Monday, March 30, 2009

Progesterone results

I got my results just now, but apparently the peak +11 results are lost. I called the lab and they gave me a number to give my doctor's office to call, so hopefully that will get cleared up eventually.

Anyways, here they are:

Peak +8: Progesterone - 24.74, Estradiol - 214
Peak +9: Progesterone - 19.76, Estradiol - 351

I would assume that had I actually gotten it drawn on peak +7 like I was supposed to, my progesterone that day would have been pretty high. It might have been similar to last month's peak +7 result of 44, especially since my peak +9 this time is actually higher than my peak +9 last time. (And on a totally random note, I just checked and oddly enough, my peak +11 last time was the same exact number as my peak +9 this time - 19.76. Means nothing, but I just thought that was weird).

I'm still interested to see if it went up or down on peak +11. Hopefully those results aren't lost for good.

So good results, I guess. But they mean nothing since I'm not getting pregnant.

I guess this last cycle was also good because my peak day was day 14 and my luteal phase went 14 days. I guess I can't get down about it because it's not like I've had textbook cycles for a year or anything. I mean, just a few months ago my progesterone was 8.21 on peak +8 and I was ovulating on day 20. I've come pretty far since then. I need to try to remember that.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And the news sinks in

I'm pretty bummed today. It's slowly sinking in that we may not have a baby until next year. I can't help but consider what that means:

  • It'll be 2010
  • I'll be 33 
  • We'll have been married and trying to conceive for almost six years
Those thoughts make me shudder.

I know I shouldn't think in these terms, but I can't help it. I know that God is a God of surprises, but after more than five years of this, I know that surprises may or may not come. They may or may not be in his plan for us.

The truth is I will get through this. It will be very difficult, I'm sure, but the time will pass, and we will get a baby eventually. I might be 33, or I might be 34, but it's not like I'll be eighty, right?

I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be the young mother I longed to be. Heck, I won't even be the average-aged mother I would have settled on. No, I'll be more like one of those career women who waited til their mid-thirties to establish their high-powered jobs before pausing to have a kid. Well, except for the fact that I have no career. Maybe people will see me with a couple babies at age forty and assume I'm a successful doctor or lawyer!

So life without children continues for now, for who knows how long. All I can say is something better change soon because Sophie is getting very tired of being an only child. Last night she got the abstinence talk for the third time (I yell at her that she is to have NO pre-marital sex, and birth control is not an option. This is usually provoked by something on a t.v. show). You think I'm kidding?

Friday, March 27, 2009

More lessons in patience

I missed the call from my doctor's office about my progesterone results.

It was totally my fault. I had called the office this afternoon asking for any results they had at that point. I knew that yesterday's results probably weren't available, but I'd take whatever I could get. So as I'm waiting for them to call back, I went outside for like ten minutes and didn't take the phone with me. I don't know what I was thinking. I take the phone everywhere when I'm waiting for their call. I know to do this because they usually call when I'm in the shower. But this time, for some reason, I left it inside, and on top of that, I didn't even check if for over an hour after coming back in.

When I finally did, I realized that a nurse had left a message. It said my doctor said the first level (from Monday, peak +8) was "excellent." Over the course of the message she also called it "really good" and "great." But, she did not tell me what it was. She also said that my doctor has been out sick, and that she couldn't tell me anything about my peak +9 and peak +11 results because he hadn't seen them yet, but that they'd call on Monday.

A lesson in patience, once again. You'd think I'd have learned how to be patient by now, but I have not.

Speaking of patience, I found out today that the adoption wait is probably going to be a lot longer than we had previously thought. My friend who is using the same agency as us found out from her social worker that the agency doesn't have as many birthmothers as they did this time last year, and that is probably has something to do with the economy. Let's hope it's not because of this, but sadly, it probably is.

She was told they are working with three women right now, but they're not due for about three months or so. That means that hopefully my friend will get a baby by this summer. That might not sound so bad, but she's been waiting for a year and we had been thinking that she might get a call any day! And that also means that our hopes of getting a baby by the summer is a huge long shot; it will probably be more like 2010.

I'm definitely putting all nursery painting plans on hold. The office will stay the office.

Oh well. All in God's time. I don't want any baby other than the one we are intended to raise, and I will wait as long as it takes for that. That being said, please join me in praying that women who find themselves pregnant consider adoption.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Catholic blog to check out

Sometimes there seems like there aren't an abundance of Catholic blogs out there about adoption. I know every time one of you who has adopted has emailed me your story, it has helped me tremendously. There is just something about reading the story of a nice, normal family who has gone through the process and has one or more adorable children to show for it. I already know that adoption is great and everything, but sometimes putting a face (or an email or blog) to it can really help those of us who are contemplating making that next step.

Well, one of my friends in real life is an awesome Catholic woman who is carrying the cross of infertility and is also waiting to adopt. I'm so excited to announce that she has started a blog herself, because I'm sure her story will help so many others. Not only can she speak about adoption and the difficulty of waiting, but she is an amazingly strong person with deep faith, so I'm sure she will inspire you like she already has me.

Actually, the way we met in real life kind of has to do with my blog. We had already briefly met in person at a young adults get-together for our parish that she and her husband hosted. Then, a few days later, as she was researching online for an infertility support group she was starting, she came across my blog. I had just added my picture to it the day before, so luckily she was able to immediately realize that she had just met me! Well, thanks to that chance internet search, I became involved in the support group and the rest is history. I'm sure we would've become friends even if not for the blog, but maybe we wouldn't have realized our shared struggle so soon.

I've also talked about her before on this blog, including our trip to St. Gianna's shrine last spring.

Anyways, please check out her blog and say hi!


www.graceinmyheart.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cycle update and a boy plan *Updated with pictures*

I had my peak+8 and peak+9 blood draws this week and I'll go again tomorrow for peak+11. So, after that, the next thing on the horizon for me is finding out the results. Or, starting a new cycle. Whichever comes first. 

Of course, I'm hoping the progesterone results come first. I'd like my luteal phase to make it to 15 days again, like it did last cycle. That was so, so nice. Today is day ten, so if it goes eleven days (my norm), that means Friday will be cycle day one. I'd have to make it all the way to next Tuesday to have a 15 day luteal phase. It seems so far away. And I kind of feel like the cycle is ending, but honestly, I have no idea what the symptoms mean anymore. Last cycle I had my normal end-of-cycle symptoms all cycle long!

What I really need to do, though, is stop planning out my cycle. I shouldn't calculate what day I really want to get to, or try to will it to happen. I have no control over it, after all! 

So yesterday I decided I kind of hope we get to adopt a boy. That is really surprising for me, because I've only really ever thought about having a girl. It may be because I only have sisters, or maybe because the clothes and accessories are so much cuter for girls. Obviously I just want a BABY at this point - gender preference is a distant, laughable memory - but now I am secretly hoping for a boy. Why? Well, for great reasons, of course! See, not only do I like the boy name we have picked out a lot, but yesterday I found curtain fabric for a boy that I absolutely love. I told you they were good reasons! 

I already knew what color we would be painting the walls (it will be gender-neutral), and have always planned on picking everything else out after we know the gender. Other than painting, I don't want to do too much of anything ahead of actually getting the baby anyways, because of the up-in-the-air nature of adoption. I figure we'll wait until we get "the call" and then get everything else. It will be fun! But, I do want a plan, and now I have one for a boy. 

I was at a really high-end fabric store yesterday (it's my dream store so I just like to walk around) when I saw the fabric and as soon as I laid eyes on it, I envisioned everything else - colors, bedding, a mural, everything. And we're talking $30 a yard (!!) but there's only one small window and I figure I can get away with two yards. And after going through this whole struggle, let me just tell you, I'm going to buy $30-a-yard fabric and love every minute of it!

Now I just have to come up with a girl plan.

**Update**

Okay, so here is the fabric: 

I have ALWAYS loved the little whale design. They just make me happy. And these colors work perfectly. Here's the wall color (or a close proximity) next to the fabric: 


Can you tell the whale's eye is green? I love it! So the walls would be green (I even have a fantasy of doing matte green/eggshell green thick horizontal strips, but I know it would be a huge headache to do, I'm sure) with the two blues as accent colors in the room. 

And, I should also point out that I am very indecisive. One day I love an idea, the next day I wonder what I was thinking. This plan will probably change multiple times before we actually get a baby. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Falling progesterone

I'm disappointed this morning because I know my progesterone has dropped and I haven't even gotten my blood drawn yet. It's peak +8 today, and I couldn't get it drawn on peak +7 because it was a Sunday, so I will never know what the actual level was at its highest.

I know it has dropped because yesterday I felt great. I was in a great mood and could tell it was high. Then this morning I woke up feeling not so good, and now it's obvious that my mood has fallen off dramatically. I'm a mess. I felt this way last cycle on peak +8 too. I'm sure when I get the results back (a week from now probably.. ugh!) it will be under 10. That's my prediction.

I know it shouldn't matter, because if my progesterone was high, not seeing the proof of it doesn't change the fact that it was high. But heck, it is too much to ask that I can get my progesterone tested on the right day and know what it is each month? There will be at least 60 days between peak +7 results and that's even if it works out next month! There's no guarantee of that!

I know I'm going to get it drawn today and it's going to be super low, and I'm going to wonder if it was ever high. Knowing that it was 44.27 last month helped me tremendously and I was just hoping for that little pick-me-up again.

I guess I shouldn't rely on things like that. I can only rely on God. I don't know why I put my hope in these external things (oh wait, I know - because it's me trying to gain control over something I have no control over!).

I need to keep plugging along, taking my medication, charting, getting my blood drawn and accepting whatever the results are or accepting that I got tested on the wrong day. I need to just plow through and hope that one day, some time in the future (whether this year or in ten years), I'll have a baby whether through pregnancy or adoption. That is the light at the end of the tunnel. My progesterone level on March 22, 2009 means nothing in the grand scheme of things, and whether I ever knew what it was on that date means even less.

Well I'm off to get it drawn now. Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Message from Rome

Our thoughts and concerns were heard at the Vatican!

Last week I told you how a friend of mine would be attending a women's conference at the Vatican this week (I posted about it here), sponsored by the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace. My friend had asked me for some thoughts about the infertility struggle of Catholic women, just in case she had an opportunity to share them with anyone. I, of course, turned to you for some of your thoughts as well, and many of you shared some great ideas.

Well, she just posted this on my Facebook wall:

"Today I shared with Cardinal Martino and women from around the world your own journey and the messages from your blog readers. It was very moving and I wish you had been there to say it yourself!"

Isn't that exciting?! I just had to share that with you. She wasn't sure if she'd even be able to share our thoughts, but apparently she was! I can't wait to hear more about it, and once I do, I will pass it along to you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Peace

I feel like there isn't much to post about lately, which is probably because I've been feeling really good.

I cannot even express how thankful I am that I've had such a peace with infertility in recent weeks. I'm still a little surprised every day that I feel good and that my default thinking is not full of negative thoughts, which had been the case for four-plus years. I just really feel like I've finally realized that God's way is the only way, and I'm sort of resting in his will. It's a really peaceful place to be after so many years of fighting.

And it's not like I'm euphoric or anything - I still have frustrations, bad moods, impatience - but the main difference is now it's not usually about infertility. When it comes to that, I am just relaxed. I still do get a little pang of jealousy when I hear someone else is pregnant, but I am working on that. I know those thoughts are a lie and only decay my soul. To be free of them leaves so much more room for God's grace. Sometimes I even try to picture my soul, and how when it is full of bad stuff - like jealousy - there is less room for the good.

I think there are a few reasons I have been finally able to surrender and find peace. First, I believe time is definitely healing my infertility wounds. I have been through it all, all the stages of grief, the range of emotions, the shock, the despair. For years I have had those times when I just couldn't believe that I may never have a biological child - you know those moments, when it's like it hits you again for the first time - and I just think I'm starting to get used to it all. It just doesn't hurt as much as it once did, simply because it's old news. How many times can that the thought that I might not ever get pregnant cut me deeply? Well, it probably has done that very thing hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Eventually, though, like with anything, it has to hurt less, and I think I've finally reached that point.

And it's not like I'm patting myself on the back for reaching some level of higher understanding that has brought me peace. Oh no, just the opposite, actually. I've been worn down and battered by this thing, and, if anything, I have just kind of given up. But rather than give up in the negative sense, I have given it up to God. I'm done. I'm exhausted. Now it's his turn (which it really was all along).

Second, I think that moving forward with the adoption process has helped a lot. But just a few months ago the idea of adopting wouldn't have made me feel any better about not being able to conceive, so the fact that I'm on board with it now is actually less of a reason for surrendering and more of a result of it.

Third, I think it's just part of my path. God has different experiences in mind for all of us and just like we all experience different forms of infertility, our spiritual paths vary as well. For some of us, the road to acceptance may be shorter, while for others, it may never end. Thankfully, God saw fit that I would start to experience some peace at this point of the game. For whatever reason, the experiences of the last four-and-a-half years were all part of his plan for me, and the peace I feel now is just another step on that path.

Basically, it all goes back to accepting God's will.

To be honest, I am a tiny bit nervous it will all disappear, or that I'll get in the way of myself. But even if I wake up tomorrow feeling down, I'll be fine, as long as I remember that I'm not in charge. What God has in store for us is so much better than anything we could ever plan for our lives, and I can't wait to see what it is.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back home

We're back after quite the trip. A lot of drinking was done, and none by me. Well, I had a few waters and one diet coke.

Remind me next year that I don't necessarily enjoy being around tons of crazy partiers for a day-long drinking extravaganza. Not my scene. But I did have fun with the group we hung out with, as you can see:


The first bar, where we spent six hours (11 a.m. - 5 p.m.).


And the second bar, where everyone in our group (including Ryan, thankfully) really started to wind down. I guess the green beer was looking less and less appetizing.


Now back to infertility...

I am on day 17 and believe it or not, my peak day was day 14. Woo hoo! That is text book! It's all about small accomplishments. I may not be able to rejoice in a pregnancy just yet, but I can definitely celebrate the strides my reproductive organs are able to make. Great progesterone last cycle and a day-14 peak day this cycle. Speaking of which, aren't those two things connected? Maybe great progesterone last time got things on track for a good ovulation two weeks later.

I know you don't need to ovulate on day 14 to get pregnant, but it's just further evidence that things are normalizing. This cycle I had nine days of mucus prior to my peak, and 10 KL AD (clear, stretchy, lubricative, all day) on my peak day. 

The one thing that might not be totally normal is that I start having mucus right after the last day of my period, with no dry days in between. I haven't been told that this is a problem, necessarily, but I know it's not perfect. This time it was very good quality right away on day six - 10KL x2 - but then the next day the mucus quality lessened (more like what you'd normally see at the beginning of the mucus pattern - 8C x2) and then worked itself back up to 10KL by the day before my peak day.

The one problem on the horizon, though, is that my peak +7 will be on a Sunday. I am going to have to figure something out. I'll call around to local hospitals, and if that doesn't work out (which I don't expect it to because I've tried this before), I'm going to call my doctor and ask whether he thinks peak +6 or peak +8 is better. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Getaway

We're hitting the road for a little "weekend" trip today and tomorrow (Ryan's days off are Monday and Tuesday) so I won't be posting again for a few days.

But don't get the idea that this is some kind of relaxing getaway for the two of us - My dad is visiting friends in Myrtle Beach, so we thought we'd head down there as well. We kind of invited ourselves, but apparently they're happy to have us. Basically, there will be a lot of St. Patrick's Day partying while I serve as the designated driver.

As for a quick cycle update - I had very bad abdominal pain for about 45 minutes to an hour on Saturday night, which was cycle day 13. It was on both sides, but my mother told me it could still be ovulation pain because it can come from one side but radiate throughout the abdomen. I've been having good mucus for a few days now and then yesterday it was 10KL AD. My temperature also rose yesterday morning, although it wasn't as high as it normally goes (98.0). I'm not sure if this was it, or if I'll have a few more days of good mucus and then see a more dramatic temp rise. But I'm hopeful I might have ovulated on day 14!

Also, yesterday I woke up with horrible pain in my right leg. It was as if I had exercised the day before and pulled something, but I hadn't done anything. I probably pulled something while sleeping, which I guess is possible. I was limping all day, but it would get better after I walked on it a little, which also pointed to it being muscular. But, of course, I was worried it was something serious, like a clot, which I read online is a rare side effect of Tamoxifen.

So I called my mom a few times so that she'd calm me down about it. She is sure it is just a muscle thing that I did while sleeping. And she pointed out that it's not swollen or red, which a clot would be.

I'm sure I'm making a much bigger deal out of this than it is. One thing is for sure though - I've only been charting leg pain since I started Tamoxifen. Prior to that, I charted "leg sensation" which I'd get the day or two before starting a new cycle. But the last three cycles I've taken Tamoxifen, I've charted "leg pain" and it's always in the morning and all throughout my cycle. And when I googled it I also found a lot of women (although they were taking it for breast cancer treatment) complaining about leg pain in the morning. I'll definitely mention it to my doctor at my next as-yet-unscheduled appointment.

Well we're late already, which we always are. I'll be back on Wednesday, so in the meantime if you haven't read my last post (especially if you have PCOS), make sure you do!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Finally some GOOD news about fertility and getting older

It turns out my ovaries may just be late bloomers!

Believe it or not, there is a study that shows as women with PCOS get older, their chances of getting pregnant may actually increase. Apparently, this is because as those of us with PCOS get older (over age 30) our hormones settle down and the ovaries begin to work efficiently. The study found that women with PCOS conceived at similar rates over their lifetimes as women without PCOS, it just happens later.

That's the best study I've ever seen! Yes, it's small, apparently, but I'm running with it regardless. Usually, studies are all about how our age is working against us, how our clock is ticking, how our eggs are becoming fewer and fewer. I seriously can't believe aging may actually help us!

Here's an excerpt from an article about the study:

Miriam Hudecova and colleagues at Uppsala University in Sweden interviewed 91 women who were 35 or older and had been diagnosed with PCOS when younger. They found the women had undergone just as many pregnancies and borne as many babies, on average, as PCOS-free women of the same age. Some of the women with PCOS had been treated for infertility, but more than two-thirds had become pregnant without such help.

Hudecova also examined most of the women and found that the ovaries of the older women with PCOS showed signs of being more active, with better hormone levels and more eggs available, than those of control women of the same age (Human Reproduction, DOI: 10.1093/humrep/den482). "As they get older, the chance of getting pregnant may actually be higher," says Hudecova.

As women age, fewer follicles are produced each month, and in most this reduces fertility. With PCOS, however, fewer follicles may have the opposite effect: it may stop the hormonal interference and cause follicles to release eggs normally.

That's amazing! I hope further studies show similar results. 

It's funny because I've always kind of felt that I'd get pregnant eventually, perhaps even like five years or more in the future. I imagine I'll have adopted two or three children and the pregnancy will be a surprise. Now this makes me even more hopeful of that happening.

Thanks to my friend, Seanna, for sharing this study with me. We can always use some good news!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Catching up

I am exhausted! I usually get up around ten a.m. (I know, it's a charmed life), but lately I've had a few early mornings in a row and tomorrow will be another one. And last night was a late night thanks to Syracuse. You might have seen it on, oh, the Nightly News tonight - they went to six over-times, making it one of the longest and most memorable games in the history of college basketball! (And it helps that they won) There are even shirts already:


So I'm watching tonight's game right now, barely able to keep my eyes open. Actually, it's half time at the moment, so before I get back to the game, I thought I'd catch you all up to speed on my fascinating life.

* My car broke down today. I was parallel parking outside the abortion clinic when all of a sudden it wouldn't change gears. Thankfully, I was pretty much in the spot when it happened and not sticking out in traffic or anything. It could have been really bad but it ended up being only kind of bad - it'll cost $500 to fix, but that means it's worth fixing. See, we're on borrowed time. It's been paid off for years (and we didn't even do the paying...it was my mother's car) and we are just praying that it makes it to August when Ryan's car is paid off. For a few hours today I thought I'd have to get some tips from Lifehopes on how to survive with only one vehicle!

* In cycle news, I'm on cycle day 12 today and so far have had very little mucus. Well, I've had several days of it already, but I only see it once, maybe twice, a day. Get going B6!

* I bought a bathing suit. And while I ended up buying it online, I didn't get to avoid actually trying some on in a store. While that's usually torture only equal to the dentist's office for me (okay, nothing's as bad as the dentist), this year it was actually fun. Really! Ryan and I went to actually cheer me up one day. Well, I shouldn't make it sound too good - I still have to get one of those bottoms with the skirt attached, but last year I couldn't even stomach myself in one of those! So this is really monumental. I also did something else monumental this week - I bought and wore shorts. That might not sound like a big deal, but it's something I haven't done since probably high school. Mind you, they are the bermuda shorts that are just above the knee, but it's still a big deal for me.

* Our support group is meeting tomorrow morning and it sounds like we'll have two new women. I have to get a ride, of course, since I don't have a car. Did I also mention I lost my keys a few days ago? Maybe someone doesn't want me to drive...

I feel like there was something else I was going to tell you... Hmmm...

Well, I've got to get back to the game now. Go Cuse!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Infertility and eternity

I remember many conversations with my husband throughout the early years of our infertility struggle that would always go the same way. I would be crying asking 'why' and he would eventually land on the one response he'd always land on - "You will be rewarded in Heaven."

Oh, no, he didn't.

In the midst of losing it ('Eternity?? You're trying to comfort me with eternity??'), I would always say something like, 'I don't want to wait until then! I want it now!'

Thankfully, I can look back on those days and admit that the 'it" I was actually referring to probably, honestly, wasn't children. It was more likely comfort, relief, happiness.

It's amazing how far God has brought me. On one hand it is a reminder of how long this journey has been, but on the other, it is a weight off of my shoulders to know that I have grown and I'm not the same person who was stuck in a spiritual rut. I wasn't able to have hope back then.

Just this morning I was at breakfast with a friend and we were reflecting on how we are better off due to infertility (surprising, I know; a conversation I wouldn't have had even a year ago). We remarked that we both now see the value in suffering and that we wouldn't have the faith we have today if not for this struggle. It's true. I really believe God strips us of our comforts in order for us to rely completely on him. On an earthly level this might seem harsh, but if we look at it from Heaven's perspective, it isn't harsh at all. Actually, it's a blessing.

I think that was my problem for so long - my world view was completely flipped upside down. Here on earth, we are conditioned to want comfort. We want to be comfortable while we're here and we want things (whether it be a loving husband, a nice house or children) that bring us comfort in this life. Not all of those things are bad - obviously wanting love and babies are not material items - but I still wanted them to make my life here better. The problem with that is that I wasn't thinking in terms of God's point of view. What God wants for us is much simpler - for us to love others as ourselves and, ultimately, for us to join him in eternity. There are many ways God may have in mind for us to get to that end result, and when I began to look at life from that perspective, everything shifted.

Suddenly it made more sense to me why God would give me this time of great suffering - it is directly related to my sanctification. And that, and not my earthly comfort and happiness, is what he is concerned with. If the goal is our sanctification, it makes so much sense why things we would consider blessings (children, spouses, health) aren't just handed out to everyone. Yes, God wants us to be happy because we are his children and he loves us, but I'm not sure our happiness in this life is tops on his list (and obviously our definition of happiness probably doesn't always mesh with his). I'm sure there are many people who were happy in this life who did not end up in Heaven.

He wants us to have joy, and true joy is found in times of wealth and also in times of despair. It is not dependent on what is around us. I need only to look at the lives of the saints to know this is true.

A month or two ago, Ryan and I were talking about how so many people are blessed with fertility and how it is easy for people in our situation to think that God has forgotten us. But he asked me to look at infertility in a different light, to turn it upside-down. He said what if we are the blessed ones? What if, from Heaven's perspective, it is a blessing to be given suffering and a difficult journey that forces us to rely on God? What if in Heaven, souls rejoice when hardship is handed out and people on earth respond in a holy way? What if our suffering makes getting into Heaven just a little bit easier? What if we had less suffering but a more difficult time finding God in the midst of our comfortable lives?

That made me begin to truly look at this experience as a blessing. If it helped my path to Heaven, would I trade it? Of course not.

Four, three, even two years ago, this wouldn't have helped me. Actually, it would have made me angry! Thankfully, God has allowed me to see the value in this now and while it might not always be an immediate pick-me-up to remember eternity, I'm a lot more open to the concept, even on bad days. It just helps to think there is more out there, that our hopes and dreams and future won't end when we hit menopause without having conceived. It helps to remember that our focus in this life should be on Heaven and that possibly, God is providing us with an easier path to that end.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pictures

This Lenten fast from the internet is really affecting my blog. I apologize that I have not had anything remotely thoughtful to say for a while now. It's just that in the little time I have online, I feel very stressed to not forget anything I need to check and usually only get a short update posted, if that. Plus, I usually wrote whenever the mood hit me, and now it's all scheduled...once in the morning and once in the evening.

I think the solution is writing posts in Word (I didn't give up the computer, just the internet) and then posting them when I am online.

That being said, I don't have anything thoughtful for you today. Actually, after a couple days in the 80's, the temperature dropped quite a bit here and my hands are still freezing from a walk we took about an hour ago and I'm having trouble typing, believe it or not.

Instead, I'll post some random pictures for your viewing pleasure.



Last night we went to the conference championship game that VCU, a college in Richmond, played in. I have never really rooted for a college other than my own, so it was weird! This is us at dinner before the game.

They won.

And here we are at the Sabres game from a couple weeks ago. They lost.

Here's one that I found that I took a few weeks ago of Sophie, just to show how she sleeps like a human. Yes, we let her sleep in our bed. Actually, she didn't want to originally and I forced her! Now she's used to it and loves it. 

Here she is sleeping on the couch with her mommy. Thank goodness I have Sophie to be my baby!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I need your help

A dear friend of mine has been invited to an international women's conference at the Vatican next week, sponsored by the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace. Before she leaves, she has asked me if there are two or three points that I would most want her to share concerning infertility and adoption. She doesn't know if she'll have a chance to share them, but just in case, she wanted to know my thoughts.

So, before I get back to her, I wanted to know your thoughts. What are our main issues?

Here's what I've come up with so far...

-Greater understanding at a parish level of the Church's teachings on infertility treatments, including what ARTs are illicit, on the part of both priests and lay persons

-Spreading the word about NaProTechnology, to the point where information is available in every parish and couples don't have to happen upon it years into their infertility struggle

I'm really tired (must be the springing ahead!), so that is all I could come up with tonight. And I couldn't think of anything to do with adoption at the moment. But I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Personally, I truly feel like the Church sees us, supports us, and has our backs, so to speak. It has been outspoken on the topic of infertility and has always explained its teachings in a beautiful way, always recognizing the great struggle we face. How blessed we are in that respect!

Let me know what you think...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cycle update

It's cycle day six and I already had 10KL this morning. It was seriously some of the best quality mucus I've seen in a couple cycles!

I am tempted to wonder if it is a sign of a problem to see it so early, but I am just going to be thankful for good quality mucus. I usually have some this early and it just continues until my peak day.

I did start taking B6 on cycle day two...could it be due to that? Maybe I don't need the B6 and it is causing me to over-produce? I don't know, but I'm not going to worry about it.

Speaking of that, I forgot when I was supposed to start the B6. Was I right to take it at the beginning of my cycle?

My internet time is almost up. Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Good mood and spring cleaning

Seriously, I feel great tonight. I don't know if it's the Tamoxifen, estrogen, B6, or the grace of God (well, it's definitely that), but I didn't expect to feel so good, especially since I thought the I'd be right in the thick of mourning the official end of my last cycle. Since I still had some hope earlier this week, I never got upset on cycle day one, so I expected it to happen yesterday. I'm not going to lie, I did cry when I got the call from the nurse saying that I did not have a miscarriage, but the weird thing was that I prayed and asked the Blessed Mother to comfort me and help me to bounce back and I did.

I'm not kidding...I bounced back almost instantaneously; so fast that I actually had the thought that I would have liked to wallow a little bit more. It was like the Blessed Mother snapped her fingers and shoved me out the happy door. I mean, crying can be comfortable at times. But the cloud lifted and I was in a good mood before I consciously decided to be. Does that make sense?

Then, today, I woke up all anxious. I wondered how I could channel it since it was kind of like nervous energy and I knew watching t.v. all day wouldn't cut it. After a couple hours of sitting around, all of a sudden, I got up and started cleaning. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, and decided I was officially "spring cleaning" since it sounded good and is something I can say I've never done before (it also helped that it was 70 out and I had all the windows open). I even removed the rug from underneath our heavy dining room table all by myself. And then I put this rather large rug in our front-loading washer, even though the tag said to vacuum and spot clean only.

So I was a cleaning fool, and if you've read my blog before, you know I hate cleaning. Actually though, I have cleaned almost every day since we had our home study home visit. It was in such great shape that day that I decided to keep it up, and let me tell you, I LOVE my house so much more when it's clean. I'm calmer, more peaceful and happier in my surroundings. Who would have thought that cleaning would help me mentally? It's kind of like losing weight - I always knew I should be doing it but it seemed like SO much work. Then once I did it, I wondered why I hadn't done it ages ago!

I am also working up my nerve to call my doctor and ask for the blood clotting disorder test. I know you are probably sick of reading about this since I've gone around and around about it, but I think I'm going to call about it on Monday. I'll need to give myself a pep talk first. Sew Infertile's been giving me some good ones, so I should just read her emails before I call!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Results

Well you all can now say you know someone who had a false positive pregnancy test.

That's right - my blood work showed zero hCG and the level of progesterone was not high enough to indicate a recent pregnancy.

So despite a luteal phase four days longer than normal, progesterone that dropped and then rose again, and a faint positive test, I still have never once conceived. Seriously, what are the chances that all those things happened all at once as a fluke? I guess my reproductive organs defy the odds.

I'm sure there is a rational explanation for everything. The plus-sign tests apparently aren't reliable (I know cysts can cause false positives, but if that was the case I think I'd have additional positive tests). My progesterone was just really good and the fact that it's high doesn't mean you conceived, it just means the conditions are good for a conception. And, while rare, it can rise again in a non-conception cycle. And my luteal phase was probably lengthened by the Tamoxifen, or perhaps it was longer because I am just getting healthier.

On the bright side, these are all new things that have only occurred in one cycle...meaning it's not like I have had great progesterone and textbook cycles for a year now and still haven't gotten pregnant. I have just begun to be fertile, apparently. At least that's what I am hoping.

On the not-as-bright side, I'm tempted to wallow in my apparent bad luck. I mean, really? I really had a false positive pregnancy test? Me? The girl who has spent nearly five years suffering from infertility and as if that isn't bad enough now I have to go through having a false positive test for no apparent reason? Just because it was a faulty test?

But I'm not going to go there!

I mean, I might be tempted to think that all of these so-called "good signs" aren't really good signs at all if I don't conceive. Or I might be tempted to think about how I spent the last week thinking I was so close to being pregnant only to find out I was just as far away from it as any of the other 54 times.

But while I might be tempted, I'm not giving in! No, that'd be way too easy.

I am fine. Whatever God wants is what I want. And thankfully I never thought I was really pregnant and so I don't need to deal with the added sadness of thinking I was and then not. Does that make sense? I had just hoped, after the fact, that perhaps I had conceived.

Oh, and this cycle is only getting weirder. I'm back to a regular period. I guess it's starting and stopping. That's never happened before, but that's fine. Different is good, because whatever has happened before sure hasn't worked!

Cycle update

No test results yet.

So far it has been an odd cycle. Yesterday - cycle day three - was already a spotting day and today is the same, which is not normal for me. That usually doesn't happen until day five or six. With such high progesterone last cycle, I kind of expected to have a lot of lining to shed! I guess it only took two days, which is way less than normal.

I've also been feeling sick. I woke up early this morning feeling very nauseous, and I've been laying down on the verge of sleep all day. I'm also having some lower abdominal pains, but they're not very bad.

I actually haven't gotten a good night's sleep in over a week. Since Ryan works at night and we go to bed around 2 a.m., we usually sleep until 10, but lately I've been waking up at 7, or earlier, every morning. I don't know what's going on because I usually have no problem sleeping and have to force myself to wake up. I have to assume it's hormones.

I also started another round of Tamoxifen last night. Let's hope the third time's a charm!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting tested!

My doctor called me!

I was in the shower (of course) but I had put the phone on a shelf near me just in case. When it rang I hurried to turn the water off (while I’m shaking from excitement – it’s amazing the way you can work yourself up for something), and answered the phone. And it wasn’t just a nurse, but my doctor himself!

I just love him! He is such a great person.

He said he was definitely going to order a test, a pregnancy test and progesterone. When I asked him if he thought it was warranted he said ‘absolutely!’ He said between my cycle going as long as it did, my progesterone doing what it did and seeing a faint positive, that there was a good chance I had an early miscarriage. He then said that while that would be sad, it should also make me very hopeful, to which I replied, “Oh, yes, it would make me very hopeful!”

He needed the fax number for my lab, so, dripping wet, I managed to put a towel around myself and walk to the computer. While I was looking it up, I took the opportunity to ask him about my progesterone. When I asked him if it was a good sign that my progesterone did what it did, before I could even finish he said, “Oh ABSOLUTELY!” He then said it really shows that my body is physiologically doing the right thing. When I asked him about how it went down and then went back up, he said that was a great sign and that while it is possible that it can happen in someone who’s not pregnant, that they usually only see it in pregnancy.

Still looking for the fax number, I asked him about how it went from an 8.21 one month to 44.27 the next and whether it was the Tamoxifen. To that he replied that it was a great sign and, again, that they usually only see that in pregnancy. I’m sure now that when they called me with the results on Friday, that’s exactly what they were thinking.

I then asked him that if I didn’t have an early miscarriage, were my progesterone results and my longer-than-normal luteal phase still good signs, and he said yes, that they were great and thing are looking really good.

I know I already know this, but it means so much more coming from your doctor!

So he is now having a nurse fax the order over and I’m going to go this afternoon to have it done.

I think I asked him if he thought it was too late for an early miscarriage to show up on blood work, and I don’t know what he said to that. I think that’s when he said what he was testing for. I guess I’ll ask that again if I get the results and they don’t show anything.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted! Now I’ll be waiting again, this time for the results, but at least the ball is rolling.

I know we’ll probably hear back that the test didn’t show any signs of pregnancy. It’s hard to imagine anything other than that! So I’m just trying to be okay with whatever I hear, and to humble myself to not be embarrassed if my suspicions were wrong. At least now I know that my doctor also thinks there is as good chance I miscarried, so it’s not like some crazy idea I cooked up.

I’ll of course update when I hear something. Right now, since I’m fasting from the internet for most of the day, I’m typing posts up in Word and having Ryan post them for me. That isn’t cheating, is it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Trying to be patient

No call from my doctor's office yet.

Today was hard. I just feel emotionally drained, and the waiting has been excruciating. And I'm not sure what I'm even waiting for. It's probably too late for a blood test at this point and perhaps I am silly for even thinking I needed one. I just really want some professional insight into my last cycle. I just want to know what he thinks of the progesterone, of the faint positive (possible false positive), and the much-longer-than-normal luteal phase. I just want a professional to tell me that they are all good signs. That the fact that this cycle was WAY better than the previous one is a good sign.

I'm letting it affect my mood and I know that isn't good. I need to be patient.

That being said, because it has been two days, I'm going to call again tomorrow morning and leave another message.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Still waiting

Well I never heard back from my doctor's office today. Ryan keeps telling me they were probably swamped from being closed this morning. 

Emotionally, I'm fine, just having a difficult time with patience. I just want to hear so badly what my doctor has to say. Hopefully I'll know more tomorrow.

Physically, I was sick all day. I spent the whole day on the couch feeling completely out of it - achy, headache, stomach pains and indigestion, and napping on and off. I took some advil this evening and started to feel a little better.

To answer a question from my last post...My bbt did drop this morning. I knew as soon as I saw it that I was about to start a new cycle. It was 97.8, I think.

I'll probably reflect more on everything once I know what, if anything, actually happened, but I will say that I never had my hopes up that I was pregnant. I was super cautious and never celebrated or got excited. Looking back on it now, I kind of wish I had at least been a little surprised at what I thought was a positive test, but I wasn't. At all. I was completely matter-of-fact about it and when my husband said he couldn't see it, I let it go. Not having tested in so long, I guess I forgot that you don't ever get confused about a negative test. It's always obviously negative, and I didn't really remember that until I saw the negative test on Sunday morning.

So I threw away the test and decided to wait til the next morning to test again. I was hopeful, but at that point, the first test wasn't causing me to have hope, it was more the rising progesterone and the lack of a new cycle starting. Then, when it started to sink in that a very, very faint line might be a positive, I was still cautious. Overall, I was in a good mood, but every few seconds it would shift and I'd be telling myself I was nuts for thinking there was a chance. The best way to describe it is to say it's like a limbo - you think there might be a chance, and you don't want to take a pregnancy test to prove otherwise; you like the good mood the hopefulness is causing. I've experienced that limbo many times before, even on months when nothing out of the ordinary has happened (which I always thought was odd, since outwardly I thought I was unable to hope). This time, that's actually what kept me from taking a second test that day. Now I kind of wish I had.

Okay, I'm going to post the picture of the test, but keep in mind, I just took it and it's been sitting around for like 48 hours now. It was much more faint in the few minutes after I first took the test, but I will say that it started to get darker about an hour after (at least that's when I next checked it) and it has stayed the same since that time.

Again, I am completely aware that you are not supposed to look at a test after the ten minute time limit. The reason I want to show you the test is because I want to point out what was visible before the ten minutes were up.



I told you it was faint!! The arrow is pointing to the faint line that was visible before the ten minutes were up. At that point it was a thin line, kind of like a series of dots, but I knew even then that it was the left-hand side of a still invisible thicker line. (You'll probably have to click on the picture to enlarge it in order to see what I'm talking about)

I'm really hoping that I get a call tomorrow from my doctor's office, but I'm praying for patience if that is not to be.

Cycle day one

I started my period this morning, suddenly, which has never happened before. I guess it's just another big thing that is different about this cycle. I've never not had some spotting, even just the day of. There's usually some warning, you know?

I'm still trying to get a blood draw, but now I'm wondering, is that silly? Could there have been a very early miscarriage if I got a faint positive on Saturday morning and then started a new cycle on Monday? I don't know. I've read that a cyst can cause a false positive test, so I guess we still need to look into this.

The reason I said I'm trying to get a blood draw is because of this stupid snow. It's not that I hate snow, but I hate that everything has to shut down. Being a northerner, I'm just so not used to that. And the roads aren't plowed? What? That's a shot of our street. And we don't live far out in the country, mind you.

My doctor's office is going to open, but not for another half hour. And meanwhile, while my normal lab is closed, one at the hospital that I can go to is open, but is going to close early. (Update-my doctor's office is now open and I just left a message)

So, while I wait, here are the stats for my last cycle:

-32 days long
- 15 day luteal phase
- progesterone p+7 - 44.27, p+9 - 17.96, p+11 - 19.76
- peak day - day 17
- 10 days of mucus pre-peak
- 10KLx2 on peak day
- no spotting at all at end of cycle, not even on day one of new cycle

This is definitely the most text-book cycle I've ever had.

In comparison, here's my stats from the previous cycle (my only other Tamoxifen cycle):

- 29 days long
- 11 day luteal phase (but that's based on my gut feeling - if I were to go by my last peak day, it would have been 9 days)
- progesterone p+7 - 8.21
- peak day - day 18? (it wasn't clear-cut)
- 13 days of mucus pre-peak
- spotting following a dry day at the end of my period (day 7) and to begin my next cycle

So much has improved! I have a lot to be thankful for.

One thing I've realized the past few days is this - I only want to follow God. I don't want anything that isn't part of God's plan, so even if this didn't go exactly like I would have wanted it to, that doesn't matter because I wouldn't have wanted it if it were outside of God's plan. No matter what happens, I'd rather be following God's path than my own because knowing that I am giving it all over to him brings me immense comfort and peace. He is in control and his way is always better.

Yesterday at Mass, I told the Lord that I would do this every cycle if he wanted me to. I would go through the uncertainty, the emotional turmoil. I'd go through the humiliation of thinking I might be pregnant only to find out I never was. I told him I would do it and I meant it. I really feel lately, for the first time ever, that I have given control over to him completely and I feel better than ever.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Confused

Well yesterday I decided to test. It was 14 days past my peak day, and I've never had a luteal phase that long. Plus, as some of you noticed from my last post, my progesterone initially dropped but then started to rise again. All good signs, so I tested Saturday morning.

And what happened? Well, I wasn't sure what the result was.

I swore I saw a very, VERY, faint line. Actually, I saw several dots making up a thin line that would have been the left-side edge of a thicker line if it had been there. Know what I mean? Of course, I didn't take a picture.

The problem is that my husband didn't see anything. I kept pointing to it and he still couldn't see it. So I just figured I was looking into it too much, and we decided I'd test again this morning.

About two hours later, I looked at the test again and now there was a clearly visible faint line. I know, I know. You are not, under any circumstances, supposed to look at tests past the ten minute window. But the reason I bring this up is because the vertical row of dots that I saw initially were still there, and were now clearly making up the left hand side of the now thick (but still faint) line, just like I had thought. So it wasn't in my head.

I still waited to test until this morning.

When I woke up my bbt was still up, although a tad bit lower than yesterday (but it was also earlier). I got up, took the test and this time it was clearly negative. There was no way I could possibly read anything else into it. And now, several hours later, it is still very clearly negative. No darkening vertical line suddenly showing. Nothing.

But that just makes me think even more that I wasn't reading into it yesterday. Now that I know how absolutely negative today's test is, I am even more convinced yesterday's might have been positive.

So still no new cycle, and no spotting. Tomorrow will be 16 days post peak. I think I'm going to call my doctor in the morning and see if he thinks I should have a blood test to see if I had a very early miscarriage (can they test for that?). But I actually have a feeling it will show that I didn't, and then you will all think I am nuts for thinking that test was positive.

I don't know. Maybe I am nuts! I just wish I had taken a picture of it. And taken it before the ten minutes were up, so you could all weigh in. That would have been so much fun!

So does anyone know what rising progesterone (after the initial drop) could mean in someone who's not pregnant? Is it something that happens from time to time in non-pregnant cycles?

It might just be that my progesterone was really good this month (which it was) and that extended my luteal phase.

Whatever the case, hopefully I'll know more in the next few days.