Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CD4: Already?

I would like to start out saying that I'm feeling very quiet about this cycle. R and I were talking this morning and figured out that we've been at this for six months now (started temping in preparation all the way back in October). We are tired of the roller coaster and are ready to get off! Of course, with two cancelled cycles behind us - one due to work and the other from missed ovulation - I don't have much confidence that this cycle will be OMGTHEONESQUEE! *sigh* I suppose everyone gets to this point eventually but it's new territory for me. 

SO! The trip to Chicago last week was really good. I wasn't able to meet up with any fellow bloggers but I did have a great time visiting with my family friends. And I treated myself to a couple martinis at the hotel bar on Wednesday night. Heh. Got back Friday night and woke up to CD1 on Saturday. My bff, W, arrived Saturday night and left again this morning. Busy!

Started Femara Monday night and will continue with 2/night through this Friday. I emailed my coordinator and scheduled a follicle scan for next Wednesday, CD12. R will be heading to SC the end of May for an awards presentation for SSA and we're hoping to have good news to share by then.

Here we go again!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CD39: Cowboy, Take Me Away

How much did I love the Dixie Chicks "Fly" album when it came out? Enough that I have tracks in my playlists today! Along with Alanis' "Jagged Little Pill" album. Heh.


I'm headed to Chicago today for a three day conference. This is my first business trip for the new company and I'm super excited!  I'm really looking forward to learning more about this industry.

While I'm there, I'm meeting up with lifelong family friends. The Mom and Dad were TTC at the same time as my parents and the two couples bonded over treatment, etc. Their oldest son in about 8 months older than I am. There are pics of us playing together as babies! Now we're all grown up and having kids of our own. I can't wait to see everyone and meet the babies!!

It's funny how life turns out, isn't it? Growing up, I always thought I would marry this boy. Now, here I am - married for the second time with a seven year old girl and meeting his wife and 18 month old daughter. And you know what? Couldn't be happier. God's plans are always better than ours.


Out of curiosity, are any of you in Chicago? If so, wanna meet up for drinks downtown tonight? Leave me a comment and let's see if we can get together!


What songs from 10+ years ago do you still listen to?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CD38: A Drop in the Bucket

I did something superficial, wasteful, and downright frivolous...

I bought myself new clothes.

And not just any new clothes - I went here. One of my top three favorite places, existing alongside Macy's and Anthropologie.

It doesn't make much sense. After all, I'm trying to get knocked up, If everything works, I'll be able to wear these clothes through what... end of June? Maybe part of July?

But here's the thing: I needed to do something nice for ME. To do something for myself that didn't involve shelling out hundreds of dollars at the RE's office. Something that made me feel good about myself and who I am right in this moment. Something that didn't wait because we may -or may not- get pregnant.

These clothes are completely fabulous! They fit my body as it is right now and look amazing. I feel confident and sexy in them, not worrying about stomach rolls or whether or not I look age appropriate. They fit my new WAHM lifestyle, making up for the closet full of CK dresses that I used to wear to the office.

It may sound shallow but these clothes make me feel good about myself.

And you know what? That makes the expense totally worth it.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Happy ICLW, everybody! I'm dspence - just your everyday girl trying to have a baby. You can learn all about our journey here. Our IUI was cancelled on CD27 and now we're waiting on CD1 to get started again. Should be sometime this week!

Originally, we planned on cycling naturally but we learned from the cancelled cycle that I'm not managing to produce enough estrogen on my own to ovulate every month. I've got a bottle of Femara that we'll be starting on CD3. Hopefully we'll see some great results and can actually get everything done in May!

In the mean time, I'd love to learn more about YOU! What is your favorite thing to do each Spring?

Friday, April 19, 2013

CD34: A week? Really?

SO! It's been one week since our IUI was cancelled. It feels like a lot longer. I was surprised at how depressed I felt after. It certainly didn't help that I came down with a totally gross cold/allergies on Monday that left me laid out and feeling awful for the week. I'm finally starting to feel better, thank goodness!

My system is still all whacked out from the Clomid - or, more likely, this cold I've been fighting. I've been having hot flashes all week! And headaches like it's my job. UGH! So ready to feel better.

Of course, just because our IUI was cancelled doesn't mean that the crazy has let up. I've been googling estimates for an ovulation date based on my 5.1 progesterone levels from Friday. Because, and stay with me here, if I ovulated on Thursday (and R and I were intimate that day) then maybe there's a chance that... Well, I guess that the Lord miraculously reunited everything from R's vasectomy and we could be all WOOOO-PREGO!

Because that's what TTC does to you. You start to go crazy and, in the face of disappointment, think the impossible is actually possible even though your rational mind knows that nothing has changed. *headdesk*

It doesn't help that my breasts are KILLING me and I'm horribly nauseous from all the cold drainage. And bloated all to heck from mainlining tylenol and sudafed. Blah.

Welcome (back) to crazy town! I can't wait for my period next week...


You know what? I don't want to leave this on a complain-y note. I was wonderfully surprised on Monday morning when I picked up my Femara prescription for under $5. Wooooo!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

CD27: Follie Friday

(Shout out to Alexis for the title. Love it!!)

This morning's scan was beautiful, showing two follicles squished up next to each other and measuring 25.5 and 26.9, respectively. My lining looked awesome at 11.9. We did a progesterone blood draw and planned on scheduling the IUI based on the results - either tomorrow morning without a trigger or Sunday morning with a trigger. My coordinator told me to keep the phone close and she would call me personally with a plan.

We had three hours of beautiful, fantastic hope. Those two follicles made their way into my heart during those hours... I remembered my friend's prophecy and felt like I had gotten the first look at our children. I laid on the couch and dozed until 1:00 PM, thinking about our children and how amazed I was that we would be making them a reality this weekend.

My coordinator called at 1:00 PM and said that my progesterone came back at 5.1 - high enough that to assume that I ovulated several days ago. She conferred with one of the doctors who made the final call of cancelling this cycle and trying again next time.

I'm just so disappointed... I wish I had the faith that the Lord could do something amazing and I could still be pregnant at the end of the month. But we know that R is at zero. So, we're just waiting. Again.

*sigh* We have a prescription for Femara and will start that on CD3, two per day through CD7 and back in for a follicle scan on CD12.

Really, it will all be okay. Clearly the Lord's timing is different than mine. If I'm being honest, I would much rather do things His way. I just wish His way was now.

I'm signing off for today but here's a sneak peak at tomorrow's Etsy Day post. Enjoy!

Patience T-Shirt

Thursday, April 11, 2013

CD26: Smoothies and Body

Yesterday was the start of the new After School Smoothie routine. Although the smoothie itself was delicious, Little K has a hard time dealing with change and is really stubborn about food. We ended up with one taste, one sip, and two drinks of the smoothie. Plus about 10 minutes of whining/crying. Meh, could have been worse.

Blueberry Smoothie
1 Ultra Ripe Banana, Frozen
1/2C Frozen Blueberries
1/2C Blueberry Kefir Probiotic Milk
1T Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup

Remove banana from freezer one hour before making the smoothie and set in a bowl on the counter to begin thawing. When ready, dump all ingredients in the blender and puree for 20 seconds. Consume immediately and, hopefully, without tears. Serves one medium or two small.

Nutritional Information
Banana: 110 Calories, 0 Fat, 3 Fiber, 1 Protein
Blueberries: 40 Calories, 0 Fat, 2 Fiber, .5 Protein
Blueberry Kefir Probiotic Milk: 70 Calories, 1 Fat, 0 Fiber, 5.5 Protein
SF Vanilla Syrup: Zero
Total:  220 Calories, 1 Gram of Fat, 5 Grams of Fiber, 7 Grams of Protein

Other good stuff in this smoothie? The delicious antioxidants and probiotics! I just love a snack I can feel good about. Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Since we're talking about nutrition, I thought I'd let you know how the greek yogurt thing is going. After four months, it has become clear that Fage is my favorite. My #1 flavor is blueberry, but I also like the cherry and strawberry. Yum!

I'm trying to eat meat only with dinner, getting the rest of my protein throughout the day from eggs, beans, and legumes. And the greek yogurt, natch. I've been able to cut my cheese intake in half and have thrown out the candy in our house. I still have plenty of places to cut additional calories and fat but on well - I'm a work in progress!

I managed to start working out again! I hit it on Tuesday and Wednesday, alternating days: Weight Bench and Boxing; 30-Day Shred DVD and Situps.(May I point out that Jillian Michaels is sadistic? I'm in SO much pain today!)

PLUS! We tossed around the football in the yard both days. I had the BEST time watching R play football with the boys last week and really want to be able to join in this summer. Got to get practicing!


Tomorrow is our follicle scan. I'm quietly excited about it but am remaining realistic that we may cancel. If we do, I'm going to ask about Femara for the next cycle. I'm also asking about starting progesterone with our IUI since this cycle has been so long. We'll see!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CD25: Better

I want all of you to know how much your comments meant to me yesterday. Thank you for being so supportive and kind. You're the best!

Little K and I are both doing a lot better today. I stayed pretty drained all yesterday afternoon and my eyes stayed stiff from the earlier tears but we ended up having a really fun evening together, playing outside and throwing around a football with R. It really helped us finish loosening up. I also managed to fit in a workout on the weights and bag, which was really good.

We managed to locate corn syrup-free options for all but one of Little K's favorite foods, which is fantastic. As of today, she is 99.9% corn syrup free! It may sound simple but I count that as a huge accomplishment, given how limited her palate is. I received a gorgeous blender from my sister for my birthday, so I'm hoping to start making Little K a green smoothie each day after school in order to get some fresh fruits and veggies into her diet. Again - sounds simple but has been a struggle since the day she started solid food.

I'm really looking forward to her supplements arriving next week. We ordered the Nordic Naturals brand Children's Dha Softgels and Nordic Omega-3 Gummies; we also ordered the SmartyPants brand Gummy Multivitamin with Omega 3 and Vitamin D. We plan on one multivitamin, one omega-3, and two Dha each day.

We are also considering JustMe's advice about a psychological evaluation for Little K. Her biological father is diagnosed, but un-medicated, Bi-Polar. My side of the family has quite a history of mental illness, too, so Little K has it coming from both sides. *sigh*

That's a big thing I reminded R about yesterday: because of her family history, it's possible that this isn't an obedience issue but a chemical/hormonal issue. We have to understand that Little K really may not be able to control herself - these chemicals are not something she has control over. We have to stay patient! It's a really powerful reminder for us to keep calm when she gets out of control.


In other news, our follicle scan is coming up on Friday! My abdomen is all kinds of bloated right now, so I'm hoping that means we have lots of follicles developing. The thought of triggering Friday night for a Sunday IUI makes me so happy! I love the idea of doing that in the morning and then heading to church right after - being able to sit down for worship and knowing that He may already be at work bringing a new life to our family...

So glad that the excitement is coming back!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CD24: A Hard Day

This morning was just so hard.

Little K had an appointment to have two teeth removed as a part of her orthodontic treatment. I gently prepped her for two weeks, explaining the procedure and using kid friendly words to help her understand what would happen. She even had a children's valium to take one hour before the appointment. We planned on using nitrous once she was in the chair. I really thought we were prepared!

Instead, she went into a full-on raging tantrum for the entire 45 minute drive to the pediatric dentist. It was so bad that I didn't even take her in to the office for check-in; I left her in the car and went in to tell them we were there. The dentist ended up coming out to the car and talking with me for about 10 minutes. In the end, he decided that it just wasn't safe to move forward with today's appointment. He gave us two referrals to oral surgeons who would fully sedate her for the procedure.

During the talk with the doctor, Little K continued to rage in the car. Once the dentist went back inside, I tried to get her seat belt back on so we could drive home. She ended up opening the car door while I was trying to pull out of the parking lot.

Once I was able to get back in a parking spot and set the child locks (something I haven't had to use since she was 5 years old), I kept her in the car while I paced along the side of the vehicle, calming myself down - I was in tears at this point, completely beyond done with the whole situation. It took another 30 minutes for her to quiet down enough for me to drive us home.

There are days when this child is just SO. HARD. Our pediatrician asked us a little over a year ago if we wanted to have Little K evaluated for ADHD. For now, we are resistant to pursuing that particular course of action. In reality, Little K is fully capable of concentrating, sitting still, accomplishing multi-step tasks, being respectful and compliant... She can do it all! But, when she decides that she doesn't want to do something? WATCH OUT. Nothing helps.

My mother was wonderful enough to talk me down during those 30 minutes. And to do some online research for us.

We have decided to eliminate the small amount of corn syrup in Little K's diet; luckily most of her favorite foods are already corn syrup and artificial dye free. We are also starting her on a DHA and Omega-3 chewable supplement which should arrive early next week. We are hoping that these changes will make a big difference. We are also considering going gluten-free but her limited palate would make that very challenging.

In the mean time, we are looking at some consequences, etc. that are appropriate for this age. Little K is too old for anything like spankings and I really don't want to encourage violence in our family.

Our go-to move is situation removal: when she gets like this, she is placed in a separate space without an audience. (We've noticed that having someone who can see her during the tantrums just makes them last longer.) Once the screaming and/or violence has stopped, I go in and cuddle her until she finishes calming down.

We are considering putting a hold on her orthodontic treatment until she is at least 10 years old. She has a sweet smile and we've made some great progress in making room for her adult teeth over the past year. That may need to be enough for now.


No cute wrap up today - just a long sigh and opening up the comment section for your experiences, thoughts, etc. We could really use your prayers.

Monday, April 8, 2013

CD23, Music Monday: Partying, Parenting, Pondering

Before I forget, a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to R! I'm so blessed to have this amazing, wonderful man in my life. I love you, babe!


Well, the boys have left and Little K is home. I'm surprised to say that I miss them already. The house is quiet, empty of their presence, their voices in the kitchen, the smell of teenage body spray...

Part of the joy of this visit was knowing that I didn't have to parent them. I was just able to hang out with them, take them to the mall or the lake, hand over control of the music in the car, stay up late watching Archer on the couch... They are old enough to not want, and not really need, another mom. Instead, I picture myself as the cool aunt to these boys: make sure we have lots of (safe) fun and call them out on their crap when they get out of hand or vulgar. Easy!

Parenting Little K is SO much more work!

Don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled to have her home. Little K is the light of my life and I take a lot of joy in raising her. However, active parenting is hard work. As the mother in a broken household, I feel a lot of additional pressure to make sure that she grows up well adjusted, as well as making sure that R gets a similar experience with her that I get with the boys. I want to make sure that R and Little K get to have fun together, enjoy each other, without the additional burden of correction/discipline, you know?

Now, that's not always possible. Little K is a very smart, precocious child and needs firm boundaries, as well as immediate consequences, to make sure that she can continue to behave and speak politely. I put a great deal of effort into spending time with her, either actively or at least in the same room, so I can provide reminders, etc. right away in order to help her grow into a young lady who has healthy, respectful relationships. But, there are times when I need to trust R to enforce our house rules with Little K. The two of them have managed to develop their own unique relationship that works for them, allowing them to still have fun while remaining respectful. It's not my way of parenting her, but I'm thrilled that they have formed a relationship that is comfortable for both of them.

When I'm being really honest with myself, I get concerned about R and I parenting a child together. Up until now, I've raised Little K my way and he's raised the boys his way. The other partner is the co-pilot, you know?  If the IUI works, we are going to have some challenges...

The past week was very eye opening for me, especially when realizing how out and out tired I was by the end of the week. Little K and SSA are seven years apart and the new child would be, too. It's a hard age difference to overcome. Do we really want to do this again? Do I have it in me to raise another child?

And what about R? He turns 48 today! If we're lucky we would have another child just a month or two before he turns 49. It became clear to me this week that I'm not so young anymore either - Jurassic Park came out for the first time when I was 13, which was almost 20 years ago, and my stepsons don't know Full House or Family Matters. OMG.

Why can't I just be happy with our little life, parenting Little K together and enjoying the boys when we can...


I'm not sure what the point of this post is, only to say that we miss the boys, are glad Little K is home, and wonder/worry about the future.

I'm done taking the Clomid, so now we are on wait and see over here. We have another follicle scan on Friday. I'm interested to see if this has helped or not. Right now, I feel like it didn't and that we're going to have to cancel.

I'm going to be asking my coordinator about using progesterone after the IUI. Given how out of whack my hormones are (apparently, sigh), I don't want to leave anything on the table!

I know a lot of what I'm feeling today is hormonal. Even though I'm done taking the Clomid, I'll be feeling the effects for a while. Plus, if it did its job, I should have at least a couple of follicles growing and pumping out estrogen.

It's going to be a weird week.


The boys played a ton of music I hadn't heard over the past week, since my songs are usually show tunes, Disney music, and Norah Jones. Here's one that is sticking out for me today:

Friday, April 5, 2013

CD20: Spent

I've been step-parenting two teenage boys all week, which is a ton of fun but also super exhausting. I've been staying up late hanging out with the guys and building memories, so I haven't been sleeping more than 5 or 6 hours a night. I'm taking them on outings and visiting their grandmother while R works upstairs. Feeding them, making sure they have a good visit, straightening up after everybody, and still trying to fit in RE appointments plus, oh yeah, work...

I'm exhausted.

How lame, right? I finally get to a place where I feel like the boys and I are really connecting and I'm too tired to enjoy it!

One more afternoon, one more night, one more morning. I've promised them an apple pie tonight and french toast before they hit the road tomorrow.

And then, I will sleep until Little K comes home on Sunday.


On the Clomid front, I had my first experience with hot flashes last night. YUCK! So far, though, everything else is maintaining. I've got a touch of a headache forming but attribute that to the yucky weather today.

Please accept my apologies for slacking on the comments this week. These boys have turned me into a zombie!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CD19: Dosing Up on Clomid and Hope

Well, my first dose of Clomid has come and gone and I'm feeling okay so far. I took a look at the bottle I was given and it appears that I'm on 100mg daily for five days, of which four remain. No side effects so far except for a very sore neck and swollen glands under my jaw. I think I'm coming down with a cold. Ugh.

I was in shock yesterday. When I wasn't laughing at the absurdity of a girl who has donated 170+ eggs but can't seem to make one on her own, I kept repeating: 

This wasn't how I thought the morning would go...

By the time we pulled back into the driveway yesterday, I was done. I was frustrated and even a little angry - at myself, at my body, at the vasectomy... All of it. I was angry that, after everything that has gone down - all the egg donations, three years of compromising and negotiating about TTC, losing my job, the delay in cycling, having to forgo IVF, the higher cost of every appointment we've had - that here I am. Unable to ovulate on my own and taking Clomid.


Sorry, I'm still getting over that.


I was so upset that I went inside, strapped on the gloves, turned up the beat, and spent 30 minutes wailing on my birthday present.

Isn't she pretty?

By the second song, my heart rate was well up. By number three, I was getting winded. And by number four, a space started to clear in my head for the Lord to begin to work. The space that told me that this wasn't the end. That reminded me of all the ways we've seen God work in our lives. That He can, will, and HAS done exceedingly abundantly more than anything we can ask or imagine.

By the end, I was hanging on the bag with my head against the canvas, breathing deeply. I can do this. We can do this. HE can do this.

I'm doing a little better today. I have a few scabs on my knuckles and an ache in my shoulders but I feel like I've passed a test. We're still moving forward and I'm working hard on regaining the peace I felt earlier in the week. In my lighter moments, I smile and remember my friend's words. It definitely feels like we're on that track right now.

Although we are still 11 days out from ovulation instead of two, we are still counting down. Four days left of Clomid, nine days until our next follicle scan. Hopefully just three-to-four weeks from welcoming a new life into our hearts and nine months from welcoming it into our family.

It's only my plans that have been interrupted, not His. How wonderful to know that I serve a Living God who doesn't hold my anger against me but, instead, uses it as a tool to draw me closer to Him.

Even in the storm, God is still so very good.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

CD18: What Even?

I've been sitting at the computer, trying to think of a way to sum up our morning. I think the phrase "unexpected to say the least" pretty much covers it.

Having completed so many donor cycles, we thought we knew how my body would respond. I was used to producing huge numbers! My lowest retrieval was 22; most were in the mid-thirties. My last cycle resulted in an astonishing 52 eggs, of which 48 fertilized and 46 made it to blast. We know that I make awesome eggs.

What we didn't know is how a big difference the injections had been making.

Today is cycle day 18 and I have... zero. My coordinator, the same one I've had for every egg donor cycle, says that my ovaries look baseline. The same as they have looked on every CD3 scan we've ever done.

I can't believe it.

Of course, I do believe it because I was there. I watched the screen and knew before she said anything. There's nothing going on.

She said that my ovaries are presenting similarly to her patients with PCOS. (Which we know I don't have; I don't even want to go down that rabbit trail.)

The layman's explanation she gave us is that I have a ton of antral follicles - about double of what is considered normal. Which explains why we got the big numbers on the donor cycles. The problem is that, left to its own devices, my brain seems to only send enough signal to my ovaries for the "normal" amount of follicles. We're not getting enough action to cause anything to mature.

Although my temp charts are bi-phasic, it's most likely that I haven't been ovulating every month. That would definitely explain why I've never gotten a positive OPK and why my cycles are so long: my body can't seem to produce enough estrogen to get things moving.

(All of a sudden, I see what a miracle Little K is...)

So, what do we do now?

My coordinator suggested Femara or Clomid to get things going, either starting one of those now or waiting for my next period and starting between CD2-5.

In the end, R and I decided to go ahead with trying one now and seeing if this cycle can be saved. My lining is looking great at 6.8 and, honestly, we're just ready to lay this whole thing to rest.

My coordinator ended up giving us five days worth of Clomid free of charge, which I will start taking tonight, and then come back in at ten days (CD28, OMG WHAT EVEN?!) to see if anything has developed. If not, we'll cancel and try again next month.

So, what's the good news?

Well, for starters, the good news is that we're working with a clinic rather than doing the home insemination. As I told R in the car ride home, I'd much rather throw $2000 at something with the doctor than $1200 at nothing at home.

The other good news is information. It's so good to have an explanation for my long cycles. I love knowing more about my body and getting a better understanding of what's going on and why.

And, of course, the validation that doing this with the doctor is the right decision.

I am reminding myself over and over that God is in control. He knew how today would play out and He knows the end result. His ways are perfect and His plan is the one that will come to pass.

My plan was to be triggering within the next few days. He clearly has another plan in place.


What I would really love from you ladies is to hear about your experience with Clomid. What should I expect? I have a feeling that the next five days are going to be nuts...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CD17: TTC Tuesday

Tomorrow is our first follicle scan and I can't wait to see what's going on in there!

As I've said before, I ovulate very late and we're not doing any meds this cycle except the trigger. I love that I haven't been having to do daily injections or OPKs. I've even given up on temping! I am feeling so relaxed at this point. It's wonderful!

What's especially nice is knowing that we're doing an IUI instead of DS insemination at home. I didn't realize how much the OPKs and temps were stressing me out! I am loving relinquishing control of this cycle to our doctor. Not to mention that the embryologist will be handling thawing the vial instead of me. I was really worried that I'd end up breaking it. Just one more thing to be thankful for!

Right now, I'm just happy. Relaxed, full of peace and hope. It's so nice. I hope this continues for the next three weeks!

Monday, April 1, 2013

CD16: Testosterone Town

My house is full of men this week. My two stepsons, SSA and RJR, are visiting for Spring Break. And I'm going to surprise myself by saying we're having a great time! I don't know what it is about this visit but it's just so much fun!

The boys arrived late Friday night and we all hung out on the couches for an hour or two catching up. Saturday everyone got up early, the boys worked out with the weight bench and punching bag, then we all took a long walk to look at the new construction in the neighborhood. Bonfire, burgers, and a movie that evening. Sunday was church and lunch, then watching You.Tube videos together and Easter candy. Dinner, Archer, birthday cake.

Today, I'm taking the boys to walk around Falls Lake. Later in the week, we're all planning on going to see Olympus Has Fallen. Friday we're hoping to go visit the supposedly haunted structures at Mordecai Historical Park.

Plus, SSA and I had a open, honest conversation about our relationship and I think we're headed in the right direction for healing and rebuilding of trust.

This visit feels so real, so easy. What a wonderful relief!