Thursday, October 08, 2009

I forgot to remember.

Yeah...I just realized I haven't updated my blog since June. Sorry. My bad. Update fail. Hmm..what to write. Jeff finally got a job last week back at IBM.'s for CTG, but at that means less money and no benefits, but it's a job. I'm just glad we didn't have to move. Money's been tight but it seems like we've traveled a lot. Fontana in July w/ Jeff's parents and our nephews. Sunset Beach in August b/c Jeff housesat for his parents for 2 weeks. Sunset again in Sept. just because and then to visit Kelly in VA for Noel's 1st birthday. Kelly & I also took a side trip to Kings Dominion for a day and then to visit Grandpa in Richmond.

Grandpa started having chest pains a few weeks ago and they found 3 blockages and scheduled him for open heart surgery but after meeting w/ Dr's in Richmond, they decided it would be too much of a risk. As of right now, he's on medications and was told to take it easy and not exert himself too much. Mentally, he's still sharp as a tack..especially for an 89 yr. old, so he can make his own decisions and is in really high spirits. He was very sociable and happy that we came to visit and it eased my mine a great deal to see him that way. Mom also told me a few months ago he called his brother Frank who he hadn't spoken to in about 30 years. I'm glad he's mended that relationship or at least taken the steps to start mending it.

So what's going on with me you ask? Work..and then more work. It seems like it's all I ever do anymore. I feel like I'm missing some really important parts of life b/c I'm always here. I could easily ask off for those weekends, but I feel guilt for making other people work for me. I shouldn't, but I do. One of my coworkers is out for back surgery and by the time she comes back will have been gone for 8 weeks or so. What if something happens to me? I don't want to end up not having any leave to take b/c I took it all for some weekends off every month. Hopefully I'll one day have a M-F job where I can have all the weekends and holidays off. I guess it never hurts to dream.

My visit to Kelly's was a blast! We planned for Noel's Dr. Seuss party and decorated and had many laughs in the process. The party turned out great and Noel had a ton of fun and demolished her cake. Kings Dominion was fantastic! No lines, perfect weather and at night it was haunted for Halloween. I wish Jeff could have gone but we couldn't afford to board the dogs so many weekends in under a month. We're boarding them this coming weekend for our trip to Roanoke for the Kitts Family Reunion. Homeplace here I come! We're also boarding them at the end of the month for Tucker's Halloween party down at the beach and probably again sometime in November. That reminds me, the weekend right after my birthday Candi's getting married and it's also the weekend of my 10 yr. college reunion. I feel so old...and we haven't even started a family yet.

We got a huge sum of money back from the wreck we were in back in January and I've been trying to hold on to it so we can do an FET cycle w/ the 2 frozen embryos we have left, but with Jeff having been on unemployment the past 6 months, we've had to dip into it to get by. We also had to have the air compressor replaced in our heat pump, so it's going to take us awhile to recover that money to do FET. I'm not sure I even want to. I'm tired of this hanging over my head. I really just want to give up, but I think I'd feel guilty and then regret not trying again. I think we'll do the FET and if that doesn't work, that's it. No kids for us...and I think I'd be ok w/ that but Jeff wouldn't and I don't want to disappoint him. But..based on how he acted when we did IVF, I'm hesitant about doing this again. I think part of me still hasn't forgiven him for the way he acted, the stuff he did or the things he said and I need to make peace with it and move on. Mentally, I'm just not ready to go through FET. I'm not physically ready either. My weight just keeps creeping up..gain a pound, lose 2, gain 3, lose 1, gain 4, lose just rises little by little and I hate it. I'm not mentally ready to take on that task either. I'm not sure what it'll take to finally decide to get in shape. Sigh..anyhow, I have to get back to work. I think the updates are done for now. I know I'm missing quite a bit and if I remember any of it, I'll come back and add it, but until then, ta-ta!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Sweet Grandma: January 30, 1922- June 2, 2009

Sorry I haven't updated lately, but there's been a lot going on. I'll start with the most recent..then go back to the beginning and fill in. Grandma passed away last Tuesday, June 2nd. It was kind of expected, but you can never really prepare for an event like that. I'll really miss her. Let me go back to May. I didn't get to see her for Mother's Day because I was working, but I saw pictures of her. She looked tired, but she held out her hands for Noel and would talk and interact with Mom and Kelly. I went up to see her on Memorial Day weekend and she looked, well...awful. She kept holding her head and moaning as well as pressing on her stomach. I could tell she was hurting, but she couldn't verbalize what hurt. Mom got her to eat a little, but not much. She didn't talk and rarely opened her eyes and was shaking the whole time. She did respond to Noel a little, but not like it was in the few weeks before. She was just so weak and it was a very emotional visit for us. She didn't even know who I was. She looked at me as if she recognized me, but couldn't place how she knew me or who I was. When we left, she did put her arm around Mom and hug her back, but with Kelly and I, she just leaned her head against us and that was it. I just remember how frail she felt and how soft her skin and hair were. Her eyes weren't quite as sharp as they had been, but were still a beautiful aqua/green. We gave her a little mini manicure because her nails had gotten too long, so I hope she enjoyed that.

On Memorial Day, her sisters went to go visit and got her to eat more than she had in the past few weeks, so we were encouraged. They kept giving her whole foods which she can't eat without her teeth, so they tried putting her teeth in and found out she had thrush, but they did get her to eat some pureed food and started treating the infection. They never did test her for a UTI even though she got them frequently. Anyway, I kept in touch with Mom on how she was doing and I prayed for her and Mom both rather frequently. Last Tuesday, Mom told me she wasn't doing well at all and was refusing to even drink water, so I told her I'd be up Wednesday to try to visit with her since it sounded like the end was nearer than we thought. Turns out, that was quite true.

Tuesday night around 11pm, Grandma let go and was finally at peace. The nursing home called Mom late that night and told her that Grandma's breathing had become ragged and that they felt that this was it, so Mom and Dad jumped in the car to rush over there and during that 15 min. drive, she was gone. Grandma was always a very private person, so she waited until my uncle left around 10 and let go before my Mom got there a little after 11. The strange thing is that Kelly had told me that it was around 11pm that she started really thinking about her. What's also strange is that around 11pm, I started praying for God to just take her and to end her pain. I didn't want her to die and would do anything to have her back, but I knew she was hurting and while I couldn't do anything about that, God could. She was one of the most generous people I've ever known and always had a smile on her face. She wasn't happy until everyone else was happy and she didn't deserve to go through all the pain and suffering that she did.

Grandma amazed me with her memory. She could remember dates and events in such detail that I wondered how she could possibly store all that information. She remembered all the stories of her well as numerous ones of her parents' childhoods and the names of many ancestors..and names of neighbors from 50 years who they married and the names of their kids. It just fascinated me that she was such a wealth of knowledge. I've found it ironic that a person with such a sharp memory ended up with Alzheimer's. It's such a cruel disease.

In her younger years, she was a 5th grade teacher and that job never left her. She was always teaching us things and encouraging us to learn. If I had a question, I went to Grandma. I remember making butterflies out of paper by folding the paper in half and cutting it out and then coloring it. We did that with snowflakes a lot too. I remember catching fireflies in jars in her backyard and sitting downstairs stringing green beans. I remember the childlike sparkle in her eyes when she was really tickled over something and would laugh. I remember her babysitting me and having to sit with her on the couch while she watched her soap operas and I remember her trying to teach me how to play the piano. She had a never ending supply of patience and generosity. She was also a fantastic cook! I remember making a LOT of peanut butter cookies with her over the years.

I also remember her pin curling my hair all over like she did hers when I was about 4 or 5. She'd twist the hair around and pin in down and then cover my head with a bonnet to sleep in. In the morning, she'd take it out and I'd have spirals all over my head...completely out of I'll always look back and smile when I think of how embarrassed she'd get to be seen without her teeth in. She was so cute when we'd try to say goodbye and she'd follow us to the car and keep us there for another hour because she didn't want us to leave. She'd always make sure we knew that we could stay the night whenever we wanted.

I'll also never forget working with her in her garden or all the times I spent the night with her. I remember the empty food boxes she'd save for us to play with and all the Sundays of sitting next to her in church. I remember so many holidays at her house and Sunday dinners with huge bowls of mashed potatoes. I remember picnics up on Mill Mountain with her and Grandpa. He'd go to KFC and get a bucket plus all the fixing's' and we'd head up the mountain. Grandma always had such a comforting presence. Just being with her gave you the feeling that all was right with the world. I never once saw her get angry or worried over anything. She just took things with a grain of salt because she had such a strong faith in God and knew that he'd take care of everything.

I feel like I took so much for granted and didn't appreciate her as much as I should have. I think I just thought she'd been around for so long that she'd just always be there. I feel so lucky to have known her and to have had her influence in my life. She was just an amazing woman with a very bright and kind spirit. She didn't have one enemy in her life and not one person who didn't like her. That's quite rare and I'm so proud to have been able to call her my grandma. I used to call her Granny, but somewhere around age 11, I felt that I was too grown up to call her that.
Over this past weekend, I also learned that she played basketball in high school and college and was named after her mother's roommate at Radford University. I also learned that she was in several gardening clubs and I never knew that. I knew she had a love for gardening, but I didn't know she belonged to any clubs. I got to hear so many stories from Grandpa about their dating years and old family stories in general, but I'll save those for another blog. During her funeral, I kept thinking about how much she would've loved to have been there laughing and talking with her family. She was very close to her family and blossomed when everyone was together.

It was a beautiful service and she looked like herself again. They did a fabulous job of capturing her and making her look like her old self. There were 87 pink roses on her casket and they played some of her favorite songs; How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace and In The Garden. There was another song, but I can't remember the name of it. She was always concerned about making everyone happy and not inconveniencing anybody and she did that until the end. She waited until everyone was in town or on the way there before she passed on and then on a very rainy day, we were in a mausoleum where it was dry. That's Grandma...always looking out for everyone else. Now, she's just doing it from a place with a much better view. I'll see her again someday, but until then, I just wanted her to know how much I love her and will miss her sweet face, soft skin and comforting hugs. The world would be a much better place if more people were like her. I had found some drawings in Grandma's attic that I'd done as a child and I kept them. After she passed away, I thought it'd be fitting to leave them with her. Two were of butterflies and one was of a house. One stands for transformation and the other symbolized her new home. It wasn't planned, it just worked out that way. I forgot them the night of visitation and then again the day of the funeral. I was so upset, but I did a quick mini drawing of a butterfly and house and then wrote a little note and left it in her casket with her. Some may think it's silly, but I felt better for doing it.

After the funeral, we had a ton of people over to Mom and Dad's house for food and family stories, most of which involved Grandma. It was so great to have that part of the family together again, even if it was under somber circumstances. We hadn't had a Sykes Family Reunion in years, so it was fun talking with everyone again. Saturday, some of the family stopped by again before they left town and then Kelly and I went shopping. We went by the Goodwill to try to find a bunch of my grandparents stuff that was donated by mistake while they were cleaning out the house. Grandma had a deep dish blue ceramic pie plate with a lid that I really wanted but it was donated along with a cross stitched picture of apples that my mom had made and with a black and white step stool/seat that I used to sit on at the dinner table when I was little, but that Goodwill is a distribution center so that stuff could be in any Goodwill from Charlottesville to Danville. Ugh! We left her descriptions and Mom's number in case it happens to still be there, but it's likely long gone. =( I do have a few things of hers that I'll always treasure, so that's a comfort to me. She'll always be a part of me and I'll always cherish everything she's taught me and all the memories I have of her. So, to Anita Florence Sykes Anderson, the best Grandma in the world, I wanted to say I love you and hope to be able to pass on everything you've taught me to my own children. You'll never be forgotten!

Sigh. Anyhow, here's a few pictures from the past week that I hope you'll enjoy.

Grandpa kissing Noel's foot
Noel standing up on her Great Grandpa's walker.

Noel having a snack! Cute pigtails!

Jeff and I in my parents yard.

Grandma's brothers & sisters and their spouses w/ Grandpa.
Rita, Carol, Gay, Alton, Clair, Grandpa, Beth. The joke was funny, but too long to explain!

Beth, Rita, Carol, Gay, Alton, Clair and Kenneth: My Great Aunts & Uncles.

The Dooley Family: Tim, Kelly and Noel

Monday, May 04, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 11, Final Chapter beta test was negative. =( Needless to say, I was very upset and had a little boo hoo fest at home...alone. I called Jeff to tell him and he was just as disappointed. He should be on his way home now, so at least he'll be there when I get off work at midnight. I'm still trying to keep my head up. I keep telling myself that this just wasn't the baby that we were meant to have and I have to believe that God has something amazing in store for us down the road. I'm not giving up, but taking a break and reconnecting with Jeff seems like the best idea for now. We need to work on some of the issues we've been ignoring. They're just getting worse.

Once he gets another job and things have settled down, we can try again. Until then, I can work on making myself healthier and who knows, maybe once I lose weight, it'll happen on it's own! Even though the result isn't what I wanted it to be, I'm not walking away empty handed. I have learned so much over the past few months about myself, Jeff and just life in general. An expensive knowledge..but still worth it! I feel that everything will workout the way it's supposed to and that whatever happens, was meant to happen. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where it leads me.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 10

Ok..I realize this is update is way late, but better late than never! I had my embryo transfer done on April 18th. We only had 1 put back because Jeff was terrified of twins. No matter what I said, he couldn't be we froze the 2 remaining embryos. Apparently 1 of the 4 fertilized eggs quit dividing, so we only had 3 viable embryos. I was supposed to be on bed rest for 4 days but it didn't turn out to be very relaxing because Jeff decided to go out of town and leave me at home alone. He did come back a day early b/c I "made" him feel guilty. He should've felt guilty! I still had to cook and do laundry and take care of the dogs, etc. I feel like I've gone through most of this alone. I had to give myself the progesterone shots and I've learned that I don't need Jeff. It doesn't mean I don't want him..but I don't have to have him around. I'm much stronger than I ever thought I was and would be just fine without him. He's even out of town again this weekend for a friend's drunken birthday party at the beach. I'm really rather annoyed at him right now...but that's all too personal to list here...I'll list that in my private blog.

I go in this Monday for my first beta test that will tell me if I'm pregnant or not. The two week wait is just hideous! I've had a myriad of symptoms that could be b/c I'm pregnant or b/c of the meds that I'm on. Just fyi, the following will most likely be TMI, so feel free to skip over the rest of the paragraph. I had some small cramps and some light pinkish/brown discharge maybe 3 days after the transfer. It didn't even last a full day and then this past Thursday, I had stronger cramps and some more pinkish/brown discharge. Implantation of the Embryo?? I'm not sure. I got antsy and figured that since yesterday was 14 days past my transfer, I'd go ahead and take a home pregnancy test (HPT)....and it turned up negative. =/ But...if the embryo didn't implant until Thurs. morning, my HCG level wouldn't be high enough to trigger a HPT. Since the transfer, I've also been peeing a LOT. Every couple of it may be that my urine doesn't have a high HCG level because I'm constantly going to the bathroom. I waited as long as I could..which was about 6 I feel like the level should be high enough. I'm just worried. And angry over the whole Jeff thing. I'll update when I know something Monday!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 9

I had my egg retrieval yesterday! What an experience! They put me under "conscious sedation" which means I wasn't totally out. I remember them talking and I remember the pain rather clearly. It took me awhile to recover enough from the anaesthesia to be able to leave. Every time I tried to sit up I got nauseous. The procedure only lasted about 30 minutes and I was in recovery for about an hour and a half. Before I left, they told me they'd retrieved 8 eggs! Woo hoo!! I spent most of yesterday in bed sleeping off the drugs and trying not to move too much. My right side is more tender than the left and I was still feeling woozy on occasion. Hot flashes, cold sweats, nausea..just general yuckiness. I'm still pretty tender today but came back to work anyway. I really wish I'd stayed home. Anyhow, my Dr. called me this morning and told me that of the 8 eggs, 6 were mature and of those..4 fertilized. I go in Saturday morning to have 2 transferred back to my uterus and they're going to freeze the other 2 for later, just in case.

I also started the estrogen patches and progesterone shots today. My hip hurts soooo bad!! I had no idea! I massaged it and used a hot compress like they told me, but it didn't seem to help much. Jeff's going out of town this weekend so I'm going to have to figure out how to do these shots myself while he's gone. The thought of having to do these shots everyday for 10 weeks seems daunting. Worth it though. I guess I'll get used to it...I hope. I told the Dr. that I was ok with having twins and I've been talking about that for a long time now, so last night, I asked Jeff how he felt about having twins and he said he hadn't given it much thought but that it would probably be a bad idea. The Dr. said if we put one embryo back, we have a 20-25% chance of getting pregnant and less than a 4% chance of twins. If we put back 2 embryos, we'd have a 40-50% chance of pregnancy but a 25% chance of twins. I just think that if Jeff hadn't lost his job, he may be ok w/ twins. I'd rather walk away with 2 than with none. I just have to trust that God will give me whatever He feels is best.

Jeff's last day of work is tomorrow and he's upset about it but I'm hoping he'll find something soon. Kelly also got laid off this week. Seems like a bad time to be having babies, but for me right just seems right. For those reading this, please send up a prayer or two for Jeff and Kelly and their job situations and please say a prayer for Jeff and I and our future babies! God won't give me any more than I can handle and I just have to put all my trust and faith in Him. He's gotten me this far and won't let me down! God is sooo good!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 8 I was cleared by the Dr. to have egg retrieval!! No more daily blood draws, no more follistim, no more more daily drives to Durham! Woo hoo! Wednesday is egg ironic that the week of Easter the Dr's are going on an egg hunt. Hope they fill their basket! Today my follicles were around 24 mm..which is fantastic and she said that given the number and sizes of the follicles, they should get about 12 eggs. My hormones are so out of whack! My estrogen levels since the beginning of this have been 79, 218, 172, 113, 121, 418, 725, 1240 and 1830. I haven't heard what today's level was. You can look at the levels and see where my dose of follistim went up to 150. I'm excited! At the beginning of all this I thought mid April seemed so far away...and here it is. Embryo transfer will be Saturday. My progesterone shots start on Thursday I think. Jeff still plans on going to Roanoke for a week to visit since he'll be out of a job come Friday and he said he plans on leaving Saturday night. Um..the same night after transfer?? I'm a bit miffed over that..but at the same time, my hormones have been he's probably trying to escape! LOL

I told him I felt like I was doing this alone and he didn't really say anything other than that he was overwhelmed. I understand that..and maybe it's the hormones...but I feel like I have a right to be selfish and have him here pampering me considering what I just put my body through. He does have a lot going on..and I get that..but it's no reason to withdraw. Again..this may be the hormones speaking b/c I've been all over the place the past few days. One minute I love Jeff and can't get enough of him and the next I want to put an ax between his eyes. This is the wildest roller coaster I've ever been on and I feel like he just doesn't seem to get it. I've been calling H and K to vent my that's been a huge help. That's what friends are for, right? I'll update again after retrieval and transfer! =)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 7.2

Today has sucked. I had another checkup this morning and I have 1 more follicle on the right side than I had before..but they're still the same size...and I lost 2 on the left which only leaves one. My estrogen is still dropping and I got a call a little bit ago from the Dr. telling me that b/c my estrogen hasn't come back up, it's been low for too many days and they want to stop my cycle and start over from scratch at a higher dose. =( I told her that my insurance ends April 30th and she said they could up my dose and push for a whole new crop of follicles, but that my endometrial lining is no longer in sync w/ my ovaries so that my pregnancy rate would be very low. However, they could go ahead and retrieve the eggs and freeze the embryos to do a frozen cycle later. That would lower my chances of pregnancy anyway b/c the embryos may not even survive the thawing process.

But..we can't afford to start another cycle. That means the expense of new meds and paying out cobra to make sure the insurance doesn't end. But..if we stop this one and don't start a new one, we've wasted the money we've already spent and the time we've already put into this. I'm so upset right now, but it makes the most sense to just retrieve the eggs and freeze least we'd get something out of all this. Even continuing this cycle at a higher dosage means I have to pay out more money for meds. I'm just really upset over all this and losing hope fast.

An update within an update: I just got a call back from my Dr. who said that as long as I don't bleed, we can still continue forward w/ a fresh cycle. She upped my dosage to 150 and said that as long as my estrogen goes up by my visit on Thursday, we can proceed as planned. If it drops again or stays the same, we can recruit the eggs for a FET later. Maybe that would be better. It would give Jeff time to find a job and for us to get better insurance than what the state offers. The state's insurance is crap, just for the record. Better than nothing I guess.

I'm just frustrated and discouraged. I was great until I found out Jeff was having doubts about it. His negativity is like a wet blanket. It lands on you and you fight to try to get out from under it but give up because it keeps getting heavier and heavier. He has no faith and I'm tired of trying to be the positive one all the time. Why should I have to carry all the hopes for both of us? That's a heavy burden. Because he's always so negative, I'm always trying to encourage him and build him up so when others are negative towards him, it angers me because I'm trying to give him hope while others are tearing him down. I've been doing this for almost 10 years and it doesn't seem to have had any affect on him. I think we just have different encouragement needs. I encourage him the way I need to be encouraged..and that may not be what he needs. As one of my friends told me earlier today, things are happening the way they are supposed to and if it doesn't work, it just means that the baby I'm meant to have isn't ready yet. Like I said'll see.

Fertility Chronicles: Part 7

Quickie update...I'll elaborate later. My 1st 2 monitoring visits last week went great. Sunday's, not so much. My estrogen level had DROPPED and my follicles weren't any bigger so she upped my dosage. It basically means I hit a plateau and need a push. This means that w/ more medication and having to go so slowly to prevent overstimulation, I'll have to order more meds...and we can't afford that. Jeff's radiator blew up, he had to get new glasses, my car needed new brakes and we still owe federal taxes. I'm just discouraged. It's just happening a lot slower than I'd like. A woman I had IVF class with was in on Sunday too and she just got done w/ embryo transfer. At the class, she didn't even have her financials decided on yet. She must have just responded really well and started a few days before me. My ovaries are measuring around 11 and they have to get to 18 before they'll do egg retrieval. Sigh...I just hope that after all this that it's not for nothing, you know? I've also developed an apparent allergy to latex. I still have bandaid marks from last week. I nicked a blood vessel and have a huge bruise that's still healing. Eh..we'll see.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 6

This coming Monday will mark 2 weeks since I started my daily Lupron shots. The only side affect I've experienced is headaches. I'm just happy to be off of the Doxy!! It made me jittery, anxious and a bit nauseous! Today, I had my baseline ultrasound and blood work. According to the Dr., I have gorgeous ovaries and a perfect uterus. Aw shucks, that's what all the boys say! My estridol level was good, so I was cleared to start the Follistim on Saturday evening. So, in the morning, my Lupron will drop from 10u to 5u and in the evenings I'll give myself 100u of Follistim. Next Wednesday, April 1st, I'll have my first monitoring visit and then go in every other day until they decide that my follicles where they need to be and I get my instructions to take Ovidrel. Three days after that is egg retrieval. I'm getting really excited! It still doesn't seem real somehow. I was on the table today waiting for the Dr. to come in and just thought.."Holy crap..I'm really doing this. Woah."

Jeff sounded so excited when I told him I was cleared for take off that it made me smile and I wished that I'd been there to give him a hug. He was gone before I got home this morning, so I have to wait until tomorrow morning to see him. We've been discussing names and I keep getting frustrated. I can think of girls names all day long..but never any boys names. I just feel like we'll have a girl. Jeff's mom says it'll be a boy b/c boys run in their family. Ok..well girls run in ours. Even though the sex is determined by the man, b/c we're doing ICSI, it's a total toss up and even more random. They just pick 1 sperm from the group and inject it into the egg. There's no telling what the sex is more likely to be. I really want a girl..Jeff wants both..LOL. I'm still fine w/ twins even though I know it'll be really hard, at least I'd know we don't have to go through this all again...we'd be done!

I also found out that our insurance and the bank have already paid our Dr's office, so Jeff is now clear to take another job if he finds it. His last day is April 17th anyway and until we found out it was paid, he was going to be force to say until the last day to make sure our insurance lasts..but since it's paid, he's free to move on. He's had several people interested, so we'll see what happens. A lot of people have really questioned our decision to do this now considering the current state of the economy and the fact that Jeff may not have a job that pays as much. It might not make sense to you, but it was just the right time for us. God's timing is perfect and I can't question that. He's opened many doors to make this possible, even if it seems like it's a bad time. He's holding my hand through all of this and showing me the way and I feel content about it.

I feel like in a world where children have an overinflated sense of entitlement and self importance, and who aren't held accountable for their actions, I need to have a child who understands that if they do wrong, there's consequences and if they do right, rewards. They need to know that the things that are given to them are earned by hard work and dedication. No one else seems to grasp that concept so I think there should be at least one person who can act responsibly and lead others to do the same. I hope I can be the kind of parent who raises a child to be a great leader, be responsible, trustworthy, honorable and fair. Most parents probably wish that of their children but it doesn't work out that way very often.

Based on experience, somehow the world has started rewarding the lazy and punishing the hard workers. The ones who speak up, stand up for themselves, work hard, and try to change things for the better get labeled as trouble makers, tattle-tales, whistle blowers and usurpers. The ones who don't care enough to say anything and keep their mouth shut and do just enough work to get by, they somehow get privileges and pats on the back for doing NOTHING. This society is based on getting stuff for nothing and has a weak work ethic...and it has to change.

Take NC's governor for example. She depleted the education fund to pay for parole reform, based on what 2 people did while on parole. the kids are in schools with leaky roofs, not enough classrooms, and not enough teachers while the money is basically going to the criminals who do nothing to contribute to the good of society. It makes no sense to take the money from children who have a chance to change the world and give it to people who have little chance of being a productive member of society. So again..the lazy get rewarded. Without education or discipline, these students have a higher chance of being on parole one day..and it just perpetuates the cycle. And then, they wonder why NC has some of the lowest test scores in the country! make up for the money taken from the education fund, new taxes have been put in place. Why?? So she can rape the fund again?? It angers me to no end and THAT is why I want to have a child.

I have high hopes that between Jeff and I, we can raise a child that can make great changes in this world. I think that's why I am SO excited and empowered over the thought of being a mother. Even if my child doesn't change the world, I know they'll at least make it a better place and that just inspires me. Please keep us in your prayers and I'll update next week after my monitoring visit!

Vet Ventilation

The quickest definition of ventilation is movement of air in and out of an enclosed space. Circulating it, purifying it..replacing toxic air with clean air. Sometimes that's just what has to be done to clear your system and the purpose of this blog. Last Friday, I had to take 2 of my dogs to the vet for their Rabies vaccines so we could board them. Jazz had only been once before and didn't have a good experience, so I knew we'd have some struggles again. Patches has been going there for 7 years, so I didn't think it'd be a big issue. I was so wrong and the experience I had has me wanting to switch vets.

I took Jazz in first while leaving Patches in the car. I told them they couldn't take her from me without some rebellion on her part, so they weighed her and brought her back in the room for the rest of the work. They asked me to put a muzzle on her and I obliged b/c she doesn't like strangers..especially when they're poking her with stuff. I had my arm around her neck and was petting her head while the vet tech prepared to take her temp. Jazz is very sensitive about her butt anyway and doesn't even want her tail touched, so temperature is a huge issue anyway. The tech didn't tell me she was ready and when she put the thermometer in, Jazz sat down and bucked her head up, slamming me in the jaw and nose. The tech doing the temp goes, "Well..we'll just make a note in her file not to do her temp unless she's really sick." I told her I just wasn't ready and wasn't holding her tight enough and to go ahead and try again. I put my leg up under Jazz's belly to keep her from sitting down and held her head against my shoulder and told the tech to go ahead...and she just stared at me like, "You want me to do what??" So, I said, "If you're going to do it, do it now." She was just very tentative and I kept thinking.."Good Lord! Just do it already!!" So..she finally got her problem. step was drawing her blood for a heartworm check and the tech chose to do her back leg...I don't know if that's standard or if she was afraid of being near her head..even though she was muzzled. The first try was an epic fail. So was the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th try. All the same needle...she'd stick it in, not get anything, pull back a little and stick it back in. AT this point, Jazz is getting angry and starting to shake with fear while trying to get free. She turns her head and looks at the vet tech with a look that clearly says, "If I didn't have this muzzle on, you'd be lunch meat right now." So, I asked her if the other vet tech could try and she said that Jazz just had shallow veins. Ok..well is there someone with more experience that could hit a shallow vein? She tried the other leg and Jazz gave me that, "Oh Mama please help me" look and I felt so bad for her. Attempt number 5 failed. So did #6. Finally..with needle # 2 and attempt 7, they got enough blood to run the test. I got to take her muzzle off...but not before they backed up to the farthest side of the room as if she was a raging bull. All she did was wag her tail, hide behind me and press against my leg. It just angered me that they treated her that way.

Then the vet herself came in..made me remuzzle her, gave her her rabies shot, checked a few things, said she was a good weight, had a negative heartworm test, had good joints, etc..and then said that b/c of the difficulty in getting her temp. and blood, they may have to start sedating her to get it. Um..NO. I asked for sedatives in order to trim her claws and they if they're not going to do it for that..they're not doing it at all. They still got her temp and blood..but who said anything in life was supposed to be easy?? Jazz was fine..but they were so afraid of her that she was feeding off of their fear. I was just so frustrated with them for being pansies. I'm not saying they should've been aggressive and force Jazz into a corner or anything..but at least show some compassion for the dog's fear and some persistance. If they're that afraid of being bit, they're in the wrong job.

Anyway, after taking her muzzle off, the Dr. gave her a cookie and Jazz was so gentle in taking it out of her hand that it made me that much more upset that they treated her like some crazed wild dog. I know the muzzle was for protection..and I was ok w/ that b/c if Jazz doesn't like something, she'll put her teeth on you to let you know..but doesn't bite. I would not however, want to take that chance w/ strangers. Jazz is very sweet and gentle and wants so much to be loved on and part of what you're doing that she gets so excited and rambunctious at the thought of you playing with her. She's just very high spirited and can scare some people b/c she likes to jump. that's the end of Jazz's story. On to Patches.

I took Jazz out, brought Patches in and the 2 vet tech's walked in the room and started to approach Patches. It seemed all good b/c she was wagging, but as soon as they got close to her, she barked and backed up...and they jumped back as if she'd already bitten them. They took her to be weighed, took her temp, etc..and then I heard some huffing, puffing and little dog feet scrambling. They'd muzzled her. She's almost 9 and has NEVER been muzzled..and they were getting snippy w/ her b/c she was fighting them. She was clawing at her face, huffing, tongue hanging out through her teeth, drooling and the most horrible look of fear in her eyes I've ever seen. Rage started bubbling up inside me and it apparently showed on my face b/c the vet tech goes, "She got a little snarly when we tried to draw her blood." Ok..I understand, but it didn't make me any less angry to see my girl like that.

They did a quick exam and while the vet was listening to her heart, she reached up and clamped Patches mouth closed b/c she was huffing and breathing so heavily. I know it was to hear her heart better, but it just freaked Patches out more. As soon as the vet let go, she started shaking her head back and forth and pawing at the muzzle...and both the vet tech's and vet backed up..1 actually left the room. She's muzzled you morons!! What's she going to do?? After Patches calmed a little bit, they let me take the muzzle off and she just sat there..totally fine. It probably didn't help that they called her fat..maybe Patches is sensitive. =) I know she needs to lose about 23 lbs, but we had her thyroid tested and should get the results back in a few weeks. The vet said Cushing's Disease could explain her weight we'll probably have to have her tested for that too.

It was just an upsetting vet trip. The vet tech's were too timid and scared...which only scared my dogs when they were already on alert. They weren't very friendly and I can't say they were inexperienced..b/c I've seen them there for a few years now. I know they mean well..but I just wasn't happy with the way my dogs were treated and they completely freak out when I pull into the parking lot I think it's time for a change. Patches did fine when we took her to a different vet for a ruptured tick cyst and our vet was closed. Granted...Jeff was with her and she's his dog. She doesn't trust me like she does him. She loves me...but she's a daddy's girl, no doubt. I'm considering going to a mobile vet who will come out and charge me a $50 house visit and treat all my animals. I had Patches and Jazz's appt at the same time and they charged me $30 a piece for an office visit. I paid out almost $300 for that one visit. Insane! Anyhow..I just wanted to vent a little on my bad experience and get it off my chest. I felt bad for my girls so when we got home, they each got a yummy doggie mini-bagel from the Bone Appetit Pet Bakery in Myrtle Beach. They love that place and despite a horrible day, they had a great weekend with Terri!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 5.1

This will be more of blogette..a quickie update. I got my medications yesterday. Huge box..lots of stuff. It seemed a bit overwhelming at first, but it was mostly syringes and alcohol wipes. The actual medications took up very little space. Just before Fed Ex arrived, the nurse called and told me my Lupron start date would be Monday.'s getting very real now. I'm very excited though!!! After doing some math, I've figured that the earliest possible embryo transfer date would be April 10th and that's when you count the shortest distance between each step. That's highly unlikely..but still possible. The latest possible date given the longest distance between each step would be April 24th for a blastocyst transfer. That's the only timeline I can give you. I'm deciding on a comfortable medium and going to say it's probably going to be around April 16th. It'll still be awhile before I know exact dates..but I'll keep you posted! =)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 5

Sorry I didn't update this last week, but I was busy! Jeff and I had our IVF medication instruction class last Thursday. There were 4 other couples in the class and it lasted about 2 hours, but was filled with a LOT of information. She gave us the details of which meds to take and when and for how long and showed us how to draw the meds. She left very few questions unanswered. I'm really glad Jeff went with me b/c it was a lot of information to get in such a short amount of time. The progesterone needle was the only part that made me go.."hoollly crap". Two inches long..all the way in my hip..every day for 10 weeks after the embryo transfer. If the embryo's don't attach and I'm not pregnant, then I don't have to take it..otherwise, it's through most of the 1st trimester. OUCH.

So..where do we stand now? I got a letter from Duke telling me the amount I owed after insurance paid, which is $3518. I faxed that to ARC Sunday night and they called me back confirming that they got it and were just waiting on the clinic to fax the prescriptions. Duke faxed those to ARC today and she called telling me the price on those was $2328.48, for a total loan amount of $5846.48. She said she'd get the loan paperwork up and ready to go and fax them to me tonight...which I never received..but then I just sign them, fax them back, they order the drugs and have them overnighted to me..and away we go! I still have to go in for my baseline ultrasound before I can start the drugs, but hopefully I can start them the first of next week.

Jeff got me all freaked out the other night because he told me his contract expires on April 15th and I thought we had until April 30th. If I had started the drugs tomorrow, we'd be looking at an embryo transfer date of around April 13th. That's cutting it verrrrry close. The only way this is going to work if Jeff gets the COBRA insurance through the end of the month. That's also really expensive, but still cheaper than paying full price for IVF. If his insurance hadn't covered any of it, we would've paid about $13,000 for everything. We're hoping that his insurance doesn't end the day of his contract, but at the end of the month during which his contract ends. We'll see. I can't stress over it b/c there's nothing I can do, you know?

The fact that this might not work hasn't even set in really. I'm just confident that it will work...I have to think that way. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but at the same time, I'm thinking of names, who to pick for an OB, how I'll do the nursery and wondering how fat I'll get. My biggest concern is that Jeff can't get another job until this cycle is over with b/c of the insurance. So..he'll be technically without a job before we even have the embryo transfer and that scares me. I know we'll be ok because we always have just works itself out...but that doesn't mean it'll be easy. Our first year was rough b/c he got laid off..and even if he gets another job, he may not be making as much...and we need to prepare for that. I'm putting away as much as I can to help cushion it a bit, but it's not going to be enough. The job market for IT people in this area has slowed to less than a crawl. It's kind of like a baby who's just lying on the floor, drooling, rocking back and forth but not going anywhere. He's looked for jobs outside of the Triangle and in other states, but the truth is that we don't want to move. Despite the strange weather and unbearable summers, we like it here. We're close to just about everything and there's never a shortage of anything to have to do what you have to do. If we can't make it through the next 18 months and wait for the economy to turn around, we'll have no choice but to go elsewhere. That makes me sad.

I'm just so thankful to have a very supportive family who I know will help us out when and how they can. All I can do is pray. So, here's to a successful IVF cycle, a new job for Jeff, and strengthening our bond by extending our family!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 4

Seems like a lot has happened since last Thursday! I hope this isn't TMI, but it's kind of just put on your big girl panties and deal w/ it. Late in the afternoon Friday, I got my period..which means day 1 of my cycle. I needed to have blood work done on Day 3 to determine my medication dosage. Day 3 was Sunday...and they're closed, and they closed at 3pm on I couldn't call to ask what I needed to do. I decided to call the RE on call and after a short wait, she called me back. Dr. H was awesome and not upset that I had her paged for a fairly minor issue. She's there to handle emergencies after hours. Anyhow, she told me that I could have my blood work done Monday morning and it would still be valid. I was also supposed to call on Day 1 to schedule my 3D Sonogram..and they were that also had to wait.

I called Monday morning to schedule my lab work and thought since they were already going to be drawing blood for my hormone levels, I could also go ahead and get my IVF screening labs done as well. When I told them what I needed, they discovered they had an appt. opening that day for a 3D Sono and that I could just have everything done at one time. Wow..I wasn't expecting to have the 3D Sono done until later in the week. She told me it has to be done between days 3 and I guess day 4 was just perfect. The appt. time wasn't until 1:30, so I asked if the blood work for my hormones would be ok if put off until then and they said it was fine. 1:30, I headed into the office where they filled 8 tubes of blood. Yep...I said 8. They have to test for FSH, TSH, and HIV, Hep B&C, Rubella, Blood Type & Screen, and um..something. I can't remember..I'll find it later. Jeff also had to go in Tuesday to have his blood work done and they only filled 4 tubes for him.

Anyway, so after my blood work by the very talented Lab Tech..who left no bruising...I headed into the ultrasound room. I'll admit I was nervous because I knew the 3D Sono was similar to an HSG..which was NOT pleasant in the least. I hurt for several hours after that one. The Dr. came in and told me they would push a catheter through my cervix and fill my uterus very slowly with saline and that if it hurt they would stop. The catheter didn't if you ever have to have one done, do it as early in your cycle as you can. I had the HSG done around day 10, after my cycle was over and my cervix wasn't as open...thus the pain. Once she took the speculum out, I was fine. She put in the ultrasound wand..then the saline started...very uncomfortable. Not painful...but there was discomfort. I'm watching the screen as my uterus expands and I'm fascinated at how little it actually is. I started having some cramping because my uterus was rebelling at being filled so fast, but I was ok. According to the Dr., my uterus is polyps or malformations of any kind and my lining was good.

She also looked at my ovaries and said they were perfect. Oh really?? I have PCOS..which means cysts on my ovaries...and she's telling me there are none?!? Then why can't I ovulate or get pregnant??? I found that interesting. I could see the follicles and they were a little larger than normal ones..but they looked like they're supposed to. After I cleaned up, She gave me a prescription for Doxycycline to prevent infection. I spoke to the nurse who gave me a prescription for birth control which I also started Monday and I scheduled my IVF Class for next Thursday. That day I should also get my medication dosage and prescription. After leaving and having paid my 25% to the tune of $460, my only issues for the rest of the day was the saline leaking back out and the headache and upset stomach from the birth control and Doxy.

When I got home from the Dr., I called ARC(Advanced Reproductive Care) and asked them about financing the IVF cycle. They gave me the rundown of what they needed and who they financed through. Our best option was Capital One and we got pre-approved for $9,000 at 9.9% for 60 months...which is the best you can get for that loan term for the amount we asked for. It shouldn't cost anywhere near that, but it gives us a bit of a cushion to work with. Now, I just have to have Duke fax my prescriptions to ARC, they find the cheapest pharmacy to provide the meds, let Capital One know what the total cost is going to be and then they send me the loan forms, I sign them, send them back..and then they pay Duke. Voila. My insurance will cover some of the costs of the medication if I go through their they may be the cheapest route to go w/o having ARC find me a pharmacy. I just want the smallest out of pocket expense!

My next step after the class is my baseline ultrasound and medication start. My Dr. also called me Tuesday to go over Jeff's results from the semen analysis...which gave me a lot of answers to questions that I had in my last blog. Dr. W said that Jeff is normal but there's still a 1 in 6 chance that there could be no fertilization and that the the ICSI procedure is basically an insurance. With all we're putting into this procedure, why not guarantee that we're going to get an embryo? I hate knowing we have to pay the extra $1700..but our insurance covers I don't think it'll really cost us that much out of pocket.

I don't know how they determine which sperm to inject into the egg though. I guess they just pick the one that has the best motility and morphology..and therefore the strongest to fertilize the egg. I still wish they'd just put it in the dish so that some of this is left to chance, you know? I guess's still chance b/c there's no way of knowing which sperm is going to be's random. Anyway, if the timeline falls the way I've figured it, I should be having the embryos implanted in late March or early April..and know by mid-April if I'm pregnant or not. There's still a lot left to chance though. Just because we have embryos doesn't mean the embryos will attach or that I can sustain the pregnancy, so there's a lot of stress still ahead of me. I need to find a way to deal with it and not hang on to it...that could cause the whole thing not to work. Maybe weekly massages throughout this whole thing wouldn't be a bad investment. Eh..we'll see.

UPDATE: Here's Videos!

Here's one of Egg Retrieval:
Another one better explaining the egg retrieval:
I also found a video of ICSI!
And one of the embryo transfer:
Hope this helps you guys better understand the process!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 3

Alright, so here's what's going on...and my dilemmas (yes, that's plural!) Jeff got his test results back today and it was a thumbs up, but they said they would recommend that we still do ICSI. That's where they inject the sperm directly into the egg to fertilize it. My question is, if Jeff's little soldiers are fine..why do we need to do ICSI and incur the extra cost of doing it? Apparently the nurse told Jeff that if they just put the sperm in the dish w/ the eggs and hope for the best, there's only a 15% chance that it will work. Um..what??! How can it be that low when the sperm and eggs are all there together hanging out? Say..6 eggs..and 2 million sperm...and it's still only 15%??? Bollocks to that! I think she just wants us to spend the extra money. ICSI is for couples who have infertility issues with both partners. If Jeff's "boys" are A-OK....then I don't see a reason to pay the extra $1500-$1800 to have it done. Oh..and that's out of doesn't cover that. So this dilemma is: do I pay the extra money to guarantee we have embryos..which still may not result in a viable pregnancy..or let the fertilization happen naturally?

Ok..on to the next dilemma. Jeff may lose his job in April when his contract runs out..which means the insurance goes with it. We're hoping they'll make his position permanent..but we have to plan otherwise. IBM's insurance is AWESOME! No copays and they cover 2 cycles of IVF. If we lose that April 30th, I have to go on NC's State Insurance..which is hideous! Ridiculous copay and co-insurance fees and they don't cover you have to wait a year for payment on preexisting conditions. I should also mention that I would have to cover Jeff too..and the Employee/Spouse something like $350 a month. The family plan is $450. We're paying $80 through IBM for both of us...and their family plan is only $110...or something close to that.

If the IVF works and I become pregnant and then have to switch insurance companies..wouldn't the pregnancy be considered a preexisting condition?? In that case, they would cover NONE of the birth expenses...or any of the work I have to have done relating to the pregnancy at all. I can't lie and say I didn't know b/c it's insurance fraud and they could check w/ IBM's insurance and find out we had IVF. Even if the birth goes the way it's supposed to, you're looking at probably $12,000 or more....and if it's complicated, it could be $50,000 or more. Plus..what if Jeff still doesn't have a job? I realize all this sounds like I'm being a Debbie Downer, but I have to plan for the worst even while hoping for the best. What do I do? Do I still go ahead w/ the IVF knowing that Jeff may not have a job and that insurance wouldn't cover any pregnancy expenses? I know our parents would help us out..but they're in a tight bind right now too. Dad may lose 3/4 of his retirement, Jeff's parents just built a new house and are still supporting his brother and his I wouldn't want to be a burden. I rarely ask for help anyway.

I'm just unsure about a lot of stuff. Now that I'm ready to do's the absolute worst time to be ready for it. Our economy will be in the hole for another few years...but I'm not getting any younger and really don't want to wait that long to have a baby. I feel like my window of opportunity to have one is closing on me in the next 5 years, so I don't feel like waiting is an option. I keep trying to remind myself that Jeff's parents lived off of Beanie Weanies for a month in order get by after having Jeff....and they made it. Do I look at all of these roadblocks as a sign that we shouldn't be doing this or do I look at them as trials from God that I have to get through? Maybe God's testing the strength of my desire to have children. Maybe this is when He wanted me to be ready, even though it makes no sense to me. I just know I could use a lot of prayers right now. If you have any ideas or words of advice for me, please email me!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 2

So Jeff and I had our Dr's appt on Feb. 4th. I really liked him and felt very comfortable with the staff. They scheduled Jeff for a semen analysis..which he wrote a blog about here and then told me to call back on day 1 of my cycle to schedule a 3D Sonogram. So..that should be in the next week or so. I have to take Provera monthly to even start a cycle since I don't ovulate and I'm halfway through my 10 days of it now. I also have to have blood drawn on day 3 to determine my hormone levels so they know how much meds to give me. We still have to talk to the financial counselor to find out what our out of pocket expense will be and get a loan. They don't allow payments to be made to them.

This process is sooo much more complicated than I thought it would be. A LOT of hoops to jump through...and they have to be timed just right. Some of it is a bit confusing. Here's the gist. We talk to the financial counselor to find out our price and then get a loan. During this time, at some point Jeff and I both have to have blood work done for HIV, Hep B & C, rubella, RPR, blood type and screen. Once all these results come back, we call to schedule the nurse med instruction session where I get my prescriptions and have them filled to the tune of around $2000. Then, they schedule my baseline ultrasound, I start the meds, they monitor me, I have the egg retrieval and within a few days, the embryo transfer. Sounds simple, right? Not quite. Somewhere in the paperwork it said that it's best to use a mail in pharmacy b/c they're cheaper and have more of the meds in stock. Ok..our pharmacy can take 2-3 weeks to get the medications. That time is VITAL and shouldn't be wasted on waiting for the meds....especially w/ Jeff's insurance running out in April...maybe sooner if he gets another job.

I just have a lot of questions about the exact order of a lot of this stuff. Do I call to schedule the baseline ultrasound or do they call me? Do I have to have the instruction session before my baseline ultrasound? Does it matter? Can we have all this done by April? If not, can we afford it? I feel guilty because I meant to call the financial counselor this week to find out how much our out of pocket expenses would be and what our insurance covers..and other options on how to pay for it. I was going to go ahead and get a loan for a little more than what they said we'd need...just to be sure. I was going to schedule an appt. to have all my blood work done and faxed to Duke. I didn't do any of that and as I said..time is vital. I just pissed away another week. It just totally slipped my mind. You know what I was doing instead? Watching movies, doing laundry, sleeping, doing dishes, and other random unimportant stuff. Calling Duke and getting my tests done should have been at the forefront of my mind. I set my cellphone reminder to go off Monday and remind me to call well as set up a time for blood work..though I guess I could just have that done the same day as my 3D sono..but I'd feel better if I knew that I was moving closer to the goal, you know? Otherwise...I'm just waiting..and wasting time.

I need to get Jeff to have the blood work done too, but that's the only other thing he needs. I hate sitting around waiting for my period. What happens if it doesn't come? What if the flow isn't heavy enough to have the sonogram done? Why am I worrying about all this when I have no control over it? Sigh...I'm just stressed...and that's one of the worst things that can happen during an IVF cycle. I need to just calm down and realize that I can't make this happen before April. I was the one who kept putting it off b/c I wasn't ready..and now that under pressure and getting ready to lose the insurance, I decide to do it....then waste a week. I didn't know about the 3D sono...that's what's putting this off for awhile....b/c it has to be done during my cycle. When they told me I had to have it done, I had just finished my period a couple of weeks before...and I was disappointed to know I'd have to wait.

I just keep running into obstacles. Is this God's way of telling me not to do it? Am I reading too much into it? Sigh...I'm just getting frustrated with the delay and worried that this is never going to happen...or if it does..that it's not going to work. Or that we'll end up w/ massive bills and that Jeff can't find a job that pays what he's making now. It's not fair. Crack whores are out there getting pregnant left and right and don't want them..and I can't even get pregnant once. I"m really trying hard to be hopeful and positive, but sometimes, life just sucks.

Grover where are you?!

As a woman in my 30's, I was raised on Sesame Street, The Muppets, and The Electric Company. I hardly missed a show. When I was about 7, my babysitter had a yard sale. My good friend Celeste was my baby sitter's niece. So...she had a ton of her stuff over there to sell and I just had to have this Grover doll. He was about 15 or 16 inches long, well loved and kind of ratty looking...but I wanted it. Mom got it for me for $1. I carried him everywhere and talked to him as if he really understood me. Maybe he really did, who knows, but he was my friend. I slept with him. I ate with him. I danced with him. I watched TV with him so he could see his performances on Sesame Street..and I would tell him how great he did. I would even push him around the yard in a baby stroller. I would make sure he was tucked in safe and warm.

One very windy day I was out in the front yard throwing him into the air and watching the wind blow him a little to the left of me..then I'd catch him. I did this over and over until he landed on the branch of our maple tree. He looked so cute just hanging there with his sweet little smile. I climbed up to get him and when I got back to the bottom, I had a new game. How far up in the tree could I throw him...and how long would he stay there before the wind knocked him out? It turns out..pretty darn high and for a long time. I think the record was about 10 minutes. For an 8 year old, that's an eternity to wait. But at least he came back down because that would have been a very precarious climb on little limbs to get him out. After this game, I tucked him back into the stroller. This is my last memory of him.

Sometime after that day, he went missing. I never found him. Maybe Mom thought I was too old for Grover and secretly got rid of him at a yard sale. That's what she did with my lion when I was about 10, but that's another story for another time. Maybe he was stolen. I keep wondering if I accidentally left him in the stroller in the yard. I have a vague hazy thought that I left him safe in his stroller when I went in for dinner and when I came back out, he was gone. Never to be seen again. I even asked Dad if he would look on the roof to make sure he wasn't up there. There had been an incident that day where a gust blew him on the roof instead of into the tree. Luckily..another gust knocked him off. But, Dad looked for me. No Grover. He did find several tennis balls and a Koosh ball. Remember those? Kelly and I used to throw them over the house to each other and they didn't always make it.

Anyhow, I wonder what happened to him. I personally think he was stolen by a neighborhood kid, but maybe I'm trying to pacify myself and made that up in order to block the memory of Mom getting rid of him. I could understand the theft because Grover was awesome...but Mom betraying me..knowing I loved him...that's just too hard to swallow. Or maybe I simply misplaced him and find it easier to blame someone else than myself. I'll never know the truth of what happened, but today, the truth is that I wish I still had him. Jeff still has Stanley, his little green teddy bear from when he was 3...and I have none of my childhood toys..except Garfield..and he's at my parents house. Many of my toys are still there, but none of them had quite the meaning that Grover did.

Today, I can honestly say that when I have children, they can keep their toys for as long as they want. It's been more than 20 years since Mom got rid of my lion after I begged her not to and I still hold some resentment towards her. I may not have had it now, but it was mine..and my choice of when to give it up. It was what if I didn't play with it anymore. I don't blame her for Grover..I just think someone else wanted him as badly as I did. I hope whoever took him gave him a good home and loved him. I hope they still have it and gave it to their children for them to love. It just leaves me asking: where are you Grover? Are you thinking of me? I'm thinking of you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 1- The History

When Jeff and I got married back in 2001, I wasn't ready for children. I was 24 and still trying to find my path in life. In 2003, I went off of birth control and we tried the method of just not preventing pregnancy. It didn't work, so about a year later I tried going on Clomid. Only 50mg at first..and was told to have "relations" any time in the 5 days surrounding my ovulation day. After no success in the first few months, I was upped to 100 mg. I had an HSG done to determine if my tubes were blocked and everything was found to be normal. Jeff had a sperm count and he was normal. No luck.

After a year of Clomid, I stopped and in September of 2005, we saw a fertility specialist at NCCRM in Cary, NC. I was expecting him to suggest an IUI..which is the next step. He jumped straight to IVF and freaked me out. He had a good point though. The lab work isn't covered by insurance, so our out of pocket expense would have been the same but our chances of conception would be tripled. 15-20 % vs. 50-60% for the same price. He explained the whole process and what they do and how long it takes...and at that time, I just didn't know if I wanted children badly enough to put my body through something like that..but we switched me over to Jeff's insurance because they cover 2 cycles of IVF. Then..everything just stopped. No more drugs, no more Dr's, no more trying. We even stopped really talking about it except for the occasional mention of when we were having children. I guess we'd lost hope.

Now, after a recent long discussion about children and where they would fit in to our lives and why Jeff wanted them so badly, we've decided to give the IVF idea another try. We're meeting a doctor at Duke Fertility in Durham on February 4th to discuss the plan best for me, costs, etc. We'll schedule some blood work and tests for both of us and try to get the ball rolling. Funny, we've been able to do this for several years but now that Jeff loses his insurance in April, we're now under the gun to get it done. Sigh. I feel bad for waiting, but I wasn't ready. The process scared me. I always had this hope that it would happen on it's own when the time was right...and that if it was God's will, it would just happen.

This past October or November, I had a bit of a spiritual reawakening and after a lot of prayer for guidance, I've come to some realizations. In a way, I thought IVF was intervening in God's plan and playing God..and that's wrong. Now, I think doing this is part of God's plan for me. I just wasn't meant to conceive naturally. I think of it as God using the doctors to help perform some of his miracles. Whether a child is conceived naturally or with the help of some doctors, it's still a miracle and still a child. I almost think IVF is better in a way. Going through the process of in-vitro is a testament to how much that child is loved and wanted. Most children are conceived by accident and were never planned. That doesn't mean they weren't loved, but they weren't necessarily wanted, you know? Plus, with IVF, they put the strongest embryos back in..those that will have a better chance of survival. I think that says a lot.

I'm sure people will disagree and say that IVF is playing God a bit..but I've also realized the following, thanks to Jeff. We eat seedless grapes, buy hybrid flowers, use mules to farm, and buy "teacup" dogs. All of those things were created by man, not God..and no one has any complaints about them. Granted..the breeding of horses and donkeys happen in nature on a regular basis..but man also breeds them on purpose. Same with teacup dogs. Breeding them over and over until you create the exact size or color you wanted...and people snatch them up left and right.

Now, I also realize there's a clinic in California and in England that will genetically engineer the sex of an embryo. The purpose is to weed out gender based genetic defects, should they exist. Say all the men in your family have had webbed feet. They can make sure the baby is a female. Or if all the women in your family have had PCOS, they can make sure the child is a male. To go even further, for the right amount of money, they can make sure your child has a certain hair color, eye color, intelligence level, height, weight, etc. can order your ideal child who is the best of both of you. While I agree that most people would want to give their child the greatest advantage in life right from the get go, I do feel this is taking it a bit too far. Just my personal opinion though.

Anyhow, I hope to be able to keep you posted on our progress through the coming months. I'm still scared to death of the process and have a ton of worrisome questions. Will it hurt? Will I miss a lot of work? Will I have severe mood swings? What if the stress of the procedure causes the embryo not to attach? What if we lose our insurance before we can complete the process? What if I have a complicated pregnancy? Will I be a good mother? What will I do about daycare? Can I afford daycare? Can I afford to work only part time? What if the child has a defect? What if the child has mine and Jeff's worst traits? What if I have twins? Triplets?? Sigh...just a lot of worry. I'm still praying on a lot of this and hope I can just let it all go and be at peace about it. Anywho...I'll update in a few weeks!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sickening, revolting and deplorable!!

I just happened to find a girl on Twitter who posted a link to this petition. It's about 2 men in Australia who killed a 7 month old puppy. I wish that's all they'd done, but it's not. They're trying to get the maximum penalty for animal cruelty..which is a puny 2 years, but I hope in signing the petitions that can be changed. As an animal lover, I'm upset when an animal is hurt..even by accident. I was sickened by what these men did and had to step out of work for a few minutes to let the tears dry. I'll give a quick summary of what they did but want to warn you if you haven't read it that it's extremely disturbing and could cause nightmares. Yes, it is that horrible. You can also join the Facebook group here or check out to see the full list of petitions, offer support and see more information.

If these men were in front of me right now...and vigilante justice were legal...I'd be on them so fast they wouldn't know what hit them. Like if Edward Scissorhands could spin like the Tasmanian Devil. Just a whirl of anger and blades. I wouldn't kill them...because that would be too kind. So, that being said...and having given you a's a recap of what they did.

They stole a 7 month old puppy from a house and then tortured and mutilated him with garden shears and a pocket knife. They cut off his nose, his legs, and sliced his stomach open before decapitating him....all while videotaping it with a mobile phone. Even seasoned senior police officers who have seen plenty of carnage in their careers were shaken by this. The videos won't be released until after the trial, but they said the poor puppy was yelping and howling in pain and even tried to escape on what was left of his legs. Who would even want to watch the video?!?! It's hard enough reading about it. They then just dumped the body on the side of the road. I can't even imagine the pain the owners are going through..and even that's just a shadow of what that poor puppy felt.

I'm convinced these men are not human. They're evil, pure and simple. They say all serial killers started with animals. The rest of society isn't safe from these men if a poor defenseless puppy wasn't either. The real kicker in this whole thing is that they're trying to plead INSANITY. I have no doubt that they're beyond any help the system could offer them..but it's no excuse to get away with this atrocious crime. I'm just completely taken aback by all of this. I even prayed that Peanut is in heaven with no memory of what was done to him...or at least no memory of the pain. heart just aches for that poor puppy. I love my animals and feel bad if I even step on their tail by accident. Reading this makes me want to just rush home and hug all my animals. Anyway, please consider signing the petitions in order to give these men the maximum sentence and to help make the maximum sentence longer than 2 years.