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Thursday, October 28, 2010

This post is so upbeat that it almost seems out of place

A few things that have made me smile this week:

1. Our friend, Stephen, found this online at Target and e-mailed me the link. I think this just might actually be the greatest thing ever invented (besides the hair straightener, of course). Hello, 2010 Christmas list! I’ll be sure to operate this while wearing the proper uniform of course.

2. This video made me laugh—it’s a parody on church-planting as narrated by a computer voice. You might not be as amused as Brian and I were if you have never participated in a church plant, but I think you will be able to appreciate it nonetheless.

3. Today my RE’s nurse called me out of the blue stating that she noticed I was scheduled to come in for an appointment tomorrow and said that she wanted to know why. (First red flag). I told her that I had called in last week and the other nurse had scheduled me because I needed to start the next round of medicine. She then asked what kind of medicine. (Second red flag). I informed her that it was Femara, and she then asked what dosage. (Third red flag).

Fortunately, she seemed to catch on quickly to what my situation was, but does anyone else think that perhaps this information should have, oh, I don’t know, been written on my chart?! Nonetheless, I did find it amusing that she didn’t seem the least bit apologetic for the obvious lack of communication going on there. At least if you are going to drop the ball, you might as well be bold about it, right?

4. Brian is preaching at church on Sunday! I have only gotten to see him preach one other time, so I’m excited to watch him in action. He has been practicing all week, but has so far refused to practice in front of me. Apparently he does not appreciate my gift of sanctified criticism :)

5. We get to see my family this weekend! As you might recall, my dad turned the big 6-0 a few weeks ago, so we are having a belated birthday dinner in his honor. This also means that I will get to spend some quality time with my favorite 5-year-old, 3.5-year-old, 1.5-year-old, and 3-month-old. Although let’s be honest, they are far more interested in seeing Uncle Brian than boring Aunt Amanda. Emma called me last night (for the first time in months), and the first words out of her mouth were, “Manda, where’s Brian?” Ouch.

6. Halloween is on Sunday! I have always been a big fan of Halloween, primarily because of the amount of sugar that’s involved. I haven’t decided what I’m going to dress up as yet, but Brian has already declared that he is going to be Spiderman. So is my 1.5-year-old nephew, just for the record.

In addition to passing out (and eating) candy, we’re also going to be having an LSC block party to help us get to know some of our neighbors. So if you happen to go trick-or-treating in Richmond on Sunday night (or if you just want to see my husband sporting an adult Spiderman costume), be sure to stop by for a hot dog or two!

Here's a pic from Halloween 2009 for your enjoyment:

And that's about it. Hope you enjoyed this break from my regularly scheduled Debbie Downer posts!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

There's no "i" in "team," but there is most definitely an "i" in "infertility!"

There has only been one other time in my life when I have felt this self-absorbed. It was back in 2007 when I was planning our wedding. I never intended for it to be that way, but I felt like every conversation I had during our 7-month engagement was about me. And yes, that was largely in part due to the fact that people were polite and would ask about it and let me ramble on about what color bridesmaid dresses I picked and how should wear my hair.

However, it was also due to the fact that planning the wedding was consuming all of my time, energy, thoughts, and money, and it was frankly hard for me to remember what my own life was like before wedding planning came along, let alone remember that other people actually had lives going on outside of it.

And that, my friends, is exactly how all of this fertility stuff has made me feel. And please notice that I always refer to it as “fertility” rather than “infertility,” because I think that “infertility” has a much more negative connotation, and makes me feel as if I failed at something, so I try to avoid using it. Because the terminology really matters, right?

Anyway, I can’t remember what life was like before Clomid, and Femara, and Prometrium, and temperature charting, and ovulation predictor kits, and ultrasounds, and I am having a hard time imagining the fact that I used to go months on end without ever stepping foot into a doctor’s office. I am struggling to recall a time when I woke up thinking about anything other than fertility issues, or went to bed doing the same.

And while yes, all of that is very frustrating because it requires so much of my energy and is really very exhausting, I feel even worse that this whole ordeal has made me so incredibly focused on me! And I feel guilty, because so many people have been so supportive during this trial and have read countless e-mails and text messages and sat and listened to me on the phone or in person as I ranted about how annoying my RE’s nurse is, or about how much I hate my medicine, and yet I very rarely have been putting forth the effort to check in with them.

I’m not saying all of this so that you will say, “don’t be so hard on yourself!” or “people will understand!,” because I know that and am very appreciative of that. I am just hoping that there is someone out there going through a similar experience that perhaps feels equally wrapped up in their own life and equally convicted about it, and perhaps just needs someone that can relate.

So if you are out there, feel free to let me know and we can be majorly self-absorbed and ignorant of the world together :) (That’s a joke, for the record).

All this to say, I am sorry if it seems like I am on my own planet these days, so I hope you will forgive me! And that includes my twin sister, who, while she is almost 4 months’ pregnant, is busy drafting up blog posts to make me feel better and sending me “infertility word searches” to make me laugh*. And that also includes my husband, who probably long ago determined that I am emotionally unstable and loves me anyway, as evidenced by the flowers sitting next to me at my desk and the pretzel M&M’s inside of my stomach. :)

As far as updates go, I had an appointment on Monday that actually went surprisingly well, but the good news didn’t last long because I learned yesterday that while the Femara did work, we did not get pregnant. So it’s off to round 823 billion that we go. Thankfully, because the medicine did end up working, we don’t have to resort to injections (yet).

And I use the term "thankfully" very loosely, because while I want to make sure and recognize that there is SOME good in all of this, I decided last night that I am very much sick and tired of finding the silver lining. I am ready for just some plain and simple good news to come along with no strings attached.

I am tired, I am frustrated, I am discouraged, I am overwhelmed, I am angry. Thankfully, though, God is very merciful to me and endures my temper tantrums without kicking me to the curb. I have been very encouraged by 2 passages this week that I wanted to make sure and share:

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 2:21-23

This one has been helpful primarily because there have been many nights (like last night) where I have gone to bed really angry about the whole situation, and convinced that life isn’t fair. I even told Brian last week that it seemed very unfair to me that (a) anyone else in the world is happy at all right now about anything and (b) God is allowing the sun to shine. Very rational, right? Regardless, it is encouraging to know that even if I am a total brat*, God is compassionate and will give me a fresh start the next morning!

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14

This has been encouraging for obvious reasons. I am many things, but patient is not one of them. And yet here I am, 11 months into this whole thing, and I haven’t gone insane (yet). And so we continue to wait!

Anyway, hope you are all having a great week! Hopefully I will have good news to report sooner rather than later!

*For those that were curious, the words on the word search were: "aggravating, draining, lame, stupid, angry, expensive, overwhelming, sucks, annoying, frustrating," and my personal favorite: "rage." But what was more amusing was that one of the first words my eyes landed on in the word search was “brat.” Anyone else think Allison slipped that in as a subliminal message? :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Does anyone else think I'm starting to sound like a broken record?

First of all, a big huge thank you to my sissy for Wednesday's post, and an equally big huge thank you to all of you that left comments- thank you for making a discouraging week approximately 324 million times better! I'm going to make sure to refer back to the comments any time I need a self-esteem boost :)

So I'm sure many of you are wondering why I was having such a crummy day on Wednesday... but then again, this blog has had a pretty consistent theme lately (fertility issues have taken over my life and I can't stop talking about it), so I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that it all stemmed from another disappointing visit to my favorite Reproductive Endocrinologist.

Basically when I went in for my last appointment (you know, the one where I cried and consequently caused Brian to make a surprisingly sweet analogy comparing our situation to something from Man vs. Wild), my doctor informed me that the medication I had been on since April (Clomid) was not doing the trick. So in addition to the thyroid medicine, and the one that I affectionately refer to as "death" or "my punishment," he prescribed me a new medication called Femara that would hopefully be more effective for me than the Clomid was.

Well according to this week's appointment, it wasn't. After making us sit and wait for what seemed like 8,000 years, the ultrasound technician/nurse swooped into the room, once again looked scornfully at my ovaries, and told me I would need to sit down and talk to the doctor.

It was at this point that I wanted to start crying. However, as I told you before, I vowed to do a better job of holding it together, so instead, I resorted to spending the next 20 minutes in silence... which, if you know me, is fairly significant.

After another wait in the lobby (with a woman who looked suspiciously like LaFawnduh from Napoleon Dynamite and her much, much older husband), we finally got to go in to the doctor's office. And it was at this point that he basically informed me that I have stubborn ovaries. And although this was frustrating to hear, I can't help but laugh about it, because it would only make sense for me- debatably one of the most obstinate creatures God ever created- to have stubborn ovaries.

He then informed us that since the medication doesn't seem to be doing the trick, the next step would be to do injections. This is not what we wanted to hear at all, and I asked him if it may just be too soon to tell if the medicine is working, and he said it's possible, but not likely.

So we are going back on Monday for a follow-up ultrasound, but he basically told us not to get our hopes up, because it was very unlikely that there would be any changes. I don't think he was trying to be so negative- probably more likely just trying to be realistic- but it still wasn't really an encouraging thing to hear.

If I haven't made any progress, then we will evaluate at that point whether or not we want to move forward with injections. The downside to injections is that they are ridiculously expensive, and would require me coming in for ultrasounds every 2-3 days ($200 each time!), so cost is obviously one of the main reasons why we are hesitant. Oh, and then there is the fact that I would have to give myself a shot (or more realistically have Brian do it) on a daily basis. And while that sounds really fun and all, I didn't exactly grow up dreaming that my husband and I would one day magically conceive a baby in the same manner in which I receive a flu shot.

So more than likely, if Monday's appointment doesn't go well, we are just going to take a month or two off. We could both use the break mentally and emotionally, and I'm sure my body wouldn't be opposed to the idea of taking a break from being poked, prodded, and pumped full of medicine for a bit.

Anyway, we left the appointment and I made it all of 10 feet out of the building before the tears came. So while I might have spent the next hour or so as a blubbering mess, at least I made it out of the building with my dignity, right? :)

Blog love

My sister doesn't know I'm writing this post, but I am sneaky and busted into her blogger account to write it! Anyway, she is having a really crummy afternoon, so this is a special request from me (Allison) for you to leave a comment on this post telling Amanda why you think she's awesome.


Happy 60th birthday, Dad!

Yes, that's right, my very own father turns 60 today! I never thought I would ever be old enough to have parents that are 60, but then again, I'm guessing he never thought he would be old enough to say that he is 60. And let's not even get started on how old this must make his parents feel. Regardless, he is a great dad and a wonderful person, so I hope you'll join me in wishing him a very happy birthday!

And now, a quick photographic trip down memory lane... unfortunately I don't have many scanned pictures on this computer, so most of these are actually pretty recent. You'll just have to get over it.

Three things you will learn about Steve in this picture: 1. He was always a very attentive father. 2. The man can sleep anywhere, any time. 3. I learned almost every strange habit I have from him.

Just before he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day... in this picture, I was probably lecturing him about what speed to use when walking down the aisle and threatening him within an inch of his life if he stepped on my dress or tugged on my veil :)

I also inherited my love of sweets (and all food, really) from him

Don't tell the older two siblings, but we're his favorites... specifically, me. :)

Don't let this picture deceive you- he really does find me quite amusing, I assure you.

Being studly with two of his favorite sons-in-law

In addition to being a great dad, he is also a great grandfather- affectionately known as "Pop Pop."

Ha ok so this picture was taken for something business-related... not sure what, but I find it really amusing- especailly the weird multi-colored glass thing?

Happy 60th birthday, Dad! I love you!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yes, this really happened.

So we were at Wal-mart today (don't all blog-worthy stories start that way?) when a particularly amusing dialogue took place that I knew I just had to share with you all.

After gathering all of the necessities for the week, we proceeded to the check-out lane. We informed the cashier that we wanted to put a few items on a gift card (we get $30/month in Wal-mart gift cards from my company's wellness program, FYI!), and pay for the rest on a debit card. And here is what happened from there:

Cashier scans the dog food container, a box of First Response ovulation predictor kits, and a box of tampons.
Me: Oh, and I have a coupon. (I then hand the woman a $1 off coupon for the tampons.)
Cashier, as she is scanning in the coupon: Congratulations!
Me, very confused as to why she congratulated me on purchasing a box of tampons, but assuming perhaps she was just congratulating me for getting $1 off my total: Oh, ha, yeah- thanks!

The cashier then proceeds to scan the rest of our groceries, all the while chatting about the approaching holidays and declaring her great love for egg nog, noting that last year she purchased a whole quart of it as soon as it hit the shelves and drank the whole thing in one sitting. Her affinity for egg nog seemed so intense that I actually felt guilty for offering up that I'm "not really a fan" of it, but I just wasn't really sure how else to respond. Thankfully she didn't seem to take offense.

After she finished scanning everything, she told me the total, and as I was pulling out my debit card:
Cashier: So far how along do you think you are?
Me: Excuse me? (then remembering the random 'congratulations!') Oh, I'm not pregnant- that was a box of tampons that I bought... I'm definitely not pregnant... but we're hoping to be soon!
Cashier: Oh. But you also bought a pregnancy test...
Me: Ohhhh- no, that was an ovulation predictor kit, not a pregnancy test... (Dear God, PLEASE do not make me explain to her what an ovulation predictor kit is for.)
Cashier: Oh, so you can get pregnant??
Me: (Relieved) Yep, that's the idea.
Cashier: Well have a great day!

A few thoughts on this exchange:
1. Isn't it slightly presumptuous to congratulate someone that is buying a pregnancy test? What if it's negative?

2. I would like to apologize to the person standing behind us in the check-out line (who most definitely was in earshot of the whole conversation) for taking the phrase "TMI" to a whole new level.

3. I realize that I am 27, but I was still slightly embarrassed to have to publicly declare that I was buying a box of tampons.

4. But apparently not that embarrassed, because I then felt the need to INFORM THE CASHIER AT WAL-MART THAT WE'RE "TRYING" TO GET PREGNANT. Apparently I have lost all of my shame.

5. That cashier is really lucky, because as emotionally unstable I have been lately, it would not have been out of the ordinary for me to start crying. But with the irony of the whole situation, I really just had to laugh. And then come home to blog about it, of course.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I stayed up 7 minutes past my bedtime to write this, just for the record

Somehow I blinked and 6 days went by. Sorry about that.

So the church launched! Everything went well and it was exciting to finally be having a service rather than just planning for or talking about one. It was also exciting to see how many donut holes and cupcakes I could eat before noon... at least the sugar high distracted me from feeling nervous or anxious, right?

We are looking forward to our second service and anxious to see who God will bring through our doors- hopefully some of you will be among that group! And even if you're not, make sure to keep an eye on our website to see what we have going on.

Moving along- on the pharmaceutical front, the nausea is behind me, and I have now resumed my boring and predictable daily eating routine. My stomach is still not feeling totally normal, however, and I have come to realize with much sadness that Mexican food and Metformin just do not mix for me. I know that I should follow the doctor's orders and all, but all I'm saying is that a world without Mexican food is not really a world that I want to live in.

Speaking of the doctor, I have my next appointment with him next Wednesday and am bound and determined to convince him that I am normal, and perhaps even emotionally mental and stable. I know, I know- probably an unrealistic expectation, but I can dream, right?

Maybe if I'm really lucky, he will pay me another compliment on how great my uterine lining is looking... because what better way is there to cheer a girl up, really?

Yep, I just said "uterine lining" on my blog.

Anyway, I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes (whether you want to hear about it or not).

Between now and then, Brian's best friend from childhood, Cliff, is getting hitched this weekend, so fortunately we'll have plenty of wedding festivities to occupy our time. And on another fortunate note, my in-laws will also be attending the wedding, so I don't have to sit alone looking like a loser while Brian serves his best man duties.

Some of you may be secure enough to sit alone at a wedding (or go to a movie alone, or eat at a restaurant alone, or do anything alone), but apparently my self-esteem is just not that high. I blame the whole sharing a womb thing.

We actually have quite a few weddings coming up this fall, so the big challenge for me is finding something different to wear to each of them. Wish me luck as I embark on this difficult journey.

That's all for now- hope you're enjoying the fall weather and eating plenty of candy corn!