Richard & I have been through 3 unsuccessful rounds of IVF - at first it was something I didn't even want to consider - but when the doctor tells you it's your only chance of carrying your own child, my mind started to give way to the idea & eventually thought it would be a good solution to our problem (me not having tubes any longer!) After the second time around, I found a blog called Goodbye City Life and the blogger (April Foster) blogged about her IVF experience - took pictures of the needles and her calendars she made, told how she was feeling and just shared her story overall. It helped so much to read someone else going through exactly what I was going through - to read her blog I thought to myself "I could be writing those words - I have felt the exact same way" - and I thought for my last time trying IVF - I would try to put into words what we go through, and the different steps along the way. With my cyst still there, we aren't "approved" to move forward - we'll just wait until February 7th to see if it's gone and if I can start the drugs to start the IVF cycle.
I'll be honest, as I try to relax being off work - the thought of starting another fresh IVF cycle is challenging for many reasons - I know I'm going to put my body through hell - I know the shots will hurt, they'll make me a little crazy and I really don't know what I would do if it didn't work again. I try not to think about it / stay positive but it's hard having been down this road a few times unsuccessfully. I'm hoping by blogging about it and being open with what's going on, it will help throughout the process - it's worth a shot (something I've said over and over again it seems over the past few years!) :)
So far, I've written 2 big emails to my family & friends answering some of my most commonly heard questions about IVF this time around. I'm always open to answering any questions about the process - I'm not promising I know the answer or that you'll like the answer - but I promise to give it to you straight. Everyone has been wonderful about writing back and just sending encouraging thoughts sometimes...every little bit helps as this isn't an easy process.
Email sent January 24th, 2011: How's that Attain program coming / have you heard back?
Yes - we got great news that we were accepted into the program and just have to submit our paperwork / figure out how we're going to pay for it all. We were shocked and very excited to be accepted - they have a vested interest in getting it to work & I know several people who tried unsuccessfully with IVF and then did this program and it worked - so fingers crossed!
How was your PAP/SIS appointment on Jan 10th?
Not very good - the SIS basically just makes your uterus big and makes sure everything looks ok with my uterus.
If you google it this is what you get....A saline infusion sonogram (saline sonography) is routinely performed to make sure that the endometrial cavity (inside of the uterus) appears normal. Benign uterine growths, such as endometrial polyps or uterine fibroids, may develop in the cavity and create an environment that is hostile for implantation. Scar tissue may also be identified with the saline infusion sonogram. This procedure may be done as part of an evaluation for recurrent pregnancy loss or done prior to an IVF cycle.
After he did the SIS, I felt like i was going to throw up / pass out all at once - I started tearing up and felt really horrible. Richard was there with me which made it better, but no one knew what to do for me. They tried to find some coke but didn't have any - then they gave me chocolate - I only liked one piece of it to which Richard replied "Hey, you ate the good one" - he was just kidding, and at least it made me laugh/take my mind of of everything that was happening (which believe me, is half the battle with some of these appointments!) There was also a large cyst on my left ovary - Dr. Thomas said to come back in 2 weeks and we'll check it out.
How was your appointment today / is the cyst gone?
Unfortunately, the cyst is still there and it's about the same size. :( Also learned at the appointment today - that they did not do the PAP smear so we had to do that today too. Oh - and my blood pressure was high (the nurse asked if it was because I was anxious about the apointment - I think she could sense I wasn't looking forward to it). The good news to come out of the appointment was that no new cysts are forming which Dr. Thomas was pleased with.
Side story: We have a nurse we like to call "chocolate milk nurse" (real name is Kathy) because when we first started going to Dr. Thomas, she asked Richard (after almost an hour of waiting) if he wanted anything to drink. He finally got tired of her asking so at one point he goes "I'd take some chocolate milk if you've got it." The look on her face was priceless - she didn't know what to say as I don't think any grown man has ever asked for that....so every time we go in now Richard asks if she has his chocolate milk yet. After the appointment today she promises to have chocolate milk next time for Richard (she even asked what his favorite kind is!) - it's chocolate milk from Kroger in case anyone was curious! :)
What are next steps / what happens now?
Dr. Thomas wants me to continue on birth control and come back in 2 weeks. He's hopeful that the cyst is gone and that no new cysts have formed (all things the birth control is SUPPOSED to be doing!) - if it's not gone, he could always drain it but he'd rather not if he doesn't have to - basically doesn't want to mess with anything down there if my body will eventually do it on it's own. We can't start another round (or any medication) until the cyst is gone / we are cleared to start. My favorite IVF nurse (Mandy) talked to me today & I always feel better after talking with her - she tentatively has me down for starting drugs in late Feb. and doing everything in March...stim drugs, retrieval and transfer. All of this is based on this cyst going away - she can adjust the dates once we know for sure when I can move forward in the cycle.
How was your first day off of work / are you bored yet?
Today has been a crazy busy day for me (drs. appt/IKEA trip/31 meeting at Kings Island) - so no, I'm not bored yet. I'm looking forward to having some time off and being able to relax and get my body back to normal - my stomach hasn't felt right in weeks / I've been having nightmares again (I think just thinking about everything starting again and truly, it didn't feel like I was leaving work for a few months I think until this morning! It felt kind of like a dream) - I'm hopeful that it will get better in a few weeks but only time will tell. To be honest - it's overwelming to think about cycling a fresh cycle again - I know it's going to be hard physically and emotionally - I'm just trying to take one day at a time and stay as positive as I can.
Email sent January 5, 2011
I just wanted to let you know - officially January 21st will be my last day in the office at BASES for awhile...I'm taking a few months off (hopefully around 3-4) to try IVF again and work on regaining my life back! (de-stress if you will!) It finally feels real, and I certainly feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest - I actually want to just smile!!
I want to thank you all for your support and I promise to keep you posted over the next few months with how things go!
To answer some of the most popular questions in one email (and Amanda, if you could pass this onto your mom, that would be great - I know you try to keep her in the loop from time to time - I would ask Richard but she wouldn't get as much information - HA!!):
How was your doctor's appointment on Monday?
A: the blood draw on Monday went fine, Dr. Thomas has reported back with most of the results, but not all of them - still awaiting some. Everything is normal thus far (good thing I haven't contracted any STD's over the last 12 months!) I got to spend about 20 or so minutes with my favorite IVF nurse and talk about next steps and applying for the attain IVF program. She is really excited for me to start my next (and possibly last) cycle and I was glad to have everything taken care of - it was nice to just spend some time getting my questions answered.
When do you go back to the doctor?
A: I go back to the doctor on Monday to get a PAP/SIS done - to be compliant & to be able to apply for attain - you have to have those every so many months, and it's time for me to get both. After that appointment, I shouldn't have another one for quite awhile (which will be nice).
When do you start your meds / start your next cycle?
A: I'll probably start the drugs in late Jan/early Feb with the transfer being in late February/early March. I should have a calendar once we apply for the attain IVF (which is the money back guarantee program in case any of you aren't familiar) - the IVF nurse will send me a day-by-day of what I have to do.
How does Attain IVF work?
A: If we get into the program (which isn't a guarantee!), it's 3 fresh (these are the hard one's on my body), 3 frozen, and if none of them work you get 70% of your money back). We will know within the next few weeks if we qualify. We can opt out at anytime - and they can give us our money back at any time - kind of a crazy program! http://www.attainivf.com/
What happens if this cycle doesn't work?
A: Richard & I are trying to take it one cycle at a time. As I've told several of you - you tend to forget the pain of the shots and how much bruising and how much they hurt but the emotional aspect of this journey stays with you - just imagine more and more bags being weighed on my back...it's just like carrying more and more emotional baggage around. Some days are easier than others. Dr. Thomas has suggested surrogacy which we're considering strongly - but we're taking one step at a time and trying to focus on one cycle at a time. I might not talk about this part as much at least for now - so if I avoid questions about it, don't take it personally! :)
How's Richard doing?
A: I love this question when I get it! :) Really good - our relationship is stronger than ever and we're doing really well - surprising enough, the one amazing thing to come out of this IVF journey is the love Richard & I have for one another - I have never loved him more. His constant "we can do this" attitude and his support is amazing at each step along the way. We know this time what we're getting into, so while each cycle has it's challenges, I have never felt more confident in our ability to make this happen!
Is there anything I/we can do? (thank you for even asking!!)
A: Absolutely! Just keep supporting us just like you have for the past years that we've been going through this - ask questions when you want to know more, don't talk about it if you don't want to talk about it - I'm pretty much an open book and willing to share as much as I can (if it's helpful at all!) - I know everyone wishes they could do more, I certainly do too - but your support means the world to us right now!
Friday night we went out with the Boyles and had a great time at BD's Mongolian Grille. We waited for a table, ate our dinner then made our way back to the bar! It was great to chat with them and just catch up on our lives! We live ~1 hour away from them and every time we get together we always say "I wish we lived closer" - and while that will never change, I think we always make the most of our time together because we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like! The boys got to go shooting for a bit and the girl's got to gab - a perfect date night!
Crystal and Caleb came down today and it was long overdue! I missed them like crazy - and Caleb seems to be changing every day - today his fun idea was to fake laugh throughout the store - so he would go "HA HA HA" and I would do it back to him! He's absolutely adorable (seen here in his Mickey ears at Party City) - and he is always such a good baby for us - he just rolls with the punches and enjoys his time with us. He enjoys looking around to see what we're doing and who we're talking to! We even went to see Richard at the firehouse today! Each time they leave it's kind of like when my sister leaves - I hate to say "bye" because I love spending time with them SO much and I do miss them a ton!
We did a mini-photo shoot to try and get a good picture for his birthday annoucement and while we didn't use these pics, these were two of my favorites! This first one because Sally is wiped - Caleb hadn't been there but a few hours and already she's looking at him like "Really? You don't want to take a nap yet?" and I love how Caleb wants to crawl towards you now!
And this picture is so serious, but I love how great my camera is at taking close up shots (when he stays still!) :) He's just so innocent and precious at this age - I cherish my time with both Caleb & Crystal!
Overall, a great weekend with great friends - I truly don't think I would be sane without them! :) Thanks to them for all their continued support!!
So I skipped week 2 because I just didn't feel like doing it last week (no excuses here!) - sometimes I feel like blogging and typing what I'm thinking and other times I think "Who wants to read what I have to say?" My mom told me that she thought this Project Life (that's what my kit is called that I bought) but I like to call it my "365 project" sounds like a lot of work - and while it is a lot of work, I find it really enjoyable and I know I'm going to love the end result. I love looking back at my 2009 365 project and I'm actually a little bummed I took last year off. That being said, I think I'm more excited for this year because I took a year off last year. Sometimes you just don't feel like taking a picture EVERY day...though I would say I average WAY more than 365 pictures taken in a year (who am I kidding, it's probably thousands!), some days you just aren't in the mood (insert pictures of flowers, the dog doing nothing, my refrig etc.) :) You'll see as we go through this year - sometimes it was hard picking a picture of the day and other times it was not!
The 3 main reasons I do the 365 project:
It forces me to get creative with my photography - it forces me to think ahead in the day and think about what might be the picture of the day and being entertained by what the picture actually turns out to be!
One day when I have kids, I want to be able to show them tons of pictures of what their mom & dad did for fun before they were here - I know kids are going to change our lives (in a good way!) but I also want to remember this amazing years where it was just me & Richard, and now just me, Richard & Sally...there's going to be less of these and more of "kid" years when I look back I bet so I like showcasing my life right now!
I love following blogs that do this and I love being able to look back on the entire year and know what I did every single day of that year. I've heard many people say "I wouldn't want to know what I did on every day" - I simply disagree with that!
With all that said - here are the last week's worth of "pictures of the day" for your viewing pleasure. (I'm picking & choosing some of my favorites along the way!)
Sunday, January 16th - Richard has us doing Insanity (similar to P90X but you don't use anything but your own body). It's very hard, wears you out and makes me laugh from time to time. I also sometimes have to say "I can't do that yet" - Richard is much better at it than me - this was my first day doing it with him and he said "Put the camera down and get over here and do it!" :) Sally likes to get in the way / get in your face while you do it - she doesn't really understand what's going on!
Monday - Jan 17th (day off work) - Happy Birthday to Grandma! Richard & I went out to Versailles to visit with grandma & grandpa, eat at The Grubb Company (I googled it and tripadvisor said it was #1 of 1 restaurant in Osgood!) It's a one stop light kind of town - has the famous "Damm Theater", grandma's church, a car lot, a Hallmark and that's about it. We also went to downtown Versailles to see where grandma & grandpa have their burial plots (I know, grandpa LOVES talking about it...kind of morbid!) He also showed us the covered bridge in the park and where the new Gold Star Chili was going! All in all it was a great day in Versailles - Richard & I stopped on the way home at Lowes & Kroger in Laurenceburg and headed home.
Tuesday - Jan 18th - I know I said when I take pictures of flowers, it's usually I don't want to take a picture -but this one is different. Every year, my flower that Richard's mom gave me (that she, Amanda & Grandma Moore all have too) - blooms in the winter - I wait and wait and wait and usually in January it blooms...it finally did so I got my big camera out to take a good picture of them! I get so excited when they bloom - it's like a reminder of fresh beginnings and good times ahead. Right now there are 3 stalks of flowers with about 3-4 blooms each - it doesn't last long so you have to enjoy the couple of weeks where they bloom! Nancy likes to tell me our great great grandma is talking to us in heaven! :) I think it's cute! Also, today was a jury duty day so I didn't do much besides go to jury duty & come home and login to work...I didn't think much of that required a picture!
Wednesday - Jan 19 - Richard & I went to the travel, sports & boat show at the Duke Energy Center (as dad said - we like going to things down there) - it's an excuse for Richard to eat at Rockbottom on the square and it gives us things to dream about (owning a boat, traveling more etc.) It was a fun time - this is Richard and one of his boats that he liked!
Thursday - Jan 20th - Today the city shut down because of a little snow. I worked from home and Richard used the snowblower. He broke a belt on the snowblower and was a little a lot frustrated! We went to Sears on the way to mom/dad's to do their driveway and eat dinner - he got a new belt but it took him so long to fix it and then he broke that one...it was a long night for Richard & the snowblower!!
Friday - Jan 21 - Last day of work for awhile. It was a weird day - weird walking into work knowning that I wouldn't be there for a few months, and it was a busy day of meetings. A few of us went to lunch at Brio and it was really nice just talking with everyone - I'm going to miss everyone I work with!!
Saturday - Jan 22 - I had lunch at Red Robin in Deerfield with Tiff & Kelli (from 31) and then we went to the Boyles for dinner. Abigail LOVES her ball - this is one of my favorite pictures of her (I also like the one of her flipping off the camera when she was very young) but this one is probably a close second!) Melanie posted a pic on facebook the other day of her wearing her NYC onesie which was really cute - oh who am I kidding? she's just a really cute kid!! She's still warming up to Richard & me - when we first got there, she seemed very frustrated we were there (crying, real tears and all!) but eventually she warmed up and we even played a little bit together with her house & blocks. I think she loves the ball the best right now because Rob's been teaching her how to play with it! We love hanging out with the Boyles and are very excited to see what the future holds - we're thinking a rafting trip in the spring/summer!
Monday - Jan 24 - First day off work and it was a long day! I had a doctor's appointment at 2 (cyst is still there so I have to go back in 2 weeks), IKEA with Nancy and then my 31 Celebrate & Connect Meeting! This picture is Kelli & I (who met at Chik Fil A for dinner) with the beach ball from our table (That smelled up the room like plastic!) and our favors for the night - I love seeing my 31 girls!!
It was a great week and some - looking forward to relaxing a bit more in the coming weeks (so hopefully the pictures will be just as fun!)
I work with some of the most amazing people at BASES - it is like a family going to work every day - everyone plays a role and it's fun to see the adventures that are ahead! We are all in it together & working for such a large company is neat because you get to meet SO many new people all the time! These are just a few of my friends at BASES:
I sit in a "dubla-cube" (through the years I've sat with LaVandez, Julie, Carolyn and now Elizabeth) - sitting in the dubla-cube at first glance might not seem like a great set-up...we share an entrance to a cube but each have our own "side" if you will. If someone comes and talks to the other, the other person is almost forced to listen...and you don't always know if someone is coming to talk to you or the other person. I think if you asked most that sit with me in the dubla-cube, it's pretty much the best seat in the house - I've grown to love sitting there - so much so, when they told me about moving to a new group in 2009, my first question to my boss when he asked if I had any questions was "Do I have to move cubes?" and he said "I don't know. Do you have any other questions?" to which I replied "Nope, that's pretty much - I just really don't want to move cubes." It's my place now - it's where I sit - everyone knows that, and it's kind of like Grand Central sometimes being by Susan, 552, the huddle and usually stop #1 of the beer cart! :) Elizabeth is awesome - she and I have so much fun together (usually buying lotto tickets). I really couldn't ask for a nicer person to sit next to & share the day-in and day-out fun of work. I'm really going to miss her when I'm on my leave - but I know we'll have to hang out "outside of work" as we like to say!
Everyone at work has been so supportive of everything and my leave - my last day is Friday (1/21) and I'm going to take a few months off, hoping to return the first part of May. I'm looking forward to taking some time to relax & try IVF again. :)
I have some friends that I met through work and we have stayed connected through the years (even they have moved onto other jobs/careers) because of how awesome they are and how much we have shared through the years (thinking about: Melanie, Jen, April, Nick, Sara, Julie, Stacey, Catherine, Carolyn, Julie, Tiff....and the list really goes on & on!) As I was thinking about all my work friends, I just couldn't help but think of all those that I have met along the way...such good memories.
As many of you know, I've spent years raising money and volunteering for the March for Babies organization and it's a cause that's very near & dear to my heart. I have known so many women who have had premature babies and it's a little way I can show my support by raising money for such a great cause!
The March for Babies is always looking for volunteers for the walk - it's a lot of fun & I've met so many amazing people through volunteering - so just let me know if you want more info about it and I can forward your name onto my friends at March of Dimes!!
Details for the walk:
Grt. Cincinnati/N. Kentucky - April 17, 2011
705 E Pete Rose Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Walk Distance: 6 miles
Registration Time: 8:00 AM
Start Time: 9:00 AM
There is a family walk (~2 miles) and a full walk (~6 miles) - so pick whichever makes you happy!
This photo was taken from a few years ago (2008) when Corey, Jimmie, Dad, Richard, me and Crystal did it together (Crystal must've left before getting in our picture!) :)
To give you an idea of how small diapers are for preemies - this is just a few of the different options pampers makes and donates to hospitals to use in the NICU. I hang them in my cube on my banner as a reminder to everyone that babies are born sometime too small & need the help of our dollars to make them all better!
I'm really looking forward to walking this year with Richard - as we try to start our family again this year with IVF attempt #4...it will mean more than ever! Thanks for your support!
I follow a ton of blogs - including The Mom Creative - and she's inspired me to keep my Project Life on the computer as well so I can share with others. I got the Project Life Kit - Becky Higgins and I love it - I have the red book, but it comes in yellow & teal this year which is cool! My mom likes to say "That sounds like a lot of work" - and to be honest, it is - but I did the "365 project" where I took 1 picture every day for an entire year in 2009 and it's honestly my favorite book to look back on because it's fun to see what I did for an entire year. After 2009 was over, I needed a break - so I took 2010 off...now in 2011 I am back and more excited than ever to document my life day-by-day for an entire year. Sometimes it is hard to come up with a picture to post but as you'll see - sometimes you just have to see Sally ONE more time!! Enjoy my pictures from the past week...
Jan 4 - Richard & I ate at Rio Grande (which made me sick :( ) but we still had a great night - and $1 margaritas were yummy (at the time!)
Jan 6 - Kristen and I had Chatterboxes that night so it was just us alone in 552! She was so sweet to stay with me!
Jan 7 - Look at Sally looking cute on her bed in the snow! (Yes I got home and realized I needed a picture of the day and Richard & I weren't doing anything exciting!!)
Jan 8 - Corey & Crystal came down and we went to BW3's - this is mom & dad after saying "This is not our first rodeo with a kid!" They enjoyed watching him and he was so good for them!!
Jan 9 - Corey & I woke up and watched some friends (please don't pay attention to how horrible we both look in the morning!) and then she had to go back home & I went to the Collier Christmas. It's so fun to have her in town, but it's always hard to say goodbye!
Hope you enjoyed week 1 of sharing my 365 project - lots more to come this year! It's going to be a great year!!
I love to scrapbook, take pictures, travel & hang out with friends & family.
I've been through IVF several times:
First IVF - Sept '09 - BFN (big fat negative)
First FET - May '10 - BFN
Second FET - Sept '10 - BFN
Second IVF Attempt - July '11 - BFN
Third FET - October '11 - BFP! Expecting baby boy #1 in July 2012!