Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's a Baby!

I was getting ready to go to the ultrasound yesterday, and Mr. X asked if I wanted him to put the cookies in the oven while I was gone. I said "I thought you were coming with me!" He was surprised, but happy to come. (We had both gotten very little sleep that night due to my nasty cold--more about that another day--so neither of us was at the top of our game. And clearly I'm still not, since I had to edit this post twice before the first sentence made any sense.) It was really funny--I think he didn't realize how much the baby looks like a baby now, and he had to be at work when I came in for the first ultrasound. He was so excited once we saw the baby on the monitor!

So, here are a few of the pictures! When we started, we could see the baby in profile (head to the right, looking up):


And then the baby turned and we got a front view--again, head to the right, and you can see the little hands, belly, and feet pretty well in this one:



I think we have a little ham on our hands, already looking into the camera and waving! You can see how much the left hand was moving in this one:


I think I need to come up with a nickname. Saying "the baby" all the time gets a bit awkward. I'm starting to wrap my head around the idea that this is really happening!

Monday, December 29, 2008

All Is Well

I promise to post more later (probably tomorrow, to be realistic), but we did go to the ultrasound and everything is fine! The baby is measuring 12 weeks 1 day, and I'm 12 weeks 2 days today, so that's fine. Just like Beth said, we could see the eyes, nose, mouth, little hands and feet, and everything! The baby moved, too, so we started out with a perfect profile, and then the baby turned so we saw the full face and little hands moving up and down (looked like the baby was waving to us)!

I have to run! Last night, my dear friend who got married last week called to ask if she and her husband can crash at our place tonight on their way to their honeymoon! I'm so excited, but, yikes, the house is a disaster!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pregnancy Update *Updated*

On Saturday, we officially made it to 12 weeks! I'm so grateful! We've started telling people, and we told a lot of friends and family over Christmas. We were on our own for Christmas, so we told a lot of people over the phone. Everyone's been very happy for us, which is really touching. My least favorite reactions have been along the lines of "people always get pregnant as soon as they start the adoption process." I know everyone means well, and so I gently explain that my treatment can take a long time to be effective, that we really want to adopt, not just as a second choice . . . the whole deal.

The progesterone test results have been really good, too! According to the graph on the PPVI site, the average levels of progesterone start at 22.4 in week 4 and rise to 30 in week 10. Mine started at 13.8 in week 4 and went up to 37.2 in week 10! I was so excited! The doctors reduced my dosage from the maximum to the minimum in week 8, when my level was good, and so I was a little worried that it might drop again because of the reduced dosage. But it looks like my body's kicking into gear! Hooray! If the levels stay high, I might be able to stop the progesterone treatment as early as week 16!

Other than that, thank you very much for the fish oil advice! I'm going to try a brand we have at home that is enteric-coated (so the coating isn't supposed to dissolve until it hits your intestines, hence giving no after-taste), and if it doesn't work, I think Nordic Naturals will be my next stop. I'm feeling pretty good, but this cold is throwing me for a loop. I had to sing for 7:30 and 12:30 masses today, so I got up for the 7:30, came home and slept until the 12:30, and then I felt like sleeping again when I got home! I'm fighting it at the moment, though. And I am having the worst time kicking the darn y.e.a.s.t infection that I came down with in October! I've done two 7-day courses of clotrimazole to treat it, and I just started a third, plus probiotics. In between, my doctor prescribed a topical antibiotic in case it was bacterial (don't worry--all medications are approved by the doctor, and nothing more than a category B), but it just seemed to intensify the y.e.a.s.t infection symptoms. Anyone have any good ideas?

We've been trying to get more exercise, too. The doctor who did my ultrasound recommended walking two miles a day, so we finally drove several routes around our neighborhood, since we have no idea how far we normally walk. For the last three days, we've walked 2-2.5 miles every day, and we're trying to get an average time figured out so that we can estimate the distances on the trail that we walk, too. I'm starting to grow out of my clothes, too. I have two decent black skirts, and one of them fit me like a sausage casing the week before Christmas. So, I wore the other black skirt to absolutely everything that required a skirt for the rest of the week. I wore it for Christmas Eve mass, and the waistband just about cut off my circulation when I sang. I've gained about 6 pounds (when I last checked--I really need to buy a scale), which I think is OK. My doctor didn't comment on my weight gain, so I think it must be fine.

The final question of the day is this. I have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday morning. I meant to cancel it, but with all the crazy traveling and Christmas stuff, I completely forgot. Should I go? My doctor said they're really just looking for birth defects at this point, and from what I can read, it seems that the tests are not at all conclusive. My doctor said it's really not needed and that the 20-week ultrasound will be much more informative. He also says the 12-week ultrasound doesn't pose any added risk, but just isn't necessary. I feel bad canceling at the last minute (again), but I really don't want the worry of inconclusive results about birth defects, when I really am not aware of anything we could do at this point to treat them. I'm not crazy about the idea of unnecessary worries about things that I would be powerless to change. What do you think?

***
Updated to add--that would be a big no on the fish oil. Enteric-coated my foot. Nasty fish taste.

I think we are going to go ahead with the ultrasound after all. I did a little searching on in-utero surgeries (oh my goodness, they can do amazing things!) and we decided we'd like to know if there's a major physical problem that could be fixed before birth. I do totally agree with what Maggie said in the comments, though--I really want to avoid anything that will make me crazy, so I still have some mixed feelings. I'll post tomorrow with the results!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Oh my goodness. Things have been crazy. Once we were home for two days, we flew out again, this time to visit the families. In five days, we visited both sets of parents, drove 300 miles for my grandpa's 90th birthday party, drove another 300 miles for a friend's wedding, and flew back again. All in sub-zero weather. It was really fun, but soooo good to be back home after being on the road for all that time.

I sang for Christmas Eve mass (10pm, not actual midnight--which is actually good, considering the pregnancy tiredness combined with the cold we caught from the plague victim who coughed all over Mr. X on the airplane), which was pretty nice. Unfortunately, we had the runner-up homily to the one we heard last year at my parents' parish. Last year's Christmas homily theme: the wood of the manger foreshadows the wood of the cross; this year's Christmas homily theme: we are waiting for our suffering to end. Seriously, what's the deal with depressing Christmas homilies? Are they for the Christmas and Easter people? Because we're here the whole liturgical year. We get all of the liturgical seasons--and this one happens to be Christmas, not Lent!

Anyway, we bought our first Christmas tree on Christmas Eve this year!! We've never been in our own home for Christmas (actually, in my adult life, I have never woken up in my own home on Christmas morning, and I have never traveled less than 1000 miles to celebrate Christmas), and so we've never even bought a tree. We were a bit scared because the first three places we went to were sold out of real trees! Then I remembered this great nursery near us. They still had tons of beautiful trees, and they were selling them at half price because it was Christmas Eve! We went and bought a little star-and-angels thing for the top, some more ornaments, a tree stand, and all that stuff. Unfortunately, we couldn't find garland. Maybe at the after-Christmas sales. We plan to keep the tree up until epiphany.

Speaking of which, I'm going to go check on the water for the tree and then head to the post office. I hope you all had a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So Happy to Be Home

Hooray! We're home again! I'm really glad I had the opportunity to go to H.o.n.g K.o.n.g., but I'm very happy to be home. My travel paranoia really kicked in when there was a big news story right after we arrived about chickens on a local farm dying of bird flu! I calmed down after I read up on it, realized there have only been 20 human cases in H.o.n.g K.o.n.g (and none in the past five years). And the workers on the poultry farm didn't have it, so I figured the chances of me catching it were pretty darn slim. Nonetheless, I did eat more beef for the rest of the trip! :)

I'll talk more about the trip later. I was really proud of myself because I found my way around the city all by myself while Mr. X was working. We saw some really cool and some really surprising things (one of which was that I didn't expect things to be so Christmasy there). And I was a really bad international traveler in terms of my eating. We had exactly one meal of Chinese food! Of course, there are tons of interesting international restaurants there, but I ended up eating lots of pizza, burgers, and American breakfast food (I had oatmeal for dinner one night). Usually, I really want to eat the local food, but this time I was just trying not to end up too nauseated, and familiar was good.

We completely crashed last night--we got home from the airport and I was asleep within 2 hours. I went to bed at 8:30 and woke up at 10:15 this morning! I had a doctor's appointment at 11 (good thing I woke up at 10:15). It took a long time (relatively speaking--I'm sure it was only a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity) for the doctor to find the heartbeat today. After a while, he mentioned that the battery was dying and that he'd go into the other room to replace it, and then try again. Shortly after that, he found it. I was so relieved! I had really started to panic in those few minutes.

So, one quick question: Does anyone take fish oil that doesn't taste like fish oil? I'm taking these capsules (well, I was until a couple of days ago), and I realized one day on the trip that I wouldn't have felt nauseated at all if I hadn't been burping fish oil all day (still makes me shudder to think of it). Anyone know of a good brand?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pharmacies, Paranoia, and Progesterone, Oh My!

So, here I am in H.ong Ko.ng! Kind of wild to be on the other side of the world. So far, it's been really fun. I'll write about our trip itself another time--this is more of a hormone levels/travel paranoia/pharmacy nightmare post.

I tend to be a fairly paranoid traveler (I read all the warnings about infectious diseases before I travel to any other country, I drink bottled water, I won't eat salads, all of that stuff). I got myself fairly worked up about insect repellent, of all things, before we left (there were something like 30 cases of dengue fever here . . . one year . . . out of 7 million residents), and ended up bringing stuff with DEET to spray on my clothes, and stuff with citronella only to put on exposed skin. Even though the stuff I've found hasn't found any negative effects on babies, I still didn't want to put DEET on my skin. So, yeah. It's the driest month of the year hear. I have seen--literally--two insects in the four days we've been here. Two. A bee and a gnat. I used the citronella the first day, but the DEET will probably make it home unopened.

And I ended up cancelling that ultrasound before we left. The doctor said the ultrasound wasn't needed, and I had really good progesterone results from my Tuesday blood draw! My progesterone was up to 27! It started at 13 four weeks before, rose to 18 two weeks later, and then jumped to 27! I was so thrilled! I feel like my body's doing something it's supposed to do. I walked around thanking God with a big goofy smile on my face for the rest of the day. And this also means that I can go down from two enormous progesterone injections twice a week, plus prometrium every night, to one enormous progesterone injection twice a week and no prometrium! Thank goodness! I think I'm actually a bit less nervous this time around. I know that, last time, I did everything in my power, but ultimately, it's all up to God. This time, I'll do everything I can, but it's still up to God. I can ask for ultrasounds every week if I want to, but what difference will that make? We're already doing everything we can. So, I felt good about cancelling the ultrasound. I'm trying to let go a little bit of the illusion of control.

Oh, and speaking of injections, here's the latest in my weird pharmacy experiences! I went in last Friday to get refills before the trip. The pharmacy had ordered in the progesterone, so I knew those would be in. But I also need 18-gauge needles (huge ones that look like roofing nails, for drawing up the oil into the syringe) and 22-gauge needles (less huge ones that look like the roofing nail's little sisters) for actually injecting the stuff into my behind. Last time, they had both, no problem. So, I walked up to the counter, told the woman at the register which prescriptions I needed refilled, and she insisted that the 18-gauge needles weren't in my record. I had walked in the prescription from my doctor--on paper--and they had filled it less than three weeks before. I asked whether they would still have the paper copy and she said "no, we don't have those. They're filed somewhere else." She implied that maybe the pharmacist would have access to more information in my records that would include the big needles.

So I waited, they filled my prescription, and I went up to get it. 22-gauge needles, and the dinky hCG syringes, which I had told her were not the right ones. She brought the pharmacist over, I explained the situation, and she said "Oh, we stopped carrying the 18-gauge needles, so last time, they probably just gave you the ones we had left, but they didn't put them in your record. You'll have to have your doctor write you a script for them." I said "He already did, and I brought it here three weeks ago!" She stepped over to the next bay and came back 20 seconds later with the paper copy of my prescription in her hand! So much for "we don't keep those here"! Then she said I'd have to have another pharmacy call over to transfer the prescription.

By now, the pharmacy was closing in 8 minutes and I was leaving the country the next day. And I was mad! So, I decided I wasn't going to leave until I found a local pharmacy that had them in stock and could call over. I called the local Wal.greens, and they didn't have them and "couldn't" check any other locations. So, I marched back up to the counter and begged the pharmacist to let me take the paper prescription and shop it around to find a pharmacy with the needles in stock. I told her I was leaving the country. She walked back and conferred with the other pharmacists, and I heard someone said "just give them to her." She came back to the counter, carrying a huge box full of 18-gauge needles! They had them the whole time, but they "don't sell them anymore"! She just handed me the box, with a "don't bother me anymore, lady" kind of attitude, and said that these would probably cover at least all of the refills I have on my current prescription.

Ultimately, it was really nice of her to do that, but why make me jump through all the hoops? Seriously! I was proud of myself for sticking it out, but I'm going to have to find a new branch of the pharmacy soon. This one has gone downhill and I've annoyed pretty much every employee at this point (I'm not rude, but I'm persistent, and I let them know if I'm not happy).

Well, we're going to take the ferry today and check out the markets on the other side of the harbor, so I should probably get a move on! I'll post later about our delayed flight (22 hours! And they kept our checked luggage overnight while we were still on the ground! Never flying U.n.i.t.e.d again!), the wild commuter escalator, authentic dim sum, and such!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mystery of the Day

Thanks for asking, Sew Infertile. :) I am still here. Here's the latest from our house!

Baby things seem good. The doctor was able to hear the heartbeat with the doppler earlier this week when I went in for a blood draw--it was only 8 weeks 3 days, so that's pretty much the earliest it's possible with the doppler. I'm having tons of symptoms, for which I'm grateful--I'm going to try to remember to offer up any discomfort for all my friends who are waiting. I'm not throwing up, which is nice, but I get nauseated off and on, mostly around dinner time. I told Mr. X that last night, and he made dinner after he got home from work (not that that is an unheard-of event, but I didn't have to work yesterday, and I feel like I should be on top of dinner if he had to work and I didn't). Oh, and I did make it to adoration yesterday, as Jeremiah 29:11 suggested!

I have another ultrasound tomorrow (which is 8 weeks 6 days). I'm trying not to be overly anxious, but I scheduled the ultrasound tomorrow and another for 12 weeks 2 days. When I had the last ultrasound, the doctor (not my usual doctor, whose office doesn't have an ultrasound) said I "wasn't out of the woods" which I knew, but then said he likes to see a good ultrasound and heartbeat at 8 weeks and 12 weeks. So, I asked, "well . . . then, should I have 8 week and 12 week ultrasounds?" And he said "How nervous are you?" And the thing is, I don't think I'm that nervous. I think having a miscarriage showed me that, no matter whether I do everything right, this is ultimately in God's hands, and I can't control what's going to happen. But, at the same time, I want to know what's happening.

And--here's the other news--we're going on a 10-day trip to H.ong Ko.ng on Saturday. I know! I'm excited but actually quite nervous. The doctors said yes to the trip, provided everything was going well. So, I want that ultrasound tomorrow so that I know everything's OK. If it's not, I won't be getting on that plane. I'm nervous because of the long trip, not knowing how I'll do with food there, all of that stuff. I actually have my second appointment with my regular doctor the day after I return, so he'll be able to check the heartbeat.

So, I'm trying not to be too paranoid about things.

Here's another random thing. Wonderdog is a very good dog (as her name suggests). I've had her for a little over six years, and counting the incident in September, she has peed on things in the house three times (each time it was a bed, but only once did she actually get the mattress). Then, about a month ago, she peed on the futon in the family room (where I had been napping for the previous couple of days). On Sunday night, when I was up late working, I walked across the bedroom before going to sleep and stepped in a puddle. She peed on the bedroom floor, right where she sleeps! I cleaned it up and went to bed. Then, yesterday, I forgot to close the bedroom door when I showered, and when I came back to the bedroom, she had peed on the floor again (a few feet from the last spot). What the heck? Here are the possible explanations we've come up with:

1. Urinary tract infection (I'm going to try to get a sample--doesn't that sound like fun?--and take it to the vet)
2. Reaction to changes (we just had the bathroom next to the bedroom tiled--though, if you've been reading for a while, you know we've been renovating this house FOREVER--and we had company over Thanksgiving)
3. Reaction to pregnancy (the last three incidents were all in places where I'd been sleeping--well, not on the floor, but in the bed--and I know that dogs can smell hormone changes and can behave oddly when their owner is pregnant)

If you have pets, what do you think?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back in town

Well, I finally made it home from my business trip, just in time to get the house ready for Thanksgiving! And since I'm sleeping about 9-10 hours per night and taking a 2-hour nap during the day (when I can), that doesn't leave a whole lot of time. (I know, I really should enjoy this while I can. I have a whole new appreciation for what pregnancy must be like for a woman with small children.) I didn't have a chance to post what my latest test results were, but at 6 weeks 3 days, my progesterone was 18.8 (not good) and my hCG was 58,317 (good--it's doubling at almost exactly 48 hours.)

Two quick stories from the trip--first, I had to find someplace to give me my two progesterone injections. I felt a bit wussy, but I just wasn't up to two intramuscular injections in the behind that need to be injected over a 90-120 second period each (because the oil is so thick). I made tons of calls, but since I needed the injections on Saturday morning, I ended up having to go to the emergency room. So, I got all dressed up for my presentation, took a cab to the ER, and walked up to the window. The ER was quite interesting on Saturday morning. I explained the whole deal to the triage nurse, who took my information. Then they had me come back, checked my vitals, and took my medical history. Then I waited some more. Then, I was called back to see the doctor (who asked me, for the third time, "You just need a shot? Do you know how to do it yourself? Where do you need to have it?" I pointed. "Oh, your butt!"). The doctor thought all the rigamarole was quite silly for an injection (I brought the doctor's orders, the instructions, the medication, and the syringes). Then the nurse came in, then a second nurse came in so the first nurse could take her break, and then I got my injections. Then the second nurse took my vitals again, I paid the front desk, and I took another cab back to the conference and gave my presentation. The whole thing took two hours, which was actually much shorter than I feared.

The other goofiness on this trip was that I was very ambivalent about telling anyone I'm pregnant. I had dinner with two colleagues one night and ended up being the world-champion high-maintence eater. We picked a restaurant, sat down, and looked at the menu. It was all fish with a few meat dishes, all of which involved gorgonzola. I'm not a big fish-eater, and I forgot my wallet card that tells me what kinds of fish are low in mercury. And, of course, gorgonzola's out, too. I was planning out what I could eat (appetizers, salad, etc.) when one of them said "you know, if you guys don't see anything you like, we can go somewhere else." So, I said, "well . . . . OK" and the other guy said he'd been to a great restaurant . . . called the fish market. I vetoed that one, too. I'm hoping all goes well and I'll be able to tell them why I was so picky soon. Fortunately, I'm not throwing up, but I am nauseated off and on, and starting to have food aversions and cravings (vegetables--bad, fruit smoothies--gooood).

OK, it's back to Thanksgiving prep now! Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Looking good!

I just made it back home after a crazy day. I'm leaving on a business trip in the morning (and let me tell you, it's no picnic trying to find somewhere to have my injections done out of state and on a weekend--I know that there are better women than I who can give themselves progesterone shots in the behind, but I am not one of those women), so this will be quick. But the update is that the ultrasound looked good! The baby measured perfectly to the day (6.8mm at 6w4d, to be exact), and I saw the heartbeat! I asked the doctor if he could tell the heartrate. He said no but that it was fast enough.

The only negative was that my corpus luteum looked small (2cm in diameter, when he likes to see 3cm). Fortunately, I'm on TONS of progesterone. I may post a picture later, but they're so far zoomed out that it's really hard to see anything. Here's hoping that in a few weeks I'll have a more informative picture to share!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My poor nose

On Friday, I was having a very hectic day at work. I was running late thanks to the progesterone- (and pregnancy-) induced exhaustion, and went dashing from one meeting to another. Finally, the third meeting had to be moved from one room to the room next door. I ran to the originally scheduled room and wrote a note for anyone who might arrive late, and turned to dash back to the new room . . . forgetting the brick wall to my right.

I ran into a brick wall. Literally. And it hurt. A lot. I must have screamed (not to mention the loud thump as I hit the wall), and the four people already in the meeting came running. I had mashed my nose pretty well, and it started bleeding profusely. Fortunately, everyone was really nice about it and ran around finding ice packs and toilet paper and stuff. I freaked out about (a) being pregnant--what do they do for a broken nose? Will I need an x-ray? Medication? and (b) having to go on stage in the opera that night.

I sat through the first presentation, with my glasses off and an ice pack on my nose. When the first presenter finished, she said, "Charlotte, are you OK? Are you getting dizzy?" and one of the others turned to me and said "You know, Charlotte, this meeting really isn't that important." So I left. I called my HMO and made the mistake of saying "I was running around AT WORK and ran into a wall . . . " After transferring me three times, they came back and said "Oh, since this happened at work, you need to call your employer because this should be covered under workman's comp." Seriously? I have to call HR now and tell THEM that I ran into a wall and that the company would have to pay for it?

I waited until my regular doctor's office was back from lunch (they are not part of the HMO) and called. They told me that unless my nose was crooked, they wouldn't do anything for it even if it was broken (I had pretty much decided now that it wasn't), so icing it was the best option. So I decided to call it a day, went home to bed, and put an ice pack on my nose.

That was my big adventure of the weekend. So far this week, I've had my first OB appointment (all looks fine so far). Tomorrow, I have the first ultrasound. If things are going well, we should be able to see a heartbeat. Here goes . . .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fun with Progesterone

Thank you so much for all the kind comments! I really appreciate it!

Things have been interesting. I had my blood drawn for hCG and progesterone at P+16 and, of course, the hCG results came back (two days later). That test was run locally, but the sample for progesterone was sent to Omaha. I talked to the nurse there on Friday, and she said the results weren't in my chart yet. I didn't worry too much, since I'm already on a huge dosage for my progesterone injections. On Monday, the nurse called me back with answers to my questions, and I called my local doctor to schedule appointments and my next blood draw, but I completely forgot to ask about the progesterone test.

Yesterday, it occured to me to call the local doctor to see what the progesterone results were, since they sometimes reduce the dosage if the results are really good, and Mr. X was set to give me another set of injections Tuesday night. To make a long story short, it turns out my levels were pretty low (13.8, I think). Not only do I need to keep up the two massive injections each time, but I have to take oral prometrium every night. I'm so glad I checked!

So, yesterday, Mr. X went on a wild goose chase trying to find prometrium through our darn HMO's pharmacies. Last night, I read the package insert about side effects, and we laughed hysterically. There's a list of common side effects, then a list of "check with your doctor ASAP" side effects, and THEN there's the "contact your doctor immediately list," which includes these side effects:
  • fever or chills
  • calf/leg pain, swelling, or tenderness
  • unusually fast heartbeat
  • sharp or crushing chest pain
  • sudden shortness of breath
  • sudden leg pain
  • sudden severe headache, vomiting, dizziness, or fainting
  • vision problems or changes (including sudden, partial, or full loss of vision)
  • numbness of an arm or leg
  • severe stomach pain
  • one-sided weakness
  • slurred speech
  • mental or mood changes (such as severe depression, memory loss, or confusion)
  • coughing up blood
  • yellowing of eyes/skin
  • darkening of urine
  • stomach pain, swelling, or tenderness
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • lump in the breast
  • seizure
  • all limbs suddenly falling off*
I don't know why--those are all awful things--but it just struck us as really funny. I know it's just progesterone in oil, and considering it's been injected into my "hips" (those aren't my hips) plenty of times, it didn't freak me out. But, seriously, is there any symptom that's NOT on that list?

*OK, maybe I made up that last one

Friday, November 7, 2008

582

So, just for you, This Cross I Embrace, I did this this morning:

You might notice that this is an OPK, not a HPT. I don't buy HPTs, since the doctor said not to use them (not that he said to use OPKs, either!), and I heard that an OPK would work just the same. So when I went to bed at 1am, I put an OPK on the back of the toilet so I wouldn't forget in the morning. I figured that I'd probably be woken with a call from the doctor's office and that I'd do the test afterward. But I woke up at 6am to go to the bathroom (we are late risers at our house when we can be), and I did the test then. Usually (for me anyway), the comparison line comes in right away and then the test line slooowly fades in, but this time, the test line was dark blue before the comparison line even got wet! I stumbled drowsily into the dining room (I put the test on the floor, as you can see) and tried to take a picture, but Mr. X had adjusted all of the settings to manual, so it took me five tries to change the settings back to "I am a clueless photographer" and get a decent picture. Then I went back to bed.

When I woke up, I showed it to Mr. X (who was excited, of course), but since it was an OPK and I wasn't sure how accurate it would be, I really wanted that blood test result. I still hadn't heard from the doctor, so I called about half an hour ago, and they had just received the result! It was 582!

I wanted to tell Mr. X and my mom first, so I just got off the phone, and now I'm posting!

I'm really happy (and really sleepy!). Thank you so much for your prayers, support, and humor (the comments are cracking me up!). The end of this month will make 2 1/2 years since we started with my local NaPro doctor, and almost 3 1/2 years of trying. I believe my due date will be July 13, which is exactly ten months after the due date for our first baby who didn't make it. I'll be breaking out the novenas for this baby and for all of my friends who are waiting! God is good!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Boo for Slow Labs

The lab didn't send the results back today. Boo! Hiss! Everything is status quo for now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Still waiting

I went in for a test today . . . and have to wait until tomorrow for the results! I was a total pain (I was pleasant, of course, but asked a million questions), but my doctor's staff is too nice to tell me so to my face. :) The doctor's assistant did a blood draw for hCG (to be tested locally) and progesterone (to be sent to Omaha), and then gave me two big progesterone injections in my "hips" (though I say that those are NOT my hips) just in case. I asked the doctor if there was any chance of getting results sooner, and he told me (in a nice way) that they'd be in tomorrow and it's a good time to practice patience. :) I'm OK with waiting now that I've had the shots, because I know they've done everything they can possibly do at this point!

So, random (non political) election story from yesterday--as I said, Mr. X and I are mail-in voters (who drop off our mail-in ballots in person on election day because it takes us forever to figure out all the local stuff on the ballot). We almost finished looking up judges and amendments Monday night, and just had a couple more to check on Tuesday. I had a big opera rehearsal last night (and, oh, it was nice to be doing that instead of watching election returns--it was bad enough to hear periodic announcements backstage), so I would have to drop off my ballot on my way to the office.

After Mr. X left for work, I went to pick up my ballot from the dining room table, and saw that it was his ballot . . . with his name printed on the envelope . . . which needed a matching signature. Which also meant that he had MY envelope, 45 minutes away at his office, and he was in an all-day meeting. It wouldn't have been such a big deal except that I'd be gone by the time he got home from work, and he needed to get a replacement ballot because he made a mistake on his original ballot. . . which I figured would be much harder if he showed up at the polling place with an original ballot with my name printed on it. So, I had an extra hour and a half round-trip drive yesterday getting that straightened out. But we both voted in the end!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hmm . . .

I woke up two hours early today and took my temperature: 97.9. And then I remembered it was two hours early! At the normal time, my temperature was 98.5. Much better. If I make it until tomorrow, I can go in for a blood test.

I finished my adrenal fatigue questionnaires last night and noticed that the fax number for PPVI is on the bottom. Hooray! So, I'll fax those in today.

Now, I've got to finish my "mail-in" ballot (ha! I've yet to mail one in--I end up dropping it off in person every time). We were up late last night looking up judges online. The judges always get me! And we have sooo many amendments and ballot issues. It makes me really happy to have the option of a mail-in ballot so that I can look everything up and decide over time.

Happy Election Day (and I hope it really does turn out to be a happy one . . . )!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Still Hanging In

My temperature was 98.3 today, and the spotting seems to have stopped . . . So, we'll see . . . I think the only time I had an actual 14-day luteal phase was the time I did my hCG shot a day late. My period tends to start by 5 days after the last hCG injection, which would be today.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Status Report

I really had no hope at all for this cycle. But I figured that posting about it would surely bring on my period, right? :)

I'm just having weird stuff going on, though. And, of course, weird stuff has my mind racing.

Thank goodness this blog is reasonably anonymous . . . right?

So, current symptoms: I've got what I believe is my first-ever yeast infection. Oh. My. Goodness. Really not fun. I had no idea. And then, when I looked up the symptoms and treatment, I found out they're much more likely during pregnancy.

Today is P+13, so I was expecting my period to start tomorrow. But, just in case, I took my temperature this morning to see where things were. The basal thermometer's battery died halfway through, and it said 98.5. But who knows how accurate that is? I dug around and found a fever thermometer, and it was 98.1. So, great! No period today, right? I got up and went to the bathroom . . . and I was spotting. And I've been spotting all day--mostly brown. I have never had brown spotting before my period. Could the infection be contributing to that?

But, of course, I started thinking . . . hmm . . . spotting . . . that could be a pregnancy symptom, too, right?

I've been really tired and run-down lately (which I am, of course, interpreting in a new light now). But I could be coming down with something, and these could all be nasty symptoms of some bug that I have messing with my head. I'll know soon enough. If this is the start of my period, it would have been really nice if it started in textbook fashion! I really would have been fine with things just going along normally!

(I also forgot to mail back the questionnaire I got from PPVI on adrenal function. Darn it! If I have to call for my cycle review tomorrow, I'll see if I can fax it in. I would so hate to be a month behind in treatment because I forgot to send in the darn questionnaire in time.)

I'll try to write a post later in the week about the two awesome homilies I heard today, but for now, I must sleep!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Argh!

So, I wrote that post on Monday and then went to give myself an injection . . . and realized that the syringes I picked up at the pharmacy that day had no needles!

It's been more than two years since I started with the hCG injections, so I went digging through my nightstand and found three needles that I was given the first time I had the prescription filled. The reason I hadn't used them is that they were 1" long, instead of 1/2" long, like the others I've used. At the time, my doctor said either length was fine . . . so, of course, I chose the short needles! It took me a long time to give myself that injection with the long needle on Monday.

I needed my last injection on Wednesday, but I realized on my way to rehearsal that evening that I had forgotten to go back to the pharmacy for more needles! Fortunately, Mr. X was home from his business trip by then, so he got to do the last injection with a long needle.

But, seriously, how is it that the pharmacy would fill my refill on syringes and not give me any needles? What do they think I'm going to do with needle-less syringes?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Checking In

Meridith was nice enough to check on me (thanks!), so I thought I'd post a quick update!

Things are going well right now, but busy with opera rehearsals, work, and life in general! I'm trying to fight the crud that is going around, so I'm trying to stockpile as much sleep as I can get.

I got the first day of results from the cortisol testing, and they are . . . normal. Huh. 20.9, which is actually at the high end of normal, and my understanding is that adrenal fatigue is indicated by low cortisol in the morning. I'm going to ask about saliva testing, though.

Mr. X is on another business trip, so I'm going to go give myself an hCG injection and go to bed.

Two weeks to go, and then things will calm down in a big way!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bummed Out

I've just been feeling kind of down lately. I'm also feeling completely exhausted and irritable (and I'm still pre-ovulation, so they're definitely not pregnancy symptoms). I think the answer is (here's rocket science for you) to get more sleep and to exercise so that I'll be healthier, sleep better, and have more energy. I'm thinking maybe I should try the low-GI diet, too. I think I react pretty strongly to sugar, and eating healthier certainly won't hurt, right? I sang with the choir this morning and I really thought I might pass out. I kept getting kind of woozy and hot, and I was just so tired every time we stood up. I was going to go to bed early tonight, but I take my thryoid medication at 10:30am and 10:30pm, so that's kind of my "early" threshold. So, I think I'm going to go get ready for bed and see if more sleep doesn't help things.

Oh, and I feel bad that I haven't really responded much to comments in a while! I'm sorry!

So, lifehopes asked about the enzyme stuff we used when the dog peed on the bed! This is it, and it really worked for us (it worked perfectly on a mattress that she peed on a couple of years ago--we were out of town, so it had a couple of days to sink in). It is scented, and the scent can be a bit overpowering at first if you're sensitive to that, but it really does get the odor out. The scent fades pretty quickly, and there's definitely no lingering pet odor.

And athorninthepew mentioned having saliva tests done for adrenal function (thank you!). That definitely makes sense given the little I know about cortisol levels. I know a few of you out there have had this done. If you've had this done or checked it out, do you know what's involved in the testing? What can they learn from those tests? And do you have any recommendations about who would be likely to do it (if my Napro doctor doesn't feel comfortable with it, who do you think I should look for)?

I think there may be a couple of other questions lingering, so I'll look at the comments again and write another post soon!

Friday, October 3, 2008

What Kept Me Away

So, last week, when I wasn't posting at all, things were just nuts. Wednesday was probably the craziest day of all. My mom was in town, Mr. X was on a business trip, and I "took the day off" . . . or tried to, anyway. I knew that I still had some work to do, but as usual, I underestimated exactly how much work.

In the morning, we went and had massages, which was great fun, and then we did a little bit of shopping. So, I did accomplish taking the morning off.

When we got back to the house, I saw Wonderdog slink guiltily out of the guest room . . . a sure indication that she had been in Mom's bed. I ran down to check it out, and noticed that the room really smelled like dog. As I went to open the window, I looked at Mom's bed. And Wonderdog had peed ALL OVER IT. I mean all over it. She got both pillows, the comforter, the sheets . . . thank God, we had a thick mattress pad with a memory foam pad underneath it, so the mattress escaped unscathed. We have this great enzyme treatment for just such incidents (she has averaged a similar incident once every two years, so it isn't like it happens all the time, but we had some left over from two years ago). So, I grabbed all the bedding, sprayed it down, and put it in big garbage bags (to keep it from drying out) while it sat for the requisite couple of hours before washing.

I sat down and did a little bit of work. Then I went to put in the first load of wash. My mom ran out to grab some dinner for us while I did some more work. Right before she returned home, I ran down to put in the next load of wash. And I noticed the large puddle of water on the floor of the laundry room.

We've had major water problems in this house. Major. The sewer has backed up into the downstairs several times (hence the new flooring throughout the entire downstairs). Perhaps the most dramatic water incident was the time I tried to refill our outdoor hot tub on an unseasonably warm February day, only to find out after the hose had been running for 45 minutes that that pipe had burst. I made that discovery when I ran downstairs and noticed that the puddles on top of the carpet.

So, when we redid our bathroom and laundry room, Mr. X put in footers (because our walls DIDN'T HAVE ANY) and sealed the base of each wall very well. And, fortunately, when the washing maching overflowed, the seals held and the water stayed in the tiled area.

But I still had to clean up the water and try to figure out what was wrong with the washing machine, since I had five more loads of bedding that needed to be washed before the enzyme solution dried on the cloth (did I mention that our bathtub is under construction? I didn't? So there was nowhere to soak the bedding in the meantime). I spent an eternity testing the washing machine (note to self: even though our clearly unsafe old washing machine will sort of churn the clothes while the lid is open, it will not spin or drain until the lid is closed. That isn't a pause for soaking. It's a pause while the washer waits for you to CLOSE THE DARN LID!) and could find nothing wrong. By now, I was half an hour late for choir practice. My saintly mother offered to take the bedding to the laundromat while I went to rehearsal. We loaded up the car and drove to the laundromat . . . which had closed 15 minutes before we arrived. So we drove to the next laundromat . . . which was also closed! Does no one in my town do laundry after 8pm?

So, we went to choir practice, and then returned home. I set up a towel perimeter around the washing machine, with our little battery-powered water alarm inside the perimeter, and ran a load of laundry. And it worked perfectly. So, I stayed up until 3:30am finishing the "little bit of work" I needed to do on my "day off," which also enabled me to finish all of the dog-pee laundry, plus a couple of loads of towels used to clean up the washing machine overflow water.

Thank God the dog only does this every two years!

St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle

Oh my goodness. I can't believe it's been almost a week since I posted. Why is time moving so fast?

So, it's CD6 right now. I'm very excited that I'm getting tested this month for adrenal function (just like This Cross I Embrace!). I had my first blood draw for cortisol yesterday, and I got a flu shot while I was at it. (I had my flu shot last winter the day of my last hCG test with good results during my pregnancy--the test three days later showed that my hCG had dropped. Even though I know there's no evidence of a connection, I can't help associating them, so I wanted to get a shot early this season, when I know I'm not pregnant. Irrational? Yes, definitely, but it makes me feel better.)

I realized that I hadn't talked about this fantastic article I came across! It's the first peer-reviewed article that presents the findings of a study on NaPro Technology, and it's very cool! The study was done at a clinic in Ireland, and I believe the doctors there were not using surgical techniques yet, so the treatment patients received was medical only. It was very cool! In the first 24 months, there was a 53% live birth rate. What's even more striking to me is that 47.2% of their patients had a previous diagnosis of unexplained infertility, but after their NaPro evaluation, only 0.5% were still unexplained! How cool is that? Actually having a diagnosis seems so much better to me than wondering what the cause could be.

Well, that's all for now--I'm off to get some sleep!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flashback

This Sunday, I sang for Confirmation at our parish. Kids are confirmed in 8th grade here, and I love hearing the saints' names they choose. Among the boys, a lot chose Francis, Patrick, John Bosco, Leo, and Gabriel, and I also heard Christopher, Nicholas, Timothy, Michael, Ambrose, and Anthony. A lot of the girls chose Mary/Maria and Elizabeth, with a couple of Joans and Claires, as well as Agnes, Helen, Bridget, and Cecelia. The most unusual choices I heard were Ciprian and Hedwig.

No one chose my confirmation name! Watching the confirmandi come forward, I remembered going with my sponsor to meet with my pastor for the big interview to determine whether I was ready to be confirmed. The pastor was a very kind man who had been at our parish for as long as I could remember. He asked me which St. Anne I had chosen, and I told him I chose St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then he asked why I chose her, and I replied "She had a lot of faith." He smiled and said, "In your own words," which kind of annoyed and embarrassed me, because they were my own words. So, I said, "Well, she really wanted a child, and when she couldn't have one, she prayed, and she believed that God would send her a child. And He did."

I was thirteen, and such things as having babies and difficulty in having babies seemed absolutely mortifying to discuss. And, yes, I chose St. Anne because of her faith . . . but I was really choosing among St. Annes, not among all saints, because I was following a family tradition of taking one's sponsor's name as one's confirmation name. In fact, my sponsor pointed out to me at the confirmation rehearsal that adding my confirmation name would make my name into kind of a silly pun!

I never dreamed when I was in eighth grade that I'd be sitting here years and years later, needing exactly the kind of faith I described in St. Anne. And I really wonder whether God let those circumstances come together to give me a patron saint who could be a powerful intercessor for exactly the circumstances I find myself facing now.

I'm embarrassed now that, for all these years, I really haven't been praying to St. Anne. I think it's about time I started. If anyone has any great prayers or novenas to St. Anne, please pass them along! I'll be thinking of your intentions, too, and praying that our children come to all of us soon, by whatever means God intends them to come.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crazy Weekend

I promised All You Who Hope that I would post this weekend! :) But it's been a crazy one! Between Mr. X and me, here's what we we did on Saturday:

  • Took delivery of our appliances
  • Found out the dishwasher can't go in until we take out the counter
  • Attended a baby shower
  • Finished crocheting a bunny for said baby shower
  • Attended a baptism reception
  • Had the hardwood floors fixed where the refrigerator delivery guys banged them up two weeks ago
  • Met visiting friends for dinner

I think that's plenty for one day, don't you? It was a lot of fun, though. It seems like we have no social things to do for weeks on end, and then all the fun things happen in one day!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Due Date

The day I have been dreading is finally here. Today would have been my due date.

I really thought I'd be pregnant again by now, but I'm not. And, by the grace of God, I'm feeling all right about that at the moment. I'll always miss my first baby and wonder what it would have been like to be bringing a newborn home this weekend. I wonder so many things about that baby, and those questions will never have answers as long as I'm here on earth. So, I will grieve a little bit today for what might have been.

But I'll also thank God for what I do have and for what I will have in the future.

I feel blessed by the good things that have happened in the last few weeks, and I see that God cleared my path so that I would feel at peace today. When I asked the nurse at PPVI about having another selective HSG, I fully expected to wait six months until I could be scheduled. Instead, the perfect time was available--perfect for my cycle, perfect for our work schedules, and only weeks away. We traveled to Omaha and I dreaded hearing the news that my tubes had been clear all along, feeling foolish for asking for a procedure I didn't need, and facing the fact that there was no easy explanation for why I wasn't pregnant yet. Instead, the HSG was needed, and now my tubes are clear again.

We've been talking about adoption for years--since before we were engaged. We always knew that we wanted to adopt, but we were swimming in options, and nothing felt quite right. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to my husband an adoption program we hadn't really considered before. And it just felt right to both of us. I don't want to write much about the details right now--we have a long wait ahead of us, and I want to wait until I know things are going well before I talk about the specifics. But we worked like crazy for the last few weeks, finishing paperwork, lining up references, organizing financial records, and filing our taxes before the extension deadlines.

This week, we made our way to the agency's office with our paperwork to officially be put on the waiting list. My husband arrived before I did, and I was hurrying to meet him. As I dashed through a sun shower to the office door, I looked up. The dark clouds in the west were divided from the blue eastern sky by a perfect triple rainbow. I had never seen one before, and I stood for just a moment to take it in before I walked inside.

If I were in control and could plan my life any way I liked, I know we wouldn't be where we are today. And I can't imagine where God is leading us, but I know that our future will be beyond anything I could plan on my own.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick Update

And while I'm thinking of it, here's a quick update. I had the selective HSG done, and thank goodness I did! One tube was completely blocked and the other was partially blocked! When I had my laparascopy, both tubes were completely blocked, and the doctor said they could become blocked again but that they usually stayed clear for at least a year (I believe that's what he told me!). So, since it had been more than a year, and three cycles of clomid or letrozole with no pregnancy, I asked and he agreed that another HSG would be a good idea. So, we had a quick (in some ways . . . not in hours of driving) trip to Omaha, and now all is clear again!

Oops!

Hmm . . . This Cross I Embrace tagged me . . . and I did this and then saved it without posting it. Oops! Here it is . . . and if you haven't done it yet, consider yourself tagged!

Rules: Answer each question with one word and tag four others to play.

1. Where is your cell phone? table

2. Your significant other? husband

3. Your hair? red

4. Your mother? loving

5. Your father? patient

6. Your favorite thing? summer

7. Your dream last night? weird

8. Your favorite drink? cola

9. Your dream/goal? musical

10. The room you're in? dining

11. Your hobby? singing

12. Your fear? rejection

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? elsewhere

14. What you're not? mean

15. Muffins? huh?

16. One of your wish list items? piano

17. Where you grew up? Midwest

18. The last thing you did? paid

19. What are you wearing? jeans

20. Favorite Gadget? phone

21. Your pet? dog

22. Your computer? new

23. Your mood? happy

24. Missing someone? baby

25. Your car? Corolla

26. Something you are not wearing? socks

27. Favorite Store? book

28. Like someone? husband

29. Your favorite color? green

30. When is the last time you laughed? tonight

31. Last time you cried? Olympics

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Don't Try This at Home

Well, you might want to try this at home, but I hope you don't have cause to. I was coming upstairs today and saw Wonderdog standing at the top of the stairs gagging. I freaked out Mr. X by yelling and throwing the armload of binders I was carrying on the floor. I grabbed the dog's collar and got her out the back door, but she didn't actually throw up. So, I spent a few minutes outside petting her (I freaked her out, too) before I went back inside.

She had already thrown up. On the bedroom carpet. Again.

And Mr. X had this brilliant idea. After we scooped up as much as we could with a (disposable, of course) plastic plate cut in half and then blotted up some of the liquid, he just poured hydrogen peroxide on it. It took the stain out completely! Then we blotted it, rinsed with water and blotted a couple of times, and the odor was gone, too. I was amazed.

Of course, we should have checked to make sure the carpet was colorfast first, but we don't tend to spend the time on those steps . . .

So, that's my random household tip of the day.

And I realized that yesterday was my blogoversary. Yay!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Flurry of activity

Since I last posted, it seems like time is just flying by. Thank you for the kind comments and good advice on my post about what I should be doing! I was mulling things over when I went to church last Sunday and, like kcmarie, found myself listening to a great homily about the Jesus and the Canaanite woman. This was the relevant passage from the Gospel reading:

[22] And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon."
[23] But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us."
[24] He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
[25] But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me."
[26] And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
[27] She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
[28] Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:22-28, RSV)

The archbishop (as usual) gave a fantastic homily. He said that the Canaanite woman shows us how to "be pushy" with God. She was humble, but she was persistent, and in the end, her prayer was answered. I so needed to hear that! So, I'm praying again for a baby.

As I said, things have been really busy around here. Since I last posted, we bought new appliances and we've been collecting estimates for new kitchen counters. The new refrigerator is my favorite (and no, that's not what we paid for it--it was on sale!). You see, the refrigerator we currently own--the one that came with the house--is a fancy-schmantsy side-by-side with an ice maker and water dispenser. I'd never had one before (I know--welcome to the '90s)! Not only was it disgustingly filthy inside (after spending a day cleaning it, we determined that the nastiness I had scrubbed out of the freezer was mainly a combination of beer and coffee grounds), but it turned out that the cheapo plumbing job the previous owner did to hook up said ice maker and water dispenser had resulted in a leak in our wall. And--here's the kicker--you can't have a side-by-side in that space! The laws of physics prohibit it! The fridge is in a corner of the kitchen, with the counter to one side and a WALL to the other side. What that means is that the freezer door, which is on the wall side, opens only until it's at a 90-degree angle to the front of the fridge . . . which means we can't pull the baskets or the ice bin out of the freezer. So . . . bottom freezer it is, and I'm so happy about it!

I'll post some pictures later this week (riveting stuff, like my first from-scratch cake ever and the tomato from our tomato plants). Right now, it's Peak + 6, and some big things are going on around here. We're making some decisions about adoption (I'm all giddy about that), and if I'm not pregnant, I'll be going in for another selective HSG in the next cycle. So, one way or another, I think I'll have some major (well, major to me, anyway) news to share in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Scatterbrained . . .

I'm at Peak+1 right now, and I just realized that I forgot to use OPKs this cycle. Completely forgot. How is that possible?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where Do I Go from Here?

I've been thinking a lot lately about whether I should continue to pray for a child. I just don't know. I've been praying for quite a while, and I think God knows what I want. Maybe it's not what He wants for us . . . maybe not now, maybe not ever. I've been trying not to plan my life around anticipated due dates, and that's led me to wonder what we should plan for our life if we never have a child to raise. Will we be OK if that never happens?

I think about it, and when most of my friends were getting married, I was still in grad school, praying for a husband. I hated being one of the last single ones at friends' weddings. I threw my bouquet from the church steps because I was so sick of being the last one urged to go out on the dance floor to fight for the bouquet, and I didn't want to do that to my single friends. (My 16-year-old cousin caught the bouquet, and she was thrilled!) By the time I got married, my close friends, with two exceptions, had children, were in the process of adopting, or were expecting their first baby. Heck, half of my bridesmaids were either pregnant or had brand new babies. I just feel like I'm going to be so old when I finally have children!

I've really been reminding myself a lot lately that I have no idea what goes on in others' hearts. I'm just having an envious moment here. I had to wait what felt like an awfully long time for a husband, and now I'm waiting quite a long time to be able to bring a child home. Why don't others have to wait? I always hoped to get married and have children young. It didn't work out that way. I sometimes resent the years that I didn't know my husband. I wish I had been there in the stories he tells about the years before we met. This cycle is the last chance for us to have a child before my next birthday. I see our chances decreasing as I age, and I see the risks increasing.

I didn't mean to be so gloomy. I'm usually so optimistic and philosophical about the whole thing. I've written before that I think God has used this experience of infertility to give me greater compassion and to soften my heart. How much softer can it get? Everything gets me choked up. I don't mean that I'm depressed, but I'm just so sentimental. We had a special mass a couple of weeks ago for students going off to college, and they gave away two scholarships at the end of the mass. A girl a few pews behind us won one of the scholarships, and I just about burst into tears. She looked so young and hopeful, and her parents looked so proud, it was just about too much for me! I am really struck by the beauty of the families that I see. I just feel like I have no place.

And I know. I know that I have no idea what those young families are suffering. I do know some of what my friends who didn't wait so long for their spouses and children have suffered--the loss of a parent, conflict in their families growing up, serious illness. I can appreciate the blessings that I do have--health, living parents, a happy marriage, and the list goes on. I know that the years I didn't know my husband helped to make us ready for each other when we did finally meet. I know that God's plan for me will be, ultimately, better than any I could imagine for myself.

So, I think for now, I may stop praying for a child. I may try just praying for the grace to accept God's will for my life. We'll keep doing what we need to do to give ourselves the best chances of having a child--biological or adopted--but I think for now I might need to stop asking. I need to focus on living my life the best I can, and if children come, then that will be wonderful. But I need to fill my life in other ways right now. When I was in grad school, I volunteered at a home for homeless pregnant women. I really believed in it and felt like I was making a significant contribution. A few years ago, I collected information about maternity homes and pregnancy centers around here, but, for obvious reasons, I don't think those would be the best volunteer options for me right now!

So . . . any great ideas? I think I need an attitude change. My life needs to be focused on something other than waiting.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I have to get organized.

For real, now. It's bad! I belong to a couple of professional organizations, and last year I chaired my part of one of them. I was supposed to hand on the files to my successor, and I just realized a few days ago that I hadn't sent them yet! And then I couldn't find them!

I spent the entire day today shoveling out my office. It's so much better than it was. I can see the desk. And the floor. I found the binder with the hard copies, but I'm still looking for the CD! I'm satisfied now that it's not at the office . . . which means it must be at home somewhere! Argh!

So, I am going to attempt the F.lylady system yet again. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I am working on the blanket. I went with option B, since it got the most votes. I'm making it with cotton, and it feels so nice! I just hope I finish it before our little niece is too big to enjoy it!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nostalgia

Mr. X. left this morning for a business trip :(

Right now, I am getting my show tune fix. I've got the S.irius broadway station on (Mr. X is not a fan), and they just played the opening number from 1776, which we did in high school, and now they're playing "It's a Grand Night for Singing," which was our opening number for show choir in high school. We were a low-budget show choir, I later discovered. I made it into my college's show choir my freshman year (which was fun to tell my high school choir director, who was never all that impressed with me), and I found out just how all-out some high school show choirs went--they had elaborate costumes, sets, big-shot choreographers, and pyrotechnics. Seriously! When we needed "levels" in high school show choir, we didn't have risers--in the "Grand Night for Singing" number, I stood on a plastic milk crate.

One of the main reasons we even had a show choir and we did shows like 1776 was that my class and the classes ahead of and behind us had lots of boys in the choir and the musicals. There had been no show choir partially because of the lack of boys, so the director started it up again my junior year--and I didn't make it, but my younger brother did. We both made it the next year, and the director assigned dance partners by height and voice part. Which means my brother and I were assigned to be dance partners. Now, my brother and I like each other and all, but this turn of events did not make us all that happy. We managed to work out a trade.

But it was truly a bummer for all of us girls that we had three years of boy-intensive musicals. It doesn't get much more boy-intensive than 1776. In case you have the misforture never to have seen this one, it's about the debate over independence and the writing of the Declaration of Independence in the Continental Congress. John A.dams is the main character (which makes me even more a fan of the show, now that I've read the Mc.Cullough biography and am watching the miniseries), with Ben F.ranklin and Thomas J.efferson as major supporting characters. Most of the action takes place in congress . . . which means, of course, no women. The only two female characters in the show (as written) are Abigail A.dams (who appears in dream-sequence type scenes in which she and John are writing letters to each other) and Martha J.efferson (who's written as a sort of ditzy blonde who is brought to Philadelphia basically because J.efferson is so sexually frustrated he can't write the declaration--not so sure about the historical accuracy of that one). Anyway, love the show, but it's very frustrating to be a high school girl and see that one come up as the annual musical. The director worked a chorus into some of the numbers and made a few minor characters (the custodians--can't remember if there's more than one in the original, but we had two--and the courier) female, but it was really a boy show. Add in J.oseph and the A.mazing Technicolor D.reamcoat and D.amn Y.ankees, and we had three years of boy shows.

I am really excited about the opera this year, but I need to get myself into a musical soon!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back again

I'm back! I made a quick trip, which involved surprising both parents for their birthdays. Here's a quick update:
  • It's CD5. I think I fell victim to Clomid side effects (drying and poor lining). I'm assuming the poor lining based on the fact that my period was shorter than usual.
  • For this new cycle, I'm on Letrozole again. Here's hoping it works again! I took it on Saturday, and I had hot flashes yesterday--not the most fun thing I've ever experienced.
  • I broke down and bought a new battery charger for my camera, so more pictures to come!
  • I rode my bike for the first time in three years today. We live on one side of the valley, and choosing to make my first trip across to the other side of the valley was not the wisest choice. I actually had to get off and walk before I made it to the top! And I had that muffled hearing thing I get before I pass out . . . but it was good! :)
  • I can't think of too much else--I didn't sleep a whole lot on my trip, and I wiped myself out with that bike ride, so I'll write more tomorrow!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rant

The other day, we were at the bookstore, and I saw the cover of some trashy magazine or other talking about how B.rad Pit.t and Ang.elin.a J.olie had their twins through IVF. I picked it up and read the article, and it just ticked me off!

Of course, all the information came from anonymous "sources close to the couple" and junk like that, so who knows how accurate it is. According to the article, they tried IVF because they didn't have the time to try to conceive any other way. Umm . . . OK. And then it went on about the chances of success being about 42% in any given cycle (umm . . . where's that number coming from? Is that pregnancies? Births? It's awfully high compared to the other stats I've seen), and quoted some IDIOT doctor (who--guess what--does IVF) as saying that across three cycles, a woman in her thirties has better than 100% chance! Someone teach that man about probabilities! You don't just multiply by three! And there's no such thing as GREATER than 100% probability!

All in all, the article gave this sort of breezy portrayal of IVF as a sure thing. Now, for us, the Catholic Church's teaching means that IVF isn't an option. But I know enough to know it isn't a sure thing, and I know it's certainly not a breezy thing for the people who go through it. This article is just feeding the misinformation that's out there

Of course, I also have issues about the RE who scoffed at our "backward" religious beliefs (no, he didn't say that, but it was pretty clear) and didn't want to do any diagnosis beyond determining whether I was ovulating and my tubes were open (that would be a yes and a no, by the way). So, I really wish there was more information out there in the mainstream about treatments for the various causes of infertility. And about fertility in general! Our local diocese is one of the few in the country (I think when we got married it was one of two or three) that requires engaged couples to learn a method of Natural Family Planning before getting married. To me, it only makes sense that if the Church teaches that this is the only form of family planning that can be used in a licit way (did I phrase that properly?), then the Church should make sure people are properly educated about it--especially since it's such a counter-cultural approach, and not something even most Catholics would seek out if they didn't have to. I came away from that class knowing so much more about how my body works than I ever had before. And it made me mad! I was really happy to be learning it, but frustrated to no end that I was learning about my body IN MY LATE 20s!

So, I did say this would be a rant! It just really annoys me that people like that stupid doctor are running around telling people--who then quote them in a major magazine--that IVF carries a certainty of bringing home a baby. Just like the businesses with the 20-packs of OPKs that "expire" in 30 days, he's preying on people's lack of information and desire to be parents. That's not OK.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Finished!

We finally finished the darn floor the other day . . . and then scratched it moving the refrigerator back. If you ever put in hardwood flooring, be sure to use sliders or something under the fridge!! We had the back on cardboard and the front wheels on cardboard, and that was NOT sufficient! Fortunately, the touch-up kit seems to work well.

I had my Peak + 7 (7DPO) blood draw on Thursday. And it finally happened. The doctor's assistant--who does a great job drawing my blood--hit scar tissue in my left elbow. I have officially had too many blood draws. She apologized and I said, well, I've had an awful lot of blood draws over the past two years . . .

And then it kind of hit me that I've been going to this doctor for two years! This month makes three years since we started actively trying to conceive. I really thought I would be pregnant again by now. In my convoluted logic, I made myself feel better about having a miscarriage by assuming I would be pregnant again within a few months. I was imagining myself bringing home a baby and knowing that if I hadn't had a miscarriage then I wouldn't have that baby. Is that weird, or what?

I keep reminding myself that I need to trust in God's plan, and not my own. I'm doing pretty well at keeping that attitude, but then I have all of these deadlines in my head and contingencies that I use to plan the future. I'm going to see if I can start to let go of those and just live my life as it comes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

B6 Dreams

My doctor has me taking 500 mg of vitamin B6 every day. I usually try to space it out, but a couple of times in the past week, I've taken it all right before bedtime. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of vitamin B6 is vivid dreams.

This past Sunday, I sang the psalm for the first time at the cathedral here. I've been singing at my parish for a while, but we still often go to mass at the cathedral, and they needed singers. So, I went and auditioned, and now I'm going to sing the psalm there sometimes in addition to singing at my parish.

Saturday night, I was feeling a little bit nervous, and, unfortunately, I took my B6 right before bed. I dreamt that I was at the cathedral a half-hour early, just like I should be. I walked in, checked the time again, and it was seven minutes after mass was scheduled to start! I panicked, but for some reason, mass hadn't started yet. The musicians were practicing, and they had asked someone else to sing the psalm. I ran up, and they let me sing it, but they were all glaring at me for being late. I looked at my music and realized that I had the music for the refrain, but only the words for the verses. So, I stumbled through, guessing at the music, when I realized another woman was standing there with the music, singing all the verses. After we were finished practicing, I asked her for the music, and she gave it to me, like it had never occurred to her that I might need it!

I went to sit down, but realized that, since I had my dog with me (who doesn't bring their dog to church?), she would bark if I left her at the pew when I went up to sing. So, I had to go out to find somewhere to leave the dog. I came back right in time for the psalm, went up to the microphone, and realized as the music started that I had the refrain, but neither the words nor the music to the verses! I sang the refrain, and then just started making things up. The musicians saw what I was doing and stopped playing, I stopped singing, and the archbishop, the deacons, the servers, the musicians, and the congregation all stared at me in silence. Then I woke up.

On Sunday, my husband said I looked very serious while I sang the psalm. And I've been trying to remember to take my B6 much earlier in the day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Opinions, please!

Oh my goodness, I really appreciate the comments yesterday! Not only because it's nice to get comments, but also because I completely forgot about IComLeavWe until I saw them at 10:30 last night!

So, we've been totally absorbed in the insane hardwood floor project for the last week and a half. We've both been more or less off work, so we've been working on it all day, every day. We've put in almost 400 sq ft, with 50 more to go--tomorrow, I hope!

To illustrate the level of chaos in my life, I will give you one small example. I was called for jury duty on July 8th. That was the week we were going to be out of town. I concientiously marked the "Vacation" box on the postponement request and put the summons aside to check the alternate dates I would be available.

So, yesterday, that is, July 21st, we were eating lunch, and something jogged my memory. I had this awful sinking feeling that I hadn't sent in the postponement request. I ran into the living room (where everything is piled up while we work on the dining room, the usual dumping ground), and within about 30 seconds (I'm good with piles), I found the summons! Which read at the bottom "failure to respond to a jury summons is punishable by a fine of up to $750, up to six months in prison, or both." AAAAAAAH!

I called the number on the summons, and got voice mail. I sat and stared into space for a while, contemplating life in prison. A lady called back and gave me another number to call. Thank goodness, the jury commissioner answered, and I threw myself on her mercy. She was very chipper about the whole thing, looked up my juror number, and told me I hadn't been required to report on the 8th. She said "well, that really worked out better in the end! If you had sent in the postponement, you might have had to come in here later!"

So, all's well that ends well and all that, but this floor nearly sent me to prison!

In another example of the insanity, we have a new niece or nephew due, oh, tomorrow! Two new nephews have been born since we were married, and I crocheted a gift for each of them. They (and this new little one) all live very far away (far enough that we've seen my four-year-old nephew only twice), so it's not like it will be a crisis if my gift for this one isn't ready immediately, but I haven't even picked a pattern yet! I decided to make a blanket, and these are my three top choices--which one do you think I should make?

Choice A: Lacy blanket
Choice B: Ribbon blanket
Choice C: Round blanket

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rip-off

We've been out of town this week (I may try to post some pictures later!), and I realized yesterday that I needed to buy some OPKs. I went over to the nearest drugstore, and they didn't have the kind I usually use. They did have one of the 20-packs I saw advertised on TV lately. I really don't watch much TV (we watch our Netflix DVDs usually), and I haven't for the last few years. It amazes me how much not seeing commercials makes a difference. So, I may be a little slow on the uptake on this one. A few weeks ago, I was at the pharmacy, and the TV was on with the sound low. I could see that it was a F.irst R.e.sponse commercial for OPKs, and they had a calendar with question marks on all the days, and then advertised a monthly supply. It seemed to be saying that you should test every day (not entirely sure because the sound was down). It just really ticked me off! Anyone who is charting has a reasonable guess at when to begin testing. Of course, any given month may be weird if ovulation is late, and PCOS or other issues can complicate matters, but it just seemed to me to be capitalizing on most women's lack of information about their fertility! It really ticked me off!

So, yesterday, I was in the drug store, and there were very few choices. I picked up one of the 20-packs, seeing that the price was actually pretty good per test--and that 20 would probably last me 2 or 3 months, too. As I was walking toward the register, I read the side of the box, which indicated that all 20 tests are in one pouch, and once opened, the pouch has to be discarded within 30 days. What a total rip-off! I checked another brand, and it was the same. I went back and got the store-brand 7-pack. Does this annoy anyone else? And does opening the pouch really do anything to make the tests "expire" faster?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Not much new . . .

Not much new here. I'm on the same medications as last cycle. The Clomid apparently did wonders for my estradiol levels, both before and after ovulation. Yay! So I'm on the same dose this time around. I took my first one tonight and I'm crossing my fingers for no side effects.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bummer, man

So, today is CD1. Bummer! Thank you so much for the prayers and support! They must be helping, because I'm feeling OK. And I had bleu cheese on my salad at lunch and a rum & Coke when I got home. :) We're back at work on the floor, and my sister-in-law arrives for a visit tomorrow. The house is totally torn up! I'm looking forward to her visit and hoping she isn't too shocked at the condition of things here!

Oh, and the new design is courtesy of Lena's fabulous site, which I read about on Jen's blog. I had way too much fun this weekend playing with it!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Moment of Truth

OK, it's really not a moment of truth, but you get the idea. Today is CD32--P+12. If this cycle is like my last few, tomorrow will be CD1.



I sang for two masses this morning, and it did me good. We had First Communions at each mass, and, as the cantor, I get to call the communicants forward to receive. I just love watching their little faces light up! I saw a couple that I really like, and would like to get to know better, so I caught up to them after mass to say hi. They're expecting their first child, and they told me the due date--exactly one week before our baby was due. It made me feel kind of wistful. Whenever I talk to a woman who is due near the time I was (and I know four in real life), I think how nice it would be to be sharing that experience, to compare notes about pregnancy, to have our kids play together . . . all of that stuff.


As I've written about before, being pregnant and having a miscarriage brought a couple of things home to me that hadn't really hit me before. The reality of being responsible for a real little person with a real soul was quite a realization. And I never wanted to go to heaven so badly as when I knew that was the only way I would see my baby. Knowing that about myself makes me realize how much I need to grow as a Christian. Yes, I think it's a very human reaction, but it made me see how far my relationship with God falls short of where it should be (through my fault, of course).



Anyway, I've been thinking about all of this, realizing that the end of another cycle might be coming soon. I know I'll take it hard, because I've been so hopeful. This is the first cycle since the miscarriage that I have had so much hope. Since I didn't conceive until I was taking medication to stimulate ovulation, I wasn't all that shocked when I didn't conceive once I stopped taking the medication. Now that I'm taking medication again, I have really gotten my hopes up.



So, today, I took a little time between the two masses and went to pray in the little side chapel. I'm trying to let go of my illusions of control over this whole process and recognize that God's plan, whatever that is, will be better than I can imagine. Of course, I've prayed tons of times these last few weeks asking God to please let this be the time. And I'm still praying for that. But I'm also praying really hard that He gives me the grace I need to accept His will for me this week, whatever that turns out to be.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wild Kingdom

This afternoon, we were out in the back yard. Mr. X and I were discussing the design for our new patio. I looked across the yard, and there was Wonderdog with a bird in her mouth! We got her to drop it and Mr. X disposed of it. He said she had definitely just killed it. Man, my dog is faster than I thought! I found a squirrel (well . . . half a squirrel, which is even more gross) in the yard this past fall, and we weren't sure if she had killed it or just found it. I know that she's a dog and that it's normal for her to hunt small animals, she's just usually so mellow (and getting so old now) that it really surprises me when she catches animals that are really fast. Especially when she had never caught anything before this fall--and I've had her for six years! And, given that the squirrels carry plague (they do in our town, anyway) and birds can carry West Nile, I really don't want her eating them. So, that was our little excitement for the day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Legendary Hardwood Floor, or What Were We Thinking?

So, as I mentioned, Mr. X and I have been installing a hardwood floor. And I promised pictures (I know, incredibly exciting, isn't it?)!

We started by tearing out the carpet in the living room and dining room. It was DISGUSTING! I am so happy it's gone. Then, we (OK, Mr. X and our neighbor) started on the kitchen floor. When we moved in, it had bad sheet vinyl that was torn in places. Before our first party, a friend and I (Mr. X was on a business trip) put down vinyl tiles as a temporary fix. But when Mr. X started to investigate the kitchen floor, this is what he found:
















And that was all well and good, but then he found this:















(the floor, not my feet.) This was not good.

So, it turned out that under the torn sheet vinyl was plywood, stapled down about every two inches along the edges (NOT kidding, and these were the long staples, maybe an inch long into the plywood), and under the plywood was the original 1970s sheet vinyl.

Ick. So, after tearing up all of that, we took out the baseboard--oh, I'm sorry, casement masquerading as baseboard:

(I had a picture of the baseboard here, but Mr. X thought his hand looked like a claw in the picture, so you'll just have to imagine it.)


(seriously, I found it at H.ome D.epot. It's casement.) But was our casement installed with nice, little finishing nails? Ohhhhh, no:















Look at that! Those nails are about 2 1/2 inches long! At least the baseboard wasn't going to fall off the wall any time soon. (And doesn't Mr. X's hand look nice?)

By the time we were ready to start actually laying the floor, it was 4:00. So, this is how far we got on Saturday night:














We're going to do some touching up so that the seams between pieces don't show up so much, but other than that, I think it's looking nice!

This picture gives you an idea of the before-and-after (and yes, the entry way is under construction, too):















This shows the railing (which we stripped, in another act of insanity, back in November). We're going to stain the banister to match the floor. It also shows the subfloor and underlayment. It's a floating floor, so hooray for no glue or nails! At this point, we had half the living room finished. Tonight, probably the whole area in this picture is finished.

Also, do you see that big water mark on the subfloor near the railing? What were these people doing in the living room? There is no plumbing there! Seriously, there are water marks all over the subfloor in the living room. Did they have the living room full of leaky potted plants? Old humidifiers? Or--heaven help us--did their pets have serious incontinence issues? These are the mysteries we will ponder . . .

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cycle Update

I have a couple of posts in the making, including one with LOTS of pictures of our hardwood floor installation (proving once and for all that Mr. X and I are NUTS). But I really should be working on a project right now, so I'll just give a quick update on cycle status. I appear to have escaped the really negative side effects of Clomid, which isn't terribly surprising, since I took a low dosage for only 3 days. I did have ovulation pain for more than a week, though. I had another blood draw series to test my estradiol levels, starting on CD12 and continuing every other day until P+2. Strangely, Peak was CD20, which is--I think--the latest it's ever been. I had a positive OPK on CD 16, so I'm guessing I might have ovulated before peak day. Today's P+6. My b.reasts have been sore since P+2 (really early for me) and I've been totally exhausted yesterday and today.

Here's the general goofiness, though. We started my hCG injections on P+3, and then totally forgot on P+5. I remembered when I woke up this morning, and Mr. X gave me the shot before he went to work, so it was really only about 6 hours after we normally do the shot (we've been staying up way too late these days!). Yesterday was a weird day. We worked like crazy Friday night prepping the floor, and then on Saturday, the tile guy arrived at 8am to give us an estimate on the bathroom. After that, we spent most of the day finishing the prep work (in my case, pulling the baseboard), and then started the installation at 4:00. I quit around 11:00 because I was too exhausted to do anything else. We decided not to set an alarm for Sunday morning, and I woke up at 11:45! We went to get some lunch (the kitchen was completely torn up), and then we came home, and I napped for more than two hours before Mr. X woke me up to go to mass. Today, I'm still really tired. I was just googling "Clomid and fatigue" when a nurse from PPVI called and told me that my estradiol series looked really good! Hooray! Did I remember to ask about whether Clomid causes fatigue this late in the cycle, or when my estradiol peaked (so I have a better idea of when I ovulated)? Of course not! And, of course, I am wishfully thinking that the fatigue must be a pregnancy symptom, not the result of the Clomid . . . or of doing a lot of physical work while totally out of shape! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tagged and Delinquent

OK, so kcmarie122 tagged me . . . oh . . . more than a month ago! I am now just hideously delinquent! I'm finally doing it now, which makes me feel a little bit better, though Jen tagged me even longer ago, so I'll still be terribly delinquent after this . . . but I'm planning to come back tomorrow and do that one, too!

1. Why did you start your blog?

I started reading blogs a little more than a year ago. The first blog I came across that dealt with infertility from a Catholic perspective was Arwen's blog, and it was such a help to me! From there, I started reading other blogs, too, like Maggie's and Jen's (Perfect Work . . . I didn't work up the nerve to e-mail her when she went password-protected, but hers was another blog that was really helpful to me). At the time, I was getting ready to have my first surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute, and I couldn't find any blogs out there of someone who had gone that route. (I'm not saying there weren't any out there, I just didn't know about them! I didn't know about Lost and Found, either, until I suddenly started getting comments in November!) So, I hoped that maybe writing about my experience might be helpful to someone else.

2. How did you come up with your blog name?

I wanted a title that was hopeful and reflected something about having faith in the midst of infertility. I like the hymn "We Walk By Faith," but that title itself felt a bit too direct, not to mention being a bit much to live up to! :) So, I went with the next phrase "and not by sight" (actually, it was just going to be "not by sight" but there were multiple blogs out there with that name).

3. Do your friends and family know about your blog and what do they think?

Umm . . . not that I know of. Mr. X knows, but when I wanted to show him how the picture of cookies looked last night, I had to remind him what my blog address is! :) He thinks it's a great thing and wants me to be able to say whatever I want (which may be why he doesn't read it all the time). I'm sort of torn about telling people about it. Not many people know about our infertility issues.

4. How do you write posts?

I usually just sit down and write in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way . . . with mixed results, of course. This summer, I'm hoping to post more, comment more, and put some more thought into it.

5. Have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?

No, everyone's been very nice so far!

6. Do you check your stats or care how many people read your blog? If so, how do you increase traffic?

I haven't figured out how to do that yet! Of course, I love to get comments, but I haven't focused so much on getting a ton of readers. Besides, the people who do read my blog are great, so they more than make up in quality what I'm lacking in quantity! Seriously, the support you have given me has really made a difference for me.

I don't know who hasn't done this one . . . I may update later to tag you if I see that you haven't been tagged yet . . .
 

Made by Lena