Our Little Love Bug

Sorry for disappearing for a bit! Let’s just say the past few weeks have been very busy.

Four weeks ago at the beginning of my 2ww I had the pleasure of watching the two little ones I nanny for 5 full days while their parents were in Jamaica. I loved every minute! That same weekend we got news that my husband’s brother and his family weren’t doing so well. They have had such a rough go of it since he left the Army almost two years ago. Within a couple of days it was decided that they would be driving from Colorado to where we live in Ohio to live with us. So, three weeks ago our home went from two people (my husband and myself) and one dog to seven people and two dogs. Talk about an adjustment! So even though I wish I could have kept up with my blog during these past few weeks, well… our lives have changed dramatically, so I’m sure you all understand.

Now let’s get to the really good stuff…

Right around the time our family arrived, I decided that I wanted to start testing out my trigger. I was about 6dpo/7dpt when I started testing. I knew starting that early that it would still be in my system, so I would be able to track it fading out… and hopefully back in again. The second line was still pretty significant at 7dpt, but it started fading as the days progressed. During this time I was so busy getting everything in the house set for everyone, including 3 wonderful kiddos, that I didn’t obsess over the tests like I have the previous cycles. Even with everything going on around me, I felt a great sense of peace the entire 2ww.

About 9dpo/10dpt the line started to really fade. On one test I took I could barely see a shadow. I know most people have metabolized the trigger around this time, so I was thankful my body was responding normally. By 10dpo I knew the trigger was out of my system. Which brings us to 11dpo/12dpt… when the line came back. It was still super faint, but we were very hopeful given the cramping I had around 6/7dpo. I pulled out my FRER the next day and got a positive, which is when I called it in to my RE. I was shocked when the nurse let me come in for a beta at 12dpo/13dpt given they told me to not even test until 16dpo, but I was so anxious to hear my HCG level and get the reassurance my heart needed that everything was okay. After my first beta I had two more, which is when it started to sink in more-

12dpo: HCG= 64 Progesterone= 47

14dpo: HCG= 131

16dpo: HCG= 339

My doctor said she was very pleased with the progress and my numbers. To top it all off- yesterday was our first ultrasound at 5wks4d! We got to see one beautiful gestational sac and yolk sac measuring right on target. I could not be more thankful for where we are. I pray every morning and every night for continued growth and safety for this little one. I know nothing is guaranteed and I don’t take a second of this experience for granted. It still feels so surreal that we are in this place right now, but I am so grateful.

Our due date is 10/23/2014 – Just one week before my birthday!

God is so good! Don’t ever give up on hope.. miracles happen every day!

Trigger Happy

I know this will be pretty short and sweet, but I wanted to give an update. 🙂

This morning was my cd12 ultrasound! I received my trigger shot in the mail over the weekend and ever since I opened it I found myself getting more and more anxious about today. Both excitement and nerves kept me up all night, so I was more than ready to find out how my body responded to clomid.

Clearly, as stated in the title- I got my trigger shot today! The doctor did the ultrasound fairly quickly, which I can’t really complain about. But, being this was my first time I was asking a lot of questions and he was kind enough to answer them.

Here is what we got:

Lining= 9mm
Right ovary = 22mm, 15mm

Righty.. Overachiever 😉

He did say there were a few 14’s that might get big enough, but overall he said he was very happy to see the 22mm, & so was I!!

You go through all of the side effects of these meds, the emotional ups and downs- all the while hoping and praying that it is working, but not knowing… it’s really just another rollercoaster on this journey. Through it all, I really had no idea how my body respond, but I am feeling very blessed!

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We are one step closer…

Valentine’s Day… I’m coming for you!!

Blessings & Timing

Do you ever wish you could know what was going to happen and when it was happening? I find myself feeling like this quite a bit. I will be the first to admit that when we initially made our appointment back in September to see Dr. M I really thought we would be starting treatment the next month, if not right away. Then we found out about all the tests that we still needed and how much it was going to cost. As MANY of you know and unfortunately have to deal with, infertility is not an area insurance companies like to cover, or even really assist with. Knowing this, we had saved up some money and decided to move forward with the tests. My husband just graduated Paramedic school at the time and he was looking for new jobs that included benefits. Up to that point we had the lovely experience of going private for insurance- they didn’t even cover regular doctor appointments! Needless to say, we were praying hard for a new job to open up for him as we embarked into fertility treatments.

We got the call in October where he was offered a full-time position in the ER at the major Level 1 Trauma Center. We were so excited!! The only issue was that he wouldn’t start until the first week in November and our insurance would then start up in December. I was so anxious to start treatment with our October cycle, or even November… But December? It was a hard pill to swallow considering how long we had been waiting to finally get to the RE, but we were more than thankful for the new position and all the doors it would open. With that said, we still planned on doing one cycle of clomid before the insurance, even if we paid out of pocket. After that we would wait until the coverage started, praying it would alleviate at least some of the financial burden.

To our great surprise however, we got our BFP the week before he started the new job. Oh what a magical weekend that was! Unfortunately we learned early on that the pregnancy was not progressing like it should. I actually found out I was miscarrying on his first day at the hospital. Our joy soon turned into great heartbreak. In an attempt to give ourselves time to grieve and be healed we put off starting treatment indefinitely. I’m very glad we did, too. We grew so much closer during that time, leaning on each other for support.

December came and we were discussing our options again. We agreed to try one more natural cycle and then go back to the RE. Which leads us to here and now- two and a half months after our loss. Yesterday was my baseline ultrasound and last night I took my first dose of 50mg Clomid. I go back next week for another ultrasound and my trigger shot. We are now on track to *hopefully* see those two pink lines on Valentine’s Day! It feels surreal to be here, but we are as hopeful as ever.

There were times I really felt I couldn’t go forward… The heartbreak was too much and fear of another loss was almost crippling. But here we are.. I took my fears and laid them at the feet of my Father. I’m still a work in progress and I continue to struggle with those thoughts, but then He reminds me in subtle and not-so-subtle ways “I’ve got you” and the fear starts to dissipate.

Just yesterday I picked up my prescriptions I looked down at my receipt to see this…

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I’ve got you

God never ceases to amaze me with His perfect timing and bountiful blessings. He brought my husband’s job into our lives right when we needed it, He picked up our broken hearts as we grieved the loss of our first baby, and He is ever-present here now as we pursue treatment for our miracle. I really couldn’t ask for more.

God is good.

Clomid’s Eve

Well, here we are. As I sit here tonight to write this post I have so many emotions flowing through me. These past few months have contained so much joy and sadness. To be honest, a lot of the time the lines between them start to blur- becoming what I know as bittersweet. Yesterday was one of those days.

It was less than a week ago that I finally got a blaring positive opk.  For those of you who recall, last time this happened was in October (our BFP cycle). My heart leapt- I just knew this was it! We decided that this would be our last natural cycle before we pursue treatment and we were so hopeful, knowing a provera-induced cycle has been shown to make me ovulate. Everything was lining up, until yesterday morning that is.

At 4/5dpo I started spotting. The hopeful part of me was thinking… Oh, implantation!! But the rest of me knew something wasn’t right, especially given how early it was happening. I called my nurse, who asked me if it was CD1 or not. Clearly I was calling to get that answer from her, but there really wasn’t much they could do unless I waited a few days or declared it a new cycle myself. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue… But timing is everything if you’re going into a medicated cycle. So as the afternoon went on and the spotting picked up even more, I called it in. My nurse promptly made me an appointment for Sunday morning and we got the ball rolling so I could start clomid this month.

As frustrating as it was that my two week wait ended so abruptly and with so much confusion, I am at peace. I have no idea what happened this past cycle or why it only lasted 23 days, but we are hopeful for what’s to come! Tomorrow I will go in for my cd3 ultrasound and will hopefully be given the all clear to get my prescriptions. If you’re wondering what the plan for this cycle is, check it out HERE. Everything should be the same, but I’m sure I’ll get more information tomorrow and will come back to update.

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A few months ago I bought these two picture frames. I really had no idea what I wanted to put in them so I left them empty, but I keep them on our mantel as good reminders. The past couple days I have walked by them I keep picturing our first ultrasound photos going in them, and my heart is so happy. Oh, how excited I am for that day!

Just because the road you are on takes an unexpected turn doesn’t mean the drive has to be over. So here we go..  believing our dream, our miracle, is coming soon!

 

Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza

Want to know something? I never thought I would be writing a post like this, ever. Gluten-free… yeah, that was not for me. I have always been a carb lover. Even more so- I LOVE pasta, and bread, and all things gluten-full! So the idea of a gluten-free diet was just not in the cards for me. However, after deciding to forgo treatment following our miscarriage last month I began researching how I could improve my diet.

After a few hours looking into various “fertility diets” I came across a good number of websites that gave a very good argument as to why a gluten free diet would be a good idea, especially for those dealing with thyroid issues, PCOS, infertility, and miscarriage. (I highly suggest everyone look it up as well!) How much more clear could it be? I am dealing with all of that, so of course it makes sense to give it a try. Think about it, if we are constantly putting stuff into our bodies that attacks it, or irritates it in ways we don’t even know- how does that help us become whole and healed? That night I decided to go completely gluten free. I went through our pantry and fridge to make a box of stuff to donate or toss out right away. If there was any chance of this working I would have to get rid of all temptation and that is exactly what I did.

It has now been almost a month since I did the switch. One of the first things people ask me when I tell them I don’t eat gluten is how I am feeling. Well, I feel pretty good. I don’t have the stomach issues I had before, my energy is up, and I am proud to say I have a more positive outlook on just about everything these days. It’s amazing the things one (major) change can make for your body and mind!

Alright, so now that you have the back story I will get to the recipe itself. I enjoy looking through various cookbooks and recipes online, then altering them to my taste. I have gotten enough requests for my gluten free cauliflower pizza I thought it would be a good idea to share it for everyone. So here you go!

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza

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Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal, and/or olive oil spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon (each) oregano, parsley, basil, garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • About 1 cup- 1 1/2 cups Italian blend cheese, or Mozz.
  • Marinara sauce (about 3/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse and chop cauliflower in small pieces, place in blender or food processor until it is pureed.(It does not have to be completely smooth).
  3. Drain puree using a cheesecloth, or if you like a more “moist” crust just move on to step 4 like I do.
  4. Mix together cauliflower puree, eggs, herbs, about 1/2 cup Italian blend cheese,  & salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spray your pan or cookie sheet with olive oil and spread out the dough. Either for one pizza, or two smaller ones. You can also put cornmeal down so the crust does not stick (I haven’t done this myself though). Goal is to have the crust about 1/2 inch thick, or to your liking. Avoid spreading too thin because it will dry out.
  6. Place in oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until edges are brown and it is firm to the touch.
  7. Remove from oven and top with sauce and your favorite toppings. (I normally just do cheese, but the options are unlimited!)
  8. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and it looks good to you. 😉
  9. ENJOY!

I tend to not measure things (following after my grandma) so these are pretty much all estimates. I really love how much flavor is in this crust though & I hope you enjoy too! To be honest, I haven’t perfected it to my liking just yet and still eat most of mine with a fork, but it is delicious nonetheless! Eating gluten-free, and vegetarian, doesn’t have to be bland or boring. There are so many options out there, so go explore!

The Week I Was Pregnant..

Part of me wishes that I would have kept up with updating my blog throughout this past week. Yet, in all honesty I don’t know that it would be any easier to write this post if I had. I have always said that this journey has been a rollercoaster ride, but this past week has brought a whole new meaning to “highs” and “lows”.

As I have already stated, we just started working with an RE in September to complete more testing. A week and a half ago we had our follow-up meeting discussing our course of action, that was set to start this week. The part of the story I neglected to write about on here was that I received my very first positive opk on October 19th. This was the same cycle as my HSG, so we went into the two week wait with great anticipation of what God was going to do. We felt so positive and so excited! Little did we know that we were just then accelerating  to the peak of the rollercoaster ride.

On October 31st, (my birthday), all of our hopes, dreams, and prayers had been answered. The moment we have been waiting for, almost two years in the making, was here. I had taken a cheap internet test on the 30th, but knowing I was only 10dpo I couldn’t be sure if it was a faint line or just a very hopeful heart. The anticipation for the next morning was so great that I only slept a few hours. I can’t even begin to express the emotions that filled that morning. The waiting, the anticipation, the tears… those two pink lines made it all worth it.

To top of the best birthday present I could have ever hoped for, my husband had already planned a surprise getaway to Myrtle Beach for the next 4 days. Our hearts were so full- so expectant. The next few days were the most relaxing, absolutely full of joy. We were expecting! Each night we would pray together, thanking God for this huge blessing & every morning we would pray again, and my husband would kiss my belly. I can honestly say that it was the best vacation we have ever had, and I’m so grateful that we were able to experience it.

Sunday came and instead of being sad about going home, we were excited. My husband was scheduled to start his new job on Monday and I had called in to get my first beta done that same morning. We laid in bed Sunday evening talking about when we would announce, what names we liked, and how excited we were to see my belly grow. Sunday was our last day on the top of the rollercoaster…

Monday came and we waited, yet again, for blood results. I was roaming the aisles of Target when I got the call that afternoon. I had just finished looking through the baby clothes and made my way over to the food to buy all my “cravings”. My phone rang, and my heart jumped. I was so anxious to hear our numbers- to get the official confirmation of the tests I had been taking and the symptoms that were so clearly evident. Then the nurse told me our Hcg numbers and I asked her to repeat them because I thought for sure I had heard her wrong, but I didn’t.

At 15dpo my Hcg came back at 9.

The nurse tried to tell me that it could just be early, that the numbers could still increase and I would need to come back in 48 hours to check them again. My heart sank. I fought so hard to not just break down in the baking aisle as I ended the call. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t hold back the tears. I ran out of Target as soon as I could and left my full cart just sitting there. I don’t even remember the ride home that day.

Now let me just say, I know that Hcg numbers have a huge range. I have heard stories of women coming back from low numbers and having successful pregnancies. I have no doubt in my mind that God could work a miracle, if that was in His plan. But in my own heart, I knew it was over. I had received multiple positives on 50 mIU/mL pregnancy tests over the weekend, even with a diluted sample. My symptoms came fast and strong… and they left just as quick. With all of this said, we were still hoping and praying for a miracle.

Monday night and Tuesday were especially hard for me. I fluctuated between hope and complete sadness. Knowing I would have to wait to find out if we were in fact miscarrying, or if the numbers would miraculously double was so difficult. Yesterday I went to work as usual, thinking I would be okay. By mid-morning I was getting strong cramps, and again I fell to my knees and cried out to God. I tried my best to stay positive. Just a few hours later I started shaking… then the spotting started.

I ended up going home shortly there after. I stayed in bed most of the day, hoping and praying that somehow it would help. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I didn’t want to stop fighting.

My hopes would climb when I noticed the spotting had stopped, only to be dashed again by the disappearing physical symptoms from pregnancy I had been so joyfully experiencing. I curled up into my husband’s arms last night and we prayed. I have always believed that God is the Great Comforter, the Healer. I have experienced His powerful peace during times of stress, and loss. I have been comforted by His loving grace. And as we started to pray, I thought for sure I would be begging for our baby to stay with us. I can’t lie, I really really wanted to. He knows our hearts, He knows where we have been and how much we’ve wanted this, but He also knows what is to come. So while we prayed for healing, we also prayed specifically for peace- whatever the outcome.

I can’t begin to try and understand why this would happen. I don’t pretend to know the answers. But I know that through it all- God is good. He never left us. He was there when we were praying for our future children. He was there through all the tests and tears. He was there when this life was conceived. He was there when we found out. He was there when we celebrated. And He is here now when we are grieving. He never left.

This morning I woke up to terrible cramps, nausea, and the sight no pregnant woman ever wants to see- bright red blood. I thought for sure I would fall into this deep depression, we had fallen to the low point of the rollercoaster after all. But instead, I feel a surreal, supernatural peace that I can’t even describe. The Great Comforter, our God, has swooped down and picked up our broken hearts, letting us know yet again that we are never alone- not even at we perceive to be our “lowest”.

This loss still hurts. The wound is still so fresh. I even still have the band-aid on my arm from my second beta this morning, and the positive hpt’s in my bathroom…

We aren’t sure where we go from here, but we are taking every step in faith. Our journey is not over yet, our God has such great things in store. And while we would have loved to experience this pregnancy for longer.. to hold our baby and tell him or her that we love them oh so much, we are thankful for the week we had. I can honestly say that we enjoyed and celebrated this life every second, from the very first moment we found out and saw that faint line.

I never knew what to say to someone who was experiencing such a loss, how to comfort them. To be honest, there isn’t much someone could say at this point that would make things “better”, I suppose that’s just how it is. But just knowing there are people out there thinking about us and praying for us means the world. Right now we are still waiting on our second beta results (I will update this afternoon). So please continue to pray for emotional and physical healing, guidance as we decide what to do next, & where God wants us.

Update- The nurse called and confirmed my Hcg is at zero. They offered for me to come in for a baseline ultrasound on Saturday so we could start treatment this cycle, but we denied. We have decided to take time to heal and focus on us. Again, trusting and believing that God will lead us where we should be.

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HSG Complete!

 

Good news… I survived the HSG!

In all seriousness though, the anxiety really was the worst part. I’m not a huge fan of regular exams, so when you add in the horror stories I’ve read and heard in the past few weeks.. not pretty. I’m so very thankful, and counting my blessings, that I do not have one of those stories to share.

The day of the procedure I made sure to take pain medicine before heading to the surgery center. I even remembered to not go to the bathroom until I got there since I would have to provide a sample for the required pregnancy test. So besides my very uncomfortably full bladder, I was doing just fine in the waiting area. It wasn’t until I was taken back to “pre-op” that my nerves started kicking in.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I like hospitals and doctors offices. But this was different. I felt… vulnerable. The nurse took my vitals and we had a short chuckle about maybe needing a child’s cuff to take my blood pressure (we didn’t). We were back there for 10-15 minutes getting things settled. There was a lot of hustle and bustle on the other side of the curtain, and I think the combination of it all definitely explains why my heart rate was sitting pretty in the 90’s . Before the nurse left, she placed a warm blanket across my lap and said she was going to tell my husband he could come back. As soon as the curtain closed behind her I had to fight hard not to cry. I knew if I started crying then it would just get worse when my husband came back and I would be a blubbering mess before the doctor even arrived. Can I just say- I thank God for my husband! He could tell I was as nervous as could be, and in his lighthearted nature, he started cracking jokes. I am so grateful he was able to come with me!

I’m pretty sure they were running behind schedule that day, because my doctor didn’t even come in until 25 minutes past my time slot. I gave my hubby a quick kiss and walked over to the procedure room with my doctor and the tech. From the time the door closed to when I was walking back out of that room, I would have to say it was a total of 5-6 minutes. The procedure itself took maybe 2 minutes, with the dye part only lasting seconds. It was uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. Many ladies told me it would feel like menstrual cramps, and it did. I think the most painful thing for me was when she had to turn the catheter around when she found out I have a retroverted uterus. Other than that, I wouldn’t call it a “fun” experience, but I’m glad we had it done.

Oh… and the news I know you’re all wanting-

 

OPEN TUBES!

 

Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that too. It was amazing to see the dye move on the x-ray screen. It was so quick, but thankfully they printed off images to look at later. Dr. M seemed pleased with the results, which is good! She said she would go over it in detail during our next appointment, so I’m very anxious to hear everything.

Due to scheduling conflicts concerning my hubby’s new schedule we had to make an appointment for the 25th, which is only just over a week away now! Instead of the office a few minutes down the street, we are making the trek two hours away to see our doctor at her main office in Akron. We will be going over all the results- my blood work, hubby’s SA, and the HSG. We will also be talking game plan! My hubby and I have been praying over this appointment for a long time, and no matter the results- we know it’s all in God’s hands and we take great comfort in that. Right now we are praising Him for the good news the HSG has brought & my hubby’s new job that comes with health insurance! Each piece of the puzzle comes right when it is meant to… and it is getting more beautiful by the day.