Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thank God in Advance

Hubby, Me and Joel Osteen - Night of Hope, Oakland, CA

It's been part of my daily habit for years now to make sure I talk to God on a daily basis, even if it's only a minute or two a day. When I go to bed each night, I usually lay there with my eyes closed and humbly ask God to bring all of my dreams to pass. Each morning when my feet hit the floor, I always give gratitude for the things I already have. Thank you Lord for this beautiful house in a safe neighborhood. Thank you Lord for a husband who loves me and a wonderful marriage. Thank you Lord for our health and financial security...and so on.  The one thing I probably don't do enough though is to thank God in Advance. That's right, thank Him for the things I don't have yet!

We do not attend a church formally in our hometown, but I do watch Joel Osteen on TV every Sunday at home, and we will attend Lakewood Church whenever we are in Houston on the rare occasion. Today's message spoke so loudly to me that I wanted to share it. Joel talked about how important it is to not only pray for what we want in life, but to also thank God in advance for it, to expect it, and how doing that strengthens our faith even more, rather than doing the opposite and draining us. When you Give God praise, He will give you the strength to keep believing.

We all want something in life. For me, it's a baby and to create a family. Joel talked about how many of us ask God for what we want, and that we continue to ask and beg and plead so much for the same thing, that in a way it tells God that we don't have faith that he'll bring it to pass. He compared it to an example where his own daughter asked him if he would buy her a car when she turned 16. He promised her that he would. Because she had faith in him and trusted him on his word, she didn't keep asking and begging him for the car everyday. Imagine how draining that would have been for both of them had she done that. Instead, she started acting as if the car was already hers, talking excitedly about the car she would soon be driving and all the freedom it would bring.  That made him want to buy her the car even more, because she was already grateful for it and trusted Him to take care of her. This is a simple example sure, but I think it speaks volumes. How must our heavenly father feel when we don't trust Him and keep asking day in and day out as if He didn't hear us?

In the sermon Joel encouraged everyone to change the way we pray and start turning our requests into praise. God hears us the first time we ask for something, so we don't have to keep asking time and time again. Instead we should be thanking him in advance for bringing it to pass. So instead of saying, "Lord, please please bless us with a health baby and a family" turn that into "Thank you Lord for giving us the perfect family when the time is right."  Have faith that it will happen instead of asking for it with a doubting mentality. Every single time you start worrying or doubting, get in the habit of immediately stopping and thanking God for handling the situation on your behalf. Changing that one habit will also help you change the way you feel about the obstacle itself. It will empower you and help you live in peace, rather than living with doubt and worry about the situation.

Wow, I guess I never realized that as much as I do pray for what I want and thank God for the things I do have, I barely ever thank Him for the things he has in my future and that have yet to happen. I can see how switching the focus of my prayers of just asking into actual praise will show more trust in God and will also help save my own sanity. From now on, I'm going to go to bed thanking God for the things I have, but also thanking Him for the things I have yet to receive. 

It's funny how such a simple message can speak volumes in your life when you least expect it. Please take a half hour and watch Joel Osteen's message today. Even if you aren't a religious person, I think it can speak to you on some level. And just a P.S...his sister struggled with infertility for years so he uses having a child as an example of a dream in quite a few of his sermons. You may pick up on that when you watch.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS WEEK'S MESSAGE. Click on "#552 Thank God in Advance" on the right and the video will play. Bookmark the link and watch every week if you like it. :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

MUST READ: The Conception Chronicles

So getting pregnant isn't that easy?? This is the main topic of discussion, not only in our house right now, but also in the book I just finished reading yesterday, The Conception Chronicles.  I have already read many of the serious technical books on the challenges of infertility and TTC, and I was really in the mood for something lighthearted that could make me laugh. I could have gone for another Chelsea Handler book or maybe something from Celia Rivenbark, but they just weren't calling my name.

Yes, I admit it's hard for me to stop thinking about TTC'ing right now. I can't help it. Sometimes when you can't change the situation or just can't get it out of your mind, you have to learn to laugh at it.

Some of the topics explored in the book include:

-Why can't I ovulate on the weekend?
-Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde
-Are you an Angry Ovulator?
-The "Ouch shot" vs. the "Holy Shit shot"
-Answering the Pregnancy Paparazzi

-I'll have Clomid with a Side of Sweats
-Fertility Friends vs. Fertility Foes

-Foreplay is for Rookies
-Sex on Demand

In all seriousness, the book actually provides a pretty realistic look at what TTC'ing can be like for many women. For anyone considering using fertility treatments, it might also give you an idea of what the process and continuum of treatment usually looks like. Anyone currently undergoing treatment or who has experienced it in the past will probably enjoy it even more. It's like the author has had a hidden camera on your life or something. haha! I already know from talking to plenty of other women in online support groups that many of us share similar experiences along this crazy journey. This book was just more confirmation of that and gave some downright hilarious suggestions for dealing with some of the not so fun aspects. Just when it's getting serious, it will make you laugh with funny anecdotes, and it might tug at your heartstrings enough to make you tear up at a few parts as well. Reading this book really was good therapy for me, and I highly recommend it! It's guaranteed to make you SMILE! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Infectious Disease Screening for IUI & Warm Castor Oil Pack for Fertility

Hubby and I went to have our infectious disease screening done today. As we walk into the very quiet waiting room of the lab, the ladies up front give me a boisterous, "Heeeeeey!"  Hubby compared it to how other people walk into a bar and get greeted by the bartender and have their usual spot immediately cleared for them. He says I'm like Norm on Cheers, except in the medical world. Funny guy! 

Hey, I have no problem with being well known in this place. They know exactly which needle I like the best (the tiny black needle) and they also know not to use the crappy white tape on my arm. They know I dislike needles more than the average person and are really good at sparking up conversation to distract me. It's really helping me to get better about the whole process actually! They never miss a vein or have to try twice either. It really does make the experience as painless as possible. Good thing, because this is the 4th time I've gotten stuck with a needle in 8 days. 1 HCG test, 1 flu shot, 1 thyroid panel, and now today's infectious disease screening.

This test is required for couples using IUI and includes screening for all of the STD's, blood typing & RH Factor, as well as rubella & varicella for the woman. We are taking a gamble this time and trying to run it through our BCBS insurance with hopes they might cover it. The doctor coded our lab slips with V74.5, which I googled and found stood for "venereal disease screening" so nothing in the coding suggests "infertility." Yay!

Now granted, BCBS would surely cover this panel of testing for any hooker out there looking to see if her one night stand left her with any unwanted side effects. Do something really stupid this weekend and want to find out if you have an STD? No problem, we'll cover as many of those tests as you want us to! lol

Sorry if I sound like a Negative Nancy, but from experience I'm just guessing, that even with this non-fertility related coding, they will take one look at the office ordering this test for us "Texas Fertility Clinic" and will most likely deny it no matter what. You just never know though until you try! I said a prayer to God today to have the person receiving our claim to approve it. C'mon God help a sister out here!  Pull some strings up there pretty please!

I took my last two pills of Femara today (CD6) and will begin using warm castor oil compresses today or tomorrow. In case you don't know, these are a holistic remedy for all kinds of fertility related issues. Castor oil has been known to:

-Dissolve uterine fibroids
-Get rid of excess (old) hormones
-Dissolve non-cancerous ovarian cysts
-Dissolve scar tissue and adhesions
-Free up congested fallopian tubes
-Increase circulation to reproductive organs

I use them mostly to increase circulation in general and also prevent and clear out any cysts that may be brewing (These can be common when using fertility meds and can ruin cycles altogether). The compresses are used only after menstruation and prior to ovulation. I did have an 18mm cyst on my ovary at one point when using Clomid last year, and after using these, it disappeared completely. You can buy castor oil at any specialty pharmacy, and it's a very cost effective natural approach to increasing fertility. I believe it works, and it certainly can't hurt! Check out this great tutorial on how to do them if you think they can benefit you...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Taking the Next Step- Femara + IUI

It's been a busy few days, and there is nothing better than a truly lazy Sunday. Hubby and I decided to boycot the gym this morning (very rare) and just sleep in, watch Joel Osteen's sermon on TV, and just take it easy today. I've got my hot cup of apple cinnamon tea by my side, candles lit, windows open, Tebow Time is about to begin, and the FedEx Cup golf tournament is on later. We may not even leave our house today, and that is perfectly fine with me!  Ahhhhh, I love days like today.

It's really been a great weekend overall. We had such a fun date night last night, just the two of us. Went to dinner and then a country concert to hear Eric Church play. He's no Keith Urban or Tim McGraw, but still fun to just get out of the house and people watch and listen to live music. You know you are at a country concert when the set on stage is just a bunch of kegs of beer and every song is about drinking whiskey! haha!

Friday was hectic, but good. We had our apt. with the new RE, I volunteered all day downtown, and  then another appointment with a thyroid endocrinologist that opened up last minute. I am waiting on results of my thryoid testing and will post an update once I get it. But first the new RE...THANKFUL; That is the word that first comes to mind. Thankful that we listened to our gut telling us to switch. Thankful that I had good insight from a former nurse at my fertility clinic to help us make the best decision for a new doctor. Thankful that the appointment went so well!

Dr. Vaughn met with us in his office and spent an hour going over our past experiences, my current issues, and how we can address them.  Basically, at this point we have been TTC for 15 months. Although it's true that healthy normal couples have about a 20% chance of conceiving each month when using well-timed intercourse on their own, once you have passed the 1 year mark of trying unsuccessfully, your chances are considerably less. We have been TTC now for 15 months with no viable pregnancy, and thus our chances of conceiving on our own are about 1-2% each month now. That is just how Western medicine views it anyway. It's a pretty depressing statistic, but one I have come to terms with. Even though I got pregnant once in Oct. 2011, they don't consider that a real pregnancy because it ended at 6 weeks, and is technically labeled a"chemical pregnancy." Ugh, I don't even like thinking about that. Moving on...

I like the way he presented our options to us, based on a continuum of what we've tried and what was next in line that might help us. We are approaching this with a goal of remaining as minimally invasive as possible. We don't plan to go straight to using IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) for various reasons. For one, I honestly feel I can get pregnant without IVF. For two, we have zero insurance coverage for fertility and it would cost us about $20,000 to have IVF done. So, we were given two main options for our next step:

1) Pills (ie. Femara or Clomid) with IUI procedure (Intrauterine Insemination) 
2) Injectables (Gonal F, Follistim, etc.) with IUI

Although I was fully ready to move to the more aggressive injectable drugs (They have higher success rates than pills), hubby and the RE both felt that it would be best not to use injectables this cycle and stick with Femara + IUI. I was already on CD2 at this appointment. It would have meant we'd have to come up with $2500 for the injectable meds within 24 hours and would have had to squeeze in an injectables lesson and get started immediately. Keep in mind, the bill would continue to grow with RE visits for 3-5 ultrasounds ($190/each) and the two IUI's that they perform within 24 hours right around ovulation time ($600). The bill could total $4000 easily for just one injectables cycle. That is all out of pocket!

Now, sometimes RE's will do a "combo cycle" where they use pills early in the cycle to stimulate production of eggs, and then will add the injectables in a lesser amount later in the cycle to stimulate growth of those eggs. This can reduce the cost of the treatment, but my RE does not perform combo cycles. He uses either pills or injectables, but not a combination of both. He feels that combo cycles aren't that much more successful than those using Femara + IUI alone, and that it's best to move to straight injectables if you are going to visit that option for increased chances. He said it's also the way he was trained and that he's had the most success with this type of protocol over the years, skipping the combo cycle and moving straight to full injectables instead when that option is needed.

VENT WARNING: It just baffles me that there are no mandates for fertility coverage in this country, and yet most insurers will cover a lifetime of diabetes treatments, heart surgeries, knee replacements, and a laundry list of other ailments for people who choose to eat poorly, not exercise, balloon to 300+ lbs, and take no control of their health whatsoever! Then you have your crackheads who get pregnant while drinking and doing drugs, who we support with our tax dollars as well. Yet, here I am taking immaculate care of my health, being a law abiding citizen, doing all I possibly can, and I have zero coverage to help conceive my own child, despite a medical diagnosis?? Infuriates me! Infertility should NOT be treated any differently than any other medical condition. This country is ass backwards! Period! Thanks for letting me get that out.

Anyhoo, it wasn't just cost that determined our choice of using Femara + IUI. It is about $3000 cheaper than the injectables option, but it is also totally possible we could have success using pills and IUI on their own! Plenty of couples conceive on Femara or Clomid + IUI.  Why jump to a costly procedure that is honestly kind of scary, before we even try the less invasive route first? Femara + IUI is obviously no guarantee, but it will increase our chances from what they are currently. It may just be a matter of getting the little swimmers past any obstacles they encounter on their well-intentioned journey toward my egg, and IUI will help get them as close to the target as possible.

Because hubby has an important business meeting to attend in CA later this month, we started the Femara early this time and I'm taking it CD2-CD6, in hopes we can move my ovulation up a day or two. We'll go back in on CD12 for an ultrasound to see what follies are brewing and how far away from ovulation I might be. We'll then know better when we might be able to have the IUI procedure done.  It looks like it may be the very day he had a flight scheduled to fly out (of course!) but we're hoping it will be a little sooner. He will do anything to make sure it happens as it's supposed to, and I love that about him. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that all the stars will align for us, and that he doesn't have to miss his important meeting in the process. Of course if we end up pregnant, it will all be worth it no matter what! Please say a prayer this works for us!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New!

The nurse from the RE's office just called to give me the results of my pregnancy blood test, and I wasn't surprised to hear that it was negative. :( I have felt kind of crampy for days, like Aunt Flo is on her way and the only thing holding her back is the Prometrium I've been taking, which is designed to keep AF from coming.  The results of this - test mean that I will not take Prometrium tonight, and once discontinuing I can expect a new cycle to start within a couple of days...hopefully it won't take longer. It also means I'll be having myself a BIG FAT glass of wine by myself tonight. Hubby is traveling for four days, so pity party for one please! I haven't had a drop of alcohol in about a month, and my non-pregnant ass is going to partake in a few libations this week if I feel like it. Can't go wrong with some La Crema. Yum...

The hubby and I have been talking recently about our course of action with this RE; Should we stay with her? Should we switch to a different RE in the same practice? Should we switch practices altogether? This has come up for the simple fact I feel I'm always having to advocate SO HARD for myself in order to get the proper treatment. Small details are very important in this game, and stuff is just being missed on their side.

The first medicated cycle I did with this RE (Femara), she added Estrace into my treatment plan, which blocked my ovulation before I had the chance to take a trigger shot, and it ruined the whole cycle. I then had to convince her I did not ovulate, by demanding a blood test to prove it. Sure enough, I was right. After getting fed up pretty quickly, and a subsequent 9 month period of "going natural" unmedicated, I decide to clear the air with her and give her another chance. This second medicated cycle I just completed (Femara again), I found myself trying to convince her of my ovulation date in order to get the Prometrium script that I needed for my luteal phase.  I was told "You did not ovulate." Again, I finally proved my point through a second round of bloodwork showing I ovulated and was thus able to stick to the plan she wanted me to follow in the first place. Man, it just shouldn't be this hard!!!

Point is, this RE should be paying more attention to my chart and my situation and what I am telling her is going on, without me having to pull teeth to stick to her plan. Now that hubby is going to appointments and hearing my conversations with the nurse on speakerphone, he also sees how hard I'm working to try to stay the course with a dr. who, when it comes down to it, just isn't paying enough attention.

This weekend, we had the great fortune to speak with someone I know (also a health professional) who used to be a nurse in this fertility clinic. She has no ill will towards any of the doctors and is a very objective calm person, so I trust her opinion. She confirmed everything we felt about my current doctor, and suggested another RE in the practice who has MUCH more experience, like 25 years more. I have heard so many great things about him through word of mouth, online, and straight from his former nurse's mouth. She was in full agreement that I should switch RE's, and I was happy she had such an outstanding recommendation for a physician within the same practice.

This is fantastic, because I won't have to transfer all of my records from the slew of tests I've done, and it should be fairly simple. I am calling tomorrow to set up an appointment with the new RE. I feel working with a doctor with more experience who can call the shots, rather than me doing so, is what's needed now, especially if we plan to become more aggressive, which we are indeed open to.

As my friend told me, "These doctors are extremely rushed. When you have a case where a doctor is rushed, you need to make sure their experience is enough to compensate for the lack of time. Having a doctor with lack of time AND lack of experience is not what you want." From what she told me, this new RE is completely left brained, anal, never goes on vacation, dedicates his entire life to his work, and drives the nurses there nuts re-checking their file notes to make sure everything is 100% organized and on track. That is exactly what I'm looking for!

We are of course bummed that this cycle didn't pan out, but so excited and hopeful for better care from here on out. Onwards and upwards!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Boob-O-Meter not cooperating!

10 dpo today and my boob-o-meter is telling me I'm not preggo. I woke up yesterday with smaller bbs and not nearly as sore anymore. Booooo! That to me means that my progesterone has already peaked and is now going downhill. This also tells me that no implantation has occurred.

I know I can't rely on my boob-o-meter for everything, but it's pretty damn accurate. Remember last week, when my RE nurse said I hadn't ovulated, but my boob-o-meter said I had? Well, I don't think I have to remind you who was right.

I had a tiny little breakdown on my hubby yesterday, crying "I know I'm not pregnant, because my boobs are getting smaller. I know my body, and it's telling me I'm not! Waaaaah" Soooooo dramatic I know. Thank God I am married to the world's best husband. He always says the right thing and helps me feel less hopeless almost instantly. I don't think he ever bargained for being married to a Gemini on fertility meds, but he's handled it the same way he handles everything in life, with pinache.

I took a pregnancy test this morning, mostly because I had acupuncture this afternoon. If it were +, my acu would definitely need to know that, but it was -. However, our session was awesome as usual, and she continued working on points that would facilitate implantation and relaxation in general. I always feel like I just took a xanax when I leave there. Oh. So. Relaxing. 

Granted, it is possible that implantation could occur still, thus causing my progesterone to surge again and my boob-o-meter to go back up, so just trying to stay optimistic here. Plus, I will never totally believe any symptoms while taking fertility meds. It just whacks your body out so much, that I always keep that in the back of my mind while noticing certain symptoms or lack thereof. This is one cycle where I need to just wait, at least until 14dpo, before I count myself out. So just waiting, waiting, waiting...

Like hubby always says, we'll need to name our daughter Patience, because that's the only way I'll ever get any!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The 2WW & Big Thanks to my Deadbeat Dad

8 days past ovulation today, and pesky little doubts are starting to sneak into my psyche.  I've been trying not to fixate on any symptoms, like the fact that my boobs feel extra full and tingly and kind of hard, just like they did the month I got pregnant. The junky thing about being on fertility meds is that they give you the same symptoms you'd have if you were in fact pregnant. That is one of the reasons fertility meds can cause such an emotional rollercoaster for women.

I am so hopeful that this could be our cycle to conceive, and yet I'm already starting to worry that it might not be too. I think when you've had so many cycles where you've tried your best but still end up with a -HPT, you begin to find ways to protect yourself from the possibility of impending heartbreak that might occur again.

Luckily, I have a lot of training from childhood to help me with this. I guess if I have one thing I can thank my father for, it's that I learned early "not to get my hopes up."  If you come from a family of divorce and had a father who never paid child support or who made you empty promises over and over and over, only to leave you feeling let down and crying in a corner, you may also relate to this early life lesson. It might sound crazy, but the second week of the 2 Week Wait always brings back the same emotions I used to get anytime my dad promised me something. I wanted so badly for it to happen, but I also knew the chances of it not happening were greater, based on past experiences.

On one hand, I am SO hopeful and am trying to believe with all my heart that this could be our lucky month. I think of all the things that have improved this cycle, mainly my progesterone response post-O and a better lining than normal, as well as what I believe was a stronger ovulation in general. On the other hand, I don't want to get too excited or hopeful, because I know if it doesn't end with a +HPT, then it will just hurt that much more. As much as I would like to focus on only the possibilities right now, I am still semi-consciously beginning to protect myself from the possibility of being let down. What if it doesn't happen for us AGAIN?  I hate that I have negative thoughts and doubts creeping in, when all I want is to focus my energy 100% on a positive outcome.

With that said, I'm off to do a couple sessions of Circle + Bloom to re-gain my positive focus and kick these pesky self doubts to the curb. I'm so looking forward to my next acu session in two more days. Please Lord, let there be amazing things happening inside my body right now!

Am I the only one who goes through this is the 2WW? What things do you do to try to re-focus your energy in the right direction?

Monday, September 10, 2012

2 for the Screaming Babies Section Please

Yet another restaurant experience this evening that helped solidify the running joke hubby and I have going. We aren't quite sure why, but the hostess always seats us smack dab in the middle of the crying baby section. Previously we used to think, well it's Texas and everyone has babies. However,  each time we look around and see there are plenty of other tables in areas where all the other child-free parties are seated.

Clearly the service industry knows what they are doing when they strategically place all of the highchairs in one specific section. The one year old across from us had a total meltdown, which spread like wildfire to the adjoining table and their baby, and the next half hour was spent trying to appease the poor little souls. I could tell the parents of the "good baby at first" were kind of annoyed that the "meltdown baby" rubbed off on their perfect little child and that they were now also parents in the restaurant with the screaming kid. The only thing I can compare it to is when a dog starts barking in the neighborhood and before you know it, you've got barking coming from all angles, and there is no end in sight. We were surrounded by a total of 3 crying baby tables tonight....all directly next to us. I think maybe God is just trying to train us now for what we're in for...

This picture says it all! Seriously though, we know what we are in for, and we still want it more than ever. We just think it's rather ironic that is ALWAYS happens this way. A tiny little part of me gets envious, because it does kind of make me feel like I'm the only woman in the world without a baby or kids.  Hopefully we can be admitted to the cool club sometime this year, even if it does mean we'll end up being the parents of the screaming kid at the restaurant. Bring it! haha!

I'm 6 or 7 dpo today, which means IF there is a little fertilized egg moseying towards my uterus, it will be looking for a nice cushy spot to implant itself very soon. It could happen today or as late as Friday (10dpo) or possibly a tad later, although that would be more the exception than the rule.

I had an acupuncture apt. today to assist my energies to flow in all the right directions, and left feeling absolutely amazing. There was a point right in the top of my head that had some "release" meaning it bled a little when the acu removed it. She was all excited and said that acu's love seeing that, because it means that a blockage was released during the treatment. That is what acu is all about; removing blockages where there aren't supposed to be blockages and making connections that haven't been short at least. I will go back Friday for a 10dpo session as well. I am trying to make the most of this promising cycle. I'm under orders to keep my feet and back warm (liver and kidney energy) and to eat warming foods to keep my belly nice and warm.

I've been such a good girl; Only one glass of wine the whole time I was traveling last week, doing Circle + Bloom meditations daily, doing daily devotionals with Joel Osteen's new series "I Declare", doing acu, and eating warming foods. More than that, I'm just staying really positive and focusing on what IS working. For me, that is the fantastic progesterone response I believe I'm having right now. The Prometrium is going well. No real side effects, other than the fact that I'm really tired all the time from it. One more week and we'll know if we are blessed enough to become parents!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Progesterone 11.8 @ 3 dpo...Boom!

Well, it took a couple extra days and a couple extra needles, but today ovulation was finally confirmed via bloodwork. I mentioned earlier that my RE wanted to do a progesterone draw at only 1 day past ovulation, which I had never heard of doing...She said it would come back at about a 3 if I had ovulated. I was disappointed when my results came back at 2.1. The nurse basically told me, "You didn't ovulate so you won't need to start Prometrium this week." Huh??

I respectfully disagreed with her quick dismissal that I didn't ovulate. That progesterone test was drawn so early, possibly even less than 24 hours post-ovulation. I had a 0.5 degree temp rise that morning and my boobs hurt like a bitch. I didn't care what that lady was telling me. I knew in my heart I had in fact ovulated. I discussed with the nurse that my temp had risen and my boobs were sore; two things that simply don't happen until I've already entered the luteal phase of my cycle. I knew they didn't trust my OPK's anymore at this point, but I did get 3 strong +OPK's the day prior as well. After quite a bit of coersing, we decided I would just re-do the test all over again at 3dpo to give my body a little more time to show a stronger result. I found a Lab Corp in the city where I'm traveling to do the blood draw and just received my results...11.8!!! BOOM! I told you people I ovulated! (insert hair flip here)

I have not been stressing anymore about the fact that the RE doesn't care about my temperature, or even a + OPK, or my sore boobs. I understand why they don't want to hear about those symptoms, because many people get false symptoms and it's just not a failproof way to test for ovulation or pregnancy. However, I'm just happy I do pay attention to my own body and that I voice my opinion, even when a nurse doesn't agree. Here the nurse was just telling me "You didn't O. Don't start taking Prometrium." When really, I KNEW I O'ed and that I needed to start Prometrium at 3 days past ovulation to help increase my chances for a pregnancy. I'm just really glad I stated my case, pushed for the extra test, and that it came back with flying colors.

I filled my prescription for Prometrium and have it ready to go. I will start it tonight at bedtime and will continue taking it for the next 11 nights, until the time I take a pregnancy test. If I am pregnant, I will continue taking the Prometrium for the first trimester in order to help support a healthy pregnancy and reduce risk of miscarriage.

What started out as a really confusing cycle is actually panning out to be one of the most promising to date. Strong ovulation pain, 6.8 mm lining day of O, strong progesterone response and symptoms very early in the luteal phase, and proper timing of the Prometrium supplementation. These are all good things! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed over here. We are so ready to be pregnant, and I just hope that God agrees that it's our time! Please Lord, let this be our cycle!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A "REAL" +OPK (hopefully) & AMH Results are In

Today we went in for a CD20 ultrasound with the RE. Earlier this week she told me not to bother testing with OPK's since I got that weird false + on CD12. While I agree I shouldn't rely on this alone to help time intercourse anymore, I still want to know if a real LH surge does come.  Low and behold, yesterday I got 3 really strong +OPK's: 6:30 AM, 1 PM, and 7 PM. I used Wondfo's and CBE digitals as usual. Whoever designed the OPK at Clearblue Easy deserves a raise, because I will keep buying their OPK's if I get to see that happy face!

I am not someone who typically feels any type of ovulation pain/twinges at all, but yesterday I felt like someone stabbed me with a knife in my left ovary; just one really sharp pain and then it was gone, but definitely noticeable. I was laying on the bed listening to my Circle + Bloom guided meditations, so not like I was doing anything strenuous to cause such a weird pain.

GOOD NEWS during today's ultrasound was that my uterine lining measured 6.8 mm! Now, I realize most women would think this is not that great, but for me, this is the best my lining has EVER looked on it's own. It's usually closer to 4-5 mm at most. My RE likes to see a 7 mm at minimum near the time of ovulation, but she said mine was close enough and that it had great tri-layers, which is really important for a nice healthy lining ready for implantation. I was ecstatic with this report! It grew about 2 mm in one week's time without adding any synthetic estrogen into the mix, which makes me quite happy. Maybe it's not perfect yet, but progress is progress!

Other news was that I had one 14 mm follie on my right ovary and no follie at all on my left, only an area that looked like fluid. The RE said this could indicate that I had just ovulated from the left ovary (thus all the fluid) OR that I hadn't ovulated yet on the right and that the 14 mm follie would ovulate later in the cycle. I am inclined to think that I ovulated last night, but that is just my own instincts telling me that. I just really think this LH surge was real too, because it remained so + on both devices all day long. That was not the case with my earlier fleeting +OPK this cycle. I will be traveling tomorrow, so RE suggested doing a progesterone blood draw later today to see if it would show any signs of ovulation this early. If I O'd yesterday, it may show a slight elevation today. I really hate needles, but I love data, so it's worth it to keep getting stuck for me.

If I did ovulate, then she wants me to take Prometrium (progesterone) beginning at 3 days past ovulation....another reason it's so important to figure out my exact O date. This will help support my lining, increase chances for implantation, and decrease chances of miscarriage should a pregnancy occur.

I also got back the results of my AMH test @ 0.88. AMH is used to measure ovarian reserve (how many eggs are left). RE said this level was "meh, ok". Here is a nice little chart showing what's normal...

She said in relation to my other bloodwork and my "young age" that this was nothing to freak out about.  However, if we don't become pregnant this cycle, and we did want to become more aggressive about treatment, this AMH would be an indicator that now is the right time to do that. Calling me young definitely caught me off guard, but apparently RE's don't consider you "old" until you are 38+.  However, she said she would not suggest just going another 6 months with a haphazard approach. I think hubby and I both agree with that, especially since we want more than one child and I will be turning 35 this coming year. All in all, a good appointment. Packing today for a trip to a friend's wedding, and I should have my progesterone result back tomorrow. Hopefully this time it will show I ovulated. Please Lord, let it show I ovulated!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Letting Go of Control & Making Room for Positivity

The really powerful thing about blogging and being connected with people through the internet, is that just when you least expect it, someone else will help lift you up or deliver a message you needed to hear yourself through their own words. I woke up to read a friend's blog today, and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

She mentioned how important it is to be aware of the story we are telling ourselves. I am a firm believer that what we focus on multiplies and I think that most people who know me consider me to very positive overall. I've created vision boards for the last few years to activate the Law of Attraction, and I believe they can help you direct your energy in a positive direction. Here is my current one, which hangs on the wall in our future nursery. I think I want to make a baby, what do you think?

Well, reading the last couple posts in my blog, you'd probably think I'm some sort of a negative Nancy. I have admittedly been having a rough patch as of late, because doubting thoughts have been taking up space in my psyche more than I'd like. The confidence I've been instilling into my body the past 6 natural cycles had grown so much, but recently seems to have dwindled, and I know exactly why. It's because I finally got to know what my body was doing, and now it seems to be doing something different, especially after I got the +OPK and no ovulation. Well, from now on, I am going to try to be OK with it when my body does something different.

Giving up control is really hard for me when it comes to my own health. I am very protective when it comes to my body, so putting medicine into it and then having a result I didn't expect tends to scare me. Well, I need to learn to give up a little more control. This is something that is out of my hands. My husband is constantly reminding me that everything is going to work out. If I'm going to see an RE, I need to let her make decisions on my behalf and not worry about every little aspect. Sure, I want to become pregnant more than anything in the world, but laying awake at night worrying about whether or not I'm going to ovulate this cycle is not going to make it happen any sooner. I am going to start taking this with more of a "one-day-at-a-time" approach.

“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” I agree with that 100%. If something I want is going to be taking up so much room in my heart, I need to make sure the thoughts about that thing are positive. It's funny how quickly your attitude can change by just a word or two from a friend, and so Amber, thank YOU for giving me that today.

This week, I will be looking at my vision board more often. I will be journaling to my future child more. I will not let my doubts get the best of me, and I will try my best to just take everything day-by-day.  No matter what obstacles I face this week, I will remember that it's nothing we can't handle together. I will not let negative doubts take up space in my heart. I have a lot to be grateful for, and I will be better about focusing on those things.

What do you do to stay focused on the positive and fight doubting negative thoughts from taking over in your own mind?