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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More rantings from an irrational wife

So Brian preached at church this past Sunday, and in my humble opinion, did an excellent job. Towards the end, he was talking about being discerning in our love for God, and he used our relationship as an illustration. His point was that when you love another person, you change your behavior to do what pleases that person.

Using himself as an example, he said that he shaves more often now than before we were together because he knows that I like it when his face is smooth and free of scruff. Using me as an example, he brought up a pair of gray "sweatpants" that I allegedly have stopped wearing because he once told me he found them unattractive.

I found the illustration amusing and certainly understood the point he was making, but because I enjoy being argumentative, I made sure to clarify for everyone at the end that (a) they are NOT sweatpants, and (b) they are not that unattractive.

First of all, the pants in question are grey cotton capri pants that I got from Old Navy in college. When I imagine sweatpants, I imagine something like these:

Elastic waist, tapered legs, and elastic ankles. My capri pants, on the other hand, flared a little at the calves and were at least somewhat fitted.

Regardless, I wore them to work out in when it wasn't warm enough for shorts or cold enough for full pants, but because they were loose and comfortable, I also wore them to lounge around the house in. And apparently my husband found them repulsive.

We bantered back and forth about the pants after church at lunch, and I made sure to point out to everyone that Brian had his own pair of hideous gray sweatpants that were infinitely more unattractive. And to settle the score, I informed everyone that we would go home and have a photo shoot with both sets of sweatpants and let everyone else vote on which pants were worse. As you might be aware, I don't usually enter contests unless I'm fairly confident I'll win them, so I was sure I had this one in the bag.

So tonight, we held our photo shoot... or attempted to anyway. Brian went first and I took a couple of quick pictures of him modeling his pants. Then it was my turn. After approximately 8 failed pictures, I insisted Brian was intentionally sabotaging the photo shoot by taking pictures from unattractive angles. I had him try again, and again, and again, and still the pictures were unflattering. And suddenly it dawned on me- my pants made me look terrible!

But because I am a female and therefore sometimes immune to reason, rather than laughing and admitting that Brian was, indeed, right about the pants, I began to pout and declared that the pictures proved only one thing- that I am fat. And that in declaring them to be unattractive, he was clearly just implying that he thinks I look fat, too. Smart husband that he is, Brian argued with me and insisted that the pants were simply unflattering, but the damage had already been done.

And so what had started as a harmless, good-natured competition quickly spiraled into me throwing myself a (thankfully short-lived) pity party and slinging unfounded accusations. Isn't it impressive how I can turn my blind stubbornness around and turn him into the bad guy like that? He's so lucky to have me, I know :)

So unfortunately for all of you, I will not be sharing the pictures. In fact, I deleted them and promptly threw the pants in the giveaway pile so that someone less fortunate can get into an argument with her husband about them in the future. They truly are the gift that keeps on giving!

So congratulations, Brian, you win this one... but don't get used to it because it won't happen again if I have anything to say about it!

Oh, and the rest of you need to go listen to the sermon here ("Philippians 1") because despite my irrational response, it really was great! Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hannah's Hope

First of all, I know I have been a blog slacker. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Second, I am finally going to share my thoughts on the book that a friend recently recommended to me - Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss. I was admittedly wary when it was recommended to me, because I often find Christian books on specific topics like this to be a little (a) legalistic, (b) cheesy, or (c) both.

And while Hannah's Hope definitely fit into category C, it was still a very encouraging read. Don't get me wrong - Bossy Pants provided me with endless entertainment during my lunch breaks, but it was a nice change of pace to read something that actually gave me a healthy dose of perspective- something I feel like I have been lacking lately.

Anyway, I just want to share a couple of passages from the book. Feel free to skip this post if you aren't interested. But realistically, if you aren't interested, then you probably don't enjoy reading my blog anyway :)

God only gives good gifts, and I am continually learning that He chose to make us infertile because He loves us. He has bigger dreams for us than we even have for ourselves.

Ok yes, I am the first one to admit that this whole ordeal has for the most part, for lack of a better word, sucked, but I am also the first to admit that I have seen a great deal of good come out of it. But to call it a gift? And a GOOD gift at that? And I have also reminded myself a million times that God loves us despite our current circumstances, but to think that He made those our current circumstances BECAUSE He loves us? Am I the only one having a hard time wrapping my brain around these statements?

Hard to believe, yes, but also completely true. So whatever undesirable circumstances you are currently facing, I challenge you, too, to remember that you are going through them because God loves you and not despite the fact that He loves you.

Your fertility challenges hurt this much because . . . you are grieving for your children. God knows this grief personally. He has gone to greater measures to make you His child than you will ever go in the pursuit of growing your own family.

Yes, ultrasounds, medicine, injections, temperature charts, and countless doctor's visits sure do seem like a pretty painful way to go about growing our family, but somehow being reminded that God sent His one and only Son to die in order to call me His child makes what we're going through not seem so unbearable. That's not to belittle the struggle we are facing, but rather to serve as a reminder that He can relate to our pain because He knows exactly what we're enduring (and more)!

And speaking of Jesus...

Jesus asked of His Father that He not be called to face the cross "if it is possible" (Matthew 26:39). Was it impossible for God to prevent the crucifixion? No! He is God and can do whatever He pleases. Was it imperative that God allow it for my sake, even when it was possible for Him to prevent it? Yes! . . . If all is possible with God, yet He chose to say no even to the request of His beloved Son, can I not rest assured that trials that seem unbearable in my life fit much better in His perfect plan than anything I can imagine from my limited viewpoint?

Ok so reading this was really a game-changer for me. I know it ties in with the passages above, but hello! If He didn't prevent the death of His own Son on the cross because He knew the benefit would majorly outweigh the cost, then WHY would He prevent our struggle with infertility, knowing well that the benefit will majorly outweigh the cost in the end for us as well?

Sometimes I am really thick-headed. But this really got through to me and reminded me once more that my viewpoint IS limited and God's is NOT. So what seems like a purposeless form of torture at the moment to me is really just a small piece of the puzzle.

So that's all. I really do hope this provides some encouragement to those of you who are trying to find a purpose for your current season in life. And if you have any other enlightening thoughts, feel free to share.

If you want to provide the suggestion that perhaps God is using infertility to punish us, however, please feel free not to comment :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So long, Oregon trail

Apparently all is not lost, because according to my chest x-ray yesterday, I do NOT have tuberculosis. The doctor that I visited for the test, however, seems to think there is still a chance that my latent TB (not contagious, FYI) could eventually turn into active TB, and is therefore not "clearing" me officially.

For the record, there is also a chance that I will give up on turkey sandwiches or start enjoying 100+ degree weather, but if you ask me, neither scenario is likely.

So instead of congratulating me and sending me on my merry way, the nurse that called me this morning referred me to an infectious disease doctor. First of all, am I the only person that didn't realize such a doctor existed? Second, how terrible would it be to have to hang out in a waiting room at such a place? And third, no. I'm not much of a gambler, but I'm going to sit tight and hope that the odds are in my favor, at least until after we've met our lofty goal of procreating.

I am, however, going to request a new placement for the Junior League. From what I understand, the odds of latent TB developing into active TB are pretty slim UNLESS you happen to have a compromised immune system. So my logic would lead me to believe that spending concentrated amounts of time in hospitals and or pediatricians' offices is probably not a great idea.

So anyway, let's consider that hurdle cleared for the time being. And now we can get back to one of my favorite activities: wondering if/when I will ovulate. It was nice to have a break and concentrate on another medical issue for a few days though, wasn't it?

And speaking of distractions, I don't think I mentioned that Brian and I have booked an anniversary trip to Seattle in August! I have spent the last couple of weeks researching and itinerizing (yep, just made that one up), and it actually has been the perfect distraction! The only problem is that, as a result, the trip is more or less already planned and we still have another 6 or so weeks before we're actually going. Such is the life of an over-planner.

I think that's all for now. You probably won't believe this, but I currently have ZERO doctor appointments scheduled at the moment (ok, other than my dental check-up in September), so I honestly don't know what I'll have to talk about for the foreseeable future. Oh, right, I still need to talk about the book (Hannah's Hope, for those that are interested), but I will save that for the next post. Bye for now!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I really wish I was making this up

So earlier this week, I had the pleasure of getting a TB test. My Junior League placement this year involves reading to children in waiting rooms of various pediatricians' offices, and as such, they wanted to make sure I wasn't going to infect the sick kids (or their well siblings) with any deadly diseases. Inconvenient? Perhaps. But an understandable requirement nonetheless.

I initially tried to get my TB test done at the RediClinic at HEB, hoping to get the process over as quickly as possible, but when I showed up on Sunday, there was a 2-hour wait. And in case you haven't heard, I don't "do" waiting very well, so I made an appointment at an actual doctor's office for Monday instead.

The test was thankfully quick and painless. The Physician's Assistant asked me 8,000 questions about my family medical history and inquired about whether or not I've ever had a chronic cough, etc. Thankfully, other than my reproductive system, I am generally in good health, as is my entire family, so the answer to everything was "no."

After the test, they told me to come back on Wednesday or Thursday to have it read, and sent me on my way. If you'll recall, I was also scheduled to get my bloodwork done on Tuesday to confirm that my HCG levels were back down to zero. But in an effort to miss a minimal amount of work, I moved my bloodwork appointment to this morning and decided to have it done and then get my TB test read immediately after.

So after having my bloodwork done, I scurried over to the other doctor's office and was seated promptly in the waiting room. A few minutes later, I was called back by the nurse.

She opened the door, ushered me in, and because it was supposed to be a quick look, "you're fine," and then a wave goodbye, she examined my arm right there in the hallway. What I was not prepared for, however, was for her to look once, look again, run her finger over the test area, and then, with a concerned look, tell me I needed to follow her back to one of the exam rooms.

Uh oh. This did not seem right. A minute later, she showed up with another nurse and dropped the following bomb on me: "Sorry, I just wanted to grab her so she could get some practice. She's read plenty of negative tests before, but never a positive one."

Um, thanks for finding a tactful way to tell me that I have potentially been infected with an Oregon Trail disease?!

They then pulled out a ruler and a pen and treated me like a science experiment for a few minutes while they examined the small (dime-sized) bump on my arm. Apparently, anything measuring over 10 mm in diameter is cause for concern. Which is why I was definitely concerned when they declared that my bump was 14 mm wide.

I sighed loudly, announced that I hated my life (much to their confusion, I'm sure), and asked what this would mean. They informed me that the PA would be in to see me shortly and would let me know what to do. They abandoned me for 3-4 minutes, during which time I googled the crap out of "positive TB test" and promptly went into panic mode. Sometimes I hate having an iPhone.

The PA walked in, said "Ok let's take a look" and I immediately started crying. And then- in the middle of my blubbering- explained that I have just been having a tough year and that I have been dealing with fertility issues. I even pointed to the bandaid on my right arm and told her that I had literally just left another doctor's office where I had bloodwork done to confirm that my chemical pregnancy was, in fact, finished.

I don't think she was quite prepared for me to unload on her like I did, but she told me not to feel bad and assured me that this wasn't the end of the world. Unfortunately, I did not believe her and continued to cry for the duration of our conversation.

She basically told me that while this does not mean that I have TB, it means that I have at some point been exposed to it (you can really be exposed to it anywhere, but typically it would be in hospitals, airports, other countries, etc.). She then informed me that I would need to have a chest x-ray done, but because of the size of the bump (apparently 15 mm or above means you definitely have to get treatment), that she would recommend that I get treatment regardless of what the x-ray showed (although it would ultimately be my decision).

I then asked what treatment involved, and found out that I would have to take an antibiotic for a minimum of 3 months (possibly up to NINE months). And oh, by the way, it would not be a good idea to get pregnant during that time.

My heart sank. The crying continued. The panic escalated. The poor PA undoubtedly came to the conclusion that I needed to be admitted to a mental institution.

I knew/know that this does not mean I am going to develop TB and die. But all I could think about was the fact that getting treatment would mean MORE medicine, MORE doctor's visits, MORE bills, and MORE waiting.

After talking it over with some people, it sounds like having a "positive" reaction isn't all that uncommon, and a false positive is not entirely unlikely. I am still going to have the x-ray, of course, but unless something obvious shows up, I will probably check in with Dr. C and just see what his advice is. Because no, I don't want to end up with tuberculosis, but I also don't want to go on an antibiotic and further delay baby-making efforts needlessly.

So yes, once again, I am reminded that things can always get worse. Fortunately, I think I am getting really good at handling crappy news, so I am rebounding a little faster than I might have in the past.

With that said, I can't help but feel like I'm being kicked while I'm down. And I can't help but turn my eyes to the Lord and yell (literally), "CAN'T I CATCH A BREAK HERE?!"

Fortunately, I read a really great (Christian) book on infertility recently that provided me with a lot of encouragement. And when I'm feeling a little upbeat and a little less like the sky is falling, I'm going to share it with you.

In the meantime, I'm going to get back to tending to my covered wagon and making sure my oxen haven't been infected. Peace out.

(Side note: Dr. C's office called me back and confirmed that my levels are back down to zero. Hooray. At least now I'm cleared to get the x-ray.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The latest townie drama

A few months ago, we received a flyer on our door notifying us that a new pharmacy was opening at the front of our neighborhood. They boasted about their convenient hours, candy and ice cream, and they even claimed that they would be offering delivery for neighborhood residents for a small fee.

I was a little skeptical about going to a brand new pharmacy without an established name, but convenience trumped my concern and as such, I sent Brian, armed with one of my prescriptions, to scope it out one day while I was at work. (On an irrelevant note, he rode his bike over there, which for some reason makes me laugh.)

He reported back that the owner was very nice, but that they were still just getting up and running, so their credit card machine wasn't working yet and they weren't "set up" with any of the insurance companies yet. Why this didn't raise a major red flag for us, I have no idea. Actually, I do have an idea- it's because they distracted us with offers of ice cream and grilled cheese sandwiches. Can you really blame us?

When I went myself to pick up my prescription there a day later, I was a little concerned about how unprofessional the set-up of the store looked, but the medicine looked exactly the same, as did the prescription information sheet that I always get at the "normal" pharmacies. And besides, Brian had brainwashed me (he will argue this fact) to believe that we needed to "support the local business" and urged me to give them a chance because they seemed like such nice people. I know- he's such a townie.

So I took the medicine (Femara), and lo and behold, it was the one time (out of 4) that it didn't work. Rationally, I realize this could have been due to approximately 1 million other factors. Irrationally, I blamed the seemingly shady pharmacy and decided that they probably (a) just gave me sugar pills and charged me for real medicine or (b) stored their medicine improperly and therefore caused it not to work. And because I am also stubborn (dangerous when combined with my irrationality), I swore the new pharmacy off instantly and permanently.

Brian tried to convince me to go back, but being that he has known me for 7+ years and therefore has firsthand knowledge of my stubbornness, he gave up quickly. So for the past month or two, the pharmacy never came up in conversation, until I received an e-mail from my friend, Kristen, last week with a link to this article.

In case you don't feel like clicking (although you should, because I think you'll really appreciate the picture of the owner), allow me to copy and paste:

Authorities have arrested three people in connection with a Fort Bend County pharmacy accused of illegally dispensing prescriptions.

Shantae Shepard Akpaffiong, 38, the owner of River Edge Pharmacy, which opened in February in the 500 block of FM 359 near Richmond, is among those charged.

She is accused of dispensing prescriptions to undercover agents and faces four state jail felony charges.

The pharmacy's manager, Detrel S. Smith, 59, of Sugar Land, has been charged with four counts of possession of a dangerous drug. Its security guard, James Alvin Turner, 37, of Katy, has been charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon and violation of the state Private Security Act.

A Fort Bend County narcotics task force made the arrests after an undercover investigation that found numerous illegally dispensed prescriptions and illicit and dangerous drugs at the pharmacy.

Investigators uncovered a large amount of hand-written prescriptions from several Houston-area doctors, including one who has not practiced since mid-2010.

Awesome, right? I'll give you one guess as to which member of our household received a big, fat "I told you so" as soon as this article was read :)

I guess I should be thankful that even if my Femara didn't work, at least it wasn't laced with cocaine or anything, right? And for the record, God, I realize that I can be thick-headed, but if that wasn't our month to get pregnant, don't You think that was sort of an extreme way to tell us "no"?

Anyway, I still have a business card (which looks like it was created by a 4th grader on Paintbrush, for the record) from the apparent drug dealer with her signature on it. I thought about keeping it to see if I can make some money off of it one day if she continues in her life of crime and becomes famous for it. I also thought about the fact that if the police investigated our neighborhood and found the business card in my wallet, I might look kind of suspicious. Tough call, right?

One thing I am kind of bummed about- we recently received a coupon from them in the mail for $1 off their ice cream. I'm thinking about taking it to the police officer that is permanently parked in front of the now closed down store to see if he'll redeem it. I'll let you know how that turns out.

So the lesson for the day, kids, is to be careful where you buy your (legal) drugs. And don't buy illegal drugs at all. Oh, and don't allow your judgement to be skewed by ice cream. That is all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm a prophet!

Newsflash: It has been 10 years since I graduated from high school. I was pretty sure this day (year) would never come, but I also distinctly remember getting a "Class of 2001" t-shirt in 5th grade, and also being fairly certain that my high school graduation would never come, so apparently I am pretty cynical.

Anyway, apparently at one of our friend's graduation parties, we answered some questions and the hostesses said they would seal them in envelopes and send them to us 10 years later. I somehow completely forgot about this (oh, I don't know, maybe because it was a DECADE ago), but my memory nazi of a sister did, indeed, remember the promise and recently asked our friend if we would still be getting those letters.

And that, my friends, is the reason why I found an envelope in our mailbox today labeled "Amanda Nelson" (in very girly high school handwriting) with my new last name and current address added to it. Allison and some of the other girls that were in attendance got theirs earlier this week and were actually exchanging posts on facebook about their answers. It was obvious that there was a "what will your life be like in 10 years?" question in there, and all of the friends exchanging answers were remarking that their predictions about being married with kid(s) had turned out to be mostly accurate.

I admittedly cringed upon reading their exchanges, dreading having to open mine, read that I expected to be married with 2 kids by now, and then immediately stick it in the shredder and spend the rest of the night sobbing my way through a DQ blizzard.

But alas, I was wise beyond my years and apparently that wisdom saved the day because my answer to that question was: "I'll be married to a hot guy (check!), no kids yet (sadly, check!), a lawyer (guess I got over that ambition), living in Texas (check!), volunteering with kids some (check!)."

A few thoughts:
1. I'm glad that I qualified "some" at the end of "volunteering with kids"... as if I didn't want to set myself up for failure by saying "a lot" or something.

2. I realize that this is just a silly game we played at the end of high school, but to me, it is also a very clear example of God's mercy AND the fact that He always has a plan in mind for us. I know this seems trite, but to think that God knew I would be going through this trial right now and that in His wisdom, He prompted me to write down "no kids yet," therefore protecting me from added pain and disappointment 10 years down the road, is really amazing to me. That's not to say that He would be any less wise or merciful had I written "married with 3.5 children," but the fact that I didn't is a reassuring reminder that not only did He know then what His plan was for my life, but He still knows now!

Anyway, I also wanted to share a few of my other answers. #1-5 were about high school memories. Brian will undoubtedly have a good laugh about #4, wherein I declared that my Biology teacher was "purely evil" because she gave me my only B. But for the record, I still think it was completely unfair and I deserved an A. :)

After #6 (what I expected my life to be like in 2011), I guess I had to list in #7 what I hoped or thought would be true of the world- "less traffic, cure for cancer, woman President! (me! ha ha)" Wrong on all counts, so maybe I'm not a prophet after all.

And lastly, in #8, I guessed that I would end up with 3-4 kids, and my proposed boy and girl names were "Jake" and "Kathryn," neither of which are any of interest to me today.

So that was a fun trip down memory lane indeed- anyone else do something similar during your senior year of high school?

PS- There's still no one like '01, baby.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alive and well... ok, alive and better

Wow. So when I wrote that last post on Friday, I think I had somehow convinced myself that I was handling the situation very well and was coping quite nicely. But about an hour later, when I found myself crying face down on the desk in front of the computer, I realized that I might have been mistaken.

I spent the rest of the day much like that- crying off and on for no particular reason (although I did eventually move to the couch- progress?) until Brian came home. Saturday morning was more or less the same, and I think you could say the low point was when I was sobbing on the floor of our bathroom and telling Brian that I couldn't remember the last time I was actually happy. Sounds overly dramatic, I know, but sadly, I was completely serious.

At some point during my seemingly incurable fits of sadness, I was reminded of the fact that the pregnancy hormones - though at a low level- were still in my body. And although I am not normally one to blame bad behavior on hormones, I think it is a safe assumption that they played at least a small role in my emotional instability.

Thankfully, my endlessly patient husband came to my rescue during the crying-on-the-bathroom-floor-episode and helped pull me out of my pit of despair. He denied my request to eat peanut butter M&M's for lunch, however, and insisted that I instead eat a normal lunch and have the M&M's for dessert... boring, right? :)

In the meantime, Allison had text messaged him and suggested that, in an effort to cheer me up, he take me to see Bridesmaids and then go buy me a new dress. Ha- I guess I shouldn't be surprised that she knows me so well! The movie was pretty stupid, but a welcome distraction (as was the bucket of popcorn), and even though I didn't end up with a new dress, we still got to do a little shopping and I ended the day feeling much better than when I started it.

I have been feeling progressively better, although I am still not quite to the point where I am ready to be optimistic again. I am somewhere between "maybe we should just throw in the towel for a while" and "the thought of going back to the doctor doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out," so I suppose that's a step in the right direction.

And now I need to shift gears completely and recap my 28th birthday, because (a) I left you hanging after the last post and (b) I would like to end on a positive note.

The day really was great- Brian kicked it off by delivering flowers to me at my office. I did have to go get bloodwork that morning, but thankfully I had lunch with my co-workers and random birthday greetings coming my way to help distract me while I waited for the call back from the nurse. She called late that afternoon to tell me the "good news" about my hormone levels, so although my brain officially left the building after that for the remainder of the day, I was at least able to think happy thoughts.

But let's back up a little to lunchtime.

While I was at lunch, I got a call from an unrecognized 1-800 number, so I let it go to voicemail. I checked the message on the way back to my office, however, and learned that it was our credit card's fraud department calling to ask me about some potentially suspicious activity. Well isn't that special.

I hurriedly called back into the automated system, and after entering my information, the computer voice asked me to verify the latest charge - $5.17 at a fast food restaurant. At first I thought this must be some dumb joke, because why on earth would they call me about a $5 charge? The next thought that came to my mind, however, was, "Wait a minute... Brian said he was taking his lunch to work today! And he KNOWS we have already gone over in our eating out budget for the month, so why would he go out to lunch? Especially on my birthday when he knows it would make me mad?!"

At that point, I had to set my rage aside because an actual person came on the line and told me she wanted to go over the last couple of charges with me. Rather than bring up the fast food charge again, however, she asked me if I had spent a rather sizable sum of money at Best Buy about an hour earlier. For a split second, I was nervous that someone really had stolen our card, until the light bulb went on and I remembered that I had not seen any record of Brian having purchased a birthday present for me prior to that day.

I politely informed the woman that I didn't personally charge that amount, but it did happen to be my birthday, so it was highly possible that my husband did. She immediately apologized and said she was embarrassed and would call my husband right away. Well guess who didn't answer the phone when they called him the first, second, or third time? And then guess who didn't answer the phone when I called MYSELF the first or second time? And now guess who was in BIG trouble with the birthday psycho girl?

Eventually, I got a hold of Brian and when I asked if he had charged that amount at Best Buy that day, he sheepishly replied with, "It's possible..." You would think I would let it go at this point, but because I am highly irrational 95% of the time, I then began to interrogate him about why he had charged $5.17 at Chick Fil A and asked why he insisted on making me angry on my birthday.

Apparently, he had asked our friend (with whom he carpools) to drive him to the Best Buy during lunch and offered to buy him lunch to repay him for the favor. And in case you're worried about why he didn't buy my gift until that day, please see above note about how I admitted to not having seen any record of him making a birthday purchase. Someone in our house likes to obsessively keep up with our spending online, and her name is not "Brian." Or "Buster" or "Noah," in case you were wondering.

So yes, I was admittedly upset about the extra eating out hit to our budget, but I was also upset at this point because the amount of money and the place he spent it more or less gave away what my gift was going to be, which Brian clearly had intended to be a surprise.

Thankfully, I got over it fairly quickly and we then spent the rest of the day joking about how excited I was to get my new toaster oven, vacuum cleaner, or even better, my new collection of games for the Wii! And even more thankfully, when I opened my gift from him at dinner that night, it did not end up being any of those things, but instead was an iPad!

And even though it was ever so slightly above our agreed upon $75 birthday gift budget (I know, will she shut up about the budget already?!), I was still excited and thankful for such a generous gift. I should mention, by the way, that we went to dinner with some friends, and they also gave me an assortment of other generous gifts, so all in all, I was pretty spoiled that day.

Also, the day ended with a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, gelatto, and a round of my favorite birthday game*, so regardless of any mishaps earlier in the day, I think you'll agree that the day was a success. And even though the bad news we got 2 days later put a damper on my birthday week, I am thankful that the actual day remained for the most part unscathed.

*The "birthday game," as I call it, basically entails everyone going around and saying his/her favorite thing about the birthday boy/girl. And rather than get me a card this year, Brian came up with SIX of his favorite things about me (to the acronym of "AMANDA") and shared them with the group. Isn't he great?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Over before it began

Lesson learned: Never, ever tell yourself that things couldn't possibly get worse.

A lot has happened since the traumatic events of last Friday, and not just my 28th birthday (which will get a separate post of its own)! I sent an e-mail yesterday that best sums up what happened, so rather than re-write about it, I'm just going to share that with you if that's ok:

As I think you all know, I started what I assumed was my period last Friday. We were obviously upset that yet another cycle had failed, but pulled ourselves together and prepared to do another round of treatment. However, all weekend I noticed that I wasn’t feeling quite right. I thought it was highly unlikely that I would be pregnant given the fact that I was bleeding, but you are not supposed to take Femara if there is even a chance that you are pregnant because it can be harmful for the baby, so I decided to take a test on Monday morning just in case.

And it was positive.

This was obviously very confusing, and being that it was Memorial Day, I had to call the after-hours line for my doctor’s office. She told me not to take the Femara and to make an appointment first thing Tuesday morning for bloodwork. So I went in on Tuesday morning (my birthday) for bloodwork, and got a call that afternoon letting me know that my HCG levels did, in fact, confirm that I was pregnant—they were at 91 (which is normal that early).

However, they said that I would need to come back in 2 days later (Thursday) for another test to make sure the levels were rising (they are supposed to double every day in the first few weeks of pregnancy). So 48 long, long, long hours later (and still having told no one at this point besides Allison & Wade who were at the house when I took the first test), I went in on Thursday morning for a second test.

And my levels have dropped all the way to 25.

This basically means I had what is known as a chemical pregnancy—it is not a “false” pregnancy… it is basically a super early miscarriage. Because some of my friends have gone through chemical pregnancies, I was prepared that this might be the case, and knew that the bleeding was not a good sign. Obviously, we had our hopes up. So of course, this is a pretty big disappointment.

I have to go back to the doctor in 2 weeks (on the 14th) for more bloodwork to make sure my levels have gone back down to 0. Then we just have to wait and see if I have another period (or take progesterone to make me start if I don’t on my own) before we can try any more treatment.

We know that it is a positive thing that we made it one step closer… at least we got a fertilized egg this time. But at this point, it just seems like a slap in the face. I really thought it couldn’t get worse and I couldn’t be more discouraged than I was last Friday, but sadly, I was wrong.

So that’s where we are. Sorry for not telling you all about this earlier… we just didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up (including ours), so we thought it would be best to not say anything until we had the results from today.

Your prayers are appreciated and your support and encouragement mean the world to us. Just wanted to keep you all in the loop.

I hate re-reading that because I just feel like it sounds very mopey and depressing. But mopey and depressing is probably a pretty accurate way to describe my demeanor for the past 1.5 years, so I'm not sure why it's bothering me now!

We are trying our best to pick up the pieces and put our game faces on for the next cycle- I'll give you one guess as to who is doing a good job of that and who is crying on and off all day and declaring things like, "I HATE EVERYTHING IN LIFE!"

I am trying not to dwell on the fact that we don't really even know how long we'll have to wait for the next cycle to start. I am also trying to look at this as a step in the right direction rather than 800 steps backward. Sometimes that is harder to remember than others.

So anyway, that's that. I am still not feeling so hot, and I got approximately zero hours of sleep this week (how can you sleep when you are maybe sort of possibly pregnant!?), so we are hoping this weekend will be a restful one and we can have a fresh start next week.

I promise to post about my birthday later, and I also promise it will be good for a laugh, unlike this fun-sucking pity party of a post. So until then, hope your weekends are off to a good start!