Monday, June 30, 2008

Retrieval is Wednesday!

Well we are here in Lubbock and have been here since Sunday. We decided it would be better if we just went ahead and stayed here for the 3-4 days we would have to be here in a row. I had an appointment yesterday and another one today. We have eaten lots of good food, went to see the movie Get Smart and done a little shopping while we have been here. It has really been nice not to have to drive back and forth the last two days. Dr. Dorsett did my sonogram today and she said it was obvious I was ready- I have several very large follicles. She told me my ovaries were probably 3 times their normal size and let me just say I can tell. I am very bloated/swollen in my lower abdomen and I have to go to the bathroom like every hour because my ginormous ovaries are pushing on my bladder. I have also found that driving over speed bumps is not a very pleasant experience. The tendernous in my abdomen has pretty much gone away though so I am sleeping a lot better at night. I am finding that I need at least one nap a day and we aren't talking a 30 minute power nap but more like a 2 hour marathon nap. They have scheduled my retrieval for Wednesday morning at 11:00am. I will take my last shot for a few days tonight at midnight and then go in tomorrow for bloodwork at noon. Then we will head back to Abilene to get in one more acupuncture session before the retrieval. We will spend the night at home tomorrow night and check on the dogs- hopefully they have not been keeping the neighbors up barking at night. We'll head back to Lubbock Wednesday morning for the retrieval and will come home that afternoon or evening. Last round it took me about 5 hours to get up from the retrieval. They put me to sleep for that and that was my first experience with anesthesia and it seems it knocks me out pretty good. I'll probably be in bed most of the day Thursday recovering and I will probably post an update that day- by then we should know how many embryos we have to start with. Please pray for lots of healthy and mature eggs and sperm. Please also continue to pray for safe travel, peace, patience and hope. We have definately felt your prayers already!

Friday, June 27, 2008

On the Road Again

This has been such a busy week I haven’t had a chance to post an update so I’m finally making time to do that. Tuesday I made the trip to Lubbock by myself. Justin is taking a Conflict Resolution class all week so I lost my travelling partner for the week. It was actually kind of nice to just crank up the music and sing along and enjoy the time to myself. They did a sonogram to see how my follicles were developing. In case you don’t know ovaries have several follicles in them of which usually only one releases an egg each month. The follicle that is growing the most is typically the follicle with an egg. However in my case since I’m taking shots to help me produce more eggs I have several follicles that are growing. Each appointment I have been going to is to measure the size of the larger follicles to be sure they are growing and they watch for them to reach a certain size before they go in and retrieve the eggs. My sonogram showed that I had several follicles that were growing as they should be. They also did some bloodwork and found that my Estrogen levels were going a little crazy so they took down the dosage on one of my shots. Thursday I had to make another trip to Lubbock and so my mom went with me. My acupuncture session was scheduled for Thursday as well so we had to make a very early appointment on Thursday. Mom was a real trooper in getting up so early. It is so nice to have her and the rest of my family here to go through all of this with us. We left my house a little before 6am and arrived in Lubbock right at 8:30am for my appointment. We only had to wait about 5 minutes to get in this time and they did another sonogram and more bloodwork and again found that my follicles were continuing to grow and my Estrogen levels were continuing to climb. I told Justin as much as my Estrogen levels are increasing I’m surprised I haven’t been anymore difficult to live with than I have. After the appointment we hopped back in the car and rushed back home so I could make it to my acupuncture session. When I arrived for my appointment the acupuncturist asked me how things had gone at my doctors appointment that day and then she asked me if Justin and I had a church family. I told her yes and she asked if they were praying for us and I told her yes we have lots of family and friends praying for us. She said well I have been praying for you two everyday as well. I thought that was really neat to know that this woman who had only met us once had been praying for us. It really is overwhelming and awing to me to know how many people there are praying with us through this journey. Justin and I both really cherish those prayers. We head back to Lubbock tomorrow for another check up and will drive back tomorrow so we can make it to a wedding. We will probably be going back again either on Sunday or Monday and staying in Lubbock until the night before the retrieval. We will come back to Abilene for another acupuncture treatment the night before our retrieval which at this point will most likely be either Wednesday or Thursday. By this time next we will most likely know how many embryos we have to start with of course they usually don’t all make it to the final stage. Today is the first day I have started to feel swollen and bloated from my rapidly growing ovaries. They are also feeling very tender today. Fortunately it is summer so I can wear sundresses everyday because anything with a waste band on it does not feel very good. Please continue to pray for us as we travel and as I start feeling less like myself. Please also continue to pray for hope, peace, rest and strength.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Justin's Summer Project

Justin has been very busy this summer. Besides the trips to Lubbock he has undertaken another big project. He has been painting the exterior of our house. He has just about finished the front of the house and it is really a transformation! I love it! He is an artist and is very meticulous about his work so this project has taken a lot more time than either of us had expected it would however I know when it is complete it will be worth all the work. I have to show off his work so below are some before and after photos. He really is quite the handyman!



First Night of Shots Down

I have continued to take it pretty easy this past week and I have to say I'm really enjoying this new pace of life. I tend to be a person that has something scheduled and planned for almost every minute of every day so this change of pace has really nice. Thursday I had one of the best massages I've ever had and went home and went to bed a little early. Friday I had taken the afternoon off work so I went to a Body Flow class at the gym which was incredibly relaxing and a good workout at the same time. Then I picked up a smoothie and headed to a friends pool where I laid on a raft in the pool for a couple of hours listening to beautiful music on my ipod. Justin went with me and studied for his pricipal's exam. I told him floating in the water and soaking up some sun while listening to great music felt as close to heaven to me as I can get here on earth. After that I went with my friend Jill for a pedicure which my feet were in desperate need of. After that Justin and I babysat while Jill and her hubby went to a birthday party. I got to rock baby Caroline to sleep. I sat and rocked her for quite a while and sang her all the lullabies my mom used to sing me plus a few other songs I added to the list. She was so sweet she just sat there staring up at me and cooing every now and then. Those are the moments I long for with my own baby. Yesterday I spent the day with my sister and nephew while Justin took his principal's exam- we went shopping and we played outside and we went to a neighborhood block party. It has been a great week!

We also got the first night of shots over with last night. It was actually a pretty comedic night. My nephew Keller was at the house so I asked him if he could hold my hand while Justin gave me some shots in my tummy. He immediately said do you have a baby in your belly. I told him no but that is what the shots were helping us try to do. He laid in the bed with me while Justin prepared the shots and I had the heating pad on my tummy. He told me all about the shots the doctor had given him. When Justin came in the room he looked at me with a very nervous smile and grabbed my hand. As Justin gave me the first shot his eyes got very big and were glued on what Justin was doing. I told him not to look at the shots but to look at me and tell me a story. He got all the way through "Once upon a time" when Justin started the third and final shot which is sort of a noisy shot that makes a lot of clicking noises when you push it in and he immediately stopped talking and looked over at my belly with the widest eyes. I couldn't help it and I started laughing so the shot came out and Justin had to put it back in. Needless to say I have a pretty bruise from that today. As soon as Justin was done with the shots Keller said you got a baby in your belly now? It was so cute! He told me he hoped it was a boy. We were telling him that one day when he has a cousin if it is a girl her name would be Ava Kate. A little while later I asked him if he remembered what the girls name would be and he said Ava Kata. Justin and I both laughed and said well you can call her that if you want to. I have to say having him there to provide some comic relief really helped me relax and the first night of shots was a breeze. We head to Lubbock Tuesday for a sonogram and bloodwork to see how things are progressing.

While I am much more relaxed this go round I find that I am also more doubtful. I think part of it is me trying to guard myself because I don't want to feel the pain I felt last time when we were not pregnant. I keep reminding myself that my God is a God for whom nothing is impossible. I know that God gave me this deep longing for a child because he longs to give me a child in His time and His way. So please pray for hope not in the doctors, not in the shots or the procedures but in my God who loves me more than I'll ever be able to comprehend. And please pray for patience something I have had to learn a lot about the last four years and that does not come naturally to me at all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lots of Needles

Well I have heard from a couple of people that they were disappointed to find that I had not posted an update after our appointment yesterday so hear it is. We made the exciting drive to Lubbock yesterday. The nurse did a sonogram and found that I have no cysts so we can proceed as planned. Yeah! She also went ahead and did bloodwork and went over meds so we could save a tank of gas and not have to go back again Thursday. Our next appointment will be next Tuesday. I stopped taking birth control yesterday and took my first shot and I don't have to take anymore until Saturday which is when I'll begin the fun 3 shots a night. Actually Justin got to be quite the pro at giving me shots and by the end they really weren't too painful at all. I have also decided that to reward myself each evening after my shots I will end the night with a relaxing bubble bath. I went to the store tonight and picked out some new bubble bath scents after we took my nephew to see the movie Kung Fu Panda. I'm pretty sure it was the first movie he has ever sat all the way through in a theater. He was so funny- he hasn't quite learned that you don't talk when you are at the movies.

Today was another day of needles. Justin and I experienced our first acupuncture sessions today. I have to say I was a little nervous about the whole thing seeing as how in the past needles have had a tendency to make me faint however I did survive all those shots and blood draws in our last round of IVF so I figured I would be okay. I would say the consensus is that it is generally a painless procedure. There were a few spots that were a little more tender than others but overall it was not painful. I had my session first so Justin got to come in and see me looking like a giant pin cushion. He didn't get the full effect though because I was covered in a giant piece of foil which is referred to as a space blanket. It was actually very warm. The acupuncturist was a really neat woman who has seen dramatic benefits of acupuncture in herself as well as in a few of her family members. I had no idea how many different symptoms acupuncture can help relieve. By the end of the session I definitely felt much more relaxed and had a hard time even taking notes in a meeting when I returned to work this afternoon. Beverly said we often confuse being tired with being relaxed because so many of us don't know how to relax. I think I was definitely relaxed when I left. If you've ever considered it or even if you haven't you really ought to give it a try. If the needle phobe can do it I think anyone can.

Tonight we ended the night with a walk through the neighborhood. I love walking in our neighborhood. We almost always see someone out in their yard or out walking that we know. I love to look at all of the pretty landscaping and houses. It is such a nice way to end the day. It is nice to walk together too. A lot of the times I'll walk with girlfriends but the last two nights Justin and I have walked together and it is nice to get that time away together enjoying being outside and getting a little exercise. I am really enjoying slowing down a little and taking it a little easier on myself both physically and mentally. I just really feel like I'm right where I need to be right now and I'm enjoying that feeling and the peace that comes with it. This week you can be praying for continued peace and rest.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Peace and Hope

Well all of my meds arrived today and that may sound rather uneventful to you but to me that was huge! Our last round of IVF it took me and the nurse spending 2-3 hours a day for about 2 weeks on the phone with the insurance company and the pharmacy to get the meds here the day before I needed them. It was rather eventful and quite stressful so now you understand why having them arrive today almost 2 weeks before I even need them was very exciting. And I didn't have to make any phone calls to my insurance company or the pharmacy. Last time my nurse, Kristen, and I felt like we were best friends because we talked to each other multiple times a day every single day. While I do love Kristen and can't say enough about how wonderful and compassionate she is I am glad we didn't have to go through all of that again and I know she is too. Wow that is one thing that I really can't say enough about- the staff at Dr. Dorsett's office is absolutely amazing! These nurses tell you to call them night or day and they mean it. They even give you their cell phone numbers. They hand wrote us a note telling us how excited they were that we had decided to come back and try another round of IVF. You just don't find healthcare like that very often. Today I did call Kristen to tell her my meds had all arrived and she said well you are off to a great start this round. I had not really realized it until she said it. If I think back to my state of mind last time around at this time I was a total basket case. I was so stressed out about dealing with the insurance company and the pharmacy. I really didn't know what I was about to go through so I was fearing the unknown. We had to worry about road conditions everytime we got ready to travel to Lubbock. Justin was teaching so he couldn't take off to go to all of my appointments with me. Things are a lot different this time- I am so much more relaxed and at peace. Last time I think I was more hopeful in a sort of naive way and this time I am definately more guarded and realistic. I do know that God is a God of miracles and He can give us a baby anytime He wants to by any means but after the grieving I did when our last IVF was not successful I feel I have to keep a somewhat realistic perspective and know that God's plan is not always the same as ours in fact in my experience I've found it is rarely the same as mine. I sure am good at coming up with great reasons for why His plan should be the same as mine though and I often tell him all those reasons. Isn't it funny that we think He, the God of this entire universe, needs our advice? That's a little arrogant of us isn't it? One of the versus that I have clung to over the last four years of this journey is Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future." I will continue to cling to that verse and put my hope in God and His plan for our family. If any of you wonder how you can best pray for us right now I would say pray for continued peace, rest & hope.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Our 1st Appointment

I decided to start this separate blog just for our personal stuff instead of cluttering the cupcake blog with it. Instead of sending out email updates on our IVF cycle I decided to use the blog to give updates. I think writing about it all is sort of theraupeutic for me and I know lots of people want to know what is going on. You will quickly learn I am not a private or modest person so you may read more than you want to here- just warning you! Okay so we had our first appointment of this IVF cycle on Tuesday. The appointment was for an endometrial biopsy which is the procedure that was so painful that last time it caused me to pass out, scare Justin with my strange growling noises and nearly kick the doctor in the head all while unconscious. Needless to say I was pretty nervous about having to endure this again. The doctor is basically using a small tube to scrape out some of the lining of the uterus- doesn't sound very fun does it? Well this time I begged for drugs and thought I was going to get the good stuff but it seems when they gave me the good stuff for the egg retrieval last time it took me 5 hours to wake up so they decided to just give me valuum. Well that barely even phased me. Before we started the procedure the doctor and nurse jokingly said they would go and get their helmets. So Justin held both of my hands while she performed the procedure. I made it through without fainting or kicking anyone this time. However I did scream at the top of my lungs twice and then proceeded to beg and plead the doctor to stop. Just as I did she said okay we are done. While I was a little embarassed at all of the screaming I did I was also proud of myself for not fainting. When I went up front to check out the receptionist had a sheepish grin on her face and I said you could hear me screaming couldn't you. She very sweetly laughed and said oh it's okay honey. Now none of this was funny at the time but I have to tell you we have shared several laughs over this incident since then. I remember calling my mom after this procedure the first time and she was laughing so hard she nearly cried and when I called her Tuesday to tell her about this time I think I had her crying (not sad tears) again. Who ever knew this process could be so humorous?

Last night I started doing some research on things you can do to increase the likelihood of success in IVF and I found a lot of good information. Acupuncture was mentioned repeatedly so me the girl with the needle phobe is going to give it a go. I figure the more we can do to increase our chances of success the better. I also learned that my strenuous exercise habits probably haven't been helping things either. I read on several different sites that women who excercise more than 4 hours in a week decrease their chance of success in IVF by 40%. I also read that a high protein, high fat diet can help you produce higher quality eggs and sugar, carbs and caffeine should be avoided. So there you go I now have an excuse to eat bacon and steak everyday and come home and sit on the couch and catch up on all my favorite shows at night! No but really I think I will cut back on my exercise and look for less strenuous forms of exercise and give the diet a go as well. It is amazing how many things can impact your fertility. I feel like researching this stuff could be a full time job. If anyone out there has any pointers I'm open to trying just about anything.

So what's next you say? Well I stay on birth control for another couple of weeks and then we go back to Lubbock on the 16th so they can check to be sure I don't have any cysts. If I'm clear then I go off the pill and will start taking my shots that week. Oh boy I do love those shots! Well I guess that is all I have to say about all of that for now. Please do continue to pray for us as we travel and wait to see what happens. Keep checking here for the latest in the baby Jarrett journey.