Stuff Mom Never Told You

I was sitting at work today, trying to find a new podcast that I could inevitably ignore while working on payroll, and I came across a podcast called Stuff Mom Never Told You.

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An off-shoot of How Stuff Works,  Stuff Mom Never Told You examines feminism and gender roles, as well topics impacting women’s health and careers. Looking through the episodes, I could tell right away that I was going to love this podcast.  With episodes like, “The mysteries of Nancy Drew” (I loved Nancy Drew as a kid, BTW) and “Is there a gender wage gap?”, I was immediately intrigued.  Then, I happened to stumble upon an episode from August of 2010 – “What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?”  I dropped what I was doing to give it a listen.

This episode was wonderfully enlightening.  The hosts do a great job of researching the topic that they’re discussing.  I learned so much from this episode and I didn’t know that was possible.  I thought I knew all there was to know about PCOS already.

I’ve listened to 6 episodes so far today and I can’t wait to listen to more.  Most of the episodes range from 15 minutes to an hour; perfect for the commute to and from work.

If you haven’t listened to this podcast before, I suggest you give it a listen.  And if you want to learn more about PCOS, I’ve copied the link to the PCOS episode below.

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Lake Life

This week, I had the great fortune to spend 5 days “up north” (the Minnesotan colloquialism for vacation) with my husband and his family.  Lee’s immediate family as well as some of his extended have had an annual lake week tradition for the better part of 3 decades.  The week and the resort have changed a few times over the years as have some of the faces in attendance, but there’s still a pretty amazing turn out each year.  It’s probably the thing Lee looks forward to most; a week at the lake with his nearest and dearest.

The resort is located in Ottertail, Minnesota, about 3 hours northwest of our home in the Twin Cities.

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The area is filled with resorts and stunning lake homes.  Time seems to slow down in Ottertail, which is exactly what I needed this week.  Though I had planned to write this blog post while I was up there, I found myself apprehensive to even open my computer.  I knew that if I opened my computer, I would probably feel the need to check my work email.  There would be some email that would inevitably put me in a terrible mood and send me down a rabbit hole I would have a hard time climbing back out of.  As such, I didn’t check my work email until I arrived back at the office Thursday morning.  After all, I was on vacation.  Work could wait.

We were able to bring our dog, Omar on this vacation as well, as this resort allows dogs during the offseason.  Omar spent most of his time begging for food, (from us and other families at the resort) and napping in the sun.  All in all, I think it’s safe to say that he enjoyed himself.

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This year was a little bit different than years past, because Lee and I are abstaining from alcohol.  It wasn’t too bad, but I do have to say, the minute we finished unpacking, our first instinct was to make a cocktail.  Old habits die hard, I guess.  Instead of a cocktail, we opted for sparkling water and iced tea.  Don’t tell us we don’t know how to party.

Another thing that was different this year was our bedtime.  It’s amazing how much earlier you go to bed each night when you’re not up playing drinking games.  Early to bed meant early to rise and being an early riser,  I was able to watch the sun come up.  Absolutely breathtaking.

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The majority of our days were spent sitting lakeside, playing cards, bags, doing crosswords and listening to music.  Not a bad way to spend 5 days.  We’d venture in to town from time to time, but I found myself happiest and most at peace sitting on the water.  It made me so thankful for the beauty of my state.  Sometimes, I think  we get too busy with day to day monotony to stop and appreciate the beauty around us.  I was thankful to have time to do that this week.

It’s also crazy to think that by the time lake week comes around next year, we might have a newborn baby to bring with us.  As we drove home on Wednesday night, Lee and I talked about all the changes having a baby would bring to lake week.  For starters, we’ll probably have to give up our bedroom in the party cabin and get a cabin of our own.  We’ll also need two cars; we have a hard enough time fitting all of our stuff into one now!  Yes, many things will change over the course of the next year if we get our positive, but we welcome these changes with open arms.  And we know that if we’re lucky enough to have a baby to bring to the lake next year, between Lee’s parents, sisters, aunts, uncles & cousins, this baby will feel more love than anyone could possible imagine.

3 Years Down….

and forever to go.  Yes, today marks three years being married to my one and only.  I look at how far we’ve come in the time we’ve been together, but especially in the last 6 months or so.  At the risk of sounding like every other pukey couple, I can honestly say, without hesitation, that I love my husband more today than the day I married him.

This year hasn’t been the easiest for us as a couple.  But, I think that we’ve come out of it stronger and more united than ever before.  We’re a team.  And whatever we’re faced with, we’ll be facing it together.

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Now, this next part of the post is for my husband.  You’re more than welcome to read it, but fair warning:  It will be sappy and may induce dry heaves.

 

 

Lee,

Your ability to love and always see the best in me, never ceases to amaze me.  I’m not always an easy person to deal with.  I’m mouthy, easily annoyed and stubborn as hell.  Yet, you always know how to center me and bring me back down to earth.  And you’re not afraid to challenge me, which as weird as it sounds, may be one of my favorite things about you.

I’m a better person for having met you, but I’m an even better person for having married you.  You are helping me to become the best version of myself, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

We’ve had some amazing highs over the last few years as well as some unfortunate setbacks, but at the end of the day, there’s no one else I’d rather be on this journey with.  No one I’d rather start a family with.  I love you with my entire heart, soul and being.

Thank you for choosing me to be your wife.  I look forward to spending the rest of my life proving it was the best decision you’ve ever made.

Love you Always & Forever,

Katherine

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Chill the Fuck Out: A Quick Update

Thanks so very much to all of you that provided songs for my relaxation playlist.  You have no idea how much they mean to me!

I found out this past weekend that I am able to provide my own music for the egg retrieval and transfer.  This playlist will be playing in the background.  It’s so incredibly heart-warming to know that a piece of each of you will be there with me as we go through these procedures.  But, like, not in a creepy way.  In a super sweet, relaxing way.

I feel like I can’t say thank you enough.  I am so overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support we are receiving on a daily basis.  I don’t know what I did to hit the amazing friends and family lottery, but rest assured, I will never take it for granted.

A Sigh of Relief

Today was a good day.  After a week and a half of playing the intermediary between my doctor’s office and the specialty pharmacy I’m required to use for our medications, I was finally able to connect them.  Our prescriptions have been processed and are being delivered Friday.

We were anticipating spending at least a couple thousand dollars to get all of the necessary medications.  The nurses even warned us about the potential costs.  The Ganirelix for instance, is a medication that a lot of plans don’t cover.  Each shot costs $100.  Our prescription called for 9.  And that was just one of the items prescribed!  We had 10 others to cost out in addition.  Naturally, because I’m me, I chose to do some research.  I added up the average price of each drug and came up with about $4000 in total.  That’s what I went into this experience expecting, so I was ready when I received the damage from my pharmacy.

Except there is no damage.  I found out today that all but one of our prescriptions is being covered.  And, since I’ve hit my out-of-pocket maximum for the year, those 10 covered prescriptions are costing us a co-pay of $0.  The total Lee and I will be spending on fertility drugs?  A whopping $455.50.

I went from being almost defeated after our injection class last Wednesday to on top of the world today.  It’s like I hit some sort of IVF medication lottery!

I  have to thank you all for the kind words, prayers and positive vibes that you’ve sent our way.  It’s days like today when I know they are working.  I feel so incredibly fortunate that we have such wonderful family and friends in our corner.  Your belief in me, in us, is making it a lot easier for me to believe in me too.

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Chill the Fuck Out

I’ve been a bundle of nerves lately.  We still have a lot of moving pieces (which I’ll get into later) that need to fit perfectly in to place in order for me to feel at ease before we begin our treatment.  I’m doing my best to keep my body and spirit calm, using techniques such as acupuncture and exercise, but I still need a little more.

I’ve decided to start a Spotify playlist aptly named “Chill the Fuck Out”.  I want to fill it with music that will allow me to refocus and center myself when things get a little bit stressful, but I want your help!  Do you have any songs that manage to calm you down when you’re feeling agitated or getting anxious?  If so, I would love to hear them.  I can’t think of a better way to relax than listening to a playlist built with the help of my nearest and dearest.  All recommendations welcome, no matter the genre.

Thank you all for the prayers, kind words and well wishes you’ve provided over the last few months as we’ve shared our journey.  And a preemptive thank you for your help with my super awesome, incredibly calming new playlist!

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The Injection Class

Lee and I attended an injection class Wednesday morning.  The purpose of the class is to go over our medication outline and walk through the mixing and administering of the medications.  To say that I am overwhelmed by all of the information presented is an understatement of epic proportions.

Below is a copy of our medication outline.  I’m sure after looking at it, you can understand my trepidation.

Medication Outline

Most of the drugs will be administered via subcutaneous injection.  That’s fine; we knew that going in to this.  However, the majority of the drugs do not come ready to use.  They will have to be mixed just so.   One mistake on preparation and we could be out hundreds of dollars.

Both Follistim and Gonal-F are follicle stimulation medications.  They do the same thing, so we’ll probably end up choosing whichever one will cost us less money.  The Gonal-f is the only ready-to-use medication and the more expensive one, so Follistim will likely be what we end up using.  Follistim comes in pen form, with medication cartridges that need to be inserted into the pen.  These should be relatively easy; you just dial-up your dose, and boom.  Done.

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The amount of time I’ll be on Gonal-f/Follistim is undetermined, but most likely a few days.  Once they have determined that my follicles have been stimulated enough, we move on to Menopur.

Menopur is a follicle maturation drug.  Around the end of August, Lee and I will be going in for ultrasounds every few days to monitor my follicles.  Menopur is a powdered drug that will need to be mixed with saline in order to inject.  The amount taken and length of time we will be on Menopur will be entirely dependent on the ultrasound results, so we will have to rely on daily messages from our doctor on when and how much in order to make sure we are administering correctly.

Menopur

This is where it starts to get fucking scary.  Next up on our list is Ganirelix Acetate.  Ganirelix is an ovulation prevention drug.  Missing one dose of this drug will ruin the entire IVF cycle.  If this is not taken at the right time each day, I will ovulate and all of the work that we’ve done will be for nothing.

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If all goes well with the Ganirelix, then we move on to either Pregnyl or Novarel.  Both are HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormones.  This drug, will induce ovulation, so it needs to be taken at just the right time; I believe 36-40 hours before the egg retrieval.  The amount taken completely depends on ovarian stimulation up to that point.  This is also another drug that is in powdered form, so extra care needs to be taken when preparing this drug.

One of the side effects that is common in women with PCOS when undergoing IVF cycles is ovarian hyper-stimulation.  As such, it’s probable that I will have to also take an additional injection drug called the Lupron trigger along with the Ganirelix shot to stop that from happening.  Fun, right?

Timing is everything for the next month and a half.  It’s incredibly daunting.

Yet at the end of the day, this will (hopefully) all be worth it.  I dream of the day that Lee and I can celebrate our first positive pregnancy test.  And years later, when our children are old enough to understand the processes that we went through to bring them in to this world, they’ll realize what this whole experience was actually about.

A story of true love, determination, perseverance,  and the marvels of modern science.  A family that just wasn’t complete until we had them.

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