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

HSG

Well, it's done.  Today was the day of the Hysterosalpingogram (HSG).  I have to tell you that I was beyond nervous about this thing.  I mean I scoured the Internet, had conversations with people who have undergone the procedure, and I was just plain nervous.

Our nurse A. has already warned reminded me that I would not want to eat for several hours before hand and, more importantly, that I should take 600mg of ibuprofen about 30 minutes before my procedure.  So, I quickly went to the local drug store (because of course I forgot mine) and then hightailed it to another state to get my HSG done.

I actually arrived to my appointment with a couple of minutes to spare and found myself texting S. to let him know how nervous and scared I was.  Unfortunately for me, he didn't get the text as he was away from his phone and so I went into the office building scared, nervous, and feeling alone. :(

When I arrived within the office walls, I met another young woman also preparing for her HSG. Apparently, it was the day for them at the facility we were visiting.  We were both equally nervous and in casual conversation about what to expect, I mentioned the ibuprofen.  That turned out to be not so great a conversation piece as the young woman was reminded her of the same instructions that she'd received from her nurse.  Unfortunately, she'd forgotten to heed them and wondered if it would hurt.  I couldn't answer for her, but hoped it wouldn't be too uncomfortable for her.  It may sound funny to say, but a bit comforting to know that someone else was there going through what I was going through.

Soon enough my name was called and I was invited to go into the back for the weight and height check. I was then directed to a little room where I waited for a couple of minutes before a very nice nurse came and escorted me to another room where I was asked to disrobe and change into a hospital gown with the bottom out and then have a seat on the exam table. I was given privacy for the chaging and then, after dressing, it was time.
It was very similar to a regular Pap smear.  I was told to bring my feet up into a "frog leg" position. Then, the doctor prepared the speculum to have access to cervix.  She told me that she going to insert a catheter through my cervix opening into my uterus.  As she was "exploring", she discovered I had a tilted uterus and made mention that mine would be just a bit uncomfortable and that I would feel a pinch.

I absolutely did and a very small cramp as she let me know she was releasing the dye.  They let me adjust to the small cramp and then continued the procedure.  It was done in less than five minutes. The doctors went over the results that she saw right there with me.  My right fallopian tube didn't seem to flow all the way, but the doctor believed it was a kink and not because of a blockage.  Everything else was completely normal.

The doctor told me she was forwarding my results to my nurse and RE and that I was free to go after changing.  The time from walking into the facility to walking out was less than 30 minutes.  I was amazed.  When I got out of the procedure, I called S. and left a voicemail telling him that everything went well.  Then, I went back to work.  Yep, no cramping or anything.  I just went back to the office and to a meeting no less.

I would have the following recommendation for the procedure for those who have never done one before.

1.  Make sure you take 600mg of ibuprofen 30 minutes before the procedure.  I spoke to two people who had not done so and their procedures were very uncomfortable.

2.  If given the option between morning or afternoon, I recommend the afternoon.  The location where my HSG was performed is in an area where rush hour can make or break it.  I made great time in the afternoon, but having to do the same in morning would have been awful.

3.  Have a pack of crackers and a ginger ale or juice to settle your stomach once you get to your car.  You're already going to be hungry from fasting and your body isn't exactly in love with the dye.  You may feel queasy.  I felt it a tiny bit.  The crackers definitely help.

4.  Keep positive.  I almost psyched myself out with the nervous and pain thoughts.  In the end, the check-in took longer than the actual procedure.  I was fine.

Now, is the wait.  We'll be seeing the RE soon and we'll soon have our first step forward.  Woohoo!

-K






.

Follow-up week

It's been an interesting time since our start on this fertility journey.  Monday, S. made the all important specimen drop with about minutes to spare.  Why so close?  He had to traverse the region's traffic and construction cones to get to his drop point, but he made it and that's what counted.

Previous to his drop off, I'd given blood for the diagnostic tests.  If my memory serves, my blood was tested for uteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), AMH, prolactin, testosterone (T), progesterone (P4), 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP), thyroxin (T4), thyroid stimulating. I promise I'm going to look those up at some juncture because everyone of those sound like Greek to me.  S. swears the phlebotomists took four vials, but it was only two for me.

I went back in to the RE's office for a transvaginal ultrasound for the doctors to view my uterine cavity and ovaries.  I've had ultrasounds before, but this was the first one I've had where I was on my cycle. Yes, you actually have your cycle and have a wand covered with a lubricated condom inserted  vaginally so doctors can get a clear picture of what exactly your body is doing.

Mine appeared to be functioning well.  I had several large size follicles (that I later learned were an indication of impending ovulation) that were the appropriate sizes for releasing an egg.  The sonographer was very pleasant and, despite my having a tilted uterus, didn't cause me much discomfort at all.  The entire appointment for my ultrasound and blood work appointment was less than 15 minutes.  They are so efficient!

So now I'm in a waiting game until next week where I attend my HSG.  I am more than a little nervous about that one.  I'm told they [the sonographers/nurses] shoot die in your tubes and it can be painful.  Even the nurse warned me to make sure I take some pain meds before hand.  Yikes!!!

I hope we come up with great answers about conception when all of this is done.  But it is most certainly worth it!




Weekend Recap: Rainy Day Errands/QT Time

Hi everyone!

This weekend has been really wonderful despite a major shake up in plans.  Originally, I'd planned on taking Honeybee and Superbug down to my family home in North Carolina for the weekend. Superbug hadn't seen his paternal grandmother in a while and none of my family has seen Honeybee since early Spring. This would have been the perfect time for them to see her since the adoption was finalized. But then this happened....

Photo credit:  Foxcarolina.com

In addition to the nastily forecast storm, our area was already quite inundated with high levels of rain. States were declaring states of emergency.  Some businesses were shutting down.  Outdoor events were being cancelled.  I watched the weather patterns all week and, after listening to the flood warnings in NC, decided it was better to be safe than sorry.  So, I cancelled the trip.

Photo credits: http://on.mash.to/1OeDoqv; Tumblr, daydreaming-through-life
Fortunately, the NC family understood as they were also reluctant for us to travel with the threat of bad weather.  We'll try it again next weekend.  

When I woke Saturday morning, the weather was a steady drizzle and teeth chattering cold.  After some conversation with FatherWinter, we decided it was safe enough for the family to make the decision to venture out to pick up Honeybee's new birth certificate. Insert all sorts of butterflies here.

We arrived to the office of vital stats in order to get the new birth certificate.  We had the final order of adoption with the certified seal making the adoption official.  We had our IDs to secure the birth certificate.  The only problem was the office had not yet been informed of her adoption.  (Say what, now?) Yep, the stories that can only occur with out Honeybee occurred again.  It seems that despite the judge signing the order two weeks ago and the circuit clerk certifying it a week later, a formal notification had not yet been sent to the office responsible for the issuing of new certificates.  And, by law, the courts don't have to send it for another 2-4 weeks!!  Our Honeybee needs to be added to our insurance by a certain number of days or she is without medical coverage, not to mention her records need to be updated everywhere. But here was the first step in that process notifying us that they'd not yet been informed of the adoption.  Sigh.  I was frustrated.  The lady assisting us suggested that we give her our only official copy of the final order of adoption and they would put it in her file and seal it.  The only thing is we need the official copy to amend her Social Security.  Sigh...

Stuff like this seems to support the stats placing our state ranks in the lower end of adoption friendly/expedient states.  After an in house discussion, FatherWinter and I ended up giving them our only official copy of the adoption order to be sealed away with the knowledge that we will have to order another official certified copy on Monday for our records.  Sigh...oh, and we can't complete the SS application without it.  Sigh ..Okay.  At least we know have a birth certificate with all of Honeybee's info sitting side by side with ours.  There was something so great about seeing FatherWinter's name and mine above our Honeybee's.  It just made it more real. 

After making a singular stop to allow Honeybee a new accessory, we stopped off for some lunch and family time.

Celebrating her birth certificate and ear piercings with water and cheese sticks

Watching family videos.
We sat down for a while enjoying each other's company and then returned to the house where everyone collapsed in exhaustion.  Several hours later, everyone awoke and decided to reheat leftovers while I called the family in NC to see how everyone was faring in the weather.  There was definitely some dangerous flood waters going on in the local area, but thankfully the family was okay.

Today was a continuation of the same.  We rose early for church, had a hearty breakfast, and then heard a wonderful sermon at service.  Once church was over, we were able to spend a bit of time with some of the in laws before returning home and enjoying each other's company.

FatherWinter and I stayed in the bedroom discussing what we'd been learning in our Bible Institute classes.  Can I tell you there is something so wonderful about being able to have conversation about biblical meanings and scriptures with someone who doesn't look at you as weird.  Several hours later, the kids are nestled in their beds.  FatherWinter is resting in our bed and I am enjoying a few moments of alone time before I join him.

I am hoping your weekend was just as calm and enjoyable as ours.  Please keep the city of Charleston and the state of SC in your prayers as they deal with massive flooding.  I saw pictures today that made me so sad.  I was just in Charleston.  I can only imagine what they are experiencing.

Have a pleasant night and a blessed weekend.

-WinterMommy

Honeybee is officially OUR Honeybee!!!

It’s official! Honeybee’s adoption is final!!! Oh my goodness! The joy that I feel. The love, the humility, the gratitude. GOD IS SO GREAT, SO AWESOME, SO WONDERFUL!

Much like everything else in our Honeybee’s journey to forever, even her finalization had a twist. I was sitting at work when I received an email from Ms. Care, Honeybee’s former social worker (I love typing that). She sent us a notification that the final adoption order had recently been signed BUT our lawyer only received an empty envelope from the court on Saturday. Ms. Care had hoped we’d received something, but we had not. So, we were in a crazy holding pattern of learning whether or not Honeybee’s adoption really was finalized because no one had seen the actual document. Still, I got a bit misty eyed in hope. That evening when I got home, FatherWinter and I discussed it, but decided not to tell anyone it was official until someone had official documentation. Fast forward to the next day when scanned copy of the order was sent to us via email, but even this wasn’t exactly official because it didn’t have the certified seal on the document that would allow the acquisition of new documents. And then, it happened…about two hours later Ms. Care wrote that the official copy had been received in the foster offices, that she could officially declare “Honeybee’s adoption as FINAL”. YAY!!!!

I was so excited. Still, because we didn’t have the document in our possession, so it wasn’t until the agency displayed their forever-family graphic announcing a new forever family had been joined that I finally let the feeling of excitement truly wash over me. It’s funny. Of all the words, scans, and assurances, it was THAT which made me teary eyed. I proceeded to contact FatherWinter and then my mother and send a small email to a couple of family members who have been praying for us since the very beginning. And after this email was sent, I released this simple post…


And I now do the same on this place, this blog space.  Our Honeybee is officially OUR Honeybee.  God be praised for His goodness and mercy. (Please be on the lookout for my follow on post as I write to Honeybee’s birth mother.  It is not lost on me at all that our celebration can still bring a place of pain to her and it should certainly never be taken for granted.)