Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's a Great Day to Be Alive

If you're having a rough day I highly recommend listening to "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" by Travis Tritt.  It's my newest happy place song.  I find that about once a month I tend to find a song that makes me at least a little happier every time I hear it.  It's the song that I turn waaaay up when I hear it.  Usually you'll find me in my car with it blaring, me singing along way out of key, and dancing along.  Most of the time it's a faster paced song, but I love the lyrics and the vibe of this one!  It's really about just embracing the little things in our lives that make us happy.  I definitely need some more of that in my life!  So today's blog is sponsored by the idea that it really is just a great day to be alive!

Today is my mom's birthday!  My mom and I are incredibly alike in a lot of ways and I seriously count her as one of my very best friends.  So after church today Andy and I drove over to my parent's house.  We took them to my very favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch.  So delicious!  I had my favorite chicken and broccoli.  The only thing that makes me sad is that I ate the entire plate of food, no leftovers!  Then we stopped off at Marie Calendar's and I bought a coconut cream pie.  It is one of my very favorite desserts and mom's ultimate favorite.  Yumm!

When we got back to their house mom and I started working on a mod podge project.  A few weeks ago I found Mod Podge Rocks, a blog all about decoupage projects.  So for her birthday I got her several wooden picture frames, the mod podge glue, some brushes, and some finishing spray.  My mom is very in to fabrics and scrapbooking, so we had lots of supplies to work with.  I wish I had remembered to bring my camera!  I was a little nervous to begin with since it required more planning and spatial skills than I give myself credit for.  But I think mine turned out pretty well for my first attempt!  I left it at their house to dry so I'll post a picture of the final product when I pick it up.  I already have lots of ideas for my next attempt.

Andy and my dad enjoyed watching Hillbilly Hand Fishin' while we did our arts and crafts.  After some pie Andy and I made our way home.  Now I plan to enjoy watching some bad tv (I have a texting date with my friend Debra while we watch True Blood in an hour!).  It really is just a great day to be alive.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Here We Go!

Today was our second appointment with our RE.  It's CD3 so I had my antral follicle count.  The AFC showed 8-9 follicles on my right side and 5-6 on my left.  Not so good for a 28 year old!  Our RE said it's definitely low for my age group and paired with the FSH, estradiol, and AMH it's concerning.  But he said he's still very optimistic about our chances.  He didn't want to say that I have DOR, but I think he's an optimist and didn't want to officially give me that depressing sounding diagnosis.  If I don't have DOR right now it seems like I'm well on my way there at an earlier age than normal.

So today I started taking BCPs to gear up for my laproscopy and HSG that will hopefully occur next friday.  If all goes according to plan I will stop taking the BCPs on the 9th and begin taking Femara on the 13th.  Based on my AFC our RE highly recommended the FSH injections, so I'll begin those after the Femara.  We'll finish it up with a trigger and TI!  Geez, it all sounds so complicated.  I'm a little overwhelmed by it all.

I'm especially overwhelmed by something he said about not thinking IVF is in our immediate future, but since I'm a planner I should start thinking about it.  He said he would likely only recommend three cycles of injectables, maybe one with an IUI before he would think it would be time to move on.  Yikes!

I don't feel so good...
In other news, my poor chubba bubba is sick.  On sunday he was chasing Andy around the house when he suddenly stumbled and fell.  We giggled about it, thinking he was just being a clumsy kitty.  But then I thought it looked like he was walking a little funny and holding his head to the side.  I watched him, but didn't notice it again.  Later that night Andy told me that he had seen the same thing.  So off the the vet Asthma Boy went on monday morning.  He wouldn't tolerate them looking too closely at his ear, so at the vet's recommendation they put him under to for a better look.  Turns out that he had a massive bacterial ear infection which had lead to a burst ear drum.

He was sent home with us on a general antibiotic while the pathology was sent to grow in a lab to make sure we were treating it correctly.  I got the call from the vet yesterday evening that Asthma Boy has a very highly resistant strain of bacterial infection which requires icky antibiotics.  Our only choice is to give him an oral medicine that causes blindness in 10% of the patients.  Our vet has actually seen it cause blindness, so it's not your typical side effect warning.  We don't really have a choice since the ear infection is causing him to feel crummy and his balance is really off.  I'm just hoping and praying that he recovers quickly and doesn't lose his eyesight!

I've been a crummy blogger lately since everything has felt on hold until after my surgery.  But I'm hoping that after that I'll be able to start making more interesting and fun posts!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dealing With It

At first I felt great relief that we were finally getting answers and finally getting help. I even wrote a post a few days ago about embracing this path and learning to help others through it. I thought I was handling things really well, until all the emotions came crashing down yesterday.

Why us? Why were we the ones to lose our baby? Why are we the ones to have to deal with infertility? I know so many of you have wondered the same about yourselves. What makes us be the ones to be dealt two horrible hands, when all we want is a precious baby? I know that this is Gods plan for us, but some days it is easier to bear than others.

Yesterday I started off the day a little extra sad because we closed on my grandpa's house, it now belongs to another family. It just was a harsh reminder that my grandpa is gone, I won't see him again until I get to Heaven. I think it's been somewhat easy to "forget" that and pretend he's still in Oregon, gardening and visiting his neighbors. But I know it's not true. But it makes me so sad every time I admit to the reality of it.

Then yesterday at break time I was walking with a dear friend when an acquaintance stopped us to tell us his fabulous news. His wife is pregnant again, about fifteen weeks along. I know I must have had a deer in headlights look when he first started talking, but I think I recovered quickly. I plastered a smile on my face and offered congratulations. After all, a baby is a very exciting thing! I can be happy when others get what they dream of. Until he uttered words that turned him into a fertile ho, "it took us SO long! We started trying in February!".

Wait a second, hold up. Your wife is nearly four months pregnant in mid August and you began trying in February? Jerk. I commented that a few months really isn't long to try and he just looked at me incredulously and said I obviously have never tried to conceive before. I made up an excuse that my cell phone was ringing with an important call and got away quickly. I practically ran to the handicap restroom and locked myself in before the waterworks began. Ugh, why did I let that bother me so much? I should have used it as a teaching moment to let him know that not everyone conceives so easily with healthy pregnancies. I'm sure I'm not the only one he'll hurt talking that way. If I had stepped up and talked to him maybe I could have prevented someone else experiencing that. Maybe I still will.

It's just such a fine line to walk. Both miscarriage and infertility are taboo subjects, even though they shouldn't be. I hate bringing people down by talking about it, but how else are the subjects going to become less taboo? No matter what, I need to improve my poker face when being confronted with this type of situation. I can't continue to hide and cry every time I'm blindsided. I'm a strong woman, it's time I started acting like it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This Is My Path

This is my path.

It's not the path I would have chosen for myself, or for anyone else.  It's not an enviable path, it's not a fun path, it's not even enjoyable.  But miscarriage and infertility have become a part of me.  As much as I despise both of them, without them I would not be the me that I am today.

So I choose to look at my path in a different way.  Obviously this is the path that God has chosen for me, so who am I to argue?  Instead I want to look at this and find the things I can learn, the things that I can change, and the things that I can do to inspire and lift up others.

I don't have control over this path, but I do have control of what I do now that I'm on it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Of Coughs and Plans

Today was our first appointment with a RE.  I wasn't nervous beforehand because I had myself convinced of what he was going to say.  I was 100% convinced that he was going to say I have DOR which means our only chance of conceiving a healthy baby would be IVF, but we could try a few months of IUI first if we really wanted.  See, this is where Dr.Google and other people's histories will fail you!

When Andy and I first walked into the office I knew that I was in the right place.  The office is decorated tastefully with leopard print fabrics in tans and browns.  I don't think I've mentioned it here, but I love animal prints!  I have a very strange obsession with zebra and leopard prints.  I wish I could wear them without looking like an idiot, but I usually just settle for admiring them from afar.  We even have a rocking chair that is upholstered in leopard print fabric that I chose when I was eight years old!

But I digress.  We had to wait about 30 minutes past our 3pm appointment time, which had me getting anxious.  I've been sick for a little over a week with a super annoying cough.  When I'm sick I tend to suck it up and deal with it, I hate to visit the doctor.  Poor Andy has slept on the couch for the last 5 out of 7 nights, I think!  So while we were waiting I was hacking away.  The poor receptionist commented that she wished she had some water to give me and that a summer cold must really suck.  Yeah it does!  We were finally led back to our RE's office to wait.  On his desk he had a framed real four leaf clover.  I was really excited to see it!  Several months ago, I think in March, Andy and I found our first ever four leaf clover in a potted plants in our yard.  At the time I was so sure it was a sign that we were going to conceive a healthy baby right away!  Well, flash forward at least five months and obviously that wasn't the case.  But maybe, just maybe, it was a sign that this RE will help us get knocked up..  A girl can dream, right?

I really like the RE.  He spent a long time explaining everything to us, as well as listening to our questions and answering them.  He doesn't believe that I have DOR!  His healthy range for FSH is less than 13 (mine was 10.8) and estradiol is less than 80 (mine is 56).  He explained that every lab does the test slightly differently, so although it was "elevated" at one, it likely would have been normal at another.  He wants to do an antral follicle count on cycle day 3 to verify, but isn't worried about AMH even if it's low (haven't gotten those results yet).  Woohoo!  For now, based on my history he thinks I likely have an ovulation defect paired with a luteal phase defect, both of which are highly treatable.  Yay!

He laid out several options for us.  On CD3 I will definitely be having the antral follicle scan, just to confirm that I have the high count he's expecting.  Either way, I think our course of action will be the same.  On CD5 I will likely go on BCPs for approximately two weeks.  Some time shortly after I start the pills I will have a diagnostic laproscope to check for endometriosis or any other complications.  Given my mom's history of stage IV endometriosis it seems like a good idea to check it out, and insurance will pay for it now.  If we don't conceive within a few months this would be the next course of action and insurance would not longer pay for it, so it seems really smart to get it out of the way now.  Although I can't say that I'm looking forward to surgery or BCPs!

If the laproscope is normal I will go off of the BCPs shortly after and four days later take a five day dose of Femara.  Our RE feels that Femara has a better response and fewer side effects than Clomid, and I'm quite okay with that.  Here's where our options differ:

  1. After the five days of Femara I will do a trigger shot around day 13, depending on the monitoring ultrasounds.  We then will of course have timed intercourse, then I'll take progesterone until AF (or continue until 12 weeks if pregnant).  The RE projects that our odds of conceiving per cycle are about 10-12% higher than we would have just trying on our own.  He said the risk of multiples is very low.  Cost is $500 plus meds straight out of pocket per cycle.  I believe insurance will cover a portion, but that needs to be confirmed tomorrow.
  2. Or, I will take five days of Femara as well as injectable FSH.  I wish have a trigger shot, timed intercourse and progesterone.  He projects our odds to be 20% higher than trying on our own, but a 20% risk of conceiving multiples.  Cost out of pockets is $1,000 plus meds, but again I think insurance might pay a portion.

Towards the end of our appointment I started coughing uncontrollably and our RE asked if I had seen anyone about it yet.  Andy immediately chimed in (after being relatively quiet throughout the appointment) that I would definitely be seeing someone ASAP because I was getting worse.  The RE checked my lungs and prescribed me a Z-pac so I don't have to go see someone else.  Did I mention that I really like him? So now we have a plan and I have antibiotics! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Questions Than Answers

The ultrasound went great. It was my first experience with the fun "dildo cam", but it wasn't bad.  I'm probably the only weirdo on the face of this planet who actually liked it!  Not like that, sicko.  I enjoyed the scientific aspect!  My right ovary has three follicles growing (16, 15, 13).  It's kind of neat to know for once which side I'll be ovulating from!  No cysts were seen.  The ultrasound technician was laughing at me because I was asking her all sorts of questions as she did the exam.  She said it was pretty rare for someone to know as much at this stage as I do!  I'm not sure it was meant as a complement, but I took it that way.

The appointment went as expected since I don't have cysts.  Due to my elevated FSH and estradiol (which suppresses FSH, so that's bad) it's likely that I have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR).  More blood was drawn to test AMH which will confirm this tentative diagnosis.  My OB highly recommended clomid with IUI for next cycle, but I opted to be referred to an RE.  When the technician was drawing my blood for the AMH test she said she'd never seen that lab order there before.  That definitely made me feel better about pushing for an RE referral!  If the office has no experience in my probable diagnosis then I'll feel much better going to someone who does.

So now we wait.  I was lucky enough to call the RE at the exact perfect moment.  I was told that usually it's about a three month wait to get in as a new patient, but I called within minutes of someone cancelling their appointment for next Wednesday.  So I go meet him next Wednesday!  I'm excited that I get to go in so quickly, but I'm nervous too.  Right now I'm trying not to worry too much until my AMH results come in.  

I'm just really thankful that I went with my gut.  I originally wasn't scheduled to see my OB for the first time until the 9th, but now I've had all of this testing done and get to see the RE on the 10th!  If I had waited it might have been the new year before I got in to see the RE.  Lesson learned, trust your gut!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Knowing Is Half The Battle?

I waited impatiently all day long for the nurse to call me with our lab results.  When I hadn't received a phone call by 5pm I assumed I would have to wait until tomorrow.  At about 5:40pm the nurse called me with the results. 

Andy essentially has super sperm, the nurse said his SA values were "beyond perfect".  My values were less so.  FSH: 10.8, estradiol: 56, prolactin: 6.4, and TSH: 1.3. The FSH and estradiol are both elevated which could indicate diminished ovarian reserve.  The nurse scheduled me for an ultrasound on Wednesday afternoon to see if there is potentially any ovarian cysts causing the elevated estradiol.  If not, then we probably have our reason for not having conceived (and stayed pregnant) yet.  Yikes.

So I guess in this case knowing is maybe 10% of the battle?  I'll definitely update again on Wednesday night once we know a little bit more.