Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thankful post

So, I have a friend who regularly writes down 5 things for which she is thankful in her blog. I think it's a wonderful idea. So, I thought I'd jot down some things that I'm thankful for today.

1) Steve-You've always maintained hope throughout all of our journey to baby, even when I lost my hope.
2) Mom-You are my rock, and my best friend. Thanks for always being here for both of us. We couldn't do it without you. We love you!!
3) Dad & Carolyn-I really appreciate your concern and your constant love and support. :-)
4) The rest of mine and Steve's family and all of our friends-thanks for all your prayers and support!
5) Sonny & Cher-You guys cheer Mommy up, even on the worst days. Thanks for being the sweetest puppy and kitty duo in the world!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My new sales manager...

ROCKS! He worked with me for the first time today and I gotta say, I really like him! He is a great salesman and can easily speak with customers about anything, but he also is HILARIOUS!!! I can't remember having this much fun with a manager during the course of sales day. My face still hurts from LMAO all day!!

I loved my old manager, so I've been apprehensive about the new guy. So glad things went well!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stim check

I think I had a pretty good stim check today. I had ~5 follies on the left and ~5 on the right side with all of them measuring between 6-8mm. But my disclaimer is: how the hell does Dr. A know for sure after only spending 15 seconds on the U/S which he billed as intermediate? Anyway, moving beyond irritation with doctor: E2=223 and LH =1.3. Not bad!

I didn't post these on the blog last Monday, but my CD3 baseline levels were E2=56 and LH=2.7. So, I guess I'm doing okay after 4 days of stims. I have another stim check on Friday morning. I was told to continue my low dose of 150IU of Follistim. I'm hoping my "slow and steady" mantra works to my advantage this time. On my last IVF cycle my first stim check had my E2=727 which was way too high, so I hope this is a slower response is a good sign. :-)

Potential date for ER: Tuesday (May 6th). Will know more at stim check on Friday...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hey Blogosphere!

First of all, I've gotta say that all of my blog readers are the sweetest folks in the world. I've read each of your comments from my sad posts below and I just wanted to thank each of you for your kindness. I really appreciate all of your support. I apologize for being MIA for the past several days. I've been ridiculously busy, but that hasn't been necessarily a bad thing. I'm in better spirits and dealing with things a little better.

Well, I'm on Day 4 of stims and still feeling pretty good. I have my first stim check tomorrow morning, so hoping for great numbers. Slow and steady is my mantra this time.

What have I been up to? Well, this past Monday I got pissed off (again) at my RE's office for not starting me on my stims when I wanted to be (and should have been on CD3) started on Monday. They wanted me to wait until Thursday so that I could "fit" into their schedule. Nice. Whatever. Nothing I could do other than quit IVF at this point and after 2 weeks of Lupron shots, bruising, night sweats and hot flashes, umm..no way...everything I've put my body through would be in vain. So, thanks to my dear friends (Emily and Christi), I stayed the course (P.S. I love you girls!!). I did start stims on Thursday as I was told and again have my first stim check tomorrow.

I went to Dallas on a business meeting on Thursday and Friday. I had a horrible experience getting out of DFW on Friday and was 4 hours late getting home Friday night. ARGH! Acupuncture yesterday was great. I'm officially a believer after she cured me of my absent AF last week. I started 5 hours after going thanks to her "down pressure" she placed upon my ovaries and uterus last week.

Finally, my bf (Stephanie) had baby boy #2 (Trevor James) on Thursday and since I didn't make it home until late Friday, my Mom and I were able to go visit them yesterday after they made it home from the hospital. He is downright beautiful! He looks a lot like big brother. But, I'm including a pic of Stephanie and Trevor because she rarely is in pics and I think she is beautiful. :-) P.S. Her blog is entitled "The Gilford Family" over to the left side if you want to check out more adorable baby Trevor pics and always adorable Jordan (2-year-old) pics....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Desperately Seeking Former Self

Can I change the title of my blog? I really liked the old version of me much better. I was fun, happy, out-going, extroverted, witty: a true Gemini. I'm not the person I used to be. Jill, Version 3.0, sucks. First of all, I am so bitter about almost everything. Secondly, I fear that I can't revert back to the old me. Like once version 3.0 was downloaded, the old 2.0 version can't be retrieved.

I don't recognize the person in the mirror staring back at me. I feel sad, but I LOOK sad, too. I've gained weight thanks to IF, and I really have no consistent motivation to do anything about it. I feel like I look at others and life in general really with a blank stare. I am numb to everything. I feel cheated. I feel that my optimism and hope are gone.

I remember being single when nearly every one of my friends met their husbands-to-be. I remember being so happy for each and every one of them. I accepted all of the comments such as "you're next" "it will happen" "you will find someone" and list goes on and on. As each of them bought their homes with their new husbands and began settling in to married life, I bought my own home and worked on my career all the while keeping the above thoughts in my mind. Then, some of them had their first child. Again, I was so happy for them. But, naturally I did wonder if any of that was ever going to come my way.

Obviously, I did meet and marry Steve and for that I'm truly happy and grateful. But, I thought that my hardship of finding a husband was my cross to bear. Why do I have to now also bear a cross of infertility? It isn't fair. Part of me thinks I will get my happy ending--I just have to have the faith and strength to get through this. But what if I don't? What if we can never have a biological child? I hate the way infertility makes me feel. I hate feeling bitter, sad, and jealous.

I hate trying to come up with new excuses as to why we aren't pg yet; in fact, I feel alienated when the topic comes up. Also, at times, I loathe the thought of leaving the house and having to listen to people engaging in mindless conversation. And, I'm in sales--so I have to hear and engage in mindless conversation daily! Finally, I resent people who get pg quickly. It bothers me when people say "We will be trying again in X Month for child #X" and they really aren't far off from their goals in my opinion when it happens for them. I hate feeling that they don't deserve it so easily.

Most of all, I fear that I'll never "be me" ever again. Even if I do get pg, I don't think this experience will ever leave me. I really hope that my true spirit returns and that I'll be able to operate on my "business as usual" mentality. And yes, for those of you reading: I know what clinical depression looks like and I realize I'm totally in the throws of it. But, I'm not sure if I can take anti-depressants while on IVF meds. I'm asking my doctor tomorrow. I know you aren't supposed to take any of them while pg. I thought returning to stims (hopefully tomorrow if all goes well) would lift my dark cloud, but I'm just not sure anymore. Sorry for the gloomy blog entry. I hope to be more positive in future posts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wow--I'm really busy and I just realized it!

So as you all know we decided to give IVF#2 a shot (lol) now rather than wait until July/August because it seemed like we were just going to be too busy during May, June, and early July with vacations, etc. Well, I don't really know how all of this happened, but I think I'm even busier now than I will be then. Here are just a few things that have been going on over the last week or two and what I will be doing over the next 3-4 weeks:

1) I have a new sales territory as of 4/1. Just a few adjustments, but a new territory with some new customers just the same.
2) I have a new sales manager and new regional manager also as of 4/1.
3) I am on an Advisory Board with work which requires me to travel to Dallas next week 4/24-25. I should be on stims at that time. I hope my stim check will be early on 4/24 in Cincy. I planned my flight out of there instead of Lexington, trying to plan ahead. Watch my stim check be 4/25 though. That IS the kind of luck I have.
4) I have 7 dinners out with customers planned over the next few weeks (some during stims/ER/ET/2ww, etc.) Yes, I'm an idiot AND an over-achiever.
5) IVF#2 and all of the appt juggling and ER/ET, etc. associated with it.
6) I have a critical new management Regional meeting 5/7-9 in Philadelphia. I should be finished will my ET by then, but I truly am scared to fly for fear that I'll somehow do something to cause implantation to not occur.
7) I am co-hosting a wedding shower for Steve's friend this Friday evening. His rehearsal is 5/9 and wedding on 5/10. Steve is the best man so it's not an option to blow it off. Yuck.
8) First Lexington RESOLVE group meeting was tonight and 2nd is in 4 weeks (which will be during my 2ww). P.S. I really enjoyed it!
9) I'll stop here: Mother's Day. While I adore my Mother, I can't bear the thought of another childless Mother's Day for me. I get really sad just thinking about it.

But, Steve did just ask me tonight about trying to squeeze in the Kentucky Derby which will be May 3. Let's see my ET should be May 2. Hmmm---NOOOO! I've got to learn to use the word a little better.

The good news is, I work really well under pressure at handling several major life events all at the same time. For instance, when we got engaged, I decided I wanted a Fall wedding which only left me 5 months to plan a 250+ wedding. I immediately put my house on the market, sold it, and moved in to Steve's house 1 month before the wedding. Oh yeah, I also quit my old job, started my current job, and went for training in Philly for 2 straight weeks 2 months before the wedding. We finally got married and went on our honeymoon 5 months later. Now, I did have to start taking Zoloft halfway through in order to deal with everything, but I survived and everything turned out just wonderful!

So, maybe this is the perfect storm all over again?? I really hope so!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why Lupron bites...

Well, I've got 5 doses of Lupron down today. The side effects are increasing just like they did last time. Here are the reasons Lupron stinks: 1) headaches (I've had dull ones for the past 3 days); 2) night sweats (I've been waking up over the last couple of nights burning up with my hair being sweaty underneath (pleasant, right?); and 3) b&b (I'm making up an abbreviation here: bleeding and bruising: nice). So what is the purpose of Lupron? It is used to decrease levels of LH, FSH, and Estrogen in order to prep the body to be ready to be stimulated with hormones better. So, it induces a menopausal-like state. A little fact medical fact some of you may or may not be aware of: Lupron was originally designed for and is still used in prostate cancer. Lupron also reduces the hormone testosterone just as it does the hormones I mentioned above. Testosterone promotes the growth of prostate cancer, so Lupron slows the cancer growth!

Yeah, Lupron bites. So I ask: where is the help from those Chinese herbs I briefly took last week?? I have at least the same if not more side effects from Lupron for IVF#2. I had acupuncture yesterday. I am still skeptical. I had a horrible muscle spasm in my left neck and shoulder area when I arrived at my appt (must've slept weird). Anyway, she used needles and some Chinese spoon technique to ease the tension. While it might have felt better while I was there (umm, placebo effect?), it returned pretty quickly after I left the building. Today, I have the worst bruising you can imagine on my back. Steve is so unhappy about it--all he can do is keep asking me why I'm subjecting myself to the needles and now apparently abuse. Booo!

In other news: The 2008 rankings for Worst Cities for Allergies this Spring were published yesterday. Number 1 allergy offender? Lexington, KY! No wonder I feel congested all of the time! As I get older, it's gets worse. I never had allergy problems until just a couple of years ago. Now I know why! Apparently, Lexington ranked #52 last year on the same report. What the heck is going on around here??

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

And we're off with IVF#2...

Well, I began taking my Lupron shots again today. Yippee! The exclamation point is really more for you guys than it is for me. I feel anything but excited right now, but I'm moving through all the motions. I sooo wish more than anything I could feel as hopeful as I did before IVF#1 began, but I think I've lost the innocence to it all. I was so sure that we would be pg after that attempt. Looking back, I had a few red flags along the way, but I think my insane optimism just refused to think about them at the time. Please don't think I'm completely without hope, I do have it, but I am also very guarded this time and more realistic about the outcomes to IVF.

I went through cycle #1 with 18 IVF girls on the Nest. Of those, 7 did achieve that elusive BFP. But, 11 (including me) did not have success. Even though the odds were 50%, I swear in my crazy mind, they were 100%. So, I think this may help to explain why I feel so detached from all of this right now.

I'm sure when I start my stims and start seeing Dr. Awadalla again, I'll get more excited. But, I don't think my previous failure will ever really leave me. And maybe that's okay.

I'm really worried right now about my TTTC sister, Ann-Marie. To fill you in on the "sister" statement, the wonderful Nest message boards that I'm a part of decided to pair off people going through similar circumstances together. She and I began IVF#1 within a week of one another. I got a BFN, but she got a BFP. Her beta slowly rose and then took off somewhat, but she had problems with bleeding, etc. She just found out it was an ectopic pg. So unfair!! I wish I could be with her irl to give her a big hug. She's such a wonderful person. So, please don't pray for me tonight. Pray for her. She had an ecoptic last year as well and lost one of her fallopian tubes. I can't believe she's going through this again.

I wish there was a rule in this IF universe that I'm apparently a resident of: If you have to deal with IF and all of its trouble getting pregnant, then for goodness sake, you get to STAY pregnant. That's my wish!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I have a yin deficiency???

Well, I had my first acupuncture appt. yesterday. It went pretty well. It definitely wasn't as painful as I had feared. The needles hardly hurt at all going in, and none hurt once they were actually in. She put needles in my ears, on my head, on my wrists, on my legs and feet and told me to relax and find my "center". I couldn't seem to locate it (but I really tried!!). Maybe I'll find it next time...

One of my favorite shows is Sex and the City. One episode that has hit close to home for me was near the end of the show series. Charlotte, who was desperate to have a baby, decided to try Eastern medicine on the Upper West Side with Dr. Rao, an acupuncturist miracle worker who seemed to be able to get a cactus pregnant (lol). As I tried to find my "center" yesterday, all I could do was crack up thinking about that episode where poor Charlotte couldn't find her "center" either and ran out of the room looking for Dr. Mao to help her locate it and learn how to relax. She had needles sticking out of her face and looked so funny. I wondered if I looked that weird, too. Okay, I'll get back on topic...

I didn't know much (actually nothing) about yin and yang. I don't believe in Eastern medicine yet, but I'm trying. According to the Chinese, yin is supposed to represent the mind while yang represents the body. My acupuncturist said that I had a yin deficiency/yang dominance for a few of the following reasons: 1) I have a geographic tongue (she thinks this could be linked to stress?) 2) I have oily skin 3) I have very vivid dreams (I'll save these funny stories for another blog entry!) 4) I had pretty bad hot flashes/night sweats last time on Lupron and 5) I have sleep distubances (get up at least once per night thanks to either Steve, Sonny or Cher waking me up--lol). These all point to a "hot" imbalance, which I find interesting since I'm cold all of the time. She had no answer for me (which is partly why I'm still skeptical). She also checked my pulses, which were pretty rapid before, but slower after, acupuncture. Anyway, her goals are to correct my yin deficiency ASAP and hopefully establish balance before IVF#2 starts. I am also taking Chinese herbs for about a week, but plan on discontinuing everything when I start Lupron shots. My RE does NOT want me on anything when taking IVF meds other than PNVs, so I'll just be doing acupuncture alone at that point. I will plan on weekly appts. until my ER/ET week and then I will have acupuncture on the day of ET (either shortly before or after ET). I will also have another treatment I think a couple of days following ET.

So what exactly can acupuncture do for IVFers like me other than cause relaxation and reduce stress? Well, it is supposed to improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs and ulitmately better quality embryos, increase blood flow to the uterus, increase the thickness of the uterine lining, strengthen the immune system and decrease chances of miscarriage. Umm, I'll take all of that to go please...thanks!

While still very skeptical, if IVF works this time, I'm sure I won't stop singing the praises of acupuncture and Eastern medicine! I just want to be pg and will do anything to be successful...I'll take a Christmas baby, New Year's baby, Halloween baby, hell, I'll even take a Leap Year baby. I don't care. Please God, just give me a baby.