Tuesday, June 23, 2015

IUI #6 Results

Well friends, as you know, we gave the IUI process one last try in June. If you missed my last blog post, you can catch up here. We were really hoping this was going to be the month we finally could say we are expecting, but unfortunately, we are not.

I have gone back and forth for days about what to say in this blog post. This past week or so has been full of ups and downs, and I've really struggled to put my feelings into words this time around.

I've had a lot of ups and downs coming to terms with the fact that after 12 months of trying on our own, 6 IUI cycles, 5 different medications, and a whole lot of prayer, we still aren't pregnant. I am still faithful. I have no doubt that our time will come to be parents; I just can't imagine our future without a family of our own. The thing is, even though I know it will happen some day, some how, I just really want someday to be NOW.

Lee and I are at that age where a lot of our friends are having children. There is a flood of pregnancy announcements and baby pictures on my Facebook and Instagram news feeds. It seems like everyone's lives are moving forward in exciting ways... wedding, marriage, new home, new baby, new job, or some combination of those things. Everyone has something that they are working towards or currently celebrating, and I can't help but feel like Lee and I are "stuck" in this stage of life, where we've had the excitement of starting our marriage and making our home our own together. We are so ready to move forward to that next stage, but its just not happening for us.

My friend Elisha, from Waiting for Baby Bird reminded me last week that even though I feel "stuck", I am not. God is just setting the stage for what is to come. He can change our circumstances so quickly, and when he does, I will be able to look back on all of this and know that this experience has made me a better friend, wife, Christian, and maybe this experience will even make me a better mom someday.

Lee reminds me DAILY how lucky we are to be healthy, have jobs, have our home, friends and family nearby, more friends and family just a car ride away... I know how blessed we are, but I tend to forget those things so quickly when I'm thinking about what I don't have. I'm thankful for where we are and what we've overcome to get here. I need to continue to remind myself of all of this when I'm feeling down about not having a child.

For now, we are trying to stay positive and enjoy all of our blessings. We know that we have a lot to be thankful for, and a God who loves us and forgives us everyday. We know that he hears our prayers, our cries, and hears us rejoice. We yearn for the opportunity to become parents, and we will continue to seek that in the future.

We assume that our next step with fertility treatments will likely be In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), but we will find out for sure when we meet with our doctor for a follow up appointment at the end of this month. We have decided that regardless of what our doctor suggests, we are going to wait until at least the end of the summer or maybe later to do more fertility treatments. For now, we are going to take a break. Our hearts, minds, and bodies could use some time to heal, and we're going to do just that!

We are looking forward to spending our summer with friends and family, enjoying time with each other, and taking a trip or two! It will be nice to do all of this without worrying about traveling with medication, what time I need injections, or when I have to be at a doctor appointment. I think this will be a nice stress relief, and a great way for Lee and I both to embrace and enjoy all that we currently have to be thankful for. In fact, we just got home on Sunday evening after a weekend away and were talking about how awesome it was to spend our weekend outside enjoying the sunshine, and getting to see two of our three families. If there's anything that can cheer me up, its family, grilling, and sunshine!

I will keep blogging about our plans and progress, and hope that someday soon we will have good news to share with you all. In the meantime, we will keep praying that God allow us to become parents at the perfect time, and that he help us to find peace and patience in the meantime. We would love for you to pray for the same.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lee & Sara's European Adventure Part 4: Berlin, Germany

We woke up early on our last day in Munich, & flew to Berlin. Our first day in Berlin we were exhausted due to our 6:30am flight departure from Munich. We spent our first couple of hours doing laundry, had some "Mexican food". It was good, but no comparison to Mexican food we eat here in the states: think your fav local Meixan joint minus the queso. 
Me with my Mexican food in Germany... too funny! 

That night we got on the bus planning to do a little sight seeing, but the next place the bus stopped at looked really fun so we got off the bus to check it out! It was a Christmas festival! They called it the Wintergarten. It had all kinds of booths set up w food, drinks, crafts, etc. Berlin is known for its Currywurst, which is like a sausage cut up & covered in tomatoey-curry sauce. Lee tried that & I had this bread pocket filled w chicken & garlic sauce. My favorite thing we ate there was this chocolate covered strawberry kabob. The milk chocolate here is the best I've ever had! It's so milky & smooth & amazing. We spent the whole night walking around & looking at all of the Christmas lights & booths. It was probably my favorite thing in Berlin
Chocolate desserts at the Wintergarden

Lee's currywurst
Booths at the Wintergarden

Beautiful tree in Berlin

The next two days we spent sightseeing both by walking & from our Hop on-Hop off bus. We didn't get to see as much as we would've liked because many things were closed for New Years, but we did get to see a part that is left of the BerlinWall, the Jewish Museum, the German History Museum, & the German president's house! 
A little chunk of what's left of the Berlin wall

On New Year's Eve, we went to the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate. For the Germans, this is similar to going to Times Square in New York City. There were TONS of people there. They had djs, food and drink booths, bands, etc. Thy had a huge section if the street closed off & it was just a huge party. At midnight they had a fireworks show. This was a great time, & our sight seeing yesterday definitely suffered because of it! Haha. We made friends with two girls from the UK & spent most of the night hanging w them! It was such a memorable time for us
Look at all of those people celebrating at the Brandenburg Gate for NYE! The light in the very back is the main stage. 

Our last night in Germany, we had one last German meal, & the next day we headed to Paris. My poor Leeroy started coming down w a cold at this point in our trip. We brought some medicine w us, but it was one of those colds where you need a few days in bed to sleep it off & he didn't want to sleep off our last 2 days of vacation, so he took medicine and pushed through. To end our time in Berlin we got up at 3:30am to get ready & get to the airport, and arrived in Paris around 9:00 a.m. 
Lee was excited for one last German meal! This statue was outside our restaurant. 

Berlin was the city we did the least amount of planning for, but we enjoyed it none-the-less. It was so fun to experience New Years Eve in another country! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) #6

This month, we had our 6th IUI.  On day 3 of my cycle, I started with daily injections of a medication called Gonal-F. After 5 days of injections (day 8 of my cycle) I had an ultrasound and blood work to see how I was responding to the medication. The doctor recommended that I do two more nights of injections and come back two days later (day 10 of my cycle). On day 10 I had an ultrasound and blood work, which showed that I still wasn't quite ready to ovulate, so I did another 2 nights of injections, and came back for....you guessed it... another ultrasound and blood work on day 12. The ultrasound and blood work that day showed I was ready to ovulate, so that night Lee gave me the trigger shot (injection which forces ovulation), and 36 hours later, on cycle day 14, we had our 6th IUI. We are now in our two week wait, and because our IUI fell over a weekend, we won't actually have a pregnancy test until day 29 of my cycle.

This month was a little different than last month because not only did I have 9 nights of Gonal-F injections (last month I only did 6 nights), I also took a larger dose each day. So 9 nights of the Gonal-F plus the trigger shot (Ovidrel) means I had 10 days in a row of shots. This really didn't bother me too much hormonally, but I did end up with a pretty big bruise on the left side of my stomach. We alternated sides each night for the shots, but I guess that many days in a row just irritated my skin. Other than the bruise, no major issues this month, which is great!! 

As you know from my last blog post about infertility, we have decided that if IUI number 6 isn't successful, we are going to take a break from fertility drugs and treatments. We have learned a lot about ourselves and the process of getting pregnant during these past 6 cycles, and we're thankful for the knowledge we now have. However, we have decided if  cycle #6 is not a success, we are going to take a break from fertility drugs and treatments for a while. Emotionally, it has been tough getting 5 negatives in a row, on top of the 12 months of trying we did on our own before starting the IUIs. Physically it has also been tough, so if we get another negative, we'll be ready give our minds, hearts, and my body a break.

This month overall has gone really smooth. We are hoping that the extra medication helped us out, and that this is the month God intends for me to get pregnant. I had 5 follicles (eggs to be released) and my last ultrasound, so we are praying that at least one of them will take (Let's be real, I've been hoping for two all along haha). All jokes aside, we will take what God gives us, and at this point, we're simply praying that IUI number 6 is a success. We are now in the two week waiting period, and are hoping to have good news to share next time I post. In the meantime, we'd appreciate if you could pray that IUI number 6 results in a healthy pregnancy!

I came across these bible verses this week, and thought I'd share, ans they are both so appropriate

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

S'mores Pie

S'mores Pie 

S'mores Pie... one of the most magnificent desserts I think I've ever tasted... seriously! I LOVE. love. love anything s'mores!! Last fall, Lee built an awesome fire pit in our back yard. He worked so hard on it for several weekends in a row. Once he was finished, he was excited about how nice it turned out, and he was relieved to finally have it done....that's the difference between men and women, I guess, because I was most excited about having friends over and eating s'mores! HAHA.

So anyways... back to the S'mores Pie... This is not my original recipe. I found it on the Hershey's website. You can find a link to the original recipe here. How awesome is it that Hershey's has  TON of free recipes on their site featuring Hershey's chocolate products?! A little bit of heaven on earth, that's for sure. I followed the recipe pretty closely since it was my first time trying it, but I did make a few little changes. Below is how I made mine:

6 Hershey's  original candy bars
1/2 stick butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (or vanilla wafer crumbs)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 container marshmallow cream
1/2 teaspoon Crisco
Cooking spray

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Break up your Hershey's bars and set about 5 squares aside. Spray a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray.

For the crust, I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer, and it worked like a charm, as always. You could use a hand mixer too if you prefer. Mix your sugar and butter together in the mixer, then add in the egg and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy. Next add in your flour, baking powder, and cookie crumbs and mix thoroughly.

I know that S'mores are made with graham crackers, but when I got my graham crackers out and started breaking them up, they smelt kinda like cardboard. I tasted them, and they also tasted like cardboard... I'm guessing this package had probably been sitting in my cabinet since last fall, so I threw them away. I didn't have any other graham crackers at home, so I just used Vanilla Wafers. They worked great, but I am planning to try the recipe with graham crackers next time. To break up my wafers, I put them in my chopper and crushed them up. I got one of these choppers for Christmas a few years ago, and used it so much that it wore out. Then, on black Friday, I ordered a new one from Wal-Mart for $5! It is worth every penny. If you don't already have one, you should get one. It will change your life.

Once you have your sugar, butter, egg, flour, baking powder, and cookie crumbs mixed together, they should be dough-y. Split your dough mixture in half. Set one half aside. Using your fingers, flatten out one half of dough on your pie pan.

Spread your whole jar of marshmallow cream over the bottom of your pie crust. This can be a little tricky because the marshmallow is so sticky, but using a plastic spatula helps. Make sure you get some marshmallow cream in the back edges of the pie.
I didn't quite get enough marshmallow cream along the bottom outside edge
of my pie. Next time I'm going to make sure to do that. 

Next, throw in your chocolate pieces (except for the 5 or so you set aside at the beginning). Try to distribute them as evenly as you can.

Finally, take the other half of your dough and form it into a ball. Next, spread it out on a sheet of wax paper and try to form it into about a 9 inch circle on the wax paper.

Pick up your wax paper with the dough on it, flip it over on the pie, and peel off the wax paper. Press the edges of your two crust layers together.

Bake the pie for about 20-30 minutes. Once your pie is cooked, turn off the oven and let your pie cool in the oven for about 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Once your oven is turned off and your pie is cooling, put your Crisco and remaining chocolate in a bowl. Microwave on 50% power for about 20 seconds. Make sure you watch your chocolate, and heat it on low heat. I actually burnt mine up! Luckily, I had some Hershey kisses in the house, so I melted a handful of them with some more Crisco to make my drizzle. After your mixture is heated, stir it up and drizzle over the pie.

Enjoy your pie while its warm and the marshmallow is gooey!! If you have pie left over, cover it with plastic wrap. When you're ready for another piece, stick it in the microwave for about 20 seconds on 50% power, and it becomes gooey amazing-ness once again. The pie even tastes good cooled, but it is definitely better melted.  YUM!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Post-IUI #5 Update

We have decided that if IUI number 6 is not successful, we are going to take a break from fertility drugs and treatments for a while, before moving onto our next option. As you can imagine, 6 cycles back to back has been a great learning experience for us, but has also been filled with a lot of devastation and anxiety as well. We feel like our past 5 months have been centered around fertility treatments. Whether or not we can go out of town for the weekends, take days off work, plan trips, etc. have all been planned around whether or not we have or could potentially have doctors appointments, and even when we don't have appointments, the trigger shot and Gonal-F injections all are time sensitive, so this also requires us to make plans around when we'd need to be home for me to get the injections. Don't get me wrong, we know that someday this will all be worth it, and we understand that it is probably good practice, because going forward we will always be planning our lives around accommodating our children. Despite all of that, we currently don't have the benefit of having children to love and care for, and that can make all of this frustrating and inconvenient at times.

But for now, we are starting IUI cycle number 6, and giving the injections one more try. Similar to our last cycle, we started cycle number 6 with nightly injections. Although I did have a good response to the injections last month, our doctor has decided to increase our dose this month, in hopes of having more eggs released, and better odds of getting pregnant. After 5 days of injections, the plan is to have an ultrasound and blood work done to see how I am responding. After that, the doctor will determine how much longer I need to continue with these injections. If I need more injections, we will also schedule a second ultrasound and blood work to make sure the I continue responding to medication. Once I appear to have mature follicles (eggs to be released) on my ovaries, our doctor will decide when I will have the trigger shot and IUI. After the IUI, we will have a two week wait, and then will schedule a pregnancy test to see if cycle number 6 is a success