Saturday, November 30, 2013

24dp3dt Preggo...Sharp Edges of Rubble...Valleys of Peace

The last two days have been a whirlwind.  Food, friends, family, thankfulness.  Then yesterday we hit Epcot.  On principle, the mouse is not my thing.  I'm not a fan of any kind of faux fabricated festivities.  Especially when the entry fee for one person would pay for 6 days of my estrogen patches.  Besides, I prefer authentic, 'sneak up on you' beauty found in everyday life.  Regardless of the mouse, there was beauty to be found on the faux streets of the countries we visited.  My sweet niece kept seeking me out, she's a snuggler, and she growing so fast.  We had a big group, which meant a lot of different agendas, tons of waiting around, and wrangling of little people and handling of drunkish people.  My niece would come up beside me when there was distance between us and everyone else and lean in.  I talked with her about "enjoying the process" and how she will see days such as this very differently when she looks back on them from an adult place.  I also told her it's ok to feel her feelings now, whatever they may be. I couldn't dig into that with her, but I so mean to in the future.

We are only two days away from some uncharted territory that could be a sort of graduation day for hubby and I.  This ultrasound could actually be "normal" and could be the key that unlocks the door to many significant benchmarks along this road paved with hope.   

So if I hear the words "normal heartbeat" I think I will really be able to let some light into the place in my heart where I've hidden the hope, behind that giant bolder.  I actually feel fear at the thought of that hope taking over.  If that happens, and I feel my heart flooded with actual possibility, I am terrified that my wall of protection allowing me to take each step forward will come tumbling down, and then I will not be able to navigate around the sharp edges of the rubble, I will stumble over every bit of debris.  I feel like once I fall, once I am wounded again, once I bleed, once I feel the intensity of the pain that can come from losing my self in the hoping and believing, I feel that I will melt into something no one recognizes, something with no sturdiness, something without the strength to stand. I fear I will never be able to continue on this road.

So today, with this reality in my face, and this big moment coming in just a few wake-ups, I have to be brave.  I have to let God into the painful places, let Him heal each wound, and let him guide me through the rubble.  Maybe the light of the hope that I allow myself to feel will help me rise above the rubble, and glide over the sharp edges, and feel the happiness that my baby deserves?

There are many many weeks between Monday and the end of the first trimester.  It will feel like an eternity.  Lot's of time and space in between to feel my feelings...maybe completely freak out...maybe in between freak outs I will find little valleys of peace.  Maybe these valleys will be free of rubble, maybe instead there will be flowers and little white butterflies, or tall grass and sunshine.  

Symptom update: running a low grade fever...99.7.  It is making me miss a very important dinner date, with a very important, very sweet friend.  She insisted I skip it and rest.  I love her.  Fever could be a very normal thing according to the extremely reliable web info I read.  Also, the nausea is not constant, but its there.  Eating a snack that includes some sort of protein is helping.  Today my snack of choice was peanut butter and grahm crackers.  Yesterday it was those little foil wrapped Swiss cheese thingies with cheese its. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

20dp3dt...The Beta Breakdown

Had another blood draw yesterday.  My fabulous nurse agreed to add a beta. Got the results today.  They were really good. Here is the line up for my beta results thus far:

Beta 1: 11/13/13 8dp3dt  HCG....39.1
Beta 2: 11/15/13 10dp3dt HCG...189...doubling time 21.08 hours
Beta 3: 11/18/13 13dp3dt HCG...1046...doubling time 29.17
Beta 4: 11/25/13 20dp3dt HCG...17,000...doubling time 43.5

Yep, I've been to the beta base....I know my levels are high.  I'm preparing my heart for what that might mean.  Actually, who can ever really be prepared for what that could mean!  Even when you are an IVF momma, and every intentional act is documented.  I must also remember the soverign hand of My Jesus.  No matter what human decisions were made, I prayed the will of God over every single aspect of the process.  I believe that whom ever is growing under my heart is there because God is in control.  I also believe in loving them for how ever long I'm given.  Nothing is certain, we have a long way to go.  But that boulder that covers that place in my heart where the hope lives moved quite a bit today, about 17,000 bits to be specific!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

17-19dp3dt Do Not Be Afraid

This weekend my peace started to feel kind of in the background when compared to my fear.  I was camping with people I love, and don't see often enough.  Each of the ladies that I spent my time with are in different places on their journeys.  Some have walked where I've walked and have since seen the face of a baby to love forever.  Some are still lovingly waiting to see which path their journey will take them on. Others have no idea who I am, who I've been, or what this constant meal of patience pie, cautious cake, and sadness soup tastes like.  Each of them sweetly loved me just as I am this weekend.  I didn't have to work for it, I couldn't perform perfectly to earn it.  I didn't have to explain myself, I was just there, simply Cristy, in their presence, and I was thankful.  That was a gift from God because if I had to be present as celebratory carefree Cristy, I would have fallen flat on my face while attempting to "frolic freely".  The reason... I feel like that war I wrote about during my last post is still raging on.  My peace feels so far away, not gone entirely, but buried deep inside of me where I can barely feel it.  It's like I'm the princess, and I'm on all those mattresses, and the peace is the tiny pea, buried under layers and layers of fear and worry and doubt.  You see, I'm not sick enough, I haven't thrown up enough, my boobs don't hurt enough.  My humanity is grasping at any sliver of proof/data that this one is different than all the ones that came before.  I am fantasizing about asking my IVF nurse to pull another beta just so I can have something to go on until next monday.  That's right, I'm fantasizing/ practicing my speech....what will I say, what will my compelling argument be?  This is not the way I want to be feeling, this is not what I want my baby/babies to feel me feeling.  I want for them what God has for them, His sovereign peace.  I'm praying God will help me start mothering them now, and will settle His peace over my heart, so that it envelops them fully.  

I think I mentioned in an earlier post about the chapel we prayed in the Sunday before the ultrasound during the first cycle.  The chapel was dedicated to "Our Lady of Sorrows" also knows as Our Lady of LaSalette.  I felt drawn to that little chapel during mass tonight, and after communion we went to pray there again.  When I prayed, I asked that for that peace again.  When I looked up from my prayer, my eyes focused on the wall next to the cross where big, beautiful, golden letters read "Do not be afraid". I asked my hubby to remind me of those very words while we wait for next Monday to come.  He may not realize that I need to hear them spoken over me this week.  I invite you all to help me hear them in the deepest parts of my heart, all they way through the mattresses, so that peace envelops all of us in an undeniable way.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

14dp3dt and 15dp3dt and 16dp3dt There is a War Going On

I'm sorry you haven't heard from me for a few days.  I've been chewing on something, and I'm going to attempt to capture for you in the meager attempt below. Here's the thing, we've got a really long way to go. I feel like there is no reason why I should have even an inkling of peace about this. But...somewhere in me, from somewhere new and unknown, do I dare say this out loud, I do have this strange soft peace in me about this pregnancy.  That's how I know my Jesus is present all the way through this journey. It's gotta be Him, how else can I explain that I have this peace that surpasses all human understanding.  

My "humanity" can't help but point out to to this sense of peace growing inside me that "my body has never protected a baby past 9 weeks".  It's like until I pass each of the "traumatic benchmarks" I've lived along this journey my humanity can't rest along side this other part of me that feels this foreign peace this time around.  Here are my traumatic benchmarks:

Traumatic Benchmark one: The Pregnancy Test Trauma 
1.  Yay!  We've already passed this one!  Every time I POAS and the line showed up a little piece of me started to heal.  There is still a shrine of pee sticks on our bathroom counter.  All lined up and meticulously labeled.  I owe you a picture of that, maybe if you see it you will understand just how broken I am in this area.  When I saw that faint line at only 7dp3dt, it was like God was launching a campaign to teach me to live a different story this time.

Traumatic Benchmark two: The Beta Breakdown
2.  This one is last weeks news...This is the week of the Beta testing... This little number means everything to a hopeless hopeful.  I only had two of these weeks under my belt.  The first one was deceptively comforting.  This second one has been out of this world awesome.  I know better than to let it mean everything.  I also know how to google to find the beta base, and have searched high and low to read what other people scored during the beta breakdown.  All of this information means almost nothing, but that doesn't stop me from devouring it like a family sized bag of sweet/salty chex mix (you know what I'm talking about!)

Traumatic Benchmark three:  Worried about Wandy....The First Ultrasound
3.  This is the next benchmark I am striving for.  12/2 at 3:15.  It feels like a million miles away, but really its right around the corner.  This is where my "human understanding" is currently at complete war with the "peace that transcends understanding".  In ten years, I have never had a normal pregnancy ultrasound.  The first one at 8 weeks, our baby Gabriel Murray Lafferty measured at 5-6 weeks.  The doctor said he saw a heartbeat, I started bleeding the next weekend.  The loss occurred at 9 weeks.  There were a few late periods, faint pregnancy tests, chemical pregnancies with clomid that followed.  We never again saw evidence of a baby in my uterus.   July 15, 2013 was the empty uterus scan from hell.  To be honest, if that is my experience again, I just might have to be done.  This girl just can't have another experience like that.  The fear that I have that history will repeat itself is at total war with the weird unfathomable peace that I am feeling.  I've never had even an inkling of this peace before.  I pray with everything I am that this peace wins this war.

Traumatic Benchmark four: A Dozen Weeks Sounds Like a Dream
4.  Reaching this benchmark will feel like graduation day.  The faith walk to this day is going to be long and arduous.  Between first ultrasound 12/2 and the 12 week mark is a little over 5 weeks.  Its over some rough terrain....terrain like Christmas, and LOTS of family time full of hopefulness and uncontainable excitement.  People may ask things about names and boy girl preferences and who might be the God parents.  Before that 12 week mark, these things feel like daggers.  Maybe that won't be the case this time, maybe that peace I'm feeling will envelope me and let me join them.  I'm going to start praying for that too.  No wonder regular preggo people keep pregnancy a secret until then.  This is another burden of IVF, the knowing right away, the people who are closest knowing too.  It's a thing.

So I'm going to have to think on what a plan to get through the benchmarks 3 and 4 might look like. With everything else in my life, if I can build a framework,  I think maybe I can hang some curtains that remind me to embrace this gift of peace. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

13dp3dt... Beta #3... Whoa!

Well friends, our third beta was awesome.  1046.  The beta didn't just double, its more than five times the 189 we got three days ago.  I'm thankful for the reassurance that provides. I'm trying not to get lost in what that could mean.  I'm trying to take each day and be grateful.  Each day is one more day I get to hold them under my heart.  Our first ultrasound will be 12/2. If today I'm 4 weeks and 2 days preggo...then I will be 6 weeks and 2 days when we take a look with wandy.  That probably isn't quite soon enough to hear the heartbeat...but we will probably see it. If it's there to see...please, please let it be there to see.

I'm feeling a lot of action this time around...Pressure, pain when I laugh/sneeze/cough. Weird smelling pee. Nausea really started today. I'm ditzy...well ditzier(sp) then usual.  I'm exhausted at 3pm and it feels like I'm trudging through mud until bed time.  My boobies hurt, but aren't much bigger.  I am thankful for every ounce of discomfort, every possible reminder that this could be really happening.

Where is my guy in all this? My hubby seems to be all about the science.  He thinks this is really possibly happening because we finally know about, and are treating the Crohn's.  He's saying logical, analytical things about these awesome test results.  But that's not all folks, here's something that really got to me yesterday....  He prayed after communion at mass that he would get to see our baby's face.  Ok, so maybe he's finally living this out of his heart also.  The man's heart is breathtaking to behold, I'm honored anew every single time I get to hear words that came straight from that heart.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

12dp3dt Today is grilled cheese and tomato soup

There is something simple about today.  Something uncomplicated. Something colored with pale, light, almost tranquil colors.  Colors that don't challenge. Colors that don't soothe. Just the colors of softness, the colors created by natural light.  There is no tryinging going on here.  No real yearning.  There is just being right where we are. Yesterday was a culunary experience, today is grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Tomorrow will be soon enough for the praying and the hoping and the yearning and the worry to begin again.  Today I am going to let enough be enough.  I'm going to just be where I am. Today I'm not going to try to move the boulder.  Today I'm going to build a picnic on it instead.  Let the light of the sun tell me what to smile about, today I'm going to just be. Today I'm going to spend some time with the Son. Anyone wish to join me?  It's lovely here...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

11dp3dt Crisis, Culinary Excellence, and a side of Random Coincidence

After our last loss (the awful, empty uterus scan/ectopic), we were all left realing.  My momma came to that ultrasound, we were wide open about the whole cycle, friends, family, extented family everyone was praying and hoping and happy we finally got a positive.  Then all that joy dissapeared.  We were all left feeling like we couldn't trust ANYTHING ANYMORE.

My mom left my side, and went straight to my brother's bedside.  He is 34, has a significant cognitive/behavioral disability, and lives in a group home in clearwater.  He is one of the loves of my life. I had the miscarriage on the weekend and then headed to clearwater.  My brother was in CCU for 3 weeks.  I was by his side for two.

This particular hospitalization (there have been many) was the scariest one my family and I have ever been through. Each day the news was worse...kidney failure, congestive heart failure, ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome)...the list goes on and on.  The underlying infection was pneumonia.  It's four months later, and he is just now showing normal hemoglobin levels.  He came incredibly close to dying.  

God always surrounds us with angels during times like these.  One of the many angels who came and physically held us together was my Aunt Judy.  She made space for all of us to breathe, to eat, to sob, to feel our feelings.  She soothed me and my momma in ways neither of us understand.  We are so thankful.

My Aunt Judy got a really good look at me during this time. My mask of strength fell away some. She shared all that we were going through...the loss of the pregnancy, the real threat that Jake was going to die...with her wonderful husband, my Uncle Mark.  In the aftermath, when I finally went home, it felt like we all had PTSD.  We couldn't shake that feeling of crisis all around us, waiting around every corner. A few days later we got a big surprise in the mail...My Uncle Mark, who lives in Ohio, had researched great places to have an excellent culinary experience, and he sent us a very generious gift certificate.  He knew that we needed a night together, a night to remember we love each other, we have each other, and we can keep hoping together.

I don't have words for how good the food was.  My hubby loved the rissoto that came with my Osso Bucco so much that he ordered a second rissoto dinner for himself.  Then he ordered two desserts, pretended like I was going to eat one of them, and instead ate them both!  By the end of the meal he was in physical pain he ate so much.

There was another surprise in store for the two of us, across the restaurant, right around antipasto time as I was deeply enjoying both a sausage and pepper stuffed mushroom and the company of my handsome hubby, I noticed his eyes kept leaving mine and focusing on a table across the room.  Then he started giggling and said "Is that Dr. T".  Um, yes that's right, some how, with all the restaurants in Orlando, we ended up in the tiny one in WP that also happens to be our RE's fave.  The very same doc whose unique partnership with God has given us something to wonderful to celebrate.  The italian momma of the chef, who was hostessing, took great/loud delight in the coincidence.  We ended up sending over dessert to them.  They came over to greet us and thank us.  It was precious.  I do hope the next time I see him, in the ultrasound room, we are all in great spirits.  Only God knows.  And no matter what happens, it was nice to see this kind man as a real boy, out in the world, loving his wife on her birthday.

Blogging Abbreviations from "The Stirrup Queens"

Just in case this new alphabet soup is not to your liking, this list will help.

Friday, November 15, 2013

10dp3dt... Beta overachiever....You wanna see the about if it quadruples instead?!?!

Big sigh......friends, sisters, followers (few and fabulous!)....we are are having a great day in crazy I.V.effffed land!  The first beta was 39 on 8dp3dt, today, 10dp3dt we are happy to report a 189.  That is a strong and exciting increase and we aren't even at 14dp3dt yet.  I cried when I heard Amber say the numbers on the phone.  It was like the boulder that I keep wedged over the part of my heart that "hopes" that "dreams" that "yearns" moved away an inch, and I don't have words for what flooded over me at that moment.  In the same breath, my incredible nurse, Amber, said to me that my doctor was wanting to follow me closely, and he agreed to scan me a little earlier than usual. Not sure when, but I'm so thankful he agreed.  I also don't have words for the gratitude I feel for the campassion that I am being shown by the wonderful team at my clinic.  They are considering the losses we have endured, and are willing to soothe my heart with their consideration.  We go in for a third beta monday morning. I hope to happily report a number that moves that boulder just a little more.  As the will of God is revealed, moment by moment, test by test, I will be praising Him for each healing moment.  Tonight I'm doing more than "just breathing". Tonight, I feel the way I look in the pic that decorates this blog...the salt air blowing in my face, my face turned up, my arms out, focused in prayer and praise and hope on my Jesus.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

9dp3dt... The Darker the Better!

The darker the better, and I'm not talking about chocolate! Finally! Our BFP is showing up right away now!  I've decided that the "getting darker" is conclusive evidence that the numbers are getting stronger.  Time will tell.....specifically 7:45 tomorrow second beta... will tell!  Having some wierd achy pain when I move quickly on one side or the other.  I've decided that is my uterus stretching.  See how much "deciding" I do?  Really I don't know anything AT ALL for certain.  It's like we are all working toward some twisted merit badge for stepping out in faith...moving foward even though the ground beneath our feet is shakey at best. Apparently this girl needs extra tutoring....10 years of tutoring! Speaking of certainty, I will be asking my RE to take some extra diagnostic steps for me this time around.  Already so thankful for this early beta.  Knowing the number while those sticks took their sweet time darkening up really helped me worry less.  The first time around my first beta was 122 at 14dp3dt, the second was almost five times that number. These were pretty exciting numbers, and we all stopped worrying.  Until the worst ultrasound ever at 7 weeks.  To be honest, I have never had a "normal pregnancy" ultrasound.  Each one has been more devastating then the last.  If I'm going to make it through this pregnancy with any sense of peace, I am going to need a normal ultrasound as soon as possible.  Back to the "certainty"....In the name of certainty, I have asked that my RE break protocol and look in there earlier for me than he does for others. His rule is ultrasound at 7 weeks. I want one a soon as you can see a fetal pole/sac just so I know that the baby is in the uterus this time.  It doesn't sound like he is willing to consider such rule breaking.  He is brilliant, but he's a man, and a man on the spectrum of autism at that (him having high functioning autism is another thing I have decided). He has made a rule, and it would take an act of God for him to break it. We shall see how it all shakes out.  I will report back:).  I also want extra betas.  I want to know if the numbers start dropping before I get to the US.

Also, PRAISE GOD, I finally slept through the entire night last night!  I now know I was way low on estrogen after the BW they did wednesday.  I had to slap on two more patches.  I have the most expensive sticker collage on my tummy known to man. At 4 10$ stickers every two days, I'm going to need a second job!  But at least I will be better rested!  And maybe there is a little girly in there stealing my E2?  I sure do hope so.

Ok sisters, yes darker is better, I will take it.  Please pray for good strong numbers.  I should know something by tomorrow afternoon.  I am thankful for each day this baby (or babies) spends under my heart.  I'm feeling fuller with each passing day, and each day heals "my momma heart" just a teeny bit more.  Please Jesus, let me see this sweet little face (or these little faces)!

PS. Just a little shout out to the circle of sisters who physically and emotionally surround me each day. I may not hear your voices each day, but I know your hearts are yearning to scream with glee, and giggle, and toss names around, and kiss baby feet right along side me.  There will be time for that, I promise.  We will get there.  Thanks for sensitively following my lead as I navigate this slippery slope.  I love you, I can never thank you enough, or find the words to express what it means to me to have you come along side me all this time.  They say that God loves you through your friends.  No one knows that to be true more than me.

One more man.  My honey wants to know if we can trade unnecessary pregnancy tests for estrogen patches?  And, he actually said to me today "ok, I read your blog, now can I go back to building my miniature Death Star?".  He'e been lost in some iPad game looks like he's building a Star Wars themed barbie house to this girl!  Oy vey, this man is in for it when parenthood hits him. Really, I know this slippery slope is hard for him, he wants to protect me from pain, and, for him, for anyone, It's hard to predict where I am in this at any given moment.  He's doing the best he can and letting me lead.  I know this is all hard for him too. I know the face of his little one will heal wounds that he doesn't even know that he has.  He's doing a really great job with the shot, and with the shot intervention (aka, the butt rub).  I love that man, even when he's hiding in the Death Star.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


POAS is such a mind game.  I can't seem to make it to the morning for a good "first morning pee"!  I have been getting up to pee at night for a week (which isn't normal for me at all!).  This effected my sample...the lines aren't getting darker.  The good news is my blood test came back positive.  Beta is 39.1 in the AM of 8dp3dt.  My next beta is Friday morning 11/15.  Thankful for the postive, praising God for the positive.  Praying it doubles on Friday.  Hang in there!  Grow baby grow!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

7dp3dt....Glimmer of Hope

So I POAS today.  Ladies, we have a faint postive in the house on 7dp3dt.  This was with FMP.  It was darker using FRER this afternoon after drinking a ton of water.  My incredible IVF nurse, Amber, wants to add a beta to my BW in the AM.  I feel different with this one then the last.  I didn't have a faint positive until 10dp3dt last time, BFP wasn't until 12pd3dt.  The betas were ok, but fizzled.  This early positive is a good sign that the numbers will be stronger. I'll take that and cautiously run with it.  I am admitting that I definately feel very different with this one.  We will see what my Jesus has to teach me with even this tiny step forward.  I think He knows that I am going to need to ease into believing this with lots of glimmers and twinkles of hope, heck...I need flashes and strobe lights of hope along the way! And in between glimmmers and strobes, I promise, this girl is going to just breathe.  Breaths of gratitude.  Someday, a big sigh of relief.

Monday, November 11, 2013

6dp3dt This Girl is Just Going to Breathe

Some days I'm wasting my life waiting, whether I'm waiting to test, waiting for the next cycle, waiting to recover from a loss, waiting to afford the next step, I'm waiting, waiting, waiting and wasting, wasting, wasting.  Today I've had enough waiting. So, I'm adding something to my "plan".  While I'm waiting, I'm also going to just breathe.  Just do something simple like fill my lungs and empty them. Just stop wearing my sholders as earrings in the space in between, and just rest.  Here is what I know to be true, I absolutely know that when I'm rushing in my mind toward the next, I'm completly missing what God has for me in the present, specifically in His "presence".  I'm going to rest and breathe and open my eyes.  I'm going to be thankful and present to the people all around me loving me through this.  There is heavy lifting to be done all around me, and right now I'm only supposed to lift ten lbs at a time. So that's what I'm going to do, I'm going to let other people, and my Jesus, do the heavy lifting right now (physically, emotionally, whatever). And in the in between, this girl is just going to breathe.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

5dp3dt...The Compulsive Search for the Implantation Bleed and My Little Buddies

Good morning!  It's Sunday, a perfectly normal day to sleep in, snuggle in with the hubby and the puppies.  After all I am hoping and praying that a few months from now sleeping in will be a distant memory.  What a thing to yearn for!  Instead, this girl is totally up. 6am, up, for no reason!  This is my new pattern unfortunately.  I am jealous of others who report that PIO makes them sleep!  I really wish that was the case.  Maybe it's because I stopped my melatonin?  I figure my estrogen is back to normal, so I shouldn't have that  "surgical menopause" can't sleep thing going on.  And yet, not really sleeping great.  I wonder, anyone else try melatonin?  My RE is not on board with me continuing to take it.  But I wonder if anyone else has had that experience?

These two are not happy that mom is out of bed!  They followed me out here grudgingly! But there they are, right by my side, always.  What a comfort to me they are.  The are snuggling a little closer than usual.  I wonder if they know?
Toby Trouble Lafferty (above), Charlie Choo (below).  They are my "beautiful disasters".  Sweet, snugly  bouncing brothers rescued and from the same litter. Half rat terrier, half toy poodle...We call them "weirdy beardies".  They've kissed and snuggled me out of many an "infertility funk".  I was built to nurture someone, they've been happy to be the subject of our affection the past five years.  They'd better be good at sharing!

On to the main topic of today's post, IT has begun. The next few days, days 5-7 past a 3dt, could mean that at any moment...the elusive...the ever exciting...the not often noticed by the "non-IVeffed" (coined by a fellow blogger), the symptom we all compulsively search for, the one and only "implantation bleed" evidence could be upon us.  Yes friends that compulsive behavior of watching closely for that tiny little dot of evidence is occurring.  I have provided a lovely white background for this phenomenon, and I am now engaging regularly in the ridiculous behavior of CLOSE observation.  We will do ANYTHING for a little extra bit of evidence that provides reassurance.  Even if it's gross.  Funny that we end up wishing to see exactly what we would do anything to avoid during non-IVF-IUI cycles....any evidence of AF!

Beyond the a fore mentioned compulsive search for a "symptom", other symptoms to report are:
Light crampiness, lots of peeing, some sharp fleeting pains near my ovaries...which I am "deciding" are due to stretching ligaments there instead of implantation in the tube! My hips are unhappily sore from the PIO, but not nearly as bad as before the implementation of the "Regimen" (see "here is my plan" post for details). My boobs don't hurt as much as last time yet...might still be early for that.  Only a bit sore, with the really sensitive nipple thing going on.

I'm brand spanking new to this blogging thing.  If you happen to stumble across this, I am open to feedback. TMI? Let me know.  I will get better at this whole thing I promise. Thankful for the opportunity to let some of the things I think about......out.  It relieves the pressure, so to speak. Rest in hope and faith friends.  TTYS

Update: there was barely anything to see....just a bit of light brown output.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

4dp3dt...Here is my plan

So, this time around I'm way less frantic.  I even made a med mistake that didn't send me into a tail spin (6 extra days on 5 of lupron)....whoops...don't worry, doc said it was fine. Don't get me wrong.  I have analyzed what I could have done differently between the first cycle and this one.  I have employed a problem solving process.  I have logically and rationally decided the following (caution, I am about to totally geek out with IVF language/acronyms, who else cares to hear this stuff besides my sisters who also know to google "4dp3dt"):

  1. My endometrial biopsy (the procedure that makes things more "sticky" in there) would be way closer to the embryo transfer this points in the "+" column  (I was overstimulated the first time around and couldn't transfer until months after the endometrial biopsy...perhaps the stickiness wore off?)
  2. Since last time there was no sign of the babies in my uterus, first beta was 122, second was 643, we didn't bother with a beta after that we were so happy with the results.  You would expect to at least see a sac....but nothing.  This time, whether it makes sense to anyone else or not, I am really resting the prescribed three days, and then adding two for good measure.  So implantation is covered!My friend, a sister to me, questioned the source of this important information.  I challenge her to either verify or offer a replacement, and until then I intend to pour over it at will.
  3. This time I will be with my blogging sisters where they are.  I will not look ahead to see if things worked out.  I will not read rambling posts of panicked people about symptoms or no symptoms on TTC support sites.  I will emotionally engage with bloggers where they are, and allow this to be an outlet to me, and I will contribute with supportive comments and also do the work to provide my own support by sharing...thus this blog.  I'm done just browsing and taking.  I am thankful for the support these blogs offered me the first time around.  There is nothing more isolating that this process (see my post re: the poem....line 1)
  4. POAS....This time I will only POAS on 7dp3dt, and 9dp3dt with tests that measure 25 or less miu.  Here is why:
    • I learned last time that tests vary greatly in sensitivity, gotta make sure that I only use tests that measure the smallest amount of HCG....otherwise with this early testing there is much unnecessary disappointment.
    • If I get a positive on 7dp, this will mean to me that I have stronger beta HCG earlier than I did last time, the first positive with the first cycle was 9dp3dt, and those fizzled after the exciting 122 beta, and 643 second beta, I was not aware of said fizzle until the awful empty uterus scan at week 7, worst day ever.  So although it means almost nothing, I will feel illogical comfort if I get even a faint positive on day 7.  
    • Also lots of people with multiples report BFPs on day 7.  Since I will not know until week 7 (which is a crime! if they can see a sac at 5 or 6 weeks they should show it to me!!!!! waiting until week 7 is unnecessary torture, especially after my empty uterus last time). If they want me calm, logical, and less stressed, and altogether more pleasant, they need to frigging give me information.  Sorry for the rant. Wait, no I'm not...
  5. is what I learned about this particular method of torture
    • the secret is the a deep 10 min rub of the area before and after the stick
    • My hubby uses Palmers to grease the area (dual purpose...if it will possibly ward off stretch marks I am so in)
    • I limit heat to no more than 10 min before rub down
    • the walk is also a good idea after the shot, but we have thus far failed to implement this step
    • my goal is to manage to be in less build up of pain as we (hopefully) progress through the first trimester.  Last time by week seven receiving the shot was awful because of the build up of bruising.  We did not manage to keep up with a system, and I paid for it.
    • Giving the shot can be traumatizing to your partner, they need encouragement, they need to know they are not at fault for the evidence before them (your cries of pain, your colorful booty, etc.)
    • Do not give a PIO directly after the 10 min on the heating pad, you will have a bleeding geyser on your hands!!!! Not pretty, and traumatizing evidence to the shot giver.
So sorry sisters, about all of the detail.  I hope something useful can be found.  Either way, 4dp3dt, I have my little plan in place.  Through it all though I am absolutely aware that I am not in control of whether or not I get to gaze into the face of one of these babies.  That is up to my Jesus.  I can't mess this up, I can't perform perfectly to get the desire of my heart.  All I can do is rest in the knowledge that right now, they are nestled under my heart, and they know on some level that they are loved by their mother and father.  We are already mothers, each and every one of us. Acrostic Poem

I is for isolating, infertility will feel like an island....but thankfully there are cocktails!
N is for "naive hope" its the place we all visit at the beginning of a new cycle, a new leg of the journey, I call it the "hope upswing", each time the fall to reality is a bit less painful, which worries me.
F is for friend, yes ladies you can't do this without at least one real friend who "gets it" who has been there, who lets you feel your feelings and be where ever you are (thankful to God for mine, they know who they are)
E is for expensive, just think of it like an extra car payment or three.
R is for "Relax it will happen" aka. really annoying advice, platitudes, well meaning people that you may or may not want to smack regularly (I just imagine little miniatures of their faces in place of the bruises on my tummy when I'm going in for yet another stick!  Take that!)
T is for trust, trust your God, trust your doctor, trust your partner to torture you with PIO shots, trust seems to be a theme through out the whole process, trusting someone else and giving over control you never had in the first place.  I don't know about you, but when I meet my maker, I'm going to assure him I would've learned this lesson with a LOT LESS practice.
I is for intimacy and ice cream, my marriage has suffered during this almost 10 years of struggle, dates are extravagances we can't include in the budget (please see the "E"), we chose a local "twistee treat" as our regular date spot, our marriage is a work of art, a masterpiece in the making.
L is for loss, no one completely escapes this, the loss of a child or the loss of a dream (love+sex=baby HAHA hilarious)
I is for intense, yes everything about this is intense, it's not for the faint of heart, when you've been at it for 10 years, you will watch the weak fall away from you one by one, God let that happen to us so that I would learn it is only He who will walk with me, carry me, no matter what.
T is for truth, ladies, we gotta be willing to tell the truth about this to the world.  There are way more of us out there than we think.  We have to shine light in dark places to receive the love God has for us through his own hand and the hands of those around us.
Y is for "Yes it sucks", so so much of it sucks.  We are trudging though mud while other couples are skipping through fields of daisies (aka, preggo on frigging accident, on the pill, on the honeymoon).  It's also for "Yes you are allowed to strongly dislike these people, and any others who expect you to participate in baby showers"

Once upon a time: In the beginning and a bit of history...

DH and I met at a college bar called "The Mill". We've told the story a million times. Every time little things about it change. Who said what, who made which move, when we saw each other next, etc. etc. blah blah blah. What has stayed exactly the same, what was true then, and remains true today, 15 years later, is that my heart recognized that DH was the man God had formed just for me. That sounds ridiculous, I know it, I was 20, what the **** did I know? I think that my age, and the simplicity of my life during that season, the way I lived out loud, purely by feeling, is the exact reason why when I met this man, when his face became etched in the deepest parts of my heart, I didn't have any guile in me to refute it. It was the most real confirmation to any course of action in my life. It had to have been the sovereign hand of someone who knows and loves me better than anyone, my Jesus. Here is a pic of the napkin that started it all, yes we met before you just saved your digits in some else's phone (circa 1999) !

I had rules about giving out my I got his.
Control issues? Um yes.

We got married on June 18, 2004.  And were open to the idea of parenthood from the get-go!

I can still remember that feeling of total hope and trust. Like a new world of submitting to God's plan for our family really felt like freedom to me.  I could see my life so clearly.  I had such certainty in my heart for what God was promising us.  I remember the beginning when I was nervous with anticipation that it could happen at any time!  I remember thinking those first two years, "It'll happen! We have plenty of time!  We are so young!" and "We aren't quite perfectly ready yet anyway..." (hilarious....who is ever perfectly ready?!?).  Now, almost ten years later, I reserve the right to kick anyone directly in the shins who dares spout off one of the above platitudes. Those and the hated "just relax, go on vacation".  Those people are in real danger.

Little did I know that our road to parenthood would be paved with more downs than ups...more blood, sweat and tears than "baby" steps forward...more loneliness and isolation than the feeling of building a family through the foundation of our love of God and each other.    

So here I sit, on my heating pad, at the end of 3 days of bed rest post our second three day transfer. I'm 35, and under my belt, literally, I know of 6 babies that DH and I have loved and lost.  One angel baby got to live under my heart for 9 weeks, and now rests near my grandfather at Calvary Catholic Cemetery   We lost two others at 7 weeks on July 15th, 2013.  We named these two Melanie and Max after the two children that Mary appeared to in La Salette France hundreds of years ago.  Another name for Mary is "Our Lady of La Salette" or "Our Lady of Sorrows".  After losing them to an ectopic (the end of my first IVF cycle) Mary became a great comfort to me.  During the first IVF, two babies didn't make it to blast/refreeze.  This made me so sad, to think of them never spending a moment under my heart.  My niece named these two angels Simon and Peter.  With each loss we struggle to find ways to remember those we have lost.  I want their little lives to mean something, and I want to hold onto the joy and the hope that I had when I held them, in the only way that I have ever been able to.  Still waiting for the day that this journey toward parenthood actually ends in the weight of a sweet little one in our arms.

Our first angel baby, buried in a special site for miscarried and aborted babies.  Gabriel was named after the angel Gabriel, who first let Mary know she was pregnant with baby Jesus.  Gabriel taught me that I could get pregnant, so the name made sense.
After the first IVF, we thought this would be a good way to remember those we had lost, there is a stone for each little one from left to right: Gabriel, Simon, Peter, Melanie, and Max.  Pretty huh?  The metal is real, but the stones are not.  Please, friends, we are way in debt with all these fertility treatments.  The stones are as real as they need to be to sparkle in the sunlight, just like the eyes of a child filled with laughter and play.