Tuesday, December 31, 2013

IVF- APN Consult

I met with my IVF APN today. She was spectacular. She answered all 7001 of my questions and she was warm, smiling, and all around awesome. We went over my protocol, the schedule, the medications, and the overall plan-

Currently I am on the BCP and will continue them until January 5th. On January 10th I will return to the office and have an ultrasound and blood work and go over the medications.

My protocol is Antagonist using Menopur, Follistim, and Ganirelix. I should star the Menopur & Follistim on Jan 10th.

From that point forward I will be in and out of the office for continuing evaluations of the follicles and their growth. I will also be placed on temporary disability from the ambulance. They do not want me lifting or twisting while I am stimming. This is a double edged sword. I’m glad that I will have some extra down time to just relax—but the extra income is a nice thing too. I’m going to do my best to use the time to just relax and relax and relax. My temporary disability starts 1/12 and will run until 2/17- at which point hopefully I am carrying a normal pregnancy and can return to work!

Retrieval is planned for around the week of the 19th- however that is subject to change completely depending on how I respond. For retrieval to take place there must be at least 3 follicles over 18mm—this should not even be an issue. I need to be healthy—this I am combating with extra Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Airborne (no sickies for me!)
I will start the Ganirelix once the follicles reach 13mm, this will tell my body not to ovulate the follicles on its own. About 36 hours prior to retrieval I will take two Ovidrel triggers.

For retrieval they will provide anesthesia and remove the oocytes (eggies). After retrieval I will be out of work for that day and the next and not allowed to drive. I will be on bed rest basically. That day they will split my eggs and half will be placed with the sperm to hopefully become embryos on their own- the other half will be done with ICSI.
ICSI- Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection is when they place an individual egg and insert an individual sperm. My insurance authorized it because we are considered unexplained infertility even though I have PCOS. Reason for the ICSI is in case there are any male factor issues that have been looked over. There is an 80% fertilization rate with ICSI.
I will start Crinone 8% Vaginal Gel (instead of Endometrin) for my progesterone supplementation 2 days post retrieval and continue it until 10 weeks into my pregnancy.

The day after retrieval we should receive an update on our embryos and then again to set up the embryo transfer. Embryo development for anyone that doesn’t know or is interested should look like this-- Day 1 zygote- fertilization, Day 2- embryos 2-4 cells, Day- 3 embryos 6-8 cells, Day 4 – embryos 16/32 cells "morula" and Day 5- embyros "blastocyst" and hopefully transfer day!

Embryo Transfer should take place about 3-5 days post retrieval depending on the embryos. Its advised to be on bed rest for 24-48 hours post transfer- I am hoping it falls on or near one of my 3 day weekends and I can extend this a little longer and take it easy!
Estrace will start the day after the transfer twice a day and continued until 10 weeks of the pregnancy.

The number of embryos transferred depends on the quality and number of embryos for us. We are open to a SET (single embryo transfer) and also not objected to transferring 2. It will all depend on the quality and how the transfer day goes.
14 days post retrieval is pregnancy test time- then blood work for betas and an ultra sound at 6 weeks and 8 weeks and then released to my OB.

Holy Moly. I won’t go into the other information we went over today. It was about FET (frozen embryo transfer) if our IVF fails... I won’t/refuse to think about that and will cross the bridge only if I must.

For now my focus is on a successful IVF. -Rainbows and Butterflies if you will.  Relaxing and taking my medications and being so very happy and blessed. 2014 is going to be our year<3
Thank you all for your support and your love- It means the world to us<3 Please continue to pray and think happy thoughts and do baby dances as we move towards a happy and healthy pregnancy :)

Happy New Year guys!! xo

Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrations, Parties, and a Guest Post

It’s been a crazy-crazy weekend here! We were finally able to celebrate Christmas with our families-- we both worked on Christmas and Christmas Eve.

On Friday we celebrated our Christmas Eve and I spent the entire day cleaning and cooking and celebrating that our families would be in the next day. Some friends and family stopped in on Christmas Eve and celebrated with us.

A combination of my Ganny's Egg Nog and my Great Grandpa's Egg Nog-- thus making it really my own Egg Nog

These are supposed to be pine cones.. they tasted good at least!

Stromboli- which was by far the easiest thing I made and tasted wonderful

Saturday was our Christmas day and we have all of our family with us except my little brother who had to work. It was beautiful to have everyone together—but it was also exhausting. I’m glad everything went well, but I do wish a magic cleaning fairy would show up and clean and de-decorate my home (and then redecorate it for Valentines Day.)
Swishy was spoiled rotten and got a new ham bone that he has been carrying around like it’s his baby since Saturday. Rob and I keep joking that he’s trying to kill us with the ham bone by leaving it on the steps and under our feet at all times.

Our Christmas morning breakfast- French Toast Bake - Delish!

Saturday night we went out to the casino to celebrate Rob’s best friends 40th Birthday. He had flown in from Florida so we made a point so go see him and celebrate with him even though after hosting Christmas I was much more into lying on the couch.
Being at the casino made me realize how much I have mentally aged. Not that I don’t enjoy a nice night out, but I much prefer being home. After we got home I felt like I had to shower because they are allowed to smoke in the casino and I hate smelling like cigarette smoke. I also hate spending $9 for a glass of wine… I digress we went and celebrated with his buddy and rang in his 40’s.

Sunday we went to Rob’s moms 70th birthday. She had a luncheon with all of the family and her friends. It was nice to be there with everyone and to see Rob’s mom happy. I have a bunch of pictures, but I am not going to post them until I make her album.
It was a hectic weekend to say the least. I start back to work again today and its as though I am covered with a blanket of exhaustion. I could really use a day to relax from my 3 days off. Lol.

Swishy all Christmased out :)
On Friday I had the honor to guest post over at Charity’s Blog- My Guest Post- A Story of Change  if you get a moment head on over to check out my dear friend Charity’s blog and read and learn a little more about me.

Tomorrow I meet with my IVF APN and go over our IVF medications and schedule. I’m getting very excited as we move forward. I’m feeling very positive and filled with hope. 2014 is going to be a beautiful year for us—I have to believe it!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Just Received the Best Christmas Gift

Our IVF RN just called-- our insurance has authorized our IVF! It may not be under the tree, or wrapped neatly with a bow-- but it was exactly what I asked for!! 

We have a tentative schedule starting with an appointment to go over my medications next Tuesday. Tentative egg retrieval (if all goes exactly as planned) is now set for the end of January. 

There really aren't any words to cover how excited we are-- I'm trying to remember that anything can happen and my focus needs to be on staying healthy as we move forward! 

Hope everyone got exactly what they wished for <3 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Traditions

In my family the Christmas Eve tradition when we were very young was to go pick out a tree. We would start to decorate it and overnight it would come to life with more decorations and angel hair and tinsel -- it became magical. When we woke in the morning it was perfect and under the tree presents would overflow. 

Our entire family would come together and spend the day making beautiful memories. As time went on and we all grew older and created our own families our traditions changed and grew and we created our own. 

Rob and I work a lot of holidays. So our Christmas and Christmas Eve -as well as almost all other holidays- get moved to days that we can make them work for us and our schedule and still take part in the spirit of the season. 

Last night was our Christmas Eve since we both work tonight. We attended our new Church's Christmas Eve production. As a side note I am so thankful that they do a Christmas Eve-Eve production as well as Christmas Eve- they recognize that not everyone can make a true Christmas Eve service and for that I am so thankful! 

Our Christmas Production was called the Never Ending Story~ it was a beautiful production that brought me to tears a few times. First was this song by Steven Curtis Chapman that our talented musicians brought to life- The Glorious Unfolding

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don't try to figure it out
Just listen to what I'm whispering to your heart
Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it's just not true
There's so much of the story that's still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You've just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

God's plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We've just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we're living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will, be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We'll see the glorious unfolding

Just watch and see (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)

How powerful! I have played it over and over and over and over.. you get the point. If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over..And hold on to every promise God has made to us.. We'll see the glorious unfolding!!

I felt it in my bones- the message, the lyrics, and the life that buzzed around our Church.  The next thing that truly hit home was the opening to the services where our Pastors Wife read the opening. She talked about time-- and how God knows what time everything is going to happen-- everything is going to unfold.. 

It was as though she was speaking to me directly. In other words stop fretting-- your story is unfolding just the way it is suppose to!! No need to stress! No need to worry! 

If you don't have any plans later today and want to check out our Church's productions of The Never Ending Story they will be broadcasting a live feed starting at 1:50pm, 3:50pm and 5:50pm- Shore Fellowship Online Campus. If you have an hour the story is beautiful and the talent is amazing. 

I hope that last night was the start of a new tradition for my family. I pray that you and your families are able to come together and share the story of Christmas, pray together for a blessed New Year, and spread love and joy. 

Merry Christmas from our home to yours! xo ~ Rob, Kasey & Swish

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy ICLW~ December

Happy International Comment Leaving Week- or better known as ICLW! If you aren't familiar ICLW is a week where bloggers come together -catch up with one another and leave comments to let one another know we are out there and we are reading. Its an oppurtunity to read some new blogs and learn about what others -that you don't normally follow -are up to. If you are interested in participating you can learn more- here! As always thank you to Mel for organizing ICLW for all of us!

If this is your first time visiting us there is an easy catch up for our TTC Journey so far here. Right now we are on the brink of our first IVF Cycle and I am battling reoccuring Strep Throat. For those that normally follow along I am feeling a bit better today. I called out of work yesterday and did not get off the couch the entire day. I was diagnosed with another round of strep throat and a possible pneumonia (due to what I am bringing up when I am coughing.) I was placed on stronger antibiotics and told to rest, rest, rest. I have a lot going on this week- but I refuse to take on anything extra or above what I already have and when I have down time I will be laying down. 

About a week ago I had my trial transfer and SIS and it was pretty much a disaster- you can learn about how my exprience went here. All the findings were good and we are currently awaiting my immune system to reboot itself and my insurance company to authorize the IVF prior to being able to move forward.

We are some of the lucky ones -we have the ever rare IVF Insurance Coverage. Something I wish everyone was so lucky to have. My husband and I have been trying for over 3 years now and IVF would not be an option if it wasn't for this coverage- at least not right now. So after 6 IUI's we will hopefully be moving forward shortly with our IVF as we welcome in 2014. If you are the praying type- Prayers for health and healing needed as I need to be in my best health moving forward.

2013 has been a rough year for us- Rob lost his job in June and I found myself as the sole income for our household. Rob's Mom also battled breast cancer and his father fought off multiple infections due to his complex health issues. My father was without work and no longer was eligable for unemployment and my Mom was only brining in her dissability. Our families became closer thought as we all fought through this year together. We watched many of our friends welcome their own childeren this year and we continued to fight for our own. We cried many tears- some from sorrow- others of joy. While 2013 is on the way out- and I truly am glad to see it go since it was an uphill rough battle- we ended it with a true blessing.

Last night we met with some of our very best friends and they honored us by asking Rob and I to be the God Parents to both of their little boys. This is such a huge blessing to us- mainly because they would trust their boys with us knowing we aren't parents. We love those two little guys with all of our hearts already and there is no doubt in my mind that we would raise them and treat them with unending love. We felt so blessed last night. It was such a wonderful way to help us usher in 2014 and out 2013.

I hope as the Christmas Season is upon us that you too are able to find something to pick out of your year as a blessing. Even if you've dealt with unimaginable grief try to find a way to close out 2013 with some joy. Whether its finding the smallest thing-- or a wonderful blessing like was given to us- try to close out 2013 holding something special and joyful in mind.

I hope that if you struggled in 2013 that you will prosper in 2014. I hope your Christmas's are spent with family and love and joy. I hope that if you are hurting you are able to find something to bring you joy and love.I hope that if 2013 was a year of sickness for you or your loved ones that 2014 brings health and healing. I hope that 2014 is happier for so many of us.

Thanks for stopping by<3 If this is your first time visiting be sure to leave a comment so I can visit your way too!

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Feel Awful- Again

I guess the title really says it all. I went to a cookie exchange Wednesday night- came home and started to feel completely terrible again. I had a fever as high as 103 for almost 24 hours before it finally broke last night.

My throat is swollen again. My entire body is sore. I am fatigued. I am miserable.

I'm also very behind on everyone elses blogs, because sitting at the computer is draining at this point. For that I am sorry.

Our IVF can not move forward until I am well. There is some fear that I may have an infection from the SIS/Trial Transfer nightmare, but since there is no belly pain at this point in time its only a small fear. I am trying to avoid anymore antibiotics since I just finished a 10 day stent of them and the last thing a girl wants is a yeast infection.

I'm hopeful that my immune system is just junk right now and I picked up a little something from one of the kids or people at the cookie exchange.

I'm just trying to get through my work day today. --Why am I at work you ask?

Because we are only allowed 5 call outs a year without a write up. I used 1 with my strep throat and since I came back to work since then this would count as 2. I will need to use at minium 2 for our IVF cycle and I can't risk not having the call outs available if need be.. so alas here I sit drinking tea and trying to make it through the day.

I hope this finds you all well. I hope I haven't missed to much lately- Im going to try to catch up a bit today. xo

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My SIS & Trial Transfer- My Awful Exprience

Yesterday was my Saline Infusion Sonohyterography and Trial/Mock Transfer. Everything I read and everything I research and heard about the tests lead me to beleive that- while uncomfortable- there wouldn't be much pain expected or associated with either procedure.

That is of course unless your body is not in a cooperative mood. I'm here to serve as a warning that both of these tests can leap over the uncomfortable territory into the land of the unbearable if the right circumstances present themsevles.

Since I have had IUI's already- six of them- without issue, there was no reason to beleive that locating and mapping my cervix for access to my uterus for the trial/mock transfer would be an issue. Our bodies change all the time- as does the position of our cervix's... but if you have no had too much of an issue in the past then typically you shouldn't have an issue with your trial transfer.

That is of course unless your body goes on strike so to speak. Which my body did yesterday. It started off reasonably enough. My RE was running late- my RN explained that they had a foreign couple in prior to me who required an interpretor and there were issues with the translation. They apologized deeply and I really wasn't too phased by it. I normally don't have to wait long and working in the medical field myself- I understand that things happen and difficult cases arrise.

Little did I know that I would become a difficult case myself- causing delays in scheduling for every single woman for the rest of the day at the office.

So I go into the room and I sign a consent that basically states that I know what the procedures will be and that I would run a risk for infection- though not a high risk.. still a risk. Which I understand fully and filled out. Then I took off my bottoms- just like preparing for any other test or procedure I have had done.

The RE explained that they are going to map our where my uterus is by accessing it through my cervix so that on the day of my actual transfer they have an idea of where exactly to place it and if there will be any issues. He told me I could expect some cramping and pressure- not normally anything more than that. So I wasn't even remotely prepared for what was to come. Had I had even a small thought that I could be in pain I may have better prepared myself- not to scare anyone that is going in for their own trial/mock transfers- but if your cervix isn't where it should be you can expect to be in more than just some discomfort.

My cervix was deviated to the extreme left. Per my RE, and the second RE which was called into the room to help, and the APN which has done many of my IUI's, and the RN in the room- no one has ever seen a cervix deviate so far to the left. Statements like- "I've never seen this" and "We are all individuals" are never really good when it comes to your lady parts and the infertility buisiness. Since my cervix was so extremely left I had to lay in different positions, they had to use different tools, different speculums, and dilate my cervix multiple times before they got it.

It felt like it sounds- uncomfortable... but more than that, like someone was punching me from the inside of my most senstive parts. Like metal was being jammed into and around and pinching and prodding. I don't want it to sound like they weren't being gentle, because they truly were. They all took multiple attempts at finally getting it mapped out and in the end they were able to.

Making matters worse was my uterus was tilted anteriorly causing access to it to be even more difficult once they were able to access my cervix. By this point I had be in the stirrups for almost an hour. 60 minutes of intense pressure and my body had started to have enough. Your uterus does not like foreign intruders to begin with- its a natural defense for your body to try to expel anything that enters that it does not recognize- my body just went into overdrive since it was already upset. My uterus started to contract- at that point I really had enough. I had been fighting tears the entire time and that was my breaking point.

My uterus contracting- like it was trying to get a baby out- except my uterus is barren and there is no baby. It was overwhelming. Thankfully the trial/mock transfer was done and it was time for my SIS.

During the SIS they insert about 100 cc's of saline into your uterus to check for an abnormalities. Since my uterus was already in fighting mode it immedietly contracted once the saline was inserted causing the saline to come out- like a water baby.

Once they were able to calm me down and my uterus down- I was able to complete the test. Thankfully there were no cysts, fibroids, or abnormalities noted in my uterus. Then they checked each ovary- my right ovary, which is always cooperative had 13+ small follicles and no cysts. My left ovary, the always trouble maker, was actually behind my uterus (my already pissed off tender, aching, contracting uterus) and my bladder was swelling since it needed to be full for trial transfer and was now at capacity placing pressue on my uterus- thus making my left ovary hide further behind my uterus. To say it was awful would be an understatement. From what he could tell without too much torture I had multiple small follicles and he didn't note any cysts though he does want another ultra sound soon to be sure since he really couldn't get such a great look.

All in all everything is done- and everything looks good and I am okay. I had some bleeding all day yesterday and some moderate/heavy cramping. I woke up sore, but okay.

I don't want to scare anyone that may be going through this- but I is possible to have an issue during both your SIS and your trial/mock transfer. If something in your body isn't right be prepared for the worst. I was in the office over 2 hours...

To say it was my least favorite of all the tests I have underwent- including my cervical biopsies and scarpings/freezings is an understatement. This was worse. My panic level was sky high and I just pray that my cervix comes back to a more normal, less bizarre- evil, placement by the time we get to actual transfer, because I never want to exprience that again.

So here is my public servic announcement- while the majority of women who have a SIS and/or trial/mock transfer will not exprience anything more than some uncomfortableness and/or cramping and pressue- a small precentage will/could/can exprience pain, contractions, and unbearableness. So be forwarned- plan for the worst and hope for the best. I hope no one else has to undergo an awful go at it like I did- and if you do my heart goes out to you because not only is it painful, but its scary. You worry about the what-ifs- what if they can't trial transfer then they won't be able to do the actual transfer? What if this is it? What if... what if...

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Vast Army- Finding a Church for our Family

Yesterday Rob and I attended a Church service that ended with our friends daughter being Dedicated to the Lord. Rob and I have been searching for a Church that fits us, our beliefs, and would be a good Church to raise our children in. We both grew up in Church's that meant a lot to us. Raising our children in a Church is important to us. I miss being part of a Church community and am glad that we are working towards getting involved  in a new one.

We have been talking about attending this particular Church for over a year, and yesterday was our first opportunity to attend a service together. I'm not sure if this Church will be a perfect fit for us- I think it's going to take more than a single service/sermon to know for sure- but I felt so moved by the the sermon. I felt emotional listening to the Pastor speak. I felt moved by the people of the Church singing and pulling everyone together with their voices.

Yesterday's sermon was about Ezekiel 37. It's a verse I don't recall ever hearing about before. It's incredibly moving- Its starts:

"The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

The pastor compared it to losing all of your hope. Having a utterly hopeless situation, an impossible, improbable, situation before you- but still having the faith that God can give you a favorable outcome. Sovereign Lord, you alone know. Standing before this valley of "impossibility" he still had the faith that his Lord had the ability to make the impossible-- possible.

During this journey haven't we all have our moments of helpless and hopelessness? Moments that brought us to our knees and tears from our eyes. Times when we may have questioned our faith or asked why us- why this particular hurdle? We've all been down and out and felt like we were standing before a valley of dry bones. It will happen again- there will be more struggles in our lives-- but we need to have the faith that through the Lord all struggles -all impossibilities- are possible.

He goes on to say-

 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

The Lord told him to tell those dry bones before him that he will repair them. He will cover them will tendons, and flesh, and then fill them with life. He will take this valley of impossible and He alone will fill it back with life. He will do the same for us in our hopeless situations if we let him. He will breath life into that which seems dead- hopeless. He will take our valleys of impossible and with our faith he will make them possible.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

Imagine standing before a valley of dry bones- a valley of death- only to watch life be breathed into them. To watch them stand before you- a vast army.  How powerful is that? Imagine it- a valley of bones standing before you as a vast army, their lungs full of breath when moments before they were dried bones laying in a valley. Even when you feel your most hopeless- our God doesn't. He can make all things possible. 

I think that I will come to love this church and this pastor. I think that the way he makes the sermons relateable and the way he was able to fill me with hope in a single sermon is a testament for what he can do for me- for us as a family- in the future.  

I haven't felt hopeless in quiet sometime. Before this sermon I felt like I had faith to move forward without fear. I have been coping with my emotions better and handling things easier. The sermon definitely helped to lift my faith even more though, because no matter how hopeless the situation may seem- even if you are standing before a valley of dry bones- He is able to make all things possible.  

As I head off for my SIS and trial transfer today I am filled with hope, excitement and a touch of nervousness. I know that no matter what the outcome is today that I have the faith that all things are possible. I know that we will be parents. I can't wait to move forward and to watch this process come together completely. To watch what may have seemed impossible to us in the past- become a valley of possibilities.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Great Christmas Card Meltdown

I just love this time of the year. I love to decorate my home. I love to cook for my family and friends and I love to sing along to Christmas carols.

I typically love to address every single one of my Christmas cards. With each card I think of the relationships I have with these people. I pass my finger over my address book and touch on each connection I have made in my life. I take a special moment to pause over everyone as I address their cards. I say a prayer and wish them a blessed New Year. I take a seperate moment to think of those who's addresses stay in my address book- but they have passed on. Sometimes I cry as I think of a life that is gone too soon or as I look at my Grandparents names shouting out at me. Then I take a moment and I talk to them as well. Christmas cards are special to me. Addressing each of those cards means something to me.

I am a crazy hoarder as well- I save every. single. card. Repeating-- if you have sent me a Christmas card -EVER- I have it still. It remains in a box. Why you ask? Because my mom did this because she would say that each person took the time to send you that card and she didn't have it in her to have the cards wind up in the trash bin. As children we would use the Christmas cards in our crafts and make Christmas ornaments. So know if you send me card  I keep it always.

Its a big part of the Holiday's for me. Its special.

This year it was the cause of a major meltdown though. As I searched the internet to find the perfect Christmas card to convey exactly what I wanted it to I was continuously confronted with photos of babies and childeren looking adorable and frolicking in the snow and singing our songs of joy- and my heart broke.

Will I ever be able to send a Christmas card to my friends and family with our kids on the front? Why do my Christmas cards always have to have our dog on it? Why. Why. Why.

I melted down at the computer. I cried and I lost it. One of my most favorite traditions tainted by feeling hurt and feeling like my body was letting me down for something else. More pain. More loss.

I honestly grieved over the loss. Writing this all out makes it seem so petty now. I really do beleive there will be babies on those cards next year.

I was able to thwart off my meltdown and make a beautiful card to send and order them. Of course during my meltdown somehow I miscalculated (GROSSLY MISCALCULATED) how many cards I really needed and this morning realized it as I was addressing my cards.

I placed my order for more cards and spent the morning touching each address in my book. I was able to still enjoy my Christmas cards despite my meltdown. 

While I do feel happy and positive about this upcoming cycle I still find myself grieving the cycles that have failed in the past. I still cry out for something that I don't have at times. Some days truly are easier than others. I guess life will always be like that- no matter the battle you are fighting- some days are just easier than others.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We're Going To Disney World~

First before I begin to share my good news I have to send all of my love and prayers to Anne at The Second Bedroom who just received awful news from her doctors office. Please head over and send her some love if you can. Anne if you are reading this my heart aches for you and I am sending you so much peace and love and light. xo

Last night we had the in-laws over to tell them that we are under going IVF. Rob's Mom was quick to point out that she already knew I wasn't pregnant because when I saw her on Thursday night I had a glass of wine with her. 

Sweet, that was truly my plan when I had that glass of wine and it was 100% on purpose. I didn't truly want or need it in that moment, but I knew that if I said "no thanks" when she offered me it that it would have sent off red flags. She knew we wanted to have them over to "talk" this week. I didn't want to set her up for a giant let down. She's been waiting as long as we have after all.. if not longer. She is waiting for that "talk".. the one where we tell her she is going to be a Grandma. I always feel like I am letting people down- especially Rob's parents since they are much older than mine, so I really did want to soften the blow. I figured she had jumped to the "their pregnant" conclusion that most Mom's of 38 year old Men who have been married for almost 4 years do...

The conversation could not have gone better though. I had all my information laid out so I could show it to them and help them understand it better. We told them everything that we have already gone through and tried our best to explain everything that is yet to come. We told them that IVF is in no way a 100% guarantee that we will end up with a baby, but its better odds then we have had lately on our own. I didn't cry once- though when Rob spoke of our journey and how he knows it has been hard on my my eyes did well up. I know its been hard on him as well.

We asked them to be as patient with us as possible. We told them we knew they probably would have lots of questions, and we would answer whatever we could. We asked them to not question us to much during this process though. We told them that we would tell them when we got pregnant, but we would do it on our timeline. We asked them not to tell anyone else what was going on- mainly so that we have our privacy and can tell people in our own way and answer their questions when we are ready. 

They were visibly excited to know that we were moving forward and getting closer to making them Grandparents. They prayed with us and for us and over us. They hugged us and loved us. They embraced this 100% and I could feel their love and knew they wanted this as much as we do.

And then they told us they were taking us to Disney World. 

Well not quite like that exactly. Rob's sister lives in Arizona and it is not often that we are all together. In fact I have been with Rob for almost 8 years now and there is only one other time in those years that his entire family has really been together for any length of time. In February his parents are getting their timeshare in Disney for a few weeks because Rob's sister will be coming to Florida already. They wanted nothing more than for us all to really be there together. We just need to pay for our airfare, but they don't want us to worry about any other financial aspect of the trip. They just want their family together. 

I think they know that these times are few and far between and as they get older and sicker the less of the chance that we will take these trips. Its sad when I sit back and think that this must be going through their minds. 

Of course some of the thought that fluttered through my already chaotic mind were - Oh goodness I could actually be pregnant in Disney. And Oh my I could make an announcement at Disney! Oh my word were really going to Disney! 

You see a little secret you may or may not know about me- I am a Disney Freak! I just love it. Over the years I have converted my husband to become a Disney Freak with me. With Rob's job loss and our fertility issues I really didn't think we would be going anytime soon. So I am beyond over the moon excited about Disney. I started plotting and planning and reserving for our trip. It was a wonderful distraction from the big IVF in the room. 

In a matter of a few hours I have looked up flight departures and arrivals, car rentals, planned and reserved meals, planned days in Disney, planned fireworks and parades... my mind goes a million miles a minute when it comes to Disney. More so when it comes to thinking that this could be our child's very first Disney trip- in utero. 

I know I am full of hope and sunshine and rainbows- but for the longest time I didn't feel that. I am fully aware that I may be setting myself up for a let down, but the joy I get in thinking about the happiness that could possibly be filling me- that is half the fun in planning on having a baby. I missed these conversations that we had when we first started trying. The what would be name our babies. The what would they look like. The what are they going to call our parents.. those conversations that we used to have.. but stopped having because there was far too much pain in thinking about what could-be scenarios that seemed like pipe dreams with each stark white test. 

Now I get to have hope. Now we get to have hope. And if it doesn't work this time- then it doesn't work, but for now I am choosing to be filled with hope and joy and sunshine, because the other option is not nearly as fun. I am reserving the right to have my moments- as we all do.. but for now I choose hope. 

In this moment I choose to think about having a baby on board and having to say things like "no I can't have any wine.. I'm pregnant.." and "no I can't ride Tower of Terror.. you see I am carrying a baby!" As I think that these moments are really possible tears stream down my face. Happy.. happy tears. I am so filled with light and love and hope that I could explode... Its not without some anxiety, but I am truly focused on the happy.

So now we just wait for Monday and pray for good results and hope that we are the lucky ones. Hope that this all works for us. Pray that this is our last stop on this journey. Pray that when I am walking around Disney in February that its with a unseen plus one... a little Mickey or Minnie if you will<3

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cycle Day 1- IVF Ahead

Last night I started spotting and today- Cycle Day 40- my period started. If you will recall I needed to complete the SIS test prior to having insurance authorization for our IVF. I figured the earliest we would be starting would be January then- to my surprise this little tango with strep throat has actually speed things up somewhat- 

My IVF RN called today and started off by scheduling my SIS AND my Trial Transfer for Monday December 16. Saaaay what? I wasn't expecting trial transfer talk until the end of December or early January. 

Then she said we need to both prophylactically be on antibiotics at the same time before our IVF cycle. Welp thanks to my friend strep throat I am already on antibiotics so she said perfect and called in Rob's script. 

Then she said- "How do you feel about starting after we get insurance auth.. say before January!?"

Stunned silence. Of course we would love to. We would have loved to have been pregnant saaaaay three years ago last month so lets get this show on the road! Also once we hit January we start 2014's deductible and while I can not even complain about that because our insurance is a Godsend and we would not even be here without it- I am nothing if not a thrifty woman who has no problem saving a few thousand dollars to put towards something better than a deductible- like say a new baby...

So she called in my birth control script too. I will start that Thursday night. After  the SIS and trial and transfer- and fingers crossed we run into no issues there on any front- we will get our protocol for our IVF cycle. 

So here we go. Tonight we sit down with Rob's parents and explain that we are undergoing IVF (THIS MONTH!!!!!!) and ask for their support… and I am suppose to hold it completely together and not have a melt down or jump out of my skin.. 

In case you couldn't tell I am jumping out of my skin already.. please God.. please make IVF be the last stop on this journey… please help us to fill this nursery . and our arms.. and our parents arms.. and most of all my heart. A piece of it has been missing and I would so desperately like it back. I know all things are possible through you and so I trust in that… please.. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

What's all the ruckus about?

So over the weekend I read this article. It's titled 5 Things Parents Need To Stop Saying To Non-Parent.s I thought it was a cute article which was well written and not in the least bit offensive. 

In an attempt to create the least amount of drama possible please just take a look at the article. I stand by how I feel about it. I liked it and I shared it. Gone are the days where when someone doesn't like something they just move along. 

That's something my Mother and Grandmother taught me as well- if something or someone says something that bothers you just ignore it. People will hold different views from you on occasion- and that okay too. 

Anyway- check it out. I'm laying on the couch again today I called out of work and am going to wear my sweatpants and drink tea.. 

I may make a run out to mail my ornament for the ornament exchange and get some fresh air…

Also still no AF and I tested again since some of the meds they want me to take for Strep aren't good if you are pregnant… BFN.. 

Ive included the article text since the link isn't working.. 

First, I should say that I am 100 percent guilty of all of these. I know this reads as an advice list, but really it's advice I'm giving myself. The "you" I am addressing in this piece is me... unless it applies to you; then it is you.
I ran headfirst into this parenting thing, and have gladly and gratefully let it redefine me as a person. One unforeseen side-effect has been that I view everything through the lens of parenting. Sometimes that is a good thing. For instance, I don't leave steak knives lying around as much as I used to. Sometimes -- and this is what I've recently learned -- it can alienate my non-kid-having friends. Here are some things that are better left unsaid.
1. "Dogs are not kids."
It usually goes like this. "Ugh. You know what really bugs me? When so-and-so compares her dog to my kid. Or when so-and-so refers to his or her dog as his or her kid. Dogs are not kids! She has NO IDEA!" 

You know what? Unless "so-and-so" needs professional help, I guarantee "so-and-so" knows that her dog is not a human child. She also knows that having a dog is nothing like having a kid. What she's really saying is "Oh! Yes. I also have something in my life that poops AND brings me joy."
She is trying to relate to you and be a part of your life -- the life where all you do is talk about your kids. I know that it's hard to relate when you have kids and your friends don't. What were once close relationships can become sporadic meet-ups where you do your best to try and catch up with someone with whom you have very little in common anymore. Sure, you two were best buds in college, but now you have very different lives. So, when "so-and-so" offhandedly, and perhaps awkwardly, tries to relate to your story about picking poo out of your bangs by comparing it to scraping dog shit out of the carpet, cut her some slack. She's just trying to be nice. And she misses you.
2. "You think you're [insert anything here]? Try having kids!"
Tired, stressed, in pain, covered in urine, it doesn't matter. They all apply. Too often, we parents downplay non-parents' concerns by pulling ours out and tossing them on the table. "Oh man! You worked 50 hours this week? Try doing that with kids!" "Oh man, you think your feet hurt from working outside all day! I've been chasing my toddler blah blah blahpunch me in the face, please."
It's not a competition. If, on a scale of 1 to Passing Out Awkwardly in the Shower and Waking Up When the Hot Water Runs Out, your friend is at a 7, and three weeks into your first newborn you were at a 9, that DOESN'T MAKE YOUR FRIEND ANY LESS TIRED.
It isn't that your experiences can't be a valid contribution to the conversation, but instead of a "my pain is more painful than your pain" approach, instead, try sympathizing. Why not try using your experience as a new parent to help instead of compete? Say something like, "Whoa! I bet you're tired. When I was tired after my daughter was born, I found that pouring coffee directly into my eyeballs was incredibly useful."
3. "Don't worry, when you have kids you'll..."
... not be grossed out by boogers, know who Dora the Explorer is, be happy... UGH. We've got to quit assuming that everyone is going to have kids. Some people don't want kids and choose not to have them. Some people really want kids and are trying incredibly hard to have them. Indicating to these people that having kids is the only way they will reach some higher level of understanding is both inconsiderate and rude. I don't know what the alternatives to these statements are. Maybe just cut anything that starts with "When you have kids..." out of your repertoire all together. It makes you sound like someone's mom, anyway.
4. "Is the party kid-friendly?"
Unless you and your friend have some previous communication on this topic about how your little one is always welcome, assume the party is not kid-friendly. Don't ask. If it were "kid-friendly" they would have invited you AND your kids, and mentioned the awesome playroom that they will have set up in the basement. By asking your non-kid-having friends if their party is kid friendly you are putting them in the really awkward position of either MAKING their party kid-friendly on the fly, or telling you that the party is NOT kid-friendly which, then, no matter how low-key the party was intended to be in the first place, pretty much requires that they now provide a steady supply of hookers and blow. Don't make your friends set up a kids' room, and definitely don't make them buy hookers and blow.
5. "My life didn't have meaning before I had kids!"
Another way to say this: My life was meaningless before I had kids. Another way: Life without kids is meaningless.
Look, I know this feeling. Sometimes it feels like all the worries I had before my kids were trivial. I understand the urge to convey that feeling into words. Don't do it. Your life may have a different purpose now, but your pre-kid life was an important part of your story, and your non-kid-having friends are a part of that. Don't dismiss that part of your life the way most people skip the foreword to a novel they really want to read. By dismissing the "before" as just a buildup to your kids, you are not only dismissing your friends, but you're also implying that their story has not started yet.
Lastly, if you have done or said any of these things, you don't need to apologize. Just stop saying them. Apologizing will make it worse. I apologized for one of these things, and it came out poorly. It basically sounded like "Oh, you poor, delicate, non-kid-having flower. I am sorry that I was so consumed in my awesome parenting that I was neglectful and dismissive of our friendship. Please forgive me."
There was no forgiveness needed. I hadn't harmed anyone, I'd just annoyed them. Forgiving me would have been like forgiving a fly for landing on you. So, I promise to try and be more aware of how I say things, a better friend and less of a fly. And by less of a fly, I mean that I will not land on you, vomit on you and then try to eat you. College is over. I don't do that stuff anymore.
An earlier version of this piece appeared on John Kinnear's personal blog, Ask Your Dad. You can also find him on Facebook.
This story appears in Issue 59 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffingtonin the iTunes App store, available Friday, July 26.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snapshot Sunday- Sock Exchange

I have strep throat, missed the Ugly Sweater Party last night because I am sick, offended some of my fertile friends with a post on FB about "What Parent's Shouldn't Say to Non-Parent Friends" (by the way I still stand by it and don't think it was the least bit offensive), its snowing and sleeting, and I still don't have a period (Cycle day 38). 

At some point this week I will hit on all of that fun stuff some more- but for now my wonderful husband went to the mailbox for me and look what he came back with…  

My super amazing socks from Steph! 
My socks from the sock exchange! Thank you so much Risa for creating and handling the sock exchange and thank you so much to Steph for my lovely socks! I am already putting them to good use and staying warm!

As you can see it's just Swishy, my sweats and my socks hanging on the couch today. Hoping to kick strep throats butt and feel a touch better by tomorrow! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Girls Night Out

Last night was "Girls Night Out" in the Historic Town of Smithville. Smithville is a small town, about a half hour from where I live, that has a bunch of small shops and crafters. My Mother In Law received an email that they were having a "Girls Night Out" and asked if I would go with her. 

It was very nice event. Some of the stores had a little chocolate sampling or a small glad of wine. I got my Mother In Law a new charm bracelet and a few new beads. Her birthday is three days after Christmas, so I told her this would be her birthday gift. She tried to give it back to me to wrap up and give to her on her birthday, but I told her to just wear it and enjoy it now. 

I also spent a little money on myself.

I just love owls. When I first started seeking fertility help I bought a bracelet that had two owls attached and said hope. I would wear it to all of my treatments until it broke. Since then I have come to love owls. I would even like to include owls in our nursery someday. So these little guys represent hope, life, and love for me. I'm pretty sure I will wear them until they break or I lose one (isn't that always how it happens?).

I also got this new bright purple watch for work. I used to have a white watch, but since I am left handed and like to wear my watch on my left wrist, it always was covered in blue ink. Eventually most of it just turned a dull blue/dirt color. This one is so much fun. Its bright and happy and hopefully won't fade to that blue/dirt color. 

We are meeting with my in-laws next together next Tuesday to tell them about our IVF plans. They really don't know anything about our quest to make them grandparents and the struggles we've had so far. We decided that it would be best to have their support as well as we go through this and so we are going to sit down with them and tell them about it. 

The thing is Rob keeps telling his Mom and Dad that we "have something we need to talk to them about" and I am pretty sure his Mom thinks we are going to tell them we are expecting. 

I ordered wine at dinner with her last night to help stop those thoughts in their tracks, but I still couldn't help but think that is what she thinks already. I'm sure they will be a positive support for us, but I can't help but to feel like I am letting them down again. Just like I sometimes feel like I am letting my husband down as well. 

I know that's not the case. I really have no control over it all at this point and I am keeping the faith that when the time is right we really will be blessed with all the joy and happiness in the world. 

Please note my period is still not here. So who knows what is going on. I guess I will test again tomorrow to see if their has been any change. We have an Ugly Sweater Party tomorrow night :) 

Can't wait to share some "Ugly Sweater" photos with you guys! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Garlic Bread and Pinterest Party Success!

The Pinterest Party was a great hit! We all had a wonderful time and my bread turned out amazing!

First you cut "x's" in the bread, but not all the way through..

Then you add your garlic mix and cheese mix into the "x's"

Then you bake it off in foil.. remove the foil for a bit at the end and wal-lah beautiful garlic bread!

It was a wonderful distraction and all of the girls made wonderul recipes and amazing crafts. I wish I took my camera so I could share all of it with you, but I accidently left it at home. I'm in a pretty good place mental and I think that spending a night with the girls really helped.

Still no AF and Emily raised a good point- I may have ovulated late this cycle and so maybe there is still a chance. I'm just going to keep the faith and enjoy the holiday with my family.

I am all done my Christmas shopping and I need to open up my "Santa's Workshop" and get to wrapping! Congratulations are due for so many of you ladies! I am so happy for everyone celebrating their recent BFP's. I'm hoping that 2014 brings so much joy to so many of us! xo

Isn't this guy just so cute!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

BFN, Pinterest Party, Home Repairs.. and Wine Time

Good morning loves. I couldn't come up with a creative title to tie this all together… 

I did it. I tested this morning for two reasons-

1) I think a lot of this missed period mumbo jumbo ordeal is mental. Mentally I am blocking AF. So maybe if I see the stark white, while it will suck royally, it will help with the mental blockade so to speak. 

2) Tonight is a girls get together. Its called a Pinterest Party, where everyone chooses a recipe or craft from Pinterest and recreates it for the group. There will be wine and drink and if I want to responsibly take part in the vino I need to know for sure that I am not pregnant. 

The results? 

Bring on the vino. 

Stark white negative. I was going to share a picture, but its depressing and I know how much BFN's suck for me to view so why keep viewing it.  

I really already knew this, but I also had some hope that maybe I would be that girl. The one waiting for her IVF cycle that miraculously ended up pregnant. Alas that girl is not me. At least not this time. At least I can have a glass of wine tonight and prepare to move forward mentally…and hopefully physically as well. Thank you all for your hope and prayers- you ladies are so wonderful at being the optimist when the pessimist in me takes over. 

So about this Pinterest Party- tonight I am making this: 


If you follow the source it will lead you to the recipe. Once I make it I will share a picture of the actual results with all of you as well:) Wanna take part in a virtual Pinterest Party? Share a picture of a recipe or craft or really anything you have tried to make as a result of finding on Pinterest or the Interweb. Share a photo of the end results with all of us and let us know how you made out! No harm in failures either. Don't believe me? Then you have never been to this site- Craft Fail. Need a laugh? Having a rough day, week, or month? I will guarantee something on  craft fail will bring you a laugh and some joy :) 

I also wanted to share the photos of our home repairs - 

This is the "nursery to be" this wall you are looking at boarders the bathroom and was completely destroyed by the leaks as well as the ceiling. Its painted green so that its ready for our bundle or joy(s) no matter their gender :)

I've made the "nursery to be" my Santa workshop. I want Santa to bring me a baby to fill this nursery so I figure while I listen to my Christmas music and wrap I will pray for this room to always be filled with love and joy. I avoid this room a lot, but not this holiday. 

This is our bathroom that was completely destroyed. The titling and walls and ceiling are all new. Its so pretty now. 

The wall tiling behind the shower is completely new. It is not only beautiful, but its functional since the shower is a very wet place to begin with the tiling will help the moisture from penetrating the walls again. 

Last night Rob hung all of our art back up. It looks perfect now.

Today I am going to lunch with a girl friend and then cooking for the Pinterest Party. It will be a great distraction and hopefully AF will appear now that I removed the mental blockade.