my nephews birthday

We visited my nephew for his 5th birthday party. What a party! Kids everywhere, two bouncy houses, carnival style hot dogs, cotton candy, star wars cupcakes. It was only slightly overwhelming. Although I camped out on a chair in the middle of the action for most of the day, doing my best to take it easy and stay off my feet,  I was exhausted way before my usual bedtime.

My wonderful Sister-in-Law has been saving all of my niece and nephew's baby things. They've been our for the taking for some time now, but I couldn't stand the thought of seeing them in our garage, taunting me. Finally this weekend, we rented a u-haul and packed it full of furniture, clothes, toys, and everything else that a new family could possibly need. 

Apparently neither ML or I are thinking much these days. We realized as we packed the truck that we'd left our car at the airport, an hour from our house, and not on our way home. It hadn't occurred to either of us when we left the car in long term parking that we wouldn't be coming back for it via airline. 

Oh my gawd do my boobs hurt. I think I might have Raynaud’s of the nipples. We were waiting to pick up our haul this morning and there was a slight breeze. Next thing I knew, my entire boobie region was in so much pain. It was so awful and lasted only about 15 minutes until I got into the truck and warmed up. 

On the long bumpy ride home, did I mention it was bumpy and that my poor boobs hurt, we talked about how we'd set things up in the house, how we'll deal with our current roommates, and that this truck full of baby things was another step towards this being real for us. We also talked about names and kind of started a list. wow.

I guess I'd always just assumed that we would find out the sex. As we were talking, ML let me in on his assumption that we'd wait to find out the gender. Um, okay. really? I am thrilled that he has an opinion, and inclined to go with it, but, um, yeah, it is going to take me a minute to get my head around this.


Bust a Myth - Preconception Testing for Infertility

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week I am happy to participate in the RESOLVE Bust a Myth campaign.

MYTH - A couple should try to conceive on their own for at least one year before seeking fertility services.

BUSTED - When I first told my OB-GYN that we had started trying to get pregnant she took the time to review my pre-conception health. She advised that I should be screened to see if I was a carrier of the CF gene, a test costing almost $500 that was not covered by my insurance. She also ordered a standard blood panel  to make sure that everything looked normal.

My husband and I spent the next year using ovulation predictor kits and pregnancy tests. Setting aside the emotional toll that this took month after month, we were also spending at least $50 per month on the conception supplies.

I returned to my OB-GYN to share my concerns that so much time had passed without a pregnancy. She advised we try for another 6 months, but I insisted on some initial testing - a semen analysis for him and day 3 bloodwork for me. At this point we'd already spent over $600 on ovulation predictor kits and home pregnancy tests and nearly $1,000 on testing to confirm that I was a carrier of CF while my husband was not.

As it turned out, our efforts had been in vain. My husband was diagnosed with azoospermia. There was no sperm in his ejaculate. A non-invasive, $16 semen analysis provided us with this critical information.

Considering that one in eight couples will experience challenges conceiving, and knowing the emotional toll that waiting so long for treatment has, I now urge anyone who will listen to ask for a semen analysis and day 3 bloodwork as part of their pre-conception testing.

By the time we finally got our infertility diagnosis we were already emotionally drained. Realizing that the previous year and a half of trying was in vain was like a slap in the face.

It seems really crazy to me that the ACOG recommends CF carrier testing be offered to all Caucasian couples for a disease that affects less than 3 in 10,000 people, and yet testing for a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples is not offered until a couple has suffered for at least a year.

These recommendations can be changed. This myth can be busted. It is our advocacy, our voices, our action that will raise awareness about infertility, and prevent the unnecessary suffering of those who follow us on this journey.


What's Normal?

So, we just got home from our bonus ultrasound and I am happy to report that everything looks good. The Doc couldn't identify any cause of the bleeding. So we got an extra peek and heard a much faster heartbeat, and were sent on our way with instructions to take it easy for a while.

For the first time on this journey I've started to feel a sense of anger. I am angry that it can't just be easy, that a loss would mean that we have to start from scratch again, that I don't know what is normal, that I am having such a hard time just enjoying this. It is all starting to make me mad.

I really am trying so hard to be zen about it all, and find ways to change scary thoughts into positive ones - like thinking that the cramps are just the little one saying hi, but I just feel so disconnected. I can't say if I am afraid to connect with this little bean, or what, but I really don't feel connected enough to be able to trust my body.

In other news, as of this last weekend I am officially tapered off of the Lexapro. And I haven't taken a Xanax or a Klonopin since the retrieval.  I know that this is best for our baby, and it felt like the right decision when we made it, but today, I am wondering. I made the Dr agree that we could revisit the meds at any time and it feels early good to know that option is there is I need it.

I have so many other happy things to post about, but they are all in mid-thought at the moment.

Oh yes, my boobies started hurting this weekend! It was so exciting! and ML swears to me that they are growing. :)

Again, I have to thank all of your for the incredible support, at every step of the way you've been here for me. The beautiful Carlia won my cycle giveaway, but I do have a little something for the rest of you, if you'll email me your mailing address.


Wishing it Would Stop

"Oh Shit Honey"

Not the words ML wanted to hear from me as we were getting ready for bed last night. I had just sat down on the toilet and discovered a pantyliner full of red blood. He came running in, looking even more concerned than I felt. I got cleaned up and climbed into bed so he could deliver my PIO shot.

He asked if we should call the Dr in the morning, but I knew from our last round of spotting 2 weeks ago that there was nothing that could be done. It was what is was, and all we could do was hope that it stopped. He assured me that he loved me. No matter what.

I wasn't worried, so much as I just wished it would stop.

We'd done a lot of walking around that afternoon. Maybe I just overdid it a little.

We'd also defied doctors orders and engaged in "a tiny little bit" of intimacy the night before. We were very careful, I didn't O, and it lasted just a minute. It was my choice. I just needed to be close to him.

This morning, I woke to find a lesser quantity of darker older blood. It is what it is, right? All I can do is make myself cozy on the couch today, with my feet up, and my laptop to keep me company.

Happy Easter.

And the Winner Is...

Infertility is the most difficult painful thing I have ever experienced. The repeat trauma of devastating news. the tears. the depression. This journey has been a long dark struggle.

But there have also been some rays of light along the way.  I would have never guessed that I was as strong and resilient as I am. Or that my love for my husband could be so intense.  And who knew that there was this incredible community of amazing resilient women waiting here for me in blogland?

The support and encouragement I've found here, well,  - i just don't have the words to communicate how incredible it has been.

I found my voice here. This blog has given me a space to unload all of my fears, and hopes, and crazy mixed up thoughts. It gave me a structure to organize my thoughts, even when I am not logged on, I create posts in my head, and am able to let go of the thought insanity. It has kept me sane this past year.

I wish I could personally thank you. every single one of you who has read, who has commented, who has emailed, who has shared your story for me to read, who has opened your own blog up to my comments... Your presence has made this space real for me.

Thank You from the depths of my heart.

During my IVF cycle I received 419 incredible loving supportive comments. amazing. I am now thrilled to announce that the winner of my IVF cycle giveaway is Carlia from The Stork Drop Zone.

Carlia and her husband started trying to conceive back in 2002. She started her blog in 2008, and has really picked up steam this last year. Her posts are always fun and interesting, and I love how she always manages to incorporate pictures. I've really enjoyed reading back through some of her older posts and am so impressed with her perseverance and resiliency. She is embarking on a plan of IUI's and I hope that her new fertility bracelet will give her some extra strength on her journey. Carlia is the winner of a beautiful Bloomtastic fertility bracelet handmade by Jenna from Among the Blosoms.

Heck, I wish that I could send all of you a beautiful inspired gift to thank you personally for your incredible support. If you are willing to send me (via email) your mailing address I would like to send you a little something special. While I can't promise a beautiful Bloomtastic bracelet, I can promise that you'll receive a little gift from me to say thanks.


one little heartbeat

The ultrasound couldn't have gone better. I caught a glimpse of something in there right away which put me at ease immediately. The Dr confirmed that there were no tubal implantations and then showed us our little one. Yes, one, which actually came as a big relief to me. He pointed out the sac and the fetal pole, not that I could tell what he was talking about on the black and white screen. He measured us right on track at 6w3d. Then he tried to show us the flick of the heart. I couldn't see it, as hard as I looked, but he did and that is what really mattered to me.

And then, all of a sudden, there was audio. With one little heartbeat. It was pretty awesome, and a lot to try and take in all at once.

ML was intent on the screen throughout, twisted halfway out of his seat so that he could see it clearly.

We met with the Dr afterwards and he gave us three little pictures. My favorite is the one that shows a graph of the heart motion along the bottom. Pretty freaking cool when I stop and think about it!

The Dr was pleased with how everything was progressing. He told me to go ahead and schedule our first OB appointment, which I already did last week :) We'll have another ultrasound with the RE in two weeks and then he'll release us to the OB. I asked about exercise, since I am desperate to do something/anything, and he gave the green light for leisurely walks and non strenuous stretching. I was starting to feel a little stir-crazy.

So far so good!

Before the 1st Ultrasound

Just wanted to take a moment to document some of my thoughts before our ultrasound today.

I am excited and nervous. My biggest fear is that there will be nothing there. Its been a long two weeks since our betas, and who knows what might have happened in the meantime. And as much as I've dreamed of twins and would also love to not have to go thru all of this again, the thought of twins has become a little overwhelming.

I asked ML what he was thinking as we go into the ultrasound. He can't decide if he'd rather see one or two. Seeing two means that we don't have to go through all of this again, but one sure seems to be more manageable!

It took some time to sink in, and still is very surreal, but I am really loving being pregnant. I am feeling great.

I decided after the spotting adventure, that I am going to think of every symptom as communication with our little astroid. Every time I get cramps, I think, oh feel that, little astroid is saying hi, and I stop for a moment and send some love. When I feel hungry constantly, I stop for a moment and say hi to the little growing babe. It feels so much better to respond with love than worry.

And yes, our little bean has officially been named astroid. I asked ML the other night what he'd like to call the little one. Impending Cataclysmic Event(s) was his response. ICE for short. It was actually a very funny conversation. I decided that Astroid sounded a little nicer, but retained some of the power of ICE.

Little One is expecting a baby brother later this Summer. Bestie has been teaching her that the 'baby boy' is in mama's tummy. I walked into the house on Friday and Little One greeted me pointing to my tummy saying 'baby'. It made my heart melt.

I spend a lot of time with my grandma. This past Saturday my uncles and aunt were in town and we all met up for dinner. It was a rare event where my dad's family is all together (without my dad, unfortunately, but thats his deal). I love being with my uncles as they remind me so much of my grandpa who passed, and also of my dad. Their stories and mannerisms, it was a great evening.

So at dinner I told them I had an announcement. My Uncle yelled, "You're Pregnant". As soon as I could confirm, my aunt started screaming, and my other uncle jumped up from the table to give me the biggest most wonderful hug. My grandma was just glowing. It was the most perfect moment. I felt so much love from my family, and their excitement was so real and pure and genuine. I am the oldest grandchild, and I know that they've all been wondering what has taken us so long. I explained that we've been working on this for A LONG time and finally succeeded with IVF. They seemed to understand that this was that much more special of an announcement.

Since my pants started feeling uncomfortably tight last week, I went on craigslist to try and find some used maternity clothes to start expanding my wardrobe. I picked up a big bag of clothing from a woman who it turns out knows my mom from baby classes and recognized my name. (Who doesn't know my mom in this town, geez) As we talked, I found myself telling her that we'd waited a really long time for this miracle and finally used IVF. Seriously none of her business, and I know how gossip spreads in the community. (Ohh, did you hear that Mama Foxy's daughter used IVF?) But it felt right, It felt like the right time to start talking openly about our experience. People can be excited about the pregnancy, while also begin exposed, albeit briefly, to infertility. At this point, I think that everyone who knows we are pregnant, also now knows that we used IVF and struggled for many years.

This all leads me to the naive innocence that has let us share the news with so many folks. I know that the rule of thumb is to wait until 12 weeks, or at least until after the first ultrasound. We didn't really talk about waiting, and I have really loved being able to share the news. Seeing other peoples reactions is a big part of what has made this feel real to me. Their excitement has become my excitement. And besides, part of me really feels like we will need ALL of them to support us if this is not to continue. That and a naive attempt to bring pregnancy loss into the mainstream, if that is part of our journey.

So, I think that sums up a lot of my thoughts at the moment. Thoughts that I hope will continue to grow and evolve after our ultrasound today. Wish us luck!


Bestie saw my rump

ML is out of town for boys weekend at our college town. Before he left he made sure that I had someone lined up to give me my nightly PIO injections. I probably would have forgotten and then panicked last night as I went to bed and realized that I was on my own.

Bestie is the best friend a girl could ask for. She came over last night and braved the PIO injection for me. And again tonight I went to her house and she delivered the injection. She did a great job. and I love her for it.

My rump is feeling increasingly sore and painful. I have to be careful as I sit, and rolling over in bed at night is enough to make me gasp when I roll onto a sore spot. ML has always said that my tolerance for pain is crazy low. I'm beginning to think that he might be right.


Happy Birthday ML

Things are going pretty well over here in my Foxy world.

Today is ML's birthday. He is SO good with my birthdays, but I always have a hard time trying to figure out what I can get for him. The man has a pretty freaking good life, and there really isn't much that he needs. The things that he really wants are uber-big ticket items, purchases that I could not make without consulting him (even if we could afford them, ha!)

I was actually feeling last night as we went to bed, that I've been on the receiving end of this relationship for some time now, am beyond lucky to have this incredible man as my partner, and need to step up my game a bit. I love and appreciate him so much, and really want him to know that.

Bestie was asking me yesterday if we'd had 'the talk' about shared responsibilities when the kiddo(s) arrive. I honestly have to laugh, because, if the kiddo(s) are like any other part of our relationship, I'd be shocked if he didn't jump right in and carry his weight plus more. I don't want to sound like a lazy fart, so I won't go into details about our current breakdown of home responsibilities, but you get the picture.

There is a annual get-together with all the guys from his college fraternity* this weekend. These guys, as hopeless as they seemed in college, have turned out to be some of the most upstanding successful men I know. ML has been debating whether or not he wants to go. I warned him that this might be one of his last free passes before the kiddo(s) arrive after which time he'll be on lockdown with me. It was a joke, kindof, and we laughed a little, but I could see the terror in his eyes. Really though, I am so glad that he has these amazing friends, and honestly wish that they could all get together more often. I know that he could really benefit from their support right now.

* Have you ever seen the movies Animal House or Old School? His house was a little like that, a bizarre mix-match of guys living together in the most disgustingly dirty house with a keg on tap 24/7. I actually met ML at a party in that house, but that's a story for another day! oh yes, the house was burned to the ground accidentally last year. idiots.

The spotting has stopped, which although I've been assured is normal, had me a little freaked out. I've been having some cramping, nothing very strong, but definitely noticeable, on and off throughout the day. A big nasty cold sore popped up on my upper lip yesterday. I get a cold sore every couple years and take the wonder valtrex pill which makes it disappear almost instantly, but alas no pill for me this time.  My PIO rump is growing increasingly painful, but still bearable. and tell me I'm crazy but my pants are feeling tight. I gained about 5 lbs during the ivf cycle, and another 2 lbs since then. So maybe it is just the extra weight, but it does have me wondering what I am going to be wearing here pretty quickly!

In celebration of National Infertility Awareness Week, I made an appointment to advocate to my Congressman and also decided which myth I am going to bust.


Mind Games

I went to the spa with my mom yesterday. As soon as we arrived I noticed that I was spotting. It was the darker, older looking discharge, but it worried me. I took a glorious shower in the triple shower-head using all of the luxurious body gels. I walked up to the salon and got my hair styled while my mom got a massage. I sat with my girlfriend while she got a pedicure. Then I stopped by the restroom only to reactivate my concern. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough to make me wish it would stop. I'd start having cramps when I was up and moving around, but they would stop when I stopped. I sat at the edge of the spa with my feet in the bubbly water, chatting with my mom. We then moved to the fireplace room where we cuddled up with blankets and read magazines while eating almonds. Another trip to the restroom and I was nervous enough that I actually just wanted to go home. I took a very quick sit in the sauna, just long enough to slather on lots of rich lotion, jumping out just before the steam machine refilled the space with hot steam. I usually stay at the spa til they kick us out, but was happy to head home a little early.

I got home, told ML about the spotting, felt oddly calm thinking that it was what it was. Then I checked with Dr Google. Dr G has been pretty good to me in the past, but this time, not so much.

The internet told me that spotting/bleeding was not uncommon, but was not normal, and that 50% of the time, bleeding leads to miscarriage. This really wasn't what I wanted to read. But as I said, it was what it was, and what could I do about it?

So I texted Bestie, freaking the poor girl out. She had the most logical reply: "Can you call your Dr" Duhh. Thats what we pay him the big bucks for, right?

So I called, had to tell the answering service that, yes, for me, this was an emergency. They had the Dr on the phone in about a minute. He assured me that there was nothing to worry about. 99% of his fertility patients have some spotting. The progesterone suppositories irritate the cervix which causes some spotting. It was okay, I didn't need to worry. I was okay unless there was lots of red blood.



My Foxy Family | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Especially for Foxy Designed by Giggly Girl Designs