Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Starting Over...

Yesterday was our appointment with Dr. Jaffe. She was running behind from morning surgery, so when we did get to see her she was playing catch-up. She did my exam, and cleared us for trying again. She went through all of the pictures - side note: I won't be cooking chicken for a while - and discussed the surgery outcome with us. I know I touched on it before but here is what she told me yesterday...
Basically, as a result of the emergency surgery I had 4 years ago, my body didn't heal as ideally as it could have. As with all things, when you are cut, or injured, or have had surgery, scar tissue forms. It is your bodies way of reinforcing that wound, in an effort to prevent it from happening again. How amazing is that, by the way. When you really think about all of the things our bodies do to heal themselves and to protect itself. I don't know how anyone could not see the miracle of life. How incredibly, intricately designed we are by the Maker. Amazing! Anyway, when my body began healing from surgery, which was pretty traumatic, it produced a lot of scar tissue. Because my ovary was being operated on, this scar tissue draped my ovaries, as well as surrounding organs - namely my bowel - effectively attaching my bowel to my ovaries and the incision sight. Dr. Jaffe believes that this scar tissue and displacement of my ovaries is what has led to my infertility. She does think I am relatively cystic, but not to the point that it is effecting ovulation. Her hope is, now that most of that scar tissue is gone, I will ovulate naturally. This isn't a guarantee, more of a wait and see how my body responds. Of course I wanted to know that this was it! That I would be ovulating and getting pregnant easily now, and of course it isn't quite that simple. Another case of hurry up and wait. :(
That being said, I am so thankful we went ahead with the surgery. Prayers were answered and we think we've got it! I am hopeful that my body will return to normal and I will begin to ovulate naturally. Obviously I am praying for this daily, hourly almost.
The plan right now is for me to start tracking as soon as I start my next cycle. Tracking my basal body temp, doing daily ovulation test, keeping records of that, and obviously trying a lot when we are approaching ovulation time. I have to keep my eyes focused on the prize. One day it will be our turn and I will shout it from the roof tops!

I am always reading other blogs, and one of my favorites is a blog from Nate Pyle. He writes a lot about Christianity and how it blends with today's world. He is a father of a young child and is married, so in a lot of ways it is easy for me to relate to him. I love his style of writing, and he always has a unique perspective on the Bible. This past week I shared a link to his most recent blog post on my facebook. It is all about grief, and sadness, and the difficult times we enter into as humans. He talks about, as Christians, how we often go about sorrow all wrong. That we try to avoid it all together, when in fact, it is something that bonds us even closer to God. I, of course, felt like it was so perfect for the way I feel about the past 3 years. This struggle has made me so incredibly close to the Father. I reach out to Him in sadness all of the time. He picks me up, dusts me off, and makes me whole again. There is a gratefulness I feel when I reflect on the last 3 years. Prior to that, I was sort of just existing. Wrapped up in the day to day life - never denying God, but never embracing Him either. My focus has changed. I am constantly searching out my path to being a better person, and a follower of God. I make a lot of mistakes, I say things I shouldn't, I struggle with praying for people who aren't nice to me, but the best part is - I am trying to fix those things now. I know it won’t be perfect and it will continue to be something I have to work on daily, but after feeling God's love through all of this, I want to be a better person. I want to be my husband, for Jake, for my friends and family, my coworkers. I want to be an example for those people, and I want God to shine through me. I hope I can be His prism, I hope I have been to some people. So with that, I don't hate what the past 3 years have brought me, I embrace it. I will continue to have hard days, and I will lean heavily on His shoulder when I do.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Time for a Change...

Ever feel like you just need to change something in your life? I do from time to time - and my go to is my hair. It's easy to change up your color or style, and the good news is - it grows back! The people that have known me for a long time, know that I will randomly completely change my hair style. About the same time we decided to start trying for baby #2, I started growing my hair out. Prior to that it was really short in high school and then I let it grow long (during pregnancy with Jake). After Mike and I got married I decided I would cut it short again - I did and I loved it, but as time went on I let it grow again. At that point, we had been trying for a couple months and I decided I would cut my hair again when I got pregnant. Well that didn't happen (obviously) and here we are 3 years later! My hair was long. Longer than it looks in pictures really - I mean it sat past the middle of my back. That’s what 3 years of prenatals and not getting pregnant will do I guess. :) Recently, I got the itch. I have been wanting to change it up a bit - but after having it long, for this long, I was wavering on what to do. Then I thought of 2 things - 1. I feel renewed since my surgery. I feel like this really is what needed to happen and that things are going to change for us. We will get pregnant! 2. This hair is weighing me down! Subconsciously - it was my security blanket - something I was holding on to. As silly as it may sound, sometimes infertility can make you feel less of a woman. So I think somewhere inside, me having long hair made me feel feminine. BUT, this is our time, this is our new start. I am resetting the clock on us trying to have a baby. I am starting over - putting the past 3 years behind me, and moving toward the future. So.....

Bam! 10.5 (give or take) inches GONE! I donated the pony tail to locks of love and never looked back :) The guy that was cutting my hair, just kept telling me how calm I was about losing that much hair. He said that most women that chop that much off are practically breathing into a brown paper bag. I was ready, excited even, no need to be worried. It's just hair. I feel SO light - I joke that my head feels like it moves a lot more now, like I'm a bobble-head.
So here's to a fresh start! I cut off the dead weight, literally, and I am excited for what's ahead. A new, positive outlook. Hopefully my hair isn't the only big change on me in the next few months!!
We go to the doctor tomorrow! I will update the blog with specifics of the appointment and our new plan as soon as I can! Keep us in your prayers :)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

In the News...

I read/watch a fair amount of news, I probably read more than I watch, which I should probably limit since rarely is there something good going on. A lot of the time reading the news can be downright depressing! I am SO sick of reading the headlines about the government shut-down. Don't get me wrong, I understand it's importance, but the slant and misleading facts brought on by the media outlets is obnoxious. All of that being said, reading the news is something I enjoy (usually). Most of the time I spend on the news sites is reading about new medical research, or good Samaritan stories. One of the big things I read about is... you guessed it! Infertility! Usually there aren't many interesting stories to read, outside of blogs, in regards to infertility, so I was surprised today when I read the headline "Cinnamon May Help Ease Common Cause of Infertility Study Says".
Sidebar: Anyone who knows me, knows my love for holistic medicine. I think I have mentioned before about how much I hate taking prescription medication, and I would love to be able to treat any ailment with an herb rather than a RX pill. That being said, it isn't always easy to find holistic medicine - mostly because no one ever got filthy rich off of selling you raw, organic apple cider vinegar.
So two things attracted me to this article, the first being the cinnamon - the second being my curiosity about what cause they were referring too. I clicked the link and read about a study conducted at Columbia University in New York City - where they took a group of women (16 of them, all actively trying to conceive) and gave 11 of them a cinnamon extract pill and others a placebo. In the group of women taking the cinnamon all of them saw significant improvement in the regularity of their monthly cycle and 2 of those 11 became pregnant without any outside fertility medicine! The women receiving the placebo only averaged 2 periods in a 4 month span. While the testing is still in its early stages, and even though the doctors conducting the study aren't sure what the relation is between the cinnamon and women with PCOS how cool is that? If you don’t know, the drugs you take to counter-act PCOS are pretty awful. The thought of potentially ovulating by way of cinnamon versus RX drugs is pretty cool.
It is amazing what you find when you start looking for holistic treatments to medical problems. About a year ago I started noticing, what I thought was acne on my chin. It began spreading up the side of my mouth, then on to my nose, then finally across my forehead. As a teenager, I never really had acne so I couldn't believe it was happening now. I went to a dermatologist who determined it wasn't acne, it was actually periodontal dermatitis. She started cranking out prescriptions - some of which got eliminated because they told me if I got pregnant while taking them it could cause issues for the baby's development. More specifically, they told me my baby would have grey teeth! GREY TEETH?! Not ok. So, I decided I would give the drugs a go and try the ones that were safe for baby making. They helped, some. Mostly, they spurred me on to find a holistic way to treat the PD. I found this support group for women with PD (yep, it mostly effects women, and doctors believe it is trigger by hormones) who wish to treat it naturally. Several of them had a lot of luck with using organic, un-heated apple cider vinegar, so I decided to put down the prescriptions and pick up the vinegar. After a week I noticed a small difference, after a month the PD was almost unnoticeable. I was so happy! I really believe the trick with holistic treatments are giving them a devoted run. Meaning, yes they may not be as fast as RX drugs, and they require diligence, but if you commit to consistency and patience, they will work! All of this is probably why I found the article so intriguing. What if something like cinnamon can cure infertility caused by PCOS? How awesome would that be for the women who don’t have health insurance, or have issues with reactions to medications? Maybe it won't work for everyone - but if it works for some, it's worth a shot!
After I have my sit down on the 22nd with Dr. Jaffe and we come up with our plan, I may start taking cinnamon. Can't hurt, right?! I love holistic remedies, so if you have some, post them in a comment below. Another one I LOVE that a friend shared with me was the use of peppermint oil. 2 drops of peppermint oil in a luke-warm bath will help clear up any skin rash, irritation, hives, etc. I use this for my psoriasis, and I also use it for Jake when he gets a rash or bug bites. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Getting Back into my Normal Life...

Happy Monday! I am almost 1 full week post surgery and today I am back at work full time! I am feeling pretty good and it's nice that each day I feel more and more like my old self. I haven't taken any pain meds in 2 days, which I am happy about because I don't like taking them. ;)
Last week, after my previous post, I wasn't able to do much. Thursday morning I woke up determined to get up and go to work. I did, I showered, got dressed and headed downtown. Walking into work I started to feel a little bad. Mostly just winded and sore, but I made it to my desk and got my morning going. I didn't want to take any of my RX pain medicine while at work so I just took some motrin. After a few hours went by I started to realize I wasn't as well as I thought, my pain and soreness were taking away my focus, and I started to feel overwhelmed. When lunch time rolled around, I decided to just go home. As I was walking to my car in the parking garage, a little old man stopped me to ask if he could help me to my car. Clearly, I wasn't looking so hot. I declined but thanked him and tried to perk myself up a bit. Once I got to my car and sat down I started to cry. I knew I was pushing myself, but I really thought I could have gotten through the day. Surgery is no joke, and when I got home, I took two pills and slept for hours.
Each day got a little easier, and by Friday, I started to feel more like a human again, which was good because Mike and I were in a wedding that weekend! Our really good friends, Brian and Jacki were getting married and we were both really happy to be a part of it. We had such a good time at the wedding and everything was beautiful! Jacki was absolutely stunning and I am so glad I felt good Saturday.
I am really excited to go see Dr. Jaffe next week. She said she will have pictures to show me (gag) of my ovaries! She also said she would go into much deeper detail about the surgery and the outcome when we meet on the 22nd.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I made it!

It's Wednesday morning which means I am home and surgery is over! Praise God! Yesterday was nuts, so forgive me if this post gets a little drawn out...
Mike and I had to be at the hospital at 7:15am Tuesday morning. So we woke up at 5:45 and I took a shower, put pajama's on and got ready to go. Jake doesn't have to be to school until 8:30 so we took him over to the in-laws, and they later took him to school for us.
We got to the hospital on time and then it turned into hurry up and wait. We sat in the waiting room for about 45 minutes which was fine, then they called me back to get my vitals and have me change and get into a bed. Since I wasn't allowed to eat or drink since midnight, they hooked me up to an IV to keep me hydrated. Once all of that was done, they called Mike back to come sit with me. We were there for probably 2 hours, which wasn't anyone’s fault. Dr. Jaffe was in surgery and it ran over. However, laying in that bed, being still, for that long really let my nerves take over. I got so anxious and shaky, tears started streaming down my face. I have been pretty good about all of this until that moment. Mike just kept reminding me I would be fine and I calmed down eventually. I did so much better as long as people kept talking to me or asking me questions. Nurses would come in and out - I kept being introduced to nurses, and doctors that would be there... It gets to a point where it's almost overwhelming, which was good for me because it didn't allow me to dwell on the surgery.
Mike's mom came down to the hospital and sat with Mike the entire time. I was so thankful that she did. I know it relaxed Mike some and gave him someone to talk to. She also came back with Mike and I so she was another thing to focus on, other than my surgery.
Finally, the anesthesiologist came in and started my medicine, from that point on things get a little hazy. I remember them wheeling my in to the room and then all goes dark. I was wound up so tight and so sleepy that I think the little bit of anesthesia was enough to make me fall asleep. The next thing I knew I was waking up in a room with a nurse calling my name. They told me I was all done and that everything went really well. I wasn't in any pain, but I did notice my left hand was giant. Did you ever, as a child, blow up a latex glove into a balloon? Yeah? That was/is my hand. My fingers are normal but my palm is GIANT. It's sort of comical. They told me it was a reaction to the anesthesia and was no big deal, so I'm not worried about it. It has gone down some, and if it's not noticeably better by tomorrow I will probably call my doctor.
Once I was awake (enough) they wheeled me into a room and brought back Mike and his mom. We sat there for a bit and they brought me water and graham crackers. They said I would be released once I could go to the bathroom, so I tried to get up and go, but I got super dizzy and nauseous so I decided to wait a little longer. The nurse gave me some meds for the nausea and I laid back down.
Dr. Jaffe (my doctor) had numerous surgeries that day so I didn't have a chance to see her post surgery, but Mike and my mother in law did! She pulled them into a consultation room and told them about the surgery. I am sure I will mess some of this up, since they told me about it when I was still a little high from the medicine, but I will know a lot more after my post-op when I get to hear all of it. What I got from Mike and my mother in law was that the surgery was really successful! My ovaries were stuck to my bowels apparently, due to scar tissue! That sounds crazy to me so I just kept asking my husband and MIL, "to my bowels?" lol. They just kept telling me yes, and I just kept asking. Anyway, Mike said the doctor feels really confident that she found and fixed the problem and she really thinks I will be ovulating in no time!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHH! That is SUCH good news. I am so excited. As crazy as it may seem, I kept praying that she would get in there and really be able to figure out what was going on. Obviously, there was no guarantee of that pre surgery, and I was starting to have doubts. No one wants to go through surgery for nothing, right? Also, quite honestly, after 3 years of this without much result, you start to feel a little cray cray. Like, maybe it's all in my head. Or maybe they will never find the solution. This whole thing has renewed my hope and I am excited!
Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers! I felt so much love through all of this and I can't wait to see what’s next!

Here's a picture of my hand! Yikes!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pre-Op Appointments...

Happy Monday!
I don't know how you envisioned your day going but mine has turned out slightly differently than I was expecting. I had my pre-ops today and had to be at my doctor's office at 11:15 to do what I needed to do there. Usually our doctor's office moves really quickly so I was suprised when I realized I had been sitting in the waiting room for 30-40 minutes. Once I got back with the nurse she explained to me that 2 of the 3 of my doctor's nurses were out today and they were running behind. No big deal, just eager to get things over with. They checked vitals, went over procedural stuff, ran through what I can expect, had me sign away my life and sent me over to the hopsital.
Once I got there, I virtually had to repeat everything - except this time I was in a waiting room for three and a half hours. A waiting room filled with people who needed surgery. It was freezing cold and the one tiny tv was on CNN repeating the same 4 news stories over and over and over again. Once they finally called my name I had to sit with a lady who checks you in and (of course) takes your money. I knew I would be paying some money today but I had no idea what amount. I was a little shocked when she tried to collect $800.00 from me. Yeah, you read that right eight hundred dollars. That doesn't include the anthesiologist charge - which I can only imagine what that will be. Thank the Lord my insurance covers 90%, or the surgery would have been more like $8,000 out of pocket, but still - thats a BIG pill for my family to swallow. So I will be lifting that up in prayer.
After my wallet was emptied, I had to go back to the waiting room and wait for one of the nurses to call my name. When it was finally my turn, I had my blood work drawn, answered more questions, signed more forms and was finally told I could go. I hauled it to Wendy's, ate chicken nuggets and headed back to work for a few hours.
I want to take a minute to say how thankful I am to my co-workers. How wonderful they have been to me through this and how much easier it has made this process on me. I pray they stay patient with me this week and I hope they know how happy I will be to get past this and get back to work.
I am sure tonight, the nerves will settle in and I will find it hard to sleep. For now, I feel ok about everything. I don't like being in a hospital, I hate anthestia and the thought of going under, but I am not fearful. Of course, I will ask that you keep me in your prayers. Pray for my doctor, for my nurses, for me, for Mike and Jake. I know I will be praying!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

#tbt - The Blog Addition...

So if you're on Facebook or Instagram then you know what #tbt is - if not, it stands for throw back Thursday - where people post older pictures. Since today is Thursday - I thought I would do a blog appropriate throwback post, so here it is!

I Have a New Nephew...

Monday night I got a text from my mom telling me my older sister, Jessica had successfully delivered baby number 5! Jessica already has 4 boys, and she doesn't know the sex before her babies are born so we were all anxiously awaiting to see what number 5 would be...

Whelp! It's another boy!! Can you believe that? 5 boys! Her grandmother had 5 boys too - you have to be tough to raise 5 boys.

Clearly, Jessica doesn't experience the fertility issues I do ;) She is pretty hard core when it comes to labor. Being that she's been through this 5 times now, I feel like she's done it all. Hospital birth with meds, without meds, emergency C-section, and then 2 natural home births. I can't tell you how much I admire her. That being said, we all sort of thought baby #5 would be a seemingly easy natural birth. I know I know, easy and natural aren't words that most women think of when they think of a natural birth - I'm using these as relative terms :) So when Jessica went into labor last Friday, I think she thought she'd have a baby that weekend...
Nope! She went through 4 days (that number 4 is NOT a typo) of natural labor. 4 DAYS! She was 10cm dilated for a LONG time - when I finally got to talk to her yesterday she told me it was crazy. She felt like it was never going to end, and at one point she was ready to give up and head for the hospital. Obviously, if she would have it would have been an emergency C-section. After encouragement from her husband and the midwives she decided to hold out a little longer.

While she was telling me this story I just kept saying "whoa" "oh my gosh" "wow". As Monday went on, labor finally started progressing, and for the first time she felt the urge to push! After an intense 4 days of labor I couldn't believe she could go on anymore. Long(er) story short, Baby #5 is here! He's a chunk at about 9lbs - which is like 10% of my sisters body weight - and I can't wait to go see him! I want to have a natural child birth when we are fortunate enough to get pregnant again. I feel like after all this effort to get pregnant and all the prayer and waiting, I want to live in every minute of it. That being said, I pray that it doesn't last 4 whole days and nights. Oy Vey!

When I was on the phone with her, he started to cry and tears filled my eyes. Not sad tears, but tears that remind me of how bad I want to hear our baby cry. I know that sounds weird, but I can't wait for the day I hear our baby cry, or laugh, or coo, or make those little grunt noises. I have so many mommy friends with new babies that are doing anything they can to get their baby to stop crying and I get it. I've been there, but I can tell you this next time, I will relish in those moments. I never thought my heart would ache for the sound of a newborn baby cry, but it totally does. With Jake, those moments feel so far away, and while now our moments are just as precious to me, they are very different. Shoot , these days I'm lucky to get a public kiss goodbye or a snuggle on the couch! All I can say to the mommas with young babies are the words to a country song I love - "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back".

I am trying to plan a trip to Savannah VERY soon so I can go love on him for a day or two. I can't wait to smell that sweet new baby smell. Lucky for me in about 2 months, my sweet sister-in-law will be having her 2nd child, a boy, and I can promise you I'll be loving on that baby every chance I get!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Today is a New Day...AMEN...

Last night I slept great. Which was shocking because all day yesterday all I could think about was how anxious I was and I just knew I wouldn't sleep. This morning I woke up and was determined to focus on my excitement about the future rather than my temporary fear.

While I was in my car I decided to jam to my itunes radio (btw - if you have an iPhone and haven't used this yet you are missing out!) and I typed in Chris Tomlin. Chris is a Christian singer and I love his music. As the station played (it will play random songs that are in the same genre as Chris) A song came on call "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crows. The lyrics spoke to me! I knew within the first few seconds I was meant to hear this song...

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

How beautiful is that chorus? It's even better when you hear it to music. This walk I am on is my walk - this walk Mike and I are on is our walk. God chose it for us and I will praise him all the way through. I know the path doesn't end in a hopsital post labor. The walk will continue and I know we will never be alone. Unshaken, unwavering, unbreakable.