Monday, March 30, 2015

Biopsy Results... Another Hurdle

I called to doctors office today to tell them that that I received the Lupron Depot and hoped that I would be scheduling my appointment to have that administered in the next couple weeks.  In the mean time I asked if my results were in and she said no, but then put me on hold to schedule the Lupron shot and then told me that my results had in fact come in and that they were "positive".  My initial thought was that "positive" meant that I tested "positive" for the Beta-3 Integrin a protein that is said to be one of the key proteins for adhesion of embryos, but her response was now we know what the problem is... 

So I continued to say, "so I don't have the protein" and she said "no, and the problem is, is that the protocol for this particular protein is a 3 month prep, meaning no IVF until July"... my heart immediately sank.  I would have to take an oral protocol for the next 3 months in order to introduce this missing protein into my system.  Needless to say, I ended the conversation with her a bit confused; why did she use the word "positive" and why have I had implantation before if I don't have the protein?   These are clearly 2 questions for my doctor and luckily I have an appointment this Wednesday at 9am to hopefully get some of these answers.  But thanks to Dr. Google, here is what I've found so far:

Failure to express this protein appropriately has been theorized to be a cause of unexplained implantation failure. Why some women do not produce beta-3 integrins is usually unknown. However, some proposed causes include presence of blocked fallopian tubes filled with inflammatory fluid, endometriosis, and poor progesterone production. {via}

As you can read, what this is basically saying is that lack of this protein can be the cause of unexplained implantation failure (could be why all 3 of my IVF cycles failed) and a proposed cause is enodmetriosis (what I have been diagnosed with, Stage II).  I don't have blocked tubes and I don't have poor progesterone production so I am assuming that my endo the probable cause to this deficiency.  From what I'm reading online, the 3 month prep will be Letrozole possibly followed by another biopsy.  This of course is another question for my doctor on Wednesday, but you bet your ass I'll be researching as much as possible the next couple days.

All I can seem to do is remind myself, once again, of my own advice... this process takes time.  I'm not sure why I'm having such a hard time grasping that.  Maybe it's because we've been on such a long break and I know I am so ready to move forward.  I am happy that we are ruling things out and doing more testing, but at the same time I have to wonder, why when I brought this up to my other doctor did he not seem concerned?  Why have I had implantation before?  Why can't I seem to catch a break when it comes to infertility treatment?  

I know that we are all more than familiar with the hurdles, the set backs, and the let downs that come with infertility treatment.  We are always waiting for something.  For a cyst to go away, for AF to show, for two weeks to pass, for a blood work to be done.  It's nothing but a waiting game and it really is exhausting.  I can tell myself, oh well, July will be better because I'll be pretty settled into the house and I can enjoy summer and we can take some bike trips, and yada yada about trying to make it make perfect sense as to why waiting another 3 months is for the best, but honestly there is never going to be a perfect time and the longer I have to wait, the more it seems so far out of reach and the more time I have to question if this is ever going to be possible for us.  

I continually have to remind myself that this isn't a race, it's not a game, there isn't a deadline, I'm not in competition with anyone, etc. etc. I am just so ready for this to just happen for us.  As discouraged as I am right now, I am happy that we could have possibly found a reason to our issues, but I am also sick of jumping hurdles.  I know that this path isn't straight and narrow for anyone.  Even those who get their BFP on their first cycle still have to endure things not working out as they want them.  As a person who appreciates a plan, a  person with little patience, a person who craves instant gratification, a person who has wanted this for 3 and a 1/2 years, I hate that I have no control over this.  

I guess I'll find out more on Wednesday and be sure to update. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Faves!

Can you believe that this was the last full week of March?  March is awful in Illinois.  Monday of this week we got 2 inches of snow, Monday of the previous week it was almost 80°… Mother Nature is super bitchy in this part of the country in March.   I am SO ready for April!

Favorite Moment:
By far my favorite moment of the week was dinner with these wonderful ladies!  All that was missing was Jessica who was unable to come! #sadface Jodie and family have been home all week since the kiddos are on Spring break so we've been visiting and catching up as much as possible.  I can’t wait for the day our house is done and we can have them over as guests! 

My second favorite moment this week was finally getting our plan for IVFx4.  I started BCP this week and am hoping to schedule my Lupron injection soon for endometriosis prevention.  Stimming and retrieval/transfer is set for the week of May 11th.  I wanted to clarify because I was asked by someone about why birth control is used in IVF protocol.  I know it seems totally counter-intuitive, but what BCP does is puts the doctor in total control of the cycle and also helps to down regulate hormones.  It can also be used to diminish cysts, or unhatched follicles.  BCP is used for lots of different things in the IVF process, just wanted to clear that up a bit for those of you who weren't sure.

Favorite Purchase:
I caved and bought this amazing new Bare Minerals kit called The Full Reveal.  It’s a 6 piece kit that comes with eye colors in Nude Beach and In the Nude, Lasting Brown eye liner, luminizer in The Awakening, Simmer Glaze lip topcoat and Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Break Away.   All for just $50!  Plus it comes in the THE CUTEST bag ever.  Perfect colors for spring! 

Favorite Pin:
umm, yes please to all of this!

Favorite house update:
The fire place for the win this week!  We found an old rail road tie with some stakes in it and we stained it and hung it up for our mantle.  Joe said I can use the stakes to hang Christmas stockings and other d├ęcor from so that’s pretty exciting!  Also we poured the concrete for the hearth and trimmed out the rest of the fireplace and it’s looking gorgeous!  Joe also brought the DVD player out so now work has become a second to movie watching at times.   Tile was also completed in the master bathroom and we get measured for the glass doors and partial glass shower walls today.  And the kitchen back splash is almost done too!  Really hoping I hear back from Home Depot on that granite bathroom vanity top they f’ed up a month or so ago too!  We are getting really really close to being able to get inspected for occupancy.  The biggest things left are the septic and electrical which Joe is working on a little each day.  Joe also said that I can start moving some of our stuff from the storage so I’m hoping to get started on the kitchen stuff this weekend!

Favorite thing I’m looking forward to:
We have yet another interview this weekend with a local pod cast in our area called IV Small Talk.  They are going to be interviewing us for NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week) and I am so happy to be getting the word out as much as possible.  I feel like we are really doing our part to spread awareness about infertility and hoping that sharing our story can inspire others to share their own.  I’ll be sure to post a link to the pod cast for both iPhone and Android users once it’s up.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kicking off IVFx4

Well, we finally have a plan!  Today is CD1 so I called the doctor to report start of cycle and was told I should be starting BCP (Birth Control Pill) this week.  I was also told that once I get pre-authorization from my insurance, I will have my Lupron Depot scheduled.  The Lupron Depot is used to lower estrogen levels and prevent any endometriosis from growing.  This is something new I will be doing this cycle that Dr. LdM thinks might help.  It's an intramuscular injection that is given by the doctors office.  I will have this done the week of April 13th and baseline ultrasound, labs, and scan will be done the week of May 11th.  

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when she said that we wouldn't be cycling until May. Then I remembered what I said at our interview for the newspaper yesterday when asked what I would tell anyone new to the world of infertility, I said, this process takes time.  So I'm taking my own advice and remembering, this process takes time, it's not a race, there is no deadline, and honestly, May is probably going to work out a lot better for us than April. We are getting so close to the house being done and ready to be moved in to that I'm hoping by the time mid-May rolls around we actually even be a little settled in at our new home.  I will be able to come home from retrieval & transfer and lay on my couch, in my living room and it will be glorious! 

Patience is something I've learned 10-fold from infertility treatment.  I never had patience like I do now.  And after being on a break since November from any kind of treatment and medication, I have a new found peace about this entire process and about infertility in general.  I don't really feel the need to wish my days away and the anxiety of wanting to cross days off my calendar.  I'm looking forward to being able to get the house done and move in, hopefully get a couple rides on the bike once the weather warms up, and enjoy as much as I can before our next transfer.  I have such an overwhelming feeling of optimism about the outcome of this next cycle, I am just taking it as it comes, and checking each new step that we've taken off as an accomplishment and progress in the right direction.  I've finally let the pressure off of myself in so many different ways and it really feels amazing.

Although May is off in the distance, I know that it will come faster than we can probably even imagine.  We are already in our last full week of March and the days are continuing to fly by!  I am so ready for this cycle, and will continue to stay positive and let things happen a they are meant to happen.   

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Happy first day of SPRING!  Woohoo!!  Although I do have more updates for you guys (I know it’s crazy how much is getting done now), I have some other fun stuff I want to talk about too so here we go:

Favorite Moment:
My favorite moment this week was finally feeling better, which wasn't until yesterday!  I was down with the stomach flu Sunday through Wednesday and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.  So happy to be feeling my normal, healthy self!

House Updates:
You may have seen my picture of the kitchen back splash which I am so in love with.  Also the trim is going up where it can and the master bath tile is really coming along.  Joe said that was the most tedious and most difficult job of the entire house because of all the lining up and cutting that they did.  He created a lot more work for himself by making every single tile line up, but it really looks beautiful!  This weekend the plan is to finally paint the last 2 rooms, the laundry and powder room and get the tile down in those rooms.  We are inching closer and closer to occupancy!

finally that cabinet that was the wrong finish was replaced!

backsplash is on and looking amazing!

I have to admit, this is just stunning!

bench in the shower

shower tile really coming along!

love our decision to go with the rustic looking trim!

Favorite Pin:

Favorite Recipe:
I haven't made this yet, but I thought it sounded light and springy!

What I’m looking forward to:
Dinner Friday with friends at a local Italian place is first up, followed by an interview Sunday with our local newspaper!  That’s right, a friend of ours writes for our local News Tribune, she asked me if we would be interested in interviewing for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) next month and I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.  If you guys remember we did that taped interview a few months ago with SIU, things are going in a little bit of a different direction with them, we are making that a long-term relationship where they highlight our milestones so that process will be taking longer than what we had originally thought.  I’ll be sure to post the link to our news interview next month though.  NIAW will be April 19th-24th and this year’s theme is “you are not alone”, a notion I can fully embrace.

Happy Friday lovlies! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Elena: A-Z

Totally stolen from Kristen!

A.      Attached or Single…
Attached to this guy since 2008!

B.      Best Friend…
I have 3 and they all have names that start with J’s, Jodie, Jessica, and Jen, and then there’s me, Elena.

Jodie, Jen, Elena, Jessica... blurry, but I love this pic from my bachelorette party!

C.      Cake or Pie…
Cake fo sheezy!  I love a good piece of cake, but it has to have buttercream frosting, none of that whip cream shit.  Although a good piece of lemon pie is also good!  This is like a trick question I think.

D.      Day of Choice…
Saturday, no work on that day or the next! Woohoo!  Fridaywould be my second choice.

E.       Essential Item…
A nail clipper or Burt’s Bees

F.       Favorite Color…
Blue, any variation.  Has been since I was like 4, and always will be.

G.     Gummy bears or worms… 
again, trick question?  BOTH.

H.      Home town…
Oglesby, Illinois

I.        Favorite Indulgence… 
Birthday Cake Remix from Coldstone, Pizza, a good Moscow Mule, a new purse or shoes… I can keep going.

J.        January or July… 
I’m from Illinois so July for sure!  January is probably my least favorite month after February.

July just looks good on me! 
K.      Kids… 
You all know the answer to this question.

L.       Life isn't complete without… 
friends and family of course! And a nice glass of champagne.

M.    Memory you Cherish… 
my wedding day.

N.     Number of brothers/sisters…
one half bro, one step bro and 2 step sisters whom I don’t speak to.

O.     Oranges or Apples…  
I love Cuties but I also love Honeycrisps

P.      Pet Peeves…  
People leaving stuff where it doesn't belong, “a place for everything and everything in its place!”

If you've seen my Instagram or Pinterest then you know I’m obsessed with quotes, but probably my favorite is the one I use as my email signature at work:  Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future—John F. Kennedy

R.      Reasons to smile… 
building our dream home!  And my adorable little pug!

look at that mug!

S.       Season of Choice… 
Summer.  Hands down. 

T.       Tea or Coffee… 
Coffee, one cup a day.  Can’t stand tea.

U.     Unknown fact about me… 
I won Young Authors twice in grade school for stories that I had written.  One of them was based on a dream I had.  I've always loved to write!

V.      Vegetable… 
I've been obsessed with spiralizing lately so I will say at the moment, zucchini.

W.    Worst Habit… 
nail biting/picking… hence the nail clipper for my essential item.

X.      X-Ray or Ultrasound… 
The last time I had an x-ray, my leg was broken in 5 places and they wanted me bending and turning and pushing on it in order to get a good picture.  Ultrasounds, I’ve had many over the last year and a half of being treated by an RE, mostly vaginal which isn’t really fun at all.  I guess it depends on the situation!

You can see in this pic on the right that my knee is huge and my toes look like sausages.  I had 2 broken bones in my feet, the metatarsal that connects the toes to the foot, a bone in my ankle was broken, my tibial plateau was broken which I had surgery on 12 days after the accident, and now have 2 pins in my knee from and my pelvis had a chip in it so 5 broken bones total up my entire leg.  Joe had 6 stitches in his shin.

Y.       Your favorite trip… 
Although I really loved Bermuda so much in 2013, our 2011 cruise is my favorite trip because I got engaged!

Z.       Zodiac Sign… 
Gemini!  I’m a June baby!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Endo Biopsy & Blood/Glucose test & Weekend Recap

You guys, I’m sorry I have been MIA and didn’t post a faster update about how the appointment went Friday, but I have been down with the stomach flu for the last 3 days and I’m finally back at work today.  I have never had the stomach flu before and found out it’s not actually the flu but the norovirus.  It all started Sunday morning about 1:30 in the morning, I thought maybe I was having a bad stomach ache from the giant piece of ice cream cake I had earlier Saturday evening, but it turned into the chills, a bad headache, and the entire day in the bathroom. 
I am back at work today and feeling much better but taking it easy on all foods.  If you guys remember, Friday was my endo biopsy and blood/glucose test.  I was not aware that an insulin intolerance or insulin issue can cause people to not become pregnant.  Luckily I passed and the drink was not that bad at all.  I was given fruit punch.  It reminded me of a Mr. Freeze pop you get in the summer, when they melt and you suck all the juice out, that’s what it tasted like, extremely sugary.   After you drink the drink, which you get 5 minutes to consume, you sit for two hours and wait. 
They attempted to get me in early for the biopsy but no one had told me to take any Motrin so they gave me 4 of them and told me to sit and wait an hour for them to kick in.  Once that hour passed it was about my appointment time anyway.  He warned me it would be very “crampy”.  Basically it’s like a pap except for they take a catheter (or something) to take the sample and then he would count to 10, and it would be over.  The more he scraped off the crampier it got, but it was fast, and not unbearable.  About the time he finished the biopsy, my 2 hours was up and they retested and I passed!  They will also test my insulin levels and we will go over all of the blood work I had done along with results from the biopsy all at once.  The biopsy results take about 2 weeks to get so I’m hoping to hear from them end of next week, beginning of the next.  I’m anxious to know if they found anything in the blood work. 
After we spent the morning at the doctor’s office, I was starving!  I had to fast for 8 hours prior to the blood/glucose test, hadn’t eaten since about 5:30 the night before and it was about 11:30 by the time we were done.  We went to Obed & Isaac’s, their local microbrew in Springfield which we have fallen in love with.  We had a huge meal!  It was delicious!  We sat at the bar after and had another beer before heading back home.

Once back home we hit the winery (I know, we sound like alcoholics) for our Will Call event.  We are wine club members at our local winery and every other month we get to pick up our wine and enjoy a pairing and fun even for wine club members only.   Our favorite Irish folk band, Paddy’s Favorite Sons played and we enjoyed a beautiful evening on the patio.  Then we followed the band out to our local state park, Starved Rock where we ate and drank more!  It was an absolute blast!  One of the most fun nights I’ve had in a while!
It was our 3 year wine clubiversary so we got woozies too!

Saturday night we visited with some of Joe’s Nebraska family who came for a visit.  A lot more eating and drinking was had, but we called it an early night.  Then in the early morning hours Sunday, the flu hit me like a ton of bricks and I spend the rest of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in bed!  No fun at all!  So happy to be feeling better.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Favorites... House Updates Take 2

Happy Friday!! There has been so much progress on the house this week I had to share them all with you again.  It’s been a real blessing that Joe has had this last month off.  We would never be as far as we are if he had been working this whole time.  Although it’s been tough living off of basically one paycheck with a couple small unemployment checks whilst building a house, we've made it!  If you follow me on Instagram then you saw how challenging it had become this week.  Thanks to my girl Caroline for starting the #LetsBeRealTogether initiative, life isn't always perfect or glamorous!  This is what I decided to share…

this is what my checking account looked like Tuesday before unemployment finally came Wednesday and I got paid today!  I had it down to $1.68... As you can see, mostly house payments with a splash of wine club!! :)
Ok, onto the updates…

First off, the GRANITE counter tops!  Finally my kitchen feels almost complete!  I’m so happy with our decision to go with granite right off the bat.  It was something that we tossed back and forth but ultimately the price difference wasn't significant enough to really sway me to laminate.  We don’t have a ton of counter top space anyway so in all we spent about $3200.  We went with one of the most common granite finishes that I see all the time, Venetian Gold.  I’m sure many of you either have it or know someone who does.  I’m also thrilled with how my Ikea bar stools turned out.  We bought 4, but only 3 really fit in the space which I am fine with.  The other one will be put to use in our basement I’m sure!

Another big one is the doors and trim.  Have you picked up on my obsession with white?  Joe was a little concerned once he realized how much white we truly have in the house, but the rustic trim is really offsetting all the white and really pops!  I’m so happy with our decision to go with a stained wood rather than painted.  All we did for our trim was buy 1x4 sticks of pine and stained them with Minwax in Early American.  It’s actually the same stain used on our vanity in the guest bath.  I love that some of the finishing touches are finally being done.  I never in a million years thought we would already have trim up at this point!

Finally, the master bathroom!  I’m so in love with our tile choices, especially the glass accent tile!  I wish that we could’ve done more but at $7 for a 12”x3” piece, it’s not cheap!  A person recently referred to my home as a Pinterest home, which I never really considered it to be, although you can probably see a lot of pinspiration, the bathroom design came directly from Pinterest.  I saw the shower and corner tub set up like this in a pin and I had  my heart set on it ever since and actually got it!  Although I like mine better because I've got two big windows rather than one!

here's my Pinspiration... you can definitely see that I got my ideas from this. As soon as the tile is finished we can get measured for the glass door and glass walls.  Ours won't go to the ceiling though.

We are really chipping away at the finishing touches of the house and I’m really hoping that we can be moving in next month!  As for this weekend, today is my endo biopsy and 2 hour blood/glucose test which I am not looking forward to.  What I am looking forward to is lunch at the local brewery in Springfield Obed & Isaac’s afterwards!  Also Will Call for our wine club is this weekend and it’s one of our favorite events because it’s the St. Patty’s Day celebration.  A friend of ours has a band called Paddy’s Favorite Sons and they only play once a year for St. Patrick’s Day!  They’re amazing and we love to watch them every year so I’m looking forward to that tonight!

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!
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