Saturday, April 25, 2015

moving forward

As National Infertility Awareness Week comes to a close, I find that I'm feeling more supported than ever. I wasn't sure I wanted to "out" myself on facebook since my statuses on there get much more traffic than this blog, but I am so glad I did. Several friends reached out to me through private messages to share their stories with me and offer encouragement. It was more than I could have asked for when I first decided to open up about our struggle.

Earlier this week I spoke with our doctor and received our final diagnosis and an initial treatment plan. My CD3 blood work came back normal, but my HSG showed a blocked right Fallopian tube. This, in addition to the high prolactin, is what my doctor believes has led to our infertility.

So, the plan right now is to just continue my medication and charting until June and then recheck my levels. Fingers crossed for good things to happen in the next few months!

Completely unrelated, but also significant: We only have four weeks left in the school year. Holy crap! I'm just four short weeks away from finishing my first year of teaching and sending my little firsties on to second grade.

I had my end-of-year meeting with my principal and found out that I will be teaching first grade again next year. I will still be in a trailer classroom, but I'm moving into one on a hill with windows and some beautiful purple irises planted outside. I am definitely not complaining!

As you can tell from my pinterest feed, I am already looking into ways to improve things for next year and get more organized. This summer I will be hunting through Goodwill and Craigslist for free or super cheap items to help me organize my kids' work and my teaching materials. I may highlight some projects here on the blog.

I am also putting together my end of the year plans to make it extra special for my kiddos. These awesome little ones will always have a very special place in my heart for being my very first class and I want to send them off to summer vacation (and their future educational career) in a big way.

There will more than likely be gummy sharks.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week - You are Not Alone!

This week, April 19-25, 2015, is National Infertility Awareness Week. It's a week to highlight a disease which effects over 7 million people in the United States alone. Yes, I said people. Infertility effects men and women equally.


Although infertility is a medical condition with various causes and treatments, arguably the worst part about it is the emotional impact. :
You feel guilty for not being able to give your spouse the family you both dreamed of.

You feel ashamed of your body for not working the way it should.

You feel helpless while you watch your spouse suffer through guilt and inadequacy over a condition over which they have no control.

You feel isolated because your friends are gleefully posting pictures of their children and pregnancy announcements on Facebook while you sit back wishing and praying for your turn.

You also feel embarrassed because talking about sex and reproduction is a bit of a taboo subject in our society. Nobody wants to hear about your reproductive parts unless you have tanned and waxed them for the purpose of selling things. But that's a discussion for another day....

My point here is that so many couples dealing with infertility suffer through their treatments silently with no support. They either don't know how to bring it up or are afraid of what others will say when presented with such sensitive information. I stayed quiet about our struggle for exactly those reasons. But, the truth is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

If you suffer from infertility, you are not alone. It is nothing to be ashamed of. There are people ready and willing to support you. Including me.

You are not alone.

Friday, April 17, 2015

testing, testing, 1..2..3..

The theme of this month seems to be testing. Not only am I going through additional aspects of fertility testing, but my school is preparing to conduct our Georgia Milestones exams for third, fourth, and fifth grades. It's the test that is replacing the CRCT for those of you familiar with Georgia's schools.

If the practice tests taken earlier this month are any indication, students all across the state are about to collectively lose their minds. This test is HARD.

Still, we are doing our best to build up the kid's self-esteem and confidence as they prepare for these tests. 

My kiddos will not be taking part in the GA Milestones, but they will be enduring another related test. The four hour bathroom-free test. Nobody is allowed in the halls during testing for any reason, so my kiddos will have to last the entire morning at school without any access to a bathroom. I'm already stockpiling paper towels and spare uniform bottoms as a precaution. It could get ugly in our trailer over the next two weeks.

Personally, I'm grateful that my fertility testing is beginning to wind down. I had cycle day 3 blood work done earlier this week and I had my HSG done earlier today. Necessary though it was, that was a seriously uncomfortable procedure! This coming from someone who has been told by multiple surgeons that I have a high tolerance for pain. OUCH! Even hours later, STILL ouch!

Part of that may have to do with the fact that my nurse informed me (as I was laying on the table in radiology in nothing but a hospital gown) that they were out of catheters sized for women who had never given birth. They had to use a larger than normal catheter to inject the dye as a result. 

The radiologist doing the procedure's exact words to me were "about 90% of the time catheters this size simply won't work on women who have never given birth, but we will give it the old Girl Scout try".

Umm... ok? 

I repeat... OUCH!

My doctor should have my results by Monday so we are all keeping our fingers crossed for happy news. This girl is not in the mood to hear that I need any kind of surgery. 

Steve says he kept smelling incense like they use at church while I was getting the procedure done and he is taking that as a positive sign. I'm clinging to his optimism and my prayer journal.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

budgeting and being a responsible adult

Yeah... it's still sunshine and rainbows over here.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled internet time for a PSA about being fiscally responsible.

You see, the husband and I sat down and took a long, hard look at our finances this past weekend and the results were sobering. We took some heavy financial hits last month between paying taxes (least favorite adult milestone ever) and coming out of pocket for our fertility testing. In fact, those things are what prompted the review in the first place.

I'm not ready to call them blessings yet (even ones in disguise), but they were the heads up we needed to realize we were about to jump off a financial cliff.

We went through our bank statement line-by-line to determine where our money was being spent and realized we spent an OBSCENE amount of money on food. The only category that surpassed our spending on food was the giant portion dedicated to paying on our debts. By the time we finished we were well into the red.

I was also seeing red.

I got so mad at myself for being so careless when it came to sticking to a budget. I was mad for overspending and for being wasteful when I was not raised to be that way. I'm a smart woman. I should be able to follow a budget.

So.... I have had a fire lit under my bum to be more frugal and more mindful of how we use our resources. Not just money either. Money is obviously a big one, but time is another resource I feel might not be spent as wisely as possible. I was raised by some truly amazing people, men and women alike, who knew a thing or two about being frugal and making the most off a limited amount of resources. There is very little I can't DIY.

That being said, I am putting my money where my mouth is and changing up the way we do things around here. "Here" as in my home and life as well as "here" meaning this blog. I'm going to be taking steps to reduce our spending, increase our resourcefulness, and aggressively chip away at this big debt monster we have created. Throughout the process I hope to share successes (and less-than-successful efforts) here on the blog. After all, who doesn't like saving money?

If you've got tips on being a responsible adult, please share. If you suck at adulting like me, then feel free to commiserate. No judgement here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

a little something new

I added a page to the top of the blog. Where it says "the story of us" I have laid out a timeline covering our journey since Steve and I met until today. My plan is to update it when various things happen so that Steve and I have a record of our journey once we have finally come out on the other side of these crazy trials.

Also, if you read it you'll see that we began our IMPACT classes this weekend. So, yay for that!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Optimism

I am officially five work days away from spring break and some quality time with my Batwin! Y'all, words cannot express how excited I am to finally have some down time to chill with friends and relax. I need it. No, seriously, it's not a want at this point. It's a need. My head may explode without this time off.

The new diet is going better. Turns out, cutting out sugar, dairy, and all gluten/wheat products comes with a special kind of hell called withdrawal. Yep. Nothing says "yay for my health" quite like four days of feeling like I'm going to die.

I passed out on Monday before getting in my car to go to work. I also could not consistently focus on any one thought or get rid of my massive headache all day Monday. Needless to say, I missed work. Can't risk passing out on the morning commute! 

Things did get better after that and I am feeling way better now though. We are adapting to our new way of eating. My body is still pretty pissed. I'm dropping weight like a bad habit. I'm down more than five pounds since Sunday. Nt the worst side effect I've ever experienced....

I also recently discovered that Revlon is no longer a drugstore disaster from the 80s. Either that or my taste in cosmetics has time-warped because I'm loving their stuff right now. My go-to lipstick is Revlon and I just finished painting my (short, bitten, neglected) nails in the cutest pink nail polish called optimism. 

It's the little things in life. Pink nail polish and withdrawal symptoms fading quickly. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Let's all try to stay positive

About two weeks ago a huge emotional bomb was dropped around here and since then we have been dealing with the fallout. Not going to lie, I've been doing a pretty awesome impersonation of an angsty teenager with my tear-filled journaling sessions lately. It's been an overwhelming couple of weeks.

First of all, we are no longer pursuing adoption. This was not my choice, but after months of planning and prayer, my husband is not ready to go down that road. It feels right for me in my heart as our next step, but he feels pretty much opposite about it. After some long and honest talks with each other, and a good bit of prayer, we decided to pursue fertility testing instead.

Yes, that's right. We are embarking again on the TTC rollercoaster. This time with the added bonus of being poked with needles and getting on a first name basis with our doctors. Again, not my first choice, but it feels like the right thing to do at this moment in time. The blessing and the curse of marriage is that you have to be willing to meet your spouse where they are and honor their feelings as much as your own. As much as I have emotionally invested in adoption as my hope for finally becoming parents, my husband has done the same for fertility testing. It makes sense to do one before the other, so here we go.

It's a lot to take in, but I am trying to stay positive and stay focused on the fact that Steve and I have the same goal: to become parents.

We actually had our first meeting with the fertility doctor on Friday. We both took the morning off of work for our initial consult, and it was a good thing we did because holy crap was there a lot to take in!

The doctor looked at my charts from the last two years (yay sympto-thermal method for keeping me organized!) as well as some other information we provided for her and it would seem that we have a lot of issues going on between the two of us. Over the next month we are being tested for a bunch of things before meeting with her again to receive an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

Ok, now for the childish complaining (what's that? You thought the whole post was already full of that? Just wait...)

One of the things the doctor wants me (and Steve by extension) to do is adopt a special diet to help manage the inflammation caused by my IBS and get my weight into "a more ideal range". Yes, that's what she said. Nice lady.

NBD, right? WRONG!

I love food. I love making it, eating it, giving it to other people, buying it, preserving it... the whole nine. On this diet I will be cutting out all dairy, all sugar except the kind naturally occurring in my food, and all grains.

Yup. No bread, no cheese, none of the good stuff. It's lean meats and veggies (and 1/2 cup of berries per day) for the next two cycles. Then, depending how I handle it, I can slowly introduce natural sugars (like honey) and small amounts of grains (like quinoa and brown rice).

As I write this I'm eating what passes for breakfast on this new adventure of mine: chocolate chia seed pudding. Doesn't sound too bad, right? It's not. Not too bad. That's the nicest thing I can say about chocolate pudding and it makes me sad. The way Steve reacted you would have thought I was poisoning him.