Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First blood draw... DONE!

Well I have survived my first blood draw. As I type this 2 tubes of my blood are sitting in the freezer in the faculty lounge. Now that will be a nice surprise for someone when they go to grab their Lean Cuisine! I like to try to wait until right before they do the Fed Ex pick up before I take it over so that it stays frozen as long as possible. I am going to try to set up a counter on the side bar that will keep track of how many needles I have been poked with. It won't be very many until about mid-April... then it will start adding up! My next blood draw isn't until April 13.

Friday, March 27, 2009

So much going on

I have a feeling that things are about to get hectic in my life. I thought that I was busy before but now I don't know if I will have any extra time at all after April begins.

A couple of fun things though, that I am pretty excited about... my sister and my sweet little nephew will be here next week! I think they are staying for a month so I am pretty excited about that. The only problem will be finding time to spend with them.

However, Charise and I will be attending a session of General Conference together next weekend and I am so excited. I have never been before and neither has she so we are both excited to experience it for the first (and hopefully not the last) time.

I have finally received my protocol for our FET. I have already started on the Aygestin pills ( sort of like birth control pills) and will continue taking my prenatals. Right now that leaves me at 3 pills a day total.. by the time it is all said and done... that number may quadruple. I will get my first round of blood work done next Tuesday which means I will once again begin my love-hate relationship with Fed Ex. Shipping blood overnight is not my first choice but it saves me a lot of money so I take the chance. When we did our fresh IVF cycle, shipping with Fed Ex was a huge pain. My blood would get there one out of every 3 tries and by that time it was cheaper for me to just drive to Vegas and back. With our last FET though I found that I didn't have the same problem with the blood not getting there and I have figure out that if you ship in a Fed Ex box... they are less likely to overlook your package... go figure!
Also, sometime between now and April 14th I will need to figure out where I will be getting my meds. My RE's office (my fertility doctor- reproductive endocrinologist) has said that they will help with whatever meds they can but they don't have what I am in need of right now, which is the Lupron. I will begin daily Lupron injections into my thigh on April 14th.

Leuprolide (Lupron) is related to a naturally occurring hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH influences the release of the hormones testosterone and estrogen in the body. Leuprolide is used to reduce the amount of testosterone or estrogen in the body.
So basically what the Lupron is going to do is deplete my body of it's natural estrogen. Which I will then replace with an oral form of estrogen as well as an estrogen patch. Many REs like to use this method so that they can control exactly how much estrogen is in your system. My RE keeps track with all of the blood tests and ultrasounds he will have me do. This will allow him to up my dose or lower it depending on how my blood estrogen levels and my endometrial lining look (estrogen aids in thickening the lining of the uterus, getting it ready for blast implantation). This is one of the reasons I love my RE... he is very thorough.
Then, to add to all the blood work and ultrasounds I will be doing over the next month and a half, I will be working hard to get ready for finals. I still have 1-2 exams in each of my classes before the final exam so I will have to prepare for those as well as do some refresher study sessions of the material I have learned this semester.... which is a heck of a lot! The only thing that really keeps me from pulling all my hair out is knowing that I only have 4 weeks left of class.
I will try to do posts periodically to keep you up to date on the FET preparations.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our visit with Kirk

This weekend we were lucky enough to spend some time with a friend of mine from Dallas. He was visiting Las Vegas so we met him there. It was so good to catch up with him and share some good food and good times! Here are some pictures from our visit.

Kirk walking down the strip

I can never get this guy to smile for a picture.

I took a few pictures of our hotel too... this place was amazing. It opened on March 1 and I think they were just trying to get people out there so we got a room for very cheap. I don't think we'll ever get that good of a deal there again... but I would definitely go back, especially for the pool (which I didn't get to enjoy because of all the wind)

This was right across from registration... you can't really tell here but the walls had water running down them.

There were two walls made of lilies, they were so neat.

They were real too!

Another view of the lobby... it was all so elegant.

There were complimentary beverage stations throughout the casino.

I didn't get a great picture of the pool because the wind was blowing so hard but it was amazing. I can't wait to go back and lay by it all day long!

A view from the outside. It's so new they are still working on the landscaping.

We got robes and slippers in our room

The bedroom had a window to the bathroom... it was really cool!

If you can't tell... that's a TV in the bathroom mirror.

They even turned down our bed...

And left us mints!!

You can't really tell from this but we had a great view of the strip.
The place was really high-tech... they had blinds for the window that would go up and down with just the touch of a button. Also the lights in the room were all controlled by sticking your room key in a little slot. Once you took the key out the lights would go off within a couple of minutes. Even the "Do Not Disturb" sign was electric. The pictures really don't do this place justice.. it was really incredible. The name of the hotel is "M". I would recommend it to anyone... I am just not sure it will be very affordable for long.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Missing Avery

The past week has been rough for me. I am thrilled to announce that I am the aunt of a new precious baby girl born last Saturday. Her name is Kameron (but if you ask Jacie, it's baby Pumpkin) and she is absolutely gorgeous. She is so tiny, born at only 5 lbs 11 oz and 18 inches long. I am so thrilled for her parents and her brother and sisters and I know they are so happy to finally have her here.

I hope that my brother and sister-in-law know how happy I am for them. I truly am. But it's been so hard. When we went to visit them in the hospital it was the first time I had been back in Labor and Delivery since that awful morning that I was wheeled out with empty arms and tears streaming down my face. As we were walking in I was having flashbacks of that painful morning and it took all my strength not to break down and cry. I wanted to be strong. I definitely didn't want everyone to see me cry, I just don't think they would have understood. Once I got through the doors and to my sister-in-laws room I had calmed down enough to enter. Once inside I saw her holding that sweet little girl and again I felt panicked inside because I thought I might burst into tears. I didn't want to but I knew I had to hold that baby girl. I have held a few babies since Avery but none were newborn girls. The last newborn baby girl I had held in my arms was my own, still child. So when my sis-in-law held that little bundle out to me I sucked in a deep breath and reached out my arms.

I was so afraid that Kameron would look like Avery, with dark hair and a pudgy nose. Luckily I didn't see many similarities... only the tininess did they have in common. I couldn't imagine a smaller baby as I was holding Kameron but I know that Avery was much smaller. Almost 3 whole pounds and 5 inches. It made me sad that I couldn't remember exactly how small my baby was once I held another in my arms. As I sat there studying her perfect little fingers, she opened her eyes and my heart dropped down into my stomach. That was my cue to give her back, I wasn't strong enough to hold her any longer. I was reminded that my daughter never opened her eyes, never took a breath. It was too much to bear.

As we were walking out of the hospital, Skeet kept looking at me... I know he was expecting me to break down at any moment. But, since we were with my brother and my nephew and nieces I kept counting to ten in my head and I held back the tears (something I have gotten better at over the last year). I did better later that night when we returned to pick up Kennedy and Jacie so that their parents could have some time alone together. But the next day when I stopped by their house, I went back to being right on the edge when I saw that they were happily home with their new baby, something else I never got to experience.

I did good... I held in all the tears until Sunday night. Skeet was gone, he had left for Boise that day, and I knelt at my bedside to say my prayers. When I thanked my Heavenly Father for Avery ( like I do every night) the floodgates opened and I didn't know if they were ever going to stop. The deep aching in my heart and my arms rushed back, as strong as it was immediately after I said goodbye to her and it hasn't gone away. All week I have been feeling that emptiness and loneliness that I felt after coming home with empty arms. I am not sure how much longer it is going to hurt like this but I have been praying for peace. I just want to be happy again, if that is even possible.

Today I will go out to Avery's grave, and I will talk to her, because I know that it is the only thing that seems to make me feel close to her and that is what I need now more than anything.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some Old Pictures

I have started to scrapbook my pictures from when I was little. Obviously I don't have a lot of time for it right now but I decided to start scanning in some of the pictures so that I could have a backup copy. I just wanted to share a few I have scanned so far. I don't want to sound full of myself but I think I was a dang cute kid. I like to think that maybe Avery would have looked a little like me as she got older.
Me on my birthday

Hanging out in the kitchen

Me and my cousin Chaundra, she was born one week before me.

Not sure what I was doing here...

To this day I still get buried in laundry

This was my sippy cup as a child... no just kidding. It was empty... at least I hope it was.

I look distraught, maybe it's the awful colors surrounding me. Even my baby doll was hideous!

My love for music started early...

I think this is my favorite picture!

I guess I was pretty good at posing for the camera, or maybe I was trying to turn my nose away from those awful smelling flowers!

Check out those lips!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I have had a couple of comments where people confessed to not knowing what a FET is. I apologize for not explaining earlier. A FET is a Frozen Embryo Transfer. When they do a fresh IVF cycle sometimes they have enough blastocysts (5-6 day old embryos) leftover to freeze for future attempts. We had 5 blasts frozen, used 2 in August, 1 didn't survive thawing, and we have 2 left for use in May. The reason we really don't refer to it as IVF is because it doesn't require an egg retrieval or fertilization because that has already been done. There is a huge price difference too. IVF (including all tests and medications) cost us about $22,000 give or take a couple thousand. A FET costs around $4,000 give or take $1,000, but that is only if you don't need to repeat any tests and can get some of the medication from your doctor. This time around may cost us around $5,000 or $6,000 but still much less than a fresh IVF cycle.

So I hope that answered your questions... feel free to ask more if you have them!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Need advice

First of all I wanted to report on our Vegas weekend! We had a great time... we ate delicious food and spent some good quality time together. We left Cedar around 3:30 after a quick stop at Walgreens for some last minute make-up items I needed. We missed most of the traffic coming into Vegas and after waiting in line for about 20 minutes, checked into our room at the T.I. (Treasure Island). We were hoping for an upgrade, but it was a busy weekend and I know we can't get that lucky every time. Our room was small but it served its purpose and the bed was so soft!

We changed and headed over to Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace to eat dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I love that place soo much! I had Chicken Marsala and finished up with a slice of White Chocolate, Caramel and Macadamia Nut cheesecake... it is to DIE for! So yummy! We were both tired after dinner so we headed back to the room and rented a movie, Role Models. It was hilarious but the language was terrible.

The next day we hung out in the room until lunch time and then met up with a friend of mine for lunch at Cozymels, a delicious Mexican restaurant. After eating some delicious chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce we went back to the hotel to nap. The nap was great!! I love afternoon naps and wish I could have one every day! So after the nap I got ready for dinner and our show. We ate dinner at the Italian place in the casino and then stood in line for the show. If any of you have seen Mystere then you know what I mean when I say... "What?" It was confusing but really cool. I couldn't really figure out a story line other than the whole Circus theme of Cirque de Soleil but I was thinking it may have something to do with a child's dream. There was humor and some very impressive acrobatics. I would recommend it to anyone. I was still awake and ready for more after the show so I talked Skeet into taking me to the dance club. The club was small but there was good music so we stayed until we were forced out by the crowd. There wasn't any room to stand, let alone dance.

All in all I would say that the vacation was a success. I did get some extra sleep and was able to experience something new, which I love doing! I am thinking my next show will be either "Phantom" or "O". I may have to see them all now, I just wish they weren't so pricey. We got a great deal with this one. If we bought 2 show tickets we got our room free for one night. I couldn't pass that up!

Now back to business. I am struggling with a decision. I am thinking about using a blog to journal my FET journey. FETs are not even close to being as extensive and invasive as a fresh IVF cycle but I thought that it may give some people an idea of what is all involved in the process. I wish I would have thought of this with my first IVF cycle but I didn't even know what a blog was at that point. So I am thinking a day by day (or every other day) account of what I am doing to prepare for the FET. Is this a dumb idea? My second question is... should I start another blog and leave this one devoted to my thoughts and feelings about Avery. Another option would be to change the title of this blog and have a combination of both feelings about Avery and our journey with Infertility. So I am asking the readers (if there are any left out there) what should I do?

As for an update on the FET... I was supposed to get some CD3 (cycle day 3) blood work done and start a form of birth control to prepare my body for the medications I will need to start next month. So I waited for my monthly visitor and all I got was some light spotting. Now, a week later, I have to get blood drawn to find out what is going on. They will do a blood pregnancy test and check my estrogen and progesterone levels to try to find out how badly my body is screwed up this time. I am very confident that the pregnancy test will come back negative so that is not really an issue but I would like to know what is going on so I can begin preparations for the FET. I have a feeling this won't be the first brick wall we hit with this procedure.

Off to get my blood taken...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Much needed break

I have about had it! I am getting so burnt out on school and work, and I think I am at the end of my ... well everything actually. Luckily Skeet and I are getting away this weekend. No where exciting, just Vegas, where we have been many, many times before. I wish we were going somewhere warm with a beach but I can't take time off of school or work so I will have to settle for Vegas, only 2.5 hours down the road. We are going to stay 2 nights, see a show, and hopefully catch up on some much needed sleep. My days are so full lately that they fly by and I find I don't have time for the important things anymore. I only get to see my parents and siblings on weekends anymore. Skeet and I only spend time together when we are working out or he is prepping me for yet another test. My house is a disaster because I only have time to get things out... not to put away. I just need to escape from reality for a couple of days, just to regroup.

So we are off today, as soon as I get off of work. Skeet will be dropping Callie off at the Buhler's (thanks Carrie, Matt, Kadence & Lexi) and will pick me up and we will be on the road. Every time we leave town I feel a little sad. I think about how these little getaways could be as a little family of 3. We could be watching our daughter experience new things and enjoying our time as a family. I have learned to push most of those thoughts aside because those images really make me sad. I know we will have our experiences with Avery someday but it can't be today so I need to make the best of what we do have... each other. I am thankful for that. For now... I will enjoy today and look forward to someday...