The Latest Happenings

We’ve used our carpet cleaner several times this week.

This week has been a struggle—just everyday life challenges; nothing emotionally difficult (thank Jesus).

It’s all about perspective.

Well … my emotions have been a bit on edge this week. I cannot lie. Our darling Rowan has an ear infection and mild wheezing. Save for the word “infection” that has plagued by beautiful munchkin, the wheezing is what really scares the heck out of me. My head understands what my preemie mother heart can’t understand: She. will. be. okay. I’ve been sleeping in her room on a “bed” made of couch cushions. My neck and shoulders feel tight, but hearing her breathe wheeze-free helps my heart understand the reality of the situation—that she is a sick booboo who is being treated and will get better.

Sarabi has been a little sick too. So, the carpet cleaner has encountered vomit of differing varieties—and has encountered “the vom” on a daily basis.

Oh, and ants have been haunting my mental stability and attacking my kitchen!

I am very thankful—though—that if these “issues” were destined to occur, 1. my husband’s business trip occurred last week, and 2. I no longer have to spend 40 hours every week dealing with this.

Instead, I have my companion enduring this week with me, and a boss who’s let me leave work early, work from home—even pour my heart out to him about how terrifying Rowan’s sickness is for my heart given my family’s “history”.

Do you know what I like about this boss? Some of the first words he said to me when I began my transition back to work were: “I’m sorry to hear about the loss of Rowan’s sister.” When I reference how small Rowan is, he matter-of-factly says: “Well, she’s a twin. Twins are small and sometimes need more time.” I mean—yea—her body is that of a six month-old, but the point is that he recognizes Emmanuelle’s existence, and he’s sincere.

The culture in this particular part of our blessed country can be a bit … harsh. Often times, people just don’t give a shit. Sometimes it seems like there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind: the money. It’s nice when we can act like humans and talk about and recognize what really matters.

I can believe that Rowan is nine months old. I can’t believe I’m starting to plan her first birthday party, though.

Rowan is nine months and 15 days old. She weighs a whopping 14 pounds and 10 ounces. She is healthy, and she is growing. We are all different shapes and sizes, and I pray my next statement does not hurt any mothers—especially mommies with preemies. But I must admit that I think her percentiles on the infant growth chart are absolutely precious. Her pediatrician tracks her chronological versus adjusted age, and here are my princess’ stats: 5th percentile for weight; 5-10th percentile for head circumference; and 2nd percentile for height. I’ll tell ya what: Her beautifully shaped head is BIG (for her body), though she’s growing into it. And her petite-ness is just so fitting; I am 5’0”, and Mary is 5’3”.

Rowan is tiny, but she is strong. Her spirit is strong, and—physically—she’s got some power!

Rowan’s birthday is on a Thursday. I have begun brainstorming ideas for her birthday party, and there are several dilemmas.

Though I would like to host a birthday party for her on October 8, I don’t know how many people would be able to attend. And the point is for people to be there. I owe it to Rowan to plan this special event on not-a-Thursday.

Friday is a better day than a Thursday. But Friday is … Friday. In my heart, I don’t believe Emmanuelle will be dishonored. As Emmanuelle’s mother, the idea of celebrating Rowan does not dishonor my angel. In fact, a dear family friend made a very profound statement to my mom and me a few weeks ago regarding October 9. You may know that October 9 is my birthday; I do not care that Emmanuelle went to heaven on my birthday. What I care about is that Emmanuelle went to heaven when she was 20 hours old—and that she’s in heaven and not with me. More than anything, I thought it was just “mean” of God. I don’t care because I don’t; my mama says, “Well, I care.” A mother is a mother is a mother; God bless our tender hearts. Our friend shared something beautiful with us, though. She said that perhaps God gave Emmanuelle and me that day to be ours. October 9 is our special day—for just us two. And it holds a lot. It holds a whole lot.

Secondarily, October 9 is the birthday of one of our nephews whom we intend to invite and hope will attend—along with his family. He and his family will likely want to spend the day celebrating his birthday. 🙂

So, Friday just won’t do.

Next we have Saturday and Sunday. I have a *friend whose first dose of motherhood has been heartbreakingly, nearly identical to mine, and Saturday nor Sunday are the best days. I will extend the invitation to them, but I don’t think they will be able to attend.

You see: dilemmas.

I have a social life now. I have friends whom I spend fun, quality time with. My weekends are packed. I was lonely for a long, long time. I literally did not have friends to “hang out with”. But now I do.

I have a social life because my babies were born at 28 weeks gestation.

My friends are beautiful people—inside and out. They are becoming some of my best friends—these NICU nurses and *mothers.

I don’t always understand God’s plan. This journey He’s given me sure does have some low lows. It often times seem very unfair and unjustified.

But He does give. I try to hold onto that as best as I can.

When daughters die and health is compromised; when families unravel and people are hurtful—I have to hold onto the good, good things.

I have my baby.

And now I have friends. I have some really good friends.

BYOC

Bring Your Own Cooler, and meet me at Starbucks!

I’m an over-supplier when it comes to liquid gold. 

If you live in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area and need breastmilk for your baby/ies, please let me know! I have a refrigerator freezer and separate freezer full of frozen breastmilk, and I would love to donate it to you and your baby/ies.

I’ve been very blessed with my supply, and my intent is to help a sister out who has been struggling with her supply but has the desire to offer her baby/ies breastmilk.

Xoxo!

More Sharing is Caring!

I’m sending this information out into the blogosphere for those who live in the Washington D.C. metro area. And even if you don’t live in that area, this fertility clinic is worth it!

My fertility doctor is hosting this event. Dr. Levens is an amazing doctor!

IMG_2815

People often wonder how we were able to afford six cycles of IVF, *especially at our age. The truth is: We took out a loan. We’re paying off loans for education; you better believe I’ll take out a loan to have my family.

And my girls are worth every monthly payment until the end of time …

But – Shady Grove probably has some of the best financial plans around, and still maintain their expertise, care, success rates, etc. There’s no catch. Below are the financial plans my husband and I used.

Six Cycles of IVF (fresh or frozen): $20,000 (not including medications) – If you do not achieve pregnancy after six cycles, you get your money back. If you withdraw from the program prior to six cycles, you get your money back. My husband and I took out a loan, did five cycles (four fresh, one frozen), withdrew from the program, and got all our money back.

Six Cycles of Donor Egg IVF (one donor shared among three intended mothers): $35,000 (not including intended mother’s medications) – If you do not achieve pregnancy after six cycles, you get your money back. If you withdraw from the program prior to six cycles, you get your money back. Each intended mother is guaranteed at least four eggs, and if she doesn’t receive those eggs and must proceed with a new cycle, this “cancelled” cycle does not count against her six cycles. And if a cycle is cancelled, that intended mother has first dibs on the next round. My husband and I paid about $5,000 upfront for this program and took out a loan for the rest.

*My husband and I are pretty young. Most of our peers are just now getting married; few are starting families; and I don’t even know how many are struggling with infertility and paying for IVF. Some readers have made comments suggesting that I’m so privileged and lucky and rich to afford six cycles of IVF. I mean, yea – if that’s what you want to call it. Six cycles of IVF = privileged. While I am so content and joyful regarding the financial decisions my husband and I have made to create our family, I understand other couples choose a different path. I wish finances weren’t a part of infertility. It’s so unfair. I’ve shared what we did; it seems kind of do-able.

I love this fertility clinic so much! People need to know about it!

xoxo…

<3

There are a few things I’m absolutely loving this week.

  1. I love the freezing temperatures that have hit Virginia this week. Nothing is better than freezing my ass off. I haven’t been able chosen to run because it’s so damn cold.
  2. Related to item #1, I love it when my windshield wiper fluid freezes and the windshield defroster accomplishes nothing because—as mentioned—it’s effing freezing outside. Junk accumulates and freezes, and the beautiful morning sunshine is blinding so there’s literally no way to see ANYTHING. My favorite thing to do in this situation is pull off on the side of the road and clean my windshield with a napkin while semis are driving 55 MPH passed me. What’s really special is when I plan my commute back home perfectly with the beautiful sun setting so I experience the blinding situation again while junk is—again—accumulating and freezing on my windshield … because it’s freezing outside.
  3. Hmm … I don’t know if I love this as much as item #2. I mean, item #2 includes a lot of adrenaline and one-on-one time with Him that sounds like this: “Dear Jesus, please be with me right now because I can’t see a fuckin’ thing …” But item #3 can hold its own—I suppose—because I really love it when others don’t pull their own weight. Like, there’s a task that needs to be completed, but the person who should take ownership of that task simply doesn’t, so I just LOVE swooping in and completing the task on his/her behalf. Somebody has to do it, right?
  4. I think it’s really great when people talk about my hair color [okay, that statement is actually sincere]. 🙂 They remind me of how very rare it is. I love it when I mention that my husband has red hair too. I say these things without thinking first. Oops. But I love it when the anxiety starts to rise because we all know what’s coming: “Aww, your kids are probably going to have red hair! How cute!” I love it when that happens.
  5. Oh my gosh, please let me tell you about something else I love with all my heart. One of my favorite experiences is when Sarabi triggers on stimuli [people] right outside our home. I think it’s a really special moment when the stimulus decides to stand there and watch the shit show. Like, dog is barking at person; person stands and watches. Oh, but the grand finale of this production is when the person is no longer interested in standing there and watching … and proceeds to walk DIRECTLY TOWARD SARABI. Like, the person can’t take a slight detour or anything. Um, she’s coming after YOU. I love it when that happens.
  6. Okay, so I’m not completely in love with this yet, but I’m really starting to like the fact that we bought Mary for a pretty penny and I haven’t heard from my clinical team yet. Like, no feedback or information. Dead silence. I’m falling in love with this quickly, though. It’s just that I love not knowing what’s going on. I love waiting. I don’t think I’ve waited enough; I’d love to do some more of that.
  7. Not specifically related to the events of this wonderful week, but another thing I love is when family members or friends just can’t talk to you or listen to you about your infertility because it’s too hard or weird for them. Now that’s a friend.

Xoxo,

Alli

Love Story

What can a woman say about her husband?

Sigh.

He knows everything there is to know about me—even my deepest of darkest secrets. He’s the only person who knows everything. Yet, he still pursues me; still tries to peel back the layers. He’s obsessed with me. I am his jewel, his delicate flower. He loves me passionately. He chooses me.

That “list” I created as a teenager? He’s it.

I went to the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). During my freshman year, I very often saw this handsome guy in the dining hall with his best friend. Though they looked nothing alike, their friendship seemed more like a brotherhood. My friends’ and my nickname for the handsome one was “red head from T.K.” T.K. was the name of the dining hall. The first thing I noticed about Red Head—besides his hotness—was his loyalty. You just don’t see that too often in my generation. People have options; we don’t have to commit to anything or anyone. But Red Head was a loyal friend. It may seem like I came to this conclusion early, but the reason I could identify his loyalty was because I am a loyal person too. I admired it then—still do.

I never had the courage to talk to him. Though he knew who I was in the sense that we both acknowledged each other’s existence, he didn’t have the courage to talk to me either. There were other boys; I’m sure he had his options too.

So that summer I returned home to Colorado Springs (about two hours away from college) with plans to spend time with family and high school friends; train for my sophomore cross-country season; and make a little bit of money working at the childcare center at the gym my family went to. I was involved with another boy at the time; it was a friends with benefits situation. I was really just searching for my husband; this guy wasn’t cuttin’ it.

One afternoon I was working and Red Head walked into the gym! I was shocked! I mean, it’s not that big of a coincidence that I’d run into someone from college in my hometown. But Red Head?! I quickly learned he went to the gym Monday through Friday at the same time; I started placing myself by the window so he’d see me when he walked in. I told my friends about it, and they encouraged me to introduce myself. I didn’t know how that was a possibility because I couldn’t just ditch the babies, and—well—I just didn’t have it in me. I’d kind of given up on guys. So, I just let it be and moved on in life …

On June 9, 2007 (a Saturday), I got into an argument with the boy I was casually seeing. He was kind of an idiot. I also decided to be a drama queen and strike up a controversial text conversation with my ex from high school. In all my bitterness toward the male species, I went to the mall with my friend later that afternoon. We were walking toward an escalator when I saw him—again. It was Red Head. Without missing a beat, I walked right up to him and introduced myself: “Hi, my name is Allison. I see you everywhere and figure we should meet.” It was magical; he was a nice guy. 🙂 We chatted a bit; he asked if I was on the cross-country and track teams at UNC (He stalked me, yay!). I was thrilled to have finally met him! My friends and I analyzed the hell out of this guy. My worst fear was that he was involved with someone else. At this point, though, the ball was in his court.

That Monday he talked to me at the gym while I was working. As those couple of weeks passed, he talked to me every afternoon I worked. He “friended” me on Facebook. I ditched the other guy. We had a cute week-long Facebook conversation which turned into texting, which turned into late-night phone calls. I didn’t work in the afternoons for a whole week, so I didn’t get to see him. He asked me on a date set for Friday, June 29, 2007. The next time I was working in the afternoon was Thursday, June 28, 2007. I was so excited to see him! At this point, we both knew our feelings for each other. It sounds cliché, but I really did feel so different about him than any other guy I’d ever met! He just felt like home. I was falling for him fast.

On June 28, 2007, he gave me a hug before his workout. Afterward, we talked for hours until my shift ended. Hand-in-hand he walked me to my car, and I asked him if he wanted to get in. My goal was to kiss this boy! I told him I wouldn’t do it, though! He kissed me … It was amazing, so delicious … ❤ ❤ ❤ At the time, I wore a Claddagh Ring that symbolized I was single. After he kissed me, he looked down at my finger and said, “I think that’s facing the wrong way.” I told him he should fix it then, and he turned it around and re-placed it on my finger. I know—ridiculously cute.

I went home that evening and asked my daddy if I could go on a date the next day. I told him about Chris and that he planned to pick me up after I was done with work. My mom returned to the room and we brought her up to speed with the discussion. She excitedly asked, “You mean, he’s going to drive here in his car, meet us, and take you on a real date? You’re not just ‘hanging out’?” They were thrilled.

Within the following 2.5 years, there were I love yous and arguments. There were growing pains and break ups. There were Christmases together with our families and summer family vacations.

On Friday, December 18, 2009, we were anticipating an epic snow storm to hit Washington, D.C. My father had already returned to Colorado for Christmas. I lived with my dad in Washington, D.C. after college; he traveled back and forth between Colorado and D.C. Chris was already headed home to Colorado from Virginia Beach. He was a 1L in law school at the time. Though the snow hadn’t hit yet, we knew it was going to be bad, and I wasn’t scheduled to leave until the next morning. I was NOT going to be stuck by myself without my family for CHRISTMAS! I rushed to the airport after work (still not a snowflake in the sky) and let my dad do the talking over the phone. He had some fancy status with United Airlines because he flew a shit ton. I got on a flight out of Washington headed for Chicago. I was stuck on the plane before take-off for about four hours. The snow was starting to fall; we needed to get out of there! I didn’t arrive to Chicago until around 4 a.m. on December 19. My goal was to get on a flight to Denver as soon as possible. I was exhausted and stressed, but I got on a flight and finally arrived in Denver around 9 a.m.

I hadn’t seen Chris for a few weeks because he was taking finals. I couldn’t wait to see him! I’d totally forgotten about our pending engagement; I was just excited to be home with my family and boyfriend. I knew he had a ring, I knew it would happen in the year of 2009. There weren’t many days left.

After our brief embrace at his parents’ house, he went “shopping” with his dad, and I went to lunch with his mom and sister. Chris’ shopping consisted of taking my dad out to Starbucks and asking for my hand in marriage.

Later that afternoon, his mom came up with the brilliant idea of going to the Garden of the Gods. It was totally random; they hadn’t planned this at all. 😉 So, Chris and I were walking through the Garden; his parents were trailing behind (with cameras). We paused for a moment, he said my name, and I turned around. He was on one knee offering me a beautiful princess-cut diamond ring and asked, “Will you marry me?

Our wedding day was December 28, 2010—the 3.5-year anniversary of our relationship. It was the perfect day …

I know my TTC sisters understand how difficult marriage can be while enduring infertility. As Taylor Swift says, “Life makes love look hard.” Chris and I practically lived together during two years of college; we’d figured each other out pretty well. We didn’t really deal with the “typical” newlywed challenges. Instead, our challenge was being a law school couple with not a lot of extra money to pay for infertility treatments. At one point I just didn’t know how the hell we’d ever be able to buy our baby. That’s suffocating.

So, I want to share this song with you. Our dear friends, L and M, shared this song with us and bought us my favorite wedding gift. I know you women will be able to associate with this song. Marriage is such a beautiful thing—to find that person who will stick by you, fight for you, love you through all the hell.

On December 29, 2010, we woke up early for our flight to Las Vegas. That day I noticed some “spotting.” I had a moment of excitement and hope. We hadn’t even talked about having children yet but certainly didn’t intend to prevent anything. That ring was on my finger; our marriage license was signed; I was ready to rock ’n roll! I knew spotting could be a sign of early pregnancy.

Because we were in Vegas—the land of much alcohol—we decided I should proooobably take a pregnancy test. Chris was freaking out a little bit (understandably). I was secretly hoping it’d be positive. To your surprise, I’m sure, it was negative.

The next day, December 30, 2010, CD 1 officially began.

That CD 1.

December 31, 2012 Part 2

With great cheese and much unoriginality, I give you my Year in Review.

How weird is it that New Year’s Eve is on a Monday?

“Let’s go party and get drunk … on a Monday!”

Not that I’m … errr … getting wasted or anything. No seriously—I’m really not (but I wish).

So, 2012 has been a decent year I guess. I mean, of course, there’s that black hole that consumes all that is sad and hopeless and depressing and full of heartache. Besides that—2012 was a good year (but I’m glad it’s over). Ha! Honestly, though, I think the last four months of 2012 were actually fantastic. I’m not sure if pessimism is a coping mechanism of mine; I don’t know if I thrive off negativity. Regardless, much of 2012 was shitty—there’s no denying it. But I’ll be fair and declare that 2012 held some pretty amazing moments.

January

January was a seriously depressing month. The holiday blues were kicking in. My parents visited us for a long weekend, which was nice. We had our first appointment at the fertility clinic that shall not be named. Little did we know this clinic would cause more heartache than infertility itself. I ditched Facebook, Twitter, and blogs because I couldn’t handle the emotional toll these social networks took. January marked our fourth cycle of Clomid. Well, on to February …

February

This month was just as bad. My husband and I learned that we both suck at reproducing. It was winter, and winter is pointless. I was looking forward to Valentine’s Day, but a day full of love and hearts and flowers and crap is difficult to appreciate when you’re going through a “down” in marriage. Yes, folks, I’m proud to say us new timers have officially survived our first “down.” Most people are having the time of their lives during their second year of marriage, and then when it’s time to care about more important things than which way the toilet paper sits on the holder—that’s when people fall apart. I’d like to say my husband and I are basically unbreakable. We went through hell. I honestly can’t recall a highlight of the month. Also, this was our fifth and final cycle of Clomid.

March

March wasn’t much better. (I promise 2012 gets better.) There was more bad news, more infertility heartache. We did see The Lorax, which was fantastic. And it’s a good thing this movie was released to theatres before the Aurora shooting because—Lord knows—I can’t sit through a movie at the theatre these days at all or without my blood pressure rising. The weather started to change in March, though, which was a good thing. I don’t think I could ever go back to the six-month long winters that Colorado blesses its natives with. Also, we didn’t do any fertility treatments and started a three-month break because my husband was prescribed Vitamin D supplements.

April

April was pretty shitty. I had a bout of depression and anxiety during the first week. I thought my weekend visit to see the units in D.C. would be fun and relaxing. Instead, my brother and his wife decided to have their baby, and my father choked on food. And—I was worried about this stupid thing on my back for half the month. April was pretty crappy. A highlight was when I found out I didn’t need to worry about the “stupid thing on my back” (although I still do—for no reason—from time to time.) I also participated in a fantastic beach day in April and the end of the month marked the end of law school. So, for about a week, I enjoyed my husband enjoying a short (much-deserved) break. This month was—what I like to call—a break month. In other words, we didn’t do any fertility treatments—and I was still waiting for the idiots to schedule my husband’s appointment with a specialty doctor for which it was recommended by my retarded doctor to rule out CANCER! F****** morons. Ha! Was there EVER a reason to fathom that he might have cancer? NOPE! THEY JUST LIKED TO TORTURE US AND MAKE US SQUEAL.

May

You know what? May could have been a hell of a lot worse. We celebrated my husband’s graduation and birthday, which was Cinco de Mayo weekend. It was wonderful visiting with his parents, as well as seeing my parents. He deserved that weekend. But—the heartache is never-ending, like when I found out that my friend—to whom I’d spilled my guts out about infertility woes—was pregnant. And—she still is; she’s due on Friday. Fantastic. For us, May was also a break cycle. Another highlight of May was my trip home to see my family. At first, I wasn’t planning to go, but then I said to myself, “Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Just because your ovaries hate you doesn’t mean your family does. Go to Colorado.” That was, honestly, one of the best weekends I had—have had—in a while! Mid-May marked the beginning of Bar prep. That’s all I have to say about that. Oh—and my husband and I actually thought I was pregnant. Hilarious. Why would I be pregnant?

June

June was a much better month. I went to Charleston with my parents to see some relatives. That was a wonderful little get away. I also learned that my fertility clinic sucked and IVF was going to cost more than I could ever hope to afford within the next year. June brought the big decision: “Let’s move to D.C.” I applied to every job imaginable while my husband studied for the Bar. I went to a fun sex toy party. That’s about it.

July

Much of my family visited during the Fourth of July. That was fun, although I watched a drowned man never come back to life on the sand of Virginia Beach. That was an experience: Praying to God while your innocent two year-old niece is sitting on your lap asking, “What happened?” A lot happened in July. We did our first and last IUI, my husband took the Bar Exam and I applied—and was offered—the job I have right now!

August

In August we moved in with my dad. I started my job. My husband went to the specialty doctor and found out everything is fine. He tied some loose ends down there in Virginia Beach and joined me good in ol’ NoVa.

September

I went to Colorado over Labor Day weekend and got to see ALL my brothers! That was a fun—but short—weekend. My husband got a job! Yay! September kind of flew by. We found our new home and made plans to move in on October 7. We also made an appointment with Shady Grove Fertility Center. I can’t remember whether it was at the end of September or the beginning of October, but we found out we were expecting a baby girl—a South African Boerboel named Sarabi. Oh, what joy she has brought me.

October

We moved into our new home sweet home. We had our first appointment at Shady Grove. It was a wonderful appointment. Those people speak my language. SGFC is a blessing from God, and I can’t say enough good things about them—and I’m not even pregnant yet. Ha! October brought my 25th birthday. And—most exciting of all, we got our Princess Sarabi. But—how could I forget?! We found out my husband passed the Bar Exam!!! That was a joyous moment. It was such a relief knowing that phase was over and done—and done with success! My husband went to his swearing in ceremony as Sandy hit, so I didn’t end up going with him. He wanted me to stay home, though, so I went to work for a few hours and got sent home mid-day, and took care of our baby girl. I also did Day 3 tests and had an HSG. We did our STD tests. No STDs! Yippee.

November

November was good. We had a fertility appointment, and I spent that month getting all the financials in order. We received a fantastic discount for our IVF cycles. We also received free medication. And—we were approved for our loan. So, all the logistics were coming together well. We visited some of my family in Massachusetts. It was wonderful to see my grandparents. My dad also visited, which was nice. It was wonderful to see him, as always. Thanksgiving was fun. It was filled with online shopping for Christmas decorations and creating our first Christmas-filled home. We spent the actual Thanksgiving Day at my boss’ house; I was grateful for the invite. I missed my friends, though.

December

December was great! We basically started our first IVF cycle, no matter how much stalling my estrogen decides to do. I started birth control. We had a fun time at my company’s holiday party. My last drink was December 1. There were moments of panic concerning fertility medication costs, and currently I’m worried about this damn cyst on my ovary. We visited our close friends. We enjoyed far too much peppermint chocolate. I started seeing some exciting results from my workout regimen: speed training and the Butt Bible. My husband started P90X. He received a job offer at a wonderful company. Christmas on our own was a wonderful experience. My husband’s dad visited—is visiting! December was an exciting month.

And so, 2012 has ended quite well. It began with much heartache—and although there are still obstacles to tackle—the latter part of 2012 has rocket boosted us into a great 2013.

I was hoping for a baby in 2012. Hell, I was hoping for a baby in 2011. I was praying for a baby. Agonizing for a baby. God didn’t give me a baby, and if He had, that wouldn’t be the baby He’s going to give me soon. I know—no matter how much it hurts to wait—that the set of embryos the doctors create will be the only babies my husband and I will have ever wanted. That egg and that sperm. God does see the big (enormous) picture.

We’re in good hands. We’re blessed with funds that more than cover the cost of IVF—and then some. For those things I can control, I do a pretty good job. For those things I can’t control—that’s what family and a good shot of tequila are for.

October 11, 2012

Wow, what a week.

Last weekend my husband and I moved to a two-story, two-bedroom, two-bathroom town home! We absolutely love it and are so happy to be unpacked and settled. Thank goodness for the three-day weekend, because every ounce of it was spent moving and settling into our new home—well, almost every ounce of it. I’m a go go go type of person—and so is my husband—so our goal was to have our home all set up by the time the work week started again on Tuesday. You just have to bust it out!

We took a break on Monday, though, to visit a new fertility clinic. After about a month of waiting, after gathering all the medical records you can think of related to reproduction, after everything in general, the day finally came to visit this fertility clinic that I have heard wonderful things about. But whether or not I’d heard anything from a personal source, you know they have to be good when they can coordinate treatment with people from around the country and world. And—I didn’t know this for sure, but specifically for IVF, they provide treatment around the patient’s cycle. Many clinics “cluster” patients together on the same cycle and perform IVF for all of them at the same time! My new clinic doesn’t do that, so they provide treatment practically 24/7. Literally, their offices are open 364 days out of the year. The labs are closed for ten days over the holidays, so someone’s IVF cycle might have to be delayed—and, yes, that someone is me (perfect timing)—but, hey, embryologists should celebrate Jesus’ birthday too! Plus, delaying treatment by a month will offer more time to save up the good stuff for expensive ovulation medications. But—I’m getting way ahead of myself. So I will start from the beginning.

At first meeting, our doctor was just the kind of doctor I want. I don’t know; there was just something about him. And, yes, it’s a man; I’m happy about that, though. Men are so imperative in this world. Thank God for them. He cleared up a few questions he had concerning our medical records and fertility journey amongst all the crazy documents—of which contained practically two or more tests of everything. Have I mentioned our treatment thus far has been provided by inefficient idiots? **Sigh** So, after clearing a few things up he explained to me what is going on with my cycle. Basically my ovaries have this big build during the first half of my cycle; there are plenty of eggs. But—and pardon me if I don’t have all the right terminology, etc.—basically there’s a build … then all comes crashing down as my ovaries fail to release an egg. So, my luteal phase is pure sh**—pardon my French. That’s what’s happening; that’s what’s been happening. Clomid didn’t fix it; Clomid won’t fix it. My nurse explained to me that OB GYNs loooove to hand out Clomid like candy without monitoring a-ny-thing. THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR DR. DUMB! And—I guess one IUI attempt with Femera and Ovidrel is enough and no more are needed. Dr. Awesome acknowledged that we’d been through six months of treatment. He acknowledged that—thank God—my age is in my favor, BUT just because I’m not 38 years old doesn’t mean my wait hasn’t been long and painful and heartbreaking. The wait is the same for everyone. Whether you start at 23 and wait until 25 (“Oh my gosh, so young!”) or you start at 38 and wait until 40. The desire to have a family is the same desire for any woman at any age once that desire has hit. Of course, the obligatory confusion as to why our old clinic didn’t test for STDs and my fallopian tubes was seen on his face and expressed verbally … as well as with the nurse (who is absolutely a-maz-ing). So, he expressed he’d like to know what’s going on with my tubes to see if there’s a blockage—which would have prohibited ANY attempts at pregnancy with the SIX MONTHS of treatment we’ve done anyway in case my F****** tubes are blocked Dr. Dumb and Dr. Dumber! Makes sense, right? Dr. Awesome explained all the paths of treatment, ovulation induction paired with intercourse being useless at this point. He explained we could do IUI with injections, but that dangerously increases your chances of—not twins—triplets. And no one wants to see the look on my husband’s face when a doctor says, “… chance of triplets.” Then—on the line of treatment he drew on the paper, he went to the very end of it and said that IVF is an excellent choice for us. My chances sky rocket and, well, that’s what we should do. At this point he was being careful with presenting IVF, but I straight up said, “That’s what we’re prepared for. That’s why we’re here.” Basically—you just told me exactly what I want to hear, Dr. Awesome. I’m thrilled we’re on the same page! So, the doctor explained that this will happen, like, really soon. He wants a few more tests done—all of which will be completed in a week’s time. I have a follow-up on November 1 to … follow up, I guess. We will probably do a month of birth control pills in December and have our first IVF in January because of the lab closures over the holidays. This works better for my husband’s financial planning anyway. Obviously the costs are outrageous (which is a short-term reason as to why my husband and I hauled our butts to Northern Virginia in the first place—for the money). Obviously there are ethical, religious dilemmas—all of which have been sorted out. This takes a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of effort, a lot of a lot of stuff. But—nothing is worse than this heartache, and I’m ready to finally have a baby. It’s quite amazing, actually.

Some people may be against any or certain forms of reproductive assistance. The heavy-duty stuff is referred to as ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). I’m not though; you just have to stick to what you believe in. The doctors will work with you; they aren’t going to judge just as much as they don’t want to be judged. Such is the case with my doctor now. In order to preserve all our embryos (a.k.a. not toss any of them) we will take out a bunch of my eggs, attempt to fertilize eight (which may result in, like, four embryos?) and freeze the rest. So, we won’t be in the position of having three children and ten embryos in the freezer. And then there’s genetic testing, which we aren’t going to do. It won’t change my decision about trying to have a baby of our own; it won’t change what I do with an embryo. I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t matter if my child is born with a disease, because it does matter. That matters the most, and some people would say it’s selfish of me to bring a child into the world with a disease. That may be selfish, but my husband and I aren’t going to start dipping our toes into the pool of being God. Jesus knows my babies; He has created them already. My husband expressed last night that although having a baby with a disease would be absolutely devastating, that baby would be here, and that baby would be our baby—our precious gem. And—there really is no indication that either of us carries genes for diseases. I mean, I think it’s an option to investigate further because people are already going through all this scientific investigation/research/treatment. Genetic testing—it’s not for us. It wouldn’t make a difference. It’s a can of worms I don’t want to open. I’d rather stick to the little faith I have these days. I’d rather believe and pray—just like every other fertile couple—that my babies will be healthy. That’s the end of that. I’m not throwing away embryos. Every single one of them will have the chance to reach its potential—no matter the heartbreak it may cause my husband and me.

So, we’re doing IVF. A year ago … a year and a half ago that wouldn’t have made me sh** my pants, but we’re ready.

And then there’s that thing called the Bar Exam. Oh yea—and results come out tomorrow. And—my husband hasn’t been sleeping through the night sans nightmares. He keeps telling me he didn’t pass. I really think he did; he thinks he didn’t. I don’t know if he’s trying to prepare us both for failure or if he truly doesn’t think he passed. Everyone else feels the same way; they are scared beyond belief of having failed. He’s not the only one in this boat. I truly believe he passed, but … I don’t know what he believes. And—sometimes they release the results a day early just to watch everyone squirm. I hope they do; then we’d know today. I’ve just been praying like crazy.

Thanks for reading. Sorry for the expletives. I can’t help myself. What can I say? I’m just me—a verbally passionate McIntire.

***July 17, 2013: Wow, I have learned a lot since my very naive-filled October days. I kind of sound like a little bit of an idiot talking about IVF; I was clueless. 

August 8, 2012

Not pregnant. Not surprised. Not doing any more IUIs.

Moving to D.C. Got that new job I wanted. Really excited about it.

Wasting time at work doing nothing. Thinking about going home to pack more.

Life isn’t slowly coming together. Life is coming together like nobody’s business.

And it’s a good thing. Because my patience. is. gone.

But not in a bad way. In a good way. In a thank-you-God-for-answering-my-prayers way.

July 26, 2012

That’s right, people. It’s July 26th—meaning the Bar Exam is OVER, O-V-E-R, DONE. Wow, thank God. There is a sense of joy in my spirit; I can’t even imagine how my husband feels.

I am ever so grateful that the past 12 weeks went by sooo fast! I mean, it’s daunting when you anticipate something for sooo long, when you schedule your life—a year in advance—around something this important. Wow, it’s over. Finally!

So much has happened within the last week! Gosh, in life, everything happens all at once. I guess you just have to keep on truckin’!

A little over a month ago, the reality of the cost of IVF really set in. My husband and I made the very spontaneous decision to pursue a settled life in Washington D.C. And we didn’t make this decision solely based on the desire to make mass amounts of cash and throw money at IVF like it’s nobody’s business. The truth is, though, there is just more opportunity in D.C. So about five weeks ago, my husband’s job search (the little of a search he was able to do while studying for the Bar) shifted toward D.C. And I, as much as I love job hunting [Enter sarcasm.] began my job search. I was a crazy woman applying to job after job after job. And—it paid off! The first interview was bad, but the second interview was fantastic. I’m pretty sure I have the job. Now I’m just waiting to hear back from the recruiter. And let me tell you, “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe,” never rang more true than now. Please don’t forget about me! Please call me! Please, please love me!

Also … massive news: We did an IUI on Saturday! Whoa, I keep telling myself not to get too excited, not to think about it too much. We weren’t going to waste our time with an IUI because our fertility clinic was not taking very good care of us and we literally thought an IUI was a waste or our time and money given our individual [in]fertile circumstances. Well, I was wrong. I took the Femera on days three through seven of my cycle, which started just barely in time for us to be able to do the IUI before my husband had to leave for the Bar Exam. I started my period on a Monday; on day 15 he was going to drive to Roanoke. I usually don’t ovulate, when I do, until day 17. But if we were going to do it, God provided just enough time, given I could ovulate by day 15. Well, wouldn’t you know: Not only was the medication harmless, but I had an ultrasound done on day 12, and there were two beautiful eggies ready to be fertilized. This was the Friday before the Bar Exam, so three days before my husband left. The doctor said everything looked good (viable eggs and a thick uterine lining), so she scheduled us for the IUI the next day! So day 13 rolled around, and, as you can imagine, both my husband and I were very anxious. He was a whole other level of anxiety, though, because … ummm … the Bar Exam was in THREE DAYS! So … he was worried that his sample wouldn’t suffice. I sat there in the lobby, surrounded by about four couples, holding his boys [and girls, I guess] in a test tube after they were washed. Awkward. And I wasn’t even sure this thing would happen, because my husband was really concerned. Well, the doctor explained to me that typically “they” strive to inseminate about 10 million sperm into the uterus. Well, ladies and gentlemen, after the wash, there were plenty more to be inseminated. He placed close to 20 million sperm into my uterus. And, although we weren’t instructed to have scheduled intercourse to bring in reinforcements, we took it upon ourselves to do so the next morning. 🙂 So, there were (or still are) millions of sperm swimming around my girlie parts! We are praying this results in pregnancy, but the chances are fairly slim. We are trying to stay grounded while we wait.

So, the Bar Exam, IUI #1 and two job interviews for me. Wow, what a week it has been!