Tuesday, November 30, 2010

today was my Monday

I need to vent.  I went back to school today, and my kids confirmed in my mind that taking the first trimester off of work is exactly what I'll need to do.  I got "a note" from my sub, who I know very well.  She's a very tolerant person, so this was a big deal.  Not even 9 minutes into the day, shenanigans started.  Unbelievable!  They didn't miss me.  They didn't care that I came back.  They didn't feel sorry because I was "sick" yesterday.  No one cared (kid-wise, my coworkers care very much).  And the tress and aggravation they caused me 9 minutes into the day that just continued. 

In other news...
I can never remember how I felt at different stages of my previous transfers.  Was I achy before, or was it more cramping?  I don't know.  What I can tell you is this time around, I've had occasional achiness.  No period-like cramping that I used to wonder if it was implantation, or my period trying to force it's way through, or my body rejecting my own embryos (yup, that thought crossed my mind in the past).  So far, so good, but I'm only 2 days past a 5 day transfer.  (2dp5dt)  I have the timeline, and not much is happening in there just yet.  I don't think

Monday, November 29, 2010

what's done is done

Yesterday was my big day, and everyone was invited!  Not literally.  I invited God to be part of my day (as always) by paying a visit to His house.  I had my acupuncturist join in the fun.  And where would I be without having various hands of my medical team working their magic?
Here's how my day went:
7:45 pineapple core followed by breakfast buffet of medicine
8:30 grape juice
9:00 went to church with my family
10:00 home to change and gather my prayer stuff to bring with
11:00 acupuncture
12:30 quick stop at Buy, Buy Baby
1:00 arrived at doctor's office
1:15 Dr. Ding (I love his name) showed us our 2 beautiful embryos
1:45 ultrasound- I am informed that I did not drink anywhere near enough water.  She can't even see my uterus.  I start crying, am told not to panic, and proceed to pound 3 bottles of water. 
2:15 ultrasound- everything is beautiful, get the doc
2:30 I have 2 perfect embryos snuggling in.
Here are two changes from my old RE- 
At RE#1, after the transfer you'd lay there 5 minutes, get up and pee, get dressed and go home. 
At RE#2, after your transfer you don't move, they catheterize you to empty your bladder, invert the table so your feet are higher than your head, and you lay there for 15 minutes
2:45ish (not sure, a lot of blood rushed to my head on the tipped back table!)  I go and get dressed and get my discharge instructions. 
3:30 home and staying horizontal the rest of the night, per doctor's orders

Here's my photo journey:

my St. Gerard handkerchief, my St. Philomena chaplet, and my St. Anthony prayer card
My grandma used to always say "Holy Tony, cut out the baloney and help me (fill in the blank).

For all of my transfers in the past, I wished we had taken a picture to show our baby(s) how happy we were to be going to get them before the procedure.  This time I remembered! 

our purchase- a Cookie Monster bib
The stars of the show!  Hopefully 40 weeks from now one of these beauties will be wearing that bib. 
The bottom 2 pictures show our perfect, gorgeous, grade 1A, 5 day expanded blastocysts.
The top picture shows them both emerging after the assisted hatching.

The small bright white mark, just north of the syringe, is where my 2 embryos are.  It's hard to see, but trust me, it's there!

And now the waiting game begins, along with all the magic.  Any thoughts and prayers that can be spared and thrown my way are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

bromelain, selenium, and infertility

Right on the tag it mentions Bromelain!  I guess they didn't want to mention that it may help with embryo implantation.

Doesn't that woody, white core look most delicious?

all cut up

the part of the pinapple that normal people eat

the part of the pineapple that infertile people eat

I lifted this information off of http://www.babycenter.com/:

Using Pineapple to Assist Implantation: Pineapple contains bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that breaks up proteins that inhibit embryo implantation. Consuming a whole pineapple (focusing on the core as it has the highest concentration of Bromelain) during a fertility cycle can be beneficial.

For IVF [in vitro fertilization] cycle: one pineapple, divided into 5 portions - consume one portion each day, over five days, beginning on the day of your embryo transfer.

IUI [intra-uterine insemination] cycle: one pineapple, divided into 5 portions - consume one portion each day, over five days, beginning on the day of your IUI.

Timed intercourse cycle: one pineapple, divided into 5 portions - consume one portion each day, over five days, beginning on the day after ovulation.

Note: Be careful not to start consuming pineapple too early in the cycle. Beginning to consume pineapple BEFORE the recommended days above can actually affect your vaginal and cervical mucus PH, making it more acidic.

To boot, pineapples also contain selenium.  This is a natural antioxidant that is said to help promote a healthy endometrium (uterine lining).

Friday, November 26, 2010

my crystal ball

Even though I absolutely love being a teacher, I love staying home even more!  After I had parent/teacher conferences on Monday and Tuesday (no kiddos since last Friday), I've had Wednesday, Thanksgiving, today, tomorrow, and Sunday off.  Since my transfer is on Sunday, I'll be taking Monday off as well, just to be a couch potato. 

Realizing that things never seem to go according to plan, here's my plan anyway:
Go back to work on Tuesday.
Endure the 2ww, and get my first ever Big Fat Positive
Finish out the last week of school before Christmas break.
Enjoy my Christmas miracle(s).
Let my principal know that I'll be on bed rest for my first trimester.
   *I have already spoken to my doctor about this.  After 3 years of trying to get pregnant, I will be doing everything in my power to stay relaxed and calm and happy and safe.  If I could put myself into a protective bubble, I'd do that!  For now, the best I can get is 13 weeks, free of work.
Go back to work mid-March.
Work for a month, until spring break.
Finish out the last 5 weeks of the school year.

This is my perfect, best-case scenario plan.  If I had a crystal ball, this is what I'd hope to see in it!

I just have so much more hope than I've had in a really long time.  Being home the last few days has really helped my anxiety level, too.  Like I said, I love my job, but it is very stressful.  I think just the timing of how this transfer is going down couldn't be more perfect.  Relaxation before hand for many days, work a few weeks, off for the first trimester, work a month, off a week, work a month, then summer.  It's like the stars have alligned, and this is just all meant to work out for once. 

As for today and tomorrow, I'll be cleaning and decorating.  I haven't quite decided if I'll be doing any shopping.  The idea of staying in my jammies all day and watching tv may win out.  I have a relly great technique so cleaning doesn't feel like cleaning.  If I'm watching tv, during every commercial break, I get up and clean for those 2 and 1/2  minutes.  When my show is back on, I'm back on the couch or bed.  it doesn't sound like much, but the time adds up and I work harder because I know it's only 2 minutes!  Well, it works for me.  I'd rather spend all day doing it like that than spend an hour or two cleaning nonstop.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I had another u/s and lab appointment yesterday.  They were hoping that my lining was at 10mm.  I was a bit nervous because I wasn't even on estrogen for a full week yet.  But my dear ole uterus came through for me once again, pulling in a strong 12.5 mm!  Since I have to be a buzzkill and worry about everything, I did ask if it can ever get too thick.  My nurse poo-poo'ed that thought!  She said Dr. Ding's, the embryologist whose name I just love to say, lucky number is 12.  He's tickled pink to have a lining reach 12 by transfer and here I was already there!  (insert a big sigh of relief)

My transfer will be on Sunday.  I received 1 mL of progesterone in oil this morning (oh, how I have missed those welts!)  and start doxycliclene tonight for 10 days (which is longer than RE#1).  Tomorrow I will increase pio to 2 mL and keep it there until my beta (and beyond, I hope).  I have acupuncture this afternoon, but I did give her a call already to see how she felt about Sunday.  I heart Dr. Liu; she's coming in Sunday morning just for me!  So, on my way to the transfer, we'll stop for some needles at 11.  Since I don't have to be at the doctor's office until 1 for a 2 o'clock procedure, depending on my emotional state, there may be time for a quick stop at Buy Buy Baby for a bib/onesie/rattle just to set the right mindset and tone for the next 2 weeks.  It's been a looonngg time since I felt the desire or hope to make a baby purchase, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the waffle cone

I had a great weekend, so I should have known that the other shoe would soon drop.  Yesterday I went to a thirty-one gifts party with Brooke (my bestie), and I didn't shed one tear or even give much thought to 1-the pregnant girl that was there, 2-the lady who told our hostess that her daughter is 4 months pregnant and she's exxcited to be a grandma (and she really likes her daughter's boyfriend, btw), or 3-the numerous little ones that were at the party.  In church this morning, a family that just had their 4th child sat in the row right in front of me, and again, no tears, no heaviness in my heart.  This was progress for me.  That being said, and remembering that I'm pumping some hormones now, it shouldn't be much of a surprise to this emotional eater that tears would be shed over food.  Food that my husband once again failed to deliver. 

Jamie and I went to a Wolves hockey game with my parents tonight.  We had a great day.  After the first intermission I spotted some lady with a delicious looking waffle cone with twisty ice cream in it.  I mentioned to Jamie (while he was horking down his pretzel with nacho cheese and a Pepsi)  that I'd like one of those during the next intermission.  Fast forward through 20 minutes of hockey.

Jamie and my dad are off to get me my twisty waffle cone during the 2nd intermission.  Jamie returns with a flipping shot glass full of plain vanilla for me.  WTF?!  I'm told they were out of waffle cones.  This is what he felt was an acceptable replacement?  Might I mention that my dad returned with a cup of chocolate ice cream, with chocolate syrup, and some kind of delicious candy on it!  What did I do to deserve such a subpar frosty treat?

I took one tiny bite and returned it to Jamie.  I let it be known that this was not what I asked for.  This was not what I wanted.  This was not ok and would not be consumed by me.  I got looks from my mom who mouthed at me to just eat it.  My dad sat at the far end, and I swear I saw him smiling and casting sideways glances at me as he ate his death by chocolate sundae.  I refused to eat the ice cream. 

Here's the thing- I know that Jamie is not in control of what the Allstate Arena has at their concession stands.  I get it.  They ran out of waffle cones.  But there is a whole gray area between a twisty waffle cone and a dixie cup full of plain vanilla.  Jamie's birthday is coming up, and I plan on making him apple slices, which are quite the labor of love.  Imagine how he'd feel if at his party I pull out a few boxes of Twinkies.  There's a whole gray area of desserts between homemade apple slices and cellophane wrapped sponge cakes. 

So we had to have a talk about how this made me feel when we got home.  I proceeded to shot my stomach with more heparin; I have quite the rainbow of bruises going on my stomach; and I got my estrogen ready.  After my shots, the water works started.  I just wanted a twisty waffle cone.  I saw other people with them, and I wanted one.  But I guess it just wasn't in the cards for me tonight.  I want a baby.  I see other people with them, and I want one.  I hope I get dealt a different hand.

I am just so mad at myself.  Instead of thinking about what a nice day I had, I have to dwell on the one thing I didn't have.  I do the same exact thing when I think about babies.  Instead of thinking about all of the wonderful things I am blessed to have in my life, I focus on the one thing that is missing, my baby.  I torture myself.  I can recongize that I'm doing this, but yet I can't move past it. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the game plan

So, yesterday's appointment for my ultrasound and bloodwork went well.  I started my meds last night.  I am a bit skeptical because I am taking so much less medicine for this fet than I used to with my first RE.  Seriously, so much less.  Here's the lineup:
1 prenatal vitamin
3- 500 mg metformin (throughout the day)
***I've had these going already.
1 baby aspirin
5,000 units of heparin, every twelve hours, subcutaneous in my stomach
0.2 mL of delestrogen, every other night, intramuscular in my booty

That's it.  No Lupron.  No little blue smurfy Estrace tablets.  No Alora patches.  I go back on Monday to check my uterine lining.  If it's at 10 mm, I'll start progesterone oil and antibiotics.  If it's not quite there yet, I'll be rechecked at the end of the week.  Clearly, there is a significant change in protocol. 

I am working very hard on staying positive.  Big changes will yield big results.  In addition to the medicines that have changed, I also:
- have been going for acupuncture
- have some fabulous new embryos to work with, although I often think about the ones still in cryo
- have been wearing a fertility bracelet with moonstone, rosequartz, aventurine, and an elephant charm
- have continued to pray to Saint Gerard, Saint Philomena, and Saint Anthony
- have found some kooky things that are worth a try (drinking 100% concord grape juice, keeping my feet warm and sleeping with socks on, and I will be eating a pineapple core for 5 days after my transfer because it contains bromelain which may help with implantation)
- have found positive fertility affirmations that I repeat throughout the day to myself (mind over matter?)

I have to smile as I think about some of the things I am "doing differently".  I guess I'm just at the point where I'll give anything a try.  None of it can hurt.  And if infertility ever takes me down, I'm going down swinging!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

let the games begin

Well, it's cycle day one, so I'll call my doc tomorrow to schedule the baseline and bloodwork for Wednesday.  If it all looks good, the meds will start Wednesday and we'll figure out exactly when my transfer will be.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

when Jesus keeps you up

I have had quite a week.  I'm a bit overwhelmed and stressed out with work, but who isn't?  Sometimes I just think that everyone else simply handles their stressors better, and I'm more reactive to them.  In addition to that, Thursday was my last day on birth control pills for this cycle.  Hopefully my period will be here by Monday and things can progress. 

I'm having some serious anxiety already about my fet in December, as well as mood swings.  Take yesterday evening- Jamie and I went out for dinner.  We start talking about our transfer, our embryos, the changes RE#2  has made to our cycle, and just our fears in general about it not working and what our plan would be after X-amount of time with RE#2.  I handled the conversation very well.  I was very hopeful and positive that we'll get pregnant with a healthy baby. 

Jump forward to bedtime.  I'm very sad.  Our 5 year wedding anniversary is coming up next month.  By now I had imagined having at least a couple of little ones running around the house with Greta.  So much time has passed and while a lot of things have changed, nothing has changed.  I'm no longer hopeful.  I lay in bed, trying to sleep, trying to watch tv, trying to pray to God to have mercy on me.  None of it works. 

I remember something that my boss said to me last year.  (You see, her baby was stillborn at 8 months, had difficulties getting pregnant again, pursued adoption, and the night, yes the very night, her home study was being done found out she was pregnant.  They had a little boy, are short term foster parents, and recently got pregnant again.  Her baby girl will be born with spina bifida in the spring.)  She said that when she was dealing with all of her pain and couldn't sleep, she knew Jesus was keeping her up for a reason, and she would read the Bible.  Well this hits me last night.  Maybe I'm being kept up for a reason.  Now, I'm not spiritually in the same place as she is.  I go to church every week.  I say prayers at bedtime.  I say special prayers to Saint Anthony, Saint Philomena, and Saint Gerard to help me get pregnant.  I'm just not the type that is interested in reading the Bible in my spare time.  Things can change, but right now, that's not me.

It hits me like a ton of bricks out of nowhere.  I need to crochet!  I've only crocheted 2 blankets in my whole life and they took me forever, one for Jamie and one for Brooke, and my Grandma got me started and taught me the patterns.  Grandma passed away three years ago.  But I need to crochet.  I hop on the computer and start googling and youtubing directions, which make no sense to me.  Dang.  Another plan of mine is about to unravel. 

Enter the second ton of bricks hitting me in the head.  I started crocheting a baby blanket just before we started trying to conceive (I'm very slow, and started the blankie a bit early, knowing I'd get pregnant very soon after trying so I'd have plenty of time to finish it).  It's all hidden in a plastic bag, in the basement, with all of the other baby stuff I have bought and can't look at right now.  I think about waking Jamie up to go get it for me (it's a basement, it's dark even with the lights on, there are spider webs), but decide against that and just get it myself. 

I found my bag and started crying.  I was another person when the yarn was bought and the blanket was started.  Infertility has changed me.  But maybe, by holding the yarn and crochet hook and continuing the stitches, I can harness some of the hope that I began the blanket with.  My blanket is not a real pattern.  It will not be like the Shells I made for Jamie or the Grannie Ripple/ ZigZag that was made for Brooke.  It's just rows and rows of a single crochet, the most basic stitch.  It was started by a happy girl who just knew she was stitching this neutral blankie for a baby that was soon to come and would be brought home from the hospital in it and be rocked to sleep in it.

Love and hope and dreams and rainbows with sunshine are in the first 32 rows of stitches.  Last night I added another row of love, but also in that row were tears and sorrow and heart ache and longing. 

So here is my afghan so far.  It's simple and basic, but I suppose so is the desire to be a parent.  I will keep plugging away at my afghan when Jesus keeps me up at night.  I will remember the Amanda that started the blanket, the Amanda that knew she'd be pregnant very soon.  That's the Amanda I want to be again.

165 stitches in a row, 32 rows so far, all full of love and hope

a close up of my simple, single crochet afghan
the baby yarn is white with little specks of blue, green, pink, and purple

the date on the receipt

Monday, November 8, 2010

the christening

So, after the whole miscommunication about bakery doughnuts, yesterday we had a christening for my cousin's baby girl.  My cuz had 1 ivf which ended up being an fet which ended with a beautiful baby girl.  On her first try!  Six months after daughter #1 was born, she got pregnant naturally.  Eleven months after daughter #2 was born, she got pregnant naturally and just had daughter #3.  And that was the christening that I cried through yesterday morning. 

My crying jag was even more painful and humbling because the chapel was very small and there were only about 25 of us there, including my cousin's husband's family who probably thought I was crazy for sitting there trying to wipe away my tears.  As if no one would notice.  Just when I reigned my emotions back in, I'd make eye contact with my cousin or the priest or cousin's hubby when he brought the guest of honor around for all of us to make the sign of the cross on and I'd lose control again.  With so few people in such a small place, I would have made an even bigger spectacle out of myself if I tried to sneak to the bathroom or out the door for fresh air so I just desperately poked at the corners of my eyes to stop the tears from streaming down my face.  It was quite an experience.  Might I mention that two rows up sat my brother videorecording the ceremony.  When the baby was being brought around, I silently begged and pleaded that he wouldn't turn around to try and capture the back row dwellers blessing the baby.  (I don't know if he did, I kept my eyes down.)

I try to be happy and share in other people's good fortune when it comes to babies, but it's just so hard.  I am NOT hating on my cousin for her good fortune.  I'm not.  It's just that I think the love needs to be spread a bit.  She already had a perfect baby, even two perfect babies, so why did she get more before I could even get one?  It's hard to be happy when I always imagined having a whole house full of children.  Now I'd be thrilled and blessed and fulfilled to have just one healthy baby.  That's all I'm asking for at this point. 

There are certain situations in life that are unavoidable.  I need to really think things through and decide (even at the least minute) if I am emotionally ready to handle what may come from these events.  I can't torture myself and rip open an unhealed would before the scab is ready to be flicked off.  Evidentally, scabs on the heart take exponentially longer to heal than all the rest.  I'll have to remember that in the future.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

after all these years

So, last Saturday I was feeling very "wifey" and made Jamie pancakes and vegetarian sausage patties, presented with apple slices and milk- all served as breakfast in bed (after 9 o'clock).  There were no ulterior motives.  I did it because I wanted to.  I knew he'd be surprised and it'd make him happy. 

Fast forward one week, to yesterday.  I hear his alarm go off at 7:20 on a Saturday.  What the heck?  Yeah, we had an appointment with the Direct TV guy, but he was going to show up between 8-12.  Jamie creeps out of bed, gets dressed, and goes downstairs.  My heart did a little leap!  My kindness was going to be returned with... bakery doughnuts!  I just knew it.  You know how you just KNOW some things?  Well, I knew it.  So, I stayed in bed dozing in and out for about another hour.  I get dressed around 8:30, just in case the cable guy is already here, and march happily downstairs, ready to be *surprised* by my loving husband and some yummy bakery doughnuts. 

I say hi to Greta and Jamie (who's dusting for some reason) and sort of scan the kitchen for the white wax paper bag.  I'm not seeing it and my heartbeat quickens a bit.  When I ask why he was up so early, he said he had to clean downstairs for the cable guy.  Huh?  No doughnuts?  Was Jamie all of a sudden a bachelor trying to seduce his date with how clean his place is?  Who cares if the cable guy sees our dust?  Where are my doughnuts? 

After a few unkind words, I angrily made myself, and only myself, chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream!  They were good, but they tasted even better since Jamie didn't have any.  I made my point.  Or so I thought.

We have a christening this morning at 10 (which raises a whole different set of emotions in me), so we got to sleep in a bit later than usual for a Sunday.  Once again, as I get in the shower this time, I just know that when my shower's done our bed will be empty because Jamie learned a valuable lesson yesterday and I would have bakery doughnuts today.  When I turn the water off, I hear the tv on.  No, no, no, no, no.  It just can't be.  I was 100% sure Jamie wasn't going to fail me two days in a row.  Especially since I made my heart's desires so clear to him yesterday.  I cracked open the door, and he's laying in bed watching Fraggle Rock.  I, again, expressed my concern over where my breakfast was.  And he was all like "Aughhh, (slapping his forehead) I can't do anything right!" 

After all these years together, it's the small things in life that can make me happy.  Too bad when those small things don't happen (even after being clearly asked for), they can set me off, too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

letting it all hang out

In need of another new hobby that I may or may not stick with, and after some time of creeping on other people's blogs, this morning I decided to take the plunge and give it a whirl for myself.  I don't quite know what direction my blog will take.  I'm hoping to not to have too many pity parties.  I'm hoping to work through some emotions.  I'm hoping to have fun and just enjoy life for a while.  That's the plan.

As I have learned though, things don't always go according to plan.  If my plan had worked, I'd be a stay at home mommy with few little ones by now.  But my plan failed.  My plan and God's plan clearly are not one in the same.

I have been with my husband for over 11 years (we met at the end of my senior year of high school).  This December we'll celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  And January will mark the start of our 3rd year trying to become a mommy and daddy.  (insert a big heavy sigh here)

We never imagined having a problem getting pregnant.  Never in a million years.  But infertility is a bitter pill that we were both blind-sided into swallowing.  I suppose that is a good place to begin our story, as we desperately try to journey From Here To Maternity.