Amber and Aaron

Amber and Aaron

The Fun We've Already Had...

  • Graham Tomas born July 31 at 5:04 P.M. weighing 8 lbs, 12 oz.
  • December 2, 2011: PREGNANT!!!
  • Paisley Kate arrived August 21 at 5:38 P.M. weighing 7 lbs, 9 oz
  • DUE DATE: August 25, 2010!!!
  • Dec. 14, 2009- PREGNANT!!!
  • Oct. 07,2009- Had elective D&C.
  • Sept 28, 2009- No embryo on ultrasound. :(
  • Sept 15th, 2009- We found out we're PREGNANT!!!
  • Sept '09- Aaron had varicocele repair.
  • July '09- IUI #1 with HCG shot= No such luck
  • April '09- Ovarian drilling surgery, followed by hospitalization for uterine infection
  • Jan-Mar '09- metformin + 3 rounds of clomid= no ovulation
  • Dec. 11, 2008- Hysterosalpingogram (Fancy word for shooting dye through the ovaries. OUCH)
  • Nov '08- Sent to RE. Tried metformin alone for two months (No ovulation)
  • Oct '08- Diagnosed with PCOS based on amenorrhea and crazy hormone levels.
  • June '08- Aaron convinced me to start trying.
  • June '04- Got Hitched!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's my party...

A certain someone turned 29 today which is WAY too close to the big 3-0. It brought with it the realization that if I'm not miraculously pregnant within the next couple of months that I will not be able to pop out a little one before I'm 30.

It was a great birthday as far as birthdays go. I'm not a huge holiday type person especially when gift-giving is involved, so I kinda just tolerate it all. We went to dinner with my mom, Aaron, his parents and my sis-in-law. I got everything I could have ever asked for and then some. (Including a replacement camera for the one I lost.)

Which has caused a little bit of regret on my part. You see, I'm a terrible gift-giver. Always have been and I'm sure always will be. I find it gut-wrenching to hunt for the "perfect" gift and I never pick up on those subtle clues that people give. Or not so subtle in the case of my mother.

I didn't actually give Aaron anything for his b-day this year and last year I gave him a garden hose. Seriously. One of the first years we were dating, I gave him cash for Christmas. And we were out late hunting for my mom a gift the night before her birthday this month.

So, I'm lucky that the people in my life love me enough that they still spend so much effort to make my birthday wonderful! I certainly don't deserve it and I'm completely uncapable of returning the favor, but it is very much appreciated. Days like today remind me how incredibly blessed I am with great friends and family!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If you aren't sure, don't ask!

It's truly incredible how just when the day is going okay, someone throws a wrench in the ___. I'm not great with sayings, so whatever goes there- feel free to put it in for me. Point is: someone screwed up my good day.

So, I enter one of my exam rooms today to see an 82-year-old patient who I really like. He's always very kind and thankful, so I look forward to his visits. And it's very fortunate for him that I feel that way, because if it had been someone else, I'd have kicked him to the curb with a script for some better judgement.

First, he says that I look great which I very much appreciate and never tire of hearing. Before I can feel too great about it though, he whispers sweetly, "are you expecting?"

Expecting what? More infertility bills, a raise for dealing with questions like that, to never wear a loose dress again... sure. Oh, a baby. No, I'm not expecting one of those.

Look, dude, I ate a big lunch. Maybe it was my posture. Definitely not a good choice of clothing. I certainly didn't feel fat or bloated enough today to ask me if I'm pregnant!!!

So, I'm off to burn a certain article of clothing and begin my starvation diet. :) From now on, I only wear spandex to remove all doubt.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Infertility was SOOO last month

The urge to quit trying is battling for control. Maybe not forever, but I'm in desperate need of a break. And I know that I'm technically on a break this month for vacation, but I'm still temp charting. And now I'm starting to think about the road ahead and the tough decisions we are about to face.

IVF: Great chance of having a baby bearing our own awesome genetics, but it's terribly expensive and a lot of effort on my part. Plus, an IVF failure would be the end of the road. Also, I'm not too psyched about multiples, although the TV deal would be great.

Egg/frozen embryo/sperm donation: These options eliminate the need for our own contribution to be award-winning. It's like cheating the system. Downfall is that it wouldn't be a baby that the two of us created in love... However, I think that love fell out of this equation when we invited Dr. Haas into our personal lives.

Adoption: It's a scary system to enter into, filled with extensive paperwork, outrageous fees, and long waiting lists. Very intimidating and overwhelming.

When you date someone, you always ask the important questions. You know, like "what do you want to do for a living?", "do you want children?", "is that rash contagious?"

But you probably didn't go through the whole, "what are we going to do if we can't have kids?" And if you did, you probably didn't go into enough depth to guide you through this. It's tough when one of you (me) wants to do less and the other (not pointing any fingers) wants to do more.

Let's face it- I'm a quitter. And I'm not afraid to admit it. I just wish our choices consisted of something a little more appealing... like missing one pill and getting pregnant. Or deciding to start a family and actually getting pregnant the 1st month. Maybe I'll take the advice of the fertile and just "try to relax".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wanted: Lady with lots of Children

We went out to dinner last night for my mom's birthday and while we're there, my mom and I are gossiping about everyone we know that is worth gossiping about. Don't worry, I'm sure it's none of you. :)

Anyways, we're talking about a family member who has a new baby, already going through a divorce and is now dating someone else. I find this completely crazy and can't imagine that being a good idea. My comment about the situation was, "who in their right mind would want to date a girl with a 7-month-old baby?"

With perfect timing and absolute conviction, Aaron answers "I would."

We laughed so hard I thought I'd pee my pants. So for those of you with kids, watch out. Aaron's on the prowl for some step-kids...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Dog, Chance

Our collie, Chance, passed away this morning. He had been having some health problems for several months now, but went downhill quickly last night. We aren't sure what happened, but we're thankful that he didn't have to suffer long. Aaron was spared the task of euthanizing him since he went on his own.

I just want to say a couple of things about him, so for those of you who don't believe dogs are family members, you may want to stop reading now. For anyone who has ever had a four-legged furry best friend, you'll understand.

We adopted Chance when he was 4 years old from a rescue group. He fit into our family and into our lives instantly. I have about a million good memories about him and so many happy times we spent together. He was the most loving and friendly dog I'd ever been around. People would always stop us and want to pet him when we walked him because he looked like "Lassie". I personally think he was way better than Lassie... :)

Aaron, thank you so much for taking such good care of Chance. He lived the healthiest, happiest life possible because of your extraordinary vet care. I'm so sorry he's gone, but I know you did everything possible to keep him here with us.

Chance, we are so thankful for the 6 years you spent with us. You were the most beautiful dog I'd ever seen and by far the kindest. You never met a stranger and were loved by all who met you. Your sweet, playful personality could bring a smile to my face even on the toughest of days. (One of the reasons I really need you here now). I can't thank you enough for the love you brought into my life. We will miss you so much. The backyard is never going to be the same again.

I'm posting a picture of Chance with our other big dog, Evie. They were best friends and she is already missing him...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Road Ahead...

I've had several questions about what we'll do from here. Great question...

What I've learned through all of this is that there is never a set road. Medications don't always work, certain treatments are not effective for all, and every couple has their own set of problems. (Seems we have a ton.) And just when Dr. Haas, Aaron and I seem to get a plan- things change.

I didn't expect last month to turn into an IUI, but it did. Earlier on, I didn't expect to fail on clomid and have surgery, but I did. When this all began, I never would have expected to go through this much already and still not be pregnant. But here we are...

So, I'm not quite sure what we'll do. We're going on vacation with 4 of our best friends in 2 weeks, so it will eliminate this month from IUI (unless one you of 4 is willing to learn). Dr. Haas had mentioned having us come in for just a simple consultation visit to talk over our options soon. And I feel like maybe it would be a good idea.

I need to know if we're wasting our time with more IUI's even though they're significantly cheaper than IVF. We know our best chance is with IVF, but it's a ton of money and still no guarantees. I feel less and less hopeful every single month which doesn't help. I always had a thought that I was infertile. Was it intuition or just pessimism?

Anyways, I'm leaning towards trying to do 3 more IUI cycles and then taking about 6 months "off" to save money for IVF if I choose to do it. It's scary that IVF is the end of the road and we're almost there. Aaron has been to almost all of my appointments with me and one of the main reasons is that my biggest fear is Dr. Haas saying that there's no hope. And I can't hear that alone.

I'm blessed to be married to the most fantastic, funny, and caring person on this earth. Our lives and our marriage are not ruined from this experience, in fact- I'd say they've improved. And if we are ever given the chance to have a baby, we'll appreciate it SO much more than we ever would have before.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Game Over: Try again next month

I'm sure you already know from the title who showed up today. And not only did she show up, but it was a grand arrival... I woke up to take my temp (which had sadly fallen) so I already knew what was coming. I stood up to go to the restroom and passed a LOT of blood clots. Oops, should have warned the faint-hearted about TMI.

Anyways, I've had a rather unpleasant day of bloating, cramping and possibly bleeding to death. :) I even questioned whether it could be a miscarriage since I'm usually more of a spotter. So, I took a pregnancy test which was negative (aren't they all?). Aaron's affectionately titled this my $420 period. (That's what we've paid for co-pays and IUI this month).

Saddest part is Aaron's reaction to it. I expected it so I was really fine, but Aaron looked like someone had just stolen his puppy dog. He even asked if I was sure I couldn't be pregnant because sometimes girls spot on their period. I made him check out my trail of "spots" I made on the way to the restroom. "Spots" don't require bleach, a bath, and the carpet cleaner.

So, we start again. Every month I'm not sure I want to endure another day of it, but everytime I think of Aaron's face when again I'm not pregnant, I know I have to. He's been so incredible through all of this and I know he'll make the best dad in the world. It does make me realize that if I had a failed IVF what I would feel like. I feel like I worked my butt off this month and went through 4 ultrasounds, 4 blood draws and IUI to get nothing.

I did get to go visit my cousin in Dallas today and see her little girls. I played with Baby M for a long time which was great and I've posted pics of her below for you to see. Then we went to see Baby K in the NICU which was both amazing and heart-wrenching. She looks much better than a baby should look considering she's had open heart surgery, CPR, and tons of treatment in 2 weeks of life. She's hanging in there and I was in awe looking at her today. I didn't take any pictures of her since her chest is still open and she's hooked up to so much. Maybe soon...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I've Had 1,000 Views!!!

So, I put a counter on my blog about 2 weeks ago and today I hit the 1,000 views mark. I never in my wildest dreams would have ever expected so many people to read about boring ol' me. Thanks so much for showing so much interest!!! And I've really enjoyed having this blog, so it's good that people actually read it.

Update on my cousin: Baby M will be released from NICU tomorrow which is great news. Baby K is stable and they're hoping to get her off the heart bypass machine tomorrow and go from there. She's the toughest little 6 pounder ever and I'm SO proud of her! Keep the prayers a comin' since she still has a lot of battles to overcome.

Update on my uterus: Seem to be doing fine, I am 10 days post IUI and feeling great. So much else has been going on that I haven't really given much thought to my own situation. It seems kinda simple and ridiculous in comparison. I should be starting my period on Monday and I haven't yet decided if I'll test before then or not. Probably not, so you'll just have to be patient!
My temp chart is still nice and high which is a good sign, but I'm still expecting Aunt Flo's visit soon. I feel like she's already bought her bus ticket... (my family couldn't afford plane fare.) :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baby K

My cousin just had beautiful, identical twin girls 11 days ago. Baby K had to have a major open heart surgery at only 6 days old and has been fighting to recover since then. She had a pretty major set-back last night and I just want all of my friends to please add her onto their prayer list.

They're in Dallas since that's where the best heart specialist is, so it's really hard for the family since she's not here at home. I just can't understand why certain things have to happen. We've known for some time that she had this heart defect and that 25% of babies don't survive (all babies require 3 surgeries), but I never accepted that it could happen to her.

It has broken my heart today to know what my cousin is going through and how hard little K is trying to fight. Please pray for them...

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Tell or Not to Tell

When I started this blog, my goal was to be as honest and open as possible. Truthfully, it's kinda just my personality to be that way. It takes much more effort for me to withhold information or keep a secret than tell the world all of my personal business.

The other day I started considering how I would handle it if I did get pregnant. I had always thought that we'd only tell our parents until I was about 10 weeks along so that I was through the "most dangerous" part. At that time, I also figured I wouldn't even really know until I was 6 weeks along.

Now that I have invited you all in to share in our story, it's impossible to hide something that significant. You've all been there for me during the tears and frustration, it only seems fair that you should be there for the celebration.

So, I've decided that if the day ever does come that I get my positive, I will share it with you all. Knowing that things may still go wrong and I may quickly turn to you for support. With that said, it's been 1 week since my IUI so we have one more week to go! Keep your fingers crossed, the prayers coming, and positive thoughts flowing my direction...

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Neighbors are SOOO classy!!!

I really don't like to brag about why our neighborhood is so much better than your neighborhood (as if you don't already know), but I'm gonna have to. Check out what a good garage sale on the south side looks like: There was literally crap all over the driveway and the front lawn. There is also a pick-up truck sitting in front of the house that had the entire bed loaded with stuff that was for sale. Even the truck was for sale. I know you can't see details, but there are about 1,000 stuffed animals, 20 bicycles, 15 tires, and a HUGE assortment of other junk in this yard. Nothing had a price tag or any trace of organization to it. The pictures don't even show the full extent of the madness, my friends.

Best part of the story: I decide I'll take some pictures of it while driving by on my way home (it's right down the street from me). Well, instead of being subtle and not drawing more attention to myself as I'm driving down the street taking pictures, I run over a neighbor's trash can. There it is lying in the street, a helpless victim of my wreckless driving. And in the distance, you can see the most awesome garage sale ever!!!
Well, I'm 4 days post IUI now, so we've still got a long wait ahead of us. Hope you all are more patient than me. I'm certainly not feeling very pregnant. Maybe a little chubby from eating so much at Chili's... And my boobs are certainly no bigger. My 'tude is still there, but what's new. :)

For those of you wondering, my cousin's little baby did great with her heart surgery today. She has a long, tough recovery ahead of her, but at least the worst part is over. I'll keep you all posted on that too. I have one more picture for the road: this is my mom taking a dip in her swimming hole (aka: fish pond). I bet you're all calling a realtor to look for a house by us!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Someone needs an intervention

I think maybe I've got an addiction. I'm in that stage where I've realized that I have a problem, but no one around me seems to. Waiting on someone to take my hand and say, "we need to get you some help."

It's kinda funny because I actually was a slow one to sign up for the whole myspace/facebook/ blog phenomenon, thinking that there were tons of criminals waiting to steal my identity, drain my accounts, and start stalking me. Turns out, I don't really think I'm that interesting and my financial situation leaves much to be desired. Go ahead and take over my loan debt- I dare you!

But now here I am, entering a new blog almost every day and checking for comments that people leave. I get SO excited when someone has commented or when one of the blogs I follow is updated. I think this has been excellent for my mental health and Aaron's well-being. But it really interferes with my TV time. :)

As for my baby situation, I'm 2 days post IUI so we've still got a long wait (12 days) until we test. I would actually test positive right now if I tested due to my hCG trigger shot I took. Might be kinda nice to see what a positive looks like...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Two week wait

I'm officially in the dreaded two-week wait now before we will know whether the IUI worked for us. I'm hoping that I'll finally be one of the lucky ones, but let's face it- luck has not exactly been on my side recently. I will be testing on July 22 if I haven't started by then. My guess is that I'll be receiving a very unwelcome visitor several days before that.

My pouting has lessened today and I'm not quite as irritable and emotionally unstable. I've always been such a stable person, so this makes me feel crazy!!! I'm not sure at all what we'll do if IUI doesn't work within 4 cycles. My suggestion is quit trying and see if a miracle will happen on its own. I'm just not interested in doing much else. I never have been and I don't think that's going to change. Especially not for $15,000... YIKES!!!

I guess the big question is will I have major regrets if I never have a child? I've never focused my life around having kids and being an only child, I cringed at the thought of more than 2 kids. But I never in my wildest dreams expected to have zero. And not by choice, but by the inability.

And I do love my life. I have the most incredible friends and family, and my husband is my best friend. I feel like I can enjoy life with him alone- after all, we'd get to travel a lot more and we love to sleep in. And we have a blast together! But I could list one million reasons that we want to bring a baby into our family. I'm just trying to ignore those for now.

So, I'm not sure where this journey is going to take us over the next year, but it sure has been a crazy ride so far. Thanks so much for all of your concern, comments, and encouragement. It is all appreciated and has kept my sanity intact for the most part!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rollercoaster is making me nauseated

No one ever told me that infertility would be one giant rollercoaster. No one warned me that one day you would see the "light at the end of the tunnel" and feel ecstatic, and the very next day have all of that ripped away from you and feel absolute despair. No one prepared me for the giant choices, risks, financial strain, and relationship issues that infertility would bring. No one told me how hard it would be to accept that I may not ever be a mom.

I guess I was expecting wonderful things today and it didn't go as terrible as I'm making it sound, but we got a little more info about things to consider. Taking all factors into consideration, Dr. Haas gives us about a 10% chance (aka: "snowball's chance in hell) of conceiving with IUI. A normal couple has about 25% every month. He says that he'll do it 4 times at most and if it doesn't work by then, it probably won't work.

At that point, we have to consider other options. One of which is using donor sperm. They're able to use samples from men who are "super producers". This increases the chance of fertilization to about 40-50% per cycle. It's a rather cheap option, but obviously wouldn't have my wonderful husband's genetics. Plus, if I choose either donor egg or sperm, I would prefer it be from someone we know and I'm doubting I'll have many offers for sperm. Thanks to the girls who have SO kindly offered eggs.

The other option is IVF. Everyone quickly assumes that this is such a great choice. Yeah, it works for a lot of people. But it also comes with a price tag of $15,000 for one cycle. You don't get that money back if it doesn't work. Quite a gamble to take, even with a success rate of 70%. Not to mention the uncountable injections, doctor's visits, ultrasounds, bloodwork, etc. which could potentially be followed by a negative pregnancy test.

I understand that you can't put a price tag on a child, but at the same time no one can give me ANY guarantees about anything, nor tell me what to do. What if I give up the month before I would have gotten pregnant? What if we continue to drain our bank accounts every month for 2 years and find out that we'll never be able to conceive? At what point do I say "enough is enough"???

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July

The 4th of July turned out to be pretty exciting. We had decided to spend it with Mendy and Adam (parents of the new twins in NICU) so we went to dinner with them and then hung out at the hospital which is actually a ton of fun. We watched some fireworks from the top of a parking garage until security ran us off. (The 4 of us must look like trouble...)

At 11:00 p.m., I gave myself my shot of hCG which wasn't bad at all until about 30 minutes later. I got some localized swelling and pretty bad cramps. Dr. Haas said I could expect those side effects. We took some pictures of the process so we can remind our child how much trouble we went through for them. :) Ignore my fuzzy hair- it was raining cats and dogs here and my hair loves humidity!!!

And more exciting news: my cousin Amee had her identical twin girls last night in Dallas. She had to deliver there because one of the twins will require numerous heart surgeries to correct a defect and Dallas had the best pediatric cardiologist. So we drove down to see her today and everyone is doing well so far. Please keep them in your prayers over the next week though as Kate (baby A) will be undergoing #1 of 3 surgeries.

I'm super excited about my IUI tomorrow and just hope that everything will go smoothly. I'll definitely post tomorrow to let you know how it goes...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Grow, follicle, grow!!!

Visit #3 with Dr. Haas went as expected. My follicle is now 19 mm which is fantastic! (Our goal was 18). Plus, he's already called me today to tell me my progesterone level is still low which we want.

So, my IUI is set up for Monday morning at 11:00. Which couldn't really be worse timing since I'll be missing part of my 1st morning back at work from a long holiday weekend. It's one of our busiest times, but my patients can wait. It's my turn to be the patient. :)

I have to give myself an injection of hCG into the abdomen tonight at 11:00 p.m. which helps my body prepare to release the follicle. I've only given myself one shot but I've given LOTS to other people. And I've been carrying this injection around with me for 7 months waiting until the time I'd actually have a follicle worth injecting, so it's sort of a milestone for me!

I'll let everyone know how Monday goes and then we'll experience our first real 2 week wait together!!! (2 week wait is the period between ovulation and being able to take a preg test).
Thanks for coming along for this ride!!!

IF girls: do any of you know the success rates of IUI? I'm sure they're better than trying the "old-fashioned" way but not as good as IVF.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I have beautiful cervical mucus!!!

My weekend of fun with Dr. Haas continued this morning. Ultrasound showed that my 14 mm follicle from yesterday is now 17.5 mm which is great progress in one day! Our goal is 18 mm so we're getting close. And of course, he drew more blood.

So, this cycle has now been changed into IUI round #1. (For my vet friends, it's the same as AI in cattle. Except he won't use his whole arm hopefully). So, we go back tomorrow morning for more labs and another ultrasound to check my follicle.

We're planning on IUI on Sunday or Monday which entails going in at 11:00 for insemination. I'm kinda excited because it's the best chance we've had so far. I do feel a little bad though because Dr. Haas is no longer going out-of-town since he's seeing me all weekend.

I'll post in the morning after my appointment to let you know how things are progressing!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tougher than solving a Rubik's Cube

Dr. Haas and I had another of our exciting and "predictable" visits today. By predictable, I mean completely baffling and mind-numbingly surprising. I took in my lovely temperature chart which he was not pleased with, and we talked about my OPT's which again he was not loving.

Back into the stirrups... So, we proceeded on with my ultrasound. He found a 14 mm follicle in my left ovary which isn't big enough to write home about. Next, we looked at microscope slides containing my cervical mucus. (Sorry you couldn't all be there for that). Again, my body threw this poor man off course because it was fernlike suggesting that ovulation had not occured, but there were white cells suggesting it had.

Final verdict in this long boring saga: My labwork just came back and my progesterone is really low which means that I have not ovulated. My estrogen is high which is good, meaning hopefully that little scrawny follicle will be growing up big and strong over the next few days.

What does this mean for me? Another doc's appointment in the morning (my day OFF) to get another cervical mucus check, ultrasound and probably labwork (he can't help himself). Luckily the man will be out of town this weekend or else I would be going in every flippin' day. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes. My guess is just more confusing news!!!