Thursday, November 30, 2006
One nice thing I was thinking about. JB and I are in the beginnings of planning a medical missions trip to Nigeria in late March. We still have some details to work out with this so (I have to visit a doctor to assure I can take the necessary medications for a trip to Africa and a few other things with work) so I won't post too much on this right now. However, as I was thinking about this, I realized we will be leaving for 4-5 weeks at a time when Minnesota is in its last, horrible, long, drawn out weeks of winter. How perfecto!
Did I mention that it's very cold? Just checking. Off to Bible Study.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I am currently attempting to get my body out of the "couch potato mode" that I am forced to shift into during the four weeks surrounding each IVF attempt. One week before, two weeks during, and often one week after is spent preparing and recovering. They want me do no exercise during this time and of course, I listen. (And even if I didn't, JB would make me listen.) The bad news is that my attempt to get out of couch potato mode has been hampered by some sort of strained muscle in my lower back. I thought that this sharp pain may have emerged because I tried to jump too fast back into the world of exercise. JB disagrees. And, since he is going to be a doctor in six months, I suppose I should, maybe, possibly, if I have to, listen to him. JB says I pulled something in my lower back. Either way, it hurts to walk so running is nearly out of the question. Last night we went to the gym. I ran about a mile and was then forced into a walk by the discomfort. JB is saying I need to stop exercising altogether while it heals. Grrrrr. I can only exercise until January 10th before I have to stop for IVF again. Come on stupid back.
In other news, I am feeling better and more emotionally ready to move onto try #4 as each day progresses. The Lord continues to show me things in his word and through prayer and each day, the sadness that is still present, becomes less intense. This morning, for the first time, I felt like I woke up, happy. That felt really good. JB reminds me that I am always telling other people who are struggling with grief not to worry. That the sadness will pass. But when you are in that sadness yourself, it is hard to remember that it won't feel like that forever.
So, what I have been learning?
Well, one of the biggest obstacles both JB and I have had to overcome during the last six weeks is realizing that in order to fully commit our lives to the Lord, we have to be prepared to give him everything.
Now the only way you can understand this is to picture the thing in your life that you truly believe you cannot live without. Do you have it pictured? If not, stop reading for a second, and figure out your thing. It may be a thing you currently have or, like me, a thing that you desperately want. Okay, got your "thing"? If so, proceed to the next paragraph.
Three years ago, I would have told you that I could not live without being a mom. Heck, even six weeks ago, I had doubts that I would find my life worth living if I lived it childless. Some of you men out there find that ridiculous I know. But chances are, you have your own "thing" that you would feel the same about. Then, I started praying. I mean really praying. JB and I started talking. And the Lord started really ministering to my heart.
There are two particular stories in the Bible that He has used to help make this point clear to me. One was the story of the rich man. Do you remember him? Jesus told him that the only way he could enter heaven was to sell everything. I always thought that was strange. I plan to go to heaven, and I own things. What does this mean? You can't possibly sell everything.
The second story was that of Abraham and Isaac. In case you don't know the story, after decades of infertility, Abraham and Sarah finally had a son. Isaac. Then, the Lord told Abraham to take Isaac to the top of a hill and sacrifice him. In the end, the Lord stops Abraham from killing him moments before, but all the same, Abraham was prepared to do it. I have always wondered. What the heck was the Lord thinking? Kill your son? I don't think so!
I started thinking about both of these stories that I had heard so often when I was a kid. Two stories that were common in Sunday school but never really meant anything to me. So we should be poor and willing to sacrifice our children? Hmmmm ....
But during this last week, I finally understood what the Bible was telling us in those two stories. Jesus wasn't telling this man he had to be poor to go to heaven. God didn't want Abraham to really kill Isaac. Instead, what he was saying was, "Will you give up the thing you want MOST of all for me?" Oh man. Or make that "Oh no!"
Think about it. For me, it is motherhood. But most likely everyone reading this blog has an "idol" of some sort in their life. Motherhood, for me, has been my idol. It has been the thing that I want so badly -- more than nearly anything. Would you give up your MD for the Lord? Would you give up your family? Would you give up your dream job? Would you even give up the children you currently have, as the Lord asked Abraham to do with Isaac?
I have briefly discussed on this blog that the Lord has been slowly showing JB and myself the bigger plan He has for our life. More and more we are seeing that the life we visualized was a life we wanted but not necessarily the plan He had for us. I guarantee you that if we had had children when we wanted to, three and a half years ago, my heart would not have been open to that calling. I would have been busy with my children and my household. I would be going to ballet lessons and calling babysitters. (Okay, maybe not ballet. But you get the idea.)
Instead, I have my quiet house and my extra time with the Lord. Instead, I have felt him repeatedly asking me if I would give up the one thing I want more than anything for Him.
I said yes. I said that I would. But in the back of my mind I kept thinking. Well, that's okay. Because I can always adopt. Adoption, was the one thing I could control in this journey. We have always wanted to adopt, but I had allowed it to become an "ace up the sleeve" to guarantee motherhood. A few nights ago, JB and I were sitting on the sofa talking, and I realized that I had to give up every bit of my children-idol. I had to be willing to give it up all off if the Lord needed or asked me to. That meant giving up children altogether -- biological, adopted, or even a third hope -- to run an orphanage or be involved with motherless children in some fashion.
Maybe the Lord is calling JB and I to go to a country where having children would not be safe? Or maybe he knows that we need to have our child/ren when we are older. Or maybe there are children that need to be adopted that we couldn't adopt if we had a household of our own children. Or maybe, I won't even know why we are still childless this side of heaven.
The truth is, I pray everyday that the Lord will allow me to be a mother. I will never stop praying that prayer. I also will never stop believing that I will be a mother. Please don't read what I am saying and start yelling at the computer for me not give up! Don't worry. I am not giving up in my motherly desires WHATSOEVER.
But in the meantime, I have to strive everyday to be like Abraham and to be willing to give up the thing I want most and to put God in first place in my life. If I do that, then no matter how my life turns out, it will be the best plan for me and the best plan for God's kingdom.
This is not an easy road. It's a road that I am sure will have many more bumps and turns as I learn to completely give my life over to the Lord. If you think of it, this is something you can add to your prayer list for JB and me -- that we will allow God to completely use us -- however he sees fit. And even if it isn't the way we thought we wanted. Pray that we will trust him -- 100%.
And pray we don't freeze when we walk outside today.
P.S. I fixed the link on my blog about HEISMAN from yesterday. If you didn't vote yesterday (or tried to vote but couldn't), please scroll down and throw a vote out for him!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Help Nominate Heisman for Independent Christian Artist of The Year!
Hey Everyone! Earlier this year Heisman music had the song Walk With Me reach the Top 10 on the Indie Heaven Radio Charts. (Ultimately reaching #6). Because of that you have a chance to nominate Heisman as one of the top Christian Artists of 2006 on Indie Heaven.
This is asking a lot but we know that Heisman fans are good ones! (And even if you don't have a clue who Heisman is, he's important to me, Wendi K., and I would appreciate it if you would nominate him. He's a very cool guy. I promise.)
First go to this link: www.indieheaven.com/go.idh?section=mawards
Song of the year: Walk With Me
Song of the year Artist: Heisman
Album of the Year: Walk With Me
Album of the Year Artist: Heisman
Rock Artist of the Year: Heisman
While staying with my good and bad theme, Prison Break's season finale was last night. Man I love this show! Now that is bad news, however, flipping to the good, it is returning to the tube on January 22. Not too long to wait. I have also, due to JB's leading, gotten into the show Heroes quite a bit. Both of these are very un-Wendi-like shows. Not sure how this happened.
Speaking of JB, he is on his geriatrics rotation for the next three weeks. He seems to be enjoying this. He sees patients, makes home visits, and attends lectures. It is a fairly easy rotation. 8-5 with no weekends. You really can't complain about this schedule.
Another good thing in my life right now. Clementine oranges! Fruit in Minnesota this time of year is slim pickins, but these little oranges are fantastic! I can just sit there and peel and eat bunches of them. Love those little guys!
More great news? Seventeen days until we head to Fort Lauderdale. We cannot wait to spend some time with our families, get some sun, and celebrate my brother's wedding. We've realized that nearly everyone who lives around here goes south for at least a portion of the winter. I think it's integral to not completely going out of your mind.
All right, more good news. Today is TRIVIA day.
Only 25% of Americans currently have one of these, but soon they'll be considered essential for all of us - what is it?
Join the past winner's list. Now in alphabetical order to prevent hurt feelings.
- Cindy V.
- Doormark x2
- Gabbi x 4
- Kristen x2
- Suebaby x2
Monday, November 27, 2006
Trust Him When Thy Wants are Many
Lucy A. Bennett (1850-1927)
Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee,
Trust Him when they strength is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest things of all.
Trust Him! He is ever faithful;
Trust Him--for His will is best;
Trust Him --for the heart of Jesus
Is the only place of rest.
Trust Him, then, through cloud or sunshine,
All thy cares upon Him cast;
Til the storm of life is over;
And the trusting days are past.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Our dear friend Lesley gave us a little gift bag after our last failed cycle. One of the things in it was a restaurant guide to Twin City dining. It was fabulous. On the way to the cities, we chose a great little place called "Jerusalem's" -- a Middle Eastern restaurant. It was delicious. (Bara you would have loved it!) Very reasonably priced as well.
We then decided to go the Minnesota Zoo as I had never been before. JB had taken Ray, Gabbi, and Grace the last time they were here, but I had had to work. Normally we avoid family-centered activities after negative results, but the weather was so nice (nearly 50), and we thought that we could get some exercise and just enjoy spending time together. We saw a dolphin and bird show and then just wandered through the exhibits. It's a very different zoo in that there are no African animals (giraffes, elephants, etc.) All the animals are animals who like the cold! And I guess they would have to as the Zoo is open year 'round. We got a military discount too. Very cool!
Afterwards, we decided to watch Happy Feet in the Imax theatre next to the zoo. (Another military discount included!) We got great seats for yet another penguin movie. Overall, we liked the movie. We wouldn't strongly recommend it as their was some strange content incorporated into the theme, but overall, very cute. Watching a movie on a huge IMAX screen was also exciting.
By this time, it was dinner time, and we still have Lesley's handy-dandy restaurant guide in our back seat. So we peruse again, and this time opt for an African restaurant for dinner. Those of you who have had African with us before have participated in the "spongey bread" meal. This is exactly what it was. We chose a sampler platter as we really had no idea what was what. It came with about 10 different tiny dishes and plenty of "spongey bread' for dipping. One of the dishes was very similar to the egg/chicken meal JB has made. Delicious. Spicey. But delicious. We really enjoyed this meal as well. We kept saying how much we would love to take Oom Ed and Tante Jan here. You two would have loved it!
We had a really healing Saturday. A time just to be together the two of us. We talked, and I cried some more, and we just had a wonderful time healing together. I think these post-IVF-result "get-away days" are very important for us. It's important for us to remember how blessed we are to have each other and to make sure we are on the same page with everything we are doing. It also never hurts to see obnoxious kids throwing temper tantrums and remember that you don't have to take them home! :) (Okay, that's a joke, but it's semi-serious.)
I wish I could same for the church this morning. And I warn you, the rest of my blog may be a little on the "downer" side. I am sorry for the "downer" blog posts recently, and understand completely if you don't want to read anymore.
I have never, ever, left church during a sermon. I mean, I don't even really leave if I have to go to the bathroom. But today, ten minutes in, and JB and I were out the door.
I think there are times that you need to "suck it up". There are times when you need to take a deep breath and push through it. But this, was not one of those times.
First of all, we purposely chose a seat near the front of church. This is usually a "child-free" zone. Shortly thereafter, a couple sat down behind us with their toddler. She was very pregnant and so was the woman who was sitting next to her.
Now let me interject by saying I do not blame these pregnant women for coming to church. (Obviously!) Nor do I blame this couple for bringing their toddler into church. Different parents feel differently about bringing kids into church. Since I am not a parent, I cannot comment about "what I would do if I have kids." I don't have kids, and so, that's not fair for me to say.
The issue with kids in service, for me, is that just when I start singing or listening intently, inevitably, the child pipes up or "kicks up", and I am suddenly thrust out of "the zone". However, again, this is something I need to deal with, and while I might consider switching seats, I would never leave a service over this. I have actually, never even changed seats over this. I in no way blame this event on us leaving.
What caused us to leave was the sermon. There was a guest speaker, and he seemed like a really dynamic guy. I do not blame him whatsoever for his message, however, it was a message that seemed problematic from the get-go. He started the message by having a fictional conversation about his son. His son had uncovered some "items" in his parents "belongings" and wanted to know what they were for. One of them was a music box. The father then goes into a long story about how he gave his mom this music box when he proposed. The second item was, and I am not joking here, a positive pregnancy test! Seriously. He holds up the stick in the middle of the message.
Okay, so this was difficult. I have the two pregnant women and the toddler behind me, and now in front of me, a speaker holding up a positive pregnancy test. JB holds my hand tighter, but we don't even look at each other. This will pass this will pass I keep thinking to myself.
I am thinking of all the single women in the congregation -- women who wish they were married. I am thinking of the parents who have lost a child or a spouse, through death or divorce. I am thinking of other couples, like JB and I, who have never seen a positive pregnancy test.
But I am planning to suck it up. Surely this is just an object lesson that will conclude soon. However, it doesn't. He brings the stick back out and begins discussing how he keeps this pregnancy test to remember the wonderful smell of baths and lotion and ball games and school plays and ...
I looked over at JB, tears streaming down my cheeks, and asked him if it was rude for us to just slip out. He shakes his head and leads the way.
We drove to Target where we needed to get a few things and sat in the car. Me crying. Again.
There is a big debate in infertility circles about whether you should "suck it up" on Mother's Day or Baby Dedication Sunday, or sermons like these. I have always said you should not have to "suck it up". God understands pain, and he doesn't want us to bang our heads against a wall. While I think there is a time to keep your chin up and muddle through, this was not one of those times. If it wouldn't have been just five days after Tuesday's result, I think I would have made it through. But our church has a clear podium, and that stupid pregnancy test was going to be sitting on the podium throughout the whole service. One of my REI doctors was actually in eye-sight of me as well. I wonder what she thought when we walked out. I wondered what everyone thought when we walked out. I was not trying to be rude, but I also knew that my broken heart could not take a second more.
Quite honestly, we could have been leaving for a thousand reasons, and our church is very large. People may not have questioned our departure at all. I trust my husband, and there have been times, previously, that I have wanted to leave, and he has not agreed. However, this time, he agreed. There is no point sitting there, banging our heads against a wall for an hour.
JB promises me that this sadness will go away. He said that the difficult thing about infertility grief is that it continues to cycle through. If you lose a parent, go through a divorce, suffer a disappointment, the grief is there and then you begin to heal. Each time I begin to heal, we begin the ritual all over again, and the healing process must start afresh ... again. JB reminded me in the car, outside of target, that until we are done "trying", these periods of sadness (and hopefully happiness) will inevitably accompany the journey.
I also think that in previous cycles, I was dealing with a lot of anger and frustrations, and therefore those feelings came out more than sadness. This time, I don't have any anger or frustration. I just have sadness.
On the advice of a close family member, JB bought me the book Good Grief during our last failed cycle. I think as Christians, we sometimes think that grief is bad. But it's a part of life. That is why I am not hesitant to share my grief with you right now. I think that we cannot be afraid to grieve for disappointment. I am grieving two lost lives. Lives I was hoping I would be able to meet.
The preface of this book encourages us to learn how to heal from our grief in the hopes that:
- We come out of our grief experience at a slightly higher level of maturity than before.
- We come out of our grief as deeper persons because we have been down in the depths of despair and know what it is like.
- We come out of it stronger, for we have had to learn how to use our spiritual muscles to climb the rugged mountain trails.
- We come out of it better able to help others. We have walked through the valley of the shadow of grief. We can understand.
I know that I will cycle through this time of sadness. That with my husband, we will cycle through it together. While cycling through it can be quite difficult, especially when you are going to be trying this again in 6 weeks, we both know that the Lord is walking with us. That He is right there. Even when we are sad. I am not mad at God. I am not even frustrated with Him. I feel Him with me right now. And I feel Him reminding me to "Trust Him." He has a plan. And right now, He is helping me grieve.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
It is now Saturday, nearly four days after we got the news of cycle #3 not working. It seems like an eternity. Each day has seemed to just drag by. Each evening and each day, when I hit a sad spell and need a pick me up, JB and I talk through things yet again. Yet again, I say the same things. This time, the disappointment is different. This time, I am not asking why. It's as if, subconsciously, somewhere, I know why. I know that the Lord is using this sadness in our lives and in the lives of others. This time, I am not questioning my faith at all. I know that the Lord is present.
But this time, I am, as I have mentioned previously, just plain sad. I cry a few times a day, and it's not an angry cry. It's a "please Lord take away this sadness from me" type of cry. I also miss our families quite a bit right now as well. I want to hug my niece Grace and have her ask me to read her a book until I frantically look to another family member to take my place. I want to play Tetris with my Dad and take walks with my Mom. I want to sit on the couch in JB's family house and wonder what quiet is again! Maybe that's the combination of dissaspointment and the holiday season.
I also know that we have 3-4 more chances with the embryos we currently have. I know that we, at that point, are quite allowed to harvest, yet again if we want. But yet again, my heart feels wounded. Not with anger. Not even with jealousy. Not with frustration. Just with sadness.
Don't worry if I haven't called and chatted with you. I really have no desire to talk about this at all right now. JB and I are working through this sadness together, and he's forcing me to watch episodes of America's Funnies Videos and Scrubs whenever they come on -- two shows that you just can't help but smile at.
I have also talked to the Dr. C, talked to Mary, one of the lead nurses, and we have everything lined up for next cycle. So I thought now was as good a time as any -- a Saturday morning when I can take my time and formulate my thoughts, to let everyone know where we are at and what is next.
Our embryo quality
The quality of our embryos has been the latest "drama" in this chapter of our lives. By JB working in the REI department for one month, he has learned a lot. He has, for instance, learned, what constitutes a great, a good, and a poor embryo. In looking at the "status" of our embryos over the last three cycles, it has become quite obvious that our embryos aren't as "fantastic" as I believed. It's not that the doctors ever said they were fantastic, however, they always said, "Yeah, they look good." We never really asked for details, and I just assumed they were great.
Our embryos are "okay". They are quite honestly, very average. This, to me, is just another reason that our becoming parents must completely come from the Lord. First, it was the fact that I never ovulated. Hmmm ... just a tiny obstacle. Then the fact that I didn't ovulate with drugs. Then the fact that injectibles caused me to ovulate a little bit too much forced us to leave IUI (artificial insemination) behind. On to the world of IVF, where we come to find out that there is some sort of sperm binding issue. There is also the thought that the shell of my egg is a little hard, contributing to the sperm binding issue and, possibly, the failure to implant. And now, the embryos that we have created are "average". It's like God is saying, medicine is nice children, but only I can overcome all these odds. More and more we have come to realize that we have very limited control. We can control our stress level and our state of mind, but only God can control my womb.
Now, let me explain what JB has explained to me, over and over again. He said they have a saying in the office, "Bad embryos make cute babies." In other words, an average embryo, in no way, implies that they won't work. Fantastic embryos result in failed cycles as well. They like to see 8-celled embryos. Our's are mostly 6's and 7's. They like to see a "grade" close to 0 and not over 2.5 Our grade has been somewhere between 1.25-2.25. These are good baby-producing embryos. They just aren't great baby-producing embryos.
Before we knew this, JB and I talked briefly about the possibility of using a surrogate in one of our last tries. We have had a few people briefly suggest that they could be our surrogate (an unbelievable gift!) Our surrogate would undergo the transfer instead of me and would carry a successful pregnancy instead of me (hopefully!) However, this was when we thought we had "great" embryos. If we had "great" embryos, we were assuming that the repeat negative cycles were possibly a "uterus" issue. However, this new information indicates that most likely, a surrogate would not be the answer for us. That this issue is most likely in the embryo itself, not in the uterus. If that is the case, the surrogate would face the same obstacles that I am facing.
It is for all of these reasons that our doctor has agreed to transfer 3 embryos in January. We all feel that this is the right time to increase our number. Triplets is a legitimate concern amongst Mayo's infertility center. They avoid anything over twins like the plague. My doctor said that if all three embryos are dethawed, and all three are better than "average", we may consider letting one of them go to "blastocyst" stage and only transferring two. (As a quick refresher, letting an embryo mature more before implanting, greatly increases pregnancy rates. So we could let one mature, and then refreeze it for a later attempt.) JB and I want to be wise about this. We realize that anything more than twins means a significant increase in the risk of none of the babies making it or one or more of the babies being very ill as well as a risk to my health. We also would never want to have to make a decision about selective reduction because of our selfishness. So we will be as wise as possible to avoid the risk of multiples. At this point, it's hard to imagine multiples. We have just been praying to be parents one time. Anything more would be unimaginable.
We will use assisted hatching during the next cycle. Some people have asked a good question. Why haven't we done this already? Mayo's policy is to wait until three failed cycles before utilizing this procedure as it is "putting the cart before the horse" to do it any earlier. In my case, the reason to proceed with AH is the three unexplained failed cycles as well as the fact that there is a very probable chance that our embryos have a thick shell or "zona". This procedure has been shown to improve implantation rates. (Click on the link to see a photo of AH. )
In order to be "ready" to go again, there are a few things that need to be done. In addition to our scheduled Florida holiday, I have to have my ovaries shut down or "down-regulated" before we can try again. This whole process will take about 4-6 weeks. They also want to do another "cervical dilation" to help ease the "day-of" procedure. Remember, doing a frozen transfer is not nearly as difficult on me as doing a harvest. My schedule is as follows:
12-6-06 Start Oral prometrium
12-12-06 Start Lupron shots every day
12-17-06 Finish orgal prometrium
13-06 Cervical dilation and down-regulation ultrasound
TBA Start estradial pills
That is really all that invovled. Not bad at all. Basically, all they are doing, is getting my lining ready for those sticky babies to find a home.
I hope this explains everything that we are getting ready to do. Please, as always, do not hesitate to ask any questions. I definitely want people to understand (as much as they want to), what we are doing. I also found a pretty cool video on UTUBE: Embryo transfer. If you watch closely, this is what JB and I see when the little sticky babies are dropped into my womb. It's a little harder to see in this video than in person, but it is still pretty cool.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
It's Thanksgiving Day! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I know I have a many readers who are not American and who may not be familiar with this particular Holiday so I thought I'd give a quick explanation:
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is an annual one-day holiday to give thanks traditionally to God (but this has been "adjusted" of course) for the things one has at the close of the harvest season. The first official Thanksgiving was held in the Virginia Colony on December 4, 1619 near the current site of Berkeley Plantation, where celebrations are still held each year. In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. First and foremost, turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as “Turkey Day”). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, Indian corn, other fall vegetables, and pumpkin pie are also commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. On Thanksgiving Day, families and friends usually gather for a large meal or dinner. This results in Thanksgiving holiday weekend being one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Friday is often referred to as "Black Friday" and is the busiest shopping day of the year. It's the day that people start shopping for Christmas. Tomorrow, all the Christmas music and decorations will go up. (Thanksgiving: Wikipedia)We are going to spend a very low-key day with the Ray family today. We will head over there about 2:00, eat about 4:00, and then go to a movie tonight. Trying to keep it simple. We are doing okay, and the Rays are always perfect people to help us get our mind off the dissapointment of the week past. We are actually not doing a turkey. JB is doing a lamb, and Ebby is doing a ham.
I was so blessed this morning. I woke to THREE different emails which included the following scripture:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Coincidence? JB and I are in good spirits. We are so blessed by each other, our health, and the love of so many of you. We know that we will be parents someday -- of that we know. It will just be neat to see how it plays out. It will be wonderful, ten years from now, to look back at these old blogs, and see how this journey worked out. Last night we had a long talk and Bible read and maybe sometime this week, I will share some of what we found and were encouraged by. The Lord is so present, even in the midst of the storm.
I had a friend who struggled with infertility and now has children write this scripture to me this morning and then write, "I picture God in heaven now with your lost sticky babies at his feet and then I see your children of the future there too." That was so comforting to me -- to know that someday we will meet the 8 little lives that we have lost.
Thank you for remebering us on this Thanksgiving Day. Hope you all have a great one!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Dr. C. called me yesterday around 4:00 pm, but I had gone out for a run. It was 47 degrees, and my exercise-restriction had been, obviously, eliminated, so I attempted a fairly-pitiful jog. Dr. C called me back this morning, and we decided to proceed with another transfer on January 18th. We will attempt to dethaw and transfer 3 of our remaining 10 sticky babies. We will also use "assisted hatching." There is a reason behind transferring 3, waiting until January, and using assisted hatching, but all of these items deserve more time and energy (and John-edits) than I am currently able to give, so for now, I will just leave it at that. Stay tuned for further explanation and an answer to your questions sometime in the future.
For now, I should briefly let you know that we are both very sad, very weary, but very much in love with each other and the Lord. Our faith in Him has not even slightly been shaken. During the last few days as I prayed each day for a "yes" or a "no", the only thing I definitely "heard" was "Trust Me." I know His plan for my life is the best plan, and we have to trust that His plan will work its way out in our lives.
As always, the doctors believe we will one day get pregnant through IVF. However, as always, the question comes down to, how many times you try before you say, "that's enough." For now, that answer has been made for us. We will at least try until our remaining sticky babies have been given a shot at joining us in this world. After that, who knows. Even if we quit doing IVF, we will never stop praying that the Lord blesses us with a biological child -- we know he doesn't need IVF to do that, but of course, can use IVF.
Anyways, leave it to JB to try to cheer me up today with photos. He also blessed me with my favorite Indian meal last night! I really love my husband.
I wish all of you a great Thanksgiving. My blog had more hits yesterday than it has ever gotten! I really appreciate you all checking in on us and caring so much. It means more than words can say.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I wish I had better news for all of you. This isn't the post I dreamed of writing in my attempt at positive-dreams.
I am not able to formulate words right now so I'll just leave it at that. JB was actually the one to call me with the results this morning which was refreshing. I appreciate all your love and support as always. Please don't be hurt if I don't respond to phone calls right now -- I'd prefer to be verbal only with JB as we work through our emotions.
In the meantime, here are some scriptures that are comforting me. I know that many of you have confessed you don't know what to say to us. Don't worry. We don't know what to say to us either. "Sometimes, there are no words to say, just prayers to pray."
In other news, my friend Tara started a blog (link on the right.) I am not terribly happy about this. You see, Tara promised she would do a "Thursday with Tara" on the "Polar North" blog, updating us on her world-wide travels. Then, she goes and starts a blog! "Tara," I say to her. "What's the point of you doing a guest blog for me if I can just say, 'Hey. Go check out Tara's blog.'" So the Thursdays are off! I decided that this meant I wouldn't even link to Tara on my blog in utter protest, but alas, she's my friend, and she gave me credit for her blog inspiration, so I have supplied Tara's link so we can follow her around the world in 60 days. :) What-EVER!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Song of the Week: Okay, after missing last week due to, well, laziness, here's a new "Song of the Week" by Audio Adrenaline. Which, of course, you can listen to by clicking on the "Song of the Week" link on the right.
An image flashed across my tv screen
Another broken heart comes in to view
I saw the pain and I turned my back
Why cant I do the things I want to?
Im willing yet Im so afraid
You give me strength
When I say
I want to be your hands
I want to be your feet
I'll go where you send me
I'll go where you send me
And I try, yeah I try
To touch the world like
You touched my life
And I find my way
To be your hands
I've abandoned every selfish thought
I've surrendered every thing Ive got
You can have everything I am
And perfect everything
I'm not, I'm willing
I'm not afraid
You give me strength when I say
This is the lifetime I turned my back on you
From now on, Ill go so
Send me where you want me to
I finally have a mission
I promise I'll complete
I dont need excuses
When I am your hands and feet
The headache has now been present since Friday afternoon. No migraine. I had one of those Tuesday that I caught before it got too bad -- but just a continual headache. Right now, remember, I am assumed pregnant (until proven otherwise). I therefore can only take a little Tylenol. If my pregnancy test comes back positive, they may be able to prescribe something safe. If it is negative, I can use ibuprofen which balanced with the Tylenol, is usually strong enough.
Headaches. Good sign or bad sign? Fatigue. Good sign or bad sign. You see where I am going with this. Every "sign" can be interpreted two ways -- PMS or pregnancy. So instead, I will simply wait this out, keep the faith, stay positive, and dodge blind men to avoid any conversations.
Man I feel bad about that.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Why the bit o' separation? Well, Monet (the boy bird) preened Twain (the girl bird) to such a degree, that Twain (the girl bird) had turned into a vulture. She barely had a single feather left on her pretty little vulture head. She looked, well, pitiful.
Okay, so if you are confused as to why our girl bird is named Twain, what would appear to be a boy's name, please flash back a minute to my post on THE GENDER IDENTITY CRISIS. This is the day that I accidentally found out that Twain was a girl and Monet was a boy. It was a very disturbing moment that I prefer not to rehash, so if you want rehashment, click on the link above.
Anyways, I have also realized that we don't have any pics of our two new birds together. So, in order to show our birds, I have to show a picture of our deceased bird Chaucer (also a girl). Again, for an explanation as to why Chaucer (which is a boy's name) was given to our girl bird -- check out: THE GENDER IDENTITY CRISIS. It will explain Ev-ry-thing.
- The lovebird is a small stocky parrot between 5.1-6.7 inches (They may be small but their bite is fierce. Chaucer bit something crazy. Twain bites very little, and Monet, who is my favorite, doesn't bite at all! We also believe Monet is the only boy bird of the bunch. No surprise that the boy birds are not quite as "nippy".)
- Their average life span is between 10-12 years with some living even longer. (Chaucer lived about 5. We think her death was due to a gender identity issue -- see linked blog above.)
- The oldest recorded lovebird lived 17 years. (Wipe away the tear. Poor Chaucer didn't make it nearly that long. I found her dead! It was horrible! I hated that stupid bird and here I was crying and yelling on the phone for JB to hurry home!)
- The different species of lovebird are identifiable by their colors and markings. They vary greatly in their coloring, and each species can be viewed for their unique combinations. (Chaucer was a peach-faced, Twain is pied peach-faced lovebird, and Monet is Lutino.)
- Younger birds are duller in color and they have black in their beaks. The young birds coloring intensifies as they reach maturity. (This, is true. They are prettier as they age.)
- All lovebirds are native to Africa except the Grey-headed lovebird which comes from the island of Madagascar. (A comment to make me sound intelligent.)
- These birds are very active, flying and climbing about, gnawing on wood or chew toys, and grooming themselves many times all day. They love toys of all kinds such as seed bells, swings, ladders, mirrors, shiny objects, and wooden gnaws. A lovebird outside of it's cage will not stay on it's playpen, they like to explore. Be sure this room is safe with no open doors or windows, no toxic plants, no open water containers, and no hot stove. (This is very true. One time they found a stack of my photos and made them look like they had been scrabooked with that fancy design all the way around each photo. Girl birds do this especially. They then stick the frayed paper in their tail feathers to make a nest.)
- Lovebirds awaken with the dawn, get a drink, eat, and then immediately begin to chirp. They will generally quiet down by mid-morning and resume their chirping in the late afternoon. (This is why we keep them covered until we wake up, and put them to bed when they think they "need a nap".)
- Lovebird genus is Agapornis. Agapein means "to love" in Greek ornis means "bird" in Latin. (I just threw this in, again, to sound smart. Did it work?)
- Lovebirds are very social birds. Generally is thought that it is essential for their good health and happiness that they be kept in pairs, not singly. If you have a single lovebird, you must provide the necessary social interaction that it is missing from another bird. These birds develop fierce loyalties to their keeper or their mate.
I want to take a moment, briefly, to comment on this last bullet. This is VERY true. Our first lovebird, Chaucer, was a single lovebird until we came to Mayo. John worked from home, and Chaucer would spend everyday with John flying back and forth from her cage to JB's shoulder. She loved him!
Chaucer was also unusual as most lovebirds do not talk. However, she picked up two key phrases. The first was "step up". This is what JB used to say to her to demonstrate dominance. He would tell her to "step up" onto his finger, she would, and would therefore recognize that she ranked below JB on the "pecking order".
Now some people (including JB) found it funny that ANY time I walked into the room where Chaucer was she would start saying "step up, step up, step up" to ME! (She also said this to any other random and unfamiliar item like pencils or hair bands). She totally thought she outranked me on the pecking order. Sad fact was? She problably did. I was scared to death of that little bird. She always bit the fire out of me. (That's a Kentucky saying -- "fire".) I like to think it was because she saw me as a threat. (Maybe?)
Chaucer's other cute phrase was "gimme kiss". After this she would make a loud puckering noise. It was quite cute despite my fierce disdain for that little bird. She would also give JB kisses on the cheek. She would say "Gimme kiss", tap his cheek and then make the puckering noise. She never gave these kisses to me, however.
One day, JB and I were in the same room as Chaucer joking around, and he said, "Kiss my butt". Chaucer immediately made the loud puckering noise. We laughed pretty hard at that one.
Anyways, now that I have thoroughly worn you out with bird stories, I'll let you go. Actually, all I intended to do was to tell you that Twain was getting over being a vulture. Guess I got long-winded. Imagine that.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I really am having fun with all the cool things you can do with blogs now. Besides the poll questions, you can also have the counter, and view visitors. I have another friend who finds out what it is people "googled" to get to her blog. I was thinking of trying that some time too. First, some pictures. I have upgraded my google map. I thought that I would be able to connect this to the blog so that I could have these photos automatically posted each morning on my blog through an RSS feed. No such luck. Instead, each morning, I can go to this page and see the last 100 visitors to my blog the night before. It's really fascinating to view where you all live since you know where I live! I also get these handy dandy pictures which show where the hits are. But, I can't put them on my blog automatically. Oh well. So here are the photos that I get to see.
She is very friendly and not shy which I like. I hate prodding people to uncomfortably make conversation. No need to do that with AD. She is also a "free spirit". The only way I can explain this is to tell you that her kitchen, is painted hot pink! She is also a former college softball player so she is athletic. Everyone also asks me if she is tall. I think she is 5'8" so that is pretty tall (just short in comparison to 6'10" Keith.) Her family all lives in the Palm Beach area (about 30 minutes from our family). Her and Keith plan to reside in the 2 bedroom apartment she owns. They will rent out Keith's one bedroom apartment in Coral Springs. WEATHER
So far this year, winter hasn't been too bad. That's the honest truth. It's been in the 20's but nothing much below that. Please don't post a comment reminding me that January and February are the worst. I know that! I'm a four year veteran now. However, my new coat is awesome! EXERCISE
Probably, the single hardest thing about IVF treatments are all the restrictions they put me under for the two weeks that follow (and hopefully, when I find out I am pregnant next week, up until the first ultrasound at six weeks when they determine how many babies we have.) I am not supposed to do ANY exercising. I can walk, however, even that I try to take slowly and not do my normal "speed-walking" through the clinic on my errands. My weight has dropped somewhat back down where it was prior to the major bloat-stage ... but it is still hovering precariously high with no way to do any calorie burning. I know, I know. If I get pregnant, my weight will go up. That's fine. But I'd prefer for it to not go up before the babies in my womb actually weight something. There are some good things though. I am also supposed to do limited housework and NO vacuuming! JB has been very helpful but my house is still way below its standard of cleanliness. NEXT YEAR
Another question I get a lot is "when will you know where JB is doing his residency." We should know sometime in December. They will most likely tell us that he is going to Eglin or to Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois or that he has been given a "civilian deferment". If he gets a civilian deferment, we will most likely be staying at Mayo, however, he will have to interview at some other locations as well (can't put all your eggs in one basket.) I think we have basically decided that if we do not stay in Rochester, we will sell our condo and not rent it. I think we have also decided that if we go to Eglin, we will not buy another house. We just don't want the added stress. The other great thing is that living on base is completely paid for! This means that our bills will only include: cable, phone, groceries, insurances, and gas for our car! How awesome is that to eliminate all payments related to living. If we rented off-base, we would get a housing allotment, however, we would probably have to buy a second car to handle the commute, and most likely, our costs would go over that allotment. So instead, we think we are going to just live on base. Anyways, I guess I can wait to discuss this until we are sure what we are doing. We will know by Christmas! IVF
Waiting two weeks is not easy, but this journey has been so much easier than the previous two times. One semi-strange thing, is that JB will actually be working in the REI office when my results come in. I am not sure what this means. I am not sure who will then give me the message about my blood results. I am very excited to get the results. The waiting time is always a little tedious. Especially on the weekends. Those go very slowly. JB
What is JB up to right now? Well, he finishes up his REI rotation this week and starts geriatrics next week. He will finish that up before we leave for Florida for Christmas and then take some time off for the holiday. Currently, JB is reading a lot. As I have mentioned recently (and will need to take a week of blogs to explain), both of our hearts have recently been pricked regarding mission work. We are not sure where the Lord is leading in this. We are simply ready and waiting for him to direct us. However, more and more, we believe that this mission work that we always thought would be part-time, may be full time medical missions work. We are simply waiting for the Lord to direct us. JB has been reading a lot of books on this topic, and you can be praying for both of us as we watch to see what the Lord leads us to do. We still have 3 years of residency and 4 years of payback before this would be possible so this is still a long way off! Okay, so this is like the longest blog in the history of my blogging! That's all the news I have for you. There is no more!!! Have a great Saturday!
Friday, November 17, 2006
"I read something about fear once, how it's a lot like faith except with a different object of focus. With faith, your confidence is in God, acknowledging that he has ultimate control of your situation. With fear,you've put something else on the throne of your life, giving the control that's supposed to be God's over to something else." -- Harry Kraus, MD.
My wonderful friend Rachel sent me that quote yesterday, and I think it is just very appropriate for the attitude I am attempting to have. It's not an easy attitude to maintain, and you better have some strong people around you to remind you it's the right attitude. My husband, is, one of those strong people. Lying awake long into the night (maybe that's why I am so tired), helping me keep my focus and remain faithful when your body and mind is weary. (JB argued that the brain itself cannot get weary. I'm wondering if I just have a sub-par brain! Ha!)
Looking forward to finishing off this conference today and having a relaxing weekend. Plan to watch some football with the Jones on Saturday and have a "going away/birthday" brunch for Tara on Sunday. Sheis getting ready to spend like, FOREVER, travelling the country (and the world) on her medical school interviews.
Actually, that is what most of JB's classmates are currently preparing to do. They now start flying all over the country, interviewing, and trying to rank, in order, the schools, they want to attend. John, on the other hand, is in a different boat. He is simply waiting for the Air Force's decision. The only way he would join the interview pool is if they gave him a civilian residency. John actually has a bunch of interviews lined up. However, those interviews will be held after December -- after the Air Force tells him what he is doing. If the Air Force tells him he is going to Destin or Illinois, he will have to cancel those interviews.
Oh, and, just to let you know, once again, we are not giving the exact date of our blood test. Most of you probably know it especially those of you who have done IVF (or who just analyze everything like Gabbi). That's fine. We just want to be able to report the news (good news of course!) in our own way. So it is sometime next week. I promise. But when .... hmmm ... stay tuned to find out.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I know, I know. Some of you are saying, "Oh, you're tired! That's a good sign!" Let me tell you, and my IF friends are nodding in agreement -- every sign can go everywhere. I no longer try to interpret signs. I do not peruse the Internet to determine if my headache means I am pregnant or if my thirst means I am expecting. I have given that up. All I know is that despite going to bed at 8:15 last night, I'm beat. I'm tired. Take it for what you will.
I'm also really digging Survivor. That little tribe of 4 had me pumping my fists this evening!
Oh and the first day of the Conference seemed to go very well. One more half day to go, and then a delightful weekend.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I am very proud of myself. I am yet to take an HPT (home pregnancy test). Actually, (I can already hear the gasps in the audience), I have decided not to take an HPT at all this cycle. I had a friend tell me, "I don't need an HPT to give me the positive news that we are already know and are just waiting to have confirmed." So that is my philosophy. Anyways, even I could take an HPT right now, it would be wayyy to early. The earliest I have really heard of people getting BFPs (big fat positives) is about 10dpt, and even then, many women get negative HPTs the day of their positive blood test.
Speaking of HPTs, I have attempted, using my strongly mathematical brain, (Hey! Stop laughing!), to calculate how many HPTs I have taken since we started trying to start a family well over three years ago. Honestly, it has to be somewhere over 100. I really have no way to properly calculate how many I have used or how much money I have spent on these stupid little tests. My friend Bethany told me that her last cycle, she too, was not going to take a test, and then, somehow, one of the little buggers just FELL into her cart in the grocery store. I take that as a warning. I plan to avoid the grocery store altogether.
So now you know what dpt, HPT, and BFP means. You probably, using your brain, also know what BFN means (I'll let you deduce what that means yourself). However, we aren't talking about BFNs in our house at all right now!
Last night, JB continued to provide relaxing entertainment by taking me to a movie. We saw Stranger than Fiction. I don't know the last time I went to a movie on a "school night". This was a very cute movie and was relatively clean for PG-13. We saw Ronnie and the kids there. They were seeing Flushed Away but had debated whether Stranger than Fiction was appropriate for Cole and Hunter. I didn't find too much objectionable content in comparison to other films out there today. I think Hunter definitely could see it. We give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Today I am driving to Kenyon to get my bridesmaid dress fitted for my brother's wedding. Rachel suggested taking it to Kenyon. She said it would be a lot cheaper than Rochester so despite the 40 minute or so drive, I have decided, to trek to Kenyon for the fitting.
Oh, and you know, it's been awhile since we have done any trivia, so I thought, why the heck not. Here it is.