The 3-Month Plan

It takes me a while for things to sink in, and while I've recounted the details of my appointment yesterday 4 times already, I think it is finally starting to settle in. Maybe it's because I'm finally writing it down; maybe it's because I'm exhausted. I'm not sure. For now, it's gonna be a "just the facts" kind of report, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it all just yet, though writing it all out is making me realize it's quite a bit. There are a couple tests being run that I'm hoping will come back normal (it's nice to hope for normal for a change) and a couple I'm expecting to come back with issues, though it'd be nice if they didn't. Oh, and consider yourself warned that this is a random order and definitely crosses the TMI line...

Dr. D. was wonderful, a genius as E. said and very kind and respectful of my (our) preferences.

Dr. D. suspects that perhaps I do not have PCOS, but isn't completely sure. There was a hormone that was  borderline that she is rechecking. I can't remember which one it is (I'll update when I get the results) - I know it's not DHEA or the FSH/LH ratio (though I think she's checking those again too). I do know that this hormone also affects adrenals and if it is out of whack can present like PCOS and cause similar problems. (Hoping this comes back normal and that it is indeed PCOS- adrenal issues scare me.)

She is also not happy with my luteal phase (I'm not either) and said it's time to switch to HCG. I've got the prescription and will be calling the insurance company tomorrow to find out if it's cheaper to go through them or Ku.bat's in Omaha. I'm going to have to learn to give these shots to myself for 2 reasons 1) The Man hates needles - has panic attacks and 2) my travel schedule. I know it's mind over matter, but I can't say I'm excited.

She is also rechecking my thyroid. (Again, hope this comes back normal - thyroid issues also scare me.)

I will be starting femera next cycle to help with ovulation. (A note about this, I've never POAS and I never intended to unless I was darn sure it would be positive. HAVING to do it and knowing it will be negative is not. at. all. something I am looking forward to.)

I will start P+7 blood work and cycle reviews.

I will take B6 to improve mucus. She saw great fertile CM at the cervix and I had seen it externally for 3 days prior, but had not seen anything externally yet that day (it was mid-afternoon) and this is consistent with my recent cycles of some nice fertile days followed up by weirdness until peak.

Finally, in trying to figure out some of the random bleeding that I get, Dr. D. took cultures from my cervix (why yes, that is just as uncomfortable as it sounds). (This is the one I'm expecting will come back with issues, though it'd be nice if it didn't.) She also said that infection can contribute to blocked tubes and both of my were partially blocked.

No ultrasound series yet. Ania said that Dr. D. prescribed femara for her for a couple of cycles before doing the u/s series so I'm Ok with being patient on this. The u/s series is actually something The Man and I are not 100% sure about, so a few more months to consider and pray about it will be a good thing. (But don't worry TCIE, if I've gotta do it, I may as well get a cool button for my blog while I'm at it ;).)

If no BFP in 3 months, I go back for a follow-up.


The Next Turn in the Road

Well, today's the day. The day I wouldn't allow myself to think would really come. The day I joked about with the appointment scheduler when I made the appointment.

But it 's here. I have my first appointment with Dr. D. (Dr. S's partner since he retired in the spring after my surgery and follow-up.)

I am nervous because I do not know exactly what to expect. I do have a bit of an idea thanks to all of you, and I do know that I am going to request a second full-cycle blood work, it's been almost a year since I had my first (and only) one and I've been on metf.ormin and prom.etrium plus had surgery, so I'd like to see if my hormones are any better at all. Other than that, I suspect we are possibly entering into the world of ultrasound series and injectables.

Today the road takes the next turn and this is what I know: every time I think I want to just give up and throw out my charts God speaks to me in the exact language to remind me why I can't. He uses this beautiful sacrament of marriage to remind me how badly I want The Man to be a daddy; to remind me this isn't just about me and my fears and my control issues; to remind me that (please don't hate me) I don't ever dream about a BFP, but rather about telling The Man about the BFP. (I think this is why I'm able to not test every month.) That as much as I want to be a mommy, there is something deeper inside of me that wants The Man to be a daddy. Something that knows if it were possible to sacrifice my motherhood for The Man's fatherhood I would do it, in a heartbeat without hesitation. It is why, of all the days, Father's Day is the hardest. Of all the things that break my heart, hearing The Man hurt is worse; hearing him say things like "it's just not fair, there are babies all around us" breaks my heart in places I didn't know could be broken.

So, while my flight response is wanting to kick in big time (remember, I have no fight response - yes, I am stubborn, but my every instinct is to run), God is reminding me that there is more to this. And today, I begin to discover what that more will look like.

Thank God for good friends, because after my appointment Ania, E., and Christy (her blog is private) and I are meeting for dinner. Christy and I are friends from grad school, E is a friend and my FCP, and Ania is a blog friend turned IRL friend. There will be a couple of kiddos, a baby growing in utero, a couple DHs, and 4 ladies who share the journey of IF, 2 of which who also share the pain of miscarriage, and lots of chit chat, faith, and love. I can't imagine a better way to spend the evening than with these ladies.

And now, I need to finish up because if I don't get packed and ready I'm going to be late and I don't think stressing over being late for 4 hours in the car is a great way to start this appointment.


Quick Takes

1.  I am home from my retreat and I have so much to process and to share. For now, I will say that God answered my prayer and broke my heart in ways I had no idea needed to happen. It was excruciatingly painful and so healing all at the same time. And yes, the chest pains have stopped and have been replaced by tears.

2.  As I was driving home from the retreat center that has become so familiar to me, I stopped at a rest stop along the the turnpike and realized two things: 1) I require Sta.rbu.cks (Chai, no coffee for this girl) and 2) assimilating back into the "real world" is going to be difficult this time. Everything seemed sharp and harsh, even the lack of "you're welcome" from the woman who made my chai latte was so stark in contrast to the previous four days. There was a glimmer of hope in the teen boy who held the door open for me when I headed back out to my car.

3.  I also got to see my dear friend, Fr. Tom. Fr. Tom is from Ireland and we met and became friends at TOB 1 in October. In this case, Facebook is a true blessing because it has allowed us to become even better friends and I was so looking forward to seeing him again. He sat beside me all week in class and I could feel his prayers for me during the times the tears ran down my cheeks and the silent sobs shook my whole body.
Me and Fr. Tom!
4. Oh, and did I mention that Chris.topher W.est was the instructor for the week? See...
Please excuse the puffy, tired eyes - this was after about 5 days of crying. And this was taken BEFORE I tried to tell him thank-you...
Trying to express gratitude to Christopher that goes far far beyond words ever could. When you study Theology of the Body, you talk so much about "life giving love" that it is extremely painful for my IF heart to hear. Christopher addresses this subject with such compassion and love, while the pain is not lessened, the blow is gentler and the recovery easier. (Please excuse the ugly cry.)
Thanking Christopher for being the hands and feet of Christ. He is so humble when you give him a complement, always giving credit to Jesus, yet I can't help but think of how often he talks and teaches about Mary's "yes" to our Lord. Christopher's "yes" to our Lord is also so important. (And yes, if you tied my hands behind my back I would be unable to speak.)
5. As I am writing about my week, I am realizing I have been extremely remiss in writing about some awesome meet-ups with some of you!!! While I was in Texas, I got to meet J. from Faith Makes things Possible, not Easy AND E. from One Joyful Day AND I also got to hang out with Kara whose husband recognized me by my blog back in April. Then, JellyBelly and her hubby were travelling through Pittsburgh on their way back home and we had dinner together! And finally, January from Women for All Seasons and I met on my way to my retreat last Sunday. It has been a summer full of blogger meet-ups and I think January said it best when she said, "Meeting confirmed we were already friends, we just had to fill in some of the practical details." Thank-you, from the bottom of my heart to all of you, for being a part of my life and for rearranging details so that we could share real hugs, real smiles, and real love with one another. I am honored and humbled.

6. Do any of you ever notice the "Daily Jolt" at the top right of my blog? Well, today's "jolt" is so appropriate and ties so much into my journey of infertility I have to share it: 
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. ~Epicurus 
It is this balance I continue to struggle with - hoping for motherhood while not ruining the life I do have in the process. Such a simple thing to say. Such a difficult thing to live.

7. And, in order to make these takes authentically random AND authentically me, I will now remind you that football season starts in 8 DAYS!!!!!!  Well, I'm sure there will be a college game or two before next Saturday, but in my world (and this is my blog :-)) WVU Football starts on Saturday, September 1 at Noon. This football season is once again bittersweet, somehow I never thought I'd be facing another one without a child, and yet, I know how healing football can be for me. So, I'm going to focus on the good and enjoy getting out all of my gold and blue (and maybe even buying a new shirt or two!), enjoy planning yummy tailgate food, and figuring out what I shall drink, since beer has gluten in it *sniff*, each week!


Break My Heart Lord, Allow Me to Feel

It's been a hard few weeks. The baby announcements seem to be giving birth to more baby announcements, and while I'm genuinely happy for those who are expecting, the feeling of being left behind is growing ever stronger. My list of bloggers still waiting is getting shorter. We are blessed, I know it, to see miracles happening right before our eyes because every baby is a miracle.

And as hard as the weeks have been, one of the hardest things has been the lack of emotion I've felt. Instead I've been having such extreme anxiety I've been having physical pains in my chest area. I know it's anxiety related because it only happens when something that would normally make me cry or sad happens. I don't even really feel anxious, it is completely manifest in physical symptoms (and is worse if it's been a couples days since I last went for a run). It's as if, instead of feeling the emotions, a wall is being built around my heart. A hard, thick, tall wall.

On Sunday I head to a weeklong course on the theol.ogy of the bo.dy that is encompassed in a retreat setting. Since I sat in adoration last Friday evening and prayed for God to break my heart, to soften the hardness that is building, to let me feel the emotions I know I am blocking, I have continued praying for the same thing. It is what I will be asking for in prayer all next week, for the hard wall that is forming and causing physical pain to break apart and allow me to feel the emotional pain again.

My first 2 trips to this retreat center have coincided with steps forward on our IF journey, specifically with the scheduling of appointments and testing. (My first retreat also marked my first NaPro appointment and the start of answers. My second retreat marked the scheduling of my surgery 10 days later.) A part of me never dreamed I'd be going back to Black Rock and not be pregnant yet, and this time the doctor's appointment is already scheduled for the following week. This only leaves my emotional state and the spiritual side of things for steps forward. I am praying hard that those steps happen. I need them to happen or else I'm going to end up needing a stress test and I'd rather that not happen.

Without any chance of physical progress (it is also CD1, so there is no hope there) or medical steps forward, I am clinging to the hope that God will answer my prayer. That He will break my heart and allow me to feel. At this point, it is my only hope.