So my temp was low when I woke up this morning - 97.8. It had been 98.3 since I ovulated.
Now, I should first point out that last month I wrote something about how I like to take my temp because then I get a warning about when my cycle is ending. Well, after I wrote it, I looked through my charts and discovered that it has actually NEVER been a warning sign. My temp has lowered the morning after a new cycle begins as far back as I could go.
So then that begs the question, what is happening?
It's only nine days past ovulation, so that would be really bad news if I get it today. My luteal phases are usually an okay length (eleven days), so this would be a little set back. It's cycle day 27, so the actual cycle wouldn't be a bad length, but that doesn't matter if the luteal phase is too short.
But I don't feel at all like I'm getting my period today. I did have a sensation in my legs on Tuesday, which I typically get every month in the week leading up to it, but I was also dehydrated and sick that day, and I also haven't felt it since. You know how you usually have some sort of feeling it's coming? Well, I have none whatsoever. The only thing I'm experiencing is I still have slight nausea on and off (the last time was last night) and my stomach is gurgly today. Another symptom I sometimes get at the end is that I feel full all day, but so far I've been hungry.
I'm also not spotting at all, which is good no matter what ends up happening.
One thing I do think might be starting, though, is a cold. My nose has been stuffy, one of my ears feels full and today my jaw is sore. Maybe a sore throat's coming on? I don't know what's up with me this week! I would have thought my healthy diet would have built up on immune system, not the other way around!
I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining. None of this bothers me, not even the low temp this morning. Whatever is meant to happen will happen. I'm okay with it right now. I'm sure I'll be sad once it's here, but we'll go out to eat and I'll get over it. Maybe I can even get some sympathy purchases out of it, like some clothes. Honey, are you reading this?
By the way, we rescheduled our homestudy visit today and it's not until Nov. 17. That's a long time from now, but I'm okay with it because it's in God's hands. I've said from the beginning that I will let God control the timeline of this adoption because I only want the baby that he wants us to have. The other part of me, though, thinks the social worker has it in her head that we can only meet on Mondays and Tuesdays (my husband's days off) and so she gave us the first Monday she had available. If that's the case, I'm wondering if I should call back and tell her we can do any morning (since he works nights), but then I go back to the thought that I'm not really motivated to make this go faster than it is. I think I'm going to leave it as is. That also gives us more time before we have to pay the next $450 installment!
One more thing - check out who my husband interviewed last night...
It's John McCain's 96-year-old mother Roberta! Ryan doesn't usually get pictures taken with well-known people he interviews because it's considered unprofessional, but another reporter made him get in this picture (I cropped him out), and I'm so glad he did! She doesn't look a day over 80, right? And I guess she has a jam-packed campaign schedule here in the last few days. This was at like 8 o'clock last night!
By the way, speaking of my husband, check out this entry on his news blog. It's unbelievable!
Friday, October 31, 2008
So my temp was low when I woke up this morning - 97.8. It had been 98.3 since I ovulated.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
So some of you have commented and emailed me, asking for the soup recipe, and I'm happy to pass on the yumminess! We just had some leftover soup for lunch and it was GOOD.
I have to give all the credit to my mom, since it's her recipe. I'm so blessed to have grown up with such a great cook/baker and me and my sisters all treasure her recipes. This one is just the perfect pick-me-up on a cold day, or on a day when you're under the weather, or when you're in need of some comfort food after you've had a bad day or gotten some bad news (which we ALL are very familiar with, are we not?). And the best part about this comfort food is that it's healthy!
As with any of my recipes, I will warn you ahead of time I am just writing this from memory, so it will come off pretty informal. If you have any questions, just email me!
Chicken Noodle Soup with Dumplings
One whole chicken (sometimes called a "fryer," not a big roaster chicken)
2 large cans chicken broth (I got low sodium)
One small box chicken broth (this is in case you need a little more than the two cans, or in case you want to add more broth to leftovers. And the box is good because since you won't use it all, it's easier to save leftover in your fridge)
One small onion or 1/2 large onion, chopped
3 or 4 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Dry basil, salt, pepper, thyme (I didn't have thyme, so I used Bell Seasoning), parsley
3 or 4 carrots, chopped (I chop them in circles)
1/2 cup to 1 cup noodles (I used low-carb, high fiber rotini.. and 1/2 cup may not sound like a lot of noodles, but it is when it's done)
*this is not my mom's recipe. She uses Bisquick, which I cannot due to my diet, so I just found this on the internet. But it worked well! You can use any dumpling recipe you may have.
2 cups flour (I used white wheat, of course)
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup milk
Put uncooked chicken in big pot and cover with both cans of chicken broth (I used about a 1/4 of the box as well, and it came out perfect). Add chopped onion, celery and garlic, as well as basil, thyme, salt and pepper (I didn't measure, just added a few shakes) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let simmer (on low, but make sure it's moving, as my mom says) for one to two hours (the way my mom explained it to me, if you're in a rush, you can remove the chicken after one hour, but it's better to let it go a little longer. Too long, though, isn't good either, so I checked it periodically after an hour. You don't want it to be falling off the bone too much. I think I let it go an hour and a half).
Remove chicken and let cool. Add chopped carrots and noodles and bring to a boil again, letting it boil for about ten minutes (the noodles will cook again when the dumplings are added, so you don't have to let it go too long - my noodles basically disintegrated by the end, which is still yummy!). In the meantime, cut up the chicken (you won't need it all - you can use remaining chicken in another recipe!). After the noodles and carrots have cooked, take the soup off of the burner and add chicken back in. Try the broth and add more seasoning to taste. At this point, if you're not eating it right away, you can cover it and let it sit until you're ready to make the dumplings, or you can move right on to them...
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter (that's been kept at room temperature or use soft margarine). Stir milk lightly into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon and adjust amounts to make sure that you have a moist dumpling dough.
Now, my mom suggests adding a little dry parsley right before the dumplings, so that they take on the little green specks and look super good.
You can make big dumplings, like the size of biscuits, or you can make smaller ones, using about a tablespoon of dough at a time. I made the smaller ones so there'd be more of them. Drop them into the soup, as many as will fit (don't worry about them keeping their shape, they will somehow form into individual dumplings while they're cooking).
Bring soup to a boil once again, and reduce to a simmer (make sure it's still lighly boiling though, I screwed this up and had to cook the dumplings twice because I turned the heat too low!). Once simmering, cook for ten minutes uncovered and then ten minutes covered (like I said, I messed this up so you might have to play with the time. It will be obvious if they're still doughy), but be careful not to burn the soup on the bottom (also - the online recipe called for cooking just ten minutes covered, so you could try that method too). Test the dumplings by cutting into one and checking if it is raw in the middle. Once done, remove from heat and serve!
The dumplings kind of spread all throughout the soup and make it seem creamy. It's so yummy! And the best part is it is low G.I. (as long as the dumplings are whole wheat) and it's good for you. I hope you like it as much as we do!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I felt a lot better today, but tonight, well, not so much.
When your mom lives eight hours away you have to take matters into your own hands, so this afternoon I made chicken noodle soup from scratch. I think this might have been my down fall.
Not wanting to go off my diet again today (I switched from regular ginger ale to coke zero), I decided to make my own soup rather than eat the canned stuff. That way the noodles would be G.I.-approved and I could control the other ingredients as well. Except for obviously feeling pretty weak, I felt nearly back to normal this morning and afternoon - I was fine getting my blood drawn, I was fine at the store, and I was fine making the soup...at first. Then, this evening as I was cutting up the chicken, I started to feel sick again. So I finished everything and got back in bed. I really hope I don't throw up, but I don't think I will. It's definitely not that bad.
In other news, I'm betting that I will start a new cycle on Sunday, if anyone would like to take that bet. Sunday will be eleven days past my peak day and that seems to be the length of my luteal phases lately. And yesterday, amidst throwing up, I got the sensation I get in my legs each and every single month that means the end is near. The legs never lie. My body doesn't do too much on a regular basis, but that sign is the one thing I can count on. I haven't felt it yet today, but we'll see. I guess it is possible that it had something to do with me being sick, weak and dehydrated, but I always try to make excuses for what else the leg sensation could be, and it's always the same old thing.
That's fine if that's the case. I'm really okay with it and, surprisingly, I'm not embarrassed that I told you I was hopeful this month. It hurts every single month, whether I hope or not, so why not try to at least be somewhat positive? And I know it's not here yet, but it really feels like God is guarding my heart this cycle. Perhaps that has something to do with being hopeful? I'm not sure. Tonight I was reading bible verses on this topic, and I was reminded that we should have hope in HIM, not that our request will be granted. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to make our lives here on earth more comfortable, that we never think in terms of the bigger picture - that God has saved a place for us in eternity! That is where our true hope should lie.
Well, I'm going to turn off the computer and turn on the t.v., maybe even try to fall asleep. I will offer up my discomfort for all of you and all those who I have promised prayers to. I'm also going to try to focus on the blessings in my life. For now, I've got homemade chicken noodle soup on the stove, my husband's at his RCIA class and I'm relaxing in bed. Things could be a lot worse.
Update: I'm really happy with the way my chicken noodle soup with (whole wheat) dumplings came out, and I believe my husband's exact words were "this is the most incredible thing I've ever tasted!" It was really good and that's a good thing, because I think we have enough left over to feed us for the next four days!
I'm not feeling so hot right now, though, so I'm really going to try to sleep this time (after the last time I wrote that, I proceeded to make dumplings for the soup, eat, watch t.v., have a friend come over, etc., etc. No wonder I'm not feeling well right now!).
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I'm supposed to get a peak +7 blood draw tomorrow (Wednesday) to test my progesterone. I'm still not feeling well, and I will have to drive myself. Does anyone know whether I'm supposed to fast for it? My doctor didn't say to. I mean, it's not like I'm going to eat a meal or anything, but I might need crackers or toast if I'm feeling a little better (tonight I felt better and my hunger was excruciating, but now I'm not feeling so hot). And best case scenario, I hope to be able to keep resting all day tomorrow and go have it done whenever I feel well enough. Anyone know if that is okay, or is it always better to have it done early?
I know I should call my doctor tomorrow, but I'm hoping some of you have answers for me tonight or early tomorrow so I don't have to.
Okay, I've gotta go because I feel like I'm getting sick again. I really hope not.
Oh, and I thought this story about Julianne Hough, from Dancing with the Stars, was interesting. She's having a laparoscopy to remove endometriosis next week and she says while her management was trying to make up a story of what to tell the press, she was like, no I'm going to be honest about it! It made me think about how you never hear celebrities talk about endo, so good for her!
I am sick today. I woke up at 6 a.m. (which is the middle of the night for us, we went to bed at 2 a.m.) and immediately thought that was odd. Within minutes I realized I was in trouble. I have the stomach bug and have thrown up a couple times. I'm actually pretty stable at the moment because otherwise I could not handle being on the computer.
Of course I'd love to think that this was another sign of early pregnancy. And I have to admit that when I woke up super early, the thought crossed my mind because I've read waking in the middle of the night can be a very early sign for some people. I know it's still very early for throwing up, though (I'm six days past ovulation, at the most eight if I ovulated a couple days before my last peak day), but I know some women do get sick from the get go.
There are more problems with this idea, though. A) I have a temperature - it has gone up and down throughout the day (despite not taking anything like advil at all) and most recently was at 100.9 (people don't get fevers with morning sickness I assume), and B) my husband was sick a week ago. He didn't throw up, but he felt like he was going to all day. That, to me, is the biggest argument against being pregnant.
My mom was worried my sugar was super low after getting sick, so my husband went out and bought me full sugar ginger ale. It did taste good, but it's got quite an aftertaste when you're not used to sugar! I just hope it helps me to feel better. Speaking of my mother, I could tell she wanted to say something about possibly being pregnant, but she was so cautious about it, which is such a nice way to handle an infertile daughter, I thought. Finally, after a few phone calls, she brought it up and was like "well, there's always the real far off very weird possibility that maybe you're pregnant..." I thought that was cute. And, of course, it made me feel good that she even thought it was possible, and she's a nurse. But she also said she really thinks Ryan being sick and the fact that I have a fever show that it is probably a virus.
So we missed our second homestudy appointment this morning. Thanks for all the advice, it's really going to help me when the time comes to answer those questions. I'm going to go relax now before I start to feel sick again. I can't believe I felt good enough to write all this!
Monday, October 27, 2008
So it's safe to say that I've spent a lot of time thinking about what my recent pain could be (I had more pain when I woke up today, but it's gotten better since then). After much googling, I've come up with a few possibilities. Don't you love self-diagnosis?
Let's start with what we really, really hope it is (this is very unlike me, so brace yourself). It could be implantation pain, since it is in the window for that to be happening and there are many sensations women describe during the time when implantation was occuring - from shooting pain, to dull cramping, to a gurgling feeling (I'd cite my sources, but they were mainly those questions posted on yahoo answers or in forums that came up when I searched "implantation pain." I know, real accurate). It also could be general pain often experienced in very early pregnancy. I've heard/read where many women say they had cramping and even felt like they were getting their period for many days leading up to their positive pregnancy test. Keep in mind, I'm not saying I'm pregnant! I'm just listing the possibilities. And trying to be hopeful.
On the negative side, the pain could be many things, including gas (a possibility), a cyst (also a possibility, but I've had cysts in the past and never had any pain), endometriosis (let's hope not), or pain due to follicles filling with water or something like that (not sure about this, just read it online).
And, probably the most likely option - unexplained cramping. After I get my period in a little more than a week, I'll probably just look back and wonder what the heck it was. Perhaps I'll ask my doctor about it in the future, and perhaps he will say it was just my body getting used to being healthy. Who knows.
Enough about that. Our second home study meeting is tomorrow. This could be the meeting in which we talk about discipline, so I am probably going to call my mom and ask for advice tonight! I'm sure I'll be good at disciplining my kids, but it's just not something you think about before you even have them! I even considered watching Super Nanny the other night just to get some pointers, but it was ending when I caught it. Darn! Anyone have any suggestions of what would be good to say?
Tonight we are going to work on paperwork, like printing out our credit reports, finding old addresses, that sort of thing. Everything isn't due tomorrow, but we want to bring with us the background check paperwork since that needs to be mailed by our agency to two different states.
In other news, I am super excited that tomorrow I'll be able to go grocery shopping! I've been looking forward to Tuesday for more than a week now, since we sort of ran out of grocery money way ahead of time. My husband gets paid tomorrow, so I'm heading straight to the grocery store. I have to say I've done a pretty good job of getting by with the few things we had in the fridge and cupboards, but the down side is that I've been eating a lot of carbs, since that's usually what is laying around or can be made from ingredients we have. I need fresh fruit and vegetables! I'm going to plan out our menu tonight and make up a list. I've never been so excited to get groceries before, that's for sure.
Speaking of food, Becky asked me to post my recipe for Chicken Lo Mein I came up with the other day. In my opinion, it's really good, even if you're not on a diet, although I highly recommend making it in the morning to eat that night, or making it the night before and eating it the next day. It's much better after it sits a while!
And that's a picture of it from when I made it the other day, although I can't figure out if it looks appetizing here or not. It looks good to me, but that is because I know how yummy it is!
I just pretty much made it up as I went along, so it's not exact, and it very well may be the most informal recipe you've ever read. Here it is:
Chicken Lo Mein
Ingredients: Box of mushrooms, garlic cloves (3-4, or to taste), 1 cup broccoli slaw (if you can't find this at the store, you could thinly slice cabbage, celery and carrots), store-bought roaster chicken, soy sauce, stir-fry sauce, cooking wine, oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper
Directions: In oil (I used canola, but next time will get sesame), saute mushrooms, garlic and something called broccoli slaw (I found it in the grocery store and got it because it looked like the stuff in take-out lo mein. It's basically like the raw stuff you use to make cole slaw [obviously minus the mayo at this point] but rather than being mainly cabbage, it was broccoli. It looked like cabbage though). Add some salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Cut up/pull apart chicken from a roaster chicken and add it in to the veggies (I like the roaster chicken better than cooking my own chicken breasts, because, if this makes sense, it is softer that way and absorbs the sauces better).
After vegetables have sauteed a few minutes, add a little bit of soy sauce and stir-fry sauce (it's a sauce called "Stir-fry Sauce" and adds a bit of sweetness to it). I also added a teeny tiny bit of Marsala wine to one side of the pan (mainly because many online recipes call for wine and it was the only kind I had) and let the wine cook off before mixing it in. Next time I might add a little bit more. Any sort of wine could probably be used.
Meanwhile, cook whole wheat spaghetti and after the veggies cooked down, I mixed the spaghetti (probably half to 3/4 of the box) in to the veggie mixture and saute it all together for a little while, while also adding a tiny bit more soy and stir-fry sauce, to taste. Add more salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste.
I was worried I didn't have enough soy sauce, but the little bit I did have ended up being more than enough (I would say maybe a quarter cup. The stir-fry sauce I just drizzled over everything a couple times). I even added extra spaghetti because it was a little too strong for me. You can play around with the amounts in this recipe.
You can eat immediately, but it is much better the next day after the flavors have been allowed to seep into the vegetables, spaghetti and the chicken.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Well, I woke up with some odd pains and I'm not sure what they're from.
I had some bad cramping while I was still in bed, and had a hard time getting up. When I finally got out of bed and started to get ready for church, it was clear that the pain was in my lower abdomen, in the middle. It was pretty bad, and got worse in waves. I had a hard time getting ready and was, of course, late. During Mass, the pain got a little better and by then I was beginning to also have some pain near my sides.
Then, once I got back home, the pain changed again, and was more like a muscular pain all throughout my abdomen. It's as if I did a ton of sit-ups yesterday, and, I can assure you, I did not!
I've had pain far worse than this, so it's not a huge deal. I'm just more curious what it is. Of course, I like when anything new happens, so I'm hoping these symptoms are a good sign. It's cycle day 22, and I probably have about a week and a half left in the two-week wait. I'm not as hungry today as I was the past few days, and I actually feel a little bloated, although I've lost a little more weight.
On a related subject, I've been considering actually having some hope this cycle, because I figure that can only help. Don't studies show that hope/laughter/less stress is proven to help people who are sick? Then I'd have to believe the same is true for those of us with infertility! And it would definitely please God, so it can't hurt (well, it can hurt us emotionally, but maybe that's a way that God wants me to die to self. I'll have to explore that more later).
I think, for me, it needs to be a conscious, calculated effort. I don't tend to let myself have hope unless I try to do it on purpose. I don't know, we'll see. It might take a few months to get there. Although, I'm also worried that my hope will decrease after each failed cycle, while, actually, the opposite should be true. I'm probably getting healthier and more "normal" all the time, so I probably have a greater chance of getting pregnant after a few months than I do now.
It'll definitely be a work in progress. For now, I'm going to rest and try not to move too much. Have a great rest of your weekend!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Today is cycle day 20 and I'm guessing I ovulated on Wednesday, day 18, since that was my last day of peak-type mucus. Yesterday was finally a dry day, and my temp rose this morning to 98.3. It had been at 97.6 for a while now, so that's a good spike. It may have risen yesterday, but I woke up four hours earlier than normal, so it was a wasted temp day.
Next, I'll have my blood drawn next Wednesday for my peak +7 blood draw. I hope it comes out normal.
One interesting development today is that I am starving. I eat and then I am hungry again within twenty minutes. This is very out of the ordinary for me, especially since starting my diet. I usually get hungry a few times a day, and I can go for a while without eating anything. Now that I think about it, the hunger actually started yesterday. I made a low G.I. version of chicken lo mein and ate WAY too much. Today is even worse though.
So I googled it, and learned an increase in appetite could be due to a rise in progesterone, which is a good thing I guess. When my hormones were tested in the spring, my progesterone was normal except for the fact that it rose a little too late and fell off too early. But I was never hungry like this after ovulation. And as I always say, change is good!
Okay, I've got to go eat again. I'm so hungry!
Oh - one more thing... LOVED your comments on my post about manipulating my chart. I had to laugh at all of your creative ways to manipulate, too! We can all be nuts together!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Boy, am I antsy tonight. And bored. And these feelings usually lead to one thing - sadness. I started a post earlier today in which I wrote that I felt so much better, which I did at the time. By this evening, though, I started to feel down again.
I think the problem is that I got up at the crack of dawn. It was literally still dark out! I know, I know, this is an everyday occurrence for probably most of you. I don't expect any sympathy. But since my husband doesn't get home from work until after 11:30 p.m., that means a long day of doing nothing for me.
I shouldn't say nothing. The reason I woke up early was to pray outside the abortion clinic at 7 a.m.. Then I came home and cleaned the kitchen and even the toilet. That's big for me. I'm not, shall we say, a daily or weekly cleaner. I usually put it off until we have visitors coming or until I just can't take it anymore. Today was a day I couldn't take it anymore.
Then my sick husband decided he was well enough to go to work (thank God! I was afraid he'd be worse today, with possibly a full-blown stomach bug). Since he left I've just been relaxing and growing increasingly bored. And antsy. I don't have anything to do today, we have no money for grocery shopping, and we're having leftovers tonight so there's nothing to cook.
Don't get me wrong. I am a professional relaxer. I'm not usually one to need productivity in my life. I know this isn't exactly a good thing, but at the same time I wouldn't exactly say I've entered seven-deadly-sin territory. So the fact that today I actually wasn't happy with all the free time on my hands was rather odd.
So that's where I am now. Antsy. And bored. And finding myself leaning towards a tendency to be a little bit sad. You know, when all those terrible thoughts start floating around in your head - the I'm-ugly-I'm-useless-Everyone-has-a-baby-so-why-can't-I sort of thoughts. Definitely of the devil. Don't worry, I'm not really there yet. I'm okay. There have been zero tears and I haven't even complained to my husband (but he's still technically sick, so no complaining allowed).
Because my mood sometimes comes across a little dramatic in my writing, I think I need to have a color-coded alert system, like the Homeland Security Advisory System (yes, that's the technical name) so that you don't think I'm more distraught than I am. Using that scale - and let's call it the Infertile Stability Advisory System - I'm currently "guarded." Not bad.
So I need to stay busy to keep my mind off of those bad, bad thoughts (hence my current blogging). I need to ask God for patience, again. I need to ask him to help me find joy in the here and now. And I just need to pray.
Speaking of prayer, I have a prayer that I really like that I keep in my folder with all my Creighton charts. I try to say it every night after I chart for the day, and I have even posted it here before:
Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Last night while saying it, I sort of began asking myself some questions. Here is how the dialogue went (albeit a tad embellished, since I don't really carry on full two-sided conversations with myself, even though I'm sure you wouldn't have a hard time believing it if I told you I did):
Me (after reading prayer): Do you really mean what you're saying?
Me: It's a prayer. You just read it. So, yes.
Me: Okay, so those parts about surrendering completely to God, no matter what, you're okay with those?
Me: Of course. I'm always trying to do my best with that. It might be hard, but I'm trying.
Me: Are you? Really? When you read it, it isn't painful?
Me: Painful? I just read it. We're supposed to surrender, so, ya, whatever.
Me: What if you made this prayer a little more specific for our situation, and actually say out loud the full statements pertaining to infertility. How do you feel now?
Me: Like crap! I can barely read it! This is painful.
So that's a little how it went, but pretty sped up and in my head. You get the picture. And it was painful. Here's the first part of the prayer again, with the new parts I added in red:
Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will, no matter what that means for my infertility.
Whatever you may do, I thank you, even if that means I never get pregnant:
I am ready for all, no matter what you plan for my family, I accept all.
I think I sometimes (a lot of times) say things without truly meaning them in my heart. I just tear through a prayer like this, without it really resonating. It becomes to empty. I can say "do with me what you will" a hundred times and not mean it. But what this prayer says is huge and unless I consciously add in my parts about infertility, I am able to ignore its deepness, and it does nothing for me. When I read it with my new parts, though, I am forced to confront what I am really saying to God. I have to face it head-on, and it hurts.
Now, if I pray this every night and try my best to truly mean it - and ask God to help me to truly mean it - hopefully the pain will slowly dissipate and one day I will truly mean it. I'm not there yet, that's for sure. But I think God is pleased that I'm trying.
Well, there are only about three and a half hours til my husband gets home, so the wait is manageable. And after writing this, and having a chance to work through my thoughts (via the miracle of blogging), I might even be bordering on "low" on the Infertile Stability Advisory System!
Have a great night. You are all in my prayers.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Remember when I said I was going to be patient and wait out the next six to nine months? Well, my first cycle isn't even over and I've already lost all hope.
I know, I'm nuts. But here's what's going on: It's cycle day 18 and I've had mucus eleven days in a row. Yesterday was my best mucus day so far, and so I hoped today would be a dry day, indicating yesterday as my peak, and I hoped my temp would be high this morning, all perfectly indicating ovulation.
But, that was not to be.
My temp did rise a little to 97.8 (it had been 97.6 for several days), but that's not nearly enough of a spike to indicate ovulation. Then, despite me trying to will my mucus to stop today, I've had some twice.
So why did I want my mucus to stop? I guess because yesterday, day 17, would have been a better day to ovulate. I had a lot of good quality mucus, it was my tenth day of it and I had some appropriate ovulation pain. Today, day 18, seems a little bit too late and eleven days of mucus seems a little bit too long.
I'm obviously trying to control a situation out of my control. And I'm bad, really bad. Have you ever found yourself trying to manipulate your chart? I actually don't look as hard for mucus on days I don't want to find any, and I look much closer on days I really want some. I also play mind-games with myself, and alter the definition of lubraticative depending on how it benefits me. And this morning when I wasn't happy with my 97.8 temperature, I tried to go back to sleep and re-test until I got something more acceptable. On my third try I came up with 98.0. I'm actually trying to manipulate it, which makes even less sense when you consider that lying about my chart isn't going to help me! It's not like I'm going to get pregnant because my ovaries are going to see my chart and say 'oh, I guess she wants us to ovulate today'!
I swear, infertility makes you nuts! At least that's what it has done to me.
So I'm not sure when I will ovulate this cycle or if I even will and that, of course, is stressing me out.
I know I need to remind myself that my body could still be using this cycle to get back to normal. My doctor didn't say six to nine months for no reason!
I need to go to bed early tonight so I've got to wrap this up. But I am going to leave you with a thought - tonight I was this close to having my face.book status say "K. is barren." I'm also thinking about "K. is jealous of those of you who are fertile", "K. is almost 32 and childless," or "K. is dealing with depression due to infertility." Can you picture one of them amidst all the typical light-hearted status updates? People would think I had lost my mind.
You can see what kind of day it's been.
We're back from my in-laws' house, where we had a great time. But the highlight of the trip was that I got to meet one of my favorite bloggers - Lifehopes!
She was the first person I met through my blog, when she left my very first comment on my very first post. We have shared similar experiences with stage 4 endometriosis, surgeries, and of course the whole experience of dealing with infertility as a Catholic. I've gone on to be diagnosed with PCOS, and she's had to have a second surgery for endo, and now we both find ourselves on the cusp of possibly conceiving. It's a scary, yet hopeful, place to be and while neither of us is very optimistic for ourselves, we are very optimistic for each other.
We met up for lunch first, just the two of us, and then we met for dinner later with our husbands. She is just like I expected in person - awesome! She's really sweet and is just like she comes across on her blog, plus she's beautiful. Her husband is really great too! We loved both of them, and we could have talked for hours. We had to hit the road, though, to get back for adoration last night.
I already can't wait to hang out with her again. It's so great to have someone who knows exactly what it's like and what you're going through. I'm so hopeful for her, too. I just know that someday soon we'll be hanging out with our babies!
Today my husband isn't feeling too hot and even left work early. Speaking of him, I've got to go check on the poor guy right now, but I might be back to write more later. I've got a little cycle update and some mood issues to tell you about!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
It's a beautiful Sunday, my husband just left for work, I'm doing laundry, and I've got some adoption paperwork to tackle. That's my day in a nutshell. Oh, and go Bills!
We're leaving either late tonight or early tomorrow morning for my in-laws' and I'm looking forward to it. They live three hours away and we'll be there for just a couple days.
So far I haven't ovulated, which I say because my temperature hasn't risen. Today is cycle day 15 so hopefully we're getting close, although I've still had less mucus than normal (the quality is now great, but the quantity is a little iffy - once or twice a day. Is that enough?).
Interestingly enough, my temperature is lower than normal for the first time - usually it's 97.9, but this month it's been 97.6. Does that mean anything? I figure change is good, since whatever my body was doing before sure wasn't working!
Speaking of what my body is doing, I read all about reproduction yesterday. It's been two years since we started with PPVI, so that is the last time we got the tutorial. I hadn't thought about it at all the last year or so because I knew my body wasn't doing the right thing anyways. But now that it apparently is, I wanted to read up on it again. And oh my goodness! How does anyone get pregnant? So much has to go right for everything to work! I also can't understand how anyone can be knowledgable about reproduction - or anything having to do with the body for that matter - and not believe in God. It's just so miraculous, and it seems ludicrous to think all this intricate stuff just started happening. So anyways, I understand how everything works now, at least on a very basic level.
I did start to get a tad bit sad today at Mass, but I nipped it in the bud. I have nothing to be sad about. My chances are good and there are a lot of people much worse off than me. I am blessed, and I need to remind myself of this more.
On a completely unrelated topic, we are in the market for a vacuum. We tend to go through vacuums like toilet paper, so I'm looking for advice. Anyone have a good, reliable one that's lasted them more than a couple of years? Ours usually break around 10 months, or at least just stops picking up crap, and so I guess that's no different than breaking. We're tired of it. We hope to spend less than $200, and we've looked at Consum.er Re.ports and have a couple in mind, but I would appreciate any advice if you have any!
Have a great Sunday, and I'll leave you with this prayer to the Infant of Prague:
O Dear sweet Infant Jesus, I offer You my will, that You strengthen it, my mind that You inspire it; my memory that You fill it, my wishes and desires, that You cleanse them; I sacrifice to You my intentions that You guide them, all my inner and outer activities, that You make them sacred. All I am and all I have is Yours. Your love for me is my hope and trust. Hear me and grant that I may never leave you. Amen
Friday, October 17, 2008
Well my husband has a rare Friday off, so we actually get to go out on a Friday night like normal people! I'm looking forward to it. Before we go though, I wanted to write a little cycle update.
Today is day 13 and so far I saw five days of red stickers for my period, followed by a sixth red sticker for one day of spotting (I'm usually spotting til day eight, so this is a big improvement). I then had a dry day on day seven, which is very, very unlike me; usually I go right into mucus. Since then I've had six days of mucus, today being the sixth day.
Another difference I've seen so far this cycle is that I've had less mucus. I usually see a lot of it and pretty good quality right from the beginning. This time, while I've had it every day since day eight, it's been only once a day and not very good quality (I started with three days of 8Cx1 for all you Creightonites). It's been building up slowly, though, and so far today it was finally good (10KL).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not worried about this. In fact, I think it's a good thing! Any change is good at this point, and perhaps my screwed-up hormones caused too much mucus before. I'm excited that on day 13 I have very good quality mucus. I also have had some lower abdominal pain the last few days that seems to be building, so perhaps ovulation is near. Day 14, here I come! Maybe I'm going to begin to have textbook cycles. What a thought!
We started a novena to the Infant of Prague last night. We plan to say this novena for nine months in a row, and this is our second month so far. By the way, I finally got my statue. He's so beautiful!
I continue to pray for all of you. May God bless us with our heart's desires, but most importantly, may His will be done!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
A year ago today we were in Italy. I can't believe it's been a whole year!
The trip was a blast. We went for free, believe it or not, because it was a tour and we were the "hosts." A t.v. station in the city where we used to live used us to promote the trip (since we were former news anchors there) and let us go for free. How lucky were we? We had joked about doing something like that when we were old and retired, but young people are rarely asked to do it. And we're talking airfare, hotels, and two meals a day all included. The blessing was it allowed us to take video of the Vatican for my movie, and so I believe it was an answer to prayer.
Since it was a tour, it was mainly retired couples, with a couple people in their forties, and a few in their fifties. Most, though, were in their 60's, 70's, and 80's! But don't let their ages fool you, they were awesome! It's amazing how much older people act exactly like young people - they formed clicks and there were even some tense moments when some of the group was upset at the rowdier members! (Not surprisingly, we were among the rowdier ones, although most of our little circle were in their seventies!).
Sadly, it might be the last trip I take abroad, because I had enormous anxiety over the flight and I don't think I can go through that again. And, yes, I took Xanax, but I would seriously have to be heavily medicated the entire month before we go to make it worth it.
So allow me to take a little trip down memory lane from one year ago this week:
Us in Verona, where we spent the first couple nights. While it's a good location to take day trips from, Verona itself was awesome. (By the way, I can't believe how much heavier we both are here!)
I think we're in Florence here. I'm holding someone else's wine, since I don't drink. You're probably thinking, what a waste! (At least that's what my husband was thinking the whole time!)
Our best friends on the trip, and we had never met them before we went. Please say a quick prayer for the woman in the middle, Lou. She suffered a stroke not long after returning and then they discovered cancer, so she spent many months in the hospital.
The group. The woman in the forefront with her back to the camera was our tour guide for the week (thankfully, that wasn't the job of the hosts. Our position was entirely ceremonial!). She was Irish and quite liberal, and vocal, and even told the group that the Vatican once had a side business manufacturing birth control. What?
Barb, the crazy one, again.
Our table always managed to acquire everyone else's leftover wine at dinner.
One of our many live performances at dinner.
Our first night at the Vatican. They wanted to baptise him, since he wasn't Catholic, despite the fact that he was actually baptised Catholic as an infant. I hope this isn't sacreligious! It's what happens after all that free wine.
Awaiting the Pope at a Wednesday audience. We didn't know at this point if Pope Benedict would make his way by us.
And he did!
We had such a great time! It almost makes me want to fly again! Almost. Okay, not really. But it was an amazing trip and I'm so thankful we were given this opportunity!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I still can't believe today that my hormones have corrected themselves. It seems so surreal!
It is just so amazing that this can be corrected with diet. Yes, I am also on metformin, but my doctor is convinced that this is due in no small part to my diet and weight loss.
So if you are reading this and have PCOS, why not give it a try? If you're in need of some encouragement, here are my top ten reasons I think you should go low G.I.:
- You can correct your screwed up hormones (no offense, I'm sure your hormones are lovely, but you know what I mean).
- You can feel better physically (less fatigue, more energy).
- You can feel like you are actually doing something to help your fertility (if you're like me, this is great while you're anxiously awaiting that next doctor's appointment).
- You can lose tons of weight!
- You can buy all new clothes (I know this might be a negative if money is an issue, but I also now find enjoyment from just trying clothes on and not buying them!).
- You can fit in your skinny clothes (it helps financially if you saved them, as long as they're not totally out of style. Some of mine definitely were).
- It may seem like you have to give up all yummy food, but that is not the case. I promise.
- Did I mention you can lose tons of weight?
- No matter what, you'll be much healthier (PCOS does put us at risk for diabetes and heart disease, after all).
- You might end up pregnant! Isn't that why we're all here??
I know it was by the grace of God that I was able to pull this off. I don't take that for granted or credit myself. While I was complaining about the Lord not hearing my prayers, he was blessing me in this way - with will power, with the ability to be satisfied with low G.I. foods, with quick weight loss. For me, the motivation to get pregnant surpassed everything else.
I am so thankful that I found my doctor and that he very matter-of-factly told me to start this diet immediately upon leaving his office. It is so apparent that God was involved every step of the way. So maybe God is using me to encourage one of you to do this as well!
I'm sorry for always talking about my diet. It probably is getting annoying! But I wanted to show you one more thing - a before and after picture of my weight loss (I take one every month and wear the same clothes every time, although in this most recent one I had to switch to different jeans since the others were too big):
It's not as dramatic as it could be because the one on the left is from almost two months into the diet, after I'd already lost 17 pounds, but you get the point. I wish I'd taken one at the very beginning to show the full 35 pounds (and counting) I've lost, but at that point I wasn't really into posing for full-body photos!
Well, gotta go do some baking. Yes, you can still bake (and eat the results) on this diet!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So we had the homestudy today. It went fine. We basically just answered 50 questions about our relationship. Some of the time I felt like I was answering the interview question during a beauty pageant - trying quickly to come up with a good, concise answer without sounding completely unintelligent - while the rest of the time I felt like I was at a job interview. There were a lot of those "what is your greatest weakness" type of interview questions where everyone answers, "Well, I'm a perfectionist..." or "I just expect so much from my co-workers..." So we tried to answer honestly while balancing not coming across like weirdos yet also not seeming too perfect (I think I talked about fighting two times, but if someone said they never fought I hope that would be a red flag!). We were also given tons of paperwork which we need to finish by our third appointment. Things are moving along quickly, though, as our second homestudy appointment will be two weeks from today.
If it seems like I am moving through that pretty quickly, well, I am (normally I'm not exactly short-winded, but it's not like I had to tell you all that). Not to take anything away from it, but my focus tonight has shifted a little to some amazing news.
My blood work came back perfect. That's right. It's all normal.
My doctor's office called me tonight and left a message. Since I didn't answer in time, I seriously whimpered and cried for the next twenty minutes at the prospect of having to wait until morning to call them back (it was after hours) for what I assumed would be my test results. As I was just beginning to calm down, my phone rang again. It was the nurse.
Nurse: "Dr. B wanted me to call and let you know that your lab results are in. [Holding my breath at this point] The tests came back normal. Everything was perfect. It says here to continue your medicine and it also says that you can go ahead and try to... conceive? Is that the word he wrote? Conceive?"
Me: [In shock at this point] "Yes, that's the word."
Nurse: "Oh, you are starting to try to conceive. Okay."
Even in my utter disbelief at my good fortune, I had to chuckle at the nurse's assumption that we were just starting to try. But then I realized, oh my God! We are starting to try!!!! I think I was in shock after I hung up. Seconds after telling my husband the news, I had to ask him, did that really happen? She might as well have told me I was pregnant.
What does this mean? Well, I assume it means my PCOS is under control (I say "assume" because I didn't speak directly with my doctor tonight, although he did tell me this was the case at my appointment last week, so I shouldn't be hesitant to write that). If I went off the medication and started eating normal again, it would come back. But for all intents and purposes, my hormones are behaving like someone who doesn't have PCOS right now.
When my doctor first told me I had PCOS, he said he'd treat me like he treats all his patients, but there's no guarantee I'd react how he hoped to the protocal. Some women do and some women don't. At my appointment last week he was actually excited because, he said, he lays out a treatment plan and when it works like it is supposed to, it's exciting. Now we know for certain it worked like it was supposed to. My body actually did what it was supposed to!!
So here we are. I'm not used to getting good news. The world seems a little brighter, like a dark cloud lifted. I'm not kidding. I know I still might never conceive (I'm a pessimist, don't forget.. or a "realist" as my husband so affectionately kept referring to me during our homestudy meeting today). And I know that my peak plus seven blood draw coming up this cycle might show a problem (although I have to believe if something is wrong with my progesterone, it wouldn't be as difficult a fix as what I've already overcome). But right now my hormones are back to normal, my prolactin is normal, my testosterone is normal and most importantly, my LH/FSH ratio that was crazy before is back to normal. For all this I thank God. I still don't know or understand his plan - and I know the ride is a lot easier to take when things are looking up - but we still have a long road ahead and I just hope that I can continue to trust in him the whole way.
Now I am going to go celebrate with some strawberries dipped in a little bit of chocolate.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I'm having a hard time today. It's just extra painful sometimes, you know?
Anyways, I just wanted to check in quick. It's cycle day nine, I think. The good news so far is that my spotting has been less this month, like we had hoped. I only had one day of it following my period. And for the first time in a year I used a green sticker on day seven. I had my first day of mucus yesterday on day eight, so it's looking pretty normal so far. Normal as in healthy-person normal.
I'm not sure when I'll get my blood work results. Tomorrow will be a week since I had it drawn, so I'm guessing by the end of this week. I'm trying to prepare myself for bad news, but I don't think you can adequately prepare for that, so why even try? I know bad results won't mean it's over, but it will still be difficult to hear. Last time my doctor called me himself, so I hope he does that again in case I have questions.
I'll just keep plugging along, I guess. Deal with it. Our first home study meeting is tomorrow, so at least I'll have that, although it's not helping me to feel better right now. Oh well. I'll let you know how it goes.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I heard something the other day that struck me, but before I say what it was, I should point out that I have no idea where I heard it. It could have been on one of your blogs (I apologize, if that is the case), on T.V., in real life, or maybe even in a dream. I have a hazy memory of it with images, so I'm leaning towards T.V. or dream.
So, anyways, a man was talking about a woman who had gone through some sort of struggle and said that at least it allowed her to have compassion for others. That, of course, got me thinking.
I'm always wondering why God wants me to bear this cross. The "why" has been so important to me. I wonder if I'll find out one day, if I'll look back on it years from now and it will all make sense, or if I won't have answers until I'm in heaven, if I'm blessed enough to make it there. But what if the answer all along was that I'm going through infertility in order to have compassion for others, and nothing else?
At first it might sound simple, too simple to be the answer we might want to hear. It always seems better when I imagine that this is all part of some grand plan of God's, one that has several layers and intricate associations. But it may, in fact, be just about compassion. And isn't that enough?
If God were here today and asked me himself to go through infertility just to have greater compassion for others, would I say no? Would I tell him that was silly? Or try to convince him there was another, easier, way to learn that same compassion?
The truth is he is here today, asking that of me. And quite often I tell him no, it's not a good enough reason. But I think I need to start thinking about it from his perspective.
According to an online dictionary, the definition of compassion is the "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."* It's not just a matter of having sympathy, but the desire to actively alleviate the suffering of others.
Christ gave us the ultimate example of compassion. He died on the cross for our sins to alleviate our ultimate suffering. With that in mind, when he says 'take up your cross and follow me', he's asking us, among other things, to have the same profound desire to alleviate the sufferings of others as he did. In this sense, taking up our cross means more than just being patient or not complaining, it means actively helping to alleviate the suffering of others.
Most of us are probably already doing this by chance, just out of the sheer need to help ourselves. I didn't set out to blog in order to help anyone else, but rather for selfish reasons - to find out information about, at that time, my upcoming surgery (and it's debatable if my rants and complaining help anyone anyway). But is there any one of us who wouldn't sit and counsel someone with infertility who wants our help? Do those of us who have discovered NaPro not want to shout it from the rooftops so others can discover it, too? It's now a natural response to helps others, because we know just how much this hurts.
But not until just now did I even think of compassion in the sense that it may be what we are called to by God. It may be the reason for all of this.
So is it enough? Would I be satisfied if God, himself, were to tell me the sole reason for my infertility is for me to feel compassion towards others and to, along the way, possibly help alleviate some of their suffering? Well, it'd be easy to tell him yes to his face, since it'd be a miraculous experience and all! But more importantly, is it enough of a reason if there is no miraculous experience, and this journey of infertility never makes sense otherwise? The answer has to be yes. We are called to follow Christ and to love our fellow man. And if God sees fit to give me a heart for doing just that, then who am I to complain?
*There's also an interesting link to the latin root pati. It means suffering, and is found in both the words 'patience' and 'compassion'. Isn't that neat? I didn't really know either of those words were connected to suffering before suffering became such a big part of my life!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I went from having a ton of information to share the last couple days, to being kind of boring. I've been trying to process everything from the appointment, yet at times I'm trying more to not process it and just be happy. I had blood drawn on Tuesday and, of course, I am starting to get a little nervous that the results will come back that my hormones haven't improved. I'm just trying to prepare myself for that. I'll probably dedicate a whole post to it in the coming days.
In the meantime, I am excited to watch the progress in my cycle. Instead of putting all of my energy into hoping for a positive pregnancy test, I am looking forward to getting excited over things going right in general. Small goals. For instance, hopefully seeing less spotting over the next few days (I'm currently on day five) and possibly heading right into either dry days or mucus, and looking for good mucus with a clear peak, as well as less spotting at the end. These will all be great signs that I'm getting healthy.
In other news, I've been dealing with an addiction to strawberries. They are my crack (I think I've been watching too much Intervention on A&E). For a while I was going through a box a day, but now I'm trying to spread one over two days. It's an expensive habit, but there could be worse (and more expensive) things to be addicted to. Like real crack. I realized that it had reached a new level last night as I was driving home from the store at 9:45 with a fresh box. We had just gone out to dinner (my belated cycle-day-one "celebration"), and then we were home, exhausted, full and just wanting to relax. Then I remembered we had no strawberries. Well, sitting home without any strawberries in the kitchen is not an option for me lately; I was getting shaky at the idea of it. So I went to the store. And I must have really needed them, because I am l-a-z-y, lazy. They were soooo delicious, and they are now gone.
Speaking of my dinner out, it was very yummy. Chicken fingers and a salad. I almost can't wait until next month!
Has anyone seen the new Volks.wagen commercials? From the perspective of an infertile woman, they're kind of annoying. They're tongue and cheek, all about how couples are popping out tons of babies just as an excuse to buy some family car. I suppose this might be funny to someone who can get pregnant, but to me it's just a reminder that it's a breeze for "normal" people. Oh well. I also find it interesting that they feature Broo.ke Shiel.ds, someone who dealt with infertilty herself.
Before I go, I just wanted to ask you to please pray for "K," a young woman who is scheduled to have an abortion tomorrow. She talked on the phone with one of our 40 Days volunteers a couple times and it seemed promising, but then she failed to meet up with her today at the pregnancy resource center like they had planned. We assume her appointment for tomorrow is still on. Please pray for her and her baby.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I've alluded to something this week and I want to be more open about it because I don't keep secrets from you. I really don't, actually. My life is an open book.
Okay, so the semi-secret I've been keeping (that you've all probably figured out by now, anyways) is this: We started the adoption process.
In the past, I've been one to really struggle with adoption. I was worried about everything - Would I love the child? Would he/she love me? Would an open adoption make me not feel like the real mother? Would I still struggle with emotions surrounding infertility and would this be unfair to the child?
Finally, last month we came to a crossroads. I prayed and prayed and prayed about it, and brought up the topic a few times to my husband. I think I wanted him to talk me into it. At least, I wanted to work through my issues with it, because I knew they weren't healthy.
So one day we were in the car on the way to adoration (I was having a hard time and wanted to pray specifically about adoption), and we started discussing it once again. I brought up my "issues" and my husband actually started to get testy with me. That's not like him. Well, don't get the wrong impression, we fight all the time! But we rarely are on different pages when it comes to our infertility struggle. He's always been on board with whatever I wanted to do, or not do. At this point, though, it was becoming clear that Ryan wanted to move forward with adoption and I was holding him back.
I suddenly realized that I was robbing him of being a father. If I could do this for him, then suddenly it cleared up my "issues" with it. I don't mean that to sound trivial, like I'm going to raise a child just to make my husband happy, despite me not wanting to do it. That's not the case at all! It's just that when I need a little shove, it helps to think that what I'm doing will make someone else happy. To do it out of love for my husband makes me more motivated and it makes my problems with it seem really silly.
I didn't tell him that that night, though. I thought about it long and hard and a few days later I told him over lunch. He was really excited. We talked about some of my as-of-yet-still-unspoken worries about it ('would our families love the baby as much as their biological grandchildren/nieces/nephews' really weighed on me for some reason, not that our families aren't made up of completely loving people. They are. It was more a reflection of my own insecurities and was just one of those things I needed to voice and talk about).
We went home and finished the initial paperwork, dropped it off at the agency with a check for $100, and waited. Finally, we got a letter in the mail asking for our marriage license, which I copied and mailed immediately (I don't usually move that fast, but I'm going to stay on top of this!). Next, we got a letter from our social worker telling us to call to set up our first home study appointment. We did, and it is scheduled for next Tuesday morning.
I've heard/read a lot lately from other bloggers about how they'd like to adopt, but they have found the process to be too difficult and/or expensive. I truly can say that's not the case for us, which I'm starting to think is maybe a sign this is God's plan.
The agency we are going through charges 10% of your salary. That's pretty reasonable (especially for us, since I don't have a salary!). From listening to my friend who just used the same agency, the process is pretty easy and doesn't require a ton of paperwork and running all over putting documents together (which is how I used to picture it, and is also how I've heard international can be in some cases). From start to finish, our friends' process took only about six months.
We hope to complete the home study process (two visits to the office, one to our house) by the end of the year. That's just our hope, but we'll probably find out if that's realistic at our first appointment. After that, who knows how long we'll wait.
As for the child, we will most likely get a newborn, since that is how this agency works. While that is exciting, I'm kind of nervous about it, since watching our friends' heartbreaking experience with their adoption. Perhaps we can say we don't want a high-risk adoption (for example, if there is any chance the birthfather will object).
We are also open to any race. Instead of narrowing it down, we just personally feel called to keep it open and let God decide for us. In all my indecision, that feeling has been pretty constant.
The reason I was hesitant to post about this at first was because I was afraid I'd change my mind. I've started and stopped the adoption process about four times (although we've never gotten this far) and I just didn't want to 'cry wolf' again. And I didn't want to feel pressure to continue on with it if I wasn't sure. I could totally see myself moving forward, despite hesitation, simply because our families and my blogging friends knew. Put it this way - I'd never be the girl to call off an engagement.
So I'm telling you now because I am sure. We are doing this.
I've thought a lot about it in the past month, and I no longer feel that adoption means we're giving up. What adoption means to us is that we want to be parents now. I don't mean that to sound impatient; we are constantly praying that God make this process move as fast or as slow as he wills. We want our baby, and we will wait as long as it takes for that.
Yesterday's appointment solidified this. We are still actively involved in fighting infertility and getting me healthy. Thankfully, our agency doesn't require us to stop fertility treatments in order to adopt (which is a topic I could go on and on about. I think that sort of policy is silly, demeaning and discriminating to couples dealing with infertility. Not to mention, I'd have to treat my PCOS even if I didn't want any kids!)
Let me know if you want any specific information about what agency we are working with or any of the details of the process.
The focus of this blog will still be to chronicle my struggle with infertility, with adoption being a part of that. I hope this doesn't sound bad, but I still very much want to conceive a biological child. I am just someone who is trying to follow God's will, and things have recently lead me to believe adoption may be God's will for us. If not, I pray he will make it known to us or perhaps we'll hit roadblocks along the way. The important thing is that we trust in him. He, alone, is in charge of shaping our family and we wouldn't want it any other way!
I also just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for caring about my appointment yesterday and for sharing in my excitement!
I also wanted to reiterated something I wrote yesterday, and something a few people commented on as well - that while my journey may not seem like the quickest path to a pregnancy, it is a truly healthy one. I am, with diet and the help of medication, changing my hormones and fixing my PCOS from the inside out. I commend anyone who is considering changing their diet to increase their fertility. It is just amazing how much diet affects our hormones, and it is a way to have some sense of control over something that we really have no control over. It's a way to feel like we are helping.
With that in mind, I have a new link on the right-hand side of my blog where I've posted all of my Low G.I. recipes and some diet advice (or you can also click here). So that I didn't have a super-long new post today, I back-dated it to Oct. 1. Please check back as well, because I will add new recipes when I get them.
Have a great night!
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sorry it took so long to write this update! We just got home. So here are the details:
We left late to get to the one o'clock appointment, raced there and arrived 15 minutes late only to find out that the appointment was at three. They probably tried to call me to change the time, but my phone number changed and of course I never thought to call my doctor's office and let them know. Thank God, though, that it was changed to three and not earlier today. Whew!
After sitting at a Star.bucks for an hour (I'm starving at this point since I refused to eat before my weigh in), we headed back over.
So the big weigh in. Well, with my clothes on (obviously) I weighed the lowest I've weighed since starting this diet (and the lowest I've weighed in about seven years). I have officially lost 35 pounds! That was my original overall goal! I couldn't believe it. I was hoping to make the 30 mark today, since it's with clothes on and everything. As I walked back to the examination room, I heard the nurse mumble, "That can't be right." I asked, "What, my weight?" And I told her yes, I had in fact lost 35 pounds since my April 29 appointment. She's like, "I'm thinking, she's so tiny, that couldn't have been her weight!" Oh my goodness, I don't think anyone's ever called me tiny before! But it gets better. When my doctor came in, he starts looking at my chart. He looks at me, back at my chart, then at me, then at my chart. I was starting to think he didn't remember me and was trying to remind himself who I was! But actually, he was in shock at my weight loss! When I told him that yes, I had lost 35 pounds, he got up and hugged me! He was blown away. I definitely got an even better reaction that I'd ever dreamed!
Okay, so on to the appointment. Let me just say that I LOVE my doctor. He's amazing. He immediately started telling me what the weight loss meant. First of all, it meant that I definitely was insulin resistant and I definitely have drastically changed my body, my hormones and my PCOS by this weight loss. He confirmed my hope that the fact that the diet worked so well is great news - it means my body reacted just like it was supposed to to the diet and the metformin (I'm getting blood drawn tomorrow to confirm this, as well as a peak +7 draw, but I assume that if the blood work comes back that my levels are still off, that he'll say my body just needs more time. He thinks we're definitely on the right track).
I just can't explain how encouraged he was. I went through my questions and brought up several things I was worried were problems. He got more and more excited at every "problem":
The spotting mid cycle? He thought this was great news. He thinks it is a definite sign of ovulation.
More spotting a few days later? More good news! He thinks this is a sign that my body is working to correct itself. He even said it might have been the step before implantation (not sure what he meant and I didn't ask, but, hey, it sounded good!).
My wacky cycle two months ago, just as my cycles seemed to be getting more normal? Perfectly fine! He says that my body is trying to catch up to my weight loss and he entirely expected me to have a crazy cycle. He says my estrogen is changing due to my weight loss, and my body is kind of shell-shocked and is trying to adjust.
My recent pain that I thought could have been due to endo? Since I realized once I thought about it that it was right before my peak day, he's sure it was from ovulation. He wants me to start charting my pain (which I'm supposed to be doing anyways) and he wrote a prescription for an u/s if it gets bad again, just to see if it's a cyst or anything. He also said that if it comes to the point where we want to do another surgery, that the NaPro doctor/surgeon in his practice can definitely do it, but he thinks I'll get pregnant before that.
Yes, that's right! He thinks I will get pregnant! To put it in a nutshell, he is extremely excited and thinks we might even conceive on our own! ON OUR OWN! He said that we should start counting this cycle as our first that we ever even had a chance. Sure, the blood work might come back that my hormones aren't perfect yet, but he is convinced my body is on the right track. All the right things are happening and there is a chance it might take a little longer. Even if the blood work comes back good, he said he wants us to try on our own for six to nine months before trying Clomid or Femara. I'm fine with that, surprisingly, because he thinks we have a shot! And also because 1) I know that throwing Clomid at someone before they're ready for it does no good, 2) I suddenly have much more patience (which probably has to do with receiving this good news and also with adoption [I swear I'll blog about this soon]), and 3) he actually told me that if, through my prayer life, I decide I want to try Clomid sooner to just give him a call. Is he not the best doctor ever? How many doctors say that?! My husband later commented what a great aspect of the Catholic faith this is - the combination of science and prayer.
A couple other extraneous things we talked about - the spotting before and after my period that I had been seeing he says is normal in infertile cycles, as well as the stopping and starting mucus that was pretty normal for me in the past. The fact that my mucus is now a constant eight or so days, and that during this last cycle the spotting after my period and before this current one was much less, he says is great news. He says when that spotting clears up (thanks to my hormones getting back to normal), that's when I really have a shot at getting pregnant. He also says that it's not a problem that I go from red stickers right to white ones at the beginning of a cycle. He says it's perfectly fine and makes complete sense, since I have about 5-7 days for my period, 8 days of mucus, and then an 11-14 day luteal phase.
So it was a great appointment. I went into it thinking it wasn't going to be very informative, since we had no results of any kind to look at. I figured he'd ask for some blood draws and that'd be it. We were blown away at what he said, his reaction, and his positive outlook. And all of this was based on my weight loss and my report to him of my recent cycles (plus, I forgot my charts. Can you believe it?).
I am on cloud nine. I hope during the coming months, when I'm sure I'll have many "cycle day ones," that I don't lose this hope I now have. It's always easier to have patience and trust when you're coming off of a good appointment. I just really, truly feel that this is God's plan for us. Now, let's hope that good blood work results are also part of his plan! Kidding. With his help, I'll deal with whatever that plan may be.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
We're we're getting ready to leave for my appointment, but I just wanted to share a neat story with you before I go.
So yesterday I attended a Li.fe Cha.in event here in Richmond. It's a pro-life event held around the country. I was shooting video of the event and not surprisingly, I believe God took an opportunity to speak to my heart. It's amazing how often this happens when I am behind my camera doing an interview! It's really bizarre.
Someone had mentioned to me that I should interview an older gentleman who had been coming for years, so I did. So I'm asking him why he comes out and strangely enough, his answers are sounding very interesting. See if you can tell what I'm getting at:
He went on to say how it would be sad for someone to never be a mother. So I'm thinking, of all the things he could say about being pro-life, this man is looking at it from the perspective of... someone with infertility! But it just couldn't be, right? I figured it must just be me looking at everything through the lens of my infertility-obsessed world again.
So then he says this:
Can you believe it? This 79-year-old man, at a pro-life rally, on a Sunday afternoon, manages to help put adoption on my heart (I should add that adoption is becoming very likely at this point. More on that in a future post). Hearing him say this was astounding (and if you listen closely, you can even hear me say "awwwww" at one point. I was tearing up). I got a chance to speak to his wife after the interview and she told me that they tried for four years before adopting. They also told me that I will love my adopted child more than I could ever imagine, and they even joked that sometimes they think they love their adopted children more than their biological one! (He said the biological son shares some of his "bad traits").
It's not even the miracle they ended up getting that gives me hope. It's the fact that I think God wanted me to hear this, combined with the thought that this man was a kindred spirit in the world of infertility. He talked about what his wife went through, the physical pain of getting shots, and the emotional pain we all know too well. It struck me to think of them, probably fifty years ago, going through what we are all experiencing, but with drastically fewer options. I would never have known this if I had just passed them on the street. It really makes you realize that people everywhere are walking around with the pains of infertility on their hearts, and we don't even know it.
This couple - fifty years later - is able to look back on their infertility with praise and gratitude for their three children. Their oldest just passed away this summer, and in the few short minutes we spoke, they told me all about him - his successful career, his accomplishments, his perseverance through previous health problems, and what a blessing it was to have him for as long as they did. And it was just so clear that they couldn't have been prouder, even if he had been their biological son.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I really feel touched by God in these unexpected moments. So thank you, God, for giving me this little reminder that things can be okay!
So, if you haven't heard, my doctor's appointment is tomorrow. Sorry, I kind of have a one-track mind. It will be my third appointment with my NFP-expert doctor (not a PPVI-trained doctor, but very, very familiar with NaPro) at the wonderful Catholic, pro-life medical center that I am so lucky to live near. He will be checking to see if the metformin has helped my problem with insulin resistance and my LH/FSH ratio. If it has (which I assume we won't know tomorrow), he'll supposedly put me on either Clomid or Femara. If it hasn't, I'm hoping that just means more time on the met, giving it more time to work, and maybe even upping the dosage. As you can probably tell, I'm already trying to convince myself that finding out it hasn't worked yet won't be the worst news in the world.
I've been thinking a lot about questions I need to ask him. This time I am actually going to print out the list, bring it into the doctor's office and read from it, unlike last time when I forgot to write them down and my mind completely blanked.
Here are the questions I have so far. Feel free to offer any insight you may have on any of these!
*I have had some abdominal pain on a pretty regular basis around the end/beginning of my cycles, and it feels a lot like lower G.I. pain. Could it be endometriosis returning?
*Will I need another laparoscopy at some point? How do we know my ovaries aren't re-stuck?
*This cycle I've had a lot of pain near where I assume my left ovary is.
*I often feel a ton of pressure on my bladder, to the point of it being painful, even after I have just peed (yet it doesn't burn like a uti). Should I be concerned?
*I usually go right from red stickers to white stickers. Is that normal?
*I often have a lot of spotting at the end of my cycle and at the end of my period. Should that be treated?
*This cycle I had spotting in the middle of my cycle and in the middle of my luteal phase.
*If my insulin resistance/LH FSH ratio hasn't been helped by the met, can we raise the dose?
*My husband hasn't had any tests done in three years. Should he get tested again?
*Can you explain what it actually means that my ovaries are slow, and if I ovulate, then where's the problem?
*And what exactly is my estrogen and progesterone doing wrong again?
*Oh, and can I have a photo copy of my last hormone series?
I don't want to forget that last one! I want to bring it home and stare at it with all my medical expertise and decipher what is really going on. Kidding, of course. Actually, I really want it so I can post it on this blog for you to all also ponder with all of your medical knowledge. I'll take anything I can get in between doctor's appointments!
Hopefully I'll have some good news to report tomorrow night. At least I'll hopefully have good news that my weight loss on the doctor's scale was more than thirty pounds. Is my extreme focus on my weight tomorrow a sign I'm diverting attention from infertility? Perhaps. I guess, now that I think about it, I'm doing this because it is something I can control. The one thing I can control. Suddenly it all makes sense! The hardly eating this weekend, the trying on of several outfits to see which weighs the less but is also weather appropriate... sorry. A light bulb just went off.
I also wanted to thank everyone for their very kind comments lately. You're all just so sweet! And it makes dealing with this a lot easier.
Well it's officially cycle day one.
As for details, the cycle lasted 24 days and went eleven days post peak. That's a pattern lately, I seem to have had an eleven day luteal phase for a few cycles in a row. So now I'm left wondering what was with all this strange spotting this cycle; overall there was less of it, but this time it was on strange days.
The good news is tomorrow is my doctor's appointment. I think later today I'll post all my questions I'm coming up with for him, and then I'll print them out so I can take them with me.
So, the second reading at Mass this weekend really struck me. I think us infertile women - at least the ones struggling, and isn't that all of us? - can take something from it.
Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.
I like practical advice. Paul here tells us everything to do:
1) Do not have anxiety.
2) Approach the Lord with thanksgiving, thanking him for all he has blessed us with.
3) Ask the Lord for what you want.
4) He may not give you what you want, but have peace knowing you've prayed about it. We can relax and know it is in his hands.
5) I the meantime, think positively. Focus on the good things God has created and given you.
6) Keep plugging along. Do what you know you should be doing as a Christian, and you will have peace.
I will try to do this, but it's hard. Number one means I can't worry about the possibility of never getting pregnant, how depressed I will be with my life, whether I am doing the right thing, etc., etc. That's not easy. I don't do enough of number two. I try to thank God but it's probably forced; I hurry through it to get to my requests, because that's what I'm there for. I know number four is true, and recently a friend really showed me this by example. It's still difficult to reach that level of understanding, but I'm going to try. I don't do nearly enough of number five, and I bet anything that it works. Maybe I'll really try this one.
Let's face it, when I take God's advice it always works. So why am I hesitant every time? Trust, I guess, and this stupid humanness that gets in the way.
Well I've gotta go get ready for a walk. I'm trying to lose a couple more pounds before my doctor's appointment tomorrow and my official weigh-in. It's definitely not going to help that I'll probably be bloated now!
Friday, October 3, 2008
I just want this cycle to end. I feel like it's mocking me because for some reason - despite that fact that I am diseased and have bad ovaries - I am ludicrous enough to actually think I have a shred of hope right now. I can't even believe I just typed that, but I wanted to be honest.
I hate feeling like this. The protective side of me is screaming, "NO! Don't fall for it! You are infertile! And it will hurt even more this way!" So if it's going to end, just end already.
I seriously have only had hope one other time in the past two years and, of course, that time was a big flop. It's humiliating, isn't it? Something about it is humiliating. I guess that means I have pride, and perhaps God is trying to highlight one of the areas in which I need to 'die to self'. I think I might have asked him to do that very thing a while ago. Hmmm.
I thought it might end today when I woke up and my bbt was down to 97.9. Oh, but don't worry! Psycho me took it three times until finally, after trying to go back to sleep for 15 minutes, it went up to 98.1, putting me back in the safe zone (albeit somewhat manipulated). I am having more pain and cramping today. It's not too bad, but it is now on both sides. Also, I haven't seen any more spotting, for what that's worth.
I'm only ten days post peak today, and lately I've been typically having an eleven day luteal phase, which would mean I have today and tomorrow left to wait. So I guess this is all premature. I just need to get through the next couple days, go to my doctor's appointment on Monday, and then go out to eat once the cycle has officially ended.
I've gone through it roughly 49 times already. I should be prepared by now.
With all this on my mind, I'm having a hard time seeing the women go into and out of the abortion clinic. Just knowing they're pregnant. I feel just like I would if I was at a big, happy baby shower, yet this mother is going to likely kill her baby. So it's that jealousy mixed with disgust over the woman killing what I long for most in the world. I think it's taking a toll on me. I'm not going to go tomorrow, and just take a day off.
Right now I'm antsy. I was looking forward to resting today but now I'm just bored. God, please give me patience.