Tuesday, December 21, 2010

december 21, 2007

i wrote this three years ago on our honeymoon. in my defense, hawaii is 5 hours behind us, so it was easy for me to be wide awake at 7am there:

it's seven am here, and justin is at work for a bit (love the marine corps) so i'm here just relaxing. cody let us stay at his house, and it's absolutely gorgeous. we're at the foot of this mountain, just about two minutes from base, convenient on mornings like this. the windows are always open because it's breezy and it always feels...well, imagine the best, most refreshing, relaxing weather. it's that.

we went to the grocery store yesterday, and i remembered why i'm not staying here. WOW. it's so expensive. digiorno pizzas are nine dollars. cereal, you can pay six bucks. what's up with that. pineapples aren't too bad though. haha. so i got one.

i just got unpacked and i've got laundry going because my husband has more dirty clothes than any one person should, i'm sure. i had a leftover slice of pizza for breakfast because i don't live here and don't have to live up to their number one state in the nation for healthiness standard. probably because all anybody can afford are pineapples.

we went to the beach yesterday...it was gorgeous. it's always breezy though, i'd call yesterday windy, but the sun was out and the water was beautiful. i took some pictures, yeah, wait for them. depending on how long justin works, i may have the pictures up today. or not.

it looks like it should be another beautiful day. being married is weird, i can't really explain why. i guess it's just one of those things you have to experience, haha. it's good weird though. we are pretty much just retarded together. he protects me, i feed him, it works out. ;) yesterday i made him a sandwich for lunch before we went to the beach, and he was talking about it for two hours. that was easy.

it rains every day here, but it's not like crappy rain, it's the kind of rain that is refreshing (well, i know it absolutely monsoons here, but it hasn't yet, fingers crossed) and you don't mind getting caught in it. it will be bright and sunny and you're getting rained on, it's pretty funny.

and...that is about it for now. still just a few minutes after seven, and i need to go put the clothes in the dryer, because i'm an old married lady now...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

december 18, 2007

this is a blog i wrote just almost three years ago, the day i was leaving to go to hawaii to get married:


ack. why am i awake.

ok just a comment, those cheesecake bites make me want to puke because they loooook like they are covered in like jalapeno popper breading, which is sick. ew.

i woke up at four this morning, and i can't sleep. it's stupid. i'm leaving in just over five hours. FIVE. til i leave the HOUSE. crap. so maybe i'll clean and get ready and finish packing...and still have like three hours left. let's hope not.
here's something. i'm ocd. i keep checking the ring boxes to make sure the rings are in them. how would they get out of the boxes? i don't know. but i'm sure i'll check right before i leave...right after i make sure the cat's not in the fridge 28 times.

justin says that "all i want for christmas is a real good tan" is a dumb song, but i like it so it's the first song on a cd of christmas songs i burned to take with me. perfect for singing at the top of my lungs when justin is trying to drive us somewhere. that, and i've been working on hitting all the high notes at the same loudness as a young michael jackson on the jackson five's rendition of "up on the housetop." i know you're thinking to yourself, "that justin is a lucky guy." and you're right.

not even 7am as i type this. how dumb is that. i want to go to walmart and get some magazines to stuff in my purse for the plane, and i have two books, but i'm just making sure i have entertainment. let's check the forecast in hawaii. right now it's 74 where i'm going. mmmm yay. and it's 3am there. the forecast is the same every single day. too funny.

ok i'm going to go get my day started.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

one year, again.

january
i don't remember much from january except getting the news that i had a giant cyst...oh yes, that's why you're in pain and not getting pregnant. that kind of thing. we got a dog, because i needed something small to cuddle.

february
i missed isats at work because i was out for a week from laproscopic surgery for my endometriosis and the cysts that came with it. i imagined the surgery would do the trick for my infertility. justin had to help me do everything for several weeks because it took so much out of me. you don't realize how much you use your abdominal muscles until someone cuts them up.

march
i lost my job at the march board meeting because of financial issues with the state. our friends took us out to eat and it really meant a lot.

april
i started clomid this month. it was interesting. it did not work the first time around (or the second, third, fourth, or fifth).

may
i handed out diplomas at the end of my first year of teaching. to say i was proud to make it through that year is an understatement. i felt really accomplished. justin and i went to st. louis for a night and had some nice away time. i got a text message from a coworker saying congratulations on getting my job back. i had no idea it was even going to be voted on, and i was thrilled.

june
we started remodeling the house. it was possibly one of the most insane ideas we ever had. i thought it would take a month. we tore out every bit of paneling and drywall in our living room and dining room. we took out the blown-in insulation and put in new insulation.

july
we were still remodeling. i cried because we were spending our free time on an air mattress in the living room floor because the furniture couldn't be moved back yet. my uncles hung the new drywall for us and we learned how to mud and tape drywall from the internet. it was literally step-by-step...what's next? let me check online. we painted the walls. we went for our orientation to learn about in vitro fertilization.

august
we bought new furniture for the new living room. the new school year began. i felt exponentially less overwhelmed and stressed - the second year made all the difference. we hit some serious bumps in the road in our decision making for ivf and did not do the ivf cycle. six months had passed since my surgery - it did not do the trick.

september
we were ready to start the ivf cycle. we ordered all of the medicines and prayed a lot.

october
i took more medicine and got more injections than i ever thought i would. 18 pills and i don't even know how many injections. i had my egg retrieval surgery on october 26. on october 27 we found out that we had a baby waiting on us in a little dish in st. louis. on october 29, we brought baby home with us. we prayed a LOT.

november
the progesterone injections continued from late october. i felt funny but didn't want to read into it. i took pregnancy tests to make sure the hcg injection was out of my system - and it was. one friday night in the shower, i felt funny pulling in my abdomen. two days later on november 7, i took a pregnancy test before church. the line was oh-so-faint, but it was there. i said, "justinnnnnn i think there's a line!" we bought first response tests to see a darker line, and there it was. we told everyone. that next friday we got the official blood test - pregnant. the next blood test said very pregnant.

december
december 1, we saw our baby's heartbeat. i thought it would never happen to us. now i am nauseous, tired, emotional, hormonal, popping hard candies left and right, gagging as i walk down the hall in the mornings - and even after school today. this sunday we will celebrate our third anniversary and our one-year-in-the-house-iversary. (yes, we moved on our anniversary - talk about a hot date haha.) christmas is more exciting this year.

it's been a crazy, amazing, totally unbelievable year.

next year starts off with a bang, a new sister-in-law and a 12-week appointment within four days - we look very forward to both. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

anxiety is normal at almost-eight-weeks, right?

i am having so much trouble believing this is real.

i am having even more trouble believing it will all be ok - that baby will stay healthy and grow and be born next summer and get to be cuddled and loved by us.

i have a crushing amount of fear about it. i am terrified.

i wish i could be excited, like really, consistently excited.

but with infertility, it's not like that. even the miracles we have had seem like they have to have a time to run out, because infertility doesn't work out well. infertility is ugly and bad and is a thief.

my doctor told me not to tell anyone until january because i could miscarry. thanks, doctor, cold hearted woman that you are, for making that decision for me. she literally said, "don't tell anyone. have you told anyone?"

on that note, i have a few really excellent reasons that i told everyone.

first, it is really hard to go through infertility nearly alone, with no support from family and friends. to keep the entire process a secret probably would have killed me. i had to tell about our ivf.

then of course everyone knew the schedule. they knew when baby would make news. and i was thrilled to tell. i still can't believe it. i just can't wrap my head around it.

but more than this is the fact that with each step of the way, i can say, "please pray for us. please pray for the baby," and people do. every time.

and it works.

people were not made to go through life alone - in joy and in tragedy.

and so i can ask now, please continue to pray for us. please continue to pray for baby.

(now i am going to say this - don't post something totally thoughtless and stupid in response to this, because i am extremely hormonal and not in the mood for inconsiderate crap. and please don't tell me that if i have faith, the baby will be fine, because that is not how it works, and if you think so, you haven't read the bible. and that is my rant. sorry it was so grumpy after this post, but i can't handle that crap right now. blame my double dose of progesterone.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

first ultrasound!

today we went for the first ultrasound. i was so anxious and nervous - i know that this early in pregnancy a lot can go wrong for not much of a reason at all, so i was ready to see what was going on in there.

i got the really excellent ultrasound lady - she is so nice and we just love her. she told me that first she was going to look at my ovaries and last she would look at my uterus. she measured my ovarian cysts, which are small and don't hurt anymore, and looked around - for what, i'm not really sure. she said, "you still have endometriosis..." and i said, "everywhere." we laughed, but it's true.

then finally, the uterus. she pointed to a big black spot and said, "now this is what you didn't have before." she measured the black spot, the amniotic sac, and then zoomed in.

and there was our baby.


i squeezed justin's hand as i watched the screen, looking for the little flutter of the heart.

before the ultrasound tech could say anything, i yelled, "OH! i see it!" and then i cried and cried. i had to make myself stop crying so that she could finish the ultrasound because i had the baby wiggling all around with my sobs.

then she said, "here's my favorite part."

she clicked a few times, and then, thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa thumpa - the fast, little heartbeat. i cried again, and again i had to stop so that she could measure the heart rate, which was a very nice 140 beats per minute.

by the time i got up my whole face was wet with tears. she printed photos and handed them to justin and he looked at them in total awe.

we met with dr. ratts after waiting a really long, i'm-very-hungry-by-now-and-also-pregnant amount of time. she was all smiles. she said everything looks great and that we can go back to my regular doctor now.

so God has blessed us with a healthy little baby with a fluttering little heart. today was a good day.

*edit: i must love writing "*edit," but anyway - i get to stop the injections in 20 days! woooohoooo!

Monday, November 29, 2010

blessings and curses

before i got pregnant, which wasn't that long ago, i got irritated when people would complain so easily about their pregnancies.

(granted, when someone complains about selfish things, like, "oh i look like a planet!" and it's overly dramatic, it's still irritating, but anyway...)

i thought, pregnancy is such a blessing, who could ever complain about it. they wouldn't if they had to do what i am doing.

for some complaints, the selfish ones, i think that's true. but for the sickness, tired, achy, barfy ones, i have thought and thought about it - which is why i have so obviously revised my view of complaining about pregnancy symptoms.

pregnancy is a blessing. yes it is. children are a blessing. certainly so.

but pregnancy symptoms are a curse - a true, legitimate curse. (i told justin i was going to punch eve in the throat. a bit much, i know, but one week of puke-feeling and i'm at that point.)

so anyway, i'm glad i got that straightened out. God sometimes humbles us through indigestion - really, really atrocious indigestion.

*edit: the purpose of this blog was to say that while we were struggling with infertility for a year and a half, the heartache was horrible, and it was extremely hard to hear people complain about pregnancy symptoms and still believe they were truly grateful. i understand now that you can be totally and completely grateful for the blessing of pregnancy and still complain because it really sucks to feel like barfing all the time.

i thought this was pretty clear when i wrote the blog. i hope it was.

and for the record, please try to be more encouraging than condescending. i have been there. it has been bad at times. i have cried countless tears over countless negative pregnancy tests. that is worse than any morning sickness. i have cried over shots and blood draws and surgery pain that most people don't have to have to get pregnant. it has been awful. and yes, it is worth every single pill i've taken that has made me ill, every shot i have had that has left a bruise and a knot or both, both surgeries and the pain after them. the gagging is nothing. i have been through much worse than this.

Friday, November 26, 2010

progress, i guess.

thanksgiving: a day when people gorge themselves on all sorts of delicious, calorie-laden food.

until you are just almost seven weeks pregnant. then it might just be your worst day of nausea so far. it might just be that you want to ask your husband to pull over about six times for you to be sick somewhere other than the car (i thought we were going to have to, but we didn't).

needless to say, my thanksgiving eat-fest consisted of two bites of chicken and dumplings, three bites of ham, and a bite of roll.

i was easily able to eat my mom's home made applesauce at lunch and about ten sweet pickles at supper. i also ate a pumpkin bar, which i enjoyed.

then i was nauseous again.

then at home i ate some cream of wheat. then i was nauseous again.

last night during the night the nausea went away, but i woke up not being able to move because of a horrendous knot somewhere in my neck/upper back. i am leaning up against a heating pad right now. i can't take ibuprofen and i don't know if i can use icy hot. it says to ask a doctor. i don't know what icy hot could possibly hurt, but i am dying.

anyway, justin got me some tylenol in the night, and i drank a few swallows of water with it. then i got nauseous again.

sooooo, i guess the baby is doing well.

*edit: fyi - you can use icy hot when you are pregnant. unless you are allergic to it or something. then don't. but i'm not a doctor so if you do it and your arms fall off, you shouldn't believe everything you read in some random person's blog.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

baby business.

well on november 12 my hcg was at 343.

yesterday's blood test came back at a lovely 3,411.

our first ultrasound is on december first. we are praying and hoping for a healthy baby with a fluttering little heart!

i have not had anything really out of the ordinary. people ask me how i feel, and i say good. i'm just about normal. i expected to be puking daily with the luck we had for 17 months before this, but i've been ok so far.

i almost killed justin for talking about hamburger though.

otherwise, i have some pulling in my abdomen, but nothing too terrible. some days there's hardly anything, and other days i swear baby is growing inches.

justin keeps asking me if i want clothes for christmas. i laugh and tell him i don't know what size i'll be needing. and i'm glad. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

sticky chicken - one of my very favorite meals.

i love love love this meal. it's not hard, and when you're done, it's restaurant quality for a fraction of the price.

ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (i cut mine into strips so the sauce covers more of them)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
ginger and garlic powder to taste

in a 12-inch skillet, combine all above ingredients except the chicken. stir until the sugar dissolves. add the chicken to the mixture.

bring the sauce to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes, turning the chicken once halfway through.

while the chicken is cooking, i make some minute rice in the microwave to serve with it (follow the directions on the package).

remove the chicken from the marinade and set aside (you may want to keep it warm in a baking dish in a warm oven).

turn the heat up to medium. have a whisk handy and stir often. the goal is to cook the sauce until it begins to thicken, which takes 8-10 minutes. (if you overcook it, the sauce will harden into something like hard candy, and though still delicious, it is impractical to eat.)

drizzle the sauce over your chicken and rice. enjoy.

*note: you might have to soak your skillet in warm water with a few drops of dish detergent. if you leave it to soak for 20 minutes, all the leftover sugar will rinse away. i would do this immediately after dishing out the meal and just leave it to soak while you eat.

Friday, November 12, 2010

yayyyyyyyy

so my pregnancy is going well so far! the hcg was at 343 today!

and i like owls lately, and i just found this:
pack n play

and this:
highchair

and i said, "eeeeeeeee!"

*edit: also this:
bouncer

Thursday, November 11, 2010

better test photos for you friends and ttc-ers

#dp3dt means the number of days past a three day transfer. this means, in ivf talk, that my baby was transferred the third day after it was conceived (yeah, in a dish, but it sounds better than fertilized). so the tests are numbered in days past the transfer. the last test is from this morning.




click to enlarge if you want a closer look. hopefully this will better show the progression (i finally reinstalled photoshop...i've been putting it off).

*edit: these tests are all dollar general baby tests. i got a frer to be sure on sunday, but that doesn't show the progression so i didn't include it. i think it would have shown up a day or two sooner on the frer, but 9dp3dt is still pretty good for a $1 test!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

double lines all the way.

i tested again yesterday morning:


the line is somewhat darker (click photo to enlarge if you can't really see it, but it is still pretty faint).

then i tested this morning, and finally there was a line that you didn't have to contort your eyeballs to see:



so that was pretty exciting. as far as feeling different, i have still had the cramping and things, but nothing too terrible. it is enough to make me worry, which i think is pretty normal, especially after all of this.

the progesterone shots are still going well. they don't really hurt all that much at the time of the shot, but they leave a heck of a knot for later.

i still can't believe that this is all happening. i half expect them to call me friday and say that i'm not pregnant, but i don't know how that would even be possible. i think it's mostly because of everything we've gone through to get to this point.

so anyway that is the update for now. i will test again tomorrow, and then friday is the big blood test!

Monday, November 8, 2010

one week and three days with baby.

last week i took two pregnancy tests that came up negative, showing that the hcg from the shot was out of my system. imagine my surprise after 17 months and countless pregnancy tests when yesterday morning's test had two lines instead of one.



the first test, very very faint if you can even see the line here. i freaked out and had to buy a first response early result test.



the second test with a darker line.




the test from this morning, a bit darker than the one from yesterday morning. i plan on just testing daily and watching it get darker.


as far as symptoms, i have been tired, hungry, and having some cramping at times. i called the doctor last weekend (before testing) and he said it was fine and that it could indicate pregnancy. i guess it did!

we really are still in disbelief about it. we go back this week to get a blood test to find out "officially."

God does what we think is impossible. that's the biggest lesson for me here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

24 hours with baby.

baby is healthy! baby had seven cells yesterday (hopefully today we are working on 10-12 and implantation) and little fragmentation. here is a photo (sorry for the poor quality...it's a phone photo of a printed photo):



they did an ultrasound-guided transfer (if you're doing ivf and your doctor DOESN'T do this, you need to find a new doctor). we watched the little tube go up, curve, and go right into the place the doctor had marked on the screen. then, bloop, out came baby and a little air bubble. the air bubble is the little white dot you see on the left. baby is near it:


we have almost two weeks before we can go back for a test. i'm seriously not sure how i am going to make it that long.

i have been sitting and laying around since the procedure. i got up a minute ago to rinse out the coffee pot...aside from showering and peeing, it's about the most i've done, and i'm ready to get up. i know it's best to rest, so here we are, me and baby, sitting on the couch. again.

i also asked my doctor if it was normal to be soooo sore after the surgery on tuesday. she said yes, and that i might be sore for a few weeks. she said people with endometriosis usually have more pain because the surgery irritates the endometriosis. thanks again, endo. i love you, too.

the progesterone shots are going well. justin is good at giving them and he encourages me the whole time. the needle doesn't hurt like you'd think, but afterward it knots up and feels like someone punched me. it's not the agony i thought it would be, though, and i know that baby needs the progesterone, so that makes it easier.

please keep praying for healthy development and implantation, for a positive test in two weeks, and for a healthy pregnancy. God has really provided for us in all of this - surprising us and the doctor (she acted really surprised that our one chance did so well - go baby!).

*disclaimer: for insurance purposes, there's no positive test, so there's no rate change. (just in case someone higher up at the company needs to get a hobby instead of googling customers.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

excited and nervous.

well, one of my eggs did not fertilize...but one DID. :D praise God!

so tomorrow we go for the transfer and come home with our baby!

we will also get a photo of baby tomorrow. it makes me nervous because i have looked at a lot of photos of developing babies and i will know automatically how baby is doing. i want lots of big circles, lots of development, and little fragmentation. it makes me excited and anxious and terrified...

wow. a baby.

that's another thing. i worry that people think it's silly to get excited since it's so early and i have over a week before a pregnancy test. i worry that (and know that some) people don't think it's actually a baby yet. i don't like it.

i imagine someone naturally conceiving and having a positive pregnancy test and someone looking at them and saying, "yeah but it might die in a few days. it's only a fetus anyway." no, it's not. it's a baby. it's a person.

i understand that baby has to overcome a lot more than most. it has to find a place to settle in and grow after being in a petri dish for three days. it has to grow and develop normally after getting most of its start hours away from its mom and dad.

but tomorrow it will be with us, and we are happy about that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

this might be the most nervous i have ever been. ever.

well, i am guessing that wednesday midday to wednesday afternoon will be the most nervous time.

tomorrow morning is the egg retrieval and then they will do the ICSI fertilization attempt. i am not nervous about the surgery. i am sure i will cry when they go to take me in, because i did that last time (though it was a much bigger surgery). i am sure i will be heavily drugged for the remainder of the day, and i will probably wish that i was on wednesday too.

i am going to work on wednesday for the regular school day unless i am not feeling well, but i at least have to go for the afternoon and for parent-teacher conferences all evening. needless to say, it will be a stressful and busy day aside from our ivf happenings.

i haven't decided if i will ask my boss if i can answer my very important phone call, or if i will lock my phone away in the closet and not look at it until after work, and i'm not sure i have the willpower for the last one.

i am terrified to get a call at 1:00 as my classes begin for the afternoon just to hear that we have nothing waiting for us. i know it sounds so pessimistic, but i don't think you get to this point and have a lot of faith in the way that your body works, whether it's inside or outside of you.

we need a lot of prayer in the next few days, and hopefully over the next nine months too. please pray for healthy, growing babies, a successful transfer, implantation, and healthy pregnancy. i know i have asked, but i feel at this point that i can't ask enough.

i know that God can use this to work a miracle for us. i hope He does.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

this week

a few people have asked me exactly what is going on this week, so i thought i would write a short blog to let you all know.

yesterday the doctor's office called and scheduled me for surgery on tuesday morning. this surgery is for egg retrieval, which is basically me going under and them taking a needle and aspirating the follicles (read: sucking all the eggs out...sorry for the grossness lol).

after that is done, they will attempt to fertilize two of the healthiest eggs they can find. they will do this by injecting the eggs, in a process called ICSI. it has good success rates but sometimes doesn't work, so it's up in the air...as always. :P

the rest of the eggs will be frozen. if i have a baby or babies from this first procedure, these eggs will be discarded later.

on wednesday they will call me and let me know how the development is going. to be honest, i am terrified they will call and say that we have nothing. it is my prayer and hope that they will call and say we have two healthy "embryos," just developing away.

if all goes well until that point, then friday we will go back and i will have the babies transferred back to me.

ten days to two weeks after that, they will make me come back for a blood test to see if the baby or babies implanted. obviously, implantation means pregnancy, and would be my first ever (and maybe only) positive pregnancy test.

please be praying with us through this week, that tuesday's surgery and fertilization go very well, that the eggs both fertilize, that the babies grow and are healthy, that they implant after the transfer, and that i have a healthy pregnancy. we appreciate it so very much.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

my grandparents' house

when i was little, they had the longest driveway and biggest yard in the world. and one of the biggest houses, too.


i have pictures of myself playing with puppies in their driveway; i remember smelling the lilac bush walking around outside while staying far enough away from the old well that i wasn't supposed to touch.

at the back door was an old cast iron bell that i liked to ring when we went to visit. through the screen door was a heavy wooden door with windows that looked remarkably like the one justin and i have in the dining room. the furnace room was at the end of the entryway and the kitchen was to the left.

in the kitchen, i would pull a chair away from the table and take canned goods from the cabinets, pretending to grocery shop.

the canned goods without their cabinets.



i remember grandpa heating up his coffee in the microwave - he always makes instant coffee. he used white coffee cups, diner style, for as long as i can remember.

a cup with smoke stains from the fire.



in the living room was the fireplace, which i never remember being lit, but i spent a lot of time near it playing with lincoln logs and tinker toys, toy dishes and the old-fashioned egg beater that grandma let me play with.



once seth and i hid from grandma in the clothes racks in the laundry room. i remember we went in there, and then she called to us and we thought maybe we shouldn't have been in there, so we just hid. i remember us trying to hold our giggles in so we wouldn't be discovered.

grandma's bedroom was what had been the original living room, so it was large enough to hold a piano and a computer desk.

the computer.


the back of the piano.


upstairs were the bedrooms our dad and his brother and sister grew up in, filled with all kinds of treasures from our family's history. a cedar wardrobe that smelled fresh and wonderful when you opened the door. a metal dollhouse from the 1950s. a flintlock rifle. a powder horn passed down through generations. my great-grandma's singer sewing machine.

the sewing machine fell when the second floor collapsed. my cousin found it and sat it up here.



there are so many more memories that flood into my mind...sitting against a big olive green corduroy pillow with my care bears tv tray watching television, eating red hots and cheetos from their little orange tupperware cups. the smell of the cabinet that held all of the candy and goodies. sitting at the table eating ice cream cones and getting caught sticking my ice cream on the table after watching ryan do the same thing and hide it faster than i could. playing with the toy cars and tractors that my dad had played with. looking through the astronomy book with grandpa. sitting around in the living room talking. going upstairs just to explore.

it's hard to believe that the house is reduced to this:




i had to go look around last night and just see everything...or rather, what was left of everything. we got ready to go and i turned back and walked toward the lilac bush and i found a page from one of grandma's hymnals lying on the ground. i was shocked to read it, and brought it home to frame and hang on the wall.



praise Him, praise Him. yes indeed. i visited my grandparents last night. the fire that destroyed the house only destroyed things. my grandparents made it out and are alive and well. and God is still on the throne.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

upcoming: a look at the follicles

so my "levels" are good. i have clicked around a bit online (my favorite tool for self-diagnosis, or rather, diagnoses) and discovered that the normal estradiol levels are around 60. on monday i was at about 250, and today i was at 680. that is really exciting and cool because it means my follicles are developing. they have to get closer to 3000-4000 from what i can tell, but i've only been on stimulating meds for six days so i will get there.

at my next appointment, i get blood work done again to check those levels, and then i get an ultrasound so that we can see all of my (hopefully) developing, growing, happy follicles, preferably full of very healthy eggs to make babies with.

the new shot hurts very bad and it makes me anxious about the progesterone, which is worse. but i will be ok. i will get used to it. three shots a day and it takes less time to do than it originally did to get one, mostly because i was freaking out so much at the beginning.

also, my grandparents' house burned down, completely. there is almost nothing left. i want to write a blog about it, about some things about it, some memories and some thoughts, but i want to go out there and see it first.

i haven't been because it's hard to go after work but before shots, and because we did spend the afternoon yesterday with grandma in the hospital. she and grandpa both got out ok, but there was a bit of smoke inhalation and then some stress on grandma's heart. i think we might try to go on friday. so continue to pray for them, for health and also for peace. it has to be hard to lose everything, from family heirlooms to simple things like clothing, and it's not easy on them, i'm sure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

from today's appointment:

everything looks fine.

i got up at 5:00 for that. and went to st. louis and back. the appointment took all of 15 minutes. i got blood drawn and an ultrasound, where we looked at my tiny follicles (they should be tiny with the meds i've been on) and a cyst on EACH ovary (which i can't remember if i knew already or not). the cyst on the right is 2cm and the cyst on the left is 4cm. the one on the right never hurts so i didn't know or forgot it was there.

i turned in my paperwork to the lady who was going to draw my blood for the estradiol test. she looked it over and told me that i meant to circle "yes" for the freezing embryos option. i told her it was no mistake. we were freezing eggs, but not embryos.

she said, "are you doing ivf?" i said, "yes." she said, "then you will have embryos." i said, "yes, but we are only fertilizing two eggs. we won't have any embryos to freeze. only eggs."

and she ROLLED HER EYES and said, "oooohhhhh-kayyyyyy." lady, you are not some huge philosopher theologian. your job is to stick a needle in my vein and put the blood in a plastic tube. we have discussed this, prayed about this, talked to the doctor about this, and decided on THIS, and you need to keep your butthole opinion out of it.

i debated complaining about it to my nurse there, but i have to have her take my blood a bunch more and i don't want to make her mad. one more off comment like that, though, and i might stick her with her own needle. grrrr.

then i got to work and had to give three tests in 39 minutes for two class periods in a row and it was stressful and i am tired and i am very glad to be home again.

the end. or rather, the beginning.

i go back next week for another appointment for bloodwork. friday i start TWO shots a day, and by monday or tuesday we will be up to THREE shots a day. please be praying for us as we are a bit stressed with the travel, early wake-ups, many doctor's appointments, and of course, needles needles everywhere.

and please be praying that babies for us are the wonderful outcome of all of this. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 1/2 weeks in.

well we have successfully made it three and a half weeks into the ivf process.

the first week and a half was terrible. i started the pill and it made me nauseous every. single. day. it was horrible. i tried to switch to taking it at night but when combined with the night-taking of the prenatal vitamin, it kept me up. i finally started taking it at lunch and the nausea stopped altogether. i took my last pill last thursday.

a week ago, i started lupron shots. the needle doesn't really hurt, but the medicine burns going in, then it itches, and it usually gets red like a bug bite. justin gives me the shots so that it's not a psychological battle.

justin has had a lot of worries about the process, because it is so unnatural and so invasive and so serious. there are a lot of things that come with ivf that don't come with a normal pregnancy. namely, you have had to struggle a LOT to get to the point of ivf, so you have issues with being negative, being worried, being stressed, and being incredibly medicated and emotional (for the woman, at least). and then the fact that the baby is outside of your body for a few days and you can't just have it with you and care for it in the natural way creates a few more issues. so just be praying for peace in this decision.

i feel that we have eliminated most other ethical issues that are actually valid, so i am comfortable, but still scared it won't work. pray for us - i plead with you, pray for us - that it WILL work, and that we will have two healthy babies from this process.

the medicine hasn't had a lot of side effects until the past few days. each night i have been waking up at around 2am, kicking the covers off and whining because i get SO HOT. hello, menopause. nice to meet you. (as if my body didn't feel 30 years older than it is anyway.) the hot flashes end soon enough and i cool off, but by that time i'm usually wide awake. my endometriosis had also seemed to be as dormant as it gets as far as pain, and it's been a bit agitated the past few days as well. and last night i just sobbed on the way home from justin's family get-together because i was just too emotional to manage it. being on hormone medication for six months has not been my favorite thing.

our appointment is this week, and then we should start the stimulation shots on friday. i'm not sure about the schedule after that, but i will find out more at our appointment.

adoption is seeming so daunting right now. i feel like we have waited and waited and waited, and adoption is more of that. there are the classes to attend and the home study to get done and then the actual wait for someone to give up their child, which is a terrifying concept in itself - and which is becoming less and less popular since abortion is so readily available and so "normal." it is also so costly, and we really don't have the extra money for it. i know that God provides, but it is so easy after going through all of this to have very little faith that something is going to work out well.

so that's my update on this monday morning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

a summary

so for those of you who haven't been following, or who would rather not read all of my blogs - which, at lots of points, i can totally understand - i would like to give a summary of our decisions for the pursuit of parenthood.

first, we have done a lot of research on adoption, but since insurance pays for one round of ivf, we are doing that first.

we are attempting to fertilize only two eggs to avoid freezing embryos. we will freeze any other viable eggs. these can be used for another round of ivf - a simpler, much cheaper one - should the first round not result in fertilization.

justin gave me my first shot tonight, and it will only increase from here for the next month and hopefully longer. so we are doing this thing for sure.

aside from the ivf, we definitely feel led to adopt and feel that God has brought us to this place in order to prepare us to be parents in that way, either in addition to children from ivf, or by adoption alone. we are still looking at different places and researching cost, but loans and grants are available. (rare, but available, and God works in mysterious ways, so that might be one of them.)

so, that is my pursuit of parenthood summary.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

in all of this, please...

don't make it about you.

i have to preface this by saying that most of the people who read this don't fall into any of the coming categories or statements. most of the people who read this have been in our shoes and understand our hurt or are learning to understand by experiencing it through our situation. most of the people who will read this already have learned or are doing a great job of learning along with us where the lines are drawn, what is appropriate, and how to encourage. we appreciate you so much, and i can't wait to give that part of the "thank yous" at the eventual baby or toddler shower.

but for the others, this is my plea: don't make it about you.

i say this to avoid hurt feelings and misinterpreted, misunderstood, mis-something-ed statements.

i understand that infertility hurts. you might not. if you make comments about it that are out of your grasp of reality, you will upset me, because i'm not to the being-ok-with-out-of-line-comments-about-infertility area of sanctification. and trust me, our definitions on out-of-line-comments might differ. sometimes holding your tongue is best, especially if the only thing you ever say is to reprimand an attitude that you probably can't understand my reason for having. believe me when i say that my attitude isn't about you. most of the time it is a result of my struggle with the things that are happening in my life. sometimes my attitude is ok, even if it seems negative to you. sometimes it my attitude is sin that i am trying to repent of. either way, harsh words don't help, no matter how valuable you think your opinion is.

i KNOW that when we adopt, there will be trials we face that someone who has never adopted will never know. i know that if we adopt a child from another country or from here but of another race, there will be things our family faces in the realm of hate, racism, bias, and discrimination that most families in our demographic will never know. these things might come from strangers, "friends," or even family members. this is a real thing to be aware of, and it is natural to fear the situation to an extent. it isn't just a worry - it will be a reality in a small town world too often wrapped in a rebel flag. i should be able to say this without someone taking personal offense. if you take offense because of racist tendencies, then that is your sin to repent of. if you take offense because you feel singled out, know that i singled no one out in this or any other writing about adoption. it might be a guilty conscience, or it might be an inflated ego, but either way, you need to step back and think, "realistically, this is not about ME. it is about God and sarah and justin and how they are going to have children."

overwhelmingly, people have been encouraging. overwhelmingly, people have been understanding. people find the time to write us and tell us about their adoption experiences, their infertility experiences, or just simply to encourage us and ask us questions about how things are going. people come out of the woodwork to encourage! people have adopted and shared it with me, and i had had no idea at all that their families were made through adoption. and we love that. we really do. we love making it about a community of adopted people - adopted by God as children - sharing love and encouragement.

i could spend an hour making potato soup - and let me tell you, my potato soup is awesome because it's filled with fat and calories and amazingness. if, at the end of that hour, the soup is done, it's delicious, and it has had all of these good, yummy things poured into it, i just pour in a little bit of arsenic, you have to throw the soup out.

don't be the arsenic. don't make it about you.

(thanks for the encouraging ones who read this anyway and listened to me vent.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

for the non-u.s. readers:

hook us up with a good adoption agency in your country! of course, we aren't both 30 yet, so that knocks out one country, but we are interested in international adoption still. :)

utter exhaustion.

that pretty much sums up the last two weeks of my life. i have been exhausted to the point of sitting with my head in my hands by the time it is 11:00 am. i'm tired. i wake up and feel like i didn't sleep, even if i go to bed at a decent hour. by the time i get home, i have a headache and i'm ready for bed, so i spend my evenings just laying around feeling useless.

my cyst, on the other hand, has stopped hurting so much. i am really glad of that. i imagine the number the birth control pill is doing on the rest of my body, it's doing on the endo, and that at least is a bonus.

the hip pain had also subsided for a day or so, and today there i stood, in front of my class, talking about repeating decimals, and the ache came back with a vengeance. i would have loved to sit down, but when 23 kids have questions - or even 13 kids with questions and lots of full moon energy - you can't really rest. it makes me really glad that i'm giving a test tomorrow afternoon, that is for sure.

i think i've gotten to the point of feeling pretty discouraged about IVF. i literally won't even think about it. i take the pills in the morning, the vitamins in the evening, get through the side effects of both, and ignore the rest. my brain can't think of injections, because inevitably i will wake up from dreams of needles and vials of medicine. so i don't get any farther than that. no procedures, no babies, no nothing. i just try not to think about it much at all.

my temps are still up, and that really, REALLY bothers me. the blood test came back negative on monday, but the nurse i had talked to would like me to take another before i start the lupron shots. i am also still having totally whacked-out blood pressure, still seeing the lights, etc.

so all in all, i feel like a medical freakshow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

just some more stuff.

today i talked to the doctor, who honestly seemed to think my question about my cyst was totally needless. for $14,000 i think you can fake it. ahem. anyway, she said it wasn't a big deal and that they do it all the time.

we are still reading the adoption book but we won't even be able to get more information from the one agency until december. i am not sure as to what steps we are going to take, whether we will do domestic or international, and how we will finance it.

one argument against doing IVF is that it costs just as much to do it as to adopt, but my insurance covers one round of IVF so it costs WAY more to adopt than to do IVF. just in case people thought we were complaining about finances and spending money on IVF - we aren't.

i had a blood test done yesterday and it was negative. my temperature still hasn't dropped. my blood pressure is VERY low and i get dizzy and tired all the time. my cyst has been hurting a LOT more.

i am taking my pills still, which make me feel desperately sad. i hate it. i will be glad to get them finished. i also get nauseous frequently, and the hip pain is still often there. i am really grumpy, and my patience feels like each second might be the last one that i have any patience left at all.

i have an overwhelming feeling that God has a baby for us soon. i never can tell what "soon" means, or how the baby will come about, but i have this feeling. i hope i am not wrong.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

another weird thing.

i'm kind of worried because my temperature has yet to drop. it's the chart i always dreamed of - 21 high temps in a row. but three pregnancy tests say no, and the doctor doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. the nurse said too many things can affect the temperature. it's just never happened before and i don't like taking medicine that changes the environment of my body without knowing more about what is going on.

i have been hurting daily. my cyst was hurting so bad last night that i woke myself up whimpering. my hips have hurt, just this general ache, that isn't enough to be debilitating, but it's enough to ruin the day.

and i also want to know what is going to happen if they stick a big needle in an ovary with a cyst to harvest eggs. what will it do to the cyst? and if it does something to the cyst, what will it do to me? that's actually a pretty realistic and important question.

i am going to spend the morning on the couch by myself, hurting from my belly button to my knees. UGH.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

upcoming events:

tomorrow, i take one last pregnancy test (dr.'s orders...i had some weirdnesses this time around and we have to make sure i'm not pregnant before we continue). if that comes up negative, which i'm sure it will, i start taking pills. i take those for 3 weeks.

on october 4, i begin lupron shots. those don't hurt - they are the little needles. justin is going to give me the shots so i don't have the psychological battle that comes with sticking a needle in yourself. if he isn't gentle, i might give him a lupron shot. i don't really want to know what that would do. probably nothing, if you think about it.

around a week later, i have an appointment in st. louis to get bloodwork and an ultrasound to make sure everything is shut down. if it is, then on october 15 i start stimulating shots. those don't hurt either.

that is all of the schedule i have so far. they have mailed one out to me, and hopefully i get it in time (not like the parking pass that came the day after our appointment).

i assume near the end of october will be the retrieval surgery, the attempt at fertilization, and further news on proceeding. obviously if neither fertilizes and grows, we can't proceed. if they do, then we wait for the doctor to decide when to transfer one or both of them back, depending on whether both of them fertilized.

if they do transfer one or both of them, then i will test around november 10. that's just a guess, but it's similar to my old schedule, so i think it's accurate.

my biggest fear is that we will get all the way to the retrieval and fertilization and that nothing will fertilize. i dread the phone call (probably while i'm at work) that says that i have nothing. i really hope that doesn't happen, but it's hard to NOT think about it.

i want to stay positive, but i know the odds are against us - especially since my endometriosis is really growing. my stomach hurts to the touch, and i have been walking around like i'm 90, slightly bent with my hand on my back, because i'm in so much pain. tuesday night, i laid on the couch writhing in pain and crying my eyes out. justin wanted to take me to the hospital. it's never been that bad before. it was a miserable 20 minutes, and then it gradually went away.

we are still looking at adoption, of course. i got some more information from the catholic social services place, but i don't know that we will choose that agency or not. it's so expensive, and when i think about how much student loan debt i have from following God's call to go back to school, how we need to get a new heating and air conditioning system (seriously, NEED - we have our thermostat set on 80 and are spending $250 a month on electricity, not to mention the house is unbearable in the winter without a space heater and blanket), and how justin still has a lot of school to finish before he can get a job, it is really frustrating.

so that's what's going on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

the plans

i start pills for ivf this week. i am assuming i will start shots before october or around the beginning, but i will get my official schedule tomorrow.

we are fertilizing two eggs and hopefully that works. they will use ICSI for that, which is where they fertilize by injection. there is a general 50-100% success rate with fertilization for that, but we are still in the dark about that process with us and about my egg quality (though the doctor doesn't think mine is really compromised). then we will freeze the rest of the eggs for additional cycles or to throw away if the first round works. and i have peace about it, actually. i KNOW this is the way we are supposed to do it, and if it doesn't work, God will give us a baby in another way.

we are still working on adoption. even if the ivf works, we are planning to adopt in the near future, or at least prepare to so that when there is a baby for us, we can adopt. we have to get a home study done, decide on an agency, and make all the right contacts and legal moves, and still find some way to finance it.

i keep having korea in the back of my mind, like we are supposed to adopt from there, but i really have no idea how we can realistically spend 60% of my yearly salary on an adoption. we don't have the money to pay for a domestic adoption, let alone international.

we can't apply for any grants until we have completed a home study, and each organization/agency makes you pay for a separate home study with THEM (why it isn't standardized i don't know, probably to make money), so we pretty much have to pick an agency and stick with them. yes, that does mean that if one organization has a baby in a week and another has a baby in three years and we are with the three-year one, we wait three years. so i worry. of course.

we are reading "adopted for life" right now, by russell moore. it is incredible and i think it is changing my life. it is so much more than a book about adoption. if you ever questioned your relationship with God, ever considered adoption, or both, you need to read this book. it would be beneficial to people who will never adopt simply to read it and learn about how we are adopted by God. i seriously cry reading this book. it is incredible.

Friday, September 10, 2010

differentiating.

i feel at this point that i should say that the differentiation for us between domestic and international adoption is this: cost and legalities.

international adoption is drastically more expensive, and there are a lot more legal hoops to jump through.

a baby is a baby is a baby. the baby might be born in korea, ethiopia, or illinois, but it is a baby. it is a baby that needs a loving home. it is not about having a match to my skin color. it is not about having the same national origin. i mean for heaven's sake, what does citizenship even matter in the big scheme of things?

citizenship. it determines your rights and how much taxes you pay and that's about it. i am a citizen of the world, just like any of the babies out there waiting to be adopted.

human beings are created in the image of God. when we look at citizenship above all else, we fail to see the image of God, and instead we see the "otherness" of someone not like us. we value someone more because they are like us. and in the meantime, we do just the opposite thing of what we are supposed to be doing.

remember that whatever we do to the least of these - the young, the helpless, even the orphaned - we do to Jesus.

anybody have $26,000?

that's how much it can cost to adopt a child from korea. ethiopia? $33,000. and to adopt from colombia, you have to stay in colombia for six weeks, which i'm sure would not be a good thing for my job - and let's face it, you need a job to feed a baby.

so i'm thinking that the right choice for us right now, and justin agrees, is to try domestic adoption. it's a fraction of the cost, though still upwards of $10,000, but it still doesn't almost take up a year's salary. and it won't require a whole lot of travel, which would be hard for us with work and school.

i think we may even consider embryo adoption. yes, i said embryo adoption. you can actually adopt embryos made during ivf cycles that people would otherwise discard or simply not "use," take medicine, thaw them out, and have them transferred. it's definitely an exciting option that saves a life and allows for pregnancy to be part of the adoption process.

so anyway, we will be looking into that more soon, and hopefully getting some information about different local agencies that can help us.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

a little bit about a few things.

my doctor says no more clomid for me (i was on my second to last month of ever even having it have an effect anyway, so no big deal) and that i need to see my eye doctor about the funny lights. she doesn't think it's the clomid. i think it was at first, but now it seems like it's blood pressure related. i just know for sure that it's weird, but it's nothing that interferes with my vision.

i have some time before i can test again, but it would be a miracle...you know the story by now.

we also decided that even if i do get pregnant before december, we are still filling out the adoption papers so that we can adopt. i figure if God has had a reason to keep us waiting 14+ months, then He will have His timing with that too, and if that means two at once, then it does. so i am really excited about that. i don't know if we will do domestic or international or both, but i seriously can't wait. :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

the importance of neat handwriting, volume 2

yesterday we were at the fair and a lady came up and asked us to sign the giant poster for veterans. of course i obviously have a soft spot for stuff like that because of justin and seth and jami and a few years back ryan and jason, all the way back to both of my grandpas being korean war veterans.

i picked up the marker and neatly printed our "thank you" message, a generic one because i would have taken up the whole board if i let myself.

we stepped away and justin said, "yours is the neatest handwriting on this whole thing."

duh.

i said, "i write on boards for a living, justin. it better be neat." :)

some thoughts about adoption

obviously, you don't get this far into a struggle with infertility and NOT consider adoption as a good, viable option. before i even knew i was infertile, i knew i had a calling to adopt. it was just one of those things that didn't seem like it would be the only way (or perhaps the first way when God says "wait" on fertility instead of just "no").

in thinking about adoption, i have mourned for pregnancy, and yes, even childbirth. i have mourned for morning sickness. i have mourned for kicks and wiggles and round ligament pain and peeing constantly. it is not defeat; rather, it is just hard to consider adoption without mentally giving up pregnancy in some way, as i know that i would not have seriously considered adoption this early in my life and in my quest to have children if my physical problems were not present.

but i know how much we would love that child, and how it would be OURS, just as much as i am my own parents' child. i know God would have made that child just for us, though i wouldn't have been the vessel to bring it into this world.

i think another thing is the "i always wanted a child who looked like me" idea. (granted, you can give birth to your own biological child and have them look nothing like you at all). "he/she gets that from you," would be a different sort of phrase. i have recently had it impressed upon me that we are created in God's image, and that means justin and i are created in God's image, and that child would be too, and that is something we would have in common that goes beyond all other commonalities.

and obviously there is the fact that as christians, we are adopted into God's family in a most literal sense - though sometimes it is hard to think about it literally. i think adopting children illustrates that concept well, and i think that God had that in mind when He created situations and impressed upon hearts the need and desire to adopt children.

i do have some (hopefully irrational) fears about it. first, i worry that no one will be excited for us if we adopt, because "the child wouldn't really be ours." crazy, right? but it's there. i worry people will think we are some kind of fake, poser parents who had to cheat to get their baby. i know, it is totally nuts, and it isn't something that is at the front of my mind, but it is one of those thoughts from the enemy that are hard to shake.

i worry that our families will not accept the child as a "real" part of the family. it's not that our families are awful, horrendous, and exclusive. it just feels like i am somewhat of a black sheep in the realm of fertility - being the only one (so far and i pray forever) who can't have a child (yet or ever, whichever that may be). i should really say that i can't even think of one person who would actually not love our child, adopted or not, but this is just a fear i have that i wanted to express.

i worry that no one will throw us a shower and get us all of those fun, wonderful baby things and that we will go bankrupt paying for the adoption and all of the baby stuff ourselves. this is a silly fear, i know, but it comes with the territory - what happens when you get pregnant? people throw you an exciting, cute, adorable shower. and you get stuff that you need for taking care of your baby. and what happens when you don't get pregnant? i don't know.

i worry about international adoption. i know that children all over the world need parents, and i would definitely adopt internationally. my fear is that i would be severely lacking as a parent, living in a place where there are clusters of close-minded people who see skin color as a reason for hatred, and what does a white girl from a small town know about coping with racism? i can just hear it now..."mommy, why did you punch that man?" ahem. i wouldn't, but seriously...i would think about it.

so those are my thoughts, sitting here a week from testing and making other decisions and three months from being able to fill out an adoption application.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

winner, winner, chicken dinner.

my hot pockets student from a previous blog continues to crack me up with little comments about food. apparently he is very hungry by about 2:30 every day.

he asked me to go see another teacher to get some pork skins. i told him if the teacher sent him with a pass the next day, he could go. ;)

and another day -
student: do you like ramen noodles?
me: i've never had them.
student: do you live in (the town where i teach)? because everybody here likes ramen noodles.
me: no...

or when someone mentioned candy, he replied:
i don't like candy. i like real food, like chicken....and chicken....and hot wings.

Friday, September 3, 2010

another update.

well, the doctor said no to three. i don't guess she said NO, really, but she is VERY against transferring three. so we are right back where we were before. i don't know what to do. i'm not comfortable going through all of that and running out of money for nothing. it sucks. it sucks a lot.

we have barely discussed it here. justin won't budge. he thinks i should do exactly what he wants and be happy with it. that's pretty much it.

i threw up this morning, and i have felt sick all day. it's pretty early for any signs like that, but i haven't felt that way...ever. so i hope. but i always do, and nothing ever happens. i am also still seeing lights, and it feels like my blood pressure is really low. i get dizzy super easily.

i'm probably just sick with something, but i guess you never know...even though i feel like i do already know, and it won't be good. i have been pleading with God for a miracle.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

dancing with two left feet

my grandparents had six daughters. i remember the day almost all of them went to the doctor with my aunt krissy. i remember i didn't think there would be any bad news. the bad news still came: cancer.

she and mom were best friends. ok, not always. once she almost threw mom out the window of my grandparents' house. once, mom and aunt kelly drew a picture of aunt krissy on her mirror, featuring a mole on her face that she had had removed. but as they got older, they became best friends.

i remember finding out first and having to tell my mom that her best friend's cancer was "everywhere."

aunt krissy was a very particular and sometimes peculiar woman. we said the word "fart." she said "fluffy" instead. "someone let a fluffy." she was always a coach - even at family whiffle ball games. i remember her telling me something about my form and how i was doing it wrong...i think we were bowling. i am the least coordinated person in my family aside from maybe a few that tie with me, and i have a big family. how she thought her coaching would help me in my sad athletic state, i'll never know.

once at our fourth of july, she salted her watermelon right over the whole bucket of watermelon. seth was little and he got so mad because he was getting ready to get a piece and he didn't like salt on his watermelon. i'm not sure anyone but aunt krissy liked salt on watermelon.

she would straighten anything that was crooked. we would laugh, because there would be a picture on the wall hanging ever-so-slightly crooked, and the person that would fix it? aunt krissy. i think that once she noticed, it would have driven her insane to NOT get up and straighten it.

once, mom hemmed some curtains for her. mom is a good seamstress, and she made them very even, but when she finished, she pinned one curtain up a few inches shorter. then they hung them up at aunt krissy's, and even though we knew it was driving her nuts, she wouldn't say anything about the short curtain since mom had done it for her. mom eventually told her it was only pinned.

and her vocabulary...it made the rest of us look like hillbillies. that woman was a thesaurus, and a dictionary too. she was a language arts teacher. she had to be. her handwriting was meticulous, neat and even and exact.

the cancer changed her a lot. it was in her brain, so it affected a lot of things, from her movement to her eyesight to her personality.

the always-polite aunt krissy was no more; instead, she would call aunt julie, who lives next door to my grandparents' house where aunt krissy stayed, and act inconvenienced when she had to wait for aunt julie to finish cooking to get a haircut.

she hid her whoppers from delainey when she heard her come thumping up the stairs. once, grandma made aunt krissy some butterscotch pudding. delainey came up and asked for some, to which aunt krissy replied, "no, that's bad pudding!" because, of course, she wanted to keep her pudding.

she also accused someone of stealing her heath blizzard from the freezer. she sent me, jake, and aubrey to walmart to buy her some fruit popsicles: "the real ones, and get the good ones, not that off-brand stuff." i recite that quote every single time i look at the popsicles in walmart.

she was just so ridiculously funny - all the time. you never knew what she was going to say, and by golly if it came to her mind, it was coming out of her mouth. the cancer took the filters away, but filter-less aunt krissy was ok with me. she certainly didn't worry about saying "fluffy."

she loved sonic rootbeer floats. i remember they had free float night, so i got her one, and you would have thought i gave her a million bucks. and crab rangoon from panda garden. and the aforementioned whoppers, of course.

mom was one of several in a rotation who stayed with aunt krissy around the clock when she got worse. they put in so much time, effort, and emotion to take care of her. i know they would do it again in a heartbeat.

she needed help doing anything and everything. moving her to the toilet (she would be so embarrassed to know i am writing this) was a production. they wiggled back and forth and shifted their weight and her weight and inched and spun. they called it "dancing with two left feet" because it was such an uncoordinated event.

once, when they took her to northern illinois for her surgery, mom and aunt julie maneuvered her in a public restroom...and almost got her in the right place. let's just say that if aunt julie's foot had been the toilet, they would have been right on.

and when she was nearing the end, it was easy to see. i know we all hated it. i know she had to be in pain.

and yet, she never lost faith, and three years ago today, God took her home, and she is healed now.

i remember getting to the hospital that morning, practically the last one to arrive after getting the call that she was gone. mom asked if i wanted to go in, and i said, "no, she's not in there," as i squeezed a tearful jake against my ribs.

her funeral was PACKED. the impact she had on this earth in her short number of years was incredible. family, friends new and old, students, softball players, church family - everyone was there. the first baptist church was filled to bursting that day.

and we miss her still, and i know we always will. if i ever have a daughter, her middle name will be kristine, after aunt krissy's kristina.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

my very first recipe blog

i LOVE to cook, and i cook about as often as i have time (and sometimes more often than that...lol). i don't know why i have never really written about food and recipes, but i'd like to do that more.

yesterday i made a very simple dessert that was a very big hit at sunday dinner today: banana split cake.

in a 13x9 cake pan - preferably a pretty deep one since this gets thick (i didn't know that and had to sort of squish mine), spray some cooking spray. just in case. you never know when something will stick.

then, make a layer of ice cream sandwiches, cutting them to fit as necessary. on top of that goes a layer of sliced bananas (it took about 3 bananas).

over that, drizzle chocolate and caramel syrup (as much or as little as you like). you can add a layer of cool whip if you want here, but i didn't.

then do another layer of ice cream sandwiches. (this is when i started squishing because i realized that there was no way it would all fit in my standard cake pan. it works out because the ice cream fills any gaps between the sandwiches.) on top of those, drizzle more chocolate and caramel syrup, and top with a layer of cool whip.

mine was so deep that the cool whip stuck out above the top of the pan, so i froze it for about an hour before i covered it in foil. then i just stuck it back in the freezer for the night.

if your freezer is super excellent like ours is (thanks, tim!), you might want to microwave a serving of it for about 10 seconds before eating it.

mine was a toned-down version of paula deen's recipe. if i remember right, she added strawberries and pineapples to hers, as well as walnuts. my husband doesn't like any of those, so i cut them out.

it's easy. it's delicious. you should try it. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

don't mess with grandpa

so today we went to red lobster for my birthday. we had seven in all, with my parents, my grandpa bob and grandma bette, seth, and then justin and me.

that isn't really the story though. the story comes after the eating. we were leaving, and i had drank about 3 glasses of their raspberry lemonade so i had to stop at the restroom on the way out. everyone else stood outside of the restaurant and waited.

i was walking out the door, and if you've been there you know that they have the two sets of double doors at the entrance. i could see grandpa standing just on the other side of the left outer door. in front of me was a 40-something couple. both of them stood about 6 feet tall. they had no idea of knowing that i was there with the man outside the door.

the entire right side of the exit was clear. nobody but the tall couple (compared to me, at least) and me, and then grandpa on the left outside.

the man proceeded to go straight to the door behind grandpa. now, my grandpa is 80 years old, and he can't hear very well, and he doesn't move like a flash and that's just fine because he's 80 and he can do what he wants. but that guy pushed open the door practically into my grandpa's back and asked him to move out of the way!

i went to the right (the clearest path out), opened the door, and with a glance sideways i said right to them, "you know, this door opens too."

the woman got in a huff and snarkily said, "well thanks for telling me, i sure wouldn't have known."

to which i replied in my own best snarky voice, "well, i wondered."

they stomped off and got in their big tall pickup truck and honked as they left. i think it's guilty conscience. some people like to be jerks because they feel entitled, and if you call them on it, they know they've done something ridiculous and they get ticked at you because they still want to feel entitled.

know this, rude people: if you mess with my grandpa, i WILL tell you about it.

i almost think they deserved harsher words, but there were so many on my tongue at once that i just stated the obvious. sometimes you've just gotta flip over some tables, i guess.

(i resisted the urge to flip something else whenever they drove by honking...but seth had that one covered.)

weirdnesses.

well it seems something did change, but not change at the same time, with the different med schedule. normally i don't get a positive opk until seven or eight days after i stop taking clomid, but i got one today and it's only been five. buuuut, since i was delayed two days on my normal schedule, it's actually the same day it has been happening according to the old schedule too. maybe that makes sense. i hope so.

then yesterday at work a little girl said, "it was weird seeing you at mississippi flyway last friday!" i became confused, because i haven't been there in at least a year. i said, "i don't know who it was, but it wasn't me..." apparently she even told the person hi and her mom even commented on how strange it was to see her teacher.

so to my look-alike in the town where i work: please don't do anything ridiculous in front of people i know. let's not go to the mall falling down drunk, or wear skimpy nasty clothing, or make out with someone on the street, or any number of various other things that i would not like to do or be seen doing. you might accidentally be an authority figure, and i'd hate for you to screw it up. thanks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

justin's card for me

on my 26th birthday:

Here are 26 things I love about you:
I love...
1. the way you sigh after laughing
2. the way photography makes you smile
3. that you get sad when people don't like banana flavoring
4. that you love me
5. the way that you snort sometimes when you laugh
6. your sunflower eyes
7. that the food you cook tastes good
8. that you make the time to cook that good food
9. the way you love summer
10. how I never think you're paying attention when we read together, but you always understand more than I do
11. the way we laugh together
12. that you tear the crust off your bread
13. the way you love chocolate
14. that your face lights up whenever you talk to children
15. that you get un-cranky after you eat
16. your desire to be a mother
17. that you challenge me to be a better man
18. that you cut recipes out of magazines
19. the way you keep track of household affairs
20. that you love our pup
21. your shoulder freckles
22. that you bear with my faults
23. the way you think you're a bad painter but you're not
24. the way you get shy about singing in front of me
25. that you will tell me every word i misspelled in this card
26. that someday, God willing, you will be the mother of my children, however God decides to give them to us


and he didn't spell anything wrong, either. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

seeing lights...

so this time around, my infertility doctor prescribed my clomid and told me to take it two days later than i normally had been, according to some different "rules," so to speak, than my doctor down here uses.

it is the same exact dosage as last time, but it is making me super dizzy and i am seeing all kinds of funny lights in the bottoms of my eyeballs. of course everything inside my head goes, "maybe that means it's going to WORK." but it most likely just means that i am seeing lights.

i started doing opks today and it was negative, but no big deal. it will be positive soon enough. we are not doing an IUI this month, but we do have an appointment next week to talk more about IVF and our options with that. i am still leaning toward three and i am hoping that the doctor AND justin will be with me on that. we will see soon, i guess, but i am ready to have the decision made just in case it does come to that. i also anticipate learning about how exactly the endometriosis has affected my fertility - namely my egg quality - through IVF.

i also researched adoption a little bit. with the local agency that we would use, we can't even apply until december because you have to be married for three years first. on top of that, it's just about as expensive as IVF. sigh. i told justin today that we might as well face the fact that we were most likely going to have to go into debt to have kids. (granted i would go into debt so far that i couldn't even afford the value menu at mcdonald's for a fancy date, but that's not how it works.)

and with work: second year, new group of kids, it's amazing the difference. i really like our group of kids. some of them are even shorter than i am, so that's different. also, they are really funny. today there were like three minutes left before the final bell, and one kid said really quiet, "when i get to the crib, i'm gonna eat some hot pockets." i cracked up. maybe you had to be there. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

avoiding it

i don't like to go to church anymore. sunday school doesn't bother me, but church is overwhelming. it's not about the church service at all. it's not that i'm living my life in such an unholy way that i feel so convicted that i'm squirming in the pew.

for various reasons, instead of going and getting filled up for the week ahead, i leave more drained than i feel on a friday at 2:30 after a week of work. i usually am in tears by the time we get to peach street.

i just never know how something is going to hit me that day. i might be ok all morning, or at least able to fake it enough, or i might cry through half of the song service and the altar call. that's pretty taxing on a person who already feels run down.

and then, there are the poorly chosen words and phrases from people. i'm not talking about the people who are coming up and telling me their infertility success stories. that is actually something that i really feel lifted up by (albeit frustrated at my lack of a miracle). i just mean maybe an offhand comment about something. i try not to be overly sensitive, but my goodness everyone knows what we are going through. i'm not asking people to tiptoe around me, but telling me that i will understand such-and-such when i'm a parent doesn't do a whole lot for my emotional well being. if i make a purposefully silly comment about pregnancy or about babies or about children (which i am not totally ignorant of, as some may believe) and someone takes it seriously and corrects me on a fact "there's no way i would know" about, i want to crawl into a hole. a comment someone made on mother's day that was just not a good idea and completely unnecessary still sticks me in the heart, and it's august.

and then there are certain conversations i won't join, because i know i have nothing to contribute. just in case, you know, someone might be talking about pregnancy or kids.

and granted, more times than not, nobody says anything totally insensitive, but the times when people have just give me anxiety wondering which day it will be that someone does it again. and sometimes, i don't cry through half of the service, but most of those times it's just taking such effort to shut down and not cry that i might as well.

i understand these are all ways in which the devil works. he doesn't want me to go to church. he wants me to be sad. he wants me to get relief from not having to go to church. and to a small extent, i do.

i just don't really know what to do about it. and that's why i write - because i don't have all the answers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

first friday back

well we all made it through the first week of school. i had the kids fill out "getting to know you" papers so that i could learn about them. this is the class that i subbed for a LOT so i've had many of them in class before. one of the questions on the paper was, "who is your favorite teacher and why?" to which one student replied, "so-and-so is my favorite teacher. but you were my favorite sub." HA. i'll take the compliment, but it won't affect the grade. ;)

in other news, my endometriosis is back in full swing. hello, cyst. it is shooting pains down my legs, across my abdomen, and up my back. i am not having surgery again until they take it all, so i'll just have to live with it. DUMB.

i have asked justin to consider attempting to fertilize three eggs. i think he is leaning more that way, which is good. we are going to meet with the doctor again soon, at least by september 15 but maybe sooner. if we can get her to agree to implant three if they should all fertilize and grow, i imagine we will.

of course, chances of this resulting in triplets are slim to none - even twins are probably unlikely. but with 1/3 of the eggs generally fertilizing and growing, maybe we will have one awesome tiny baby. and maybe we will have three, and maybe we will have none. it's hard to tell.

i have been afraid that God will tell me that i am not supposed to have children. i know that most fertile people probably think that's ridiculous, but it's hard to knock the feeling. but He hasn't said that yet. i am hoping He honors our careful consideration with a child, but God doesn't always work like that.

i think that my biggest worry is money to pay for the IVF. we have enough for one cycle. we would freeze any extra eggs, and if we needed to go back and use those, we could attempt it, although the technology is still experimental (so much so that it is FREE to freeze, store, thaw, and then if they survive, fertilize them). the only cost there would be the meds and the transfer, which probably still comes to $5000, but that would probably be covered too. that's when the money runs out. i'm hoping it doesn't come to that.

i'm hoping we just get a miracle baby this month and forget all that. but then i think i'd take a miracle baby any month, really.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

we canceled

and i actually have peace about not doing it this month, because i feel like we need to reach an agreement on GOOD terms and in the RIGHT way.

we have both talked to my doctor, and she went ahead and prescribed me 100mg of clomid this month, so i start that on thursday. it's interesting because the days i will be taking it are a couple of days different in the cycle from what i had done with my doctor locally. i wonder if it will make any difference in how things go.

our prayer is that God will remember us, hear our prayers, and open my womb - that He will heal my endometriosis and allow this month to be the month we become parents, against all odds.

i'm just gonna say that if God wanted to work a miracle, these next few months would be a great time. please be praying with us for unity in our decision making, for conception and healthy pregnancy, and for our relationship to grow ever stronger with each other and with God.

Monday, August 9, 2010

initiative is ok.

throughout the past year, i have had lots of emotions. it has been stressful and trying and ugly at times. it has been up and down and hormonal (thanks, clomid) and taking my temperature and cutting out caffeine in two-week bursts. it has been hard.

all the while i know how much we want a baby, and how it's no longer a thing that can be taken lightly. my endometriosis is aggressive, and no amount of de-stressing and waiting will make it better. it has to be handled aggressively.

i say all of that to say this:

more recently, i have struggled a lot with knowing how to feel about our pursuit of infertility treatments. i don't feel any moral objections toward any of it. i KNOW it must be done in order for us to have a baby, whether i am pregnant right now or whether we have to pursue further treatments. it won't work on its own, apart from a miracle, and that's that. it's pretty matter-of-fact.

but everyone knows that patience is a virtue. and i really want a baby, so it must be an idol. and isn't it better to just "give it to God?" so these ideas have made me feel like God has to be against us if we are taking any initiative whatsoever.

and in spite of all of the typical "encouragements" for someone going through a hard time, it's unfair to apply every message of perseverance and patience and putting away your desires to our quest to have a baby. i cannot simply say, "God wants you to be patient and just sit and wait and not do anything." He hasn't told me that. i cannot say, "if you would just stop wanting a baby so much, you would have one." that is ridiculous. i cannot say, "if you would pray about it, it would happen," because we all know that we have prayed about it for a long time, and others have prayed with us.

you don't sit around feeling hungry and hope God will send you some food. you go to the grocery store and buy it and cook it and eat it. matt chandler has a sermon about waiting around as a single person, and how ridiculous it is to never try to meet anyone and instead "just wait on the Lord to bring her to me."

we have made choices and have done things instead of just waiting around. we will continue to pursue this, and hopefully God will bless us with the child we want so much.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

this is it.

in four days, we will know if this last try before ivf worked. my temps have been extremely weird this time. i have had several low, which isn't good, for several days, and that doesn't usually happen until like day 31. it's been since probably day 24. hm.

with my higher dose of clomid this month, i can't be sure how to interpret anything. i have had several shooting, pulling pains in my abdomen over the course of several days. i have been tired. i have been emotional. and it could be pregnancy, and it could be 100 mg of clomid tricking my body into being overly hormonal. i'm betting on the latter.

our schedule is printed out and tacked to the bulletin board behind me. a baby schedule. how weird is that. call the doctor, get the final schedule, take this medicine, give yourself this shot, give yourself that shot, come to the doctor three million times in st. louis while you are working, etc.

so we will see how it goes this week and what we are looking toward next. this is it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

the importance of neat handwriting.

i had a kid in my class last year who had horrible handwriting and who also littered. i would find his scrawling, shaky handwriting all over papers stuffed into a desk on a regular basis, for which he received several detentions.

once one of my students in another class found one of his papers and read it.

he made a comment that made me wonder what on earth he had seen written on that paper. i later read it myself. it was about dogs and the various things that they were used for.

dogs, it said, are pets. it also said that dogs can be workers. lastly, it said, "dogs are therapists."

the other student's comment came back to me:

"this person thinks dogs are the rapists."

and that is why it is very important to practice your handwriting.

hahaha.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

just in time.

i must preface this blog by saying (for those of you who don't know my "schedule" lol) that i don't know whether or not i am pregnant, so that's not why i am writing this.

sometimes, you want something - maybe even need something - and you feel like for some reason it is out of reach, even though you feel your intentions are good. you might pray about it, even praying daily for this thing that you want.

you might pray for so long about it that you begin to stop praying about it, thinking of it less and pushing it back from view. then you just stop altogether.

you stop thinking it can happen. you are abraham, asking God how in the heck a 90 and 100 year old could have a child. you are sarah (how appropriate, huh?) wondering how her worn out (or in my case, broken, just to interject the baby theme here) body can have a child - laughing at the idea.

one night, you might mention this old desire and even get encouragement to go in another direction from someone. it might be sound advice, too.

and then, suddenly, God answers your old prayer - the one you stopped praying. the one you gave up on. the one you just settled for hearing no answer to.

genesis 18:14 - is anything too hard for the Lord?

the phrase after that is "at the appointed time."

at the appointed time, you will have what God wants you to have. at the appointed time, your prayer will be answered in some way or another. at the appointed time.

and it's nice to reach that appointed time for something.

God sometimes reminds me that we are not forgotten.

thank You for the blessings,
the opportunities,
the people,
the friends.
thank You for Your love,
and the love others show because of You.
thank You for the reminder that You will answer at the appointed time.