Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Official Red Folder

I had my post-op appointment today with Dr. Y today. I passed the test! I can now lift more than twenty pounds and I am now cleared to insert things into my vagina. Thank goodness about the vagina part because I started my period on Wednesday and wearing pads made me feel like I was back in 7th grade. I felt so self-conscious at work yesterday wondering all day if someone could tell I was wearing a pad or if I was leaking (sorry TMI!) I guess the vagina thing also means I can have sex! This works out really well because we obviously can't be successful with this whole trying naturally gig if we couldn't do the tango.

Here are a few notes from my appointment today:
- Dr. Y went over my pictures again. Boy am I glad that he knew what he was seeing because I certainly was a little lost.
- He talked to me about trying naturally for three months and I said we would like to just do that for two months and then move on. I think my official words were "Well, trying naturally, we have kind of been there done that and it hasn't work for us. I don't really trust it. We are ready to move on and forward." He then asked if we wanted meds to regulate my cycle. I mentioned to him that I was not a fan of Clomid even though my cycles were very regular when I was on it. We ended up just deciding to do these next two cycles unmedicated. I asked him to be really up front with me about our chances with trying these next few months. I told him that at this point in the game getting my hopes too up is a really dangerous thing. He was very honest and ended up just saying that he wouldn't fall out of his chair if I called him next month and said we were pregnant but just prepare myself for what the next steps will be if we aren't successful.
- Dr. Y then went over the plan for if we are not successful in these next two months. IVF.
- He stepped out for a minute and there it was: The official red IVF folder. (I will now refer to the folder as Big Red just to lighten the mood a bit!) I even said to him when he walked back in with it: "Wow, that is official." I am glad he gets/appreciates my sense of humor.
- Before I left I just thanked him for all he has done for my husband and I. I told him how much I appreciated the job well done with the surgery and that he and the partner in his practice are just doing an awesome thing for women every day. I think he was caught off guard because he was very appreciative of those words and said that he doesn't usually hear that stuff from someone who has not been successful yet. I guess I just needed him to know that they continue to give us hope.

So I guess the bottom line of this appointment is: the pressure is on! These next two months are pretty crucial for us. If we don't get pregnant in the next two months we will be entering into the unknown world of IVF. I take all of this very seriously and know that path will require a lot from us. Every step of the way in these past two and a half years has just been preparing us for this point in our journey. I have some hope that this could work in the next two months but I also consider myself a pretty realistic person. Just the fact that Dr. Y told me he doesn't think doing injectibles and IUI again would work for us tells me that trying naturally probably won't either. Like I said before...been there done that. We will try and who knows what can happen.

That red folder keeps staring at me. It is very intimidating and has a lot of information in it. Can we do this? Can we afford this? I am feeling a little overwhelmed today even though we have had in the back of our minds for quite some time that this was going to happen. I also have to keep in mind that IVF is not a magical answer either. There is no saying that we would be successful in our first attempt. We can only hope and dream. CALM AND STRONG.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. But today all I know is I have a lot of reading to do. Big Red is awaiting me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy January ICLW!

I am so excited to be doing ICLW this time around! One of the many things I am grateful for from starting this blog, is the connections I have built with people and now friends. The infertility support system is amazes me how just people's words can comfort, heal, protect, show compassion, provide strength, and pick each other up on the worst days. So thanks to all of you who I have already connected with on a regular basis. I hope I do for you what you do for me! This ICLW I would love to connect with more people. I love learning through other people's experiences and sharing ideas regarding infertility or just life in general.

Infertility has done funny things to me - I never thought I would get used to so many people examining my female anatomy or get used to putting my feet in stirrups so regularly. I never thought I would be able to give myself a shot but now I can stick myself like a champ. I never thought I would have to have so many doctors and nurses involved in getting me pregnant - it is weird to have so many people invited into my husband and my bedroom. I never thought it would take us this long to get pregnant, but here we are - we are surviving and we will continue to hold our heads high. I guess these things just come with the territory - so now when a nurse or doctor asks me to drop my pants I already have them off before they even have a chance to ask! Let's do this people!

Feel free to check out our timeline on the lower left. Just a quick overview: My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for two and a half years now. 3 months of plain clomid, 5 IUI's, etc. and many disappointing months later - we are still not pregnant. I just had my first laparoscopy a week ago. My fabulous RE did find stage 2 endo behind my right ovary. Is that the magical answer to our infertility problems? No. But it will allow us to try to get pregnant naturally for a few months with a little more hope than usual. So join along on this crazy ride. Hope with me! :)

For some reason I know that my husband and I are meant to go through all of this (you may be thinking - "What, is she crazy?" :) We are stronger and more empathetic people. As a couple, I feel we are more deeply connected than I ever thought we would be. I just can't imagine how it will feel once we bring a new life into this world. For now, we will just keep on trying. We will keep on hoping that the next month will be it. Some days I feel like crap and want to hibernate (especially lately since it is winter and I live in Michigan!) Other days I feel motivated....motivated to tell our story, motivated to provide hope and strength for other people going through the same thing, motivated to prove to myself that even when I don't think I have an ouce of energy left to put into this, that I can dig deep down and find the strength to continue. It has not been a fun journey every step of the way but it has been a learning one. I guess I just can't wait to see how this turns out! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The 'In Between' is the hardest

Here we are...waiting again to do something to change our infertility status. We are in between trying and not trying. We are not in treatments and we are not trying (please refer to my last post about not being able to insert anything into my vagina for two weeks according to my discharge nurse for my lap!) We are just kind of stuck in the middle of no where. BFE (Big Fat Endometriosis) has caused us to take a brief intermission from trying. Please come back after you have taken a bathroom break and helped yourself to any refreshments. ;)

Ever since we have included more people in our circle of trust, I have never figured out why family members and friends are invisible during the times that don't include meds, procedures, or surgeries. I was talking to a good friend of mine about it the other day, and she said she doesn't want to upset us by bringing it up. I told her that Chad and I are more than willing to talk about our struggles but probably won't bring it up ourselves. So there lies the problem - no one wants to initiate conversations about our infertility! I think I need to communicate to our sometimes invisible support system that we are going to have bad days regardless of if someone brings up our issues or not. Having people feel comfortable talking to us makes us feel supported and loved - and that is really what keeps us going on some of the darkest days. Talk about it! Ask us how we are doing. Show interest and see what our next steps are or ask us how we are doing while in the two week wait, or how are you doing during the in between time. My husband and I are both teachers and maybe we need to educate our friends and family on the ins and outs of dealing with an infertile couple! We don't bite! I promise!

I was really proud of my husband today because he talked to some of his co-workers about our situation. He came out of the infertility closet! It is never easy to open yourself up to the possibilities of feeling vulnerable. Go hubby! :) In case you are wondering - yes, I am done being corny (for now!)

Stuck in the middle. I feel like we are on a surfboard just waiting for that next big wave to take us to shore. Our next step (believe it or not) is to try naturally! Yes, I am thankful for those words and the chance that we could get pregnant this way, but I certainly don't trust it. The natural way has let us down so many times and has shoved its' middle finger in our faces more times than we could handle. But then again, deep down inside of me is this little box of hope that has been sealed shut for quite some time - this could actually work. Oh, hope, please creep out of that box. We have a plan in case this whole "naturally" thing doesn't work - but wouldn't it just be wicked awesome if it did?

Stuck in between. Stuck waiting. CALM AND STRONG (I just have to keep reminding myself of this.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Loopy Laparoscopy

Blessed is how I am feeling right now. First of all, thanks to everyone for your encouraging words on my last post before surgery - you girls help to keep me going. I am very thankful for your support. I remember when I got into the post-op room after recovery, just telling Chad how thankful I am. I was terrified to go through with this surgery. Now it is crossed off of our check list. Now it is just another part of our infertility journey. This is probably going to be a long post because I really am trying to focus lately on documenting our experiences. Feel free to stop reading if you need to go get a snack or a drink of water! If you would like to just see how surgery went, jump down to the part in bold letters.

We left the house about 8:50 yesterday morning. We didn't have to be up to the hospital until 10:30 and we had an hour drive in front of us. Chad stopped at a store to get a couple of magazines for the waiting room. Once we were up in Grand Rapids, we were at a stoplight waiting to turn left and the lady in front of us backed into our car because she was trying to make room for a bus that was trying to turn. Long story short, we called the police and ended up getting it taken care of in a timely manner...everyone was fine, just a little paint on our car from hers and a few scratches. We ended up getting to the hospital at 10:36. No one seemed to care that we were 6 minutes late! :)

I just have to say that I am so impressed with the way we were treated at the hospital. We stopped at the information desk to get directions to the outpatient surgery unit and instead of just telling us where to go, a lady actually walked us all the way there! We sat in the waiting room probably 5 minutes and the first nurse came to get us. She brought us into a room where I had to get changed into my beautiful pastel colored hospital gown and then made me go pee in a cup for a pregnancy test. I ended up joking with my doctor later on right before surgery asking if the pregnancy test came back positive so I didn't have to go through with the surgery! By the way, the gray slippers with white striped grippers on both sides that they gave me were quite fashionable! They really know how to make a girl feel glamorous for surgery!

A short while later, another nurse came in to get me registered and double check history, etc. Someone else came in during that same time to get a blood sample for some test the doctor wanted done. Easy squeazy. It was 11:45 and the nurse told us if someone didn't come to get me in 35 minutes to press the red button (wow, the power!) 32 minutes later - almost got to press the red button - a nurse came to whisk me away! Off we went to the holding room for surgery. Another nurse came and put in my iv for fluids. My doctor came to see me at the point and checked to see how we were. I made him show me his hands to make sure they were steady! When we asked him how he was doing he said he wanted a Coke really bad but the free pop machine for doctors was Pepsi. I found this really funny b/c he said he wasn't willing to pay a $1 for the Coke that he really wanted! The anesthesiologist came in to meet me too. They both left and then two nurses came in to take me to the operating room. Of course, I gave my hubby a big smooch before going into surgery. One of the nurses had given me a relaxer at this point and boy was I feeling it!

Surgery room = holy cow technology! It seemed as though there were lights, cameras, televisions, more lights, everywhere! It was quite the scene! At this time I was a little loose from the relaxer so maybe this room wasn't really as cool as I thought it was! The nurses introduced me to a few more people in the room and I asked if I would see my doctor again before I went sleepy pie. They said no, but sure enough he came in just then and the last thing I remember was him rubbing my arm putting me to sleep! I thought that was very nice of him b/c he knows I am a worry wart. (Although I did an awesome job yesterday at keeping my cool - even my hubby said so! Apparently I wore my big girl panties yesterday!)

I woke up in the recovery room and remember being in a lot of pain. The nurse was right there giving me more meds. They said I was in the recovery room for an hour. They ended up putting oxygen tubes in my nose - man was I feeling sexy. I think that Glamour magazine ended up coming in and taking a picture of me in my hairnet, no makeup, tubes, and gown for the February cover. When they wheeled me back down to the post-op room, Chad met us in the hallway. He told me that I said to him: Well, you missed my one hour of loopiness! All I remember is winking at him when I first saw him. Boy was I glad to see those big, brown eyes of his.

Back in post-op room, the nurse brought me crackers and Sprite! It was about 3:30 by the time I got back to that room and I had not had anything to eat or drink all day. I gobbled that stuff right up! Chad made the phone calls and text messages to family and friends to let them know I was out of surgery and back from the recovery room. He then told me that he talked to our doctor about how surgery went.....

My doc ended up finding Stage 2 Endometriosis on some of the tissue behind my right ovary. Holy crap I can't believe they found something! Chad said that he was able to remove all of it. I have one incision 2 inches below my belly button and then an incision right in my belly button (that one kind of weirds me out!) He didn't say this was a magical answer or anything, but did say that a lot of times this can play a role in infertility. Then he told Chad that we should try naturally for the next few rounds to see if this was the cause. WHAT???? TRY NATURALLY???? What the hell is that? I think we might have forgotten how to do that! Just kidding.

About after an hour in that room they told me I could go home. A nurse guided my wobbly legs to the bathroom - I ran right into the door on my way there! Oops! It was then that I realized I had a big pad shoved between my legs in case there was any bleeding. Then the nurse gave me a fresh pair of hospital underwear. Wow, granny panties and a huge pad. I felt great! Thankfully, I had no bleeding at all. She called for a wheelchair and a guy came and wheeled me all the way to our car door. Now that is service! :)

I slept the entire hour home and most of the night. Today I gave in about 5:00 and went to fill my pain meds order. Whew, I am hurting today. I took 2 naps after probably being up and around too much. Pain meds = me feeling much better. :) For now, I am just trying to lounge around to allow myself time to heal. My incisions are glued shut and that should go away in about a week they said. My post-op appointment is set for January 27th. Until then, I am just going to make sure I don't insert anything into vagina (the discharge nurse literally told me that - you should not insert anything into your vagina until you see the doctor for the post op appointment) Thanks for that information! I am guessing this means tampons too, so when my period shows up I will have to go get some comfortable pads!

I am just so excited that the lap is over. I am so thankful that we have such a good doctor. He really has restored my hope. I am very grateful for my husband who has been by my side these past few days. I am one lucky girl.

We may still have a very long journey ahead of us and the realistic side of me is still sitting on my shoulder telling me to protect my emotions and feelings and not get too far ahead of myself, but today I am feeling confident and content with the results of the surgery. I kept repeating my mantra to myself yesterday - CALM AND STRONG - it worked. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Safe and Sound

Hi All! Just wanted to let everyone know I am back home safe and sound from the laparoscopy. I will do a real post about it probably tomorrow. I am still a little loopy! My hope has been restored! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Just around the corner...

My laparoscopy is this Wednesday. Two days of work and then it will be here. I am busy trying to get substitute teacher plans together for this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It is always hard to do sub plans and try to tell someone else how to be me in my classroom! One day is weird enough but three days of sub plans is proving to be interesting.

Right now I am just trying to keep my mind busy to pass the time away. I saw my RE on Thursday for my pre-op appointment and he helped me to feel a little bit more calm about things. He is the definition of calm. It seems as though not much phases him.

Now I just have to remember to not take my vitamins, stay away from paid meds (which I usually do anyway), not eat cottage cheese, on the day of surgery don't use: lotion, makeup, jewelry, perfume, wedding ring, etc.

I can do this. (I guess this post is kind of my pep talk!) :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cheers to 2011

I haven't felt the need to write here in a long while. I think the Christmas season provided enough distractions that it helped me manage to get by. Not sure if anyone is even interested in listening to what I have to say anymore but I need to write. I am sorry that I have been a horrible blogger lately. No need to state all of my lame excuses.

Usually the start of a new year brings me feelings of excitement, hope, and expectations of myself. Usually I get really pumped about starting fresh with many things in my life.

This year I could care less. To be quite honest, I am not doing very well lately. Depression has taken its toll on me and my poor husband has to put up with it. I feel so bad because I am able to put on my happy face for the most part out in public but at home I have just been really quiet. I don't have that spark in me right now. I don't have the energy to keep up with everyday things. I am just plain mad. Mad at the world. Mad at the fact that we are still dealing with infertility. Mad because I have to go to a baby shower tomorrow. Mad because I had to see my newly pregnant friend last night who just happened to get pregnant by 'let's just see what happens.' Mad because I am nervous about the upcoming laparoscopy in a few weeks. Mad because I am mad. As you can tell, I am just flat out sick of it. Sick of infertility. I am just feeling like I can't keep up.

I guess my husband and I are back to feeling like we really are alone in this adventure. We were really glad for quite some time that we shared all of this with some of our family members. Now, WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY? No one asks us how we are doing. No one mentioned anything about how hard the holidays must be on us. No one is cautious with their words about babies, pregnant people, etc. when we are around. It's almost as if our friends and family have forgotten about what we are going through. I am growing very bitter towards these family members who I feel should be there more for us. It seems as though everyone is just waiting for the day we tell them we are pregnant instead of being involved in our struggles with getting there. Does this go away? Do these feelings of resentment and anger towards people who know go away? Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe they are just trying to respect our privacy. But come on, be there people!

Right now we are just waiting for our laparoscopy. It is scheduled for January 12th. I have my pre-op appointment this Thursday. I am nervous and excited about this surgery. Nervous because who likes to go through surgery. Excited because this could provide us with some answers.

Last Thursday (the 30th) was my husband and my 4th wedding anniversary. We have been together 8 and half years. Now that is something to celebrate!

I don't like to put unrealistic expectations on the new year. I thought it was funny over the holidays because one of my holidays cards to my hubby and I said "May all of your wishes in the upcoming year come true" and a toast at a dinner was about "dreams and wishes coming true." I don't think magically like this. I don't wish upon stars and dream about fairies and princesses magically making all of my wants come true. I do believe though in love and patience and having realistic goals. So cheers to 2011 and to staying realistic and hopeful.