Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Almost... but not quite official

I know, I know. Make that week number two of not being a good blogger. I confess. My apologies! I've been preoccupied I suppose. Between either feeling unmotivated or busy with sudden projects, I've just not dedicated any time to this. But I'm back! And it's time to get down to business.

This is the week, as I last mentioned, that we wanted to put our deposit down for our August IVF. Seeing as how tomorrow is Thursday, I'm not sure if that will be happening. First it was that we didn't have our final fancy spreadsheet made (not to worry, it's about 95% done now). Then it was that we needed to check with CapitalOne (who we were going to get our infertility loan through), to see if we should expect a similar rate and approval amount to insure something hasn't massively changed. As of tonight (thanks to a few wonderful IF girls in my local infertility group), I learned that CapitalOne is no longer lending these types of loans due to the state of the economy. How wonderful is that. Like we need one more thing. I was bummed, but was assured that you can used a home equity line of credit for these types of things too (also thanks for that tip!... these girls are good!).

Our new line of attack - Pursue a line of credit
When I mentioned it to Jay, he nicely reminded me (my memory is horrible) that he already brought this up as an option before, but I was very adamant about not wanting to use our home as collateral on anything. Right. It's all coming back to me now. Yes, ideally, I'd still like to avoid this (it just seems so risky I guess), but if that's our only option at this point, then I suppose we need to consider it. The more he explained it to me, the more I suppose it's not as bad as what I imagined it to be. The rate is better than what we would have been getting with the CapitalOne option and we don't have to take it all out at once, but instead just take out only what we will actually need as we go along.

Another reason we're behind schedule is that Jay has been super busy this week at work with a new project that is wrapping up on Monday. He's been doing a little when he has time, but it's not been much. So, when I got home from my IF meeting, I wrote up a doc with local banks and credit unions and their HELOC rates/terms. Yes, I will be bugging the heck out of him tomorrow to make sure he checks into at least a few of them... bugging IS a wifely "right", right? :)

Ok, so after doing ALL of that (a lot of stuff to figure out in a matter of a couple hours), I checked back in with the docs I received several months back from our clinic. Specifically, I was looking to see when the IVF August cycle date was and when their "off" month during the summer way. Up until now, for some reason, I was thinking their off month was the cycle before ours - but, it's not. That was the May cycle. Which hopefully means August won't be *quite* as full already as I thought it might be. Which is nice, however their doc clearly states "We encourage you to put down a deposit two months in advance to the cycle you wish to participate in. A list of our cycles is outlined below. Final payment dates are also included." And just like that too :) I'm guessing that if it's important enough to emphasize, we ought to take it seriously. Then I read, "A refundable deposit of $2,000.00 is required to secure your cycle of treatment with SIRM and the deposit is applied towards the total fees. " which to me is nice because it tells me that we might be ok to go ahead and put our deposit down now (without having figured out all of our stuff precisely), because it is in fact refundable. Again, nice!

Now, onto IVF calendar stuff...
The August IVF cycle at SIRM St. Louis begins on August 17, 2009, which I'm guessing means I would start my first injection of Lupron that day. We will have to have our final payment in full submitted on July 22, so as long as we get everything ironed out well before that date, we should be good to go. I really don't know why I hadn't marked this day until now... I guess it never dawned on me that THAT would be my date and exactly what that meant. It's so nice to be able to mark something more specific on my calendar!

Maybe I should make one of those silly paper chains or something to count down... or would that actually be bad to focus on it that way? I'm going to give this one some more thought. I'd like it to be a preparatory/celebratory thing. Something fun - like looking forward to vacation. After all, it will cost about 3-4 times as much as our jaunt to Turks & Caicos last year did. Yikes!! Hopefully we'll have the best souvenir EVER to show for it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My UnMother's Day Surprise!

Lots of catching up to do! For me, a week of not writing seems like an eternity. I don't generally do posts with a spattering of thoughts, but here goes.

Mother's Day Weekend
Overall, we had a really nice weekend. The weather was beautiful so Jay and I decided to take advantage of living so close to lots of stores and restaurants. We stepped out our back door and walked about three minutes to get a bite to eat and then went to several stores before heading home. We were having a good time poking fun at ourselves because we must have looked like a couple hippies carrying our canvas grocery bags to and from each store. Who cares - we had fun!

On Sunday, we took our moms some New Guinea Impatiens and an adorable little potted plant hanger (we bought one for ourselves and love it so much we thought our moms would too!). After that, we spent some time at my grandparent's farm; ate lunch, talked and rode down to the creek. I thought I might have the chance to talk to my Grandma about our infertility stuff for the first time, and maybe tell my Aunt (I'm still not sure if she knows), but the opportunity didn't present itself.

Even though it wasn't "my" Mother's Day (hence the "UnMother connotation from Alice and Wonderland's UnBirthday), my mom surprised me with a note that I know truly was from the heart. I can't begin to explain how much this meant to me! With the note was a stuffed frog; a little guy I'm calling my infertility mascot! We had a good laugh because while he's cute, he seems to have a skin condition that won't allow his hair to grow. I said "he's the kind of cute only a mother could love" :P I have a feeling he will become my good luck charm as we approach and endure our IVF cycle.

*Almost* Only Two Months until IVF!
Speaking of our cycle, It just occurred to me the other day that May isn't too far from being over. Next weekend is Memorial Day and then June is pretty much here. You might remember from several posts ago that I had a lot of "to-dos" for myself and for us. How's that all going... well, I've not started working out like I want to - so that's still in the works. I'm almost positive I'm signing up for an aerobics dance class at the community college two days a week starting in June. I know, it's so 80s of me, :P but I have more fun when I'm doing those type of things.

The eating healthier thing... we have been trying to avoid trans fats for a super long time now, so that doesn't count. So, what have we done? Little things honestly. We've made more of an effort to try and buy whole grain wheat bread and then not eat a lot of it. Ah yes, and fruit and veggies. I've definitely made a better effort to replace some of my cookies and chocolate for some tasty grapefruit, Fuji apples, sweet red grapes or a handful of strawberries (with no added sugar, thank you very much!). I've also been eating more carrots than normal. You know, simple smarter eating choices. Trying to buy organic if given the option, but not going out of my way at this point.

The house projects are slowly getting done. The house is due to be painted in the next month or so, our VUE got new front tires last week, we purchased a new computer (had to give my old trusty Mac the boot) and I'm beginning to finally burn DVDs of old home movies and photos from as far back as 2005. Once that's all done (so like maybe later this fall or winter, or perhaps once I am pregnant and have been given bed rest... sad that I am looking forward to that possibility, though I know I would eat my words!) I still have to work on scrap booking literally EVERYTHING from the last 8 year's we've been married. I'm beginning to question if that's even possible at this point. Yikes!

Oh, and as for our daily routine (sleeping in late and getting home late), well that's improved slightly. We did really good the first week and not as good the second. You know how it goes. I'd like to make a go of doing even better this week... we'll see.

I go from feeling really inspired and ready to get stuff done, to feeling blah. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by "what if" I continue to prepare my life for something that might not happen for us. In the end, I know that we'll be better off in these areas of our life, even if we don't have a successful IVF cycle, so I keep pushing myself through it.

Who said committing was easy?
We're still not technically locked in for the August IVF cycle. Our goal was to have this done by the first of June, so in reality we're not behind yet. I am, however, getting quite antsy! My in-house financial whiz (yes, my sweet husband) is putting the finishing touches on our new fancy financial spreadsheet which will help us feel 100% comfortable with committing to forking over the dough for the 2-cycle IVF package. As of now, we have already spent countless hours looking over the numbers, but I must admit I pushed for us to take one final look at everything so that I could sleep easier at night going into it. Aside from buying a home, this feels like one of the biggest investments we will ever make. Yes, in my eyes, this really is an investment, regardless of the outcome.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

She's back... and, again, I couldn't be happier!

The world really does know way too much about my life. :) The thought of sharing what seems like really private information to you all, when I stop and think about it, is pretty funny. All in the name of infertility and trying to, not only figure out my body, hopefully help another woman who might be reading this, better understand her body, too.

In the arena of TMI
I'm here to announce that I have somehow managed to start another cycle on my own. Yes, another. Twice in a row!! AND, this time, instead of my cycle being 90-something days long, was only 43. Quick, somebody give AF a gold metal, because I think she deserves it :P

In my little pre-IVF world, this is GREAT news! Not because I think this means we'll now get pregnant on our own (because we still have tube scarring and sperm count issues), but because it does open the door a bit wider to the *possibility* of a miracle happening one day, provided this trend continues (crossing fingers and toes on this one!). Otherwise, it would have been close to impossible, aside from any miracle that God might assist in ;)

This is also good because, honestly, I just feel better! My body actually feels more in sync with itself, which I'm sure has something to do with the fact that my hormone fluctuations are more "normalized" (going up and down as they should in a "normal" woman's cycle).

I assume most people who stumble on this blog already know how to chart their cycle (because more than likely you too are having issues getting pregnant), but I also appreciate the fact that there are "newbies" who are just getting started on this whole roller coaster like I once was.

For those who are new to this...
Or, didn't know that you could track symptoms and know more about what's happening with your body - well you can! By simply being more in-tune with your body and keeping an eye out for fertility signs you can tell WAY more than you ever thought you could. I won't go into too much detail on here about the ins and outs of what to look for, because honestly, does a fantastic job of covering everything you ever wanted to know about how your monthly cycle works.

If you'd like to learn more, I'd recommend checking out their site. In particular, they have both an online e-mail course you can sign up for (where they will e-mail you daily lessons for a few weeks - I did this first and it was fantastic!) or they've also put together an online handbook which takes you through the process in one fell swoop.

Below is my chart for this past cycle... see more TMI ;)
What's neat about it is that you can get really close to figuring out when you most likely ovulated. Last cycle I was SURE I ovulated... this cycle I'm pretty sure, but I didn't have the typical O pains like I did before. I DID, however, have lots of other tell-tell signs, as you'll see highlighted in the O window I've plotted below.

Apr09 Cycle

In the end though, this is just as much for me as it is for a newbie. A girl can't possibly recall everything! And, I find that if I don't write it down, I will never truly be in tune with my body, let alone notice what happens from one cycle to another. As you can see from my chart, I've long sense stopped obsessing about taking my temp daily (was never a good indicator anyway, since I have PCOS) and have found that this is the perfect happy-medium!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My first baby dream

Last night was bittersweet. My head was somewhere high above my bed, deep in a dream where I was a mommy - with a baby - with my husband. We were a complete family. I remember being happy. Very happy.

I think what brought on this dream was a comment my husband made right before we fell asleep. He mentioned he told some people at work about a show I watched a few weeks ago on TLC, called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant". Yes, that was the name, and premise, of the show. Please tell me I wasn't the only one fascinated with how this could even happen. Crazy!

Anyway, that was also the premise for my dream. I vaguely remember that we were eagerly anticipating our IVF cycle, and then, BOOM! Much like that silly TV show, the next thing I knew, I was carrying a baby (a boy, from what I can remember) in my arms. And, while I realized it was weird, I was still thinking "I can't wait to see the look on my Mom's face when I tell her I just had a baby!" :P So funny! Before she came over, we were giving the baby a bath and got him all diapered up and then he pooed. Jay was like "What's this all about! We just put a new diaper on you!" and I couldn't stop laughing and handed him another diaper. I distinctly remember wrapping him in a blanket and cuddling him, and yes, even the sensation of a warm, baby-fresh scent (is this normal for a dream?!)

Then my mom came over and I surprised her with the baby and she totally lost it and started crying, but didn't really ask how the baby came about. All she wanted to do was hold him! Which I thought, after I woke up, was very funny. The other strange thing about the dream... because every dream has to be just a tiny bit weird... was that our house wasn't "our house" (the one we live in now), it instead was on a peninsula jetting out into the ocean. When I looked out the large bay window, I saw water closing in all around our home and starting to creep up over the roadway leading to the mainland. I started to get all anxious and anxiety set in, but Mom assured me we could still make it into town. Weird again.

I both hate and love these type of dreams... the ones that cause you to oversleep because you can't help but want to finish and, at the same time, they torture you because they are something you'd really rather your brain and heart not think about. Cruel joke? Maybe, but that's ok. Like I said it was quite bittersweet and something that, ultimately, I'm glad I had. As long as I don't get tortured with them on a regular basis, I don't mind. ;)

Friday, May 1, 2009

There's more than one path to a child...

I've wanted to share this link for awhile now.
It's a reminder to myself, while in the midst of infertility,
there are many paths to having a child and a family.

I am fascinated with this couple's experience for several reasons. I have said before that I believe God and His plans for our life are far greater than I will ever know or understand. I say this because I know deep in my heart this is true. This couple's story is yet another testimony of His will, though this time, infertility is directly addressed. I know that this will not be God's "will" for everyone, certainly, but it was at this time for this particular couple.

What's the other reason I'm so fascinated?
I'm blown away by this couple's awesome ability to turn things over to God and to be ready and open to adoption at the drop of a hat. If you read her post, you'll see that it was practically day and night for them - one minute she was learning the fate of their last IUI cycle (which started out as an IVF cycle) and the next she was learning they were being matched with a family who's baby is due THIS June! Wow, just wow!

While I'm not super savvy on the topic of adoption, I think most who've adopted will agree that this sort of smooth, quick turn-around isn't typically the case. Most couples spend months and months, if not years, going through the adoption process. Again, not speaking from experience here, only from what I've heard. I think that the fact that this happened for them in the manner that it did only furthers the story of how amazing, and meant to be, this all really is.

Adoption is something that we've always been open to. I can remember conversations from early in our marriage where we said we'd love to be able to adopt at some point. The opportunity to give a child in need a life full of care and love would be one of the greatest gifts we could give. At the time, we were thinking that if we were to do this, it would be after we had at least one biological child, and certainly years into our marriage when our family was well established and we had the money to afford to do so.

Well, now the cards have changed.
For one, Now we're having to fork out the dough no matter what. Some people might think, why not go ahead and adopt now, rather than go the whole IVF route? The thought has certainly crossed my mind, believe me. You should know the answer to that question isn't as simple as it sounds.

For one, I don't feel that's the route God is leading us in at this point in time. Have we (have I specifically) prayed enough about this... honestly, we probably haven't. The reason for this I suppose is the overwhelming drive we're feeling to pursue IVF. Yes, at this point, I do feel God wants us be where we are right now, with the doctor we're with... yes, I even think he wanted it to take a year for us to get here.

To add to that, my heart truly isn't in adoption right now. It's like you imagined what helping to create a tiny life would be like and it's really really hard to stop wanting that. I want to know what it's like to experience carrying a baby inside me, feeling it kicking and squirming and to see it be born with funny little traits that one of us has. This is human nature right?

My mind is also not in adoption at this moment. My mind is 100% into IVF. From a technical standpoint, now is a better time clinically for us to try and my mind knows that; while we're still young and have a higher chance of pregnancy. And not to mention all of the time it takes to read up on what goes into IVF and things you can do to try and increase the odds at success is enough for one little brain to handle. To add adoption to the mix on all levels, especially this one, would be too much to handle. Information overload!

The big question is...
Will there ever come a time when we come to a fork in the road and switch paths from IVF to adoption? That's something yet to be decided. When will that be? How will we know it's "time"? That I don't know. This entire journey to conception for us has been a ridiculously large learning process - learning to let go, to listen, trust and have faith and, of course, the dreaded wait. My hope is that when we "know", we'll just know!

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