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Monday, July 30, 2012

Trucking along

Thank you for your prayers- Friday's appointment was much better! The ultrasound showed a few follicles growing on my right ovary, but my left ovary is (a) lazy, and (b) apparently smaller than my right ovary, so there wasn't much happening on that side. That's ok, though, because there is still time for those follicles to catch up... the more, the merrier!

I thought you all might get a kick out of this: I asked the nurse if she knew why the doctor had me switch from doing the shots in my stomach to doing them in my arm instead. Her response? "Um, yeah, we thought that was kind of strange, too, because he normally only does that with really overweight patients..." Ha! Awesome.

They upped me to double the dosage of both of the meds (Gonal-F and Menopur, for those that are curious) after my appointment, so Brian has had all kinds of fun playing the role of pharmacist and nurse. Meanwhile, I have had all kinds of fun crying every time I've hung up the phone with the actual pharmacy after hearing what the cost of the additional medicine will be- yay! :)

And speaking of crying, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that all of this medicine has made me a little on the psychotic emotionally unstable side. I think I reached a new level of crazy on Thursday evening, but thankfully my brain caught up with my hormones and I have been able to reign it in for the most part since then... you know, minus the occasional rant about important issues like Brian using the wrong towel to dry his hands. I know, I know, I don't envy him either!

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll be sure to keep you posted, but prayers for continued follicle growth are appreciated!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Updated prayer requests

Just a quick update:

I had my first follicle scan/bloodwork appointment on Wednesday. The scan showed that I have a lot of follicles (as usual), but none seem to be responding quite yet. The nurse assured me that this was normal because it's still early in the game, but I couldn't help but feel a little discouraged hearing that I had made pretty much no progress after 4 days of shots.

My estrogen level was also a little low, so the doctor increased the dosage of my meds and had me switch from getting the injections in my stomach to getting them in my arm. I had a lot of anxiety about this because, well, let's just say there is a lot more extra flesh on my stomach than on my arm! Fortunately, though, Brian once again worked his magic and the transition hasn't been as difficult as I was expecting.

All this to say, I have another appointment today and am hoping for at least some follicle growth AND increased estrogen levels. Prayers for both of these things are greatly appreciated!

Thanks, all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Impromptu sermon, part 2

So as I mentioned on Monday's post, my attitude had quickly turned to crap on Friday and I was in need of a little perspective. Enter the dogs.

I got home from running errands that afternoon and let Noah and Buster inside the house to get out of the heat. I was only home for a few minutes before I had to leave again to run another quick errand, but I felt bad locking them up in the kennel, so I just decided to leave them out "loose" in the house (which we don't usually do).

I was gone for no more than 10 minutes, but when I got back home, they were waiting anxiously by the door, jumping and generally freaking out as if I had been gone for 10 years.

I sighed and attempted to reassure them (because dogs listen to reason and all) by saying, "Don't worry, I didn't leave you! I know it seemed like I did, but I didn't, and I'm sorry I worried you!"

It was then that it hit me.

For the past 2.5 years, I have been jumping and generally freaking out at the door, and all the while, God has been telling me: "Don't worry, I didn't leave you! I know it seems like I did, but I didn't, and I'm sorry I worried you!"

It's sad when God has to lower you to the same level of thinking as your dogs to get the message, isn't it? :)

To push the illustration a little further, I quickly realized the irony of the dogs' panic when I considered just where I had gone to run that quick errand: to the VET'S office to pick up their flea and heart worm medicine.

So while the dogs paced back and forth at home, no doubt convinced that I had abandoned them permanently, I was out picking up something that they needed. Something that would help them. And while they might have suffered a little while I was gone, had I not picked up that medicine, their suffering would have certainly been greater.

I have to believe that even though it sometimes feels like God is absent in our current situation, He is busy preparing something better. Something that we need, something that will help us, and something that will prevent MORE suffering in the future.

Thank you, Noah, Buster, oh yeah, and God, for that much-needed reminder.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Hope

Good news- I have officially survived two days of shots! Saturday was admittedly a little rough just because we were getting used to a different type of injection AND dealing with administering two instead of one. Thankfully, Brian is a great nurse so the pain (and consequently the pouting) was minimal, and perhaps even more thankfully, we figured out that we can actually mix the two meds together into ONE shot instead of two- hooray!

I am happy to report that I have kept a relatively positive outlook in these beginning stages of our IVF process, and have even had a couple of people in the last week or so ask me how I remain so positive even 2.5 years into this whole ordeal. (Those of you who know me well are probably laughing out loud right now because I am typically very much your glass-not-just-half-but-completely-empty kind of girl!)

However, on Friday I seemed to hit a little bump in the road and quickly spiraled back into an all too familiar pit of despair. There were tears and more than a few pity parties hosted by yours truly. I quickly grew frustrated with myself because up until that point, I was NOT giving in to the temptation to worry or doubt, and all of a sudden, within a matter of hours, I had convinced myself that we had no reason to believe this cycle would work because HELLO, none of the other million attempts had worked either.

And it was then that I was reminded of a passage that Brian had e-mailed to me literally just the day before:

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Past = 2.5 years of disappointment
Wasteland = my uterus
New thing = hopefully a baby (or two)

It is tough for me to remember, but I have to constantly remind myself NOT to live in the past, because God is not limited by our former OR our current circumstances. A friend recently shared Romans 15:13 with me along with a quote from a book she is reading that says the same thing:

"Hope always points to the future. This title of God assures us that in Him our future can always be dramatically different from our past."

I was so encouraged by that and hope you are too, because I know I'm not the only one who is hoping for a future that looks NOTHING like the past.

And on a semi-related note, I have another story I want to share but I feel like this is already getting a little lengthy, so I'll save that for my next post.

Until next time, my friends!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The ball is now officially rolling

Good news! Yesterday's appointment went as well as could be expected- I have ZERO cysts and my hormone levels were all "normal"... which I think confused Brian considering I have been blaming most of my bad behavior lately on my hormones being out of whack... oops :)

This means that we are officially ready to move forward, which is both exciting and mildly terrifying. Brian went in for a "teaching visit" today to make sure he is well-prepared to start giving me my injections (2 per night) on Saturday. We will continue the same dosage of medicine until next Wednesday, at which point I'll go in for my first ultrasound/boodwork appointment to see how my ovaries are responding.

Thank you to all of you who have been and are continuing to pray- we'll count today's visit as the first answered prayer of hopefully many more to come!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lately

Occasionally, things happen in life with the Joiners that don't revolve around my ovaries. Hard to believe it, I know, but we do in fact go about our normal daily lives despite this dark cloud known as infertility that follows us around, down pouring raining on our parade from time to time.

Allow me to share a few pictures as proof:


Yep. That's me in a picture with a fire hydrant. But not just any fire hydrant. When I was in 7th grade, we were running "the mile" for PE, which basically involved running a lap around campus. As we neared the last 1/4 mile or so, I noticed an art class sitting on the curb, sketching pictures of some of the houses across the street.

Ok, let me be honest. I didn't take notice of the whole art class so much as I took notice of the cute boys in the class. And apparently I was so distracted that I ran directly into a fire hydrant.

It wasn't pretty, but it does, however, make for a fun story and a semi-amusing (though slightly traumatic) memory, so when my mom and sis and I took a quick trip to Dallas a few weeks ago, it was imperative that I go back to the scene of the crime.


Brian and I celebrated the 4th of July with friends and brought these bad boys for dessert. The good news is that they are from skinnytaste.com and were only 168 calories a piece! The bad news is that I ate two of them. And basically an entire tub of guacamole. Happy birthday, America!



There is not really any point to this picture but I thought it was too entertaining not to share. Buster was lounging on his blanket on the couch minding his own business when Brian decided to wrap the blanket around him. I just think this picture makes him look like a dramatic female soap opera star, don't you agree?


Brian and I went to see The Lion King musical on Sunday and it was amazing! I'm starting to regret leaving "Hakuna Matata" off of our IVF mix cd...

Baby Dinosaur has been the busiest of all with another jam-packed summer camp season just like last year. So far he has attended the following:

Chinese Food Camp - highlight: learning how to make orange peel chicken with the chefs at PF Chang's
Movie Camp - highlight: watching the "Indiana Jones" trilogy
Houston Dynamo (soccer) Camp - highlight:


Science Camp at the Museum of Natural Science - highlight: getting to learn about his ancestors
Lego Camp at Techno Chaos - highlight: making this:


This week he is brushing up on his baseball skills (as if he needs anymore practice!) at the Sugar Land Skeeters' Baseball Camp, and next week he is off to a Christian music camp lead by Toby Mac and Mandisa (can't wait to hear his rendition of the "Good Morning" song after that's finished).

Pretty soon after that, it will be time for him to get geared up to go back to school- 4th grade, here he comes!

So there you have it... life lately with the Joiners, the un-fertility edition :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ready or not, here we come!

So our "break" is almost over, although it hasn't felt like much of break at all thanks to my various ailments. Nonetheless, we are pressing onward and preparing to get the IVF party started. Let's just hope my ovaries- the hosts of said party- are ready as well :)

Allow me to give you a very brief summary of how the IVF process works:

1. Using a variety of injectable medications, we will attempt to convince my ovaries to grow a bunch of eggs, while simultaneously convincing them not to release any of those eggs.
2. Once enough of the eggs are mature enough (ha, as if I am capable of producing anything mature!), they will retrieve them.
3. They will then introduce Brian's swimmers to my eggs to see if any of them like each other enough to combine forces. Ideally, this will result in a lot of fertilized eggs.
4. They'll let those little embryos grow for 3-5 days, after which they will implant a couple of them in my uterus. I will be on bed rest for the following two days and will spend the next couple of weeks taking more medicine and doing my very best to be a human incubator.

And that's pretty much how it works. I know what you're thinking: "She should TOTALLY write textbooks about treating infertility." And you're right, I should. But for now, I'm going to stick with Human Resources.

Anyway, this whole process starts on Tuesday when we go in for a baseline ultrasound to make sure that (a) I don't have any problematic cysts, and (b) my hormone levels are where they should be. As promised, I have put together a list of specific prayer requests for the process. I will go ahead and throw them out there now, but will try to check back in periodically with updates/answered prayers/new requests.

So here goes- these are the MAIN requests:
- That we would have a successful baseline ultrasound (as mentioned above, no cysts and good hormone levels) so that we can get the ball rolling; I have had some spotting (which is normal on birth control), so please also pray that this wouldn't cause any issues.
- That the shots wouldn't be too painful and that we would be able to keep all of the medications/instructions straight
- That my body would produce a good number of eggs (but not FIFTY-TWO, like my pal Kaimey... eek!) and that I wouldn't have a bad reaction to the retrieval
- That we would end up with a good number of fertilized eggs
- Discernment about all decisions pertaining to the embryos, including how many to transfer
- A successful embryo transfer and pregnancy (duh)
- A peace that surpasses understanding throughout the entire process

Secondary requests:
- That neither of us would have to miss too much work, and that we (ok, I) wouldn't be stressed out about it when we do have to be gone
- That the added costs/time associated with acupuncture (which I'll be doing in conjunction with my treatment) will not be a source of stress

I think those are the basics for now. Thank you all again for caring enough to follow along with our story, let alone caring enough to actually pray for us and the future baby Joiner- it means more to us than you'll ever know!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coming soon (or never) to iTunes

As promised, today is the great unveiling of the song list on our IVF playlist, created by yours truly! The purpose of this playlist was to remind us of the following:

1. The power of positive thinking
2. (And more importantly) the power of prayer

My plan is for us to listen to this as much as possible to keep us "in the zone"... sort of like a Jock Jams compilation for IVF. Although now that I think about it, listening to an actual Jock Jams mix before the egg retrieval or embryo transfer might not be such a terrible idea...

Anyway, the coveted list is below, as well as my favorite lyrics from each song. Most of these are a little on the serious side (some of which I have blogged about in the past!), but fear not- there are a few light-hearted ones thrown in as well for good measure:

1. "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson  
Favorite lyric: You know in the end the day you left is just my beginning


2. "My Hope is in You" by Aaron Shust
Favorite lyric: My hope is in you, Lord, all the day long; I won't be shaken by drought or storm; a peace that passes understanding is my song


3. "Baby" by Justin Bieber
Favorite lyric: And I was like baby, baby, baby, oh, like baby, baby, baby no...


4. "Your Love is Strong" by Jon Foreman
Favorite lyric: So why do I worry? Why do I freak out? God knows what I need... 


5. "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz
Favorite lyric: I won't give up on us even if the skies get rough, I'm giving you all my love, I'm still looking up


6. "Beauty Will Rise" by Steven Curtis Chapman
Favorite lyric: But buried deep beneath all our broken dreams we have this hope: out of these ashes, beauty will rise


7. "Got My Mind Set on You" by George Harrison (oldie but a goodie)
Favorite lyric: I got my mind set on you, but it's gonna take money, a whole lotta spending money, it's gonna take plenty of money, to do it right, child; it's gonna take time, a whole lot of precious time, it's gonna take patience and time, to do it right, child


8. "Be Still" by Story Side B
Favorite lyric: When I feel like caving in, my heart, my soul is wearing thin, I just want to give up, and nothing seems at all to add up. Can you hear me, Lord? My face is down upon the floor. It's then You whisper in my ear, 'Be still and know I'm here'


9. "All That She Wants" by Ace of Base (another oldie but a goodie)
Favorite lyric: All that she wants is another baby (duh)

10. "Our God" by Chris Tomlin
Favorite lyric: Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God, You are higher than any other, our God is healer, awesome in power, our God, our God


11. "Always" by Building 429
Favorite lyric: I believe always, always our savior never fails; even when all hope is gone, God knows our pain, and His promise remains: He will be with you always


12. "God Gave Me You" by Dave Barnes
Favorite lyric: God gave me you for the ups and downs, God gave me you for the days of doubt, for when I think I've lost my way, there are no words here left to say, it's true- God gave me you


13. "Your Love is Extravagant" by Casting Crowns
Favorite lyric: No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend


14. "Have a Little Faith in Me" by John Hiatt
Favorite lyric: And when the tears you cry are all you can believe, just give these loving arms a try and have a little faith in me


15. "How He Loves" by David Crowder Band
Favorite lyric: When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me


16. "Waiting Room" by Shane & Shane (really this whole song describes our current situation perfectly, and if you are "waiting" on God at the moment, I encourage you to listen to it, too!)
Favorite lyric: I will run when I cannot walk; I will sing when there is no song; I will pray when there is no prayer; I will listen when I cannot hear


17. "In Christ Alone" by Geoff Moore
Favorite lyric: In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm; What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease, my comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand


18. "Take My Hand" by Shawn McDonald
Favorite lyric: I am weak but You are strong, You pick me up when I'm falling down




So there you have it. I know some of them border on cheesy, but whatever keeps us in the right frame of mind, right? The actual mix CD has already been created, BUT the playlist on my phone can certainly keep growing, so feel free to contribute your own suggestions :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Help a sister out

More specifically, help a sister-in-law out.

I am interrupting my regularly scheduled whining about infertility programming to ask for your assistance. My wonderful sis-in-law, Shannon, is in need of a job and has not had much luck in her search so far. My real life contacts haven't been of much assistance to her, so I figured I'd give my internet life contacts a try instead!

Here's the scoop:

1. She graduated last Fall from the greatest university in the world, Texas A&M (it's possible that I'm a little biased), and has been nannying ever since while job searching.
2. Her degree was in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences.
3. She would ideally like a job in Houston.
4. She is interested in non-profits and ministry opportunities, but is really open to anything entry-level (besides sales/commission-based jobs and retail... though Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch do seem to be interested in her- ha!).
5. She is smart, detail-oriented, outgoing, responsible, and a quick learner. Oh, and she's pretty cute- see?

(That's her on the left, duh.)

SO if you/your husband/your friend/your dad/your dad's friend know of anything, please let me know and I would be happy to pass along her resume or contact info! Thanks!

Oh, and stay tuned later this week for a recap of the recent IVF playlist I created. Spoiler alert: There's a song on there by Ace of Base.

Happy Monday, peeps!

Friday, July 6, 2012

At least it’s not tuberculosis

Are you ready for this? We found out two weeks ago that our second IUI was unsuccessful. During that two-week time period, I have developed not one, but THREE additional medical “issues”:

1. A cyst – I was expecting this because it happened after the last IUI cycle as well. I didn’t have any unbearable pain to deal with, but just general abdominal discomfort and back pain for a couple of days. I haven’t had any issues in over a week, however, so I’m hoping it/they are long gone and will not present any issues once it’s time to get everything started for IVF!

2. A urinary tract infection – This is the FOURTH one I have had since going off of birth control 2.5 years ago, prior to which I had never had a single one. Again, I can’t be all that surprised because hormone changes can cause you to be “predisposed” to getting a UTI, but it still feels like adding insult to injury. Actually, no, insult to injury is the fact that the antibiotic they prescribed me made me want to vomit for 3 days straight.

And now for my personal favorite:
3. Hand, foot, and mouth disease – No, I am not making this up. And no, it is not the same as hoof and mouth disease. The weekend before last, I interacted with a total of 9 children under the age of 7. About 3 days later, I developed a headache, fever/chills, general flu-like achiness, and a sore throat. This was all taking place at the same time that I was dealing with the cyst, so I (wrongly) assumed it must have ruptured or was in some other way upsetting my system.

All of the symptoms disappeared after 2 days, just in time for me to notice a strange rash on my hands and feet. I very rationally declared to Brian that I had contracted the West Nile virus (although at this point, would you have been surprised?) and spent the better part of the weekend trying to get google to tell me what my problem was.

At some point I stumbled upon a description of hand, foot, and mouth disease, and my symptoms fit the bill perfectly, from the weird bumps to the sore throat and everything in between. What did not fit the bill perfectly, however, is the fact that THIS VIRUS TYPICALLY AFFECTS BABIES and it is apparently “very rare” for adults to catch it. Apparently my body’s immune system is just as useless as my reproductive system.

Honestly, I’m not sure why anything surprises me anymore, but thankfully, I have gotten better at rolling with the punches instead of crying on the floor and asking Brian why God hates me so much. (I don’t mean it.) (But sometimes I sort of do.)

We are hoping and praying that all setbacks are behind us and that we’ll have smooth sailing from now until approximately 10 months from now when we give birth to the most perfect baby/babies that ever lived. Otherwise I think I might just change my name to “Job” and call it a day!

PS- If you have the swine flu or SARS or something, please stay away from me. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stars and stripes

Happy 4th of July from our (usually) patriotic home to yours!

4th of July - 2011 (no, he wasn't intoxicated- just annoyed that I was trying to make him take a picture wearing a visor and holding a pinwheel:) As you can tell, I am not photographed, but if my memory serves me, I wore the same Chi Omega shirt featured below in 2005. Sue me.

4th of July - 2010 (apparently I decided to wear pink in lieu of being patriotic that year)

This is where the actual patriotism starts:

4th of July - 2009

4th of July - 2008

4th of July - 2008 (we are so cool)

Not featured: 4th of July 2006 & 2007... sorry!

4th of July - 2005 (Or is it Christmas? Hard to tell based on Brian's color choice...)

Confession: this picture is from August 2009 at a random fireworks show in South Padre Island

Confession: this picture is also from SPI in 2009, but I thought it was patriotic enough to be included. Also, don't judge Brian for his un-American choice of beer. By the way, do you like how that pinwheel makes a cameo in so many of the pictures? Perhaps it will make a reappearance for 2012... if you're lucky!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let's start from the beginning

You may have noticed a new tab at the top of the blog labeled "Our Infertility Journey" (oh, and I added an "about us" tab as well). 10 million years later, I finally got with the program and put together a timeline of our infertility journey thus far, starting back in 2007 when we got married.

The timeline (which I have included below) just includes the basics, but includes links back to the posts that provide a little more detail.  My hope is that if newcomers come along (or not-so-newcomers that just never knew the backstory), they can go there to catch up.

It was admittedly a little depressing to chronicle disappointment after disappointment after disappointment, BUT it also served as a much needed reminder of God's faithfulness: 2.5 years and countless heartbreaks later, we are still alive and have not given up hope!

So there you have it... enjoy!


February 2007 - I started taking birth control pills (Yasmin). I had always had regular cycles and no gynecological issues prior to this point (or while on the pill, for that matter).

August 2007 - Brian and I got married! We talked about waiting 3-5 years before having kids so that we could enjoy a few years of just being married first (be careful what you wish for :).

Summer 2009 - I switched to the generic form of Yasmin (Ocella) and hated it, which is what first planted my desire to go off the pill.

September 2009 - We decided to go off of birth control for a few months to give it plenty of time to get out of my system before we planned to start trying to get pregnant in January. Obviously we assumed we would get pregnant shortly thereafter and celebrate the birth of our first baby late in 2010, just after our 3rd wedding anniversary (HA!).

October 2009 - Per my OBGYN's advice, I started taking prenatal vitamins just so my body would be good and ready once we started trying to get pregnant.

November 2009 - This will come as NO shock to those that know me, but I grew impatient and convinced Brian that we should go ahead and start trying to get pregnant. However, I was a little concerned at this point because I still hadn't started my period on my own. I called my OBGYN and they assured me that this was normal, but told me to call back if I still hadn't started after it had been 3 months.

December 2009 - EXACTLY 12 weeks after my last period on birth control, I finally had a period again. I was confident that my body would immediately resume normalcy and we would be pregnant in no time. (HA!)

January 2010 - Six weeks after my last period, another one came. Six weeks wasn't four weeks, but it was better than 3 months, so I just went with it.

February 2010 - I went to my annual exam with my OBGYN and he told me that if I hadn't gotten pregnant or resumed relatively normal periods by April, to give him a call.

April 2010 - Still no pregnancy, still no period. As you might recall, we were going through a particularly stressful transition during that time, so I just chalked it up to stress. I went ahead and made an appointment with my OBGYN, during which he did some routine bloodwork to check things out.

This bloodwork revealed that my LH levels were about twice my FSH levels, which was a possible indication of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome ("PCOS").

May 2010 - I started tracking my temperature and was put on my first round of Clomid (50 mg). My temperature chart showed that I didn't ovulate.

June 2010 - Then we tried round two of Clomid (100 mg), and my temperature chart suggested that I did ovulate, but we didn't conceive.

July 2010 - Time for the third round of Clomid (150 mg)- no ovulation. This is when Allison and I both announced our infertility struggles to the world via our blogs.

August 2010 - My OBGYN referred us to a fertility specialist in the area. After a consult with him, more bloodwork and an ultrasound confirmed that I do have PCOS.

September 2010 - A hysterosalpingogram revealed no blockages in my fallopian tubes or uterus. My doctor had me start taking Metformin and we tried another round of Clomid (100 mg), which did not cause me to ovulate. The doctor therefore deemed me to be "Clomid-resistant."

October 2010 - The doctor had me try another oral medication similar to Clomid called Femara. It did cause me to ovulate but unfortunately we didn't get pregnant then either, most likely because we think the high dosage caused me to ovulate too early.

November 2010 - We tried a second round of Femara (lower dosage) along with Ovidrel (HCG trigger shot). While I did ovulate again (and at a normal time), we didn't get pregnant. We decided to take off a few months to enjoy the holidays and give ourselves a break.

January 2011 - I ended up with a bladder infection, and the antibiotic that they gave me did not react well to the Metformin, resulting in Vomit Fest 2011. Low Point #1.

February 2011 - We decided to try out a new fertility specialist, but weren't really impressed with him, so we went back to our original specialist to get the ball rolling again.

March 2011 - We tried a third round of Femara, which did not make me ovulate. I had only been taking 1 Metformin pill per day instead of 2 (because it made me sick), so I decided to go back to 2 pills a day and give Femara another try.

May 2011 - We were once again devastated to learn that we were not pregnant. A few days later, however, while still bleeding, I had a positive pregnancy test. Bloodwork confirmed that my HCG levels were high enough to indicate pregnancy, but they fell a few days later, confirming that we most likely had a chemical pregnancy.

June 2011 - We decided to take another break to try and recover from infertility's latest blow. Oh, and in the meantime, a doctor suggested that I might have tuberculosis. Low Point # 2.

July/August 2011 - We gave Femara one final try, but once again, I didn't ovulate.

September 2011 - February 2012 - I decided to give acupuncture a try and let my body have a break from "western" treatment. I also stopped taking Metformin. Although my cycles did shorten quite a bit and the effects were generally positive, I still don't believe I was ovulating on my own. Oh, and in January, I got another bladder infection- hooray!

March 2012 - I talked with my acupuncturist and she agreed that it was time for us to go back to a specialist. We decided to try out a new specialist (#3, if you're counting) that had come highly recommended. He recommended that I have a hysteroscopy done before proceeding with treatment.

April 2012 - The hysteroscopy thankfully showed no abnormalities or polyps on my uterus. We started a new cycle consisting of injections and an IUI.

May 2012 - We learned that IUI #1 was not successful. After weighing our options, we decided to try one more round of injections with an IUI.

June 2012 - We learned that IUI #2 was not successful, either. We decided it was time to give IVF a try.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Not exactly a delivery from the stork

Thanks to the generosity of many thoughtful friends and family members, we have received a lot of "treats" in the mail over the past couple of years- everything from "thinking of you" cards to restaurant gift cards to treats of the edible variety.

As a result, I always get a little excited when a package shows up unexpectedly in our mailbox or on our doorstep, so when I came home from work on Friday, you can imagine my (very brief) excitement when I saw this box sitting on the welcome mat:

I spy a cute white pup in the background...

I say "very brief" because I immediately remembered that we were actually expecting a package on Friday, and it was not of the treat variety. But rather, it was a box full of medicine, syringes, sharps containers, and a plethora of other supplies lovingly shipped to us from Conception Pharmacy. Cue a deep sigh followed by this sound.

Yes, that's right, we are embarking on another round of treatment. Another round of medication, praying, doctor's visits, hoping, ultrasounds, jaw clenching, bloodwork, and all of the other fun that comes along with it.

This cycle will be unlike any of the others, however, because we have finally decided to give IVF a try.  It honestly feels weird even typing that out, because I am still struggling to wrap my brain around it. All along, we have talked about IVF in terms of it being our absolute last resort. As in, we will exhaust all other options before going that route.

Well, after 9 rounds of Clomid/Femara, 2 rounds of IUI with injections, 10 months of acupuncture, and 0 babies, we are considering our other options to have been exhausted. I should mention that we weren't at any point opposed to IVF, but due to the cost and general invasiveness, it was understandably not something we wanted to do until we felt like it was really necessary. 

As is the case whenever you dive into something you have always considered to be a "last resort," we are overwhelmed, nervous, and a little bit scared. However, a good friend recently wrote this post about her family's plan to pursue adoption and it completely transformed my perspective. Thank you, Kaimey, for helping me to remember that just because this seems like Plan ZZZ to us, doesn't mean the same is true for God! (Side note: She and her husband conceived their sweet little twins, Harper & Hudson, with the help of IVF!) 

Anyway, I haven't decided yet how often I will post/update you all about this cycle, so bear with me. I am working on a list of specific prayer requests so I will plan on sharing those periodically at the very least. For now, please pray that the next couple of weeks while I'm on birth control pills (in order to level out my hormones) would provide a refreshing (albeit brief) break for us AND for my body!