Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Infertility Journey - Part 4

When we last left off, we were ending the Year of Fun a bit earlier than expected and decided to give the whole baby making thing another try.  We were able to schedule an appointment with Dr. S fairly quickly and get the ball rolling agian. 
We met with Dr. S in November 2011 to discuss what our next steps were.  He said the surgery had great odds of being successful.  It was still going to have to be covered out of pocket, but we could fight it with insurance and he'd be behind us 100%.  Once we figured out our payment options and how we were going to make this thing work,we got the surgery scheduled for early February 2012.  We also decided to go ahead and do a tissue harvest this time just in case it wasn't able to be repaired.  If that were the case, we'd have testicular tissue to be able to do IVF with ICSI.
The surgery was a success!  Dr. S was able to totally repair the right side.  The left side was too far gone to be able to fix, but we just needed one side.  He was very excited with the results and we left the surgical center (it was a same day procedure) in good spirits.  B spent the weekend icing his manly bits and resting up. 
The plan was to have a SA (semen analysis) 2 months post op to see how things were progressing.  Dr. S warned us that it could take up to a year to see any sperm in an SA following this type of procedure.  His first post op SA was in April 2012.  It was great.  The numbers were still lower than normal, but there were definitely sperm in there!  In fact, there were enough for me to be able to go back to Dr. M and get my process started again!  (I'll post that in part 5 since my stuff is fairly involved.)  Since the numbers were less than "normal", Dr. S wanted a follow up SA in 2 more months.  So, in June, off we went again.  This time was not good.  It was bad.  There were like maybe 2 sperm in the SA.  And, those were dead.  They were not forward moving at all.  We were crushed.  Devestated.  Had the surgery not worked after all?  Had B scarred back up again?  We didn't know what to do, but we knew we couldn't afford to pay for another uncovered surgery.  We went to see Dr. S and he was just as upset as us.  He said it could be a fluke, it could be an infection, it could be scarring.  There's really no way to know.  His first line of defense was to do a "drug cocktail" as he put it.  It was an anti inflammatory, an antibiotic, and a steroid.  B was to take it for 10 days.  I made sure he took that stuff like it was his job.  It appeared to work.  His follow up SA was amazing!  His numbers were through the roof fantastic. I cried when I saw the results.  It was just so amazing!
He's had to continue to do follow up visits just to make sure nothing else goes wrong.  So far, so good.

Next up - my treatments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

20 Weeks

Guess who doesn't have a picture yet again this week!  This blogger!  We were out of town for Thanksgiving and I had a horrible migraine yesterday so I looked like a hot mess and was not going to have photographic evidence of it.  I swear I'll get better!!

How far along? 20 Weeks 3 Days

Size of baby:  A banana!  This week starts measuring from head to toe instead of head to rump

Total weight gain/loss: I think I'm around 7.  I enjoyed Thanksgiving a little too much!

Maternity clothes:  Still yes and still glorious!
Gender:  Sweet little BOY!!! 

Movement: Still not much.  B can't wait to feel him move and keeps his hands on my belly all the time
Sleep: Getting a bit better.  I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees and that has done wonders.
What I miss:  Nothing really this week

Cravings:  Still nothing.  Darn!  :)

Best moment this past week: Going home this week and seeing my family and meeting my sweet nephew C.  And, friends and family got to see the bump in person!
Symptoms: Dry stuffy nose.
What I'm looking forward to: Relaxing.  We've been going and going, I'm excited to just take it easy!

Milestones: He's developing taste buds and swollowing lots of amniotic fluid, which will help in digestion once he's born
Mood: Happy happy happy

Signs of labor? No way! 

Wedding rings on or off? Still on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

19 Weeks

I was a slacker again this week and didn't take a picture.  With B's grandfather's funeral and all the family time, we just couldn't fit one it.  I swear next week I'll be better!!

How far along? 19 Weeks 3 Days

Size of baby:  It depends on which app I'm using, this week he's been compared to a mango or an heirloom tomato

Total weight gain/loss: about 4 or 5.  I did see that from this point on I'm supposed to gain a pound a week though.

Maternity clothes:  Yep!  And, they're still glorious!  I'm finally starting to fill out my maternity shirts which is cool

Gender:  Sweet little BOY!!! 

Movement: The flutters are becoming more frequent, I think.  I'm also pretty sure he kicked Hippo in the head the other day when she was resting it on my belly.  And the sibling rivalry begins!

Sleep: Not great.  I can't get comfortable and I wake up several times a night.  No bueno.

What I miss:  Sushi. Mmmmmmmm

Cravings:  Still nothing.  I wish I did though so I could say I had these really weird cravings.
Best moment this past week: B putting together the crib.  So sweet he wanted to do it solo for his little guy

Symptoms: Uncomfortable sleep.  Ugh.

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing my family this week for Thanksgiving. 

Milestones: He's learning his sleep patterns this week.  Hopefully he develops good ones!

Mood: Happy happy happy

Signs of labor? No way!  We still have 20.5 weeks, so he needs to hang out in there for quite some time!

Wedding rings on or off? On!

Friday, November 16, 2012

5 For Friday!

I missed last weeks 5 for Friday post since I was busy getting nursery stuff done with my momma.  So, here's this weeks!

1. I'm thankful I got to have B's grandfather in my life for 4.5 years.  He passed away yesterday and he was truely one of the sweetest, most kind people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.  I feel truly blessed to have been a part of his family.

2. I get to go home next week and meet my sweet nephew Carson!!!  And, get to love on his brother, my other sweet nephew Mason.  I just love those boys and can't wait to hug them to pieces!!!

3. The nursery is coming right along and that makes me VERY happy.  It's nice to finally be able to get stuff done and not just be in the planning stages.

This is the color we painted it - Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

4. The sun is finally out today!!  All week long the weather has been cold and grey and wet.  Thank goodness the sun is finally out!!

This has been me, all week long

5. Starbucks is doing 2 for 1 between 2 and 5 for the next few days.  I see a decaf peppermint mocha in my future this afternoon!!!!


Have a great weekend everyone!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Our Infertility Journey - Part 3

I left you guys hanging with good news.  Well, the good news was B produces sperm!  Hooray!!!  That means, that if nothing else, we can do IVF to get pregnant.  Dr. S said this was great news.  He then said that the next step would be yet another surgery to do an exploration to see if he find what the hold up was and if he could fix it.  This seemed like a fairly easy surgery (said the girl not getting her delicate bits hacked into) so we decided to go ahead with scheduling it.  Welp, as usual, we hit a road block.  If you're following along, it's been one step forward two steps back for us the whole process.  Apparently insurance won't cover this procedure as it is coded as a vasectomy reversal and that's optional.  Don't you just love how insurance companies look at codes rather than what the actual surgery itself is?  Good stuff.  So, to have this surgery, it would set us back a mere $6,000.  You know, pocket change.  No biggie.  Except, it's the exact opposite of pocket change and it is a BIGGIE!  It's a HUGIE!
So, we decided to just cool off for a bit and decide what to do.  During this cooling off period, we went out of town for our first anniversary.  We had a great weekend back at the place we got married.  One day, we were enjoying afternoon beers on a great outdoor patio and realized we were on the same page.  We were exhausted, sad, and just plain worn out.  We'd only been married for a year (and, only together for 3 years total at that point) and we were ready to actually enjoy ourselves and our marriage.  We decided we were taking some time off!
That, my friends, began the Year of Fun.  We traveled, we went out, we just plain enjoyed ourselves.  We didn't think about TTC, infertility, sperm, surgeries, anything.  Honestly, it was the best thing we could have done.  For ourselves and for our marriage.  We gained so much perspective during that time.  I should also say that suring the YOF all the babies that had been conceived were being born and we just got to enjoy those sweet babies.  There was no sadness for myself or any pity parties to be had.  Just lots and lots of love for these precious little people coming into our lives.  And, my nephew?  Oh my gosh, I fel head over heels in love with that kid.  All the crap I felt when I first found out that he was coming was just that - crap.  He's the best little guy and his Auntie Candy loves him to pieces.
Well, as most things do, the YOF came to an end.  It ended up only being the 5 or 6 months of fun really.  We started the YOF in May 2011.  The following fall, B told me he was ready to start trying again.  The baby fever was back and in full force.  We discussed it and decided that mentally we were ready to give this whole thing another try.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

18 Weeks

Again, sorry this is late!  And, no picture again this week.  We (by we I mean my mom and husband!) painted the nursery so the sticky chalkboard I usually pose with hasn't been put back up yet.

How far along? 18 Weeks 3 Days

Size of baby:  a Sweet Potato - so 5.6 inches

Total weight gain/loss: I'm not really sure.  I haven't weighed myself in a while and I don't look at the doctor.  We'll go with a fe

Maternity clothes:  Still yes!  I'm noticing my pre-preggo shirts are getting a bit short, I may have to go to all maternity all the time soon

Gender:  Bouncing baby BOY!!! 

Movement: Still just some flutters here and there.  They are getting more and more frequent.  We did see him being quite the little acrobat on the ultrasound, so we know he's a mover

Sleep: Eh.  I've been waking up way too early and tossing and turning much more than normal

What I miss:  Not much this week.  What can't I eat?  Eggs.  GROSS

Cravings: Nothing really.  I just MUST have something once it sounds good

Best moment this past week: Seeing our little nugget again!  And confirming that it's a boy!

Symptoms: Still sinus stuff and my boobs are massive!

What I'm looking forward to: Getting the crib delivered and all set up

Milestones: He's growing and looking good!

Mood: Happy and healthy!

Signs of labor? No, thank God!  This little nugget still has plenty of cooking to do!!

Wedding rings on or off? On!

It's a......

So, I know this is a few days late, and I apologize PROFUSELY!!!!  But, my mom was in town and we were super duper busy getting some stuff done around the nursery.  And, what kind of nursery are we doing?  A nursery for a.......

We are very very excited!!!

Ok, truth time... we've known since about 14 weeks that it was a boy.... yeah.....  Our moms were coming to this ultrasound, so we didn't want to spill the beans so it'd be a surprise to them.  We're so sneaky!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ABC's of ME!

This is a new blog and some of you may not know me, so I thought I'd do a fun little survey for you to get to know me.  Here we go!

A. Age: 29.  Ugh.
B. Bed size: King and it is glorious!
C. Chore you dislike: Sweeping/Swiffering.  We have 2 dogs and hardwood floors.  You do the math.
D. Dogs: 2 - 8 year old King Charles Spaniel (mix) Finn and 3 year old Boxer/Beagle mix Hippo
E. Essential start to your day: Hitting the snooze button at least twice.  Then checking emails/Facebook
F. Favorite colors: Pink, green, and grey
G. Gold or silver: Both!  My wedding rings are white gold, so I tend to wear a lot of silver, but my watch has gold in it, so I like to mix it up.
H. Height: 5’5’’
I. Instruments you play(ed): Violin, in the 5th grade.  I was not good.  I tried Piano once too.  Same result.
J. Job title: Client Services Specialist.  Not nearly as fun as it sounds.
K. Kids: One on the way!
L. Live: Apex, NC
M. Mom’s name: Karen
N. Nicknames: Princess, Babe, Candy (much to my dismay!)
O. Overnight hospital stays: Just being born.  And I guess I will be able to add giving birth soon.
P. Pet peeves: People who drive slow in the fast lane, hearing two noises at once (like having both the TV and the radio on),  people who don't accept other people's point of view while trying to shove theirs down your throat, clutter, people who are constantly late
Q. Quote from a movie: From "Mean Girls": That's so fetch.
R. Righty or lefty: Righty.
S. Siblings: 3 - 1 brother, 2 sisters
T. Time you wake up: Weekdays, either 6 or 6:30, weekends as late as I can
U. Underwear: Yes please
V. Vegetables you don’t like: Beets.  Ick
W. What makes you run late: Goofing off.  Or Brandon.  I like to blame him for stuff :)
X. X-rays you’ve had: teeth, various bones, my uterus/fallopian tubes
Y. Yummy food you make: Um, yeah, I don't really cook....but Brandon loves my green chile enchiladas
Z. Zoo animal you like: Monkeys. They're the best.  I used to want to own one when I was younger but my mom said they throw poop and would never let me have one.  Rude.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Infertility Journey - Pt. 3

So, when we last left off (before I clued you all in to what a jerk I can be), I had been referred to a specialist.  There are a lot of terms for a "fertility doctor, but the official term is Reproductive Endocrinologist, or RE.  I was referred to a local practice, Carolina Conceptions.  There are two in my city and this is just the one that my GYN at the time (I've since switched for geographical reasons) worked with.  Thank goodness.  From the get go, they were amazing to work with.  I called and was able to get an appointment much sooner than I thought.  I'm not really clear on the timing anymore, but I think I called in December 2010 and was able to get seen in mid January 2011.  Since I wasn't referred to a specific doctor, they put me with the first available doctor, Dr. Meyer.  I can not say enough good things about Dr. M.  He's amazing.  He's reassuring, knowledgeable, funny, and will tell you exactly what's going on without sugar coating it but also without being harsh.  I went to the appointment (B couldn't go, he'd just started a new job) armed with a list of questions.  Dr. M actually answered most of them in our conversation without me even having to ask.  We discussed options, testing, and next steps.  Since I had already tried oral meds, we decided to go with injectable ones next.  Possibly paired with timed interourse or possibly paired with intrauterine insemination (IUI).  But, before we even got there, we had some more tests to do.  First up, we tested my AMA, basically my ovarian reserve.  That was a simple blood test we were able to do that day.  Again with the bloodwork without me being able to metally prepare! Then, we scheduled a HSG, where they injected a dye into my utereus and fallopian tubes and x-rayed them to make sure there were no blockages.  We were able to get that scheduled super quick.  We also scheduled a semen analysis (SA) for B.  He was not too excited about that test, let me tell you.  But, spoiler alert, he'd learn to get used to them.
My AMA came back really high.  I was so unbelievably excited to get that result.  I was terrified that I would have none.  That level isn't really a bad thing.  And, it's honestly to be expected.  Since I don't ovulate on my own, I had basically been hoarding my eggs for 27 years.  A normal woman that age's level should be around 10.  Mine was 22.  Super high.  This will come in handy if we ever had to do IVF.  Lots o' eggs, lots o' chances for success.  My HSG was also good.  Blissfully, perfectly normal.  When dealing with infertility, normal is always a good thing.  No blockages, no nothing.  Up next was B's SA.  Thankfully, it didn't play out like on TV.  There was no gross room at the doctor's office filled with porn.  He just did his thing at home and took it in to the office.  Those results were not good.  They were not good at all.  There were no sperm in the sample.  Not one.  Not even one with two head or anything.  I was devestated.  B is one of those guys who was meant to be a dad.  There was no way he couldn't be one.  We were so sad.  Dr. M immediately referred us to a urologist, Dr. Shaban.  Yet another life saver.
Dr. S immediately scheduled another SA to make sure the first one wasn't a fluke.  It wasn't.  The second one was just as bad.  Luckily, we had options.  He suggested we do a testicular biopsy to check to see if B even produces sperm.  This would be a simple outpatient surgery and we could take him home that day.  While in there, he suggested we also harvest some testicular tissue to use incase we had to do IVF.  We opted not to do that.  We just weren't ready to make that leap.  This was all happening so fast, but in a good way.  The surgery took place in March of 2011.  So, just 2 months after my first meeting with Dr. M.
The surgery went well, and we had some good news.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

17 Weeks!

How far along? 17 Weeks 1 Day

Size of baby:  either a bell pepper, an onion, or a turnip.  It depends on what website you look at!

Total weight gain/loss: Still 1-2 pounds

Maternity clothes:  Yes and yes!  Love them!!!

Gender:  We find out Thursday!  

Movement: Still just some flutters here and there.  Very rare still

Sleep: Much better since we kicked the pups off the bed!  But, now I'm dealing with really dry sinuses so that's not helping much.

What I miss:  Bloody Marys.  Why do I really only miss the alcohol?

Cravings: Nothing really this week.  Although, I've noticed I have been eating a fried chicken salad much more than normal!

Best moment this past week: Realizing my belly feels like more baby than chub!

Symptoms: Just the sinus stuff

What I'm looking forward to: My mom coming to visit to find out the gender!!!

Milestones: The nugget is growing and growing

Mood: Good. I think I'm in nesting mode.  I organized 2 closets today and picked out paint samples for the nursery

Signs of labor? No, thank God!  This little nugget still has plenty of cooking to do!!

Wedding rings on or off? On!

And here's the weekly pic!

Friday, November 2, 2012

5 for Friday

So, yeah, yesterday's post was kind of heavy.  And, because of that, I decided that was a great way to segue into my newest feature: 5 for Friday!  This will be things that I'm thankful for or excited about or whatever.  Just 5 good things!

1. This sweet baby girl.  This is Hippo.  She turns 3 soonish (she was a rescue and I don't really know when her birthday is), and she makes me smile all the time.  She like to follow me upstairs and wait for me while I take a shower, or wash my face, or anything I do upstairs.  She has taken to the guestroom bed as if it's her own!  Look at that face!

2. I'm excited about going to the NC State football game tomorrow.  The weather should be perfect.  And, I get to wear my excellent maternity jeggings.  They're like heaven.

3. My sweet momma comes to visit next week!  She'll be here for the gender scan and to help get the nursery ready.  I love spending time with her and can't wait to see her!

4. It's November, which means the weather gets cooler and only a few more weeks till I can eat my weight in delicious Thanksgiving food!  And, since I'm preggo this year, I get all the food and none of the guilt! :)


5.  It's Friday, and that's reason enough to be excited!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Infertility Journey Pt. 2

Ok, so in the interest of keeping it real, I'm going to paint myself in a very unflattering light in this post.  Why?  Because during the 3 failed rounds of oral meds and waiting to see my new (and super fabulous) RE, shit sort of hit the fan.  During that time, we purchased our first house and dealt with all the ups and downs that come with that.  Being all hopped up on artificial hormones does not make one deal with stress well.  I'm pretty sure that during our walk through the night before our 9 am closing I may have broken down in tears in front of the hubs, my in laws, and the realtor.  And that was not my first melt down.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.  By now we're in about fall of 2010.  In the midst of my ovaries being complete and utter failures, it seems as if everyone around me is getting pregnant.  I'm not just talking about distant Facebook friends either.  Although, trust me, there were plenty of those as well.  But, people who were very close to me in real life.  It was either their first try or completely by accient.  Each time I got an announcement, it was physically painful for me. (note to those of you who I am referring to - I apologize for being such a selfish jerk.  Thank you for putting up with me.  Love you!)  The first phone call I got at work.  I knew this friend was testing that day.  We had actually tried to get pregnant together and I had a bit of a head start on her.  I knew it was coming and I knew when she called that it was going to be positive.  I was able to keep it together long enough to get through the phone call (I hope).  But, after, I had to go to the bathroom and cry and cry and cry.  Don't get me wrong, I was SO happy for my friend.  But, at the time, I was so sad for myself.  And so jealous.  It was so easy for them and hard for us.  Then, a month or so later, I get another phone call from another friend.  She tells me she has this boyfriend that she's crazy about.  Since we live far away, I wasn't even really aware she had said boyfriend.  Then she tells me she's pregnant.  She and I have been friends for years, so even if I had tried to hide my crying from her, she would have known. So, I cried openly.  Again, I was so happy for her.  But, all those feelings about me came back.  And, God love her, she actually apologized to me!  She said she knew we were trying so hard and she's so sorry.  I told her don't be ridiculous.  It's not like she got pregnant to piss me off or anything crazy like that.  So, on top of feeling sad and jealous and guilty, I felt even more guilt.  Guilt on guilt on guilt. To this point, I had been lucky.  I had gotten the announcements over phone and was able to cry while attempting to hide it.  Shortly after this announcement, I got a face to face one.  We were having a girls night at pregnant friend 1's house and another friend kept dropping stuff.  I off handedly made a comment to the effect of "oh, Lord, I bet you're pregnant.  You know I have the super power to get everyone pregnant but me, so I bet you are too!"  Sure enough, she was.  First try.  We didn't even know they were trying.  Now, since we were face to face, I wasn't able to have my usual bratty, self indulgent pity party.  I had a girls night to endure.  However, I left as soon as I could and lost it in the car.  The next afternoon, I'm driving home from work and my brother calls me.  He rarely calls.  He said he has something to tell me.  I say "don't tell me you're pregnant too!  Everyone in my life is pregnant but me!"  Yep, you guessed it - he was going to be a daddy.  We didn't even know he had a girlfriend.  And, being the jerk I am (was), I burst into tears.  He ended up comforting me (this was a bit unplanned for him, so I'm sure he needed comfort himself).  Again with the guilt on top of guilt on top of guilt.  My poor poor brother.  About a year or so after that phone call, he had to call me again and tell me they were pregnant yet again (the first kid was only about 5 months old at the time).  Again I lost it.
That night (of the first brother pregnancy announcement) was the breaking point for me and for Brandon.  I was inconsolable about the latest pregnancy announcement.  It really did seem like everyone I knew ever was getting pregnant.  And, at the time, it seemed like a personal attack on me.  I was even getting upset about celebrity pregnancies! (although, to this day Snooki's pregnancy still pisses me off).  It was Christmas time, my favorite time of the year.  It was our first married Christmas in our new home.  I hadn't even attempted to decorate.  I was so deep in my own self pity, I couldn't see past it.  Brandon had had enough.  He basically told me to pull my head out of my ass and get my shit together.  I'm sure he may have said it much nicer, but that was the basic jist of it.  It was not a pretty time for me.  Or, for our new marriage if you want to know the truth.  That little reality check was what I needed.  I got out the decorations and put a few up.  It was the least I could do for my sweet husband who was probably struggling just as much as I was.
Looking back, and being on the other side (pregnant!) I realize how hard it must have been for all of these people.  To have such exciting news but to have to share it with someone they know it's going to hurt.  Someone who loves them and should have been able to share their joy and look past their own hurt and jealousy.  But, in the moment, all I could see was how this was affecting me and how much it hurt ME to have to go through this.  Like I said, this post is definitely going to paint me in an unflattering light.  But, if any of you have ever struggled with infertility, you know the pain of having to be so happy for a loved one but still so hurt for yourself.
Honestly, some of those friendships changed after this. Part of it was me pulling away to protect myself.  And, I'm sure part of it was them.  Who wants to be around someone who can't be as happy for you as they should be.  I also think it was hard for them to try to not rub their super duper happy news in my face.  It's a hard line to walk.  And, being on the other side, I am now finally being able to realize just how tough this may have been on them.
I would like to say though, that after my come to Jesus talk with Brandon, I was able to pull my head out of my own ass and get it together.  I threw both local friends their baby showers and went to visit them in the hosptial.  I went to TN to be able to go to both showers there and went on a trip there shortly after the births of both kids.  And, with each of those things, I was genuinely happy and glad to have been a part of all of it.  I love all of those kids so much.  Seriously, I sometimes wonder how I'm going to love my own little nugget as much as I love my sweet nephew.  Obviously I know I will, but you get the point.  :)
Like I said, it was a dark time.  Not pretty.  And, I still carry some guilt over how I acted.  But, at the same time, it is exactly how I felt.  And, anyone whose been there too know what it's like.  Luckily, the friendships survived.  And, Brandon and I were in a better place too.  Now that I'm pregnant, I'm much more aware of how to handle the situation with friends who are going through the same thing.  I'm even very consious of what I put on Facebook so as not to rub anything in.  I know what it's like to go through that and I wouldn't wish it on anyone else.