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 . . .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why I No Longer Try to Impress People with My Cooking

I am so proud of myself--I made a really good dinner tonight (roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli) and I made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. The cookies are HUGE! They're from the A*m*erica's T*est K*itchen Family Cookbook (love A*m*er*ica's T*e*s*t K*itchen!), and they're intended to stay chewy, so, we'll see. I haven't baked cookies from scratch in YEARS! I'm going to try to post a picture of them--my first picture! Here goes:

This reminds me that, a while ago, I said I would write about why I no longer try to impress people with my cooking.

I did not do a whole lot of cooking until I was out of college . . . nor was I very good at it. I had a few dishes that were my specialties, and I could make a decent meal, but nothing really impressive. We also were not into spices in my family.

So, after I graduated from college, I started grad school and my best friend started working about an hour away. She is a very good cook. She came over for dinner one night, and I told her we were going to have chicken and rice. Knowing my cooking skills, she asked how I was going to cook it. Ummm . . . . put the chicken breasts in a pan and put them in the oven? And how about the rice? I showed Friend the U.n.c.l.e. B.e.n's broccoli-cheese rice package.

"OK, Charlotte, how about spices for the chicken?"


"What spices do you have?"

"Ummm . . . garlic salt and cinnamon"

Now, in my defense, I was in grad school, taking home $660 per month (and no, this was not that long ago), so, given that I was not used to cooking with spices, I wasn't shelling out the little cash I had to buy lots of them.

We determined that I had both honey and yellow mustard, so we decided to mix those together and brush the chicken with honey mustard.

"OK, Charlotte, where's your brush?"

"Brush? I don't have a brush . . ."

As time has gone by, my cooking skills have improved. When I got out of school and got my first job, I didn't know anyone in town, and so I took to watching the cooking shows on P*B*S on Saturday mornings and working on my cooking.

Shortly after Mr. X and I were married and had moved into our house, Friend and her husband came to visit. We had a fabulous time together. By this time, I considered myself a pretty good cook, and I was really looking forward to impressing them with my cooking. I was going to make sauteed chicken breasts with a lemon wine sauce, steamed broccoli, potatoes, salad, and from-scratch brownies for desert. (Hmm . . . a slightly fancier version of tonight's dinner, now that I think about it . . . )

So, Friend and I started in on the chicken together, and pretty soon, we started disagreeing. To flour or not to flour? Butter or olive oil? I stopped, reminded myself that enjoying time with each other was certainly more important than wowing her with my chicken, and said, "Friend, why don't you do the chicken, and I'll do the vegetables."

But, really, steamed broccoli and baked potatoes are no great feat when trying to impress one's friends with one's cooking prowess. But I was confident that my scratch brownies would knock their socks off. They'd say, "Why, Charlotte, we had no idea you'd learned so much about cooking and baking! We welcome you to the club of the Good Cooks!"

So, I melted the butter and chocolate, mixed in the eggs, flour, fancy sea salt, and all the rest of the ingredients, and popped them in the oven. They came out smelling heavenly. We took our first bites, and then we noticed. The crunchiness. And the saltiness. I used large grain sea salt in the batter. And there is really not enough liquid in brownie batter to dissolve large grains of salt. So, we had brownies with chunks of sea salt in them. Friend, Friend's husband, and Mr. X were all very nice about it, but I decided then and there that cooking (my cooking, anyway) should not be about impressing people.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another Day, Another Drug

Hello again! Man, time is flying. Here's the IF update: I went to the doctor today, and he gave me another prescription! This time, it's a new antibiotic (amoxycillin) as a mucus enhancer. Fortunately, it should not have the same side effects of the old antibiotic (biaxin). The biaxin was intended to get rid of brown bleeding possibly caused by a low-grade infection (nothing nasty, just bacteria that's usually present on the skin but problematic inside the uterus). It does seem to have worked! I usually have brown bleeding now only on the last day of my period, and the doctor says that's normal. I'm having a little bit of ovulation pain off and on, but no peak day yet, and no positive OPK.

In other areas of life (What? There are other areas of life?), my promotion is official! I got the letter announcing my new title and salary yesterday. What a relief! Now we have to have a party! :)

We're also working like crazy on our house. We ordered engineered hardwood for the main living area (living room/dining room/kitchen), and Mr. X started tearing up the disgusting carpet today. This carpet looked so nice when we moved in . . . well, sort of nice, anyway . . . but that was only because the previous owner had just had it cleaned. After a couple of weeks, the stains started coming through. Now that we're tearing it out, the amount of dirt under the carpet pad is absolutely gross! I can't wait till it's gone for good! Speaking of which, I had better go and work on it. I've been working on a report for work that is kicking my butt, so I think I need to give my brain a rest!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Last Dose!

Hooray! In an hour I will take my last antibiotic dose! The protocol has been to take a full course (2 or 3 weeks--can't remember) of the antibiotic and then take it for the first 10 days of the next seven cycles. It's to eliminate brown bleeding at the end of my period, and both of us have had to take it. It's caused me major digestive issues and a foul taste in my mouth, and Mr. X has had insomnia and nightmares. Needless to say, we can't wait to be finished with it. This is cycle number 8, so this dose is the last dose!

In other news, we've done a ton of work on our house and yard. We have an awful hot tub in the back yard. Neither of us is a huge hot tub person, never mind the fertility issues with hot tubs. I never could get the hang of balancing the chemicals, either. So, we took the lid off for the first time in ages to clean it up. It was so gross! Leaves, crabapples, and water had somehow found their way into the empty hot tub, and needless to say, it smelled to high heaven. We got it cleaned out, ran fresh water through the system, and it's all shiny and clean. We're going to take pictures tomorrow and try to sell it. If no one buys, we'll just have it hauled away.

We also did a lot of weeding and trimming, and my roses and peonies are starting to bloom! My mom has peonies, and I love them. Mr. X got me three peony plants for my birthday last year. I heard that they sometimes take a couple of years to bloom once they're planted, but the middle plant has started blooming already. My mom says they thrive on neglect, which is just right for my style of gardening! Speaking of which, I should go water my vegetable plants before they dry up completely.

One more random note--At the end of my street, there's a hand-made sign on neon orange posterboard advertising "Huge Baby Sale." It makes me giggle each time I pass it. Gee, if I'd known I could just pick one up at a sale, I wouldn't have messed with any of this fertility treatment stuff!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Read the Label, Part II

I had my prescription for T3 refilled this week, and last night, I grabbed my nighttime dose right before we started a movie. And I read the label.

I've been taking the wrong dosage for a month!

I had been on 7.5 mcg of T3 for a long time, and then my doctor increased me to 15 mcg. When that didn't cause any problems, he increased me to 22.5 mcg (the maximum dosage in the protocol he uses). I don't know why--maybe because I told the pharmacy I still had some 15 mcg capsules left when I brought in the 22.5 mcg prescription--but it looks like refilled my old prescription for 7.5 mcg instead of the new one for 22.5 mcg. So, I finished my 15 mcg prescription, and at the beginning of May, I started taking the new prescription, and then I had it refilled this week. But I only read the label last night.

So, it turns out that instead of stepping up to the 22.5 mcg dosage, I stepped back down to the 7.5 mcg dose. This probably explains why I did not notice any difference when I accidentally took a double dose 5 hours early last week, but how annoying! Last night, I just took three pills, since they total 22.5 mcg, but this morning I forgot and just took one. And I'll have to call the pharmacy when they open on Monday and find out what the deal is!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Definitely more ice cream

The past week has been incredibly stressful. Nothing I can talk about in specifics, but just really rough. I'm feeling much better today. Last night was the first night that I really slept well. Between the anxiety I was feeling a month or two ago and the past two weeks of not eating or sleeping well, I've definitely lost too much weight. I can now see my top ribs if I wear a v-neck shirt.

Fortunately, I think things are going to get better, work is going to slow down, and the weather is beautiful . . . which means we'll be going to our fabulous local ice cream place more often. It's a locally-owned business that makes its own ice cream, and it's ridiculously good. I've always liked trying different ice cream flavors, rather than sticking to one favorite, but at this place the black raspberry (ice cream, not sherbet) is to die for. It's even better with chocolate, or the Mexican chocolate ice cream they have. Right now, we have a quart of chocolate and a quart of black raspberry in the freezer, so I'm going to work on rectifying my anxiety-induced weight loss!

I've taken my clomid for this cycle. So far, I haven't really noticed any side effects from the clomid, which is really good. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how it might affect my cycle. We're trying to plan for the summer (travel, business trips, and all that), and trying to project my cycle based on the past few months. I really hope that the clomid doesn't change my cycle too much, or we could get stuck with a business trip at an inoportune time! Anybody know how clomid affects the time of ovulation and the length of the luteal phase and the cycle?

Made by Lena