Crushing the Fall Checklist like RAH!

Hi everyone!

We are officially in the season of WINTER!  Woohoo!  I know.  I know.  Technically, winter visited us on the 22nd of December, BUT there have been temperatures closer to Summer than Winter. Nevertheless, I wanted to check in and show how we did on our Fall Checklist challenge.

So you know how it goes.  We came across a great Fall Checklist by SimplyKierste and blogged about it here.  So, here's how we did.



1.  Bake pies.  Yep!  I baked two pecan pies for the very first time.  I also made sweet potato pies in Fall.  And while cobbler isn't exactly pie.  I made a peach cobbler as well!  Woohoo!

2.  Visit the pumpkin patch.  Yes! In our Fall recap, Superbug, Honeybee, and I visited the pumpkin patch for a nice Fall retreat.  A couple of weeks later, the entire family went to a pumpkin patch to celebrate National Adoption Month.

3.  Go through a corn maze.  Done!  Granted, it was a tiny one for the babies but it still counts!

4.  Bake fall cookies.  Yes!  We made some great white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies and some oatmeal raisin cookies as well.  Nothing says fall like the fresh smells of fresh cookies.

5. Trick-or-treat.  Well, we didn't actually trick-or-treat since we don't really do Halloween.  But we did go to our church for their Trunk and Treat and that's pretty close.

6.  Go on a hayride.  We did this twice!  And had a great time every time we did so.

7.  Decorate.  We knocked this one out for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving accents were everywhere.

8.  Tailgate.  My college homecoming was the perfect tailgating location!

9.  Count our blessings.  :) Each and every day.

What we didn't do :(
1. Jump in a pile of leaves.  We don't have that many trees yet.
2.  Go on a nature walk.  We'll tackle this one for sure in the future.
3.  Pick apples.  How disappointing it was that we couldn't get out to the orchard and pick apples.  That's a must next year.
4. Sit by the fire.  We did it in the summer, but that doesn't count for the fall.  We'll try it again next year.
5. Carve pumpkins.  Never really been a fan of things pumpkin related *gasp I know*
6.  Roast pumpkin seeds.  See above.
7.  S'mores and bonfire.  I love s'mores.  But we did it in the summer and not the Fall.  We have to do better next year.
8.  Drink apple cider.  Yuck lol.  Not a fan!  But maybe Superbug will try it next year.

So, 9 items out of 17 completed.  I say we knocked out quite a few.  Woohoo!!!  Now it's time to focus on our Winter checklist.  That one is coming soon!

Have a great evening.
-WinterMommy



Christmas funs

Hi everyone!  I apologize for falling off the map.  It's been pretty uneventful in our household though we did just celebrate an awesome Christmas.  There is always something so great and special about spending time with people you love and celebrating the true reason for the season of Christmas.  (We even bought a Happy Birthday, Jesus cake).

Christmas is an a great time for our family.  This year was the first one where we were able to celebrate with our Honeybee as a legal (official) member of the family.  No worries about pictures that my mother couldn't take because of confidentiality agreements.  No plans for social worker visits.  No.  This time we just enjoyed spending time with each other.

We started with Christmas Eve.  Every year FatherWinter's family has their annual Christmas Eve fellowship.  There's tons of food, gift exchanges, and fun memories.  This year, because NanaWinter is ill, we decided to host the event at our home.  Enter 24 people, massive amounts of food, special memories for NanaWinter, and a great time that didn't end until 3AM Christmas morning!



FatherWinter and I still had gifts to wrap, so we were up for another two hours wrapping and placing gifts.  It was a great time, but meant we were exhausted.  No one moved until 10AM Christmas morning.

I like to do Christmas brunch.  So I made our Baked French Toast Casserole, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Cinnamon Rolls.  A really great meal but I felt a little twinge in my stomach that was a foreboding of things to come.

Fast forward to 3PM and we still hadn't opened gifts.  To his credit, Superbug was very patient.  He knew there had to be a good reason.  He was right.  A bit later Superbug's birth father, FatherPharoah came to visit.  For the record, I love his visits.  They are a testament that blended families do work.

FatherPharoah came and he and FatherWinter embraced.  We all chit chatted, caught up on life, and then began opening gifts so that FatherPharoah could be present for all the gift unwrapping.  I think that's an important time and Superbug was so pleased to have him there.  Then Superbug gave FatherPharoah a gift he'd purchased for him (thinking he would mail it to him).  As always, his timing was perfect  FatherPharoah loved the gift Superbug gave him.

After gifts were opened, we invited FatherPharaoh to go downstairs and have a yummy meal from the feast leftovers.  The fellas then played a few games and then it was time for FatherPharaoh to visit other family members.





Christmas and Honest conversations

Merry belated Chistmas!  I've been trying to get to this blog for a couple of days now, but it has been nonstop and crazy here.  First, we hosted my husband's family's Annual Christmas Eve fellowship.  It was wonderful.  Twenty-four people, tons of food, gifts for S.'s mom who is currently fighting a terminal illness (but she's fighting and we are fighting with her), and great conversation.  Unfortunately, it wasn't over until 3AM and S. and I hadn't wrapped gifts yet.  So, for the next two hours, we wrapped and placed gifts under the Christmas tree.  There weren't a ton, but the wrapping was pretty extensive lol.  S. and I didn't lie down until 5 and the family didn't move until 9:30 AM.
I did our traditional Christmas brunch and we waited until afternoon when other family members stopped by before we opened gifts.  It was a great time...until the virus hit.


I got hit by a massive stomach virus that had it coming from both ends.  I recognized it as the same virus that had hit my hairdresser's home about two weeks ago.  She told me they'd been around someone with the same two week prior.  Made sense with the whole two week incubation period.

I was pretty weak and only just started taking crackers and water this afternoon. It was also this afternoon that my husband and I had some earnest and honest conversations.

It started with our talking about how successful the Christmas Eve party was and somehow we got on the subject of pregnancies.  Don't ask me how.  We usually don't discuss them.  But this time we had honest conversations about how many pregnancy announcements there have been since S. and I have started out #TTC journey.  In almost four years, we've had literally hundreds including simultaneous announcements of two sisters.  This Christmas we've seen the birth announcements of two friends who delivered on Christmas Eve.  Last week I was informed a colleague is expecting at 5 months.  She's skinnier than a twig lol.  It's something to be sure.

There have been tears, angry moments where I cried in showers and parking lots.  There have also been countless celebrations for the same persons.  We've genuinely been excited and happy for the announcers, but it didn't take away from the pain that we weren't conceiving.

S. said one simple phrase and it made me feel better.  He simply said, "One day it will be our turn". That meant a lot to me because we never address the elephant in the room.  We don't talk about it.  We just keep hoping and praying that God is going to let this month be our month.  We held that attitude for our IUI.  We were disappointed, but not defeated.  It will happen.

S. even talked about how we would announce our pregnancy.  He wants to have a party and announce it there.  I wouldn't mind that.  I hope we can do it soon though.  I don't think another four years is feasible.

For now, we're working on TTC naturally until we can figure out where we can find 20K for an IVF treatment.  Sigh....why does it cost so much to become a parent.  And why do insurance companies now cover abortions but not fertility treatments.  Sigh, that's a subject for a different day.

Have a great evening.  Merry belated Christmas.  Happy Holidays.

I understand...

Since starting this TTC journey, I have found so much comfort in the shared stories of other families walking the same path.  Some, like me, are facing secondary infertility.  The unexpected difficulty in conceiving hit hard and the perceived slight that some in the community offer as if secondary infertility isn't "real" infertility has been a shared sentiment.  In other cases, also like mine, the culprit seem seems to lie with the males.  Test results showed abnormal counts, abnormal shapes, or abnormal movement. Then there were PCOS cases, unexplained fertility cases, endometriosis cases, and so many more.

Somewhere in all of the diagnoses and all of the treatments, this secret society was born.  #TTC or trying to conceive sisters were born.  Women who knew the struggle of daily blood draws and hormone injections.  Women who fought the battle of baby envy and baby-related event withdrawal. They just didn't speak to each other.  The kept their stories to themselves.  Sometimes it was a feeling of shame, of failure.  Sometimes it was a perception of embarrassment.  Whatever the reason, it was a silent cry that repeated itself over and over again.  But that's starting to change.

A couple of days ago, a beautiful woman whom I have never met shared a video on her social media account of another beautiful woman who was also trying to conceive.  This woman had a strong following in the social media world.  Her grace and character was felt in every post.  But this post was different.  This post was a letter of pure, open, raw, and unadulterated honesty.  It spoke of her pain and journey with infertility.  Her emotions.  Her pain.  She was effectively "coming out".  More than that, she was becoming a beacon of light for so many.

That woman will never know how many lives she has impacted by being open, honest, and transparent.  She will never know how many people are so appreciative for her stepping into the public eye and sharing something that so many others think should remain private.  This woman spoke eloquently of her experiences with infertility and I am so glad she did.

I knew she understood.  I knew she wouldn't judge me for crying at a pregnant belly or sobbing in the shower after multiple pregnancy announcements.  I knew she wouldn't give me a side eye for peeing on multiple sticks on multiple days.  She would understand.

That's one of the reasons I started writing this blog.  I wanted to do something similar.  I wanted people who have the desire to read to know that they are no alone.  Someone else is with them, supporting them, hoping for them.  Someone else cares.

And today I need the support of the #TTC community more than ever.  Today, S. and I have had to face the sobering reality that an IVF is not financially feasible at this time.  A recent company acquisition by a new buyer has found my husband and his department without employment.  He's been there for over 8 years and has made some very close friendships.  A testament to his heart, he is more worried about his colleagues than himself.  Of course the timing sucks.

We were looking into financing options for the IVF as other options were exhausted.  Unfortunately, without employment, everything must stop even though I am still gainfully employed and there are other sources of income available.  So, I have to call the RE on Monday to cancel our upcoming appointment unless something changes between now and next month.

We won't stop trying to conceive.  Never that.  But, at least for now, we'll continue trying to do things the old-fashioned way.

Have a great evening.
-K

How did I miss my appointment?!

I am so very frustrated!  I walked into the office this morning and noticed I had a missed call on my work phone.  It was the number to our fertility clinic.  I wondered to myself why they would call me except to discuss finance options for the planned IVF and suddenly had a thought.  I pulled up my online family calendar and there it was, plain as day.  S. and I had missed our follow-up appointment with our doctor.

How in the world did that I happen?  I am so serious.  I'm meticulous about things related to this fertility journey.  I am actually anxious to get as much preliminary stuff out of the way as possible because I know that there are several weeks of birth control pills that I must take first before we get into the core things associated with the IVF.  At least that is what my nurse said when I spoke to her last.

S. had a ton of questions prepared.  I had even more questions on my end.  So, you can imagine my frustration in knowing that I simply forgot that I had the appointment on yesterday. I mixed my days up.  Some how, I realized the appointment was the 15th, but didn't realized that yesterday was the 15th.

Ughhhhhhh.  This has just been that kind of week all around.  So, I called the office today and tried to lock on another appointment, but it is on Christmas Eve.  You could tell the receptionist didn't want to schedule one on that day and I didn't want to attend one on that day either, but it was the only time available.  So, I scheduled it anyway.  THEN, when I went to pick up our daughter from daycare this PM, I realized that they would be closed on that day and I certainly can't bring her to the office with me.  I feel like that's being more than a little insensitive.  And I don't want to bring anyone any pain at all.

Here's hoping everything works out well and in a very quick fashion.

I will talk to you all soon.

-K.

Moving forward

It's been a few days since I've written.  I've had a few emotions to get through.  I don't know if it's hormonal residuals or cycle induced extra, but whatever it is; it's driving me crazy.  I read a infertility related post recently that said every failed infertility attempt was like getting through the grieving process all over again.  Maybe that's it.  Maybe I've been grieving.


After I took the HPT for my first IUI and received the negative result, I already told myself that it wasn't really negative.  It was just too soon.  I rationalize.  I convinced myself that I should have taken the test with morning urine and not afternoon.  I had a thousand excuses.  Then, I quickly went to anger...and on to bargaining..and then the depression.  I've managed to go full cycle with accepting that IUI#1 was a failure.  What I was not expecting was the wave of emotions that followed.

This past weekend, my family and I attended a work function.  It was a very nice event, well catered, well entertained, and very enjoyable.  When I walked in, I was introduced to a young woman who was very pregnant.  I felt giddy.  Seriously, I can't explain that one.  I was so immensely happy for this woman whom I'd never met before.  She and her husband explained that they were having child number three.  I remember just feeling really excited for this family, and that was just odd for me because I am not one to randomly cheese (smile) and go haywire. Nor am I one to get extremely excited over strangers with burgeoning bellies.

Fast forward to today and my emotions were all over the place.  I woke up and didn't want to go into the office.  I didn't want to deal with anyone.  I just wanted to be left alone.  I knew my cycle was still on, but it was just about over (TMI).  So my hormones should not be this bad, but they are.  I got to work this morning to emails that just sent me in a sour mood.  I went to a meeting that I was not scheduled to attend where I was designated to complete a task I wasn't scheduled to complete.

When I went home, I was well aware that my mood was not exactly the best.  I was frustrated and short-tempered...unintentionally so.  My son said "Mommy, you're cranky.  You sound frustrated".  That made me feel like the worst person in the world because I never want anyone in my family to feel like they are a bother or frustration to me, especially not my little ones.  Then S. called with a needed "favor" and I ended up needing to leave the house to run an errand when I was limited on time.  I finally got everything done I was trying to do and made it back to the house only to leave immediately thereafter for choir rehearsal.

It was when I got to choir rehearsal that things took a crazy turn.  While in the middle of rehearsing a song, in walked one of my girlfriends with her beautiful pregnant belly that had to have grown by leaps and bounds this week.  In she walked and the moment I saw her belly, tears started falling.  I mean lots of tears and sobs and I was a mess.  We were fortunately in a song of worship so I was able to stop and get myself together, but oh my goodness.  What in the world is going on?!

I don't know if anyone else has experienced a crazy overboard of emotions after a medicated fertility cycle, but I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to what IVF #1 will bring if IUI#1 cooked this up.

Oh. my. goodness.

Have a great night.

-K.

IUI #1 =BFN

I received the call from my nurse. She didn’t even have to say anything. It was all in her voice. It was negative. Why does that word hurt so freaking much? Negative. You know, the Christian in me knows that my will isn’t always going to line up to God’s timing. I know that I’m simply going to have to accept that it wasn’t time. That doesn’t stop me from hurting right now. I’m so angry. I’m so hurt. I’m so emotional.

BFN!!!
And on top of that, the MOMENT she said negative my cramps kicked into overtime as if they were announcing that my cycle has ALWAYS been ready to go; I was just fooling myself to think otherwise. I…am..so..hurt. I haven’t even told S. yet. I don’t want to tell him that over the phone. I’m at work another few hours at least before I can go home AND I have class tonight. Who the blood clot wants to go to class after that? But I have to because I have finals. Ugh….And there is no one I can talk to, no one I cry on because as wonderful as S. is, he’s going to hold it in. That’s him. And none of our friends know we’re undergoing this procedure. Nor does our family. So, I get to stand beside my beautiful loved ones with their burgeoning bellies and deal. I feel like I shouldn’t be hurt. I feel like I’m being ungrateful because God has granted us two children. But…still….

I don’t need to write a long prose or long drawn out letter. The test came back and it’s negative. Let the eating of carbs and sweets begin.


5:29PM

Having had a bit of time to process the events of today, I still find that I'm hurt and disappointed.  I'm just thankful that S. is the man that he is.  We simply started discussing what our next steps would be.  We don't know yet.  We know that we have dialed our RE nurse and will be discussing IVF as an option tomorrow. That's so much more expensive that we even want to consider right now, but we have to try.  I just pray it works, whatever it is.

-K


Testing, testing 1, 2, 3...

Tomorrow S. and I will visit our RE’s office.  I will have my blood drawn and the nurses or doctor will inform S. and I if our first IUI was a success or a failure.  I don’t think I’ve been this nervous for a very long time.  I don’t even want to play the game of symptom checking any more.  I just want to know.

S. and I had a wonderful day yesterday.  He received a major honor in our community of faith.  We got to fellowship with friends and family afterwards.  It was wonderful.  But we were surrounded by beautiful pregnant bellies.  I laughed and smiled with them all while we shared memories of our pregnancies and they shared discoveries of new ones.  They asked when S. and I would have additional children.  Little do they know that we ask the same question silently to ourselves.  I really, really, really want to hear good news.  I’m told I still have to wait for a phone call just to let us know.  I hope not.  I don’t think I could stand waiting any more.  And remember, I’m still reeling from the BFN I received 11piui via the HPT (which was REALLY stupid of me to do).  I really, really want to be pregnant.  I want to see a light of pure joy in my husband's face and not the disappointment we've seen month after month when my cycle comes.  Here’s hoping tomorrow’s news will be wonderful.


Wait! What's going on?!

I hate this two week wait.  I wish I knew what was really going on with my body.  I am currently exhausted.  No.  Seriously, I am exhausted.  I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open.  I went to bed on time and had eight hours of sleep.  WHY am I so sleepy?  Could it be something positive?

I have to wait until Tuesday to know for sure, but could my exhaustion be pregnancy or is it just another cycle related symptom.

I am so tired.

Maybe I'm not out of this after all....

-K

11 days past IUI

Hello everyone. I posted a video update of the latest update in our fertility journey. Feel free to visit at https://youtu.be/l1gLFTaoQIo

Complete Reversal?

I kid you not this two week wait is going to drive me bonkers.  So, against better judgment, I took a HPT this morning and saw an infinitely faint positive line!  BUT it was so faint, I wasn't sure I'd seen anything at all really.

But now my body seems committed to the line.  I've been super tired all day.  I'm cranky.  I'm annoyed.  I'm nauseous.  I'm cramping.  I'm leaking extra wet cervical mucus.  This is crazy!

I haven't even told S. yet.  I'll keep it on the wraps for now, but oh my goodness!!!  HURRY UP!!!

Symptoms of a Big Fat Negative?

So, today is treatment cycle day 23 and 6 days past my IUI.  All week long, I've dealt with cramps and acne courtesy of the progesterone.  I also experienced a much higher level of fatigue than I am used to.  It seemed like I was ready for a nap as soon as I came near a bed...or a couch.  And then, came today.  I woke up and.....nothing.  No cramps.  No sore breasts.  No anything.  A little while later came my mood swing.  I suddenly found myself in a mood of annoyance toward my husband.  Not that he was doing anything.  It was more what he wasn't doing.  I recognized that it was a mood swing and maintained my composure, but at the same time felt a bit sad.  I'm about nine or ten days away from my cycle and the mood swings remind me of my PMS symptoms before its arrival.  I've noted that I haven't had sore breasts or cramps beyond the progesterone and I wonder....did this thing work?

Am I pregnant?  Or will I see a big fat negative (BFN) on the 8th.  I hope for the former.  I would really love to carry S.'s child.

This two week wait is starting to bring out the question in me.

TWW and cramps

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I had a great time here with S. and our family.  I started pecan pies on Wednesday evening and woke yesterday morning about 6AM to make sure I got the ribs and turkey on. Yep, ribs.  We like to have a lot of options.

I don't know if it was because I was moving around so much or if it was because my body is just doing what it wants, but I spent a good portion of yesterday and some of this morning with some pretty strong cramps. These cramps felt like impending period cramps, so of course I had the "well, guess this isn't going to work". I tried to maintain a positive mood for the rest of the day, but these cramps can't be ignored.

I don't know if I am cramping because of the progesterone suppositories or because my body is notifying me that the IUI didn't work.  I'm trying very hard not to dwell on it, but I keep thinking that if this doesn't work, we'll have to scrounge together high amount to go forward in an IUI or even higher for an IVF which our RE actually believes will work better.  But it's so expensive and not covered under insurance.

Sigh.  I hope this works.  Has anyone ever had cramps (bad ones) during their TWW after IUI and received a BFP after?  Your input would be greatly appreciated!

-K

Happy Thanksgiving!

From my family to yours, we would like to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is the finalization of our Honeybee's adoption!  We are eternally grateful to God for all that He has done!  May your day be richly and wonderfully blessed in all things good and wonderful.  We will return back to you soon!



Things they don't tell you 1dpiui

So today marks Cycle Day 17 and 1dpiui.  I decided to record a vlog to keep you up to date with my progress.  Feel free to ask questions or email me at younggiftedandinfertile@gmail.com.


https://youtu.be/5wht1MsjZ3g




Only 800k?....

So, today was the day.  Today S. and I went to the fertility specialist for our IUI.  It was a bit of a process.  The semen drop off was scheduled for ten this morning, but in our area traffic is horrid.  I was riding with the sample in my bosom hoping and praying that we'd get there in time for the sample to be used.  I called the office and told them we were in route, running about ten minutes behind schedule, and they didn't have a record of me!!!! WHAT?!!!!!

After talking for two more minutes, they told us to come in anyway since we were already in route and they had some records in their system for me.  When S. and I arrived, he dropped me off so I could rush in with the sample and he could park.  The office had appointment time available and told me to have a seat.  S. came in shortly after and it wasn't long before I dropped off his sample with the tech.

A few minutes later one of the nurses called us into the consult room and told us that S.'s sample was sub-optimal.  Optimum sperm counts should be at or above 5M after the sperm wash.  S.'s sample was 800K.  There was also confusion as the office had called to confirm our appointment on yesterday, only I never got the call.  Turned out they were dialing my work number and never dialed my cell phone which was listed as the number to use on weekends and after hours.  Because of this the office thought that I'd only taken my trigger shot on yesterday and would have to reschedule for the next day.  Once I told them that I actually trigger per my monitoring nurse's guidance on Saturday, they were ready to proceed.  However, they did let us know that it would be a very low percentage in conception.  Sigh.  We are just going to leave that up to God.  That being sad, I did feel a few tears in my eyes.  They didn't fall though.

We were sent back into the lobby for a few more minutes.  I actually took my work laptop out to keep my mind off the news we'd just received.  Shortly thereafter, the nurse called me back and we were prepping for the procedure.  I voided, went to the lobby and called S., and then returned to the room where I disrobed from waist down and sat on the table.

It was just like a usual pap smear exam.  They'd warmed the speculum which was so appreciated.  The certified mid-wife nurse (whom I wasn't expecting) was engaging and thorough.  She'd viewed my pics before hand and knew I had a tilted uterus.  I was nervous about that because I have read some horror stories about IUIs and tilted uteri, but it wasn't bad at all.  A bit of cramping (very minute) and two minutes later, we were done.  S. was great holding my hand while the procedure was done.  The nurses had me lie on my back for five minutes and then they left the room.  S. and I prayed afterwards that whatever God's will, we would be good and would move forward as directed.

It was a painless process for the most part.  The cramps felt like ovulation cramps, which I'd been experiencing all day, so I can't blame the IUI.  I got home and was able to continue to work from home before I was overwhelmed by the need to sleep.  So, I slept for about an hour and a half and then woke up to make chicken and rice enchiladas.

So, we are officially in our two week wait.  We're supposed to BD tonight and then I am to take progesterone vaginally twice a day from tomorrow until told to stop.  Test date is Dec 8.  I'll be sure to keep everyone updated.

Have a great day.
-K


Weekend Recap: National Adoption Day!

This weekend our family celebrated National Adoption Day with a wonderful ceremony honoring families in the county who had finalized their adoption this year.  I was very excited to be able to go.  We started off with a speaker in our city's courthouse and then took pictures with the judges and speakers.


Celebrating as a family
The kids had the opportunity to sit behind the bench.  Superbug thought it a good idea to appear super serious in the picture because "judges are serious".  I love this pic.  And btw, I didn't dress them alike on purpose :)

Afterwards, we took a trolley to a fellowship hall where we were greeted with cake and icecream.  On each of the tables were gingerbread homes that represented our new forever families.  Honeybee really enjoyed the cake and icecream.

Mmmmmm


Superbug and I worked on the gingerbread house and had a reporter from the local newspaper take our photo.  We didn't think anything of it until Ms. Care texted me this morning and told us that we were in the newspaper.




How awesome was that?!  We topped out National Adoption Day off with a potluck dinner at our church. It was a yummy food and wonderful fellowship.

It was a wonderful evening and I am so very thankful that we were able to spend the day together and celebrated so wonderfully. So thankful to be Mommy to my two special little people.

Have a great day.
-WinterMommy


And it's a go!

Sorry to hold you in suspense.  I really should have shared everything with you when I returned home, but it was a ridiculously busy day in my household.  Between errands and celebrations and birthday phone calls, and no sleep...yep, it was a day.

So, here's where we are.  I went in to the secondary location to have my blood drawn.  They then checked my follicle size.  The first one measured 18.7 which is great!  Our optimum number is 18, so we're above that.  We saw one more on the same right side which measured 19.  So, we were given the go ahead to proceed with the IUI!  

I took my trigger shot of Ovidrel (250ml) last night.  Amazing how much easier it was to administer it once I'd already tackled the Gonal-F injections earlier this week.  It took me less than 3 minutes to do it and most of that was making sure I'd cleaned the area and had the bandage for the pinprick.  

My DH and I enjoyed some one on one intimacy and are now prepping for an IUI on tomorrow.  I'm a bit nervous.  I certainly hope it works on the first try.  That would really be a great and wonderful gift.

Today, S. and I have just been spending some time together enjoying each other's company. Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day for sure.

Prayers and baby dust.
K


Do it again...

Sigh...well, I went to the RE's office to get my BW and US.  The follicles are growing, but growing slowly.  Extremely slowly...sigh.   The 15.5. had barely crossed 16.  The others were between 13-14.  Sigh.  That was disappointing.  I almost expected that because I hadn't been having the gnarly cramps that I usually have when I ovulate.  Even with the Gonal-F, my cycle has been fairly quiet.  Though all of this is new, especially since it's my first one.  Who knows what normal really is anymore.

My nurse told me that I will need to take another dosage of the Gonal-F tonight and then drive quite a ways away to get more BW and US tomorrow.  If we grow like we are hoping to, then our IUI will be Sunday morning.  If it doesn't, there's another order of Gonal-F to be made and another shot to take.

As I type, I take some of the cramping statement back.  I am currently experiencing an ovulation cramp.  Maybe tomorrow will be a good day after all.

Bloodwork and Ultrasound

So, I went in to my RE's office today for my blood work (BW) and Ultrasound (US) to see how my follies are doing after taking 4 daily doses of 50mg of Clomid and then one Gonal-F injection. My left side was pretty quiet ( a 6 and 3), but my right side was showing promise with one 15.5, one 11, and one 13. The doctor says optimum is 18 and it looks like the 15.5 will be the go to. She was pleased it was right side as my left tube showed a potential blockage on my HSG. I am to take another dose of the Gonal-F tonight and return for BW/US on Friday to see where we are. If everything is good to go, we're looking at a Sunday morning IUI.

Let's hope everything goes well.
-K



I just took my first Gonal-F shot

Warrior Woman!!! I am she!!  Lol.  Okay, okay.  It did take a bit of time to convince me to stick that needle into my stomach fat and then, after my husband contributed just by annoying me, I got it done. Honest reaction...felt like straight heat going in and then after I felt a level of nausea that lasted for about three minutes.

Now, I'm sitting here wondering if it is going to do whatever it is it is going to do.  For the record though...I still hurt.

The next step is to wait until the day after tomorrow when I go in for blood work and ultrasound.  I should know then if S. will be contributing a sample or will we have to go back to the drawing board.

I'll keep you posted.
-K

The Ovulation Wars: Love and Hate

It’s that time again. That time of the month where I go from sweet to near psychotic in seconds. Nope, not that time of the month. The other one. Ovulation. In my world of fluctuating hormones and infertility, the mere thought of ovulation is an annoyance to me.

Every month, it announces itself with a huge bout of nausea. I’m serious. Anything I smell or eat makes me dry heave. I feel nauseous all day long for several days before I actually release an egg. That symptom alone, well before any little pink stick, tells me that ovulation is near or occurring. I used to enjoy appreciate the symptoms because they let me know that it was a time to increase any intimate moments with my husband. Now, I can’t stand it. I have been monitoring my fertile cycle for three years. I know ovulation dates to a science. I can even tell which side is releasing an egg thanks to the ovulation cramps I receive. Still, in the three years of tracking, I have yet to conceive a child naturally. That’s okay because our family has been with the joy and love of our children H. and S.  Still, I often find myself asking God out loud, “what is the purpose of getting nauseous every month when there is no baby to contribute to the nausea?” I don’t know if I’ll ever understand God’s sense of humor on that, yet still I endure it monthly.

The thing that has me writing this post is the recent rapid surge and then rapid loss of libido. It’s driving me up a wall. I honestly imagine this is what adolescent males feel like. I sometimes find myself wanting physical intimacy all the time, for hours at a time. In my head, I’m so thankful I have a husband and that I get to go home to him to…well..um..talk intimately to him….only to have that feeling disappear the moment I walk through the door or before I even leave work in the evening. It’s frustrating! Not only for me, but I’m sure for other women who endure the same. Not to mention spouses of these women. How crazy must it be for them?


                                      My mantra during the particularly difficult days

Seriously, what the heck is going on with my body?! I've done some research and have found that my body is supposed to have a bit of a hyper sensualized response on days of ovulation, but this is far from a bit. I feel like I could bench press a bus. Everything is hypersensitive. Ears, skin. UGH! You would think this would be great in the world of trying to conceive. NOPE.

As I said, this has been going on for three years. I come home revved up and the moment I step out the car, the feeling leaves. Just like that…it’s gone. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? If I were a cursing woman, this would be where a series of them erupt I’m sure. I did go my doctor about it and it turns out my hormone levels have a tendency to regularly rise to levels six times beyond normal hormone ranges! Yep, six times! I’ve had to take progesterone creams as a balancer. Works for a while, then doesn’t. During ovulation times, my hormone levels spike even higher than my normal levels. Which leads to the...fun…moments. The mood swings.

With the increased hormones come increased libido, increased mood swings, frustration, and short temperament. That becomes a problem. I don’t mean to be short when I come home on these days, but I honestly just want to be left alone. I hate this season of the month. I honestly do. And explaining it to my husband is just not something that works. He thinks I’m making it up or it’s in my head. UGHHHHHHHHHH. My body hates me.

Oh, did I mention the pain? Yep, about the third day in, I get these really gnarly and painful cramps reminiscent of menstrual cramps on steroids. Always on one side. They alternate month to month and they hurt. I mean stop me in the middle of walking and make me catch a deep breath stop. What in the world?! The doctors says the egg is preparing to release or has released and that most women don’t even notice. Well, apparently, I’m not most women. It hurts!!

I usually take an Aleve and it goes away for a while, but it’s a constant for sure. I often wonder if my uterine cyst has anything to do with the pain, but since the pain only comes during ovulation and occasionally with menstruation and hasn’t grown, it remains.

By the end of the week, this cadre of symptoms will have disappeared. It will be as if it never was there until my menses actually arrive and we experience similar symptoms all over again. Wow.

Only this time, the painful cramps and mood swings just announce that once again I haven't conceived.

Sigh. Such is life right now I suppose. Today happens to be one of the days where I am okay with that. I know if God has that in the plans for my husband and I, we will see it. Today is a good day. Others...not so much.

So...here we are. I have been outrageously open and have shared my frustration of ovulation with fertility issues for the world. Why? Shouldn't that be private? On one hand, absolutely. What's in your home should remain there. On the other, why not be open. Someone else is going through the same things I am and feel like they are only person experiencing it. Maybe my sharing my story will be a help to someone else. I know I've been encouraged by women who walk similar paths as I in adoption and infertility. Perhaps this will bring a bit of peace for them.

Have a great evening.
-K
*Reprint from companion blog with author's permission

Thank you...


Weekend Recap: More than just a cause



I really wasn’t expecting this weekend to be as fun and memorable as it was. Truly, I wasn’t. I knew we had a few plans, but the outcome went above anything I could have imagined. When I arrived home on Friday, FatherWinter informed me that we would be getting up early the next morning to attend a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. I was less than thrilled and didn’t really want to go, but he mentioned it was co-sponsored by our church’s HIV/AIDS Ministry and I was in.                                        

We arrived at the event to be ushered into a cafeteria where a video was presented about HIV/AIDS in the community, prevention, and stigma associated with the diseases. I’m familiar with epidemic. I’ve lost family members to it and have been faithfully testing every year since college. What I wasn’t familiar with were the recent statistics in my area. DC ranks #1 in the nation for HIV/AIDS cases. VA ranks #2 and MD is #3. That’s a very sobering statistic. The county the tournament took place had the unpleasant distinction of being #2 in the state for new cases. Not great at all. I watched Superbug attentively listen to all that was presented and knew we would be having a discussion later.

After the video was over, we went to the gym and began the tournament. Our church has four teams because we had so many participants! That was awesome, BUT we weren’t as great as some of the other teams. Three were knocked out early. The latter team was knocked out in the championship battle. So, we came in second place, but had a great time participating! 

Didn't quite make it this time...
Photo credit: National Geographic/IndianaJonestheexhibition.com
After the event, we took a journey to the National Geographic Museum to visit the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology. FatherWinter and Superbug really enjoyed the exhibit as you faced interactive “walks” with movie and informational video clips on portable devices. Unfortunately, my device was malfunctioning and wouldn’t show any of the movie clips. It showed all of the informational clips though and I learned quite a bit including the origin of “thugs” and the history of the “Thugee” tribe made famous in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. My favorite part of the exhibit had to be the recreation of the Ark of the Covenant. I think I examined that most of all. When we’d completed our visit, we found temps dipping and stomachs rumbling. If you're in DC in the next couple of weeks, I highly recommend the visit.  It really was very educational but a lot of fun at the same time.


Yesterday was just the best day ever.  First, we got to hear Superbug sing. :)  Superbug hasn’t sung in the church choir since he was about four years old. He recently expressed an interest in doing so again and FatherWinter and I allowed it, after having a discussion about commitment and discipline. He did a great job and we were very proud of him. After he completed singing, the family went to the Family Fun event that Honeybee's adoption agency hosted.  We had such an enjoyable time.  

Honeybee, Superbug, and I enjoyed a hayride around a beautiful farm. FatherWinter couldn’t join because he is allergic to hay, but he was fine. While we were riding, he was parktaking of the yummy snacks and beverages in the greenhouse. The ride was a bit nippy but not uncomfortably so.  After it was over, we came to join FatherWinter and Honeybee found the cake to be her favorite thing there.  She spend the rest of her time trying to convince others to share their cake with her. :)



No cupcake is safe!!!! Lol 
Enjoying her own small piece


Superbug made a new friend and they spent the afternoon playing football until the sun’s rays began their descent. After farewells and pictures, the family loaded up and went to celebrate one more family event—an anniversary.

We spent time visiting with our brother and sister in law celebrating their 3rd wedding anniversary. While we didn't get to grab photos here, it was an enjoyable time and we were blessed to celebrate with them.

When we got home, we were so tired, everyone was out within 10 minutes of getting settled.  It was a wonderful weekend and we were very pleased to enjoy it as a family.  Next big event....we're going to try and hit Christmastown!!

Have a blessed evening!!
-WinterMommy

November has arrived...

Happy November! Without a doubt, this month is a very great one. It is a month of pure gratitude. I mean, Thanksgiving is one of the core holidays. It’s nothing short of being a month where, if no other time, you should carry a bit more thought about what you’ve been blessed with…and I’m not just talking materialistic.

It’s funny for me to think that a year ago I was sitting in a different office, in a different location, thinking long and hard about the upcoming legal proceedings for our Honeybee. Today, I’m thinking about how she will be running around and enjoying her cousins and lots of food in upcoming weeks. God is really a good God.

One of the things I didn’t focus on last year that seemed more than important to do so in this year was National Adoption Month. If you are unfamiliar with the month and its origins, I’ll be glad to share. According to Nationaladoptionday.org, “National Adoption Day is a collective, national effort to raise awareness of more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting for permanent and loving families. In 2014, approximately 4,500 youth in foster care were adopted by their forever families over the 15th annual National Adoption Day celebration”.

This year, FatherWinter, Superbug, Honeybee, and I are participating in a couple of National Adoption Month activities sponsored by Honeybee’s adoption agency. In a few weeks, we are planning to attend a Family Fun event with other adoptive families. I’m really looking forward to it. There is something I find heartwarming about being able to fellowship with other adoptive families who know some of what it is like to experience your world. They know about the thoughts on nature versus nurture. They know about the rude things some people say because they simply are ignorant to adoption. I am certainly looking forward to spending time with other families and maybe making a few new friends.

I'm looking forward to a lot of things this month.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas Tree Lighting.  Volunteerism.  Arts and Crafts.  This is going to be a great week!

-WinterMommy

Weekend Recap: #GHOE

I recently returned from my alma mater's college Homecoming.  It was a wonderful trip.  Since FatherWinter and Superbug had a men' retreat to attend, I decided to take Honeybee with me to enjoy her first #Greatest Homecoming on Earth aka #GHOE.

 Now understand, I haven't been to my alma mater's homecoming in about three years.  As much as Aggie Pride runs in my veins (not to mention my family) that seemed abysmal.  I refused to allow that to happen again, so I had my riding partner (aka Honeybee) strapped in and we were ready to go!!!  Once we arrived in sunny Greensboro, I had to let the mantra that has been that of all Aggies be known (See Above!).  And then, I made sure my riding partner was sufficiently attired...


Had to make a quick stop at the campus bookstore

Afterwards, I decided to take a tour of the yard and see how much things had changed.  Boy, had they ever.  The small and outdated Student Health Center was now a sleek and highly advanced technological building wonder with a new look and new location.

All shiny and new?!  Where is the brick outlay?
This used to have a road directly through it and the dorm was in front of the light post

That was fun and a great trip down memory lane.  To continue it, I decided to take Honeybee on a walk along the same hallowed halls that her Mommy once trod.  Can I tell you how much fun that was?!  I even ran into one of my favorite professors and told her how I actually use the skills I learned in college--both professionally and personally.  I'm so thankful to be an Aggie.





There were great memories in being a student here.  I met some very great and wonderful people.  I established some wonderful bonds and loved very hard while I was here.  There is always something great about coming home.

After I got my fill of walking around campus and strolling down memory lane, I decided to take Honeybee and I to catch up with some dear friends of mine who still live in the city.  I hadn't seen them since my wedding, so we were well overdue to catch up!    

 
My best friend and I 
Pictured is one of my best friends.  She was bridesmaid at my wedding, is godmother to my son, shares a friendship with me from that spans high school and college.  It's always great to see her.  It was her first time meeting Honeybee and she and her husband spoiled her rotten :).

I visited with she and her husband for a while and then Honeybee and I called it a night.  That drive took it out of me.  But, since my Honeybee was knocked out well before I was.  I was able to sit and have a evening night cap.

College buddies!!!

Evening night cap...

Trust, I very rarely get this opportunity.  But I sat down, watched mindless dribble on television, and savored the quiet until the next morning's festivities, starting with getting my riding partner ready! 


In her blue and gold.  Future AGGIE!

We got together with the college buddies and spent the rest of the day finding great food, wonderful friends, and enjoying an amazing fellowship!

Smiling for the camera!

A #GHOE must!  Fried fish platter

You're looking at 20+ years of friendship right here!  Middle school to college. God is good!

She's all about kisses for the camera.


All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  I enjoyed the friendship, loved the fellowship, and LOVED all the food.  AND knocked off an item from our Fall Checklist!  Tailgating!!!  Woohoo!!!

Hopefully, next time I'll be able to take Superbug with me.  I'm sure he'll enjoy it!

Here's hoping you have a great evening.  We'll talk to you soon!

-WinterMommy

And the verdict is....

Sperm.   Today S. and I met with our RE for her diagnostic of all of the bloodwork and medical tests.  

We started with S's specimen analysis.  Not good.  S.'s first specimen (done about a year ago with our Ob/Gyn) count revealed 5 million when the normal range is a minimum of 15 million. This time, his sperm count was 2 million.  Yep.  2..million....sigh....  His motility was good.  Over 50% were strong swimmers and that made me feel a bit better.  But there was a high number of abnormal sperm.  Sigh, S.'s assignment was to schedule a follow-up appointment with a fertility urologist.

My tests came out fine.  Everything was normal and I was good to go with proof of ovulation, follicular stimulation, and overall health.  Our RE discussed options and actually thought we would be a much better candidate for IVF than IUI.  But IVF is NOT inexpensive and we wanted to at least try the option.

We were happy that our RE agreed and we started moving forward with plans to begin our very first cycle of IUI.  I take the injection class in a week or so and we're kind of in a holding pattern until Aunt Flo (AF) decides to visit.  So, let the wait begin.  

We are officially prepping for an IUI!

-K.

#ENDALZ



Saturday, our family continued the tradition that we have observed for the past four years.  On Oct 17th, we walked to end Alzheimer's.  This cruel disease has marked itself in my family over and over and over again.  I've seen family members who raised me suddenly not remember my name.  I have seen them forget to eat, to walk, to talk.  I've watched them deteriorate and watched muscles atrophy.  Then, when I thought that my heart wouldn't take any more, I watched them smile, have an amazing moment of lucidity, and soon after return to Heaven to meet God there.

When my great-grandmother was diagnosed, I was convinced she wouldn't deteriorate rapidly.  This was a strong woman.  She was the backbone for everything and everyone.  There was no way this disease would claim her.  But this disease did what it does best--destroyed--and soon, she was internal to herself.  I started walking for a cure then.
The reason I walk...

Saturday morning, we all donned our purple and drove an hour away to stand in freezing temperatures and walk with others who shared our plight.  We were late arriving this year and I missed the annual trek to the table to collect the colored flowers to reflect the loss of my great-grandmother and the fight that my relatives are currently enduring.  I was heartbroken about that. This is a ritual we've done as a family over and over again, one that never gets old.  One that I hated I would miss out on.

We'd arrived just as the walk began.  FatherWinter, Superburg, and I hustled in line with the other walkers and began the pilgrimage that is our walk.  Three miles later, we crossed the pavilions steps signaling another successfully completed walk.  I was certain Mama was in Heaven aware that we were still walking every year just for her.  May it one day not be necessary to walk at all.

A sea of purple all supporting an awesome cause
The social media campaign for the walk asked why do I walk.  I walk for this moment.  I walk for my great-grandmother.  I walk for my great-aunts.  I walk for children and grandchildren.  I walk so that they won't have to.  I walk to show my son so that he knows the importance of this movement.  I walk because one day there will be a cure and I want to know that the steps I made contributed in some small way.

#ENDALZ is so much more than a social media hashtag.  It's my war cry.  It will be song well until the walk is over.  Let's find a cure.



Recap: It's Fall, Ya'll

Wow!  I haven't written in a bit.  Truthfully, it's been a bit busy around here.  Nothing we can't handle, but busy nonetheless.  We missed this weekend's recap and with this crazy schedule, I decided to just take some time and share it today for my very own #ThrowbackThursday.


This past Monday, Superbug, Honeybee, and I decided to spend the day checking off items on our Fall Bucket List.  Since it was a beautiful Fall day and everyone was free, we decided to continue our Fall Festival tradition at a new locale.  It's our local pumpkin patch.

1.  Visit the pumpkin patch.

It was a wonderful time.   Annually, Superbug and I head to a pumpkin patch about 90 minutes away from us.  This year, I decided to try out a pumpkin patch about 30 minutes away.  It's a bit smaller, but the fun was still an enjoyable experience.



Since it was a new location, we peeked at the map and decided to head over to the big kid tractors for Superbug to ride.  He had a bit of a struggle riding up the hill, but it was worth it to see him ride around the track and flash that huge grin.


Afterwards, we decided to mosey over to the "Egg" trip.  The kids had a pseudo paintball field with soft "eggs".  Superbug's eyes lit up and he begged me to let him try it.  After ensuring it was safe (all participants wore safety goggles) and got the prep speech, I let him in.  Yep.  Thrilled.

Ready to roll...
After Superbug enjoyed the field, he and I decided it was time to let Honeybee get out and enjoy the farm as well.  There was a mini corn maze just for little ones.  I took Honeybee out of her stroller and she couldn't wait to try it out with big brother's backing.

Off to explore..
Don't let the picture fool you.  The corn maze was very small and the perfect height for She enjoyed it for a while and then was ready for something a little different.  That's when we decided it was time to go to the pumpkin patch.  There was a really cute tractor with hay bales as seats.  We hopped on board and enjoyed a nice ride to the land of pumpkins.





After we finished our pumpkin perusal, we went back to the main portion of the farm for some time in the "Fun Barn" complete with swings and lots of hay.  We spent a few minutes playing in the hay and then it was time to make one more pumpkin catch pass for a favorite Fall tradition...KETTLE KORN!!!!  


I bought a medium sized bag as FatherWinter isn't a huge fan of the treat (gasp!  I know!!).  By the time we got home, I was talking myself out of turning around for another bag.  It was a yummy time!
By the time the day was over, we were exhausted.  But I was so very, very happy to check the boxes off the checklist.

Checklist items Slain today:
1.  Visit the pumpkin patch
2.  Go through a corn maze
3.  Go on a hayride