Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Infertility Update: December 2016

Ahh! December.... How can it be the end of December already? This year has flown by. I must say that 2016 has been so much more pleasant than 2015. Although we did some great things in 2015, the year was very much over shadowed by 6 failed fertility treatments, medications, a new doctor, a whole lot of waiting and disappointment, and one giant emotional roller coaster. Last year I remember being SO READY to say goodbye to 2015 and start over with 2016.

While 2016 has not brought us a baby, it has been much more smooth as far as this whole infertility fiasco goes. We really felt like we got comfortable with Natural Family Planning, and although we did not get pregnant using this method, we are happy with all that we've learned, and are going to hopefully save all of this knowledge for future use. We also went back to our RE (reproductive endocrinologist) and made plans for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). More on that later...

In other news, I FINISHED MY MASTER'S DEGREE!! AHHH! This is a HUGE weight lifted off of my shoulders. While I am so thankful for the opportunity to continue my education, and the MBA has been a great distraction these past 2 years, I am SO thrilled to be done. No more spending long sundays writing papers and working on projects. No more late week nights in the library, and large amounts of coffee just to make it through my work day. I am so excited to have finished.

So now that I'm no longer studying, what will I be doing with my time? So far I've spent the last 2 weeks celebrating my graduation and Christmas with my friends and family. I have really been avoiding blogging the past 6 weeks or so. It's been nice to just put infertility out of my mind for a bit. Over Thanksgiving, Lee and I took a trip to Spain. Initially we planned this trip for two reasons: 1. As a way to celebrate me finishing my MBA 2. As a way to either mourn a loss from IVF or embrace our last big vacation as a family of 2. We started planning this trip over the summer and we had intentions of trying IVF in October if we had not gotten pregnant naturally by then. As you know, due to a cyst and some timing issues, we did not do IVF in October. We didn't have enough time to do IVF before we left for our trip in November, so it was kind of a bummer knowing that after our trip we were still coming home to infertility, but nonetheless, we had an incredible time in Spain! It was a great mix of both relaxation and adventure, and I am so thankful that Lee and I have been able to travel together. I realize that if our timing with children were different that we would likely not have these memories together, so I do try to see the bright side and be greatful for all of the things Lee  and I have had the opportunity to do and experience together.

We got word in November that the cyst I had went away on its own (hooray!), and we were okay to move forward with IVF. Around the time we found that out, we were less than two weeks away from heading to Spain, so we did not have enough time to get anything started in November. We could've started a December cycle right when we got home, but we decided that since I only  had 2 weeks left to study hard and do well academically during my last semester of graduate school, that added stress of medication, all of the hormones, doctor appointments, etc. may not be the best recipe for success. I'd come this far and really wanted to be sure I could finish strong in my class and wanted to guarantee that I graduate, so we decided December was not our month for IVF either. So now, we are hoping January can be our month!

Our plan is to have an ultrasound and blood work done with the start of the next cycle, and as long as I have no issues with either of those (such as a cyst on my ovaries, etc.), we should be able to get started with the IVF medication.

Overall, I am so thankful for the gifts 2016 has given us. Although we did not see much change with our baby situation, we feel like we still made progress this year. I used the time to finish my graduate degree, and Lee was busy with both work and social commitments, and he was also able  to finish a few projects around the house. We got to see several great friends and close family members get married, we took an incredible trip to Spain, and several weekend get-aways with the people we love the most. Most importantly, I feel that through life's ups and downs, my relationship with Christ is stronger than ever, and I have no doubt that He has big plans for us in 2017. We now feel accomplished, rested, and ready to take on the new year head first. First goal: complete IVF! If you are praying for us, our main request at this time is simply  peace. Peace with the IVF process, medication, and results. I'm still praying for my friends and family who are having the health issues I mentioned in my last blog post. If I can be praying for you as well, please let me know! As always, thanks for reading and thank you so much for your love and support. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Infertility Update: November 2016

Hi friends! This blog post will be short and sweet. As you can see, the title of this blog post is NOT, "IVF Round 1"... and that is because we did not get to start our 1st round of In Vitro Fertilization last month.

My cycle day 1 fell on a Sunday, so I called the doctor's office 1st thing Monday morning. The nurse told me to come in the next day for a baseline ultrasound and blood work. If all went well, we would start the medications later that evening after the appointment. The blood work came back normal, but during the ultrasound, the nurse saw a large cyst on my left ovary. She said the doctor would take a look at my results and she would call me that afternoon. When she called, she said the doctor did not feel comfortable stimulating my ovaries with the medication while having that size of a cyst on my ovary. Although we weren't given the green light to start medication, the doctor wasn't worried about the cyst, and thought it will likely go away on its own.

So our next  options were 1. I could take birth control for 2 weeks and then come back in for another ultrasound to see if the cyst has gone away or at least gotten smaller, and if so, start the stimulation medication then. 2. Wait until next month and call back on cycle day 1 again.

Lee and I talked it over and decided we would wait. After trying to get pregnant for almost 3 years, we just thought it seemed kind of backwards to take the birth control pill. Also, I have been praying a lot lately for guidance, and couldn't help but wonder if this is the guidance I've prayed for.

Of course we were disappointed to not be able to move forward this month, but at the same time, we are thankful our doctor is putting my overall health first, and waiting for the optimal time to start this process.

So our next step is to call the doctor's office on cycle day 1 and I will go in for another baseline appointment to check on the cyst. If the cyst is small enough, or gone, we can start the medication to stimulate my ovaries. If not, we will talk with the doctor about our next options. We have some traveling planned that could interfere with completing IVF this month, so we just have to wait and see when my cycle starts and how that matches up with both our schedule and our doctor's schedule.

Because our doctor has to be available during the egg retrieval and embryo transfers for IVF (as opposed to the nurses being able to do the IUI procedures), he tries to have many of his IVF patients on a similar schedule so he is doing all of his retrievals and transfers within a week or so of the others. So because of that, I may end up needing to take some type of birth control in the future to make sure my cycle can match up to the doctor's timing, but we'll cross that bridge when/if we get there. For now, we are just hanging tight for my next cycle. When that time comes, I will share with you all our plans to move forward.

Hopefully my next update will be more exciting. I don't really have any major prayer requests right now. As I proofread this post, I scroll through Facebook and see updates from friends: major kidney issues, allergies, babies born early, kiddos being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, pneumonia, etc. So in the light of all that, I'm feeling thankful for my overall health even if my reproductive health stinks. Let's direct our prayers towards healing, patience, and guidance for all of our friends, family, and especially kiddos struggling with health issues.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Infertility Update: October 2016

Hi friends! I didn't have much info to share between June and September, but now that we've gotten things rolling with the IVF process, I have lots to share with you. If you want to read my last update, you can take a look here.

In late August, Lee and I met with our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) aka our fertility doctor, and let him know we were interested in moving forward with fertility treatments again. He thought IVF would be our next step, but wanted to do some testing to make sure nothing had changed since we last saw him in June 2015. He wanted to start by testing some hormones and my Vitamin D level. I also wanted to do some testing for a gluten intolerance (Celiac Disease), and he obliged. In addition to the blood work, he did an ultrasound and a biopsy.

The blood work showed that I have low Vitamin D. Most people have low Vitamin D, so this is a common thing. Mine wasn't dangerously low or anything, so he just suggested that I start that Vitamin D supplement again since I have been slacking on taking it over the summer. The blood work also showed that I do not appear to be allergic to gluten, and the hormone he tested measured normal.

The ultrasound that I had was different than any of the ultrasounds I've had before. It was an SIS, which is short for Saline Infusion Sonography. Basically they put saline in the uterus and do an ultrasound to take a look at the uterus and ovaries. This ultrasound caused a lot of cramping because of the saline, but other than that, not too horrible. The doctor was able to tell me during ultrasound that everything looked normal, so we knew already knew the ultrasound was fine going into the appointment.

The biopsy, on the other hand, was not as much of a breeze. The only good thing I can say about it was that it was quick. I had a lot of cramping during the biopsy, and once we were done, the doctor said that he wasn't able to get enough tissue, so he wouldn't be able to send it off to have lab work done. He said sometimes doing the SIS first can make getting tissue right afterwards difficult. There are two reasons we did the biopsy: 1. so we can test for endometritus in my uterus, (which is apparently different from endometriosis), and can be treated with antiobiotics. 2. After tissue is cut out for a biopsy, the uterus has to heal itself, and implantation of the embryo into the uterus can sometimes be higher in months after this healing happens.... so although he wouldn't be able to send the tissue off to the lab, the healing process would still happen, and our doctor was happy with that. He said it was totally up to me if he took another biopsy to send in. Although the 1st biopsy was painful, I decided that I was already there and already cramping and what not, so let's just do it and get it over with. That way we are going into our IVF cycle knowing that we've covered all of the bases that we can, and we don't know of anything that could interfere. So I actually had 2 biopsies taken that day, and I cried like a baby! So to all you women who have experienced pregnancy and child birth... I don't know how you do it!! The biopsy alone was enough to make me lay around and be whiny for the rest of the day. The good news is that the biopsy came back benign, so all is well there.

So other than Vitamin D, everything came back normal. Now I am diligently taking a daily Vitamin D supplement as well as the Vitamin B6 that my NFP doctor recommended, and a daily prenatal vitamin.

Our plan is that with my next menstrual cycle, I will start the injections on day 2, and on day 5 of my cycle I will go to the doctor's office for an ultrasound (a regular ultrasound this time, no saline), and blood work. I will do this for several days, add or decrease medication as needed, depending how my body responds. Once my body appears to have several mature follicles, we will do the trigger shot, which is an injection to trigger my ovaries to release eggs from these follicles, and then the doctor will retrieve all of these eggs. The eggs will then be matched up with Lee's sperm, grow for a few days to become embryos, and the embryos will then be transferred back to my uterus. We hope that they will then implant and I will be pregnant!

So that's a summary of our testing results and what will happen going forward. I will probably update you guys on each next step of the process as I can. If you are going to pray for us, please pray that my body respond well to the medication, and that other side effects (such as hot flashes, emotional ups and downs, etc.) are minimal. Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support, especially from those of you who have been there for us over the last almost 3 years. I was, and sometimes still am, nervous about sharing all of this and being vulnerable, especially online, about such a sensitive topic. I am so appreciative of those of you who have encouraged Lee and I, and I'm grateful for everyone who keeps reading. Some of you have been reading for almost 2 years now, and I can't tell you enough how much it means to me that you've not given up on us! Your hope reminds me to be hopeful on days when I feel like this is a lost cause. I can't wait for the day when I can post a photo or an update about our family of 3 (or more)! I told Lee the other night in the midst of a crying moment that I love our family of 2. I am so thankful for all of the great things we have going on in our lives and for all of the wonderful people we've been surrounded by. Despite all of that, I am so ready for our family to grow, and over the past 3 years, that yearning hasn't faded at all. In fact, it's gotten stronger. That can make this process a sad, frustrating, and draining one. I just can't thank you all enough for your support during those sad, frustrating, and draining times. I'm so glad to have you all, and most importantly I'm so thankful to know a God who loves, heals, forgives, and restores. He has really given us all of the resources we need to show infertility who is boss!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Infertility Update: September 2016

Hi everyone! I know, I know... Long time, no blog. When I wrote my last post back in June, I had all intentions of writing a few other posts this summer, but time just got away from me! This summer was lots of fun, but busy! Two of my favorite ladies got married this summer: my best friend from high school, and my cousin. I got to be Matron of Honor in both weddings. Did I tell you that the weddings were two weeks apart? So I spent a chunk of my summer doing a whole lot of brides-maiding. Everyone knows that I love planning parties, meals, favors, etc. so while this kept me super busy, it was also really fun for me.

In addition to bridesmaiding, I finished up a summer class, we were guests at a couple of other weddings, took a long weekend trip to Hilton Head Island, and did a little boating with family and friends. So all in all, Lee and I have been busy, but we've had a really great summer together. I'm feeling extra thankful for all of the time we've gotten to spend with our friends and family. I do still have plans for a few other advice-focused blog posts, but I'll put those on the back burner for now, so I can update you all with what's going on.

Throughout this summer, we continued tracking my cycles using a method of Natural Family Planning, called the Creighton Model. I won't go into detail with that process, but if you want to read more about it, check out my blog post from earlier this summer. We gave this method a fair try, and although we learned a lot from it, we have not yet gotten pregnant using it. Our NFP doctor, who has now also become our family doctor suggested that we move forward. He offered to refer us to a more specialized NFP doctor in St. Louis, but we opted to go back to our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE), aka our fertility doctor.

So, we made an appointment and met with our RE. He thought we needed to start with some testing, just to make sure nothing has changed since we last saw him. The tests we decided on were blood work to test hormone levels, vitamin levels, and a test for Celiac Disease. My doctor actually does not think I have Celiac Disease at all, but I really wanted this test done, so he obliged. A lot of people are now finding out that they are gluten intolerant, and I know a large majority of gluten allergies are still undiagnosed. I wanted to do some blood work to see if it is a possibility. Apparently blood work is just the beginning with that kind of testing, but it can be a good initial indicator. In addition to blood work, our doctor recommended an ultrasound and a biopsy.

So we got all of that scheduled, and actually I've done all of that testing at this point, but I'll save that whole experience for another post when I can tell you about the testing and the results all at once.

As long as the testing comes back okay, our RE recommends that we proceed with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Last year we did 6 IUIs with a plethora of medication, and none of them resulted in pregnancy. He really didn't think another IUI would be beneficial, and we agree.  So our plan is once we get the test results back, as long as everything appears to be ok to move forward, we could start an IVF cycle as early as with the start of my next menstrual cycle.

This has been a whirlwind for me. The day we had the appointment with our RE to tell him we were ready to try fertility treatments again, I pulled up to the office, and I just cried... In June of 2015 when we completed our 6th IUI, I never dreamed that 15 months later we would be coming back to this doctor with the same circumstances.

For those of you who have been following our blog for a while now, you already know that I have really struggled with whether or not IVF was the right choice for us. We had initially planned to do it last October once we got back from Mexico, but we just didn't feel called to take that step yet... and truthfully, I really wasn't 100% confident when we met with our fertility doctor again at the end of August.

For about a week after the appointment, I cried pretty much every day.... Is this the right choice for us? Are we sure we want to make this type of investment? Should we be seeking an adoption instead? Is this what God wants for us? Is this something that can bring God glory? So many thoughts running through my mind. So many decisions to make, too.

There are a lot of decisions to be made when agreeing to IVF, and depending on the outcome, we could be bound to IVF in the future as well. IVF is basically where I will take several different types of medication to prompt my ovaries to develop several mature eggs, then I will be put asleep and the doctor will retrieve those eggs. Me eggs will be combined with Lee's sperm in a lab, and will grow for a handful of days to become embryos. Then the embryos will be transferred back to my uterus in hopes of implanting and me becoming pregnant.

So if we have, for example, 5 embryos from our next cycle, we could choose to transfer 1 or 2 of them back into my uterus, and the remaining embryos would be frozen for future use. Obviously, if we only have 1 or 2 embryos that survive the 5ish day growth period, then we may not have any to use for future cycles... it all depends how things go with this first round, but even if we somehow get a miracle and are able to conceive on our own in the future, or decide to adopt and are blessed with a child that way, we still have these frozen embryos to use... so there are a lot of scenarios for us to think about and decide on.

With so many decisions on my mind, I was really struggling. In addition to all of the decisions for Lee and I to make, I was also stressing already about the medication. Last year when we did our IUIs, I really had a hard time. Infertility is tough on its own. Add in a ton of hormones, and it can be a hot mess. I just remember feeling so down and defeated after each failed IUI, and super stressed, anxious, and impatient at times, from the medication. I began to think of all of that and wonder if I'm ready for that emotional roller coaster again, and am I willing to accept the results if we try IVF and it fails.  I prayed about it a lot. When the time came for me to go in for my testing, that was a rough day physically, but I left feeling good about the talk I'd had with my doctor, and felt confident and excited to move forward. While the thought of the added hormones can be daunting, having an action plan, and working more aggressively towards achieving a pregnancy is exciting. So for now, we wait on test results and my next cycle to decide when and how we proceed, but the plan for now is to move forward with IVF.

If you want to pray for us, we would love for you to pray for guidance and for peace. Thanks to everyone who is still keeping up with reading my blog, especially during the down times when I don't have much news to share. I'll be sure to update you all in October with our test results, and tentative plan for moving forward.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Infertility Update June 2016

Confession: Normally when I post these updates, they are usually a few weeks behind. I started doing this during our fertility treatments last year, because I knew that if we got pregnant, I'd want a couple of weeks to tell friends and family personally before we shared on here. As you all know, my cycles are not always the same length, and because of this timing, I am usually ending once cycle and beginning a new one in the middle of a month, but it's just easier for me to update everyone on a monthly basis.

Based on the timing of my April post and that cycle, I assumed my next cycle would end near the beginning or middle of May, given my previous cycles.

So technically my "May" cycle ended Mother's Day weekend. Another month, no pregnancy. Kind of sad that it was Mother's Day weekend because that time can be difficult anyways, but all we can do is accept it and move on. So that's what Lee and I did. I really didn't feel like I had much else to say about it, other than we weren't pregnant, so I didn't write a May blog post. Then, about two weeks later (still in May) my cycle started all over again (ugh!), which made that cycle only about 2 weeks long. This was very unusual for me, and has never happened before, but my doctor did some blood work and confirmed that I did NOT conceive and miscarry, so that was good news.

My doctor doesn't know what caused the unusually short cycle, but he said to continue charting and if it happens again, we can do some more testing. Thankfully, this did not happen in June. Unfortunately, we also did not conceive in June. So I have actually completed 3 cycles since my last blog post, although its only been about 8 weeks since my last infertility update.

I want to update you guys on our future plans, but in order to do that, I think I need to recap. If you've been reading along for the past year and a half, and already know what's going on, feel free to skip these next 4 paragraphs.

Last year we did 6 rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI), with several different types of medication. None of them resulted in pregnancy, so we decided to take a break from fertility treatments. We had a few trips planned last summer/fall, and decided we wanted to go into those without the worry of taking along medications, or risking missing the trip for a doctors appointment, or missing an appointment because of the trips. Our plan was to try a round of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in October once we were done traveling for the year.

October came, and we decided that IVF with my eggs and Lee's sperm would likely be the last type of fertility treatment we are currently willing to try. We have learned that these expectations change, especially as the circumstances change, but this is what we are thinking for now. We wanted to make sure we have utilized all of our resources, that way, if IVF is unsuccessful, we can  have peace of mind knowing we really did try all of the options that fit within our comfort zone. That being said, we decided to give Natural Family Planning (NFP) a try. It took us a few months (about 5) to figure out how to chart my cycles, and really get an idea of what is going on. In March, my doctor figured out that near the end of my cycle, my progesterone level is dropping too soon. Having low progesterone can cause the lining of the uterus to shed sooner than normal, preventing implantation, along with a host of other issues. In addition to having low progesterone, I was having trouble recognizing ovulation, so my doctor recommended both Vitamin B (daily) and Mucinex (certain days during my cycle) to help enhance signs of ovulation, that way I can more easily recognize when this time is coming. So in March, I began taking these medications.

March went well, and I had a fairly normal cycle. Detecting ovulation in April was a mess, and I completely missed my window of ovulation and my window for taking progesterone. We hoped May would be better, but it was not. Ovulation was still hard to detect, so I had started and stopped progesterone (which may have caused my next cycle to be so short), and ultimately, we did not conceive.

My next cycle was a mere 2 weeks, but thankfully blood work did not show evidence of a miscarriage, and for that we are so thankful. June's cycle has been pretty normal, but unfortunately, we did not conceive. So here we are now, hoping for better news in July.

My doctor recommends that we give this medicine cocktail + cycle tracking a fair try, aka about 6 months or so. March was month 1, April was a wash, May was month 2, May's 2nd (2 week) cycle was a wash, and June was month 3. So we are about halfway through this NFP trial. We will keep trying July, August, and September, and pray that one of those months is finally the month God chooses to bless us with a child.

As we continue trying to conceive over these next few months, we are aware that these months could pass with no result in pregnancy. Although we try to remain positive, and are devoted to giving NFP a fair try, we also try to be realistic. If after this summer, we have still not conceived naturally, our doctor has given us 3 options, not in any specific order:
1. He can refer us to a more specialized NFP doctor in St. Louis
2. We can return to our  Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) who did our IUIs last year (or another RE if we prefer)
3. Adoption

Although we have no idea what will happen over these next few months, Lee and I have talked, and unless God puts something else on our hearts, if we do not conceive on our own, we plan to return to our RE this fall to finally give IVF a try.


How amazing would it be if we were able to get pregnant naturally? This is truly our wish, and if you want to pray for us, these would be our prayer requests: Pray that God allow us to conceive naturally.  Also, we would appreciate that you pray that God give us peace with His plan, regardless of what that entails.

As many of you know, I have made so many friends through this monthly infertility support group called The Nest. My friend Elisha hosts it once a month at her home in southern Illinois, and I have been attending for over a year. This group has been such a blessing to me! New friendships, great food, and people who just 'get it'. We have wonderful friends and family who have supported Lee and I throughout all of this, but having someone who has been through a similar experience is just a different type of support. These women encourage me, listen to me cry and vent, pray for me and with me. My relationship with Christ has grown due to the encouragement of this group, which has in turn also strenghtened my relationship with my hubby in ways that I never even knew our relationship needed to grow! It's kind of crazy to say, but in a way, I have to be a little bit thankful for infertility, because without it, I would not have met some of these women.

Because Lee and I are continuing our current treatment plan over the next few months, I really don't have much to update you all with other than whether we are or are not pregnant, but I want to keep blogging, because it is enjoyable for me, and I love keeping you all updated on whats going on in mine and Lee's lives. So in the meantime, I am going to write a few posts about what how infertility has ironically blessed me, how I've learned to cope, etc. and I will share those posts in lieu of a monthly update post here and there. I will also write updates on our situation, but probably less often since I won't have a lot of news to share. Don't worry, though. If Lee and I conceive, we will not leave you out of that exciting news! So many of you have kept up with us through this blog, and we are so thankful for your engorgement, prayers, and support. In the meantime, please let us know if there's something that we can be praying about for you as well.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Stranded: June edition

Today, I'm linking up with Mix and Match Mama Blog and A Little Bit of Everything Blog for their STRANDED! series!




For this series, check out the dates and blog about the 3 items you'd take with you if you were stranded on a dessert island!



Here are some links to my older posts: 
April: Medicine Cabinet Items
May- didn't participate

If I were stranded on a dessert island, and had to choose 3 Netflix series to watch, I would choose these: 

ONE




Pretty Little Liars.... I started season one of this show last fall, and let me just tell you that it was the best/worst idea I had all semester. The BEST because I LOVE this show. The worst idea, because it was mid-semester and I spent way too much time watching TV when I should've been studying and/or sleeping during that extra time. I got caught up by January, and I watched the end of season 6 on Hulu as the episodes came out. By the end of season 6, I kinda feel like the writers may have gone too far... they probably should've just stopped halfway through season 6, but because I'm so invested in this show now, I'll probably still watch the new season to see how it all plays out. This show is full of mystery and suspense, but also throws in some major love interests, lots of friendship, and plenty of family drama. If you haven't watched PLL, you should def check it out!!

TWO


GOSSIP GIRL! AHH! As if I didn't learn my lesson fall semester, then this spring once PLL was over, I started in on Gossip Girl. I really loved this show! PLL was good because it was suspenseful, and kept me on my toes, but Gossip Girl is a little more realistic, yet still scandalous. This show is about an extremely wealthy group of teenagers living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and all of the scandals and drama that surround them. The relationship issues can be relatable, but the wealth is a huge cause of the drama and the resolutions, and their whole lifestyles are all very frivolous, and I think that's part of what makes it so good! I loved the characters, and I was so sad once it was over, because I wanted to continue knowing what was going on in their lives!


THREE

The third series was so hard for me to choose. GG & PLL were easy because I've recently watched them, and really loved them both! For number 3 I'm going to have to choose ONE TREE HILL. This show brings back SO MANY memories for me, because I watched it during both high school and college, and I really felt like I was growing up with these characters (especially in high school). Their relationship struggles, pain, fear, etc. were all so real for high schoolers. The lack of parents, etc. was definitely not as relatable, but c'mon... its a TV show. If you didn't grow up having a crush on Chad Michael Murray, and yearning for a love as faithful and strong Nathan and Haley, but raw and passionate like Peyton and Lucas, then I'm afraid you missed out majorly! Once I got Netflix a few years ago, this was one of the first series I (re)watched. Still loved it several years after it aired. 



So those are my 3 fav shows that I'd take with me if I were stranded on an island and had access to Netflix. Hart of Dixie was a close runner up, as was Gilmore Girls and Fuller House. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Favorites- Birthday Edition 2016!!



Hi everyone! It's Friday and I'm linking up with Erika from A Little Bit of Everything Blog, Andrea from Momfessionals Blog, and Narci from Grace and Love Blog to share my favorite things from the week! You can save this graphic and visit their pages to join the link up!

Wednesday of this week was my birthday!! So I'm going to share all of my favorite things I've done to celebrate my birthday this year. 


ONE

My mom and I before the concert! 

My mom and I both had birthdays this week, so we started our celebration last week by going with my aunt, cousin, and my cousin's mother-in-law to the Melissa Ethridge concert! Honestly, I wasn't a huge Melissa Ethridge fan before the show. I knew and liked several of her songs, but I certainly wasn't a die-hard fan. My cousin and I knew that our moms were really big fans, so we decided to go. After the concert, I definitely became a bigger Melissa fan! She is such a talented musician. The concert was in a small, intimate venue, and she played solo. No opener, and no band! She sang AND played every song herself. She had 9 guitars on stage, bongo drums, a tambourine, and a harmonica. She put on a really great show! It's not very often that my mom and I get one on one time together, and we ended up staying up until 4am talking and catching up! It was just a really fun weekend. Spending time with my mom is always a favorite. 





TWO

Churro Cupcakes
So last Saturday my mom and I started our birthday celebrations, and the celebrations just continued into the week. On Sunday when I got home, my mother-in-law made a huge meal to celebrate my birthday. With cinco de mayo being this week, and me being a lover of Mexican food, she made a Mexican-themed meal complete with enchiladas, taco salads (she even had the crispy taco salad shells), queso, salsa, and churro cupcakes. It was all so good! Lee and I ended up taking home a few churro cupcakes, and I snagged a pic of one to share with you guys. I'm pretty sure my mother-in-law found this recipe on pinterest, and these were so moist and good! They are a sweet, cinnamon flavored cake and icing. Mexican food and visits with Lee's family are always a great way to celebrate! So having some time with them for my birthday was a favorite of mine this week. 





THREE
Royal New York Cheesecake Blizzard
On Monday, the celebrations continued! I get promo emails from Dairy Queen, and got a Buy One Get One Free Blizzard coupon, so of course we had to take advantage. So Monday night we got Blizzards from DQ. I don't have any pics from this, so I just borrowed one from the Dairy Queen website. Lee got one of the new Royal Blizzards and I had some of it- it was so good! It had cheesecake, graham cracker crumbs and strawberries in it. I got my usual pick, Oreo, which never disappoints. Ice cream and time with my love was for sure a favorite of mine this week. 






FOUR

I don't have a picture for #4, but on Tuesday this week, I went to the monthly meeting of The Nest. The Nest is a faith-based infertility support group. I have been attending monthly for about a year, and this group has been such a blessing to me! I have found new hope and new friends through this group. Attending the group, hearing the stories of other women and the monthly message has really encouraged me and strengthened  my relationship with Christ. I couldn't be more thankful for Elisha and the other friends I've made through this group, so being able to make it part of my birthday Celebration was definitely a favorite this week for me.  This month we had record attendance! There were a total of 24 women who came together, ate, laughed, prayed, and supported one another. It was so great. 





FIVE
I received this cookie bouquet for my birthday!

Wednesday was my actual birthday, and I started the day with breakfast made by my love. I worked all day and had a final exam that evening. A 2 hour critical thinking/writing exam is not the ideal way to bring in 27, but the good news is that it was my last exam of the semester! I survived another semester of graduate school, and now I'm on summer break. I'll take an online class this summer, and then one class in the fall before I earn my MBA. Finishing school for the semester and being on summer break was one of the top favs of mine for the week... maybe even the whole month! After the exam, Lee met up with me and several of my classmates and we all had a beer to celebrate the semester being over and my birthday! In addition to birthday breakfast and finishing the semester, I was also spoiled on my birthday with breakfast cake and Starbucks when I got to work, and a few of my closer co-workers gifted me with chocolates, bath bombs, a face mask, and a new cup to keep at my desk! My brother and sister-in-law, niece and nephew sent me a cookie bouquet, and my hubby and family spoiled me with a new watch. Talk about feeling loved!!



SIX
Lee and I at a Cardinal's Game several years ago. 
Thursday this week, Lee and I finished up our Mother's Day shopping after work and got ready for the weekend. Tonight we have tickets to the St. Louis Cardinals game and are going with two of our favorite friends! Tomorrow we will spend time with family at the zoo, and round out our Sunday with church and a big lunch to celebrate the mothers in our lives. A weekend packed full of friends, family, and quality time with my husband is by far my most favorite of the week!  The pic above is of Lee and I at a Cardinals game a few years ago. We'll have to get an updated one tonight! 



As you can tell, this whole week was pretty much my favorite! Last year I was pretty bummed when my birthday rolled around. Another year had passed, and we still didn't have a baby. At that time, Lee and I were in the midst of our 5th round of fertility treatments, and we were just feeling really worn down and frankly just sad about not being pregnant yet. This year, our circumstances as far as pregnancy go have not changed, but not having all of the hormone injections definitely allows me to be more positive. This year I had a really great birthday. I felt very loved all week, and I just can't be sad because I have so much right now to be thankful for. God has been so good to us this year, and we know that He has a plan to make us parents at the perfect time. I'm trying to trust in Him, and spend my time enjoying my current blessings. Some days its harder than others, but this week has overflowed with happiness and thankfulness! So happy Friday everyone!! Enjoy Mother's Day and the wonderful women in your lives. :)  For those of you who are not yet mommas, or cannot celebrate with your own mommas, know that I am thinking of you! <3 p="">

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites 4/29/16



Hi everyone! It's Friday and I'm linking up with Erika from A Little Bit of Everything Blog, Andrea from Momfessionals Blog, and Narci from Grace and Love Blog to share my favorite things from the week! You can save this graphic and visit their pages to link up as well.



ONE




Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers!! To me, these just taste like summer. We tend to make these often in the summer as an appetizer when we are grilling out or having friends over. I made these this week, because even though its technically still spring, I'm so close to being on summer vacation from school, I have summer on my mind! You can see my recipe for these peppers here.






TWO
Ahh... light at the end of my grad school tunnel! 
This one may be a little hard to see, because it is a picture of my computer screen, but it is a confirmation that my online final was submitted successfully. This week I had a final exam in my Cost Accounting class, and it was killer! I am SO RELIEVED to have completed it. Just one more final next week stands between me and summer break, and although I still have a full time job to keep me busy all summer, it will be nice to come home in the evenings and not have to do homework. After this semester (which ends next week), only 2 more courses stand between me and my MBA. Making progress towards this degree is definitely a favorite of mine!




THREE

New Shoes are always a favorite for me! I ordered these sandals from DSW last week, and I didn't want to pay for shipping, so I had them sent to the store. This week they arrived and I used it as an excuse for a girls' night! A friend and I went and picked them up, had dinner and Olive Garden, and did a little shopping at Ulta. That's my kinda night :). Anyways, I got these shoes home and I really love them! I usually wear a size 5 or 5.5 shoes, which can be hard to find. When I can find cute, adult shoes in my size, it's so exciting! I can't wait to wear them this summer. I am not getting compensated to advertise these shoes, btw, I just really like them!



FOUR
Melissa Ethridge
This is my 4th and final favorite for the week! This weekend my mom, my cousin, my aunt, and I are going to the Melissa Ethridge concert! My mom and aunt both really love her. I can't say that I am a mega, lifetime fan or anything, but I do know and like several of her songs. I'm mostly excited to get some girl time with a few of my favorite ladies! My mom and I both have birthdays next week, and we decided that in lieu of exchanging gifts, we would just go to the concert, have dinner, and spend the day together. To me, this is the best gift! Life is so busy, and it seems that girls days with my momma are few and far between. Looking forward to this all week has definitely been a favorite for me. 


 

As you can tell, this week was a busy one for me! One final to complete, a girls dinner and shopping with a friend, and one more final to prepare for. This weekend I am volunteering at my alma mater's college graduation, and attending the Melissa Ethridge concert with a few of my favorite ladies. Happy friday everyone! I hope your week was great and your weekend is even better! 





Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Favorites! 4/22/16

Hi everyone! It's Friday and I'm linking up with Erika from A Little Bit of Everything Blog, Andrea from Momfessionals Blog, and Narci from Grace and Love Blog to share my favorite things from the week! You can save this graphic and visit their pages to link up as well.

ONE

My first favorite of the week is this weather forecast!! Yesterday was rainy and kinda dreary here, so I'm looking forward to some sunshine and nice temperatures this weekend!


Spring has sprung! 


TWO

My second favorite is this spinach Alfredo pizza I made last night! It was delicious! Thin crust, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella and Italian style cheese, spinach leaves, chicken, bacon, and red onions.... so good! 



THREE

Another fav for this week has been the song "Good Father" by Chris Tomlin. This song just really speaks to me lately. I have really been trying to remind myself everyday that God is good, no matter what is going on... good days, bad days, God is still good, and He has it all in control. For more info, you can read my most recent update on our infertility journey here. .




FOUR

My final favorite for the week is this handsome guy! He and I have both been so busy the past two weeks, I feel like we really haven't gotten to spend much time together. I am looking forward to getting to spend some time with my husband this weekend. We are planning to start our weekend by having friends over tonight for Mexican food, margaritas, and birthday celebrations!



Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have a great weekend :) 



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Infertility Update April 2015

Well, this month was not a success in the baby making department. Actually, it was a super-fail for me as far as charting goes. I started the month not being very motivated, and therefore less-than-focused with charting my cycle.  Last month's cycle was longer than usual, and very sporadic as far as signs of ovulation go. I assumed this month would be no different, so I didn't pay very close attention at the beginning of my cycle, since I figured ovulation was much farther out (like last month), and as it turned out, I totally missed my window of ovulation. Because I didn't catch that I was ovulating, I didn't take progesterone, and before I realized, it was too late. So obviously, this month wasn't a huge shock that we didn't conceive, because we weren't super focused. 

Maybe that's not a bad thing? It’s kind of nice to not feel like every day is revolving around charting and all that. Life seems to be pretty busy these past few weeks, and it's been nice to focus on something other than getting pregnant. I almost feel guilty as I type this post, because it may sound like I really don't care about getting pregnant, and that's not true at all! I really do want to experience pregnancy and start a family, and so does Lee. We talk about it almost every day. After 2.5 years of trying, though, it just starts to get old... ya know? I get tired of wondering if we should or shouldn't plan a trip for a certain month, because what if I'm pregnant during that time? It's not just vacations, I feel like a lot of our larger life decisions over the past few years have revolved around whether or not we will soon have a baby, or will we have doctor's appointments for fertility treatments... it's like this constant feeling of being in limbo, and feeling uncertain about what the future holds for us. This past month, I was just over it. 


All that being said, this current cycle I have been much more attentive with my charting so far, so we'll see how it goes. Besides that, not much else is new with us. Although I don't have much else major to report, I think it is important for me to mention that throughout all of this, God is so good. All the time, every day. There are days when I'm really questioning his plan, and I feel like he has totally forgotten about me, because why else would he make me wait this long? There are days when I just feel defeated, unworthy, and broken down. Those days are few and far between, but when they come, they crash in like a ton of bricks. Then I have days when I have zero doubts that God will bless us with a baby, and I feel so encouraged. On those days, infertility seems like no big deal, because I know our breakthrough is coming... and then, of course, there are lots of days like I had this past month where I just felt indifferent, and lacked the motivation to worry about it. I think most people dealing with life's struggles can relate to that... not just infertility, but through any of the curve balls life throws our way, there are good days and bad days. God has NOT forgotten me, nor does he think I am unworthy... I think the best time is right now, and he has a plan better than I could even imagine. I sometimes just have to remind myself that on the good days, God is good, and on the bad days, God is still good. 

Thank you for reading and keeping up with our blog! Since my school schedule is winding down and I'm starting to have more free time after work, I've been getting back into the swing of blogging more. Over the past year or so since I've started this blog, it has been really enjoyable to be able to share bits of our life with you all,whether it be fun recipes I've tried, random social blog posts, or updates on our journey to start a family. Lee and I are so thankful for those of you who read and pray for us. I would love to return the favor. If there's anything I can be praying about for you, please let me know! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Favorites! 4/15/16

Hi everyone! Happy Friday!! I'm linking up with Erika from A Little Bit of Everything Blog, Andrea from Momfessionals Blog, and Narci from Grace and Love Blog to share my favorite things from the week! You can save this graphic and visit their pages to link up as well.


ONE



Free Starbucks!! Whoop whoop! On Sunday I spent the whole day working on a term paper for my accounting class, and I definitely needed coffee to get through the day. Luckily, I had a reward on my Starbucks app, and I redeemed it for a Venti Caramel Macchiato. I think this may be my first time ever ordering a Venti drink at Starbucks, but given the circumstances, it was totally worth every calorie! I was especially happy that I redeemed my free drink before the new rewards chaos started. 

TWO


You are probably looking at this pic and wondering what in the world it is.... It is a pic of my computer screen after I submitted my term paper. AHH! IT'S FINALLY DONE! I am so relieved to have that marked off my to-do list. Only one more paper and two exams stand between me and the end of the semester. As long as I can survive the semester, I will only be 2 classes away from earning my MBA. I feel like I have been in school FOREVER, so I am so excited to see some light at the end of the tunnel! 

THREE

Drywall= done! Next up: painted walls, and new flooring ! Woo Hoo! 

What is this chaotic mess? Its a pic of drywall in our basement... We have been expanding the living room in our basement for what seems like forever, and for the past 2 weeks, we have been having drywall put up. It is finally finished! YAY! Next up: New flooring and paint!


FOUR

I've been using this sauce as salad dressing! I bought it at Schnucks. 

I have been using this sauce as salad dressing! It is only 30 calories for one tablespoon, and it is very similar to the peanut dressing at one of my favorite Asian restaurants here in town. I like to put spinach, chopped bell peppers, chopped red onions, shredded carrots, sunflower seeds, shredded cheese, and won-ton strips on my salads when I use this dressing. One night this week I even sauteed some shrimp in the skillet and dumped them on a salad with this dressing and called it dinner. So yummy! If you're looking for a low calorie dressing that doesn't taste low calorie, try this one!

For the past month or so, Lee and I have been trying to eat healthier and shed some pounds before summer (aka boating season) gets here. We started by doing the 3 day military diet, and we did that for 2 weeks. 3 days on the diet, 4 days off , and we both were able to drop about 5 pounds. No working out, just following the diet. After 2 weeks, the foods on the diet got really repetitive, so for the past 2 weeks, we decided to just work on eating healthier, smaller portions, and add in exercise. So far, we have done really well with eating smaller portions, making healthier choices, and still having a splurge here and there to keep things fun. We are both slacking on the working out part, but we've both been busy with work and school, so maybe once things slow down, we'll jump back on that train.  Just changing our diets and not over-eating has really made both of us feel pretty good! 


So those are some of my favorite things from the week! I am looking forward to finishing up my last group paper this weekend, and spending some time with my husband since we've both been pretty busy all week. I hope you have a great weekend as well! I'll see you back  here next week for my April Infertility Update!! 





Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stranded with 3 things! April Edition

Hello friends! When I first started blogging, my main goal was to keep my friends and family posted on where we are in our infertility journey, so I didn't have to tell the same story over and over... But then I soon realized that blogging is really fun! So next I started sharing some of my favorite recipes, and even linked up on a few social posts with some of my favorite bloggers. The past 8 months or so I have pretty much just stuck to infertility updates because working full-time and going to graduate school has kept me overwhelmingly busy! Now, I am nearing the end of the spring semester, and the work load in my classes is finally starting to dwindle down. HALLELUJAH!

Since I'm now nearing the end of my semester and am slowly starting to get more free time, I decided it would be fun to do some more social blogging. So today, I'm linking up with Mix and Match Mama Blog and A Little Bit of Everything Blog for their STRANDED! series!




For this series, check out the dates and blog about the 3 items you'd take with you if you were stranded on a dessert island! 


So today, I'll blog about the 3 from my medicine cabinet that I'd take with me if I were stranded on a dessert island.


Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Shampoo & Conditioner

NUMBER 1: SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER

The first thing on my list from my medicine cabinet would be shampoo and conditioner! My hair is kinda straight, kinda wavy, pretty frizzy (especially in the heat), and gets super unruly when I am in water all day (swimming, boating, etc.). So the first thing on my list would be shampoo & conditioner! Some people might say this is cheating because it's actually two items, and if that's the case, then I'd choose some kind of 2 in 1 combo, although I really prefer my shampoo and conditioner separate. 




NUMBER 2: DEODORANT

Unfortunately, I am a super sweaty person... its disgusting, really. I just don't think I could live on a dessert island without deodorant. Everyone would be so stinky without it!! So my number 2 choice would definitely be deodorant for all! 




NUMBER 3: CHAP STICK 

There are few things worse than chapped/sun burnt lips!! So my 3rd medicine cabinet item would be Chap Stick, with SPF. 


If I had to guess, I'd say the 3 medicine cabinet items my husband, Lee, would bring on a dessert island would be Sunscreen, Neosporin, and Toilet Paper.... those are my guesses for him. He is a sunscreen freak in the summer, which is great, because he always reminds me to keep my skin protected, and he also thinks Neosporin fixes everything medical related. Toilet paper... well that's pretty self-explanatory, haha :)! So since he'd have those essentials covered, I could choose items that are not necessarily ESSENTIALS, but definitely needed for comfort! 

So those are the 3 things I'd take with me from my medicine cabinet if I were stranded on a dessert island: Shampoo/Conditioner, Deodorant, and Chap Stick. What would you choose? Visit Mix & Match Mama's page or A little Bit of Everything Blog to link up & let us know. The next link up will be May 11, where we discuss the 3 books we'd take with us if we were stranded on a dessert island. Happy Wednesday, friends! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Infertility Update March 2016

Hi friends! Here is an update with what has been going on over the past 5 weeks or so. Over the past few months, we have been learning to chart my cycles using a Natural Family Planning method, and this past month we have added in some medication to help. To briefly summarize, we continued charting using the Creighton Model, while taking Vitamin B and Mucinex prior and during ovulation, and taking progesterone (hormone) after ovulation. The Vitamin B and Mucinex are both mucus enhancers, which should help me to identify ovulation. We think my progesterone level is low, so by taking this pill, it should help increase mine to a normal level.

We were really feeling positive about this plan, and were super excited to get started. Unfortunately, this month was more irregular than the past few months, which made tracking more difficult. The general concept with using the Creighton Model is that by tracking mucus or lack thereof and charting it daily, we can begin to see a pattern, and be able to recognize when I am ovulating. After meeting with our doctor the last time, we figured out that I typically have two peaks per month (which basically means if you look at my chart, you would think I ovulated twice in one month because of my charting pattern), but with blood work, we were able to learn which peak is true ovulation. Once I was able to recognize signs of ovulation, I was to start taking progesterone. This was my first month trying this hormone, and overall, it was no problem. I took it in the evenings before bed because it can cause dizziness, stomach discomfort, etc. I really didn't notice any of those symptoms. In fact, the only symptom I noticed was that I had a nice, deep sleep each night I took his hormone. That being said, I did found it more difficult to wake up and get going in the mornings, but overall I enjoyed the good sleep. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm really not a morning person, so progesterone certainly didn't reduce productivity before work, because I'm rarely productive before work anyways, haha!

Before taking the progesterone this month, I had a hard time identifying whether or not I had actually ovulated because my cycle did not follow the same pattern this month that it had previously. There was one night where depending how I read my chart, I may or may not have been ready to start the progesterone. I really wasn't sure, so I sent a text to my NFP trainer. She ended up calling me at 11pm on a Saturday night and talked me through my chart! She is truly so dedicated to this cause! She looked at my chart and suggested I wait a few days to take the progesterone, so that's what we did. By looking at my completed chart at the end of the month, my doctor said that she was correct. We felt extra thankful for her guidance and encouragement this month.

Although we were finally able to pick out when I ovulated, unfortunately, we did not get pregnant. I was pretty bummed, and had two solid days of crying and moping around a small little pity party. Lucky for me, my friends and family never allow me to stay down long, so after a few days of feeling sorry for myself, my hubby reminded me that what's done is done, and we have to keep truckin' along. One of the few good things about infertility is that once we get our bad news, we are right into a new cycle, and with each new cycle comes another chance to get pregnant and new hope.

After finding out that we did not conceive this month, we scheduled an appointment with our doctor. He looked at my chart and said that he thought the medicine I took was helpful, and he thinks we're looking at having a pretty normal cycle now. (Although my charting was more difficult this month, I was still able to identify ovulation and had a normal timing between ovulation and my period, so this is overall a "normal" cycle.) He typically diagnoses infertility after 6 months of a couple trying to get pregnant while charting a normal cycle. So since we've only had one "normal" cycle with the 3 medications, he thinks we should try this new concoction and timing of medication for another 5 months.

After 5 months of this plan, if we have not conceived, he can either refer us to a more specialized NFP doctor in St. Louis, or we can go back to our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) who did our IUIs. We know if we go back to our RE, his suggestion will be In-Vitro Fertilization, which is something we had planned to do last summer, but we put that idea on hold to try NFP. At this point, we still aren't opposed to that option, but we really don't even want to think that far out yet. For now, we want to focus on our current plan with our current doctor, and hope that after a few cycles of Vitamin B, Mucinex, and Progesterone, our miracle will come.

I will keep you all updated over these next couple of months. If you are prayerful, please continue to pray for guidance and peace, as we are really trying to be patient and trust that this is all part of God's great plan for us. If you are not prayerful, but want to be, please reach out to me! I would love to share with you what God has done in our lives these past couple of years. Thank you for reading! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Infertility Update February 2016

Hello everyone! This month has been really exciting, and I can't wait to share with you our progress. If you need to catch up, here are links to my last 2 blog posts:
November and December
January

To summarize, I have been charting my cycles using a Natural Family Planning method (The Creighton Model), and have been taking Vitamin B and Mucinex, which will hopefully help to make ovulation more obvious, as both can act as mucus-enhancing agents, and the Creighton model focuses on tracking mucus or lack thereof. By looking at the charts of my cycles, my doctor also suspects low progesterone (hormone), and did blood work last month to test my progesterone level.  

So here's what's been going on this month: We recently met with our doctor to get the results of the blood work I had done in January. Our goal was to have the blood drawn after ovulation. We realized by looking at the hormone levels and by looking at my charts, that I ovulated later than I expected. So this means the timing with the blood work was off, and our doctor wasn't able to officially see if my progesterone level is low, but he was able to confirm about when in my cycle I ovulated. Based on what my charting shows and when my blood work showed me to have ovulated, now I feel really comfortable being able to recognize when I'm ovulating. Although we weren't able to tell for sure that my progesterone level is low because of the timing of the blood work, based on my last 3 cycles, my doctor feels comfortable assuming my progesterone is low, so I will start taking that pill with this cycle.

I'm not a doctor, so I don't know all of the technical terms that go along with all of this, but here's how I understand it: I have a lot of spotting before and after my period. My doctor says this is an indicator that I likely have low progesterone. Because my progesterone is low, the lining of my uterus is beginning to shed (me have a period) sooner than it should, which could prevent implantation even if the sperm and egg are meeting. Also, low progesterone can be a cause of miscarriage, so being aware of this could help to prevent issues in the future. 

So this month I am continuing to take Vitamin B everyday. I'll also take Mucinex a few days before ovulation would typically happen, and continue it until I see signs of ovulation. After I see signs of ovulation, I will stop taking the Mucinex, and start taking progesterone. Thankfully, the progesterone is simply a pill I can swallow rather than an injection like some of the other hormones I previously took. This is a small victory that I am happy to celebrate! :)

With adding the progesterone this month, there are 2 good outcomes we could hope for. The first option would be that I get pregnant, and we'd have exciting news to share with you guys! The second option would be that if I don't get pregnant, we hope I have a normal period without a lot of spotting. If I miss my period and am pregnant, we will do some blood work to see if I should keep taking progesterone throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. If I don't get pregnant this month, we will go back to the doctor and see if he thinks the progesterone helped at all, and go from there. We are really feeling positive about what we are doing right now. We have no way to know if this will work for us, just as we didn't know with IUI, but we feel like everything we are learning about NFP is very useful, and I really feel like I am in a much better place emotionally than I was last spring. I am looking forward to trying something new this month, and I can't wait to share our progress with you all!







Sunday, January 31, 2016

Infertility Update January 2016

Hi everyone!! In my last post, I told you all that Lee and I were working with a new Family/OB Doctor who was helping us learn how to use Natural Family Planning (NFP). NFP is a way of tracking various biological markers (such as mucus) to determine when ovulation is occurring. There are several different versions of NFP. Lee and I are using The Creighton Model.

We started tracking my cycle in late October, and had tracked about 2.5 cycles when we did our follow up at the end of December. 

Here's what we found out at our appointment: based on what I've charted, I likely have a very small window of ovulation. He suggested I start taking a slow release Vitamin B daily, which should help with this. He also recommended that I start taking Mucinex n a few days before I would typically ovulate, and continue taking It until after my peak day (ovulation). 

In addition to the two over-the-counter medications I'm taking, my doctor also wanted to do some blood work to test my progesterone. From what I understand, progesterone is a hormone that helps thicken the lining of the uterus. Each month the progesterone level should increase around the time of ovulation (and subsequently the lining of the uterus would thicken as well). Then, after the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus flushes out, and that's when a woman has a period. If the egg does fertilize, then of course the progesterone level stays higher and the lining of the uterus stays thick so that it can support the growth of a baby. Low progesterone can cause issues with implantation and also can be a cause of miscarriage. Based on what my charting has shown, my doctor thinks it's possible I may have low progesterone. He suggested we do some blood work to find out. To make sure my progesterone level is peaking like it should, once I show signs of Ovulation, I have blood work done on days 3, 5, 7, 9, & 11 after my peak day. I had this done last week. My blood work is being sent to a lab in Omaha, and once my doctor gets the results, he will have Lee and I schedule a follow up appointment. If my level is low, he will likely have me take progesterone. So we're curious to see how that turns out. 

Our doctor says once we get the progesterone and mucus levels right, Lee and I should try getting pregnant naturally for several months. Once we get the blood work results back, I will post another update. So far, we are learning a lot tracking my cycles, and the past two months my cycles were fairly regular! This is great, and we are thankful for every bit of progress we make.

Thank you for reading my blog, especially since my posts are less frequent these days, and thank you even more for your thoughts and prayers!