toward our goal of having a baby.

David has been waking up with me each morning to help me do the Lupron injections. I don't need help with the injection part, but I always like to have him double check the amount in the syringe prior to injection. I feel groggy in the mornings, and an extra pair of eyes never hurts. He's truly so good about it, and I feel that he's as connected the process as he can possibly be.

In fact, at 5 AM tomorrow, we will be venturing off together to U of C for my first ultrasound since starting the drugs. I'm anxious. The goal is to be suppressed enough that the stimulating medicines can help, but I'm not sure if I am or not. I've been feeling like I have an ovarian cyst going on. Now, this could be just a case of CF tummy acting up as I've had to take some miralax and things have been a bit irregular for me. I haven't experienced issues like that in years, and I have to wonder if the Lupron is causing it? I'm hoping that these issues will pass once the egg retrieval process is done.

Anyway, I will be sure to keep you all updated on what happens tomorrow. Hopefully good news! I also have my CF clinic on Thursday so I'm hoping for good PFTs from that appointment as well!

We will just have to wait and see!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Today. . .

I'm 10 days into my Lupron shots and a week from tomorrow will be my baseline ultrasound and blood work. I've noticed that I've been a bit emotional, but not overly so. Also, I have a daily headache..behind my eyes. It's not too bad, but it's noticeable. Being 10 days into the cycle, my mind has begun wandering to the idea of a positive pregnancy test, and I keep trying to not get my hopes too high.  Today, however, has been an AMAZING day so I've let my mind wander as much as it wants.

Why was today amazing, you ask?

1) I began my day by getting some AMAZING news about a dear friend. The news I got made my whole week, and I nearly screamed at work. I was just SO excited for this person. I love hearing good news about my friends/family.

2) I worked with my favorite co-workers today and the day went pretty quickly which is ALWAYS a good thing.

3) My sister's follow-up appointment at Northwestern went extremely well, and the doctors are so pleased that they do not feel the need to see her again. They told her she is welcome to start chemo whenever she wants. AMAZING!

4) My husband had planned a sweet romantic day to celebrate our anniversary.  He's booked massages and has a nice place picked out for a dinner afterwards. What a true sweetheart I have!

5) I dreamed about positive pregnancy tests alllll day today. I read forum after forum about when people got their positive tests following their transfers. I calculated my test date/due date. I did it all.  Then, I started to worry that I might be over-suppressed or over-stimulated this cycle, and it might just get cancelled. I also started to worry that my lung function will be down so they will decide to cancel the cycle to put me on IVs. Then..I told myself to stop worrying and enjoy my dreaming..so I did just that. I went back to dreaming about what that positive will look/feel like when it eventually comes. If everything goes JUST right..hopefully beginning of August! :) 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A LITTLE Anger...

It's official. I've had my first "angry" day from the Lupron. David asked me a very simple and normal question, and I all the sudden felt the need to punch something. It lasted for about an hour then the anger went away. I've felt it three times since...

It's going to be a long month I'm afraid...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 5 of my IVF cycle

Sorry for how long it has been between updates. David and I were on vacation for the last few days, and I had very limited internet access.  We were enjoying the beauty of Lake Geneva, and we were remembering that this very well may be the last vacation before I am pregnant so we took advantage of it!

The day before we left for vacation, I began my IVF injections. 10 units of Lupron (yep..the drug I was afraid of) every morning at 9-9:30 AM.  I have continued that dosing, and I just finished my 5th day of Lupron injections.  Here is what I have experienced so far while on this drug:

- Itching at the injection site which goes away within a few minutes.

- Tiredness. I find myself ready for more naps or an earlier bedtime.

- Headache. Since starting the lupron, I have had a slight headache constantly and its focus is right behind my eyes. Apparently, this is a hormonal headache, but so far it hasn't been bad enough to make me need tylenol.

- Flushed. About 15 minutes after my injection, I get REALLY warm. This lasts for about 10 minutes, and then it's done. I haven't had any more hot flashes which I'm grateful for.

- Welt at injection site. This was only yesterday, although it did make me a bit concerned. I had a quarter sized welt for about 8 hours following the injection. This morning the welt from yesterday was gone, and today's injection did not leave a welt.

Overall, I can't complain at all about the side effects. I have yet to experience the irritability that many experience (though I'm sure it's probably coming).  I also have to say the side effects I have had are quite minor, and I'm grateful for that. I hope it stays this way for the rest of the time I'm on the shot.

I will continue on 10 units of lupron a day until 7/13. On 7/11 I will go in for an ultrasound and blood work. If all looks good there, I will decrease my lupron dosage to 5 units on 7/13 and continue that through my egg retrieval. On 7/13 I will also be adding my stimulating meds: Follistim and Menopur. If all goes well, and I am not over suppressed or over stimulated, I will have my egg retrieval July 23-29.