Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beautiful Ride

"Life ain't always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart


Life ain't always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day

But the struggle makes you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has it's own way of takin' it sweet time

No,life ain't always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain't always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride

Life ain't always beautiful
Some days I miss your smile
I get tired of walkin' all these lonely miles

And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life don't work that way

But the struggles makes me stronger
And the changes make me wise
And happiness has it's own way of takin' its sweet time

No, life ain't always beautiful
But I know I'll be fine
Hey, life ain't always beautiful
But its a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride"


I thought I'd share this wonderful song sung by Gary Allen. I hope 2009 brings each of you immeasurable happiness. You deserve it as much as we do.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Disbelief

I just got the call from the nurse. BFN. I am in truly in shock.

My heart is racing and I am holding back tears.

I am going to throw myself directly into IVF and start the BCP's on as soon as my period starts.

I hope I can handle this.

IVF, here we come.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Halfway There

I am 6/7 days post IUI's. I had my progesterone level checked today and it was the highest its ever been at 36.5! I am hoping that is a good sign. The nurse said it doesn't give any indication to whether there is a pregnancy or not. My boobs are extremely sore. I usually have that problem a few days before my period, but that isn't for almost a week. Again, I am hoping this is a sign. My beta is on 12/30. I think I will test on the 29th. How great would it be to tell Tom on the beach in Florida? Amazing..

Speaking of Florida, we are heading out mid-afternoon on Christmas day. We are flying on stand-by, so we may not make the flight we want. I am already stressing about sitting in the airport all day. I know it will be smooth sailing as soon as we get there, as we have a confirmed flight home Monday. I will go through all this aggravation and spend my Christmas bonus on this trip because, like I always tell Tom, "What baby wants, baby gets."

I don't know if I will be by a computer at all during the trip. I will bring my laptop and probably come on briefly in the airport and to check in for our flight. I am hoping to come home to some BFP's!

Merry Christmas to all of you. I know this week is especially difficult for my fellow IF women, but we can get through it. I hope to God that next Christmas we each have a new baby in our arms.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend Update

Other than the bad news early Friday, I had a good weekend. Friday night me and three girlfriends went downtown to see Tony and Tina's wedding. It is an interactive show where you attend a wedding and reception. I went expecting to have fun, but was blown away at how much fun! The show was hilarious, the food was amazing, and we had tons of fun dancing! There was one part where two of us got picked by the groomsmen to slow dance. The song ended and my groomsman told me to hold on. All of a sudden, he pulled up a chair and told me to take a seat. Everyone cleared the dance floor and seven men proceeded to sing and dance to me. I was so embarrassed, I can't even imagine how red I was.
Erin and Jill at the show

Me being serenaded

End of the show-Jill Erin Jessica Katie

Saturday I did the last of the Christmas shopping and wrapping. Saturday night we went to a bar called North Beach to celebrate my friend Ally's 22nd birthday.

Jill Jessica Me Ally

"Well be alright, as long as you stay with me"

Today was a lazy day. The temperature outside was negative six degrees. It was negative twenty six degrees with the wind chill! I braved the cold for two short trips. I had to run to Jewel to get baking goods. I am putting a box of goodies together for my fertility clinic and my chiropractic office. I am trying a cheesecake recipe to use on Christmas Eve dinner, so I get all the ingredients for that. I later went over to my friend Heathers apartment to plan a possible vacation. If all goes according to plan, Jill and her boyfriend Matt, Heather and her boyfriend Rick, and Tom and I will be going on a cruise in May. It is a six days and stops at Key West, Grand Cayman and Jamaica! We are hoping to book by the second weekend in January. I surely hope I am pregnant by then. I don't want to celebrate another anniversary without a baby on the way.
There is nothing new on the fertility front. I am 4/5 days post IUI's. I am sick of the progesterone suppositories. I can not stand the feeling of..how do I say..constant moisture? Yuck. Oh well, it'll all be worth if we get a positive result this month.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Poor Baby

As I said before, my friend had her doctors appointment on Friday. She called me a bit after with bad news. She miscarried the baby. The only thing I could say was, "Oh, wow." I am sad for that little life that was lost. That baby would have been loved by someone..my friend, Tom and I, or another deserving couple. I will no longer be faced with a huge decision in a few months. God made that decision. Needless to say, I am disappointed.

I will post more about my weekend tomorrow. Enjoy your Saturday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Family Pics

We have gotten a ridiculous amount of snow this year, already! Usually we have little snow before Christmas. Not this year! Chicago has had quite a few snowstorms the past few weeks. One was on Tuesday evening. Luckily, I had nowhere to be that night. We are expected to get 8 inches of snow starting at 7pm this evening. I just got an email that they are cancelling the RESOLVE meeting due to the weather. I am very. very disappointed. I was really hoping to get extra support one week before Christmas. I guess I'll just have to lean on my blogger buddies instead. Oh, and Tom, too. ;)

I also recieved the email with our portraits in it! I downloaded them and added some here. The quality isnt the best because they dont want you printing them out yourself. The goal was to get a picture of the four of us. We succeded at that and much, much more.

Erin, Tom, Stefanie and Jennifer

Stefanie, Tommy, Jenn

The siblings-Tom, Jenn, Stefi

My handsome hubby and his TWIN.


Adorable!

Husband and Wife<3

Me and My Everything

Can't decide if I like B & W better?
I am really happy with the turn out! I will pick them up tonight, as long as the snow allows. I am going to frame a few for Tom's mom and his dad.
When we left JCPenney, Tom said-"Too bad there be any room for Jenn and Stef in the picture next year...because it will be filled with babies."
I hope so, darling, I really hope so.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tricky Cervix

First, thanks for all your sweet comments. They are more appreciated than you'll ever know.

I am feeling really good about this cycle. I would say we have the best chance this time than ever before. Tom is totally convinced that it I am pregnant. I try to explain to him that the implantation wouldn't occur until a few days later. He doesnt want to hear it. That boy wants to be a Daddy. He has waited far too long!

The IUI on Tuesday went great. His numbers were 37 million and 91% motility. I bled a little; I think my cervix has had enough. Today the numbers were even better, 44 million and 92% motility. Unfortunatley, my cervix had it up to here with the cathedars and didn't want to cooperate. It took two nurses and twenty minutes to have a five minute procedure done. Oh well, it really wasn't too bad. I can't believe I won't be doing this again next month. I have gotten so used to planning for it month after month. Six IUI's within four cycles has left me tired. Physically and emotionally drained. Now I am unsure if we should jump straight into an IVF cycle or take a break. There are many pros and cons. I'll worry about that later. I promised myself that I would stay positive and confident over the next two weeks.

I am attending my first RESOLVE meeting tomorrow. I was supposed to go last month, but it happened to be the same week my sister had Tyler. I was stuck at home watching Brady and Delaney and had to back out of going. I am nervous, but super excited to meet other infertile women in real life! I can bet I'll be the youngest one there. Speaking of that, I read in Cosmo yesterday that 6% of women between 20-24years old have trouble concieving. Statistics like that kill me. Seriously, 6%?

Im going to lay down, start reading Twilight, and fertilize. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Chance

After such a crappy few days last week, I had such a great weekend! Friday I went to the doctors and had 3 follicles. Two measured at 14 and one at 10. I was told to continue to injections the entire weekend and come back Monday. I was a little surprised because this is the longest amount of time I have done the shots. I told myself to not obsess and went on with my day. Friday night Tom and I went on a date Friday night. We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings-yummy!-and saw Four Christmases. We thought it was pretty good. The end with make any infertile couple cringe. I would go into detail, but dont want to ruin it for anyone.

Saturday, I let Tommy sleep in and took Delaney with me to get our nails done. I wish I took a picture of her nails/toes. They decked her out with pretty designs! She looked like an ornament. While dropping her off, my sister asked if we wanted to hang out with Tyler while they ran errands. Of course, I said yes and was super excited for our first outing. Tom and I picked up Panera and stopped by his moms house. Sidenote-I loved holding that lil peanut in Panera and having everyone ooh and ahh over him. Who cares if they thought he was ours..:) His grandma has bad Alzheimers, and loves babies. I knew bringing him by would light up her day. Toms mom told me she has been buying baby stuff for us. She is keeping it in her "hope chest." I find it sweet, but depressing. I am trying so hard to give her her first grandchild. I couldnt possibly try any harder! We dropped Tyler off and headed home to get ready. Toms mom asked for a picture of the four of us for her Christmas gift. We went to JCPenney and had portraits done. They turned out pretty cute! We ended up taking pictures of the four of us, the three siblings, the twins, and the married couple. A few of Tom and I are great. Ill scan them when I pick them up on Thursday. We shopped at the mall a bit; it was beyond crowded. We found a beautiful diamond cross for Stefi, Toms younger sister. We couldnt pass up the sale and will give it to her for her graduation present. It's gorgeous and I can't wait to see her reaction! We watched Dark Knight later in the evening. We were two of the few that did not see it in the theatre. I liked it, even having never seen any other Batman movie.

Sunday we lounged a lot. I ran out to get a few more Christmas gifts and wrapped them up. We went to the zoo for Holiday Magic. They decorate it beautifully and its fun to be there at night. My friends Dominica and Zach came, who we havent seen in far too long. I took my last injection at night and slept horribly. I usually have a few days of interuppted sleep around my IUI. Ugh.

I went to the doctors today and the two 14's moved up to 20 and 22. The 10 moved up to a lousy 10.5. I am excited that we have two very large eggs! Plus, this is the first IUI set that will be done on and after day 14. I will take the Ovidrel this evening at 7 pm. IUI #1 will be tomorrow at 10:30 am and IUI #2 will be Wednesday at 9:30 am. I will find out just before the first of the year. I have a lot to celebrate in January..my moms birthday, my mother-in-laws birthday, my birthday..it would be amazing to celebrate a pregnancy!!

As Courtney would say, I want to be KNOCKED UP in 2009!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fabulous Fifty

Another momentous occasion in your life is when you reach your 50th post! Kidding, of course..

I cant express enough thanks to everyone that responded to my IVF questions. I am now full of knowledge of the process and feel a little more at ease. I have been emailing like crazy, making phone calls, and cramming my brain over the past few days. I plan on shutting it all down this evening and focusing on the upcoming IUI this weekend. I did my first follistim shot last night and will do another this evening. I go in at 9:45 tomorrow to get checked. If my body responds like last month, I will have the IUI's done Sunday and Monday. Hopefully my body performs well under pressure. Cause, boy, the pressure is really on.

I called the financial coordinator to figure out a ballpark estimate of how much our IVF will cost. She threw a ton of numbers at me and the bottom line is that we will definitely owe money in the end. I have no problem paying a high amount to make this happen. I am simply terrified that we could go through everything..and it still isn't guaranteed to work. I have a new respect for women going through their second, third, fourth+ IVF. I think it is safe to say that this would be a one shot deal. I think we would have to take a long break from IVF before going at it again.

As always, I am getting ahead of myself. I haven't even had my final IUI and I am already planning a second IVF. See, I am such a planned person! I need to relax and trust that we will have a family soon enough.

I also called my nurse to get a potential list of drugs I would be using. Here is the list she gave:
Lupron 2 week kit
Follistim
Repronex or Menopur
HcG Trigger
Z-pack
Progesterone in Oil
Estrogen patches

That is a lot! The prescription insurance woman explained everything to me and I was surprised at the numbers she gave. I believe everything will end up costing less than $500. Insert sigh of relief here. I was expecting a much higher number.

I found out that to cryopreserve a specimen to serve as a back up for retrieval day costs $200, not $250. It seems like a good idea to have reinforcements ready if needed. Decision made.
The fee to freeze 1-2 embryos is $400 for three years. The fee for 3+ embryos is $700 for three years. If, heaven forbid, the first IVF didnt work, we could do a FET and skip the retrieval process. Decision made.

Ladies, are you impressed with my new knowledge? I am.

During the past two consecutive months, one of my fellow IF bloggers has become pregnant through IUI's. Both months, we had our IUI's performed one day apart. And both times, I knew when I turned on my computer that I would see Pregnant in their post. I am hoping this is where my number three comes in..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Horrible Mood

I am on CD 8 and I still haven't completely gotten over the last negative. What is wrong with me? Usually I am able to get over it and move onto the next month with fresh hope. That is not the case this time. I am so sad. I hurt from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my painted toes and everywhere in between.

I cant believe there isn't a baby on our Christmas card this year. This isn't my life. I am in a bad dream and will wake up soon, right?

Wrong. The reality is I will never been a "normal" woman. I will never obtain a regular pregnancy. I will never be able to surprise Tom with big news...

Even reading those words, it doesnt seem right.

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body."
Elizabeth Stone

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Questions and Answers

Part 1. The update about my pregnant friend-
I was unable to meet with her the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. She was having dinner with family and I was packing for our trip. I decided to give her a call last week and express my concerns. She said the father does know and has made it very clear he will sign away all his rights. I asked how sure she was of wanting to give the baby up. She said 99% sure. I pointed out her opinion may change when she grows and feels life inside her. She said she didn't think that would happen. She knows she is too young and cant give her baby a good life. *Ironically, I am a few months younger than her.* Moving on, I asked, "What if your family wants you to keep it when you tell them?" She laughed and said that would definitely not be their reaction. She thinks they will want her to give the baby up just like her birth parents did. I went on to ask what would happen if the time came and we couldn't take the baby..due to a pregnancy or other reason, would she still give it up? She said yes, she would likely go through the same agency she was adopted through. I pretty much ended the conversation there, as it was enough to process. She goes in the 19th for another ultrasound. I told her to call me if she needed anything and we can talk again over Christmas break. There is so much more to cover before we start considering this. I don't know how involved she would want to be in the life of the child. I don't even know my own feelings on the subject. I'm going to let time pass and try not to worry about it too much. Easier said than done!

Part 2. IVF Questions-
I know so little about IVF, I don't even know what questions to ask. I will try to break down what I know and hope you amazing women can fill in the blanks for me.
Tom and I have a IVF consult with the doctor for January 5th. We will sign papers and talk about my plan, I'm guessing. I think there are some tests that need to be done before you start the process. I have no idea what, though.
I know you go on birth control for a while to suppress your system. From what I understand, this can be anywhere from a few weeks to over a month. Is anything else done during this time? Or are you just sitting around, taking medicine that prevents pregnancy?
Here is where I am unclear of the process. You start injections-Lupron-after your birth control? These are twice a day, right? Do you do anything else? Ugh, I am uninformed!
Then what? You get checked often I am guessing to see follicle counts, like with IUI's? The retrieval is scheduled and you go back 3-5 days later for the transfer, right? And you're supposed to be on bed-rest for a few days, I think. How long do you have to wait to find out?

In the paperwork, we have an option to cryopreserve a specimen as a back up for the retrieval day. Apparently this is $250 and not covered by insurance. I am trying to decide if its necessary. We have never had a problem with Toms numbers, but it may be a good idea for the sense of security. It would be horrible to go through this long process and have low numbers. Also, any ideas how much it is to freeze your embryos? Is this covered by any insurance? It makes sense to do that in case the first one doesn't work. Did all of you do that?

I wasn't kidding-I know nothing! A few of you said I could email you to talk about your experiences. I really appreciate that, and if the offer still stands, can I have your email addresses again? Thank you!

I understand everyone process is specific to their body, but any information/tips would be wonderful! I want to be "in-the-know" when I go to my appt. on the 5th.

I start my injections for my final IUI tomorrow. It would truly be a miracle if this one worked and I was able to cancel my appt. Although, I said that last time and it didn't happen. I am still trying to locate an ounce of hope for this cycle. Maybe when I go in Friday and see how many follicles we are working with, I'll feel better.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Camera

A few people have congratulated me on my new Nikon D60 camera. Thank you! It is something worth congratulating! I have been asked how I like it. Let me tell you, I love it! It is easy to use, fast and the pictures are amazing. Thanks to my new camera, I was able to get so many pictures of Las Vegas that we can blow up and hang in our house. I have been most impressed with is the close-up pictures I have taken. I wanted to post a few so anyone thinking of getting the camera could get an idea of how wonderful it is.

Guinness
Cooper

My wedding rings
Thanks for your encouraging comments. I am trying to turn my thoughts around; it is a work in progress. Have a great Saturday night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feeling Low

I took my first Clomid pill tonight and realized this may be the last month I ever take it. It is a bittersweet feeling. I have been on this horrible drug that causes headaches, mood swings and hot flashes for over 7 months. You would think I am dying to not have to take it. I think it is me realizing that a little pill wasn't enough and we have to move onto the strong stuff..IVF.

I have no expectations for this cycle. I have no hope, no faith, no optimism. I am empty. I am going to simply go with the motions..clomid, shots, IUI's, progesterone check, beta. I am not allowing myself to believe this is our cycle. I've done it month after month and cant do it anymore.

I think the main reason I wanted to do one last IUI is because I am in denial that I will need to go through the IVF process to get pregnant. I am 21 years old, I have never taken a single birth control pill, never had an abortion. Ive never had an irregular period. I have a young, healthy husband with super sperm. Why do we have to pay thousands of dollars and suffer emotionally in order to make our dreams a reality?

I know we could have it worse. Some people go to the doctors and are told they will never have biological children. Some people have recurring miscarriages. Some people have no insurance and can not afford infertility treatments. Days like this, I have to sit back and remember, it could be worse.

I want to be a mama. I need to be a mama. I was born to be a mama. Please, God, make me one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

End of Vegas

Wrapping up our trip...On day three, we awoke feeling tired and drained. We could have stayed in bed all day, but forced ourselves to get up and enjoy the day. Boy, we were glad we did. First, we had to pick up the tickets to our show from Mirage. We walked there and then backtracked to Bellagio for brunch. This was the most elegant and filling buffet I have ever been to. They had everything..sushi, crab, omelets, a huge desert selection..the list could go on forever. Now, the line for this brunch was over an hour. We were waiting about fifteen minutes when a woman walked out and asked if there were two of us. We replied with a yes and she took us straight to sit at the bar. We skipped the majority of the line and were so happy. Its so nice when little things like that happen.

Brunch at Bellagio

Stuffed, we walked through the hotels on the south side of the strip. I was blown away by Caesars Palace. It was humongous and they were adding more construction at the time. Inside, they had beautiful paintings, gorgeous ceilings and tons of shops. They also had a 3 floor FAO Schwartz store that brought out the little kid in me. It was awesome!

Inside Caesars Palace

If only it was that easy to get a baby..

We crossed the street and got tickets for the gondola ride at the Venetian. You had the option to pay for 2 people and ride with two strangers, or pay for 4 people and have a private ride. We didn't want to spend the extra money and purchased just two tickets. Luckily, no other 2 person groups were in line when we were, so we got a private ride at the cheaper price. Again, I love when stuff like that happens! The ride was about 15 minutes and you wouldn't believe how romantic and relaxing. We went under a bridge that was supposed to be a wishing bridge. Tom and I giggled and kissed and knew what the other person was wishing for.

Tom and the Venetian

On our gondola ride

My heart still skips a beat

Baby, its so easy lovin' you


Following that, we decided to go into the wax museum. We weren't sure if we wanted to pay $42, but we were pleasantly surprised. Bear with me, there are a lot of pictures. We had a ton of fun and totally got our moneys worth.

Which one doesn't belong?

Toms best impression

Marrying the most eligible bachelor

Tom giving Tiger some pointers

Me and MJ, representing Chicago

Tom doing tricks

Smoochin' Tim McGraw

Tipping Britney Spears

Me and The King

Tom kicking Bush

Bush stealing all my money..tee-hee

Hilarious, right? I laugh every time I look through the pictures.
Anyway, we walked back to the hotel, stopping in hotels on the other side of the strip. We rested for a while, showered and got ready for our show that night. At this point, I couldn't physically wear any shoes for a prolonged period of time. I had blisters and cuts all over my feet. I had to dress up for the show, so we opted to take a cab over to Treasure Island.

Treasure Island Hotel

Mirage

PART of Caesars Palace

Its 5:00 somewhere

Pretty pink Flamingo

I love them!

Fountain show at night

So beautiful
The show we saw was Mystere. It was phenomenal! We has second row seats and it was almost 2 hours, making it worth paying so much. It was a great way to end our last night in Las Vegas!
We woke up on our last day, packed and checked out. We gambled one last time and both fell in love with the Deal or No Deal game. Thankfully, we didn't see that one until the last day, otherwise we would have come back empty handed! We walked around, thank goodness I brought gym shoes, and bought some souvenirs. Our flight back was a little more crowded, but not bad. We arrived at 11:30pm to a foot of snow! What a difference 70 degrees is compared to 20!
Me and my fave game

It was a bit sunny

Goodbye, Monte Carlo

Home Sweet Home
The whole vacation was great. We really needed it. Less than three weeks until Florida...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vegas Day Two

The second day of our trip, we walked through the hotels located on the south side of the strip. We went through NYNY, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and MGM Grand. Each hotel is unique and it was tons of fun looking at all the small details. We really liked Luxor; Tommy wants to stay there next time. MGM had a lion habitat right in the casino! They were laying on the glass, chewing on a bone. It was so cute!


With my Prince Charming, appropriately by a castle

I love this one-Palm trees and a fruity drink!

Me and Mandalay Bay

Luxor

Excalibur

New York, New York

Tom and MGM

Lion relaxing
We swung over to check out the Bellagio. I wanted to see the fountain show during the day, since we had seen it the night before. It was so beautiful! Inside the Bellagio was just as breathtaking.
Outside Bellagio

Blown glass ceiling

So pretty. See the rainbow?

The gorgeous Bellagio
After a ridiculous amount of walking, we went back to the hotel and took a 2 hour nap. The only time I ever nap is on vacation, and I love it! We did a little gambling and Tom won $34 on a Roulette machine. His grandpa told him black 13 and he won on the second spin! Then, we went back to the Luxor in order to see the Bodies exhibit. They didn't let you take any pictures. The displays were amazing and interesting. Of course, I found the room about reproduction the most informative. I can never escape babies...

Back at our hotel

Tom with his winning ticket

We went back to change and headed out for the night. We walked over to Toby Keith's bar aka. my heaven. I am a huge country fan and loved everything about the bar. They had is just like the song..no cover charge, drink beer from a mason jar...
Flamingo Hotel

"I love this bar" lyrics on the wall

Me and my mason jar :)

Us at Toby Keith's

Me not wanting to leave..

On a side note, I did decide to drink on our vacation. By Friday, I knew the IUI's hadn't worked. My boobs were sore and my face broke out. Those are my two period symptoms each and every month. Therefore, I had a few drinks and didn't have to worry about if I was pregnant.
Anyway, that wraps up day two. We were exhausted at the end of the day. My feet were blistered and bleeding. It was totally worth every bit though. Those days spent in the sun with the one you can't live without are wonderful memories we will have forever.
I will write about day three tomorrow. As far as this months cycle goes, I had a normal 28 days. I go in Friday for my day 3 check to get the okay for this month. If all goes according to plan, we will be doing the IUI's next weekend. My life has been broken up into two weeks increments. Two weeks of dr. appts, clomid, shots and IUI's and then two weeks of waiting. Im not sure which two week period is worse. I am somewhat relieved that this is the last time we have to do this. I am not happy about having to move to IVF, but it seems IUI's do not work for us. I think the IVF process is more of a "fear of the unknown" for me. I need to do more research and start asking questions.