Two Years and Counting


Inspiration
February 27, 2008, 9:06 am
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From my online Elizabeth Elliot devotion this morning:
Whatever dark tunnel we may be called upon to travel through, God has been there. Whatever deep waters seem about to drown us, he has traversed. Faith is not merely “feeling good about God” but a conscious choice, even in the utter absence of feelings or external encouragements, to obey his Word when he says, “Trust Me.” This choice has nothing to do with mood but is a deliberate act of laying hold on the character of God whom circumstances never change.

Also, a passage from J.I. Packer (I think this was in Knowing God, but it was quoted in a Tim Keller bible study I’m doing on 1 John)…
“God is love” is the complete truth about God as far as the Christian is concerned. Every single thing that happens to us expresses God’s love to us. God is love to us–holy, omnipotent love–at every moment and in every event of every day’s life. Even when we cannot see the why and the wherefore of God’s dealings, we know that there is love in and behind them. So, we can rejoice always, even when, humanly speaking, things are going wrong. We know that the true story of our life, when known, will prove to be, as the hymn says, “Mercy from first to last”–and we are content.



Another beginning
February 25, 2008, 11:56 am
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Despite the fact that my temps plummeted Saturday morning and our partly cloudy forecast for Saturday turned into all cloudy and hovering around 40 degrees, M and I had a rather nice weekend. Saturday I coerced him into running errands with me. We went to Old Navy and did a little spring clothes shopping (half of which I’m returning today) then went to Target to buy another set of blinds for our living room and the boardgame Clue. I got distracted in the clothes section and ended up buying a black linen dress that’s floaty and ruffly at the bottom and will be perfectly cool on hot summer days. I’ll probably live in it all summer. I also bought a little gray sweater that I’m returning today. (I’m the queen of returning clothes I buy. I think it’s a combination of self-imposed guilt and them not looking as cute as I thought they would once I get home and try them on.)

After those stops I tried to talk him into “swinging by” (it wasn’t really on the way home) Hancock Fabric, but compromised on Hobby Lobby so we could stop by Whole Foods first (which was on the way home). M was having a guys’ night on Saturday and wanted to pick up a customized 6 pack of beer (you can choose different beers to go in your 6 pack.) At Hobby Lobby, I chose a red fabric with white polka dots that I liked at the time, but now I think it’ll look like Minnie Mouse when I turn in into a little girl’s dress. (I’m taking an Intermediate Sewing class where we’re making small kids clothes-appropriate, right?–from a pattern. I wanted to learn how to make bags and pillows and such, but instead I’m making cute little dresses. It’s ok though–our child will wear them one day, whether it’s a boy or girl!)

When we got home, we made peanut butter sandwiches and went upstairs (where it’s warmer) and played Clue on the floor, celebrating said plummeting temperature with a cold Blue Moon pale ale. Then I promptly fell asleep. I’m such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. Not that I used to drink all that much, but now with TTC, I can hardly drink a single anything without falling asleep. Usually I just avoid it all together, but I really thought I deserved it on Saturday, and the dreary cold weather outside was begging for a nap, so why not?

Sunday, after a quick rain shower, turned into a gorgeous sunny day, much warmer than Saturday. The best part? M made me breakfast! He’s a honey, I’ll tell you. Scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits. We ate while reading the paper, as we usually do on Sunday mornings. After taking our wild animal Caesar out on a walk, we spent the next few hours pulling weeds in the front yard. Our yard had turned into quite a weed patch and it was getting out of hand. After about the second hour of pulling, we both decided the $300 it’ll cost to re-sod the yard with St. Augustine instead of flimsy Zoyzia will be well worth it. My fingers are still sore today.

On the TTC front, I talked to the nurse this morning. I’d left a message on the nurse voicemail line yesterday letting them know I started my period and not to expect me for my beta test today. I thought it was very nice that the first thing the nurse said to me this morning was, “Well, first of all, I’m sorry.” They’re always quick to say good luck when I’m there for my IUIs, and it was nice to hear her say I’m sorry as well. She told me that I didn’t need to come in for CD3 blood work if I’m doing another natural cycle, and she didn’t see any reason for me to do anything other than another natural cycle. She said my estradial and progesterone levels have looked great, my follicles have been the right size, and I’m ovulating on my own, so she didn’t see a reason to start on meds. I was relieved to hear that. I knew Dr H had suggested we try 3 or 4 IUIs, but I wasn’t sure if that meant all 3 or 4 without meds, or if she’d eventually switch me to taking a drug. I’d rather not take any meds until there’s a medically (or reproductively) necessary reason to take them.

We talked about M’s numbers a bit, since she pointed out that we’re a bit more focused on him at this point. For some reason she didn’t have his count from the last IUI in my file, but I told her that the doctor who performed the IUI told me it was a much higher number than the first IUI. (I couldn’t remember at the time, but it was 15 million.)

I mentioned to her how I had the trigger on Saturday but didn’t ovulate until sometime on Monday and how that worried me a bit. She said they don’t do it often, but that it is possible to do a second IUI 24 hours after the first one. But on the other hand, she said even though I ovulated somewhere between 24 and 48 hours after the IUI, the sperm really should have been ok. Then she mentioned how this is not an exact science, that’s why they call it ART, etc. I was sort of relieved to hear her say that. It’s nice to hear it acknowledged that even though these doctors and nurses are skilled at what they do, they still are not the creators of life. I’d be sort of scared if they were.

So our plan is to “stay the course.” We’re going to track this cycle again, I’ll call when I have a surge then we’ll start the ball rolling again. From my calculations, I think this is cycle 15 for us. My 6th cycle of tracking temps and such, but 15th of actually trying to conceive. Maybe this will be the lucky one.



11 days past IUI update
February 21, 2008, 11:30 am
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It’s been 11 days since my second IUI, 10 days since I ovulated. I’ve felt twinges of crampiness off and on since last Thursday night. On our way to a wonderful Valentine’s dinner, I felt the first tiny twinge. (You all probably know what I mean when I say “first tiny twinge”—I think people dealing with infertility are hyper aware of every twinge they feel in their body.) It wasn’t the usual feeling of cramps that I tend to get about a week before my period starts, and it was only 3 days after ovulation, so it was way too early for them. I tried to just push them out of my mind. Over the weekend and the first part of this week, I’ve been feeling more tiny twinges at random times, but still not the real cramps I usually get. Today though, I feel cramps that are a little more pronounced. I’m fully expecting to get my period this weekend. I have a pregnancy test (I guess this is what’s referred to as a beta) scheduled for Monday, but I’ll obviously cancel it if I start this weekend.

I’ve noticed certain times this week when I’ve felt extra tired. I fell asleep on the couch last night (on Matt’s comfy shoulder) at about 8:15 and was out like a light. There have been other times when I’ve felt extra tired. So I’m wondering, if and when I start my period this weekend, what will all that tiredness have been from? If I’m not pregnant, is the tiredness just mental? Is it just because I’m in this hyper aware state of noticing every little thing about my body, even things that aren’t even there? I think so much of this whole thing is a mental game. Imagining symptoms that aren’t there. Worrying about the tiniest of details that in the big picture probably don’t matter all that much. It can really make you a little crazy. When I get to that point, I try to remind myself of “If only you had obeyed my commands (ie, trusted me) your peace would have been like a river.” That’s what I seek—peace like a river.

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On another note, back to that wonderful Valentine’s dinner. Matt and I don’t regularly go out to dinner at nice places where we get dressed up, so it’s always a treat when we do. We spent those couple of hours luxuriating in amazing food and talking and talking. It’s so nice to get out of the house and have a really nice dinner and the type of conversation that we wouldn’t normally have over chicken and asparagus at our kitchen table. We always have great conversation, but there’s something about getting dressed up and going somewhere special that pulls us into even greater talks. And the tulips he sent to my office are still blooming and gorgeous!



Wednesday morning clarity
February 13, 2008, 10:44 am
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You know you’re in the deep south when you hear on the radio that traffic has slowed on a major highway due to people slowing down to look at the tiny microscopic snow flurries falling out of the sky. The past three days have been either near or at 70 degrees, so waking up to an 18 degree wind chill and snow flurries was an unexpected shock this morning!

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Monday turned out to be a pretty rough day for me. I overreacted to the situation, then just got myself worked up over the whole injustice of infertility itself. I’ve shed a few tears here and there over the course of the last eight months or so, but I think this was the first time I really let it all out and sort of allowed myself to feel it and think through all the things that bump around in my head concerning trying to get pregnant, trying to obey God, and trying to figure out his plan for us at the same time. I basically cried off and on all day and decided to leave work early so I could fit in a good long walk to clear my head. Walking (usually fast and hard) has the ability to clear my head more than most anything else. I knew I needed to get outside and move my body in order to salvage at least the last few hours of the day.

During this walk, and during the course of the day, I really believe God supplied me with a few verses that ended up helping me dig myself out of the hole. And I don’t say that lightly. I sometimes hear people talk about God talking to them, telling them specific things, supplying them with scripture or whatnot, and most of the time I think, “Man, that’d be nice to hear specifics from God.” I pray and listen to what God might be telling me, and ask him to lead me in the direction he wants me to go, but I rarely feel like God is telling me specific things.

First, on the way back to work after I’d gone home for lunch and cried probably five separate times, I was thinking that I was just so disappointed–by my ovulation coming so far after the trigger, and also by the fact that I even know what a trigger is–and the line, “Hope does not disappoint,” came to my head. I was kind of surprised because I wasn’t thinking anything biblical at all at that point. When I came back to work, I looked that verse up online (the whole section is Romans 5:1-5) and it’s talking about because we’re justified through faith, we have peace with God through Jesus, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, but also in our sufferings: “…we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” Another verse that’s similar is Isaiah 49:23: Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

Later in the day, I went on my walk. I chose to get out of my neighborhood and went to a place where I used to walk a lot when I lived in the area. It’s a trail off the street that goes back into some woodsy areas and over a creek. It can be a peaceful place, although I was walking close to 5:00 so I could hear a lot of cars, and there were a lot of people out walking. But still, I found it easy to get totally lost inside my head and really talk myself through a lot of things. The people who passed me probably thought I was a crazy person because I’m sure I was whispering to myself out loud a few times. I found another two verses coming to my head when I wasn’t expecting them. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” from Psalm 139. I’m choosing to believe that God led me to this verse to remind me that he created all the inner workings of my body and Matt’s body and that he is in control of them and how they’ll work together to create life. The other verse was: If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river.” Now, in my head it was “if only you had trusted in me…” I learned it was “if only you had paid attention to my commands…” when I got back to work and looked that verse up. Still though, I guess I wasn’t following God’s commands when I was doubting him, not believing that he can work despite the looks of things, allowing myself to get carried away rather than remaining grounded in trust in God.

What’s interesting is that at some point early in the day on Monday, I was telling God how hard it is for me to tell what he wants me to do. By directing me to these verses that are clearly about trusting in him and hoping in him in spite of our sufferings, he was telling me that his will for me right now is just to trust him. At least, I hope that’s what he’s telling me and that I’m not missing some other big point he wanted me to grasp!

One of the reasons I really think God specifically “sent” me these verses is because these verses aren’t ones that I necessarily read a whole lot. I haven’t medidated on them so that it would be natural for them to pop into my mind when I most need them. Or maybe they were buried deep in my mind and God brought them to the surface when I needed to hear them. At any rate, I think God’s hand was in me hearing them, and I appreciate him taking care of me in that way.

I woke up yesterday feeling much more in control. I don’t necessarily feel chipper about the whole process, but I have a firmer grasp on the fact that for some reason God has chosen for us to walk this road, and he has a purpose in it. I don’t have to be super happy about it, and it’s ok that I’m disappointed, but I have to trust him and believe that one day when I do have a baby, I’ll look back on this time and, while I probably won’t be happy that I had to go through it, I’ll realize that God taught me things that I would never have had the chance to learn if I’d gotten pregant right off the bat. So in that way, I guess I can “rejoice” in these present sufferings.



Monday morning quarterbacking
February 11, 2008, 8:21 am
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Well, after all my cautious hopefulness last night, I’m sort of disappointed this morning. I took my temp fully expecting it to have risen, indicating ovulation, but it was still low. It’s been almost 48 hours since the trigger.  What’s the point of having a trigger if it doesn’t make you ovulate any sooner or with any more precision than if you’d just ovulated on your own?  That’s frustrating to me.  Also, I’ve read that washed sperm can live 24-72 hours, but I’m wondering if they just say that to make you feel better if things don’t go as you want them to.  I’ve also heard (on less reputable sites) that washed sperm live for something like 6 hours. 

This morning I’ve been alternately talking myself through this and asking God why he’s confounding me with my own body. Is He saying “I made your body and you cannot control it by taking your temperature, having shots, or putting your husband’s sperm in a catheter.  You’ll get pregnant when I say you do?” If that’s the case, why even bother with $300+ a pop IUIs each month?  All yesterday, part of my hopefulness was the fact that I felt like we’d timed things so well.  I had the trigger on Saturday, then Saturday night when I did the OPK, the second line was just blaring.  Granted, I guess that’s affected by the trigger, but still it was gratifying to see that line so pronounced.  I had confidence that ovulation was imminent. Then M’s numbers were so much better than last cycle, and the doctor seemed very pleased.  I was just feeling like things were looking really good.  Then a roadblock. (I know this is not a total roadblock, but go with me here.)  It just sort of makes sense in my head that God could be reminding me that he’s in control of this whole process regardless of the shots and numbers, etc.  But the thing is, I feel like I know that.  Deep down, I know that we will only get pregnant when God decides the time is right.  I just wish it were easier to tell what God’s will is for me. 

All this babbling is really just what’s stewing in my head right now. If you haven’t been able to tell already, I tend to really overthink things. I always have, and this situation is no different.  I really need to try to relax and just let this turn out to be whatever it is.  I can’t change the outcome–although that’s another thing I’m thinking about.  What’s the purpose of praying for our wants/desires if God’s will is already set in stone and he already knows what’s going to happen?  Whew, that’s another subject altogether, and Monday morning is not a good time to get into that!  Regardless of the purpose of our prayers, I’m still praying that God will work over and above all these earthly means of getting pregnant, and allow it happen to us this month, this cycle.  I’m praying that regardless of the signs, he’s creating life inside me.



IUI #2
February 10, 2008, 8:53 pm
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Well, it’s the evening after my IUI, and I feel much better than after my first IUI.  Last month, I had a good (or actually bad) bit of cramping the night of, but none so far this time.  And thankfully, my rear end isn’t sore anymore!  I’ll tell you what, last night my hip where the nurse gave me the HCG shot was incredibly sore!  Have any of you been sore from the shot?  During the day yesterday, it was a little sensitive, but nothing too bad. But as the day wore on, it got more and more sore.  Last night, we had some friends over for dinner, and when I got up from the table (after sitting still for an hour or so) I felt like I couldn’t even walk normally!  I seem to remember getting a couple of shots when I was younger where they’d tell me to make sure to move my arm a lot so it wouldn’t get sore. I wonder if that was the case here.  But the thing is, I was moving a lot yesterday.  Anyway, today it’s much better. 

M went in at 7:30 this morning to leave his sample, and I was supposed to be there at 9:00.  The doctor on call was one of the male doctors, so that was a little bit of a surprise.  He was nice though, introduced himself and shook my hand–the hand that was gripping my husband’s “specimen” tightly in its little tube. (As soon as you walk in the room for an IUI at this office, the nurse hands you the goods in a little zippered plastic bag and instructs you to keep it warm, preferably by sticking it in your bra while you un.dress!) 

I was again amazed by how quick the procedure is.  The doctor was in the room for all of 2 minutes, maybe.  One great thing is that he said M’s count was 15 million post wash!  That’s lots better than last time when we had only abstained for about 24 hours due to the PCT the day before.  This time, we’d abstained for about 3 1/2 days, so I guess that’s a good amount of time for us–big volume but without sluggishness. 

After the quick prodcedure, the nurse told me she’d come back and get me in 10-15 minutes.  I was fine for the first 15 minutes or so, trying to imagine I was lying warm by the beach, since it was super cold in the office.  After 20 minutes, I started to get a little antsy.  I wanted to grab my phone to call Matt to tell him I was done, but I was worried the nurse would come in as soon as I hopped off the table with the sheet wrapped around me.  Finally after 30 minutes, I said Forget it and jumped down to get my phone. Then of course, as soon as I got back up on the table, she came in. I think she forgot about me.

We spent most of the rest of the day out in the sunshine.  We had absolutely glorious weather here this weekend, so it was easy to be thinking positively about a lot of things.  Like M said, it was a great weekend, but with the potential to be even greater.  If I were on facebook or one of those sites where you have to choose your mood for the day, I’d say I’m cautiously hopeful. It’s a little scary to me to be too hopeful.  I’m not sure where that line is between allowing yourself to feel full of hope, and keeping that feeling pushed down so as to not be that much more disappointed if things don’t go how I want them to. So, I’ll just stick with cautiously hopeful. 

Part of me wants to think ahead–flip forward in the calendar and see when we’d have the baby if I am pregnant, think of how we’d tell our parents, think of how I’d decorate a nursery…but I don’t let myself do those things.  I don’t pee on pregnancy tests every day during the 2 ww, and I don’t secretly look at baby clothes online.  I’ll reserve those things for when I’m really, truly, good and knocked up.



Tomorrow is on.
February 9, 2008, 11:02 am
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Well, the race is off, but it’s ok.  Obviously, it’s ok because it means we may get pregnant instead, but I’m really glad M’s ok with it.

I went in this morning for the u/s and b/w. The nurse said my lining looked “beautiful” and I had one large follicle on the left side.  It measured 1.77 (centimeters, I think?) and they round that up to 1.8, which is what they want the follicle to be.  I got the HCG shot in the rear–I haven’t had a shot since I was a kid, so I was a little nervous about how much it would hurt. It was fine, although my hip is a little sore now.  M goes in at 7:30 tomororw, and I’ll go in sometime after that, depending on what my bloodwork tells us.