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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blog Hijack

Hello to Amanda's loyal readers!

This isn't my first post around these parts, and it won't be my last, but I decided that I would take this opportunity to wish my lovely wife a happy birthday on here because... well I don't write on my own blog anymore! So, to my one and only, my partner in crime, the only girl that can make me laugh more than I already make myself laugh, the most beautiful woman I know - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

San Diego - 2004
I had a tough time deciding on a picture of the two of us, but I have always liked this one for no other reason than it makes me smile every time I see it, and I think it captures us very well. Here's to the best year of your life yet!

Happy (1st) 29th birthday to us!

On this day 29 years ago, Steve & Betsy Nelson headed into the hospital and prepared to meet their third baby - Courtney (if it was a girl) or Clark (if it was a boy). Imagine their surprise when, just one short minute after pulling out baby #1, the doctor announced that there was still another baby inside!

Yep, it's true, our parents had no idea during those 9 months that there were not one, but TWO babies growing in my mom's stomach (well, her uterus to be exact). Allison and I spent 9 months conspiring, sharing meals, and coming up with the ultimate inside joke, and it's safe to say we have been doing the same ever since.

It's hard to believe we are now embarking on our 30th year of life together, especially because we still behave more like we're embarking on our 13th :) We already exchanged gifts last weekend, and while I do hope she enjoys the present I got her, I always wish I could do more. Somehow a pair of earrings doesn't seem like a sufficient "thank you" to someone who has literally put up with me for my entire life!

So with that, sissy, allow me to share with you the list of the top 12 (your lucky number!) gifts I would buy you if I had all the money in the world:

1. An unlimited supply of caramel frappucinos (tall non-fat with whip and caramel drizzle, of course)

2. While I'm at it, your own barista that would NEVER screw up your order (or make you feel guilty about adding the whip and caramel drizzle)

3. A mute button for Rocky & Tucker (ok, and let's be honest, one for Davis while we're at it)

4. A weekly happy hour complete with chips, queso, strawberry margaritas, and all of your favorite people (myself included, obviously)

5. A shopping spree at Target

6. A weekly pedicure performed by an Asian woman who wants to discuss the significance of the mole under your eyebrow

7. A private jet that would alternate trips for us from Richmond to Austin to see each other every weekend

8. A thousand pounds of cookie dough for you to eat at your leisure (soooo it would last about two weeks or so?)

9. A babysitter that would come over every day between the end of Davis's second nap and Wade's arrival home from work

10. A week-long stay at Camp Davis (along with the rest of the family, of course)

11. A climate-controlled indoor park for you and Davis to play in, free of creepy strangers and nasty summer weather

12. A personal trainer to make up for #1, #4, and #8... sorry about that.

In the meantime, this (free) blog post will have to do. Happy 29th birthday, sissy! LYLAS!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mid-week mish mash

Happy Wednesday, all! Hard to believe we only have one day of work behind us and yet the work week is magically halfway over... that's my kind of week!

I don't feel like stringing together paragraphs, so as a result, you get bullet points. Before you complain, just remember that beggars can't be choosers (this is where we pretend that you are begging for me to blog).

- In case you didn't already read about it, be sure to go read Allison's blog for a recap of our Memorial Day weekend in Austin. Have I ever mentioned how convenient it is to have someone else practically blogging on my behalf?

- Brian and I have been on the receiving end of a lot of thoughtful gestures lately... I think the post-failed-IUI support combined with early birthday gifts has just made me extra aware of just how fortunate we are to have so many supportive (and generous!) people in our life.

At the same time, it has also made me extra aware of how completely self-involved I have been for the past 2.5 years. I know, I know- it's understandable to be a little less emotionally available for others when all of your emotions are being consumed by something like infertility, but still! I don't mean to turn this into a negative, though, so let me just wrap this up by saying that it has motivated me to be more thoughtful, and for that I am thankful.

- In the world of infertility, we have had two minor setbacks in the past few days:

1. When I went in for my baseline ultrasound last week, they found two semi-sizeable cysts on my ovaries. However, according to my bloodwork, these cysts are not producing any hormones and are therefore considered inactive (or "lazy," as Allison calls them). This means that we can (and will) go ahead and proceed with the cycle, but it still makes me a little nervous. I would think a 25 mm cyst would be taking up precious real estate in my already polycystic ovaries, but the doctor doesn't seem concerned, so I'm trying not to be either.

2. We got a notice in the mail from our insurance company that they are denying coverage for the hysteroscopy I had back in April. Awesome. We are going to appeal the decision, but obviously there is no guarantee that we will be successful. It would be great if they deny our appeal because we were really racking our brains trying to figure out how to spend our extra cash- problem solved!

And on that note, let me share a passage that I was reminded of recently that I think is very fitting for our current season (and hopefully for yours, too!):

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." - Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday facts

My sweet friend, Brittnie, recently bestowed the coveted Kreativ* Blogger Award upon me, so you can thank her for the following 10 random facts about me! :)

*I really don't understand why this word is intentionally misspelled... is changing the 'c' to a 'k' and dropping the 'e' at the end supposed to make it more "creative"? I've seen this award before and have always wondered about this. Plausible explanations are appreciated.

1. I have never smoked a cigarette or tried any other illegal drugs, and I didn't consume my first alcoholic beverage until my 21st birthday.

2. My nickname on my high school soccer team was "The Admiral." I wish there was a good story to back this up, but it was simply due to the fact that my (maiden) last name was Nelson, and my coach apparently had an affinity for a famous British Admiral named Admiral Horatio Nelson from the early 1800s.

3. My alternate nickname on the soccer team was the "Grammar Nazi." This came to be after I corrected my coach for the 800th time after he told us we "played good." It was a name I was proud to bear.

4. As long as we are talking excessively about my soccer coach, I should also point out that it was in my relationship with him that I first discovered my major inner conflict with authority figures: I want to be the "favorite," but I also want to be able to talk back voice my disagreements with them freely. As you can imagine, my parents/coaches/teachers/bosses have always loved this attribute. :)

5. For a long time, my favorite book was In Cold Blood, a true story about a quadruple murder. That's normal, right?

6. You know the commercial for the CitiBank credit card where the girl decides to take a rock climbing trip instead of getting engaged to her boyfriend? I hate it passionately. I hate the song. I hate the fact that she really chose a rock climbing trip instead of getting engaged. The end.

7. I own and regularly work out to five different workout videos featuring Jillian Michaels. The 6th video in my rotation features Denise Austin, for those of you that were curious.

8. I used to collect turtles. I quickly stopped collecting them when my high school boyfriend deemed it acceptable to give me turtle jewelry as gifts. Yes, plural... one necklace and one ring.

9. I have never consumed a cup of coffee.

10. We decided to try a second IUI instead of moving onto IVF. I realize it's anti-climatic to announce that on a tag post (and at the very end of the post, at that)... so... um... sorry about that? Ultimately, we feel like IVF should be our last resort, so we feel like we owe it to ourselves to give the IUI another chance. So we'll see how that works out. Don't be concerned if I talk about it less this go around- just chalk it up to an attempt at self-preservation!

That's all, peeps. Have a great weekend and feel free to share some random facts about yourselves, too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Way Back When-sday

For today's WBW, we're going back to 2005 when this sweet little girl was born and made me an aunt for the first time:

Emma Kathlane Wheeler (May 23, 2005)

She grew up (as babies apparently do)...

... and before we knew it, 7 years had passed and she wasn't really a little girl anymore:

Today that little lady turns 7 years old, and although it makes me sad that we can't be there to celebrate with her, I hope she knows how much her Uncle Brian & Aunt Amanda love her today and always!

Happy birthday, Emma!

And a very happy FIRST birthday to my friend, Brittany's, sweet little boy, Reid!!

Now go join in on the WBW fun:

The Hill's Country

Monday, May 21, 2012

Life goes on

So guess what. Apparently life goes on even when it feels like yours has been momentarily (for the millionth time) put on pause. The good news is that this prevents me from holing myself up in the house and eating my weight in chocolate each time we find out we aren't pregnant. (But if we're being honest, that becomes more and more tempting each time it happens.)

Anyway, here are a few updates/tidbits for you:

1. We had our follow-up consultation with Dr. H on Wednesday. He said that our last IUI cycle looked "perfect on paper," and that he couldn't pinpoint anything that had gone wrong. Unfortunately, when the success rate for a treatment is 30%, that means that there is a 70% chance that it won't work, and as the odds would suggest, we fell into the 70% rather than the 30% this time.

He is still confident that we WILL get pregnant, but just says it's a matter of how we'll get there. Although I desperately wanted him to tell us what to do next, he has left the ball in our court. We can either give another IUI a try, or move onto IVF. In honor of keeping it real, here are a few very basic statistics for you:

Estimated success rate: 30%
Estimated cost: $4,000

Estimated success rate: 75%
Estimated cost: $14,000

I guess it shouldn't be so surprising that a 45% increase in the success rate should come with such a high price tag, but still. Wow.

He put me on birth control and said that if we want to try to do an IUI again, then I can start after a week. If we want to do IVF, I can start after two weeks.

So basically we were given a week (although realistically we can take as long as we want) to come up with a decision. There are a lot of factors to consider other than just the statistics/costs, so we are discussing and more importantly praying for God's discernment in what to do next. Feel free to weigh in (unless you are going to tell me to just relax or go ahead and adopt, that is).

2. My birthday is in 10 short days! Current items on my (fictional) wish list:
- gift cards to Houston Fertility Institute, Conception Pharmacy, or Mirvana Acupuncture (Kidding) (Sort of)
- all expenses paid vacation for our 5th anniversary
- a baby
For what it's worth, I write pretty legit thank you notes, so keep that in mind...

3. Speaking of birthday gifts, my pal, Chrissy, made me a pretty sweet mix cd as an early birthday gift, and there is one song in particular that I have been listening to on repeat just like I used to do with "Push" when I got the Matchbox 20 cd the summer after 8th grade. Unlike "Push," however, this song deals with desperation in a slightly more constructive manner.

The song is "Without You" by Shane and Shane. I have had bad luck with embedding links recently, so hopefully it will work if you just click here. Thanks, Chrissy, for introducing me to this one!

Here I am, calling out 'Father'
Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
I don't want to go without You
Here I am, can You talk a little louder?
So I can hear you, I want to hear You,
I don't want to move without You

4. Lastly, Allison sent me a pair of earrings in the mail earlier this week that she had won in a blog giveaway to cheer me up. I cried. There isn't much point to this story other than to (a) remind you how thoughtful my sissy is, and (b) illustrate how emotionally unstable I have become.

The end.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This is not quite how I had hoped to end my blogging vacation (Part 2)

In case you missed yesterday's post, Brian and I received some disappointing news this past weekend. Are we tired of being disappointed? Yes. But sadly, we have also grown very accustomed to it. That does not mean, however, that it stings any less.

I made it home from the museum on Saturday and was greeted by Brian at the garage door, at which point I more or less collapsed into his arms in tears. There wasn't really anything for either of us to say, because it seems that in situations like that, words are actually insufficient.

We spent the next couple of hours on the couch attempting to process the information, talking briefly about what we should do next (more on that later). Fortunately, we had already made plans to go to dinner and to a baseball game that night, so although I was tempted to resign myself to the couch for the evening, we were "forced" to leave the house.

After a less than healthy dinner (chicken fingers, as prescribed by my therapist) and a few hours spent at the game, I was feeling better. More able to comprehend the thought of waking up and facing another day, at least :)

On the way home, in a moment of contemplation, one of our imaginary friends (do not judge!) asked Brian if God had forgotten about us (you might recall that she occasionally poses big questions like this to him). His response was that God had absolutely not forgotten us and he had proof. When I inquired further, he said, "Don't you think that God knew back in December when you were picking out our baseball ticket plan that we would need a night out alone together to distract us on this very night?" Excellent point. I knew I married him for a reason!

As I mentioned, Brian went to church without me the next morning (I had already decided not to go, declaring to my friend that my uterus and heart just hurt too much). After I stopped crying in bed (happy Mother's Day!), I went for a walk, and then came back home to resume crying some more while reading thoughtful posts like this one and this one and dying of jealousy over everyone's Facebook posts. I'd say it was a very healthy start to the day- ha!

Shortly after Brian came home to rescue me from myself feed me, he asked me if I was up for "going somewhere." I said yes, as long as it was nowhere that required makeup. An hour and a half later, we found ourselves on the coast with our feet in the ocean. Brian said he wanted to bring me there because something about being on the beach just puts everything into perspective. And he was right.

And if there's anything else that puts life into perspective, it's Mexican food, which is why we ended up taking a longer route home so that we could stop by our favorite restaurant for dinner. It was such a perfect ending to our day that I didn't even care that they were passing out roses to the moms there, myself excluded (jerks) (ok, so maybe I did care... a little).

So that, my friends, is how we started to deal with infertility's most recent blow. Infertility, if you're reading this, then you should know that we're not giving up that easily. In fact, we even have a theme song ("I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz).

And Infertility, if you're still reading, then you should know that we hate you. A lot.

Monday, May 14, 2012

This is not quite how I had hoped to end my blogging vacation (Part 1)

How I envisioned Mother’s Day 2012 would start: I would wake up early before church and take a pregnancy test, and then surprise Brian with the (obviously positive) results.

How Mother’s Day 2012 actually started: Brian got up and got ready for church while I laid in bed crying with cramps and a heating pad.

To say that life does not always go as planned would be a major understatement at this point.

To backtrack a little, we had IUI #1 on Monday, April 30, and IUI #2 on Tuesday, May 1. They both went as well as possible with no problems or complications. We spent the next 1.5 weeks waiting, praying, hoping… and (on my part) stressing. I actually did pretty well during the day because I was distracted with work or other plans. But when I would get in bed at night, my brain would turn on and the “what if” game would commence.

What if I didn’t actually ovulate? What if I did ovulate but we didn’t get a fertilized egg? What if we did get a fertilized egg but it doesn’t implant? What if it implants but then I miscarry? You know, just the standard downward spiral into “what if we can never have children and we die lonely and miserable?”

This explains why I purchased a night guard 4 days after IUI #2 to help with jaw-clenching. Because if the bloating and weight gain didn’t make me unattractive enough during the two week wait (and I will not even get started on the side effects of the progesterone supplements), then a mouth full of plastic was sure to do the trick.

Nonetheless, we pressed on as we got closer and closer to the end date of the waiting process: Tuesday, May 15. That was the date that I was scheduled to go in for a blood test, and I spent the better part of every free minute leading up to that debating in my head whether or not I wanted to take a home pregnancy test in advance.

In the meantime, just as I have prayed from the very start of this whole process, I asked God to be very clear with me. I didn’t want to get to the point of taking a pregnancy test if it was going to be negative, and I certainly didn’t want to get all the way to the point of having the blood test done if it was going to be negative. I have always been of the mindset that bad news is hard enough without having to get your hopes up first. I wasn’t quite sure how God would work around this one, however, because I was under the impression that the progesterone supplements would prevent my period from starting either way.

Well surprise, surprise—(a) I was wrong, and (b) God most definitely had a way of “working around” that so-called issue, because I did indeed start on Saturday. Just another reminder to be careful what you pray for :)

As luck would have it, I had to go straight to the Museum for my volunteer shift, so instead of wallowing at home on the couch in my misery, I got to talk to painfully adorable children and their parents (pregnant moms included) about dinosaurs for 3 hours. Thankfully, I did not melt down and on the few occasions that I did tear up, no one noticed.

Once I was in the car, however, all bets were off and the melting down commenced. The next 1.5 days (including how I survived Mother’s Day) deserve a separate post, so stay tuned.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy birthday to Brian!

He's dreamy, I know.

Happy 29th (eek! one more until 30!) birthday to my partner-in-crime and my better half! Brian, even though you know it's not my favorite, I wanted to share the following song with you on your special day in hopes that it would start your day off with a smile:

I hope your day is as wonderful as you are- I love you!