Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our very furry children

I was born with a small family, just my Mom and Dad and me.  Of course, I had grandparents and aunts and uncles and even some cousins, but we never got to see them very much.  Now, I have a HUGE family (see last post!), including 3 little furry children who are plenty of entertainment and I believe grooming us for parenthood.  So let's start from the beginning...

Our oldest is Sonoma.  She is an all black cat that we adopted when we were renting our first place in Colorado and couldn't have dogs.  J was allergic to cats at the time, but he also missed furry companionship so for my first birthday up in CO, he said he would get me a cat.  We traipsed around what is called the Dumb Friends League in CO, basically the Humane Society and fell in love with this spunky little crazy kitty.  From that point on, we were doomed.  After about 2 weeks of J feeling pretty awful, his allergies subsided and he was fine!  She was a real sweet kitten, and about the time we moved to our house in CO, she knew she had us hooked and flipped the switch. 

 How do I explain her personality? She just started running around like a crazy tiger, attacking my ankles and peeing on rugs for no reason.  My in-laws have now named her "Psycho Cat".  It's kinda like she is on crack some days.  The vet prescribed Paxil, and that seems to help a lot.  I'm serious - people tend not to believe me when I say our cat is on Paxil - but she is.  She gets about 3 drops of tuna flavored Paxil every evening in her dinner.  This picture says it all.

 Anyway, she loves us - J especially - but not so much other people.  However, she has this really funny habit of loving up on carpenters.  I don't know why.  Anyway, to say she loves J is an understatement.  She absolutely adores him.  When he comes home from work, she is right there waiting for him to pick her up and she rubs all over him.  She lets him hold her like a baby.  Truly a sight to see.  When he wakes up in the morning, she lays on his chest and purrs.  And occasionally she grooms him...he has really short hair on his head and will wake up to her licking his head in the morning.  Quite the scene.  And very humorous.  When I go on business trips, she sleeps on my side of the bed and when I come back she is mad at me.  Believe me, I can tell.  As soon as J sits down in his chair, she is on his lap.  Even though we adopted her on my birthday, she is really his cat.

I sometimes worry how she will react with children in the house.  But I know she wants to protect us all, even the dogs, which is funny.  So I think she will warm to the idea...that is if she lasts that long.  She'll be 8 this year!  All the cats I had as a kid passed away when they were 7 or 8, but she shows no sign of leaving us anytime soon.  She'll probably be the oldest cat on the planet, just to spite us.  But we do love her, and all her craziness even though our parents hate her with a passion.

Then we have Sierra.  She is an Australian Shepard and my little love.  She is super soft, and about 40 lbs and short.  She has the coloring of a rottweiler, but no other features.  We adopted her again from the Dumb Friends League in Denver, CO after we had returned from getting married in Arizona.  They actually told us she was half rottie, but we have determined she is all Australia Shepard.  She was our wedding present to ourselves now that we had a yard.  How could you not love that face?

 She is quite possibly the sweetest dog I have ever known.  I call her my "Love Bug" because she is just so cute and sweet.  If I have had a bad day, she knows it and is right there trying to make me feel better.  If J and I are fighting or even having a heated discussion with raised voices, even if we aren't upset with each other, she will come to one of us and paw at us as if to say, "don't fight!"   I would say Sierra is more my dog than J's.  She just loves to be around me and I love her so!  And she has got the "puppy-dog" face down look and I'm a puddle!  She is also a bit of an adventurer.  When we had her in CO, she loved to go on our Jeepin' trips with our friends and she was in heaven.  Hiking around, swimming, whatever.  She was never scared!!  She turned 6 in January.

And our youngest is Blazer - have you noticed a trend with the names?  They are all named after Chevy vehicles because J used to be a Chevy he is kinda a Nissan guy, but Chevy's are still dear to him.  Blazer is an Australian Cattledog.  He is white with grey and brown splotches.  Oh, and he has HUGE ears.  Well, maybe they aren't so huge.  But when we got him and he was smaller, they were like wings.  We actually joked that we should have named him Radar because he could hear radios in China!  When we got him, he had one blue eye and one brown eye.  Now the blue eye is about 3/4 brown.  He is a very energetic dog, but also very nervous sometimes.  He has gotten better, but on the first ever walk I took Blazer on, I had to carry him.  At that point he was about 15 lbs, and it turned out to be a shorter walk than we had planned!  He just gets very scared easily.  For instance, if he falls in the kitchen because he got excited because he heard J come home, he will be afraid of the kitchen because he thinks it "bit" him.  He also seems to run into things a lot, which I chalk up to him being younger (he'll be 4 this year) and not very observant.  It takes some urging to get him to go into the garage, and outside of his yard.  He is quite the homebody. But he is a great dog, once we got him broken of chewing!  Such a cutie!

Now for some comparisons that I have noticed and make me laugh.  First off, Sonoma is an independent.  She doesn't care what we are doing, she wants to do her own thing and will tell you so - she's very vocal, so I don't know who she resembles.  Sierra is most definitely like me.  When I get up at 5:30 to go to the gym, she looks at me like, "I'm ready!  Let's go!" whereas Blazer looks at me through one sleepy eye as if to say, "If you think I am getting up, you are crazy lady!" which is what J is like - not a morning person.  She even knows if I have on my athletic shoes and my watch and is ready for her walk and disappointed if I don't take her.  Sierra is usually up for anything...she doesn't get scared easily.  I tend to do things and not get scared, I just figure out that I don't care for them.

 Anyway, Blazer is nervous (as I said before) and J can be that way too.  For instance, I have grown up flying on a plane at least a couple times a year, if not more and J didn't.  So he hates to fly.  But once it is over,he is fine.  Blazer, same thing.  He is scared to try something new, but once he does it, he realizes it isn't so bad.  The first time he saw a child (seeing as the only people who live in our house are grown-ups) he didn't know what to do.  He didn't try and bite or get crazy, he just put his ears down and was like, "what's wrong with this thing?  It's so small?"  It was very comical.  Whereas, Sierra wanted to lay by the baby and protect her!  See, Love Bug - or Bug for short.  Blazer always has to be into whatever we are doing.  If J is cleaning the yard, Blazer is at his knee.  If I am washing the dishes, Blazer tries to put his paws up on the counter and watch - he loves water.  And he loves to play - which J is very good at doing with him.  They wrestle around and go crazy, and then Sierra gets vocal because she and I were sitting quietly watching TV and they interuppted!  They are all humorous to me and have definitely taught us how to parent. 

I think of them as our children and sometimes it worries me.  Mostly Sonoma worries me.  I kind of think of her as the "goth" kid.  She doesn't want attention, but she does.  She was our first pet, so what does that mean about our first child?  Sierra is calmer, although she does bark a lot (has to tell us what is happening around the neighborhood, even if it is just a car driving buy) so I look at her as the gossip queen too.  But she has an old soul and is very protective of us.  If any of our kids (yes, hopefully plural) turn out like her, I'll be in heaven.  And Blazer isn't bad either.  He's energetic.  Someone called him a tornado once and that hits the nail on the head.  So he would be that kid that does every sport out there and is great at it.  Again, not too worried about him as a kid.  It's just Sonoma that makes me think sometimes.  She is calming down and I think when we do have a kid, she'll deal.  But still something I think about.

Alright, time for dinner.  Happy last week of March folks!


Saturday, March 27, 2010


I know I have talked before about how blessed I am, but I mainly talk about the women in my life.  My Mom(s), my girl friends, etc.  And of course my husband.  But I leave out the men and that isn't to mean that I don't have a bunch of well-meaning and very caring men in my life.

First, there is my hubby.  J is amazing most days, and a regular man  the rest of them.  But we always manage to get through our disagreements and come back to the loving place that our relationship is in.  The fact that he is actually present at all of these doctor visits and wanting to do this is a huge thing to me.  This is a man that used to not be able to say "tampon" and my way of telling him AF was visiting was to say, "Well, I'm not pregnant" in years past.  Not anymore, he has come a long way and when I see him with kids of our friends, I can't wait to see him with ours.  I trust him to do what is right and he always does.  He has the best heart.  He always thanks me for whatever I am doing even though I consider them wifely duties (i.e. paying bills, doing laundry, cooking, etc.) and makes me feel appreciated.  He always tells me I am beautiful and argues with me when I call myself ugly or fat, especially these last couple days with the stupid lip thing.  I may bitch and moan at times about the silly things he does, but in reality it is nothing crazy like what has been in the media lately.  So I am very blessed that this wonderful man is my husband.

Then, there is my Daddy.  Years ago, my Mom used to give me a hard time about being in my 20's and still calling my Father my "Daddy."  Then, she went to church on Father's Day one year and the sermon was about how children who call their fathers Daddy have a different relationship, mostly a better relationship with their fathers.  She hasn't said anything since. ;)  Anyway, my father is amazing.  He has the biggest heart and wants to do whatever he can to help however he can.  He and I don't talk about infertility stuff a whole lot, but every so often it pops up.  He even offered to take me to my HSG in 2008 when J couldn't.  That was a little much for me, especially being pretty new to this whole process, but it was beyond sweet.  I am an only child and there are times in my life where I have been a Daddy's girl.  However, now I have a great relationship with both of my parents.  And in the Spring and Summer months, my Daddy and I go to the pool on Sundays with a coach and swim for about 90 mins, then head to breakfast and catch up.  I enjoy these days immensely, and am sad when Winter comes and it is too cold for me to get in the pool.  (What can I say, I am a wuss!  When the air temp is colder than the pool - figure 80 in the pool and 40 in the air - I'm out!)  So I am blessed to be able to call this great man my Daddy.  My true Daddy.  I also love watching him play with my friend's kids and the smile that crosses his face...makes me think of the smile my Grandfathers had when they saw me.  I will be beyond elated when I can tell my Daddy that he will be a Granddaddy.

Now, if you don't know me really well you don't quite understand what I mean with the statement about "my true Daddy" so let me explain.  In High School, I got to know some of my best friends' parents very well because I was always at her house, so instead of calling her parents Mr. and Mrs. or by their first names, I just started saying Mama and Dad.  Well, here we are 15 years later and I still do it.  Only it isn't only that one friend, it is now 3 families that I do this with.  And I can even call them and say, "Hi Dad or Mom" and they know it is their "other" child.  My Mom always said, my parents chose to have one child and I chose to have many parents.  But these parents are a big part of my life and I love them all so.  Mom and Dad Ryan and Mama and Dad Ledford  - Thanks for all your support!

Then, there is my best guy friend...or my brother as I call him.  He is someone I have known since high school and he actually was my best friend's boyfriend for a long time.  They eventually broke up and she and I "broke up" but he and I stayed close.  I appreciate him very much even though I don't get to see him all that much.  But he makes the effort whenever he is in town.  And he calls when I send him messages of joy, like when I passed my CFP4 test.  Many people texted, but he called.  He is basically like the brother I never had.  And I appreciate him very much....and his parents too, who I love to see when he is in town as well.

Now, for some unexpected males in my life that I am blessed to have.

First off, Dr. H.  I couldn't have asked for a better RE.  Not only is he genuine, but he is patient, thorough, and positive.  He never rushes me.  If you haven't noticed, I tend to have a lot of questions and he lets me ask them and answers fully.  He doesn't push me and make me feel like this won't happen for us, like if we don't do it right this second, it won't work.  I have heard about doctors like that.  He explains what he is seeing in the ultrasound to J, who doesn't do the reading like I do.  And he smiles and knows our names and our situation.  I have heard of another RE in Tucson who is the polar opposite and while our friends who went to him got pregnant right away, the bed-side manner was less than desirable.  Now, I don't believe that he has a magical wand that Dr. H doesn't so I won't even consider going to see him.  Especially because my OB (who was recommended to me by our future pediatrician and I love) recommended him highly and she has been my OB for a number of years and knows my style.  This is an extremely hard process and to have a doc who rushed or didn't answer questions would make it so much worse.  Dr. H calls me back in a timely manner when I call him, and his staff isn't too bad either.  They have their moments, but for the most part, they are spot on!  Our appointment on Thursday, made me calm down immensely (even with the thought that our next step with him is the uber-expensive one) because of his attitude and his rationale.  Very lucky patient here.

And lastly, as he showed yesterday morning, I am blessed to have a great personal trainer.  (I apologize in advance if this sounds like an ad for the gym - Peformance Fitness - but I really love it!) I have always wanted to have a trainer to help me get and stay in shape, but never could afford it.  Well, a couple years back, I was invited to a seminar about what exercises swimmers should do when they aren't in the water that would help them and it was put on by the man who is now my trainer - Andrew.

Andrew runs a very different kind of gym but it meets my needs perfectly.  First, it is a upscale and smaller than the mega gyms out there where they don't know you from the next busty blond.  I don't even have a gym card, they just know me.  Then, there are no contracts - which rocks!  That has always been something I hated, contracts at gyms.  And on top of that, the monthly fee includes one session of personal training a month.  That was the kicker to me.  I don't need a trainer 3 days a week telling me what to do, I just need someone who I check in with every month to tell me what to fix or change up my workout or pull me out of my funk or give me some eating advice.  And as always, Andrew does that.  Oh, and because it is a small gym, he and all the other trainers will fix something if I am doing it wrong without hesitation...not like other places where the trainers just laugh at you!  So I always joke that I don't have one trainer, I have 12!  What a deal!  Plus, it has a very nice family atmosphere and the members get to know each other which is great.

Usually what happens is that I see Andrew once a month and he updates my workout or fixes the exercises I am doing wrong or need to add more weight to.  I was supposed to see him last Friday, but I bailed based on the events of last week.  So, I had rescheduled to this week and it was truly a challenge for me to get out of bed yesterday.  I just want this thing on my lip to go away, and it won't as fast as I want it to.  But I ambled out of bed and headed for the gym.  Did some cardio when I got there and then it was time for the training, and I wasn't really into it as Andrew walked towards me.

We started off as we normally do, with him reviewing my notebook where I keep track of the exercises he prescribes, my activities of the past month and an overview of how I am feeling, and then we started discussing what I had emailed him about a few weeks ago - eating.  We spent the entire hour session talking, which is what I needed.  Someone to remind me how to reach my fitness goals by eating better foods - he doesn't like that I eat Lean Cuisines, Weight Watcher meals, etc because of the preservatives.  But he doesn't tell me this in a mean way at all, simply the facts and why there are better things out there.  He is really smart!  And he knows all about our situation, partly because I clue him in every now and again, and partly because his lovely wife reads my blog (thanks Bre!).  So he knows the struggle I had last week without me telling him.  He also reminds me a lot of my husband, who I obviously love a lot.  And he told me this morning that I remind him of his wife (which is a huge compliment because besides being gorgeous, she is super sweet, thoughtful and smart!) with my drive and intensity.  Anyway, I could blather on about what a great guy he is, but the point I want to make is that he knew what I needed today and it wasn't a workout.  It was a talk and some motivation and just an ear and some laughs.  And a guys know I love hugs!  These kind of men are hard to find.  So I am very lucky to have him as my trainer and my friend.  I didn't expect that when I signed up for the gym, but I lucked out. And one of these days, his wife and I are due for drinks and they are both due at the house for dinner, just have to figure out schedules.  Thanks Andrew and Bre...I appreciate your loving thoughts!

And on that note, I am heading off for the day.  Have a great weekend Bleaders and please look around and remember who blesses your life.  It is a good perspective to have.


Friday, March 26, 2010

The doctor has spoken...rather the RE.

Hi folks, sorry this was delayed.  I haven't had time to think about what Dr. H said, or at least enough to write about it.  So this was my Thursday.

Woke up and worked out, still with my lip big enough to eat Tucson. But since my workout friend was going to be banging on my door at 5:45 am, I had to get up.  And it wasn't bad, until about the end of the workout where I just couldn't continue.  Something with my head and tummy just wasn't meshing well.  She left and I actually went back to bed for another 45 mins or so, until J's alarm went off and he crawled out.  Because, when he crawls out, I am late!  However, surprise to me, he wanted to get to work early because he was leaving early for our Doctor appointment.  Smart man.  But by that point, I was up already.

On the way to work, stopped and got our girl flowers (the brightest daisies I could find)  to hopefully help with some of the heartache going on.  And then stopped to get more lip stuff...someone said carmex, and even though I wasn't sure about it, I did it (and on a side note, I think it has helped!).  Our girl (who had the miscarriage) had not come in, and I can't say that I blamed her...I would have been curled in a ball waiting for the Earth to swallow me.  Anyway, my Boss/Mom ended up taking them to her at home on her way to an appointment and she loved them.  I got a text and it said they made her day.  It was the least we could do.  And it made her happy, that's all we could ask for.

Finally, 1 pm rolled around and it was time for me to scoot to Dr. H's office.  J was meeting me there.   I got there first and someone else was already talking to the receptionist at the window.  However, she looked at me, mouthed my name and pointed that I should sit down.  How sad is that that I don't even have to give them my name, they know my face?  Sorry, side note.  J got there and I went around to talk to the other receptionist, I had requested a full printout of our file and I wanted to make sure they got it.  Their office is completely paperless.  So when you take in records, they scan them in and then give them back.  Every appointment we had, had notes to it that we didn't have.  So now we do.

About 1:40 pm, Dr. H came out and got us for our 1:30 appt.  He was in scrubs and I think someone had told me that this was an "IVF week" at the office.  He welcomed us, then corrected himself saying he knew we didn't like to come see him.  He noticed my lip and I told him what had happened, so there was some brief discussion about sunburns and the air show.  Although, he said he didn't notice it until I was talking.  So we talked.  He started to get into it, and I interuppted him with the news that I hadn't spotted for the last three months and that AF was late this month.  He said the lack of spotting was awesome!  And that this month could have been a chemical pregnancy, but we'll never know because there wasn't a positive test.  But both were good signs.  He discussed my recent blood work saying that everything was good and nothing to try to improve.  J brought up Volleyball Queen's situation, and I explained further about them "not trying" and then finding out they were pregnant after the injections had started.  Dr. H said it happens all the time when we are making it more fun and not stressing.  It called it, "spontaneous pregnancy."  J said that at some points it did start to feel like work and that was no fun, which is why we decided to take our break and why we kind of thought that had happened when I was late this month.  But "taking a break" from Dr. H could do it.  J said that he never understood the miracle of life until we began this process.  It makes sense now.

Then the real discussion began. We asked what our next steps could be.
1. IUI with more injectible drugs.
        However, he doesn't like this one because even though the success rate goes to about 25%, the down sides are that twins are more possible (15% vs. 5% with regular IUI) and triplets enter the picture (at about 5% chance)!  YIKES!  Now, while that isn't a bad thing to have a couple babies, it is more dangerous for the mother and the children.  Twins conceived this way are 6 times more likely to have special needs and the risk of loss goes way up.  Triplets conceived this way are 8 times more likely to have special needs.  If we did this, it would cost us about $1,000 each time and they would do it 3 times before they said, this isn't working.  Or until I said, "next please!"

2.  IVF (In-vitro)- yes, this is the big kahuna.  The grand daddy of infertility.  The expensive one.  About 12.5x what each IUI cost us last year.  YOWZA!  (Do you see the dollar signs going crazy?!)  I asked him to explain this process because while I knew the generalities of it, I didn't know the specifics.
    First, it takes about 2 months to do because they would put me on birth control to get my follicules in sync to get the most amount of eggs.  How going on BC makes me get more eggs I don't understand, but I believe what he says.  Basically, Dr. H is in control of my cycle.   I do regular fertility pills down the hatch and 10 days of injectible fertility much that I might look pregnant because I have so many eggs going.  I am now a chicken with as many eggs as possible!  Dr. H goes in about day 12 and takes out all my eggs, with me being sedated and out of work.  They are then scrutinized to "separate the good eggs from the bad".  And then they are fertilized with J's boys...this meaning that they crack the shell of my egg and introduce sperm to egg.  (WOW!)  This is called ICSI.  About 5 days later, they put the eggs (max of 2 - not 8 like Octo-mom!  At this point, J asked what Octo-mom's doctor was thinking so there was some discussion about that - Dr. H thinks the guy is a moron.  And then apparently Dr.Octo-mom did the same thing to another woman!) back in me (again sedated) and we hope that one or both implant.  Oh and did I mention the 5 ultrasounds during the course of this process?  Wandy and I will be great friends by the end of this...if we weren't besties already.  So risks - multiple births, but for some reason less chance of special needs issues.  Success rate for our age range and specs is about 50%!  50%!  That is incredible...considerably up from our 15-20%! 
     So during the course of this conversation he kept saying, "frozen embryos" and I had to ask what he meant.  Seems, that whatever eggs are good enough, they freeze and keep until July of the following year.  Frozen eggs apparently give just as good of babies as fresh eggs - WHO KNEW?!  And (God forbid) we have to do this process again, they already have the eggs and don't have to go back and get more which cuts out about $5,000 of the cost!  So the first one is the most expensive.
     Recently I had read about Mini-IVF which was supposedly about 2/3rds of the price so I asked what that was and if they did it.  He said they did not because it basically cut out the embryo freezing and it was actually more cost-efficient to just do the regular IVF because the freezing was included and it cut out the egg retrieval process if we had to go through it more than once.  IVF works better with patients with unexplained infertility (hello - us!) and younger.  Apparently, I still count as "younger" even though I have passed the big 3-0! Again, they would recommend IVF 3 times and if after that it wasn't working, then adoption or surrogacy is our best bet. 
     So that brought up surrogacy, because one of my BFFs offered me the greatest gift ever - her belly!  Basically it would be IVF of my eggs and J's boys in her belly. The only reason they would recommend that was if I was having recurrent miscarriage.  At this point, I am not aware that I have actually ever conceived (remember, I don't know what a positive HPT looks like), so we're not there yet.  (A quick story he told us...there is one form of surrogacy that is actually illegal in Arizona.  Apparently, a surrogate could use her own egg and the spouse's sperm from the mother who couldn't carry.  But it has been banned in AZ because in California there was a case where this happened, and at the end the surrogate decided since it was her egg it was part her baby, so there was a court battle and now the two share custody.  Crazy!  AZ saw that and said, "oh hell no!" and now that can't happen here.  For anyone who wants to research it, it was called Baby M case in California).  We didn't really discuss adoption or a lot about child-free living as he called it, but he let us know those options are available as well.  Child-free living is basically shutting the door.  So that led to a discussion about enjoying what we have before we have kids, but then wanting the other thing too.  We are far from that place right now though.
     I also asked what he recommended.  He said that as long as we are being healthy (eating well, exercising, etc) we don't have to rush anything.  Obviously stats go down as I get older, but if we wanted to wait another couple years, it wouldn't hurt us.  His recommendation was to wait another 6 months to a year and then re-evaluate the situation.  I told him I was doing Weight Watchers and he told me I didn't need to.  (Always nice to hear a doc say that you don't need to lose weight.) He said just to watch portions and exercise and I replied that WW helped me do that and kept my motivation up.  He said that was fine, but not to lose a lot (hello, I can't get past 5 lbs, a lot is not on the plate!).  He said we were some of the slimmest patients he has, so that made me feel good.  Throughout this whole conversation with Dr. H, J is listening intently and asking lots of questions.  He is even bringing up things like my lack of spotting and making sure those are movements in the right direction.  Dr. H agreed they were.  Dr. H was also glad to hear about my Circle & Bloom meditations and had never heard of them.  (I will blog about that another day - but I like it a lot!)  I even asked him if the Healthcare Reform stuff would help or hurt him and he said neither in this practice.  It is more for people who don't have/can't afford insurance and to help the hospitals that don't turn them away and eat the costs, and then everyone's cost go up.  (I don't do politics people, so if this isn't news to you, please forgive.)  It was finally time to go (almost 45 minutes later - our appointment was supposed to be 30 minutes).  We paid and got some more notes from our meeting.  While we are standing there, I noticed a sheet about IVF in a sheet protector with the costs broken down, so I immediately asked for a copy.  It's quite incredible really!

I must say that throughout this conversation, Dr. H was very patient, kind, positive and attentive.  He never rushed us and brought up things to do that wouldn't make him any money.  Which is why I trust him so much.  J and he can talk to each other and get along very well...especially considering where he has to examine me (and I have always had a female OB and never had my husband sitting in the room).  J left to go run some errands and I headed back at the office...stopping at Eegee's on the way for a drink and a cookie (I know, not healthy, but so worth it!) for me and my only employee in the office that day.  Worked until about 6:45 pm, and finally made it home to make dinner and watch a little TV before hitting the hay. After listening to my Circle and Bloom meditation of course. 

Wow, what a day huh?  I think our official decision is to just stay the course we are on...that is, no drugs and no doctors.  Since Dr. H was impressed with my progress as far as the no spotting, etc. we aren't going to worry about more drugs.  And with my big CFP test coming up probably in November, holding back a little bit probably isn't a bad plan.  That test will stress me out enough, no need to add doing IVF or being pregnant in the middle of it to it.  Now, if I "spontaneously impregnate" we won't stop it!  But taking away this stress isn't a bad thing.  Will still keep track of when AF comes and is due, but other than that, nada!  So there is the verdict folks...we are still on a break and loving it.

Now, I happened to see this video that Busted Kate had seen somewhere else about how "Aunt Jane knows more than the singer's RE (fertility doctor)".  It is quite funny because if you are an Infertile, you know these people are everywhere and don't charge nearly what our well-educated REs do.  So watch the video and laugh.

Kate's video.

Night lovely bleaders! Love!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A giggle

I've been waiting a long time to put this clip up.  But I couldn't quite figure out how to do it.  I will say that I am not a fan of Family Guy, but this actually made me chuckle and I think I said to J, "Maybe that is what is happening inside my uterus every month!"  Will post about the visit to the doctor tomorrow.  Time for sleep.  I know it doesn't look perfect, but at least it plays!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quick Clarification

Since my post this evening, I have had 2 people ask if my friend who miscarried today was Volleyball Queen.  It was not.  It was another friend.  Volleyball Queen is doing great and I can't wait to see her in May when she is in town...and possibly throw her a baby shower for her girls here.  Let me know VQ!


I feel like a freak

Let me start by saying this has been an emotionally and physically challenging day.

First off, woke up this morning with the biggest, fattest, bottom lip on the planet.  It looks like the Sandman botoxed me in my sleep!  I got a little sunburnt at the air show on Sunday, and while I had put sunscreen every where else, I missed my lip.  So now when I walk into a room, my lip does first and then I do about five minutes later.  To top it off, it hurts really much that I questioned eating today, which never happens for me!!!!  It feels like I have a jalapeno sitting on my bottom lip...yeoch!   I cannot express how ugly I feel and how much my lip hurts.

Second, I had a very sad note.  A friend who found out she was pregnant a couple weeks back miscarried today.  She told me she was heading to urgent care and a couple hours later called with the news.  I can't even imagine what she is going through.  Poor thing.  I haven't crossed that bridge yet, so if anyone has encouraging things that I can tell her or a someone she can talk to to help her get through this, I would greatly appreciate it.  My heart hurts every time I think about it.  Sad Nikus.

And on that note, I think a margarita is in order - since I probably can't eat dinner, no salt please, and a big bag of ice that I will plaster to my mouth.  Love and prayers folks. Love.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quick Update

I know I haven't posted for a while, but things haven't allowed me to sit and give the thoughts to the blog that I so wanted to.  However, I received my blood test results back yesterday (from the correct test that happened on Friday) and the short version is that they are all normal.  That being said, our appointment was able to get moved from next Tuesday to this Thursday, which also helped with J's schedule.  Not really sure what we will discover, but at least we'll all be present for discussion.  And I have lots of questions to ask good ole Dr. H. 

I have lots of blogs rolling around in my head, but just no time to give them the effort and attention they deserve.  Hold on dear Bleaders, there's more to come to this story.  Love.

Friday, March 19, 2010

So many thoughts...where should I begin?!

(Disclaimer: I have a lot to say, so this blog could be lengthy.  Grab a glass of something to drink and have a seat.)

First off, I have to give a huge THANK YOU to every single one of you who called, texted, emailed, posted something on my wall at FB, or in some other way gave me some love yesterday.  While I hate to admit that I let yesterday get to me, I did.  I have to say that I haven't cried over not being pregnant for a while and even though I wouldn't let myself get excited over how late AF was, my heart was bursting and I would find that thoughts would slip into my mind every-so-often of how wonderful it would finally be to utter those two little words, "I'm pregnant!"  So when I returned to the office yesterday from giving my vial of blood and AF was sitting at my desk, with her stupid little cheshire grin, I was none too pleased.  But all the love I received through various means was truly awesome.  I not only adore hearing that people read my blog, but that they care that much about me and J and our situation.  I especially love when someone whose face I know, lets me know they read my blog.  I've always loved to write, so anyone reading what I scribble down makes me smile.

That said, in the midst of yesterday's craziness, I received some utterly awesome news that I have been allowed to share with you.  Through this process of infertility, I have met or been reintroduced to some awesome people.  One of those is a woman I knew when I was in high school, we'll call her Volleyball Queen.  I will call us acquaintances at best in high school.  We knew each other's names, face and that was about it.  

Anyway, we have reconnected over the last months over FB.  I saw one day that she had posted something about acupuncture one day and I messaged her asking what it was for, noting that I also did acupuncture for infertility.  She replied with the same, and from then on we have talked quite consistently.  She moved away from Arizona after high school, so when she has been back we often meet up.  Anyway, she's been through a lot of the same stuff I have.  And that has made us great friends.  I hadn't heard from her in a while so I was wondering what was going on, knowing they were taking a break over Christmas like we were.  Well, she sent me an email yesterday that was the sweetest email about why she has been absent and at the very bottom were the two words I have been longing to say, "I'm pregnant."  I seriously had this sense of incredible joy wash over me.  It was like I had stepped into the ocean and the water hit me, it was so intense.  I have known her story and to hear that she is with child is so ridiculously awesome, I can't even fully explain it.  Especially, to have her get pregnant while they had not visited the RE for a while was awesome.

So while I was sitting at the lab waiting for my blood to be taken, I texted her with my congratulations and we went back and forth for a bit.  I was finally able to talk to her this morning about how they found out because it wasn't your typical story.  And since I posted the other day about how I don't trust home pregnancy tests (HPTs), I asked if I could pass her story on to you dear Bleaders so you could see why I don't fully trust them.  She agreed.  So here is a quick synopsis...

Volleyball Queen and her hubby were kind of where we are...they had done IUI, drugs, acupuncture and were pretty tired of seeing their RE, so they took a break over the holidays to relax and regenerate.  When January rolled around, they had decided to do another IUI with more drugs this time (again, I think this is our next step).  AF came to visit her and she took an HPT and it was negative, they did an ultrasound, and everything said "no baby," so she began to take the injectible drugs prescribed to her.  After 7 days of doing the fertility drugs, which can be potentially harmful to a fetus, she went back for another ultrasound (standard procedure) and the doctor saw a "little white bean" - aka the amniotic sac.  The doc had never seen anything like that given their situation so she took a bunch of pictures and consulted with a few other docs about how to proceed.  It was decided that everything should be fine because she hadn't yet taken the drugs to induce her period (because to her she hadn't missed it!).  But the docs confirmed she was in fact pregnant, so she was to stop all the injectibles and she and hubby were overjoyed!!!  As they should be!!  Volleyball Queen also told me that it wasn't until she was 6 weeks along that the HPT showed up positive.  Now I know some of you are thinking, "why did she keep taking HPTs if she knew she was pregnant?"  And the reason is probably (at least it would be for me), I've never seen one turn pregnant, so I would not only want that for the baby book, but for my own two eyes to see that pregnancy tests do actually do something other than only give you one line!   Volleyball Queen told me she would never trust another HPT again.  This is proof that HPTs don't always work for every woman.  I hope this shows you the point I was trying to make the other day.  HPTs don't always hold the answer, only blood and ultrasound - and as Volleyball Queen showed me, even the ultrasound lied.  She didn't feel pregnant, so she never had another thought about it.  A-MAZING!

Not only does this situation make me so very overjoyed but it gives me hope.  It gives me hope that this will happen for us and that God works in mysterious ways.  It makes me over-the-moon happy that someone I have come to love as a friend is happy and cares so much about me, as was evidenced yet again this morning during our conversation.  And it makes me excited for all the new things she will be experiencing for the rest of her life!  I can't wait to hear about all of them.  Love you Volleyball Queen!

Next, (see, told you this would be long) I want to tell you about my fun visit to the lab again today to give blood.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I hate needles.  This is something that adds to this already difficult process.  To date, I have given myself 3 shots in the belly before each IUI - which many of you have read about, which turned out to be easier than I expected.  But getting a shot or giving blood are not on my list of exciting things to do.  My mother used to always say she didn't have to worry about me getting a tattoo because of my great hate for needles.  Well that went out the window freshman year of college when I got a tattoo on my back.  (Hey, it is a different kind of needle!  It doesn't feel the same.)  On a side note, my great hate for needles came from when I was a kid because my pediatrician's nurse was my Grandma (my Dad's Mom), so my Grandma was the one who did them.  She wasn't bad at them as far as I remember, but having your Grandma give you a shot, didn't make seeing Grandma very exciting or getting a shot any easier.  Okay, back to my story...

So went up to the lab after having not eaten or taken any meds, per doc's orders for the blood work up that was to be discussed at our meeting now scheduled for March 30.  Literally, 2 minutes before I walked out the door, my cell rang and it was Dr.H's office.  They hadn't called back with the results from the pregnancy test yesterday, but as AF had shown up yesterday afternoon, I figured I knew the answer.  Nurse Pamela tried to ease the news to me and I interrupted her saying AF had come, so I knew what she was going to say.  I even recall telling her I was on my way back to the lab for the blood work up for the meeting.  She acknowledged that and I was on my merry way.  Walked into the lab and it wasn't very full so figured it would be quick.  I had taken my new-fangled fertility binder with me, complete with the cover I made last weekend, because it had the notes in it the doc had given me to tell the lab.  They looked up my name and found the test and I even said to the check in lady, "I had a test yesterday, so it isn't that one."

Got called back and had a little conversation with the Phlebotomist, in which she actually complemented the cover on the binder and was surprised when I told her I had made it.  She thought it was professionally done!  YAY ME!  She starts to take my blood and tells me, "you'll have the results for this in 4 hours."  I stopped dead in my tracks...that was what they said to me yesterday.  I said, "excuse me?  What test are you taking?"  She looked and said, "HCG - pregnancy test."  My heart sank.  I told her that was the test I had had the day before and I was here for different testing now that AF had come.  She looked in the computer and confirmed that no other tests were requested.  So I got on the phone to Dr. H's office immediately and tried to figure out what was going on.  There was no way I was leaving that office without the correct test that was supposed to be on day 2 of AF.  After some holding and some intense discussion with the lady at Dr. H's office, I handed the phone to the Phlebotomist for her to talk to their office.  Maybe 15 minutes later, they had the issue figured out.  Even though Nurse Pamela had called to give me the results of yesterday's test, no one had told the front desk that my AF had come and the other tests had to be re-input in the computer system.  So it was done, and the Phlebotomist confirmed they were there.  She wasn't sure if she needed more blood or not (oh no, not another stick!), so she found someone who told her we were good to go with what she had taken.  Finally, about 45 minutes after I walked in, I walked out and got to come home and finally have breakfast and take pain meds for my lovely cramps!  No more needles for me please, at least not for a bit!!!

That about covers the eventfulness of the last two days for me.  I have some other thoughts to post about, but didn't want you to get tired of me blathering on, so will save those for another time.

Again my dearest Bleaders, I cannot tell you enough how much it means to me to have the outpouring of love you showed yesterday.  It truly was a God-send.  I needed a bump...because I was pretty low.

Oh, sorry, one more thing.  The last thing that I want from anyone is to have you feel sorry for us and our situation.  I am a very lucky woman in so many ways.
  • I have a wonderful and loving husband.  
  • I have two very incredible and loving parents, who have helped me in more ways than I will ever be able to count. I
  • have incredible in-laws that I love and love me and my husband very much. 
  • I have countless friends that have become adopted brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers that are my extended family that I think of every day and love every so dearly.  
  • I have a roof over my head.  
  • J and I are both gainfully employed doing jobs we sometimes bitch about but overall love.  
  • We have 3 beautiful albeit furry children that while always entertaining are teaching us how to be parents when the time is right and are always there with a paw when we are upset because that time was not this month.  
  • We mostly have the means to go through this process.  
  • We have had our skin toughened up by God and our previous experiences to deal with it and be able to heal from the not-so-good moments.  
So please do not pity us.  I hate that look that people give you when they pity you.  It just sucks.  Have faith that all you need to give me is love and that will be your donation to this process.  Oh, and those really good hugs!  I love really good hugs!

Once again, I THANK YOU FROM THE VERY DEPTHS OF MY HEART for all the love and virtual hugs that I received yesterday.  They were greatly appreciated and I cannot express my gratitude enough.  I hope to hear from all of you more in the future and I cannot wait for the day when I get to tell many of you face-to-face that we are in fact pregnant.  I'll be just as glad to blog about it too!

Love! <3

Thursday, March 18, 2010

And we have an answer....

So apparently AF's flight was delayed somewhere back East, because right AFTER I got back from getting my blood drawn, she showed up!  So I believe now that we are not pregnant.  Please excuse me if I don't exaggerate as today has been rather stressful and I am just getting home at 7:30 pm.  I am ready for my very tasty but very unhealthy Mexican food dinner and the glass (probably bottle) of wine with it.  We're out of tequila.  I will post tomorrow or this weekend.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.  At least we have an answer, even though it isn't the one I wanted.


I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!

Yes, still.  I am now officially 4 days late.  And all the tests say negative.  So WTF?!  I questioned whether to write about this because if I am pregnant, then I want to be able to tell my family and friends who read this and hear their joy.  (So if you are one of those, just act surprised okay and let me tell you in my own special way!)  But I had to write something because this has been bugging me for days now!  Here is how my week went.

Monday (CD #28) - gym, work, lunch with the girls, work, Nico's (hey, I was craving it and figured AF was due Tuesday so it was my indulgence), home.  Didn't realize AF was due that day until I went upstairs to bed and looked at the calendar.  Oops!  Oh well, no biggie.  Figured it would come Tuesday.

Tuesday (CD #29) - took a test just to see and it was negative at 5 am.  Worked out with my friend, WW (weighed high - hello, had Nico's for dinner!), worked, back to WW for the meeting, home.  Called the doc's office to see what to do because we had our discussion appointment with him on Friday and I needed bloodwork done by Thursday.  Nurse said wait a day or two, and retest.  If nothing, call and reschedule appointment.  Nothing else.  No cramps, no bloating, no soreness.

Wednesday (CD #30) - gym, work, lunch with boss/Mom, work, home.  Nothing!  No issues what-so-ever!  Took a test last night (I know bad time, best time is in the AM).  Again, negative.

Thursday (CD #31 - today) - took an expensive pregnancy test (I have FirstResponse and the cheapies from and it was negative.  Worked out with my friend.  Called the doc's office to cancel tomorrow's appointment and couldn't reschedule until March 30th at 11 am.  Asked to come in and have blood taken and they asked why.  I think I exclaimed "because I am 4 days late and tests say negative!"  Personally, I don't feel comfortable taking whatever drugs they want to give me to induce my period until I am 100% sure that I am not pregnant. 

Let me reiterate here that I am NEVER late!  EVER!  In fact, I can remember the last time I was late.  It was July 2007 and I had actually gotten a false-positive test, then a negative test later.  And both J and I were a bit frantic because I was still on BC and not expecting this at that point, but we were excited.  I finally succumbed to a blood test when AF was about 7 days late and it too was negative, so there was no denying the fact.  But AF never showed, until the following month.  At that point I stopped taking BC, and somehow we got to where we are now.  The ONLY other time I have ever been late was in college, once, and I might have been 2 days late, took a test, it was negative, and then AF came.  Case closed.  Wasn't trying to get pregnant, so was relieved.  Those are the only two times in my entire life that I have been late.  So this isn't normal!

Going back to the nurse...after my exclamation she said she would check with the doctor to see if he wanted a blood test or an ultrasound to check my endometrial lining.  I figured a blood test was quick and easy and cheap, and would be a definitive answer.  So now I am still waiting.  And waiting.  And sweating.  And waiting!

I know some of you who aren't Infertiles may be wondering why I don't believe the negative tests and this may sound silly, but since one has never "worked" for me, I don't have a lot of faith.  I know you say "well, you have never been pregnant!"  But I still have the doubt in my mind that it won't work for us.  The test, not the pregnancy.  Plus, throughout this process I have read multiple times that sometimes the tests don't work for certain women. I don't know the percentage, but I know it exists.  I have read that women can take the test when they are 8 months pregnant, and it shows up negative!  How does that make sense?!

Anyway, therein lies my dilemma.  I will keep you posted...or your phone will ring! Love Bleaders, love!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fertility Shows - They do exist!

The Season Finale of Guiliana and Bill was on Sunday night and we always DVR that and watch it together, so J and I did Monday night.  Here's what happened: When we last met with Guiliana and Bill they had just done and IUI with injectible drugs (our next step I think) and were eagerly awaiting the "verdict" from the doc about the pregnancy.  When we join them for this, the last episode of a seemingly short season, they are still waiting in the doc's office.  Guiliana is giddy and is sure they are pregnant and the IUI worked.  Alas, they are not.  Now I think I teared up here because I have been there.  I have been 100% sure we were pregnant, especially after our first IUI and for some reason that I will never know we were not.  It was devastating!  So when Guiliana tried to play it cool in front of the doc and eventually couldn't hold the tears in any longer, I really felt for her.  Bill was the great husband that he has been on TV and tried to comfort her, but you could tell he was upset too.  Although, to be fair to Bill, he had warned her that she was too excited and should calm down.  To which she replied, "but I know we are!"

The doc (I'm not even going to attempt to try and spell his name) gives them the option of doing the same thing again, maybe with a few more drugs and trying for another month.  But Guiliana won't have that.  She blurts out that they have been trying for a while and she too is a planner.  I get that!  I felt the exact same way!  So they decide to talk about IVF with another doctor who is a specialist.

Then the show turns another way and Guiliana's assistant quits unexpectedly and without any explanation.  He wasn't my favorite person on the show, except that he was openly gay and Guiliana and him had a lot of fun together.  But he quit very stupidly and for the reason that he wanted to move up but didn't feel he could, but he never said anything to Guiliana so apparently he isn't grown up enough yet to do other stuff.  Anyway, I won't comment on that situation anymore because it isn't related to the real meat-and-potatoes of the show that I was interested in.

At some point, Guiliana and Bill venture to the IVF doctor's office for a meet-and-greet and to understand the process better.  This is what I am hoping will happen on Friday with Dr. H for us.  A step-by-step run down of the next places we could go.  The doc explained it on the show and for the most part I understood it, except he had a bit of an accent, so some things came out funny.  He also said it was about a 50-60% chance of working.  Anyway, it sounds really intense.  Guiliana and Bill decide they need a little vacation to sort out all the things happening in their life (book tours, finding a new assistant, IVF, etc) so they head out to California and have a little getaway.  This is fun stuff to watch...eating huge pastries in Solvang (I am sure I spelled that wrong), going on a wine tasting bike tour and getting a little tipsy while riding a bike, and just trying to talk about the upcoming events rationally.  Obviously, cost isn't really an issue to them - or at least nearly as much as it is to us. So the question was really, could she handle something this invasive.  They finally make it back to Chicago and Bill says something to the effect of, "it's your body and it's up to you.  I'll support you either way."  They close the season with Guiliana saying, "I just don't know if I can handle it."  And roll credits!

Now, if you watched The View's episode on Infertility, then you know (like me) that on that show Guiliana said they were starting IVF, so that isn't a surprise.  I just hope it works for them. 

There are two other shows that I have found that discuss infertility, in varying degrees.  The next one is called Rules of Engagement.  David Spade, Patrick Warburton (from Seinfeld fame), Megyn Price, Oliver Hudson, and Bianca Kajich.  Very cute show where Megyn and Patrick are a married couple (Jeff and Audrey, for maybe 5 -7 years), Oliver and Bianca (Adam and Jennifer) are engaged and planning their wedding, and David (Russell) is single and a bit of a player.  The different relationships out there. Anyway, we have watched this show for the last 3 seasons and both J and I laugh out loud at it.  The writing is great and fun.  However, there have been a couple episodes about Jeff and Audrey TTC and having issues so seeing docs about it.  Nothing super intense in discussion, but at least they broach the subject!

And the last show is called Private Practice.  It has Kate Walsh in it from Grey's Anatomy fame where she was Addison Montgomery (and still is on PP).  This show started out based all about infertility.  Addison joins The Practice which is a full service fertility clinic and OB/GYN with an acupuncturist to boot who used to specialize in disease control (random!).  Anyway, since its inception, it has deviated a bit.  One of the owners of The Practice left and moved to a different practice in the same building and I really don't know what she does there anymore except make out with other co-workers and eat chocolate.  There have been meth lab explosions, hoarding mothers, many births, deaths, cars running off into canyons, weddings (the owners of The Practice's 16-year-old pregnant daughter - go figure!), and baby stealings.  So I don't take this as a factual show, but it is interesting enough for me to keep watching it and cry once in a while.  But again, they still talk about infertility and IVF and adoption, etc, and I am glad that finally there is some light on the subject in the media!

I wish that more shows would discuss infertility and how difficult it is and tolling.  Guiliana and I are in the same boat (well, maybe with some differences, say THE MONEY and the body!) but it's always nice knowing that you aren't going this alone.  I thank you dear Bleaders for all the support you give me on the blog and off.  It is very important to my well-being!  That being said, I'm going to step away from the computer now!  Later folks!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So many thoughts...where to begin?!

There are so many things floating around in my head right now, I don't know where to start!

First I want to talk about the fact that I am late...yes that kind of late.  Now don't start jumping up and down yet.  I am only a day late, but in my world that is a pretty big deal because I am a 28-dayer, tried and true.  So today begins day 29 and not a knock from AF or even a phone call from her!  But I took a test this morning (because the suspense was killing me) and it came up negative.  So then what is the deal?  Just come already.  Normally, I wouldn't be so excited to have her visit, but we are seeing Dr. H on Friday and I need to get blood work done by Thursday, so they have results by Friday and we have something to discuss, other than what our next steps are!  I hope I don't have to move our appointment!  Watch, this will be the ONE time she is late for no good reason!  The other reason AF isn't allowed to be late is that I meet with my trainer on Friday.  I can't very well wake up that morning, or even the morning before for that matter, with AF bangin' at my door.  It just won't do!  First off, she zaps all my energy and I won't have the energy to do what Mr. Trainer demands...secondly, he will want to do weight and measurement, and that goes haywire when AF lives in our guest room!  Come on lady, just get here so I can get on with my life!!!   If I don't see her by Thursday, I will call Dr. H's office to reschedule and to ask "Now what?!"

Second, the fertility binder is driving me a little nuts.  First, let me begin by saying that I have always been a creative person.  When I was in Elementary School, I painted wooden shapes, stuck earring backs on them and sold them as earrings for $3 a pair to my friends and family.  Then I did friendship bracelets (didn't sell those, just gave them away), and at one point I tried needlepoint (but didn't get very far).  In High School, I started making Christmas ornaments for my family and close friends, and I still do this today.  Then I did a summer in college where I painted watercolor in Italy and Greece.  I took up knitting about 4 years ago when my friends started having babies and now we are on to sewing.  So, I am a creative person.  I love to see someone's face when they open up a blanket I have made for their little one and they have come to be expected now, which I adore!  I finished the cover for my fertility binder on Sunday and I have to say, it really looks pretty good, especially for my first attempt.  Now, overall, it took me about 6 hours, but a lot of that was figuring out the pattern, figuring out how to work my Mom's machine, threading the needle, ripping stitches out and redoing, trying to sew the zipper, etc.  All with my Mom's help of course!  And a couple breaks for lunch and to just chat with my parents since I was infiltrating their house.  But now that I know what I am doing, I can totally see doing these pretty quickly...I took good notes!

So it isn't the cover that is driving me nuts, it is the prospect of selling it along with the stuff inside.  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of selling it and making some extra cash to put towards our fertility adventure (especially with this little turn we're in now), but I don't know if it will work or not.  First off, it cost me about $50 to put together the binder I did for myself, not including the cover that I made, that added another $20.  Now I have figured out how to cut some corners, but I have also added some things too that are important.  Here is what I want the binder to have:
 - divider sections for various years (which mine does) each with 12 color calendars in them (which aren't dated, but will be tabbed and sent with labels preprinted for the months) that I have dressed up and tried to make kind of fun for recording things like BD, CD, prenatals, exercise, AF, etc.  At this point, I am thinking 3-5 years.  (I envision this binder to be something someone would buy who is in my position...having been dealing with fertility issues for a while (1-2-3 years) and needing a place to put all the stuff!)
 - a business card holder for all the docs, acupuncturists, blood drawing places, etc.
 - sheet protectors for all the bills, notes, etc.
 - maybe some inspirational quotes or things I have heard, maybe a few excerpts from my blog
 - a section that is a quick glance history of the process (I have this and it is awesome)
 - a section of books that I have read and liked, blogs that have helped me, websites I like, etc.

So while this all doesn't sound all this expensive, it really is!  I'm trying to figure out how to drop my cost down because it just doesn't feel right selling a binder for $80 even though that is just a touch over what I am spending to make it!  I want it to be pretty and kind of fun, knowing that this process really isn't.  So here are the dilemmas I am facing:
 - the calendars look way better in color than in black and white, but the color copies for one month are about $6!  So if I am including 3-5 years of calendars, that totals up quick.  Now trust me when I say I have spent a lot of time on these calendars already, and they aren't even perfect yet.  I've toyed with the idea of sending out the templates of the calendars, and that way the person can just print what they want, but then I need a CD to send and if it doesn't work with their computer or what not.
 - turns out I got a huge deal on the fabric for the cover last week because when I went back last night, it was triple the cost!  So need to find some other fabric that is cheaper and just as cute.  It's a really good thing I bought extra the last time, because now it is more expensive by a lot and I love the fabric I found!  (Where is my time machine when I need it?)
 - I don't want the price to turn people away.  This process is already so expensive.  I know because we are in the middle of it, so I try to think how hard would it be for me to buy something like this not really knowing what was inside.

So I ask you dear Bleaders, what are your thoughts?
1.  Would you buy a binder that has a beautiful cloth cover in cheery fabric with a pocket for pens/post-its and all the above described stuff to organize all your fertility crap?
2. What would you consider paying for something ready-made like this?
3. What price would turn you away?
4. What are items that would be must-haves for you?
5. What features don't really mean anything to you or could you live without?

I'm also flirting with doing one for pregnancy, so if you have had kids, please let me know the same answers to the above questions.  I know you get lots of stuff when you get pregnant too, so a place for those is uber-important once there has been a successful part of this first step.  I'm trying to determine if I keep going with this or just stop cold in my tracks.  I do really want a sewing machine because the cover is really cute and I want to perfect the making of it!

Please help me out and answer the above questions whether you are working on infertility, or have ever been pregnant.  You can email me your responses at or post them here, pick your pleasure.  But please help me figure this out.  You guys are my test market and my public relations forum!

Thanks much and talk soon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Organized - Holy Cow! I should do this for a living!

Anyone who knows me will tell you I love good organization and binders.  When we got married, there was a binder and lots of spreadsheets with guest lists and costs and everything.  Even a time table for those involved in the wedding.  But I was no least I don't think so.  I was very calm and collected.  Anyway, why did I never think of a "baby making" binder?

Well, today the Fertility binder was born and it's perty.  Is it frightening that I get excited over things like this?  I got excited going to Office Max to get the supplies...even finding the lowest cost thing that I needed in the right color?  To only traipse home, work all day and as soon as I was done, begin the organizing that I had looked forward to all day long?  Even as a kid I loved getting school supplies and organizing my school stuff.  Today was very reminiscent of that.  I bought a binder (lavender of course), a pencil pocket (always gotta have good pens), notebook paper (cause you know I take a lot of notes!), sheet protectors for all the stuff the doc gives us, dividers with pockets, for all the other stuff, and even a hole punch for the binder so I don't have any excuse to keep up the organizing!  It's gorgeous, organized and perty!  Yes, it is perty!

Then, I even had the grand idea to make a spreadsheet of our history.  Partly for me and for costs (but don't worry, already have one going for all those medical expenses that could be deductible for taxes) and partly to be able to look at our progress quickly.  I know, I am a nerd.  It's a little scary to look at at first, but then it makes me realize how far we have come, how we have grown as adults and how much we have learned about ourselves.

I'm very proud of my little binder and all the information it holds.  Now just a couple things to get from the doc and to keep it up.  Maybe I will even write or produce a book like this one day for others with our struggles.  I know...I get excited over silly stuff!  Night folks!

Infertility step...first one since October.

Hello dear Bleaders...I know I blogged last night but I actually have something related to our infertility issues to tell you. 

I was thinking about the upcoming months and realizing that I am traveling in April and May and then August, and also realizing that those travel dates are right around the time I should be inseminated if we were to do IUI again, I figured maybe we should consider starting another cycle with Dr. H in March (my cycle is set to start next Tuesday and that is when you start taking fertility drugs - I know from experience!).  (Also helped that Busted Kate asked me what we were doing infertility-wise yesterday and it occurred to me we haven't done anything since October 2009.  Can you tell how much input this lady has on my life...she is awesome!) 

Anyway, discussed my thoughts with J last night and we decided before we jump into another cycle that is double the cost of the last 3 due to the added drugs, we needed to sit down with Dr. H and have a discussion.  I also brought up the point that I haven't had blood work done since 2008 and maybe it is time again.  J is worried that we would just be throwing our money away for another IUI when the last 3 haven't worked, and I pointed out that the step after that is IVF which is 12 times the cost of the previous IUIs.  Yes you read that right, at least TWELVE times the cost!  And it isn't guaranteed that it will work.  So we need to chat.

Called Dr.H's office this morning and had a lovely chat with the nurse, voicing our concerns and was lucky to be able to set up the meeting for next Friday at 1 pm.  Then I asked her if she would ask Dr. H about the blood work.  She called me about 15 minutes later and said she had caught him and he agreed blood work was needed.  It has to be taken on day 2 or 3 of my cycle in the am after fasting for 8-12 hours, so what do you know, AF is due next Tuesday!  (Watch, this will be the one time she is late!)  Anyway, set up the appt and got the information about how to get the blood work done.  If I have it done even on Thursday, the results will be in by Friday for our chat with Dr. H.  Does this sound like it is supposed to be?  I think so.  Even if AF is late, we can move our appt to the following Friday so we don't miss a beat and can discuss the outcome of the blood work then. 

So, our current news is we are meeting with Dr. H next Friday to discuss next steps, cost, probability, questions, etc.  And on that note, I decided it was high time to put all my information about all this stuff in order.  I just have a stack of paperwork, but looking at it now it makes me sick.  Partly because of all the money spent to do it, but partly because it is a mess and I am an organized person.  So I'm off for a little errand to get a binder, and dividers and whatever else is needed to organize this craziness.  But, I will also probably pick up some Eegee's, since I am going into withdrawals here. 

I did go to WW this morning and was up a bit, but plan to be on track for this week and track everything that goes in my mouth.  Even the Eegee's I plan on consuming for lunch.  My life needs to have some order to it again...well, as much as I can control anyway. 

Hope your Tuesdays are going well dear Bleaders, and off we go again on the infertility roller coaster.  Peace out loves!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Memoir Monday! (Again stolen from Busted Kate - I do this a lot apparently!)

So Kate stole it from Travis, but I thought it was a great idea, so I stole it from Kate as well!
Busted Kate's blog was about her favorite smell and that made me think of one of mine...yes, I have many, but one is far and wide the best and I am sure it will surprise the heck out of you - but hopefully not scare you.  Gasoline...well, really, gasoline burning when an engine is running preferably from a tractor (or as I learned the other day, a quad).  I know weird right?  Don't worry, I'm not sitting in my garage huffing on my hubby's quad pipe...although if I was, that could explain this whole infertility thing.  But nope, not doing that.  The reason that this smell resonates so much with me is because of my beloved Grandpa Einck who passed in October 2007.  

A little back story here, I am an only child.  And every summer from about the time I was 6 or 7, my parents would fly me back to Iowa to be with my grandparents for about 3-4 weeks (more as I got older) and my cousins who came in from California.  It gave our parents a break and a chance for us to have a break too, and have constant playmates.  Since my grandparents lived in Iowa, it gave them a great chance to be with the grand kids - all of us girls at that point, and spoil us rotten!  Now, Grandma and Grandpa lived on a large expanse of land with lots and lots and lots of grass and a garden.  So we learned lots of stuff when we were to catch fireflies in jars at night, how to pull the weeds out of the garden - and the carrots when they were ready, how to have "sisters" for sometimes a month on end, and how to drive Grandpa's tractor.  Every week, Grandpa had to mow the lawn and it took him a good part of the day because Grandpa was a perfectionist and adored his John Deere and caring for his acreage.  So every week, the tractor fired up and with it...say it with me...the smell of burning gasoline.  To this day, I get even a minor whiff and I am transported back to the farm with my beloved Grandfather.  Now, I am the oldest grandchild so I got to learn how to drive the tractor first...first sitting in his lap, then by myself.  It was a joy I will never forget.

How do I explain my Grandfather?  I don't recall ever seeing him angry.  He was very chill and he made the best faces - the best!  He was a character.  And boy did we girls have him wrapped around our little fingers.  He would let us tie ribbons in his comb-over.  He would swing us around, until we got too big.  He was smitten with his granddaughters...and eventually his son had two boys and he was in heaven once again.  And somehow, when they drove to Arizona from Iowa, they could always tell us exactly when they would arrive at the house...and it always happened to be right around the time I got home from school so I could rush into their arms and hear his wonderful laugh.

But eventually, I got too old to go to Iowa every summer (well, I actually got pneumonia the summer after my 6th grade year) and then I was kind of scared to go back to Iowa.  And then I started college (no, not after 6th grade...about 4 years later) and those visits with Grandma and Grandpa became fewer and more far between.  And then Grandpa got sick, so they didn't come to Arizona anymore for Christmas.  And then, eventually we lost him at 91!  Yes, longevity seems to be in my genes!  And even when we went back for the funeral, somehow, in the middle of October there were mums everywhere...they were his favorite.  And I am pretty sure somehow, that tractor got fired up at least once.  

The day before we all left (somehow, everyone made it to Iowa for his day) and that hadn't happened for a long time...a really long time.  But we were all there, all 6 grandkids, 3 kids and spouses too.  We had a lot of fun catching up with each other and remembering what our cousins were like.  Anyway, the day before we all left, Grandma was going through some of his things and giving them to whoever wanted them and she popped in a video tape that she didn't know what it was, and the first sound we heard was his voice.  Loud.  Crisp.  Clear.  I think no one breathed for at least 5 minutes...and there he was, in all his glory on the screen.  Showing us his workshop in the basement and things he had made...besides a gardener, he was also a carpenter - and a clock maker.  And we all watched in awe, because that was the last thing we expected to see that day.  And when it was all over, we all looked at each other and I think we laughed.  Because that is what he did best...he loved to laugh.

So that is why I love the smell of burning gasoline from a tractor (or most recently realized, a quad).  It reminds me of this great man.  
This picture was taken one of those summers and this is a classic Grandpa Einck face.  I am behind him on the right (apparently not amused, or maybe not aware of what was happening), next to me is my cousin Gail (next oldest), then Grandma Einck.  In front next to Grandpa is my cousin Holly, Gail's little sister.  These were fun times.

This is another classic Grandpa picture...he loved him some Cornflakes.  Always had the John Deere hat on (he worked there for 30 years I think!) and the glasses case, and there's that smile and laugh.  
The morning of Grandpa's funeral, I wrote the poem below and my Dad read it at the reception.  Every single family member asked for a copy, and said it really epitomized him.  So I share it with you dear Bleaders now.

Grandpa Einck
by Niki Rowe, October 7, 2007

How do you describe the man
Who taught you to walk, ride a bike, and cough on command?
The man who created anything you desired
Into the most treasured wooden master-piece?
And how do you describe the man who
Always stole your dessert and "swore" that you had already eaten it?
That was Grandpa Einck.
He made you feel like you were the only person in the world,
Even though there could have been a circus going on around you.
But you respected him like he was the President.
He knew everything!
But even if he didn't, he "fibbed" and made you think he did.
His eyes always sparkled and danced - always!
He loved children...
His children, his grandchildren, and anybody's children.
His face lit up like the morning sky
When they were near.
He loved to tease them,
But mostly he loved to teach them.
He gave the best hugs and he gave them often - 
Great, big, bear hugs!
His family always came first and
He made sure he saw all of them every year.
We looked forward to seeing him every year,
And missed it greatly when we didn't get to.
He loved his country and his heritage,
And he put his flag up with grandeur everyday so
Everone knew how proud he was to be a part of it.
He was the greatest man.
When my husband met him for the first time,
They seemed like one in the same.
I couldn't have asked for better.
Even in illness, he knew and loved Grandma.
The last time I saw him,
I snuck up behind him (and he didn't remember me).
I gave him a kiss on the cheeck, and he looked at me and said,"
"Well, thank you!" with that smirk he had.
Grandma walked up behind me and I asked
Him who she was.
He said, "That's the boss, my wife."
And then he looked at her like he had all his life,
Like he couldn't live without her.
And his eyes had that gleam about them.
But now he's on the express-train to heaven,
To tend to God's garden,
His family on Earth.

I know he is watching over me in our infertility struggle, and doing whatever he can to help.  I smile every morning when I hear the train whistle...yet another thing he adored...trains.  Night all...and Grandpa.

Oh - one more thing, for those of you who visit and read my blog (I love you even though you don't identify yourselves!), but if you would like this emailed to you whenever I post, just shoot me an email at and I will add you to that list!  Thanks for reading.