Wednesday, April 30, 2014

IVF Update

Today was our first IVF appointment.  We had a consultation with our doctor about the process (most of which I was familiar with) and set up some appointments and came up with a plan, which I am all about.  I am happy with our decision to move forward with IVF.  We know that I have a great response to the FSH so we should have no problem growing follicles.  Also, we are only planning on transferring one embryo so we will freeze the others & hopefully one day after we've had the children we want, we can donate our unused embryos to a couple in need.  What a wonderful gift that will be to give to someone.  

So here is our plan: May 20th I will have a fluid ultrasound to make sure that my uterus is free and clear of any endometriosis and is ready for IVF.  If anything is found I will have another laparoscopy done.  May 28th is our orientation where we go over everything and sign all of the legal documents that come with IVF. Since our doctors office is currently in an IVF cycle, the next scheduled cycle is July 9th through July 21st so our retrieval is tentatively scheduled for July 11th with the transfer to follow in either 3 or 5 days.  I'd prefer to get the embryos to blastocysts before transferring which would be a 5 day transfer.  FSH will be started approximately 10 days prior to retrieval, with Ganirelix to follow after 4 days of stims, then we will trigger with Lupron.  We will tentatively have the transfer done either July 14th or July 16th.  Two days of bed rest will follow.  Then hopefully by the end of July will will have a positive HCG test.  

We will have to drive to Rockford the night before the retrieval so that we are for sure there on time.  There can only be 35 hours between the trigger shot and the retrieval so timing is key for this procedure.  I started BCP tonight and will take that until the ultrasound.  I might have one natural cycle between the ultrasound and the IVF procedure, but as of right now we will not be trying naturally.  

We are both feeling good about this process.  It's definitely a very precise procedure, but is 45%-65% successful so we are feeling good about it.  There is always the chance that it might not work, but we won't really know much until we have our retrieval done.  They will tell us how many eggs were retrieved then they will keep us posted on the status of those eggs.  We are planning on both mixing the sperm with the egg and directly injecting the sperm into the egg, also known as ICSI (ik-see).  Dr. G thinks that we should do 50/50 so that we can see what works best for us and give ourselves the best chance of fertilization.  

It was definitely a lot to take in, but like I've said before, I've learned so much from this amazing community that I feel very confident about the entire thing.  I feel like I have a good understanding of the process and what my expectations should be.  Now comes that dreaded wait.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An Infertile & a Newborn

There's a lot more to beating infertility than just getting pregnant. To me, small victories just bring me one step cloer to winning this battle. I think I overcame one of my biggest hurdles last week when I met the newest member of the clan, baby Jase. One of my closest friends Jen had her first baby last Thursday and boy is he perfect. We welcomed Jase David Keegan, 8lbs 1oz. into the world seven days late. Although I probably “know” like one million pregnant people, I’m not close with hardly any of them. This is the first time that I went to the hospital and held a brand new baby since we’ve been treating for infertility.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of kids in our lives. Most of our friends and family have kids. My best friend Jodie had her first baby when we were just 19 years old, followed by her second a year later and is expecting again. Most of the people in our social circle have young kids and babies; in fact, we are probably the minority without kids in our group of friends. But this was a new first for me as an infertile.

I honestly had no clue how I would feel about meeting a new baby. I knew that I was so excited to meet him and see my best friend with her first child, but I didn’t know how I would feel inside, would I be jealous or upset? I really didn’t think so, but you really never know until you experience it how you will truly feel.

Luckily I feel like the farther I get on this path, the more welcoming I am of things like this. I have a better understanding of my journey and am more secure with what is to come in our future. I think a year ago things were so up in the air, there were so many uncertainties, I had so many insecurities and unanswered questions that I struggled with things like this. I didn’t know how to handle it; people didn’t know much about what we were going through so they didn’t understand. I feel like I have evolved over the 8 months that we’ve truly been treating for infertility. Prior to being referred to Dr. G and being “diagnosed” we just assumed that we were having infertility issues since we couldn’t get pregnant. We really had no idea. There were a lot of tears and fights that I wasn’t sure were justified or not. It was a scary time. I wasn’t sure how to have a conversation with my own husband about the situation, we were on two different pages about things, and there was a lot of internal struggle for a long time for me. It’s amazing how far we have come.

Of course the minute I laid eyes on baby Jase I was just in love with him. He is so precious and perfect. I held him for a long while and he was so calm, he didn’t make a peep, just a whole bunch of funny faces. I can say, with true sincerity and honesty that I am beyond happy for my best friend and her husband. I get excited to visit with them, I was so happy to make them a home-cooked meal and deliver it yesterday. I’m happy that I am able to do the things that a best friend should do without letting my infertility get in the way. I can’t wait to see this little guy grow up. I’m excited that we have a new member of the tribe, and hopefully our babies can all grow up together and become as good of friends as we have become. There are so many downsides to infertility that being able to say that you’ve overcome even just a small part of it feels amazing.

Welcome to the world Jase!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday to all my lovely ladies!  Anyone else feeling like this today?  I'm so thankful for coffee!

I really wish the weekends didn't go by so damn fast!  It feels like the week flies and the weekend flies even faster! WTF?  

The plus side is that the weather is finally starting to get nicer here in Illinois.  The sun is out, and the temps are starting to climb ever so slightly.  We had perfect weather on Saturday.  Of course we had a ton of errands to run.  We stopped at CNJ Style & I ended up buying a super cute maxi dress & a fun tie-dye tank.  It was also Glycolic Saturday at Skin Dimensions so my mom and I went and got our complimentary peel.  My skin is so amazing right now.  Nothing like pampering yourself for FREE!!  I bought a fun new OPI nail polish, Dutch Tulips, since all products were 20% off too!

so in love with the tie dye tank (I got the aqua) and the dress!  C'mon summer!

Saturday night we stayed at Grand Bear Lodge in Utica.  It's seriously 5 minutes from our house, but we won the stay at a bar back in December and we finally got to use it.  It was so much fun.  It really felt like we were on vacation even though we were just a few miles from home.  We went in to Utica and went to August Hill for a flight, then a cocktail and appetizers at bar down the block called Canal Port.  Our friends Jessica and Mike ended up being at August Hill too so we went back there for a while to visit with them. 
Back at the hotel we decided we were hungry so we had dinner.  We decided on the mac-n-cheese pizza, it was so good, but soo filling!  We ordered Sam Adams Boston Lagers and got to keep the glasses too.  You can never have too many of those.  They're the 30th anniversary edition glass too so they're not the same as the originals that we got from the brewery last year.  After dinner we hit up the hot tub for a bit before calling it a night. 

Sunday we spent the day finishing up with the house.  Carpets are being shampooed today & we close on Wednesday!  Another chapter closing.  I will miss our little brick bungalow, but I'm happy to see it in a family-friends' hands.  I know he will take great care of it.  I'm glad to pass it along to someone I know.

Ready to see this month end.  It was a pretty tough one for us in terms of our infertility journey.  Deciding on IVF was something I never thought we would have to face.  Wednesday is our next appointment and IVF consultation.  I'm looking forward to making a solid plan & having a strong grasp on everything that we should expect and what we should be doing in preparation until July comes around.  I already feel very confident about this and feel as though we made the right decision.

Have a wonderful week everyone!! 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Resolve to Know More... Recap

Really wish that this NIAW didn't have to end, and you know what, for me it doesn't.  I will continue to advocate for awareness about infertility.  And hopefully I will one day have a success story that I can share that will inspire others to continue the battle no matter what.  

I’m so glad that I decided to participate in this year’s NIAW.  It has been an amazing week of sharing stories and photos, finding new bloggers and IG-ers to follow, and most importantly, realizing more and more with each story that I encountered and each blog entry I read that we are all so alike in so many ways.  It’s very reassuring to realize that in no way am I alone; to know that I am not the only 1 in 8 out there; to know that there is a chance of success, that all hope is not lost.

This community has done more for me than I ever thought possible.  I’m eternally grateful to all the women out there who have reached out to me in support.  I’ve been inspired by so many and I hope that my story has inspired others.  I am also eternally grateful to the many women who have extended their thoughts and prayers that aren’t themselves infertile.  One of the best things I’ve gotten out of this entire situation is an AH-MA-ZING support group.  I never imagined that we would have so many supporters out there.  I will never be able to thank them in the way that I would like to, each and every one of them, individually, with a hug, a bottle of wine, and a Reese’s peanut butter egg.  As much as I wish I could, extending my gratitude via social media will have to suffice.

There are definitely some unfortunate issues we are faced with, re-evaluating friendships/relationships, struggling with the sincerity of your feelings towards others that are expecting, dealing with grief, loss, the financial burden, the emotional and physical toll that will be taken through treatments.  There is just a lot to deal with, plain and simple, and it’s not fun, and it will be hard, and tears will be shed, and anger and frustration will be part of it.  There is no way around those feelings.

With all the pain and negativity that comes with infertility comes the silver lining, that glimmer of hope, that light at the end of the tunnel that keeps us all chugging along, being poked and prodded more than we ever thought we would be to finally reach that finish line and have a baby.  That reward will be worth every bit of the struggle that we faced.  I will continue to dream about that day.  I will be positive and optimistic, and I won’t let this fight bring me down.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Favorites

I decided to give this new link-up hosted by Amanda at Meet at the Barre is hosting.  Sometimes it's hard to break a habit, but I think it's good to try new things so here we go...

Favorite Moment: I actually had two this week, one was getting the pre-sale Eric Church/Dwight Yocum The Outsiders Tour tickets.  I'm so super stoked for this concert.  This will be my 4th time seeing Eric Church in concert and he never disappoints.  C'mon November 21st!  Second, and most important, we got our appraisal back on our build and it came in at exactly what we needed it to. Basically meaning it appraised for what it's going to cost to build.  I'll be honest, things were adding up quickly so I wasn't sure how it would all work out.  So excited that we finally made it over that huge hurdle!  Onto the next!

I'm pretty sure this is exactly what will happen as this house is being built!

Favorite Song: Actually I found an old Too Kool Chris CD in a pile while of burnt discs when I moved back to my parents.  If you're not familiar with TKC, he's an old school techno DJ from the 90's.  True techno music, not what you hear today.  I guarantee that you would recognize a lot of his songs/samples. The entire album puts me in THE GREATEST mood.  #raveratheart

Favorite Social Media Moment: I reached a few Instagram milestones this week (most likes on my "we are 1 in 8" photo, and 600+ followers!) & it couldn't have been a better week to do so thanks to NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week).  I gained some new followers and found some amazing new women in the infertility community.  I'm very open about my story and I'm always excited to get the chance to share more about our journey.  I just want to say thank you to everyone new and old, who has followed us on our journey.  So appreciative of every one of you!

Favorite Quote:  If you do follow me on Instagram then you already know that I'm a huge fan of quotes and I love the Rhonna Designs App.  Here's my favorite quote from the week that I made in the Rhonna Desings App with her new "nautical chic" stickers.

Favorite Pin: Loving this look.  Totally could rock my leather leggings with an oversized shirt and fun scarf before it starts getting too warm.  Check out my other Style pin boards!

Favorite thing I’m looking forward to: we are staying at Grand Bear Lodge, a big resort that we won a free night-stay to back in December.  Really looking forward to a night out with just my husband, we’re going to do dinner and possibly hit the winery.  Also, next week is our IVF consultation and I’m actually really looking forward to it.  I feel like I’ve already got a ton of knowledge about the IVF process, but none of it has come from our doctor, hopefully it will be a promising appointment.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Resolve to Know More... Infertility Humor, Dictionary, & Costs

Once you get past the initial acceptance of the fact that you are an infertile couple, you are 1 in 8, you can start easing off the anxiety breaks and start laughing about it a little bit.  If you don't you will be sincerely miserable at all times because having a baby is all you will think about, it will constantly be on your mind 24/7 so you've gotta learn to laugh a little bit about it.  Even though it's a serious disease that causes so much heartache, we can always force a smile through the tears thanks to infertility humor in the form of eCards. 

The more you start to learn about infertility, the more you start to realize it's really a community and a culture. You'll start finding blogs and Instagram-ers & other social media outlets to follow & you'll start delving a little bit further, submersing yourself into that culture.  You'll start using acronyms for everything.  You'll refer to your miserable, old, AF (Aunt Flow), you'll talk about how you got a SMILEY face today on your OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kit), you'll say that you will BD (Baby Dance) with your DH (Dear Husband), and sometimes you might get a little graphic and talk about your CM (cervical mucous) or your FMU (First Morning Urine).  If you'd like to learn some more fun acronyms, check out my TTC Baby Ridley Timeline & Dictionary page that I made specifically to help others decipher what the heck I'm talking about half the time.

Then there are the costs of being treated for infertility.  I can't say much about it because I have insurance coverage for infertility treatments.  Even with coverage, it's amazing how much some of these procedures and medications can cost.  The laparoscopy I had back in October was $20,000, with insurance I paid $575. The first time that I used Follistim, they gave me 900iu which is basically three vile's which cost me about $488.  The 3rd time I needed it, it was no longer covered by insurance and 300iu was going to cost $500 out of pocket.  This is why I switched to Gonal F.  I was able to get a coupon from my doctor and only paid $4 for 600iu.  I just read an IVF statistic that the average cost is between $8,000-$10,000 and can take an average of three cycles to get a positive.  I know that I am very blessed and it's very rare to have insurance coverage for infertility.  I'm not sure without the coverage how we would be paying for it or if we would so willingly be moving forward with IVF.  There are some wonderful grants and different financial assistance programs available to those who are in need of some additional funding.  There are also couples who have fundraisers that you can donate to.  One that is near and dear to my heart is my beautiful friend Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples.  Her "Piece our Family Together" Puzzle Fundraiser is one of the best ideas I've ever heard of.  For your gift of $25 (or more), your name and/or family's name will be written on the back of a puzzle piece. As all of the pieces have names, the puzzle will be assembled. Jessah will be updating her blog with the progress of the puzzle as it is formed so you can see the beautiful puzzle you're helping to create for their baby.  What an amazing and beautiful way to honor those who have donated.  I urge you to (if you can!) to help those who are collecting donations. The financial burden of these procedures and treatments can cause many people to not move forward because the costs are just too high.  Many people spend their entire life savings on these procedures.

If you would like to know more about NIAW or about the disease of infertility click these links below:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Resolve to Know More... What is Infertility

The simplest way to explain "infertility" is the inability to naturally conceive a child, but there is so much more to it than this.  There is no website or book that can truly explain what it means to be infertile.  If you’re not infertile, you can never really, 100%, understand the concept.  Even an infertile person cannot always grasp the full extent of what infertility is to another person.  To me, it is a personal story, a personal experience, it can be related to by others, but your definition is just that, yours.  The beautiful thing about it is that there are so many unique and inspiring stories out there. 

First off, infertility does not define me, there is a lot more to me than just being infertile, but I do advocate for it & accept that it is part of my life.  I’m open about our journey; I share my pain, my frustration, my thoughts, my fears, and so much more on my blog.  My Instagram is chalk-full of photos and quotes about it.  Infertility is a lot of tears, anger, confusion, heartache, & letdown; it’s a whole lot of disappointment & negativity.  Its feeling like you might be less of a woman or a wife because you can’t give your partner a child.  It’s jealousy of others who can get pregnant without sticking a needle in their abdomen.  It’s a lot of waiting.  So much waiting.  It's constantly reminding yourself not to give up, which is a challenge within itself. It's so hard when you think back on how long you've been on this path and although you've made strides, big strides, you still haven't gotten where you wanted to be, and you never really know if you'll get there.  It can be a huge struggle when things don't go how you are expecting them to and you have to take steps back and revise the plan.  I would say that is what the majority of the journey is, revising the process, learning what works and what doesn't, and becoming stronger and stronger with each cycle.  

The more individualized part about infertility is treatment, are you taking Clomid, are you using injections, what kind of progesterone are you taking, how many procedures have you had, how many tests or surgeries do you have, have you lost pregnancies or was your first try successful?  Are you looking into adoption, or egg donors, or surrogacy?  This part of the journey is different for every one of us.  But here is where we can all relate again, what we want in the end, is a healthy baby in our arms.  We are all after the same dream, the same goal.  Some will be fortunate enough to achieve that dream and some won’t, that is a harsh reality. 

I am confident that we will achieve our goal.  I feel like IVF will be the way to get us that baby that we want.  Although we are all on our own individual paths towards a baby, we all have the desire to become a parent.  What I want is for someone who doesn't know much about infertility to be able to understand that infertility is an entire culture of its own.  We are a tight-knit community.  We form on of a kind friendships, we send each other care packages, we support each other, and it’s a beautiful thing.   If you are just starting down your own path of infertility, know that there is SO MUCH support out there, any question that you have can be answered and has been asked by someone else just like you.  I encourage you to search out this amazing community, we are pretty easy to find and there are more of us than you can ever imagine. 

If you would like to know more about NIAW or about the disease of infertility click these links below:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resolve to know More... My Story.

Sunday April 20th through Saturday April 26th is National Infertility Awareness Week 2014.  NIAW is a movement that began in 1989 to raise awareness about the disease of infertility and encourage the public to understand their reproductive health.  In 2010 NIAW became a federally recognized health observance by the Department of Health and Human Services.  This year’s theme is “Resolve to Know More”.   In honor of this week, I will be sharing multiple posts related to infertility & participating in 2014 Bloggers Unite Challenge.

When I started this blog in 2012, I started it thinking that I would be documenting our journey to get pregnant, have a baby, and raise that baby.  I was inspired by blogs like Little Baby Garvin, and I was excited to one day be able to share our pregnancy and our baby the way so many other bloggers do.  Little did I know that two years later, the entire focus of my blog would be about infertility.  Little did I know that I would still be baby-less, little did I know that I would have 2 failed IUI’s and preparing for IVF in just a few short months, and little did I know this blog would be such an amazing blessing for me.  I have connected with so many wonderful women.  I continue to educate myself as much as I can and share that on my blog.  I am open to talk and discuss it all openly and honestly.  I am not ashamed one bit about my infertility issues, I am proud of the strength that I have gained on this journey.   I have been inspired and learned so much about the different ways of starting a family from bloggers like Jess @ Dreaming of Dimples.  She is currently in the process of choosing an egg donor, or Beth @ Beth & Harrison Slatery who had a successful IVF and is now expecting her first baby, or Heidi @ So Much More... who has adopted and is expecting triplets!  There is so much inspiration and knowledge to be found through these women and so many others out there.  I encourage everyone, not just those who are infertile, to educate themselves, even just a little, about the disease of infertility.

When I first came upon the notion that we might not be able to get pregnant naturally, I was scared and lost.  I came to that realization after we had been trying for a year, and being the age that we are, so many people were getting pregnant quickly and I wasn’t.  I used my good friend Google to find information, but I never really felt certain about anything and at this point I hadn’t spoken to any kind of specialists.  Finally, after one year of trying with no luck I talked to my doctor about what we should do.  In November 2012 we scheduled a blood test to verify ovulation which came back positive.  We followed this up with a semen analysis and a HSG in January 2013 which both came back normal.  We tried again for another year with no luck and finally in August of 2013 I was referred to another doctor in my local office for fertility treatment.

I had a horrible experience with the doctor that I was referred to.  She was very cold and seemed to not care at all about my concerns.  She told me that I would need to be referred to a fertility specialist and I was happy that I was not going to be treated by her.  We had our first consultation with Dr. G in early October and a week later I was having a laparoscopy done (mild endometriosis found), and a month later we had our first IUI.  I was so happy that we were moving along quickly, we were finally getting some answers and taking some real steps towards getting pregnant.

Although our first IUI (using 50mg of Clomid to boost ovulation) was negative, we rolled quickly into the second one, this time using 75mg of injectable FSH.  I was scared to give myself injections but I did it, piece of cake.  After one week of injections I had two beautiful follies and a successful IUI, I had two positive, but low range HCG tests and on the 3rd test the number had plummeted into the negatives, we lost it.  It was devastating, but we continued to move forward.  I’m a firm believer that a positive attitude creates a positive outcome.  As hard as that can be at times, you’ll find that positivity is a common theme of my blog.

In preparation for our 3rd IUI the doctor decided to up my meds to 100mg of FSH.  This resulted in about 15 follicles, too many to proceed with an IUI.  We cancelled and waited for AF to show, 45 days later she finally came.  We dialed the dose back down to 75mg of FSH & hoped for the best.  A week later the ultrasound indicated I had been over stimulated a 2nd time.  22 follicles had grown and my ovaries could feel it.  The decision had been made on April 11th 2014 that we would change our game plan and move forward with IVF in July.  

With each letdown I shed my tears, vent my frustrations, turn to my support, and take the steps I need to move forward.  I use social media outlets like my blog and Instagram to express my feelings and connect with others who can relate.  I turn to my husband who is so much stronger, optimistic, and positive about this than I am for inspiration.  I cry it out with my mom and my friends over a glass of wine and they help me find the silver lining.  Infertility has been a battle that I never thought we would be facing, but I know that we will win.   We will do whatever it takes for our baby.  I will be poked and prodded and tested, I will ride the roller coaster of emotions, because I know it will be so worth it in the end. 

If you would like to know more about NIAW or about the disease of infertility click these links below:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five on Friday

One.  How it’s going
If you read this post then you heard about the IVF news we got last Friday.  Well, a week later I’m feeling a lot better about the situation.  Thanks so much to my friend Beth who has been an awesome support and has shared a plethora of knowledge and advice with me.  She’s really helped me feel more at ease about the whole thing.  Right now I’m taking a medication to help with OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome) and waiting for AF to show.  Our IVF consultation and ultrasound are scheduled for April 30th.  We will know more specifics after that appointment.

Two.  National Infertility Awareness Week 2014
This Sunday kicks off NIAW and I'm so excited to be participating in the 2014 Bloggers Unite Challenge.  NIAW began in 1989 and was federally recognized as a health observance in 2010. This year's theme is "Resolve to Know More".  I'll be spreading infertility awareness all week starting Sunday through blog posts so be on the look out.

Three.  Mesothelioma Awareness 
I wanted to take a minute to share with you the story of Heather.   At the age of 36 she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma just 3 ½ months after her first and only child, Lily was born.   She was given only 15 months to live unless she underwent a drastic surgery to remove her left lung.  Miraculously, she beat the odds & is still here eight years later.  Heather was exposed to asbestos through her father’s work jacket when she was a little girl.  Her story is truly amazing.  She aims to educate & raise awareness about this preventable disease.  She is a beautiful, strong woman who beat the odds & I encourage you to check out her website & her story. 
she is stunningly gorgeous!

Four.  Easter Weekend
On top of trying to move over the next couple of days we also have family home and Easter to celebrate.  Holidays are always tough my parents are divorced, then you add your significant others family into the equation and you have 3 places to be at once!  Luckily, I’ve been doing this for 26 years so I know how to make it work.  Lunch at Joe’s parents then dessert at my dad’s following.  Then we get to spend time with everyone!  Saturday night I planned for all the Ridley kids & their spouses (me!) to go to dinner & everyone is actually going to come, I invited my extended family, Jessica &  Mike to tag along as well.  It should be fun

Five.  Bates Motel
If you’re not watching this, you should be.  Season one is on Netflix and it is seriously addicting.  I love how it’s modern but they keep a vintage feel to it, seriously, she drives this seafoam green 1960’s Mercedes station wagon of some sort.  So cool!  And if you love a good thriller, this show is for you.   Season two is currently playing on A&E now.

Happy Friday lovely ladies!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

{IVF} Our New Journey

Typically, when I write these kinds of posts I prefer to do it as soon as I can after the event that I'm going to be talking about so that I can capture the raw emotion, but yesterday after my appointment I headed straight for Bloomington, cried all the way there, then regrouped, put on a brave face, and helped my little sis celebrate her milestone.  I didn't want to make the evening in any way, about me.  It was all about her so here I am a day later, and maybe thinking a little clearer, to talk about our new journey, IVF.

It's amazing how a day can go from being so awesome to so upsetting so quickly.  I took a half day at work, went and did some retail therapy, enjoyed a hot ham and cheese from the Hardee's that recently opened, rolled the windows down and enjoyed the 65 degrees and sun that we had.  It just seemed like a perfect afternoon.  Then I got to my appointment (Joe has been working 12 hour days this week and was not able to get away to join me) and immediately I saw a ton of follicles in my ovaries and I heard the doctor say "this is scary".

Let me back up a bit and say that a few days ago I started noticing some symptoms in my abdominal area. A few different symptoms that I did not have when I used Follistim, but this time using Gonal F, I thought maybe it was just reaction to a different medication even though they are essentially the same thing.  I really didn't think too much of it, but I guess I kind of knew in the deep corner of my mind, that this was pain from my ovaries being FULL of follicles.

We counted 22 follicles, all of them over 15mm, the biggest being 22mm.  My nurse told me she had never seen that many follicles from such a low dose of medicine in her 12 years.  That's a huge number and that's wayyyyy too many for an IUI procedure to be done.  For a successful IUI, 1-4 follicles is ideal, if that's the case then you use an injection called Ovidrel, commonly referred to as your "trigger" shot which will cause ovulation. It's much more powerful than your own body's way of causing ovulation so when you have as many follicles as I did this time (and last time with around 15), by triggering ovulation, & even with natural ovulation, there is a very high risk for multiple pregnancies because more than one of those follicles can rupture.  So no IUI, no unprotected baby dancing.

Dr. G explained to me the risk of having all of these follies and being over stimulated.  It can cause nasty ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which basically makes you terribly bloated (because plasma is leaking out of your body into your abdomen, yikes!), and painfully uncomfortable.  So today I start medication for those symptoms.  Then I wait for a period, and on April 30th we will have an ultrasound and an IVF consultation.

I am not afraid of IVF, along the lines of preparing your body for egg retrieval, I will be doing the same thing I am now, injecting myself with a high dose of Gonal F to get lots of follicles.  Basically, the reaction I had to the meds was perfect for IVF, but not for IUI.  The downside is that they don't do another round of egg retrieval until July.  So now we play the waiting game again, for 3 months.  We can try naturally over those months to see what happens, but like I told my mom yesterday, I am done holding my breath until I see an embryo attached to my uterus.  

This is going to be an entirely new journey for us.  It's a new chapter, or even a new book, really.  It's never what I thought my road to a baby would lead to, but such is life.  I learned long ago the importance of having a plan, but never expecting it to go the way you intended it to.  As always, I will be positive and optimistic about this.  I have a wonderful friend, Beth who got pregnant her very first IVF round and other friend who is going to be going through IVF in August and we decided we will be in this together.  I have amazing support from Joe, my family, and my friends.  I've learned a lot about my support group through this entire process and I'm so thankful to those who have been there for us.  We are ready for this challenge.  

So far, the positives that I can see through all the tears are that I have an awesome response to the FSH in terms of IVF.  I will have plenty of good-sized follicles to retrieve which means, hopefully, lots of embryos. The plan is to transfer one, freeze the rest.  We will get to really focus on the house and not be stressed with building and expecting a baby at the same time.  If I would have the IUI and it worked, we would end up being in a really tight time crunch of getting the house done before the baby would come, now we shouldn't have to worry so much about that.  And last, I think we will be able to do the 1000 mile ride to Myrtle Beach and really enjoy a nice trip before things get too crazy.

Right now things are kind of in the air until we have our consultation.  I'm glad we have some sort of plan and some idea about what we can expect.  I'm so thankful for those ladies who have been brave enough to share their personal stories of successes and failures in blogland because I feel like I already know so much about it and if it wasn't for them, I would be lost and afraid.  Moving on, moving forward, and ready for our baby.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five on Friday

One.  Ultrasound & 3rd IUI
Today is the day!  Our follow up ultrasound is this afternoon at 3 in Peoria.  They will check to see that the Gonal F did its job and stimulated some awesome follicles.  Last time we were at this stage we found out that we had over stimulated my ovaries and we had way too many follicles that were too large to trigger at the risk of multiple (and I’m talking 4-5) pregnancies!  I’m very hopeful that since we decreased the dosage that we should have a nice, small number of good sized follies.  We should be having the IUI either tomorrow in Rockford or Monday in Peoria if all goes well today!  Beyond hopeful that this will be it!

Two.  Birthday Weekend!
Not my birthday, but yesterday was my MIL’s birthday, today is my little SIL’s 21st BIRTHDAY! And tomorrow is my best friend Jen’s birthday!  Lots of wonderful bday’s this week.  Tonight after our appointment we will head back east to Bloomington from Peoria to celebrate my favorite little sis-in-law Delaney’s 21st!  I can’t believe that she is finally 21!  So grown up!  We are going to the hibachi grill for dinner then out to a few of my old favorite stops, Maggie Miley’s, Pub II, and Six Strings.  Looking forward to a little letting loose, let’s just hope it doesn’t turn into me thinking I’m 21! 

Three.  Staying Stress-free
My biggest goal, and biggest challenge this cycle is staying stress-free.  Reason being that it’s such big challenge is that we just have a lot going on with the two houses right now.  We are kind of in a limbo where nothing has been finalized or closed yet and it’s getting to be frustrating.  We are so ready to be out of the house we are in & so ready to start building our future home and at this point it’s all out of our hands.  Waiting on appraisals is like waiting for paint to dry, it’s slow and it’s boring, and there’s nothing you can do to help it along. Luckily the appraisal for the house were building has been ordered & the appraisal on the house we live in is scheduled for next week.  I need to remember to just let these gravity issues go so that I don’t put myself at risk to have another failed IUI. 

Four. Simply Beautiful Cremewear Blush
A couple weeks ago after a facial I bought one of these Simply Beautiful Creamwear Blushes from Skin Dimensions and I’m absolutely loving it.  If you’re not familiar with Simply Beautiful, it’s very comparable in quality & price to BareMinerals.  Afterglow is definitely my favorite shade, perfect for summer.  I love how it looks by itself or with another blush over top or bronzer, and it can be used on eyes, lips, and cheeks!  Bonus, right now they are only $10!
Five.  Quest Bars
I’m sure I’m jumping on this bandwagon late, but I finally started buying Quest Bars and I’m loving them.  The double chocolate chip is my favorite, strawberry cheesecake is a close second.  With a whopping 20g+ of protein in each bar, these babies really make you feel full!   What’s your favorite flavor?

Happy Friday to all my lovely ladies!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Picks for the Home...

Building this house has become such an overwhelming, but oh-so exciting process so far.  We haven’t even actually started building yet, but we’re hoping to by the end of this month, early next.  We have a few loose ends to tie up, an appraisal to order, and a loan to settle on, but the majority of our subcontractors are lined up and ready to go. 

I thought I would share a few tidbits of things that we have picked out.  Of course these are all subject to change, but these are the choices I feel most confident about so far.

Siding.  We decided to go with LP SmartSide siding rather than vinyl.  It’s made from engineered wood and is more durable than standard vinyl.  We will be doing a combination of lap and shake siding.  I’m so excited about our color choices, Sand and Montana Suede, they should be beautiful together with an accent of ivory trim. 
here's some inspiration... shake on the peaks and lap on the rest.  Beautiful!

Flooring.  We want hardwood flooring all throughout our house.  Only the two guest bedrooms will be carpeted.  We decided on a hand-scraped Acacia wood called LaHoya.  We always pictured our floors to be really dark, but thought that going a little lighter would help with dog hair and other debris that can be easily seen on floors.  I know I will probably be Swiffering often, but it will be worth it for these beautiful floors.

Lighting.  Although not every single light has been decided on, there are a few that I’m pretty dead set on.  I’m super pumped about these pendant lights from Etsy.  I want Edison bulbs all throughout our kitchen area, I think they just look so warm and inviting rather than the blue glow that you get from today’s light bulbs.  These pendants will hang over the island and I found a perfect chandelier to match at Menards for a very reasonable price, which will hang in the breakfast nook area. 

this will have an oil rubbed bronze finish rather than a brushed nickle finish and it will match this....

Paint Colors.  Probably the last thing I need to be worrying about at this point since we aren't even close to needing to decide on them, but I did a little browsing yesterday in the paint section at Home Depot and picked a few colors I think I'm going to go with.  

Kitchen Cabinets.  I've had a vision in my head from the day we bought the property of what my kitchen would look like and I'm not budging on it.  Ivory cabinets, with a dark wood island, beautiful counter tops, and GE Slate appliances. This is the room I'm most excited to see finished.

Thomasville in Toasted Almond.

Things will only get crazier from here I'm sure, but I'm so excited to see all of our hard work and years of waiting finally get put into action!

Monday, April 07, 2014


One of the best things that's come from this whole infertility journey that we've been on are the relationships I've made with so many women, and the outpouring of support that has come from so many corners.  I had no idea when I first started blogging about our issues & sharing our personal story on social media that there would be such a vast support system of women who are facing the same challenges, many much worse than my own.  I would never have the chance to connect with these wonderful ladies if we weren't faced with what we are so I am thankful in a way that we were dealt this card.  I never knew how much my family, friends, and even many acquaintances would reach out to show their support.

I've received countless gestures from fellow bloggers and TTC sisters who are willing to give their left over supplements (thanks Beth!), I received the TTC Exchange care package from Heather, an encouraging gift from a friend & co-worker, and a greeting card from a fellow blogger and infertility sister offering some inspirational words to help cheer me up.  I am so grateful and so thankful for these gestures, they mean so much!  

I was raised to write thank you cards whenever I was given a gift.  I used to roll my eyes at my mom when I was a teenager and she would have me write them after my graduation party or after a birthday party to everyone who gave me a gift, now I'm so thankful that she taught me that.  I have a whole slew of fun thank you cards that I keep around because you never know when you will need to send one.  I hand wrote every single one of our thank you's after our wedding.  Thank you cards are a simple gesture of gratitude.  

I received an email from Treat by Shutterfly I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to send some really amazing thank you's out to those who have been so sweet & supportive of our journey.  What I love about Treat is the convenience.  They will actually send the card for you, you can add a stamp and everything, or if you're like me, and you want to add a handwritten touch, you can have it sent to yourself!  Their website is very easy to navigate and their cards are so easy to customize.  You can add your own message, you can change fonts, colors, photos.  You have the freedom to do pretty much whatever you want.

Another plus is that if you're not a planner, or you just completely forgot and you need to send a card in a pinch, you can send a digital version of the card. If you realize that it's someones birthday or anniversary and you don't have time to go buy a card and get it in the mail, you can go to their website and design your own custom card to be sent directly to the recipient via email!

I am absolutely smitten with the way that my cards turned out. I love how personalized you can make them. I want to take a minute to thank Treat for allowing me to have so much fun with their service.  I'm so thankful to everyone who has supported me on this journey, and I'm so happy to be able to thank them in this way!

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