Week One

I have become a human pincushion.

I had my first ultrasound last Tuesday.  Everything looked great and we were given the go ahead to start medications.  I had my first injection at 6:30 Wednesday morning.  150 units of Follistim, twice a day until Friday morning, when we had our next ultrasound.

Second ultrasound looked good.  They counted 38 follicles.  Our medication outline changed at that point.  I would still be taking the follicle stimulation drugs in the a.m., but would now be taking a follicle maturation drug as well as an ovulation suppressant in the pm.

We had our 3rd ultrasound on Sunday.  Of the 38 follicles they measured about 13 that were growing at the same pace.  We were told to continue the Follistim in the morning as well as the Menopur and Ganirelix in the evening.

Ultrasound #4 was this morning.  We’re now at about 19 growing follicles, with another 5 that could potentially mature enough by the time we trigger ovulation.  I’ll still be doing a follicle stimulation shot in the morning, but I’m now adding an ovulation suppressant shot each a.m. as well.  So, I’m up to 4 shots per day, and will be until we have our next ultrasound Thursday morning.

The shots aren’t so bad.  I’m bruising a little and you can see the needle marks for each shot, but it could be so much worse.  My arms are a different story, however.

At the start of each ultrasound, they have to take a blood sample so they can check my estrogen levels.  My veins are small, hard to locate, and I bruise like a peach, so needless to say, the track marks on my arms look pretty sexy.

Our egg retrieval will be scheduled some time between September 10th & 12th.  I’m assuming we’ll know when on Thursday.  Until then, we’ll keep our heads down, focusing on doing what has been outlined for us in the hopes that we get our desired outcome.

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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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Attitude Adjustment Needed

I’m really crabby today.  Why?  I have no clue.  I don’t really have anything to be crabby about, but every little thing seems to be setting me off today.

I almost missed the bus this morning.  Or at least I thought I was going to.  Nevermind that there’s another bus that comes along 7 minutes later.  That part seemed inconsequential to me at 6:50 this morning as I ran around the house, grabbing my things, slamming doors and swearing like a sailor.  I was fine once I got to work, until a story about my co-worker’s ex-husband set me off.  I don’t even know the guy.  And sure, based on the stories I’ve heard he’s kind of an asshole, but yet, that wasn’t the word I used to describe him this morning.  I used a word that rarely makes its way into civilized conversation.  I actually surprised myself when I said it.  Like, who am I right now?

But that’s not all.

I called my doctor’s office this morning to ask a question about ordering our medication.  My phone call was returned by one of the women in their business office (who, in my personal opinion, are all bitches–and the only bad thing about working with our doctor’s office).  She was her usual unfriendly, unhelpful self this morning and I was having NONE OF IT.  I have a high tolerance for bullshit, but mess with me on the wrong day (read: today)  and I will make you rue the day you gave me fucking attitude.

But wait; there’s more.

The normal lack of communication that befalls many workplaces is for some reason completely unacceptable today.  Most days it’s a mild annoyance, but for some reason today I want to cut throats (figuratively, of course).  It’s taking everything in my power not to walk into people’s offices and ask why they can’t respond to the email I sent 5 fucking hours ago, but the email of far lesser importance that was sent 5 minutes ago has been answered promptly.

What is my problem today?  Is it hormones?  If I weren’t starting another pack of birth control today, it would be “that time of the month” as they say.  I haven’t been on birth control (except for the occasional pack prescribed to go with IUI) for years now.  Is that it?  I don’t know and that’s what worries me.  If the hormones of a simple pack of birth control is going to set me off like this, what will twice daily hormone injections do?

Crossing my fingers that the next 2 hours go quickly and that I don’t have a meltdown.  Because honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be in control at all at that point.  All I know, is that the end of my work day can’t come fast enough.  Hoping that a gym date with the boxing bag gets out all of this negative energy so I can enjoy a relaxing Monday night with my friends.  Until then, I’ll be sitting in my office listening to 90s alternative way too loud and daring anyone to say anything about it.

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Crisis Averted

Insurance is a fucking headache.  It’s even more of a headache when the corporate office of the company you work for doesn’t have a clue as to what they’re doing.

About 2 months ago, Lee and I decided that it would make the most sense to switch him to my insurance.  He’d end up paying a little more out of pocket each month, but the deductible was lower and because I work for such a large company, the negotiated discounts are much better.  Plus, my company recognizes infertility while his does not.  It seemed like a no-brainer, so I reached out to my human resources department to get the ball rolling.

The ball didn’t roll very far. That’s not my HR departments fault; it’s because they don’t actually handle any of the benefit administration.  I would need to go online or call our benefits solutions center.  So I go online and attempt to add the life event.  We knew Lee would be insured through May 31st, so I figured that would give me some time to add the life event, find out what sort of supporting documentation I would need to make the change, send it in and that would be that.  Boy, was I wrong.

According to the website, I wasn’t able to request a change due to a future life event.  That seemed odd, so I called the 1-800 number to verify.  The customer service representative confirmed that was true.  That made me a little uneasy, as that would mean there would be a possibility that Lee might be uninsured for a few days while we waited for the new insurance to kick in.  But those were the rules.  And there was no turning back now.  Lee had already waived coverage with his employer, so we would have no choice but to wait until June 1st to get Lee covered.

The 1st week of June arrived and I headed back to the website to get Lee insured.  I had Lee provide me with every document imaginable.  I wanted to make this a quick and easy decision process with the insurance company.  I submitted the paperwork and waited.

And waited.  And waited.  About two weeks after I had submitted the request, I reached out to the benefit solution center again.  All they could tell me was that the paperwork had been received and the decision was “pending review.”  Now I’m starting to get pissed.  How many life events do they deal with in a given day?  Shouldn’t this be fairly cut and dry?  I decided I would try to circumvent the benefit center.  I decided to reach out to the corporate HR department to see if there was anything I could do to speed the process along.

I received the email address of a woman at corporate that my HR Generalist was confident would be able to provide answers.  She explained that this was the person who reached out to her any time there was a discrepancy with someone’s benefit information.  Surely she’d be able to help me get this sorted out.  I sent an email explaining the situation and asking if there was anything I could do to facilitate (read: hurry this shit up).  I received a response rather quickly from this person saying that our benefit administration had been outsourced and that if the benefit solution center was telling me to sit tight, I didn’t really have any other option. I immediately had a flashback to the movie “Office Space” when the Bobs meet with employees to determine their workload:

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Seriously.  Like, what the fuck is your job?  You work in benefit administration, but yet, our benefit administration has been outsourced.  So what do you do?  Is it your job to act as a go between for the benefit center and the hotel’s HR department?  If so, you’re not necessary.  I have just saved the company thousands of dollars.  YOU’RE WELCOME.

I was so angry.  And when I’m angry, I cry.  My boss, bless his heart, did everything in his power to find someone at corporate who could help, but to no avail.  Apparently our corporate HR department is all just smoke and mirrors.

I waited patiently for another few days before I reached out to the benefit center again.  This time I was determined to not get off the phone until I received the answers I needed.  Luckily, I connected with a nice representative who understood the importance of our situation and pushed the decision through.

It took 2 months, multiple phone calls and emails, but Lee finally has health insurance again.  Was all the hassle worth it?  That remains to be seen.  While I think the hoops that we needed to jump through to get this sorted out were absolutely ridiculous, I do believe that we’ll save money in the long run.  There are upsides and downsides to working for such a large company.  While some of the minutiae seems so absurd, I think the benefits of better discounts and insurance will end up making me forget about all of the bullshit we had to go through to make this happen.  And if it doesn’t, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it again.

 

Father’s Day

 

 

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Today marks the 6th Father’s Day without my dad.  I keep waiting for it to get easier, but something tells me it never will.

My dad had lung disease.  It started as Emphysema in his 30s and developed in to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) as it progressed.  His lung issues were a mixture of childhood illness, genetics and years of smoking.  Over the years, he had issues with lung collapses, bronchitis, pneumonia and MRSA.  As he got older, the illnesses became more frequent and harder to bounce back from.

Watching him struggle infuriated me.  I know that’s not fair;  I should have had compassion.  I shouldn’t have taken my anger out on him. But I was so frustrated watching him in pain because I had already lived through the heartbreak of watching someone die from COPD.  My dad’s dad had died the same way 16 years earlier.  I can still remember the concern I felt at 12, watching my grandpa stand over the stove, hands on either side, head bent down as he tried to catch his breath after walking up the stairs from the basement.  It hurt to watch him deteriorate like that.  I didn’t want to watch the same thing happen to my dad.

But it was. And it was happening with my dad at a much faster rate.  My grandpa died at 76 years of age from complications of COPD.  My dad passed away just two months past his 54th birthday.

Dad went in to the hospital for the last time shortly before Thanksgiving of 2011.  It started out just like any other hospital stay, or so it seemed.  He was on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma, which was not necessarily a new experience.  He always pulled through and so I think that made it easy for me to not take his illness so seriously. But it became evident after a week or so that this time was different.  He was tired.  And every time they tried to take him off the ventilator, he fought it.  He didn’t want to breathe on his own.

After two weeks of being in the hospital and our inability to get him weened off the ventilator, the decision was made.  We would take him off of life support and let him go.  On Monday, December 5th, 2011, my sister and I walked in to the hospital to say good-bye to our father.

One of the nurses spoke with us shortly before the breathing tube was removed and warned us that we might hear some distressing sounds, but assured us that out dad would be comfortable and that it would be quick.  She was wrong on both counts.  It took a lot longer than expected but was so incredibly peaceful.  And surprisingly, as soon as the breathing tube was removed from Dad’s mouth, he woke up.  It was the first time he had been lucid in the entire time he had been hospitalized.

My sister and I stood on either side of him, surrounded by family and some of his closest friends.  I grabbed his hand when he looked at me, and asked him if he knew we loved him.  “Yeah”, he whispered.  I then asked him if he knew that he made us proud.  “Yeah”, he said again.  He then put his arms out and we leaned in for our last embrace.

My dad held on for two hours and I don’t think it’s because he was afraid.  In fact, I think he was excited at the possibility of being reunited with his parents in the afterlife.  I just think he didn’t want to break eye contact with me and my sister.  I told him that it was okay; we knew he was tired and it was alright to close his eyes.  I told him that I was going to be there the whole way, holding his hand.  Dad took his last breath shortly after noon, while “Here Comes the Sun” played in the background.  It was such a beautiful and moving moment; one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

It breaks my heart when I think of all the things Dad has missed over the last 6 years. Since he’s been gone, I’ve bought a house and gotten married.  Just yesterday, I walked in my college graduation ceremony.  He would have been so proud.  And I think, if he were still alive, he would be very involved in learning about my infertility and being an ally in our struggle.

I’ve wanted to find a way to truly memorialize my dad for a few years now and a couple of weeks ago I finally had my chance.  A friend of mine who had also recently lost her father, told me about a tattoo that she wanted to get in honor of her dad and encouraged me to do the same.  I loved the idea and was determined to design a simple tattoo to celebrate my dad.

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I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out.  The heartbeat is from an EKG taken the day my dad died.  The hospital presented us with his “heart in a bottle” shortly after he passed.  They wanted us to know that his heart was strong until the end.  I found the sweet saying in a Christmas card he sent me.  I placed the tattoo on my right forearm so that it is always in sight; a reminder that even though our relationship wasn’t always easy, the love that we had for each other was strong.

Make sure you call your dad today.  Celebrate your parents.  Make sure you tell them you love them.  Even if you’re not on the best of terms.  You’ll never regret what effort you did put into the relationship, but you’ll always regret the effort you didn’t.

 

The Final Countdown

If you’re like me, anytime you hear that phrase, you think of the epic 80s rock song by the Swedish rock group, Europe.  If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you’re also picturing magic tricks illusions performed by none other than Gob Bluth.

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Yes, Lee and I are entering the Final Countdown.  At the beginning of July, we will be saying goodbye to cocktail hour.

Our doctor requires that we abstain from alcohol consumption throughout our IVF cycle. Knowing what we know now about sperm production, we decided it would be best to stop drinking a bit early, with the idea being that when we do the IVF, Lee’s sperm will be its absolute healthiest.

This actually won’t be the first time we’ve given up alcohol.  Lee and I decided to give up alcohol for the entire month of January.  I don’t mean to make us sound like we’re the town drunks; we just like our cocktails.  It wasn’t uncommon for us to come home every day and make a drink while cooking dinner.  While I might only consume one or two on most nights, it got to a point where I couldn’t actually remember the last day that I didn’t have a drink.  “Dry January” helped us both break a bad habit, but for me, it was so much more.  It’s amazing the kind of clarity you can obtain when you’re forced to confront the reasons behind why you do something.  I realized that I was using alcohol to manage my stress and anxiety.   By abstaining, I was forced to confront these issues head-on.  It wasn’t easy to admit that I was self-medicating, but by acknowledging the problem I was able to find a solution.

Lee and I only imbibe one or two nights a week now, which is a huge improvement from 7 nights a week.  I’m actually kind of looking forward to giving up alcohol again.  I mean, I am and I’m not.  I fucking love wine.  And whiskey.  And champagne.  And craft cocktails. But the fact is, I felt so much more accomplished when I wasn’t drinking.  It’s amazing the amount of free time you have when you don’t pop a bottle and fall asleep by 8 p.m. on a week night.

So the countdown is on.  By July 5th, Lee and I will officially be on the wagon.  23 days to go!  Don’t be surprised if I reach out to you for happy hour, brunch or all-day drinking between now and then.  Better yet, if you can’t think of a better way to spend a day than drinking with me (did somebody say celebrate?), then let me know and we’ll make it happen.

 

 

When the Gall Bladder Attacks

Well, it finally happened.  It took until the age of 35, but now I can brag (?) that I’ve finally reached my deductible in a calendar year.  It actually only took me until March 23rd, that’s how hard I’m killing this deductible game.

I woke up at about midnight that night with chest pains.  I knew that it wasn’t a heart attack, and I highly doubted that it was heartburn, but nothing I did would take the pain away.  I tried antacids and ibuprofen to no avail.  Finally at about 6:30 in the morning, I woke Lee up and said we needed to go to urgent care.

Let me tell you, they don’t take chest pains lightly.  We walked in to Urgent Care and were immediately rushed in to a room where they started to check my vitals and ordered an EKG.  My blood pressure was incredibly high, as was my heart rate, but they were able to quickly rule out a heart attack.  The ER doctor was a little concerned that it could possibly be a blood clot, as hormones such as the Estrace and Progesterone I was on during our last IUI cycle can sometimes increase risk of stroke.  He ordered a CT scan and started pushing around on my abdomen for signs of other issues.

The minute he pressed on the upper right side of my abdomen, I shot up.  The pain was searing.  That moment will be etched in my mind for years to come; trying to keep it together in front of this strange doctor, just a single tear rolling down my cheek.  He said we had a possible culprit; a gall bladder attack.  He ordered an ultrasound of my abdomen as well, and gave me a shot of Dilaudid for the pain.  Holy shit, does Dilaudid work like a charm.  It was scary and fascinating at the same time.   I can see why people get addicted to the stuff.  It takes away all pain and cares simultaneously.

After a CT scan, ultrasound and about $1700 in medical bills later, a gall bladder attack was confirmed.  There were no blood clots which was great, but my gall bladder was stuffed to the hilt with gallstones.  The doctor asked me if I’ve ever noticed pain like this before, if I had been having issues keeping food down or was suffering from gastrointestinal issues.  The answer was yes, I just never thought much of it.  I have been having issues for quite a while, but I always thought it was food poisoning or allergies that I just chose to ignore.  It had been happening a lot more as of late, but I just attributed it to stress.  I was referred to a surgeon upon being discharged and made an appointment to discuss my options.

With a little more time and clarity I was able to determine that these gall bladder attacks were happening every 3-4 weeks.  Sometimes they would last for a couple of hours, and sometimes they would last for half the day.  There was also no rhyme or reason to what was setting these attacks off.  It became a process of elimination over the next couple of weeks, trying to look back at what I had eaten before each attack.  The list went on for AGES.  How was I going to live like this when it seemed absolutely everything was making me sick?  I met with the surgeon and after discussing the frequency of my attacks, we decided it was best to take my gall bladder out.

So here we are; surgery day.  Am I nervous?  I don’t think so.  I guess we’ll see when we get to the hospital.  I’ve also apologized to Lee in advance for any potential attitude I may give him when coming out of anesthesia.  I’ve only been put under one other time; for the removal of my wisdom teeth.  When I came out of anesthesia I was a supreme asshole to my dad.  I’m independent to a fault and the idea that I would need to be helped out to the car was too much for me in my drug induced stupor.

I’ll be out of work and laid up all week, so I would imagine that this week will provide me lots of naps, TV binge-watching and soup.  This might make me sound old, but I’m really excited for the soup.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out so far today to wish me well!  If you need me at all this week, I’ll most likely be on my couch.

Organizing My Life

 

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Spring is well under way my friends, and with that, comes spring cleaning.  I’m taking spring cleaning to the max this year because, simply put, we have way too much shit.

We’re both guilty of holding on to things for way longer than necessary.  I, for one, can tell you that I have a shirt in my closet that I haven’t worn for 5+ years because my boobs don’t fit into it anymore, yet, I just can’t seem to part with it.  As if I’m going to wake up tomorrow two cup sizes smaller and able to fit into a shirt that’s no longer in style.  When I type it out, that actually sounds more like a nightmare than a reality I want any part of.

I also hoard crafting supplies.  Not because I’m crafty, but because I want to be, even though I’m not-so-secretly terrible at it.  What can I say?  It’s a pipe dream.

So, while I might be responsible for some of the clutter around our house, Lee’s guilty of way more.  Like, straight-up, first degree premeditated guilty of hoarding needless shit. Case in point:  I purchased 8 new Fiestaware place settings last fall.  We still have all the boxes.  You know, because we’ll need to transport them when we move in 10 years.  So we have 8 empty boxes sitting in our house for an eventual move someday in the distant future. This also goes for small appliance boxes, TV boxes, etc.  Do you need a phone cord for a 1997 Nokia 6110?  Lee’s got you covered there as well.

Regardless of who’s more at fault for our pack-rat behavior (*cough* Lee *cough*), I found a great article to help us get our lives more organized so that we can make room for a baby.  I hope you enjoy this list as much as I do!

http://www.lifeway.com/Article/twenty-five-ways-to-organize-your-life

An Outpouring of Love

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The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind of emotion, but it’s also been so very empowering.  I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I thank you all for your support.

I want to give a special shout out to the women that  have reached out since I posted my story to inform me that they too are suffering from fertility problems.  Wherever you are in your journey, know that you were my inspiration for this blog.

Most of all, I’d like to thank my husband for encouraging me to go public.  Thank you for encouraging me to be open and honest with my feelings.  I love you more than words can say.