Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our Babies are Here!

As predicted, we slipped on the banana peel way earlier that we had planned.  On Tuesday, December 18 at 10:19 pm, our babies were born via emergent C-section after Andrew massively failed his NST at 9pm.  Andrew Cole weighed  2 pounds 5 ounces (and within minutes in the NICU, 2 pounds 8 ounces) and was 14" long.  Anna Catherine weighed 1 pound 13 ounces and was 14.25" long.  Anna was tiny, but strong and healthy.  Andrew was larger, but far sicker.  He was in DIC and had a severe metabolic acidosis.
Since then, both babies have been in the NICU on ventilators.  Anna is doing wonderfully and Andrew has struggled, though he has maintained good hemodynamic stability.  Because Blogger is so difficult to post and deal with, I have decided to chronicle their "stories" on Facebook.  Their page name is The Sawinski Twins: Bringing Home Anna and Andrew.  Now that it has been established, I will likely quit posting here on the blog.
Please keep our babies in your prayers as they have a long NICU course ahead of them. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

29 Weeks and a Bannana Peel


Today (or tomorrow depending on how you calculate things), marks 29 weeks of being pregnant.  While this isn't much of an accomplishment for most, it is definitely a milestone for us.  Frankly, each week that the babies stay "inside" is a huge blessing for all of us. 

I'm still in the hospital and still on bed rest.  We also still get non-stress tests every 8 hours and daily biophysical profiles performed.  Both babies have reversed flow as of today, which is not a positive thing...it's worse than the absent diastolic flow.  The good news though is that both are continuing to ace their monitoring and BPPs with perfect scores!  As long as they are doing this, we will continue to wait and allow them to grow.

My new analogy for this process is "feeling like I have one foot on a banana peel."  The babies are behaving well, though the cord situation is worsening.  At some point, my foot will "slip" and we will be emergently/urgently c-sectioned.  For people like me who have always planned everything...it's tough not knowing when this will happen!

We were told this weekend that our situation is extremely rare and could not have been prevented or controlled in any way.  It just happened...  Thankfully, it was found and we are the benefactors of very modern medicine and great physicians. 

Please continue to keep our babies in your prayers.  Adam and I are fine and are blessed to have Mom and Dad here, as well as several great friends.  Obviously, our concerns are with the babies and we are just praying that I can continue to provide them a comfortable environment to grow and become stronger. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

28 Weeks...And a Serious Change of Plans



On Tuesday, Adam and I went to our "routine" 28 week Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment.  We knew our babies had been measuring a touch small, but otherwise were really happy with how they seemed to be moving more and my belly was growing slightly.  To be honest, I was feeling great! 
Our ultrasound (routinely performed for several reasons) showed AEDF in both babies, something relatively rare in dichorionic/diamniotic twins.  I'll let you use Dr. Google if you care to learn more, as it's fairly complicated!  The treatment for it is bedrest, decreasing the blood pressure (if this is an issue), and watching the babies closely for an advancement to REDF.  Once REDF happens, the mortality is 100% if missed.  In layman's terms, this means that the babies will die.  We were admitted directly to the hospital and told to plan on being there between 5 days (which would be the case only if flow came back) and until birth.  On Wednesday, both babies had REDF...so we were told that we would not be going home until delivery.  Period.  No discussion.
The babies are back to AEDF now and will hopefully stay there or improve (not as likely).  They are tested every 8 hours as well as every morning with ultrasound to evaluate their cord flow and other BPP values. So far, they are getting perfect scores daily.  As long as this is the case, we allow them to continue to "grow" inside of me.  Once they fail, which will likely happen at some point before 34 weeks, I'll have an urgent/emergent c-section and the babies will be spending several weeks in the NICU.
Obviously, we never dreamed of anything like this happening to us and our babies.  But, we are VERY thankful we didn't postpone our appointment (which we considered because I was moving my office this week) as our situation could have been tragic.  Our babies and I are well for now (minus this problem) and are taking everything one day at a time.  Many of you have emailed, called, messaged, and texted these past few days and we really appreciate it!  Thank you for these and your prayers.  All 4 of us can definitely use them!
BTW...  The photo on top is what we are now experts in.  Basically, the top line is "normal" flow.  The second is absent diastolic flow (what we have), and the third is reverse diastolic flow (what we had Wednesday, which is basically me "stealing" blood and nutrition from the babies).  Every morning, we look at these to see where things are...talk about nerve-wracking.  The good news though is that I'm responding well to the strict bedrest and everything else (blood pressures, blood sugars, thyroid levels, etc.) seems to be going perfectly.  So now...we wait.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

27 Weeks 4 Days


Baby Girl Sawinski profile...finally!

I'm a tad later than I had planned on this update, but life has been kind of crazy!  Last Friday, we went to the MFM office for a growth ultrasound.  The babies looked great, but are definitely going to be tiny little mites.  Our little girl was in the 14% percentile and our little boy was in the 17% percentile.  Neither weighed 2 pounds yet.  Both were active and rather cooperative, which meant that the ultrasound only took about an hour!  We left the office, had a nice breakfast, and then I went to the office to work a few hours.

On Saturday, I just didn't feel well at all.  My blood pressures were up, my swelling was rather bad considering that I was just getting out of bed, and I had a headache that didn't go away with tylenol.  I asked my collegue if he thought I should call my MFM, and he said "yes."  So, I called and was told to come on up to the OB ER...with plans to stay overnight.  So, Mom, Adam, and I headed up.  We were there about 4 hours and had several tests done.  Other than BPs (which improved while I was stuck on the stretcher for 2 hours), everything looked great!  So, I was released and told to check my BPs several times a day and to start checking my urine for protein.  I've been a good patient this week and so far, everything looks good.  My BPs are a touch high, but not high enough for the MFMs to increase my meds.  Now, we go back Tuesday.  That's the day I drink the nasty glucose drink for my diabetes test as well...so lots of fun!

Otherwise, I'm definitely looking a bit more pregnant.  I feel pretty decent, and feel very blessed to be doing so well at this stage of our pregnancy.  Because we know that our babies are now "viable," we went ahead a bought some diapers and wipes this weekend (good deal with nice gift card for later) and will be ordering our carseats next week.  I guess things are really getting real now!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving



I've been mulling over this post for days now, just trying to decide how I could best communicate my feelings about 2012.  As I have done in years past, my Thanksgiving post is a reflection on the year and a moment for me to pause and truly, count my blessings.  This year is no exception!

Last year, to be honest, I had a hard time.  I actually had to really think about my blessings, as it seemed like the proverbial "everything went wrong kind-of-year."  I certainly realized that I WAS blessed and fortunate, it just took some work and perspective to focus on the positive.  In the end though, I found lots of positives and included them in my post (which can be found in the November 2011 archives to your right).

This year, so much has changed!  2012 hasn't been a perfect year, but it HAS been full of things and people to be thankful for.  Here are the top 7:

1.  My faith in God.  Somehow, I doubt this will ever not be on the top of my list!  This year, however, I feel closer to God that ever before.  I know I've prayed more than ever, and believe Adam has as well.  While church-going hasn't been a strong point for me, reading has...and I have certainly learned quite a bit about my personal faith by reading some great spiritual literature this year.  I've realized just how insignificant some things are, and just how amazing God's gifts can be.  For my faith and God, I am very thankful.

2.  Adam.  I simply couldn't ask for a better husband.  In 6 years of marriage, we've weathered many storms together and somehow...still enjoy our lives together as a couple.  Adam is so many qualities that I'm not (more cautious, patient, calmer, and always emotionally "composed"), and I truly appreciate these!  I've never had to question his love or faithfulness to me, which I realize is a blessing that many women simply don't enjoy.  For everything about Adam (other than his morning-grouchiness), I am grateful!

3.  My family.  This probably won't change either!  This has been a heck of a year for the Dampier family.  At this time last year, Leslee (my sister) could barely walk or climb steps because of her recurrent scoliosis and failed childhood surgery.  After 20 hours in the OR and many weeks/months of hospitalization and therapy, my sister can walk upright and live a MUCH better life!  Mom and Dad are blessed with great health and the ability to travel (thanks to a wonderful boss) whenever they desire.  And Trey is doing well in his second year of residency.  None of us see each other as much as we would like as a whole family, but we definitely love each other and treasure our time when we are all together!  I thank God every day for my family and feel super blessed to have parents and siblings who love and care about me and each other so much.

4.  Fonzie.  At 14.5 years old, this little dog is still my pride and joy!  While he's showing his age, he's still full of personality and brings so much joy to Adam and I on a daily basis.  He's a great bedrest buddy, loves Adam and I unconditionaly, and is truly our first baby.  I'm so very grateful for the years we've had with him!

5.  My friends.  In many ways, my friends have taken a "back seat" in my life this year.  In some ways, I realized that I probably depended on and expected too much of them at times (for support only) in the past and seemed to be constantly disappointed in them.  As a result, I learned that friends were just that...friends.  I no longer expect anything from my friends and simply try to enjoy the moments I have to talk with them, text, and visit on the few opportunities that we have to be together.  I'm also thankful for my FF/DE friends, as your support and friendships have been wonderful these past 2 years.  Having friends in "my same shoes" has been a gift that I'll always cherish!  I love each and every friend, and for that I am thankful. 

6.  My career.  In December, I'll be closing my office in Shelbyville and moving my practice to Hendersonville, Tennessee.  I've been blessed with a decent practice in Shelbyville, but will never achieve my potential in a town this small.  Plus, Adam and I will be happier in a larger community!  Because of good fiscal management and a good work ethic, I have secured my loan for the new practice and am grateful for the opportunity to live and build a practice in a great community next year!

7.  My pregnancy!  Last year, I was thankful for my infertility.  This year, I'm no less infertile (probably more infertile, actually...if that could possibly exist), but I AM pregnant with twins!  Today marks 25.5 weeks into my pregnancy, and I'm super-blessed to be feeling and doing wonderfully.  The road has been a long, rocky, torturous path for Adam and I, but thanks to modern medicine and a physician and staff who never gave up on us, we are closer than ever before to bringing home our "Little Sawinskis."  We are super thankful for Dr. Vasquez and Anita (our main nurse) for all they have done for us and put up with this past 18 months, and just hope they realize how much joy they bring into the lives of couples like us!  For all of the inconviences and worry that my pregnancy has brought us, I am VERY thankful!

There are many other things I am thankful for, but these are the "highlights."  I never dreamed I'd be typing a Thanksgiving post while feeling little kicks and jabs across my belly while doing it...I just figured that our attempts to get pregnant were a way to eventually close a chapter in our lives and be able to confidently say, "We tried everything."  Truly, we pretty-much did...and by God's grace, it finally worked!  I live a challenging life, but a charmed life as well.  I have so many things and people I'm grateful for.  If you are reading this, you are someone I AM thankful for!  God Bless you all and thank you for being blessings in my life!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

24 Weeks 5 Days




For those who have asked over and over again, here is one pregnancy photo!  Yes, I am starting to show a bit, though still not exactly "huge."  Other than a bad cold this week, I feel really good and am doing well according to our physicians.  The babies seems to be growing nicely and appear developmentally perfect at this point.  We are in the early stages of beginning to make some baby-related purchases, as I am pretty sure these next 2.5 months are going to fly by!
I'll plan to post my Thanksgiving post later this week, but figured I'd better hurry up and get an update on here before I get 50 more "requests" for pregnancy photos!

Friday, October 26, 2012

21 Week Update

Conversing...

Our little girl playing "shy."  She was rolling away from us with her arm above her head!
Sibling kisses...or butting heads...hard to say!
Today, Adam and I went to Murfreesboro for our second anatomy scan for the babies.  Our morning started with me stepping on Fonzie (in the dark) and running a pinch late.  Once we were on the road, we arrived on time only to wait 15 minutes in the waiting room.  We were the only ones there for 2.5 hours!

We went back around 8:20am and started the ultrasound.  About 95 minutes later, we were done!  Both babies seemed to be doing well.  I didn't get an estimated weight or length, but can tell you that both were measuring a few days smaller...especially our little girl.  This wasn't a concern to the ultrasonographer and we didn't get any calls from the MFM, so we are taking those as signs that all is well!  For those who have had twins and would actually care, my cervix is still a rock at 43mm...which is my baseline length...so no early thinning for me (at least so far)!

Both babies are now breech with their heads about 2" above my belly-button.  While I'm only 21 weeks and 4 days, I measure somewhere around 26-27 weeks!  They like to lay head-to-head and are constantly hitting and kicking each other...as if they WANT to be touching all the time!  Our little boy was the hyper one today, while our little girl was a pinch more mellow.  So...who knows how they'll be once they are born??? 

We continue to be super-thankful for these tiny blessings and are amazed at how they are changing our lives with every day that comes closer to their births.  While we've been hesitant, and still are, I did break down and buy 2 little hats to keep their heads warm in the hospital today on Etsy.  We plan to stick with tiny things until we hit 25 weeks...then the car seats, bedside sleeper, and stroller purchases will need to be made! 

I'll try to get Adam to take some pregnancy photos this weekend and get them posted. Basically, I've gained 13 pounds and just look fatter...not necessarily pregnant.  Oh well...can't win everything!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our kids are already taking after us...


Yesterday, we had another follow up appointment at the Nashville Maternal Fetal Medicine group.  We knew it was our day for the lovely cultures (got to be sure we don't carry any STDs) and a quick check on my cervix.  As usual, we arrived early in Nashville and decided to have a quick breakfast at Krispy Kreme.  We ate 2 "Halloween" doughnuts and I had some milk...trying to balance the heartburn risk! 

Around 8:45am, we walked into the clinic.  There were several ladies there and a family with 2 little girls...still in blanket sleepers!  The little girls proceeded to yell, scream, and pour juice/milk all over the seating in the office...while Mom and Dad played with their cell phones.  Another lady who was clearly pregnant (more than me) didn't even know the name of her Ob-Gyn who sent her to the office, which was fascinating!  And 2 other ladies came in nasty sweatpants, dirty shirts, and old bedroom shoes.  Heck...in scrubs, I was the best dressed patient there!  Guess our society is really sad these days!

We went back around 9:30am and were seen initially by the office manager.  It was great, because she realized how far I had to travel and how running late was kind of an issue...so I'm thinking we'll get in and out a little quicker from here forward!  I did a quick urinalysis, had blood drawn, and had my cultures with our doc.  I then crossed the hall with a sheet around my waist (so NOT my style) for the ultrasound.  My cervix is great (over 40mm in length and completely bent at 90 degrees) and the babies looked great as well.  I think our Baby A/Boy must love doughnuts as much as us because he was VERY active!  Our Baby B/Girl was fairly active, but we think she might have been in the midst of a sugar coma!  We feel rather certain that these little ones LOVE doughnuts as much as we do!  We left with everything looking great and a weight gain so far of 10 pounds (which included my very swollen ankles...so realistically around 8 pounds)! 

Our next appointment is our "official" anatomy scan and will be done on October 26 at 8am.  While we pretty much know everything looks good at this point, it'll be refreshing to know that everything is "officially" perfect! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Dream Comes True!


Today was a magical day for Adam and I!  We got up before 5am this morning to head to Nashville for our first appointment with our new Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, who will also serve as our full Obstetrician.  We arrived early, so had a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks.  Afterwards, we entered the office at 7:30am so that we could fill out the usual paperwork. 
At 8:00am on the dot, we were taken back for our first "anatomy" ultrasound.  The tech was obviously great at her job, and she quickly started.  As usual, Baby A was moving, but in a calm/mellow fashion.  It didn't take very long at all to realize that Baby A was a Boy...100% and no doubt about it!  He was nicely cooperative and we were able to see everything needed to feel great about his measurements.  Since I just knew that I was carrying two boys, I couldn't help but be happy for Adam.  While we both agreed that this would be our only pregnancy regardless, I knew how badly he wanted a son and I was thrilled that he had his wish!


After we completed Baby A's measurements, we moved on to Baby B.  As usual, this little one was VERY active!  Every measurement was a challenge because this little one just couldn't hold still!  After about 20 minutes, she quietened down enough that the tech was finally able to get her BP diameter and other critical measurements.  Just after that point, she did a nice little flip and allowed us a great look between her legs while showing us her butt.  And needless to say, SHE was clearly a girl!  So...I think our little firecracker may not be all sugar and spice!  She seems to put a regular beating on her brother!  When I saw her, I teared up a bit.  I wanted a girl, but had pretty much given up on my wish.  To actually realize that my dream had come true was just magical!
My fundal height is now above my belly-button!  While I'm only 17 weeks, I measure 22 weeks...despite only gaining 6 pounds so far.  I may not gain an excessive amount of weight, but I think I'm headed toward being rather large in the mid-section...and I can't wait!


After our ultrasound was completed, we waited about 15 minutes to meet our new doctor.  I knew he had a great reputation, but didn't know if I would actually like him or not.  In the end, both Adam and I REALLY liked him and feel confident that he will be a great physician for us!  He outlined our "plan" for care and basically plans to perform a scheduled C-section on the week of February 4.  Now, we just have to pray the babies comply with this plan!
Since I was a young girl, I always said I wanted Boy/Girl twins.  I knew it wasn't likely, but I figured that it was always something to hope for.  I never prayed for this, because I knew that my larger desire was just for healthy children.  Once the infertility nightmare began, I just wanted a baby...whatever we could have  by whatever means would be a miracle.  Amazingly, over 2 years later, I think we have it all!  While the route wasn't what I dreamed of and never could have even imagined, today was the true moment where I realized that our dreams really had come true!  Now...we just need these little ones to hang out and grow for 19 more weeks!  We feel so blessed and happy...it's frankly unbelievable and our prayers have been answered!  For those who have prayed, thank you!  They worked!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hormone Free, Finally!

One key component of our infertility struggle has been my complete lack of hormone production (other than one high level...which is a bad thing).  As a result, I have required quite a bit of "supplementation" over the past 2 years...just to achieve "normal" levels.  Once we became pregnant, the need for hormones that would support our pregnancy was critical.  Without this support, we would have carried a HUGE miscarriage risk. 

While the average IVF lady takes supplemental hormones for 8 weeks or so, I didn't get that lucky.  Even at 12 weeks, my need for additional support was evident through my laboratory values.  Therefore, I have been on the hormones continuously since June 3 (not to mention for the 3 previous cycles)!  As of today, I'm15 weeks 4 days and have been given the order to stop all of them!

It's so nice to stop all of these meds and it's amazing how much more "normal" I feel this evening!  For us, this is a major milestone in our pregnancy and I'm praying that our bloodwork looks wonderful on Monday.  And, on that note, our next ultrasound is Monday!  I know the babies have grown and can't wait to see them again!!! 

As for the recommendations on pregnancy wear, thanks!  I like the Old Navy stuff, but it simply doesn't fit my body shape (or size for that matter).  I've only gained 6 pounds so far, so I think I'm good for another couple of weeks at least!  I did buy a few long-sleeved t-shirts/tops at Motherhood Maternity last week in addition to my jeans, so I'm good to go for now!  Thank goodness for scrubs!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stretchy Pants, Oh My

Tonight, I decided it was time to purchase a few maternity things, primarily a pair of maternity jeans (aka stretchy pants) and a few long undershirts.  Since I've only gained 4 pounds so far, I haven't completely outgrown my clothes.  But, the waistline in my current jeans is becoming a tad snug and I figured I might as well take the plunge. 

If you are curious about why I care so much about stretchy pants...here's my story.  When my sister was born and Mom was still in the hospital, I was home with Dad.  He tried to get me dressed for preschool, but I kept taking my pants off.  After a couple of spankings and lots of reasoning attempts, I finally gave up and wore the clothes he had selected...though I was NOT happy (mind you, I wasn't even 3 years old yet)!  I went to the nursery for the day, then he picked me up to take me to the hospital with him.  When I got there, I told Mom that Dad was mean to me and made me wear "baby pants" to the nursery.  In my mind, any pants with elastic bands were for babies...which I did not consider myself any longer!  Dad felt bad and asked my Aunt Kay to make me some "real" jeans without elastic.  She did...and I wore them proudly.  Since then, now almost 33 years later, I have NEVER worn stretchy pants (other than for the 2 months I worked at the hospital as a CNA and had no choice)!  I HATE elastic bands and prefer to tuck in my shirts.  Needless to say, this is all about to change with today being the first step!

Luckily, I don't actually NEED to wear the pants yet...but I know the time is coming.  Until then, they will grace my closet and be "in waiting" for the moment when I have absolutely no other options!  Unfortunately (but for the best reason in the world), I think the moment is coming sooner rather than later!

Our next visit to Nashville is September 17.  I'm hoping we find out the sexes of the babies, but know that it may or may not be possible.  I also finish all exogenous hormones on September 14, which is AMAZING if you consider how much of the past 2 years that I have needed them!  So now, we wait...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Just in Time for the Second Trimester



My new best friend...
 Tomorrow, we officially move into the second trimester.  Statistically speaking, our miscarriage risk is less than 1% now...and our next worry becomes pre-term labor in about 7 more weeks.  Today, Adam and I spent a lazy day at home.  This morning, I was napping on the couch while he watched a movie.  I decided to try our fetal doppler, which to this point had been fairly disappointing. 

There was no fanfare and no videos were taken (since I wasn't anticipating the event), but the moment was almost magical for Adam and I.  After just a few minutes, I was finally able to pick up each baby's heartbeat!  Baby B was around 155 and Baby A was around 169...consistent with our past 2 ultrasounds.  Both heartbeats were steady and strong...and within an inch of each other.  We listened for a minute or two with each baby, and then put the doppler away.  It was totally amazing to hear the heartbeats of these two tiny lives inside of me and made them feel so very real today!

At some point, I'll try to have Adam record the sounds of each baby...maybe once they are a pinch easier to find.  Every milestone in this pregnancy is so very special to us and I can't wait for the next one to happen!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

12 Weeks and Some Early "Personalities"

Yesterday, we went to Nashville for our 12 week appointment and labs.  One nice thing about getting to stay under our RE's care is the fact that we get ultrasounds every 2 weeks...which means we've gotten to "see" our babies grow!  Since many ladies only have 2-3 ultrasounds during their entire pregnancies, we are very blessed to have had 6 so far! 
Our babies have had consistent "personalities" now for the past 2 ultrasounds.  Baby A (on the right side) is our mellow little one.  This time, Baby A was stretching here and there and playing with his/her umbilical cord.  Baby B seems to be our little fireball.  This Baby is super active, to the point where measuring his/her heartbeat is super difficult!  Yesterday, we watched Baby B kick through his/her sac and literally indent the sac of Baby A...which made Baby A flinch every time!  I feel kind of bad for Baby A...and this kid is being beaten alive by his/her brother or sister!

 Firecracker B!


Mellow A!

Our next, and likely last appointment with our RE will be September 10.  It will be bittersweet, as we've gotten to know several staff members and our MD...and we will miss the wonderful care we have received.  We will then be handed off to an OB and a Perinatologist for the remainder of our pregnancy. We are still thrilled that we've come so far and are doing so wonderfully!

Monday, August 6, 2012

10 Weeks and Going Strong!



Today was our 10 week appointment and everything looked great.  Both babies are now positioned with their heads close together and were VERY active!  We have some nice printed photos of them (at least their heads, arms, and legs together), but they didn't scan well at all so I didn't include them. It's impossible to get a shot of both babies together, as they are in different planes and wiggly.  We were able to see so much more today than 2 weeks ago, including hands, heads, tummies, legs, and even the spinal column of each baby.  While most women talk about their strong emotions when seeing a heartbeat...I had MUCH more emotion today seeing the babies moving!  It was amazing and almost unbelievable that Adam and I could be parents of these little miracles!  We did forget our nice camera today, so the video was taken with a cell phone...held sideways.  I think it still gets the point across though!  On other news, last night was my official last hip/butt injection!  I'm now being transitioned to skin patches and pills...which is so nice compared to the shots!  My hips are thanking me already!  As always, our doc was very happy with everything and has decided to keep us a minimum of 12 weeks and probably more like 16.  After our journey, I find this comforting!
Our next visit is August 20.  I don't expect much in the interim...but will post with any news that may arise.  These babies are the answer to many, many prayers and we feel super blessed to have made it this far with little ones who seem to be thriving!



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our 6th Anniversary!


Today is our 6th wedding anniversary!  For those who have read the blog for quite some time, you may remember that last year we celebrated our anniversary in New Orleans.  At that time, Adam laid 3 quarters at the tomb of Mary Laveau...hoping to be blessed with a few babies.  One year later, our request has been granted!  My gifts this year consisted of a beautiful jewelry box (since wood is the traditional gift), flowers, a nice card, and a new charm for my Reflections bracelet (amethyst is the 6th anniversary color).  I bought Adam a new radar detector and a Star Wars post-it set that makes weird noises...VERY romantic!

Despite nice gifts, our best gift is the love we have developed with each other these past 6 years and the life we have created for ourselves.  Between finishing training, moving several times, a struggling private practice at times, changes in his jobs and going back to school, and our infertility struggle...our marriage has been tested quite a bit!  Somehow though, we've done just fine and couldn't be much happier than we are now!  Obviously, our pregnancy has been the icing-on-the-cake this year.

I photographed the bottle charm, since I meant to post about it awhile back.  Adam bought it for our February cycle, as he just knew it would be successful.  When it failed, he stored it away (said he never thought of returning it) and waited until we finally knew we were pregnant.  I can't wait to put it on the bracelet...just haven't had an occasion yet!

Tomorrow is our 10 week visit and ultrasound.  Hopefully all is going well on the inside and the babies are growing nicely!  Will post something tomorrow...and hopefully some photos as well!

Monday, July 23, 2012

8 Weeks and Counting!


video

Today was our first "official" OB ultrasound and started the 8th week of our pregnancy!  The twins looked perfect and had beautiful little heartbeats of 165 and 169.  Twin A even moved a touch for us...though he/she decided to stop when we tried to watch!  Other than a bleed last week from a mild subchorionic hemorrhage (which is no longer even visible on the ultrasound), I have done wonderfully!  I certainly have lots of pregnancy "symptoms," but nothing that I can't handle with lots of gratitude for the opportunity. 

As you can see by the photos and video, Adam is one seriously proud Daddy!  He brings his camera to every appointment and anxiously awaits "permission" to take a photo or two. 

We are very happy that all is well and will likely announce our news to the world (aka Facebook) around week 12.  But, for our faithful blog followers, these are for you!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

6 Amazing Days Later...

Our babies!
Today was our second ultrasound and was somewhat "informal."  One of my collegues offered to do it for us, since we were anxious to verfiy that the babies did indeed have beating hearts.  He and his wife/nurse were in the room with Adam and I.  Since we all know each other, it was nice to share a moment like this with people who really cared about us and knew what we had endured the past 2 years to get to this moment!  Once he placed the probe, both sacs and babies were easily seen...with their tiny hearts just beating away!  It was really amazing to see them "wiggle" (more like a vibration) and to see them so close to each other!  Both are measuring perfectly and seem quite healthy!  On a side note, we did see a tiny sac of Embryo/Blast #3...but clearly it didn't make it (which we suspected based on our third blood test results). 
We are thrilled and so happy!  The blood flow to my uterus was wonderful (which was a change from our previous studies) and each baby had a healthy developing umbilical cord with good blood flow. 
Our next ultrasound is July 23.  I can't wait, as that will be 8 weeks!  We feel very blessed for every moment that we get with this pregnancy and can't wait to see who these two little "beans" become!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Houston...We Have Twins!!!


Today was our first pregnancy ultrasound, and things could not have gone any better!  We are officially 5 weeks and 4 days pregnant!  Our ultrasound today was mainly to count the number of gestational sacs and to look for any "problems" that could be occurring with the pregnancy.  At this stage of the process, we didn't expect to see anything but gestational sacs...no babies or heartbeats.  But...we were super fortunate today because we saw two fetal poles (soon-to-be babies) and both had a little "flicker" of a heartbeat!  They measure 2 days ahead, which is a good sign as well!

For those who know little about ultrasounds (and since most people never seen an ultrasound this early), the little"x's" mark the ends of the fetal poles.  The big black spot is the gestational sac.  If you can't make heads of tales of it...don't worry...more will come!  I couldn't help but smile when I saw a little "twinkle" in our doc's eye...and when one of our nurses was cheering behind him while he did the ultrasound!  I can't wait for our main nurse to hear the news, if she hasn't already!

Obviously, this is super early and lots of things can change on a dime.  But for now, we are blissfully happy and just hope and pray these little ones stay in place for another 31 weeks or so!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes...Happy 4th of July!!!


This morning, while thinking about tomorrow's upcoming national holiday, I couldn't help but reflect on this past year.  Last July 4, we invited Mom, Dad, and 2 other couples to our home for a BBQ and fireworks (courtesy of our neighbors mostly).  Adam and I had completed our first IVF cycle at that point, but had not yet had our official beta-HCG test (blood). I knew I wasn't pregnant, and I was crushed.  Furthermore, I was miserable.  My hips were blood red and sore to the point where I couldn't even lean back in the lawn chair...I sat on the edge and tried not to let my sides touch anything.  It was a tough holiday to endure...even with great company.

Tomorrow, just one year later, our entire life has changed!  This year, my hips are bruised and a tad sore, but for the best reason ever!  After 4 cycles, we are pregnant. And next year, we may be enjoying the holiday with 1-3 little ones!  Amazing!

While I'm not very proud of our President and government, I am proud to live in this country.  I'm proud to be the beneficiary of technology and laws that exist (or fail to exist) that allow couples like Adam and I to be parents.  I'm proud that my husband served this country and I'm proud to say that my family was one of the first families to ever settle in Georgia.  Overall, I'm proud to be an American.  Happy July 4 everyone!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

3 Little Blasts...and More Great News!

Our babies...can't wait to see how many "stuck!"

For you Rosewater...
Today was our second beta HCG (pregnancy blood test).  We increased from 284 to 630 in 48 hours!  Our nurse's first words when she called me today were, "Well...you are just an over achiever, aren't you?  You definitely are blowing the socks off of this!"  Since I've never done anything but fail in this ART world, I can't tell you how great it felt to FINALLY get great news from our main nurse!  It was great to go into the office today and get hugs and "congratulations" comments as well...not to mention a very nice email from our doc!

As for the future, I keep being asked about ultrasounds, due dates, and other information.  Our due date is March 3...assuming a 40 week singleton.  Based on our numbers so far, there's probably more than one baby growing.  So...taking that into consideration and my hypertension, I feel like our realistic due date will be sometime in late January/early February.  With multiples...you just never know!  As for ultrasounds, that should be determined on Friday.  I'm thinking July 23...but hoping I can beg my way into one on July 16.  It feels like so far away right now!

Obviously, we are on Cloud 9 right now!  I sincerely wanted to give this 100% effort, but never dreamed we would actually ever be successful.  Thankfully, we have a great doctor with wonderful staff who never painted "rosey" pictures...but also told us that it wasn't yet time to quit.  I'm just trying to enjoy every second of this happiness (even when I threw up today) and can't wait until Friday to see our next set of numbers!

I have had many emails and messages...from as far away as Germany and Australia these past few days!  It has been wonderful.  Thank you all!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Finally...a BFP!!!



First of all, if you have a problem with seeing photos of home pregnancy tests...then now would be a good time to quit reading!  Only a woman who has faced infertility can understand the NEED to test this many times...and I'm that woman!  Secondly, I have updated the blog for you who actually read it...not the Facebook masses who click on a link when I kindly provide it.  In return, I am asking that you please NOT place anything on Facebook in reference to this post...or any future posts.  If you want to message me, please do so in the comments here or at my email which is lucyddr@yahoo.com

Now that those are out of the way...  WE ARE PREGNANT!!!  After 2 years, 4 IVF/FET cycles and 3 embryo transfers, 2.25 gallons of sharps injected, over 50 blood draws, 40 ultrasounds, 4 procedures under anesthetic, thousands of dollars, hours of tears, bruises and lumps, and a few other "details," something finally worked!  And the photos above tell the story...

We began this frozen embryo transfer process with an endometrial biopsy (under local anesthetic only) on May 16...today our blood test confirmed a pregnancy!  So...it's been a LONG process!  I really didn't expect it to work, as frozen embryos often don't implant as well as fresh ones.  We also took a gamble with the 10 that were frozen (previously thought to be 9...but they managed to "save" one more at the last minute) and thawed them all 2 days before we did the transfer to allow them to grow 2 extra days in culture.  In laymens terms...it weeds out the weaklings.  Out of the 10 we began with, 7 survived wonderfully!  On June 16, we placed 3 beautiful blasts (5 day embryos).  4 blasts were re-frozen...and can be used at a later date if needed.  The transfer went very nicely and I came home to 4 days of very strict bedrest...this time, only being allowed to lay on my sides (no back, stomach, etc).  It passed fairly quickly...thankfully! 

On Tuesday, June 19, we had an implantation "sign."  Because it's TMI...just trust me...it made me hopeful!

On Thursday, June 21, I had terrible heartburn that wouldn't let up with Tums.  I wanted a Prilosec like an addict wants crack!  But...I didn't care to take it if I was pregnant.  Once I got home, I told Adam and we decided to home test.  If it was negative, I would end my torture and take the Prilosec (figuring that if there was no pregnancy hormone, it wasn't likely to cause harm).  Well...we did the test together (no privacy in our home)...and it was very faintly positive! I couldn't help but cry...I was shocked, happy, and scared!

Over the next few days, the lines got more visible and digital tests were positive.  Of note is that the cheapo Dollar Store tests were minimally positive...even yesterday.  Lesson: Don't depend on Dollar Tree for your home pregnancy test needs!  On Saturday, we told only our parents...obviously they were happy!

Today was our official  beta-HCG blood test. I told one of our two nurses in Nashville that I was pregnant just before the blood was drawn...just hoping it was enough.  She teared up and hugged me...clearly she was excited!  I'm a touch sad that our other nurse was off, but hoping she'll hear the news when she gets back!  As for the test, any number over 50 would have been "good."  I was just hoping for over 100...as I felt that was a better, safe, and solid number.  Well...it was 284!!!  We probably have more than one baby growing inside me, but won't know for a couple more weeks.

We have told our family members and very close friends...and we feel so blessed and thankful for this opportunity!  We pray that the pregnancy progresses well and will be thankful for every day of it that we get...regardless of the ultimate outcome.  We go back on Wednesday and are looking for the number to double.  So, we'll hope for the best and be thankful regardless!

For those who have prayed, thank you!  I believe all of our prayers have been answered and I am VERY grateful!  Here we go...

And BTW...BFP means BIG FAT POSITIVE!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Perfect Memorial Day

Yesterday, Adam and I finally had a whole day together without any obligations to work, call, or family.  Since this was our first real "day off without obligations" since Labor Day (for real), we decided to enjoy ourselves and celebrate my 35th birthday...just 12 days late! 

I woke up early and went to the hospital to release my only patient.  I then brought breakfast home for us.  We enjoyed breakfast and hopped in the car to head to Nashville.  Our first stop was the Nashville Zoo.  Since we had never been there and Adam wanted to try out his new camera, we figured it would be fun.  We saw every visible animal (which wasn't very many actually) in about 2 hours.  We took several photos and enjoyed our time together.  We, then, headed to Opry Mills and shopped a bit.  Because we had more time than we expected, we decided to see a movie.  Having seen MIB III on Friday night and having limited options, we opted for The Dictator.  It was funny, stupid, and massively politically incorrect.  But...it made us both laugh...which was so nice! 

After finishing the movie, we went to Melting Pot for my late birthday dinner.  The Melting Pot has been a favorite chain restaurant for Adam and I for years.  We enjoy the leisurely pace of dinner there...and who doesn't like melted chocolate???  We had a great dinner and finished it up by doing a good deed...which will forever be between us and the waitress.  I think we both left dinner feeling fulfilled...in many ways!

Overall, it was VERY nice to have a day together...especially one that didn't focus on our infertility.  It just reminds me that our marriage is amazing and I am very very thankful! 




Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!


          

Friday, April 27, 2012

Final Thoughts on National Infertility Awareness Week



While National Infertility Awareness Week technically ends tomorrow, I've decided to make tonight my final post.  Unlike the previous posts, this is my personal "take" on the journey Adam and I have taken these past 2 years.  Being infertile has changed our lives, in positive and negative ways. 

In the past 16 months, I've taken more medications (oral, injections, and others) than I ever have before.  I've been through more invasive tests than ever before.  I've been sedated and put to sleep more than ever before, and more than most will ever need.  I have feared the unknown in our lives more than ever before.  I had more sleepless nights in the past year than my previous 33 years combined.  I've had more blood drawn than the 2+ gallons I have given since turning 18.  I have been to the doctor's office more than ever before (often with minimal clothing).  I have cried in front of my doctor and his nurse, for the first time in my life.  I have learned that my body is seriously flawed from a physical standpoint.  I have learned that some of my friends are not really friends.  I have communicated with my husband more than ever before.  I have cried more than ever before.  I have failed in something critically important to me for the first time in my entire life, and I continue to fail at every step of the process. I have questioned my faith, the power (or lack thereof) of prayer, and God's will.

On a positive note (if you can call it that), I have tolerated more pain than I ever thought I could bear.  I have learned how to give myself shots without freaking out!  I have communicated with my physician and his staff more than ever before.  I have expanded my knowledge base.  I have met many wonderful ladies and a few good men in this process!  I have been deeply humbled from my failures.  I have learned just how special and wonderful children are, and what a blessing it is that most couples don't have to struggle for them. I have learned that I have a handful of friends who really do love me and care about me. I have learned how to communicate very effectively with Adam, to lean on him when I'm weak, and to love him more than ever. And, I have learned that God's will is not necessarily ours and that really, all I can do is pray that he brings us through this process with peace, humility, and grace.

My greatest 3 lessons in this process are:
1. My family is wonderful and loves Adam and I regardless of what happens with our infertility saga.
2. My faith in God is gradually growing stronger despite being seriously challenged this past year.
3. I truly have the most wonderful husband in the world and marrying Adam was the best life decision I've ever made!

I sincerely believe that Adam and I are approaching the end of our infertility road.  We could be done as early as July, though won't make any final decisions until late in the fall.  While we want a baby more than anything, we realize that it may not be God's plan for us.  If we fail in June and don't ever have a child of our own, I still feel that we will have "conquered" our infertility.  We have certainly given this our best shot and perhaps, this is one "failure" I'm just going to have to accept.  For those struggling with infertility, my heart hurts for you...deeply.  For those reading this who are not infertile, thank you for following our lives, for your comments/messages/texts/calls/and support, and for being willing to "learn" something in the process.

Thank you all for allowing us to share our lives with you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Infertility Myths



I figured this would be a good follow up to last night's post...infertility myths.  I have gathered these from articles, board posts, and personal experiences.  Here goes!

1. Adopt and You'll Get Pregnant:  Yeah...right.  Sure, this has happened at some point to someone.  BUT, do you actually know the "friend" who this happened to?  I surely don't.  Believe it or not, studies have actually been done on this.  Here's the real truth, only 5% of couples who adopt actually become pregnant afterwards.  That's the same number who become pregnant after terminating fertility treatments...adoption or not!

2. Infertility is the Female's Fault: Not hardly! 35% of all infertility is directly attributed to the male partner!  In 20% of all infertility cases, both partners are involved.  In our personal case, we are both equally 100% incapable of creating a child in the bedroom...even if we were with different spouses.  We like to think that this means we are truly a match made in Heaven!  We also know that neither of us will ever be featured in the "Surprise, who's your Daddy/Mommy Maury Povich Show," or if we are...the test will be negative!

3.  Couples Who Work Hard Enough Eventually Get Pregnant:  Nope!  Adam and I worked REALLY hard at this...and still do (just in other ways).  Of couples labelled infertile, over 60% will go on to have children by some path.  The other 40% won't...period.  Obviously, some couples are more willing to do IVF, use donors and surrogates, etc., and some aren't.  Either way, there will always be failures.  Nothing in the ART world is ever guarenteed!

4.  Infertility is Psychological: Wrong again.  80-90% of all cases of infertility have a defined physical cause.  Us infertiles only become crazy once we get the label!  If therapy and psych drugs got people pregnant, there would be a lot more "experts" in the field!

5.  Infertility is a Sexual Problem: Let's just think a minute...do you think that 13 year olds having sex and getting pregnant are "doing it" by the book?  Not hardly!  The majority of infertility problems have nothing to do with bedroom malfunctions (like over 99% of them)!  I can tell you from experience that Viagra isn't used for infertile males to "fix" the problem!  It is however, potentially useful in females for building the endometrial lining (just FYI)!

6.  Infertility is Against God: Now that's a can of worms!  Since this is my blog and my opinion, I'm calling this a myth.  My Reproductive Endocrinologist is a devout, practicing United Methodist (like me).  He prays.  I'm pretty sure God wouldn't have blessed him with this knowledge if he didn't have intentions of him using it!  I am very thankful for medical science, but with 3 failures under my belt...I am well aware that it isn't really in control...God is!

7.  Women are Getting Pregnant in Their 40s...it's the new 30s:  Well...women are getting pregnant far later than life than was the case in the past.  Some actually even manage to do it with their own eggs.  BUT, for most...the "secret" is donor eggs.  I think donor eggs are wonderful and have opened many doors for women who would otherwise be without options (some even in their 20s-30s)!  I just hate to see people actually think that we are becoming more fertile from an evolutionary standpoint, not hardly!

8.  Infertility is Someone's Fault (Related to Lifestyle):  Well...  I'll be the first to say that Adam and I have scoured every detail of our past to see what might have "caused" us to both be so infertile.  We've never had STDs, been substance abusers, or anything of that sort!  We certainly feel some Christian guilt though...sometimes thinking God is punishing us for something in our past.  But, infertility is a DISEASE...not a religious punishment experience!  People don't spiritually or medically deserve to be infertile...period.  It just happens. 

9.  Relaxation Helps Fertility:  Now, this is my favorite!  Here's my response (to people who push the issue), "We did a 9 day trip to the Happiest Place on Earth and another 9 day trip on a Caribbean Cruise.  We ate too much, drank too much, tanned, enjoyed our favorite pasttimes and spent a significant amount of time in our room...neither time did we come back pregnant.  And trust me, we DID relax!"  My next answer (though less common and very rarely needed) is this, "Relaxing won't fix our issues.  My cervix is anatomically abnormal, IF the sperm could get through it, we don't have enough of them.  Assuming a few did, we still wouldn't have enough to penetrate the egg casing.  And that's assuming there was even an egg in the general vicinity!  Assuming one miracle sperm 'got in' a rare penetratable egg, the egg likely wouldn't divide because it's quality is terrible.  IF it divided, it would only survive until day 3 because the sperm DNA would fail and the embryo would die.  And IF the embryo lived, it would only temporarily implant because my body doens't make enough progesterone to maintain a healthy lining.  After that, if by a miracle we got that far, the placenta would clot causing a miscarriage because I have abnormal clotting studies known to do this.  So....at what part in this is relaxing supposed to help me???"  That generally ends the conversation!  (Yes...I have an evil streak!)  I'd like to see anyone with this set of issues relax!  On a happy note, every issue we have is treatable and surmountable in some way, but clearly we have a few!  And by the way, surrogacy won't "fix" our issues...despite what the TV wants you to believe.

I guess those are my infertility myth highlights!  Tomorrow...I'm taking a break from my  blog.  I think this post was enough for two nights!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Infertility Etiquette

http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family--friends/infertility-etiquette.html

The truth is that I really can't say this any better than this article does!  I just wish I could be given a nickel for every time Adam and I have been asked/told the following:

1. Have you considered adoption?  My new response is, "Have you?" or "Why didn't you adopt?"
2. Just relax, it'll happen.  My reponse is, "Nope, it won't.  We went on a 9 day Caribbean vacation and spent 10 days at Disney World which calls itself the Happiest Place on Earth.  Didn't work for us!"
3.  Well, maybe it's God's will.  My response is simple, "I guess so."
4. (Sorry, added late!)  In general, telling me how fertile you are!  Let me just tell you, I don't care to hear it.  If sharing the soap with your husband gets you pregnant, then yeah for you.  If your uterus looks perfect and your doctor tells you how important birth control practices are, then yeah for you.  If you got pregnant "accidentally," then yeah for you.  I'm glad most folks are happily fertile, but don't tell me and your infertile friends about it! It's pretty insensitive!

Happy reading!

Monday, April 23, 2012

What Infertility Really Is, From the Trenches



Thanks to Moxie for allowing me to use this awesome poster!!!


Since National Infertility Awareness Week technically began yesterday, I figured I'd do 2 blog posts tonight.  While browsing the infertility forums today (of which I am a member), I noticed an interesting thread in the "Infertility Support" board.  The title of the thread was "Infertility Is..."  Many women wrote posts today listing some of the things that infertility "is" for them.  I could honestly relate to every single line, some more than others.  Here are some things written by our board ladies...

Infertility is:
-having an empty bedroom that serves no purpose. Who needs two guest bedrooms/offices?
-walking along a beach, looking back and knowing there will only ever be two sets of footprints.
-dreading shopping at a supermarket and finding yourself in the baby section because it has been moved around (or surrounded by pregnant women).
-wishing more than anything that you can have what other people take for granted and have so easily.
-not being able to go to your closest friend's baby shower.
-having to always explain why it's just the two of you.
-missing out on birthday parties, easter egg hunts, Christmas mornings.
-becoming angry, hurt, bitter, mad at the world (especially pregnant women and ignorant people).
-walking in to work at a hosptial and seeing that 14 yr old pregnant.
-wondering what did I ever do to have to go thru such a horrible thing.
-scared because I got a positive and thinking theres no way i got a positive, nothing ever goes our way.
-alienating friends and family who can't understand your desire to have a baby and why you just don't adopt.
-when your emotional, social, mental, religious, and medical worlds all colapse on top of one another every month.
-putting your life on hold month-after-month, day-after-day to no end.
-having a void in your heart that cannot be filled by anything but a child.
-having to patiently hold your tongue when your friend says something insensitive about your struggle.
-feeling like less of a woman.
-trying to convince your father that you are happy with just having a dog, because you don't want to really tell them how much time, pain, and shots you have put into this process.
-catching yourself from being jealous (and crying) just because 100 people on Facebook are announcing their pregnancy.
-watching the Disney cruise commercials and crying like a baby because nothing in the world would make you happier than taking a child on one.
-looking at photography websites and seeing pics of daddys and daughters and wanting so badly to be able to give that to your hubby.
-the cause of my greatest heartaches.
-seeking comfort from strangers because not a single one of your family or friends understands the pain.
-thinking you're going to jinx yourself pregnant by buying that mega box of tampons or that huge bottle of your favorite wine, both of which are gone the following month.
-unfair.
-the true meaning of "grin and bear it."

For me, it means:
-going to an older adult's birthday party, seeing their pride in their family, and knowing that Adam and I may never have our own children to be proud of.
-wondering who will help care for us when we are no longer able to care for ourselves?
-wondering who will reap the benefits of our hard work (and incomes) when we are gone?
-just hoping a happy (or maybe even just tolerable) end to all of this is in sight.
-failure.

Infertility 101



146,693 in vitro cycles were performed in 2010. Of those, 39,473 were on women under 35 years old. I suspect the 2011 stats will be similar when published. The rate of infertility in the United States is generally felt to be around 12% of couples. Infertility is clinically defined by a lack of pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse (6 months if you are over 35). If you are wondering why 35 is the cut-off for a change in diagnosis, it’s because female fertility plummets at age 35. Of all of the couples labeled as infertile, only 3% will actually proceed to in vitro fertilization. In 2011, Adam and I became one of those couples and contributed to 2 cycle failures. We are already one “statistic” into 2012!


This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Almost 2 years ago now, Adam began trying to start our family. Just 7 months after starting, we earned the title “Infertile.” Our road has been a tough one, full of unfortunate findings and surprises at almost every step. Because I have truly “been there” and still “am there,” I have decided to post a Blog article or link every day this week in hopes of educating my friends and family about this process. I remember how apathetic I was towards infertile couples several years ago. Now, I feel terrible about it and can honestly say that payback is a miserable experience!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Our Family's Legacy...One Year Later





This day last year at about 11:30 pm (CST), I received a called from my brother informing me that my Granddaddy had died.  He had recovered nicely from a major trauma and had been in rehab building strength for a few days.  Unfortunately, the stress was probably too great and he passed away in his sleep that night.  It was truly the worst night (and next several days) of my life.

Our Granddaddy was our family legacy.  He modelled faith in God, dedication to and love for family, good character, humility, hard work, honesty, and respect for all people regardless of their backgrounds.  He enjoyed his family, UGA and CCHS football, playing golf, working hard, and fishing.  He was a wonderful listener and great confidant.  He didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear, but he had a very gentle way of telling me what I needed to hear.  And... I'm proud to say that I listened and took every ounce of his advice to heart!  On the weekend before he died, I was off and decided to drive to Moultrie to visit him.  He was still in the hospital, though he was beginning to walk.  His mind was perfect.  He and I had several hours together that Sunday morning before I left.  We talked about my practice/business, Adam, and our plans to start our family.  He knew we were having fertility issues and he told me that he supported us 100% in whichever route we needed to take (though he shared our feeling towards adoption).  Basically, he encouraged us to spend wisely...but to spend if that's what it took to build our family.  He knew we were doing IVF.  It certainly wasn't something he understood the fine details of, but he certainly understood its purpose and our needs.  I would love to have had him to share the events of last year with...and I'd certainly welcome his advice and insight as to what we now face. Frankly, I miss my Sunday phone calls and visits to his and Grandmother's house...regardless of whether advice was needed or not! 

I see my Grandaddy's photo as I walk into my medical office each day.  I also see the photo of he and my Grandmother that sits between my office and Dad's office each day.  I'm so thankful that we still have Grandmother, and sad that he's not here anymore.  I think about Grandaddy on Friday nights during the fall, UGA football Saturdays (oh...the fond college memories...one of which involved a young punk and a gun), Sundays at Dairy Queen or Pizza Hut, every time I see a Captain D's (the location of my preschool "dates" with him), and our Saturday fishing trips (also used to weed-out useless boyfriends)!  Frankly, it's rare (if ever) that a day goes by that I don't think about Grandaddy in some way.

I think when a 34 year old professional married woman remembers her Granddaddy almost every day and misses him this much an entire year later...he must have been someone really special!  I know that Dad, Mom, Leslee, Trey, Grandmother, and my extended family feel the same love and sense of loss.  He really raised a spectacular family that continues to succeed in our lives and careers.  I just hope he gets to "see" us from above and continue to be proud of the lives we live...thanks to him!

L.R. Dampier Sr., we miss you tons!  Your 89 years will live for generations to come, and that's something very few families can be proud of!  Thinking of you a little bit more today and loving you always, Cinda.

 


Thursday, March 1, 2012

What I'd Give to be "Normal"


Some of you are aware that we have been undergoing a 3rd IVF cycle over the past several weeks.  We've been a tad "quieter" about it, as we wanted to see how we would handle things...  Our cycle started on January 6 and ended today.  It was totally different, and required 7 weeks of drugs (not including months on birth control pills, high dose Folic acid, aspirin, and prescription prenatal vitamins).

On January 6, we signed the usual 20+ forms and legal paperwork.  Our medications were shipped ($2400 worth, which was actually cheaper than we had planned for thanks to some help with insurance) and arrived on January 13.  The injection protocol began on January 16 and ended on February 28.  It included 3-4 shots per day.  To say that the cycle was aggressive was an understatement. 

In total, this one round included 103 injections/blood draws, 4 ultrasounds, 1 procedure under anesthetic, and 1 embryo transfer.  My abdomen and hips resemble a war zone and will take a few weeks to return to a normal color.  I believe we made 8 trips to Nashville as well, though it feels like so many more!

On February 19, we transferred 3 perfect Grade A embryos.  It was my sister's 32nd birthday and the due date (if we had twins) would have been October 17.  This happens to be Adam's upcoming 40th and my Mom's upcoming 60th.  Seemed like great signs!  We thought that with the new year, a new protocol, a great lining, great labs, beautiful embryos, and perfect dates...we were certain to succeed!

While we've pretty much known since Tuesday, today was the official beta HCG test.  Sadly, the result was 0...literally.  It's heart-breaking for sure.  To add icing to the cake, we've seen 2 pregnancy announcements, 2 birth announcements, tons of photos of other peoples' babies, and countless comments and complaints from/about pregnant women...all since Tuesday.  I am even the only "failure" on my entire infertility forum this cycle...talk about being at the bottom!

I know nothing in life is guarenteed, even when everything is practically perfect.  This cycle is certainly proof of this!  We did manage to freeze 9 embryos this round, though feel that 3 of them may not be as healthy as we would like.  Despite being heart-broken, I suspect we'll try again in June and hope for the best. 

It's amazing how unfair life is.  We paid over $75k in taxes this year to support unemployed women having as many babies as they want.  We provide them free everything (carseats, formula, coupons, healthcare, food stamps,etc).  Sadly, Adam and I get to support these women AND have had the additional "privilege" of spending thousands of dollars just to try have a baby!  

For those who get pregnant without all of this, be VERY thankful.  You can't start to imagine how miserable this process is for couples like Adam and I.  There are no "easy" fixes or answers, and we are a serious challenge for any infertility clinic. 
The whole process just seems so unfair...I guess life is.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our Muddy Adventure to Machine Falls

Today was a beautiful day!  The sky was clear and the temperature was expected to stay in the high 40s to low 50s.  Since we don't get many winter days this nice (especially when I'm not on call), we decided to find ourselves a local hike.  After some web-searching last night, I found an area about 30 miles from our home called the Short Springs Natural Area.  This area has several trails, one "big" waterfall, and another good-sized cascade.  After a light lunch at Sonic, we hit the trail at around 1.  We decided to hike to Machine Falls, which was a "moderate to strenuous" 1.5 mile hike...plus about a tenth more to actually get to the falls.
We set out on the trail, which began as a very easy wooded trail.  Once we got within earshot of the falls, this quickly changed!  The trail descended VERY steeply down to the creek....like some steps "down" were over 2 feet!  Once we got the the creek, here's what we found... (Basically the trail ended...but the sign said the falls were 100 yards to the right.  It just didn't say how you were supposed to get to them!)

Here's Adam at the trail's end!  We decided to try to take the hillside, since the water was about 8" deep and we didn't want to hike with cold, wet feet.  So, here's what we faced...
Yes...it was super steep...and slick under the leaves as well!  When we rounded this hillside (winded, muddy, and thankful for our safety), here's what we saw...
  The falls were really spectacular!  They are 60 feet tall and 60 feet wide...and full of water!  The photos just don't do justice to the sounds and beauty of the falls.  The water was dripping off of these green mossy rocks, creating an almost fairy-tale like image.  We took several photos, and then I wandered down the hill to the base of the falls (or technically about 4 feet up, as I didn't get into the water at the base).

Wandering down the hill really wasn't my brightest idea ever...though I was hoping to walk back to the main trail along the opposite side of the creek (to avoid climbing that steep slippery hill again).  I went down, using both my feet as well as my butt.  (Yes, it WAS that steep!)  Sadly, I made it to the lowest rock and discovered that I had about a 4 foot drop to the creek bed.  Unfortunately, the rock below was covered in moss and algae and I KNEW it was slick.  There was no good place to get footing (and I wasn't feeling like injuring myself on asprin therapy), so I was forced to climb back up.  Before heading up, I took these...

This next one is sideways (stupid Blogger won't orient it properly), but it shows just how steep the hill was.  see Adam at the top???


I then climbed back up to where Adam was (this was challenging and resulted in a bruised right knee) and we finished the trail.  Overall, it was a wonderful short hike with some good challenges!  My jeans didn't make out very well (as you can see below), but Adam posed just to prove that he came out "clean!"


Nothing like a good Saturday adventure!!!  Because I was so dirty, we came home and changed clothes.  We then went to Murfreesboro for dinner and a tad of shopping.  Overall, it was a perfect day together!!!