Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chapter 2

Sorry for the delay....we had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I've been out-of-pocket for the past week.  I did however finish our "story."  Here's Chapter 2....

The next year and a half of infertility is a little of a blur and definitely the most difficult part of our journey.  It consisted of countless doctors visits, blood tests, IUIs, IVFs, etc....  I would usually try and make an early morning appt., before school.  This makes for a very long day and I grew to loathe the office here in Birmingham, even though I know they tried.  The repeated negative results and feelings that ensued formed my opinion quickly.
I'll stop jumping ahead of myself.  After my initial endometriosis surgery, we were filed with hope for a quick pregnancy.  After all, those are all the stories you hear.  You know -- how you are most fertile after a surgery, etc.  We decided to try a clomid driven IUI.  The clomid would help me produce eggs, the IUI would be a better shot at a pregnancy.  Again, I thought, this will work.  Needless to say -- negative.
The RE suggested we move on to injectables.  Whoa! This was the big guns.  Shots?  I've never been able to take shots, much less in my stomach.  I thought, well, time to buck up, I can do this.  So I started Follistim, which are small, insulin size shots in the fat part of your stomach.  Not bad at all!  I was surprised.  Everything went as expected.  Two eggs grew and we did an IUI.  I never expected it to work because I had never had one work before.  I booked a trip to New Yourk with some girls for a birthday.  It was a great distraction and when I returned I went to my scheduled appt for blood work. This was 2 weeks later and they tested my Beta hCG number for pregnancy.  I was in my classroom and the phone rang....the Dr.s office.  My heart started pounding, do I answer during class?  Can I stand not to answer?  I quickly gave my students a project and went into the hallway.  I answered.  The nurse on the other end sounded grim.  "Well," she explained, "the number is 11."  What does that mean?  Am I pregnant?   She continued to explain how a egative was anything below 5, while a positive was anything above 20.  You have to be kidding, I thought, neither negative, not positive.  Of couse, this was the most I had ever been pregnant, so I was very positive about the future.  They asked me to come back in 3 days and re-test.  Of course, I did.  Billy and I left for the beach that day after the test, and to my surprise, the nurse called while we were in the car.  This time, it was my favorite nurse.  The number had jumped to 135!!!!  Remember 20 was positive.  Of course, I had to ask, "does this mean I'm pregnant?"  and she said "most definitely!"  We met one of our best couple friends at the beach that weekend.  They just happened to be pregnant.  Dawn and I were thrilled to be pregnant together.  She gave me all kinds of advice and it was so fun to just do nothing and embrace finally being pregnant.  When we returned, I went in on Tuesday for another beta test.
That day my number came back at 235.  It had not doubled at all for the amount of time since the last beta test.  Not a good sign.  My Mom and I fretted over this result.  She kept her positivity, telling me this CAN happen.  Her research showed it was not a likely viable pregnancy, but there were definitely women who had these numbers and had gone on to deliever healthy babies.  We hoped and prayed, but when I went in for another beta test, the number had gone down.  It was a miscarriage.  My was very difficult to go back now.   Now I was back to not being pregnant again.
We went on to try 3 more follistim/IUI rounds with no results.  During the last IUI, Dr. Honea suggested we consider moving on to IVF.  What a blow.  The injectables, the "Big Guns,"as I thought didn't work.  It finally stared to sink in , I AM an infertility patient.  Wow.  It was very hard to finally admit it to myself, but there I was facing Invitro Fertilization.  
Having children is one of those milestones of life.  Along with dreaming of my wedding dress, I had always loved to name my children.  I've always thought of myself with children.  I never once dreamt I would be the one to have to do IVF.  That's the stuff you hear about on television or from a friend of a friend.  It's not something that happens to me or any of my friends.  Maybe if we were 40, but we're not, we're 29.  Why is this happening?
After I accepted my fate and my mother had talked me off the ceiling about the price of the 2 round IVF package in Birmingham, Billy and I decided to move on.  Of course, at this point, I knew I had been through my struggle with infertility, I had felt the pain of a miscarriage, the pain of repeated negative results and I began to talk to the Lord about my concerns and longings for children.  I felt like I deserved this.  Why?  I don't know why I ever felt so entitled. Maybe because, throughout my life, I've not had much struggle, everything has been quite easy.  I started to pray, but I was praying with a sense of entitlement at the time.  Looking back I know He wasn't done with my "lesson" just yet.  We spent the next couple of months recovering from the IUIs and gearing up for our 1st IVF.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chapter 1

This is the day that the Lord hath made.....
I love that song/verse.  My Dad used to sing it every Sunday morning when we were getting ready for church.  Usually I'm singing it in my head on Sunday mornings now too.  
I feel rather happy today and thankful today.  What's there not to be happy about?  The Crimson Tide is undefeated, the weather is beautiful, the list goes on.... So, as promised, I'm going to try and retace my steps through infertility as well as the spiritual journey I unknowingly took at the same time.  I really wish I had kept a journal of feelings through it all b/c I tend to forget pain easily.  Since SO much happened over such a long time, I'll have to do chapters -- here's Chapter 1.

In 2004, my sister had a baby.  Oh that baby boy!  I had no idea how much he would change my life.  I guess he started immediately b/c before he was even born, Billy and I decided it was time for us to start a family as well.  As Jay's birth came and went, I began to think somthing might be wrong.  I spoke with my OBGYN about the issue and I was blindly put on clomid.  I was thrilled and excited that this would finally be the answer.  A couple of months came and went...nothing.  With each passing month, my anxiety grew.
At this point, my Mother became increasingly concerned.  Actually, she "knew" before I even asked for Clomid, urging me to see the RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist).  I truly believe in a Mother's intuition now.  Shomehow she "knew" something was drastically wrong.  Mom would tirelessly search the internet on what she thought I might have....Endometriosis.  Is she crazy?  I thought.  No one in my family has endometriosis.  She's nuts.
Mom has a not so subtle way of pushing you to do things you might not want to do, but maybe something you need to do.  In this case, she pushed me (kicking and screaming) into seeing the RE.  I thought it was insane, but to please her, I went.  I remember sitting in the waiting room, slightly embarrassed thinking, "This is ridiculous, I'm not like these people, I don't need this."  Billy was sitting beside me, always calming me down, telling me there was absolutely NO reason to be embarrased.  After all, this was the doctor's office.  I can't begin to describe how wonderful he's been through this process...but more on that later, I'm sure!
They finally called my name and Billy and I went to talk to Dr. Houserman. She explained the in's and out's of infertility.  What might be wrong, etc.  I sat there, still thinking -- "This is insane, why am I here?"  At the very end of our conversation, I mentioned a very small symptom of endometriosis I dealt with occasionally (I had NO other symptom at all), but I made sure to say -- "I really don't think it's anything to worry about."  She immediately put me in a room and did an ultrasound.  I can remember the ultrasound tech being VERY confused by my ultrasound.  After it was over, the nurse said, "wait here, I'll be back."  I sat at the cracked door and listened to her conversation -- "I've never seen anyting like this," she continued.
At this point, panic set in.  Dr. Houserman called us back in her office and told us there was some sort of cyst or tumor in my uterus. Her guess was that it was an endometrioma, resulting from endometriosis, but she couldn't be sure until I went into surgery.
So, surgery it was.  I was nervous, but a little excited, again thinking "this will be it, this will be my cure."  Of couse, now I started to think my Mom really might be "psychic."  She knew I had endometriosis.
In December '06, I had sugery and Dr Houserman removed an endometrioma the size of a baseball, plus stage 3 and 4 endometriosis (there are 4 stages of endometriosis, with stage 4 being the most severe).  Mom was right!  and I was relieved.  It was over and now it would be our time to have a family.
If I only could have known -- it was just the beginning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweet Feet!

If you ever need to get the word out, tell Carlie!  hahaha.  I know you love news, Carls, and thanks for sharing it with everyone for me.  It's so good to hear from y'all Betsy, Katie and Kathleen!!  How fun.  Hope you all are doing well.  If I ever figure this thing out, I guess y'all have blogs too?  I would love to see them.  If you can't tell, I'm a little computer illiterate, but I'm trying.  
I wanted to share the sweetest pic in the whole world above.  It's the sweet little feet of "twin A," otherwise known as -- the girl.  I thought it was the most perfect pic.  

Other than the usual around here, I'm so very excited for my friend Danielle.  She's reached 29 weeks!!!  Most of you know and are praying for Blake and Danielle everyday.  It's nothing short of amazing that she is 29 weeks and counting.  Please continue to pray for peace and continued days with no (official) labor.  
Happy weekend to all.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Best of both worlds

What a great day.  Any day off from work is always a good day.  Today, of course, was Veteran's day and school was out.  Very random to just be off on a Tuesday, but maybe it will break up the week nicely.
My big news today was my Dr. appt.  I was thrilled when Dr. Kimberlin decided to do an ultrasound today.  I was not supposed to have one until 20 weeks, so it was a great surprise.  I can officially announce, we will be having a Boy and a Girl!!!!!!!  Of course, we had an idea, but it was great to get confirmation.  Everything seems to real now and I feel SO incredibly blessed.  It still seems so unreal that this is actually happening to me.  I almost feel guilty.  My mind wanders to all those women going through infertility and dealing with the negatives.  I don't think I'll ever shake the pit in my heart for couples like us.  Miracles do happen though!!!  and they can happen to you too!!!  I never thought I would be the one to get to say it, but it's true.
Much love to everyone....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Say Hello

to the twins that is!  These are the last pictures we have.  This is from 12 weeks.  I would love to see some now, but I guess we have to wait a few more weeks for any new ones.  
I think they are really cute though!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm a lucky devil!

As you might imagine, my Halloween was rather uneventful, but I like to live vicariously through Billy Gant at times like these.  He, of course, had big plans.  The Innisfree crew got together and decided to be wrestlers from the 80's.  Think Rowdy Roddy Piper, Rick Flair (Billy), Junkyard Dog, Coco Beware (Ken), and Macho Man Randy Savage (Billy D).  Even though I did used to watch the soapopera that was WWF in the 80's, I still thought this was a rather strange idea.  But it was the brainchild of Billy G and Billy D, and if you've ever been witness to one of the "scenarios," it makes perfect sense.  Well, I was wrong and the whole night turned out to be hilarious.  Everyone went all out with their costumes, they built a wrestling ring and were interviewed as their "character."  Billy said it was a fun night and the pics are so funny.  
Ally took part as a "lucky devil."  She likes Halloween about as much as I do, so needless to say, she was not thrilled about her costume and the pics show it.  
The rest of the weekend was great.  I'm enjoying the weather.  My sister says she loves fall b/c it always "feels like settling in."  That's what this weekend felt like I guess -- it was so nice.  
Some people have asked me to write our infertility story and I'm working on it.  When I started writing, I realized how much it included, so it's going to have to be in "chapters."  Chapter 1.....coming soon!