Our Journey

To watch a 20 minute video which retells our journey from marriage through infertility and into adoption and pregnancy, click here.

After three failed attempts with Clomid and five unsuccessful attempts via IUI, it became time to turn our desire for children in a new direction: IVF. I didn't keep a blog during my pre-IVF times, but our  journey with IVF was carefully detailed on my blog. Below, you can read entries from that time in our infertility saga. This chronicles 2005-2007 of our infertility journey. 

No results
Wednesday, August 7, 2005
Well, went in for blood test today -- then my physician was out of town today so I didn't get the results. Praying that I can get them pretty quickly tomorrow -- bright and early would be great.

I had an allergy attack today! Not very much fun! Still sneezing like crazy. We also had Christo over for dinner tonite. Melissa and Karuna are in Nebraska where Melissa is from, and we didn't to leave him starving only a few blocks away. JB made him FAMOUS stuffed chicken! It wasvery good. Maybe I should have taken a picture of that.

So, it seems that my sister-in-law Gabbi and me will get results of our tests ON THE SAME DAY!!! How about that. Speaking of my sister-in-law Gabbi, she and Ray are expecting #2 in December. However, let it be said now, no one will be sweeter and more wonderful than my niece "Doctor Grace"!

The only other news was that when I left my house this morning for my blood test, I honestly thought that I need a light jacket! Oh no! What is happening here?!?!!? Winter Stay Away!

You don't want to see me now!
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Well, it is 9:56 on Saturday morning. I would take a picture of myself to show you what I am doing right now, but it might just terrify you! I look pretty rough.

I woke up at about 5:15 again this morning sneezing. I have been waking up early a lot lately and think it is due to my allergies and just having way too much on my mind. I got up, caught my dad in Florida awake (although it was 6:15 there so he didn't need as big of an excuse), and the two of us went for 1 for 2 in spades. I watched my friend Tara Arness' gorgeous slide show of her trip to Peru (let me know if you want to see the show and I can email you the link) and decided that I needed a shower. I took a shower and crawled back into bed about 7:30 just as JB was getting out of bed, and now, a little before 10, I have just woken up again. He left a note that he went to the Farmer's Market -- an outdoor produce market on Saturday mornings. I would have loved to go with him because we can walk there, and the weather is just beautiful here right now, and we always have a nice time supporting the local farmers, but oh well, I missed it for my crazy sleep schedules.

As most of you know already, I did get my blood results yesterday from my recent infertility saga. I won't get into all the details here right, but please be praying for me. Yesterday I felt different than I have on most days of this journey. I often feel sad or angry but yesterday I just felt very emotionally spent and tired of it all. I didn't cry when the doctor gave me the news and didn't really cry when I discussed things with JB when I got home, but my eyes did just keep filling up with tears all night, and then the wave would subside and I would never really cry. I so love all of our dear friends and family and how wonderful they have been for me. I keep telling myself of all the ways that this journey could be worse! How many things I could list (including having to live in Arkansas I believe) that would rank worse than going through infertility treatments, but today, to be told they really don't know what is wrong with me was very disheartening. Do I have PCOS? Not sure. Do I have a tumor on my pituitary? Not sure. Do I have some sort of exercise-induced issue? Not sure. However, whatever my issue is, my endocrinologist feels that it goes deeper than infertility and needs to be figured out to deal with my life-long health, not just my current desire to have a family.

So, alas, I guess I am getting into things right now. Yesterday evening, JB was such a wonderful husband. As he cleaned his new fishtank (which looks great) we talked about where we were at. He told me that he thought I was doing a good job which meant so much to me. He is very honest and will tell me when I need to get myself together, quit crying, move on etc., but yesterday when he asked how I was and I said I was frustrated he laughed and said, "I don't have a clue why," and then he hugged me and said, "Well, you have every reason to be frustrated." And then he said that he thought I was handling the day's events very well and was emotionally ready for the MRI on Monday to check my pituitary.

Speaking of my pituitary, I must digress for a moment. After the doctor told me I needed an MRI on my pituitary, he told me his assistant would call me back to set up a time to do the MRI. She called back within minutes and told me to come in from 9:30-11:30 on Monday and to fast and to not wear anything metal, and then she said, "And we will be doing an MRI of your head and brain." Now, and please don't laugh (because JB laughed very hard), for some reason, I was thinking that my pituitary was in my stomach. I guess because of all this poking and probing of my ovaries and uterus and what-not. I am so relieved that milliseconds before I blurted out, "But I thought the MRI was for my pituitary," I realized the inaccuracies of my thoughts and remembered, somehow, that the pituitary was in your brain and kept my mouth closed. Had I said what I was thinking, I know that my statement would have ended up in that nurse's book someday that she is planning on writing entitled The Stupid things patients say.

Okay, had to interrupt my woe-is-me tale for a bit of humor.

Today, we are taking it easy. We will probably take a long bike ride later. Than we are going to go to church this evening as I am going to work form 8-12 tomorrow fro Mayo to get my boss and I caught up. JB is actually going to come in with me while I work so we can at least hang out together. He has some computer stuff to do anyways.

JB just walked through the door. Perfect timing. He bought me a beautiful vase of flowers from the Farmer's Market for 5$. Now that I can take a picture of. So here is JB with all his produce pickins' and my beautiful flowers!

Quick mid-week update
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I haven't gotten my results for my MRI but will post a new blog as soon as I get the results.

Infertility Update
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Well, I am trying something a little different. Instead of sending my IF update via email, I am putting it here. You are welcome to post a comment for me if you would like or still send a return email if you would like. However, this blog gives me a way to "save" these messages so that I can look back at them. While I will send an email telling you that I have an update here, I will probably eventually stop doing that as well and when you want an update, you can just check in.

JB is on his OBGYN rotation and today he spoke in detail with one of the doctors on staff there. Basically they determined the following things:

1. I probably do NOT have PCOS. I have no blood work to indicate I have PCOS, no hair growth, and no acne. My testosterone is low. My LH and FSH levels are normal. It wasn't wrong for my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) to treat me like I did have PCOS. It wouldn't have changed any of the treatments we did except for trying the Metformin.

2. In order to manage long-term PCOS, the only thing I will have to do is take some sort of medication every 3-4 months.

3. In order to conceive, we should do IVF (invitro fertilization).

4. The IVF clinic has reopened for those patients who currently have frozen embryos. This mean I should be called to come in with the next month or two.

5. Because it doesn't appear we have any other issues, our chances of conceiving via IVF are very good. The chance of conception is somewhere around 30-40%. This is equal to the chance of a normal woman on any given month. The chance of twins is somewhere around 30-40% as well. These would be fraternal twins (2 different eggs), however, the chance of eggs splitting with IVF is higher than average as well. I did meet a woman who had triplets after only having 2 embryos put into her.

With that being said, JB and I have complete peace. We plan to do IVF when the clinic reopens. The only thing that would change this is if God did a miracle (which we believe He can do at any moment!) or if one of my doctors proposed another medication that was worth the try. We are open to this possibility.

However, we are at complete peace with IVF. We are both at a good place and both prepared for this step. IVF means that, in short, I will be given medications to force me to produce eggs. From there, they will go in surgically and remove these eggs. They will then fertilize these eggs in a laboratory and put 2 of these back in me (while we get to watch!) They will freeze the rest. We do not know how many they will actually be able to retrieve or how many we will choose to fertilize. We will 100% commit to return for every single embryo that we freeze. This is of utmost importance to us.

A possible good result of all this is that if we have frozen embryos, this can be a good reason to make a request of the Air Force to stay in Rochester during residency instead of relocating to another Air Force Base for Residency. Jb spoke to someone "in the know" who indicated that this was a possibility. It doesn't mean they will allow us to stay, but it means, we can make the request. We would like to avoid an extra move if we can, and the ability to stay here with so many good friends instead of relocating to a new city where we know no one all over again.

Thanks everyone. I hope this explained things well. Your continued prayers are so appreciated, but I do want you to know that I am doing very well, and actually feel better than I have felt in quite some time.

I am not a diabetic!
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oh my! I realized one of my pet peeves today -- having my time wasted. I have realized that this makes me furious.

I have been dealing with an infection that I can't get rid of. So I called Mayo today. I was told that I could receive the antibiotic for this infection just from my call. So I called. The nurse checked my record, asked me a few questions, and then told me that I didn't meet the criteria. Huh? What criteria? She didn't tell me which criteria I didn't meet. She just said, "You don't meet the criteria."

Okay, so now I have to physically go see my family practitioner. This takes 2 hours out of my workday. But I need to do it so I do. And after my doctor sits down, he looks at my complaints and says, "I don't understand why they just didn't fill this over the phone!" Huh? I tell him that the nurse said I didn't fit the criteria. He leaves to go to talk to the nurse. He comes back. "Well, you are on Metformin." Yes, I am. "Well, she thought you were a diabetic." Aaaaaaahhhh!!! I want to scream.

Now I understand that in 99.9999% of cases, Metformin is prescribed for diabetes. I understand that I am a rare specimen! However, she never asked me if I was a diabetic. I would have told her I wasn't a diabetic. Aaaaaaaahhhh!!! He says in the future to make sure I tell people that I am using Metformin for non-diabetic reasons. Diabetics don't fit the criteria.

So he filled the prescription. A prescription that could have been filled over the phone if I wasn't a supposed diabetic. Yikes! Now this doesn't seem like it should be a big deal, and it is for that reason that I have realized that one of my pet-peeves is having my time wasted.

IVF Information
Thursday, September 1, 2005

Well I heard back from the nurse at the IVF clinic. Apparently, I will be going in sometime in November for an appointment with the new physician. Then she said that right around January 1st, we should be doing IVF. Apparently the clinic is already reopened. They are seeing patients who currently have frozen embryos and also doing some IUI procedures (which I did 5 of), and then they will see the "old" patients who are "new" to IVF (me). We are excited to get some sort of date that we can get going.

We also talked to the woman in charge of paying for IVF. It appears that they will take the total cost and divide it by 24 months. This puts our payments and an amount Jb and I can afford WITHOUT taking out a student loan (figuring that it costs $10,000). We will also have to pay a "storage" fee for the embryos we need to keep frozen.

I must say that we are a place of total peace with IVF, however, I also have a sense of total trust that the Lord can change our direction and can also bless us with a natural pregnancy as well. I am also at peace with the fact that we aren't going to be able to conceive like everyone else. My friend Sam reminded me last night that our kid will only know how badly they weren't wanted -- so badly that we went to all this trouble.

We are getting excited for Jason & Kathleen coming in this weekend. We also just had homemade pizza at Dave & Lesley's. Jb was on the way to the grocery store when they invited us -- how wonderful to have a good friend like Lesley who cooks so well.

I will try to include more pictures this weekend when Jason & Kathleen are here. We can't wait to have company here in the Polar North!!

IVF Clinic reopens
Friday, October 7, 2005

Well I received a letter today that it is my turn to go into the IVF Clinic (invitro fertilization). I called the nurses, they asked me a few questions to update my chart, and said they would get back to me with the details of when and how I will get started.

I am not excactly sure what this means so we can all learn together. I don't know if this means that my first appointment will be in December or that I will start my shots now and plan IVF for December. I am just waiting until the nurses call me back.

I just wanted to share the news and ask that you be praying for Jb and I during this time. More than anything, I ask you to pray for the Lord to give us wisdom. We have a lot of decisions to make.

1st IVF Appointment
Saturday, October 8, 2005

Well I spoke with the nurse today, and she gave me the first available appointment with my new reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Cottington for November 29th at 8:45 a.m.

She said that he would like to meet with me before I get started in IVF as the metformin has changed my story slightly.

We spoke with the woman in charge of financing IVF and we came up with a good payment plan that we can afford. We also have the option to take out a student loan to pay for this as well. While we can think of a lot of things to spend $10,000 on, we can't really think of anything better than a child/ren. I remember my cousin Jason telling me, "Well, if you don't spend it on that, you'll find something else to spend it on." A few other friends reminded me, "What is money to God?"

We are excited about what the new year has in store for us. Please continue to pray for us in the next two months. It is still our heart's desire to avoid IVF, however, we have complete peace and are continuing to take this journey one day at a time. If you could add the Kits. to your daily prayer list, we would really appreciate it. Wisdom, emotional strength, and a successful result are our biggest prayers! Our first 7 procedures took a toll on us emotionally, and we feel like during the last year we have really had a chance to heal. I really need prayer that I handle this next adventure wtih a little more faith and comfort.

P.S. On a side note, John, Ray, Gabbi, and Grace went to the zoo, while I (John's 'sugar momma' as Grace now calls him) was at work. If I can snag some pictures from Ray, I will put them on the site.

Let my heart sit down!
Monday, October 10, 2005

Well, today, for the first time in quite some time, there is no company in our house. Jason & Kathleen have long returned to their comfy house in Indiana. Kristi and darling little Logan have returned to New Mexico to be with their Ironman. Now Ray, Gabbi, and little Grace are gone as well.

This morning we found a bowl of dry cheerios on our coffee table. They were the new yogart cheerios, but you wouldn't know it from looking at them. Grace had eaten every one of the yogart ones out and fed most of the plain ones to her "good puppy dog" Jay-bee. Logan and Grace were both so much to have around, and our house is very quiet now.

Having all these sweet kids in our home (and I'm including Jason here) is such a blessing and so emotional at the same time. When they leave, our house is quiet again. There aren't cheerios crunching under my feet or toys littering the hall. We don't hear Logan chirping "hi" and carrying around her little pink blanket. Gracie isn't there to wrap her arms around John's neck and say "Uncle JB, I love you sooo much" or squeal everytime anything with Cinderella comes onto the television. There is no continual singing about wooden shoes and ponytails as Grace bows and says, "Thank you. Thank you very much!"

This morning, we finally made it back to church. With the company in, our attendance hasn't been very good. Pastor Paul was on vacation, but our assistant pastor had a fantastic sermon on "Churning or resting?" One of the scriptures he used really ministered to John and me.

I Cor. 3:6: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

This verse was such a reminder to me that in everything we are going through, it is God who is in charge of things. It is not Wendi or John or a physician. Instead of having the focus "let go and let God" which is extreme or "it all depends on me" which is also extreme, our focus should instead be "we can do things, but it is God in the end." In my case, I can seek medical attention, but it is completely in God's hands.

It is so hard during this journey not to get anxious and worry. It is also hard to remember that it isn't any medicine I take or procedure I get, but instead, it is God. Pastor Gene also reminded us of the African proverb which I will constantly remind myself of: Lord Jesus, let my heart sit down.

Woah! When he said that, I was totally blown away. Yes Lord! Help my hurting heart to sit down and relax. I wanted to finish today's blog with a poem that has become my "theme" since beginning this infertility journey back in 2003. It's a little long, but it is worth it to share the whole thing. I am sure that as you read it, you can put your own "situation" into the words.

Wait
By: Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate...
and the Master so gently said,"Wait.",

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?"
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut, and grumbled to God,
So, I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
you'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love
when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
but oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

God is perfect!
Saturday, October 15, 2005

Our friend Summer who is in JB's class at Mayo sent me this PowerPoint presentation this week. The message was so powerful and so reminded me how much God is in control that I just had to share it.
What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 117
What is the longest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 119
What chapter is in the center of the Bible? Psalm 118
There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118.
There are 594 chapters after Psalm 118.
Add these numbers up and you get 1188.
What is the center verse in the Bible? Psalm 118:8
Does this verse say something significant about God’s perfect will for our lives?
The next time someone says that they want to find God’s perfect will for their lives, and they want to be in the center of his will, send them to the center of the Bible
Psalm 118:8: "It is better to put trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

I just really needed to be reminded of that this week. I have been really struggling with some anxiety issues over the last two weeks. There have just been 7 or 8 different things going on in my life and all of these combined pushed me over the edge. I actually woke up in the middle of the night this week unable to calm myself down! However, I have been reminded in so many different ways how in control God is. Including:

I got good news at my job at the RLS Foundation -- they are going to let me adjust my hours. They have to finalize some things, but agree that this is a good idea. It well help me from making a difficult decision (choosing between both jobs) and it will also give me some quiet time at home to write which I have been lacking. Basically what I am going to do is work 8 hours a week at RLS and 24 hours a week at Mayo. I will then have one other day to use as I need it -- maybe some time from home at RLS, maybe going into Mayo or going into RLS, or maybe some time to work on my 2 freelance jobs. This was an answer to prayer.

Both JB and I have total peace about our infertility appointment on November 29th. For so long, we have both been at different points in the journey. Either I was ready to do IVF and he wasn't or vice versa. Now, when it's time to go in, we are both ready to move forward. This is exciting. The Lord is also making a way that we can pay for this in a fairly easy fashion.

My hope has always been to be a stay-at-home writer. This is seeming to closer and closer to reality. I am very excited about this opportunity.

We have been so blessed by all the family and friends that have been by to visit us over the last two months. In addition, we are going to be making 2 trips to Chicago in November, spend a week in DC with my job, and get to spend 2 weeks in Florida -- my longest vacation home at Christmas ever.
I slept until 9 a.m. this morning. I so needed this.

This morning, JB and I walked to the Farmer's Market. It was such a beautiful fall day. God is so creative and has blessed me so much with my wonderful husband. We had a great time.
Well, I need to get some laundry put away and get read for the arrival of Mom and Dad Kit. early tomorrow morning.

Atmosphere
Monday, October 24, 2005

I went to work this morning at Mayo. My boss is going to be out of town this week, and so I did some weekend hours and plan to take off some time during the week. While I was there, I heard this song "Atmosphere" on the Christian music MP3 Jb made for me. Then this afternoon, I went to our quarterly meeting for Hearts like Hannah, our infertility Support Group.

As we sat and talked and met new people, I was reminded again of the words to this song by Toby Mac (one of the members of "D.C. Talk"). I wanted to share these words with you tonite (during a break in White Sox action). While they minister to me in obvious ways, I am sure there are very few of you who are reading this who can't relate to the words either in past, present, or future situations, as they pertain to some difficult event in your life. It's so important that we all remember that the Lord is there no matter how difficult the journey. Just keep the course, you can weather the storm!

ATMOSPHERE
I know you keep a journal and every page is rippled
From the tears that you cry, ain't no meanin' to your scribble
Cause words can't describe what you've been feelin' inside
It's like thousand foot walls, and they're still on the rise
But look up to a beautiful sound
And see for yourself you're not that far down
And know this, I cannot love a little
My promise to you is unconditional
And I'll keep the light on, for youJust keep the course, you can weather the storm
I'll keep the light on, for you
You've come this far, don't you ever lose heart, now
Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere
Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere
I know you're all alone in a crowd full of friends
I can see it in your eyes that your fadin' again
Checking out, moving into your hole
Where the light can't touch any part of your soul
But hold up and let the river rush in
You can turn around and start livin' again
Cause your life is a beautiful bloom
In the image of the one that created you
And I'll keep the light on, for you
Just keep the course, you can weather the storm
I'll keep the light on, for you
You've come this far, don't you ever lose heart, now
Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere
Just turn around and I'll be there
I'm moving into your atmosphere
I'll be there 
Said I'll be there, said I'll be there
Said I'll be there always, forever
Said I'll be there, said I'll be there
Said I'll be there always, forever

IVF appointment Update
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Well we had out IVF appointment today. I don't want to bore you all with the details but here is a quick summary.

Our new doctor, Dr. Coddington, is wonderful. I instantly loved him and so did Jb, much more so than our other doctor. The resident who was there has worked with Jb before. That was a little weird but it went fine.

First of all, both doctors believe I am a very good candidate for IVF. Because we have no other issues and are both at prime reproductive age, they said that that while they can't assure us success, they feel very confident in our prognosis. Many of you have asked me for stats. We asked for them too. The best they can tell me is that my chances of achieving a full-term child is about 40% each time we try and the chances are best with the first time because these embryos are fresh instead of frozen. The rates of pregnancy is higher than 40% but actually going all the way to term is 40%. Twins is very high as well, but I didn't ask for numbers on that.

They are thinking that we will actually get to do the procedure sometime in early March. That seems like a long time but there are a lot of stinkin' things we both have to do between now and then which was what my friends in Hearts like Hannah had told me. We both have to get a series of tests run to rule out a variety of STD's and other disorders, I have to have another ultrasound, some other test that I don't have a clue about, and go back on birth control pills for a few months to help get things inside of me in prime-shape. We also have to meet with a psychiatrist to determine if we are mentally able to handle this stress (we think we can fake them out :) and also meet with a financial planner, someone about my advanced directives, and also make some big decisions in regards to the embryos.

One of the things we can use the most prayer for is that it appears that I will probably produce a large number of eggs being as this was our problem before (too high a chance of multiples so they would cancel the cycle). Please pray that the Lord gives us wisdom for how many eggs we want to fertilize. If too few survive, we won't have enough for as many children (or chances) as we would like to have. If too many survive, we have already made the decision that we will donate these to a couple that cannot conceive with their own embryos. However, we would like to avoid this possibility. Anyways, this is the area that we need the most prayer in.

Right now, the schedule is to return to the doctor on January 17th to go over my test results and set up the schedule for IVF. The nurse told me she forsees a chance at conception in March. The shots will be twice a day, double the dose I did with artificial insemination.

So that's all I got. If I didn't answer your questions, feel free to post a comment or email me. We are very open about this, and I have no problems with any questions. We both feel pretty good right now, and will now just get all these other appointments done before our January 17th return.

Thanks everyone!

Mid-week Update
Thursday, January 5, 2006

Well, it's Wednesday. It's the first Wednesday after returning from Florida. It is also my first full day of work at Mayo. I forgot how long a full day of work is until I did it like I did today. It's long.

We have spent most of the beginning part of this week unpacking. In addition, JB has switched all of our budget information over from the MAC to the PC which has been something we have been wanting to do for awhile. I have ordered pictures for the last six months or so from online that I have been meaning to do for awhile and plan to do some major scrapbooking.

Okay, there it is. Wendi actually has a craft I like to do. I say I am not a craft-person and always complain because every women's event listed in the bulletin always says something like "come for a time of fellowship and crafts" and I always say I don't do crafts. But now I scrapbook thanks to Joan Van Wyck and my aunt Connie so I guess that isn't true anymore. And speaking of women's events . . . if they don't say crafts they say tea. All the men's events say sports and movies. I always want to go to thoseevents!

I have also been trying to get over a sinus infection. I think that this is a result of spending time with Keith's girlfriend on the cruise as she had one of these too. Her's seemed worse as she had a fever. Mine is just intense head, neck, and back pain.

Some of you had been asking me what was happening with our infertility journey. During the next few weeks we are going to be doing a variety of tests up until our doctor's appointment on January 17th. I will post more details after that doctor's appointment.

Appointment Today
Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Thank you to those of you who prayed for our appointment today. The good news: all the tests came back good. The bad news: they are not going to be able to start me on IVF as soon as they had originally implied or I had hoped. They are only starting 2 women a week. My turn isn't until May 29th. I will be on a few medications until then, and there is a slim chance that if someone were to drop out or have to postpone, that I could get in early. However, for now, we wait for my next appointment March 10th when we will officially make our decisions and sign all the appropriate paperwork.

I will keep everyone updated.

Remembering to Live for Today
Wednesday, January 28, 2006

During all the years since time began,
Today has been the friend of man;
but in his blindness and his sorrow,
He looks to yesterday and tomorrow.
Forget past trials and your sorrow.
There was, but is, no yesterday,
And there may be no tomorrow.

Yesterday was a tough day for me. Once again, I feel like I took a chance, got my hopes up, and then when things didn't go as planned, I got frustrated. I gave myself permission to be a little bit (okay, a lot) frustrated yesterday. I appreciate those of you who talked to me yesterday (you know who you are) and just love me and encourage me and make me laugh (Hey what do you call a cow with no legs?! Ground beef. Duh!) and those of you who I woke up today to find emails from. I really needed that and it was very appreciated.

Last night when I was talking to some close family, I remembered that they had given me a handout on the statistics of their clinic. In 2002, Mayo Clinic was rated the #1 clinic in the world. While they were closed last year, here are their statistics in 2003.

In women under 30 years of age (me), they had:
  • 47 people start the IVF process
  • 42 people had a successful retrieval (got some eggs)
  • 17 of those people had a positive pregnancy test (40%)
  • 4 of those 17 had a miscarriage (24%)
  • 13 of the 17 delivered (31%)
  • 3 of those 13 had twins (23%)
When he showed me these numbers, I got a little down again, but JB said that medically speaking, those numbers are very good. Actually the stats go up when you get older because they start transfering more embryos and being a little more aggressive.

My other frustration includes the fact that I have to go on the pill from now until the transfer in order to suppress my ovaries. I really don't want to do that. When I "complained" to Dr. Cottington about my trouble handling the progesterone drug he said "Well you and progesterone are going to be good friends." I only took it for five days (as usual) but during IVF I will be taking it for weeks. Both Dr. C and Mary, my favorite nurse, told John he had just as hard of a journey as I do because he has to live with me on all these drugs.

I appreciate all the prayers and encouragement. I am blessed to have the finances to be able to do this. I am blessed to be at Mayo Clinic. I am blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive husband and such caring and encouraging family and friends. I am blessed to live in this day and age when IVF exists. I am blessed that all our tests came back looking so good. One of the best tests was my follicular count. I have 43 of these. Now how the doctor and JB explained this to me is that I have the potential to produce 43 eggs each cycle (they won't let me go that far.) My point is that I have so much to be thankful for.
Have a great day everyone!

Surprise Party takes JB by "Surprise"
Monday, January 23, 2006

Well, the Surprise Party for JB last night was a HUGE success! We arrived at Ron & Ebby's at 6:30. Ronnie then proceeded to tell JB he needed to show him something downstairs where a group of about 25 of our friends were waiting. Needless to say, he was completely shocked. I actually have it on video and wish I could show everyone his face. He received a bunch of books (I asked people to give him THEIR favorite book as a gift) and a bunch of gift certificates (all to Barnes & Noble -- staying with the book theme.) We had pizza, cake, and watched the great video that Ajit put together.
Thank you to everyone who helped: Tia (drinks), Melissa and Tara (decorations), Tara (cake), Lesley (cake, bringing all my "crap", and a lot of emotional support), Rays (house), and everyone else who brought snacks and just listened to me complain about how nervous I was and tired of lying I was. We had a great time.

P.S. Today I was at Mayo getting some tests run. In the course of the conversation, I tell the tech that we are getting ready to do IVF. She smiles and pulls out a picture of four kids. "Here's what IVF got me," she says. I smile at four kids all about the same age and ask her how old they are. She then tells me that the kids ARE ALL SEVEN! QUADS! So then, of course, I ask her how many embryos they put back in her. They put in three, and she got four! She also accidentally called them monsters. She also told me I would love my monsters!

P.S.S. Maytag's doctor made a house call today and the medicine he brought was the WRONG medicine. It wasn't his fault -- it was the company's fault -- they packaged the wrong medicine in the right box. He looked at the dishes stacked in my sink, looked at my pitiful face, and promised to bring new medicine as soon as he possibly could.

Good IVF News!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Well I got a call from the IVF clinic today. An earlier spot has opened up. My "introductory consultation" was originally scheduled for March 10th. A spot for an "introductory consultation" opened up on Valentines Day, February 14th due to a woman who cancelled. This cancellation also opens up her "stim" week (the week they start medications). Her stim week was about 2-3 weeks early than mine. However Mary (the nurse) said that by getting in earlier for my "introductory consultation" this could possibly open up an even earlier "stim" date as they are hoping to have a new doctor and fellow on staff soon (thus allowing for more women to start at once.)

Anyways, this was great news. I was following JB's advice and just planning that we were going in March 10th. I was even thinking about it this morning -- thinking that it felt like a very long time when I saw I had a message and found out that a cancellation had occurred!

I can't talk to JB right now. He's on his surgery rotation and probably won't get home until close to 9:30 or so, but I did page him, so I know he's excited or will be when he can look at his pager!
Thanks for listening to my excitement.

Big Day!
Tuesday, February 14, 2005

Okay first, did any of you see that Chinese skater fall last night, then after a good cry, get herself together and she and her partner got the silver medal?! Very exciting! I have very little interest in winter sports, but I have been staying up way too late watching the half-pipe. Those guys crack me up. After they win they are like, "Dude, that was trippin'!" Very fun to watch people from any country share such a pride for their country. And very cool to watch kids with baggy pants that tell the audience that they can't recall the first George Bush being in office win a gold medal for the U.S.A.!

In other news, it is now 6:45 a.m. on Valentine's Day. My appointment is at 8 a.m. JB just left for a lecture that he has from 7-8 and then he will join me in the Charlton Building. Hopefully he won't be too late. He got the rest of the day off so when our appointment is done at noon, he is going to study for a few hours while I put in some time at RLS.

The last two days have been tough. Not only am I very anxious for our appointment today, but I fell on the series of pills that cause some real doozies of a headache. Yesterday I tried to down it with Excedrin, water, and even a Mountain Dew to no avail. And then my stomach paid the price for so much caffeine and pills. However, I am hoping that is behind me and today is a new day.

My sweet Grama Huisman knows of our struggles to have children, but as I don't think she has been on a computer in her life, and my phone calling skills are fairly suspect, I don't keep her completely up-to-date. That is why it was so amazing that yesterday of all days, I received a beautiful card from her. I will share a few bits from it that were quite an encouragement to me.

Be at Peace dear One! I'm reminded Psalm 37 "Trust in the Lord; Delight in the Lord; Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him and He shall bring it to pass! Rest and wait patiently for Him." and Isaiah 26:3 "Thou will keep him in perfect peace who's mind is stayed on Thee because he trusts in Thee." "So will you join me in thanking God everyday for the precious 'gift that coming in His perfect timing!" Heb 11:11-12.

My sweet Grama. I can just picture her in her chair in her room with her little bookshelf filled with Bibles and prayer books, praying so diligently for John and me even though she doesn't really understand all these tests and procedures. I know that a lot of who I am today is because of that praying Grama. I know each of her six kids, six spouses, sixteen grandkids, their six spouses, the seven great grand-kids, and three great-grand kids on the way (and the ones I forgot to count -- although Grama NEVER loses count) can say the same thing.

Thank you for remembering us today. We will sign off on everything, trick the psychiatrist into believing I am emotionally stable enough to handle these drugs (pray for JB!), and decide how many embryos for them to fertilize. I would be blessed if they told me we were looking at a date earlier than May 15th, however, May is a good month and I am at peace with however this all pans out today.

Blessings friends! Thanks for riding this wave with me!

Sorry! Here's the info!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Thank you to all of you who emailed me during the day saying "Checked your blog. There's no news, so how did it go." The appointment ran until about 12:30 meaning I had to go right to RLS with no time for an update. I knew I was in trouble when I got home to hear Kristi on my answering machine saying, "Wendi, update your blog, or call me!" Okay, okay. Sorry! Here is the update:

1st Appointment: Our first appointment was with the nurse who gave me the whole schedule. Unfortunately we did not get an earlier stim date but after she told me that there are 400 (YES! FOUR HUNDRED) women on the waiting list, I decided I should not complain. So here are how the dates will work:
  • February 14th-April 16th Birth control pills (no placebo pills)
  • April 17th Begin shots of lupron (to shut down my ovaries)
  • April 26 Go in for ultrasound and blood test to determine if ovaries are ready to go
  • April 28 Begin stimulation medication if all is well. These are 2 shots a day and will continue mixed with ultrasounds until they believe I am ready. (At least 6 days)
  • May 5 (approximately) take shot to release eggs (called HCG).
  • 36 hours after shot, go in for surgery called "retrieval"
  • 3 days after surgery, return for "transfer"
  • Begin taking shots of Progesterone. These are the killer shots! They will last for 10 weeks if I am pregnant, 2 weeks if I am not.
  • 12 days after transfer, blood test to see if I am pregnant.
  • If I am pregnant, return for blood test two days later to recheck.
  • If still pregnant, return 3 weeks later for ultrasound to determine number of children.
  • If I am not pregnant, wait 1-2 months, and return for frozen embryos.
After we discussed all this she quickly talked about the shots with JB. He's not worried about that at all.

2nd Appointment: Financial breakdown with bookkeeper. Actually IVF isn't quite as expensive as we had initially thought. It looks like it will be between $5,000-$8,000. Each subsequent return for frozen embryos will cost about $1,500

3rd Appointment: Psychiatrist. This was actually much more helpful than I initially thought it would be. Prior to this appointment we answer a ton of questions and then she went over our emotional states with us. Not surprisingly, John's emotional state was, "John, does anything bother you?" We spent a lot more time on me. Basically though, she said I am doing very well and that my main area of focus was getting past reminders (i.e. pregnant bellies, baby showers, mother's day, the mall, etc.) without letting them affect my mood. She gave me some great CD's to help with my thinking. As my dad always says: avoid "Stinkin' thinkin'."

4th Appointment: Dr. Coddington. He is wonderful! He honestly reminds me of what John's dad would be like if he were an RE. Just so caring and thoughtful and compassionate. A real joy. Anyways, with Dr. Coddington, we answered the tough questions, primarily, how many embryos we will have them attempt to fertilize. Our number is 14. No matter how many eggs they get that day, we will only have them fertilize 14 (There's a whole formular for that -- I could dedicate a whole blog to this but I will spare you). We also went over my "Advanced Directives" with him which basically state that if I die, John can have my eggs and if we both die, my brother Keith gets them (to be responsible for donating them to another couple.) Without these directives, all embryos are destroyed or used for research. We also decided that if John dies, I get to keep the eggs. If we get into an argument we can't get past, I get to make the decision, and if we divorce or separate, I get to keep them. Either way, I feel like a winner!

We also spent a lot of time talking about exercise. His feeling is that until IVF is over, I should limit myself to walking or swimming and not "raising my core body temperature". His word was "Chill!" to which John said "Geez it takes an MD after your name to get her to listen." He has said "Chill" quite a bit, but okay Dr. Coddington, walking or pool. Got it! John laid it on thick telling me if I went to the gym and ran, he would be MAD, so now I feel very stuck into being hard on myself with limiting exercise.

5th Appointment: Signing off on allowing them to use any extra "materials" (anything other than embryos -- extra eggs or sperm etc.) for research which we agreed to.

Okay, so that sums everything up. Maybe tomorrow I will write down more of how I feel about all this but right now, JB and I are getting ready for a nice Valentine's Day dinner and dessert! Overall, however, I should tell you that I couldn't sleep last night and I was doing my usual "Ssssh, John, quit trying to distract me" in the waiting room as I dealt with my nerves. However, by the time we got started, well, it must have been everyone who was praying for us, because I was just filled with so much peace, even about the dates. We are ready to move forward and feel comfortable with every single thing in this process. The nurses and doctor are wonderful and excited that I am one of the 12 women who will get to do IVF in May. So am I. It could actually fall that we get our results close to my birthday. Anyways, thank you for your prayers. We are "ready to get this PARTY STARTED!"

Valentines Day Recap
Thursday, February 16, 2006

Can I just say that I am married to the best husband in the world?!

After spending all day in the IVF clinic with me, I came home to find a card that JB hadpainted for me. He has painted in years, but he painted a card for me. Then we got in the car to leave for dinner and I found a dozen white roses. This was followed up with a Martina McBride CD and then some of my favroite perfume from Victoria's Secret.

We had Olive Garden for dinner and Coldstone ice cream for dessert! What a fantastic day.

As for me, I am still really struggling with headaches (that are then follow-uped with stomach aches). Last night the head ache got so bad, John dug out some Tylenol-3 I had leftover from my wisdom teeth surgery, and I finally fell asleep and slept straight through the night. Today was a tough morning, however, this evening I am feeling a lot better. Hopefully this will soon pass.

Emotion-wise, I am feeling great! I am very excited about IVF and feeling very comfortable with how everything has played out. Thanks again for all your prayers, love, and encouragement. I am blessed by such wonderful family and friends.

My achin' head
March 26, 2006

I finally called the nurse today about my headaches. They have become nearly unbearable. Last weekend I got a full blown migraine. This week during the week I did okay but then last night around 7:30 I got hit again with a killer headache -- I didn't lose my vision at any point so I don't think it planned to develop into a migraine. By 9:00 I finally gave up, took another tylenol with codeine (leftover from my dry socket incident when we first moved here) and went to bed. I woke up at 10:00 A.M.! I NEVER do that. I couldn't even tell you the last time I slept til 10 a.m. especially when I went to bed at 9:00 p.m.! It felt wonderful. I heard JB come to bed later in the evening and I remember that when I woke up to say good night, my head didn't hurt. However, the morning returned with the headaches.

John's been monitoring my meds. Apparently, (and this shows how naive I am about all this stuff), you can take both Tylenol and Ibuprofin, and if you rotate them ever 90 minutes, you are only taking each kind of medicine every 3 hours. So that's what I've been doing. I take Tylenol, ninety minutes later Ibuprofin, and ninety minutes later Tylenol again. I told the nurse what JB had me doing and she said he was right-on! I am learning more and more that he is pretty smart about all this stuff. :) I can take the Tylenol with codeine but only before bed because codeine makes me pretty light-headed.

The nurse, "Ruthie", who seems to be on call every time I call, looked at my chart, and said I had under 4 weeks left before I go off these hormones. (I had thought it was under 3 but my dates were off slightly.) She said that 4 weeks was a long time (I agree!) and was going to talk to Dr. Coddington on Monday about getting me on a stronger prescribed medication for the next 4 weeks to handle the headaches/migraines. She also said he might say I have to go off the drug. I told her I would not go off the drug. Going off the drug would mean we would not do IVF and unless they had a way I could go off and stilldo IVF, there was no way I was going to give up after all this waiting. I'll manage the next 4 weeks.

I try to get my mind off of things by watching basketball when I can handle it, and I even went out and ran some errands with John this afternoon (grocery shopping, scrabook store, hair cut for him etc.) We also went to the Amish Furniture store that we have been meaning to go visit. It was AMAZING. I must take my parents and in-laws when they come back to visit. What amazing furniture. A little pricey but all handmade and gorgeous. Tonite we are going to go over to Ron & Ebby's to watch some basketball. I don't want to just sit around the house and sulk! Trying to get my mind off of things really does help.

I would covet your prayers right now. Four weeks to go. We are so excited about getting to do IVF, and I know it won't be roses the whole way, but I would really like to feel a little better.

Special Scriptures
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

As we get ready to do IVF, I am drawn back to how much I have grown throughout this infertility journey. Early on after my diagnosis, I wrote a poem in my journal:

I trust Him. Do I trust Him? Yes I trust Him. Or so I think.
His way. Not my way. Do I believe that? I think I do. And yet I don't.
Guide me. But Guide me my way. What is your way? Do I approve?
I am asking. And I am patient. But sooner should come real fast.
Please Lord. I beg you pleading. Your will be done. If I agree.

There was no doubt that back in 2003, I was angry with God. I was mad at Him. I remember talking to Kristi on the phone and her saying, "Wendi, this is the first time I have ever heard you question your faith." She was so right. I was so in doubt.

When we met with a psychiatrist before our IVF consult, I was a little taken aback when she stopped in the middle and told me that she believed I held a "Just-world hypothesis." I thought this was a pile of crap. However, as she explained, I realized that before finding out about our trouble conceiving, I really did, subconsciously, believe this.

Just-World thinkers are people who blame the victim: The world is tough but fair; if something happens to you, it is your own fault. The Just-world hypothesis is defined as: "The tendency to believe that the world is fair and that people get what they deserve."

I wouldn't have told you I believed that. I didn't think that I believe that. But suddenly, when we couldn't have children, I reverted to this line of thinking. I felt that I deserved a child. I felt that I did not deserve this pain. And even worse, I felt that if I was going through this, then I had done something wrong. This was a Just-World thought pattern. Other women might deserve this, but not me, and if this happened to me, what did I do to deserve it?

During this time, I found a Bible passage that really ministered to me. Whenever I would start to feel as if I had done something wrong to deserve this "mark" I would read this verse.

In John 9:3 the crowd asks Jesus why a man is sick. Jesus tells them that no one did anything to cause this. He says: "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

This really hit me! I didn't do anything to deserve this. While God didn't cause my infertility, He was using it in our lives for his glory.

One of my favorite scriptures in regards to this was: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

It was at this point that I realized that I needed to be content where I was in my life. I had to quit feeling guilty that I was the reason JB wasn't a father. I remember one day my cousin Josh (who doesn't get very "deep" very often) asked me if John would leave me if I was disfigured in an accident or paralyzed or anything of the like. Of course not. Josh then reminded me that this was really no different. John didn't want to go anywhere and he wasn't going to go anywhere just because it was my fault we couldn't have children.

So I found scriptures that talked about having joy no matter what the situation. Here was one of my favorites:

Habakuk 3:17-18
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crops fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Another scripture I really loved is:

Phillipians 4:6-13
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Be content in whatever the circumstances are. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

I also found a little scriptures which talked about barren women and their gift from the Lord in a child:

Psalm 113:9
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.
I Samuel 1:19-20
and the LORD remembered her. And it came to pass, when the time was come about, that Hannah conceived, and bore a son; and she called his name Samuel: 'because I have asked him of the LORD.'
Of course, there were tons of other passages that ministered to me.

When I would start to think it just couldn't happen: I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Or Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. And one of the greatest scriptures when I really felt like my lack of faith would cause us to never have children: If we are faithless, He will remain faithful.

When I started to get afraid of procedures, medications, failures, I would remember that it wasn't me who was fighting this battle: Do not be afraid or discouraged ... for the battle is not your's but God's. Another powerful verse: For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear; I will help you." Or The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.When I would begin to wonder why I had to go through this: Jesus replied, "You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand."Or another great passage: The secret things belong to the Lord our God.

When I would get discouraged because of another failed procedure or another day of not feeling well or jealousy at everyone else who could have children except me: Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

In church yesterday morning, out pastor echoed these sentiments. He told a story about his son getting clobbered during a wrestling match. He wanted to run over and help him but instead he watched from afar, letting those around his son help him. He knew his son needed this moment to grow as a person and a man even though it was hard to watch him. I believe sometimes, the Lord is doing the same thing. He knows I am growing, and I know, some day, I am going to understand why this pain had to be a part of my life.

I know that only a few of my faithful blog readers have dealt with infertility, however, I am sure there is something else you are dealing with. Don't forget that you are growing, that God is real, and that it will all work toward our good.

We start IVF this month
Monday, April 3, 2006

I have waited a long time to say this.

We start IVF this month. This month!

On April 21st I will start my shots of Lupron. On April 23rd, I go off the birth control pills. Two days after that I will go in for an ultrasound and if everything looks good, we will start the Gonal shots which will help my follicles (a.k.a "eggs") to grow. We are projecting a "retrival" (when they go and get the eggs) of around May 8-10 and a "transfer", when they return two fertilized embryos about 3 days after this.

The month is finally here! We are very, very, very excited about this.

Countdowns
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

I would seriously covet anyone and everyone' s prayers for my headaches right now and my dear husband's patience. The headaches have gotten to a point where I sometimes feel at my wit's end. I want to cry, but John said that will make it worse so anytime my eyes start to fill up with tears, he quickly starts talking me down. As I mentioned yesterday, I took a Tylenol with Codeine at about 5:00. This helped the headache but left me feeling like I was floating somewhere not quite on this planet. I told JB I wasn't sure what I would rather have: a headache or a feeling of not knowing up from down. John said he was sure that he liked me better drugged because at least he could talk, watch TV, turn on the lights -- anything. Poor guy. I have tried to keep my headaches on the down-low with my co-workers but today two of them came up to me and if I was okay because my eyes looked so glazed. I admitted it's been a rough few weeks.

I have decided to start a "COUNTDOWN TO IVF". I know this whole IVF thing is way too complicated for some of you (it throws me for a loop and I'm doing it) so I thought would educate everyone slowly. The whole procedure actually begins the day I start taking Lupron shots. Some of you have asked me what the Lupron is used for. Here is a definition:

Lupron® is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist. It inhibits the pituitary gland's ability to control the ovary and, therefore, has been used to reduce the likelihood of unintended ovulation during assisted reproduction treatment cycles.

All right, enough education for one day. Here is my countdown. Count with me everyone! It looks a lot closer when I see the days written out so clearly.

Days until I start Lupron: 13
Days until I go off birth control pills:17
Days until I start stims: 24 (approximately)

A trip to the park
Sunday, April 9, 2006

Yesterday I did something that I haven't done in over three years.

I went to the park.

It was Melissa Phillip's birthday and Christo wanted to take her out to dinner so I got to spend some time with Karuna. I truly enjoy these occasions. Karuna is precious and loves to come over to our house. She knows just where her toy drawer is and has me read every book she owns at least 50 times. Every time she comes over she has added tons of words to her vocabulary and this time she could now tell me where her clavicle is. (Do all you adults out there even know that?)

It was a nice day outside, and JB was at nerdfest as school. This is where medical students bring in their computers and "game" (play video games against each other.) They will usually do this for hours on end. JB usually just plays for a few hours and then has everyone give him a hard time when he "goes home to his wife."

So I decided to take Karuna to the park while JB was gaming. On my way there I realized that beside a quick visit with my niece Grace when she came to visit, I have been avoiding the park since our infertility journey began.

As Karuna and I walked among the dozens of children and their parents, I realized that I have truly come to a place of peace in my journey. I didn't cry, I didn't feel jealous, and I didn't size up the women who had children and whether they deserved them. In fact, I have realized, that all the places John and I had been avoiding over the last few years -- the mall, zoos, parks etc. are no longer taboo to me.

This felt like a big step.

I think all this avoidance started midway through our tries with artificial insemination. We were at the Mall of America when the phone rang. It was the nurse at the infertility clinic, and the moment she said my name, I knew it was again, disappointing results. "Wendi you have too many eggs again. Dr. Tummond feels that your chance of multiples is way too high. He's canceling your cycle."

$2,000 worth of drugs, appointments, and blood draws. 6 ultrasounds in the course of 8 days. 6 blood draws in the same time span. Twelve horrid shots with thick hormones and there would be no attempt at pregnancy. They'd give me drugs to stop everything, send me home, and maybe, if everything cleared up, in two months, we could start it all again.

We did start it again. We started it seven times and then decided our hearts couldn't take it anymore.

However, being at the mall when you get this call proved to be a rather poor choice. Did you know that malls are breeding grounds? Everywhere we turned there were babies, pregnant bellies, maternity stores, kids screaming, families walking. John and I had come with friends -- otherwise we would have left immediately. Instead we found a bench in a hallway, people-less, to sit and talk and cry. (Well, I cried. JB kept telling me to take a breath!)

From that point on I made the decision that it was okay to avoid painful events. Baby showers, church on dedication Sunday or Mother's Day, children's birthday parties, the mall, and yes, the park.

But yesterday, despite the fact that we still don't have a child in our house, I went to the park and had a wonderful time. I truly have found peace, and I am so blessed to be able to say that.
I can't promise that when the drugs start in a few days, my body will still feel so peaceful, but for now, my heart is at rest, and I know that only the Lord can give me that.

We returned home and were joined by our friends Tara, Ajit, and Sean for dinner andWalk the Line. It was a wonderful evening, and I went to bed so blessed that even while the Lord hasn't answered my prayers in the way that I hoped, he has brought me the peace I so desperately begged for.

Days until I start Lupron: 8
Days until I go off birth control pills:12
Days until I start stims: 19

IVF Green Light
April 25, 2006

Well today I went into the RE's office and got GOOD news.

My ovaries were completely suppressed which is what they wanted. My estrodial was very low which is also what they wanted.

I also took part in a fabulous ritual called "cervical dilation" which I suggest every woman (and man for that matter) participate in at some point just for the fun ot it. They don't do this with every woman who does IVF. I am one of the lucky few. Basically, my cervix is closed fairly tight so they insert catheters of various widths until they feel they have reached their maximum. If you successfully get the tiny catheter in, hurrah for you, let's try a larger one. This procedure lasts for a few weeks and will make the transfer of embryos into my uterus much smoother. John said I did a fabulous job. He watched the screen the entire time and was like, "Wendi, are you watching this? This is really cool."
No, I wasn't watching the screen. I told him he could fill me in later.

So, we are right on course and ready to get started. Here's what I know currently.

We start Gonal (infertility hormone shots) THIS Friday. I will take this for six days and will then start going in for what could be daily blood draws and internal ultrasounds monitoring my follicle count in my ovaries. Each day around 3:00 the nurse will call me and tell me how much medicine to take that night and what time to be in the next day for my next ultrasound.

However, one of those calls will be "the call" where she tells me I am ready to go. They will then give me a very detailed schedule for both JB and me, and 36 hours later we will have the surgery. Two days after that they will put the embryos back in me.

As for me, I have been more emotional but was blessed that I didn't need to take any strong headache medication today -- a sign that the hormones are working their way out of my system. My friend, co-worker, and neighbor Kelsey came down to my house last night while both of our husbands were on call and we talked for a few hours. During the course of this conversation, I had an epiphany of sorts that is bringing me comfort.

The odds of this working are 40%. That means that if we get 10 embryos, I will get 4yes's and 6 no's. This may sound sort of pessimistic, but for me, it is helping to keep me centered. I may get 2 no's the first time (each embryo they put in me gets its own "vote"). However, that's okay, because I have 4 yes's coming at some point. If the stats prove true for me, I will have a few more calls with bad news than good news. However, the good news is coming eventually.

Of course, I am praying for 1 or 2 yes's the very first time. Like I told Kelsey and my cousin Josh last night, "I just want to hit the first free throw!" (I often think in free-throws. It grounds me.) If I can hit the first one, the pressure will be off.

Anyways, a few bits of babble here, but the bottom line is: Good news in the Kit. housetonite. They will be getting my eggs in approximately 2 weeks. I am very happy and in good spirits. Thanks for the prayers today.

Must now .... Complain
Saturday, April 29, 2006

I have been told on a few occasions ... and this is painful for me to write ... (Gulp) ... that I am a drama queen.

It is for that reason that I have refrained from commenting about my headaches on too many occasions. If you think I have commented a lot, than you do not know how many times I have wanted to comment.

However, since this blog is about my life, and I write everyday, and the last 24 hours has involved a mombo migraine, I feel that I must blog about that even though I may have to hear from people like Ron Ray that I am a "drama queen."

I truly believe that even though my pain threshold was once whimpy -- to the point that my dad called me that all the time and I was so paranoid about being a whimp that when I had umbilical hernia surgery when I was 16 I woke up from anesthesia asking all the nurses if I "was a whimp?" The fear continued. Kristi once told me NOT to tell the coaches about my shin pain, and I listened to her say "Suck it up Wendicles!" every evening until the day I could no longer jump at all and was diagnosed with a stress fracture. (Kristi received a strong rebuke from our trainer and strength coach for this poor peer pressure.)

However, I believe that having a dry socket when I first moved to Mayo put all pain and discomfort into perspective for me. I have heard that Kristi's mom (whom I have been told is a loyal blog reader -- so correct me if I am wrong Mrs. Hartley, I mean, Dorris, sorry) would rather have a baby than have a dry socket.

Now I haven't had a baby, but I have had a dry socket, and the pain was not good. A dry socket is actually when, after getting your wisdom teeth out, the blood clot "unclots" and the bone is left exposed to the air. You know you have one when, after feeling very good about getting your wisdom teeth out, you suddenly turn very south.

I had to get my wisdom teeth out right after I moved to Rochester. No need to bring up the fact that my dentist in Kentucky told me to get dental insurance TO get them out and then told me, in fact, they were too deep to remove. Right after moving to the Polar North, tooth pain sent me to an oral surgeon who said that the three I had definitely needed to come out despite how deep they were.

Getting them out was no big deal. I seriously was completely okay once the anesthesia wore off. Two days later is when the dry socket took a hold of my life. The nurse at St. Charles High School ran into me crying in the teacher's lounge and told me to get to the surgeon's office immediately. She definitely diagnosed me correctly.

Okay, finally, I am getting to my point.

I say all this to say that physicians have something called a "pain scale." You may have experienced this. You go in to a doctor and they say, "On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your pain." If you can't speak, they may have you draw this on a board with faces representing your pain.

A dry socket, to me, is a 10. I had visions (prior to JB calling the doctor to prescribe more Vicodin and taking 2 of them which caused me to fall asleep for 12 hours) that I would ask John to somehow, make me unconscious. I didn't want him to kill me, just make me fall asleep until the pain passed. I remember considering a hammer to the head. (How bizarre is that?) There is no cure for a dry socket. All they can do is pack the hole with novocaine gauze every 12 hours until it heals and give you some Vicodin to counteract any additional pain.

Off track here. Vicodin is very serious stuff. I heard they sell on the street for $35 a pill. I can see why. When you NEED them, they make you very comfortable. But as my body began to heal more and more, the Vicodin created strange sensations. I remember JB giving me a bowl of soup one day while I sat on the couch, and I can vividly remember looking at that bowl of soup and wondering how could I hold the bowl and eat out of the bowl at the same time. (He decided to have me eat at the table instead.) Smart man!

Okay, sorry, so I said all that to say that this "pain scale" has become my new means of communicating with JB about my headaches. If a dry socket is a 10, I have not had a migraine encroach past an 8 since my IVF journey began two months ago.

Until last night.

I took a Tylenol with codeine at about 8:00 and went to bed about 9:30 as I had been having dull headaches all day. At 12:30 am I woke up with a full blown migraine. Because I was asleep, it took getting to a 9 on the "pain scale" before I was woken from a dead sleep due to the pain.

I woke JB up and we had a pain scale conversation. He believes I have been very conservative on my my numbers so when I told him I was at 9 he told me to take twoTylenol with codeine and 2 ibuprofin (and call him in the morning!) (Well, I think he wishes he could have said that last part.) I spent the next hour and a half waiting for this to kick in and debating with JB whether I needed to go to the ER where they could give me meds via IV.

Needless to say, the medicine finally kicked in enough that I was able to fall asleep. JB said he himself didn't get to sleep until 3:30. I felt really bad, but, misery does love company. JB did say that this qualified as an "emergency" and was not just me waking him up to have my company when I didn't feel good. (Which I have done on occasion.)

However, this experience left me with a NEW dilemma. At this increased rate of usage, I did not have enough pain medicine to make it through the weekend. I called the pharmacy, who faxed my doctor, who is a resident, and doesn't have a secretary, and who was NOT responding. By noon I was starting to panic. What if he didn't respond?! What would I do?

About this time my boss at Mayo came to my desk. I was on hold (again) with the pharmacy, begging them to help me figure out something. I got off the phone, and he asked if everything was okay. When I told him the story he reminded me that he was a physician and he could help!!! I immediately felt the prayers I had been mumbling all day being answered.

So at 3:00, when there was still no answer, my boss made a phone call, and PRESTO, I had meds which JB promptly picked up. Bless my boss! I told him the outlook for my weekend had just improved exponentially. I also told him that if he needed me to work on Sunday, I would gladly do so. I think he plans to take me up on that offer. However, if I don't have a headache, I can do ANYTHING!

It is now nearly 7:00, and I am feeling really good. JB and I just returned from a walk to the Indian market where we picked up some odds and ends to eat with our leftovers. I give my pain a 3 right now. (You see how this works now.) JB is making dinner, and we are going to watch Ben Hur. I have never seen this movie, and JB says every person must watch this movie once in their life. I've heard it is long so after our crappy night's sleep, we may just watch half. This is the second time we have tried to watch Ben Hur. The first time, we realized the first DVD was cracked so we had to send it back to the Netflix people. This time the DVD looks great.

Anyways, this drama queen is signing out reminding you that tonight, I start my Gonal shots!!! First blood draw on Wednesday. IVF here we come.

I'm going to join the worship team (and other cold hard facts that may or may not be true)
Monday, May 1, 2006

I have figured out a sure-fire way to get pregnant. It's kind of obscure, but I think it just may work. I am going to join the worship team at church. I am sure JB is rolling his eyes right about now, but for those of you who attend Christ Community with me, you can't deny the cold hard facts. Nearly every woman on stage has either just had a baby or is preparing to have one. Add to that the fact that one of the leaders who wasn't on stage today sat right next to us, and I've decided that there must be something to leading singing that = having a baby.

Well, scratch that. I can't sing or play an instrument. But I still think there is something to that.

Speaking of trying to get pregnant. I thought I would quickly update you on where we are with IVF.

We are currently taking 10 units of Lupron each morning. Lupron is used to stop my body from ovulating spontaneously. Now for some women this Lupron would be very important as lack of ovulation is not their problem. However, in my case, having to take Lupron to stop something that never happens anyway kinda makes me giggle when I start thinking deeply about it. But, still, I take those shots in my thigh each morning.

Each evening I am taking shots of follicle stimulating hormones -- Gonal F. I take these shots in my stomach. And, honestly, shots in the stomach aren't as bad as they sound. I really have no problem with these. I am taking 225 units of Gonal F. This is the same medicine I took with my IUI (artificial insemination) procedures although I am taking nearly double what I took with the IUIs. This medicine is helping my follicles (which have eggs inside of them) grow.

Both of these are heavy hormones so while I am off the birth control pill, both of these meds also have headaches as a side effect so that could be why the headaches have gotten less frequent but not less intense.

On Wednesday this week I will go in for a blood draw which will measure my estrodial level. The level of the estrodial helps them know how many follicles I have and how mature they might be. At 3:00 on Wednesday I will get a call. They will tell me how much Gonal to take that evening and when to come in for an ultrasound and a blood draw. Basically, I will plan on daily ultrasounds and blood draws (with maybe a day off here and there) until the following week. I will get a call around 3:00 nearly everyday telling me what to do the next day.

They are hoping to have the retrieval (where they get the eggs) on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, May 8, 9, or 10, and then 3 days later go back and put 2 embryos in me!

So we are, right there. Counting the days. JB has gotten permission from his family medicine rotation people to take an entire week off if need be. This was a great blessing. This way he will be able to not only take me to all appointments, but be with me when I am coming off the anesthesia etc. Also, after I do the transfer, I will have some strict rules includng not lifting more than 10 pounds for two weeks so I will need him more than usual. I am excited about having him all to myself for a week.

As for other news, it's been a pretty rainy Sunday. We went to church at 9:00 (JOSH!), I went to work from 10:30-12:30, then Tara, Lesley, Nicole and I went to the NEW Pannakooken (I never can spell that) which is downtown and within walking distance! Then Tara and I hung out at her apartment for a bit. I am now doing a load of whites while JB makes some dinner. Although after our big lunch, I am really not that hungry.

I am very excited about the next 10 days of our lives. I so appreciate all the prayers and encouragement. Please keep them coming big time.

Oh and one more thing: Ben Hur is an Awesome movie! If you have never watched it, do it today!!! Don't delay. I was thoroughly impressed and will probably blog about this sometime in the future. It won 11 of 12 Academy Awards it was nominated for and was so beyond it's time. FANTASTIC MOVIE!

Reason # 342 not to have children
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

JB and I have a sort of running joke between us. Whenever we see a child do something annoying, gross, frustrating, ridiculous, etc. we quickly give it a random number. For example, JB sees a kid pick his nose and eat it and turns to me and says, "reason #469 not to have children."

Now, obviously, as evidenced from the large amounts of money, tears, and effort we have put into having children, everyone reading this blog knows that we want to have children probably more than anything. However, we have also learned that you have to be able to make jokes and poke fun at your own problems. We have also really made it a point to celebrate our family of two.

Side note: I hate when people ask when we plan to start our family as we consider ourselves already a family even if we are a small family. Don't ever ask someone that. What constitutes a family? 2.2 children and a dog? Sorry. Now stepping off my soap box.

So anyways, onto our list (which actually doesn't exist in a concrete sense).

One of the ways we have poked fun at our situation and also reminded ourselves of all the problems we are avoiding by not having children is to point out all the things that would not be fun about having a child. A really dirty diaper? #421. The time one of the kids in our Sunday school class told a story about her mother in a hot tub with a priest? #49. Throw-up? #12.

Today I witnessed reason #342 -- child throws a temper tantrum in the middle of a rain storm while mother carries three bags of groceries. I am not making this up. On my way home from work, a woman walked out of the tiny grocer next to my house with 3 plastic bags in her right hand. In her left hand was the hand of a two-year-old little girl, complete with yellow rain slicker and galoshes.

They walked along with no apparent distress brewing. Then, all of a sudden, for what appeared to be no reason at all, the toddler stopped walking and SAT DOWN! The mother tried to pull her by the arm to get her to stand up but to no avail. The little girl continued to sit, in the rain, crying.

Now I am sure there was a reason in the two-year-old's mind, and maybe she even conveyed that to the mother for her refusal to walk another step. However, I am also pretty sure that this reason was not a very good one. I also really felt for the poor mother. It was raining. She had her hands filled with groceries, and now she had a toddler who refused to go home!

The solution? Manage to pick up the screaming child while holding her bags of groceries and getting soaken wet.

Are there any arguments that this makes the list? Oh, and we don't rank these items as it would be too subjective. If we did, I'm sure this event would at least cut into the top 100.

If you feel that you have an item that must be included, be sure to let me know. We'll consider every request for addition to our list. We apologize we cannot respond to each request personally.

Quick post
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

This post will be very quick. My head is giving me fits and JB thinks its better that when I am home, I avoid being on the computer if I can prevent it -- especially since I am starting at a computer all day. In addition, I am feeling fairly sick as well, definitely a good "sign" as it indicates the follicles that they want to grow are growing, and growing like crazy.

I am making it through work each day by taking a lot of pain pills but am then coming home, going to sleep for two hours, getting up for two hours, and going back to bed. I really have no appetite, most likely as a result of the major cramping.

From this point forward I will not be going into RLS and instead working from home in order to try and make all my appointments and keep up with my workload and get enough rest. My work at Mayo will be limited and based according to what I can handle each day.

Tomorrow I go in for my first blood draw. From this point forward I get a call at 3:00 each day telling me what to do the next day.

I would like to ask for prayer for the following things:
  • My headaches
  • My stomach and the major cramping going on
  • That the surgery "retrieval" would take place earlier rather than later so I can go off these hormones as soon as possible
  • For JB as he is having to not only help me with all my meds but basically now take care of everything around the house. In addition, of course, he is on his psych rotation all day and has his major shelf test this Friday.
I apologize to those of you who have emailed or called and not heard back from me. I am really having difficulty keeping up with communication given how I am feeling.

Thanks for the prayers. I'll update you tomorrow after I get the blood results back.

First blood test results are in
Thursday, May 4, 2006

Yesterday was a rough day as I mentioned on my blog. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement. At 9:00 p.m. I couldn't take the stomach pains, loopiness, and headaches anymore and went to bed. JB followed a few minutes later reminding me that I hadn't take any of my meds. He gave my metformin pills which I took and then went into the kitchen to prepare my Gonal shots.

I noticed John was taking an exceptionally long time preparing my shots, and my mind started wandering. I started adding. Each Gonal "pen" contains 900 units of medicine. As I added I realized that I had taken 825 units of medicine so far. I needed to take 150 units of medicine. How could this be done unless ...

JB came into the bedroom with a pouty face and mumbled, "I have bad news." I already knew what it was and started laughing and yelling, "Noooo!!!!" If there was only 75 units left in the pen (worth over $50), I would need to take two shots in the stomach. Bummer! It was not the news I wanted but my wonderful husband did the best job he could and it was relatively painless. However, when your stomach is cramped, grabbing a bunch of skin and sticking a needle into it isn't my favorite thing to do.

However, JB made me feel really good. He told me that he thought I was doing a great job which meant a lot as I have really felt like one big complaining frustration. He actually said that emotionally I have been handling this better than the IUI cycles.

Anyways, I slept very well and woke up feeling pretty good. I went in for my blood draw at 7:00 this morning having just one headache pill left.

My doctor continues to give me 20 pills at a time with no refills. This means that every time I finish my pills I have to call the pharmacy and request that they fax my physician and get more pills. Since I am allowed to take 13 pills a day (I take about 3-5 on a good day and 8-10 on a bad day), giving me 20 pills is only about 2-3 days worth. This doesn't always work well. I called the pharmacy on Tuesday morning and as of 8 this morning, they still didn't have anything for me. I called up to my doctor's area, and they said they would push the order through.

An hour later I get a call. They wouldn't refill my prescription unless I came back in for an appointment. Now mind you, I am currently a hormonal basketcase! I have already cried a few times that morning for no reason at all. So when they tell me this, I start crying. Then they transfer me to the appointment desk and I am told that the next available appointment is on Monday, May 9th! Needless to say I started crying even harder.

The woman obviously felt bad for this weeping girl fighting a migraine and cramps and began looking for another doctor I could see. She found an opening later that afternoon -- 1:10. I immediately emailed JB and asked if he could go with me. I felt a mess and really wanted him there to answer questions or help if I fell apart. I didn't want to appear as if I was desperate for drugs. John had a lecture but said he would work on it. About an hour later I got an email from him. It read:

I will be going with you! I spoke with Dr. ___, and he brought me to his office. He then showed me his family photo of his two daughters - one from IVF (ixy?) and the other a china adoption!!!! He was great! He also said that the other Dr. who is in charge of the rotation, Dr. ___, has twins from IVF!!! And both of these doctors are Air Force! Amazing. Either way, I will be going with you.

I was blessed again by how present the Lord is in the little things. It meant so much to have John there with me. And the fact that the physicians he was working with have not only been understanding but many of them have DONE IVF was amazing!

The new doctor talked to me a bit, said she thought this would go away after IVF was over and gave me a new prescription with 60 PILLS and 1 REFILL!! Another great answer to prayer.

Shortly after returning to work I got a call from Nancy at the RE office. She said my estrogen was 165. Now this means little to you and even very little to me but basically this number indicates how mature my follicles are. A mature follicle emits approximately 150-200 "units" of estrogen. This number is pretty low but low is not bad. They want to move slowly. They will look at this number and my internal ultrasounds to determine when my follicles are ready to go.

So the new schedule: Gonal tonight (225 units), Lupron and Gonal tomorrow (Thursday) and then a blood draw and ultrasound on Friday morning at 8:10. I will know more then. I would assume after Friday the ultrasounds will definitely be everyday until early next week.

Friday's Fast Facts
Friday, May 5, 2006

I have come to realize that I am going through menopause! Don't laugh. It's true ... in a sense. When JB talked to the doctor he worked with the other day about me doing IVF, the one who had a daughter from IVF, he asked JB how I was handling going through menopause.

Lupron actually causes my body to decrease estrogen production! This is the same thing that happens to women going through menopause. It explains a lot of things including the fact that despite going off the birth control pill, I am still having the migraines.

However, I have decided to list all of the good things going on right now as there are many:
  1. I am not really going through menopause! I will be un-menopaused very soon.
  2. I probably have less than five shots left in my stomach.
  3. I probably have less than fives left in my thighs.
  4. Both of my jobs are really working with my schedule and helping to relieve extra stress.
  5. I have PLENTY of Tylenol with codeine now ... 120 pills. I am able to take the pills now all day. (I took about 10 today) without thinking twice about it and worrying that I will run out.
  6. We will most likely be doing the transfer in LESS than a week!
  7. I am married to the best husband in the world.
  8. My hormones have been fairly in check during this IVF cycle -- probably more than my 7 previous IUI/Clomid cycles.
  9. I also want to ask for prayer that:
  10. I am able to sleep well the next few nights. My mind is spinning like crazy!
  11. they are able to pull out at least fourteen eggs or more.
  12. we end up with between 6 and 8 frozen embryos (or more). This would mean that after our first attempt with 2 embryos, we would have enough for 3-4 more tries without having to go back for more eggs (the hard part -- what I am doing now).
  13. I come out of the surgery and anesthesia feeling great.
  14. the Lord would guide the doctor's hands and eyes.
  15. JB's does great on his psychiatry test today.
  16. the transfer goes well -- the easier they get the instruments in and the less they touch my uterus, the better it is.
  17. Today:
  18. I go in for a blood draw at 7:00 a.m.
  19. I go in for an ultrasound at 8:10 a.m. (JB is able to go with me!)
  20. we will meet with the nurse after my ultrasound to ask questions and discuss how my follicles are doing.
  21. JB has his final psychiatry test at 10:00 a.m.
  22. when the doctor gets our blood results in, he will look at the blood results and the ultrasound results and decide what we should do next.
  23. we will be getting a call around 3:00 telling us what our estrodial results were and what our schedule is for the next 24-36 hours.
  24. I will post after 3:00 when we know what is happening next.
  25. From 4:30-6:00 we are having a "release" party for the next issue ofRochester Women. At this point, I can tell you what my "awesome" story was about that I was so "pumped" about! We plan to only stay for a bit given how I am feeling.
Check back later this evening for an update of what the weekend holds.

*****

Update #2: Well, I got a call from the nurse. My estrodial was at 518 -- a lot higher but still a bit from 3,000. She said it could easily double in 24 hours however. I am taking 225 units of gonal tonite and another shot of lupron in the morning and then I have a blood draw and ultrasound at 8 a.m. tomorrow. I'll let you know something more tomorrow when I know something more! We are progressing nicely.

*****

Update #3: Well I had my ultrasound at 8:10 and the news couldn't have been better! We had approximately 32 follicles of size 14 or larger (size 18-20 is considered "mature"). In addition we had approximately 20 follicles that were not measured but were 10 or less. (And remember -- we only plan to have them fertilize 14 so this is PLENTY!!!!) This is exactly what the doctor projected should happen -- the tons of follicles that worked against me with the IUI (because of the high risk of multiples) are now our friends! For the first time, as JB feverishly tried to write down all the follicle sizes, I wasn't crying knowing that this meant a cancelled cycle. This is what they WANTED. It was a great relief. I am waiting for my 3:30 call which will tell me what my blood estrodial was. I found out they want it to be about 3,000. I was 165 the other day but given how the follicles are doing, I am sure it will be pretty high. She'll then tell me what the weekend schedule is. But, we are very happy!!!!

Today is the day!
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Well it's 5 a.m. If you prayed for me to sleep well, I appreciate it as I slept pretty soundly from 10:30 to just a few minutes ago. Dave and Lesley came over last night for our usual date: watching 24. They brought muffins from Pannakooken and prayed for us before they left. We really love them!!!!

I can hardly believe that today is the day. I was so frustrated back in January with how long we had to wait and now, the day is here, and it seems like we haven't waited that long at all.

I don't know many details about today. I know we are supposed to check in at 6:30. My guess is that the procedure will start around 8:00 a.m. because it is usually 36 hours after the trigger shot, and I took my trigger at 8:00 p.m. Sunday night. I have no idea how I will feel afterwards or how groggy I will be. I hope to return to work tomorrow so I am hoping I am not too groggy.

I am a little concerned with how my stomach will stand up. I have had such terrible cramping for the last few days but my tylenol with codeine has truly helped to relieve that. Unfortunately, after midnight, I can't eat or drink anything so please pray that the cramping eases up.

I think JB plans to update the blog later on today so check back for more news sometime soon. And keep praying as we will be checking in to the hospital on Friday again ...

THANKS FOR THE PRAYERS!!!! KEEP THEM COMING!!!

Why I was pumped
Sunday, May 7, 2006

Update: Well, I went in for my blood draw and ultrasound at 7 a.m. this morning. It was nice because on the weekends, the normal tech isn't there so a fellow (a year away from being done with training) does the ultrasound. This fellow, Dr. A___, is a great guy and is actually in charge of most of the decisions regarding my care. My follicles have definitely grown quite a bit and are nearly mature. He said he would wait to see what my estrodial was and either trigger me tonite (to release the eggs) or tomorrow nite.

Tara came over for breakfast, and I broke my rule of not letting people do dishes at my house as I am VERY VERY VERY uncomfortable. Actually, Dr. A quit measuring the follicles after awhile because I was so uncomfortable. He said he got the big ones, no need to put me through that much pain. While she was doing the dishes, the nurse called. My estrodial had doubled: 1055, and as Dr. A had suggested, he wants to give me one extra day to assure they are all mature.

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will be going in on Tuesday for the retrieval which would make the transfer fall on Friday.

There it is. Tuesday it is. Please just pray for my comfort level. The ultrasounds are not fun at all with as uncomfortable as I am -- but we are almost there!

Okay, so a few weeks ago I did a post on how "pumped" I was about a story I was assigned for Rochester Women Magazine. Friday night we went to a release party for the magazine, and I found out that my story made the cover. I was told that it was a cover "candidate" but did not know until today that it made the cover.

What makes this story so great was, well, you know, you should just read it yourself. You can do that at: Beautiful Inside and Out. But I will tell you that the woman I wrote the story on, Jill Krieger Swanson, is a great Christian woman who adopted her two children and also does wonders with style and inspirational speaking. Now if you can remember from a previous post, I have recently admitted my new passion was fashion! So needless to say, Jill was a perfect fit for me in many ways.

Aside from my story, I went to bed last night at around 8:30, halfway through a movie, Murder on the Nile, with JB. I don't know what else to say except THEY NEED TO GET THESE EGGS OUT OF ME! The headaches were very good yesterday -- I only needed 2 pills. But my stomach is just ROARING with ANGER at having 50 eggs inside of it!!!

So here we go again, going in now for my blood draw and ultrasound. The earliest the retrieval could now be as Monday. (I will get 36 hours notice). So if they tell me today at 3:00 that I am ready, then I will be going in on Monday. Personally, I am thinking I will be going back in tomorrow which would put my transfer on Tuesday. Either way, I am really ready to go!!! I am having trouble walking, sleeping, sitting, standing up, anything. So that kinda puts a hard time on ANYTHING!

More updates coming later in the day.

Nuggets of Wisdom
Monday, May 8, 2006

A few things that I am currently leaning on for encouragement right now:

My Aunt Jan sent me this scripture:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him.

My friend Leina sent me this forward (which I normally hate, but I loved this one)!

To: YOU
Date: TODAY
From: GOD
Subject: YOURSELF
Reference: LIFE This is God. 

Today I will be handling All of your problems for you. I do Not need your help. So, have a nice day. I love you.

P.S. And, remember... If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do Not attempt to resolve it yourself !! Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME. All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now. Should you decide to send this to a friend you may have touched their life in ways you will never know! 

Now, you have a nice day, 

God

And JB, in his brilliance and profound nature, continues to say to me:

"I'm 99% scared and 1% excited. Or maybe it's 1% excited and 99% scared. But that's what makes it so great."

Actually that quote is not spiritual at all. It is from Armageddon when Owen Wilson is getting ready for their trip to outerspace. I'm not sure of the exact quote but that's how JB repeats it.

Anyways, getting ready to leave for our blood work and ultrasound. I'm actually to go in and catch up on a few things at work after my appointment (its like a few minutes walk away) so that I can take Monday and Tuesday completely off. I'll either put a quick update on here from work or have JB put it up when we get back.

*****

Update: Well, I went in for my blood draw and ultrasound this morning same as usual. I was actually feeling a lot better today as my doctor told me to take the Tylenol with codeine for that pain instead of the migraine pain and it has helped TONS. The ultrasound was still unpleasant, however, we had so many great looking follicles on the right ovary that he spent very little time on my left ovary to prevent unnecessary pain. They like to see at least four follicles that are 18 above. I currently have 6 that are 18 above and about 6 more that are right at about size 17 or 17.5. Basically, we have PLENTY of good-looking follicles. We have a bunch that are close to 17 and by Tuesday morning, even without additional meds, these may very possibly be mature as well. Either way the doctors will take out EVERYTHING they can get, pick the best looking 14 (because that is all we are fertilizing) and fertilize them. I will find out the next morning how those 14 are doing.

The nurse just called and confirmed our Tuesday date. I had JB talk to her as she was giving a ton of instructions and I wanted to make sure they were all correct. (I second guess things a lot). The biggest thing to tell you is that we report at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. It's official.

Trigger away
Monday, May 8, 2006

Good news for me: last night we took the "trigger" shot which will cause my eggs to start to release. Bad news for me: the needles only held 3 ml and I had to take 9 ml which meant -- you guessed it! Three intra-muscular shots. Poor JB felt so bad. Afterwards, we counted. These were my 32nd, 33rd, and 34th shot in a two week period. My new shots of progesterone will start on Tuesday evening. These will continue for 2 weeks and an additional 8 weeks if I am pregnant. These things are supposed to be the grand-daddy of all shots. I have a friend currently taking them and she is tough! So when she tells me they are terrible, I get a little worried. They are also intra-muscular. Intra-muscular kinda sucks. Since we had to do three shots (2 in 1 thigh, 1 shot in the other thigh), I am currently not able to bend either one of my legs very much. I am quite a site right now.

So anyways, 34 shots, 5 ultrasounds, and 4 blood draws later have finally brought us to tomorrow morning at 6:30 a.m. The retrieval is timed perfectly so that we go in right as my eggs are about to release.

There are actually four women who will be doing IVF this week at Mayo Clinic, and I met one of the other women in the waiting room yesterday morning as we were both in on Saturday and Sunday morning for blood work and ultrasounds.

The last time I had a conversation with a woman in the lobby of the infertility center, I was sorry I did immediately. She had five children, then got her tubes tied, then divorced her husband, then remarried. Her new husband wanted a child of his own, so, because her insurance covered IVF and not tubal reversal, they opted for IVF. She said to me (and I quote), "I don't know how I could possibly handle all this if I had no children. At least I have my five in case this doesn't work." I nodded and smiled, obviously crushed.

It's hard when you have a fear. It's even harder when someone says that fear out loud. It's almost as if your fear has a "voice" and is "real." When no one says it, you can convince yourself that it is irrational and all in your head. But when someone says it, you realize that your fear is real. I have a fear of being alone. I have a fear of JB getting called to duty overseas and being in a strange place with no children to spend my days with. I remember once having someone tell me not to worry about JB getting called to duty because I would have children by then. To hear them say that out loud nearly crushed me even though their intentions were very good. When the fear was in my head it was safe. And suddenly, to hear it, it was real. IVF is hard because for us, without a miracle, this is our last opportunity. I feel that it is harder because we don't have any children to go home to. To hear someone say that out loud is even harder than feeling it inside.

This woman yesterday was a little gentler but still oblivious to the fact that we didn't have two children to go home to. She spoke of her two boys and the fact that she only wanted one more and so they were going to give IVF a try. She didn't even seem too concerned if it didn't work.

Now don't get me wrong. I have quite a few great friends (you know who you are) who have struggled with secondary infertility (infertility after you already have a child or children) and I truly believe that this is JUST as painful as primary infertility. Actually I believe that women who get pregnant easily with child #1 and THEN struggle (when they never saw the struggle coming) are hurting just as much as I am. People are less prone to offer you sympathy because "well you have one." They also can't avoid places where babies are present because they have another child to take to the park and the mall and what-not. To the opposite extreme, I think women who have difficulty conceiving #1 will often handle secondary infertility easier because they were prepared for its arrival. For instance, if we were to have a child, we would be prepared for difficulty with #2.

So I know IVF is just as important to these women as it is to me -- well, maybe not the woman who already had five, but you know what I mean. It's just that, to hear them say that they don't know how they would handle this without their children at home to comfort them -- that goes to my core.

Sorry, I don't mean to be a downer. I have a LOT of thoughts floating through my head right now, and they are coming in fairly random. I didn't really sleep much last night at all. JB was so sweet. Everytime I would start tossing and turning, he would just rub my back and talk me through my anxious mind.

Despite my had running a mile a minute, yesterday was a nice day. I did some work at Mayo and then we went over to the Rays and cooked out. Our good friends Tara and Sean, who are both on research and therefore equipped with quite a bit of free time, joined us. It was a great day with beautiful weather. Jb went and saw Mission Impossible-3 with Ron and his kids while I rested at home. He said it was great.

Today, both Jb and I have off. I plan to go into Mayo for a bit just to tie up some loose ends. We also plan to go to the beautiful chapel at St. Mary's at some point just to sit together and pray for awhile. We, of course, believe you can pray anywhere. But we both agreed we could use some quiet and peaceful time to spend together and with the Lord. (I previously captured some pictures of this chapel when we went to hear Tara play her flute there. You can check out this post to see the pictures of the chapel.)

Our 1% excitement and 99% scared feelings continue. Or is that 99% scared and 1% excited? Who the heck knows. I am weary but anxious for Tuesday, Friday, and the weeks that follow. Keep those prayers coming!!!

Thank you friends
Monday, May 8, 2006

I just wanted to post a quick thank you on my blog. Today has been one of the longest days of my life. I have cried many times and have taken a very healing nap! JB went out to get me the only thing I could think of to eat -- a grilled cheese sandwhich from Culver's and a fruit smoothie from Inta Juice. Unfortunately, when I am bothered by something, my appetite is the first to go and that is definitely the truth today. I am not hungry and nothing sounds good, and after midnight tonight, I can't eat again.

After just working a few hours at Mayo, I have been mostly at home today, resting, working on a scrapbook for English's graduation, doing a little work for RLS, and attempting a few chores as my body permits. JB is trying to help me by doing some laundry and cleaning up. Our house is not a pretty sight right now. But as I have been at home, every time I go to check my email, there is someone else sending me some sort of encouraging words, scriptures, a list of people they have asked to pray etc. I AM SO BLESSED by everyone's encouragement. I have heard from people I haven't heard from in months and years and people I have never met. I cannot even BEGIN to tell you what a comfort it is to know how many people are praying for us and this procedure.

If you think of it tonight, I would just ask you to pray for me to have peace. My biggest "peace-issue" has been the number we have chosen to fertilize: 14. I had always said that if we didn't end up with enough frozen, we could just go back and do this harvesting again. But after the last month of shots, migraines, stomach aches, pills, blood draws, and ultrasounds, I really don't feel like I could do this again. So this puts me in a panic. What if they fertilize 14 and only 1 takes or only 3 take? Of course, this is a non-issue. We picked 14 many months ago after much discussion, prayer, and thought. JB has assured me that no matter how much I second-guess things, he will not sign the paper to change the number! So that's that. And even if we did change it to, say, 20 ... what if all 20 fertilized? Then we have a whole 'NOTHER issue.

Of course, I KNOW this is all in the Lord's hands and I must give him this burden to carry, but, I am sure you all know how hard that can be to do. I am really not scared about the surgery. I am scared about being told the result, waiting to hear how the embryos are doing on Wednesday morning, and waiting the weeks that follow to find out whether the embryos implanted.

Anyways, the reason for my second post in one day (which is unusual even for me) is to say thank you. I have sat in front of my computer and just cried, so blessed by all the great words, prayers, scriptures, and encouragement. I can't write everyone back individually, but you know who you are, and thank you for your prayers and love.

I hope to post quickly before we leave early tomorrow morning. Again, thank you!

Today is the day!
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Wendi's alive! Whew! (I just wanted to assuage any fears you may have had)

So, this is John (a.k.a. JB). Wendi is resting now, so I have been given the responsibility to inform everyone of what took place. I'll take you through the morning, but if you just want the results, you can scroll down.

Here is a link to the original post so that you can see pictures.

So we arrived at the hospital at 6:20. We checked in and sat in the waiting room for about 10 minutes. Wendi's abdomen (no not the stomach - that's a digestive organ :) ) was pretty tender... I can't see why! They called her name, loaded her in a wheelchair (which she was very thankful for), and we were taken to our room.

We hung out in the room for about 3 minutes before the nurse came in and asked Wendi a barrage of questions: any allergies to meds? any prior surgeries? any adverse reactions to anesthesia? where is kuala lumpur? rate your current pain? etc...

Then they took her temp, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate, and then they took her to the pre-operative area. Now Wendi did not quite understand what was actually happening. She thought she was going to talk to the anesthesiologist and then come back to the room. I knew she was leaving for good, so I was a little surprised when she left without saying a word. I was putting something in her bag, looked up, and the room was empty. Now, I was really okay with that, but Wendi found herself being assigned a new bed in the pre-op area, and was like, "Ummm, am I going to see my husband before I have the surgery?" That is why I got called to pre-op about five minutes after I was abandoned.

I went down there and saw Wendi looking perplexed and worried saying "I won't be getting a general anesthesia?" She saw me and said, "I don't want to feel or remember anything!" The anesthesiology tech said that she would be getting more than a light sedation, but not as strong as general - basically completely out of it, but not needing to be intubated (breathing tube).

Wendi said she doesn't remember much. Being wheeled into the OR. Everyone talking to her and messing with tubes and stuff. A really sweet OB/Gyn resident holding her hand. Seeing the doctor. The anesthesiologist saying that he was going to make her more comfortable. Waking up in the hallway wheeling back to the room... and me! :)

Post-op. Wendi had to eat and drink before they would let her take a pain pill. The meds were still in her system, because she doesn't remember eating anything at all - but this toast is the proof!

We waited in the room for quite a while. Wendi was in and out of sleep for about an hour. The nurses came and took her vitals and said the doctor would be there in about 20 minutes. About an hour after that, the doctor came, apologized for being late and gave us the number of eggs retrieved....

Drumroll please...

21 eggs retrieved! We were hoping for at least 14, so this was great! I'll let Wendi explain the rest of the process when she is feeling up to it.

The doctor left, Wendi got dressed, and I rolled her downstairs. Tara, a classmate of mine (and a really good friend to Wendi), is on her research block, so she had some free time to pick us up to drive us home. However, Wendi said she needed to make a food run for some Chinese first.

(Oh - and Kuala Lumpur is in Malaysia.)

Wendi returns
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Well I am back posting on my blog. I saw JB's post. Didn't he do a great job? I truly don't remember him taking that picture of me eating toast, but I suppose, if it's there, it did happen. Other than that, there isn't much more I can tell you that he didn't already cover.

I can tell you about how yesterday went after we got home. Our lovely friend Tara drove us home, and then Kelsey stopped by around 1:30. I had a long conversation with Kelsey, and I was feeling great. Midway through talking to Kelsey, I started to fall asleep while sitting up. I went to lie down and slept from 2:00-6:00. I talked to my mom on the phone and my buddy Kristi, all the while feeling pretty good.

And then the pain took off! JB said they shoot air into me when they are doing their thing, and it was causing intense cramping -- at least a 6 or 7 on the infamous pain scale. Add to that that they actually have to cut me open, and I guess that explains my discomfort. To make matters worse, I could only lay on my left side. My right side caused cramping when I tried that and my back was not even slightly possible. Only a seat in our recliner really turned the cramping down a few knotches.

Around 8:00 JB gave me first shot of the progesterone, and I almost passed out. I still am not sure why. It didn't hurt that bad, but I was just having trouble standing and taking deep breaths due to the cramping, and I felt like I was going down. Poor JB had to help me with everything.

My night was quite long. I woke up about every two hours to go to the bathroom and take another pain pill. However, by about 3:00 this morning, the pain broke slightly, and I was even able to sleep on my right side some. Right now it is about 7:45, and I am feeling considerably better. I may try to do a few things at work, but I will just have to see how I am feeling after lunch.

I will update again in a few hours when we get an update ourselves on how our embryos are doing. Keep praying for those tiny little embryos to fertilize!!!

*****

UPDATE: Well .... our results are in. We have a total of 6 embryos out of 14 that fertilized. Now if you remember, I was praying for 8 to 10 so this was a little dissapointing for me. JB is not really dissapointed at all. He was very happy with the 6. As he has said from the beginning, "The Lord knows best." If we are to get twins the first time, 4 more waiting will seem like a lot. So on Friday, they will put 2 in me, and we will have 4 frozen if everything goes as planned.

Now, where our update gets intersting is that when the doctor called and told me the results, he also told me they used ICSI. ICSI stands for: "Intracytoplasmic sperm injection." Basically, not only do I not ovulate correctly, but it appears something is "wrong" with the sperm as well. We aren't sure exactly what this means, and the doctor said he would give us more information when he sees us on Friday, but to make a long story short, when they put the eggs and the sperm together after the retrieval, they didn't fertilize!!! We had agreed beforehand that if ICSI was necessary they could use ICSI. ICSI means that they take one sperm and one egg and basically FORCE them together. However, we NEVER realistically thought that that would be the case. All the tests had come back great for John since the moment we started this process. But Dr. C said that the only way we would discover this "Sperm binding" problem is to actually do IVF. It wouldn't show up on any of the tests.

I took that a little hard and cried quite a bit. JB couldn't figure out why I was crying. I explained to him that basically, all of our attempts at artificial insemination were pointless. If we DID get the right number of eggs, it didn't really matter because they weren't fertilizing anyway! Ugh! Now of course, my reasonable husband said, "What does that matter now? We are doing IVF now and with ICSI, none of that matters." This is very true. He also said he was almost glad because now, when I got upset, I couldn't tell him to "leave me and go find a fertile wife" (which I have said a few times)! Now, the problem is shared.

So that's all I know right now. The transfer of 2 of these 6 embryos will be on Friday and we will have 2 additional chances after that. Like I said, I had hoped for more, but we have to trust the Lord that 6 is a perfect number for us. Even though I am a tad dissapointed, we could have ended up with none fertilized so 6 is good. :)

Time is set for Friday
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Update: The nurse called and they have moved my time back to 6:30 a.m. I also talked to her how about I was still not feeling well. I went to work today but only for about three hours before I was too tired and hurting too much. She said that because I had so many eggs, my ovaries are very swollen which is why I am still so uncomfortable.

I also wanted to answer two questions that I have been asked a lot.

The first is when will we know if this worked. The answer is about 2 weeks -- around May 26th or 27th.

The second question is if I will be on bed rest at all. This is kind of a "debate" in IVF circles. There is no required bed rest, however, I will pretty loopy after this procedure (they give me meds to relax me), and I plan to try to take Friday at least and stay off of my feet. I will also try to stay off my feet for most of Saturday as well. They say it can't hurt even though it might not necessarily help. I also have a lot of restrictions over the two weeks that follow until the pregnancy test including no vacuuming, no lifting, no exercise etc.

Either JB or myself will try to update some time tomorrow although there won't be too much to report. We will simply see them drop the embryos in and then wait!

I'm sorry that all my posts are about IVF stuff lately. I promise that eventually, our blog will begin to offer some extended variety. Maybe, just for my cousin Josh, I can get JB to make some comments on peanut butter again. Josh really seemed to bond with that post.

But I won't be talking about IVF and infertility everyday. In fact, our friend Bara has promised to do a guest blog next week. But for right now, IVF is really the only thing I think about and so, that obviously comes out in my writing.

We got the message on Wednesday afternoon. 7:00 a.m. Friday it is. We go in first thing Friday morning to transfer 2 little embryos into my womb. We will actually do this as an ultrasound image is up on the screen so we will actually see the embryos dropped in. How awesome is that?

What's hard to believe is that those 6 embryos are fertilized babies! It is so hard to remember. As JB said, as of Friday, he is saying that I am officially pregnant. Of course I am not pregnant unless the embryos hang on. We just need those two little embryos to stick to the wall. They have ONE job -- STICK! I am thinking they can pull through and do this for us. But we, technically, have six little children. It's all so surreal.

I spend quite a bit of time on Hannah's Prayer. It is an online discussion board for all aspects of infertility. When I posted my results today, I was a little down, but Jenny Saaki who is the founder of Hannah's Prayer wrote me this quick post: "Wendi, congratulations on being a Mommy 6 times over! Praying for you and these precious little lives." I also got all kinds of other encouragement including: "I am really sorry about the surprising news in the middle of all of this Cycle!!! However I prefer to look at the brighter side... Six is a great number!!!! Congs on your precious babies. Praying for' you, dh and your precious babies!!!" Another post read: "God bless you Wendi. Still hoping and praying for your success with this IVF. As hard as it is, please try to not focus on all the details. It is easier said than done, and I certainly did not practice what I am preaching to you. Try as hard as you can to let go and let God." And then, "Praying for you and your six little ones -- it's an incredible feeling to know that you and your husband have children!!! Focus on that this week."

These comments were amazing to me. Do we have children right now? In a sense, yes. As I said, it's quite a confusing feeling actually knowing we have already conceived.

Weird.

I don't know why but seeing these posts made me cry. (Well most everything is making me cry lately). I've never been pregnant, never been a mom, and for the first time, I feel so overwhelmed with these 6 embryos. JB and I are not selfish. If out of the six, we conceive one time, I will be blessed beyond measure. One is plenty for me. We always wanted a lot of children. JB's senior "prophecy" said that he and his wife Wendi would have a house full of little "Robbie's" (Robbie is JB's youngest brother). Now I don't want my daughter to look like Robbie or anything (no offense Robbie), but just one child and not a houseful would make my heart rest.

Sometimes I wish that I didn't want this quite so badly. Sometimes I wish that I was just okay with a family of two. But I want it more than anything. I remember one of my aunts telling me when I got married that there were two occasions in your life that you would remember forever: your wedding and the birth of your child/ren. I remember thinking: what if I never get to experience that? Of course, I know I am blessed with my wonderful husband, but we so want to include our own flesh and blood in the equation. At one of my bridal showers someone gave me a baby bootie and told me I'd get the other one and find out who knitted it, when we had our first child. I want to get that other bootie.

I know the Lord has us in the palm of His hand. I know He will take care of us and bring us to a place of peace. Please pray that I have peace over the next few weeks. I just want peace and I want to be positive. It is hard to be positive when you are scared. You want to be positive but don't want to get your hopes up. How do you do all of that? I don't know.

I just know I am so blessed by all the people praying. Please keep praying for me and our 6 embryos. Also pray that I am positive and upbeat and quit trying to protect my heart by not getting hopeful. I was talking to a great friend today -- all the non-hoping won't stop your heart from hurting when disappointment comes along so why not hope and be positive.

Thanks for loving, encouraging, and praying. It means the world to me. Thanks for listening to my words and understanding. This blog is very healing to me. Even if no one else reads it, to be able to see my growth through the storm is so wonderful.

We are off
Friday, May 12, 2006

Last night I posted on Hannah's Prayer asking for some feedback on how a transfer works. I got a lot of comments and advice and stories. Here is what I think I know:
  • I know we have to be there at 6:30 a.m.
  • I know I am not supposed to empty my bladder (but have been advised by my posting friends to empty a little if I can).
  • I know that JB can come in with me.
  • I know that we are going into an operating room.
  • I know they are giving me drugs that will leave me awake but quite a blonde!
  • I know we will be able to see our two fresh embryos on the monitor. (I cannot WAIT for this).
  • I know that I am going to eat chocolate oreo cookie blizzard tonight to celebrate (I have been off desserts for quite awhile).
  • I know that for the two weeks that follow I am on a lot of restrictions, and I will gladly follow all of them. I am not even allowed to vacuum!
  • I know that my stomach is currently VERY sore. I have been told this can take a few weeks to get better as my ovaries are very swollen and need to return to normal size.
  • I know I am already tired of lying on the couch. I am not a couch potato. The next two weeks of minimal activity will not be easy so I plan to jog to relieve the stress. HA HA! Gotcha there, huh? I'm just kidding. No exercise. And even if I wanted to, I can't. My hubby yells if I walk too fast! :)
  • I know that I am worried this will really hurt because my stomach is so sore already.
  • I know I will get to talk to the doctor and get an update on our embryos and our surprising sperm issue.
  • I know I have the best hubby in the world. He has been waiting on me all week and has really taken care of me. I know that he loves me despite the fact that I, well, we both have infertility issues! Imagine that.
  • I know I am very excited!
Thank you for all the positive comments yesterday. I am trying to be positive, faith-filled, and hopeful. Sometimes it is hard because I am scared, but I know that the Lord is faithful and He knows the desire of our hearts. I also know we have a LOT more than two people praying, and I am also blessed that we have a total of 3 tries. I have so much to be thankful for. Great friends, family, Savior, husband, the finances to do this, being at Mayo. And that's just the icing.

I think, since I will pretty doped up, that JB will update the blog when we return home sometime toward lunch. I think our good buddie Tara (a.k.a. "the chauffeur") will pick us up again. Yo Tara! You rock.

I also wanted to share one email we received this past week. We have received tons of emails filled with thoughts, prayers, and encouragement. They were all great. I got an email from my grandparents yesterday that made me laugh so hard as they told me that they were too OLD to wait TWO weeks for the results! I was just rolling. I know G & G!!! I am too old for it too. Isn't it HORRENDOUS!?!?! What's with that anyways. When I told my friend this she was impressed that my grandparents are on the computer and checking a blog. You two are younger than you know! Even our friend Sean, who's in his 20's didn't know what a blog is.

Speaking of Sean, I got an email from our friend Sean too; it was not only comforting but hilarious. I thought I would share it with you here as I close and head out.

Hi Kits!
Just wanted to say hello and wish you the very best today. I pray that everything goes smoothly. One of the neat parts about medicine is getting to meet parents and kids of all different kinds. I know that you will be two of the very best parents and your children will be loved dearly and very lucky to have you as parents. (And so, without further delay, I'm filling out the paper work so that you could adopt me.)
: )
Peace, Sean

Now, I won't even add here that Sean reminded us the other day that he wasn't even able to drive when we started dating and has made numerous comments about us being old. I know that isn't what he meant. Right Sean?

Okay, back to the hospital. Hopefully this will be the last time for at least nine months!!!!

We are back (by the blonde)
Saturday, May 13, 2006

Well, this is Wendi and we are back. JB was going to write but decided that getting me food was more important. I am hungry! And I need my blizzard!

Where do I start? Well I guess I start with getting to the hospital. I walked across the street to Baldwin where we picked up a wheelchair and traveled the rest of the way to admissions.

If you would like to see some photos of this day, you can click here to go back to the original post.

We got to our room. This was actually the room next to the room we had on Tuesday. JB said he was glad. That other room was bad luck. He went into it fertile and went out of it infertile. Or so we thought ... keep reading for more information on the whole "JB has a sperm issue" issue.

Lesley and Tia came to visit. Tia was just getting off overnight call on OB. Lesley was just coming on her shift. Tia told us to page her when we got in, we did, and they came right over. It was great to have some visitors while we waited to get started.

Then, they gave me a vallium. This was quite an amazing drug and this picture below kind of cracks me up. I was feeeling quite relaxed when this photo was taken. I really don't have a clear recollection of this photo. I was falling asleep continually and kept getting woken up to check my arm band, answer questions, etc. I was also excited when I saw that same lovely OBGYN resident that was with me on Tuesday. JB said I told her how much I liked her.

We were wheeled into the operating room, and they started prepping me for the procedure. Now here's where things get interesting. The embryologist came in and he explained that we had 9 eggs fertilize, 3 didn't make it possibly from a sperm binding issue, but the other 6 that fertilized did NOT require ICSI.

Of course, JB was asking all these questions. We discussed the questions I wanted answered ahead of time because I knew I couldn't remember it after I took the drugs. So JB told the embryologist that Dr. C had told us they had to use ICSI. The embryologist went to talk with Dr. C who came back in apologized. He was wrong! They hadn't used ICSI at all! There was no sperm issue! We still aren't exactly sure about all this and might talk to the doctor about this again in the future, but JB, now says that our new room is good luck because he came in infertile and left fertile! Holy cow!

The actual procedure was relatively painless and fast. They put a test catheter in which didn't hurt at all because I had had the cervical dilation. Then they called the embryologist. He comes in with our two embryos and we get to WATCH THEM FALL INTO MY WOMB! This was so much more emotional than I could have ever imagined. Maybe it was just the drugs but I started SOBBING, and I think even JB was pretty moved. Then they went in and checked to make sure that the embryos didn't stick to the tube. When the embryologist says "all clear", we are done!

Then they wheeled us back to the room.

So now I am home. We actually took the wheelchair back home around 10:30 instead of having Tara pick us up although Tara came over to hang out for a bit. We talked for awhile and then I fell asleep while Tara was there. I didn't wake up until after 3:00. I had a bout of nausea but it passed and otherwise I am doing well.

We are very excited and amazed. They spoke with me a lot about good positive thinking, reducing stress, etc. so we are really working on this. We have some cognitive therapy CD's that will help me relax over the next two weeks before we go in for the pregnancy test to see if those little babies stuck.

We were blessed with flowers from my buddy Kristi -- "A peace lilly to give us peace" and some flowers from the RLS Foundation at what they pray is my "first of many mother's days". Wow! We also got a gift from our friend Bara today. Bara it is soooo cool. I think it is a Syrian wedding garment for me and JB? Is that right Bara? JB said he wants you to give him some more history of the gift.

THANK YOU FOR all the emails and scriptures. They are great! While I haven't able to respond to everyone, we are so blessed ...

Mish Mosh
Saturday, May 13, 2006

Click here to see the pictures referred to in the post below.

Well there are so many things to share, that I am not exactly sure where I should start today. So, excuse the randomness of this blog. I just don't have the energy to strive for too much of a theme today.

I guess I can start with that, my energy. After lying down the WHOLE day yesterday, I have found that walking to the bathroom now gets me out of breath. I wanted to try and stay down all day today but am growing frustrated with that idea. So I am sitting and lying a lot, but trying to take some occasional field trips. About a half hour ago I took a field trip to the garbage chute down the hall. Good times! I also took a field trip to the kitchen to take a picture of the flowers we have received.

Speaking of flowers, the tulips are out in full bloom here in Minnesota. On our way to the hospital on Tuesday, JB took this picture of the tulips. Aren't they beautiful? He took a picture of me in front of them, but I feel that they are prettier without me in the photo considering my disheveled look.

Speaking of the tulips, they are having a hard time right now. They are having a hard time because it FREEZING here! I mean, it is seriously, freezing. They said we were going to have snow flurries last night. Snow flurries. On May 12. Our superintendent, Ed, told us that they turn on the air conditioning in the building from May 15-September 15. I realized that the air is on a measly FOUR MONTHS and the heat is on for EIGHT. Are you kidding me? To make matters worse, Ed came by to tell us that due to the snow, they were delaying the start of the air. Unbelievable.

Okay, all this talk about cold got me to thinking about the best cold there is! Yes, you guessed it. A Dairy Queen blizzard with chocolate ice cream and double oreos. Can't beat it. Like I had said yesterday, I have not been eating desserts. My friend Kelsey decided to do this with me and made it, like four days. She came in to work and told me she blew it. I figured, "Oh, she grabbed a tiny chocolate bar and ate it." NO! She blew it with a blizzard! That requires getting in your car and driving to the ice cream shop. I don't consider that "blowing it"; I consider that "carefully planning to blow it."

Well, back to my blizzard which was definitely a pre-calculated "blowing it".

Speaking of crappy food, JB and I have been eating a lot of it. There is something about being at the hospital two out of five days and requiring the chef (a.k.a. JB) to also be the dishwasher (a.k.a. used to be Wendi but is now JB) that brings out the fast food in us. However, the night before my second procedure, the amount of quick eating had gotten to us both, and JB decided to make a great fruit salad.

Speaking of old people, I have gained a new respect with how frustrating it is to not be able to walk fast. It takes me FOREVER to get from place to place. The scenery is the same for so long, I just can't wait for a change. JB says he is getting weary of walking with "Pokey Wendi". I am hoping getting out of the house will help renew me energy. We will see.

Mish Mosh signing off. Adios!

Happy Mother's Day
Sunday, May 14, 2006

Well last night we decided to go over to Ron & Ebby Ray's house to watch a movie, have dinner, and just hang out. It was good for me to get a change of scenery and lay on a different couch. I seriously do not know how people go on long-term bed rest like our friend Kristen Spielman during her last pregnancy. Just two days, and I really can't take it.

Well of course, the obvious is that today is Mother's Day, and of course, I have to wish my mother, JB's mother, and all of our grandparents a Happy Mother's Day. As usual, JB and I do not attend church on Mother's Day. For one thing, our church combines Mother's Day with baby dedication Sunday -- neither of these are an easy thing to be a part of. You want to remember your own Mother, but when they are giving flowers to all the mothers and they leave you out, it can be difficult. Or when the whole service is about the joys of motherhood, it can hit a nerve.

What's so weird is that this year, we might possibly already be parents. We sort of, are, already parents. My Aunt Janet wrote me an email and told me that she couldn't call our embryos "embryos" and had to call them "babies". I repeated this to JB, and he said that he felt the same way. They are children. So we are parents. Nonetheless, we decided to stay home. We wanted to do something outdoors today but the weather is so cold and rainy that we instead may catch a movie or something else together, to celebrate our wonderful marriage and our hopeful "babies". STICK GUYS STICK!

I also wanted to add a thank you to my wonderful husband JB. While I write this, he is cleaning up the kitchen, doing the dishes, and cleaning up my messes. He has waited on me hand and foot during the last week without one complaint. He said that if he didn't have to work, he could totally be a "house dad/husband" which kind of cracked me up. However, tomorrow, when we both try to go back to work, things will get a little challenging so pray that I get the strength to do things and that he has the patience to help me over the next few weeks.

Blastocyst news
Monday, May 15, 2006

As I had explained earlier, we currently have three frozen embryos. They froze 3 and kept out 3 embryos, 2 of which they transferred on Friday. The weakest of the three is labeled a "blastocyst", and if it survives, they freeze it. Blastocysts have higher implantation rates as they are "further developed".

We had been told in the operating room on Friday that our blastocyst was "not doing cartwheels." I called today to check on it and spoke with the embryologist. He told me that the blastocyst had died over the weekend. He was very kind and explained everything to me knowing that this was not easy to hear.

Now this is something that happens inside a woman all the time. Eggs fertilize and don't make it, and we are told that what is happening in the lab is what would happen inside of me. However, it is still very surreal and I unexpectedly started crying -- not only that it had died but that we now only have 3 frozen instead of our hopeful 4.

If you write me or talk to or call me, please just remind me to focus on the 2 we have right now inside of me. I do not need to be worrying about something that we may not use for years and something completely out of my control. I know that, and the few people I have talked to today have reminded me of that. I have one job: be positive, upbeat, encouraged, happy, etc. Okay, maybe that is more than one job, but you get my point. We must look forward.

Akeelah and the Bee
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of Joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30

On Sunday as promised, JB and I found something completely un-Mother's Day like to do. We try to avoid any place that we will find flowers on blouses ... and a dark movie theater, after considering the alternative: outdoor activities in cold and rainy weather, was perfect.

I wanted to see something upbeat with a happy ending. That left Poseidon as a no-go. It's a re-do so obviously, we know how it ends. It also left the 911 movie as a no-go. Unfortunately, the ending to that movie has also been written. So after crossing out "downers", it all came down to Ice Age II or Akeelah and the Bee. JB loves the website: Rotten Tomatoes which presents an overview from movie reviewers across the United States. This website definitely favored Akeelah, so we had lunch over at Ajit and Sujit's house (their aunt was visiting and promised great Indian food. She did not dissapoint) and then headed to see the movie.

First of all, it was a GREAT movie. I strongly suggest it for people of all ages. You will love it. Every teacher should show this movie in their classroom. However, despite the happy ending, when the movie was over I started crying, pretty hard. We thought we avoided that by avoiding the "downer" movies and here I was, seriously, crying ... hard. It took me quite a few minutes to put into words what that movie made me feel and share it with JB.

One of the sub-themes of this movie is grief, and mid-way through the movie, I was hit with quite a strong epiphany. I realized that no matter how our own personal story turns out, what I am dealing with is grief. Obviously, you can't compare grief. Each situation is completely different. However, what we are dealing with is, quite simply, grief. I have mentioned before that I had a lot of guilt when the Tsunami hit that I was so busy worrying about my empty womb when mothers had lost children. My Aunt Jan put me in my place when she wrote, "You can't compare that grief. Those mothers got to hold their babies and you haven't." This hit me quite hard, and I realized that while the grief is different, my grief is justified and fair.

If I were a mother who lost a child due to illness or an accident, that would be the end of the story. There is no getting that child back. The child is gone. Forever. I would not be able to pray for things to change. Things would be as things were and I would have to learn to live with my grief, heal from my grief, and replace my grief. My grief would never dissapear, but through faith and hard work, I would grow and survive.

The truth is, EVERYONE dies. EVERY SINGLE PERSON, unless Jesus returns before they die, will die. And for nearly everyone who dies, people are left behind to grieve and to learn to deal with that grief.

In my situation, the grief is slightly different because I am believing that my grief will actually be eliminated. However, I realized (and for some reason, this hit me during, of all things, Akeelah and the Bee), that however this turns out (and don't begin to think I am losing hope and faith), we are dealing with grief. That grief requires acknowledgement, education, and healing. Something that JB and I have been working on together. That grief requires knowing that no matter what, we will survive.

We have all seen people eaten up by their grief. I am saying right now that I REFUSE to be one of these people. I have so many wonderful things in my life. I REFUSE to let grief run my life. That is not to say that I will not have rough times when the grief is powerful. However, I will take that grief and learn from it and heal from it.

Yesterday, when we got the news on our blastocyst, I got very upset. Then I realized that this is grief, and while it is okay to grieve, the morning brings new prespective. JB was so wonderful. When I got home we put on one of our relaxation CDs that the psychiatrist recommended. It was awesome. 45 minutes later I woke up with JB long gone and the CD over. I don't remember making it through ridding the tension from my shoulders!!! If you have stress, I can recommend some GREAT CDs. I woke up feeling wonderfully refreshed.

Speaking of that grief which we are believing, may very soon turn to joy, I have had many questions about our "sticky babies" as my friend Tara playfully called them. JB and I have lovingly adopted this phrase. We felt we needed to call these embryos something more than embryos so now they are sticky babies. Has a ring don't you think?

I wanted to take a few quick moment to answer some of the questions I have been getting:

1. Will you use all of your embryos? Absolutely. That is the reason we only fertilized 14 instad of all 21 eggs. We consider each sticky baby, a baby.

2. What if something were to happen to you before the embryos were used? This would be up to JB. He could choose to either donate these to another set of parents via the snowflake program or ask a surrogate to carry our children. Being as they are 100% him and I, I would imagine he would lean toward the latter, but since I will be dead, I really won't speak much on this.

3. What if something were to happen to JB before the embryos were used? I would use all the remaining embryos. No question.

4. What if something were to happen to BOTH of you before the embryos were used? The embryos would be left to my brother in my will. We have asked that he donate these embryos to the snowflake program for a chance in the womb of a couple unable to use their own sperm or eggs or both. Many couples have a problem with both of them or they would prefer to have a child 100% not their's genetically instead of half their's genetically.

5. Will you ever do a "retrieval" (egg harvest) again? At the beginning of the IVF journey, they encourage you to come up with a "game plan". Our current game plan (which we reserve the right to change) is that if we do not conceive with our five sticky babies, we will attempt to stay at Mayo for residency and attempt another retrieval. We have not set an end limit on how many attempts we would make. That would be based on much prayer and discussion with the doctor. If we conceive ONE time, we feel that we would probably not do IVF again. If we only had one child and were out of embryos, I do not think I would be quick to go through egg harvesting again. If we wanted to grow our familiy, we would consider adoption if we had had one child.

6. When will you know if this transfer worked? I will have the results to share on May 28th.

7. How soon would you return for the additional embryos? We have no immediate leanings on this. If it does not work, I would imagine we would return for 2 more sticky babies fairly quickly. If it does work, we will return when we feel we are ready to add to our family again, probably 1-2 years from now.

8. Will you continue this blog after IVF? I have NO plans to stop this blog. In fact I look forward to it changing directions slightly when we add one or two children to our family in nine months.

I hope that clears up some of your questions and let's you in my new epiphany of grief. I know many of you out there are dealing with your own grief for a variety of reasons. The Lord is with us in grief and will be with us always. He will be with us and in the morning, he promises joy.

IVF UPDATE
Thursday, May 18, 2006

Well back from my blog day off (although it really wasn't a day off as I wrote for Bara's blog). But I thought I would update you with how I am doing.

Mainly, we are, well, waiting.

And waiting.

And not so patiently waiting.

I spent the weekend pretty laid out and was concerned about being able to get through an entire day of work on Monday. My pain was good, but I was just very out of breath whenever I walked. However, by the end of Monday, I felt really good.

By Tuesday, I felt nearly completely back to my old self. I still have to walk pretty gingerly and slow, and I am on a lot of restrictions (including no vacuuming! Shucks!) However, I feel good, and we are just patiently awaiting getting the results.

The worst part now is the nightly intramuscular shots in my lower back/upper gluteus. As I mentioned before, these are known to be killers. I am now 7 days into the shots and understanding why these things are so infamous among IVF women. The first few were okay, but the problem is, each shot leaves a bruise both on the muscle underneath the skin and the surface of the skin. John tries to find a new place each evening, but the shots from day one haven't healed yet so we are quickly running out of new places to take these things. It now hurts to lie on my back or lean against a chair -- it's difficult to imagine another week, and if we are pregnant, another nine weeks. But I'll make it through. JB says that each night when he mentions the shot, my face immediately goes into "pouty mode". I try not to complain, but they are not fun. Ebby Ray stopped over tonight to pick something up and, as Ebby is always trying to learn something new, wanted to see how JB gave me the shots. Yes, Ebby has now seen my rear end.

JB and I are really working hard to stay close and keep the stress low. I am now helping around the house more, but he is still helping make decisions and helping to alleviate pressure from me. Yesterday afternoon, he picked me up at lunchtime, and we went to our favorite nature preserve, sat on a bridge over a babbling brook (It was really babbling, and no, it wasn't named after me all you sarcastic family members) and ate our lunch. It was 71 degrees, and we just soaked in the amazing sunshine and talked about nothing related to infertility whatsoever.

Speaking of the weather, as much as I complain in the Winter, I thought it only fair to Rochester to applaud it on the back for it's late Spring and Summer. This time of year always helps me completely understand why south Florida is filled with people who live half the year in the north and half the year in the south. It is so beautiful here right now and as the summer wears on, it stay light longer and longer each evening. Right now it is nearly 8:30 before the sun goes down and come Summer time, it will be pushing 10:00!!!! I cannot wait. JB keeps saying if he was a kid living in Minnesota, he would have loved how long he could be outside this time of year (forgetting he couldn't even go outside for the rest of the year in fear of losing his nose or a toe).

Speaking of (I love that phrase "speaking of" if you can't tell -- it is such a great transition) ... living in the north or the south, I was wondering what I talked like. Being as I grew up with parents from the north, I always had a Chicago twang, However, then I moved to Kentucky and became country and now I have the midwest thrown in. So I took a little quiz and discovered, well, I discovered nothing. I was just as mixed up as I thought I was with a little bit of everything. But if you want to see what you are, you can take theYankee or Redneck quiz.

Keep the prayers coming. Tomorrow, JB will blog hi-jack with something about animal domestication. Hopefully tomorrow will come soon -- one day closer to getting our results.

P.S. The American Idol finalists have been named. JB's girlfriend Kat McPhee and our grey-haired Taylor Hicks are in. They split the votes -- 33% point something each and Elliot went home. I can see why the votes were so split. I really liked all three although I am pulling for Taylor and still sulking that America didn't come through for Chris!! Oh well. Tune in next week to see who pulls it off. I even have my MOTHER hooked on American Idol.

Happy Birthday to Me!
Monday, May 22, 2006

Well Monday morning is here and, so is the beginning of my 29th year on this earth. I woke up to a card and a gift certificate to the scrapbooking store! JB said I totally blew his gift by using my gift certificate from my boss for the jeans he wanted to buy me. But the scrapbooking gift is great. This afternoon Tara is taking me to lunch at Jaspers. I love that place and she has never been. It is a tiny little restaurant set up to mimic a Parisian cafe. One of my favorites. Then this evening we will watch the finale of 24 and have dinner with a few friends. Should be fun.

We had a wonderful weekend, and I was so busy blogging about JB being a stinker and Matt graduating that I really didn't tell you anything about it.

Friday after work, we decided to use the gift certificate I got from the post-docs I worked for and go to Broadstreet Cafe. It was fantastic. We actually went with Danny & Kelsey as she had been raving about that place. Their raving was for good reason. We had a wonderful time. Afterwards, JB and I were planning on going and seeing Over the Hedgebut dinner was quite an "experience" and we ran out of time. JB got the "Chef's Sampler" where the chef sends out small bits of a bunch of favorites. I had also been planning on breaking my dessert "fast" when we went here as well and boy was it worth it. You actually have to order dessert with your meal so the pastry chef can work on it during dinner. Great stuff people. Expensive stuff, but great stuff.

Saturday morning we woke up and decided to venture into ... the guest room! JB has been doing a lot of construction and so this room was a construction zone. However, we are about to have a bunch of company come into town and the room needed to be cleaned. Josh and Sarah are coming for labor day, the Wilsons are coming for English's graduation, and my dad is coming for a two week visit during his summer holiday so the space needed to be made available.

We got about halfway through the construction zone cleaning, then I went and got my haircut, and then we went and had lunch by a pond in our favorite nature preserve especially enjoying watching a baby goose with his parents. Unfortunately, the 70 degree temperatures were wearing away by then from some rain clouds, and I was a little chilly so we headed back home.

I decided to do my relaxation CD again in the afternoon to try and clear my mind (which is a jumbled up place). Again, I failed to make it through the 2nd of 5 exercises! I was out. For two hours I was out!!! We woke up, played two games of scrabble, and watchedAmerica's Funniest Video's 350th episode which we had taped on Friday night. The "Quad Squad" won the $250,000 grand prize. It was a video with four, well, quads, laughing uncontrollably. Not really that funny. However, when you see the girls now, all grown up, it became obvious that these were IDENTICAL quads. I am not sure what the odds of identical quadruplets (which means the embryo split THREE times) but it was quite amazing to see.

Saturday evening we were invited over to the Philps for a fantastic Indian meal. As always, everyone eats with their hands. (Not only Karuna but the adults as well). I have yet to succeed in this feat so I stick to my fork. It hasn't failed me yet. Karuna was very excited to see us, and we enjoyed her continual copying of every word you say. There is NOTHING she will not say now, and it makes for a very entertaining evening. She had her feet up on the table and Melissa told her that her Dad was going to get upset. JB said, "What is Christo the bad cop?" Karuna then began saying, "Cop, cop, cop." Too cute! She is growing up way too fast.

Sunday morning, JB was ushering at church so we had to be there a little early. Aftewards, I went to work at Mayo for about an hour and a half, we returned to the park for lunch, and then headed back home. More office cleaning and laundry ensued.

All of that brings us to Monday, my birthday! I am doing well and excited to get our results and share them with you. Keep checking the blog. May 28th it is.

I am now at the last age before 30
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

To see pictures from this post, please click here to see the blog as it was originally written.

Well, 29 is officially here. I don't feel much different. Although the waitress yesterday asked me how old I am. When I told her I was 29 she said, "Oh yeah, me too." She thought I was being sarcastic! (Me?!) I realized that 29 is kinda the age everyone says they are from the time they are 29 until the time they are like, 99, so I had to tell her that Ireally am 29.

The waitress was at Jaspers. I went out to lunch with Tara, and she gave me a book by the same author as The Notebook. Very excited about that. Tara really liked Jaspers which I was glad about. Since it is my favorite lunch spot, it's important that people I would actually want to go to lunch with, like it as much as me. I got something new -- some sort of flat pizza. It was awesome.

I picked up cookies from City Cafe on my way to RLS as it is customary that the birthday-girl bring treats on her own birthday at RLS. Kind of a backwards and fun tradition. So I brought in cookies only to find that some of the women had gotten me a very chocolate ice cream cake which they didn't tell me about until I had dug into the cookies. So needless to say I am a little desserted out.

I was taking a break from my dessert fast for my birthday. However, the amount of dessert I consumed yesterday is beyond what you can fathom. When I came home, we had the Jones and Yuans (and Tara joined us later) over to watch the season finale of 24 -- and geez that show is frustrating. Doesn't even give Jack one day off before it sets things up for next year.

Back to dessert, Leslie bought me a Dairy Queen Oreo Cookie Blizzard cake. OH MY GOSH! The thing was AWESOME! So I consumed even more dessert for my birthday.

JB started internal medicine this week. This means he will be on call. This means that I need someone else to give me my shots in the evening. So Lesley and Tara took a lesson from JB last night (and yes, they have seen my rear end now as well.)

Onto an IVF update, there is not much to report. We continue to wait. You think you see signs that you are pregnant but is that what they are? Who the heck knows. So instead, you continue to wait. We decided how the nurses will tell us. They are going to page JB, he will leave the hospital, call me, and meet me at home. Then we will call them back together. Unfortunately, my nurse, Ruthie, will not be in the day we get the call. She was disappointed about this and said she would definitely call in to find out my results.

My Grama Huisman sends me a card every birthday covered in Bible verses and stickers and encouragement. If you are related to Grama, you know these cards very well, and like me, treasure them dearly. This year she included two bookmarks with a poem on them. I wanted to include these on my blog because they were both so appropriate for the journey (and wait) we are currently on.

As I close with this, please continue to pray for us (as so many of you have told me you are.) It is so comforting to know how many people have called out to our Lord on our behalf. I know he is listening and am very hopeful that we will get a GOOD REPORT! Stay tuned ... if you are frustrated with the wait, you can imagine how frustrated and anxious WE are with the wait.

Don't Quit
Don't quit when the tide is lowest,
For it's just about to turn.
Don't quit over doubts and questions,
For there's something you may learn.
Don't quit when the night is darkest,
For it's just a while 'til dawn;
Don't quit when you've run the farthest
For the race is almost won.
Don't quit when the hill is steepest,
For your goal is almost nigh;
Don't quit, for you're not a failure
Until you fail to try.
(Jill Wolf)

I said a Prayer for You Today
I said a prayer for you today
And know God must have heard;
I felt the answer in my heart
Although he spoke not a word.
I didn't ask for wealth or fame
(I knew you wouldn't mind);
I asked for priceless treasures rare
Of a more lasting kind.
I prayed that He'd be near to you
At the start of each new day,
To grant you health and blessings fair,
And friends to share your way.
I asked for happiness for you
In all things great and small,
But that you'd know His loving care
I prayed the most of all.
(Anonymous)

Missed AI
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

O God, I pray that when the storms of life rage against me, I will remember these words and find refuge, comfort and peace in your sheltering care. Make me aware, O God, of your singing in my life as you make your salvation clearer to me each day. Through my Savior Jesus I pray. Amen.

Not what I hoped to post
Thursday, May 25, 2006

As you can see from the title, I had a negative blood test today which means we are not pregnant. I told everyone that we would share the results on Sunday, but we have decided to just tell people instead of waiting until Sunday. The Sunday "deadline" was to provide ourself room to deal with a positive or a negative privately.

I appreciate all your prayers and love and encouragement and have to ask one additional favor. If you want to chat, feel free to contact me in any way except in person or on the phone. Writing via email, IM, or blog is something I feel very comfortable with, but as I have mentioned before, I am not a phone person, and as I have told some of you, this has been compounded during the last two weeks. To talk about this verbally is just too painful right now and leaves me constantly struggling not to cry.

I hope you all understand right now. I will let you know on the blog when I am emotionally able to handle phone calls or a day out for lunch or a quick chat.

Otherwise, keep those prayers coming!

Filling In For Wendi (by JB)
Thursday, May 25, 2006

So, I am going to fill in for a day or two while Wen is just taking a break from things. She will eventually get sick of my posts and kick me off, but for now, the blog is mine!

First off, she is doing just fine. We are pretty disappointed - no kidding, right? And I know from the emails and messages that we have received that many of you are disappointed as well. Thank you all for your prayers and support. It has, and does, really mean a lot to us.

There are a few things that people keep asking us, so I will try to explain where we are at with everything.

1. What happens next?
Wendi got a call today from the doctor. He is a very kind man, and he seemed a little surprised that those "sticky babies" didn't make it. But, we have 3 more embryos. They are in cryopreservation - yes just like in science fiction movies. They can stay like that for years and years. The IVF clinic is booked for the next month. Then the following month, the lab is shut down for maintenance and certification (the government has very strict regulations on how an IVF lab is to be run, and they monitor things closely - that is a good thing.) That brings us to August. Well, I am going to be in Florida doing an away rotation in family medicine at Eglin Air Force Base. Wendi is planning on being there for a bit and maybe going to visit family in south Florida then. Now, I don't actually have to be here for the next attempt (ain't modern medicine great? Hmmmm... ) So we are looking at either August or September before we try again.

The doctor said he only wants to do 2 at a time. He still says Wendi is a prime candidate for IVF to work, and just because the odds went against us, doesn't mean we should be reckless and try for all 3 at once. (for each fetus greater than 3, there is a 20% chance of one having cerebral palsy - so with triplets, there is a 20% chance of one having a birth defect, and with quads, there is a 40% chance of one having a birth defect... that is not smart to do)

The fact that the doctor was surprised, and that he is recommending only 2, is an encouragement. He still believes that we have a very good chance of this working - or else he would say go for all 3 at once.

2. Why didn't this work?
The million dollar question! Well, there are a few different perspectives to look at with this question. First the science. The odds of IVF working at any given time are about 30% (give or take, depending on the study and the population you are investigating). So the odds are not hugely in our favor in the first place - in fact, they are actually NOT in our favor. BUT, if a person has a good womb (like Wendi), has no other medical problems (like Wendi), has good eggs (like Wendi), and can make good embryos (like Wendi... and me!), then the odds are in our favor if we keep trying. But one must weigh the chance of this eventually working against the emotional cost of going through the process. That is actually the hardest part - we have every reason to believe that this will work eventually. But deciding to keep pursuing it after the emotional toll is the real battle.

So, specifically, there are a few medical reasons why our "sticky babies" didn't make it. In a typical scenario (i.e. conception from intercourse), about 50% of fertilized eggs never make it. Here are the two main reasons, and both could apply to us as well. First, after an egg is fertilized, the embryo might never implant on the wall of the uterus. Second, genetic abnormalities (genes or chromosomes missing or doubled or just arranged incorrectly... this is actually very common) cause the embryo to start off just fine, but after a certain number of cell divisions, the embryo doesn't develop correctly and either dies or the woman's body kicks it out. In our case, if it was a genetic thing, it occurred very early.

Now the spiritual side of things. This one is not as easy. Everyone has their own views, opinions, interpretations, etc. of things spiritual in nature. Usually they are pretty deeply rooted - either based on personal study, based on influential spiritual teachers, based on personal events (either naive or bitter), or based on nothing more than personal whim (what they would like it to be). I'll give you my opinion on the matter, and I will try to be as brief as possible. :)

God created a perfect universe. Through the beauty of free choice, sin (separation from God) entered His creation. From that moment, the eternal struggle between good and evil shaped this creation (yes, I believe that evil incarnate exists in the form of the devil - Satan). We live in the middle of this war zone, and we begin life on the wrong side. We have a hope though - Jesus Christ - He allows us to change sides. But, there are no promises of a "fair" experience in this life - whether we follow Jesus or not. The rain will fall on the righteous and sinner alike, and the sun will shine on both in turn. Our responsibility is do what we can to understand God's truth, and then follow it (not to do what we want and justify it.) Our responsibility is to rejoice in the blessings we receive, and to remain faithful in the times when we feel so far from those blessings. Our responsibility is to help other people start and finish this journey as well.

With that said, we prayed, along with so many of you, for children of our own. So, with a negative result, what does that mean? Now the cynic will say "if you pray for something, and it happens, then you say your prayers were answered. But if they do not happen, then you say God said no. Well, your prayers don't change anything - you just change how you respond to life." I don't buy that. I have done way too much study (and I am very logic and fact oriented mind you) and seen way too much in life to believe that. God is not a cosmic Santa Claus, but He is there for us to praise, to talk to, to request things, and to comfort us. Sometimes He says "yes", sometimes He says "no", and sometimes He says "not yet." I have no idea why He didn't say "yes" to us and to all of you who prayed with us. One day, maybe in this life and maybe not until heaven, I will hopefully understand the why. (And I will be able to meet my "sticky babies"!) But we have to live in the now, and I will remain faithful in spite of a heartache. Not because I am feeble-minded, but because I have insight enough to know God's wisdom is much greater than mine.

I guess that kind of answers all the questions we have been asked, and some we ourselves have asked, in the last couple of days.

I will try not to bore you too much while Wendi is away! :)

Hi everyone
Saturday, May 27, 2006

Well after a few days off, I am back. JB, of course, has his Thai food post, so if he has that ready, you may actually get two posts today. I figure none of you will mind. I wasn't planning on blogging yet this morning, but I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and thought I would give it a go.

John is currently on call. He went in yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon, I got an email at 1:00 in the morning that he was going to bed, and I haven't heard from him yet this morning (it's about 8:30). I think he is hoping to be home by 2:00 today but it could be as late as 5:00. I hope he at least got a few hours of sleep. Missing the whole night would really dampen our weekend fun.

Last night I was blessed to go to dinner at the Jones' house upstairs. Lesley made an awesome and refreshing dinner for an unusually warm Minnesota evening. I came home and worked on my story for Rochester Women while watching the last half of Mona Lisa Smile. I wouldn't waste your time on it. I wasn't impressed by it at all. I also started the book Tara gave me for my birthday: The Wedding. I realize it's connected to his other book The Notebook but it is indicating to me that the movie didn't end the way the last book did so I need to talk to Tara about that.

We are anxiously awaiting Josh & Sarah's arrival tomorrow! Excited to get to spend Memorial Day with them. We plan to go over to Ron & Ebby's house on Monday and hang with them for a bit so it should be a good time. Although, currently, I am just anxiously awaiting JB's return from being on call.

We found this online scrabble game that two people can play and after one person plays the other person gets an email to let them know it's their turn. Since JB gets a lot of breaks but can't often call, it's been a fun time. Of course, it goes very slow, but nonetheless, it's quite entertaining.

As for me, thank you for respecting my need for a little "verbal" privacy. This is one of the first times in my life that I just did not want to talk about out loud about something. I know that will change eventually but right now, that's how I feel.

We have been blessed by wonderful emails, comments on the blog, flowers, cards, etc. that we both sincerely appreciate and cherish. They have meant so much to us and each evening we've sat by our computers reading notes we have received to each other. My doctor is a very wonderful man. When he called to talk to me after the negative result he said, "If I could come through the phone and hug you I would." I wished he could. He seemed as dissapointed as I was.

I also need to say how blessed I am by the wonderful soul mate that the Lord gave me. JB has been the most amazing husband during the last eight years of our marriage, three years of our infertility struggle, five months of this IVF journey, and especially during the last 3-4 days. While his body isn't going through what mine is, he is monitoring my drugs, keeping track of our schedule, handling my good and bad days, and picking up a tremendous load around the house without (barely any) complaining. He is also facing the disappointment just like I am but attempting to be strong for me. I have heard of many couples where the husband is completely hands-off in the infertility journey, but since this all began, he has missed only 1 or 2 doctor's appointments, and made every step with me. I love him so much. Our marriage is so much stronger because of this. What was initially pulling us apart, has now pulled us completely side-by-side. Only the Lord can do that.

As for what is next, JB commented briefly on the blog he wrote the other day about that. We have decided that our FET (frozen embryo transfer) will be in September. June is too soon for my body, July the Clinic is closed, and August leaves JB out of town. We briefly contemplated doing it in August while he is gone, but both decided that the extra month was worth him being here to do this with me.

As JB also mentioned, we will only transfer 2 during the FET. As he also explained, while the odds go down slightly with frozen cycles (instead of fresh), they still work and the stats aren't that much lower. Actually, I pulled out my "stat" sheet at Mayo and found that:

In my age category (under 30), of the 42 FRESH RETRIEVALS that they did in 2003, 40% of women got pregnant and 31% delivered a baby making the implantation rate for each embryo 22%.

In the entire age category (24-44), of the 163 FROZEN TRANSFERS that they did, 41% of women got pregnant and 34% delivered making the implantation rate for each embryo 23%.

Actually, those stats indicate that frozen is slightly higher, however, with older women, they often transfer more embryos which is probably the reason for the slightly higher stats. However, as you can see, frozen is not that much different from fresh. And those stats actually indicate that they are better.

Of course, as JB constantly reminds me, each woman is an individual woman, not a population. Stats are actually very difficult because each woman is there for a different reason.

The sticky babies are currently stored with 2 together and 1 alone so that 1 will remain frozen for right now. We don't want to get too much ahead of ourselves with "what will happen if this next FET doesn't work" etc. so we are going to simply look at our FET in September and go from there. The question most people want to know is, if you do not have a delivery from the 3 remaining sticky babies will you go back for more sticky babies. At this point, we would, and we would even consider going back for more sticky babies before using the 1 we would still have frozen.

I also wanted to comment briefly on adoption which I know is on some of your minds. JB and I still feel the same way we felt a year ago. We plan to adopt. As far as we can tell, our family will definitely include adoption. However, right now, we feel total peace with continuing with IVF. We feel that we are in one of the best places in the country, I am at a great age, and our finances are in the perfect place to move in this direction. Adoption is a wonderful gift. However, there is a reason that people have their own biological children. They want a biological child. The Lord designed us to desire that. Adoption also carries with it it's own emotional and financial issues. Adoption losses occur just like pregnancy losses. However, I wanted to answer that because I know people do want to know.

Some people also tell me, "well if you adopt, maybe you'll get pregnant." I wanted to correct this nasty "rumor" that infertile women often hear on a weekly basis. Even my counselor said it the other day, and I had to correct her. Statistics indicate that less than 1% of couples who adopt, go on to have their own children. Because you hear about those stories, it seems like it happens more than it actually does. But it is the exception. Not the rule.

I hope this kind of lets you in on where we are since JB posted on Thursday. Don't worry. He still plans on providing his recipes for all you cookers out there! I have no interest in recipes ... But I am glad he does.

Sunday Morning Sermon
Sunday, May 28, 2006

I was thinking JB would post his Thai post this morning. However, he had to be in the hospital again this morning. This internal medicine rotation is about 65-70 hours a week. It really isn't too bad, but he only gets one full day off a week. He worked it out so it would be Monday this week in preparation for Josh and Sarah's arrival tonight.

So, while JB has not posted, I wanted to post. I, obviously, am not at church right now (no guilt trips please oh fellow family). So I am listening to Joel Osteen (Kathleen's favorite) on television. What a fantastic sermon he has this morning.

The overall message:

Do not less disappointment become the central theme of your life!

He read from II Samuel 12. This is a fairly obscure story in the Bible. If you don't know it, let me share it with you:

15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 

16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. 

17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

18 On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate."

19 David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied, "he is dead."

20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

21 His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"

22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 

23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

Joel wasn't saying you shouldn't grieve. There is a time for grief, and I have had my few days of grief. I know in the coming weeks I will have a moment that I again need to cry, and I will give myself permission to grieve the babies we have lost and the disappointment that our house does not yet include children. I spoke with my best bud Kristi the other day. Kristi has had a difficult journey to being a mom and she is one person that I truly share every aspect of my heart with. Kristi reminded me that it is okay to cry and grieve and let it all out. I agree totally. Kristi refuses to let me pretend that nothing happened, and I think that is very important.

However, it is time to begin to look forward. There is a reason cars have large windshields and small rear view mirrors. Looking forward is much more important than looking back.

As JB mentioned in his previous post, we believe that there are spiritual forces at work in our lives. We believe there is a devil. I believe that Satan does NOT want good for us. I believe that there is a spiritual battle occurring for our children.

I refuse to allow sadness, bitterness, or anger manifest itself in my life. This message does not just apply for infertility. I am sure that most of you who are reading this havesomething in your life that just sucks -- illness, divorce, sickness, financial strain, jobs you didn't get, goals you just can't accomplish. The question is: what do we do about it? There is a time to grieve. There is a time to be frustrated. There is a time to be disappointed.

Then there is a time to look forward as David did after his son died. That is what I intend to do. I can't get our sticky babies back. But I can look forward to what is next in my life and in the lives of those I love.

I hope this message does not get lost on people because you aren't infertile. (And I don't believe I am infertile -- I believe I am fertility-challenged.) Apply this message to whatever you are struggling with. You don't have to have experience infertility to understand what JB and I are going through. If you have faced grief and disappointment, you have an understanding. Apply it to your own life. Give it to the Lord and decide to trust him with the future and look forward.

Not that I quite understand how to do this. I just know I am trying to do it.

Hurry up Josh and Sarah!!! Get here soon!!!

P.S. Oh and we went and saw Over the Hedge, it was a fantatsic family movie. Only bad thing: sitting in front of an eight year old who likes to put her feet on your head. :)

Pizza Hut
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Well it is Tuesday evening and the Huismans have safely arrived back in Indiana. We had a wonderful time hanging out like old times. I really miss the easy life in Franklin when we lived across the street from each other. When winter was only a few months long and rent was $450 a month. When running miles through the farm land was followed up with a trip to the infamous Sonic where Cherry Limeades called your name. When every checkout line in the grocery store was operated by one of my students.

Wait -- I don't really miss that. But, I do miss living by Josh and Sarah in Franklin.

Sunday night, when we all went to Red Lobster, Josh bought a personal pan pizza for Tyler from Pizza Hut. This reminded me of my Pizza Hut embarrassing moment which, unfortunately, only occurred a few days ago.

Last week while JB was on call, I was at home, by myself, when the phone rang. Anytime a number ends in 1700, it is Mayo Clinic. Being as JB was on call, without thinking, I assumed it was him and decided to answer the phone as if he had called Pizza Hut.

Why Pizza Hut? I have no idea. It was the first thing that came to my mind. I do this on occasion, picking a random restaurant, in the hopes that I will cause JB to become confused. Confusing JB isn't something I pull off often so anytime I successfully throw him for a loop, I mark it down as a good day in my life.

But this time when I answered the call as "Pizza Hut", I heard a female on the other end and realized it was my nurse! Ugh! She started laughing so hard. I apologized profusely as she tried to contain her laughter. I told her I was worried that when I came in for my next appointment everyone would be snickering at "the Pizza Hut girl". She assured me this wasn't the case and that it would be "our little secret". I explained to her why I answered the phone as if it was Pizza Hut, and she seemed to get it. But needless to say I was embarrassed.

Of course, I had to tell JB -- it was too funny not to. He got a kick out of that and laughed pretty hard.
Okay, so that's all I want to hear about that.

Quick facts
Thursday, June 1, 2006

I am doing pretty well. Please keep praying for me, but everyday I am getting myself emotionally ready to try IVF again. I will do another "IVF update" post in the next week or so to let you know everything we are currently thinking.

I have started exercising again. I plan on doing some light jogging, walking, and biking as long as we aren't doing a fresh embryo transfer. Don't worry! John said it is okay as long as I don't go crazy. Exercise really helps me emotionally deal with things so I really like to be exercising.

Next appointment: June 14
Friday, June 9, 2006

When we got news that our first attempt at IVF failed, I was dissapointed to hear that we may not be able to meet with the doctor again until late July or possibly August. August was especially disheartening because JB would be gone, and I would have to go to the appointment myself and then fax him a release form (to release our embryos) that he could sign and return. I have never met with my RE doctor without John there. Not only is it helpful because JB can get a lot of his own questions answered, but he can explain a lot of things to me later that I don't understand. Sometimes the doctor and John start talking a mile a minute back and forth and will then remember that there is a novice among them!

As a quick recap, when I was referred to the RE (reproductive endocrinology) department at Mayo back in August of 2003, there was only one Dr. left. The RE department had had some "issues" (no need to get into them, and I don't know them all anyway) and as a result, the doctors were leaving one by one. By August of 2004, the one doctor that was left that had managed our seven attempts at clomid and IUIs was also gone, and they had to shut down the entire office for a year. They could manage questions and my medications to handle the annovulation, but that was it.

Fast forward to earlier this year when Dr. C was hired. (I love him and apparentlly I told him as much when the valium took over!) But, he was still just one doctor. Not only does this limit the number of patients that can be seen, but the number of residents and fellows that can work are limited therefore as well. This was the reason I had to wait soooo long for our fresh embryo retrieval and transfer. With only one doctor and the chance that these procedures could fall any day of the week, and the numbers had to be limited.

However, there are now two doctors and a third promised in the future. This has created double the number of appointments and women who can be seen each month which means that I got a call last week saying that there is a June 14th opening for us to go in and lay out our game plan! I am very happy about this. We will be able to get a lot of our questions answered and also figure out when in early September we can do our first FET (frozen embryo transfer.)

JB and I sat down at dinner the other night and discussed our thoughts -- thoughts we need to assimilate prior to meeting with Dr. C on June 14. As much as we would like to use all three of our remaining embryos at once, mainly for the increased odds of it working and also to eliminate an extra transfer, we do not feel peace about doing that. The odds say that we would not have triplets. However, the chance of having triplets is real enough to lead us to say that to use three would be an impulsive and unwise decision. Having triplets is not the concern. Having three healthy triplets is the concern. As JB mentioned in another post, the risk of infant mortality and illness is very real. To rush and have one or more children born with a disability -- a disability that would not have been present had we gone slower, is a real concern.

All these stories on the news about women having four, five, six, or seven babies has caused people to not understand the risks. First of all, when doing IVF, doctors that put this many embryos into a woman are careless and often more concerned about their pregnancy rates than the safety of the woman and her children.

Secondly, many of these women get pregnant with this many babies because they break the rules during IUI's. For instance, the doctor cancells a cycle due to having too many eggs and couples choose to try on their own. JB and I did this one time (Ssssh don't tell). We had five eggs and were told that they would not do the artificial insemination, however, we had the shot to release the eggs and try on our own. After careful discussion with the doctor and our good friends the Jones', we decided that this was a reasonable risk. In fact, while the doctor could not tell us to do this, he was basically doing just that as he and JB talked on the phone, drawing charts and graphs of the size of the follicles and our odds ratios. However, I did not get pregnant (obviously) during this attempt. Another time, they cancelled my cycle because I had 18 eggs. (I told JB I had 50 million, and he gently reminded me this was an exaggeration.) This time, we did not take the shot at home as we felt the risk was too high. However, women who do this anyway, can end up with these high numbers.

Another fact about high numbers is that if you get pregnant with more than three, you are often encouraged to do "selective reduction" or "abortion". Many women do this. However, many women do not. For all the women who make it to delivering seven babies, there are hundreds of women who did selective reduction from seven down to two or who miscarried all seven. In addition, if you look closely at these high order multiple children, you realize that many of them are far from healthy -- they are dealing with severe disibilities that they will have for life.

So, I just wanted to clear this up. Many people do not know this. JB and I know it because we are reminded every cycle of how dangerous it is too have more than two babies. We do not want to have to even consider selective reduction or to have to choose between my health and the lives of children we have wanted so badly.

I digressed a bit there and hope I didn't bore too many of you. Although, I suppose no one is making you read this. (Unless you are JB; I require him to read every entry by twisting his arm behind his back very hard.) However, I am very excited to go in on June 14th. We will get a plan, I will take another two and a half months off, and then we will try again.

How am I doing ... that is the question of the day. I am, quite honestly, dealing with grief. While our sticky babies were tiny embryos, they were alive, and we were able to see them dropped into my womb. To know they are no longer there is very difficult to wrap my mind around. To imagine doing this procedure again, taking the drugs, doing the shots, waiting two weeks, and taking that phone call again, is quite overwhelming. However, the possibility of a positive result greatly outweighs the fear of trying again.

I am still not really able to talk about this verbally unless the conversation is very much on the surface. I appreciate those of you who have sent cards or emails. It is currently the only way I feel comfortable communicating and this really hasn't changed. Writing is easy for me. I can digest my thoughts, choose my words, and take my time. Writing is such a healing activity for me and has been since I was a child. At church on Sunday someone asked me how it turned out, I had to confess that it didn't work, and I was left crying all the way through worship. If I could have written to them, I would have been fine!

As I said to JB today, if we found out today that one of our loved ones had passed away, we would be dealing with grief. I feel that this is what I am dealing with right now. It is a sadness for something we lost and a jealousy for people who have not had to travel this road. While I don't want any woman to feel the way I do, when I hear of one who gets pregnant right away or on her first attempt, there is a part of me that is so jealous for that ease. Some days I don't cry at all. Some days I cry a lot. And at the same time, I have a faith that carries me through and will never leave me.

I also have begun to have a peace that as dissapointed as I would be if I was never a mom (biolgoically or even through adoption), Jb and I are enough. I can honestly say that in the last 3 years our marriage went from very good prior to this diagnosis, to not very good during the early treatments, to absolutely fantastic now. The Lord has brought us to complete unison in this walk and that is an amazing feeling. JB and I will celebrate our eighth (gulp) wedding anniversary on June 20th, and I feel more in love with him right now than I ever have.

I wanted to share a song with you that Wes King wrote about infertility. It most perfectly captures what I am dealing with and can maybe help you understand how we are currently feeling.

Thought You'd Be Here

We thought you'd be here by now
your Mother and I
We're praying through our tears that somehow
We might hear your sweet cry
Have we waited too long
It's getting harder to be strong
Is there something we've done wrong

But if you like dancing
I'll make it rain rhythm and rhyme
and melodies, child
And if you like dreaming
Your Mother will make your imagination run wild
Somehow, we thought you'd be here by now

We have a room just for you, upstairs
It's right down the hall
So we'll be close should you ever get scared
We'll come when you call
It's a room full of stories
Waiting to be told
Longing to behold

And if you like laughing
I'll paint you a circus of smiles
and ferris wheels, dear
And if you like living
Your Mother will fly you to
worlds both far and near
Somehow....

I never knew the silence
could make me so deaf
I never knew that I could miss
someone I never met
Miss someone I haven't met yet
We'll be waiting
Words and music by Wes king

Doctor Appointment Update
Friday, June 16, 2006

Okay, so before I tell you what happened at our doctor's appointment today, I wanted you to check out the update on the right side of this page. If you noticed, I added an introductory "page" that actually explains who John and I are. It may bore you if you already know us, but there's a fun picture on there from the first year we started dating! Please go visit it, just so that I feel I didn't waste my time.

Okay, (and yes I know I just started two paragraphs with the word "okay"), here is quick recap about the appointment.

John and I met up in front of the Mayo buildings around 2:00 to walk over for our 2:15 appointment. John had slept less than 2 hours that night and was really operating on fumes. Keep this in mind when I tell you that we didn't get in for our appointment until 3:15, and you can understand why he was having trouble in the waiting room. At one point he told me that the carpet looked inviting. He also told me that the green in my shirt brought out the green in my hair. He said that he was joking, but I am wondering if that was him or fatigue talking. Another time I said that he should remind me how much better I feel now than when we first got the negative result so that I have the courage to try again. He said I could write myself a note. I was like, "So you'd rather I read a note than you tell me," and he started laughing saying that wasn't what he meant but he wasn't sure right now how to articulate it any clearer. I think being with someone with little sleep is quite entertaining.

Anyways, at 3:15 Dr. C came in. I have said this before but Dr. C really reminds me a lot of JB's dad. He talks very softly and patiently and is just so caring and kind. The moment he walked in, he said he wanted to give me a hug, and of course, this got me all teary. Actually, I think going anywhere near the office makes me teary. John was teary too but only because he wanted to go to sleep. :)
To quickly summarize:

After much confusion, and John going from fertile to infertile to back to fertile again, we apparently do have some sort of "sperm binding issue". This was probably the reason that we did not get as many embryos as we hoped in the harvesting.

"Sperm Binding issue". What does this mean? Well, nothing if we are doing IVF. If they had known about it before our harvesting (which they couldn't have), they would have suggested we attempted to fertilize more eggs than we did. If we end up doing another harvest in the future, we will use ICSI on all mature eggs. This, as I have mentioned before is a procedure where, instead of throwing all the sperm and eggs into one dish to mix together, they specifically pick one sperm and one egg and "force" them together. I'm not sure this isn't exactly how it works, but it is the only way I know how to explain it.

Now this sperm binding issue is a factor in why, even when I HAVE ovulated, we have not gotten pregnant either when we have tried on our own or when we did IUI procedures. It also means that our odds of ever conceiving on our own, are even lower than we originally thought (in man's eyes -- not God's). I have decided not to spend much time thinking about this. We are doing IVF now. I have always prayed that somehow, we could miraculously get pregnant on our own, someday. This is still a possibility although the odds are decreased even more.

The only good thing: I can no longer blame myself for our infertility issues or tell John, when I get upset, to go find a fertile wife. My perfect husband must now share some of the blame. However, technically, we aren't sure if this is his sperm's fault for not liking my eggs or my eggs fault for not liking his sperm. Alas, it could still be my fault. Oh well.

Secondly, as we had assumed prior to the appointment, Dr. C does not want to use all three embryos in our FET (frozen embryo transfer). What we will do is dethaw two of our embryos. If, one of them dies very quickly, they may have time to dethaw the remaining embryo. However, if the embryo dies too close to the time of the transfer and there is no time to dethaw the other, we will just transfer one.

Another exciting thing that we learned was that Dr. C will allow us to do another fresh before using our remaining one embryo. For instance, if this next FET fails in September, he will allow us to keep our one embryo frozen and instead do another fresh harvest. This is good for a number of reasons. The first reason is that if we do another fresh prior to January 5, we do not have to re-do all of our tests (which will save a lot of time and money). These tests we did are good for one year. Also, if we end up with an odd number of embryos, we can combine our new extra embryo with our one remaining frozen embryo.

Lastly, Dr. C was very hopeful. I asked him at what point he would advise us to stop trying. He said that we had 21 embryos retrieved and 19 mature eggs. He said this is an incredible result. He said that our embryos are very high quality. He said that as long as things were as they are now, he wouldn't advise us to stop trying. We have good "stuff" and just unfortunately, fell on the lowsy side of the statistics.

After Dr. C left (along with a woman from India who was shadowing him to learn about IVF and bring her knowledge back to India where she worked as a doctor), my nurse, Ruthie, came in and we set a date in September to do the procedure. She told me that they had seen enough of me in this office and that I needed to disappear for awhile, at least nine months. "You can only come back with a child to show us," she said. I totally agreed.

Right now, I am feeling very good and feeling like I can do this a thousand times. The problem is, the month/s surrounding this are extremely "yuck". After Dr. C left, I started crying again, just frustrated that I can't take my "hopeful" feelings into the months surrounding the procedure/s. Please pray that I can feel this hopeful and encouraged and upbeat even while sitting on my couch waiting for a phone call to tell us if it worked or not!

The other big thing you can pray for is my headaches. Dr. C offered some ideas for different things we can try to avoid them next time, however, we want to avoid changing anything too much because things went so perfectly last time. We had 21 eggs. If that means 3 months of migraines to get the same awesome result, I will suck it up.

We leave for Mt. Rushmore tomorrow morning. I will post before we leave and maybe have a guest poster while we are gone. I can't wait for this honeymoon vacation. It is much needed.

Happy Anniversary
Tuesday June 20, 2006

Well today, JB and I celebrate our eighth (Yes, EIGHTH) wedding anniversary. We feel old. However, I am sure those of you who were at our wedding feel old right along with us. We actually sort of forgot it was our anniversary because our gift to each other was our trip to Mount Rushmore. We were both relieved to realize the other person and had not gotten a card or anything either. We just kept saying the trip was our gift that we felt like our anniversary occurred over the weekend.

To take a quick (and not too sentimental) trip down memory lane, JB and I were engaged on my birthday in 1997. John had told me all week that we were going to go out to eat on my birthday. I therefore suspected that it was at this dinner that he would propose. Instead, I went to bed on the 21st and was awoken by loud music at 12:01 on the morning of May 22nd. Ticked off at my roommates, I meandered out of my room. It wasn't unusual for them to party into the morning, and I thought they were bringing the party home with them. Instead, I found rose petals leading into the living room. However, I was still half-asleep so I had no idea what this meant, until I followed the rose petals into the living room and found a card with a Bible verse and a quarter taped to it.

Every couple has their own quirky "inside" jokes and ours was that John would give me a quarter when he asked me to marry him. I am not sure exactly where this originated. At some point we had given each other a penny, nickel, and dime, and we joked that this was the next "step".

John had one of our favorite songs playing and got on one knee to propose. He would have slipped the ring onto my finger if it wasn't too small. Oh well. You have to have a funny story or how fun will the story be to tell?

So a year and a month after we were engaged, we were married in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Even though both of us were from Florida, the fact that we were both living in Kentucky at the time coupled with the fact that I had a lot of family in Illinois that I hoped would be able to make it to the wedding if it was closer (6 hour drive vs. 26 hour drive) made us opt for Kentucky. The church we were attending was too small, so our pastor asked a friend if we could borrow his church -- Westminster Bible Church.

It was a VERY hot June day and to make matters worse, the air in the church broke. Luckily it didn't break in the second floor fellowship hall where I was getting ready or I would have had makeup smeared all over my dress I am sure. There were about 150-200 people at the wedding. My Aunt Dorothy played the music and even though she would have preferred I chose another song, as apparently "Here comes the Bride" is from some horrible opera, I did walk down to "Hear comes the Bride." My Aunt Mary and Aunt Linda sang a beautiful song, and I have the words they changed slightly for us, hanging above my dresser. My best buds Kristi and Michelle stood up on my side as did JB's two sisters, Elizabeth and Katie. My junior bridesmaid was my long-time "little sister" Brianna V. JB was joined by his three brothers. Ray was the best man, Matt was a junior groomsman, and Robbie was the ring bearer. My brother Keith, his friend Sean and his childhood friend Craig D. were also in the wedding.

One of my favorite parts of the wedding was when we took communion together and our friend Deanna W. sang a beautiful song. This was a very moving part of the ceremony despite the fact that we were both so hot!

The reception was held at Garrett Ballroom on the campus of Western Kentucky University. We didn't have a lot of money to spend so we had a buffet style meal and a DJ and a beautiful cake. I was amazed at how well things came together on a small budget and my lack of intimate bridal influence.

When the cake maker asked me what I wanted I said "pretty and purple". When our florist went out of business, and I talked another into taking us a few weeks before the wedding despite the fact that she had another wedding that day I said, "Something that is pretty and goes with purple." I really didn't know what I wanted nor did I care that much. I just wanted a simple, pretty wedding. And I wanted to be Mrs. Wendi K. (I avoid writing last names on my blog!)

We spent our honeymoon in a cabin in Boone, North Carolina. We spent the first night of our honeymoon at Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, a gift from John's parents. We went back there on our third wedding anniversary as a special surprise from John.

Our first house, which we lived in in Bowling Green, Kentucky was actually a 2 bedroom, 1 and a half bath townhome that we rented for $365 a month. After that, we went to Franklin for 3 years where we rented our 2/2 duplex for $450 a month. Needless to say, our rent increased when we moved to Rochester in 2003.

Eight years later, and I can't even remember what it sounds like to introduce myself as Wendi H. But I guess that used to be my last name. We have now been together since December of 1993. Thirteen years. In a few years, I will have been with JB more than I have been without JB.

John's younger brother Robbie was 4 when we started dating and is 17 now. He admits that he doesn't remember John before I was his girlfriend. This really makes me feel quite old.

Anyways, so that is a little trip down memory lane. I have to say, as I have never been shy about saying, that I am married to the best guy in the world. He is truly my best friend.

If I can find some pictures, I will post them tomorrow.

Migraine Mania
Tuesday, July 4, 2006
So today was the day that I went to the neurologist.

First the good news. I do not, as John repeatedly told me in the middle of the night, have a brain tumor. I remember crying when my migraines were really bad and telling JB I needed to ask him something important, and he would say, "Is it about your tumor?"

"Yes, it's about my tumor," I would say, but of course, I now know that the tumor doesn't exist.
Okay, so my mind is at ease with that.

However, that's the end of the good news.

Unfortunately, my neurologist told me that, yes, I am having very typical migraines. Yes, they are a result of the IVF medications and the fluctuations in estrogen. However, and here is where the bad news comes into play, the reason I am still having them is because they are "rebound" migraines brought on due to a dependency on codeine and other medications!

In other words, when I don't use the drugs, I get a migraine, causing me to want more medications which ultimately creates more dependency.

In other words, I am drug addict.

Now you see where this is going and why this isn't the greatest news. How do drug addicts get off drugs? Well, simply put, they stop taking them and bear the side effects. Thus, my new plight. I must stop taking all medications. All I am allowed to take each day are 4 measly Alleve.

I asked the doctor what I should do, if quite honestly, I feel like the pain may kill me, and he said in those situations, if I must, I can take a Tylenol.

A Tylenol? Are you joking? Does he understand how bad these things get and that on bad nights I need 4 codeine to make it go away.

He said he does understand and that, chances are, I am in for a very rough 3-4 weeks.

This caused me to tear up and to tell him that I was afraid. He tried to make me feel better by telling me that with all the shots and medications I have been on, he believes in me and that I can do this and need to do this for my future children! Oh my!

In addition to going cold turkey off of all drugs including Ibuprofin, Immetrix, and the Codeine, I am supposed to try to go to bed at the same time, exercise at a regular time, and eat at the same times in order to create a routine. That's hard enough, but then he said he wanted me to eliminate all caffeine. I told him I didn't drink any caffeine (except for my recent habbit of drugging my migraines with Mountain Dew). However, he reminded me that chocolate has caffeine which I knew but was attempting to accidentally forget about. He told me that I didn't have to eliminate all chocolate but should attempt to eliminate as much as possible.

He said that if, in four weeks, I am not having migraine relief, I can return to my GP who has permission to prescribe some beta blockers. However, he said that there are currently no drugs that are truly safe during pregnancy (codeine is the safest) and so I must work on this now and try to get things under control now.

We didn't even discuss what I would do if I have to go back on IVF medicines.

Okay, so, people, you need to pray for me. You need to pray for JB and Kelsey who must live with me and anyone else who comes in contact with me. Pray that this Alleve is strong stuff. Pray that my migraines don't even reappear. Just pray in general. When I told JB what the "plan" was he said, "I am glad I will be in the hospital a lot this month."

He said he was joking, but I don't think he was.

1 Corinthians 13
Friday, July 7, 2006
Paraphrase by Angela McCord

If I go to language school and learn to speak a hundred different languages, preach to thousands all over the world, and lead all to Christ, but have hate in my heart in a silent war with my neighbor who's built his privacy fence on my side of the boundary line, my words are nothing except the screaming of a heavy metal rock band.

If I have a doctorate in theology, science, language, arts and literature and can raise mountains out of the dust of the plains, but am only concerned with the size of my paycheck, wardrobe, and house, it is as if I don't exist ... have never existed.

If I give up a good salary opportunity to work in compassionate ministries, tithe ten percent, give the rest to the poor and eventually die for them, but only do it to get my name in the paper, and I lose sight of the the lost hungry souls, I certainly don't gain anything but lose my own soul. 

Love walks the floor all night with a crying baby, smiles as she greets new visitors in Sunday school. She doesn't want what she doesn't have. She doesn't say, "Look how wonderful I am," but "Look how great you are." She doesn't snub anyone, isn't always looking in a mirror, and doesn't make a mental list for retribution when things don't go her way. She doesn't close herself in but opens her heart and makes herself vulnerable to others.

Love remains while the world crumbles around her.

While we live here on earth we can only see love in other people, a very imperfect reflection of the love of Christ, full of faults and human failures. But in heaven, we'll see Love in the form of Jesus. And now I can know in part -- full of my own humanity, but then I can love perfectly, even as I am completely loved.

The only things that are really important are faith in God, hope for the future, and love from God for every man. But you cannot have faith or hope until you first understand and demonstrate love.

I can work with the poor like Mother Teresa, write literature like C.S. Lewis, sing like Sandi Patti, move people like Gloria Gaither, preach like Billy Graham, have spiritual insight like James Dobson, be a great leader like Martin Luther King Jr., and martyr like Ghandi, but until I love like Jesus my soul is lost.

Saturday in the Polar North
Sunday, July 9, 2006

It's Saturday morning. JB is on call until Sunday afternoon giving me plenty of time to sit and do what I love most -- write. Actually he had to leave at 6:45. I tried to go back to sleep after the alarm clock woke us up, but I ended up getting up with him and driving him in to save him 15 minutes and allow me to have the car. I plan to work on my story for Rochester Women today, do some writing for RLSF, and maybe even do some personal writing that I have been wanting to start on. So it is a writing-filled day, and I wanted to start with writing about ...

I work on the 6th floor of the Guggenheim Building when I am at my job at Mayo. Unfortunately, my cell phone only gets service on this floor if I set it on the window sill which I definitely don't do everyday. Everyone on this floor actually knows that this is the only spot in the building that gets service so we often have a gathering of people in our office. (I share an office with another woman, Char, who is awesome, but about to retire!) (I especially like when the callers are British because I get to hear words like "brilliant" and "cheers".) Setting it there is a good idea. Unfortunately, I don't often remember to take it with me when I leave at the end of the day so I have avoided this unless I am waiting for a very important call.

Yesterday at 5:00 my phone begins whistling as soon as I walk out of the front door of the building, indicating all the calls I missed while slaving away in "the Gug". Since I am not a phone person and most people know that, this doesn't happen on a daily basis, however, it does happen enough times a week to allow me to feel adequately loved.

When I say that the phone whistles, I mean just that. Imagine a hot woman in front of a construction site and you can imagine my phone's tune when a message is waiting. This also makes me feel important and valued in a fairly twisted and convoluted way.

It is important to feel valued. This is especially true when you work with post-doctoral fellows who do not speak good English. This lack of good English results in compliments that don't come out very complimentary-like. For instance, yesterday, one of the post-docs looked at the picture of JB and I on my desktop background and said, "Wow, that picture must be very old because you look much older than that now." Since it was taken only two years ago I didn't consider this a compliment. She also told me on another occasoin that if I didn't have children I wouldn't be complete as a woman. I chucked this comment out to language-confusion as well even though I am not sure it was.
Just another reason I like to hear the whistle. Not that I would like to hear men whistling at me. That's rude. But the thought of it is good.

Well, surely you understand. Enough of whistling. I'm starting to hear ringing in my ears.
I got one of these whistles yesterday from my nurse, Ruthie, at the IVF clinic. Unfortunately, she wasn't calling to tell me she loved me. She was calling to tell me that the week we have our FET (frozen embryo transfer) scheduled, my doctor is out of town.

Yes, you heard it right. Yet another postponement.

Okay, so let me recap our FET postponements, errr ... schedule for you:

  • June: I was not physically ready.
  • July: The IVF lab is closed due to cleaning.
  • August (1st week): They are booked already.
  • August (remaining weeks): JB is in Florida. While technically he doesn't need to be there for the moment our children are dropped into my womb (try to wrap your mind around that for awhile), he would like to be there, and I have agreed he is an important factor.
  • September (1st week): IVF is scheduled but NOW doctor is out of town.
So I am supposed to call Ruthie back on Tuesday to tell her that, sure, we'll wait another week. No big deal. I am sure she will give me the option of using another doctor, but in these situations, you want to feel as comfortable as possible, and I can't feel completely comfortable (despite the Valium they give me which causes me to tell everyone I meet that JB and I like them) without Dr. C there.
Only there is one problem with the notion of waiting another week. My boss has a grant due that week, and he has reminded me on numerous occasions he will need me to work days and nights that week.

Okay so that week is out. The next week JB has to take a test in Chicago.

Need I continue? I think the picture has been painted fairly accurately.

Anyways, the two of us have to sit down and really look at things and I have to meet with my boss and discuss things, but, quite possibly, it could be the end of September or even October now. All of this to drop two little embryos into my womb. Ugh!

I just feel the need to complain for a moment. I try to look at everything positively and not get down, but when your attempt at pregnancy is affected by the ring (or whistle) of the phone, it already indicates that things aren't going exactly according to plan.

In three years, we have had, six attempts at getting pregnant. Two of these were through IUI and three with drug assistance. These five attempts were most likely facing rather pathetic odds due to our new-found "JB's sperm hate my eggs problem" or is it "Wendi's eggs hate JB's sperm problem" (we aren't sure, but like to blame it on each other repeatedly). This of course is on top of the original problem that Wendi's eggs feel very cozy inside her ovaries and prefer to stay right where they are.

Double whammy.

The sixth attempt was our IVF in May. Our seventh attempt in a total of 36 months will be in September, but no longer the first week of September.

If you can't tell, my sadness over our first failed IVF attempt has dissipated greatly. I can now talk about it again and make jokes about the irony and peculiarity of the fact that we currently have children who are waiting for implantation in a freezer at the Mayo Clinic.

There are still moments, however, that a wave of grief will wash over me. I had one on Thursday night while we were finishing watching Usphizin. If you haven't seen this movie, I strongly recommend it. I really enjoyed it. However, there was, unbeknownst to us, an infertility subplot. If you want to see infertility accurately and appropriately portrayed, this is the movie! Watching as people teased them about why they didn't have children and the conversations that developed between these two devout Jews in the privacy of their home was breathtaking and got me all choked up again.

However, despite these fleeting moments, I really am doing well. The problem is that once I start those shots and the hormones start flowing and the headaches start pounding, and the appointments start piling up, it is difficult not to get obsessed and hopeful. Through counseling, I am hoping to handle each attempt with as much grace and faith as possible.

Okay, completely off track now. Do you all realize that we are going to Florida in AUGUST? August when Florida is squelching and Minnesota is breezy and cool. By September Florida is cooling off and so is Minnesota. Oh well. My complaining is now done. Off to my Saturday list of things to do. Thanks for listening. I'll keep you updated on how our FET schedule ends up working. I have no clue.

Talked to the nurse
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

My pastor talked on the verse above in church on Sunday. It is my new IVF theme verse, and I am sure many of you can make it your theme verse for whatever situation you are personally in.

So we have some more IVF news:

I spoke to the IVF nurse yesterday. She gave me the option to do our FET (frozen embryo transfer) on September 7 or put it off until the 21st. (The 14th is out because of work conflicts for me and school conflicts for JB).

September 7 works fine for us. However, my doctor is out of town. Good ol' Dr. C. (He's awesome!) We would have Dr. G (the new doctor) do the procedure instead. He is new to Mayo but not new to infertility.

September 21 works out okay for us, however, John has a test in Chicago on the 22nd. We would have to leave immediately after the procedure to make the six hour drive. This is a lot for him to handle the day prior to a huge test.

We have decided ... to just go ahead and do the procedure on the 7th. I spoke with the nurse in detail. In the past, patients didn't even get a choice as to which doctor did the procedure. Whatever doctor was in that day was the doctor you got. She said that residents and students are never allowed to do the transfers -- that only the fellows or consultants to do these.

As much as I love Dr. C, there's no proof that he is better. Heck the first time didn't work. My biggest thing is being comfortable with what is happening. It's nervous being wheeled into an OR awake and knowing you are going to stay awake. You talk about being uncomfortable going in for a physical. Imagine being wheeled into an operating room, on valium, with half a dozen strangers walking around you talking about how things are going. It's not my favorite activity.

However, I am not sure I can ever be perfectly comfortable in this situation, and either way, I will leave with one (hopefully two) embryos in me. After talking to my good bud Kristi and JB, we have just decided to go ahead and do our procedure on the 7th.

I did get good news though. If this procedure were not to work, we are scheduled to do a fresh harvest as early as Thanksgiving! I am extremely happy about this! This means that we will be able to get home for Christmas and my brother's wedding which is Saturday, December 30th! We want to do the harvesting before January 5th so we don't have to re-run all of our tests.

I do want to make myself very clear though. I definitely believe that being positive and upbeat is helpful to our situation. I am not planning on our FET not working. The odds are nearly as high for a frozen to work as a fresh. However, I have learned in this process that you have to be one step ahead of the game. If I don't get on the nurse's calendar for an IVF in November, then the schedule will fill up. So we continue to schedule things and look at the next event while praying that the current one will work.

I also have some other news to share:

I wanted to give a shout out to my cousin Justin! His thumb is healed and he is back to AAA Washington to pitch after rehabbing in Arizona! He is very happy, and we are happy for him. Yay!

Our friend Bara is coming into town tomorrow for a few days. We are really excited to see him. I will have to include some pictures. His blog today was very funny. If you are a coffee drinker, you will enjoy it.

Hearts like Hannah
Friday, July 14, 2006

The support group I am apart of is a huge part of my life. Two woman at Christ Community Church and myself helped start this group we call "Hearts like Hannah". I know I haven't talked a lot about this group on the blog, but it is a very special part of my life, and I am so thankful for the people I have met through this group. Women who get pregnant are still welcome to attend, and we have had quite a few of our "members" go on to become moms. For example, one of our meetings we had nine women in attendance. Six of them now have a child. Here is an announcement for our upcoming meeting so you can see what it is we do. We meet quarterly and then meet for lunches inbetween our quarterly meetings.

Hearts Like Hannah ~ Infertility affects one in six marriages, yet remains one of the most overlooked and least understood issues facing Christian couples today. We want to invite you to join other women who are or who have been through what you are experiencing. We are a group of women all on different paths in this journey. Our next meeting is Monday, July 31at 6:00 p.m. at Caribou North (by Target). If you would like more information, please contact 282-5569 or heartslikehannah@cc-church.org.

Doctors alarmed over growing preemie problem
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I found this article online. It really stirred up a lot of thoughts and questions in my mind:
WASHINGTON - More than half a million babies are born prematurely each year, and specialists are urging that doctors take new steps to battle one cause: infertility treatments that spur twins, triplets and other multiple births.

Among the institute’s recommendations: Specialists should strengthen guidelines that reduce the number of multiple births as a result of infertility treatments. Sixty-two percent of twins conceived through such care were born prematurely, as were 97 percent of other multiples.

To improve the odds of getting pregnant, doctors often implant several embryos at once into a woman’s womb, a technique that sometimes works too well. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine issued guidelines in 1999, and tightened them in 2004, urging doctors to implant fewer embryos, sometimes only one at a time — and triplet-and-higher births have dropped significantly.

The group said it will consider tightening those guidelines further. But European countries that implant just one embryo at a time also pay for women to undergo multiple IVF attempts, while very few American women have insurance coverage for a procedure that can cost more than $15,000 per try, noted Dr. William Gibbons, president of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology.

“If we want to buy into this, society needs to buy into it,” said Gibbons — who added that parts of Europe also found they saved money on treating preemies even after paying for repeated single-embryo IVF attempts.

I really don't know how I feel about this. Is infertility a right or a privilege? Should insurance cover infertility treatments? Is it fair that women who can't afford to have infertility treatments can't have children? Can they limit how many embryos when we have to pay for each attempt?

Any thoughts? Currently I am leaning toward the fact that insurance doesn't have to cover anything they don't want to especially something that isn't health-related. I am blessed that Mayo chooses to pay 50%. I wonder what non-infertility patients think? Don't worry. You can't hurt my feelings on this. I'm interested to know what others think.

Step by Step
Friday, July 21, 2006

Here's another reminder that as much as we worry and wonder about our own lives, God has it all under control!

STEP BY STEP

As though goest, step by step, I will open up the way before thee. (Proverbs 4:12)
Child of my love,
fear not the unknown morrow,

Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;

Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow

Since what thou knowest not is known of Me.


Thou canst not see the hidden meaning Of my command,

but thou the light shall gain;

Walk on in faith, upon My promise leaning,

And AS THOU GOEST, all shall be made plain.


One step thou seest -- then go forward boldly,

One step is far enough for faith to see;

Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,

For STEP BY STEP thy Lord is leading thee.


Stand not in fear thy adversaries counting,

Dare every peril, save to disobey;

Thou shalt march on, all obstacles surmounting,

for I the Strong, WILL OPEN UP THE WAY.


Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned thee,

Having my promise, needing nothing more

Than just to know, wher'er the future find thee,

In all thy journeying I go BEFORE.
Author Unknown

Sweet Saturday
Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday was WONDERFUL! It was wonderful because my husband and I had a day off, on the same day, with NOTHING scheduled to do.

Not that we were bored. We got up round 8:30 and went to the Farmer's Market. We bought a bunch of different vegetables and some homemade bruschetta and bread. We ran into the Philips there. I asked Melissa about selling my clothes to a local consignment shop, and she told me that I would make a lot more money on Ebay. I agreed, but that would be a lot more work, and I don't need another computer-hobby, so I dropped a few items off on our way to the Breadstore (free samples included!), Target (we were out of everything), a car wash (the car said "thank you"), the pet store (the birds were hungry), and sports authority (we both needed new running clothes). It sounds like a lot, and it was, but we just had a great time together. It has been awhile since we had some time just the two of us or without one of us (mostly JB) having to work.

When we got home, JB made smoothies and we had a sandwich before heading out on a run together.
I must digress for a minute to talk about running. I have made a decision, with the okay of my almost-doctor husband, that I am going to start running again. I will take breaks after our transfer in September, and if we do another harvest, I will also take a break, however, let's just lay the facts out on the table. My body does not do what it is supposed to do, and my lack of ovulation has not changed even a little bit. Running doesn't seem to make it worse. Not running doesn't seem to make it better. There is no change in my body. And in the meantime, not running does not help my self-esteem or my energy level. Exercising has been a part of my life since I was eleven years old. Not exercising (and speed walking does not qualify for me) leaves me feeling lethargic and couch-potato-ish. I love to exercise! I really, really do, and while I have agreed to take breaks during transfers and retrievals, I have to leave the rest in the Lord's hands.

We believe it is possible that the Lord could bless us with a child without all this fertility-stuff.
However, I often use the analogy of a broken leg. If you had a broken leg and were lying on the side of the road, would you tell the ambulance driver not to take you to the emergency room because the Lord was going to heal you? Of course not. You would go, and you would allow them to set your bone, and you would pray that the Lord guide the doctor's hands. And in the meantime, if He did a miracle, and healed you before surgery, you would tell the whole world.

That's how we feel. Is there a chance that someday we could miraculously find out we are pregnant without a surgical procedure? There definitely is. The fact that we now have two issues (my annovulation and the sperm-binding issue) makes it more unlikely but only in man's eyes. With God, all things are possible.

I often get frustrated because for some reason, with infertility, people often attribute what is happening to something I am doing wrong. And often times people believe that seeking help for this "illness" has to do with not trusting the Lord. I completely disagree. I have a health condition. And I am seeking help for that health condition. I also believe that the Lord is the great physician!

Either way, I feel that running isn't helping me or hurting me so why not just do it? I have also decided to continue taking metformin which I have now been on for two years. I am at 1500 mg. The doctor wants me at 2000 mg, but every time I take that next pill I end up getting so sick with flashbacks to when I started that drug in 2004. I wasn't writing a blog then, but please trust me when I say, I didn't know it was possible for no food to go through you so fast. (Sorry, is that too much information?) I spent two weeks eating practically nothing. Then I spent another three weeks only eating breads and crackers. Then I spent three weeks only eating a select menu of foods that didn't make me sick. Even water tasted like metal to me!

In retrospect, we realize my doctor started me off on too much of the drug too fast. He wasn't experienced in using metformin and therefore didn't know you were supposed to give it gradually. When I told my boss at Mayo that I was taking 2000 mgs right off the bat, he said, "That's like poison!" It was at that point that we cut my amount in half and I started working my way back up. I have never gotten back to 2000.

However, now that that has passed, I don't want to discontinue to the metformin because that would mean possibly having to restart it some day. So I continue to pill-cut and attempt an increase even though it doesn't appear the metformin is affecting the annovulation either.

Alas ... back to our Saturday. We were also able to go to church together (the first time in forever), have dinner together, and watch a movie together. Kelsey finished her marathon training and joined us for the end of dinner and the end of The Rookie. She had never seen it before and really enjoyed it. Kels is planning on running the Chicago Marathon in October, and is running like a mad-woman. I think today is her twelve mile run! Yikes! I have been running with her some on her "short" days (three miles), and even those three miles leave me barely crossing the finish line, if at all.

Okay so this short recap of my Saturday ended up being a novel. Sorry for that. I am disappointed only my father (who has NEVER posted a comment on my blog before yesterday) attempted the trivia. Anyone else have an idea? Otherwise, it may be time to reveal the answer.

Rarities
Thursday, July 27, 2006

It is rare that I don't have time during the day to post a blog. It's even rarer that I don't have very much to say. It's also rare that I am up at 10:49 p.m.

But today, all those rarities are actualities in the life of Wendi.

I helped Kelsey do some moving today -- she is nearly completely settled now. We just finished, and I am wiped out. JB is on call. It is his last night of call for quite some time. Friday is the last day of his Sub-I, and then he has a week off before heading to Florida.

I also realize that there is another thing in my life that is now fairly rare ... headaches!!! I realized yesterday that my headaches have nearly become a thing of the past for me, and it has been a solid week since I struggled with pain. I cannot even tell you how wonderful it is to not feel ill -- to not be sick from the metformin, to not have a headache, to not have to take a shot in the evening, to not be uncomfortable from procedures and surgeries. I feel so wonderful. I am running and in shape and the healthiest I have been in three years.

It is difficult in these times of great feelings to imagine starting drugs and procedures again ... which I will do on August 4th. However, we are believing my headaches will not manifest themselves again. We are also contemplating trying some alternative therapies instead of medication to try to combat them if they do appear.

Either way, we are blessed. We are at a place of peace. We really want to be parents and have children of our own, but we are also blessed by our freedom, and continually watching as the Lord shapes our lives. We both feel called to do mission work to some degree -- most likely short-term medical missions similar to what JB will do in Nigeria next spring. We also definitely feel called to adopt. Yesterday I was browsing on a favorite website: adoptuskids.org. (Take a second to visit this site and check out the "waiting children".) There was a sibling group of five children that just nabbed at my heart, and when I showed the picture to JB, he felt the same way I did -- felt that if we were ten years older with a bigger house and a little more money, we would adopt those kids in a heart beat. We truly know the Lord has a bigger plan, and we are trusting him day by day to show us that plan.
Okay, so I guess the rarity that I don't have much to say isn't as true as I originally thought.

Sleep tight all. I know I will!

I NEED YOUR HELP!
Friday, July 28, 2006

Something kind of nice happened today. My editor from Rochester Women liked my story! I mean, not that she has hated other pieces, but this piece was an infertility article -- something, obviously, near and dear to my heart. I thought that this would be the "easy" story for me to write, but in the end, it was probably the hardest piece I ever written. There was just so much I wanted to say and only 1,000 words to say it in.

Either way, the piece will run in the September/October issue of Rochester Women magazine (check out the link to the right if you want to visit the magazine online.)

Anyways, Ellie (that's my Editor), emailed me today, and told me she loved the piece. I was so relieved. I was honestly (and I am not saying this to be modest) quite worried that I wasn't far enough removed from the story to do it justice. She also told me that there was room for a few more "info" boxes ... boxes that I thought would only go on the website because I was already to the word count in my story.

That's where my audience and loyal blog readers come in. I would like to do two boxes in my story. The first box will be "Advice for family and friends". The second box will be "Advice for the infertile woman". Now obviously I won't name it that, but for the sake of making sure you guys understand what I am talking about, I am making it quite obvious. I know I have a lot of "family and friends" who read my blog, and I know I have a lot of current and past "fertility challenged" women who read as well so please, post a comment. If you are a friend or family member, what are you glad you know? What has helped you in helping me or helping another friend or family member? If you are a current or past infertility gal, what advice has helped you in dealing with infertility?

I can't promise your comment will make the article, but either way, it'd be nice to get some ideas.

Thanks everyone!

Hearts like Hannah
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Well I just got back from our quarterly Hearts like Hannah Support Group meeting. This one was held at Caribou Coffee where my friend Ronnie is a manager. We meet two times a year at Caribou, two times a year at one of we "leader's" houses, and then we try to meet monthly inbetween for a quick lunch downtown.

I have always been blessed by this group. We have yet, in the nearly two years we have been a "group" failed to have at least one other woman join us. Every time we start wondering if this is really needed, a whole new gang of women joins us. Many are now moms and have moved on. Others are new moms and still a part of our group. Many, like me, are still waiting to be a mom.

Tonight, there were EIGHT of us! And many of our "members" were out of town.

Now this is sort of a mixed blessing. I am blessed that there were eight women that needed support and wanted encouragement. I am not blessed, however, that there are seven other women in Rochester struggling with infertility. I don't want anyone to deal with this. I don't want anyone to feel like I have felt and still feel. I know that those of you who have not dealt with this can't quite understand how it feels, and I am not asking you to. I have a few friends that are not interested in having children -- period. That's fine. However, I want to have children more than anything. And while I don't want anyone else to have this feeling inside of them, I also don't want to feel alone or have anyone else feel alone.

My first year of infertility I did it alone. I barely told anyone including my family, and it was horrible. I don't recommend that whatsoever. I filled out a questionnaire for the women's ministry, and I was very honest when I explained why I didn't attend events at church. Which event should I attend? There are groups for singles, groups for newly marrieds, and groups for couples with kids. Where do I fit in? There are groups for retired women and widows and divorced women. What about me? I didn't feel like I fit in ANYWHERE. Everyone was either newly married or had two kids.

It was then that my friend Ebby put me in touch with another woman at Christ Community. We started meeting. I started sharing. She started sharing. She knew another woman, and Hearts like Hannah was born.

We are a varied group. Some of us are not doing treatments, others are in the middle of IVF or have a child already and are waiting to return for frozen embryos. Others have gone through premature ovarian failure and know that they will be adopting or are in the process of adopting. Either way, we all share the same underlying fact: we all want to be a mom and have either had to seek medical help to do that, wait patiently to do that, decide not to do that, or find an alternate way to do that.

I am so blessed by this group. It is the one time that I feel I am not the only woman in the world whose entire family and nearly everyone she knows gets pregnant when they think about it, while no matter how hard I think, another wedding anniversary goes by with just the two of us. This is a great group, and I strongly suggest anyone else struggling with infertility to find a group in their area.

Thank you with the help for my infertility story. It will be out on September 1st, and I will definitely let you all know when it is available online.

Done Waiting
Friday, August 4, 2006

I got the call from the nurse. My pregnancy test was, negative. I think that makes my 97th failed pregnancy test either at home or by giving my blood. This is not a big surprise, however, they still make me get the pregnancy test before they start me on all the drugs to get pregnant. My progesterone level, unfortunately, was also low. This means that my schedule is as follows:

August 4 Start progesterone
August 10 Start lupron shots
August 17 Finish progesterone
August 21 Blood test to see if I am "down regulated"
August 22 Start stims (drugs) for FET (frozen embryo transfer)
September 7 FET

The good news is that I will be starting my shots in Florida with JB to help me. He is going to try and teach me how to give them to myself so that when I return to Minnesota, I can do them on my own.
The bad news is the shots have to be refrigerated. So I am going to have to keep them "on ice" on the airplane and once we get to the hotel. I am hoping his officer quarter's has a refrigerator, otherwise, this could get interesting.

Right now, JB is getting a massage from the massage school here, and then we are heading out the Sviggum farm for the evening. This is a favorite event of ours. We LOVE going to the Sviggums!!
I'll bring my camera and try to take some pictures.

Waiting ... waiting

I am doing some RLSF work from home and waiting for Ruthie, my nurse, to call with the results of my a.m. blood test.

Speaking of that a.m. blood test, I purposely got to the blood-draw place at 7 a.m. I am blood-draw professional, and I know that if I get my blood drawn at Baldwin, which is right across the street from my house, 7 a.m. is the best time to go in.

The best time, that is, if your paperwork is in the computer. For like the FIFTH time since this infertility journey began, somehow, my information for my blood draw wasn't in the computer. I was quite frustrated. Normally this requires me to go back home, wait until 8:00, call the nurses, get my labs called in, and then return to the area to wait in line with the 8:30 crowd.

However, this morning, I got some AWESOME tech who felt really bad for me. She made a few phone calls, tracked down a nurse, and about twenty minutes later, I was done giving blood. She also told me that if she couldn't get a hold of anyone, and I had to come back later, I could go right in. Hurrah!

So now, I am home, doing some work, and waiting for Ruthie to call. This is the start of my frozen embryo transfer. If my progesterone is high enough, I will be able to skip taking progesterone pills. This will make my day. No, this will make my week! These are major migraine culprits and major mood-altering culprits (JB isn't as concerned as usual because he leaves for Florida on Sunday). So I pray that my progesterone is on the high side. If it is, I start my lupron shots tonight. If it is low, I have to do progesterone for 12 days before starting the lupron.

Beside doing work this morning, I also ordered my bridesmaid dress for Keith and AD's wedding in December. All done! Hurrah. The dress is beautiful. AD, am I allowed to show people what it looks like? I'm not sure, so I won't link it yet.

Okay, still waiting for this call. I'm gonna run out and get my marriage certificate certified and my driver's license squared away while I wait. So much waiting!

I'll update as soon as I get the results.

Some days are harder than others
Tuesday, August 8, 2006

I apologize for this post. I don't think it will be the most upbeat ending to your day (or beginning if you are reading this on Tuesday morning).

A day like today is a day that I wonder whether infertility treatments are what I should be doing.
I can't put my finger on it. I can't tell you the exact reason why today was a hard day. Often times it is a combination of things. Either way, no matter how hard I try, when I start taking all of these hormones and keeping track of medications and checking the calendar to see what I do next, everything starts to unravel. September 7th is now, less than a month away, and its as if my mind instantly becomes aware of it and decides to go crazy.

I find myself changing the channel when certain shows come on. Songs about children and pregnancies are instantly turned off. Days like today are days that running by a park or walking through the mall is too much to bear and I either leave crying or avoid going altogether. A pregnancy announcement hurts my feelings. (How crazy is that?!)

Why can't I go through this journey and start treatments without getting so emotional? Is it the hormones or is it just the excitement and fear of trying again? I don't sleep well. My appetite is screwy. I get easily frustrated. Days are more difficult. I am conscientiously aware now that I have been married eight years and still do not have children. Three weeks ago, this wasn't something I thought about fifty times a day.

I find myself measuring myself up to other women. Is she healthy enough to get pregnant? Is she old enough to get pregnant? Is she mature enough to get pregnant?

Who am I? Am I God? What right do I have to make these assumptions? There I go back to my "just-world" mentality -- that somehow, I don't deserve this journey and someone else does. These thoughts cause me to get angry at myself. More hormonal emotions.

I will be okay. I know that. No matter how this thing turns out, I will be okay. I do wish that if we weren't going to have biological children, I could have total peace with that. Sometimes I have that peace, but some days, like today, I can't find that peace.

Days like today, I remember what JB wrote on the blog after our last failed attempt. He wrote: "...One must weigh the chance of this eventually working against the emotional cost of going through the process. That is actually the hardest part -- we have every reason to believe that this will work eventually. But deciding to keep pursuing it after the emotional toll is the real battle."

When we are not in a treatment cycle I think to myself, I can do this. I can do this a hundred times. I can do this until I am forty. But when I am in a treatment cycle I think, I can't do this. I can't do this again. This is the last time. This is too emotional. Negative results hurt too much. Counting days is too much of a reminder.

For now I just continue to take my medications and continue to take one small step and one short day at a time. I can't see the big picture and so I can only trust that I am heading in the right direction and strong enough to handle whatever this journey brings us.

I would appreciate your prayers, love, and encouragement during the next four weeks. On days like today, I really need it.

Infertility insurance
Wednesday, August 9, 2006

I have posted previously about infertility insurance. Even if this doesn't affect you, it affects millions of women, and if we can get insurance companies to reconsider helping women pay for this, why not try? I am blessed that Mayo pays 50% of our bills but many women are unable to seek treatment because they cannot afford it.

The National Infertility Association (www.resolve.org) has posted this "call to action" on their website. Would you take some time to follow the steps and send a generic email encouraging those who matter to fight for coverage? I truly don't know if this will help but have decided that it can't hurt.
National Infertility Email
I also want to thank everyone who encouraged me after my rough day yesterday. I was so blessed with some of the comments. One person in particular referred me back to a post I had personally written back in January. I don't know who you are or how you remembered that post but that was such a blessing. It's initially why I post these personal feelings on my blog ... so I can go back and remember what it was I said. Thank you! thank you! (Said twice because women say things twice when they want to emphasize it ... according to JB.)

Here's a link to my January 31st post.

Leaving for Florida
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tomorrow I leave for Florida. Even though I am currently a hormonal basketcase, I am excited to see JB and to see the base. John sounds like he is really enjoying himself. Last night he had dinner with a group of the physicians, and tonight he is going to a cook-out at one of the resident's houses. I am also excited because my parents are coming to the base on Friday to visit! I haven't seen my mom since Christmas!

My medications are playing havoc with my emotions and with my appetite. I am constantly hungry but can only eat a small bit at a time before I am full. Basically I am eating about twenty meals a day! This is fairly usual when I get on these hormones, but it still throws me for a loop. In addition, the progesterone I take in the evening has to be taken immediately before bed as it causes me to get very dizzy. If I wake up within three hours after taking it, I feel the dizziness instead of sleeping through it.
Tomorrow morning, I have to take my first shot of lupron. I think I am going to go over to Tara's house and have her help me with it. I am nervous about doing it myself, all alone, in my condo. Kelsey flies out tonight to visit her brothers, and I am worried that if I can't go through with the shot, I'll be stuck running down the corridor of our building asking someone to help before my "time window" closes. It really isn't that dramatic, but when you are a hormonal basketcase, everything feels dramatic.

Okay, going to run Kelsey to the shuttle, come back, and finish packing. Ebby is going to drive me to Minneapolis tomorrow. (She's a saint!) And her daughter Veronica is going to bird babysit so I have to bring them over on my way as well.

I plan to post from Florida as long as all goes well with our internet connection. I haven't gotten any pictures from JB but plan to take some myself when I arrive so stay tuned as the POLAR NORTH MOVES SOUTH!

Insomnia
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Again, I apologize for the complaints. I feel like this IVF cycle has included a lot of complaining.
The insomnia from the progesterone has now reached the "I'm going to crazy if I don't sleep" point. The appetite issues are frustrating but manageable. The moodiness is also something I can work through. The upset stomach/GI issues are cumbersome but tolreable. But when you compound all of these with an inability to sleep, the frustration mounts.

Each time I have taken progesterone, I have had a bout of insomnia. I have now taken progesterone, probably 15 times, and it took 4 or 5 times before I noted the timing of the sleepless nights. The doctor told me this is a common side effect and in fact, a google search of "prometrium" (aka progesterone) and "insomnia" gets you over 64,000 hits. He said there is nothing he can prescribe for this, and I must battle through.

An example. Yesterday I was horribly exhausted all day. I came home from work but knew I wasn't ready to sleep. At about 10:00 I finally hit my bed horribly exhausted only to lay there.

Now the thing is, I can't get up when this happens because of the dizzy spells -- at least not for about 3-4 hours. So I laid there and laid there. I finally fell asleep close to midnight only to wake up at 4:15 a.m. wide awake again. The thing is though, I am wide awake but exhausted. I am sure anyone reading this has had a night or two of insomnia (or more) in their life and knows what I am talking about. I am just praying that this week long bout is on its down swing.

Anyways, it is now 5:19, and I gave up falling asleep. I am now halfway through taking this drug. I am praying the Florida air I will get this evening will help improve my sleeplessness. I am also relieved because tomorrow, JB will be working during the day, and while I do plan to work for RLSF from Florida, I will have time to relax and hopefully nap.

Okay, so thank you for listening to me whine. I promise my next post will be whine-free. (Thank you for the straw so I can "suck it up" and no, I don't want any cheese with my wine thank you very much.)

This is a problem
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Okay so I haven't been sleeping. I am flying without JB with me. I am edgy and hormonal, and I have to take this shot this morning.

Tara came through big time and punctured my leg for me. I also had a perfect plan for how to transport my shots to Florida -- small lunchbag with frozen icepacks. That will work fine. I wake up, turn on the news and see that flights are no longer allowing you to bring liquids on board?

You've got to be kidding me?!?! More stress. I can't pack the prescriptions because of the risk that something might happen to my luggage or that the ice will dethaw by the time I arrive. I called my mom. I called JB. I called Northwest Airlines. They said if my name is on the prescription (and I can show valid proof that it is mine) they will allow me to take my shots with me on the plane. I am hoping they will allow me to also take the ice packs as well. I am also going to go pick up a letter from my doctor giving me permission to have the icepacks. Ugh!

Please be praying for me today as I travel! I need it!

So for now, I think all is well.

Blogging from Memphis
Friday, August 11, 2006

So I take out my computer in the airport in Memphis to transfer some work files to the computer and things start popping up and telling me I have wireless, JB calls, tells me I have this thing called "IPAS" and, oh my gosh, I have internet access sitting here in the Memphis Airport. This is amazing. Now if I could get the woman on the speaker to quit talking, all would be well with the world. Oh and if I could take back the barbque I spilled on my new white linen kapris as well, all would definitely would be well with the world. The woman being quiet and no bbq would do the trick.

Actually, it would take a lot more than that to make my day a good one. This has truly been (and no Ronnie, I am not being a drama queen) one of the longest days of my life.

As you can see from my previous post, the day started going badly when I woke up and while doing my hair overheard the Fox News team saying something about a "terror threat" and "no liquids".

From there, the day got longer and longer.

So let's go back to the beginning of one cumbersome event after another.
  • I get to Tara's house this morning with my shot materials only to realize I forgot the instruction sheet which says how much medication I need. We have to return and do the shot back at my house. Ugh!
  • I get to work at RLSF and decide to call Northwest Airlines to see what they suggest about my medications which not only need to be carried on but need to be refrigerated. I am on hold for about thirty minutes. I am told that if I have a valid prescription and my driver's license matches that prescription, I can bring my meds on the plane.
  • Additional issue: the meds need to be frozen with gel packs. I call my doctor. He will write a letter and fax it to me to help the cause.
  • The fax machine at RLSF is not working.
  • I have to go pick up the letter.
  • Before going to get the letter, I attempt to burn my files onto a CD so I can take the CD with me and work for RLSF from Florida. This seems like it will be faster than emailing myself all the necessary files.The CD is taking forever to burn.
  • I opt to leave the CD and run and get the letter and come back for the CD.
  • I swing by the house and throw my leftover pasta in the microwave.
  • I forget the container is plastic and shouldn't go in the microwave.
  • Container melts.
  • Not thinking this is healthy to eat, I just eat a little off the top, get all my luggage and put our birds in the car (to drop off at the Rays) and head to the Charlton building to pick up my letter.
  • Unbeknownst to me, they are tearing up the entire front side of the Charlton building. I will have to go around the two blocks and instead go in through the side door.
  • There is no parking by the side door.
  • I park about three blocks away (nearly as close as my house is on the other side), crack the windows for our birds, and run to Charlton.
  • I return only to make a left onto another street that is now no longer open.
  • I turn again thinking I am on a one way street. I get into the left lane and realize it's a two-way street.
  • I am facing oncoming traffic.
  • The truck driver next to me gets all father-like and waves me into his lane so that I am safe.
  • I make a left turn. Street closed.
  • I almost start to cry.
  • I forgot to feed the fish and stop home to do that on my way back to RLSF to pick up my burnt CD.
  • I return to RLSF. My CD info was too big for one CD. My two WONDERFUL co-workers recognized the plight and were trying to help save me.
  • I waited about five more minutes and then finally left for Ebby's house.
  • The drama ends temporarily.
  • At Ebby's house I set the birds on the table and decided to give up control and just let her drive. I was a bundle of nerves.
  • I get to the airport and get up to the security, and they tell me I am going to have throw away my gel packs.
  • At first I am sad. I like these gel packs, but I figure that at least I get to keep the meds.
  • I tell them that's fine figuring I can find some ice somewhere inside the terminal.
  • I stand and wait as a group of TSA agents start inspecting my bag and talking. The head agent decides I am legit and decides to let me keep the gel packs.
  • I have since had to explain to about five more people what is in my little cooler bag.
  • No there is no water in my cooler bag. No there is no baby formula in my cooler bag.
  • Drama ends temporarily again.
  • In Minneapolis I sat down at Chili's and got a Caribbean chicken salad which was really good! I was then blessed with a middle row exit seat which I gladly took. I'll take being squished horizontally in order to stretch out my legs vertically. However, to make it even better, the people sitting on either side of me were traveling together and asked me if I would mind giving up my middle seat so they could sit together?
  • Heck no I don't mind! Exit row aisle. Nice.
  • (If that woman gets on the speaker again and tells me what I can't bring on board I will scream! Yes I know the baby will have to drink his bottle to prove what is in it.)
  • Hopefully the last drama of the day:
  • I got a bbq beef sandwich here in Memphis (thus the stain on my pants).
  • Hey, I told you I have been having to eat every 3 hours.
  • Now if I could just SLEEP every 3 hours everything would be great.
  • Did I tell you I didn't sleep last night?
  • Do you realize this is my third blogging post in one day?
  • Do I not have a life?
  • Okay, wait, drama is done. No more need for bullet points.
  • I will be leaving for Fort Walton Beach in a little under an hour and will get to see my babe. I cannot wait!
  • Did I tell you I am posting this blog in the airport in Memphis!?
  • (Oh man -- there's that woman on the speaker again! Hair gel, toothpaste ... bad, bad, bad.)
Florida Rain Showers
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
JB got off around 4:00 yesterday, and we went for a quick run. Then we met another couple for dinner at one of their favorite restaurant -- Harbor Docks.

My friend Roberta who is one of the leaders of the Hearts like Hannah Support Group went to high school with Tim and church with Jenny when she was younger. She put us in touch with them so we could meet another couple while we were here. Jenny and I started emailing a few months ago and decided to get together for dinner while we were in town.

Tim is an F-15 pilot, and Jenny is a social worker in Fort Walton Beach. They will most likely be leaving Eglin before we get there although there is a chance that their next assignment might be in the area. They are also dealing with infertility treatments and will actually be heading to San Antonio for IVF later this fall. So needless to say we had a ton in common and enjoyed a wonderful dinner on the water. They requested a table under a cover which was good because about thirty minutes into dinner, the rain and humidity flew in.

It was great to talk to another couple who lives here. Jenny was so wonderful to give me a bunch of brochures and information from the area. We talked about living on base, churches (they go to a large Calvary Chapel!), shopping, and of course, flying. JB was excited to learn that aerospace doctors are required to fly every thirty days with their flight! I would not be surprised if he decides to do aerospace medicine. We'll see.

In other news, I thought I would ask for prayer for a few things. My buddy Kristi found out that she is having a GIRL! Her name will be Raylee Hartley Hunt. However, Kristi's pregnancy continues to be high-risk with a few issues hanging around. Please keep her and their second daughter in your prayers during the next few months.



Also, my cousins Josh and Sarah are moving very soon. They are moving back to our old stomping grounds in Brentwood, Tennessee, where Josh will take a youth pastor position. Selfishly, we are very excited to see them heading back into Tennessee. If we move to Florida, they will only be six hours from us. In addition, JB and I hope to eventually settle somewhere in the south and it's great to have them close. I know moving with two young boys is a lot of pressure on them both so also keep them in your prayers.


While we are on the subject of prayer, keep me in mind. I will finish my last night of progesterone tonight and will do my blood work the day I return to Minnesota (Monday). Last night I made the mistake of getting up to use the bathroom less than four hours after taking it. I ended up in the kitchen instead of the bathroom and then knocked my makeup kit off the counter once in the bathroom. The dizziness that accompanies this drug is something fierce. I made the mistake one time of taking it in the morning because I had forgotten the night before. I ended up having to leave church less than ten minutes into service. I couldn't even stand up.

But anyways, I am getting closer and closer to our September 7th transfer.

One of my big prayers with this transfer is that both embryos that they "dethaw" survive the dethawing process and are in good shape for the transfer. If one was to die relatively early, they would dethaw our one remaining sticky baby. Otherwise, if it is too late, they will only transfer one. I would really like to transfer two. I am starting to think about it often, and last night had a dream that we were pregnant but it was with a different embryo (not our own). I think it's always a fear of women who do IVF that they will give you the wrong child, and obviously this is true as evident from my dream last night.



Well, off to do some work for RLSF. I don't think JB will get a lunch break today so I will be on my own. There is a chance we may be going to a pharmaceutical company dinner tonight, but I don't think this has been confirmed.

Tall and infertile!
Thursday, August 17, 2006

So for those of you who read my blog regularly (or hang out with me regularly) you know that I really don't like to be reminded repeatedly that I am 6'3". In addition, I really don't need to be reminded repeatedly that I am currently fertility-challenged.

But, alas, I still get comments about my height or about our infertility here and there.

Last night I got a double whammy. For the first time I got a tall AND infertile whammy.
There are Thai restaurants EVERYWHERE here. I mean seriously, on one stretch, we may pass three or four in a half mile. Yesterday, JB asked one of the residents he works with which one was his favorite, and we headed to Fort Walton.
At the conclusion of our meal, we are checking out at the cash register, and there are two older Thai women standing there talking. Now, let me preface this by saying they were very sweet -- kind of the female version (as JB remarked later) of the old men in one of our favorite movies Return to Me -- just sitting around after hours, shooting the breeze.

So here is the way the conversation went down.

Woman #1: "You two look like you could be brother and sister."
John: "We aren't. We are married."
Woman #2: "Woah, both same height. She is very tall."
Woman #1: "Yes. Perfect couple. Same height."
Woman #2: "You have children?"
Wendi: "No."
Woman #2: "How long you been married?"
Wendi: "Eight years."
Woman #1: "Woah, and no babies?'
Wendi: "No. No babies."
Woman #2: "Good thing. They would be very tall."

We laughed, and I really handled it well, and wasn't that bothered. They were nice woman, and I have mentioned before, sometimes the language barrier causes comments to be a little more "brusk" than they would be if said by someone who spoke English as their first language.

Point to highlight right now. If we do ever get pregnant, please don't tell me my kids will be tall. Let's just consider that an "understood". I won't tell a short woman her's will be short or an overweight woman her's would be chunky, so let me just get that out right now. I know if we do get pregnant, our kids will probably be tall. I am okay with that. :)
Anyways, okay, enough infertile/tall stories. Right now, I am sitting under a tree at 8:15 a.m. outside a building that has wireless. Oh how we take wireless internet for granted. So fast and so easy. I am in heaven. Going to do some work for RLSF and just relax until JB gets off this evening.
Ray and Gabbi come in tomorrow! I cannot wait! I can't wait to see all of them and especially to hug my little Gracie. I really miss her. She has started preschool. Man am I old or are Ray and Gabbi old. Okay, I guess we are all aging equally but they are the parents.
I'll definitely have pictures from our weekend with the fam. I also leave Monday. I don't want Monday to come! I also took my last two pills of progeseterone last night and gave myself my shot without JB there this morning. Hurrah for me!
Blood test looks good!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I got my blood results back and my estrodial level was exactly where it should be. What does this mean exactly? Well exactly ... I am not really sure? But I am now only going to shoot myself up every morning with 10 units of lupron instead of 20 and in addition, I am taking an "estrace" pill designed for women who have gone through menopause. Go figure! Either way I am taking 2-4 pills a day up until next Thursday. At that point I will go in for an internal ultrasound. I am assuming this ultrasound is to determine that my lining is thick enough for the transfer, but to be honest, I am not exactly sure what the ultrasound is for. This is the first time I have done a transfer so I have a lot to learn with this. Anyways, it's hard to believe that the transfer date is two weeks from this Thursday.
I am staying busy and haven't even had that much time to remember that JB is not here! I do miss him! After work I went for a quick run. Then Kelsey and I caught up over dinner at Noodles and then did some grocery shopping and stopped at the Rays to pick up my car and the birds. Twain and Monet are now home (much to Kelsey's excitement -- she said she desperately missed their incessant chirping!) Kelsey is currently out for her (gulp) ten mile run. We are having her go-away lunch at RLSF tomorrow, and she will probably head to Colorado sometime next week. I will really miss her.
Kelsey and I walking around the grocery store is really a sight. Kelsey is definitely more patient with questions and comments about our height. Tonight a tiny Indian man came up behind us and asked "How short are you?" We both answered "6'3" and "6'2" respectively and then had to basically convince him that we were not related whatsoever. "How," he asked, "Does someone from Wyoming and someone from Florida look so much alike?" We told him we really weren't sure. Kelsey is so sweet and just patiently answer questions and discussions while I dodge and try to avoid the stares and comments.
I was convicted of my sensitive nature about my height in a conversation I had the other day with JB. He is working with a Captain on base that is a Christian and also three inches taller than her husband. She told JB that she loves the scripture in I Samuel 16:7. She said this scripture convincted her of how "worried" she was about the height difference between her husband and herself.

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Wow! What a great scripture. Kelsey agreed that some things are going "too far" (ex. the woman in Walmart who asked me "where in the world do you find pants?" and the McDonalds employee who leaned over the counter and said, "Geez, I thought you was on stilts!") But on the whole, most people are genuinely interested and not trying to be rude.

I listened the other day to my cousin Sarah's cousin Erica give a radio interview. Erica (see her link on the right) is the young woman who lost both her hands and her feet to meningitis. She said that she doesn't mind at all when people asked her what happened. She said she'd be curious too. This also convincted me. If Erica can do this, can't I do this with something as trivial as being a 6'3" woman!?

Kelsey's kindness carried into the parking lot when a twenty-something guy stopped us to ask us what kind of perfume we were wearing. We both thought he was looking for a perfume to buy his girlfriend so we answered, only for him to say, "Well, I am not selling any of those kinds, but I am selling a few others." The guy was selling perfume out of his gym bag. I, of course, being the more shy and "dodgey" type tried to quickly get into the car, but patient Kelsey carried on a conversation with him about Notre Dame and a mutual party they may have been at. I can learn a lot from her.
All right, it's 9:30. Heading to bed.
Huge boo-boo
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Last night I made a huge mistake -- a huge mistake that I only realized this morning.
Instead of taking my new estrace medicine, I took one of my Kelsey's medications!

I still can't believe I did this. But her pills were sitting where my pills normally are and I picked them up and they were the same shape (a different color, but hey, who's looking), and I swallowed it (with water if you care for details). Then this morning I woke up feeling very funny and walked to the same place to take my morning dose and happened to look at the container. The name did NOT say Wendi K. The name began with a K and ended with a Y. My name does not start with a K or end with a Y. (I am a Wendi with an "i").
It was at this precise moment that I began to panic.
Majorly panic.
Not positive that I did accidentally take the wrong pill the night before, I decided the best thing to do was to count my estrace pills to assure that I had actually screwed up. How hard could that be?
The bad news? My estrace bottle had 200 pills in it! Two hundred itsy-bitsy tiny little pills. About fifteen minutes later I was done counting. Sure enough, I counted 198! I had taken Kelsey's pill.

This sent me into a mad scramble. I was walking around the kitchen ... pacing around the kitchen ... yelling at myself. How could I have been so careless? How could I have made such a mistake? JB leaves me alone for two weeks, and I screw up the third day! I was so frustrated and mad at myself.
I couldn't get ahold of JB. Kelsey was asleep. And the nurseline wasn't open until 8 a.m. I was there, trapped with myself!
I desperately tried to call JB. I desperately tried to call JB about ten times. No answer. He was already at work.

I had two major questions. Did taking Kelsey's medication counteract with my own medications? Did not taking my own medication screw up this cycle? Oh my! I was sweating. I had been about to do my devotions but the morning's reading was in Job. I just could not read Job in a moment like this. Or could I?
I went to work, tried to start working, and then at 8:02 called the nurse and left a message. Mary called me back at 8:15. "I saw you called at 8:02 and figured you were desperate," she said. "What'd you do?"
"I took my roommate's medications!"
Mary started laughing!
I was not laughing. "Mary," I said, "Tell me that everything is okay."

She laughed again, "Well your cycle is fine," she said. "Now I just have to check on interactions."

She spent some time talking with me, asking me how I was feeling, and helped me adjust my estrace medication so that I still took the right amount. Everything is fine. We are still scheduled for September 7th, but I feel very stupid and very careless. Ugh!
I am about to make my medication again now. I am carefully reading labels and have everything set out perfectly. I was asking everyone to pray for September 7th, but instead, please pray that I successfully get to September 7th without JB to help me. I did successfully give myself my shot this morning which I was proud of, but I have a lot of things to remember.
Stupid boo-boo.
Faith & Trust
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Today, we are two weeks from transfer and counting down. I wanted to share some cool faith encouragement that Tara shared with me as I wait for another try with two more "sticky babies". Whether it be infertility or something else it's still about faith and trust. Easier said than done.
* * * * *

"Trusting even when it appears you have been forsaken; praying when it seems your words are simply entering a vast expanse where no one hears and no voice answers; believing that God's love is complete and that He is aware of your circumstances, even when your world seems to grind on as if setting its own direction and not caring for life or moving one inch in response to your petitions; desiring only what God's hands have planned for you; waiting patiently while seemingly starving to death, with your only fear being that your faith might fail-'this is the victory that has overcome the world,' this is genuine faith indeed."
-George MacDonald
"Remember...When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be
I do the little I can do
And leave the rest to Thee
And when there seems to chance, no change,
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And calmly waits for thee"
-S. Chadwick
Faith...
When you have come to the edge of all the light you know
And are about to step offInto the darkness of the unknown,
Faith is knowing that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on
or you will be taught how to fly
-Patrick Overter
Friday, Ernesto, and little blue pills
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Friday evening a bunch of us got together for a "girl's night" to celebrate Lesley's birthday and to also say farewell to Kelsey who is leaving sometime next week to move to Boulder.
As for the storm, we are continuing to watch Ernesto. It changes so rapidly. It now appears that he will nearly completely miss the panhandle where JB is. However, now we are watching it because it looks like it might skirt over our families in south Florida. Of course, right now, Ernesto is not even a hurricane -- just a tropical storm -- so hopefully it will stay that way. I'll keep you posted.
As for me, please continue to pray for me. Our ultrasound will be on Thursday to measure the lining of my uterus and determine if it is thick enough to do the transfer. I went to church on my own yesterday and had a rough time. Thank you to Ebby who called and prayed with me after service. I needed that. I don't even think she knew I had such a rough time until she called. That was the Lord. I love you Ebby!
I think I need to take a little break from church for the next few weeks and just stick to my Thursday Bible Study. Our church is SO filled with young mothers and pregnant mothers and babies that sitting through service when I am being pumped with so much estrogen is quite difficult to manage -- especially without JB there to calm me down.

What am I feeling? Mostly scared. Not scared for the procedure but scared to try again. I'll be okay, but please just keep me in your prayers, and also know that those little blue pills contribute significantly to the emotion of all of this right now.
Also please pray for our two little sticky babies -- that they survive the thaw that they will soon be undergoing.
God's Plan
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Here's something I read today that is helping me deal with the emotions of the upcoming transfer. I'm sure it can reach all of you with whatever life obstacle is overwhelming your life. Blessings friends! Remember, He does have a plan. Now if he would just tell me what it is I could get on with things!
God's Plan
By: Roy Lessin
"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 NIV
God has a plan for your life. He brought you into this world to fulfill that plan. It is the best plan that anyone could ever make for you. It is a plan that will bring Him the greatest glory and you the greatest good. From the beginning of this calendar year until its end, God is working out His plan.
As you follow God's plan for your life, you do so by faith. It is important to remember that He is the Guide and you are the follower. He does not need to bring you into His planning room as a consultant to help Him decide what is best for your life. God has called you to trust Him and to take the next step of obedience according to His will. God has said, "I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 NKJV
Here are some ways that God is working out His plan:
He is your Shepherd—He is leading you.
He is your Provider—He is taking care of you.
He is your Strength—He is enabling you.
He is your Counselor—He is speaking to you.
He is your Shield—He is protecting you.
He is your Comfort—He is encouraging you.
He is your Father—He is blessing you.
Ultrasound Day
Thursday, August 31, 2006

My ultrasound is an hour. I'm not exactly sure how this works, because as I have said before, I have never done a transfer without the harvest. I don't know if they will tell me right away how things look, call later. I'm not sure. However, as soon as I know something, I will update the blog.
In the meantime, some anonymous person left these quotes in the comments of my blog yesterday. Man are they good, and they hit me right where I needed them. So I wanted to share! Thanks to whoever shared them with me!

I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly God was speaking: "My name is I am." I waited and God continued: "When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I was. When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I will be. When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is I AM." Helen Mellincost
Our circumstances are not an accurate reflection of God's goodness. Whether life is good or bad, God's goodness, rooted in His character, is the same. Helen Grace Lescheid

One thing we may be sure of, however: For the believer all pain has meaning; all adversity is profitable. There is no question that adversity is difficult. It usually takes us by surprise and seems to strike where we are most vulnerable. To us it often appears completely senseless and irrational, but to God none of it is either senseless or irrational. He has a purpose in every pain He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory. Jerry Bridges
It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand. Madeleine L'Engle
Rather than saying "God, here is my problem," we should put the problem into perspective by saying, "Problem, here is my God!
If you have been reduced to God being your only hope, You are in a good place. Jim Laffoon
It takes two wings for an eagle to fly. If an eagle were to try to fly with just one wing he would only spin around in circles on the ground. The same is true with many people who are trying to soar spiritually on their faith, but have not added patience. These just keep going around in circles, getting more and more frustrated and kicking up a lot of dust. Any truth that we teach without this counter balancing truth will lead us to frustration, not fulfilment. Rick Joyner
Delays are not refusals; many a prayer is registered, and underneath it the words: "My time is not yet come." God has a set time as well as a set purpose, and He who orders the bounds of our habitation orders also the time of our deliverance. Anonymous
Good news!
Thursday, August 31, 2006
I am at work so I cannot post long, but everything went great at my ultrasound this a.m. It's so nice when things go according to plan. They wanted the lining of my uterus to be at 9 (mm I think), but it was at 10 which is even better. The thicker the lining, the easier the embryo can embed (aka "stick") to the uterus wall.
So I keep taking blue pills, take last shot of lupron on Monday morning, and on Tuesday start taking the yucky thick progestrone oil shots. Both the blue pills and progesterone will continue until, either I am not pregnant, or until my 8th or so week of pregnancy.
We are for sure going in on Thursday morning! Yay!
The Desire to Conceive
Friday, September 1, 2006
It's hard to believe how long we have been on this infertility journey.
Actually, I do not know what is harder to believe. How long we have been on this journey or how quickly the time has gone by?
Either way, we have now passed the three year mark. I guess what they say is true: time flies when you are having fun, huh?

Another thing I cannot believe: the piece I wrote for Rochester Women on infertility is now in black and white.
My loyal blog readers will remember me asking you for help on a few of the sidebars a few weeks ago. Well, some of you will find your words in print!

It seems like ages ago, and actually it was over a year, when I brought up the idea of writing a piece on infertility to my editor, Ellie. Originally, it was slated for the July/August issue, but ultimately was bumped back. This was a blessing in disguise as the original due date was a week after our failed IVF. I was having serious problems finishing the piece due to my emotional state. Ellie didn't know that, but her email asking if it could be pushed back to September/October was such an answer to prayer. I could have the time I needed to heal from my IVF, gather my thoughts, and begin again.

So today I went to the release party and picked up a bundle of the magazine. Sure enough, the story is there. My name is there. I even admitted that I was infertile in my byline -- something that both JB and I went back-and-forth on for quite some time. The story itself chronicles the life of a woman I met on Hannah's Prayer, Bethany, and her twin boys, conceived through embryo adoption. Here we were writing on a national discussion board, and we actually only lived a half hour from each other.
You can view the table of contents to the issue by clicking on the Rochester Women link in my side bar. However, the article is not available online. Therefore, if you would like a copy, I would be glad to either hand you one (if you live close by), or mail you one (for, yes, you got it, those of you who live far away.) Just post a comment or send me an email, and I will get one to you. I ask that you read it and then share it with people in your life either going through infertility or supporting someone who is as the piece includes a lot of tips that my faithful blog readers helped me gather!
So, anyways, I just wanted to share, as I am very excited and very nervous about my first "public" piece on infertility.
Warning: complaints abound
Saturday, September 2, 2006
I don't know why I am blogging at 4:18 on a Saturday morning. Maybe it's that I can't sleep. Maybe it's that this nagging stomachache thinks pepto bismol is a joke.
I've been dealing with insomnia since before I went to Florida. Ever since I started taking these little blue pills (estrace), I've had trouble sleeping. I've attributed it to JB being gone or having to share a full sized bed with him at Eglin, but last night, both of those factors were eliminated. JB was sleeping next to me, and we were back in our own big king bed.
And yet I still couldn't sleep. I managed a few hours, but when I found myself staring at the ceiling again at 3:30, I gave up and meandered out to my computer. Writing always relaxes me (except when I have a deadline). The good thing about blogging is I don't have any deadline. Unless you are Tara who will let me know if too many hours have gone by without an update from the Polar North. I suppose Tara believes I have a deadline.
The insomnia is one thing, but add to that that one of the key side effects of these little blue pills is also stomach cramping and bloating, and, well, it's been a rough ride. I truly feel like a whimp. I feel like I am a horrible medicine taker. At the same time, I know it isn't in my head. I purposefully do NOT read the "side effect" list on any new medication I take. I don't want to subconsciously start suffering from an effect that is all in my head. So after three days of intense stomach cramping, I called JB, he looked up estrace side effects on his handy-dandy new palm pilot, and informed me that, sure enough, it was not all in my head. It's one of the most frequent complaints.

Okay, so I've got the insomnia and I've got the cramping. Are you ready for some more complaining? The other issue is Metformin. Yes, I am still on that lovely little drug. I've now been on it for nearly two years. The problem with Metformin is that we have found it is exacerbated by increases in other medications or sicknesses.
To explain: I normally take 1500 mg. of Metformin nightly with no problems whatsoever. However, if I have a cold or I am taking or increasing another new drug, the Metformin kicks into full gear. I won't go into detail about what Metformin does to me, but needless to say, it is not good. It makes eating nearly pointless.
So back to my whimpiness. I think I am somewhere in the middle on the whimpiness scale. I feel like all this infertility stuff has made me tougher, but I still wish I could pop little blue pills and Metformin and shoot myself up with clear liquids and not blink an eye. I talk to other women and find my complaints are somewhere in the middle. Many women I have talked to quit taking Metformin very early on. They grew frustrated with the side effects. Other people I know have taken it without much problem at all. I talk to some women who are bombarded from side effects from estrace and clomid and gonal and progesterone and lupron. I talk to others who are not phased a bit. So I guess I fall somewhere in the middle.
I must pause to say that I can handle all these side effects times a thousand if they are not coupled with migraines. I so appreciate the prayers during this cycle for my headaches because, I am happy to say, I have not had even one TWINGE of a migraine or headache. That is such an unbelievable blessing. You don't realize how good it feels to feel good until you feel bad.
Well, it's 4:34 now. We are leaving for the race at 7 a.m. JB is going to run it with me. I have to tell you that I think my surprise of his arrival yesterday was one of the most completely-take-me-off-guard moments I have ever experienced. He totally got me! He even made up a story about how he couldn't talk to me before work on Friday because they were starting procedures very early when actually, the reason he couldn't talk to me was because he was somewhere above Alabama! Stinker!
I think we are going to try to go to the Saturday night service at church tomorrow. JB hasn't been to church in over a month, and Saturday services are often a little less family-oriented and will hopefully not impact me as much as last Sunday's service did. I also think I have to work at Mayo tomorrow, er, make that today. I told my boss I would work because JB was out of town and because the coming week is not only a holiday but IVF week so I would be out two days. Oh well. John has so much studying and residency application work to do that he wasn't too bothered when I told him I would be at work his first full day home. We're just both glad he's home!
Also, in the hope of not ending today's blog on a downer note, I thought I would share some other words-of-wisdom some anonymous person left on the comment board a few days back. (Side note: if you sign your name, I can say "thank you" more appropriately!) But anyways, I have been so blessed by all the wonderful encouragement I have been receiving and thought, since some of you probably don't read the comments (I know Tara, you do! Hey Tara, I have written your name in this blog four times. You rock), I would share these in my blog. Thanks to whoever sent them. I cannot tell you how wonderful it makes me feel to know that so many people are praying for us. Even anonymous peoples.
I really appreciate these comments. One of the things I struggle with during these times is wondering if what I do or do not do is effecting the result. If I run too much, will it affect it? If I eat too much junk food, will it affect it? If I don't pray enough, will it affect it? If I complain too much, will that affect it? Reading these quotes reminded me, that it isn't what I do or what I don't do -- it's just God. That's so important to remember. He has my best interest in mind and "all things work together for the good of those who love Him."
Wendi, you probably have no idea of how far-reaching your blog is and how many people are cheering you on as you walk this difficult journey called "Infertility". I'm certain their are days when you feel like no one else could ever possibly understand; however, anyone that has faced heartache and testing can identify with your frustrations and deep longings for a child. Walk hand in hand with your Heavenly Father, snuggle in His arms of love, and REST. You know that overwhelming feeling of love that you have for the precious "sticky babies"? Well, He has that same feeling about you...that's why we call Him our Father! Please know that hundreds of people are paraying for you, for JB, and for the babies. Blessings!
Here's a few more thoughts that have given me comfort:

"There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart."--Alan Redpath

"Your Holy Spirit enfolds me -- making me realize I am not alone. Thank You for Your strength, Your wisdom and the comfort of Your presence. Even in the most agonizing times I have the knowledge that You are there, Lord. When all I can do is whisper Your Name, it is enough. You hear. You care. You understand. My praise and adoration, Lord Jesus. Amen."--Joan Winmill Brown

"All of us have wondered at times why God doesn't do more to fix our problems. But our human eyes often fail to see that God isn't rushing to change our circumstances because he is concerned with a much more serious problem -- our character. While you struggle with the woes of this world, God's main occupation is preparing you for the world to come. The focus of what God is doing in your life takes place in you, not around you."--Andy Stanley, in Like A Rock
Praise You in This Storm (Casting Crowns)
Saturday, September 2, 2006
I have no idea who put this song on my blog comments. It was signed from a "different" anonymous person. Thank you anonymous person. I started reading it out loud to JB and by the time I was through the first five lines I was crying so hard I couldn't read it any more. JB just came over and we silently read it together not needing to tell each other that every line so perfectly said what both of us were feeling right now.
I am so blessed by all the people commenting on this blog and through email. It's funny. I originally started this blog to help other people understand our story and understand what was happening in our lives, and somewhere along the line, things changed. The blog is now healing for me and informative for me. I am so blessed. I LOVE THIS SONG!
P.S. I'll post race details and maybe some photos later. It was a very fun morning. Right now, I can you give the link to Brandon & Kristen's blog where there are some photos. I may steal some of them for my blog later. Thanks for taking the photos guys! Right now, I need a nap.
Praise You in This Storm (Casting Crowns)
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 You 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.

Chorus:
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

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone
how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You 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

Chorus:
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth
Gabbi rocks
Monday, September 4, 2006
Okay first of all, my sister-in-law Gabbi rocks. She has lots of talents, and I am blessed because they are all talents I don't have and can therefore use her for. For one thing, she can sing. Always a good talent to have. Secondly, she can find anything online. She found a link to the "Casting Crowns" song that I put on the blog the other day. Here it is: Praise You in this storm. You may have to download the player, but it's easy and definitely worth it.
Gabbi also sent me the link to a few other songs that I have been listening to online. These are really powerful and applicable to anyone, like us, going through a trying situation. Just click on the title and then click on the name of the song when you get to the page, and you can listen to it right online. You don't even have to download a player to listen to these.
I hope these minister to you as they have to me today. Let me know if you listen to them.
MOUNTAIN OF GOD
Thought that I was all alone
Broken and afraid
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me

And I didn't even know
That I had lost my way
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me

'Til You opened up my eyes
I never knew
That I couldn't ever make it
Without You

Even though the journey's long
And I know the road is hard
Well, the One who's gone before me
He will help me carry on
After all that I've been through
Now I realize the truth
That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

As I travel on the road
That You have lead me down
You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me
I have need for nothing more
Oh, now that I have found
That You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me

I confess from time to time
I lose my way
But You are always there
To bring me back again

Sometimes I think of where it is I've come from
And the things I've left behind
But of all I've had, what I possessed
Nothing can quite compare
With what's in front of me
With what's in front of me

CRY OUT TO JESUS
To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

When your lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who struggles with being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes

For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight
TTT
Wednesday, September 6, 2006

The TTT (Time to Transfer) has been set. I received the call just an hour ago. We are set to go in at 7:30 on Thursday morning. This means that the procedure will probably take place around 8:30 CST and should last about an hour. If you could try to remember me in your prayers from 8:30-9:30 CST, I would greatly appreciate it.
JB (who hasn't blogged in FOREVER) will probably post that afternoon when I get home in regards to the status of the sticky babies and how the procedure went. Thanks all!
Tomorrow is the day
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Hard to believe that tomorrow is the day. It was May 24th that we found out our first attempt with IVF did not work, and at the time, September 7th felt like it would take forever to get here.
Well forever dragged by, and now, it's here.
Tomorrow morning at 7:30, I check in at Methodist Hospital. Hopefully by 8:30 or 9:00 I will be in the operating room. I hope to be back home in my bed by noon. The only other thing I might need to schedule in there is a Dairy Queen Blizzard. But being as I can't run for at least two weeks, I may have to say no to the Blizzardo.
When I got the call yesterday which announced our start time, I told JB I didn't feel ready -- that getting the time felt so final. To lighten the mood, my husband, mister cool-and-collected, said, "Well would you prefer they told you to be there between Thursday and Sunday and that they may or may not be ready for your arrival?"
No JB, I don't prefer that. I prefer to know that it is at 7:30 Thursday morning. I just can't believe that 7:30 Thursday morning is now just a little over a half day away.
I have been given specific instructions following the surgery. I am not allowed to drive. Check. Not allowed to operate any heavy machinery. Ummm, okay, check. Not allowed to make any legal decisions. All right. I'll postpone my legal writing endeavors.
In the two weeks that follow, I also have a lot of regulations. No exercising. I begrudgingly say "check". No lifting anything heavy. That's easy. Check. No vacuuming. No problemo at all. I can give up vacuuming. Check and double check! At the end of two weeks, we'll go in for a pregnancy test. If it is positive, we will return three days later to assure the numbers are rising appropriately. I will stay on strict regulations until our first ultrasound, three days after that.
In the meantime, I have started my yucky progesterone shots. This time they are in the a.m. instead of the p.m. I'm not sure what is better--waiting all day for your shot in the evening or waking up first thing in the morning knowing you have to roll over and take a shot in the back. I am blessed to have a pro for a shot-giver who attempts to massage the thick oil around immediately after in the hopes of eliminating those nasty clumps that seem to develop later. C'mon fellow progesterone shot receivers. Am I right or am I right?
Here we go again. Two weeks, one day, and counting! Stay tuned ...
Today's the day
Thursday, September 7, 2006
Hard to believe, but today's the day.
I actually think this will be a little anti-climactic. Once this procedure is over, then, we sit around and wait for two weeks. Not much excitement there.
The most nervous part of the whole thing for me right now is talking to the embryologist and finding out how our two sticky babies are doing. Most likely he will tell us one of three things:
1. The two sticky babies survived the thaw and are ready to go.
2. One of the sticky babies died, but there was time to thaw the remaining sticky baby so we still have two.
3. One of the sticky babies died, and there was not time to thaw the remaining sticky baby so we are going to just transfer one.
I have listed those in my order of preference. We of course, are praying he comes in and tells us #1. I suppose there is a chance that none of the embryos survived. However, I doubt we'd be going in this morning if that was the case.
Last night, JB took me to dinner at Jasper's, a delightful parisian style cafe downtown. After dinner, we walked around downtown and just talked. I told him about the old man who got on the elevator with me that afternoon. "Beautiful day," he had said. After I agreed, he whispered, "Bet you are going to go home to your children."
Ouch.
JB told me about the medical student in Florida who asked him how in the world you "could survive being married eight years without children?!"
Ouch.
When JB told him "infertility", the guy looked like he might barf.
We laughed, and I cried. It was one of those memories that you know you will always have -- walking around the beautiful Rochester downtown the evening before one of the biggest days of your life.

Neither of us slept very well last night. Two different times we found we were both awake in the middle of the night, most likely thinking about the same things.
Okay, it's 7:15. Time to go. Check in on us later. We'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, thanks for all the cards, emails, gifts, and flowers! Wanted to share two helpful scriptures I received via email:
Dear Wendi and John, Just wanted to let you know you're in our thoughts and prayers!
Psalm 231 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Blessings,

David and Lesley
And from my Grama (via Aunt Linda),
Zachariah 9:12 Return to the Stronghold, ye prisoners of hope. Even today Ideclare that I will restore double to you.
I love that word "double" there!
It's a go! (by JB)
Thursday, September 7, 2006
Okay - so I am not going to be witty or wax eloquent. I'll just cut to the chase. Wendi did great and we now have two embryos (a.k.a. sticky babies) in residence in utero.
I'll start the story last night, well actually early this morning, at about 3:30 a.m. That was when Wendi woke up, and woke me up, with toe cramps. This is an occasional issue for her from time to time, and it is apparently endemic to Wendi's side of the family. So from about 3:30 to 5:30 we both slept off and on until her feet decided to get some sleep. The alarm sounded at 6:15, we both took showers and got dressed, and we walked over to the hospital at 7:30.
Wendi packed the camera in her bag, but we both kinda forgot about having it. Suffice it to say, we have no photos for you. But we were put in the same room as before - the good one: the one that I went in infertile and came out fertile again - so just remember those photos from before. The nurse, who had worked at Mayo for over 38 years, brought Wendi her valium (nite, nite, Wendi - see you next Thursday), and we waited for almost two hours, Wendi dozed and I studied. Then the toe cramps returned! (insert tension-building music)
Just a few minutes after that, they came and got us. Wendi was standing against the wall, trying to stretch out her foot while trying not to fall over from the valium, and the nurse was trying to get Wendi to spell her last name. Wendi kept showing her the hospital wrist band with her name on it with a drugged look that said, "if you are not going to massage the cramp out of my foot, leave me alone!" It was kinda funny, but I only dared to laugh on the inside. I finally said very slowly, "Wendi, spell your last name." She did and we were escorted down to the pre-op area.
Nothing much happened there. We waited some more. Wendi went to the bathroom - which she would soon regret. Then a sweet surgical assistant (or something like that - I'm not too sure what her title was) rolled Wendi to the operating room. Oh - just so you know, or didn't remember, the procedure is done in the O.R. since they have all the ultrasound equipment in there. Wendi was transferred to the O.R. bed (read that as awkwardly scooted over while trying not to flash everyone in the room and people walking by the room).
Dr. G. and a new REI fellow came in and things got started. They did an initial ultrasound (cold jelly all over Wendi's tummy) and decided that she did not have a full enough bladder. I knew instantly what was in store, but poor Wendi just looked at me with a blank stare. Then I saw her eyes widen with horror as she realized that, yes, they were going to fill her empty little bladder up on the spot. Welcome the urinary catheter to the show. It was actually not as bad as she was expecting it was going to be, but I would be punched if I said it was fun. So up goes Wendi's bladder and in goes the Dr.

There was some initial troubles (Wendi will read that as a huge understatement) in "visualizing" the cervix, but it was finally accomplished with the frequently used phrase, "Now just try to relax." Then there were some more, uh, "issues" in placing the catheter through the cervix. You see, my dear wife does not have a "typical" cervix. Most women have a cervix that is similar, please excuse the illustration, to a tunnel on a highway. Wendi has a cervix that is more reminiscent of rides at theme parks that make you barf. So, after about twenty minutes, we were ready to go.

The embryologist (that is such a cool title I must say - reminds me of Jurassic Park) came in and told us that our two embryos were doing great. I think Wendi told him he was the man. He got flustered and went back to his lab. He then came back 4 minutes later with our embryos. They tried to reinsert the new catheter - yes they had taken out the first one - but couldn't get it on the roller coaster in time. There is a two minute window for these things. So our embryos went back to the lab into the warmer. We waited a few more minutes. The embryologist switched catheters, and we tried again. Success!
I will say that it is pretty amazing to see those little guys on the ultrasound screen being dropped into the uterus. Of course, Wendi started crying (give her a break, she's on massive doses of hormones!).
And then that was it. Luckily the toe cramps did not return as feared. We were wheeled back to the room. Actually, Wendi was wheeled back. I had to walk. They don't let two people ride on the beds at the same time. We waited an hour in the room. Wendi slept some more. Then I ran home and picked up the car and drove back and picked up Wendi. We grabbed some Greek food on the way home.

Wendi is now asleep in the bedroom with a tummy full of gyros and two sticky-babies. Keep them all in your prayers (not the gyros). Thanks for the ones already said.
Wendi weturns
Friday, September 8, 2006

I had thought of all these things I should tell you on my post-transfer-blog.
Then I read my dear husband's blog and realized, there really isn't much more to tell. Did he do a good job or what?
However, I never don't have anything to write, so, not wanting to ruin that tradition, I've got my own bit of info to share. Warning that some of this may be TMI (too much information), but oh well, if you read past this point, you've been warned. We've already laid most of our personal life out there so what's to stop me now.
JB's account was very accurate, and it's how I remember it -- well, what I was awake for. I have no recollection of being asked to spell my name. Trying to get a cramp out of my foot while being in complete la-la land required enough of my concentration. But I do remember a woman standing there so that must have been what she wanted.

I also remember being completely panicked that these toe cramps would continue into the operating room. I had a fear of being strapped in with everything in place and busting out into a full-blown cramp which are very comparable to a charlie-horse only more difficult to get rid of. (I'd rather have a charlie-horse any day.) I was very blessed when the entire procedure flew by without a cramp.

However, the rest of the procedure did not fly by. JB was right when he mentioned the transfer had its share of frustrations. Last transfer was a piece of cake. This time, if the transfer was a piece of cake, it was a pretty crummy piece of cake. Last time, they dilated my cervix a few weeks before the transfer. For some reason they did not do the dilation this go 'round. I'm not sure if this was the reason for the trouble or if it was a different doctor's technique, but I was a pretty unhappy camper for at least an hour yesterday morning.

I did, I remember, tell the embryologist that he was "the man" when he told us that both embryos were thawing nicely and "cleaving well". I had to ask JB what this meant when the embryologist returned to his lab, and apparently it means "dividing". So they were dividing appropriately. If IVF does not work, as it did not work last time, it is for one of two reasons. Either the sticky babies didn't stick, or they didn't continue to divide, something that happens inside a regularly ovulating woman all the time.

Another thing I remember was hearing the doctor say that my bladder was not full enough. Last time I didn't have a full bladder and it was okay, and no one told me I had to have a full bladder this time. Had they told me, I would have made sure it was full. So why, I wondered was this a problem? Later, John would explain to me that having a full bladder pushed the uterus into more "reachable" position.

As soon as Dr. G. said "the bladder's not full enough," I had a solution. But before I could say, "I can chug an Aquafina in thirty seconds flat!" I heard him saying something about a catheter to fill up my bladder.

This is one of those things that has always scared me. For some reason, I have feared a catheter with maximum fear capacity for as long as I understood what a catheter did. Everyone in the room started comforting me, but I didn't find it very comforting. The post-catheter take on it: it isn't that bad. But it isn't that good either. It does not require life-altering fear, I admit. But I'd prefer that no one ever said the words, "her bladder is not full enough," again. Another sign that something isn't going to be very pleasant is when everyone starts telling you, "Breathe through it." Uh oh.

Next issue? As they filled up my bladder, I began to have to go to the bathroom more and more with every millisecond that went by. Add to that that they were pushing on my stomach (or abdomen as JB would say -- I have learned that the stomach is actually an organ) with their ultrasound machine, and I was wondering how in the world I could complete the one hour bedrest that follows the procedure without needing to use the bathroom.

As if she could read my mind, I heard the REI fellow say, "Don't worry. He will leave the catheter in so he can empty you bladder when he is done." Whew. Sweet relief. Now if she could not press so hard on my "abdomen"...

The other bad thing about the whole catheter issue was that we had had great difficulty getting everything (i.e. whatever it is they use to get me prepped for the procedure) into place easily. Dr. G. had tried many times before his tools went in without causing me great pain. So when he realized my bladder wasn't full enough, that meant removing the apparatuses that were now in fairly comfortably, putting in the catheter, and then starting again. The second try was even harder than the first. My stupid roller coaster cervix and I were going to have some discussions when this was done.

I kept thinking I was a complete whimp! I attribute these feelings to my father completely. Prior to having umbilical hernia surgery in high school, he told me I was a big whimp. This had a huge impact on me because I woke up from surgery asking everyone I met if I was a whimp while coming off of the drugs. I think this caused my dad a bit of guilt. Ever since, I have really wanted to refrain from every being a whimp again. Everyone in the room kept assuring me that the problems Dr. G. was having were not my fault. It was my "rollercoaster" looking cervix that was to blame (and so maybe my parents are still to blame since I inherited my anatomy from them -- just kidding mom and dad). Either way, I was trying to be tough, but really having trouble relaxing.

JB was wonderful. He sat right by my head the entire time encouraging me to picture the white sands of Destin (the most beautiful beach I could come up with on the spur of the moment). And picture-away I did. This imagery would last for about twenty seconds, before a pain jolted me awake again. JB would remind me to go back to the beach, and return I would, for another twenty second jaunt in the ocean surf. I wanted to return for another valium. Or maybe another two valium.

All said and done, we were in the room for over an hour -- probably double the length of time we were in there the first time. I am soooo glad to be home and out of that cold, sterile room. Thank goodness that is done. And maybe, possibly, I will only do that one more time -- to return for our one remaining "sticky baby".

A Dairy Queen Blizzard (now the chocolate french silk variety thanks to my new twin Kelsey) completed the night.

Now begins the dreaded two week wait. Two weeks before we get a positive or negative. Thanks everyone for all your love and encouragement. We received so many email and cards, and it honestly means so much. Just as we were walking out the door, we found Dave and Lesley's card slid under the door. It was such an encouragement to know we weren't going in there alone. Keep those prayers coming during the next two weeks, and hopefully during the next nine months.

Thanks Lesley!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's Wednesday morning. My dear friend Lesley Jones just left our condo. Lesley came over at the break of dawn to give me one of my progesterone shots. No, JB isn't gone. However, he is planning on doing a camping trip late next week, and if we are pregnant, I will need someone else to give me my shots.

I am proud to say that Lesley did a fabulous job. I had to give her two rules: (1) I cannot help load the medicine in the needle at all. These needles are too large and the medicine is too thick. It makes me nervous. (2) I will not answer any questions while I am lying down waiting for the shot. JB used to ask me if I was ready, like, ten times, and I wouldn't answer. For some reason, my mental preparation is not verbal whatsoever. If I am lying down, I am ready. Stick me whenever you want.

As I have said before, the shot itself is really not that painful, and this morning was no exception. Very proud of you there Les.

Today ... I wait. Tomorrow ... I wait
Saturday, September 16, 2006

Waiting.

I guess this is why they call it the two week wait.

Because you wait. And then wait. And then wait some more.

By the way, I am still waiting.

Some lucky people are done waiting. I received some good news. An online friend who has been a great encouragement to me, found out yesterday that her second try with IVF worked. She is pregnant! Her first attempt had been negative and without any frozen embryos, this cycle required another fresh harvest. They transferred four sticky babies. Not only did it work, but her numbers were very high indicating that she probably has more than one sticky baby stickin' away. You go girl!

I have been feeling pretty good aside from two things: the first are my moods. I cry a few times a day. Warning: if you see me, don't ask me how I am doing emotionally because I will start crying. This coming from a girl who, prior to infertility treatments, cried less than a few times a year! What has happened to me? Oh, well they have forced my body to ovulate and forced my body into early menopause, and then forced my body into pregnancy. Every time I tell JB I don't know why I am crying he says, "Hmmmm .... could it be that you are on a thousand hormones and possibly pregnant?"

I just stomp my foot and walk out. No! That is NOT it Jay-Bee!

JB is very helpful. If a TV commercial comes on that he knows will set me off, he quickly changes the channel before I start to cry. (Even something as basic as a detergent commercial could cause me to cry.) (This is not a joke.)

If I am browsing online he asks, "Will this website be helpful?" If it is something on IVF stats ... it is probably not helpful.

And he has attempted, despite the heavy studying he has had to do, to listen to me when I do feel the need to talk about things that there are currently no answer for. 

The second slight issue is my back. I am taking these shots in my back. Yesterday, I had a really rough day with my back, however, I feel blessed that I woke up this morning feeling much better. My best guess is that the stupid way I have been walking in order to prevent my sore lower back from hurting (are you following here?) had caused me to basically pull my back out. Yesterday morning, it got so bad, I had to email Dave and Lesley and request the loan of their jeep to drive three blocks to RLSF since JB had taken our car to take his Boards. I couldn't bend more than forty-five degrees. How pitiful is that?! (Pitiful refers to the inability to bend and the need to drive three blocks.)

Some of you have asked when we find out. My only answer is next week. We find out sometime next week. Which day? Ummm ... (this is Wendi stalling because she doesn't want to answer). Basically, we aren't telling. Just like last time, whichever way this ends up going, we want to deal with it privately first, and then invite the public to share with us. I'm sure you understand. Those of you smart people out there, who even figured out last IVF that I was lying about the day we got our results (Gabbi! Kelsey!) probably know what day we find out. That's okay. My only request is that you pray and wait for us to give the news.

Next week I am going to be having some guest-bloggers to help pass the time while we are digesting our life privately and also while we head to Chicago. Tuesday my cousin Justin will be entertaining you. Wednesday, my buddy Tara will be entertaining you. Thursday, my cousin Josh will be making a return visit. So far, no one has agreed to follow-up Josh. In fact, both Justin and Tara said they would only go if they were able to blog prior to the almighty Joshie Poo. Any takers? We need some other guest-bloggers. Anyone? Lesley, Tara suggested you. You up for it? How about you Mom? (Oh man, if I know my mom, she just started feeling sick to her stomach.)

We are heading to Chicago for another test for JB on Thursday next week. He is taking his Clinical Skills exam in downtown Chicago on Friday. We plan to get a hotel in downtown Chicago on Thursday evening, and then I will spend Friday with family while he takes his test. John's brother Matt is actually flying into Chicago on Sunday (this all gets very complicated). He and JB are going to go camping with Ronaldo Ray from the next Monday through Thursday, so Matt will make the drive back to Rochester with us. What a guy! I will then return to my blog on Sunday.
Not that I might not appear before that. I might. You'll just have to keep checking in to see when we decide to blog our announcement. Hmmm ... do you feel frustrated at having to wait for answer?!
JOIN THE CLUB!
i
Did I mention I am still waiting?
My new office, guest bloggers, and IVF results
Monday, September 18, 2006

Well while I am blogging, I am now blogging from my new at-home office. I am really excited about this room because it gives me a space to go instead of sitting at the dining room table. I think it will help keep me focused when working on RLSF work. I thought it would be nice for you all to see where I was when I was blogging.

In other news, today is Monday, and we find out this week the results of our blood work and whether or not this attempt with IVF has worked. It has been an emotional week. Saturday night we went to church, and I was amazed at all the people, strangers even, who stopped us to say that they were praying for us! Many even said they are keeping up on our blog! Word travels fast. It was so touching that I ended up crying through most of service and most of the way home. Crying out of excitement and fear and hormones, as usual.

I've had some spiritual insight this week, mostly while not being able to sleep and lying in bed. Man you can think some deep stuff in that situation. I realize that the Lord has already blessed us with these two children. We, as John's Aunt Betsy wrote to us, "Just want to get to keep them." I know there is a spiritual battle occurring for my children, and I know the Lord wants us to raise these twins.

As I mentioned, I have arranged for guest bloggers to keep you consistently entertained this week. I will, most likely, be surprising you with some blogs mixed in, however, I wanted to "have my bases covered" so you stay entertained.
Please support them by reading their posts and not telling Josh his post was too good cuz otherwise everyone else feels bad. Gabbi said she is not afraid to follow Josh. You go Gabbi! Speaking of Gabbi, you have to check out Gabbi's profile on her blog (Ray & Gabbi & fam). She talks about her twin sister Wendi. This is hilarious. If two people could look more different than Gabbi and myself, I'd like to meet them!

Again, plan on me, sometime this week, popping in with our announcement and other news. Hopefully our announcement will be a happy one. If we get a positive at our first blood test, we will return three days later for a second blood test to see that our numbers rose appropriately.
I know many of you are very anxious to find out. Please keep checking in and be patient. This is a tough week for us! However, this is also a very exciting week. I feel very hopeful this Monday morning that we will get to raise these two babies. We love you all.

Sorry to ruin Tara's Blog
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tara's blog was so good that I hate to post this on top of it. Please still scroll below and read her post. It is hillarious and very good. She has to have a fair chance to win the blog-off.

We got a negative result today on our blood test. This means that we are not pregnant. There really isn't anything else to say. My lovely friends will continue blogging for me during the next few days. They will do a great job. I will return for sure on Monday and possibly sooner just as strong as ever.

If you want to know what to pray for, pray that the Lord will give us wisdom with what to do next. And don't doubt God lives just because something crappy happened to me. I will someday get to meet the five children we have lost.
I love you all! If you don't mind not communciating with me verbally, I'd appreciate it. Any other way is fine.
Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning
Sunday, September 24, 2006

I am back.

I think Kelsey may be popping in with a blog today, but I didn't confirm. So Kelsey, if you see this, post away. Or post tomorrow. Post whenever you want. Everyone is asking me how you are doing. Tell us! :)
I am still trying to determine if my return to my own blog is good or not for the future of the “Life in the Polar North” blog. This past week, while I was away, I had more hits on my blog in a one week period than I have ever had! More hits the week that I didn’t post.
Go figure.
With my return, also, comes JB’s untimely departure. He, his brother Matt, and three friends: Ronnie, Sean, and Ajit, are heading six hours north for a camping expedition, where, I know, it’s hard to believe, the weather is even colder than it is in Rochester. They are leaving very early on Monday morning and will return on Thursday.

Right now, it is Sunday, and we just got home from a long weekend in Chicago. JB took his Clinical Skills Test for Step II of his Boards. It is the last national test he will have to take in medical school. We visited with tons of family and picked up John's brother Matt from Midway airport this morning. It was a wonderful weekend. Kathleen took us to a Dairy Farm where I saw my first calf being born. That was ... interesting.
To my guest bloggers, who so perfectly entertained while I was away, a thousand thank you’s. We all have our different opinions of who best entertained during my absence, however, if we go according to hits, it was the “girl who never wins anything”, Tara, who’s blog-day got the most daily hits. Congrats Tara. She only won by 7 hits, and only I know who finished second.
I won’t go into second through last place mainly because I don’t want to hurt Josh’s feelings if he didn’t finish very high. Secondly, Tara, pointed out some fallacies with the “hits = winner” idea. She, for instance, posted first thing in the morning. This meant that visitors came in once, saw her post, and left, pleased. Justin posted later in the day. This meant that people may have returned for a second look, or even a third, as they tapped their toes and urged him on. Justin then noted that Gabbi used trivia to up her hit number. Only Gabbi knows if that was truly her intention. Josh was just upset in general. Lesley didn’t worry at all of course, as she never does, and Kelsey, well, I am still waiting to see if Kelsey will grace us with her presence.
Aaaaah. Okay, the formalities complete, on to business.
I have to tell you, first, that last Tuesday was, a very rough day. I was glad we decided to keep our dinner plans with Sean and Tara later that evening. It was a welcome respite from hours of crying. There comes a point when your body says, “If you cry, once more, you will split a rib or burst a blood vessel.” My body was there. I spent the afternoon after we received the results, working on RLSF’s webpage. It is brain-dead work that I could do without having to pay much attention. I took breaks to talk via email or instant messenger to a few of you, to answer the door as the flowerman came and went (they were beautiful!), and to talk to Kristi, seemingly the one person that I was able to generate words with that afternoon (other than JB).
Now I say all this to say, that I was at the bottom. I was frustrated a hundred times over. JB, “Mr. Optimism”, who can always see the silver lining, was not impressed with how grey this particular cloud seemed as well. I was done with trying to have children. I was mad that this meant so much to me. I was tired of shots and appointments and the invasion of physicians into such a personal area of our lives. I was having some heated discussions with God. I was trying, as best I could, to figure out what we should do next. Go back for our one embryo and then close this book was my immediate feeling. If God wanted to bless us without medicine, so be it. I was done with doctors. Did they realize how hard it was to listen to another message (the ninth time, but who’s counting?) featuring disappointing news. The nurse told me that not only was I not pregnant but that they considered anything above a number “5” pregnant, and I was .0005. Hmmmph. Definitely not pregnant.
I screamed to the Lord for direction, for peace, for comfort, for anything to make sense of this. John was right there with me. His feelings perfectly mirrored mine. We actually talked very little. We both knew exactly what the other was feeling. We felt completely exhausted and weary and worn. Enough was enough.
Yet again, I had made “cycle partners” with women on my online discussion board. Yet again, the woman I followed had a positive result, and I had a negative. Each time I have connected with someone, and we vowed to pray for each other, I celebrated with them and grieved for myself. I was jealous yet again.

Throughout the day people kept sending me emails telling me they were praying. This offered me comfort, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t know which end was up during these hours. People have been praying we’d get pregnant too.

My new friend Jenny, currently resting with sticky babies in her own womb, wrote and told me that these were the years the locusts had devoured, and the Lord had promised to restore them. She was referring to a scripture in Joel.

Joel 2:24-26 24 "The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten — the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm [a] — my great army that I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed."
Her words perfectly met me where I was. Yes! These years feel so heavy. I am so weary.

I remember when my dad’s father passed away. I remember my grama being so strong at the funeral and telling me that a lot of people must have been praying for her to be that strong because she could have never done it on her own.

I had an experience with what prayer felt like. As soon as I started telling people, I started feeling better.

When I woke up Wednesday morning, the clouds just didn’t look so dark anymore. As of Wednesday morning, I felt like people were holding me up themselves, with their own hands. From Florida and Illinois and New Mexico and Indiana and Texas and Kentucky and all over the U.S. (Even the Polar North.) I felt strong. The grief was waning.

I am okay. We are okay. I say that, and I mean that. It’s hard not to doubt prayer works when you don’t see it answered the way you want it to be answered. But Wednesday, my prayer for peace and guidance and direction was answered. It was as if God was saying, “See Wendi, I am here. I’m walking with you.” Things cleared up. My sadness dissipated – a sadness that had taken weeks to get over the first time. Weeks to get over the first eight times. In twenty-four hours, I was feeling upbeat and positive and, yes, that we could harvest again.
We now plan to harvest again in November. We’ll try again.
I have to wonder if this is what people were praying for us. If people were praying that we would try again, because Wednesday morning, things became very clear, and we both knew what we should do.

I will start my new medications and shots within a few days. It’s amazing that after so much waiting for past cycles, I feel like this one is coming very fast. We will harvest and then three days later, transfer again. We are currently discussing the number to transfer as it appears that they will do ICSI (this is the process where they “force” one egg and one sperm together.) ICSI should increase the number of embryos that actually do fertilize due to our “sperm binding” issue. I am also not sure, until we meet with the doctor, if he will again advise us to only transfer two sticky babies or if we will be allowed to move to three because of our two failed attempts.
Not only am I returning in November, but, ironically, JB will on his REI (reproductive endocrinology) rotation in November. He is doing a rotation in my doctor’s office, doing procedures on other women, talking to women just like me, the month that I will also be there. We aren’t really sure how this will work. He will actually be in the office when I come in for my appointments. Weird.

Some people may wonder why we don’t wait a bit. As I have mentioned before, our tests are still current. If we wait longer than the first week of January, we will have to re-run all those tests. Something that is financially, emotionally, and physically taxing. In addition, we are still at Mayo and still have Mayo’s 50% infertility insurance. If we move to Eglin, our insurance at Mayo will be terminated June 1st. We want to move forward while this only costs half as much as it does otherwise.

During the next six weeks, JB has given me homework. A book entitled Mind over Mood that they use with their psychiatric patients. (Says a lot about me, huh?) We are also looking into some alternative therapies and non-pharmacologic approaches to dealing with possible migraines and stress associated with these procedures. Everything seems so simple right now. But when those hormones start raging, I want it to still feel simple.

I have no reason to worry. This is completely out of my control. So I just need to trust. Thank you for praying for me everyone. I feel it. Please don’t stop praying for me to have peace and comfort. I really need it, and your prayers, really work. I know some of you are growing frustrated, like me, asking God how long you have to pray. Feeling Him during these days reminded me that prayer really does work.
They say the third time is a charm, right? That’s what I’m praying for.
Look for another post tomorrow. I have to regain control of my territory.
Blessings,
Wendi
A little rougher day with some little bits of sunshine
Monday, September 25, 2006
JB left this morning. I am so happy that he is getting to take this camping trip. He loves to do be outside, and there are very few things he would rather do then spend a few days in nature. In addition, the guys he is going with are all so wonderful. I know they are going to have a great time.
Unfortunately, his departure isn't the best as far as timing is concerned. I didn't realize how much he helps stabilize me until they pulled away this morning, and he wasn't there to stabilize me. I felt like one of my legs had been pulled out from under me.
So, needless to say, today hasn't been as good of a day as the previous days. Today, is a little harder. However, my dear friend Lesley is taking me out for a bit of pampering at the salon this evening as well as a dinner, and I must admit that has really given me something to look forward to today.
I spoke with Mary this morning. She is the nurse in the IF clinic who has been there longest, and she really knows the answer to everything. If I call and ask a question that another nurse doesn't know the answer to, she immediately refers to Mary, "because she knows everything."
Mary called, and we talked, and, she gave me some great news. They have decided NOT to use the birth control pill to "down regulate" me. Down regulation is where they completely shut my ovaries down so they stop producing any eggs. There is another way to "down regulate" and with the hopes that it will help prevent migraines, they have decided to give it a try. It involves a different combination of drugs. Mary assured me it was a proven technique and that it should work just fine.
More good news? Dr. C. also said I could regularly decrease my Metformin from 3 pills to 2. He said he understood that the new drugs thrown in cause me to get major GI upset from the Metformin, and while I was hoping he would say I could eliminate it altogether, cutting the dose "officially" (since I end up cutting it myself because I can't handle it) was another nice treat.
The third bit of good news? We are on the calendar for another fresh harvest. November 6-10, we are going to have another try. Mary said, "That means you could find out you were pregnant by Thanksgiving." It's hard to believe that one year ago, I was in Chicago with the family, grieving another failed attempt, and trying as hard as I could to get through that day without crying. (I didn't make it as Sarah can attest to.)
There was some other news which I am not sure how to take. They are going to dilate my cervix again prior to the attempt. Now, in case you forgot (because I didn't), my last transfer was not very much fun, and they did not dilate me prior to this transfer. They did dilate me prior to the first transfer, and it was much smoother. So I think I am happy they are dilating me, it's just that having this done, is, well, at the very bottom of my list of "fun things to do on a Friday afternoon."

Mary was very sweet as we talked. She told me knows that I have been at this for a long time, but she encouraged me that people do get pregnant after failed attempts and that, if I could handle it emotionally, I shouldn't throw the towel in quite yet. I really appreciated this. I asked her if she could tell me a few success stories, and she did. I needed some encouragement.

I also looked up some old statistics and reminded myself that while I am not a "population", the statistics can help keep things in perspective. Each cycle, we have about a 22% chance of an embryo implanting. That means that the fact that it didn't work doesn't mean that there is a reason it didn't work. It just didn't work this time. And it just didn't work the previous time.

So we are going to go in and see the doctor on October 6th to sign off on some paperwork. We will need to have a decision made in regards to number of eggs to fertilize by this date. We think we have made a decision but want to ask the doctor a few questions first. I will start my new medications on October 8th, and only thirty days from then, I'll be back in the operating room again. Wow! This is moving fast.

Just wanted to give you an update and keep you entertained if the fork post earlier this morning didn't do the trick.
Special Verses
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's a good thing I wake up a lot during the night. At three a.m. I woke up and realized my fan wasn't on. That's because the electricity had gotten knocked out again during a storm. The last time this happened, JB was also out of town. I finally tracked down my phone so I could set my phone alarm and then headed back to bed. This morning I have been wandering around resetting all the clocks and trying to fix the motor on the fish tank.

Yesterday was a rough day again for me. After doing some RLSF work, I decided to spend the evening compiling some of my favorite scriptures in one place both for me to read and for visitors to read both today or in the future. These are directed toward my issues, however, anyone can find comfort in the words. Pick some of your favorites. I will keep the link on the right side of the page so you are welcome to access them anytime.

Oh, and thank goodness, JB comes home tomorrow! I miss him so much and not being able to talk to him is even worse.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. " Matt.11:28

"Wait on (hope in) the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart." Psalm 27:14

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" Romans 9:20

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. II Tim. 1:7

God will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb 13:5

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. I Cor. 14:33

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-29

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, i will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4

The testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing James 1:3-4

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, although there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Hab. 3:17-18

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13

Give an ear to my words oh Lord, give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, my king and my God. Psalm 5:1

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Psalms 113:9

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut. 31:8

Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus. “But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:3

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hands and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28

Then the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’” Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Gen. 18:14

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jer. 32:27

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

If we are faithless, He will remain faithful. II Tim. 2:13

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Phil. 4:12

Jesus replied, “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand." John 13:7

The secret things belong to the Lord our God. Deut. 29:29

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

. . . and the Lord remembered her . . . Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. I Sam. 1:19

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn. Isaiah 51:1

Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. Isaiah 51:2

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. Isaiah 51:6

Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over? Isaiah 51:10

The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:10

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass. Isaiah 51:12

Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. Isaiah 54:4

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. James 1:2-4

Do not be anxious about anything, bu tin everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.

Dave and Lesley are the best!
Thursday, September 28, 2006

My friends Dave and Lesley are the best! Last night they invited me over for dessert and games. Even though I didn't manage to win even one game of Sequence (Lesley took home the trophy with three wins), I had a great time, and it was a welcome distraction after a very long week.

One good thing is that work is so unbelievably busy. Grant season at Mayo is extremely stressful. I'm unable to think much about myself at all during the work day. I work non-stop and even contemplate skipping lunch because it would take too long!

It's when I get home that the days have been hard. So Dave and Lesley helped eliminate this part of the equation by having me over -- for oreo ice cream and oreos themselves no doubt!

Thanks so much for being such good friends guys.

Last night I also had my bi-monthly counseling appointment. My counselor doesn't think I need to come too often, so we just schedule it every few months so I can check in. Grecia is fabulous and is a good listener. Although last night I did a lot more crying than talking. Either way, she is excited as well that we are trying this again and gave me a few good books to help myself with the mind games.

Another great friend asked me last night if it was the disappointment in the past or the fear of the future that has me struggling these last few days. I think it is definitely the fear of the future. I'm not really sad about what has happened. It's just difficult to think about what might happen.

The trick is completely turning this over to the Lord. If I know he has my best interest in mind, then "letting go and letting God" is the key to the whole solution! Now, does anyone know the magic words to doing that? If you do, fill me in. I could use some help there.

Today, JB comes home. If you can't tell, I am very excited about this. I can't wait to have him back at home and hear all about the trip. I will post pictures of their trip (if he took them as promised ASAP!)
I got my leg back!
Friday, September 29, 2006
Jb is home!
Honestly, truly, is there anything else I need to say? The moment he walked in the door, I instantly felt better. I have realized, throughout this infertility journey, that JB and I, who have always been the best of friends, have grown even closer than we already were. I think back to when we first started trying to have children and definitely recognize that our marriage would not have been what it is now had we had a child when we thought the timing was best. John is absolutely my best friend, my rock. I said the other day that when he left, I felt like one of my legs was ripped out from under me. Last night, I felt like I was able to stand again!
Besides the Lord, John is the only one that has taken each and every step of this adventure with me and understands exactly what is happening in my mind. He helps to distract me with jokes and stories and dinner. Last night we talked forever about their camping trip. No fish the entire four days, but tons of fun, and his brother Matt even took a little (accidental) swim. Now that's not much fun when it is forty degrees outside.
Anyways, JB took pictures but they are not digital, so I will get them on here as soon as he gets them developed. He and Matt said it was weird to revert back to a "regular" camera after using digital for so long. "We have no idea if the pictures are any good," Matt joked.
I wanted to ask your prayers this week, when you are praying for me, as I hope you do, to add Tim and Jenny to your list. They are our new friends at Eglin Air Force Base that we met through our mutual friend, Roberta. Tim and Jenny will find out early next week if their first try with IVF worked or not. If you thought my battle has been tough, try losing all your paperwork in Hurricane Katrina, and having to start over -- and start over in Texas, not in the state you live in! Ugh. Anyways, we pray fervently that her two little sticky babies are thriving away. Praying for you Jenny. You need to have your own child so that you, the fervent prayer warrior, can concentrate all your barren-womb prayers on me! (Just kidding of course!)
Here is my "theme" verse today. If you are looking for something to pray for me or something to pray for yourself if something is worrying you, here's what I plan to remember all day:
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Tis' the season to write a grant (and other ramblings of my mind)
Saturday, September 30, 2006
'Tis grant writing season at the Mayo Clinic.
Honestly, truly, positively, this is the most stressful part of my job -- by far.
My boss, Dr. K___ is submitting a grant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Failure to get the grant onto a Fed Ex truck by Monday night will result in failure to get the millions of dollars from the NIH.
I called around this week. The last Fed Ex truck leaves Rochester at 9 p.m. That means that we now have just three full days to finish this sucker, bring it to the Fed Ex man, and wave to it as it leaves for Bethesda, MD -- home of the NIH.
JB starts his Emergency Department (ED) rotation Monday. I think this should be a fun rotation for him. He gets to do an ambulance ride along and his shifts are only nine hours which means, even when he has a few overnights, he only has to be up a maximum of nine hours (instead of 36 or whatever it is.) The bad news is, he really doesn't get many days off, however, with those short shifts, I should be able to see him plenty.
Following the ED rotation, as I briefly mentioned before, he will be on a reproductive endocrinology rotation. This should be pretty interesting because this is the month that I will be doing all my "stuff". I am excited about JB taking a turn on this rotation. It is an elective which he chose for two reasons.

One of the reasons is that it counts as a surgery elective. Now JB likes surgery, however, his surgery rotations have included surgeries that take 9-12 hours! That's a long time to stand there holding a retractor. Surgeries like the one I have take an hour or so and mean a lot less time on your feet.

I truly do not know how John did these long surgeries. You are scrubbed in so you can only scratch between a certain section of your body. You can't go to the bathroom. You can't sit down. I asked him once what he did during this time, and he said the ony thing you can do is try to imagine you are somewhere else. Now, one time, they were strapped for doctors, and JB was able to scrub in on a "whipple" (is this how you spell that JB?). He said that those hours FLEW by. But unfortunately, the people on down the totem pole, often end up holding a retractor for hours at a time. And I thought coaching a three hour basketball practice was bad! Yuck!

The other reason is that he gets experience with infertility, something he will see a lot of, unfortunately, as a family practice doctor. I also think he has a special gift now, of relating and talking to these women.

So now that I thoroughly jumped topics in this post, I might as well jump again, and discuss our next cycle which is about to start. We go in and see the doctor on Friday at 8 a.m. to sign off on all the surgery stuff and how many embryos we are going to fertilize (which we still haven't decided.) Ultimately, we would like to have at least 3-4 more chances with this next cycle. We feel like we should get more embryos since they will probably use the ICSI procedure for sure (although we don't have a "severe" male factor issue like this site talks about). So the question is, do we then still tell them to fertilize 14 with the hopes that instead of , like we got last time, we get more like 8-10? Or do we go up a little bit or even drop a bit? We have to talk to the doctor a bit before we make this decision.

I must admit that at this point, it is to difficult to imagine that IVF can work. However, I know many women who got pregnant after 3, 4, and 5 tries. Either way, we both decided that we feel like 2 1/2 tries isn't really enough to adequately say that we have to give up on IVF. The whole time we have done this, we have tried to not let money be a deciding factor (and JB is much stronger about this than I am). I don't want to ever say that we didn't try again because it cost too much and that wasn't worth it. I don't think we will ever feel like our child isn't worth this money if the procedure works. I do know my approach to this next cycle is different. While I am excited, I am guarded.

Well I should take a shower, quit boring you, and head into Mayo. I'm sure I'll write more about IVF during the next four weeks, as we prepare to go at this again.

Finding peace
Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Lord is faithful. After a very rough week, I am doing much better. I think a part of this was JB coming home. I had a lot of things I needed to talk through and get off my chest ... things I could only really discuss with him. Last night, after we dropped Matt off at the airport, we had a long talk, and I got a lot of things sorted out.

I think another big part of this new peace is also just an answer to prayer. The thing that I have prayed for the most, as I have told you blog readers repeatedly, is peace. Not being able to have children causes me fear. This fear is mostly due to the fact that I have never wanted to be anything but a wife and a mom. I don't have any career aspirations. If I don't have children, what the heck would I do with the next twenty years of my life?
I fear spending the rest of my life avoiding places that are painful. The mall, the zoo, church, baptisms, holidays ... it doesn't end. What will it be like when all of our brothers and sisters have children and we don't? How will I manage? How do I deal with being completely left behind?
However, over the last few days, I have realized that this fear is due to the fact that I feel that there is no other calling on my life. That my whole life is designed to be a mother. If I realize that my life is bigger and that the Lord has bigger plans, that fear begins to dissipate. The Lord has plans for me! And as my cousin Sarah told me, those plans don't have to be completely wrapped up in motherhood. My identity is bigger than that.
I don't know what the Lord has planned for JB and me, but we are definitely getting a clearer picture with every passing day and are praying and open to His calling. Whatever those plans, we know that they have our best interest in mind and the interest of His kingdom. I have told the Lord man times that I will follow that plan willingly, if he gives me the peace to do it. This week, after a few days in the pits, I feel that He is helping me to find that peace by realizing that the bigger picture is a lot bigger than motherhood.
That doesn't mean, of course, that I don't want to be a mother. I would love to have a child, obviously. We both feel peace with proceeding with this next IVF cycle, but I pray that these feelings of peace carry into the next few months.
* * * * *
Please keep our friends Tim and Jenny in prayer as they wait to find out on Tuesday their blood results. My friend Stephanie just had her retrieval today. They had four eggs and so now they wait to hear how those eggs are doing and go back in three days from now for a transfer. In addition, please keep my Grama in prayer as she has not been feeling well.
20,001?
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Well, no one claimed Polar North visitor 20,000. Amy was close. Tara was closer. 20,001. I guess we will claim Tara wins this round. Not really sure who else to give it to. Anyone want to claim it? Of course, anyone could claim it now.
As for me, the grant went out last night, finally, at 7 p.m. It would have been earlier, but I made a mistake in page numbering at 6 that cost us about a half hour. My boss could have cared less. We were doing great on time, and he was just relieved his job was done! I started work at 7:30 a.m., didn't take lunch, and finished at 7 p.m. You'd think I would come home and go right to bed, but my mind was racing so much, wondering if every piece had been put together just perfectly ... instead I laid in bed for quite some time.
I would have liked to take this morning off but unfortunately, we have a few things that have to get done this morning as well. So I'll be at Mayo this morning and go in to RLSF for some meetings this afternoon.
Lots of IVF news going on. My friend Stephanie had 3 of her 4 retrieved eggs fertilize and goes in tomorrow for her transfer. Our friends at Eglin, Tim and Jenny, get their results today from their first attempt with IVF, and a friend in Kentucky, Amber, found out yesterday that their attempt resulted in twins! Lots of stuff going on.
In other news, please keep my grandmother in your prayers. It appears she has pneumonia, and she has been admitted to the hospital. I haven't been able to speak to my Aunt Linda yet, but did get an email from her yesterday.
Thought processing in my jumbled mind
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
I feel like this road I am on is a continual battle and a continual slew of thought-processing.

A typical minute of thoughts?
Remember the bigger picture. Don't be jealous. Don't worry that you have had two failed attempts. God has a bigger plan. Listen to His calling. Go where He calls you. It's okay if you go there without children. Try IVF again. Don't worry if the result is negative. Jealousy is wrong. God has a bigger picture, Wendi. I need chocolate. Think of His bigger picture. Don't worry that it didn't work. It can work the next time. Can it work the next time? Should there be a next time? What does God want? Remember the bigger picture. Don't want this so badly. Give it to God. Trust Him. He's in control. Don't be jealous ...

I think you get the idea. My counselor suggested the book by Joyce Meyer Battlefield of the Mind. I think maybe I need to get that book. My mind is definitely a huge battlefield right now. I wouldn't suggest you visit it for longer than the brief glimpse I just gave you. You may not come out alive.

JB and I are, thankfully, on the same page, with the direction of our life. That page is that we feel the Lord preparing us for His calling. In fact, we find it eerie how "on the same page" we are. We definitely feel the Lord pushing us in directions that we aren't sure we want to go. If I had gotten pregnant, when I wanted, when I was 26, I definitely know what my life would be like now. I would be a mom. That would be my calling. That would be my job. That would be what I was supposed to be doing.
But instead, I am not a mom, and JB is not a dad. Eight years of marriage, and it is still just the two of us. And instead, that has gotten my brain going in a thousand different directions. You can listen a lot more and be directed a lot more when there isn't a lot tying you down. What's even stranger is that it appears JB's brain is working in simultaneous function to my own. We definitely know the Lord has a calling on our life, but we aren't sure we agree with what that calling may be nor do we think the Lord has made it perfectly clear what it is. We just know that this time of infertility has allowed us to think about the "bigger picture".
I'm not sure this makes sense, and if doesn't, don't worry, it isn't you. It's definitely me. It's hard to be articulate when you write when you can't even be articulate when you think.
Okay, time to return to my brain.

Remember the bigger picture. Don't be jealous. Don't worry that you have had two failed attempts. God has a bigger plan. Listen to His calling. Go where He calls you. It's okay if you go there without children. Try IVF again. Don't worry if the result is negative. Jealousy is wrong. God has a bigger picture, Wendi. I need chocolate. Think of His bigger picture. Don't worry that it didn't work. It can work the next time. Can it work the next time? Should there be a next time? What does God want? Remember the bigger picture. Don't want this so badly. Give it to God. Trust Him. He's in control. Don't be jealous ...

Special Friend
Friday, October 5, 2006

Thursday was a good day. Not only did I have a chance to have lunch with my "Hearts like Hannah" group (and learn about the death of spinach), which I always enjoy, but I got to have a good online chat with a good friend/relative. I won't reveal his/her identity in order not to make him/her feel uncomfortable or put on the spot. However, this person said some really powerful things, and I wanted to share them.

This blog isn't only for other people to read. It has become an online journal of sorts, and I often go looking back and remember where I was or wasn't at a particular time. So if you don't care what this person had to say, that's okay. I cared a lot. It was exactly what I needed.

In the course of our infertility journey, I have often said that even if you aren't going through this (i.e., infertility), you can probably relate to being disappointed with something in your life that isn't going the way you had planned. The loss of a dream person, a dream job, or just a dream in general can knock you off your platform and throw you for a loop.

So what did my dear friend/family member may be a girl or may be a boy tell me yesterday? Well I kept his/her words and wanted to share them. Don't worry anonymous person, only JB and I know who you are. And JB's response when I shared this with him? "Wow, I didn't know ___ was so deep!"

When I look at yours and John's situation ... it's exciting! I talk to people everyday whose marriages are falling apart and have such family issues that it's sad. Your desire to have a child and children is your pursuit of happiness and you think it will completely fulfill you. I'm not going to say that your struggle to conceive is not sad, because we hurt with you ... however, you are learning through these four years as I had to go through over the last years that GOD WILL DIRECT YOU AND GET YOU TO A PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE A PURPOSE ... will I ever be happy again? Heck yeah you will ... it may or may not be through MY original plan but it may be through a new plan (God's plan). It's exciting because you have so much ahead of you ...

Wendi, your next cycle may or may not be positive ...and you may or may not have your "own" child ... however, the two of you have the opportunity to do great things -- who knows what God will put in your lap and when he will do it? It may come from your belly, it may come from somewhere else ... but the two of you are called to do great things and that's exciting. There's no reason at this point to say you're giving up ... DOWN THE ROAD the Lord may lead you to take a different route or option, possibly adoption. Who knows what it's store ... that's what can either cause us anxiety or keep us cheerfully waiting! When you find something to put your heart and soul into, the time you spend doing these things kinda take your restless mind off of the issues that cause a downward spiral.

Thanks special friend. No, you didn't preach at me. You said exactly what I needed to hear. And I believe this is not just something I need to hear. I believe it is something a lot of us need to hear.

We go to the doctor at 8:00 this morning. We will be discussing a lot of things with him, and I will update you later today.

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness
He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today

God will make a way

Back from dear ol' doctor
Friday, October 6, 2006

Well I am back from the doctor. There' s a lot to go over with you, so let me break this down as simply as possible. When I am worried about confusion, I, cling to my bullets. I hope you can follow!
  • Dr. C was there today. Gosh I love that man. The first thing he asked was whether or not we had any questions. I immediately got teary (I didn't think I would cry) and told him I just wanted to know if he thought we still had a chance. He reiterated to me that we have all the right stuff and that we just fell on the lousy side of the odds. Normal women who try to get pregnant have about a 1 in 5 chance each month. I have fallen in that negative chance both times. He said that he still believes we have every chance of this working but again, it's a matter of how long I think I have the emotional ability to try.
  • Next we discussed using ICSI (forcing one sperm and one egg together). He said that he was disappointed with our fertilization rate the first time (6 our of 14) and that he would definitely advise that we used ICSI this time. We didn't use ICSI the first time as we weren't aware of our additional sperm-binding issue. We agreed. Dr. C put the fertilization rate with ICSI at about 70%. My fertilization rate the first time was about 42%.
  • Keeping that 70% number in mind and the fact that we have had two negatives, Dr. C. said that he would advise us to fertilize every egg that they could get out. Last time they got out 21 eggs, 19 were mature, we used 14, 6 fertilized, and 5 lived. (Are you with me here?) After some discussion with Dr. C, we decided to compromise and hold our number to 19. We will fertilize 19 eggs. Following Dr. C's stats that 70% should fertilize, that will give us 13.3 sticky babies. Now that is just a stat and could be higher or lower
  • We discussed transferring 3 this time. Dr. C. said that if we want to transfer 3, he will do it, however, given my age and the quality of our sticky babies (which he calls embryos of course), his gut still says 2. This is very difficult. Three sticky babies increases our odds and cuts down on the number of transfers and "result announcements". But 3 also increases the chance of one of the babies being sick. Mayo is, as I have said before, adamantly against triplets. I so want to do 3 but would feel horrible if all 3 made it and one was sick. So we will stay with transferring 2.
  • We also discussed a 3 day vs. 5 day transfer. Mayo usually does day 3 transfers, however, they will do a day 5. This means that the sticky baby is more mature when it is transferred back to the womb. Dr. C.'s philosophy is that getting those babies back to "nature" as quickly as possible is always his preference and there is a chance that if you wait until day 5, you may not get to do a transfer at all because they all passed away already. We agreed that this may be something to try in the future but not this time.
  • We also discussed a procedure called "assisted hatching". This is another procedure that he doesn't believe I am ready for, but we could choose to use in the future. This procedure helps the embryos break out of their shell before they are transferred. (Complicated stuff, huh?)
  • Dr. C. agreed that we need to stay as far away from birth control pills as possible and hopefully, ultimately, far away from migraines. We will proceed with a different method which should achieve the same results. People, if I avoid the migraines, this month will be a BREEZE!
  • We signed all the paperwork, and I start taking my first medication SUNDAY. Wow. This is coming fast. We are scheduled for a November 6-10 retrieval and transfer.
Okay, I think that's the answer to everything and as many details as we have right now. JB and I feel very good. I am doing well. I am learning to be content with my circumstances, however, that doesn't mean we don't want to try again. I compare it to someone with an illness, like cancer. They have to learn to be at peace with their sickness, but that doesn't mean that they don't try to get well. That's how we feel. Ultimately, we would like to have 4-5 more tries out of this next cycle.
Your prayers, as always, mean the world. If you have questions, please feel free to post a comment and ask. No question is too weird or stupid. Trust me. If you are asking me, I am sure I have asked it at some point. I'd be glad to share. And if it is really complicated, my dear little JB can answer.
Okay folks, round 2!
Please pray for us
Saturday, October 7, 2006
It is 9:30 on Friday night. My dear husband is in bed, trying to take an hour nap before going in for his 11pm-7am ER shift. I have decided not to go to bed at the same time as him as I have mentioned before, I am not the best bed mate and often cost him hours with my tossing and turning.
So instead, you are graced with my third post in one day. I'm so sorry!
JB and I have spent the last two hours talking, and as he went to bed, I told him I was going to blog a request for prayer before I myself went to sleep. I wanted to ask you all to be praying for JB and I as we rethink our decision to fertilize 19 eggs.
As I discuss this, please note that I recognize there are many women reading this who have done or are doing IVF and who have made different decisions from the ones we are making. Please know that each and every situation is completely different and your decision, if led by the Spirit, was the right one for you. I can only share what the Lord is doing in us, today, and in no way condemn or question what He led you to personally do.
Tonight we connected with some dear friends and as we said the number 19 out loud (as the decision was only a few hours old), we started having some misgivings. Our goal from the beginning of this infertility journey has been to put the Lord first and our feelings about life first. We have always refrained from "being greedy" which is why we decided not to transfer three so early in the game. We are committed to use each and every sticky baby that we freeze. Obviously, we can't control if something were to happen that prohibited this and have therefore created an "Advanced Directive" that would leave these little pieces of life to another couple if something were to happen to one or both of us.
However, this afternoon, as we thought might happen, we felt a little "put on the spot" with the doctor asking us to make a decision while he sat there, and we went with a number higher than we have ever uttered. I feel I can share all this because, from the beginning, I have let this blog be a place of honesty and have never refrained from sharing "how I am feeling at the moment." I do not promise that anything I say is fact or will stay as fact. I can only say what is fact at the time. I can only say what we are feeling at the time.
Anyways, the number 19 is no longer fact, and we both feel that we would like to re-sign the paperwork sometime in the next two weeks and choose a lower number. We are not sure where that number will fall right now. Two hours wasn't enough time to finalize it, and we decided to let JB take a late-night nap with the decision not completely resolved. Dr. C told us we could change our mind up until the day of retrieval so we don't feel too rushed. Obviously, Dr. C wants us to fertilize as many as possible, however, we know he respects our feelings about life.
It is so unbelievably hard to look at this from every angle and make sure you are doing what is right and what the Lord wants for you. You want to be cautious, but yet, you want it to work. You want enough chances, but not too many chances. It is a very difficult decision and one that I do not wish any of the people I love to ever have to make.
At first I regretted that I had blogged earlier tonight with the numbers we had chosen, but then I realized that my blog presents me "as I am." That is how we were this afternoon. And this is how we are this evening. Check back tomorrow, and I am sure we will change again. This is a journey, as I have often said, and a journey doesn't necessarily take you in a straight line.
Either way, I must tell you, that as I read past entries on my blog, my writing has revealed my growth throughout this journey. This is why I say that this blog is not only for you who read but for me and JB as well.
I started this infertility journey as a woman who felt purposeless. A woman who felt like the only thing she had been called to do had been ripped away from her. I felt directionless. I felt aimless. I felt like my husband had a calling (medicine) but my calling to stand by his side, would now be extremely boring and lacking fulfillment. I like the idea of having goats and everything (if you do not know what I am talking about, take a look back at my posts on Goat U or Green Acres is the place for me for an explanation) don't get me wrong, but I really didn't think that would bring me fulfillment if I didn't have kids to share it with.
What I have since come to realize is that His purpose is greater. If I am going to be a mother, it will be SECONDARY to His calling for His kingdom using my life. I see that now. We have always felt a heart for missions and His kingdom, and I have realized that His kingdom is what is important, not my need for motherhood. Whether it be in Africa or India or with troubled teens on a farm in Tennessee, He has a plan for us that involves more than me being a mother.
That does not mean I will not be a mother. I do feel whether it is biologically or through adoption, children will one day call us mom and dad. God knows who those children are, and He is not limited by our decision on the number of eggs to fertilize. So we will rethink. We will pray. We will seek council. And we will trust Him, as we have tried to do all along, to show us His way.
Please pray for us as we "seek ye first the kingdom of God."
Karuna hangs out with Wendi
Sunday, October 9, 2006

Friday afternoon, Karuna came to play at our house while her mother, Melissa, and one month old baby brother Luke, got to rest. JB was off that afternoon so we grabbed some lunch at a Thai restaurant and then I brought Karuna over. There actually wasn't much playing that went on as Karuna asked me to put on the Veggie Tales sing along video and fell asleep for TWO HOURS! When she got up, we read some of the many books she brought.

Karuna is talking like crazy! She repeats EVERYTHING you say. She is also the most independent child I have ever met. I made the mistake of picking her up to put her in carseat and she became beside herself with emotion. This passes quickly, but she is determined to do everything on her own. This is why Melissa says that she has learned to only fight the big battles and allow Karuna to make her own decisions. These decisions may include different color shoes or clothes that don't match. I can completely see why this would be the case.

Karuna saw all the pictures of people on my screen saver and kept asking where she was. So we decided to take her picture and add her to the screensaver. This satistifed her and cookie monster.
Last night (Saturday) we went and heard Karuna's dad Christo speak at Berean church. He did a great job! We then got a quick bit to eat at Noodles and headed home to finish a movie we had started that afternoon: The Core. I do not recommend it. Not very good. Fairly corny. After that, JB left for the ER. He is now home, asleep, as of 9:00 a.m. He told me if he felt he had enough steam, we could go to church this morning, but it looks like he is down for the count. These overnight call dates are rather difficult.

If he goes to Eglin, they actually do two straight weeks per year of overnight call. Most residents prefer this as you get it over and done with in one fell swoop. I told JB that if I am home working, I am going to just switch my sleep schedule when he does this. It's dumb for me to go to bed when he leaves and get up when he goes to bed. You get to spend like four hours together before you are ready for bed again, and he is still wide awake cuz he has spent the last two nights staying awake.

In other news, I wanted to ask you to remember my buddy Kristi in prayer this next month. Kristi is now about 6 weeks from being ready to deliver little Raylee. Unfortunately, the doctors are worried about a tumor in the placenta that may force an early delivery. Raylee is currently three pounds, so of course we want her to get to stay with Kristi and grow more. Please pray for peace for Kristi during these next few weeks.

I, also, start my prometrium pills this evening. These pills are relatively harmless. They cause extreme diziness thus they must be taken just prior to slipping into bed. These aren't just with me, the bottle is covered with warning levels about the dizzy effects. In edition, they can also generate a migraine, but usually only one, which is manageable. Last cycle, I didn't have any which was great. I will start the Lupron shots in about 7 days. I'll keep you posted, of course.

New Life in Polar North feature
Monday, October 9, 2006


I have added, thanks to my sister-in-law Gabbi's instruction, a new feature to my blog. A song of the week. Check it out on the right side of the screen. You can click on the song. It will open in a new window.

I wanted to just have a song play when you came to my blog but decided better on that. If you are checking my blog at work, I don't want some song screeching in the background.

So anyways, check out my song of the week. And if you have a song you'd like to include, I can do that as well.

Here are the lyrics to this week's song:

I Need You
Strangely out of place
There's a light filling this room
Where none would follow before
I can't deny it burns me up inside
I fan the flames to melt
Away my pride
Do I want shelter from the rain
Or the rain to wash me way?


I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you, I need you, I need you


You're all I'm living for
I might sound like a fool
But I think I felt you moving
Closer to me
Face to the ground
To hide the fatal cut
I fight the weight
I feel you lift me up
You are the shelter from the rain
And the rain to wash me away


I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you, I need you, I need you


You're all I'm living for
All I'm living for
You're all I'm living for


Face to the ground
To hide the fatal cut
I fight the weight
Feel you lift me up
Can't deny it burns me up inside
I fan the flames to melt away


My pride
Only had a second to spare
But all the time in the world
To know you're there
You are the shelter from the rain
And the rain to wash me away


I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you, I need you, I need you
& I need you, I need you, I need you
You're all I'm living for
All I'm living for
All I'm living for
All I'm living for
You're all I'm living for

I froze on Thursday
Friday, October 13, 2006

Thursday was so cold! I mean, seriously, it was absolutely frigid. They said it was "feels like 11" and it absolutely felt like it. On top of that, the wind gusts were something fierce. They blew my hood off numerous times.

It was also sad to see that as of yesterday, all the pretty Mayo plants went wilted over as far as you could go. I mean, seriously, they are just gone. Froze to death. In one night. It's also sad to see so many green leaves on the ground. I am assuming this was because the frost came so early and the wind was blowing so hard. Will we get any more of fall? I did hear we are supposed to get some 50's later next week. Sweet relief.

Joanna, my friend from Hannah's Prayer, made a good point in one of her comments. I know that my fellow Floridians miss not having seasons. And I am with you on that. I think the seasons are wonderful. I know you all hate the fact that it is basically the same for twelve months with a variation of about twenty degrees. I feel the same way. It is basically the same here for twelve months with a variation of about twenty degrees. It's either zero or twenty below. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but you Minnesotans (and forced-to-be-Minnesotans) are with me here. Winter is way too long. It could be May before I run outside again. T-O-O L-O-N-G!

My friend Ebby, who thinks cold is cool and snow rocks the world, called and left a message just to rub it in my face that the white stuff was flying. Ebby, I don't mind the white stuff. I mind the frigidness accompanying it. Real cute Ebby. Real cute.

Okay, despite the fact that this is the POLAR NORTH BLOG, I do try to refrain from killing the topic of weather. So onto other excitement.

In other news, I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday. I won't put her name on here because I am now going to share the miraculous gift she gave me, and I don't want to get her in trouble so I'll keep her anonymous. Needless to say, she had a slight mix-up with her medication during one of her IVF cycles which resulted in the cycle having to be cancelled. The pharmaceutical company heard about the mix-up and the wasted Gonal, felt bad, and gave her FREE GONAL!

Now some background for you non-fertility-challenged blog visitors. Gonal is the grand-daddy of infertility medications when it comes to your pocketbook. It's the medication that causes the pharmacy cashiers to say things like, "Holy buckets! That's more than my paycheck!" or even, "I won't say this out loud," as they scoot the receipt over toward me. Unfortunately, because I do not ovulate on my own, every IUI (artificial insemination) we tried (five), required heavy doses of Gonal. (Some women can do the IUI without the medication, but I couldn't). And IVF, of course, requires Gonal. I won't go into the details of how much it costs but an average cycle ranges between $1,000 and $3,000. And that amount is our HALF. Mayo pays 50%.

Anyways, my dear, anonymous friend is currently waiting to find out if her first attempt with IVF worked. She also has one "sticky baby" in reserve, so she is very hopeful that she will not need any of her leftover Gonal. So, yes, you guessed it. She has given me her Gonal. Now, technically, doctors tell you not to share medications. However, these are closed cases of precious liquid that will, hopefully in her case, have to be thrown in the trash. Thousands of dollars worth of medications. JB and I did tell her, however, that if for any reason, she does another harvest before the meds were to go bad, we would pay her for them. But we are praying hard she gets pregnant and we save a few thousand dollars.

Pretty cool, huh? Thank you my dear, anonymous friend. I can't wait to celebrate your good news with you.

We also went to the Rochester Towers potluck last night. It was fun. Interesting. I ate cold baked beans. I had never really heard of serving baked beans cold, but obviously people here do that. I also ate sausage drenched in beer. Don't think I'll eat those again. We were the youngest couple there, however, we sat next to our friend Susan's daughter and her husband and five-year-old daughter, Kayla. Kayla is a frequent occurrence in the Rochester Towers. She is often over at her grandparents' house. She is also adopted. Before we knew it, her father was telling the story of her adoption -- how at 44, he thought he would never be a father, when he met a woman through his job as a counselor who's daughter was pregnant. Long story short, the daughter picked them to parent her child. It was quite a story. He talked quite candidly about having to watch his wife sit in the pews at church while all the mothers were honored on Mother's Day. (Reason number 8 I do not attend church on Mother's Day.) I have never had a conversation with a male about infertility and adoption like this. John and I were both blessed by seeing how well their open adoption worked and how much of a blessing Kayla was in their lives. The potluck was fun, but I'm glad it finished by 7:15 because we had forgotten to tape Survivor! Thank Goodness I remembered it was on.

It is currently 5:30 on Friday morning. Why am I up already? I am not feeling well. Got some doozy of a cold and am feeling really cruddy. I really needed a throat lozenge, and you can't really suck on those while you are sleeping. I debated for about twenty minutes whether my throat was soarer than my desire to lie in bed. My throat won out. I am tempted to call in sick today, but I am just not a "call in sick" type of person. I read that people actually get mad at people that go to work sick because they spread their germs. That may be true, but I bet you fifty bucks my boss would rather I spread my germs than not come into work. So, I'll manage.

This is, I realize, the first time I have really been sick in well over a year. Maybe two years. I think that's a pretty good track record. Of course, I've been sick from my medications, but that doesn't really count.

I also realized that since I entered the work force in 1999, I have never, ever called in sick. I think that is a pretty good track record as well. I have left sick a few times when I was a teacher and didn't have anything big planned in the afternoon, but I have never called in and said I couldn't come to work. I've decided to try and keep that going as long as I can. I'll manage work today. I'm only a half day at Mayo. Then I'm having lunch with a good friend at one of my favorite lunch spots: Jasper's. Then I'll be working from home for RLSF. Then the weekend is here. I can manage!

Thanks for reading my early morning babble. Have a great weekend.

I also wanted to share an amazing video about surrogacy with you. I cried and cried as I watched this video. NURSE BECOMES SURROGATE FOR INFERTILE COUPLE. There will be an ad and then the video will play.

Saturday sniffles
Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Saturday morning began with a shot in the thigh while I was barely awake.

I started my lupron shots today. The alarm went off at 6am, and I remember telling JB I needed my lupron and could he do it because it had been awhile, and I wasn't sure I would remember how to give myself a shot. They say it is like riding a bike, but riding a bike and holding a needle above your thigh doesn't feel the same to me. So before I knew it, John was back in the bedroom, shooting my thigh. He does such a great job. Didn't really even feel it.

I tried to go back to sleep but my congested head, runny nose, and sore throat told me otherwise. I needed some tylenol, a throat lozange, and a glass of orange juice. I have now had all three and am feeling quite a bit better. Better enough to find my way back into bed after I put this post up. John is on until 4 today and until 4 tomorrow. The plan is to try and go to Saturday service tonight if I am feeling well enough.

Our journey toward a second IVF is moving along without incident. We have not made an official decision about the number of eggs to fertilize yet. We think we know what we want to do but are still waiting, thinking, and praying some more. When I go in for my ultrasound and cervical dilation on October 27th, we will draw up the new paperwork with numbers that we feel good about.

I have also begun to toss around the idea of using acupuncture with our transfer. My new friend Amber in Kentucky used it for months prior to her retrieval to improve embryo quality. We are not concerned about embryo quality as that isn't the issue in our case, however, yesterday, I met a friend for lunch who has been using acupuncture to treat her migraines. The acupuncturist got on the subject of IVF and produced an article on its success when used immediately prior and immediately post transfer. The success is basically attributed to the help in relaxation.

I thought I would post a few of the articles here. I know a lot of my blog readers are medical persons, and I was curious as to what you thought about the findings of these articles? Mayo actually has an acupuncturist on staff so it is something to consider.




I could consider going to an acupuncturist before we go in that morning and then immediately after we get out that afternoon. Or we could maybe see if we can use Mayo's acupuncturist and get it done in the hospital room. Most of these studies dealt with using acupuncture 25 minutes prior to transfer and 25 minutes after getting out of the operating room. In nearly all cases, statistics of pregnancy went up by about 12-15%. It doesn't seem like it could hurt either way so we are thinking about it.
Okay, I am now going back to bed. Hopefully I will wake up feeling much better.

New Song of the Week
Monday, October 16, 2006


Simple Things by Tony Vincent

Deep in the quiet of my soul- the truth i know
tested by sorrow, pain and tears- through bitter years
waiting for answers to my prayers- you were there
the days and nights you brought me through
shaped my faith in you


It's the simple things- i hold on to
it's the simple things- i find in you
it's to you i sing and to you i cling
it's the simple things
it's the simple things- that make me see
it's the simple things- that set me free
as i learn to wait you renew my faith
through the simple things- knowing you're my Lord


Finding your promises of hope- the words you spoke
friends beside me on this road- to share the load
pouring my heart out unto you- and listening too
resting in your perfect love- i can't get enough
(chorus)


These things that i could never live without
the means of grace to guide my heart
when i'm lost in this world of doubt
you bring me home (to the simple things...)

News with infertility
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In other news, I got the disappointing news that my friend Stephanie had a failed IVF yesterday. My heart absolutely cracked for her. Knowing that pain and the difficulty surrounding these events, I truly feel for her during this time. She is strong, and I know she will be fine. She is also blessed with a fabulous husband, but keep Stephanie in your prayers during the next few weeks as she recovers and prepares again. She has one sticky baby remaining.

As for me, I must tell you that I feel like I am in one of the best places infertility-wise that I have been since we started procedures three years ago. I also feel like my perspective is the best it has ever been. I pray that this continues even after I start taking the heavy meds. I am currently taking progesterone every evening and lupron shots every morning. I am blessed because so far, despite being fairly sick with this cold, I have had ZERO insomnia or migraine issues. This has made this cycle seem like a breeze.

I feel like I can go into this next attempt with a much less "desperate" feeling, knowing that I will be okay no matter what. John says I should write this down (and I guess this blog qualifies) and go back and read it later if the medicine starts talking louder than my normal brain (as opposed to my medication-ridden brain).

I also heard back from an acupuncturist here in town. We are seriously contemplating doing acupuncture before and after the transfer. We are still trying to figure out the logistics of this. Most of the articles we have found indicate the procedure should be performed 25 minutes before and 25 minutes after the transfer. This isn't possible as I would have to go to his office and it takes longer than 25 minutes to get "processed" and into the operating room, and then after the procedure I am on bed rest for a solid hour in the hospital. But John is going to do some research to see how "tight" this window needs to be, and we will see.

I can't believe we are now only about three weeks away. Time is really flying. In some other bits of news:

  • No I didn't take a sick day yesterday, and no, I'm not taking a sick day today. What is with me?
  • I am still feeling pretty crummy.
  • I found shoes to go with my dress for Keith and AD's wedding.
  • I finally found a pair of brown shoes and tossed my old ones that were ripped in two places. 'Bout time!We ate Nik & Willie's pizza last night for dinner. I love that place. Bravo Rachel for introducing us these take and bake pizzas.
  • We have been having some difficulties keeping up on housework and planning good meals between me not feeling good and JB working 60+ hours a week. I am all stressed about it. John just says, "'Tis life!"

Not trying to be a downer
Thursday, October 19, 2006

You know, I want my blog to be a fun place to go, but sometimes, things just really bother me, and I am forced to allow it to get a little "deep". In the news this week there have been two stories specifically that have really gotten my goat. (What does that mean exactly when something "gets your goat". I'm not sure). I won't put links to the story because, well, frankly, who wants to read about them? They are very disturbing.

The first is the mother who smothered her twin sons. They were crying, so she killed them and then rolled over and went back to sleep. The second story concerns the brand new baby found in a trash can. (The baby survived!) These stories utterly confuse and bewilder me. I am really past the point that I tell God I don't understand why these women are mothers. I've come to peace with the fact that life isn't fair. However, I can't wrap my mind around why anyone would do this.

The U.S. began to issue "Safe Haven" laws back in 1999. This is basically the idea that a mother may leave her child at a hospital or police station. I thought this was a fabulous idea. Two million couples in the U.S. are currently waiting to adopt! If this mother doesn't want her child, let's allow her to leave the child at a hospital instead of throwing it in a trash can or smothering it. There are people lined up to adopt infant children.

And this brings me to abortion. I have my own feelings about abortion which are probably fairly obvious, and I know some of you reading this blog disagree with me. I also know that there are friends of mine who have had an abortion, and you have shared this fact with me. You know that I love you just the same, and I am not here to make you feel bad. I'm not here to argue a woman's rights at this point in time or to make anyone feel bad.

All I wish is that prior to getting an abortion, a woman had to participate in two activities. The first is that she would have an ultrasound. My friend Kristi, who has struggled through both of her pregnancies has told me that once she saw that child, it was so obvious how real he/she was. You can see the baby and the heartbeat at six weeks along! This is commonly when women find out they are pregnant. It is often after six weeks that abortions take place.

I also wish that all women considering abortion could meet a woman on the "other side". A woman like me who would give nearly anything for that opportunity and would gladly raise her child for her. I would love to sit down with this woman for just five minutes. I would love to share my heart and tell her what a blessing she has been given.

Yesterday, the U.S. population officially hit the 300 million mark. It is so difficult to comprehend that a baby is born every few seconds, and yet we still wait. I have been blessed to find peace with this waiting and how wonderfully strong it has made my marriage, my faith, and my walk with the Lord. However, at the same time, I wish more than anything that the gift of life would be appreciated by everyone as much as it is by me. Life is such a precious gift. Pregnancy isn't something that "just happens" as people try to tell you when you are young. It is a miracle that doctors aren't able to recreate with accuracy. It is something that only God can do.

Okay, I'm sorry for the step onto my soapbox. I was just grieved by these stories and really wanted to share my heart. There's my heart. Now my heart has to take a shower and get to work.

PBS TV Show and some trivia
Thursday, October 19, 2006


I plan to watch this video on October 23rd. If you are interested in learning more about IVF, this may be educational. (Or disturbing. I'm not sure). The first IVF baby was born in 1978, but if you read the website, one couple attempted it in the US in 1993. The hospital staff heard about it and took the egg and sperm out of the refrigeration before they could fertilize it.

The show is called TEST TUBE BABIES and will be on PBS at 9pm I believe but check your local listings. It is the complete history of the story of IVF. If you miss it on TV, you can actually go here and watch it online. I'll try to repost how I feel about it after it plays.

It's Friday folks
Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's been a rough week. Between JB's schedule being so erratic and me not feeling well, it's been tough to keep everything together. However, he is getting ready for his last week on Emergency Medicine, and I am coming out of this bad cold. I also cleaned the bathroom on Thursday afternoon so life is coming together.

Do you know how hard it is to get out of bed when it is still dark outside? I'm not sure what is worse ... that my ears now hurt every time I go outside (is it already time for my hat?) or that it is pitch dark when the alarm goes off and nearly the same when I make my way back home at 4:30. Yuck. It was worse when I taught in St. Charles. Dark when I drove in. Dark when I drove home. It is wonderful that it is nearly 11:00 in the summer before darkness sets in. But 4:30 is entirely too early.

This should be a nice weekend. Tomorrow, JB has off on the same day that I have off so we are going to probably go to a local apple orchard (if they are not frozen), pick some apples, and make some apple sauce and maybe do some baking. This should be fun. We'll also go to church tomorrow evening as JB has to work on Sunday.

Tonight we are going to go meet with this local acupuncturist. He is actually located about one block from our house. We are going to discuss the possibilities of doing acupuncture in conjunction with IVF. I posted a comment about acupuncture on my infertility discussion board online (Hannah's Prayer) and was dumbfounded by how many women had done it with success (or done it and simply appreciated the relaxation it brought). I am not looking at this as the magic cure. However, I do think it may help me relax, and JB was impressed that two of the studies actually used a placebo. This means that they everyone in the study actually had acupuncture done, but the people that had it done correctly still saw an increase in pregnancy rates (meaning the success can't be mental). This is a huge indicator that there is some benefit to the use of acupuncture. Actually, as I understand it, the Chinese use acupuncture and herbs as one of the first-lines of treatment for infertility. It would be something we could try to use somewhere down the road when we are done with IVF either after having a biological child/ren or not. I'll let you know after out appointment this evening what else we find out.

Met with acupuncturist
Saturday, October 21, 2006

Last night, JB and I met with the acupuncturist. To our surprise, he is actually located a mere one block from our house. He is a very funny Indian man from Bombay, married to a Minnesota woman, fully certified in acupuncture. He even has his master's degree. He had an entire book on IVF & acupuncture that JB plans to read from cover-to-cover. We felt very comfortable with him and are going to give this a try.

I wanted to answer some questions that you might have on acupuncture. I have allowed people to follow every step of this journey so I want to make sure you are right there with me on this step as well.

1. WHY ARE YOU DOING ACUPUNCTURE? First of all, we are not looking at this as the "cure" or the "answer". At the end of our last failed cycle, John and I discussed that the battle that wages in my mind is the most difficult. It is very difficult to relax both on the weeks prior, the day of, and the weeks following the procedure. So we wanted to find some activities that helped me relax. We feel that this is one of those activities. We completely believe God is the "decider" of whether we have a biological child or not, however, if we can enjoy the process, and be more relaxed, we feel that can only help.

2. WHY DO PEOPLE USE ACUPUNCTURE? As my ancupuncturist said last night, if I came in with cancer, he would say "go see the doctor, and I will help treat the symptoms of the chemo and the pain you experience". Acpuncture helps with "effects". They do not promise healing from diseases.

3. IS ACUPUNCTURE SPIRITUAL? Some people discuss the "spiritual" aspects of acupuncture. Like yoga, it has spiritual aspectcs, however, many people practice yoga on a completely unspiritual level. We, however, are not looking this as spiritual at all. We are looking at the relaxing and scientific aspects completely. Last night the only thing spiritually we discussed was that he believed prayer and relaxation would help ease my relaxation level as well.

4. WHAT IS THE "PLAN"? I am going to go in for my first appointment on Tuesday of next week. I will do a few appointments in the weeks leading up to the procedure and the weeks following. The day of the transfer, I will go in before my hospital report time. Our acupuncterist then said we need to work to keep me in a "relaxed state" during the time I am waiting and in the room getting the transfer done. Hopefully, having the "cervical dilation" done this next Friday will help this transfer go more smoothly then the second one. Hopefully I can avoid the catheter as well. Then, as soon as we leave the hospital, we will return to his office for another session.

5. IS IT PAINFUL? It is not supposed to be painful at all, but I'll have to let you know. He said that he can thread his needle through the diabetic needles I use for my lupron shots. These shots do not hurt at all. So I can't see that this will hurt.

6. IS IT EXPENSIVE? Actually, it is very reasonable. It is comparable to the price of a massage or pedicure!

7. DO YOU KNOW PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE THIS? I actually first got the "itch" to look into this after an online friend used it in her last IVF cycle. Then, I posted a comment on Hannah's Prayer and was amazed at how many women had used IVF, some with success and some without.

Here are some questions ans answers from the National Institute's of Health (NIH) website.

What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture began to become better known in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery.

The term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The acupuncture technique that has been most studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.

Does acupuncture work?
According to the NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture, there have been many studies on acupuncture's potential usefulness, but results have been mixed because of complexities with study design and size, as well as difficulties with choosing and usings placebos or sham acupuncture. However, promising results have emerged, showing efficacy of acupuncture, for example, in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations--such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma--in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. An NCCAM-funded study recently showed that acupuncture provides pain relief, improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, and serves as an effective complement to standard care. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.

I hope this answers some questions for you. If you have additional questions, feel free to ask me. I don't know a lot, but I will be glad to help.

Start of a sick-free week
Saturday, October 23, 2006

Well, it's Monday so I have added a new song of the week. It is "Carry Me" by: Mark Shultz. You can click on the link if you want to read the lyrics. And of course the song of the week itself is on the right. Enjoy!

Yesterday, I got my hair cut at around 12:30, then picked Tara up from the airport in Minneapolis. It was great to see her again! Then we came back to the house where we had leftovers and JB (who had just got done working) finished making our apple pies. I even helped some. We spent the late evening bonding with the Rays a bit over too much dessert. It was a fun day.

This week I got some exciting news. A birth family has chosen my friend Amy and her husband! Stay tuned for more information. I am really, really excited about this. She isn't saying much yet of course as things aren't final yet. But please keep them in your prayers bigtime over the nest few days and weeks. YAY!

I am also going to my acupuncture appointment tonight (Monday) instead of tomorrow. I'm a little nervous but excited to give this a try. I'll let you know how it goes.

Acupuncture feedback
Tuesday, October 26, 2006

So I have returned, without harm, from my first acupuncture treatment. It was relatively painless, was relatively relaxing, and was relatively strange. JB explained to me some of the scientific background of acupuncture. It is used quite a lot here in Western culture but used all the time in China and Eastern cultures.

As we pulled out the calendar post-acupuncture treatment, we realized that I only have one full week after this week before our IVF begins! It's unbelievable how fast this is gone. Woah. Now I really need to stay relaxed. Which, honestly, I have been completely relaxed. I'm sleeping great. Eating well. Exercising regularly. I feel really good.

If you think of it, please be praying for Friday. There are a few things that are concerning me. The first is that, without using the birth control pill this time, my ovaries may not be completely "suppressed". They like to use the pill but changed protocol to help prevent my migraines. Would I take it back? Heeeeckkkk nooooooo. I have been completely migraine free. This in comparison to nearly three months of nearly daily migraines last cycle. Yikes! So I am happy they switched protocol but nervous that everything will be okay. If for any reason I am not "suppressed", they would have to delay the start and have me take more medication.

Another bit of nervousness is the dilation. This is not fun at all. I am glad they are doing it now instead of the operating room as we all know last transfer did not go as planned. This is especially important as I have been talking to JB and my acupuncturist about how to stay "relaxed" and "calm" once I leave his office and make my way over to the hospital. I don't want it to take an hour this time. I don't want it to hurt like it did last time so it is definitely better to have the pain now, this Friday, instead of two weeks from now. But either way, Friday's procedure is not a fun one.

The third bit of nervousness is that we will find peace with the number to fertilize. We still have not made a decision and need to make it be Friday. We have basically narrowed it down but need a little more direction.

I am also proud as I gave myself a shot of lupron this morning. I haven't done that at all during this cycle. JB is working three odd shifts this week. Today, Thursday, and Friday he works from 3pm-midnight. This means that he isn't really feeling "up" to getting up with me at 6am. Even right now, he has stayed in bed to try and catch a few extra hours for his late evening. He had me bring the lupron into the bedroom and do it with him watching. Which was a good thing. It is an easy procedure but has quite a few steps, especially to clean everything, and I had forgotten one of them.

Today is also a little sad for me. My friend Char, whom I work next to at Mayo, is retiring today. Char is such a cool person, and I will really miss her.

Also, Flordians. Do not tell me or even entertain the thoughts of telling me as you have already so kindly done, that there is a cold front coming through. Unless it drops below freezing, you are just not entitled to that sort of injustice. Sixty degrees is not a cold front. Honestly, and this is not an exaggeration. If it was sixty degrees here right now, everyone, (including me sad to say) would be outside, without hesitation, in their short sleeve shirts walking outside to work, taking a jog, sitting in the park for lunch. Sixty and "cold front" is hilariousness not seriousness.

And that's all I have to say about that.

I am married to the best man in the world
Thursday, October 26, 2006

Don't post a comment telling me your husband is bettter. He may be better for you. But I truly believe I am married to the best man in the world.

Nearly eight and a half years since we got married, thirteen years after we started dating, and twenty years after we first met, I love him more than ever.

An example of why he is so great? Hmmmm ... just one?

The Medical School at Mayo Clinic has a yearly ball. We went the first year and had a great time. The next year, I bought a new dress for the ball. Then, my best bud Kristi up and had a baby and asked me to be the godmother and come out for the baptism. Like I even considered not going! No-brainer. I flew to New Mexico, and gladly missed the ball. I wouldn't have traded that opportunity for all of the world.

The next year, I looked forward to the ball and the opportunity to wear my new dress only to have an infertility treatment leave me out of commission.

So now, it is the fourth and final year for the ball. At last, I can wear my dress. We get the invite and find out that the ball is November 12th. The weekend after our transfer. If I feel anywhere close to how I felt last time, the last thing that I will feel like doing is going to the ball. I couldn't walk last time nevertheless dance. So that was that. Nothing to wear my dress to. He wasn't disappointed. He's not big on dances, and I guess I am not either, but now I have the dress!

And then my husband stepped in. He invited me on a date for this Saturday night. A kick-off, if you will, to our 2nd attempt at an IVF harvest. He said that he didn't want my dress to go to waste. We had a very close friend bless us with a monetary gift with the instructions to "do something fun", and JB picked just that. We are going to a dinner in Minneapolis and then to a play at Guthrie theatre. John picked the night, the tickets, and the restaurant where we now have reservations. And I am supposed to wear my dress!!! How fun is that?

Seriously though, I am so blessed to have found JB. I am also blessed that he didn't give up on me. You may not know our story, but when I left for college, John was determined to marry me. I, on the other hand, wasn't so sure. Despite being less than lovely to him, he did not give up. He moved to Kentucky to be near me. He put up with my time of uncertainty and never gave up. How blessed I am that he pushed through and chose me to be his wife!

I thoroughly love being married to my best friend. It has now been over three years that we have been dealing with infertility, and I can honestly say that I am closer to him now than I have ever been. He is so good to me. He takes such good care of me and is such a fabulous individual.

Now that I have thoroughly embarrassed him, I will sign off. I love you JB. Saturday should be a lot of fun.

IVF #2
Thursday, October 26, 2006

Today is my appointment. Today we tell them how many eggs to fertilize. Today I have my cervix dilated. (Gulp.) Today they tell me if my ovaries are suppressed. Today, if all looks well, IVF #2 begins. IVF #2.

I will provide an update sometime this afternoon and let everyone know how it went. I am so blessed with how fantastic this cycle is going. I have not had any migraines. I have not had trouble sleeping. I have not been moody at all.

Errr, JB is visibly shaking ... ummm ... JB is reaching over onto the keyboard to type something. I am trying to stop him. He keeps trying to type. He says he doesn't agree with that last statement. "What statement JB? I have not been moody at all. It's the truth." JB starts visibly shaking again. He looks ill.

No, just kidding. Mood-wise, I have seriously done pretty well so far but hopefully, this week, the stimulation medicines will start.

Let the games begin! I'll update the blog after the appointment sometime today.

JB, quit shaking.

A good report
Friday, October 27, 2006

I treasure every good report and good experience I have in Charlton 3A.

Charlton 3A and I have gotten to know each other extremely well since I first entered its waiting room back in 2003.

Back in 2003, things in Charlton 3A were a lot different. For one thing, we shared a waiting room with the obstetrics patients. Let me repeat that. Someone, somewhere, thought that it would be a good idea if infertility patients shared a waiting room with women "on the other side".

It was horrible. Women wrote letters, voiced complaints, pitched fits. Not only were we sharing a waiting room, but we waited next to the children's play area. Go figure!

So in 2004, someone at Mayo agreed that this was idiotic. They decided to build a new waiting room. But for the next year, while the waiting room was being constructed, they squished us all into a waiting room half the size. One day I sat next to a 16-year-old, obviously not happy she was there, a woman having a fight with her boyfriend, and a family of five. It's the closest I have ever come to hyperventilating. I grabbed a magazine. Parents. Hmmmm....

Anyways, today, that is no longer the case. Charlton 3A now has its own private waiting room complete with water fall and no children on magazines, no kids running around next to you, and no pregnant bellies.

Okay, I got sidetracked. Sorry. Back to what I meant to write about. My experience today on Charlton 3A.

It went great! My ovaries are completely suppressed. I have to check at 3:00 and make sure my blood work echoes these results, but all looks well.

In addition, the mock transfer and cervical dilation went really well (as well as something with the word "dilation" and "cervix" in the same sentence can go). Dr. G., whom I wasn't very fond of originally, was great. I realized that our first meeting, in the operating room, with me yelling and him sweating, was not the best way to judge a relationship. He came in and explained that he was hoping today would help the transfer go much smoother this time. "I have you etched in my memory," he said. "And I have a plan for how to combat the obstacles we faced before." Aaaah. The transfer and dilation wasn't nice, but it was okay, and this dress rehersal will hopefully make opening night go great.

Afterwards, Roxanne, an ultrasound tech that has been with me since the beginning, said I deserved to do something nice for myself after this. I said I would like some chocolate. She surprised me and brought me a cupcake!!! Bravo Roxanne.

So, most likely, I will start my meds this evening for IVF harvest #2. We are actually looking at a harvest sometime around election day. So as the news people count down to election day (and the end of those horrid political ads!), I am also counting down to our IVF. I am also blessed to have my "free meds" from my friend! Even better.

I feel great. I feel relaxed and peaceful. I am having a little trouble sleeping, but otherwise, all is wonderful. I'll return for my next acupuncture treatment on Tuesday, and a week from then, we'll get this party started.

We also signed off a new number of eggs to fertilize. Dr. G. signed off with us as Dr. C. is out of town. He said he understood our concern. He understood trying to look at the front end while carefully contemplating the tail end. Exactly.

Keep the prayers coming.

The Kite Runner
Sunday, October 29, 2006

I just finished a fantastic book. At JB's 30th surprise party this past January, I asked everyone who wanted to bring a gift, to bring their favorite book! I, honestly, was thrilled with this idea, and will probably do it again in the future. John got some great books and has read many of them. He has yet to read The Kite Runner, a gift from our friends Tia and her fiancee' Rob. However, I am now done with it. I wish I wasn't. I wish the characters were still moving forward. I wish I could continue to look into their lives. There are so many things I still want to see them do.

Now let me preface this glowing recommendation by telling you that this is not a light-hearted read. It is a very deep and moving book about a young Muslim boy growing up in Afghanistan during the last peaceful days of the monarchy, just before his country's revolution and its invasion by Russian forces. Written by Khaled Hosseini, he himself grew up in Afghanistan during the era that the book is set. He paints an amazing picture of a beautiful country torn apart by war.

It is also a mature read with very mature themes. The language is not too bad which I was thankful for, but the subject matter is very mature and definitely not for everyone. This was borderline "too deep" for me.

That being said, let me just say that Monday evening while JB was on call I laid in bed as 9:00 turned to 10 and 10 to 11 and 11 pushed its way toward midnight trying as hard as I could to get to a stopping point in this book -- a spot that I felt comfortable leaving the characters at until I could pick them up again. I finally did stop only to pick it up the next day during my lunch break and flip pages feverishly, attempting to finish before I had to return to work. It is actually completely irresistible. The characters are so beautifully painted and the descriptions so vivid that you keep forgetting this is not a biography -- forgetting that it is simply a piece of historical fiction. It is amazing, and if you can handle a deep, sad, and moving read, then give this a try.

WARNING! SPOILER AHEAD!
Okay, so if you plan to read the book, I'd suggest you stop reading this post immediately. I want to discuss a section of this book that really moved me due to its connection to infertility. This spoiler will not ruin the book but is definitely not preferable.
Midway through the book, the young couple, Amir and Soraya get married. As the years of their marriage ticked by, I immediately knew where this was going. Time to have the kids. I groaned a little internally knowing that yet again another couple would decide to try and "presto!" have a baby just like they tell you it happens in your health class in high school. Could anyone paint a realistic picture? That sometimes it doesn't happen like that?

I shouldn't have doubted this author's ability to paint a picture with the real world painted all over it. He painted the truth. That ometimes "Presto" isn't a magic word.

So I include a passage here. This passage so amazing represented what infertility is like in a few quick pages. It was quite breathtaking and emotional for me to read.

So I read:

That was the year that Soraya and I began trying to have a child.

The idea of fatherhood unleashed a swirl of emotions in me. I found it frightening, invigorating, daunting, and exhilarating all at the same time. What sort of father would I make, I wondered. I wanted to be just like Baba and I wanted to be nothing like him.

But a year passed and nothing happened. With each cycle of blood, Soraya grew more frustrated, more impatient, more irritable. By then, her mother's initially sublte hints had become over, as in "Kho dega!" So! "When am I going to sing alahoo for my little nawasa?" Her father, ever the Pashtun, never made any queries -- doing so meant alluding to a sexual act between his daughter and a man, even if the man in question had been married to her for over four years. But his eyes perked up when his wife teased us about a baby.

"Sometimes, it takes a while," I told Soraya one night.

"A year isn't a while, Amir!" she said, in a terse voice so unlike her. "Something's wrong. I know it."

"Then let's see a doctor."

Dr. Rosen, a round-bellied man with a plump face and small even teeth, spoke with a faint Eastern European accent, something remotely Slavic. He had a passion for trains -- his office was littered with books about the history of railroads, model locomotives, paintings of trains trundling on the tracks through green hills and over bridges. A sign above his desk read, LIFE IS A TRAIN, GET ON BOARD.

He laid out a plan for us. I'd get checked first. "Men are easy," he said, fingers tapping on his mahogany desk. "A man's plumbing is like his mind: simple, very few surprises. You ladies, on the other hand ... well, God put a lot of thought into making you." I wondered if he fed that bit about plumbing to all of his couples.

"Lucky us," Soraya said.

Dr. Rosen laughed. It fell a few notches short of genuine. He gave me a lab slip and a plastic jar, handed Soraya a request for some routine blood tests. We shook hands. "Welcome aboard," he said, as he showed us out.

***

I passed with flying colors.

The next few months were a blur of tests on Soraya: Basal body temperatures, blood tests for every conceivable hormone, urine tests, something called a "Cervical Mucus Test," ultrasounds, more blood tests, and more urine tests. Soraya underwent a procedure called a hysteroscopy -- Dr. Rosen inserted a telescope into Soraya's uterus and took a look around. He found nothing. "The plumbing's clear," he announced, snapping off his latex gloves. I wished he'd stop calling it that -- we weren't bathrooms. When the tests were over, he explained that he couldn't explain why we couldn't have kids. And, apparently, that wasn't so unusual. It was called "Unexplained infertility."

Then came the treatment phase. We tried a drug called Clomiphene, and hMG, a series of shots which Soraya gave to herself. When these failed, Dr. Rosen advised in vitro fertilization. We received a polite letter from our HMO, wishing us the best of luck, regretting they couldn't cover the cost.

We used the advance I had received for my novel to pay for it. IVF proved lengthy, meticulous, frustrating, and ultimately unsuccessful. After months of sitting in waiting rooms, reading magazines like Good Housekeeping and Reader's Digest, after endless paper gowns and cold, sterile exam rooms lit by fluorescent lights, the repeated humiliation of discussing every detail of our sex life with a total stranger, the injections and probes and specimen collections, we went back to Dr. Rosen and his trains.

He sat across from us, tapped his desk with his fingers, and used the word "adoption" for the first time. Soraya cried all the way home.

Soraya broke the news to her parents the weekend after our last visit with Dr. Rosen. We were sitting on picnic chairs in the Taheris' backyard, grilling out and sipping yogart dogh. It was an early evening in March 1991. Her mother had watered the roses and her new honeysuckles, and their fragrance mixed with the smell of cooking fish. Twice already, she had reached across the chair to caress Soraya's hair and say, "God knows best, bachem. Maybe it wasn't meant to be."

Soraya kept looking down at her hands. She was tired, I knew, tired of it all.

A few months later, we used the advance for my second novel and placed a down payment on a pretty, two-bedroom Victorian house in San Francisco's Bernal Heights. Sometimes, Soraya sleeping next to me, I lay in bed and listened to the screen door swinging open and shut with the breeze, to the crickets chirping in the yard. And I could almost feel the emptiness of Soraya's womb, like it was a living, breathing thing. It had seeped into our marriage, that emptiness, into our laughs,and our lovemaking. And late at night, in the darkness of our room, I'd feel it rising from Soraya and settling between us. Sleeping between us. Like a newborn child.
(To read more ... buy the book. Or borrow it from me!)
NEW Song of the Week!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006

If I Stand (by Rich Mullins) 

There's more that rises in the morning
Than the sun
And more that shines in the night
Than just the moon
It's more than just this fire here
That keeps me warm
In a shelter that is larger
Than this room

And there's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiments
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes
For the allegiance
I owe only to the
Giver Of all good things

So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

There's more that dances on the prairies
Than the wind
More that pulses in the ocean
Than the tide
There's a love that is fiercer
Than the love between friends
More gentle than a mother's
When her baby's at her side

And there's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiments
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes
For the allegence I owe only to the Giver
Of all good things

So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You

And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

And if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You

Quick update
Tuesday, October 31, 2006

So tomorrow is my first blood test. It will be just blood work, no ultrasound. They will see what my estradial level is doing and from there determine when I will have my first ultrasound.

Overall, I am feeling very good emotionally. I am starting to deal with some very strong headaches. I am yet to have had a migraine but am having to take tylenol and ibuprofin every two hours in order to keep it at bay. This is a little frustrating, but I am so blessed to not have had a migraine yet and to only be dealing with this a week prior to retrieval. I can totally handle that.

Body-wise, I am definitely starting to feel that my ovaries are hard at work! I have stopped exercising at all in order to be cautious. I go in for my second acupuncture appointment tonight. It is nice to go and know what to expect. This will my last appointment before the "day-of" appointment. Our transfer will fall sometime next week, but we will just have to wait to find out when based on blood work and ultrasounds.

JB has started on his REI (reproductive endocrinology and infertility) rotation. He said it is going really well, and they aren't concerned at all that I am undergoing IVF this month. It is really nice to have him at a more reasonable time and be able to have some sort of schedule. Did I tell you that I didn't like his emergency medicine rotation? I really did not like it. He enjoyed the work he did on the rotation but the odd hours and swing shift schedule frustrated both of us.

Sunday Smiles
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I go in for my first blood of work at 7:00 this morning. This will tell them how I am responding to the drugs. This Gonal I take, as I have mentioned before is a very, very expensive drug. JB told me today that I shouldn't complain about taking 225 once a day (which in comparison to some of my friends, is a lot.) He said he has learned on REI that women can have to take much more -- up to 300 two times a day! I cannot even possibly calculate how much this would cost. My only guess is $600 a day! (Or $300 a day with Mayo's insurance.) This was unfathomable to me. I will not complain anymore.

I also went to my next acupuncture appointment last night. I was much more relaxed this time and seemed to get much more out of the appointment. He really helped with my headaches as well with an addition eastern medicine "massaging" technique. Quite fascinating.

Appointment Update
Thursday, November 2, 2006

Okay, well it's been an interesting day.

I woke up this morning just feeling very "bloated" and "crampy". I thought this was a little early in the IVF journey to be feeling this uncomfortable. I am walking at half-speed, sitting at half-speed, standing at half speed. I'm starting to look twice my age in the speed of my movements.

So I went in for my blood work at 7 then headed up to work. I sat down at my desk and realized, "JB never gave me my shot this morning!" Called John. Could he bring the meds with him when he came in? Maybe. But where do a husband and wife go to take a shot in her thigh? So John said I had to come home to get my shot. Home I go. Too bad it wasn't an evening shot. (Those are in my stomach. I can show my belly for crying out loud.)
So back to work by 8. I then think there was then some confusion with my results. I think because JB is now "working" there, they didn't put my results on the phone-in message board. I finally called the office at 4:45. There were my orders. But where was my message? So between the nurse and John I finally got to the bottom of things.

No wonder I am not feeling good. My numbers were in the 600's! Holy gashmoley. Last time when I went in for my first blood draw, my numbers were in the 100's. So, tomorrow morning more blood work (I start rotating arms at this point) and an ultrasound. (I know these estradial numbers confuse everyone but just keep in mind that a "mature follicle" emits about 150-200 on the estradial scale. However, to complicate matters, a 200 could mean 1 mature or 4 emitting 50. So the only way to really be sure is to do an ultrasound.)

Last harvest I went in on a Tuesday. This time it is my guess that I will go in earlier: Sunday or Monday. Let's see if I am right or not. Only time will tell. It appears I am progressing nicely. Nice and bloated!

Wow, this is moving fast! Look for more updates tomorrow of course. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.

Oh and please keep the prayers coming. I am feeling emotionally AWESOME! Dealing with headaches and bloating but emotionally flying high.

Celebrating Life
Thursday, November 2, 2006

It is 12:25 AM. :) I shouldn't be up. And I shouldn't be blogging. But after nearly an hour and a half of tossing and turning, I wandered out of my bed and into the office. I am so bloated and uncomfortable it is nearly impossible to lie down nonetheless sleep. However, after the frustration wears away, I will try to sleep on Kelsey's futon -- where I can prop my legs up to the side and attempt to get comfortable. But for now, a tour of my heart.

I've been blog-hopping a bit. The little story of dear little Eliot continues to bless me. As the first child of this dear couple whom I have never met, I feel their hearts. The strong desire to be a parent is so real in so many people's lives. You should stop in again on Eliot's blog. 99 days of life. 99 balloons released to celebrate each and every day. What a blessing! What heartache. All rolled into one.

As for me, my heart is truly at peace. I am amazed that I can honestly say that I have found peace. I pray each day that that peace continues to hold me and comfort me. For those of you who have followed my journey from the beginning, I'm sure you know how difficult those words are. For those of you who are intimately involved, who have sat on the other side of a couch or a telephone and cried with me, sobbed with me, you understand even more how painful this journey has been and how amazing it is for me to tell you I have found peace.

I cannot promise that there will not be moments of sadness or frustration or doubt in the future. But what I can say is that I know this place I have found, is a place I can come back to time and time again.

What changed? The only way I can explain it is to tell you that when JB was on his camping trip, I gave my womb to the Lord. I truly told Him that the pain was too great to bear. I could no longer feel this way. If I was going to continue to feel this way, I needed to go home to heaven because the pain was that great. I wasn't suicidal, but as I told JB later, if a big truck would have hit me, I'd feel blessed to no longer feel so sad.

I'm sure some of you can relate. Friends who are longing for a dream that feels so unreachable. You know who you are. Friends who are waiting with aching hearts for unanswered prayers to come true. That pain is very real.

During this time I had great compassion for people who are mentally ill. For people who suffer with depression. For people who attempt suicide. Their hearts must hurt so badly! And if their heart hurt any worse than mine, I can see why they thought ending it was better.

But what I realized during those dark days was that the Lord was with me. I pictured it like a little girl walking with her father. As they hike along a trail, the little girl falls. She cries. She is hurt. The father did not want her to fall. He was there with her when she fell, but nonetheless, she fell. So what does he do? He picks her up. He gives her advice for how to prevent that fall in the future. He may even carry her if the pain is too much He did not want her to fall, and he may have tried to prevent her fall, but the fall happened nonetheless. But that doesn't mean the father turned his back.

During those five dark days as I tossed and turned in my bed by myself each night, struggled to get out of bed, struggled to eat, struggled to go on, I realized that I could not go on like this, and I told the Lord exactly that. I told Him I needed a purpose. I told Him I needed His strength. I gave Him my womb. He could have it. He could use me as he saw fit. I'd answer His call on my life. But He just had to bring me comfort. I couldn't survive another day like this nonetheless another month, another year, or another three years!
And in an instant, He gave that to me. I realized that there were things I would find peace with. I pictured myself doing mission work, side-by-side with JB. Mothering children who had no mothers. Hugging women who had no husbands. Crying with women who lost their children. Could I be content there? Could I be content there with no children?

I could.

And then, wonder of all wonders, JB came home. I was anxious to share my new insights with him, but I didn't know where to start. How did I explain that my entire perspective had changed? That the bitterness was crumbling. That I was okay. That I would be okay. Even if something were to happen to JB and it was just me (a huge fear of mine), I realized that God defined me. Children and a husband and "things" did not define me. What an unbelievable weight to have lifted off of me. For the first time since I was first diagnosed in 2003, I had peace.

To my amazement, as I began to talk to JB, I realized that while he was camping, the Lord had been showing him the same things in different ways. JB already knew that children might add to our joy, but they would not define our joy. However, he had been showing JB that He had a bigger purpose than just medicine. What an unbelievable blessing from the Lord. God was there. What a better way to show me that than to have my husband and I on the same page, though a state and a dense thickness of woods away.

I share all this to just share my heart. I have not hidden my heart. Life is full of blessings and heartache, but through it all, I know the Lord is walking beside me. I feel Him walking beside me. And I know that no matter how this next cycle works, He will carry me.

IVF Update
Thursday, November 2, 2006

Okay so I know these numbers don't mean much to you but here they are anyways.

My estradiol today was about 966. (Again they like it around 2000 for IVF). Yesterday was 600 so it jumped considerably. This is probably why it was 2 a.m. before I fell asleep. I did not feel good at all!

Here are how my follicles are looking:
1 size 15
1 size 14.5
4 size 13.5
8 size 13
1 size 12.5
2 size 12
1 size 11.5

So, 18 follicles all around 12-15. Size 20 or so is considered mature. This means that we are getting close. I am taking another 150 units of Gonal tonight and have a blood draw and ultrasound tomorrow. When these follicles get closer to the 18 or 19 range, we will be good-to-go.

I will, of course, keep you posted. It looks like the earliest I will go is Monday right now.

What elsen can I title this except: IVF Update
Friday, November 3, 2006

Last night: Gonal F (150 units in the gut)
Last night: Meformin (1000 units oral)
Last night: Slept very well. 9:00-6:00am (only woke up once with foot cramp!)
This morning: Lupron (10 units in the thigh)
This morning: Blood draw (7:00am)
This morning: Ultrasound (7:50am)

Need prayer for: I am doing great emotionally. My migraines are also doing pretty well. Haven't had a full blown one this IVF. The biggest thing I am dealing with currently is "weariness". I am feeling very tired and uncomfortable. If you could pray that I get a second wind for the fourth quarter, that would be awesome.

Report to the blog: I'll get it on here ASAP

John is doing: Great of course. He's a rockstar!

If I had to guess what my report would be as of today, I would say ultrasound today, ultrasound tomorrow (Saturday), harvest on Monday. But that's just our best-guess currently. Stay posted! I'll post again in a few hours.

8:39 and home
Friday, November 3, 2006

The morning events are over. Blood work at 7, oatmeal and a bannana in the employee cafeteria with JB, and then an ultrasound. They are getting more and more painful but still not as bad as last time. I have even more follicles and they are getting even bigger. I, personally don't think they are big enough but only my phone call at 2:00 will tell me that. Our current guess is another morning tomorrow just like this one and then, hopefully, harvest on Monday. Will post again later this afternoon.

Again, I am feeling very ready and at peace but just so physically drained. I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and was not happy with what I saw -- I look like I was up all night, and I slept all night. Oh well. It's worth it!

Ummm, another .... update
Saturday, November 4, 2006

Okay, so I am progressing. My estradial was now at 1622. Thursday it was 966 so I told you this can move quickly (over 2000 is technically ready). My follicle count is included below.
1 - 18.0
1 - 17.5
1 - 16.5
3 - 16.0
1 - 15.5
4 - 15.0
3 - 14.5
3 - 14.0
2 - 13.5
1 - 13.0
1 - 12.5
2 - 12.0
4 - 11.5
1 - 11.0

This all means ..... drum roll please ..... another ultrasound and bloodwork in the morning as I had guessed. Ultrasound is at 7 am, bloodwork immediately after. It's our guess that I will go in on Monday for the harvest which would make my transfer on Thursday, however, this has not been confirmed yet.
Stay tuned ...

It's Saturday morning! Time for more fun!
Saturday, November 4, 2006

What better to do at 7am on a Saturday morning then get my blood drawn and have an ultrasound. It's amazing to me that with a few of my IUI's I did this six days in a row. I'm at three and worn out. Of course, my body feels a lot different with IVF than it did with IUI's.

I'm also a little more nervous on the weekends. The woman who usually does the ultrasounds is not there on the weekends. She is really good at them, and this whole round has been a lot less painful than my last harvest when she was out of town. She is so fast and does this so many times per day. It's one thing to be uncomfortable or in pain for 15 minutes. If you get into the 30 minute range, you start to run out of relaxing beaches to sit on.

Yesterday, while she was doing my ultrasound, I was lying there, doing my best to focus on my relaxing imagery. It's fairly random when the whole experience hurts. My ovaries are so swollen that there is no telling when they will hit something that is tender. Suddenly, they hit something that was tender, and I jumped. She immediately asked me to picture a beach and without even thinking I quipped, "I was picturing a beach. You ruined the image!" We all got a laugh out of this. I'm glad she has my same sarcastic sense of humor.

Cole is hanging out with us this weekend. It's his parents fifteenth wedding anniversary. So last night, a bunch of us from our CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) Bible Study went bowling, and Cole went with us. He is sleeping on the couch right now. He swore he'd be up at 6:00am. I knew better. Lovely Lesley has agreed to watch him while we go for our 7am appointment.

I thought about bringing Cole with and letting him sit in the waiting room, but as my HP (Hannah's Prayer) and HLH (Hearts like Hannah) sisters have told me many times, bringing children to infertility appointments is like bringing brownies to Weight Watchers. It's like DUH! I thought about bringing Cole and strapping a sign to him that reads: "They are just babysitting me!" but thought that might make him a little self-conscience. Either way, we opted to solicit Lesley's help.

Speaking of Les, I need to go call her. I'll update throughout the day. We should find out by late afternoon if we are going in on Monday or not.

Quick prayer request
Saturday, November 4, 2006

If you happen to read this blog today, please say a prayer that my estradial doesn't get too high. The doctor at my ultrasound this a.m. was slightly concerned about hyperstimulation. This would mean that they would do the harvest but would not do a fresh transfer. They would instead give me a month off to "cool down" and then do a frozen embryo transfer. We want to do a fresh but hyperstimulation is dangerous, and if I get pregnant, can land me in the hospital for a good bit of time.

We want my estradial to not have gone much above doubling. Yesterday it was around 1600. We want to stay close to 3200. I had a TON of follicles and they were mature. I'll post the details when I get them, but I think we will be going on Monday for sure. The prayer is that we can return on Thursday.

It's a go!
Saturday, November 4, 2006
So if this is the first time you are checking the blog today, I suggest you scroll down to the first post of the morning and work your way up. Otherwise this may be confusing.

Here is my follicle count fromtoday:

1 - 20.5
1 - 20.0
1 - 18.5
2 - 18.0
1 - 17.5
1 - 17.0
4 - 16.5
1 - 16.0
1 - 15.5
3 - 15.0
2 - 14.5
2 - 14.0
2 - 13.5
2 - 13.0
3 - 12.5

The doctor this morning was a bit worried about hyperstimulation (OHSS), but they said they are no longer concerned after getting my estradial numbers back. This means we are good to go!

We will harvest on Monday morning. I have a 6:30 a.m. report time. Unless they find something unusual when they go to get the eggs, we will return for a FRESH TRANSFER (YEAHHHHHHhhhhh!) on Thursday. I am so happy. I was really not getting down and was still feeling positive and upbeat, but thinking of not getting to do the fresh transfer, take a month off, and then take all the meds to build my lining back up was not exciting me. We also have a big trip for Christmas already scheduled and didn't want to have to rearrange things. Also, fresh transfers have a slightly higher success rate (not a whole lot at Mayo -- their frozen rates are very high as well), so I didn't want to lose this option. Now, it doesn't look like I have.

As for me, folks, I am as bloated as can be. I have put on ten pounds of bloat. I am not exaggerating. Ten pounds! Well, at least I hope it is bloat. JB explained that my walnut-sized ovaries are probably now fist size. Sunday can't get here early enough.

I was also blessed today by a dear friend who dropped off a "Pamper Yourself & Relax" box. I won't give her name away in case she wants to remain anonymous but this box was awesome. I currently have the soft socks on, JB is going to pick me up some Panera for lunch, and then, as instructed, we are going to watch one of the movies on the couch! Thank you dear friend. I almost started to cry when I looked in the box. What a gift you have for knowing exactly what a girl needs.

This is it folks. Pray like crazy!

Tomorrow's the day
Sunday, November 5, 2006

Tomorrow is the harvest? Can you believe it? I can't believe it, and wouldn't believe it if it weren't the fact that my stomach is about to explode! Yikes!

I also had to take my HCG shot at exactly 10:00pm last night. This shot causes the eggs (which are inside the follicles) to start to release. They will release 36 hours after the shot. This would be at about 10am on Monday morning. This is the reason that I am going in at 7am on Monday morning, just when they are about to let go. How amazing is that? It still blows me away that they can do this.

Anyways, the HCG was intramuscular in my thigh. The shot stunk. I did not enjoy it at all. I don't remember my previous HCG shots hurting so badly. This HCG actually causes women to have a positive pregnancy test. The reason is that the HCG they give you to release the eggs is actually the same drug they measure a positive pregnancy test with.

I have been tempted in the past to take a test during the next few days while this HCG is still in my system and before the hopefully new HCG from a pregnancy enters my system just to see two lines on a pregnancy test. I'd like to at least know what that looks like.

Monday's song
Saturday, November 4, 2006

It is about 6pm on Sunday night. I'm starting to feel a tad nervous. I have to be there at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Hopefully JB can post later on to let you know how things went. I guess I don't have to even ask you to be praying today.

Seven Places -- Even When
This week, I prayed, one time
My phone, it rang, I put You on the other line
And now my thoughts they drift around
My knees remain unacquainted with the ground
Unless my faith is put to the test and I am forced to bow
Although I'm in this flesh it doesn't mean You shouldn't have the best
from me, from me

[Chorus:]
Even when my eyes are dry
even when my soul is tired
even when my hands are heavy, I will lift them up to You
It's not about how I feel, oh Lord I am here for You (oh)
I exist for youI close my eye but all I see

I close my eyes but all I see
Is a background of black, bouncy squiggly lines
And this week's mistakes coming back to mind but
I will lift my voice and make a joyful sound
Forget about me, I only get me down
Although I cannot see it doesn't mean I shouldn't sing to You, to You

Even when my eyes are dry
even when my soul is tiredeven when my hands are heavy, I will lift them up to You
It's not about how I feel, oh Lord I am here for You (oh)
I exist for you

You've given me Your life and have held mine together yet I find
Excuses to slouch in my pew
But when glory divine
Is sitting in my very presence, the least that I can do
Is give my all to You, give my all to You,
oh even when my eyes are dry(even when my soul is tired)

even when my hands are heavy, I
will lift them up to You
It's not about how I feel, oh Lord I am here for You (oh)
I exist for you

Even when my eyes are dry,
even when my soul is so tired
I won't leave my hands down by my side,
I'll lift them up to You
It's not about how I feel, oh Lord I am here for You (oh)

'Cause you are here for me
This is what I was made to do (oh)(I exist for you)

She's Back!
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Okay, okay, okay. I am sorry this took so long to update, but I was at work!

This is JB by the way.

So, I'll give the abbreviated play-by-play:
- We checked in at 6:30 a.m.
- They took Wendi to the pre-op area at about 7:15.
- She waited in there for quite a while - until close to 8:15 or so - and was then brought to the operating room.
- They retrieved 18 eggs.
- She went back to the recovery room and then was rolled back to her room, where I was waiting watching the movie National Treasure, at about 10:00 a.m.

Now let me tell you something, Wendi has never been drunk before, but if you ever wanted to see what that would be like, you should have been there today. She was GONE! Slurred speech, laughing, crying, sleeping... all at the same time. She started talking to the nurse and then realized she was not me, and she said to the nurse, "Oooooohhhh, I thought you were my husband... but you're still really pretty." Then she was told to scoot over from the transport bed to her room bed. She looked at the room bed questioningly, turned to the nurses, and said, "I am really naked! Ha! Ha!" Well, under her gown she was, but apparently this was throwing off her ability to move. When she was finally tucked in, she turned to me crying a little and said, "I know what I want to say, but I sound like a complete moron."

Let me say that she knows I am writing this. I am not a mean guy that likes to share with the world how funny my wife is when she is drugged, although I am enjoying this immensely.

So where are we now?

At this point we do not know how many of the 18 eggs are mature, but we will find out tomorrow. Oh, and we have decided to do what we did last time and fertilize 14 of the eggs. This means that tomorrow, the embryologist will determine how many of the 14 actually fertilized (this is typically from between 5-12). He will take two of them and let them grow for another 2 days for the "put back", or transfer, on Thursday. The other remaining embryos will be frozen tomorrow.

Now Mayo is one of the only places that does freezing in the pronuclear phase of embryo development. What does that mean? There are actually 2 phases of what most people call "fertilization". The first stage, actually called fertilization, is where the sperm penetrates the outer "shell", or zona pellucida, of the egg. The second stage, called syngamy, is where the genetic material actually combines to make a new set of genes - i.e. our baby's genetic code. Mayo freezes the embryos after fertilization but before syngamy, the so-called pro-nuclear phase. Just thought that was interesting information for those who cared. :)

Anyway, Wendi is doing well. She slept most of the afternoon and has less pain than she did for the first transfer. I am pretty happy about this. It is terrible to see someone you love in pain... plus the whining is ridiculous! Just kidding. Kind of.

Wendi will be blogging again soon. I promise.

I'm back
Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hi folks! I'm back. Thank you for all the prayers, love, and encouragement. Yesterday went very smoothly.

JB recapped from his perspective yesterday. Here's a brief recap from mine.

Even yesterday morning, I noticed a big difference from last harvest. By this point in the last cycle, I was unable to walk I hurt so badly. This time, I was uncomfortable and bloated but not hurting nearly as badly.

We checked in at 6:30 and by 7:15 they were wheeling me down to the pre-op area. I had been trying to keep my bladder semi-full, but by 8:15 was going crazy! Apparently Mondays get a late start because of morning conferences so there were a lot of people waiting around. I finally told a passing nurse that I had to use the bathroom. She made a phone call, and they agreed to let me empty my bladder. That may have meant they had to catheterize me, but you know what? I didn't care. I would be asleep when they did that so what did I care?

One of the residents, a very sweet new Doctor H., stopped by. She spoke with me briefly. Then, Dr. C. came by. He has been out of town, and I was thrilled he was doing my procedure. I really like him. He actually talked to me briefly about a new idea.

Doctors all over the world have been attempting to freeze eggs. It would solve a lot of problems. It would help deal with the ethical issues of freezing embryos. And it would help unmarried women and young girls battling cancer preserve their eggs until they met someone they wanted to use them with. However, the thaw rate for eggs has always been very bad (somewhere around 1-2%). When you consider that the thaw rate for embryos at Mayo is in the 90's or so, this rate is nearly unacceptable.
Dr. C told me that he has been working on a way to freeze eggs that is yielding a rate of more like 30%. It is my belief that in the next 10 years, this will be how IVF is done so couples don't have to battle ethical issues. This would be a great accomplishment and would eliminate all the unused embryos out there. He asked me if he could try to freeze any eggs that they got over the "magic number" 14. I of course agreed. He even said that I wouldn't have to pay for this. This would mean that we could "choose" to fertilize one of the eggs later if we wanted.

Unfortunately, they weren't able to get the necessary equipment together in time to pull this off (he had just come back from out of town). However, this is exciting for other women and even for myself if I were to ever do another harvest.

Anyways, from there I was wheeled into the operating room. I remember someone complimenting me on my glasses. They always love my glasses in the operating room. Then someone took my glasses from me. I remember trying to help the guy put the boots on my legs and him telling me that he could handle it. I remember having the IV started, the oxygen mask put over my face, and that cold sensation go up over my arm. I then remember telling someone that I was getting very sleepy.

The next thing I remember was being back in my room with JB and two nurses. I remember having to go to the bathroom very badly, but I have no recollection of crying or any of the other things JB told you. Apparently, we later learned that this particular anesthesiologist used a different drug combo which may have been the reason I was so drunk this time and not so drunk last time. Either way, I do remember wanting to communicate but feeling like I couldn't. It was quite strange.

Lesley picked us up close to noon, and we stopped for some gyros before heading home. JB got me settled and then headed into the clinic. I had the phone by me and Lesley upstairs for any emergencies, but when you fell asleep as hard as I did, there weren't really any emergencies.

Since then, I have been doing GREAT. Last cycle I had pretty terrible pain that first day and night -- to the point that I contemplated a trip to the ER to get more pain medicine. This time, however, my pain was very minimal. I did take two tylenol-3's, but otherwise, felt pretty good and was getting up and down without too much difficulty.

Now comes the wait until I find out today how many of my eggs successfully fertilized. As soon as I get this information, I will update it on the blog. We are blessed by every egg that fertilizes and I hesitate to say how many I hope for because I have many IVF friends who only had a few eggs to start with. Instead, I have to ask the Lord to pick the perfect number. I would hope, however, to have at least 4 more tries with this harvest.

JB mentioned something yesterday about fertilization. It is a good point to understand that Mayo actually freezes embryos before the point, that they believe, DNA transfer has occurred. This would mean, that, to put it bluntly, the sperm is hanging on outside the shell of the egg but not inside it yet. However, as soon as these are thawed, they begin to have genetic transfer occur. There is some "greyness" to whether we need to worry about "excess embryos" when they may not technically be "life" yet. For JB and I, we have just decided to assume that each embryo is fully life. By the time they are transferred back into me, they definitely have had this transfer occur. Either way, we have always said we will not compromise our values for something we want. We therefore feel that the only correct thing for us to do, is make sure we can go back for each and every embryo. We feel good about that decision.

Okay, stay tuned for fertilization report! I plan to work from home today so as soon as the call comes in, I'll share it with you.

The fertilization report ...
Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Well, the fertilization report ...

is not in yet. Did I trick you?! Ha ha. Welcome to my world.

Lots of waiting.

The real fertilization report
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Okay, sorry to trick some of you on that earlier post. It was too much to resist.

The results are REALLY in this time.

We got 12! 12 fertilized! Combined with our previous 1 we have 13. We are very, very happy with this result. This is actually higher than the norm of 70%. I am too excited to figure out what this percentage is, but we are very happy with it.

Please pray for these 12. We need them to keep growing and dividing correctly.

YAY!!!!

The message was actually left at 6:30 this morning! I've been waiting all this time, and it was on the board the whole time. The messages usually come later in the day so I didn't bother checking. I am so happy. I spoke with JB for a few seconds. He is very happy as well.

Thursday, here we come.

It's Wednesday -- tomorrow's the transfer
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Tuesday was a good day. I worked from home the entire day and only left the house to go and vote (DID YOU VOTE?!?) and then go to acupuncture in the evening. We also went and had Indian for dinner. We have not had reason to celebrate very much during this infertility journey, and we thought that twelve fertilized embryos was a great reason to celebrate. By the end of dinner, I was wiped out and had probably pushed a little too much. I fell asleep a little after 8.

We now wait to hear how those twelve did and are doing. Hopefully, we will find out tomorrow that all twelve are still thriving. However, we continue to trust the Lord with His perfect number.

So tomorrow is the transfer. We will find out later this evening what time we are supposed to report to the hospital for the procedure. Once we find that out, I will call our acupuncturist to set up our appointment there. JB and I will walk over to our acupuncture appointment one hour before our hospital check-in time. Then, our dear friend Ebby has agreed to be our "shuttle". She'll drive us to the hospital, then pick us up from the hospital, and then take me back to the acupuncturist after the hospital visit. It will be a busy morning. Hopefully, by noon, I will be back at home resting comfortably.

I had one day off (Monday) from any shots, however, that is a stretch because I had to get an IV started which is totally worse than any shot you can get. I am done with lupron and gonal but am now back to the granddaddy of shots -- the progesterone. I take these in my lower back every evening until our pregnancy tests. If I am pregnant, I take them for another 6-8 weeks. The reason? Normally, women who get pregnant on their own, have leftover follicles which release progesterone which is necessary to prevent miscarriage. I don't have any leftover follicles to emit that progesterone so I must take it artificially. There are oral and suppository versions of progesterone. However, the shot is the most reliable, and therefore the mode of choice in most RE offices. Women who wait this long to get pregnant gladly comply. So ... I take the shots.

I am going to go to work at Mayo today. I wasn't sure I'd be able to but am feeling pretty good. I'll probably take a long break midday and maybe leave early. I won't work tomorrow at all.

We will, of course, post updates as they become available. Thank you for all your encouragement and support. You guys rock!

10:30
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Thursdays are the day that they do all the FET's (Frozen Embryos Transfers) at Mayo so my fresh one fell on a bad day. I don't go in until 10:30 tomorrow morning. I am one of many. My acupuncture appointment is set for 9:30 with a follow-up after I get off of bedrest that afternoon. We'll update again soon.

78 and super glue!
Thursday, November 9, 2006

Okay, so today, it was 78! If it wasn't for the fact that it was nearly dark by the time I got home from work, I think I would have found a patch of grass and attempted a suntan. They said the normal high for this time of year is 42. Amazing.

I soooooo wanted to go for a run. Actually, I have been going through exercise-withdraw BIGTIME. Exercise is so emotionally good for me, and I miss it. I can't do ANYTHING. Heck, rolling over to stand up isn't easy. I actually had a dream last night that I was swimming -- like full out swimming and sweating, and I was so happy to be exercising. I don't ever really swim. I'm not sure where that came from. Anyways, hopefully my exercise will be limited for quite a bit of time.

I also wanted to give a "comment of the month". Rachel made the comment:

"Sending super glue thoughts to those little babies! tomorrow is YOUR day to STICK!"

I love it! That was hilarious! JB and I laughed out loud. Thanks so much Rachel. Your friendship, support, and encouragement has been greatly valued. (P.S., you were right about the socks!)

Also, I wanted to ask you all to please help me during the two week wait that follows tomorrow's procedure. If you can avoid asking me or even LETTING me talk about future things "we could do" if this doesn't work, I would appreciate it. Obviously, we still have a lot of options, but I have realized that I just can't let myself "go there" right now, or I will lose my positive outlook and peace about where we are right now. Don't feel bad if you HAVE said something to me. I really WANT to talk about it, and I probably started the conversation or egged it on. However, in talking to JB tonight, I realized I needed to avoid going down this path. I will think about "what I should do next" when that thought needs to be thunk. So, please help me only think the good thunks.

See you tomorrow!

Thinking 


Thursday, November 9, 2006

Today I am thinking about not getting any cramps in my feet. Last night I woke up 4-5 times with cramps in my feet. I haven't had them for weeks. This has to be psychological. I want to stay relaxed. I don't want to jump around the room again.

I am also thinking about the Valium. On Monday, I asked Dr. H. if she would consider giving me more Valium. I'm 6'3" after all! No go. She said the dosage is standard. Bummer.

On the topic of thinking, I am thinking about my full bladder. Once I get to the hospital at 10:30, they don't want me to go to the bathroom again. In theory, this sounds easy. The problem is, I probably won't get in for my transfer until noon. Then, after my transfer, I am on bed rest for another hour again. (If I asked to go to the bathroom they point to a bedpan. No thank you.) That's two and a half hours for a girl who goes to the bathroom fairly frequently. Anyways, I am not sure how closely I am going to follow that rule. I don't want to be catheterized again, but you know, it wasn't that bad. At least they emptied my bladder after they filled it up. So I'll try to keep it semi-full, but I just can't torture myself if I want to stay relaxed.

I am also doing a lot of thinking about our sticky babies Nine of them are now frozen with their one other brother/sister. That is ten. However, three are waiting for today. Hopefully two look really good for transfer, and the third, called the "blastocyst" has also made it. Last time our blast didn't make it. This blast is being frozen at a "later date" than the other nine. This is thought to improve success rates and will be used "down the line" as an "ace up the sleeve."

Thinking about ... relaxation. As for being relaxed, I really am. I really feel great! Well my stomach still hurts, and I am still pretty stinkin' bloated, but I really do feel emotionally great, and I think the acupuncture before and after and tons of prayer will only help! I am thanking the Lord everyday for giving me the peace I needed to do this again.

Either JB or I will update the blog later on today.

Lots of waiting for a great transfer

This is JB again filling in for the resting Wendi.
Friday, November 10, 2006

The day went very well.

6:30 We woke up. We didn't need to get up so early, but we are so used to it.
9:30 We walked over to the accupuncturist for a 25 minute session.
10:00 Ebby picked us up and drove us to the hospital.
10:15 Checked in to the hospital.
10:30 Escorted to our shared room - 3 lazy boys curtained off from each other - things were busy there. Not real relaxing, but Wendi had her ipod with relaxing tunes on.
10:45 Wendi received her valium. 'nite 'nite Wendi.
11:30 We were moved to a private room since things cleared out a bit. Much nicer.
12:30 Wendi was rolled down to the pre-op area. I got to tag along.
1:20 We went to the OR.
1:40 Two little embryos were transferred! (This went SO much more smoothly than last time.)
1:45 Wendi was rolled back to the post-op area.
1:50 We returned to our room.
2:40 The hour of "you need to lie flat" was over.
2:45 One of the doctors came in to say goodbye and asked if Wendi wanted to be in a study when she has a positive pregnancy test in about 2 weeks. She said yes, and I'll let her tell you about it.
3:00 Ebby met us outside the hospital.
3:15 We returned to the acupuncturist for another 25 minutes session.
3:45 Ebby drove us back to our condo.
4:00 Wendi had me make her some food since all she ate today was a little fruit and some toast.

I think that was it.

I'm sure Wendi will return very soon.

Wendi reporting in
Friday, November 10, 2006

So here I am, back at my blog. JB did a great job recapping everything that happened yesterday. It was a long day, but a very restful and peaceful day. My goal, from the moment I left for acupuncture, was to stay relaxed and at peace, and the Lord blessed me with just that.

During my 9:30 acupuncture appointment, he puts the needles in the correct places, and then leaves for 25 minutes. It was then that I started the relaxation segment of my Nanopod that JB made for me. It is a mix of relaxation music, relaxation imagery, and passive muscle relaxation. The music is great when my mind is quiet. When I need to quiet my mind down, I would put on the imagery and passive muscle selection. These talk you through helping your body to relax and distract you enough to get rid of any worrisome thoughts. In between this and during this, I prayed a lot too.

Our taxidriver Ebby picked us up from acupuncture and took us to the hospital. Being as this was fourth time I have been on this same outpatient floor, I was a little unnerved when they brought us to a room for multiple patients. The TV was on loud, it was very bright, and there were not beds, only lounge chairs for the patients. However, I think I did a great job not worrying about it, even when the nurse told me that it was so busy that I might have to spend my hour on bed rest following the procedure on a cart in the hall. I was determined to stay relaxed and not get worried.

JB said they woke me up to give me my Valium. That I don't recall, but I do remember having to be shook awake after taking that pill when a nurse came by to prick my finger. I couldn't figure this out. This had never happened before, but I, fairly woozy, complied. A little while later another nurse emerged telling me what my blood sugar was and asking me if I needed some juice or something. What? "I'm not diabetic," I repeated for the ump-teenth time. Yet again, they had seen my medication list, which included Metformin (a diabetic drug), and assumed I was a diabetic. The nurse apologized for the unnecessary finger prick and left me to sleep again.

A little while after that I was woken up again. The nurse told me that a room had opened up, and I could have it! I was thrilled. I changed rooms and emptied my bladder again even though I wasn't supposed to. It was only 11:30, and I just wasn't thinking I could wait three hours. During this time, my feet cramps did start to return. JB did a great job trying to work them out of my feet. We are pretty convinced that, for whatever reason, it is the Valium that is causing these to come on so strongly. Both times I have been on the Valium, I have been struck with them.

Once in the pre-op area, I completely konked out again. I went from "breathing in and out" with my CD to hearing some sort of opera music and having a nurse standing over me once again asking me to spell my name. I told JB I was going to refuse to spell my name all day! You see, you get asked, about 10 times, to please spell your full name (our last name is long) and tell them your birthday. Then you are supposed to tell them what they are going to be doing that day. I know it is for safety measures, but it does get a little humorous. I also remember having trouble spelling or remembering what they were doing while "under the influence."

While I slept over an hour in the pre-op area, poor JB was left to sit there, with no book, no one to talk to. I thought it had only been a few minutes, but apparently, it had been enough to really leave him bored.

The procedure itself was a BREEZE. And, my bladder was full enough. (But not full that I was going crazy having to go to the bathroom.) It went so wonderfully smooth with very little pain at all. The embryologist came out and told us that our two sticky babies were doing very well. She said the third embryo was doing just "okay". I will have to call and see if the little guy/gal pulled through. If not, we will have a total of ten stick babies waiting.

I did get a cramp in the middle of the procedure, but one of the nice nurses helped me work it out. It really wasn't a big deal. The hardest part of the procedure this time was, well, honestly, being so exposed with so many people coming in and out. But as I told everyone, I have come to terms with my nudity. I have given up worrying who sees me naked. I am long past that.

After the procedure, I, surprise, fell asleep again. An hour later, it was time to go. I changed clothes and Dr. H. came to see me. As JB mentioned briefly yesterday, they are doing a study, and she wanted to know if I wanted to be in the study. Basically, if my pregnancy test is positive, I will do seven blood draws and seven ultrasounds during the first month of my pregnancy. This is a lot, but we think it will be pretty cool to get seven free ultrasounds.

Dr. H. asking me to be in the study also reminded me that they do believe I can and may be pregnant in two weeks. I do believe that too. I am refusing to let myself get sad or worried during the next two weeks. What is the point? Instead I am going to trust God for a healthy pregnancy and go on about my merry way. I can control nothing so I will not attempt to control anything. It's a refreshing outlook after two previous attempts filled with sheer frustration.
Ebby picked us up from there and brought me back to acupuncture and then back to our house where I spent the evening chilling on the couch, watching Survivor and a few other shows that meant nothing to me ... just trying to stay down and relaxed.

As I sit at my computer this morning and look out the window, I am seeing the start of what is supposd to be up to 4" of snow today. 4" of snow after 78 degree temperatures just two days ago. Go figure.

Also, if you think of it, please pray for my friend Joanna who gets her pregnancy test (we call them "BETAS") back today after her transfer. Can't wait for the good news Joanna!

Snow, lights, and shots
Saturday, November 11, 2006

Well, I don't know how much snow we ended up getting yesterday. Do any of you Rochester-residents know? It seemed to me that what we ended up with was a worse storm than what was forecasted. Apparently, most of the snow accidents of the year occur during the first big snow of the year. The story is that people forgot how to drive in the snow. And maybe all the Rochester-newbies are just lost and cursing their reason for coming here in the first place! I'm not sure. But I do know it snowed HARD all day. Whenever it snows during the day, the plows are unable to keep up on it. I had, foolishly, not worn boots to work and so on my way home at noon, had no choice but to walk through ankle deep snow which left my feet soaking wet. At least it wasn't a long walk.

JB told me that each day of this two week wait, we are going to try to do something relaxing and distracting to enjoy the days as we wait to get confirmation of my pregnancy results. I have decided that since we those sticky babies dropped in me and that they were alive, I am going to assume I am pregnant until told otherwise. It's a fairly fun feeling actually! And it keeps my spirits much higher!

Last night he took me to a light show about thirty minutes from Rochester. He said he had heard about this place and wanted to wait until it snowed before we went.

Okay, first of all, we had a GREAT time. It was wonderful to drive after the roads had been cleared and see the fresh snow and TONS of deer. We probably saw over 20 deer during our 30 minute ride.

I think the thing is, for JB and I, we have been ruined by living in a big city. When you live in a huge city, and then you go to events like these in small, rural towns, you just can't help but be a little confused as to what all the fuss was about.

It's like going to a parade in New York City and then going to a parade in Rochester. You are confused if what you actually saw in Rochester would qualify as a parade? If you got candy, I guess it is considered a parade.

We drove around about ten different light displays sponsored by different businesses. Then we went inside and had a country buffet and watched a high school group perform a series of songs and dances. All we could say when it was over was that "Gracie (our niece) would have loved this." The shiny dresses and vests would thrill any young child, but for us, thirty minutes was quite enough, and we couldn't get some of the unfortunate songs out of our heads.

We also went through the world's only "light maze" which really wasn't much of a maze since all you had to do was follow people's footprints in the snow to find your way out! We passed on the lazer mini golf as it was basically covered with snow, but we did play foozball with a gumball which was quite entertaining. JB won both times, but he let me have the second gumball. I'm not sure how I felt about eating a gumball after playing foozball with it, but I decided to give it a go. It tasted like any other gumball and I am still alive so I guess I made the right decision.

Bara, remember the country fair Ronnie took you too? This was the same type of thing. The type of thing that reminds you America is a very big place, and there are some very different people living there! Very different people than the "city folks" which dominate television and the media.

We actually could have stayed until 9pm when they were showing the movie Cars in their auditorium, but I was getting tired. I really felt drugged yesterday. My boss at Mayo even said so, and when I told him how much Valium they gave me on Thursday, commented that I probably had a pretty good doozy of a Valium hangover.

Instead we came home, JB gave me my shot, and we went to bed.

Now I want to pause briefly to talk about my progesterone shots. I'm going to talk about this one time, and then, I am going to refrain from complaining about them again.

The progesterone shots hurt worse this time than they EVER have before! My only deduction as to the reason why is because the clumps of progesterone from my September cycle are still present. JB actually said he saw an interview with a woman who NINE MONTHS after she took the shots still felt the clumps! Yikes! I know this could be possible because even a few weeks ago when I would jog, I would have to wear spandex to attempt to keep the clumps from shaking too much when I run. They hurt so badly.

Now, the problem is, I am taking shots on top of the old clumps. John is forced to practically sit on my legs when he gives me the shots to prevent me from jumping! They stink.

I put a post about this on Hannah's Prayer, my online discussion board. Here's what I wrote:

This is now my third time with progesterone shots. However, these are MUCH worse than previously. I am wondering if this is due to the close proximity to which I last took shots? The first set were in May, then September and now November. Do you think the leftover "clumps" are the problem?

I received two replies that seemed to echo my "theory".

Yes. Having "been there", I can tell you that it can take A LONG TIME for that area to heal...definitely months and months. I found that the lumps/rashes/etc. came much more easily with each new cycle. And it took awhile before the "itching" stopped and I had full sensation again. My progesterone schedule was May (only 5 days since transfer was cancelled), July (full 2ww), September (only a couple days since transfer was cancelled), November (only 5 days of it then since my transfer was cancelled), March to June.
-----
I think you might be right. After my transfer in May I felt residual pains either in my mind or real for months. This time some shots are better than others. I really think when they hurt it is because they went through a 'clump'. Today both sides are sore so I'm going to spend the evening alternating the heat pad side to side and have dh try to massage the area ( sounds funny!). Each morning I get the ice out and stand in front of the mirror backwards to pick the spot...I depress the spot with my thumb to see if it hurts, and if not ice it there....sometimes it's hard to find a spot. Then I climb in bed either on my side with my right hip exposed or on my stomach mostly for my left hip and try to breathe and relax! Do other people do shots lying down?

So these two comments encouraged me that I am not out of my mind! I guess I am not the only one who finds these annoying.

Okay, that's it. I refuse to complain anymore about the shots. You know I am taking them every evening, and you know they stink. I'll leave it at that.

Right now it is Saturday morning, and JB is back in the hospital working on some other women's procedures. We plan to lay low today. My house is absolutely trashed, but I am trying not to worry about it so that I continue to lay low.

See you all tomorrow!

Peace
Sunday, November 12, 2006

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26 (courtesy of Tante Jan)
I have been so blessed by the amazing peace the Lord has brought to me during this time. As promised, JB continues to plan each day with an activity to help reinforce our sense of peace. Since this is "Dedication Sunday" at our church we wouldn't be attending church this week. We have always taken a Sunday off of church on Dedication Sunday and Mother's Day. Despite all our peace, we thought this was still a good idea.

We thought about going to Berean with our friends the Jones or the Philips, however, both couples are out of town. So, last night we went to a mass at the beautiful chapel in St. Mary's hospital. Afterward, we moved up to the front, sat and prayed, and just talked. We were the only one's there. It was so wonderful. We then came home, watched a movie, and JB made a great Mexican meal -- something we don't eat very often.

I am so amazed at how wonderful the peace of the Lord can be in your life. Even more than that, I am amazed what it feels like to really trust the Lord. I can honestly say, for the first time in my entire life, that no matter how this turns out, we are okay. I trust that HE has a PERFECT plan. And why wouldn't I want that perfect plan to come to pass in my life?

Each night JB and I pray together for our two babies carefully placed in my womb. We pray that they are still kicking and thriving away inside my womb. Each night we thank the Lord for the ability to have these two children with us, and we ask that He allows them to stay for nine months and for our lifetime! We are excited and trusting in the Lord -- that he is in control and a presence in our life.
My new friend Jenny is a friend of a friend. Her husband is a fighter pilot (I think that is the correct term) at Eglin Air Force Base, and we met for dinner while we were there. She had a prayer given to her when she was going through her years of infertility (she is now expecting through IVF!) She has passed this prayer along to me and promised to pray it for me.

When I awaken in the night I pray for you, and during times of the day when I see little ones and families I pray for you. I will tell you that from the beginning of all this, I have envisioned your womb -- as a safe receiving place. Even before we knew it would go this way, my visualization during prayer has been and is a "welcoming womb." Thus, this day is the day I have really been praying for all along. I DO believe your womb will be a safe and wondrous place these next nine months. Are you prepared for more than one Kit.? In addition to your womb -- I have had the strongest sense that PRAISE and thanksgiving are the vehicle that would usher in this answer to prayer. Praise is what we offer to our great God that in essence affirms that we believe Him and His word more than the circumstances. Life on this earth can be confusing--and painful. I see that you two have persisted in trusting God through the darkness and tortuous years of wanting and waiting. I know and believe it will be honored. Just think that Abraham and Sarah had to wait a very long time too. And, the Israelites left slavery for many years of wandering ... I see great Godly people in the Bible whose prayer answers came in unexpected ways ... and this is how it has been for you two too. I look so forward to hearing how this is all unfolding ....

I love this little passage and thank Jenny so much for sharing it with me.

I also wanted to tell all of you that were praying for Joanna the good news. She is PREGNANT! her BETA was 177. This is a pretty high number. She had three transferred so we just have to wait to see how many little ones stuck around. Congrats Joanna. What a great blessing.

Thank you all for your notes and encouragement. The morning of our transfer, we opened the front door to find a bag with goodies and a card hanging on the door. Another blessing and reminder that people are thinking of us. We are so blessed and so enjoying this time of waiting and prayer together.
I wish I could go back and have done the previous cycles feeling like I do now, but I realize that our Christian life is a journey, and we must work through that journey and grow. I have grown and can't wait to watch in which direction I continue to grow.

Blessings friends!

Blast
Monday, November 13, 2006
I got a call from the embryo-lab today that our little blast didn't make it.

To recap, they froze nine of our embryos but left three out. They transfer the best looking two, and let the blast attempt to stay alive longer on its own. If it makes it, and they can freeze it later, this is a good thing. It often leads to higher pregnancy rates.

However, the blast died over the weekend just as it did last cycle. This was a little sad to me, but JB called me and encouraged me and reminded me that 12 is a great number, and if I am currently pregnant with twins (as we are assuming so until proven otherwise) than 10 remaining is PLENTY!

My mom sent me this, this morning. I wanted to include the first paragraph as it was really beautiful!

Happy is he . . . whose hope
is in the LORD his God.
Psalm 146:5

God of hope, thank You for the incredible happiness I feel when I trust You completely. The expectation of Your timely interventions to help me gives me stability and serenity. It makes me bold and courageous, fearless and free. You have shown me that authentic hope always is rooted in Your faithfulness in keeping Your promises. I hear Your assurance, "Be not afraid. I am with you." I place my hope in Your problem-solving power. Your conflict-resolving presence, and Your anxiety-dissolving peace.

Trust
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Each morning, I have been reading scriptures on various topics but the most dear to me is the topic of "trust". I have one of those "Bible Promise Books" where you can look up a topic and find scriptures on that topic. I thought the listing of the scriptures under the topic of "Trust" were quite something and really ministered to me.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will now we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." Psalms 46: 1,2

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee." Psalms 84:11,12

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psalms 37:3-5

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5,6

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." Matthew 6:31,32

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7

"...Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust," Psalms 40:4

"They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever." Psalms 125:1

Also, last night, JB called my Grama H. She has been feeling a bit under-the-weather, and he talked to her about her health for quite awhile. At the end of the conversation, she asked how JB and I were doing with our "baby". Aunt Linda normally fills her in via my blog, but I hear Aunt Linda's computer went on the fritz. John told her what was going on, and then she told John than when she tells people how many kids and grandkids she has, she adds one everytime for our baby. John thought this was so sweet, and it was quite moving. She said she doesn't even tell people that it is a "baby of the future". She just tells them like that baby is already here.

I thank the Lord for our two gifts. We are nearly halfway through our wait!

6dpt
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Today is 6dpt. If you are an IVF'er, you know that means "6 days past transfer". Six days that have not flown by nearly fast enough! However, six days that have basically brought me half way to getting a good report.

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.

Too tired to blog?
Friday, November 17, 2006
No matter how tired I am, I always like to blog. Always take the time to email. But the last few days, I have just felt so tired that my emails are stacking up and my blogging has gone to the tubes. If you are waiting for an email reply or expecting riveting information on the blog, my deepest apologies.

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.

Blessings!

Keep the faith!
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.

12 hours later ....
Saturday, November 18, 2006

12 hours after going to sleep last night, I have emerged from my den. I went to bed last night at a little after 9. I have emerged at ... a little after 9 AM! Folks, in case you lost count, that's 12 hours later! Told you all I have been tired! Of course, I did wake up 4 or 5 times -- nothing unusual for me. But I still got 12 hours of sleep. Hurray!

I haven't been up to my usual level of blogging, so I thought I would use this Saturday email to do some catching up. I have separated these in subject categories to make reading easier and allow you to skip categories that seem rather boring, stupid, or uninteresting.

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.

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!

Pregnancy results are in!
Sunday, November 19, 2006

Okay, did I make you look? I'm just kidding. This post is actually about our birds. It has nothing to do with pregnancy at all. JB is yelling over my shoulder, "That is SO wrong!" But I figure, hey, if you can't joke around about IVF, what can you do? So, let me get started on my real blog.

Hands and Feet
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

Chorus:
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

It is well, it is well with my soul
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"I know that God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."
Mother Teresa

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."

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, although there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Hab. 3:17-18

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Rom. 8:28

Jesus replied, “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand."
John 13:7

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.

And as I sat at my desk today, my eye caught sight of the old hymn I had taped to my bulletin board: "It is well with my soul."

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot,
Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel!
Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

More cuteness and thankfulness
Thursday, November 23, 2006

Well, like always, all I can say is thank you for the thoughts, prayers, and encouragement so many of you have extended to JB and me through this blog and email since yesterday afternoon. We, as always, are so blessed to have so many wonderful people, some of them people we have never met, following us as we walk down this road. It makes the walk not seem quite so tiring. JB forwards me any emails he receives, and I, likewise. So we both see what you have all encouraged us with.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 23, 2006

It's Thanksgiving Day! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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!

Comfort for the Barren
Thursday, November 23, 2006

I had mentioned in yesterday's post that I had found some great comfort in scripture recently. One of these was a rather obscure passage in Psalm 113. I wanted to share it with you.

Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.
The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.

The reason that this passage so greatly ministers to me was due to some guilt I have recently had. Lately I have felt like I really needed to quit worry about this infertility "thing" so much. There are so many people who have bigger problems, bigger concerns. C'mon Wendi. Really. Get over it already. Move on.

The problem was, I just couldn't. As much peace as I have had and trust in the Lord that I have been blessed with, the sadness wouldn't go away. Holidays are especially difficult. Every event at church centers around "families" and "children", and for an infertile couple not living by their family, this becomes even harder to stomach. (More on this in a future post.) I begged the Lord to take away the desire and the sadness, but despite the fact that I have found peace and trust, I still have not been able to not feel this continual longing and a reminder, so often, how quiet our house is.

However, if my problem was so trivial, why did it hurt me so much on such a daily basis? Why was every painful reminder so painful? Than I read this scripture with JB the other night, and we both realized that the Lord is including our plight amongst the plight of the needy and poor. He realizes that being barren is painful and difficult, and feels that it is important enough for David to include us in this Psalm. Of course, He also says that he settles us in our homes as mothers -- another huge comfort. I also read as Hannah told the Lord to "give her children or let her die." Hannah's words are all too familiar.

I went to bed that night feeling as if the Lord had come down in physical form and told me, "I know this is painful. It is a painful thing, and it is okay that it hurts." That gave me great comfort and helped eliminate some of my guilt. Peace and trust are integral parts of moving forward, but that doesn't mean your circumstances don't hurt.

In other news ...

Yesterday was a nice day. Ron and Ebby and their beautiful children were a great distraction. Santa Claus III was not. I advise all my infertile friends to avoid it like the plague. Now Ron and Ebby don't completely agree -- they actually gave it 2.5 stars. However, JB and I would have given it somewhere around 1, and the fact that the entire plot centers around a VERY pregnant Mrs. Claus, is just another reason to stay away.

Survivor, however, was EXCELLENT. Our favorite tribe got the swing vote last night! Fabulous. And seriously, we were so blessed that Ron and Ebby let us hang out with them yesterday. It would not have been a good day to celebrate just the two of us. Brandon & Kristen may have been our only other friends in town, and they also offered an invite. Speaking of them, I wonder how Kristen's first turkey experience went?! :)

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am currently waiting for a call back from the nurse. It is time to draw up a sketch for the next 6 weeks as we prepare for another transfer in January. We are also putting plans in the works for me to join JB in Nigeria in March since I won't be very pregnant if pregnant at all. We are hoping to meet with a travel doctor to discuss this option sometime next week.

Oh, and the biggest news of ALL?! One of JB's classmates got ENGAGED yesterday. Hmmm ... who is it? Well, I am currently waiting for pictures for my blog. When I get the pictures, I will post the pictures with the name. Another clue: I am very good friends with his fiancee'. Any ideas anyone? (And if he TOLD you, you can't guess!)

Answering some questions
Saturday, November 25, 2006

Psalm 86:12
Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

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.

Surrogacy
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.

Transferring three
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.

Assisted Hatching
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. )

Janauary 18th
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.

Walking around the zoo and walking out of church
Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yesterday was a perfect day. JB and I woke up around 8 and soon after decided that we needed to get away from our tiny, quiet condo and, well, the whole city of Rochester. I needed to pick up my bridesmaid dress in Kenyon, about 1/3 of the way to Minneapolis, so we decided to keep driving.

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.
Trust Him When Thy Wants are Many
Monday, November 27, 2006
My Tante Jan sent me this old hymn this morning. Seems a perfect way to start a new and fresh week!

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.

My Isaac
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Last night when I went to bed it was "feels like" zero degrees. Currently, it is "feels like" NEGATIVE 5. Again, all I look at is the "feels like". What does it matter that the actual temperature is 11 degrees if it doesn't feel like 11 degrees? (Can I get an "Amen"?!) Also, it says that it is 11 degrees and sunny. Does this seem strange to anyone else?

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.

Help for the Holidays
Friday, December 1, 2006
I recently read this in my "Stepping Stones" newsletter which I get quarterly -- a Christian support system for Couples facing infertility or pregnancy loss. I wanted to share it with my blog visitors today.

I share it today because we just had Thanksgiving and Christmas is right around the corner. I urge everyone of you to PLEASE try to remember the hurting during the holiday season. I know our church bulletin is full of upcoming Christmas events for the whole family. But don't forget that there are small families -- 1 and 2 people big. There are singles and widows and the childless who often feel abandoned. Try to remember them in your activities. Trust me: they can use it!

This story deeply touched me because I know the pain of "children events" at church and how difficult church can be when you feel family-less, especially around the holidays. Don't get me wrong. Church is wonderful. However, it is a very family-oriented place, and I want to encourage everyone to look outside of your own problems and think of other people and what they might be hurting and feeling during the holiday season. I'm not just talking to others. I'm talking to myself as well.

Let's remember that Christ came for the hurting: the sick and the injured, the lonely and the fatherless. That is what we are remembering at Christmas this year. This is truly what the season is about.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant," sang the children's choir from the front of the church. But, I felt anything but joyful or triumphant. Despite the Christmas lights glittering the sanctuary's ceiling and the candles behind the pulpit, darkness hung over me.

Of all the little girl pulling restlessly at their dresses and of all the little boys standing tall and proud behind starched shirts, none were mine. no little eyes searched the crowd looking for me ... No little fingers waved a way in my direction ... No little voices called Mommy.

Barren, the Bible named me: a cold, empty word. I hated it not so much because it described my womb, but because it revealed the feelings of my heart -- especially at Christmas time, when families gathered, mothers baked sugar cookies, and children counted the days until they would tear open gifts from mom and dad.

Barren, the word haunted me now as I sat in the back pew and wished for the hundredth time that Christmas didn't hurt so much. But, it did.

Christmas, it seemed, was a time for families. And Joe and I, with only our two dogs, did not constitute a real family. At least I didn't think so. And neither, it seemed, did anyone else. "When are you two going to start a family?" we heard all too often.

I sighed and closed my eyes, wishing I could block out the singing voices reminding me of what I longed for but couldn't have. "Joy to the world," they caroled in tones loud enough to pierce my defenses.

Clapping broke out as the kids finished their final song. With sweeping bows and stifled giggles, the children scampered to a wide box in front of the pulpit and pulled from it sprigs of mistletoe. My throat closed as the children trotted toward the pews and presented their parents with the mistletoe. I dropped my gaze.

"M-m-merry Christmas," I heard a timid voice come from beside me a moment later. I looked up to see eight-year-old Caroline handing her piece of mistletoe to me. "For you," she whispered, then handed me the mistletoe, turned, and hurried toward the door.

A strange mixture of sorrow and warmth flooded me. "Thank you, "I choked, too quietly for her to hear me.

There, in my lap, lay the small piece of mistletoe. It was such a small gift, so simple, so plain.

As simple, perhaps, as a baby wrapped in rags and lying in a feeding trough. As plain as the Song of God born in a stable full of animals. A gift announced, not to the movers and shakers of Bethlehem, but to a few Gentiles in the east and a bunch of shepherds working the night shift.

I held the mistletoe close to my heart. If animals and shepherds were remembered on the first Christmas, maybe the childless, and the hurting were remembered this Christmas too.

Perhaps God was telling me that Christ was born for people like me, for "have-nots" who, through the simple gift of Christ, are welcome into the family of God.

Adapted from Empty Womb, Aching Heart by Marlo Schalesky, Bethany House Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2001
You go Rob (and other, additional incidentals)
Tuesday, November 5, 2006

Stand In The Rain
Superchick

She never slows down.
She doesn't know why but she knows that when she's all alone, feels like its all coming down
She won't turn around
The shadows are long and she fears if she cries that first tear, the tears will not stop raining down

[CHORUS]
So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found
You stand in the rain

She won't make a sound
Alone in this fight with herself and the fears whispering if she stands she'll fall down
She wants to be found
The only way out is through everything she's running from wants to give up and lie down.

[CHORUS]
So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, what's lost can be found
You stand in the rain
So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
Stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found

[CHORUS]
So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found
You stand in the rain

Nigeria
Thursday, December 6, 2006

So I have had some questions about my occasional references to a trip to Nigeria, and I thought it was time to address these questions. We had an appointment today with a travel doctor and wanted to wait until we spoke with him before filling all of you in.

JB and our friends Ajit and Tara are definitely taking a mission trip to Nigeria in late March of 2007. They will be spending four weeks working at a Christian HIV clinic in Nigeria. You can visit the website for this organization at: FAITH ALIVE. Following the two weeks in Nigeria, they will be taking a trip to Morocco, the Canary Islands, and up into Spain and throughout the Mediterranean. These two weeks are merely for pleasure and not related to any mission work.

This is a trip that I would greatly like to take as well. However, there are some issues that we have had to pray, think, and discuss with ourselves, God, and some close friends. We have a transfer scheduled for January 18th. We spoke with a doctor here at Mayo who used to live in Nigeria and also works in the travel clinic here. After careful consideration, we decided that if I get pregnant during the January 18th transfer, I will not go to Nigeria with JB and our friends.

Could I go to Nigeria? I could. However, the risks of disease and stress from such a large trip outweigh the possible benefits. There is a chance if I am pregnant that I would meet up with the group in Morocco. I would be entering the second trimester at that point, and Morocco does not require nearly as many medicines and immunizations. However, we will approach that decision when it is time to make it.

For now, we are waiting to hear from the Air Force next week as to where we will be going for residency. There are a lot of variables with my two jobs that will need to be discussed and factored in. I have briefly discussed the possibility of this trip with both my boss at Mayo and my manager at RLS, and we will just have to wait and see how all of this turns out.

We will then proceed with the transfer on January 18th. We discussed cancelling the transfer, however, both of us feel that we should keep this on the schedule and proceed as planned and give the rest to God. Whether or not I can go on this six week trip will depend on whether or not we are moving to Eglin, what my job status is at the time, and whether or not I am pregnant.

So for now you should know that JB is definitely planning a wonderful six week trip in early spring. I am planning to be pregnant in early spring and unable to join him. We will definitely keep you posted as to how this is transforming. John got three different shots today and will start on a variety of medications. The only shot I got was the flu shot. We will wait until our pregnancy results are in before possibly moving forward with my medications. We do feel like there will be a great celebration either way. If my pregnancy result is positive -- well, let the partying begin. If it is negative, well, I will hopefully then be able to go on the mission trip with my husband and friends.

I start my next round of IVF drugs tonight. Please pray for transfer #4!

Quick nite cap
Thursday, December 6, 2006
So. Was it cold today? Yes sir it was cold. It was freezing. You know, when I was a kid, I would say that. I would say it was freezing. I now believe you cannot say it is freezing unless it is really freezing. We just walked home from Bible Study and midway JB whispered, "We have to walk faster." Your nose is cold. Your eyes are cold. You don't talk to each other. You just focus on getting into warmth as quickly as possible. It's horrid. I have decided. Anything above 20 degrees is fine by me. I don't mind it at all. But anything below 20 and especially nearing zero is just plain miserable.

Okay, I vowed to aviod weather-complaints this winter and so far I am failing miserably.

Tonight was our last CMDA (Christian Medican & Dental Association) Bible Study of 2006. The pastor of a local church, Autumn Ridge, spoke on Suffering. There were a few things he said that really ministered to me.

One was the visual image of a child getting a shot. No matter how much you tell that child that the shot is good for them, they still do not want that shot. And they still cling to their parent -- the comforter. He paralleled it to us. We don't like pain and suffering, but it causes us to cling to the caregiver, God.
He also shared a scripture from Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

He also said that in his church he finds, repeatedly, that anytime someone is met by sorrow, the only people that can truly help are the people who have felt that pain previously. I know that has been true in my case. My comfort has come from people who have walked in my steps. Or at least people who have walked in similar steps.
I was blessed that I attended tonight. I have always been honest on this blog. I am honest when I am doing well and honest when I am not doing well. The last few days have been a little rough. My sadness has dissipated, and spiritually I am doing well, but I have dealing with some residual anxiety issues that I still need to work through. I also started my progesterone medication which is the facilitator of dizzy spells. It is for this reason that I take this medicine just as I am climbing into bed. Last night I woke up three hours after I took the medicine and the dizziness was so extreme, I really panicked. It was a very long night for both John and myself.

I emailed JB midday and told him I thought I would skip the study on "Suffering" tonight. I just didn't feel like I wanted to hear anything more about suffering. But we decided to go. We tooka brisk walk in the underground to get some exercise before the study and then headed over. And, lo and behold, we were blessed by the message. It was just what I needed to hear. I was blessed to know that God is with us in our suffering and that Jesus, too, wept.

Call into doc
Friday, December 8, 2006

Well I have refrained from posting about this because we weren't sure exactly what was happening. As I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post, two nights ago, I woke up about 2-3 hours after taking my progesterone medication EXTREMELY disoriented. In the morning, I barely remembered what had happened, but JB remembered all too well, and I was incredibly embarrassed by my behavior. I definitely wasn't going to post it on the blog -- I was humiliated!

Well last night I had another "episode" about two hours after going to bed. This one wasn't quite as bad because JB realized what was happening much earlier and was able to calm me down and help me fall back to sleep. Again, this morning, I don't remember what happened -- I only have snapshots in my memory -- not a complete picture.
I called the nurse line this morning and talked to Nancy. She assured me that what I was describing were listed as side effects and that I was not losing my mind. Then one of the residents called John to get a better picture since I don't really remember anything. She then called me and quoted the following to help me feel better:

Transient dizziness may occur in some patients. A small percentage of women may experience the following symptoms upon initial therapy: extreme dizziness and/or drowsiness, blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty walking, loss of consciousness, vertigo, confusion, disorientation, feeling drunk, and shortness of breath.

Quite honestly, this is exactly what happened to me. I was acting like a crazy drunk person! The doctors decided that I need to discontinue the medication and switch to something else that isn't as good but can hopefully do the job. Please pray that this alternate form works so that I can proceed with my January 18th transfer.

I have taken oral prometrium at least a dozen times and have NEVER had this response. I have spent the last two days, basically thinking I am going out of my mind. It is not encouraging to hear that you have been acting like a drunk lunatic when you haven't drunk a sip of anything!
Anyways, like I said, I wasn't going to post this on my blog but now that I know what is happening, I am not quite as embarrassed to share. Please don't tease me about this (at least for a few days). This was emotionally very disturbing to me, and I feel great relief to hear that while not extremely common, is a reported side effect of this drug.

Such drama!

No sleep
Monday, December 11, 2006

I have been sleeping very poorly, another frustrating medication side-effect that I have dealt with before on this particular medication. I try to get to bed earlier as it isn't so much that I don't sleep but just that I wake up way too frequently. I have been frustrated, in general, with the side effects from medications and all the "details" of another IVF transfer. I think it may be compounded by trying to tie up all kinds of loose ends so we can leave for Florida on Friday. I would appreciate your prayers this week as it promises to be a bit hectic.

Change of plans
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Well we are no longer doing the January 18th transfer. I just got off the phone with the nurse and officially took my name off that date. We actually aren't doing a transfer in February, March, or April either.
We have decided ... to take a break.

Yesterday I met with a psychiatrist here at Mayo to discuss some of the feelings and emotions I have been struggling with. I hesitated to put on this blog that I saw a psychiatrist as sometimes there is a stigma associated with that, but you know, I haven't been well, and I'm not embarrassed by that. I don't think anyone should be embarrassed by that.

As I have mentioned, I have been dealing with some anxiety issues. In addition I have not been sleeping well and have been very overwhelmed by normal daily activities that I usually do with ease. I have, honestly, not been myself. I haven't wanted to attend social events and have avoided unnecessary conversations. Some of you may find that surprising as you have seen me and probably thought I seemed fine. But inside and at home, I haven't been fine.

The final straw occurred when I told JB that I didn't even want to go to Florida. Packing and preparing for the trip as well as figuring out what we are doing while we were there just seemed overwhelming to me, and I think we both realized that maybe we should have a professional make sure that everything was okay.
The good news? I am well. I am fine. My doctor was a fantastic Christian who believes that what I am experiencing and feeling is completely normal and understandable. However, he told me that if you keep getting hit by a Mac Truck, and then keep standing up and saying "hit me again", eventually, you won't be able to stand up and say "hit me again." He told me that I have to listen to my body because when your body is telling you something, it's for a reason.

My body is telling me, I need to stop being "infertile" for awhile.

Now obviously, I am still, currently, not fertile. But I have to take a break from being reminded of that on a daily basis. I need to take some time to vacation with my husband without trying to pack refrigerated medications and time where we are going to be so I can take my shot. JB and I can do some traveling and I can discuss going to Nigeria.

I also realized that I have to be very careful that I don't let infertility become my identity. There is more to Wendi than infertility, and I want to make sure I remember what those things are. Things I love to do like traveling, exercising, dining, socializing, writing. I don't want to lose those things because we feel the need to "press on" when my body is saying, "please stop."

So I wanted to let everyone know, that we are taking some time off. We may try to do a transfer in May or we may wait until after JB starts his residency either June 1st (military) or July 1st (civilian.) If we aren't at Mayo this will cost 2x as much because we won't have Mayo insurance, but I cannot continue to worry about that now. I just have to do, currently, what is best for myself and my husband. We will finish using each of our sticky babies, but just not right now.

So don't be surprised if my blog doesn't appear very "related-to-infertility" for awhile. I just want to take a break and try to remember some of the things I enjoy doing and love doing. You have to be careful, as with any major life event that comes across your path, that you keep things in focus. And I intend to do just that: refocus.

You may find that my blog entries are very jagged in the emotions you are observing. That is because grief and sadness doesn't move in a straight line. There are up times and down times, and as long as we are striving to trust the Lord, that is okay. I have decided that I will be honest on this blog. So I've allowed you to follow some of the workings on my mind and thoughts. This is just another sharp curve through those emotions.

I know many of you reading this blog are struggling with infertility yourself or are watching someone you love go through this. It will be difficult to tell them to "take a break" or even to convince yourself to "take a break". People suggested it to me, but I really didn't want anything of that. It is only when you are completely ready or your loved-one is completely ready that walking the path of no-treatment will seem like "the most brilliant thing to do". You'll know when it is time. They'll know when it is time.

There is a fear that while I am taking a break, people will be "catching up to me" or even "lapping me" as JB joked last night. That may be the case. You all can go on having your first or subsequent children. I have decided that it is okay if I fall "farther behind" or get "lapped". It isn't a race that I am even going to run right now. If you are dealing with infertility, you are probably already dealing with that fear and reality. You are frustrated watching everyone else receive the gift you wait for everyday. But time off won't change those feelings. What is an additional few months to that reality really mean in the long run?

For now we are focusing on finding out about residency and our trip to Florida. That's it. And that feels really good.

The results are in!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WE ARE GOING TO EGLIN!

The email came in right when they said it would. 7:30 this morning. We woke up like it was Christmas morning and sat in front of the computer counting down minutes until we got the results. We will be moving HOME to Florida sometime in June! What else is there to say?

Need Your Help
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Well, JB and I were talking and, I'm going to have to change the name of my blog. Not yet, mind you, but I don't know that I can really call it LIFE IN THE POLAR NORTH when we are living in northern Florida.

So, take a look at the poll to the right and PLEASE add a vote. If you don't like any of those and have another suggestion, please post a comment! We want to know what you think.

As far as moving to Eglin, we are, obviously, very excited. JB talked to the Assistant Director of the family medicine program on the phone this evening. She is a wonderful Christian woman, and he is very excited about working with her and the nine other residents given appointments to Eglin.

Mixed in with the excitement are some other emotions. We are also thinking about the prospect of selling our condo, taking our mission trip, moving across the country, and saying good bye to all the wonderful people we have met here. We found out that JB's start date is June 5!

I am also feeling SO MUCH BETTER than one week ago. It is amazing what taking a break from infertility treatments has done for me. For one thing, I had one of the best night's sleep last night than I have had in quite some time. I cannot wait to leave for Florida in two days. I cannot wait to see my brother and AD get married. I am looking forward to many things, and we definitely know we made the right decision.
My new online friend Andi wrote on the comments from a few days ago:

I am in tears here. Mostly because so much of what you said is my heart. My DH and I are on a break too. I don't think I realized how much energy was expended on TTC when what I really needed was to expend energy on my relationship with my Father and to just GRIEVE. So many don't understand the emotional pain that comes with infertility/miscarriage. Although there was a relief to not taking temps, drugs, and "timing" the most personal part of your life, there was an unexpected thing: the actual grieving process. Without all that "stuff" to keep me busy, I had more time/energy to just BE and I don't think I expected that.I'm proud of you for making the decision, because it is VERY hard. You will be surprised with how relieving it is, but prepare yourself for some "work". The work of becoming closer to our Lord. It is a hard earned and yet rich, rich blessing!

I love what she wrote. Thank you Andi for letting me know that you completely understood. That is SO helpful! Finding people who have been through it and can relate is so encouraging.

Tonight I have talked on the phone to more people than I usually talk to in a month! There are also quite a few people who have left messages that I haven't gotten to return calls to yet. Thank you so much for sharing our excitement. We are so looking forward to the next six months of our lives, and the next three years we will get to spend near family in Florida.

Flowers and Rick
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

So far our days have been pretty low-key and relaxing despite shuttling from place to place. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with Joan and Bri while JB planted new flowers in my mom's garden to surprise her.

We also stopped by the M.'s house. Rick is at his own home with hospice and people are continually coming and going. His wife Diana showed me the list of the people that have been here during the last 4-5 days and it is incredible! It was difficult to see him like this, and of course, the pain medication means his consciousness is in and out, but I was glad we stopped by. His pain is now well-managed, but it is, nonetheless, very sad. In his last email, Rick wrote that he should be thankful for his 57 years because they are more than many people get. That is very true, and in many countries 57 years would seem like an eternity, however, here in the western world, they just don't seem like enough for a strong firefighter like Rick. They have a lot of support through their church and the school which they have both been a part of for over two decades. JB talks often about how wonderful hospice is as he has done a lot of work with them. I definitely agrThen last night we hung out at Ray and Gabbi's. Gabbi made chicken fajitas and we played some Mexican Train Dominoes! My parents have the game and just use it for a door stopper! We had a great time although I am going to bed way too late every evening.

I also wanted to thank everyone for the encouraging emails and comments I have been receiving. Nearly everyone has echoed our sentiments and told me that they were glad we are taking a break. I got an email from a dear friend who hung out with us a few nights before we decided to post-pone, and she wrote that she had not ever seen me so "bone tired". I was just plain emotionally drained. I, honestly, was glad to hear that it was not just what we knew but what other people knew as well. That in order to heal and get better, I had to take a break from everything related. It's hard to stop and postpone, but I know it was the right decision. We are very happy with our decision to put off treatments and have begun making plans for our Medical Mission Trip in March. I am so happy to be able to go! I am still very mellow and trying to work my way out of this but am otherwise doing great. We are really trying to take things easy while we are here and not get too stressed out. Hopefully after Christmas, when the wedding gets into full swing, we will still be able to do that.

Well, off for our daily run. I can't tell you how happy running and sitting by the pool make me. They are two of my favorite activities.

IVF updates
Friday, January 5, 2007

With my return to Rochester, I have returned to the world of IVF, and as a result, have updates. I know you all were waiting with baited breath. Please, hold back from exhibiting too much excitement.

We are currently planning a May 31st transfer. This is a little tight and "jammed" in there. It will, in fact, require me to, somehow, start taking shots that need to be refrigerated, while in Africa. We are figuring that between carrying the refrigerated meds with us, purchasing them in Africa (we will probably be in a first-world area by this time), and having someone ship up the meds, we can work this out. However, it is the only way to "jam" a transfer in before we leave for Florida sometime around the 1st of June.

Before any of you start worrying, let me tell you that I am staying calm about this. If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out, and I am not going to stress. We will do another transfer when the time is right. I'm leaving it up to God and JB to work out the details.

One additional sidenote is that one of the medications I need to take is that Progesterone that caused me to turn into a drunken, cussing, crazy woman in the middle of the night this last cycle. Unfortunately, the back-up for this medication is a refrigerated version which would be difficult to travel with. We are therefore going to do a practice run with the current medication taken in a different format (not oral -- I'll just leave it at that) sometime in February. If this works well (meaning I don't turn into a raving lunatic), we will take that medication with us to Africa. If it doesn't work out, the nurse told me we will "explore other options." I am hoping not to have to explore.

I also wanted to let you all know how I am doing emotionally. The short answer: MUCH MUCH better. The first week in Florida was tough. I was still crying daily and having difficulty communicating successfully with my family. Well-meant comments were sending me into a spin. However, about one week in, my emotions began to die down and I began to feel the old-Wendi reemerging. This was a great feeling. I am going to return for a follow-up appointment next week with my psychiatrist, however, I can even tell you that I am in much better shape than I was before the holidays. John can also tell you the same thing!

Thank you for the prayers and encouragement. The bottom-line is, and any infertility-treatment woman can tell you this. When you take a break and are not plagued by daily counting/planning/thinking, you are able to relax more and not be so focused on the fact that you don't have a child.

My husband has also made me feel really good about everything I go through each cycle. He is currently under-the-weather, and he looked at me today and said "You are a trooper." He explained that after four days of being so sick, he is really tired of it, just wants to feel better, is frustrated etc. He said it gave him a new appreciation to my bouts with insomnia, migraines, GI upset etc. each cycle and not knowing when the symptoms will get better. He also said the same thing when he had to get his shots for Africa last month. He said he recognized and remembered that getting shots is not fun. He just had to do them one time, and he couldn't help but be a little anxious. Getting them everyday means anxiousness everyday -- especially the ones in my back. I really appreciated JB noticing these things. He is such a tough guy and having him acknowledge that I am pretty tough really made me feel good.

And I do feel good! I feel a lot better, and we know that taking a six month break, while difficult, was the right thing. I am sure of it.

Adoption Option
Friday, January 19, 2007

I have been very clear on this blog in the past that I preferred people not discuss adoption with me unless I bring it up.

This is not because JB and I do not plan to adopt. Even before we were married, we often discussed adoption and had plans to add to our family through adoption. Even before we knew conceiving on our own would be difficult, we planned to participate in adoption.

However, discussing adoption before someone is ready is a very sticky situation. It is especially sticky when the person who brings it up has children. We want to have a biological child. We still want that very much. Discussing adoption before someone is ready can be very painful. It can feel like people are giving up on your "pursuit" of a biological child.

I still cling to that advice. Do NOT under any circumstances discuss adoption with an infertile friend until they bring it up.

That being said, I am bringing it up.

JB and I have always moved forward on this infertility journey only when we were at the same point. Recently, we have seemed to come to the same point at the same time. We feel that we are ready to begin exploring the possibility of adoption. This does not mean we are going to stop infertility treatments. We plan, without question, to give all ten of our remaining "sticky babies" a chance at life. And it is our prayer that we do not lose even one more child. It also doesn't mean that we are adopting next week. Far from it. We are simply exploring.

Now before you say, "I have a friend who adopted and after she adopted she got pregnant ..." please refrain. That is one of the statements that infertile women hate to hear. Statistics in fact indicate that less than 1% of women get pregnant after they adopt. It seems like more because those are the stories you remember. While it does happen, it is the exception and not the rule. And if it happens to us, we are the exception. That statement seems to relate to the idea that if you are relaxed and not trying to get pregnant, you will. For someone like me, all the relaxing in the world doesn't change the fact that my body doesn't release an egg. While stress can affect pregnancy chances, it plays a very minor role.

That being said, please know that we are still believing and asking God EVERY DAY to have a biological child. We will not stop asking for that, and we believe in our hearts, that one day we will have a biological child. However, we have also come to a point that we believe adoption will enrich our family and that we can provide a good home for a child. We did not want to adopt to "fill a hole". We wanted to adopt when we felt that hole was filled, and we were adopting for the right reasons. I believe that I am at a point that we would be doing it for the right reasons.

Okay, so back to adoption. I am writing this post simply to inform my friends and family and other visitors that we are now discussing adoption. There are a lot of things to consider. On February 17th, we are going to attend a seminar in the Cities with ADOPTION WORLD. This is the group that Steven Curtis Chapman adopted through, and I just have such peace when I go to their website and read through their information packet. If we decide to adopt internationally, I think it is very probable we will use this group.

Actually, one of the the first steps in adoption is deciding whether or not you want to do domestic vs. international adoption. The women at Hannah's Prayer really helped me sort out where to begin. One of the women provided the list below to ascertain whether domestic or international adoption is for you. I thought it was really helpful.

1) Risk of birth-parent changing their mind (domestic) vs. virtually no risk (international)
2) Birth-mother choosing you (domestic) or choosing your child (international)
3) Some relationship with birth-family (domestic) or no relationship (international)
4) Length of wait - unknown (domestic) or 'some-what' of a set time-frame (international)
5) Becoming an international family (international)
6) Medical history (domestic) or little/no medical history (international)
7) Age at adoption - newborn (domestic) or between 9 and 12 months old (international)

So, anyways, I write this blog to tell you that we are definitely planning to proceed with our May 31st transfer. That is a for-sure. However, we are also exploring the possibility of moving forward with adoption while continuing to do infertility treatments. If we get pregnant at any point along the way, the adoption process would just be "halted". Most agencies and countries require your youngest child to be at least 6 months old before an adopted child enters your home. We may also decide to "halt" additional transfers while we pursue adoption. We are simply going to let the Lord lead. We know we are going to adopt. We just don't know what His timing is yet. We also may decide to do an additional "harvest" for IVF somewhere down the road. However, we think we will adopt prior to that. And of course, we continue to believe that the Lord will allow me to get pregnant without infertility treatments -- something that only He can do.

I just thought it important to tell people that I am okay with discussing adoption now. JB and I are on the same page, and we are excited about adding to our family through adoption. We don't know if it will be after, during, or before we have our own biological child. However, in speaking with my Dad while in Florida he reminded me that having an adopted child doesn't change God's mind about giving us a biological child. It doesn't say, "Lord I'm giving up on praying for a biological child." We will continue to pray for that forever.

Other than that, I can provide you with no answers. We are not sure if we will do international or domestic or if we do international what country we will do. Each country has its own rules. Fortunately JB and I fit into most every country's rules (number of divorces, number of years married, over 30 years of age, health, weight, financial status etc.) The countries also vary in how much they cost as well. The only "decision" we have sort of made is that we would like to adopt a younger child (probably under a year). In the future, we may adopt older children, but we want experience at parenting "from the ground up" first. We would also want to be a bit older before we adopt older children.

Lots to think about and plenty of time to think. However, you will probably be seeing some of my "thinking" on the blog so I thought it fair to let you know the thinking is going on.

Life is quite an adventure, huh?

Leave Room for God
Saturday, January 27, 2007

Today my Tante (Aunt) Jan and Oom (Uncle) Ed are coming to visit us for the weekend! They are driving from Geneva, Illinois -- about five and a half hours. I can't wait to see them and am so excited they are going to be able to visit us here in Rochester before we move. I'll try to post a few pictures from our visit.

Right now, I just got back from working out and thought I would share some weekend encouragement.

I've been reading Oswald Chamber's classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest. Yesterday's entry was really fantastic and I wanted to share:

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him -- to give God "elbow room." We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly -- "God meets our life --" ... "when it pleased God." Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.

I also keep reflecting back on something I wrote down while at Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale over Christmas.

What is PEACE?
Preoccupation with God not circumstances
Entering into His presence
Abiding in the Lord and by the spirit
Christ centered
Eternal perspective

Here is another great devotional my mom sent me yesterday:

January 25
Do not fear, for I am with you.
Genesis 26:24

Lord God, You are infinite, eternal, unchangeable and the source of wisdom, holiness, goodness, and truth. Today I come to You with two biblical admonitions. I am told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), but also that I am not to fear (Genesis 26:24). Help me to distinguish between the humble awe and wonder that opens me to the gift of Your guidance, and the negative panic that so often grips my soul when problems arise.

Give me a profound reverence for You that keeps me on the knees of my heart. May I never presume that I am adequate for a day's challenges until I have received Your strength and vision. Give me the confidence that comes from trusting in Your reliability and resourcefulness. I know You will never let me down because You always endeavor to lift me up.

Lord, liberate me from all the fears that haunt me: the fear of the past, the fear of failure, and the fear of what is ahead. I may not know what the future holds, but I do know that You hold the future. And that's why I can replace my every fear with total confidence in You who never leaves nor forsakes.

Atrocious weather & sleep
Friday, February 2, 2007

Well there are two things in my life that are rather atrocious.

The first is the weather. The weather is currently ATROCIOUS! It is horrible. I am searching for positivity but cannot find it.

During this cold snap, I have been posting the weather in the top right corner of this blog. Take a look at it, and please have some pity for me.

Unfortunately, it will only get worse as the weekend progresses. And therefore, we will only stay inside more as the weekend progresses.

The other thing that is not so good in my life right now is my sleep. This next paragraph will be slightly negative so if you aren't up for my negativity, please feel free to jump to the end!

Last night, I restarted my progesterone medication. It is a trial run to see how I will do taking this different kind of progesterone in Africa. If this doesn't work, the other kind has to be refrigerated so we are hoping that this kind works as taking a refrigerated medication to Africa is next to impossible. So far -- no psychotic episodes. However, so far: really, really bad sleep. I am hoping the fact that I only managed about two hours of sleep last night (and I am NOT exaggerating folks ... two hours is probably a high end), is a combination of the chocolate cake I had at Bible Study AND the new medication. So I'll try it tonight without any chocolate cake. However, insomnia and progesterone often walk hand-in-hand. Some cycles I have done well, others not so well. So please just pray that I am able to sleep while taking this medication this cycle. Not sleeping is not good.

And being cold is not good.

They are both atrocious!

Lupron
Saturday, February 3, 2007

Speaking of our trip, I have found someone in Capetown, South Africa who is willing to let me ship my refrigerated shots of lupron to her! This is such an answer to prayer. I have to start taking lupron while we are in South Africa. However, travelling with the medications for a month before we get to Capetown and trying to find a refrigerator that is consistent (apparently the electricity in Nigeria is touch and go) would be difficult. So, through my online support group: Hannah's Prayer, I found a woman who said I can ship them to her. YAY! We plan to do this in the next few weeks.

Aunt Linda rocks!
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

My Aunt Linda is currently at the top of my list of people I love! Okay, so truth be told, I'd love her even if she didn't send me this email last night telling me about the "Frio" wallet, but it sounds more dramatic this way, don't you think?

All right so what you do know is I got an email from my Aunt Linda last night. What you don't know, most likely, is what the heck a "Frio" wallet is. Folks, the "Frio" wallet is amazing!

As I have mentioned earlier, I have to start taking my lupron shots for our May 31st transfer while in Africa. The problem with this is that the liquid for the shots has to stay cool. Not as cold as I originally thought, but cooler than 77 degrees at all times. This creates a little problem considering we will be in Africa.

We have looked at a variety of options, all of which were expensive (nearly $200 to ship my meds to Africa and pick them up when I got there) or "risky" (would I be able to find ice in any location I was at?) Even in Nigeria, electricity is very spotty. I couldn't rely on it.

However, my Aunt Linda has found a cooling pack that cools with cold water over and over again! It is used to store diabetic medications which actually have to be kept cooler than my medications. All you do is submerse the gel packs in cold water! How cool is that!?

I am thrilled!! I am going to speak to a pharmacist to make sure that this will work, but we are pretty confident and very relieved.

Aunt Linda -- you rock!

Ambien
Thursday, February 8, 2006
Also, some of you have been asking me about my sleep. JB and I have both been having fitful nights of sleep. Finally last night we decided I'd sleep in "Kelsey's room" and he'd sleep in the bedroom. This way we could sleep who was the sleep-robbing-culprit. Well it was me. JB said he fell asleep right away and only woke up when the alarm went off. I, on other hand was up as of 3:15 and never really went back to sleep. It is so frustrating! Taking some of the advice in my comments section, I have an "anonymous" friend who is going to give me some Ambien today. I think I am going to try it. I'm desperate! I only have about 3 days left on the progesterone, but it often takes a few days after that to get out of my system. Until then, we plan to sleep in separate rooms so at least JB can sleep, even if I can't. I am usually giving myself about 9 hours of sleep "time" but only getting between 2-5 depending on the night. I either wake up and stay awake for hours or wake up periodically -- one night it was approximately NINE times! Grrrr...

Feeling more comfortable with IVF and adoption
Friday, February 9, 2007

Two weeks ago, I was having some difficulty digesting everything with IVF and adoption. I had spoken with an America World representative and had been left with a lot of answers as well as a lot concerns primarily as it related to moving forward with transfers and adoption at the same time. However, earlier this week, JB spoke with her again, and we managed to get some concrete answers as to how this all works.

So here's the plan:

We plan to do our transfer on May 31st. At that point, we will wait two weeks to see if we are pregnant or not. If we are pregnant, we will put the adoption process on hold. If we are not pregnant, we can start moving forward with adoption while making decisions about when to go back for our remaining sticky babies.

The one cost that is not reimbursable is the cost of a "Home Study". This is basically a social worker who visits your home and creates a report to say whether or not you would make a good family for a child. This home study is only good for one year. We would have to do another study each and every time we adopt. Unfortunately, home studies are about $2,000, and this money is never reimbursable. Once a year runs out, you have to do it again.

However, all money that we pay to America World, while not reimbursable, can be rolled over to a subsequent adoption (minus 20%). We basically make three payments to America World. At any point, if we were to get pregnant and have to "back out", we would roll that into an "account" at America World that we could use the next time we try to adopt. This was very good news to me!

The other bit of good news is that while there are some small costs involved throughout the process that we would lose if we had to "pause", the bulk of the money due to China and for our travel to China, would be due very late in the process (approximately three months before we bring home our daughter). During that time, there would be no "turning back". For one thing, it is only when a pregnancy is considered "viable" (past the risk of miscarrying point) that you have to postpone an adoption so we would good to go by then.

Anyways, I know not everything should center around money, however, when you are talking about such large amounts of money, it is difficult to not get yourself in a tizzy about it. I write this post to basically say that while we definitely could lose money if we start the adoption process and THEN get pregnant, I don't think we would care much -- not only because we won't lose all our money but because we'd be pregnant for crying out loud.

So we feel very good about all of this. We have also created a rough outline for our moving to Florida/transferring etc. Here it is:

March 25-May 5 Nigeria/South Africa
May 5 Return from Nigeria
May 19 JB graduates
May 25 weekend JB and Ronnie (hopefully) drive all our stuff to Eglin and then fly back up here
May 31 Transfer
June 2 Wendi and JB fly to Eglin for good
Mid-June Pregnancy test
Mid-June Decide whether to proceed with adoption or transfers or what

Hope you all enjoyed that. Hey, if you are going to read a "planner's" blog, you have to expect to get some plans given to you.

When You’re Ready
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Shortly after our third failed IVF late last year, my cousin Josh (aka "Heisman") told me that he had written a song for me. I mean, it's going to be on his CD so I don't think he technically wrote it for me. Maybe he actually just used me. Okay, I am kidding and this is a serious post. Josh is a fantastic song writer and a great singer. JB and I are, seriously, his biggest fans! Anyways, Josh wrote this song about our struggles to have children.

I have been blessed with some wonderful emails, cards, and gifts during this four year struggle. Our friend Bara gave us a beautiful light with a little child sitting on the moon. My Grama gave me a little porcelain baby in a flower that she said makes her think of our future child. This song is amongst the best gifts and memories of this journey. I was so touched. Josh sent me the words shortly after our third negative IVF, and I have had the words for quite some time. I've thought often of posting them on the blog but really wanted to wait for the music to be finalized.

So, now, the music is ready. Please take the time to visit "Heisman's" website. Then just click on "When You're Ready" to listen to the song. I will also let you know when the CD is ready. I'd love if you'd support Josh by buying a CD and also sharing this song with other people struggling with infertility.

No tears left to cry
No heart left to break
It’s in these times all I have is You

Lord it’s in Your hands
Cause I don’t have the strength
For one more day, One more hour
Help me understand

Am I alone in this feeling of searching for meaning
When will this pain depart from me
Open my eyes to a world I’d love to see

Lord I don’t know why
I feel so alone right now
And I don’t know how
But we got to this place
We got to this place somehow
And it’s all because of you

There are times of doubt
When only questions seem to mount
And the answers are few and far between

But with each passing day
I feel you guiding, Feel You leading the way
Lord I pray, for peace

Lord I don’t know why
I feel so alone right now
And I don’t know how
But we got to this place
We got to this place somehow
And it’s all because of you

Everybody wants to have the perfect family
Children wrapped up neatly with a bow
Why does everybody have it oh so easy
I just think, why not me
When Lord will it be
My time

Lord I don’t know why
And I don’t know how
Lord I don’t know why
I feel so alone right now
And I don’t know how
We got to this place
But we got to this place somehow
And it’s all because of you

Lord from now on, I’ll trust in You

One day I’ll look back
When all the pain has passed
And cherish this time, When I cried
Lord when you’re ready…I am

As the Prometrium Turns
Friday, February 16, 2007

The good news? The Prometrium I took did it exactly what it is supposed to do despite the adjustments in dosage. Success.

The bad news? I slept horribly for nearly two weeks.

The good news? My "anonymous" friend's Ambien gift proved very helpful. I took a half pill two different nights and slept wonderfully.

The bad news? She doesn't have nearly enough Ambien to give me for what is coming next.

JB and I spent about a half hour on the phone with the nurse/s from the Infertility Clinic today. When I grew frustrated of trying to understand, I gave the phone to JB, and when they could no longer understand, they gave the phone to another nurse.

Basically, because we are out of the country and because they cannot closely monitor me, they have decided to put me on nearly back-to-back rounds of Prometrium while we are in Nigeria and South Africa. I still am not exactly sure why.

JB was not a happy camper, and I can understand why. It was a rough two weeks in our household. He doesn't want to go through that for more than twice as long while we are not in our own house, sleeping in unfamiliar beds, and supposed to be having an adventure in Africa. I don't want to go through it either.

When we got off the phone, we just basically sat and started at each other, confused as to what we should do. We definitely want to do the transfer May 31st. I am ready for this, and it is our last week in Rochester.

As I write this, I am sure Kelsey and Tara are also yelling at the computer -- begging the doctors to change their mind. (Ajit would be yelling too if he read my blog -- but he's too busy trying to figure out if he can scuba dive in freezing cold water in Cape Town.) Don't worry guys. I only take it out on JB.

Gulp. Don't worry JB, I promise not to take it out on you.

In fact, I am getting proactive on this. I spoke with the nurse and sure enough, they would not prescribe sleep medication. I therefore made an appointment with my family practice doctor (who I actually don't know since they keep giving me a resident and they leave after one year.) I am going to go see him next week, and hopefully counteract this Prometrium junk by getting a sleep aide.

I also realized that I actually may not have to start taking the lupron shots until the last day of my trip! This means I am going to carry that little FRIO Bag (Thanks Aunt Linda) around with me for six weeks for one shot on the last day. Geeesh.

For a girl who never went to the doctor and never took any medications up until moving to Rochester, I am pretty sick and tired of medication, doctors, shots, pills, surgeries etc. Sometimes I wonder whether we should have ever started all this infertility-treatment crud. However, no matter what the outcome, I know we will feel like we made the right decision. I know that we have made the right decision. I'm just feeling a tad bit whiney.

And I am trying to get all of the whiney-ness out of my system before our trip. Don't worry fellow travelers. No whiney Wendy in wonderful Africa. I promise!

Sweet sleep
Friday, February 23, 2007

Today I went and saw my family practice doctor. I don't know that he is actually "mine" as I have never seen him before. Actually in four years here, he is my fourth doctor. They keep giving me a resident who keeps moving on and leaving me all alone.

This doctor quizzed me on my sleep and the unfortunate set of circumstances that sent me in to see him. He agreed that travelling to a strange place and being on a medication for 22 days that caused insomnia was not a good situation. He told me he would give me 10 Ambien. He told me not to start taking them until I was adjusted to the jet lag issues that usually result from jumping successive time zones.

I was not really impressed with the idea of 10 Ambien. I have 22 days of insomnia. While, yes, he said I could cut the pills in half (but not tell him about it), I still wasn't feeling too good about 10 pills for 22 days. He said the reason for the lesser amount was the fear of dependency.

Dependency? What's that? I've never dependent on anything -- including codeine. Right.

However, the resident then left to talk with his supervising physician and came back with the doctor and a prescription for 30 pills. His supervising physician also sat down to talk about my trip to Nigeria for a full five minutes -- no questions about anything related to my health -- just questions about our exciting trip. I guess he judged me not to be a drug addict and agreed to give me a few more pills.

However, in the course of all this, I've made a decision about my sleep. I just cannot talk about it. It only causes negativity. The other night I was awake from 2:30-5:00. When I got up "officially" at 6:30am, JB was in the guest room -- obviously frustrated with my restlessness. He asked me how I slept. I told him the facts and left it at that. Then I told him I no longer felt the need to share vividly just how pathetic the sleep was.

So if you ask me how I am sleeping, I'm going to do my best to tell you without complaining about it. I don't want to be a complainer. I want to be as tough as possible. The thing is though, when you haven't slept, your desires get tossed out the window. You start thinking and feeling things you know you wouldn't be feeling or thinking had you slept well. But I'm going to do my best.

I'll also keep you posted on the winter storm that is supposed to be coming through our area tomorrow ... we have a bunch of weekend plans so we are hoping that these aren't impeded by what could be a nasty ice storm. We'll see. Good bye 40's!

Why?
Friday, February 23, 2007

I read this this morning in my devotional time:

Oscar Wilde once wrote: "In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." A third tragedy may be added: the tragedy of not being able to go forward after tragedy has occurred. When a tragedy strikes, our first tendency is to ask, "Why?" We may never know "why," but God promises to be with us always. When we make the decision to go on with life, He leads us in His paths of mercy and truth.

Final Tally
Monday, February 26, 2007

Rumor has it that we received around 14 inches of snow. Apparently Winona (1 hour east of here) got double that! I cannot even imagine that much snow. There is just snow everywhere.

It ended up turning out to be a restful Sunday. I got a ton of work done for RLSF which I was behind on. JB continued to work on the condo, and then we were blessed in the evening when Lesley offered to bring Chili and cornbread by as we watched Amazing Race and the Oscars. We also played a short game of dominoes as the Oscars have a lot of dull parts. For some reason I am still struggling with my sleep. Last night I managed to secure four hours. We aren't sure why this is as I am off of the progesterone. The sleep seems to be good for 1-2 days and then bad for 1-2 days. Either way, I just try not to think about it. I have the Ambien but wasn't planning on using it yet.

As far as infertility "stuff" is concerned, I am doing well. I haven't written about infertility "stuff" on this blog in quite some time. As the thought of the May 31st transfer gets closer, the emotions that go with it immediately start to swell. For some reason, I started thinking about it a lot today. It's hard to think about doing all of that again (or the fact that I will have to do it at least 3 more times.) For the most part, when I am not going through treatments I don't think about it a lot, but lately there has been a slew of pregnancy announcements that have gotten my head swimming back in that direction. Fatigue adds to that. Either way, we look forward to another chance at a biological child.

We just keep on keeping on.

This post is NOT about the weather
Thursday, March 1, 2007

I have been told I blog quite a bit about the weather.

I have been told that maybe I blog too much about the weather.

So this post will not be about the weather. It will not be about the huge snow storm that is due to arrive in the next few moments -- dumping another foot or more of snow on top of a foot or more already on the ground. I won't comment on the back-to-back storms ripping through Rochester.

I will, instead, write about ...

Let me think.

I know.

I will, instead, blog about ... the dentist. Maybe this will make you all wish I blogged about the weather.

Yesterday, I went to the dentist. I really love the dentist I go to. Well, love is a strong word. I don't really love going to the dentist. However, Kelly Dentistry is good to me. During the first months of our Minnesota adventure, when I developed the tooth pain that would later lead to my wisdom teeth coming out, and an atrocious dry socket (that I talk way too much about so I'll refrain), Kelly Dentistry was recommended to us by one of the dentists in JB's class. (They go to dental school and then medical school in order to be oral surgeons.) Anyways, Kelly Dentistry features a husband and wife -- "Dr. Laura" and "Dr. Adam". It's just a nice place with nice people. Their waiting room feels like a living room complete with a fireplace and big plush couches and chairs.

What I don't like about the dentist is that every time I go in there I have to practically prove I am not pregnant. They always seem to want to take x-rays, and they are always fearful of performing x-rays on pregnant people. However, as I have mentioned before, I have no ability to prove my lack of pregnancy so it always goes into a lengthy conversation about whether or not I am positive I am not pregnant. Dr. Laura tries to be gentle, but it still is a stinky conversation.

I also don't like when the dentist has to give me bad news. Today the news was that I need to get two crowns.

I asked the Dr. Laura what would happen if I didn't put these crowns in. As soon as the words "root" and "canal" came out, I agreed that I would get in as quickly as possible for these two crowns.

"Wow," she said. "Usually people put up more of a stink."

"Why?" I asked. "How much is a crown?"

Her response is the reason people up a stink.

Since one crown costs $915 I was a little taken a back by this. People say infertility treatments are expensive! Geeesh, my two crowns will cost me what my transfer in May will cost me. Forget reproductive endocrinologists -- dentistry is where the big bucks are (cough, cough -- Rachel -- the future dentist among us.)

I was relieved when I got back to Mayo and checked my FLEX account. I have over $3,000 in there. You get $1,000 a year which I obviously haven't taken advantage of. I'm going to change all that. FLEX money is for eye and dental. I plan to buy a ton of contacts, a couple more pairs of glasses, and two crowns for my teeth.

How's that from refraining from weather talk?

A little drugged but rested!
Friday, March 2, 2007

Well before I get onto other topics, take a look at this picture from my favorite courtyard taken this morning.

Now compare that to the one I put on my blog on February 6th! Quite a difference wouldn't you say?

Our snow storm yesterday shut everything down. The news this morning said Rochester got nine inches, but it didn't seem like that much to me. Maybe that's because there was already so much on the ground that nine inches just kind of blended in? I'm not sure, but I wasn't too impressed. While I hate cold, I do love the snow, especially a good snow storm with a clean house and working heat!

Last night, I took my first full Ambien pill. The two nights prior, I have only managed about four hours of sleep per night. I was so exhausted but unable to sleep and very frustrated. I was having trouble concentrating at work and my patience level was very low.

So last night, I took the Ambien. I went to bed at 9:30, woke up one time to use the bathroom, and then didn't wake up again until JB woke me at 6:30 a.m. It was glorious. I literally rolled over and said to John, "You've got to be kidding me." The night went so fast, and while I have felt a little groggy today, that is much better than feeling unbearably sleep deprived. I am so happy to sleep!!!!

Jumping topics again, we are officially going to Nigeria!!! Our Visas came in today. I was a little frustrated that despite requiring a signature, the Fed-Ex package was just sitting outside our door. When a passport costs about $150 and a Visa costs about $100, and you have five of them in a package, that's a lot of money to not get a signature. Oh well. The point is, that was our final step for successfully getting to go to Nigeria. I can't believe we leave in three weeks!!!

Let's jump again, shall we? Why didn't Sanjaya get voted off American Idol last night? What are people thinking?!?! Tara doesn't agree that he is horrible, but seriously ... he is not good.

A final jump ... today, while riding the elevator to go home for the day, there was a mother and her three year old daughter on the elevator with me. The little girl kept saying, "We are going to the library! We are going to the lib-ary!" Then they got off on one of the family medicine floors. I couldn't help but wonder if the mother just flat out lied to the little girl. They weren't anywhere near the library. They were at the doctor!!! Poor little girl. She had no idea what she was in for.
All right, so I hope you didn't mind the randomness of today's post. Need to do some RLS work now!

Prayers
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Okay Andi! Andi asked many moons ago and then recently how she can pray for us and our upcoming adventures. I admit, I say "please pray for us" but I don't get much more specific than that. She specifically touched on prayer for me surrounding our mission trip. When we leave for the trip at the end of March, I will repost specific prayers for us in Nigeria. Since I won't be blogging much, if at all, during those six weeks, they will be readily available to anyone who stops into the "Polar North".

The next three months of our lives might be the busiest three months in the history of our lives. We will be going on a six week mission trip, graduating from medical school, doing a transfer, moving to Florida, and both starting new jobs/careers, and possibly moving forward with adoption or a pregnancy. That being the case, I realized that we definitely need prayer and a lot of it. However, specifically, if you are praying for us would you pray:

That the Lord gives me sweet sleep in Nigeria and South Africa.
That all the details of handing my medications while across the world are taken care of and that my body responds appropriately.
That we are able to get all the things done that need to be done before we leave without me nagging JB to death.
That I have peace about what I will be doing in Nigeria each day. I am a planner, and I have been told repeatedly that this trip will require flexibility and adaptation to circumstances.
That the Lord reveals to both JB and I what it is he wants us to be doing with missions. We pray that this trip opens our eyes and our hearts to the direction He has for our lives.
That our condo sells or rents -- whichever it is the Lord wants for it.
That we could move into our place in Florida without having to go into temporary housing.
That amongst the ten people in JB's residency class, that there are a few Christian couples that we can get support from -- particularly couples who are compassionate and understanding of our infertility journey as are the people we are friends with here.
That the Lord would use us in Florida. That our home would be a haven to people who are alone and without support -- just like us.
For a successful transfer on May 31st -- 4th time is the charm!!!
For wisdom on how and when to proceed with adoption.
For save travel for all our friends and family coming to the graduation and all of us as we get ourselves moved to Florida.
For JB to have wisdom and he begins to treat patients and work through his residency.
I hope that list is long enough for starters. Again, I'll post a more specific prayer list for our mission trip right before we leave.

What's worse? The dentist, taxes, or wearing a suit every day?
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

This post is actually a lot more positive than the title would imply.

First of all, JB did our taxes this week. Upon completion, there was a long moment of silence as he shuffled over to give me the news, as I leaned against the wall, impatiently waiting.

A little background: We have now been married for almost nine years. In those nine years, we have never gotten a tax return. The first five years we were married JB was running his own business. This required him to put money in the bank each quarter and then make one payment at tax time. Sometimes we wouldn't have to use all the money, however, we never actually got a return.

Then came Minnesota. This was a disaster. For whatever reason, my teaching job in St. Charles did not take out enough tax money for us. We didn't know this until tax time rolled around and we owed money. The next year, I had left teaching but was working two part-time jobs. This really hit us hard as, "unbeknowest" to us, part-time jobs don't take out as much money as full time jobs. When tax time rolled around, we owed thousands of dollars! This really, really stunk. Year three, we did better but still ended up owing money.

So this year, we were, cautious. Despite requesting more money to be taken out of all our paychecks, we were figuring that come tax time, we would owe a bit. We weren't trying to be negative, just financially ready.

So back to present day. (JB finishes the taxes and shuffles over to me.) He holds up a piece of paper with a large sum on money on it. "Here's the damage," he mumbles. Despite Novocain from my recent dentist visit, my jaw drops. The number on the piece of paper was even more money than we owed in year two! How could this be? How could we owe that much despite having extra money withheld from both of my paychecks? Then JB smiles. This was the money we were getting back!!!!!

Hallelujah!

The main reason: IVF. Our medical expenses were at their maximum this last year as I did two harvests and three transfers all in the course of one year. This gave us a return! So we actually saved money putting me under. Well, not really, but we are still really excited about this return. It was nice to get nice news.

In other news, I also went to the dentist this week and got my two temporary crowns put on. This was quite an experience. They ended up giving me some of the "laughing gas" as there were two pretty big fillings that had to be taken out, and my lack of sleep the night before was leaving me not-very-relaxed. This gas was wonderful! I actually think I got a nap while she was drilling.

After two hours and what I believed was a conclusion to a not-so-pleasant but very-tolerable experience, I went out to the counter to pay my bill, only to have my dentist come out and get me, unhappy with the molding for one of my crowns. Her real fear was because we were leaving the country for six weeks, if the molding wasn't perfect, there might not be time to return the crowns and get them redone before we left, leaving me in temporary crowns (which fall off easily and are quite clunky) the whole time we are in Africa! So I had to get back in the chair, get more Novocain, and do one tooth again. Dr. Laura was so sweet, and she thanked me for my patience, but I really, really wanted to get out of the dentist office.

In other news from the week ...

This week JB has also returned to real class. He and his forty-something classmates are back in the classroom for a three week class. This will actually be JB's last class and test during medical school. Next Thursday will also be the day that his classmates all "match" with their residency choices (something JB has already done). There is a huge "ceremony" for match day -- something I get to attend. They also cancel class the next day due to the fact that so many students have spent the night before, well, celebrating.

As of last Friday, JB also wore a suit for the last time. Not sure how many of you know that Mayo docs don't wear white coats. They were suits. Every day. JB finds the idea of putting a lasso around your neck each morning quite absurd so he reminded for a week straight that this was the last week he may ever have to put on a suit ... daily.

For the next seven years, he will be wearing a military uniform to work. I'd imagine he'll get pretty sick of that too.

Posts are short ...
Friday, March 9, 2007

My posts are short lately mainly because so is my sleep. I have tried to refrain from commenting about my sleep either verbally or with the written word on my blog ... mainly because I am so frustrated that writing or talking about it makes me more frustrated. I also feel like other people are sick of hearing about it as well. So I've just tried to go about my days normally. But it isn't working.

I am still not sleeping. I am done with the progesterone medication, but my sleep has not returned. If I take an Ambien, I sleep, and I sleep very well. But anytime I do not take one, I sleep only three or four hours in fifteen to twenty minute segments. I never actually get into a deep sleep. Or if I do get into a deep sleep, it is only for three or four hours and then I am up the rest of the time.

I try to not get frustrated. I try to be patient. I am not napping so that my sleep is not thrown off. I am not watching TV or getting on the computer before bed.

I have been trying not to take the Ambien every night, hoping to find the "minimal" dose for me. But it appears the minimal dose is going to have to be every night for awhile. This should make things better.

You know, I work for the RLS Foundation. Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes people to be unable to sleep due to the need to move their legs repeatedly. I have such a new-found respect for people who cannot sleep.

Thanks for listening to me complain. I won't be talking about this too much more on the blog, as, like I said, the best thing I can do is be positive and not complain. The complaints do not help.

But I needed to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening!

Life in Apartment 202
Saturday, March 17, 2007

I cannot believe that we leave a week from tomorrow for Nigeria. Absolute craziness! I am fortunate that I am tying up a lot of loose ends at both my job. A week ago, I just didn't know if I would get things tied up enough to feel good about leaving. But now ... I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am a little concerned about my new crowns. They are beautiful (pure porcelain so there is no metal in my mouth at all.) The bad thing is that my teeth are still bothering me. The dentist told me that if, by Monday, I am having any discomfort, to come in immediately. Apparently, if the crowns are even slightly uneven, they can cause tooth pain and as she put it, "You do NOT want to have to find a dentist in Nigeria." That's an understatement. So, I am hoping that by Monday, they feel good. I don't want to have to go back to the dentist for the FIFTH time in as many weeks. Not my favorite place to be. I am slightly regretting doing this before we left.

We have had many people coming to look at our condo. Some are very interested and many are making a decision over the weekend. It's a bit nerve-wracking. I have really given this concern over to JB and to the Lord. I don't like all this real estate stuff. I am glad we are not buying again in Florida. That would just be another stressor.

I have decided that the number of stressors in our life right now are probably pushing the point of capacity. If you list the biggest stressors in people's lives, we are participating in nearly all of them including:

1. Moving across country
2. Taking a very long trip
3. Adoption/IVF
4. Job change (Wendi)
5. Starting career (JB)
6. Selling/renting home

Anyways, last night, Tara, Ajit, and Nicole came over for dinner. Then the Jones and Philips came downstairs with Dave's sister and her new husband and baby, and we all had dessert. After they left, Ajit, Nicole, JB, and myself got into some deep conversation on differences between men and women, and Tara fell asleep. I made the decision to let her sleep after Nicole and Ajit left as she has been under the weather. She slept until 8:30 this morning!!! At 8:30 the two of us went to workout. I just got home and now eating some of my Golden Grahams while I type this.

Tonight is "Mixed Bag" -- a variety show for the Medical School. For now, got to get a lot of errands done in preparation for our trip. Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Lots of bottles
Sunday, March 18, 2007

I'd like to consider myself a healthy person. I don't feel sickly.

So as I am starting to lay out what we are taking for this trip, I am not impressed with the number of medications I have to take with us. Honestly, for some reason, this makes me feel old. You know, like I have to bring my medicine cabinet with me to Africa. Add to that that you really need to keep them in their original containers so that they have your prescription on them, and we have to take a lot of medication.

Not only do I have to my normal Metformin that I have now been on for a number of years, but now I am taking my Ambien to help me sleep. Add to that the progesterone I will be on for two cycles while I am gone and you are at four containers of pills. Four because I take 3-4 pills of Metformin a night. That's two bottles. In addition, our travel clinic has us taking a malaria medication and sends a prescription for cipro (traveller's diarrhea). I also have to take my vial of lupron (in my new handy dandy, self-cooling package.) Then we'll take our vitamins and other "incidental" travelling medications, and I do feel like the older people JB sees in the clinic with a list of medications a mile long. This is not put down older people of course. It's just fact.

All this medication talk makes me realize that it's been awhile since I have given an update on our next IVF cycle. We are scheduled for a transfer on May 31st. Earlier this week, we signed the paperwork for the number of embryos to transfer. As soon as I signed this and slid it across the table to JB, I got a stomachache. It immediately threw me in to thinking about doing another transfer. Don't get me wrong. I want to do it. However, thinking of getting wheeled back into that room, waiting two weeks for results, and taking all those shots doesn't exactly cause me extreme excitement.

Last night we attended "Mixed Bag" for the medical school -- a variety show of sorts. A couple I didn't know told us congratulations on going to Florida and then asked if we had kids. I realize that this question is something that stings me every time it is asked. You'd think by now, I'd know how to handle this question, but I still don't. I feel this five second sensation of a thousand feelings including -- "do they know we want kids? do they know I have not chosen a career over kids? do they know ..."

We were sitting across the table from some friends of ours who have a year old daughter. I felt that
they were uncomfortable too and all of us wanted to change the subject. Afterwards, I asked JB if this question made him uncomfortable. He said it did. He said no matter how many times it is asked, it is just not fun.

In fact, "Mixed Bag" is always a little uncomfortable for me. It's a time when everyone brings their children and shows them off to everyone else. I remember coming to this first year and thinking "Well at least by fourth year I can bring our child to this event." Fourth year came and went last night, and still, it is JB and me. I know this is okay. I know that we are okay. And part of me was glad I didn't have to chase a screaming child around for two hours as most of the other parents did. I held Christo and Melissa's son Luke for a bit and passed him off when the tears fell. I played with Bisola for a bit and gave her back when I grew tired. Karuna climbed onto my lap and then wandered back to sing loudly to the music. I recognize all the things JB and I get to do because it is still just the two of us.

Anyways, sorry for this post to be a downer. I am actually not in a downer mood. I am unbelievably blessed my fantastic husband and our exciting adventures in the next few months. Even if I have to take a slew of medications with me on those adventures!

We are in Nigeria
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I did not expect to have the chance to post a blog. And in fact, this blog must be very short as I don't have much time. It is 9:50 am Nigerian time. I think this makes it about 2:00 am in the US or something comparable.

We had about a 9 hour overnight flight from Minneapolis to the Netherlands. Then we had about a 6 hour flight into Abuja (with a connection that didn't even leave us time to use the bathroom). Dr. Chris was there to pick us up with some friends. However, getting onto the bus and to the place we would spend the evening was not that easy. Half of our luggage arrived, however, in the end, JB and I do not have our toiletry bag, Kelsey did not get her luggage, and Tara did not get her luggage or the box she brought. We have been informed we should have this by Thursday so right now we are passing around the necessaries which include shampoo (Ajit had that), deodorant (Kelsey had some in her bag), and a brush (Kelsey had that too.) I also have the only "girl clothes" which fit Kelsey well but leave Tara in a bit of a bind. Good thing she had brought one extra set of clothes in her carry-on.

One thing that greatly impacted our first evening was a man in the line next to us who all of a sudden fell over. People immediately screamed to see if there was a doctor around. JB and Ajit were the first two to reach him, and immediately began to go through the appropriate steps. They were replaced a few minutes later by the medics. When we boarded the bus a few hours later, we were told that the man had died on the way to the hospital. It was quite an amazing event, and one I can't really go into in my limited time here.

After about two hours wrestling to find baggage, report missing baggage, and successfully leave with the baggage we did have, it was past the hour when we could find dinner. So instead, Dr. Chris and his driver "Goodwin" (not sure how to spell that), took us to a missionary hotel of sorts where we sat around in Dr. Chris' room and ate all the snacks we had brought on the plane and drank some water.

Early this morning, we stopped for a quick bite to eat and are now on our way to Jos, about three hours from Abuja. Dr. Chris needed to check his messages while here in Abuja so we stopped at this office here and were each given a computer with the instructions to update our friends at home. So that, I am doing.

There aren't enough computers to go around so my turn is up.

Saturday Snippets
Monday, April 9, 2007

I have decided that I hate roosters. Hate may seem like a strong word; however, when you are woken each morning at dawn, no matter how well you have secured your earplugs, roosters would come to bother you too. In all honesty, it isn’t just roosters. The town comes to life the moment the sun peaks above the horizon. We happen to have a generator that we run in the evenings. However, I am sure most locals do not. Therefore, you are completely dependent upon the light to get the things done that need to get done in a given day. The electricity is very rarely working – maybe a few hours a week have we seen it on when we have been home. I have yet to see water running through the pipes. I am told it does, but I don’t really believe it.

Some other things that are on my mind (and please excuse me if these points do not “flow” very much … when your head has this much going on, it becomes difficult to present things slowly) …

Prior to coming to Nigeria, I had never seen a dead body. I have now seen three I think, but even more sad is that I am not sure I am really keeping a tally anymore. We were back at Juth, the “best” hospital in the area. Two men were wheeling a cart through the parking lot to the morgue, a body obviously under the sheet. What stuck out to me most is that individual still had her head scarf on. It so perfectly symbolized the way that death fails to announce its arrival. I am sure when she put this head scarf on in the morning, she did not think that it would be the last time she put it on.

Our return to Juth was a result of JB’s second “speech” of the trip. In fact, JB has actually spoken five times since we have arrived in Nigeria. Tuesday and Wednesday he gave a lecture to Dr. Chris’ medical school classes. On Thursday he did the morning patient devotional at Faith Alive. On Friday he gave the morning health talk at Faith Alive. Then, on Friday night, Dr. Chris handed him a program for Faith Alive’s Social Services/Rehabilitative Training School. JB instantly saw that he was listed as the speaker for the ceremony! Leave it to Nigerians to wait until the last minute to fill you in. Especially Dr. Chris. He loves to put people on the spot! So, a fifth speech followed today. JB has done a great job speaking! Dad and Mom K., you would be very proud of your son.

I led my devotional on Friday. I was relieved because, due to the Easter holiday, the audience was much smaller. I was initially hoping that they wouldn’t have me do it all, but Dr. Chris immediately thought otherwise. I spoke on “Smiling through the bad times” and included a brief discussion of our difficulties conceiving. Barrenness is something that this culture takes very seriously. As soon as we were done, Dr. Chris said they should pray for me and a woman volunteered. It was an amazing powerful prayer. I have been prayed for many times, but I do not think I will soon forget this prayer. Another woman, Mary, that I have been helping in medical records, told me earlier in the week that she sees me with twins. I didn’t disagree with this at all!

Jumping back to a discussion of the Social Services/Rehabilitative Training School (I told you this post may not flow very much) … this school is a fantastic program sponsored by Faith Alive. In short, they offer computer, knitting, and sewing training to HIV positive individuals who are in need of a way to provide for their family. The program is free, and upon graduation, sewing students are given a sewing machine and knitting students a knitting machine. They are then charged to go out and support themselves and their families and also to help educate other individuals free of charge, just as they have been educated. It is such a great program!

On Friday, Dr. Chris informed the three doctors in our midst that he was going to spend some time with his family. Instead, they would see his patients and make all the decisions regarding their care. All the Faith Alive workers are given the holidays off – unless they are on call, -- coming in is completely optional. There was one nurse to help and a doctor came later, but other than that, they were on their own. They set up clinic in one room so that they could bounce things off of each other. I decided to help by running errands, looking for translators, or getting files. Kelsey, unfortunately, was unable to be with us. Dear Kelsey was attempting to fast due to Good Friday. Kelsey, unfortunately, is also on a medication for her malaria that can tear your stomach up without food. As a result, Kelsey, unfortunately, ended up barfing half a dozen times, and had to go home for the rest of the day. Just to let Mama Wicks and other Kelsey fans know, she is now feeling great. It passed quickly. Our entire group minus me has had some stomach issues throughout. My stomach has felt great!

Anyways, during this clinic time, Tara, Ajit, and JB did a great job running things. One patient particularly stood out. It was actually his first patient of the morning, and he stopped midway through to ask if we would all gather together and pray with the woman. She was coming in for pain in her back due to spousal abuse. I nearly started crying as she said, “I don’t believe in divorce, but I have to take care of my son. He is the father of my son, and maybe one day he will be healed. But for now, I am very afraid.” She also said she had no food. I went out to FANOL bank (a food and clothing bank sponsored by Faith Alive.) However, due to the Easter holiday, there was not a drop of food in the bank. Everyone had come to get food so that their family could have an Easter meal. I ended up giving this woman 1,000 naira (the equivalent of about 8 US dollars.) Later, I would give another woman the same amount – she had come to Faith Alive for some food for Easter and I could not just tell her that the bank had nothing! I don’t tell you all this to, in any way, brag on myself or JB. I instead tell you this to ask how in the world these physicians and nurses do what they are doing! How do you not give away every penny you have in order to help everyone else? That’s when I realized. This is what Dr. Chris has done.

Yesterday, we went to the market with B____. I will have to put a photo of her on the blog at some point. She is one of the most beautiful people, inside and out, that I have ever met. The love of God just radiates off of her. She is twenty-six years old but seems much more mature than this. Four years ago her husband died of AIDS and she was diagnosed. Her husband’s family attempted to take her two children from her, but she “kidnapped” them back. She went through Faith Alive’s sewing school and now has a small shop just a few doors down where she teachers others.

We went to the market to get fabric for B____ to make some things for us. I would be okay if I never returned to the marketplace. Apparently, a lot of what is going on there is “black market” activity. JB brought his nice camera, and most people immediately interpreted the “white man” with the camera as a threat. This is very different from out experience here in Jos as a whole. In fact, while we were at the graduation today, people thronged us for photos. Nigerians love to get their photos taken! However, here at the market, the “illegal” activity left JB to get a “berating” from a local. The crowds had forced B____ to be quite some distance from him when this happened. Dr. Chris told us that had he known we were with Faith Alive, he would have immediately backed off.

Another thing that has greatly impressed me while I am here is how intertwined religion is into the culture. The country itself is about half Muslim and half Christian – I think a little bit more Muslim. The area we are in is actually 90% Christian. However, there are many Muslims who work at Faith Alive. There are many Muslims who attend the Faith Alive HIV Support Group. I am so moved by how these two religious groups work and fellowship seeing their similarities instead of their differences. I have been so blessed by our own relationship with Bara – even though these communities are fighting throughout the world, they cane live together! As you walk through the neighborhood, you can hear people signing and praying. You can see Muslims praying. Religion is very out in the open. Even at the Christian school I attended, I did not see such open faith. People are constantly talking about the Lord.

Another fun bit of info for you all … the rains have begun. I think it is the beginning of the rainy season. The first big rain, Kelsey, JB, and Ajit took a shower outside (complete with soap and shampoo). We also brought buckets out to fill up. When there is no running water, you take anything you can get. I’ll try to upload a picture of this if I can!

I think that is enough for tonight. Not sure when I will post this. Hope all of you are doing well.

One month and counting
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Life is slowly (or is it quickly?) returning to some resemblance to "normal". Quite honestly, I am not sure what normal really is. We are only here for 4 weeks before we head to Florida. In that time we have a graduation and a graduation party. My parents, JB's parents and brother Rob, my grandparents, and our friend Bara are all coming into town for the events. A few more family members were going to come, but JB's sister Katie decided to get married last Saturday so a few flew out for this instead of JB's graduation. (I think a wedding ranks over a graduation.)

Prior to moving, we also have to finish some things around our condo in preparation for the sale which should be finalized May 30th. JB and our friend Ron Ray are going to move us down to Florida sometime around May 25th. Then JB will fly back here for my transfer on May 31st before we both leave a few days later for Eglin and our new home.

My job at Mayo was approved, and I have to get a bunch of paperwork in order to shift from an in-office worker to an at-home worker. In addition, our office moved yesterday to a new building which slightly added to the number of things I needed to do.

Speaking of our next transfer, things are progressing nicely. All my medications were well taken care of on the trip, and things proceeded exactly as planned. I am taking lupron shots each morning now and will soon start estrace tablets and go in for my cervical dilation and blood work to get things going. I am very excited about our fourth try. The time off was one of the best decisions we made during this four years of infertility treatments. I felt emotionally prepared to start things again.

I've also been asked repeatedly to reflect on the four weeks we spent in Nigeria and to share more about this trip on a personal level. I plan to do that tomorrow. I have so much to say that I have been putting off saying it. But tomorrow, I'll share where my heart is after our experience.

Till then.

Reflections
Thursday, May 10, 2007

So, some of you have asked for my reflections on the four weeks I spent in Nigeria. I know my blogs were fairly scattered while I was there -- shoved in between occasional electricity and occasional internet availability.

Quite honestly, I am really not sure how to actually put into words the details of our four weeks. Anytime I start talking to someone and attempt to share the details of our journey, things ultimately sound very trite and very cliche. JB and Ajit are speaking at our CMDA (Christian Medical & Dental Association) Bible Study tonight about our trip. As we started flipping through pictures, I realized that the pictures I had, that I thought would capture our experiences, were really just sort of, well, pictures. Pictures can't explain four weeks of experiences. They too seemed trite and cliche.

One of the main questions that people have asked me is: "So ... do you guys want to be missionaries?" If you remember, before I left, one of my chief requests for prayer was that the Lord would give us guidance on our future with medicine and missions. We have returned and, quite honestly, I still really don't know how to answer that question. In some ways, our month in Nigeria made me feel like being a missionary is too hard for me. How could I possibly surround myself in such a foreign culture for life? In other ways, I think, how could I not be a missionary after what we have just seen. I guess the only thing I can say for sure is that we definitely feel called to missionary work in some form or fashion. Only time and the Lord will show us how involved we are and where we are involved. We can see ourselves working for an organization like Faith Alive from the United States, visiting on occasion. We can also see ourselves working in a country full-time or going over periodically. We really do not know. We do know that we definitely want to return to Faith Alive and Jos at some point. We really believe in their organization.

Speaking of Faith Alive, some of you have asked me about donating to them. I am working on
providing the best means of donations if you are interested. I will post when I have more information.

Dr. Phil Fischer said something to me on this trip that has really stayed with me. We were all talking in the living room the night he flew into Nigeria, somehow trying to digest the last month of our lives. I asked him how someone could live in a place like Nigeria and not give away everything they have? I was referring to the fact that people were so poor and so in need, that I couldn't let them go home without helping. If I were a "Dr. Chris" (which I could never possibly be), I would want to be just like him. I would want to open my home to everyone and share everything.

Dr. Fischer said something extremely profound. He asked me how I could live in the U.S. and not give away everything I have? This was extremely eye opening to me. If we end up living in the U.S., our attitude should be the exact same. People are in need whether I live in the same town as them or across the world from them. The need is still there and should be just as important to me no matter where I live.

I was extremely pleased that I was able to "handle" the things I had to "handle" on the trip. I had never seen a dead body before getting to Nigeria. I think the Lord knew how to deal with this discomfort. The first five minutes we were in Abuja, someone fell over and died. From that point forward, nothing seemed shocking to me. Before Jos, I had never seen someone on death's door. I had never seen someone after a traumatic injury. I had never met anyone with HIV. I had never met so many people who had lost children. And yet, during the course of that month, I really feel like I handled these things well. The other day, when our little bird died, I couldn't go in the room with the doctor. This would imply that I am quite a wimp. However, when demanded, I was able to handle the things required of a "missionary doctor's wife" while we were in Jos. I stood by JB and looked at the things I was looking at. Often times, Dr. Chris or our friend Lauretta asked me to touch the things they were looking at to understand what it was. I think my coping ability was something I wanted to know, and I figured it out. The first night, when we arrived at the rural clinic and a man showed my husband a fistula on his rear end, I realized that I was okay. I could do this.

I was also pleased that I was able to overcome my slight "germaphobic" nature during this trip. I was able to forget about the fact that there was no running water in bathrooms. I was able to handle the heat. I was able to handle the lack of privacy. I was able to handle sharing food and drink items with our travel companions. I handled washing myself and my clothes in a bucket.

As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, the thing that I was not extremely pleased about was my anxiety. There were many instances, both in Nigeria and South Africa, that circumstances caused me to become ill. My anxiety is something I can quickly recognize due to the physical symptoms that quickly manifest. There were many times in Nigeria that this occurred. I realize that I love the "results" I get after traveling but hate the actual process of traveling. I see us traveling quite a bit and plan to really work on improving this tendency.

Another thing that was very interesting for me was experiencing a different culture's attitude toward infertility. In the Nigerian culture, when you get married you have about one year before people expect children to have joined your family. Over and over again I would have a conversation ensure that would go like: "Is this your husband?" "How long have you been married?" "Where are your children?" When I would just wrinkle my nose or shake my head, suddenly the person was praying for me. This even happened in the security booth in the airport in Lagos. The female security agent asked these three questions and then said, "Are you a Christian? Let me pray for you." I quickly realized that while being infertile in the U.S. is often difficult, being without child in this culture was twice as hard. I saw at least two women come into the clinic asking for help because they were still childless. There was really nothing that the clinic could do to help. They also choose to have children despite being HIV positive. It would be more painful to not have children at all. This different perspective was eye opening and made me thankful for the opportunities for medical aid I have had in the U.S.

Bad news & good news
Thursday, May 17, 2007

Well good news continues to abound but a little sprinkle of disappointments has joined the ranks.

Quickly, I'll share the disappointment -- it looks like the sale of our condo has fallen through. Quite honestly, I am leaving the details to JB. We are thinking we may just rent the place for a year and then reevaluate. Either way, it's in the Lord's hands, but I am disappointed that we can't just walk away with a clean break.

Other bad news -- Bara will not be able to join us for the graduation. He tried to change his ticket, but overbooked flights mean he can only upgrade to first class. Who can afford that? So ... he has cancelled his ticket. This is disappointing, but I hope it means he can use the flight later to visit us in Florida. It will all work out, and we know we will see him again. I was so excited for Bara to meet our families, but maybe another time.
Okay, enough of that. The good news ...

JB's parents and brother Robbie have arrived in town! It's so great to see them! My parents and grandparents are on the road on the way from Chicago. They should be here in the next two hours.

The other good news is that it appears I am going to be able to keep my health insurance at my job through Mayo, at least for awhile. My boss at Mayo is fantastic and also thinks he needs me to work more hours. As long as I stay near 20 hours a week, I can keep benefits which means we pay 50% for future infertility treatments instead of 100%. In addition, Mayo pays $10,000 toward any adoption! Who knows if I will still have the insurance when all this happens, but for now, it is good news.

Okay, lots to do. Have a great weekend! I know we will.

Last night in #202
Thursday, May 24, 2007

As I write this, I am sitting amidst a living room full of boxes, plants, and bubbled picture frames. We have a tiny TV set up on top of three boxes, and with the Jones, are watching the season finale of American Idol. We just finished eating a barrage of Lesley-leftovers which actually coalesced into a very tasty and healthy meal. There was even dessert. Not too shabby.

The Jones moved out of their condo today. Their new house, down the street from St. Marys, is fantastic -- quite a big step up from their one bedroom on the fourth floor in Rochester Towers. I was glad I was able to see it before we left. It feels like we are becoming grown-ups, even though most teenagers would agree we already are.

Tomorrow, the Kits move out of their own condo. We just upgraded to a larger truck. It means driving a little farther (St. Paul) to pick it up, but I think it will be worth it to assure that all of our "stuff" makes it to Fort Walton Beach. We have quite a lot of stuff.

My office mates at Mayo had a going away lunch for me today. RLS is having one for me on Tuesday. More saying good bye.

It's hard to believe that four years have culminated into where we are now. It is hard to believe that it is really time to say good bye to life-long friends. We came here, knowing only the Ray family. We leave here with a collection of beautiful and incredible individuals who have filled our time in the "Polar North" with lots of laughing, crying, ultimate Frisbee, dominoes, Time's Up, movies, dinners, road trips, and study sessions.

In just a week, "Life in the Polar North" will become "Life in the Polar North Warms Up". In just a week, we'll complete our fourth IVF transfer and relocate nearly 20 hours south in a completely different home and culture. I will no longer wear silk leggings each day. I will no longer heat up rice bags and pray that it breaks the zero mark for at least one morning. I won't patch up my chapped hands with layers of lotion and moisturizing gloves. No more chap stick stashed in every possible crevice. No more Dairy Queens closing for 8 months of the year. No more Rochester, Minnesota.

In just two days, John and Ron will climb into our truck and move us across the country. As we sit here, bundled in boxes and cheering for Blake, I know that this will be a night I will never forget. Eating leftovers, watching our tiny TV, and reminiscing with our good friends. As cold as I have been, I love it here. I know I'll love it there. But I know I love it here.

It's time to go.

Happy Memorial Day
Monday, May 28, 2007

Well before I get into the details of the "blog", I wanted to remind everyone that today is Memorial Day. I love all of the U.S. flags flying and encourage everyone to keep them flying even after today comes and goes. Our country is a wonderful place to live even if it has its problems some times. And we are blessed by all the men and women who have dedicated their lives to our country -- men like my husband (U.S. Air Force) and his brother Matt (Army). As I have mentioned on this blog previously, I don't like talk of politics and wars and strife. I just want everyone to get along. However, we definitely need to support our troops wherever they might be. To me, that's a given.

Okay, onto some other topics. First of all, I have had many emails and comments on the blog asking about our "schedule". I suppose I haven't been very clear. So I wanted to take a second and make sure I explained what is going on in our lives. John and Ron are currently on the base in Florida. They are staying in a hotel for now. Tomorrow morning they will head to the housing office and find out if we have a home ready for us or if we have to put our stuff in storage and move into temporary housing for a time. Please be praying that a house is ready for us! On Wednesday, JB and Ron fly back to Minnesota. Then on Thursday we will do our fourth IVF. Later that weekend we are flying down to Florida and will begin our lives in the "Polar South" together.

Speaking of IVF transfers, all is going very well. I have been taking my shots of lupron each morning since we got back from Nigeria. I have been giving them to myself the last few days since John is gone, and I'm doing fine with it. I take 2 pills of "estrace" three times a day (7am, 3pm, 10pm). I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me of these -- especially the 3:00 dose. I still take my Metformin each evening, however, I am working hard to get back to my normal dosage after missing my luggage for 10 days in Nigeria. I start taking two other new medications today, and tomorrow, I start the progesterone shots in my lower back. Ebby the great has offered to give me my first two shots since JB will be gone. Is she a champ or what?!

Today I helped Tara load her truck. She and her father are now on the road on the way to California. Once again, there were no "good byes". We simply hugged with a "see you later" attached. Good byes are just too painful and none of us have the emotional stamina to say it over and over again. To say I will miss Tara is not really an adequate explanation of how I feel about her leaving. But ... let's just leave it at that.

Yesterday I watched the last six episodes of Survivor in one sitting! Holy cow! It felt so fabulous to sit down and not have anything to do. Ebby and I also went over to the condo and put the finishing touches on the place. Our renters move in today. There were some tear-holding-back by both Ebby and myself as we finished things up and locked the door for the last time. Lots of memories in that condo, and it didn't just feel like home without all of our things in it.

Ebby also asked me to drive her by the Jones' new home so she could see it. On the way back, I accidentally ran a red light. And seriously, it was an accident. I was sitting at a red light and accidentally looked to the light ahead of me instead of the light above me. When the light ahead of me turned green, I went -- straight through the intersection. Ebby immediately said, "Wendi, you just ran a light." And she wasn't the only one who noticed. A nice female cop also saw me run the light. Fortunately, I haven't been pulled over since I was 17, and I guess the cop believed my story since she just told me to drive on. Geeesh.

I'm at RLSF right now -- going to get some work in for the day. Happy Memorial Day.

Real quick ...
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hospital check-in has been set. 7:30 a.m. I report to Methodist Hospital. JB comes back this evening. Can't wait to see him and get our lives in order before we leave.

Someone said my video didn't work. I tried it again. See if it works now.

Your prayers tomorrow and in the weeks to follow will be coveted greatly. Please pray especially that our 3 tiny sticky babies will survive until transfer.

And congrats to Ebby who successfully gave me my progesterone shots the last two morning.

This post has been pretty choppy. Can you tell I'm rushed?

SMOOTH (a quick note from JB)
Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wendi is sleeping soundly on the Ray's couch right now, and I am over at the school since Wendi (in her semi-drugged out valium state 0f mind) made me promise to do a quick post.

The procedure went extremely smooth this morning. Not one problem. We arrived as scheduled. Wendi got her new favorite snack (Valium) and took a trip to her happy place. We went down to the O.R. Three sticky-babies were waiting for us. The procedure was a breeze. (let me interrupt myself by saying that we were all expecting a bit of a battle here. This "procedure" - placing a narrow, flexible, plastic tube through wendi's "corkscrew cervix" (as the docs have dubbed it) and into her uterus - has taken between 15 and 45 minutes each time we have gone in for it. Today it took approximately 7 seconds.) The three sticky-babies were dropped in place, and Wendi was brought back to her room for an hour snooze. Then we went and picked up some Greek food and ate it back at the Ray's.

Now the waiting begins... yeah!

That's it for now.

Goodbye.

Okay, so a few more details
Saturday, June 2, 2007

All right, so we are in Fort Lauderdale.

Truth be told, some of you already know this. Truth be told, the only people we didn't tell was John's family.

Plans for this started a few months back when we were figuring out when we should get to Eglin after my transfer. We knew that John's mom really wanted all of the kids at the last kid's graduation. So we made the decision to fly the day after my transfer to Fort Lauderdale. This wasn't exactly a restful decision, but we figured, heck, we've done this transfer-thing three times now without success. We've tried bedrest for 2 days, acupuncture, and regular activity. Why not try flying to Fort Lauderdale?

So after resting at the Rays until about 6:00pm, we headed to the cities. JB had booked a very nice room at the Marriott. We ordered some chocolate Hagen Daaz ice cream, and then I went to bed (again). I slept more on that Thursday then I was awake that was for sure.

Speaking of the transfer, JB's post said it all. It was glorious in comparison to our three previous attempts. My Dr. didn't do the transfer, but Dr. H., a fellow, did. She's been there for all of my previous transfers. After it was over I said, "I don't even think I needed the Valium," and she said, "Well, I did." John said that she was quite concerned my cervix might give them trouble and was pleasantly surprised when things went so unbelievably well. It was wonderful!!! Thank you for praying.

Due to JB's flight being round trip, he and I were not on the same flights to Eglin. My flight was on Airtram at 6:30 a.m. and JB had a later flight on Delta. Since I can't lift more than 20 pounds for the next two weeks, John helped get me checked in at Airtram even though I was in a different terminal, and he had to shuttle back to his own terminal. He also bumped me up to first class!! That was a great treat and allowed me to do a lot of resting on the way to Fort Lauderdale.

Because JB had arrived at the airport early, he actually got on an earlier flight to Atlanta. This allowed us to both be in Atlanta for about two hours. We then arrived in Fort Lauderdale within about twenty minutes of each other. My family knew all about our surprise visit and was there to pick us up. We were blessed to get in on time as tropical storm Barry was here yesterday. It has rained every second we are here. But I love good Florida rain storms so I am not complaining.

At 6:30, we pulled up to the church for Robbie's graduation. John actually called his dad and was talking to him on the phone, when they turned and saw us. It was a great surprise! JB texted Robbie to "turn around" in the back room before the graduation. Robbie turned around and saw John. We surprised Ray, Elizabeth, Grant, Katie, and Aunt Betsy. It was fantastic! I also saw Nancy G. How wonderful to see everyone and "be in the know." Only Gabbi couldn't be there due to a babysitter back-out. She actually called JB while we were standing in the back of the church to ask him a medical question. She said: "Are you still in Minnesota?" John said, "No, I'm in Florida. I'm in Fort Lauderdale." Today, we hope to surprise our niece Grace!

Sunday, JB and Rob will drive up to Eglin. On Monday I am going to drive up with my mom and mom-in-law. I hope to get to see Joan this morning, and I still need to see my wonderful sis-in-law AD.

Early early Sunday morning
Sunday, June 3, 2007

Well please don't take the fact that it is 4:30 in the morning as evidence that I am not getting enough rest. Everyone keeps asking me if I am resting enough. I am. Yesterday I slept in until 7 and then laid back down for another hour. I also took something close to a three hour nap at the Kits'. I went to bed last night before 10 so I think that is why I am up at 4:30 in the morning. I plan to nap again sometime today as well. So don't worry folks! I'm chilling quite nicely.

Yesterday I went to breakfast with Joan and my Mom at Cracker Barrel. By the time we were done, some of the Kit clan had assembled at the same restaurant for a breakfast of their own. I actually sat in the same waitress' section for two breakfasts in a row (although I only ate at the first breakfast.) She looked very confused, and I finally explained that she was not imagining things.

We tried to surprise my niece Grace with our arrival but that girl is her mother's daughter -- keen on everything. (If anyone was going to discover our surprise, I thought it would be Gabbi! But we got her!) Grace spotted us in the parking lot as they drove in so there wasn't a big surprise just a, "I told you I saw them!" to her mother who had tried to play dumb.

Grace is still the greatest kid ever! I just love that kid. Nathan is great as well, he's just young still so I haven't gotten to know him personally like I have Grace. He also doesn't stay in one spot long enough for anyone to get to know him! But he is turning into a little boy that you can actually get to know. Quite the active kid with quite a head of hair! Very fun.

Last night I also got to see Keith and AD -- the first time since their wedding. We looked through photos and watched the video and just hung out for a bit before we called it an early night. JB and Rob are leaving at 6 this morning for Eglin. I will leave the following morning with my mom and mom-in-law.

It hasn't taken me long to realize that I am not in Kansas anymore. Okay, not in Minnesota, but you get the idea. I was here less than 8 hours before I got cussed at. I was driving into the Olive Garden parking lot after Rob's graduation. I stopped my car to wait for a woman walking in front of a spot to move. Apparently she didn't like that, and quite honestly, I have NO idea why. I was just sitting there, waiting. Were the lights too bright? Was I sitting too still? She in turn, hurled the f-word my way. You gotta love south Florida!

I don't know the area we are moving to much but traditionally, the upper part of the state considers themselves to be much more southern-like in hospitality than southern Florida. As I have explained before, southern Floridians do NOT consider themselves southerners. They do not say "pop" or drink "sweet tea" or ever mumble "ya'll" without fear of getting shot at. Hopefully that means that I won't be getting cussed at on a daily basis when we move to Eglin in just two days.

Also, we now have our new address. I don't want to put that on my blog, so I plan to send an email in the next few days with the address included. I'd like to say that I will be sending some fancy "we have moved" cards out, but quite honestly, that would be a promise I am currently not sure I can keep. So let's just leave it electronic and be done with it. One of the weird things about our new address is that the name of our city is "Eglin Air Force Base". I'm not sure what I tell people when they ask where we live. It's not really Fort Walton Beach or Destin. It's "Eglin Air Force Base" which seems really wordy and cumbersome. I'll have to check with the locals.

Lastly, I should mention that I am now waiting patiently on our three sticky babies to decide to stay around permanently. I am doing very well, probably because I have been quite distracted. I have also been forcing myself to be very positive and not worry about the future.

I will find out sometime in the next two weeks if this attempt was a success. Quite honestly, I don't know the exact date, and quite honestly, I'm not sure where I will go for my blood test. I'll have to figure that out when we move in. This morning, my mother will also practice giving me my progesterone shot being as tomorrow morning, John will be at Eglin already while we are getting ready to make the drive ourself, and she'll be on her own.

All right, I'm going to curl up on the couch and see if I can get a little snooze in before I take JB and Rob to get their rental car.

Going "home"
Monday, June 4, 2007

Well this morning my mother, mother-in-law myself will make the trek to Eglin Air Force Base. Rob and JB arrived yesterday in just about 9 and a half hours. It's incredible that you can drive 9.5 hours and still be in the state of Florida! John was pleasantly pleased that Budget gave him an upgrade to some sort of SUV. I think it had to do with a military discount (which we are enjoying more and more). When I spoke with him on the phone he seemed much more upbeat about making such a long drive as a lone driver with a nice SUV. Rob, unfortunately, is too young to drive a rental.

It may be a few days before you see me posting again. I'm not sure when we'll get Internet up and running in our new home. For now, I am just excited to begin this new phase of our life. I am blessed that my two moms are going to come with to help me. I am not supposed to lift anything over 20 pounds and am also trying to rest a lot. I had no earthly idea how I could get out of boxes before they offered to help. I also need to start working by Wednesday if I can. If I had to unpack the house myself, with JB starting his residency on Wednesday, it would take me weeks. With their help and the help of Robbie, I'm sure it will be very livable by the time Rob and the moms drive back on Thursday morning.

If you need something to do while I am offline, please remember me in my prayers. This 2ww (two week wait) is often the most difficult of the entire IVF journey. (Speaking of that, my mother did a great job giving me my shots without John here.) It is hard to control your mind and not think about the fact that you have been through this three times prior without success. It's hard to forget that nearly four years of trying have now expired. It's hard not to feel very jealous, left behind, and sad. It's hard to remember that this time could be different. So please just pray for my thoughts -- that I will trust the Lord fully knowing He is capable of so much more than we can think or imagine.

First real day in Florida
Friday, June 8, 2007

Yesterday was the first day that I sort of spent in "normal" fashion. By this I mean, I worked.

The Internet/cable guys finally showed up at 10:00 yesterday morning. I think they were in a pretty sore mood due to the fact that they told me the wait at the service entrance to the base was over an hour long. Then the one tried to move my desk out from the wall without his buddy to help him. Since his buddy had muscles like you see on those body builder shows, I have no idea why he tried this and ended up nearly breaking the leg on my desk. It's not like there weren't two guys there! Three screws popped out before he decided to stop and ask me for help.

Anyways, at least by the time they left, I had Internet! Unfortunately, we are also going to have to get a regular "old fashioned" telephone as well. Bases are supposedly notoriously bad as far as cell phones are concerned and that is definitely the case here. Sometimes the phone will ring in the house, but no one can hear me when I answer it, and I am forced to run outside to chat. It's quite the ordeal. Anyways, we should have that on Tuesday.

I spent the rest of the day (11:00-5:00) trying to catch up for both my jobs. I don't think I need to worry about being bored whatsoever with both these positions to keep me company. Currently I am not splitting them up. I am just writing down hours whenever I switch from Mayo to RLSF. We will see how this works. It may be better, eventually, to be "on the clock" in the morning for one and "on the clock" in the afternoon for the other. We'll let time be the judge of that.

JB is currently doing a month of "in-processing" so his days aren't exceptionally hard or long. It's a lot of "getting to know" you stuff, photos, paperwork etc. Yesterday, he got off shortly after lunch and went and bought us a washer and dryer (should be delivered today) and microwave (here already!) We also went and looked at sofas and mattresses yesterday. We will celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary this month and JB bought our mattress a year before we were married. That's a decade on this mattress. We are contemplating a move to the tempurpedic. Well, mainly JB is contemplating a move to the tempurpedic due to the fact that he sleeps next to a restless, rising frequently wife. They are quite amazing beds. As for sofas, we have been married nine years and have NEVER purchased a sofa. We are currently on our third hand-me-down, and we are thinking it may be time to buy something we really like. We'll take some time with this. We found one yesterday we really liked but goodness are they expensive. I also went and got a fax machine/printer/copier yesterday for me to use in my home office. This will come in very handy.

After our shopping, JB said he wanted us to quickly walk over to one of his fellow intern's house. Matt lives right around the block with his wife Tiffany and their year-old son William. We left to go to their house at 7 and it was nearly 8 before we got there. Let me just say that this is a VERY friendly neighborhood. Everyone was outside, and everyone was wanting to get to know us. Everyone also remarked that we are John and Wendi (like from Peter Pan). How come I really haven't used this line before? That's great!

The bay is one street over from our house, and we actually have a spot for public water access. In addition, we met the base commander (which JB said was a huge deal!) and his wife. They have built a gazebo in their backyard but since it borders the public water access, they have said it is for everyone to use. The gazebo and water is awesome! The colonel is awesome! His wife is really awesome!!!!! Not anything like you'd imagine some big-wig's wife to be. She told me she would soon be by with cookies.

We finally got to Matt and Tiffany's. Tiffany is actually very tall as well (6'1") and was recruited to play college volleyball. She was also a communications/English major. I think she and I will get along very well. They seem like wonderful people and neighbors.

JB is going to try to find me a place to get my blood work done next week to get my results. Other than that, no news is good news.

Here's something I read this morning which encouraged me. Have a great day everyone!

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

Adjusting
Saturday, June 9, 2007

Yesterday was my first full day working from home. It was ... strange. I got up with JB at 5:30 am, mainly so I could hang out with him a bit before he left at about 6:45. I also wanted to start work. My goal is to "work when he is working". So that's what I plan on doing. He gave me my shot, and we both broke to different rooms to do our devotions, followed by breakfast.

Right now we have our two extra rooms set up as: (1) my office (2) a library/guest room. Eventually, if we are blessed with a child in this home, we'll probably make my office a child's room and move the office to the dining area in the kitchen. We have two dining rooms. What the heck are we going to do with two dining rooms! This kitchen area has three windows and would make for a sunny spot to work. The library/guest room will be John's room when guests aren't here. He didn't ask for much in this new house, but a room that I wasn't typing in was one of his requests. For graduation, his father, a master carpenter, promised bookshelves of JB's choice. So those will eventually join the room and make it a real library instead of a room with a futon and book boxes stacked in the closet.

I laughed at an email Lesley sent me yesterday. She and Dave have moved into their house in Rochester and for the first time in their married life, have a washer and dryer in their home. (In our condo, there was a laundry room downstairs.) Lesley wrote how awesome it was to throw in a load and then "putter" around. I agree! It was the biggest sacrifice I had to make when we move into the condo. Lesley didn't know what she was giving up in the condo. But I knew, and I'm glad to have them back.

All right, I can tell I am going to have trouble staying on task with this blog. Back again to the strangeness.

So anyways, I ended up working 10 hours -- about 5 hours for Mayo and 5 hours for RLSF. I've got some catching up to do from the time I took off to move. I am used to working distance for RLSF as I have been working primarily out of my home for them for the last year. But it is new for Mayo, and I was concerned about how it would work out. Yesterday went great. The only problems currently (no phone and no printer/fax) will be fixed this week. The only major frustration was having to go out to the front porch every time someone needed to talk to me.

What was strange was how quiet everything was. I was actually glad for the company of our little lovebird, Twain(ette). I let her come in and sit on the back of my chair for quite some time, and she seemed to enjoy that. However, with JB gone all day and not knowing anyone here, it's very strange to just be by myself all day. I'm sure I'll get used to this more. I'm sure I'll get to know more people and take more breaks. Right now, I can't exercise, but when I can, I hope to take breaks throughout the day for exercise. For now, however, all this quiet will take some getting used to.

The only friend I have here is Jenny. I met her through Roberta last year when I came to visit JB on his rotation. She and her husband were dealing with infertility. Last week she had her first son -- Jackson, through IVF, after a very long and bed-ridden pregnancy. She emailed me and said we should get together next week. I'm excited about that. Unfortunately, Jenny's husband is a fighter pilot, and they are being moved to Texas in August! Oh well. At least I'll know someone for a little bit.

We are excited that our first guests will be here next week. My Tante (Aunt) Jan, and Oom (Uncle) Ed are coming to visit for a few days. After they leave, Brianna V. will be coming up for a week. I am so blessed by the company. Even though I'll still be having to work when company is here, it will be wonderful to have some people around. (Hint-Hint-People!)

John finally got home about 5:30 or so yesterday evening. We sat and talked for awhile, and he showed me his schedule for the next year. That was another thing that was a bit scary. He will be quite busy. He is starting with the most difficult rotation of all -- Labor and Delivery. Two weeks of the month-long rotation are nights. He will then have two other two week periods that he is on night call for different rotations. I had originally thought he'd be on nights only four weeks this year, but it looks like it will be six.

Following this rotation, he does a month in Pensacola at a different hospital. Apparently this is a good rotation but the hour drive each way makes it a little taxing. In total, during the year, he gets two weeks that he can take off for vacation. He can spread these out however he wants, but there are only certain rotations that allow for a break. Other rotations do not have the option of taking a break. He knows for sure that he is not allowed a break at Thanksgiving. He has the option of taking some time at Christmas but a lot of that will be determine by our test results next week. I am hoping he will have to save that two weeks for a special gift in 2008.

Aaaah ... test results. This has been a pretty easy 2ww (2 week wait) mainly because I have been so distracted with surprising the family in Fort Lauderdale, driving here, and moving in. But now that things are settling down, I am counting the days until I go in for my blood work. John is working on finding somewhere here that I can get that blood work done being as we are no longer in Rochester. It shouldn't be a problem. I will then have to call my results in to Mayo as they require close contact regarding my status. I, as always, am not going to give the exact day I am getting the results just because I like to leave something to surprise, but I get them next week, and of course, I'll let everyone know as soon as I am ready. For now, no news is good news. Hard to believe try #4 is about to culminate into an announcement so soon.

Right now, Saturday morning, JB is helping his classmate Matt who lives around the block get some sod. Apparently you can get as much sod as you want for free at the "self-help" store. This is good because our yard is currently grass-less. Since Matt has a truck, JB can help him and then borrow the truck (and Matt) in return at a later date. Not too shabby a deal. When he gets home, we hope to go for a walk. I would LOOOOoooveeee to run here. But I'm praying that it will be a long time before I can go for a run.

We'll find out next week.

Camera phones shoot cruddy pictures
Sunday, June 10, 2007

Well I really need to buy a new cord for our camera. These pictures I am taking on my phone are fairly crummy. But at least you get the idea. Here is JB with his new grill completely set up. (He will be moving it outside now -- don't worry.) I think he is going to grill something tonight. Our first grilled out meal! This is in our humongo living room / formal dining room that we have no furniture for.

In other news, last night, JB's classmate Matt called and asked us out to dinner. They are the ones who live around the corner that we met the other day. His wife Tiffany's mother is in town for another two weeks so she watched their year old son. We went to the Crab Shack in Destin and sat outside. It was a fun time. They are die-hard Texans (and Aggies, Christo!) and were very good company. He is in aerospace medicine (which means he will be a flight doctor) and will most likely be in the military for career. So this is their first move of many. I'm sure we'll go out with them again.

I tried Dungeness crab which is apparently a west coast delicacy. It wasn't my favorite so I think that is enough of that kind of crab. I may have to stick with Snow crab. I like King crab, but it has prickly things all over it that make it hard to crack. I also really like hush puppies. I have managed to basically eliminate french fries from my diet after years of trying, but I think it may take me three years to get these things out of my diet. Or, I may just forgo trying and eat them. Those things are so good!!! And they are served with every meal. I'd venture to say if I went to a Mexican restaurant here, they'd serve hush puppies. Okay maybe not. But you get the idea.

Eating here presents a different problem though. Everything is seafood, and while seafood is good and pretty healthy, seafood is expensive. I think we are going to have to limit ourselves to like one night a week or less to try to prevent all of our money from going to the fish!

This morning we also began our search for a church. We tried Calvary Chapel Emerald Coast here in Fort Walton. It's only about 12 minutes from our home and that's with the fact that all the roads on base are like 20 mph. It was okay. We've definitely learned that different regions present different churches so we'll have to adjust all over again and find the one that fits us best. I'm sure we'll eventually find the church that God has for us. I'm not sure this was it, but we'll see.

If you think of it, please pray extra hard for me these next few days. The reality of getting my results is starting to sink in, and the emotions that surround that can often be overwhelming. I always covet the extra prayers, and right now, I really need them. I've done great up until now, but now, I'm starting to feel a heavier weight that is difficult to bear. I know the Lord will take care of me and appreciate your prayers at this time.

THANK YOU FLOWER FRIEND!
Monday, June 11, 2007

I just had flowers delivered from a friend (whom I will allow to remain nameless so that everyone doesn't feel intimidated by him/her). :) Anyways, THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FLOWER FRIEND. I cannot even begin to tell you how this brightened my day. I was just praying, telling the Lord I needed some help because I have been having a rough couple of days waiting to give my blood and determine whether this cycle is a yes or a no. Then, here comes the Fed-Ex truck and gorgeous flowers!!!! I am so blessed.

Sometimes just a little thing can readjust your day. I got a wonderful e-card from my mom this morning as well that also helped.

Thank you all for all your love and encouragement. JB can vouch for the fact that I really, really, really need it.

Mail!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our mail finally got forwarded to our home! YAY! With the mail came another amazingly special card. I've never, ever seen a card that was made so perfectly for us. It said:

I wish
I could make things
happen for you
the way you want them to.

I know
how much a child
would mean
to you.

I'm still hoping
and believing for you ...
and keeping you in my heart.

Thank you anonymous friend. To see our struggle on a card makes me understand that I'm not the only one in the world feeling this way right now. Heck Hallmark made a card about it!!!

Oh well ...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Negative IVF #4. Can't really think of anything else to say so I just want to share song that's been ministering to me. Gabbi, if you know how to link this to the song online, feel free to blog hijack and link it for me. :)

Hugs,
John & Wendi

THIRD DAY LYRICS
"Mountain Of God"

Thought that I was all alone
Broken and afraid
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me

And I didn't even know
That I had lost my way
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me
'Til You opened up my eyes I never knew
That I couldn't ever make it
Without You

Even though the journey's long
And I know the road is hard
Well, the One who's gone before me
He will help me carry on

After all that I've been through
Now I realize the truth
That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

As I travel on the road
That You have lead me down
You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me

I have need for nothing more
Oh, now that I have found
That You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me

I confess from time to time
I lose my way
But You are always there
To bring me back again

Sometimes I think of where it is I've come from
And the things I've left behind
But of all I've had, what I possessed
Nothing can quite compare
With what's in front of me
With what's in front of me

Follow-up
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Well ... I wanted to post something just to let everyone know that I am doing okay. To let everyone know that JB is doing okay. And to let everyone know that we are doing okay.

I actually said to JB last night, "I'm a little worried about how well I am doing. Maybe I'm not processing this correctly." JB replied with an analogy that while sad, is true. When you have lost so many times, it doesn't surprise you as much. Unfortunately, that is the case. We've taken so many calls like the one we took on Tuesday that it, quite honestly, wasn't a huge surprise.

I was extremely blessed that one of the physicians JB is working with agreed to help me get my blood work ordered on Tuesday. She is a fabulous woman who herself has struggled with infertility. When she asked if I was ready for the test, I burst into tears, and she stopped and asked if she could pray with us! Pray? Of course she could pray! Would I say no? A few hours later she called JB with the results, and I in turn, called Mayo with the results. At least this time I got to tell my Mayo nurses the bad news instead of the other way around.

I was also blessed that for whatever reason, JB was off on Tuesday. After the results came in, he bought me ice cream (Sonic!), we ordered pizza (which had to be reordered when a thunderstorm rolled through and knocked our pizza place out of commission), and we watched the movie: Little Miss Sunshine. Those of you who know me well know that I am not a laugh-out-loud type of person. It's not that I am not happy, I just don't laugh that hard that often. I laughed pretty hard during that movie, and it felt good.

I also spoke with my best bud Kristi. Kristi is always the person I call or email first with my results. This time she had grown impatient and happened to call me just a few minutes after we found out. She and I cried a lot together, and later that night, she called back and we cried some more together. Sometimes, you just need a friend to cry with. Kristi did a very good job crying with me! Apparently, when her husband Lee came home, their daughter (my goddaughter) Logan immediately told her Dad that Mom was upset and when Lee asked why, Logan told him it was because "Wendi needs babies." I smiled when Kristi told me that and started crying all over again.

I also had lunch yesterday with the only friend I have here at Eglin -- Jenny -- whom I met through our mutual friend, Roberta, in Minnesota. Jenny was a Godsend, and even though she is moving in a few months, I was encouraged when she told me that she'd like to try to have lunch with me weekly until she leaves. I was so blessed by that! She has a three week old son through IVF, but she is so like me in so many ways. Just having someone to give me some feeling of familiarity is so helpful. She also like hush puppies as much as I do which is great!

I spoke with my physician at Mayo yesterday afternoon and shared our decision -- that we are going to take a few years off of infertility treatments. And I tell that to everyone who reads my blog as well. We are still believing for our miracle, but we are done, for now, with shots and pills and calendars and blood work. We are thoroughly exhausted and just cannot bear to go through all this even one more time. God can work a miracle without that, and if He would like to, we'd be happy to let Him.

So ... we have called the adoption agency and will work this week to re-start our application for a Chinese adoption. I'm sure you'll be hearing enough about this in the weeks, months, and years to follow to leave you wishing I stopped talking about it, so I'll just leave it at that for now. But we are definitely proceeding with adoption and plan to see it through.

We are committed to the seven "sticky babies" still waiting for us but are going to let some time go by before I take any more hormones. As I spoke with my physician today, I was reminded that technology is changing rapidly and maybe, by the time we are ready to go back for the remaining seven, we will have new insight into the reason we continue to not get pregnant. My physician and I briefly discussed surrogacy and whether my uterus is causing relatively good embryos to not survive. We discussed a lot of things. And then we decided to not discuss any more things for awhile. For now, we are going to put all that aside and focus on adoption. When it is time to go back for those sticky babies, we'll discuss how and when and in what fashion. Today, I'm done discussing infertility treatments.

So, I think that sums everything up pretty adequately. I'm sure I'll have much more to say as time moves in.

Blessings friends!

Happy Anniversary JB & Wendi
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

One thing our journey with infertility has taught me is that you have to be understanding of other people's feelings. Today is our ninth wedding anniversary, and I recognize that for some of my single and divorced friends out there, that can be a bitter-sweet thought. Just as I am so happy for all of my friends having their first, second, and even now third children, I am also sad for myself that we are still waiting. I know that while they are happy for me, they are, still waiting as well.

So, I begin this post telling those people (you know who you are!) that I am praying for you just as you are praying for me. That I am praying that some day you will be blessed as you hope each day you are. Just as you pray for JB and I to someday be blessed ourselves. My heart has become ultra sensitive to singles among us. Don't forget them folks!

I also put this here so that if my single friends don't want to read on, I won't be offended. I never want anyone to be hurt.

With that said, today is our ninth wedding anniversary!

For those of you who don't know the story of how we met, we have gone to school together since elementary school, but only after working at our school's summer camp one summer (with our friend Leina), did we become very good friends. We spent the next year or two hanging out all the time, and eventually, I talked JB into falling in love with me!

I truly believe that I am married to the best man ever! After nine years of marriage (and thirteen years "together"), I am so much more in love with him today than I have ever been. And that's despite the fact that the last four years have involved some pretty cruddy circumstances as we have battled infertility. I am so blessed that when I left for college in 1995, JB was determined that he was going to marry me. I wasn't so sure and was often a little difficult to be in love with, but the guy didn't give up! He moved to Kentucky to be with me with only his little car filled with stuff and one month's rent. What a guy.

Those of you who know JB personally know that he is one of the most even-keeled, intelligent, patient, and calm people you will ever meet. As Dr. Fischer described him at the Christian Medical Ceremony before this year's graduation, JB is a leader. People naturally follow him. I never thought about that before because, he's my JB, and following him just seems natural. But I really saw this in Africa. He's just the type of guy you want on your team and you want to be in charge. He is very predictable and very consistent.

And he loves me so much. He has always made me a priority despite the incredible demands on his time (and the incredible number of hobbies he has). He is funny, smart, charming, and just comfortable for me. I can't imagine spending my days with anyone else.

So today, I say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my best friend. I also say YAY RACHEL FOR STARTING A BLOG and YAY LESLEY TO SWITCHING TO BLOG SPOT! Okay, so those things had nothing to do with our anniversary, but I had to squeeze them in somehow.

Also, by the end of today I hope it will be YAY WENDI FOR FINISHING THE MAYO GRANT. It is due today at 5:00. I cannot WAIT for this thing to be done. Hopefully it will be done on time so we can go out for our anniversary tonight. Wish me luck.

Story People
Thursday, June 21, 2007

So some of you remember that JB and I took a weekend trip to Decorah, Iowa about a year ago. There was this fantastic store there that sold these amazing prints. We LOVED them! However, I knew we were moving soon and didn't want to buy anything new. I figured I could find them online. I never could!

The other day I am browsing on the website of my online friend Tara ("Plan B" Tara). Tara is getting ready to have their first son via a surrogate. She took pictures of their nursery, and I see this picture hanging on the wall, and I know that picture! It's my artist-guy that I love: Brian Andreas.

So anyways, I've already decided that someday, I'm going to have some of these prints hanging in my own home. Can you imagine a print more perfect than the one shown above ("borrowed" from Tara's blog) for those of us couples waiting (not so patiently) for children to enter our lives? You can click on the picture to get a better view.

Just had to share! He has tons of other prints. If you come visit my house in a few years, I'm sure you'll see some!

If you are unable to click on the picture and see what it says, it says:

For a long time there were only your footprints and laughter in our dreams and even from such small things, we knew we could not wait to love you forever.

Thanks for sharing Tara!

It is possible ...
Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Believe it or not, it is possible to somehow get into bed with the portable phone on the outside of the bed, fall asleep, and only at 4 in the morning wake up and discover that you are sleeping on a telephone. I have no idea how I managed this.

However, I do think this is proof that Florida must be good luck for me as far as sleeping goes. Or maybe it is the fact that my body, for the first time in three years, is free of fertility medications. Either way, I am sleeping unbelievably well every night. I do wake up to use the restroom periodically (which my roommate from college, Kristi, can vouch for, has always been my style), but I am falling asleep quickly and even when I get up, falling asleep again quickly. Sleeping soundly is such a wonderful feeling. I love going to bed and not waking up in tears, frustrated from tossing and turning all night. JB also loves this as he isn't woken up from my tossing and turning either.

Yesterday I successfully navigated my way to Pensacola to pick Brianna V. up from the airport. "Bri" is seventeen. Her parents, Roy and Joan, have been friends with my parents since before I was born, and I grew up hanging out with Joan all the time and babysitting Bri from the time she was five months old as well as their son Brant who passed away when he was seven and I was thirteen. Anyways, her parents went on vacation to Vermont for two weeks and Bri decided to come hang out with me for a week of that. JB was glad to have someone with his humor to watch Office Space with. I just don't laugh at that movie. All I do is feel bad for the guy who keeps losing his stapler and Jennifer Aniston for her problem with the "flare". These things really bothered me, and I find myself feeling bad for the characters instead of laughing at their plights.

But I did make it to Pensacola without one wrong turn there or back. It's about an hour and fifteen minute drive. Apparently, the Pensacola airport isn't that much bigger than the Fort Walton airport. This is obviously the reason that the tickets into this area are expensive -- period. I've looked at flights to Fort Lauderdale, and they cost more than a flight to Rochester, Minnesota! Are you kidding me?!

I also saw the hospital that JB will be working at the entire month of August as it is across from the airport. This drive back and forth everyday will be a tad bit painful -- not only because it's nearly 3 hours in the car but also because gas is nearly $3 a gallon.

I've also been running again. Another benefit of quitting infertility treatments is that I don't have to be on that stupid "yes you can run month. No you can't run month." Instead, I can run whenever the heck I want to. And I plan to! I am thinking about looking for a 10K and possible a half marathon that I can start training for to give myself a goal of some sort. I feel so good after a good run in the morning both emotionally and physically and am excited to be able to do this for the next few years without huge gaps which require me to return to running out of breath after one block.

The only "fertility" question JB and I currently bouncing around is whether or not I should stay on Metformin. I've now been on this drug for well over two years. Some of you may remember how green I was for six weeks when I first started taking this medication. I was horribly sick for quite some time. However, I'm accustomed to it now and would hate to go off of it and then be told to restart it later. This drug is usually used for diabetics (and I have to remember to tell every nurse that I am not a diabetic as I have had my fingers poked before I realize it a few times). It has some research behind it that indicates it helps non-ovulatory women (me!) ovulate. However, more recent research is indicating this may not be as accurate as originally thought. So, we are still trying to decide whether or not I should continue it or not. If it gives us even a remote chance of conceiving on our own, we'd like me to stay on it. But if, weighed against the possible liver damage side effects and occasional bouts of upset stomach, doesn't measure up, I may go off of it. We are still discussing and will probably talk to my doctor back in Minnesota to see what he thinks.

Actually, on a doctor-related side note, I have a goal I have set for myself. I want to go AT LEAST a year without one single doctor's appointment. I think this is quite possible. I figure I spent enough time in doctor's offices these last three years to last a lifetime. I estimated that I was probably in getting something done at Mayo at least 100 days a year over the last 3 years. That's 300 days!!! I think I deserve 365 off. So, since I have a handy dandy doctor living in my house, I'm going to do my darndest to avoid any appointments for as long as possible. We'll see how well I do! :)

Check it out!

My "Plan B" friend Tara is going to be a mom very soon! Keep your eye on her blog: http://toplanb.blogspot.com/.

Her surrogate, Dana, has been induced. Now the waiting begins!! So excited for you Tara. So blessed to watch you finally become a mom.

Congrats Plan B Tara!

Charlie is here folks! Check it out: http://toplanb.blogspot.com/

After years of infertility and now a baby through surrogacy, I am unable to muster the words to explain how I know Tara and Dan are feeling.

If you haven't checked out the video I posted yesterday afternoon (below), I encourage you to. It will definitely tell you how Tara and Dan are feeling right now.

JB has the morning off so I'll hopefully post a "real" blog later. Sorry Tara (Bannana still good Tara). You won't have much "breakfast" material this morning.

Approved!
Monday, July 2, 2007

We've been approved to adopt through China! Our adoption agency called and emailed us yesterday with the news that we are in! We were pretty confident that we would be approved, but until you get the final nod of approval, you can't help but worry that there is something they won't like.

So what's next? In about a week, we will get the final paperwork from our agency. We'll give our final signatures and make our first payment toward the adoption. I'm not exactly sure how much that is yet. I'll have to wait until we receive the paperwork. At that point, we can move forward with compiling our dossier and also getting our home study completed. To be honest, I'm not very sure what's involved with either of those items. When I can sound like I know what I am talking about, I'll explain it to all of you!

All in all, it should take between 4-6 months to complete the dossier and home study. Once that is finished, it is simply a waiting game until we get "given" our child by China. They will send us a photo, information, and a name. Once they "refer" us to our child, we'll have about 6-8 weeks before we leave for China to pick up our daughter. We hope both of us can go, but if for any reason JB cannot get off during that window, I can go solo. However, it's the wait for the referral that is extremely long. That stage is the long one: up to two years.

When I told JB that we were approved when he got home from work, he immediately said, "You're going to be a mom!" It sounded very strange, and for some reason, I keep thinking someone is going to call me and say, "We're sorry. Your test results were negative. Please try again later." It's incredibly difficult to fathom that adoption doesn't work that way.

In fact, it's one of the reasons we decided to do international adoption and international adoption through China. Neither John nor myself could handle one more negative result.

In infertility circles, a negative is referred to as BFN "big fat negative." I started thinking about what these four years have entailed and the best I could come up with was:

1. 8 months trying before seeing doctors due to no ovulation -- BFN x 8
1. 3 failed attempts to ovulate on clomid -- BFN x 3
2. 2 negative IUIs (artificial inseminations) -- BFN x 2
3. 2 cancelled IUI's -- BFN x 2
4. 1 year on metformin but no other treatments (ovulated twice) -- BFN x 2
5. 1 cancelled IUI/permitted to try on our own -- BFN x 1
6. 4 IVF transfers -- BFN x 4

So that equals 22 times that we had to have someone call us and tell us (or we found out ourselves) that things did not work. I also thought I would try to estimate how many pills, shots, and doctors appointments this was but quite honestly, I do not even know how to begin to calculate those numbers. I'll just say that from the best I can estimate, I have probably had upwards of FIFTY internal ultrasounds.

Unfortunately, adoption domestically, while fantastic, can result in some disappointments: birth mother changes her mind, birth mother chooses someone else, etc. While I think domestic adoption is wonderful, we, personally, were just not able to deal with that at this point in our lives. We just, emotionally, needed something concrete.

The last two weeks have been a time for great healing and great conversation for the two of us. We have spent four years of our lives dealing with doctors appointments, medications, shots, hormones, emotions, and physicians intruding on one of the most personal areas of our lives. We are so relieved to not be doing that anymore. I am relieved that, aside from some residual headaches, I am sleeping consistently. I am not crying uncontrollably. I can exercise whenever I want. I am not yelling at JB for no reason. We aren't answering to alarms telling me it's time to have another shot or another pill or another appointment. We are relieved to be done with all of that and relieved to finally be doing something where at the end, we know the phone call will be a positive one.

I am still not ready to venture into a baby store or to buy anything for a nursery. I know I'll be ready at some point, but for right now, I just can't go there. It's also a long way away, and I'd rather focus on something else until then.

One thing you can add to your prayer list is prayer for our daughter. She is currently, not born yet. But at some point, in the next year to year and a half, a mother or couple are going to have a little girl that they are going to decide they do not want to keep. This could be because of poverty or, more likely, because they wanted a son and are only allowed to have one child. Please pray for those parents. Please pray for that little girl. And please pray that the Lord brings us together in his perfect timing (but quickly if he can!)

Day one: completed
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Yesterday JB completed his first "real" day as a "real" doctor.

Total amount of time gone for the day: 13 hours.

It was a strange realization of what the next year will hold for us. JB leaving very early in the morning. JB coming home very late at night. All this and the military residency is supposed to be less hours and less intense than the civilian. I am concerned for my civilian friends!

There are, however, some rules. These rules include:
At least 24 consecutive hours off once each week.
Cannot work more than 80 hours a week (on average) for the month.

The "80 hour work week" is a relatively new creation in residency programs. It was designed to help residents from being worked into the ground. The problem stemmed from the fact that residents are very cheap labor. Because they are so cheap, they could be utilized far beyond what is humanly possible.

At first, many found the new rule, a rule that no one was actually following. I compare this to the rules for NCAA college athletes. There are rules about how many hours we are supposed to be involved with basketball each week. But everyone knew no one was really paying that close of attention to these rules. That's how it was with this requirement until Johns Hopkins, one of the best programs in the country, was "busted" for violating the rule and punished severely. Now, it appears, that this rule is followed very closely. JB was told that if he is ever nearing going over this hour load, he is to immediately talk to one of his superiors so that the situation is avoided.

Many veteran doctors disapprove of the "80 hour work week" requirement. This is primarily due to the fact that they worked more than 80 hours, so the newbies should have to too. However, it is also because many believe that adequate training cannot be achieved without new physicians working an incredible amount of time. I remember my friend Calvin telling us that he was not able to actually get everything done that he needed to in just 80 hours a week. This seems hard to believe, but of course, Calvin is honest, so I believe him. It's just my opinion that if 80 hours isn't enough, than the system is a little warped.

Now mind you, this is all coming from a non-medical person. I am sure if one of my medical friends wrote this post, it would be filled with much more insight. However, I did attend a lecture at Mayo on this topic as my boss was giving a pre-lecture, and I wanted to see it. The speaker showed amazing research on how many more mistakes are made when a physician is working on lack of sleep. It was very eye-opening. Lack of sleep is one of the main reasons mistakes are made.

The speaker also discussed the fact that one of the reasons they like to work a person into the ground is because of "continuity of care". It has also been proven that less mistakes are made when the "crew" doesn't change as often. Mayo, in response, has created an "overlap" of crews. This "overlap" probably costs them millions upon millions of dollars each year. They are having two crews at the hospital at the same time so that they can properly communicate with each other and properly "pass" the patient off. But this means they are paying two crews. Mayo, however, can afford to spend the money so that they stay one of the best hospitals in the world.

All right, enough of me lecturing on a topic I am really not that familiar with!

One of the other difficult things about the next month is that JB is on OB (obstetrics). That means, for the next month, he is seeing pregnant women and delivering babies. Neither of us is really sure how to deal with this fact. Normally, John isn't fazed by much, but this is even difficult for him right now. The hospital averaged 3 deliveries a day and 300 deliveries a month. It's hard to imagine that the commonality of delivering a baby is something that is incredibly uncommon for our family. Well, not even for our family. Every single person in my mom and dad's family has made a baby without incident. Except me. And it appears nearly every person associated with Eglin Air Force Base is doing the same. That's difficult to comprehend.

I'm sure I will discuss this more in the upcoming month in many posts. You'll probably get tired of hearing it. So I won't go into it too deeply right now. For now, please just pray for both of us. When JB came home last night, we talked for awhile about we can handle the next month. Does he talk to me about his day? Does he edit his day? I know where he is all day: delivering other people's babies when we can't have our own. How do I make sense of all of this? How do I think about what he is doing as I am home alone for hours by myself without getting sad? How does he not think about what we are going through while he is doing this? We really aren't sure. He has done these rotations in medical school, but for some reason, this time is much harder for both of us.

Most likely this is because we aren't pursuing infertility treatments anymore. At least not now. In the past we both always thought, "Well soon it will be our turn." We aren't currently feeling that way. Pray that we continue to hope and trust and believe that this is possible for us. That our God can do anything. Just pray that the Lord fills us with peace, trust, and comfort during this next month.

Caffeine is BAD!
Thursday, July 5, 2007

It is 6:35 on Thursday morning. I am sitting in my pajamas, an hour of RLS work already under my belt, watching Wimbeldon. Specifically watching Venus Williams on Match Point #5. I am also recovering from a horrendous night sleep. However, this is a horrendous night that I can only blame on myself.

(Venus just won!!!!!)

Anyways, my sleep. I estimate I probably only got a maximum of 2 hours or so of sleep last night. It's why I am up working early. I am going to need a nap break at some point during the day.

JB did some research yesterday on my continual headaches. His thought was that a logical assumption is that they could be due to medication overuse. This is a fairly routine cycle for me. Go off or on hormones, start getting migraines, start taking pain medicine, feel better, keep taking medicines, headaches stop responding to the pain medication and actually begin to be caused by the pain medication.

As I told you yesterday, John had already told me no more Tylenol as that is a huge culprit for rebound headaches. But I had been taking Aleve on a regular basis and occasional Ibuprofen when they became intolerable. Yesterday afternoon, after another horrid migraine that required my second-to-last codeine that I have to ask him for because he's hidden them, and John began doing some research. A few hours later he informed me of the dandy news that I had to try cutting off all pain medication for at least 3-4 days in order to determine whether the cause is the medication overuse. He is confident it is. Sigh ...

So, I ask him what I am supposed to do in the meantime. He says that the only "drug" I can use is caffeine. Because I never drink caffeine (and therefore only get it in small amounts in chocolate), he says the caffeine would be fine to use to take the edge off of a bad headache while I am testing out his theory.

So yesterday I did just that. I drank a Mountain Dew and two Cokes while we hung out with some friends for the Fourth of July. I also had more chocolate than I had had in awhile. The result: I stared at the ceiling for many hours and ultimately moved to the guest room where I could feel comfortable tossing and turning and not fear waking my husband up before another long day of work. Sometimes after 2 a.m. I dozed off, but only off and on between 2 and 4:45. I've been up since 4:45.

When I told JB this morning how much caffeine I inhaled yesterday, he almost started laughing and mumbled something about a holy cow. So three glasses when you are used to zero is a little excessive. Go figure. I think I'd do it again for how headache-free I have been since 5pm yesterday! Besides the fact that I am a walking zombie, I feel great!!!

Hope your Fourth was equally as wonderful everyone.

Time for some more work (and Wimbeldon).

Okay, okay ... some more puppy updates
Friday, July 13, 2007

What you going to name it?
I currently don't have a name for my new puppy since I have only known about him for all of 2 days. We have some ideas but haven't finalized a name yet. We'll probably stick with an "artistic" name since our birds have been: Monet, Chaucer, and Twaine(tte). Any "artistic" suggestions? Tara, I liked your idea of a Nigerian name! Not bad. I'm going to mention that to JB. Although I think we have to save the name Lauretta gave us for a child. As Funky pointed out, birds do count as pets!

Why a dog?
In the last two weeks, I have brought up the idea of a dog to JB numerous times. I actually read it in one of my infertility books. They suggested that while a dog doesn't replace a chiId, it can help ease the loneliness. I also have a dear friend who was in my support group in Minnesota who also does not have children. She and her husband bought a dog, and she told me it was one of the best things she did.

In the last two weeks, I have not been bored at all. I've been quite busy. However, our house is very quiet. Other than the occasional jets and our chirping bird, it's eerily quiet. This is due to the fact that the houses on all sides of us are currently vacant and the fact that these houses are so solid, I cannot even hear the rain from inside the house! (I think I am going to start cracking a window so I can hear it. Who doesn't like to hear rain?)

I guess I say all this to say that I've been lonely and more aware than ever that while the majority of my friends are home with their children, I'm home by myself. Yes, we are adopting, but that is probably over two years away. So what could I do to not be quite so lonely, especially when JB is doing his two weeks of night shifts (one of which starts next week)?

"Unbeknowest" to me, JB had already thought of this! He bought this dog a month ago -- two weeks before I ever suggested it to him. She understood completely. They can still come to visit. We'll get them a hotel on base but because this is Florida, we'll be able to open up the sliding glass door and hang out on the porch away from the dog if it is bothering her. Apparently though, Dalmatians are one of the most hypo-allergenic dogs so it might be better!

Lights out and Visit to the Vet
Last night was not a ton of fun. About 11:00pm the electricity went out. There was a lightning storm and for about two hours, there was no electricity. In Minnesota, this was never a big deal. So the electricity goes out. My heat still works! But here, well, my air goes out too and it gets hot! I was thinking, "What will happen if JB comes home and needs to go to sleep in this heat?" I was thinking we'd have to call a classmate to let him sleep at their house. At least for me, it was evening and a bit cooler than it would be during the day.

The electricity going out also meant it got very quiet. I didn't realize how much noise our air conditioning and fan made until they weren't going anymore. Not only did it wake me up when it went out, but it kept me up as it was so quiet, and then woke me up again when it came back on and everything started up again.

In addition, I just miss JB. Thank goodness tonight was his last night for the weekend. He will be home until Monday at 11am when he goes in for his clinic. Of course, his sleep is still going to be a bit screwed up, however, he can't keep it completely flipped because he has clinic on Monday. He said something about trying to sleep from 3am until 11am for the next two days and go with a "mid day" sleep.

In other news . . .

On Friday, JB and I took our little Scrubs to "The Vet."

We found this Vet's office from an advertisement on the Christian radio station. There is a Vet on base, but we've heard it's incredibly busy. We really liked this Vet. For one thing, they encourage us to come back in periodically just to get treats and say "hi" so that Scrubs doesn't think every time we pull in there it means bad things! What a great idea is that?! They also support the Christian radio station which we really respect. The doctor also gave us a bunch of great advice for training our new little pup including the fact that I could give him carrots for treats. Dalmatians have a very tight diet as they are extremely prone to UTIs and kidney stones. But carrots are fair game! There's a lot of things that new dogs mean. A woman in the waiting room told us, "You're going to spend a lot of money." JB has made it a point to not fill me in on the money related to this dog as I can be a little bit of a "tight-wad". So he paid the Vet bill without me peeking and quickly blew off the woman's comment.

Everyone in the office kept saying how calm Scrubs was. What a joke that is. This dog is a crazy man! I've never seen him as calm and quiet as he was in the Vet's office, especially when we ran into a Great Dane in the waiting room -- that is one HUGE dog. Scrubs sat right next to JB or me the whole time and didn't use the bathroom one time! I think he was too scared to go.

Ever since Scrubs has arrived, my infertility has been the most removed from my mind that it has EVER been. He has been here for a week as of today, and in that week, I have not had even one bad "moment" ... until yesterday that is.

Those "moments" come on without warning. It can be a well-intentioned comment, an email from an old friend, or a commercial on TV. I'll be doing great, and then, suddenly, I'll be crying or overcome with grief. It was actually a TV show that sent me into a spiral the day JB decided to reveal to me that he had bought me a dog!

The grief is hard to explain. Usually it has to do with the thought of things I may never be able to do. These may seem like "trivial" moments, but to me, they are huge instances that I can't get back. Finding out I'm pregnant, telling my husband, telling our families, being pregnant, delivering a baby, nursing a baby ... We still pray daily that someday we will have a biological child, but hearing people say, "Having my child was the best thing that ever happened to me," is difficult to stomach mostly because I know it is true.

Scrubs has helped with that. I know it sounds dumb because he is just a dog, but I've been so busy with him and watching his every move, that I haven't had time to feel infertile. I also haven't had a desire for a baby staying up all night when I have a dog who is staying up all night.

But during our visit to the vet, I was faced with one of those "moments" again. It's a moment when, all of a sudden, you go from feeling perfectly happy, to remembering that you are barren and you don't have children.

It was my favorite "Do you guys have kids?" question in the waiting room by a very sweet lady. JB jumped in before I could try to fumble for an answer and just said, "Not yet."

I guess part of my frustration with that question is: What do I say. If I say "no", I feel like people assume things about me. This may not make sense to many of you, but to those of you are infertile or have been infertile, please back me up on this.

When I answer that I do not have kids, I inevitably feel like people are saying, "Aaaah, a doctor's wife." I just have this bad feeling, like they are looking at me like some rich, snobby, stay-at-home wife who is choosing other, selfish things, over children. I know people probably don't really think this, but for some reason, answering "No" makes me feel this way. Instead I feel like I need to explain my "no".

I have had people insinuate that I am choosing a "career" or "things" over children, and I think this is where that fear comes from. Before we admitted to people that in fact, we had been trying, I had a few people remind me "not to wait too long" or "you can go back and work later" as if that was the reason we were still without children. JB and I kept our "secret" private for a year before deciding that it wasn't working. It was actually at a function for his class. I had been wanting to tell people but John wanted to keep it quiet. At that class function, eleven different people said something about us having kids, the pitter patter of little feet, what are we waiting for etc. I left the party exasperated and in tears. Once in the car, JB said that he was done with secrets. We were going to tell people so we didn't have to face a firing squad for the rest of medical school.

The other night, I was talking to a new friend, and she asked me what types of things were the most difficult for me. I discuss this here to help educate people. Please know that I do not take any commenst that hurt me, personally! I don't ever blame the person saying them because they are not bad comments in and of themselves. I recognize that my sadness is because I am overly sensitive about this issue. However, I do know that I am not alone in these feelings. My counselor in Minnesota asked me how I thought I was doing in comparison to other infertile women I had met. I had to be honest that I thought I was in the upper percentage of women as far as how sensitive I was to comments. So, instead, as always, know that I talk about this here to educate people. I do not get my feelings personally hurt by comments. However, those comments can cause me to get down.

I realized there are three things that just cause me to spiral. The first is the "Do you have kids question?" This question is one of the most difficult for me. It just seems I can't escape this question. I really want to encourage everyone out there: Don't ask strangers this! Another friend here is the result of parents who tried for nine years! She told me that she never asks this question. (She also said that when she told her mom of my story, her mom told her to move a statue of a pregnant woman in her home into her bedroom. I thought this was so kind!) If a couple does not have children and has been married more than a few years, the odds are great that they haven't been able to have them, and this question just stinks. You can probably find the answer to this question fairly easily if you just wait. It'll become quickly obvious.

The second thing that is difficult for me to deal with is when people complain about their children. When my new friend asked me what conversation she could avoid around me I said, "Complaining." I recognize parents need to complain, and I think they have every right to complain, but I feel like that conversation could be reserved for another day when I'm not around. There are tons of other parents to complain to! The infertile gal probably isn't the best choice. Complaining is hard because I would give anything to be able to complain.

The only other thing I asked her was that if she found out she was pregnant, to tell me via email, a card, or through JB. Telling me in person is difficult. I am so happy for the person and don't want to start crying out of my own selfishness in front of someone who is so happy. I have had a few times where someone gave me their news in person. Inevitably, here comes this lump in my throat and the scratchy eyes. I feel horrible. Here is this awesome moment in my friend's life, and I'm crying because I'm jealous! Since I have told people this, I have been so blessed by the nice cards and emails I have received giving me the news. My cousin Sarah sent me a card and just said, "Call me when you are ready." Some days, I handle these fine. Some days, they cause me a few minutes of a pity-party. But at least I can have these privately and the next time I see you, I am prepared to celebrate properly. Some of my infertile friends don't feel the same way. They want to be told in person. So I advise you to ask the husband what would be best if you don't know, or ask the person before you get pregnant.

Tara, who has been doing an REI (reproductive endocrinology) rotation, wrote on her blog the other day about how everything has to work together so perfectly for people to get pregnant. I know that is so true! I have learned so much during my four years of "living" at the REI in Minnesota. Life truly is a miracle. However, sometimes it doesn't feel that way. It feels like the rest of the world gets pregnant as easily as they get groceries. Thursday: haircut; Friday: get groceries; Saturday: get pregnant. Sigh ... okay, so that's not true, obviously, but somedays it does feel like I'm the only one in the world feeling this way.

I definitely don't want people walking on egg shells with me or any other infertile woman in their life. However, I think it is very important that as human beings, we are aware of other people's suffering. If someone has just lost their parent, you don't want to complain about your own parent in front of them. That just makes sense. It isn't just infertility I am talking about here. We all have things in our life that are painful, and if we communicate those feelings to others, they are able to help us deal appropriately. People don't know how to help unless you tell them what you need. So I tell people and keep things very real. If you have another infertile friend and need advice, ask me! I'll help!

I have a link on the right on this blog entitled "How to Help Your Infertile Friend". This has other advice as well. However, please know that with me, you can just ask me what I need and I will tell you. Or ask JB. We are extremely honest. We don't mind any questions about adoption or infertility. We want people to know.

All right, this post about lights and the vet went in a completely different direction, but as always, I'm just sharing my heart. I'm so excited for JB to come home this morning and be home for the whole weekend! Yay!!! I'm also excited to have some help with this dog.

I also want to wish my mom a happy 29th birthday! Okay, so that's a lie. Actually she is 52. Pretty young to have a 30 year old! I think her mother is 72 or 73. That's pretty young to have a 30 year old granddaughter. Happy day mom!

109 Hours... by JB
Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wendi has been asking me to write a bit about my experience with residency thus far. I thought since I am currently awake and do not have to go in for the next day and a half, I'd give it a shot.

109 Hours. That's what I worked this week. I've just finished my month long OB rotation. It started off with a few days of "deck" (that's the labor and delivery ward) and a few days of clinic (just seeing OB patients for their regular check-ups). This averaged about 50-65 hours a week. These last two weeks I have been on OB nights. This is all deck time - about 6:30 p.m. to about 8:30 a.m - L&D for 14-15 hours a day. Add to that the fact that I had my own clinic on Monday afternoon and that I have to return all my patient's phone calls from during the day, and you get 109 hours for the week.

Yes, we have an 80 hour work week limit, but it is an average for the whole month. Since I was fortunate enough to get July 4th off and a "family day" that same Friday, my average was 79.8 hours per week for this month.

That is a whole lot of time.

THOUGHTS ABOUT OB AND OUR JOURNEY WITH INFERTILITY

This was a very strange way to start residency. Wendi wasn't real crazy about me spending the day with pregnant women and delivery babies while we have been trying for just that for so long. I think initially I had a difficult time with it. I had to chat with women that were complaining about being pregnant again. I had to sit with women that were so excited to find out they were pregnant. I had to deliver a baby and hand it over to the happy mom and dad. There were pangs of sadness and jealousy. Anger and frustration at how lightly they were taking this miracle and gift.

But I also quickly learned how bad things can go with OB. I thought, you know, I would love to have a biological child with Wendi, but I would never want her to experience the things I witnessed the last few weeks.

Infertile moment (it's been awhile)
Saturday, August 4, 2007

It's well after 10pm on Friday night. JB is on call. Scrubs is sound asleep. The bird is covered and hiding in her little nest. The only noise stems from the television which I inadvertently left on in the other room.

In other words, it's just me.

And I, for some reason, am having a rough evening.

I know it will pass. It always does. These "moments" used to sweep in much more frequently then they have lately. I even, naively, convinced myself that these moments wouldn't ever occur again. That I was "past all that." Sure I am barren, but I can handle that! At least it's easy to keep my house clean.

These "moments" can occur for any of a long list of reasons. Everything can be going perfectly fine when suddenly, I am flooded with a wave of emotion. Usually the emotion originates with some sort of news or some sort of image. Tonight was no different.

Well let me back up a bit.

Tonight's moment actually started two nights ago. JB and I took Scrubs to our favorite hangout on the beach. Remember the doula? Well, I didn't get into it in an earlier post because I basically was trying to ignore it, but this woman not only asked me about our life, but hit all the hard questions in rapid succession. The conversation went something like this:

Doula: Do you have kids?
Wendi: No.
Doula: How long have you been married?
Wendi: Nine years.
Doula: And you don't have kids?
Wendi: No, we don't.
Doula: Well hang out around this neighborhood long enough and you will.
Wendi: Right.
Doula: Do you want to have kids?
Wendi: We haven't been able to have kids.
Doula: Really?
Wendi: Really, yes. We are in the process of adoption.
Doula: Oh, well you know, once you adopt, you'll get pregnant.
Wendi: Right.
Doula: So, what have you done?
Wendi: Done?
Doula: You know. What procedures have you tried?
Wendi: 3 clomid, 5 IUI, 4 IVF.
Doula: Oh. Well, what's wrong with you?
Wendi: Ummm, I don't ovulate. And they don't know why IVF hasn't worked.
Doula: I see.

It was at this point that I took Scrub's leash from JB and managed to entice the dog to want to be somewhere else so I could follow. I quickly put the conversation behind me. John and I only talked about it briefly. I was okay, I kept telling myself. I didn't want to have any more moments.

And I thought it was behind me. But today, the moment continued. Today, it started with an image. The only house currently occupied on our street is occupied by a couple with brand new twins. They came strolling out of the house today while I sat on the porch. I walked by and pushed the image out of my head. I rounded the corner. Blue sign. Pink sign. Blue sign. (You know those delightful signs people stick in their front yard announcing the new addition?) The yards all of a sudden seemed flooded with them. Maybe what the woman I met the first night we moved in said was true, "Everyone on this block is pregnant or has a houseful."

Everyone but me.

Side note: If I ever do get pregnant, or heck, even when our daughter comes home from China, I'm going to buy like 50 of those pink signs and stick them all over our front lawn. Everyone will know! Everyone! Feel free to buy me a sign, please. (But then I'll feel bad if there is someone who is infertile and they see my yard. Maybe I could get a sign that explains all that.)

All right, tangent over.

The moment with the twins and the yard signs passed, and again, I thought I was okay.

But next was a pregnancy announcement for someone I don't know well. She's pregnant through IVF. Her first IVF. I talked her through the early stages of this procedure. I encouraged her. I wanted her to have success and yet, when she does, I can't help feel ... well, jealous. And don't worry dear friend. If you are reading this blog, know that my heart is happy for you. I'm actually ecstatic for you.

I'm just sad for me.

Actually the words I said out loud when I started to pray were -- "God, does it work for everyone but me?"

I honestly cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been connected with another woman going through infertility and watched as that other woman gets the two lines and I continue waiting. I remember one of the hardest cries I have had was as I suffered my fifth IUI failure and a good friend had success on her first. I should be happy for her. She doesn't have to go through this. But geezie peezie, I just wanted it to be me.

The support group I helped start in Minnesota didn't help eliminate these feelings. Either did the online support group I so routinely seek out for comfort. Ironically, the two places I have most utilized for encouragement and support are the two places that sometimes, also hurt the worst. I'm really not sure what's worse: finding out that someone got pregnant easily or finding out that someone who did the exact same treatment as you had success right away.
Aaaaahhh ... the pity party.

Thanks for listening. As I said earlier, there isn't anyone to pity with right now. I have a few people I could call, but it's 10:30. It's late. And I'm tired.

I'm just feeling a bit sad. Sad that I am 30 and still not a mom. Sad I've almost been married a decade and we still are just the two of us. Sad that this adoption seems so daunting and the paperwork so overwhelming.

But again, it's a moment. And moments pass.

Tomorrow's a new day!

To Heck with the Doula
Sunday, August 5, 2007

So ... what can I say other than thank you all very much. JB and I got a good kick out of your personal responses to what YOU would say to the almighty Doula. (If you don't know what I am talking about, scroll down to a few posts ago.) From my Italian sister-in-law taking her down, to Amy training my dog to "sic infertility pricklers" (I did take that to mean you would do the training, right Amy?) The dog biting, Starbucks coffee, and late night calls. Thanks everyone. I feel so blessed to be encouraged by so many.

One of the best things that could pick up my spirits is having my best friend home to spend Sunday with me. Actually JB got home early on Saturday morning. However, he had been up for nearly 30 hours and was running on fumes. They admitted 11 patients and had 31 total on their service. I don't know much about this stuff, but JB informs me that this is a lot, nearly a record at the hospital.

Last night we went to a Japanese restaurant near the base for dinner. We really enjoyed it. We didn't sit at one of the tables where they cook your food in front of you, mainly because we wanted a little privacy and just to sit and talk ourselves. Instead, we sat at a quieter table, by ourselves. This place was perfect because JB could get Sushi (gag me with a fork folks!) and I could get good ol' Japanese steak and lobster. We planned on going home and watching a movie, but sleep took over instead.

We tried a new church this morning which we really enjoyed. This could be the church for us! We still want to go back to try another that we liked, one more time, but this was a nice place. Very comfortable. What I especially liked was the diversity in the church body. Having people of different races (and three different families in a fairly small congregation that appeared to have adopted other races) is important to us. We don't know that we are going to bring our daughter home before we leave Eglin, but finding a community of different races that embraces different culture is extremely important to us. We really feel that this will be important to us in all churches we choose from this point out. Our children have to feel that they belong.

I wanted to end today but sharing a song that JB heard online and downloaded for us. This song teaches us that God doesn't promise a pain free life. But he does promise to hold us in the midst of the pain. Can we not, as he asked his disciples, wait just one hour in the garden? Is that too much to ask?

Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays Is appalling.

Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It's unfair.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we?d be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred numb our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we'd be held.

From here, our journey began toward adoption as we left the world of infertility treatments behind.

2 comments:

  1. There are few things you will deal with in your marriage as difficult as infertility issues. The time of trying unsuccessfully to conceive is certainly enough to test the patience and relationships of the strongest, most well-rounded couples.

    Infertility Clinic

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete