Thursday, July 24, 2014

TTC Thursday: Consultation

On July 14th I went to a new clinic for a consultation. It's a nurse run facility that operates under the orders of your doctor, as an extension of their office. The reason for this is to give infertility patients a more comfortable setting than an OBGYN's office (because that is where most people start out). Because it is a small practice, they are able to devote a lot of time to their patients, walking them through how to use different medications and what various procedures are like. They also have tons of resources for stress management, counseling, acupuncture and chiropractic care, fitness, nutrition...you name it.

I was referred to the clinic by Chris' cousin and his wife. She gushed about this place. Absolutely loved them, even though it turned out that she needed more aggressive treatment for her issues and had to move on to a different clinic.

The nurse I met with was wonderful. She went through all of my charts and test results with a fine tooth comb, asking tons of questions about our lifestyle, stress levels, etc.

She gave me the information about a practice that she works with, and instructed me to set up an appointment with one of the doctors. She told me that I would work out a plan and direction with them and that the clinic would actually carry it out.

She also gave me her opinion on what might be the issue, depending on what the doctor finds at my appointment.

An issue of transportation. Meaning that although Chris' count is high (possibly too high, which is causing the bpys to not work efficiently) and I'm ovulating fairly well (though she wants to do more bloodwork and possibly an ultrasound to confirm), it's just not connecting for some reason. At least, not regularly.

If that's the case, we may be looking at doing an IUI sooner rather than later. Probably unmedicated, but that depends on what my new bloodwork looks like.

Of course,  none of this is set in stone. The doctor might find something else entirely.

I'm a little nervous about this step. I had really high hopes last time and found myself disappointed. I don't want to get too committed to this idea yet. But at the same time, I feel like we are headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Saying Goodbye

There's so much to say and I don't really know where to start with all of it.

The last two weeks have been really hard and really long. And now things are starting to get back to normal. A new normal.

My Grandpa passed away on July 14th. The week before he had been in the hospital and moved to a hospice facility. Most of our family was able to spend some time with him and say goodbye, which we are all so thankful for. Chris and I said our goodbyes the day before he passed, and I was able to hear him say "I love you" one last time. I will always be thankful that I had that opportunity.

We laid him to rest on July 17th in the town where he was born, grew up and married my Grandma. He rests beside his parents. My brothers and cousins were the pallbearers. Watching them was the second hardest moment of the day. The first was when they closed the casket. Seeing him in the casket wasn't as difficult as watching them close it.

But there were good moments too.

The first was when our parents gathered all of my siblings and cousins into a small room so that we could be reintroduced to my Grandpa's sister-in-law. We got abandoned pretty quickly and we laughed, realizing that we were all together in one room. Alone. Unsupervised, which has never happened before. It's been a very long time since we have all been together and we're all grown up now. Or pretty well on our way.

The second was when we all got together to take a picture and the boys kept cutting up and not cooperating. Somehow we got a great picture.

The last was playing Pit later the nigh of the funeral. If you've never played it, it's a stock trading game where you pick a commodity (wheat, barley, rice, etc) and blindly trade trying to get a full hand of that one commodity before someone else closes the pit. You also don't want to get caught with the livestock--the bull or the bear. Let's just say that the game dissolved into corruption and black market deals. It was pretty hilarious, and fitting because my Grandpa always tried to pull that nonsense!

Another great thing was going through pictures. I did most of it, but instead of making me upset, it was a really joyful experience. I saw my Grandpa's life lived in (mostly) color right in front of me. I saw his sense of humor, skill as a fisherman and musician, and his love for his family pour out of those boxes. It was beautiful, really. I felt like he was right there the whole time, so how could that make me sad?

And how could I be sad looking around at my family, the living legacy and testament to the kind of man he was? I look at that picture of us, and I see pieces of him in each one of us. I will always miss my Grandpa, but I see how he lives on. And that helps.






Thursday, July 10, 2014

TTC Thursday: Losing

In the years that we have been TTC we have come up against all sorts of comments and situations that really just hurt. It's pretty standard that holidays don't feel the same, questions about having kids make us prickly, and first birthday parties and baby showers are especially difficult. Let's not even talk about our birthdays (and feeling like we're getting old!) and Mother's Day or Father's Day.

One scenario that I have never encountered, or even anticipated, is the loss of a grandparent as we are TTC. It hasn't happened yet, but it will. My grandfather has been fighting cancer for two years and is reaching the point where they need to talk about things like discontinuing treatment, hospice, and funeral plots. It's hard. We live a little over three hours away. There's enough distance that it's easy to forget what's happening and life has been hectic enough that it is hard to get away for a visit.

A few weeks ago I drove up with my dad and two siblings. My sister had a college orientation and my brother was just along for the ride. The morning we were driving up my grandpa was admitted to the hospital for a lung infection so we went straight there before taking my sister to the college for a test and to check in with the financial aid office. I knew it wasn't going to be good, but it overwhelmed me. I felt hot, light-headed, a little nauseous. I had to step out--and once I did I just crumbled. I called my mom and cried into the phone as I gave her an update. My dad came out and hugged me as I talked to my mom and sobbed.

"I wanted him to see my babies"

I knew that my grandpa wasn't going to die right then. But I also knew in that moment that he probably will not get to see my children. Or even know that they're coming, from how things are going. And it just broke my heart. I love my grandpa. No matter how old I am I will always be his "doo-bug". He is the reason that I love history and going to historical places. He's the reason that I look at a historic district and see beyond the cute shops and boutiques. He's the reason that Chris picked Charleston for our honeymoon, sweated his butt off walking around Washington DC with me, and navigated the terrible driving conditions of St. Thomas so that I could see the historic sites on the island. My grandpa planted that seed. The love and appreciation for our history. And not just our history as a whole, our history. The boxes of old photos, the scrapbooks and heirlooms. I've spent hours looking through them.

I bought him this journal from Paper Source and gave it to him at the hospital after he had started feeling better. He loved it! He seemed excited to have a place to write his stories and about his family. I plan on getting the matching Grandma's journal for both my grandma and Chris' grandma.  I want to preserve the stories that I grew up hearing and keep them so that I can tell my babies what their great grandpa was like.

In the weeks since that visit, we have gotten a lot of mixed news about my Grandpa's condition and we know that it's likely that he won't be with us much longer. We have a family trip planned for a weekend coming up soon so that all the grandkids can be with him--we haven't all been together for a long time! I'm looking forward to it, hoping like crazy that I have good news to share. But I'm also sad because I know it's going to be an emotional visit and I know that chances are it will be one of the last times we see him. It breaks my heart that this is happening now, because I'm not ready. I'm sad for my future babies, because my grandpa is a great man and I wish that they could know him. I'm sad for my sister, because she doesn't think that he will get to meet her second baby girl either, and because my niece won't remember him. He's been a part of my life for 25 years. I can't even begin to think about what life will be like without him in it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TTC Thursday: Second Opinion

This month will be 8 months since I started using Creighton and 6 months since seeing my NaPro doctor for the first time! In that time I have done 4 consecutive cycles on the HCG treatment and am now (hopefully) on to my fifth.

This cycle has been the most frustrating one to date. On the heels of the very disappointing arrival of AF, I realized that I was out of a good portion of my supplements (the ones that boost CM). I decided not to order anything yet for a couple of reasons--I didn't want to go to the trouble of ordering them only to have them show up too late to be effective and I'm not sure what will happen at my consultation on the 14th! I don't want to spend the money on supplements if I'm not going to keep taking them. I opted to just take what I had left...only I didn't take them because life just got a little crazy and I was not focused on TTC at all! At this point I'm on CD 18 with no positive OPK (I've had a couple almost-positives the last couple of days but nothing definitive), no temp shift and the good CM has pretty much gone away. So it's shaping up to be my longest cycle ever. Or shortest, I suppose, if I ovulated super early and missed it. Either way, it's frustrating.

Fortunately, there is something to look forward to regardless of what happens with this cycle! On July 14th I have an appointment with a clinic that has come very highly recommended to me and I can't wait! (It's super weird, by the way, that I'm all excited about something like a doctor's appointment.) I'm not sure what exactly will be accomplished on the 14th, but I'm looking forward to hearing someone else's opinion on our situation.

I've been reading a lot about NaPro and it's roots in the teachings of the Catholic Church and the more I learn, the less I feel like it is a good fit. It's not that I totally disagree with everything (although I do have quite a few issues!) but I'm starting to feel like my options with my current doctor will be very limited. And I don't want limited because of a religion. If there is a physical reason that my options are limited, fine. But I don't want to be limited by beliefs that I don't share.

I feel a little bit silly saying that, since I was so excited about NaPro before. But you live and learn, I suppose. And learn I have! I truly didn't realize how much the beliefs of the Catholic Church define the practices of NaPro doctors. And if you hold those same beliefs it works out well. But we just don't! You wouldn't think that religion and science would be so intertwined but they definitely are!

I sought out support groups to help me navigate the NaPro experience, and I did find some--but I felt really out of place because I'm not Catholic and about 95% of the conversations involved the Catholic teaching on this or that. And by this or that, I mean everything from how to get a sample for a semen analysis, to the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy, to dealing with the day to day frustrations of infertility. I learned a lot, and I realized the number of ways that I disagree with those teachings. And it confirmed that I needed to get a second opinion from a conventional doctor--a specialist.

I had let that fall to the back burner when I got some pregnancy news that was totally unexpected. And frankly, it was like a kick in the gut. And then...I got the second half of the news about a half hour later. It was like the universe went "HA! Just kidding!" It left me feeling stunned, relieved (and yet feeling terrible that I felt like that!) and absolutely convinced that enough was enough. I called the clinic and left a message about setting up a consultation. They called me back the very next morning--a Saturday!--and set up the appointment. Took a little of my history, asked questions about my current treatment, and it was done. Chris is even interested to see what they have to say!

So for now, we are just waiting to see what happens with this cycle and get to the consultation. I'm so glad that I was able to get in quickly and I'm hoping that my cycle nonsense doesn't cause a problem for any reason. In the meantime, 4th of July is just around the corner, my great aunt is moving out of state, a good friend is home for the holiday, our anniversary is coming up...all ways to stay busy between now and the 14th! 


{Currently}

Managing Missing Thinking Creating Looking

This week I have been managing the craziness. We have had a hectic month and I don't see it being boring any time soon! I'm missing our routine though! Being busy is fun and exciting but dang it can get to be exhausting!

Lately I've been thinking about our anniversary and how we should celebrate! It will be six years on the 12th and we were thinking about going to a winery that has a link to Chris' family because he's never been there! We haven't decided for sure yet but we're working on it!

Creating has obviously been on my mind a lot, what with TTC and all, but I've been wanting to create some rituals and routines in our life that we can keep up with no matter how busy we are. Eating breakfast together and nighttime tea are two things that we've been doing unofficially that I might make a standard.

And of course I am looking forward to this weekend! We have a lot on our agenda--truck pull tonight with some friends, a BBQ and fireworks tomorrow, a seafood boil and fireworks on Saturday and...well, Sunday will most likely involve recovery! Possibly floating around in the pool nursing headaches. I'm also looking forward to this cycle finally making sense, but more on that later!

Happy Fourth!

As always, stop over at Harvesting Kale and Ot & Et to link up!




Thursday, June 26, 2014

TTC Thursday: One of Those Months

The last month has been really busy for us. I feel like I'm always running anymore! As a result, I have been horrible at all things TTC related. Forgetting to temp, forgetting to chart anything, letting myself run out of supplements and supplies, forgetting to reorder my hcg...

It's not all bad. I mean, the month is flying by and I haven't noticed. I'm not preoccupied with TTC and I'm just focusing on living life. That's not to say that all of life is fantastic--there's difficult stuff happening with both of our families. But it's life. And there are a lot of good things happening too. A new friendship, we've been on vacation, I've been able to spend time with my family dealing with the difficult stuff, I am loving my garden...Chris' birthday is tomorrow, our anniversary and my birthday are next month. We are getting a second opinion soon too.

So...it's good. Even with the difficult things going on. I'm not taking a break either, which may or may not cause me some stress later on when I'm trying to figure out when to start my shots. But for now this is okay. And I'll take it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Playing Catch Up

I just realized that I haven't really blogged in a long time. Life has gotten in the way big time lately!

The last two or three weeks have just been crazy. We went on vacation, came back and hosted a baby shower 3 days later (with an appropriate amount of family drama!), I had a Monday night Father's Day date with my dad...followed by a somewhat last minute road trip to visit my grandparents and get my sister to college orientation...and then we did a bunch of work outside on Saturday and then crashed at the lake with my aunt enjoying the perfect floating conditions. And getting slightly sunburnt. Oh! And in the middle of all that, there's drama with our niece's mom and my BIL and we're all just waiting to see what happens with that. Whew. And I have so much to do this week because Chris' birthday is Friday and then this weekend we are going to an annual family party. More floating, sunburns and beer. Hopefully no drama. Hopefully just a whole lot of fun.

Oh! And did I mention that I have an appointment booked with a new clinic? No I didn't. Well, I finished up my 4th unsuccessful cycle on HCG. Technically it was my fifth cycle, since I did one and then took a break before the last four cycles. So because of that, I decided that I don't want to wait on the second opinion anymore.

The idea of exploratory surgery has been hanging over my head since we started with my current doctor and I'm just not convinced that it's the way we need to go. I mean, the way NaPro works is that they look at your charts, match it to the type it looks like in a huge medical book and then go by the protocol for that type of chart. I'm concerned that there isn't a lot of "outside the box" thinking, or wiggle room. I've spoken to someone who has endometriosis and has had that surgery at least once and she told me that it should be a last resort. I also know that for others it's no big deal. But it's still surgery and I am not getting a good feeling about doing that.

The person I spoke with about the surgery recommended the clinic that I called and I have to say that I'm already impressed because they called me on Saturday morning to schedule my appointment, less than 24 hours after I called and left a message. I fully expected to get a call on Monday! The lady I spoke to was wonderful and big on making it as easy as possible. Low stress is how they operate, and if at any time we feel overwhelmed or not ready to take a step, that is totally okay and we can back off. And...AND! My appointment is July 14th. Under a month away! I was expecting to get in maybe at the end of July or beginning of August.

So there's that. Chris is actually totally for this consultation and I am excited to hear what they have to say.

Other than that...life is just really busy right now and as crazy as it can be, I love it!

Have a great week everyone!