Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry Christmas (a little late) and Happy New Year!

Last night, we got home from a wonderful week with family.  Since Grandaddy passed away this year, we did not have our traditional Christmas obligations.  As sad as it was to be "deviating" from our usual Christmas routine, it was nice to have something to look forward to.  This year, we decided to spend Christmas on the beach!  We booked a 3 bedroom condo on Cinnamon Beach in Palm Coast, Florida.  Adam, Mom, Dad, Leslee, Joey, Job, Adeline, Trey, and I all checked in on Friday night and enjoyed a week full of playing, eating great food, a few drinks, and wonderful times together!  The beach was beautiful and our condo had beautiful views of the sunset (facing the lake) every evening.

The week also afforded Adam and I the opportunity to visit some of our closest friends and some new friends, who happen to live in Jacksonville.  We spent 2 days visiting with everyone in Jacksonville and loved every minute of these times together!  Though we enjoy Tennessee, most of our friends are still in Jacksonville (except for a few) the visits were wonderfully refreshing for us!  We also visited Grandmother in Moultrie on the way home, and we visited Grandaddy's grave site.  Obviously, it was sad...but well worth the "detour."

We are now glad to be home.  Adam will stay up tonight, eat pickled herring, and toast to a glass of sparkling wine.  For me, I'll be barely awake, will eat the tiniest bite of herring possible to still "count," and avoid the alcohol because I'm on call!  (Maybe a sip at most...)  Tomorrow, we'll eat greens and black-eyed peas (for money and good luck) with Mom and Dad.

For me, New Years is not anything special.  This is probably because I've been on call for 7 of the last 9 of them!  Guess that takes away the "celebrating!"  I guess for many though, New Years symbolizes fresh starts and hope.  I don't have much in the way of resolutions, as this year has taught me that most of what I desire can't be given or earned.  Frankly, this year has taught me two is that really, there are many things that none of us can control in life.  The second lesson that 2011 has taught me is that sometimes, we really can only handle one day at a time and have to often get by on a day-to-day basis.  I've certainly had these reality checks this year! 

2011 has been full of losses for us.  Grandaddy's death was by far the greatest loss for our entire family.  Our infertility and realizing that a "natural" pregnancy was impossible for us has been the second loss.  Between the two, it's been hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel.  2012 is predicted by many (including Adam) to be a "better" year.  While it's hard for me to believe it, I sure hope the "many" are right!  For me 2012 is another year...just another calendar date to get used to writing.  I'd love for it to be the year we have our first child...but time will tell on this matter.

For those who love New Years, Happy New Year!  For those of us, like me, who just see a change in numbers tomorrow, best wishes that 2012 surprises us with its good fortunes!  God bless you all in 2012!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'd Give Us a "D!"

Jenny Wren...this is for you!

Most of you know me...and you know that I NEVER fail!  Until this year, I have rarely failed anything (maybe one test here and there...but NOT a normal occurrence).  2011 has totally changed that!  This year, I've failed several things...though none were within my control.  If compliance guarenteed an "A," I would have made all "A+'s!"
Today, we went to Nashville for our last appointment of the year.  As the ultrasound tech measured our lining, I noticed that the numbers were NOT 7mm.  She sincerely made every possible effort to find a 7mm lining, but it simply wasn't there. The best thickness she could find was 6.6mm (goal was 8mm). Obviously, I was REALLY worried and bordering on upset...though knew that until the blood work returned that there would be no "plan."  Anita decided that since we were not sure which way things were going to go, she would just send me home with the Progesterone in Olive Oil bottle...rather than just giving me the injection. I could tell that she was a bit worried as well, though she was definitely trying to find a way for us to still be ready in February! (I could see her "calculating" dates in her head...)  As usual, she promised to call me as soon as she talked to Dr. V...who couldn't make a decision without the results of the labs.
At 4:12pm, Anita called me.  She was quite bubbly and told me that both of us were worried about nothing!  Though he didn't communicate it with the two of us (or anyone else), he never planned to get our lining to 8mm.  Because of my clotting issues, being obese, and the fact that this was a trial run, he intentionally kept the estrogen doses and levels low.  His goal was to see endometrial growth and elevating blood estradiol levels...not full maturation.  He was actually pleased with the cycle and feels very confident that we will easily hit 8-9mm on the "real" cycle!  So, after a nail-biting day...we are relieved!
Overall, I'd say we "Passed" the mock cycle...but with a "D" grade.  At this point, I'll take it!
Tonight is officially my last "stick" of the year!!!  Injecting olive oil into my hip weirds me out a little (and causes a nice pink goose-egg), but I am VERY happy that we are done!  February, here we come!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Last Days as a 2011 Human Pin Cushion!!!

Wish he was smiling!

Since Wednesday is my last day to go to Nashville (hopefully until 2012), I figured I'd begin to "celebrate" the fact that I'm about to have a break from injections and blood draws!  From this moment, I am hoping I'm down to just 4 more "sticks!" (1 blood draw, 2 Delestrogen injections, and 1 Progesterone injection)  Assuming things look good, I believe that I'll be done until 2012!
(Well...I still need a flu shot, but I'm not counting it!)
One day last week (while reading a whiney post on Facebook about pregnancy), I decided to total up all of the "sticks" that I've had this year.  Overall, here's the (minimum) breakdown:
49 Lupron
44 Lovenox
18 Repronex (often at maximum doses of 6 amps)
2 HCGs
26 Progesterone In Oil (sometimes with Delestrogen)
15 Delestrogen (not counting PIO)
3 Demerol/Phenergan Combos
1 Toradol
35 Blood Draws (Countless tubes)

TOTAL:  193 (+19 "Sticks" Under Anesthesia for Egg Retrieval)

Needless to say, I've paid a HUGE price in hopes of getting pregnant at some point!  I can't even count the number of ultrasounds and other procedures I've had this year, but trust me...more than most women have throughout all of their reproductive years! 
For many of my infertile friends, these numbers are nothing!  Several of you have endured MANY more!  For my fertile friends, this is just another example of how truly blessed you are!  To be honest, we still have many more to go before we get pregnant...and will have 2-3 per day during our entire pregnancy when/if it happens!  Perhaps our greatest prize is the fact that we also get weekly ultrasoundsfor the first 14 or so weeks of pregnancy (one advantage, I guess)!
Today, our Nashville visit went well.  Our bloodwork looked really good and my endometrial lining is 7.1mm with some "layering." By Wednesday, we need it to be 8mm (though 9mm would be better) and with a true triple layer.  In theory, this should be easily accomplished.  IF we "pass" (though keep our history of failure in mind), we are officially cleared to cycle in February and could even be pregnant by March.  I can't tell you how wonderful this would be!
Have a great week everyone! (And for those who asked...I deleted the "gross" pictures from my phone...Maybe next time...)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tis the Season...

At the Helen, GA Gazebo after breakfast at Hoffer's Bakery!

Anna Ruby Falls this morning!
This weekend, Mom, Dad, Adam and I went to see the Colquitt County Packers play in the Georgia High School State Quarter-Finals.  While the Packers lost, we still had a great trip down and enjoyed the game.  After the game ended, we headed up the road for a weekend in Helen, GA.
Helen is a little German-themed alpine village with nice little shops, a beautiful river, and relatively good food.  We attended the Helen Christmas parade and festival, which was quaint...but still nice.  We enjoyed a nice German dinner at the Troll Tavern and watched the Georgia Bulldogs play LSU...  Let's just say that UGA did NOT play well the second half and the game got a bit long!  All 4 of us finished the game.  Mom and Dad headed back to our hotel for bed.  Adam and I went back to our room and watched the Hangover...which always seems to be on TV when we are travelling (and yes, we always watch it)!

Now...for the update on life in general.  We are two appointments away from completing our mock cycle.  I have been on estrogen injections for a bit over a week the hip (or as most people say, butt).  We had a bit of excitement last week when Adam hit an artery and made a BIG mess in our kitchen!  Needless to say, he freaked out and I just held some pressure until things calmed down.  In the end, we survived and all was well!  (Our nurse LOVED the photos of the "event!")  As for the cycle itself, things are going very well.  My body has responded very nicely to the drugs and the labs/ultrasounds are all looking great! 

Now...for  Public Service Announcement:
Estrogen injections and Alcohol do NOT mix!!!
 I have now "tested" this theory twice...once with 2 glasses of sangria and this weekend with 2 German beers.  I have concluded that the type of alcohol doesn't's all bad!  I got terribly nauseated both times and had bad headaches.  Needless to say, I think my drinking days (even small amounts) are coming to a screeching halt!  I'm fine today, but last night was not my idea of fun.  Lesson learned!

Adam and I at the falls!
Mom and Dad at the Gazebo!