I'm back home after my appointment and I got the shot! Yay!
So Dr. L did another ultrasound and this time the follicle was smaller than yesterday. It had been like 2.74 and today it was something like 1.7 or 1.8. I wondered if that was a bad sign and she said no, that it was because I was in the process of ovulating.
So follicles shrink? Has anyone heard of that before? It just amazes me how little I know about all of this.
Anyway, then she said that she could see irregularities and I got nervous because that usually doesn't mean something good. Is that bad, I asked? No, she assured me, it means you're ovulating. You want to see that. Phew, okay.
She then checked for fluid behind my cervix (is that even right? I don't pay close enough attention!) and didn't see any yet.
Then a nurse gave me the shot, which took like one second, and Dr. L wrote me out an order for peak +7, 9, & 11 blood work.
So I'm wondering about this shrinking follicle. Dr. L seemed to think it was totally and completely normal that it got smaller and that it was, in fact, evidence of ovulation. I'm not sure why it still makes me curious, maybe because I've never heard of it before.
I guess I should just be grateful I have real proof that I ovulated this month. Dr. L had no doubt that's what we saw today.
Oh and I've had 10KL three times to far today, so I'm good to go.
So then I was in a great mood driving home, only to get pulled over for speeding five minutes from my house. And I got a ticket. I was doing 64 in a high-speed toll lane when the speed limit was 45. Crap. (And, I might add, Ryan just noticed the cop had to fill out my weight, which is not on my license, and guessed twenty pounds too high. Nice!)
Oh well. I'm just happy that, after five years of treatment, I finally got a shot. Why did it take this long? My treatment definitely hasn't been what you'd call aggressive up to this point, that's for sure. The RE I saw a couple weeks ago asked if I was holistic! That's okay though. It's all in God's time.
And don't worry, I'm not counting on the trigger shot to be my magic fix. I am just happy to be doing something proactive during this time of waiting and I know that it is up to God when and if I ever conceive. But you better believe I'll be asking for St. Therese's intercession tomorrow on her feast day! We share a birthday, so I like to think she looks out for me.
"I do not fear trials sent by Jesus, for even in the most bitter suffering we can see that it is His loving hand which causes it...When we are expecting nothing but suffering, we are quite surprised at the least joy; but then suffering itself becomes the greatest of joys when we seek it as a precious treasure." (St. Therese of Lisieux)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I'm back home after my appointment and I got the shot! Yay!
There was some nervousness this morning regarding whether the trigger shot would arrive before I had to leave for my scheduled hour of adoration (someone needed to sign for it and Ryan wasn't home to sign for it or able to go to adoration) but it worked out perfectly and arrived minutes before I had to leave. Praise God!
Now we are back from adoration, having lunch and then I am off to Northern VA for my appointment. Hoping all goes smoothly as it has so far, and that the shot can do its job. Then I'm meeting Jeremiah 29:11 for dinner. I can't wait!
I'm also praying for some fertile cm, since I had like nine days of it then yesterday saw nothing.
I'll update later about my appointment!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I had a great appointment today! Dr. L did an ultrasound and discovered a very good-sized follicle on my left ovary. I think I remember the screen saying it measured 2.74 cm. Does that sound right? I know she said it was a little bigger than it needed to be and that I might ovulate today or tomorrow.
So she is letting me try the trigger shot! It's Ovi.drel (which I love that I'm finally able to try since so many of you have told me of your success on it!). They ordered it from Free.dom Pharmacy today and it's being over-nighted and delivered (hopefully) tomorrow morning to my doorstep. Then, tomorrow afternoon I will take the shot and drive two hours to see Dr. L again, where she will give me the shot and do another ultrasound (which I think she's doing just because I'll be there, so why not?).
I know I probably could have argued to give myself the shot, especially since I'm so far away from the office, but that's fine. I didn't have any plans tomorrow and I can make the trip. And it'll be nice to look again via ultrasound.
So here's my theory: Today is cycle day 13. I usually peak around day 17, as late as 18 and sometimes as early as 15. I never ovulate on day 13, and have only peaked on day 14 once in as long as I can remember. My point is that I doubt it's a fluke that I have a big follicle this cycle on day 13. Perhaps I always have very ripe follicles this early and then I don't ovulate until three to five days later. I don't know if that means anything, or if it's even necessarily a bad thing, but I have been told in the past (based on a hormone panel last year) that my ovaries were slow.
Dr. B actually once compared my ovaries to the token clunky couple on Dan.cing With The St.ars (i.e. not smooth, precise and fast, and yes he really said that). He said things weren't "clicking" at the right time and that ovulation is a very precise process where everything needs to happen at the correct time (at least that's what I remember him saying, it's been a while). So wouldn't that mean a trigger shot might be what I need?
So what if - and here's my completely non-medical theory coming in - my eggs are good earlier on (like this cycle, on day 13) and they just aren't getting pushed out when they should, and so they hang around a little too long in the ovary, possibly even after the necessary hormones do their thing? Maybe I always have good follicles as early as day 13 (and as I learned today, it's definitely large) but then don't ovulate until day 17, which I can't imagine is a good thing.
Does that make sense? And, to me at least, it seems like a trigger shot (taken when we know the follie is good and big early on) might be just what I need. Who knows though, I'm no doctor and barely know how ovulation works!
I also found it interesting that I think I ovulated on the left last cycle too and I'm obviously going to ovulate on that side again. As for the right ovary, well, she couldn't even see it on ultrasound. Sounds somewhat worrisome to me, but she didn't seem concerned at all. After all, it is a tiny, little clump of ovary tissue left over after two major surgeries. I asked if it could be due to adhesions, and she said while it's possible, things did seem fluid and moveable in there. That's good, I guess!
So we'll go to adoration in the morning, pray our hearts out that the shot I'll get later in the day will work, and then I'll head to the doctor's around 1 p.m. for the 4 p.m. appointment (there are bound to be delays on 95). I'm praying I get the package in the mail before I have to leave (Fedex currently says it should be here by 10:30 a.m.).
Yesterday I was stressed at how the timing of all this would work out, but it seems like it's going to work perfectly. It won't interrupt our weekend get-away to the beach on Friday, or my plans with GIMH and Fertile Thoughts on Thursday, and now I'll hopefully even get to see Jeremiah 29:11 tomorrow too!
I'm just so excited that I can finally try something that I've felt lead to try for many months. It's been a good week. Thanks, God!
Monday, September 28, 2009
We had a great weekend up north. It was a whirlwind of a trip with a ton of driving, but it was a good time.
Ryan got to show me around his college campus and I was so proud of him when he was presented with his big award. We also got to spend time with some old friends we haven't seen in a while and they were generous enough to let us stay at their house Friday night. We loved seeing their two kids, who are so cute, although it does remind us of what we are missing out on. We also got to spend time with my family on Saturday night and Sunday, so that was a nice bonus.
We got home early this morning. Then shortly after we woke up today Ryan realized he'd been honored again - by being named one of the two best political reporters in our state by the Washi.ngton Po.st! It really is a huge honor, especially because he has only been doing this two years. I don't have any kids to be proud of, but at least I have my husband!
So tomorrow we are heading up 95 N once again, for an ultrasound appointment with Dr. L. I don't really know what to expect. I'm hoping she will agree to do the trigger shot, but will that depend on what my follicle looks like? I'm afraid she will say that I don't need one, and because I have no real idea what the shot is actually for, I don't know how to argue my case. It could be that she is already planning on giving me the trigger. I shouldn't get ahead of myself.
I'm also worried about getting subsequent ultrasounds this week because I have adoration on Wednesday, plans with GIMH and Fertile Thoughts on Thursday and then we're heading out of town for a weekend trip (belated anniversary getaway) on Friday. Tomorrow is cycle day 13 and I usually ovulate late, like around day 17 or 18 which will be this weekend. Does anyone know how a trigger shot works? Could she do an ultrasound on Thursday, see that it looks like I'll ovulate over the weekend and plan for me to do the trigger myself? I really need to read up on this.
I'll let you know how it all goes...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Seriously, did this really just happen?
Woman conceives while pregnant
As if watching the Duggars have twenty kids while we have zero isn't bad enough, now a woman becomes pregnant twice in three weeks. How is that even possible? Could it have been double ovulation? Ahhh!
Okay so I just found an interview with the actual couple and it is even more shocking:
Interview with Grovenburgs
So the younger baby was the one she thought she knew about. The more developed fetus was the one that shocked her! She says she couldn't believe it because she took a negative pregnancy test initially and then got her period!!
Okay, at first this story made me despair but now I'm more in awe of God's wondrous power. And it also makes me kinda question all those negative tests we all are getting! I know it's so rare to get a false negative and I'm sure this is not my problem but it just makes you think twice. I mean she got her period! Good thing she wasn't taking Tamoxifen. That might have ended the pregnancy.
Well we're about to leave to head up north because Ryan is getting a big award from his college alma mater tomorrow. Isn't that exciting? I'm so proud of him!
I just hope the road trip helps to get my mind off of everything else. I am so low, it's just becoming harder and harder to envision ever getting out of this. Seriously, I'm now equating getting "the" call with getting a positive pregnancy test - an impossibility. My body working in the way God intended it to is just as plausible as our caseworker picking up her phone to call us with good news. I know it could happen, but in my mind it's not going to. Nice way to be positive, I know! It's just that when something doesn't happen for so long, it really seems impossible. I'm trying to pray more about what God would want for us outside of parenthood, but it's hard. What else is new.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
So Ryan has been pushing me lately to be more aggressive on the medical side of things. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about this. I mean, I feel silly to keep this dream alive after five years. I wanted to move on, whatever that means.
But I make it a point to always listen to my husband's wishes when it comes to infertility. I think part of it is being a submissive wife, but I think a large part of it is hoping it's the Holy Spirit working through him. Maybe we are supposed to keep pushing things medically. Maybe it's not even to conceive but to diagnose and treat another problem.
He just feels strongly that we should give it one last shot. And I do see his point. I haven't even tried many of the seemingly basic treatments that nearly all other infertile women have (injectibles, trigger shot, HCG, any ovulation drugs other than tamoxifen). Yes, I have tried for five years, but in that time all I've done is have surgeries, treat diseases with medication and take Tamoxifen. That's it. Should I throw in the towel after only trying Tamoxifen? I don't know how I feel about that.
So yesterday before leaving for work he basically instructed me to call Tep.eyac and demand a trigger shot and ultrasounds, and to call PPVI and see about becoming a patient again.
I have no problem with asking for a trigger shot, but I am a little hesitant to work with PPVI again. As you may recall, I ran into major roadblocks a year and a half ago with them and I believe I really fell through the cracks. I appreciate what they do, but they really dropped the ball with me. I did get a surgery, but in the months that followed all I did was pay $40 for a monthly cycle review and was told each time to learn yellow stamps. Really? Again? How about diagnosing the PCOS that is probably causing the excess mucus that requires learning yellow stamps?
Sorry. Off topic.
Anyways, I called Tepeyac and left a message asking for ultrasounds and a trigger shot. Today, a nurse called back and said Dr. L wanted me to schedule an ultrasound for day 12 or 13. I asked if that meant she would do a trigger shot and the nurse said all the note called for was scheduling an ultrasound. That's fine. I don't think she'd do the ultrasound if she wasn't at least considering a trigger shot.
So I have an appointment for next Tuesday morning. Ryan said he has no problem making the long drive there and back multiple days in a row if need be. Okay. I can do that if he can.
Then I called PPVI yesterday and spoke with someone who updated my information and said she'd have a nurse call me today. I did talk with a nurse today and she basically just asked what I was interested in. I explained that I was hoping to start working with them again and asked if she wanted any information, medication I was on, etc. So she asked for my medications, but honestly I'm not sure she would have if I didn't offer it. She asked about my hormone levels, I told her my progesterone and estradiol have been great the past year, and when I asked if she wanted any of those results she said no, that Dr. H would want them tested in the future.
So the nurse then said she'd have Dr. H review everything ("everything" meaning none of my records, just a few tiny details about the last 18 months, although I did make sure to stress that I had a recurrence of an endometrioma, which he told me at my post-op wouldn't happen for many, many years) and get back to me.
I know I shouldn't go into a situation with preconceived notions, but I can't help but think that doors are going to be closed to me when it comes to working with PPVI. My two main worries are that 1) I'm, again, not going to be able to have my blood drawn and mailed to them in Omaha, and 2) that Dr. H is going to want me to start taking T3 again.
I am not, under any conditions, starting over from scratch taking my stupid temps and pulses for months on end! Remember this statement! No way, no how!
Maybe they won't demand that. Maybe it won't be a deal breaker.
So I'm not sure how I feel about this. I guess I don't mind too much if doors continue to be opened. While I have felt called to be patient when it comes to adoption, I never really felt called to stop things medically. That was more my self-preservation kicking in (and my desire to not grow any more painfully large cysts. Is that too much to ask?). I mean, common sense would tell you that a pregnancy is not in my future, but I do feel uncomfortable stopping everything for good when we don't even know why I'm not conceiving.
It also helped that I watched a marathon of Mystery Diagnosis the other day. These people fight and fight for a diagnosis until they get one (actually, it usually seems like they just luck out with calling the right doctor). It was kind of inspiring.
We'll see. I guess it's something to do while I endure the terribly long excruciating adoption wait. I just hope it's not too difficult to go through the motions of acting like I think there's still a shot of getting pregnant. It was kind of humiliating having the RE the other day tell me repeatedly that "five years is a looooooong time." But I guess if something is humbling, then it is only good for me, right? Maybe continuing on with treatments will all be one big lesson in humility.
Who knows what this will bring. All I can do is just pray and ask the Lord to lead me in the right direction. Speaking of that, I'm off to start my novena to St. Therese.
Before I go, I just wanted to say that I loved Glee tonight (already downloaded 'Taking Chances' on iTunes.. LOVE her voice!) but why does the infertile woman always have to be nuts?!
I am struggling to hang on here. It has been a very difficult time lately. I just feel like every second I am treading upstream in water, like every step is so difficult.
I don't mean to complain or sound overly dramatic, I am just being honest.
I am trusting in Jesus but the day-to-day of this is so incredibly difficult that I don't know how I will continue to endure this for years to come. As many of you know, living in a world full of parents and children is really sometimes unbearable. Every time I watch t.v., go online, or leave my house it is like salt being poured in the wound (well, I could compare it to worse tortures than salt in a wound, but I will try to keep this from going off the deep end).
St. Faustina said that her tongue should only be used to praise God and I am trying hard to remember that.
I just pray that my suffering can be used for the poor souls in purgatory and for the conversion of sinners. Truly, that is the only thing that makes me feel a tiny bit better. Please, God, put this pain to good use!
It could also be a lot worse, I know. I am grateful for what I have, I really am.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I heard back from Gla.dney this afternoon and it doesn't seem like it's worth changing agencies to go with them.
The pros would be that the wait time is 12-14 months (which is less than a lot of agencies say, and hopefully is even a slight overestimation, since most agencies tend to exaggerate the wait time); and that they come highly recommended.
The cons are that we'd have to fly to Texas for an orientation; if we're lucky we could attend said orientation in November but most likely not until January; we'd have to attend infant parenting classes locally and online (which I don't have a problem with per se, but they'd have to be completed before we could be approved which means that part would take a lot longer); and we'd have to pay 75% of our total fee (which would be nearly $20,000) in order to be shown to birthparents (meaning unlike with our current agency who doesn't require money up front, we couldn't leave if things slowed down). From what I understand, there'd be lots of paperwork and classes to complete after orientation and all of that means, at least in my estimation, that we wouldn't even get to the point of being shown to birthparents until probably late winter. So only THEN could the 12-14 month wait would begin. Oh, and the woman I spoke with told me they are working with less birthmothers than normal. Great!
I don't know. It just seems like after waiting nearly a year with our current agency, that last thing I want to do is take ourselves off of a waiting list, only to start over on a new waiting list early next year that has an estimated 12-14 month wait time. And there will probably be a couple months between moving our homestudy and being officially on the new waiting list where we won't be waiting with any agency.
While we have decided that money will not be what keeps us from adopting (we know that we will never be in a position to actually afford adoption and so taking out a loan will likely be a necessity and something we are willing to do in order to grow our family), it has to be part of the conversation. And in this scenario, the situation would have to be really great to justify the the enormous increase in cost. And I don't think I can justify it when the timeline would be pushed back so much.
I mean, if we start waiting with Glad.ney in winter 2010, 12 months would be winter 2011 and 14 would be spring. At that point we would have been waiting with our current agency more than two years and I'd hope that we'd be picked by that point! Not to mention if we stay with them, the cost would be about $20,000 less!
So, for now, changing agencies doesn't seem like it would get us much farther ahead. I think we'd need an agency that we could switch to relatively quickly in order for it to be worthwhile. I might call a couple more this week just to see.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I heard back from our agency on Friday and as much as I wanted/expected to hang up the phone convinced to change agencies, I was pretty much instead talked into staying put (big surprise).
Our new caseworker was super nice, very familiar with us and our home study, and quite optimistic. She's worked in adoption for many years and really believes that it's going to pick up soon and remain busy until Christmas (yes, I so badly want to believe her!).
She also said she thinks we are very marketable and that we have a lot of what birthparents are looking for. Phew! Plus we are open to just about any situation so that automatically broadens the number of potential birthparents who will see our profile.
The reason I called on Friday in the first place was because I was starting to question whether perhaps the feeling I was getting during prayer (to not make any drastic changes at the moment) wasn't necessarily of God or, at least, wasn't being interpreted correctly by me. I know there's nothing wrong with being aggressive and I know that God will close and open doors according to His plan for me. Not to mention I want to be more aggressive. I mean, obviously being more aggressive will likely mean we get a baby sooner.
So, like I said, I wanted to be proven wrong on Friday. I decided I'd start making calls and see what doors opened. But before I could talk to other agencies, my caseworker only reinforced my original belief (I did call one other agency on Friday that hasn't yet called me back. When they do, I will ask them a ton of questions and see how I feel).
A lot of you have also asked me what would be wrong with being a little more aggressive and I thought about it this weekend and I think I know why God could be calling me to just wait. Let me see if you can follow this (I'm pretty tired and finding it hard to explain things!): Maybe it's because God knows that our baby is not going to come from any of these other agencies. So, yes, I could still be aggressive, call all around, pick another agency, fill out more paperwork, pay thousands of dollars up front that many require, but it would all be for naught. Yes, we'd still be fine, it might hurt us a little financially, but in the end we'd be perfectly okay and still get the baby that was meant to be ours. He'd still open and close the right doors and we'd end up in the right place. But maybe He wants to save me that trouble. Maybe, because I'm asking, He is letting me know that staying right where we are is the easiest way to stay on His path. I could be more aggressive, but maybe He's telling me that's not going to change anything.
Does that make sense?
I also think my mind could change about this at any moment. I am definitely open to anything and it's entirely possible I suddenly could realize I was interpreting God's will entirely wrong. I could post tomorrow that we're switching agencies! It's just that right now this is where I am. I believe God has put this on my heart and until I feel differently, we'll stay put.
And please know that I appreciate all of your suggestions on this topic so please keep them coming! I would never get angry if someone tells me to be more aggressive or if someone has another outlook on interpreting God's will. It was actually your comments that inspired me to make calls on Friday!
Ooohh.. I just have to interject this - I'm watching NBC, waiting for my dear husband to come on, and there was just a Today Show tease about a mistake made during an artificial insemination. It sounds like the doctor impregnated the woman with someone else's embryo by mistake! How horrible, but not entirely surprising, unfortunately, since you are inserting an outside party into the baby-making process and leaving it open to human error.
Okay, back to my original post. I also want to apologize if the topic of discerning God's will in my life is getting way boring because it is starting to bore me. I promise I'm not going to harp on it too much. I just needed to update with the caseworker call.
I also started Tamoxifen yesterday. Not too excited to be taking something that may have contributed to the rapid growth of an endometrioma on my right ovary, the very same ovary, by the way, that I will be attempting to ovulate with this month. Haha, and that used to be my good ovary! I used to think I had a little shot every other month! Now there's only 50% of it left. And my current "good" ovary used to be my bad one just a couple months ago. Oh well, I am extremely thankful that I have two ovaries, no matter how inefficient they are.
This has nothing to do with anything, but I got really sad in Mass this morning. I know this might sound really silly, but I was thinking about how I won't have any babies in Heaven (which I am known to get sad about) and then I thought, 'But I'll have my adopted babies.' And then I thought 'Wait, they'll be with their birthmothers!' and started crying.
Yes, this is silly on many, many levels (hmmm, let's see. How about 'there's no sadness/jealousy/competition in Heaven' for starters?). I know. But it was a new thought, and I pretty much figured I had thought everything there was to think on this topic before. And it really broke my heart in an irrational way.
Alright, I'm off to make funnel cakes. I saw the mix in the grocery store the other day and decided it would be my new-cycle present to myself. And, surprisingly, the nutritional information wasn't horrible (well, let's not forget about the OIL). I'll let you know how they turn out!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It's been a difficult last couple days.
We have now been waiting nine months to adopt (a year since we started the home study) and I can't help but think how that is the length of a pregnancy. If I were fertile, and if I'd conceived in January instead of having people we've never met approve us to parent, I'd be going into labor and taking home a baby any day now.
But instead I am left childless, with no hope of being a mother anywhere in sight. We will easily wait another nine months, probably a couple times over.
We don't even have a social worker at the moment. I called today to inquire about this and had to leave a message. Hopefully we'll hear back soon. But I can't help but wonder, does it even matter? There are no adoptions at our agency so I guess a social worker wouldn't do me any greater good.
I know God doesn't make mistakes. I know His plan for each of us is perfect. But that doesn't make it any easier to endure the pain on a day-to-day basis.
It's like you are starving but you know God wills it to happen. It might give you a sense of peace to know it's part of his plan and you might try to stay close to God as you endure with the terrible hunger, but it doesn't physically fill your stomach.
Knowing that God wills for this to happen to me does bring me peace, but it doesn't fill the void in my heart that longs to be a mother.
Clearly, trusting God does not end the heartache. The holiest of saints, those closest to Our Lord, suffered terribly, sometimes even seeing an increase in their suffering the more they trusted. I am no saint, but if that happens to them, surely it can happen to us too.
I thank God for this opportunity to suffer like the great saints and His Son.
During her most difficult times St. Faustina took comfort in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I am trying to do that. I'm not sure what it means to do that, but I'm trying.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I shouldn't be surprised.
We had our weekly hour of adoration this morning and of course I planned to once again beg God for some insight into what His will is for me right now. I want nothing more than to have some light shed on what he would like for us to do next - if anything - when it comes to trying to conceive and/or adopt.
But because I have doubted the feelings He has apparently been placing on my heart lately (well, really I was doubting me, not Him) I was going to be creative this time and have Ryan do the asking.
As soon as we arrived in the chapel I prayed that the Lord would give Ryan some insight. Then I sat back and read St. Faustina's diary like usual and said a Rosary for Ryan, that God would let him know His will for us.
I struggled to stay awake. It was a late night last night for both of us (after staying out til one to celebrate Ryan's birthday, we watched the two-hour Big Brother Finale until three. Go Jordan!) and I was finding it difficult to pray (it's actually comical to see what my Hail Mary's turn into when I drift off. I add words, and usually pretty silly ones).
Near the end I looked over and saw Ryan furiously leafing through the Bible and taking notes. I could tell he was on to something and I was so excited! I love when God speaks to him; I usually find it easier to trust what Ryan feels God is calling him to, rather than when something is seemingly placed on my heart.
Sure enough, as we left the chapel he declared that he had some good stuff. And he did. He was lead to different images in his missal, which lead him to various Bible passages. He discovered things he hadn't previously realized about Scripture, things that had strong connections to our lives that he didn't even expect to find. Suffice it to say that the overall message he left with was this: that we need to be patient where we are. Wait. Just sit still.
So this is like the fourth or fifth time that we have seriously prayed to know God's will for us in the past week and a half (and I'm talking about praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament and during the consecration, seriously placing it all securely into God's hands) and this was the end result. The same exact message. How can I doubt this? Yes, being pro-active isn't in and of itself a bad thing at all. In fact it might be what God is calling many of you towards. But not us, at least not right now.
Meanwhile, while Ryan was having all of this placed on his heart, I was reading something in the diary that went hand-in-hand with what he was about to tell me. In the part I was reading, St. Faustina was suffering terribly and wanted to know from God whether she was on the right road. She begged Him for an answer but none came. So she wrote this:
127 "O Jesus, if it is Your will that I live in such uncertainty, may Your Name be blessed! I beg You, Lord, direct my soul yourself and be with me, for of myself I am nothing."
Unlike St. Faustina, I'm pretty sure I have received my answer that I am on the right road, but my uncertainty comes in the form of the road itself. Despite the fact that I am now pretty certain God wills for us to remain patient at the present time, I still have no idea why. I am left to blindly trust that waiting makes sense (because, at least to me, it doesn't on a human level. Or at least it doesn't make sense without knowing what the future holds). I know He has a plan for us, I know it's beautiful from a heavenly perspective and I know that for whatever reason He wants us to remain patient right now and focus on Him.
And from now on when I doubt, I will pray the words of St. Faustina - Jesus if it is Your will that I live in such uncertainty, may Your name be blessed!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I've been trying to write a post for a while, but every time I write something I end up deleting it.
It's just that I'm trying hard to discern God's will for me. I think I know what it is (to stick with the adoption agency we're with, where adoptions have come to a standstill), but sometimes I don't feel at peace about it. But then I wonder if that's just because I'm being impatient.
I mean, there really is no visible reason why we shouldn't be pro-active about adopting. We've been married for five years. We're in our early thirties and not getting any younger. We have a home all ready to welcome a child into.
Not to mention that there's nothing wrong with being pro-active. I'm deciding between two good options.
So how am I supposed to know what God wants for me? Of course I pray and pray. But apart from the Lord speaking or appearing to me himself, I am just never sure if it's his will that comes into my head or just my own desires.
Well, of course I don't desire to sit around do nothing about adoption. If it were up to me I'd find a new agency. That's actually the very reason I've been thinking God did put that on my heart - because it's not the answer I wanted. But then - because I like to complicate things - I wonder if it's not God's will for us to wait and it's actually me subconsciously making things harder for myself.
See why I'm confused?
Thankfully we have adoration tomorrow, and I'll definitely spend some time bringing this issue before the Lord. I know what he'll say though. Because I've been asking him to reveal his will for a couple weeks now and it always becomes clear to me that we should just sit still for a while.
Okay, maybe it is me just being impatient. God must be so annoyed with me. I ask and I ask and he answers and answers. And still I doubt and ask some more.
In other news, today is Ryan's birthday!
Tonight we're going out to celebrate. He's kind of a social media celebrity here in town (due, in part, to the fact that he tweets during the news) and so a bunch of his Twit.ter followers (whom he's never met in real life) started asking him to come out to do karaoke on his birthday. To their surprise, he decided to take them up on it and the bar where we're going even tweeted about him coming and it's posted on their website! So we're heading downtown later tonight with a few friends. His twitter friends have promised him he'll be alive tomorrow and still have a job. I guess that's all you can ask for.
Speaking of Twitt.er, after months of prodding by Ryan, I have finally gotten an account. I doubt anyone out there needs to know what I am doing at any given moment, but it's not all that different than telling everyone what you're doing on facebook. I've found that I mainly like to go on it to see what celebrities are doing. I know it's not the best way to spend my time, but I have to admit it's my guilty pleasure. I find it fascinating to know what famous people are doing on any given Tuesday afternoon!
Anyways, if any of you are on it and want to follow me, it's my full name. If you don't know what my name is, click on the link above that says "My other website" and you'll find it.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I was so blessed to be able to meet St. Gianna's daughter, Laura Molla. I still can't believe it! (And can't you see the resemblance to St. Gianna in her eyes?)
Here she is signing a prayer card for me. It wouldn't have occurred to me to get her autograph but everyone was doing it so why not?! I luckily found one in my purse. I also had the chance to quickly tell her that I was asking for her mother's intercession as I try to conceive.
Here she is with her husband speaking to the crowd. It was packed and I've never seen so many sisters in one place! So many of them were so young too. It was wonderful!
So we arrived kind of late due to D.C. traffic, but luckily they hadn't yet begun. We stood in the back of the crypt church as Laura Molla and her husband spoke, with thick accents, all about Gianna's life. When they finished, Laura took questions with the help of an interpreter and talked much more candidly about her mother. She said she was only three when she died so most of her memories of her are from photographs. But she did say she remembers her telling her that she talked too much! She also said she remembers crying when her mother was dropping her off at daycare. She says she had a nun come take her and her mother told her that she had to go so that she could take care of sick people.
It made me sad to think about how Laura and her siblings had to grow up without a mother. It's not something that ever crosses my mind when I think about St. Gianna, but I couldn't help but think it today as I listened to her daughter who lost her at such a young age. She also said that as she grew up, she would always hear people in the town talking about this woman who was such a role model and someone to emulate and then she'd realize they were talking about her mother. Could you imagine having a future saint for a mother? (Well, I do have to say that my mom is pretty close! Happy birthday, Mom!)
Oh and guess what? As I'm in the big crowd of people, waiting to get my picture taken with Laura, I looked over and saw a familiar face:
It was Angela from the St. Gianna Shrine! It was so good to see her. Last I heard she wasn't going to be able to make it, so I'm so glad it worked out for her to be there! (Oh and if you look closely, Laura Molla is over Angela's shoulder. Ryan was proud of himself for that!)
We also had the opportunity to venerate a relic - a piece of the tilma from the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe! I was so excited. Of course you can imagine what I prayed for. I also was able to stop in at one of my favorite shrines at the Basilica - Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
What a great day. Now I'm wiped out and can hardly get off the couch, but it was so worth it!
Friday, September 11, 2009
We just got home from the Nascar race in Richmond tonight (I only made it through half..it's SO loud!) but I just wanted to write a quick update before heading to bed:
My root canal went great, praise God! I can't explain how pain-free it was. I've had fillings that hurt worse. I don't know if it was the perfect amount of novacaine or what, but I didn't feel a thing. It's also the only time I've been to the dentist that I wasn't nervous. I was totally calm! It had to be the prayers. I can't thank you all enough!
So I had my appointment with an RE today. I'll explain more later, but it was kind of overwhelming. He said "five years is a long time" a lot! It didn't bother me though, because I know all things are possible with God. Not that I will definitely conceive, but I'm sure God looks at five years and laughs. He has overcome much more than that!
Okay, I'm getting off topic. Anyways, he wants to do a bunch of simple tests that I either have never done (post-coital) or haven't done in a year or more (semen analysis, FSH, HSG). He also - just like Dr. B warned me about - thinks it's nuts that I'm on hydrocortisol. He wants me to stop taking it immediately. That's where we differ. I trust Dr. B and don't want to stop it.
Well, that's obviously not the only thing we differ on. Like my last visit to an RE, I didn't feel very comfortable. Why did I think it'd be any different this time? Don't get me wrong, he said he respected my beliefs and actually didn't guess that it was for religious reasons at first. He wondered if I was just into holistic things! I thought that was funny.
While I was there I acted as if I was going to get all the tests done, but even while he was writing it all up I knew I probably wouldn't. He did an ultrasound to use as a base line for later (if there is a later) and he said there was a 3 cm. cyst on my left ovary that could be a corpus luteum or - get this - an endometrioma. Really? An endometrioma? I just had surgery three weeks ago! I didn't get worried though (like I am apt to do) because that's the side I was supposed to ovulate on and I most likely did ovulate a week ago. So that means I probably ovulated! That's good news!
He didn't say much about what he thought my chances were, but he did say that if the tests came back normal, he'd try injectibles.
So I've thought a lot about it, and talked to Ryan, and I think that we'll continue on with Dr. B (or, I guess I'm seeing Dr. L now). I'll stay on all of my medication and take the low dose of Tamoxifen this cycle. Maybe take it for two cycles, or ask Dr. L if we could give a different drug a try, like Femera, just to switch things up a bit. Then, well, I feel called to back off a bit. Maybe not do anything. Focus on adoption and let the Lord work in our life. Maybe, and it'a a big maybe, if I feel called to, I'll give the RE a call again. I doubt it though.
I keep praying for God to let us know his will and I keep coming back to not pursuing more treatments. I pray and pray, and that's still the feeling I get. It's uncanny. I have a post coming on that topic soon. It's swirling around in my head.
Tomorrow we'll head to D.C. to attend the Eucharistic Congress. St. Gianna's daughter will be there. I'm excited! I'll take pictures and hopefully post something tomorrow night.
Okay, so this post didn't end up being a quick update. I don't think that's possible for me!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I had a great hour in adoration this morning. I couldn't wait to go to pray about what to do about adoption, which I did. I asked God to please reveal his will to me on this topic and then immediately asked for his forgiveness if he had already given me his answer (which he probably did on Sunday when, after praying about it at Mass and throughout the day, I felt strongly that we should remain patient. I just tend to second guess everything).
I really felt God's grace in there. I left adoration convinced that we're definitely supposed to wait. I'm not 100% sure why we're supposed to wait, or for how long exactly, but I'm trusting that God has it all figured out. It could be many reasons, like maybe we're not supposed to switch agencies until next month in order to get our child through an agency that we haven't yet heard of. Or maybe we're supposed to wait two more years and our child will come from the agency we're working with now. Or maybe the baby will come from someone we know who knows someone who's in a crisis pregnancy.
You get the point.
Honestly (and thankfully) I am not too concerned with what the reason is at this point. I know that I only want his will to be done, whatever that is. I haven't come this far to stray from his path for me now! It only took me about four-and-a-half years, but I finally realized, by the grace of God, that I had to make a choice - either keep trying to will a pregnancy to happen (and we all know how that works out) or sit back and ask God to take over, the same God who happens to have my very best interest in mind.
It was really only out of sheer exhaustion that I took the second option.
I'm also not ruling out actually getting pregnant. What? Yes, I said it. As hard as it may be, I felt strongly today in adoration that I'm supposed to remain hopeful about every possibility. Me telling God that a pregnancy is not possible is ridiculous. And kind of prideful. Only he knows what is ahead for us. And if being hopeful makes me fall a little harder each month (because isn't self-preservation the reason we tell ourselves it's not possible?) then that's a trial he must want me to endure.
We are called to approach God like little children. I've been thinking lately about what this really means, especially in regards to infertility. I think, for me, it means thinking everything is possible. Not being jaded by what I've experienced the last five years. Of course it may never happen, but to lose that hopefulness is to be more like a beaten-down adult, don't you think?
But trust me, I am not leaning one way or the other. Adoption, pregnancy, I don't know what God has in store.
I really hope this attitude stays with me. It makes things a little easier!
So I left adoration feeling great, but I swear the devil was at our heels today. I really felt him creating a wedge, causing doubt, even giving Ryan problems at work. Nothing too serious, but I really felt like we were under attack. Not that I want that at all, but I hope that at least it means it's because we're on the right path!
My mom basically gave me an order to say a daily rosary, something I've done at certain points of my life but not lately, so I'm off to say one. If you get a chance, please say a prayer for my root canal in the morning. Not that it's a big deal or worthy of lots of prayers, but I wouldn't mind it going as easy as possible!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
So I had my post-op appointment today and it went well. Dr. L confirmed that the cyst was endometriosis, which she said surprised her. She also said it's probably not the last I will see of endometriosis. When I asked her how to prevent it (knowing there wasn't really anything I could do) she said, "Get pregnant!" Haha.
She wrote me a script for the low dose of Tamoxifen and I took it (since it was endo, she said the Tamoxifen didn't cause it). I haven't decided yet if I'm going to fill it, but Ryan wants me to. I guess if you look at it from the perspective that I am now, for the second time, momentarily endo free, then I guess I should take advantage of the next few months. The last time the endo was removed I still had a couple other problems that hadn't yet been diagnosed (PCOS, adrenal fatigue) and so my fertility wasn't fully restored.
But that's true if you believe that the endo on my right ovary was preventing me from conceiving. Dr. L seems to think it was, but the u/s that showed my huge cyst last cycle also showed a ruptured follicle. So if I ovulated - from the ovary with the cyst, no less - could the endo still have gotten in the way? I really don't understand all of how that works, but perhaps the endo itself messes up hormones enough to make the timing of ovulation, and the necessary hormone changes, be off a little? That's the only theory I can come up with. Or maybe the follicle ruptured but didn't get to the tube because the huge cyst was in the way? Does it even work like that?
Speaking of the egg finding the tube, how does that even happen? Is it like a vacuum, or like a gravitational pull? Just curious.
I also asked about a trigger shot, but she said that would only help if I had unruptured follicles. But is that always true? Can it still help even if you know you are already ovulating? She was open to it, but said she'd want to check by ultrasound to see what my follicles were doing. I feel like that's a waste of time since we know that last cycle it ruptured so I didn't push it for now (if the office was local I'd do it, but a four-hour drive - round trip - is pretty long for two or more days of u/s monitoring).
My incision is doing okay. Just okay. The very top and bottom of it are a little raw. I've been treating it with peroxide but Dr. L said I can start using Neo.sporin. I really hope the spots heal because that is where the problem started last time. It got infected near the top and bottom and then all hell broke loose. Dr. L also said the skin naturally pulls away at each side of the scar which can cause it to get bigger, so she recommended maybe using steri-strips again to hold it together. I'll probably try that.
On the adoption front, I think I am going to relax about it for now. I prayed about it all day Sunday and then that night my mom gave me some advice that I think I needed to hear. She told me to just focus on recovering from surgery for now. Simple, but it just sat right with me and calmed me down about everything, so I believe that is what I'm supposed to do.
As I always say, we only want OUR child. And so I only want to follow God's path for us, however he has planned for us to get to the point of meeting that child. That might mean to speed things up, slow things down, change courses, or remain patient. All I can do is pray that He gives me insight into what to do to stay on that path. For now, maybe that means slowing down a bit and relaxing about it all. But, that being said, it could also mean drastically changing course a week from now if we feel called to that. You never know where He will lead you!
I also received a lot of great advice from many of you. Agency recommendations, personal stories and ideas. It helped me a great deal and I am definitely going to follow up on some of the agencies you told me about.
I have also have felt called for a while now to send out a letter to our family and friends telling them we are waiting to adopt and asking them to think of us if they know of any situations where a woman is considering adoption. I assume that everyone who knows us knows we are waiting to adopt, but they probably haven't thought that they could help us. Unless we ask them to, I doubt that we would come to mind if they ever do hear of a situation (well, I hope we would if it were our immediate family, but I want to tell everyone we know). So I'm going to write up a letter and include our birthmother letter and some pictures of us. Again, you never know!
I feel a great sense of peace today. With my post-op appointment behind me, I feel like I am moving on from surgery. I am so thankful that I can look back at that now, with it in my past. I was a basket-case throughout most of the experience and my family was so unbelievably patient with me. I can't thank them enough, or all of you for all your prayers. They lifted me up the entire time and continue to.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Yesterday was our fifth anniversary and we had a great day. Ryan got me a bunch of awesome presents, we went to lunch, out to a fancy dinner, and played miniature golf in between. Speaking of which, you would have thought I ran ten miles when I was done playing mini-golf. I was exhausted!
Here's me in the process of beating Ryan:
Notice my abdominal binder in this one (my incision is giving me problems so wearing it out is necessary):
I honestly didn't really get upset about it also being the fifth anniversary of not conceiving. I tried my best not to focus on it.
But that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it today.
I talked to GIMH this morning and she heard from our adoption agency that basically no birthmothers are even calling the agency. She was told she should look into going with a national adoption agencies.
That's really great when your agency tells you to use another one. At least they're being honest.
So I'm depressed. I'm almost 33 years old and starting a family is no where in sight. If I'm lucky I'll probably be 35 before we adopt our first child. That means I'll be fifty when that child is starting high school.
I am really trying not to get caught up in the numbers, but it is definitely my weakness. I can't help but do the math and get depressed over what old parents we'll be. And that is if we're lucky!!!! At this point I pray to God that we can one day be old parents!
I've also been thinking a lot about how God might intend for us to never have a family. It is entirely possible he wants us to remain childless. I always pray that if that's the case, that he at least reveal to us what he wants us to do with our lives. I always feel relieved that I don't have anything placed on my heart as an answer to that, but today I realized that maybe I shouldn't think that there is some huge reason for us to remain childless. Maybe he just wants Ryan to work, me to be a housewife and just go about our lives. Maybe there isn't any grand purpose to our childlessness like I would hope - no big mission that we we'll look back on and know that we couldn't have done with children and realize it was all worth it in order for us to do God's work. No, perhaps he just wants me to suffer through an uneventful, childless life for some greater spiritual purpose.
Anything is possible. I am putting myself entirely in his hands and I know that he may bless us with children and he may not. I don't doubt this, it's just hard on a day-to-day basis to live with the reality of it.
For now, I'm left to research other adoption agencies. Agencies that charge four times what we would have paid with our local agency (I should have known it was too good to be true). We're going to have to take out a loan. Not looking forward to how the payments are going to affect us month to month, but I guess I shouldn't get ahead of myself. I have to look at this differently than getting a loan for a car or house. We just have to do this (although I am wondering how this affects your approval by one of these expensive agencies. Would they say if we can't afford it that we shouldn't adopt?).
So after officially starting the process a year ago, I feel like we are starting over. I'm praying we won't have to do another homestudy.
If anyone has had success with an agency they'd like to recommend, please either leave a comment or email me. We're looking for agencies who do domestic adoption, and we're interested in all races.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I have to get a root canal.
I started having a pretty bad toothache right after surgery and went to the dentist today. I have a cavity inside one of my small molars and it's pretty deep.
I've never had a root canal before and usually I have a huge fear of the dentist. But having to undergo an emergency surgery helps to put things into perspective. Hey, at least there's no bowel prep for a root canal! I'd choose a root canal any day over a bowel prep, especially when your surgery isn't scheduled until 1:30 p.m. the following day. That is a lot of time to be weak and unbelievably starving and thirsty.
So the dentist put me on antibiotics because it's infected. I'm hoping they make me feel better in general. I've been feeling pretty tired and out of it and just assumed it was due to surgery but maybe it's at least partly because of my tooth. We'll see.
Speaking of my surgery, it was two weeks ago today! I can't believe it's been that long. Two weeks seems like such a long time, but it has gone by so fast. When I think about how long it's been I feel like I should be farther along in my recovery, but then I remember that PPVI says it takes six weeks before you're back to normal. I know it's a slow process.
So I can't remember if I blogged about it or not, but several weeks ago I made an appointment with an RE here in Richmond. It was a doctor who was recommended by another doctor that Fertile Thoughts went to, and she was told that the doctors in this practice would be open to finding a solution other than IVF. At that point (probably a week before I found out about the cyst) I felt like I was spinning my wheels and wanted another opinion (or at least a doctor who could do ultrasound monitoring without me having to drive two hours up and two hours back) so I made an appointment.
I got in pretty quickly, on Sept. 11, but after finding out I needed surgery I kind of forgot about it and when I did think about it I figured I'd cancel it. But now I think I'll just go. The appointment is made so why not just go and see what he has to say? It can't hurt.
After I made the appointment way back, I had to call my doctor's office and ask for all of my records to be sent to me. I chose to have them sent to me, rather than the new doctor, because I figured if I'm paying for them then I want a copy! Now I just have to make copies of them.
So anyways, the packet arrived today. Most of the stuff I can't read, but I did find a few interesting tid bits.
First of all, my pregnancy test from early March, when I got my false positive, says my HCG was "less than 2." My question is, does that mean it was higher than zero? Or could it have been zero and they just consider anything less than two as "less than 2"? You'd think the results would be more specific! I know it doesn't matter, because even if it was 1.25 or something, it still doesn't mean I was pregnant.
Secondly, the pathology results from my surgery were in there. Probably not a good idea to read them before they are interpreted and explained to me by my doctor, but I, of course, still looked. It said it was not malignant (thank you, God! Although I figured if I hadn't heard anything by now they'd be in big trouble if it were something serious!). I know it might sound silly at this point but I was so glad to see that in black and white.
It also said that it was hemorrhagic and had signs of being an endometrioma. And on a separate line it said endometriosis was found. (So does this mean I should start the diet? No! Speaking of diets, I haven't mentioned how bad I've been eating. Let's just say that I'm chalking it up to surgery bloat but it's probably not at this point!)
So the kicker is that I looked at my ultrasound from June, the one that everyone assured me was perfectly normal, and while it did say it was normal, it also said there was something found on my right ovary that could be hemorrhagic and needed to be checked again to see if it was resolving itself (or something like that. I'm paraphrasing here). Can you believe that? That must have been the endometrioma!
Okay, this is why I shouldn't read my own file.
I'm not freaking out or anything, but I just find it really interesting. Of course in hindsight maybe we wouldn't have done the increased dose of Tamoxifen if we thought something was there. Or at least we probably should have done an ultrasound first. Oh well. It's in the past.
So I do have one regret after my surgery - I didn't take a freaking photo of my scar before it was removed!! What was I thinking???? I seriously regret this so much. It would have made for an unbelievable before and after picture. And now I'll never have any proof of just how horrific it was. Oh well. I better not get ahead of myself. This one could end up just as bad. Let's hope not!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I'm sad today.
I guess this is a good lesson for me - that just because you turn over a new leaf and try to have peace with your life, it doesn't mean it's going to be any easier (didn't I just post about that very thing?).
It's so hard. I don't know what else to say. I want to do God's will and I want to be securely on his path for me, but that doesn't mean it's not going to hurt. And it hurts. My heart is broken over and over all day long.
I'm trying to remember that Christ's heart, and that of Our Lady's, is broken over and over by losing souls to sin. I'm sure the pain I feel is nothing compared to that. I'm going to try to remember to pray for souls every time I feel this heartache.
Today I received an email from the Intercessors of the Lamb. You can email them a prayer request and they'll pray about it and then email you with what images, verses, prayers, etc. came to mind. A friend of mine who is close with one of the nuns encouraged me to email them before my last surgery, so I decided to do it again this time. Like last time, I didn't receive their response until after the surgery, but it's still pretty interesting. Here are the images that came to them during prayer for me:
1. An image of Jesus laying His hand upon your head and breathing His Spirit upon you and John 20:21 – “ Peace be with you.”
2. An image of you in a hospital room with bright light and Jesus was holding your hands. And the words “I am with you.”
3. An image of Jesus giving you a rose in the hospital bed and the words “I love you my child.”
4. An image of Jesus playing basketball and the word “Globe Trotter”. It spoke of intercession for souls.
5. An image of you kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament and rays of Light were penetrating your ovaries and the words “Jesus I trust in You.”
Okay, I know you are probably hung up on no. 4, but I will get to that in a minute.
First, no. 2 is very interesting because I repeated those words over and over to myself during two specific times leading up to surgery - while laying on the table at my pre-op appointment waiting for Dr. L to come in (and basically just crying and shaking), and right before I was wheeled in to the operating room, as I was hooked up to the IV, and laying on the bed (and, again, crying and shaking). I was actually repeating the lines to the song "You Are Mine," but just the one part: "Do not be afraid, I am with you" despite the fact that when you sing it, to stop at that part seems to cut it very short. But still, I only kept repeating those words. I just find it amazing that the nuns had those very words come to them with an image of Christ holding my hand in a hospital room. I'd love to think he was really doing that.
I also am deeply moved by no. 5 because I have done that very thing in recent weeks - kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament and pray "Jesus, I trust in you." Actually, I have been very drawn to Divine Mercy while in adoration lately (probably because there's a Divine Mercy image on the wall of the chapel) and I even started reading the Diary of St. Faustina last week.
Okay, so no. 4. I have no idea what that means!!!! Anyone have any insights? My first thought was maybe it means that God wills for me to do something that requires world travel, which would scare the living daylights out of me! Actually, whenever I pray that God reveals his will to me I'm always afraid that it could possibly involve something like that. NO! Please, nothing that involves flying! I'm not even sure that it means anything like that because, after all, what would playing basketball have to do with it? Well, obviously the basketball thing is a reference to the Globe Trotters, but would God really use that round-about way as a means of telling me he wants me to travel around the world? Haha! How funny that a nun even thought of that in prayer! I'm just picturing if Jesus appeared to me in an apparition and gave me that image and me being like, "I'm sorry, Lord, but can you be more specific? I really have no idea what that means!"
Okay, I feel a little better now but I'm very tired. I think I need a nap. I haven't been able to sleep during the day in about a week, but I guess it can't hurt to try.