10.31.2011

Big Idea

So, here it is, my BIG idea:

A blogger meet-up done 'retreat' style sometime in the spring.

A chance to meet IRL the friends we've made thanks to this bloggy world.

A chance to hug all of those who have prayed for us, and those we have prayed for.

A chance to pray together and share tea (or coffee or wine) and stories around a big table.

If you're at all interested in something like this, please VOTE in BOTH of the polls to the left (in my sidebar).  One asks for a location preference (general area - I tried to pick near large airports/cities for convenience) and the other for date preference.

Catholic or not. Fertile or not-so-much. If you've read this post, and are a woman (sorry guys!), consider yourself invited.

(Nursing babies are of course invited. :))

Once the polls have closed, I will start to work on more details.

Polls will stay up until Friday at 9:00pm EDT and are anonymous.

10.29.2011

Our IF Timeline

A lot of the IF blogs I read have a timeline. Many of them have been helpful to me in learning terminology and understanding what our process may look like. This page is here in hopes that it may help someone else out someday, and as a way for me to keep track of it all.

How did we get here?  (I've put the most recent steps at the top, so if you want to read from the very beginning go to the bottom of the post and work your way up.)

March 2012 - Present - TTC; 2000mg Metformin/Day; 200mg Prometrium P+3 through P+12; Pray.


February Cycle - No headaches! No brown bleeding between peak day and end of cycle. 2wwing right now. Nope.


February 15, 2012 - Post-op follow up: Dr. S confirms Stage 2 Endo all removed, 2 partially blocked tubes cleared. A plan for avoiding headaches while on prometrium established: take vag.inally for one cycle, if no headaches, continue, if headaches, consider switch to HCG. TTC for 6 - 9 months. If no BFP, schedule follow-up to consider ovulation support with Dr. D.; if no BFP in 12 - 18 months, schedule repeat Advanced HSG to recheck tubes; pray.


January 17, 2012 - Selective HSG and laprascopy with Dr. S. revealed Stage 2 Endo and 2 partially blocked tubes. Dr. S. was able to remove all of the endo and clear the tubes. Follow-up scheduled for Feb. 15. Dr. S. isn't too worried about low-average morphology from The Man, says if we want, try Proxeed (though he recommends reading ingredients and buying cheaper substitute at local vitamin store).


December 19, 2011 - First appointment with Dr. S. (Details here.) Summary: Recommendation for a laprascopy with advanced HSG. Plan to switch from prometrium to HCG after one more cycle due to suspected hormone-induced migraines. (Makes sense because headaches mimicked headaches from days on the pill almost exactly.) Se.men analysis shows great count, motility, and grade. Low average morphology. The Man does "I'm above average dance."


November 21, 2011 - A diagnosis and plan! Mild case of PCOS with insulin resistance and low progesterone. Prescribed prometrium for P+3 to P+12 and metformin to lower insulin levels.


October 11, 2011 - First NaPro appointment. Finally! The beginnings of an answer, my LH was 2x as high as my FSH from one of my 'normal' test results, and some hope. I learned that LH should never be higher than FSH and that it could be a mild case of PCOS (3x as high is PCOS typically). Start a hormone panel during this cycle.  Decide that we're giving it one more cycle before we do the se.men analysis, again hoping we don't need it.

September 27, 2011 - Read through all of the Creighton info and prepare to start charting.  Ask The Man if he could please refrain from getting a sinus infection next month during my most fertile days.  He says he'll do his best, and I feel relieved we have still found a way to laugh at this situation.  Even though it is at The Man's expense.

September 22, 2011 - Call the Nurse Practitioner that E (our FCP) suggested last night.  Get an appointment in 3 weeks!

September 21, 2011 - Again, everything is normal.  Midwife suggests it's time for se.ment analysis.  And gives us the paperwork with number of local Reproductive Center and the directions for how to collect the sample.  Cry in the parking lot for 15 minutes.  Feel like I'm losing it.  Get a phone call (read the details here). Recover {some} of my sanity.

August 31, 2011 - Have blood drawn (only 3 vials this time).

Late August 2011 - Email CrMS FCP to start charting.

August 15, 2011 - Follow-up dr. appointment.  Bloodwork was all normal.  Like right down the middle normal.  Now what?  Decide on post-peak blood work and leave with instructions to have blood drawn on P+5.

Early August 2011 - Call NaPro doctor (Dr. S. at Camp Hill - thanks Sarah!) and a Creighton practitioner to start learning Creighton and get on Dr. S's waiting list for a December/January appointment.  Say a huge prayer that I don't need it, but don't feel much hope.

July 2011 - First Doctor's Appointment Scheduled with my regular ob/gyn/midwife to start 'figuring it all out'  4 vials of blood drawn (first time I've ever had blood drawn in my life) - it's cycle day 10, pre-peak.

September 2010 - July 2011  TTC.  Never even come close to needing to POAS.  Note continued super-low temps; brown spotting/bleeding; short menses (2 - 3 days); and shortish luteal phase (9-11 days).  'Out' us as an IF couple.

September 2010 - Break first NFP 'rule' - use 2 days in a row pre-ovulation instead of every other.  Don't worry too much because early in cycle Totally freak out, but then when 'fertile' days arrive decide we really are ready to start TTC.

April 2010 - September 2010 - Continue charting, make mental note of extremely low temperatures (like off the bottom of the chart low) and brown spotting/bleeding that occurs before and after menses.  Wonder if it will cause 'problems' but don't stress too much.

April 2010 - First time we write an 'I' on our charts!  (Yep, that is almost 4 full months of abstinence).

February 2010 - First NFP class.  Start Charting.  Experience a Doubtful Peak and a 41 day cycle and think 'what in the heck is going on?'  Realize what it is when we learn it in class #2.

January 2010 - Email Alison and Mike; figure out a way to learn NFP via Skype.

Mid-December 2009 - Decide no more BCPs for us at the end of this pack (I've read enough to know it's better to stop at the end of a pack than mid cycle).  No idea how we will learn NFP, but committed to abstinence until we do.

Fall/Winter 2009 - Find better research and read a blog written by Alison that sells me on NFP and start to send more info via email to The Man.

Summer 2009 - start to read about this 'thing' called NFP.  Late summer, try to explain it to The Man and do such a great job that he declares 'well, we'll just never have sex again.'  Return to my research.

Spring 2009 - start to really think something is wrong with me and start researching symptoms, realize all things seem to be related to BCPs.  Start to research other options for birth control - read about an IUD and literally get nauseous at the thought.  Go to gyno appointment and stick with BCPs, not really comfortable but feel like there is no other 'reliable' choice.

Spring 2008 - Start to rediscover our Catholic Faith.

June 2004 - We Do! (get married)

Fall 2003 - Experiencing such severe headaches I am prescribed Imitrex.  No talk of change in BCPs.

Fall 2002 - Go to doctor because of horrible headaches I'm getting every month.  Gyno says it's due to high-dose BCPs, switches me to lower dose and has me take 12 weeks of 'active' pills at a time, followed by one week of placebo.  Less headaches with less severity + only 4 periods a year.  Then - Works for me.  (Now - YIKES!)

February 2002 - Get Engaged.

1998 - Meet The Man.

1997 (18 years old) - first pap smear/gynecological exam; leave with first pack of BCPs for 'health reasons' - looking back, I'm not really sure what those reasons might have been.

10.28.2011

400

On December 12, 2008, just a few months after The Man and I moved back to Morgantown, I started this blog.  It's hard to believe that it will be 3 years in just a couple of months, but what is harder to believe is that this is my 400th posting.  The 400th time I have shared a piece of my life out here in cyberspace.

I'm honestly surprised it lasted for 4 posts, let alone 400.

In this 400th post I really just want to say Thank-you.  If you are here for the first time or the 400th; if you comment often or never at all; if you know me in IRL or only in this space; if you've said a prayer or shook your head at my silliness; if you are here.  Thank-you.  It is humbling to think that anyone reads the words I write and more humbling to think that prayers are said for me.  Yet I know they are.  I feel them.  I see them working in my life.  And I am grateful.

For whatever part you've played in this space being the place I feel most comfortable being the real me, thank-you.  From the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul, thank-you.

10.27.2011

Thankful Thursday



This week I am thankful for:
  • WVU is {hopefully} moving to the Big XII conference!  It makes no sense geographically, but I am glad we are {apparantly} getting off the sinking ship that is the Big East.  Being a Mountaineer!  (That will never change :).)
  • A 5, FIVE, F-I-V-E, 5 Day weekend.  It starts tomorrow :).
  • Our Goddaughter - she will be baptized this weekend.
  • The Man.  He gets up every morning when the alarm goes off and turns the heat on in the bathroom so that when I finally roll out of bed the bathroom will be warm.
Be sure to link your Thankful Thursday post below :).  *Update:  Linky is fixed :). Thanks Michelle!*
 

10.24.2011

Facebook, Gummy Bears, and I Win


I have been considering deleting my Facebook account for a while now.  If I'm honest with myself, the only real reason I still have it is because I want to someday take my turn in announcing a pregnancy and getting all of the love that will follow.  Selfish?  Yep.  Truth?  Yep.  But today, I was torn between actually speaking my mind, unfriending a 'friend,' and deleting my whole account.  It was worse than any pregnancy announcement could ever be.  It was this:
'If it takes that much effort to have kids, maybe you weren't intended to have children...100 years ago the world wasn't as overpopulated...there weren't medicines and drugs and clinics...just sayin''
The sane, logical part of my brain said 'this has nothing to do with you.  This is just a person saying something stupid that has no bearing on your life.'

The infertile, heart broken part of my brain said 'this has everything to do with you.  This is one of the most hurtful things I have ever read.'

And then, when I wanted to yell and start a big ol' Facebook fight, I just unfriended this person.  I did tweet about it, and a good friend put it all in perspective with two simple words:  'F. him.'  I love her.

When I got home, I had a package from Alison.  Suspecting that it was the s.emen analysis kit she was sending us, I openend the box and found I was partially right.  There was a bag marked that it was for The Man from her hubby.  And then, there were chocolate covered gummy bears, peeps, a journal, and a card for me - just what I needed to lift my spirits after my Facebook fun.  As I said to The Man, 'I win!'

10.20.2011

Thankful Thursday


This week I am thankful for (be sure to read to the last one):

  • An unexpected tour of my town yesterday afternoon (my undiagnosed ADD kicked in big time and I literally drove around town twice before I got everything done I needed to), the fall colors are beautiful.
  • My Dad.  Tuesday was his 61st birthday.
  • Survivor.  (Don't judge :).)
  • Blogger meet-ups.  It was great to meet Joy last week (I promise I have a picture, I just need to find the time to download and then upload it.)  She and her kiddos are awesome!  To have just 1/10th of the energy her daughter has would be amazing :).
  • Big ideas.  If you are interested in a Blogger Meet-Up that would involve some planning and a little bit of travel, please send me an email to RebeccaWVU02 at gmail dot com.  I'm thinking early Spring 2012.
  • Linkys!  There is one here now :).  If you write your own Thankful Thursday post, be sure to link to it below.  I love the privilege of giving thanks for the things that you are thankful for each week.
 

10.13.2011

Thankful Thursday


This week, I am thankful for:

  • Theology of the Body.
  • Blessed John Paul II.
  • Christopher West.
  • The Holy Spirit.
  • A blogger meet-up with Joy tomorrow.
  • Adoration.
  • The Man.
  • Life.
What are you thankful for this week?  Please share your reasons for gratitude or a link to your Thankful Thursday post in the comments.

10.11.2011

Hope on CD3

Don't you love it when the Holy Spirit works away at your life in the background when you are 'busy' living?

It's been one of those week's where I see the Holy Spirit at work in a very real way and I am ever grateful.

I am 2 1/2 days into the Theology of the Body Institute with Christopher West - YES!  The IN REAL LIFE Christopher West.  And the Holy Spirit has been ALL over this retreat and class, but I have yet to find the words to truly describe that, I'm not sure I ever will.  But I do have some very real experiences related to our IF that have happened this week.

First, a couple of weeks ago, when I found out I was going to be 1) coming to a retreat center outside of Philadelphia/Harrisburg and 2) was going to be scheduling an appointment to see P, a NaPro nurse practitioner who works with Dr. S. I had this wonderful idea that it would be great to schedule the appointment WHILE I was at the retreat.  How great would only having to make one 4 hour trip be instead of 2?!?

So, I called and scheduled my appointment for Thursday (you know, the appointment that I'm not supposed to be able to have until I've got at least 2 months of Creighton charts?  Well, P agreed to see me with only about 2 weeks due to my 2 years of STM charts :)).  Then, I started thinking I really don't want to miss any sessions, so I sent an email asking when would be a good time to leave the retreat center for a couple of hours.  I found out Monday and Tuesday afternoons have large blocks of time that are 'free' time.  I called the doctor's office back and asked if there was any way P. could see me on Monday or Tuesday afternoon.  (In my head, I said a quick prayer for 1:00 on Tuesday.)  The nurse came back on the phone and asked 'How does 1:00 Tuesday work?'  Thank-you Holy Spirit.

Then, yesterday I went to confession.  For the first time in a really long time.  So long I was totally nervous and completely freaked when it was face to face. (Insert laugh from God right about here.)  During my confession the Priest tells me about his daughter (he was widowed and then entered the seminary) who is a NaPro FCP and has an 18 month old after 7 years of IF.  He asks about NFP, we talk about Creighton and he tells me (among other things) to offer up my suffering for babies who are aborted (HELLO TCIE!) and I leave confession feeling so much lighter and hopeful than I have in a long time.  Again, thank-you Holy Spirit.

Today, I have my appointment.  Armed with my charts and 'normal' results from blood work.  P. takes one look and says, 'well, everything is not normal I see a concern here'.  She proceeds to explain that my LH is 2x higher than my FSH and LH should never be higher than FSH (I might have those backwards and my notes are way far away at the moment - moral:  something is higher than it should be :)).  And that if it were 3x higher it would mean PCOS, and 2x higher could mean a mild case.  AND she says that my STM charts were very helpful to her!  Yep.  Finally the beginnings of an answer - thank-you Holy Spirit!

It gets better though, as she starts to explain the hormone panel that I've read so much about from all of your blogs she says it has to start on CD3.  Guess what today is?  Yep! CD3.  So instead of more waiting, I was able to get my first blood draw done right then and there!  At this point, I got chills.  I could actually feel the Holy Spirit telling me I was doing the right thing.  I was in the right place at the right time.  Thank-you Holy Spirit!

So today, on CD 3, there is hope.  Yesterday, on CD 2 it was the 1 year anniversary of our first disappointment.  Our first cycle TTC and our first 'no.'  Today, there is renewed hope.  There is the promise from the Holy Spirit that, regardless of what happens, His grace will continue to flow.

Will you please rejoice with me and give thanks for this hope?  For the Holy Spirit hanging in with me even when I am doubting?

10.07.2011

Quick Links

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!
Happy Friday!  This week I've got 7 Quick Links for you:

1.  Sarah shared about her experiences of 'God's Grace in 11 Months of Marriage.' I, like many others, could relate to so much of what she shared. And, as I listened to a voice mail from a young woman who was facing divorce after only 8 months of marriage, I could only think 'There, but for the grace of God go I.'  Please visit Sarah and read what she has to say; and please pray for A.

2.  Lenae spread her wings and reached out to God, giving us all a beautiful reminder to ask for what it is we need and to have faith.  Please visit Lenae to share your encouragement and to be treated to the beauty of her words.

3.  Jelly Belly has her back against the wall and is bravely staring down her fears.  The fear she describes is so familiar to so many of us.  Please visit JB to lift her up in prayer as she steps out in faith.

4.  Experimental Theology is a new blog to me, in fact, the post about the prison servant was the first I'd ever read over there.  Please visit Richard Beck and read about living out Christ's command to love one another.  And take your tissues.
5.  Cecily touched on one of my #1 fears of having a child when she shared about post partum depression.  Please visit to read Cecily's story and be introduced to a great new resource for women.

6.  Tooje realized the power that parents are given and reflects on it in such a true, beautiful way.  Please visit to be encouraged about what you can do as a parent.

7.  The Mom shared what goes on in her 7 year old's heart and head and gave us all a reason to say 'well, that makes sense!'  Please visit to get a reminder of what following the Ten Commandments is really all about.

And of course, visit Jen for more Quick Takes and have a great weekend!

10.06.2011

Thankful Thursday


This week, I am thankful for...
  • Fall.  The trees are starting to turn colors and the best benefit of all the rain we had recently will be the bright, long lasting colors we will see over the next couple of weeks.
  • Health insurance.
  • Seeing people I had not seen in quite a while last night; you know those kind of people that you don't see forever and greet you with a great big hug?
  • A new baby!  Congratulations C, E, and big brother N - can't wait to meet E on Sunday!
  • All of you.  Seriously, I know I say it a lot, but there are days when I'm pretty sure the only things that keeps me put together are your words.
  • For Steve Jobs.  Rest in Peace.
What are you thankful for this week?  The privelage of giving thanks for the 'thankful things' in your life is something I look forward to on Thursdays.  Please share your reasons for gratitude in the comments or write your own post and let us know to stop by in the comments. 

10.05.2011

Weather Wednesday

Now that's what I like to see...


And Saturday?!?!  WVU hosts UConn at Noon.  Thank-you God for sunny, dry weather for outdoor activities!!!
 

10.04.2011

Saying Thank-you

Almost 4 years ago, a friend, Shawna (who happens to be a pastor's wife), decided that she wanted to get a group of women together for a bible study (briefly mentioned here).  I, having no children and a husband living 2 1/2 hours away, was loving the idea of having company every week and offered to host so long as we shared the cooking duties.  A few weeks later, we, a Pentecostal Pastor's Wife, a Presbyterian, a lukewarm Catholic (me), and a Christian (nondenominational) sat down with our bibles, 'Battlefield of the Mind' by Joyce Meyer, and cups of hot tea.  It seemed that each chapter spoke to us in unique, yet similar ways and when one of us didn't have much to add, another filled the silence with her story.

As we made our way through the book and the bible, occasional discussions about the differences in our faiths came up, and I remember commenting that I'd never experienced Catholic's on fire for God like Shawna was (and still is).  I remember learning more about different types of Christianity, and I remember being so intrigued by the differences and similarities.

I also remember asking Shawna to explain to me what 'grace' was.  Saying that I just didn't understand it; didn't 'get it;' and truly, I didn't.  It was this foreign concept to me that I had never truly experienced before.  The best explanation I'd had was when I once asked my mom what she prayed for after communion.  Her answer:  grace.  "What's grace?" I asked.  "A gift from God." she replied.  And that was all I knew of grace.

Looking back, during this time when The Man had already moved back to Morgantown, I was surrounded by God's grace.  It was in this group of women; it was in the fact that I hadn't cracked up at the prospect of packing a 3 bedroom house on my own; it was present as I face the death of our sweet Pumpkin without The Man; it was there as the implications of the 'what if our house doesn't sell?' never really set in to my worried mind; it was all over my life.

But mostly it was in those evenings where I learned about faith and God and Jesus in a way I had never ever learned it before. Shawna had no way of knowing what she was doing with that bible study, only that God had put it on her heart to do it.  But the fact that I sit here today, not a lukewarm cafeteria Catholic, but a faithful, fully-practicing Catholic ties back to those evenings sitting in my living room talking about God and Jesus and faith.  The fact that I now understand and hunger for God's grace in ways I could never have imagined just 4 short years ago ties back to those evenings around my kitchen table eating dessert and talking about religion.

Shawna, I've sent you this link.  I hope you've read here, because to openly and publicly say thank-you is the only way I can think to do it that will even come close to expressing the gratitude I have for the hours you spent answering and explaining.  No, our beliefs are not exactly the same and no, I didn't become a pentecostal Christian, but I did fall in love with Jesus and I did learn how to lean on Him when this life becomes difficult to bear, and for that I have you to thank.  You struck the first match and lit the fire. I am forever grateful.

10.03.2011

Monday Mumbles

TOOJE Mumbles on Mondays, and I'm in a mumbling mood today.

1.  My high school alma mater is putting West Virginia on the map, in a good way, once again.  In 2009 MHS's Band did this:


And on January 1, 2013, the MHS Band (including my littlest brother!) will be here:

Yes, I've already reserved our room (At the Moonheads' place, of course!).  It's a good thing they take reservations over a year in advance :).

2.  I am so excited to go back to California!  It will be 10 years since I have been there and a visit to Santa Monica beach, the Farmer's Market, Disneyland, and Hollywood are looooong overdue!  Hey C, want to come?  It won't be the same without you!

3.  This weekend, I did something I haven't done since October 21, 2000.  I left a WVU Football game early.  In 2000, I was disgusted with the Mountaineers play vs. Notre Dame and left early, really early, only to spend the rest of the game freaking out in my apartment as we tried to come back.  I swore I would never leave another game early again.  My commitment has been rewarded with many an unlikely come-from-behind victory and a few heartbreaking losses.  But this weekend, with the rain pooring down and 7:52 to go in the game, the Mountaineers scored a touchdown making the score 55 - 10 and the wind kicked up.  At that point, I was done.  The Man asked if I was ready to go and the look of shock on his face when I said yes didn't last long.  He took the opportunity and led us out.  It kinda hurts that my streak is broken.  But, for once, common sense won out.  Don't expect it to happen again anytime soon.  It was wierd not singing Country Roads after a win.

4.  Speaking of rain and being wet.  I usually love rain.  I love all of the seasons.  I'm not a fan of being cold, but I do enjoy watching it snow and watching Kali and Mei Mei try to fetch snow balls.  Did you picture that?  Dogs trying to fetch snow balls?  You can laugh. It's funny to watch.  Ahem.  While I usually don't mind the rain, especially when indoors wrapped up in a blanket watching it fall, I've had enough rain this weekend to last me quite a while.  Friday at the Morgantown High Football Game?  Soaked.  Saturday at the Mountaineer Football Game?  Soaked.  Sunday at the Pittsburgh Zoo Zoozilla 5k?  Soaked.  See?  I've had enough rain. 

5.  Despite the soakedness, the weekend was a good one.  MHS's band announced their invitation to the Rose Bowl Parade, the Mountaineers won, I caught a glimpse of a few elephants while running the 5k, and there was Cracker Barrel for breakfast with Starbucks for dessert.  I might have been wet, but I was pretty happy.

6.  One last note about the wetness.  I ordered super cute rain boots last week.  They will arrive tomorrow.  The forecast for the rest of the week?  Sunny.  To all of my local friends:  You are welcome.

7.  So far Joy is up for a bloggy-meet-up next Friday.  Anyone else in the Philadelphia area interested?  I've emailed many of you back that live far far away saying I have a 'big' idea in my little head.  I'm hoping to get more details out of my head and into an email soon. 

8.  Hmm, TOOJE, how do you possible come up with 10 mumbles on a Monday?  My brain hasn't woken up (dried out?) from the weekend yet.  Oh well.  I guess I'll leave it at 8.  Have a great week everyone!

10.02.2011

Going Pink

It's that time of year when the color pink starts appearing on football fields all over the country.  Normally, I cringe at the sight of team apparel in pink because the last time I checked the Mountaineers' colors were gold and blue; the Steelers were black and gold; and there is no need for a pink sweatshirt with a WVU or Steelers (or anytime that's colors are NOT pink) on it.  But, this time of year, I love the pink shoes, gloves, hats, etc.  Because it's reminding women and men that breast cancer is very real and still taking lives every day.  Does a football player wearing pink shoes and gloves actually do anything about breast cancer?  Only if we follow-up on the reminder.  The reminder, that IMHO, is way better than an implied sexual message on Facebook that really means nothing.

So, today, I'm asking you to click on that ribbon and go to The Breast Cancer Site and click on the big pink button.  Each click gives money to fund mammograms for women.  And then support the sponsors on that site who also support mammograms and research for women.  And, of course, don't forget to do your monthly self-breast exam and remind a friend (or two) to do hers!  (Friends, consider yourselves reminded.)

10.01.2011

Saturday Evening Blog Post


Each month, Elizabeth invites us to go back through our posts from the previous posts and pick our favorite.  It is always a hard pick for me, and September was no exception.  Last month marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01, the start of Thankful Thursday, and I talked a lot of football.  But ultimately, it was the post reflecting back on a Year of Grace that stands as my favorite and I've left a link to it at Elizabeth's place as requested.  Be sure to stop by Elizabeth's and see what everyone else's favorites were.