Winter ONEderland

Logan and Leigh Allyn celebrated their first birthday on 1.19.14.  I had so much fun planning and executing the "Winter ONEderland" celebration.  I probably drove everyone crazy in my months-long quest for everything red and aqua.  I can't help but reflect on how exceedingly lucky we are to have healthy, happy one year olds.  A year ago, we were facing some scary possibilities that go along with such early babies.
They aren't quite caught up to other babies their actual age but we still get to use the adjusted age for a while yet.  It seems that they have been learning, growing and changing so quickly for the last few weeks.  They are happy babies and love to play with each other and their daycare friends.

One of my craft projects was to decorate their high chairs to match their party theme.  They had no clue what the presents were about but loved the crinkle of tissue paper and opened a few presents on their own.

As I've learned is almost always true with twins, the smash cakes met with a mixed response.  Leigh Allyn did not care for the icing in her fingers and Logan loved the destruction and managed to get all three layers destroyed by the end.  He had cake and frosting from the top of his head to the bottoms of his feet.

Seriously, how did I get lucky enough to have these babies at my house every day?!  People in the SAIF (Success After Infertility) world talk about survivor's guilt and the constant feeling of not being worthy to have babies when so many others would give anything for this chance.  I do not know why I am so lucky and so many others are not, but I try to make up for it by being thankful every second of every day.  I like to think my prayers of thanksgiving have outnumbered the times I prayed for a child.  My heart is always with the women who are still waiting. 


Identity Crisis

It's me again.  Nine months later.  I'm having a bit of a blogger identity crisis.  This blog has gone from home ideas to infertility journal to expectant mother and NICU mom without much thought for long-term planning.  I know I have it in me to be a regular blogger, I just haven't figured out how to make it happen.  My MIL recently pointed out that some of the IF blogs she'd followed had dropped off of the face of the earth after they got pregnant and I realized that I am guilty of the same thing.  There are a few of you who were reading along, cheering for me and I left you out of the loop once the babies arrived.

L&LA are now ten months old and amazingly, perfectly happy.  They have been home from the NICU for over eight months.  They came home free of cords, monitors and specialists.  What a miracle!

Our Christmas Card Photo

I'm going to spend some time considering the future of my blog.  If I'm going to be serious about maintaining and expanding (i.e. finding some readers) or if I'm too busy  lazy to keep it going.


One Month Update

Logan and Leigh Allyn were one month old yesterday.  They continue to do very well for 28-weekers.  Logan has outgrown all of his breathing support and is breathing completely on his own.  He weighed 3 lbs, 10 ounces last night and is growing like a weed.  Leigh Allyn is on a very low setting on her nasal cannula and we're hoping to either go to a low flow cannula or try life without a cannula sometime soon.  She weighs 3 lbs, 6 ounces.  Both babies are eating just shy of an ounce every three hours.  They now reside in the intermediate NICU, a step toward the door from the intensive NICU where they started out.


Watching Grass Grow, aka Being a NICU Mom

Sometimes when you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, it does.

I didn't post much about being pregnant.  I meant to, but just never got around to it.  I stopped writing in my book (the massive Word document that has been my diary for the last couple years) too.  Any time someone asked me how I was going to manage two babies, I always replied, "I'm not afraid of taking care of them when they're here.  I'm more worried about being able to carry them long enough."  As it turns out, that was a prophetic statement.  I sailed through pregnancy all the way until 26 weeks, 4 days when a routine ultrasound revealed that my cervix was short and dilated.

After almost two weeks of hospital bedrest, Logan Andrew and Leigh Allyn Mroch were born at 28 weeks, 2 days weighing 2 lbs, 5 oz. and 2 lbs, 6 oz.  They are amazing little bitties and melt my heart every single time I see them.  So, my blog will once again take on a new purpose: sharing the details of being a preemie mom.

One of the nurses compared having babies in the NICU to watching the grass grow.  I have found this to be absolutely true over the last two weeks.  It's agonizing and brings out the impatience in me, but time is the only thing that's going to get my babies ready to come home to the nursery that's not really even ready for them.  Logan, left, is what is referred to as a "wimpy white boy" in the NICU world.  Thankfully, he seems to be outperforming the stereotype.  He has some apnea spells and had a random infection of some sort, but seems to be doing very well.

Leigh Allyn, above, is sweetness personified.  She started out with a heart murmur called a PDA that is caused by an artery that is open while in utero that is supposed to close at birth.  Hers did not, as is fairly common in preemie girls.  Thankfully, one round of indomethacin closed it and her murmur has disappeared.
I have settled into a routine, spending my days in the NICU and scheduling my time around pumping every two hours.  Baptist Hospital and the NICU are set up to support a new mom who is pumping and I am very grateful for the support.  As someone who is new to breastfeeding/pumping, I need someone to tell me what is normal, how often to pump and how much I should be getting.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed before I knew that I was having preemies and I cannot imagine how I would have figured it all out had I just been sent home with two babies to feed.


Life is Going to Change!

Andrew and I both hate the comment, "Your life is about to change forevvvverrrr."  Well, duh.  We are having our first and second kids at the same time.  We are adding two babies to a house that has heretofore only had puppies.  Of course it's going to change. 

There are several things we hate about this expression: 
1.  It's usually said in a mocking tone by an "experienced" parent.
2.  It implies that we better enjoy life now because it's going to difficult/stressful/sleepless/etc. when the babies get here and ruin everything.
3.  It doesn't take into account the blood, sweat and tears we have gone through to get to this point.  Do you really not think we have had plenty of time to consider the life-altering change that bringing multiples home will entail?

I know many, many women who are SAIFers (Success After Infertility) and, not surprisingly, they don't use this expression.  Instead, they congratulate us and talk of the amazing blessing that it is to add a baby (or babies) to a household that has longed for them and prayed for them and worked for them. 

Of course my life is going to change.  It may be difficult and stressful and sleepless for awhile but it will also be everything I have ever wanted.  I can't wait. 

Pregnancy Update: things are progressing nicely and will be having our anatomy scan on 11/19.  I can 't wait to see our babies looking like babies instead of the blobs they were when we last saw them.  Of course, I can't wait to know their sexes but I am also anxious to know that their major organs are developing according to schedule.


Babies on Board!

It's been quite awhile since I've posted because I've been hiding fantastic, incredible, amazing news.

I'm pregnant!  Not just a little pregnant but pregnant with TWINS!!!!

After beta numbers that were perfectly average and on target for a singleton pregnancy, Andrew and I were amazed to see that both of the embryos from our Frozen Embryo Transfer stuck.  The picture above is from 7weeks0days.  I've since had another ultrasound and the twins continue to look right on track with perfect little heartbeats.  I cried so hard when I first saw them, the u/s tech had to ask me to hold my breath so she could get the measurements.  She told us that she had a 20 year-old IVF baby and that seeing our excitement made her day.

Andrew and I never imagined more than three years ago when we decided to start a family that we would travel the winding and dark road that we found ourselves on.  While I would never wish what we have been through on anyone, I must admit that I have learned many lessons along the way.  The Mrs. Mroch that is due April 11, 2013 is more patient, more persistent and more hopeful than the Mrs. Mroch that wanted to have a baby in April, 2010 because it was a good maternity leave for a teacher.

We are now Facebook official.  I have to admit, it terrified me to openly tell people.  I still have the infertile mind that is much more accustomed to bad news than to good.  I have another appointment this Friday and will hopefully get to hear both heartbeats on the doppler.  I will keep most pregnancy updates here rather than on Facebook because I know how it feels to see every detail of someone else's pregnancy in my news feed and I won't do that to the friends that I know are struggling.


I have my hot flashes at night....

...as sung to the tune of "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night."  Jeez Louise.  I had gone several nights without hot flashes and wrongly assumed that I would continue to dodge the proverbial bullet.  Last night proved me wrong and overly optimistic. 

I do some of my worst thinking when I'm laying in bed, drenched in sweat.  Things that don't seem so bad or like such a big deal during the day are major issues at 2am.  Last night, I was planning to end friendships and dreaming of moving away.  I also decided that I would be either buying a bigger bed or moving to the guest room because my husband was making me hotter.  I did pause to acknowledge the fact that a shorter haircut is helpful when dealing with hot flashes.  Less mass to make extra sweat on the back of my neck.

Modern medicine has done amazing things for infertile women and I am eternally grateful for the potions that will hopefully bring me a baby.  I feel stupid complaining about something that is ultimately as inconsequential as a hot flash, but that's only in the light of day.  At night, I wonder if it can possibly be worth it.  There is a comparison to be made between waking up every few hours because of side effects and waking up every few hours if the medicine works and brings me a baby.  I suppose it's all practice...


Here we go again!

That's the cheapest shipment I've ever gotten from my friends at Metro Drugs in NJ.  $164 for the medicine for my upcoming frozen embryo transfer.  $164 that brought all the emotions that I've been tamping down since last fall right back to the surface.  It was like a scene from a movie; I signed for the delivery, shut the door and started crying. 

I'm not the same person who posted pictures of medicine shipments and running totals last summer.  Back then, I was brave and hopeful and my biggest worry was the money we were spending.  Now, I know it's about so much more than the money and I'm more scared than I've ever been.  It's about that tiny glimmer of hope that's still there.  Fragile and hard to find sometimes, but it's still there.  I want a baby and, for that chance, I'm willing to get back on the horse and start a new sharps container.


Don't Ignore...Common Sense--NIAW 2012

Today is the beginning of National Infertility Awareness Week, part of RESOLVE's efforts to make the world more aware of the truths of infertility.  Last year, I wrote a "myth-busting" blog entry. (Found here).  This year's theme is "Don't ignore..."  I've decided that my Don't Ignore message will be about common sense, something I've found woefully lacking in the general population since deciding to be open, at least in public if not on Facebook proper, about my struggle with infertility.

I found this picture on Pinterest (from this blog) and it made me laugh out loud.  So many of the things in this picture are things that I regularly hear my friends in the IF community complain that they've had said to them.  A few of them are things that some of you, dear readers, have said to me.  So, my blog for NIAW will be "Don't Ignore Common Sense." 

If someone has the courage to share with you their struggle with infertility, they've likely been through a long and difficult silence where they were afriad that sharing would lead others (i.e. you) to judge them, pity them or otherwise think of them as "different."  In reality, 1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility so the only thing "different" about us is that we're open about our struggle.  If someone is confiding in you, they aren't looking for advice.  They likely have a team of well-paid medical professionals (that they're paying out of pocket for, btw) giving them advice.  Your infertile friends and family members don't need your advice, they need your support.

So, before, you say any of the things in the picture above, stop and ask yourself whether you're being supportive or if you're unintentionally causing pain.  Don't say you understand if you haven't walked in these shoes.  Don't tell us it's in God's plan unless you really believe that God wants crackheads and 16 year-olds to have babies but not us.  Don't tell me I should adopt because then I'd get pregnant right away unless you're going to give me the $25-$45K it would take to adopt a baby.  And, just like last year's advice, don't ever mention to me if you happened to get pregnant on your first try.  Some things are better left unsaid. 

For more information about NIAW and RESOLVE:

  • http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
  • http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)
  • 3.31.2012

    It's a Wonder...

    ...anyone ever gets an old house sold and a new house bought without something in the middle falling apart.  In order to close on our new house, the buyer of our old house must close on the house he's selling, get his financing sorted out to close on our house before we can close on the new house.  This involves paperwork, home inspections, termite certifications, never-ending mortgage paperwork and on and on and on. 

    To this point, I have been running interference between the bank, our buyer and the people we are buying from.  I have also been crazy busy at work (can we say 'Spring Testing'?) and have been trying to get my last two graduate classes finished up and take my comps.  I finallly had enough on Friday and told Andrew he was going to have to deal with the bank.  The never-ending stream of papers to sign and things to find and copy for the mortgage has done me in.  He, of course, was perfectly willing to take the reigns which reminds me that I don't always have to do everything myself. 

    I crossed three things off my list today: I took my comps and ordered a kitchen table and a television console for the new bigscreen tv that Andrew is shopping for.  The table is a Paula Deen and I absolutely love it!



    A New Obsession

    I have happily postponed my FET to summer because I/we decided that my work schedule is too crazy to be running back and forth to the doctor and, more excitingly, we have decided that our income tax return (which is still an unknown amount) needs to sit in our savings account because we have bought a new house!
    After going back and forth on whether to build or buy for several years, we happily discovered that one of the few houses that we have both always loved was for sale and in our price range.  After several rounds of back and forth offers, we got a deal that we believe is fair and a closing date at the end of May.  With no contingency to sell our house, we are now living on borrowed time and need a quick sale on our current house.  This, of course, scares the crap out of me.  People keep assuring me that we will have no trouble selling our house but the mere thought of having two mortgages scares the crap out of me!


    Update and Cart Before the Horse

    I have finally made the big call and got myself on the FET calendar for my next cycle.  This is a bit misleading, as I almost always need Provera to start a new cycle so all this really means is that I'll be cycling when I suck it up and take those ten little pills.  At any rate, it's reassuring to know that my FET will be a Lupron/Estrodial Valerate two-month doozy.  Some FET cycles are short and minimally altered by meds.  As someone whose own hormones are unpredictable, I prefer cycles where they suppress and totally replace instead of crossing my fingers that my body behaves.  I can be patient. 

    It's Sunday and I started a new feature one week ago today, so here is my CBTH item for the week:
    the essential-to-every-modern-nursery Eames rocking chair
    I'm all over the place with nursery design style, but I love the look of the classic Eames rocking chair.  I can see myself blowing the budget on one of these and then scrambling to buy stuff like a crib and changing table. 


    Cart Before the Horse

    My blog has taken on a decidedly unhappy tone lately.  I know some of you out there are worried about my state of mind and I appreciate your encouragement and concern.  I promise I'm not depressed all the time.  Sooo, in an effort to bring some sparkle back to my blog, I'm going to add a regular feature that I'll call "Cart Before the Horse."  That's a bump phrase that's used for any baby-related browsing or shopping that happens before pregnancy.  It also happens to be one of my very favorite things to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I'm going to share some of the things I've been dying to buy and make for the almost three (yikes!) years since I started trying to have a baby.
    Item Number One: Fruit Punch fabric by Timeless Treasures.  I'm not sure what I would make out of this fabric, but I'm pretty sure I could design an entire nursery using apples and this color scheme. 
    Item Number Two: Dream Menagerie rug by Anthropologie. 

    Item Number Three: Gus and Lula print from Etsy.  This was featured recently on a style board from Lay Baby Lay.  I guess thinking of IF like an adventure is appropriate, no?  This strays from my aqua-centered nursery ideas in items one and two but gray/yellow is one of my other favorite color sets.

    So, what do you think?  Is it nutso to be making a shopping list for things I can't buy?


    IF's Common Thread

    IF's Common Thread

    Some really great ladies in the online IF community started wearing a bracelet made of a specific kind and color embroidery thread to signify that they are a part of the IF community.  It serves many purposes, but one of the goals is to educate the world about infertility.  If you wear the pomegranate bracelet and someone asks you about it, you're supposed to share your story and hopefully do your part to end the shame and embarrassment that too often accompany infertility by being open and honest with people you might not ordinarily open up to.  The bracelet is also a way for a PAIF (pregnant after infertility) woman to reach out to those of us who are still trying to get pregnant.  It says, "I know what you're going through.  I've been there and I know how lucky I am."  What a great message, something one of the original ladies likened to a secret handshake. 

    The ladies on thebump are putting together a Common Thread event and soon I'll be sporting a bracelet the color of pomegranates (which are said to increase fertility).  Ask me about it if you see me!


    Is it 2012 Already?

    January, 2012 has been rolling around in my head since we found out we were not getting a take-home baby out of our IVF cycle.  From that time, we automatically agreed (with zero discussing) that we would wait until "after the first of the year" to try a FET.  At the time, it sounded like far enough in the future to not worry about.  As in, "we have to wait foreverrrr to try again so I might as well not even think about getting mentally prepared for it." 

    ::fastforward through a busy semester::

    Now it's January, 2012 and it's time to get back on the crazy train.  Only I'm scared.  The reason they tell you to get back on the horse that's thrown you is because if you wait, you'll lose your nerve.  I've waited and now I've lost my nerve.  From January until September last year I was rolling from one cycle into another and never had time to second guess my decisions.  Now I'm haunted by the question, "At what point do we cut our losses and say we won't spend any more?"

    I've sent the email to my clinic's financial director asking for the itemized list of my clinic expenses last year.  I even opened a new email to send to my IVF nurse, sweet Rebecca, to tell her we will (hopefully) be ready to roll as soon as we get our taxes done.  Then I closed it and had a good little cry.  I am totally not mentally prepared for another failed cycle.  One almost did me in.  Two is unfathomable. 

    I read a bump signature today of a woman who got pregnant for the first time after four fresh cycles and a frozen cycle.  I am in awe of the strength it must have taken to keep going time after time.  Even without taking into account the fact that we could never afford that many cycles, I could not withstand the emotional trauma.   


    New Year's Resolutions

    I always make a giant list of resolutions for the new year in hopes that I will manage to live up to one or two of them, therefore having a "successful" resolution.  Last year's list had one that I kept all year (Stop storing food on top of the fridge.  It's tacky) and several that I at least kept in mind all year (No sweats in public.  Stop allowing fingernails to look like those of a deranged cannibal.)  This year I only have five.  Since one of them involves you, dear almost non-existent readers, I will share them.

    1.  Blog at least once per week and share existence of blog with people.  IRL and otherwise.
    2.  Stop wearing sweats in public.  (So worth doing, I'm recycling it from last year although it's darn tempting to run out to Food Giant in my yoga pants and a hoodie.)
    3.  One soda per day (I was down to one Diet Mtn. Dew during my IVF cycle and then chucked my progress out the window.  Stupid move on my part.)
    4.  Eat slowly.
    5.  Keep a journal with the following information daily (idea from Pinterest): Peaks, Pits, Prayers, and Praises

    Nothing noble.  Nothing impossible.  I like 'em.  I've got 24 hours to add any others I dream up.  I'll keep you posted.


    Holding On

    I haven't posted in over two months, mostly because I don't really have any updates to share.  But also in part due to the fact that I know some of my former students are readers and I don't want them (or anyone else who has stumbled in) to hear what my inner dialogue has been lately.  I'm that bitter person that others don't want to be around, in person or in cyberspace.  I hate being that person and I hate that anyone who knows me well can see it but I can't seem to shake it.  Being pregnant and then having it disappear has left its mark and I don't know how to fix it.  Time is supposed to heal all wounds but infertility is like that big festering sore that keeps getting ripped open and therefore can never heal properly. 

    We have been on hold, trying to save and pay off our debt from IVF while waiting for an income tax return that will pay for a FET.  Unfortunately, I've read too many randoms internet posts about how disappointed other IVFers were that itemizations on Schedule A didn't make that big of a difference on their tax return and now I've convinced myself that we won't get anything back and won't be able to cycle in February.  I had just assumed that having $21,612.92 in medical expenses to claim was going to guarantee a big return when added to the $5,500 in tuition we also paid out in 2011 (yes, we spent that much, no it's not all paid for, yes we did also manage to pay the mortgage and buy groceries on teacher salaries with no help from anyone).

    While we've been waiting, my sister had her baby and I love her to pieces.  Lindsey gets sister of the year honors for trying so hard to be considerate of my feelings.  I hate that she feels like she has to walk on eggshells around me but appreciate that she makes the effort.  Two close friends also announced their pregnancies on the same day and I cried big ugly, jealous tears in a bathroom at a work meeting.  Not one but two of my work friends came right into the bathroom behind me to offer their support.  I am that obvious when I'm hurting.  No suffering in silence for me.   

    One of the ladies on the bump pointed out a long time ago that someone else having a baby doesn't take away my chance at that baby that's out there waiting for me but it punches me in the gut and sucks the air out of my lungs when a pregnancy announcement comes out of nowhere.  Again, I hate being that person but I don't know how to stop it.  I'm still resisting those happy pills in my medicine cabinet but don't really remember why I was so adamant that I wasn't going to take them.

    I'm hanging on, but just by a thread.  I found this on Pinterest and needed to hear it today, so I thought I'd share.   


    The Stages of Grief

    Anger is one of the stages of grief and that's where I'm at this week. I was really sad when I first found out I was losing my baby. Now, I'm mad. I'm mad at the baby for not sticking around. I'm mad that I cried the night before I turned 30 because I am now an age by which many people are finished having kids and I don't even have the first one. I'm mad because stupid people have babies and I don't. I'm mad because Andrew and I have spent almost twenty thousand dollars trying to get pregnant and have only an early loss and monthly payments to show for it. I'm mad because people keep telling me stupid stuff like, "Stay positive and it'll happen," "so-and-so got pregnant as soon as they stopped trying," and "at least you get to try again." We may get to try again but I don't know many people who have to come up with five grand every time they want to TRY to get pregnant.

    Maybe acceptance is a stage that's coming and maybe someday I'll stop wanting to punch everyone who tells me that relaxing will help me get pregnant. I'll believe it when I see it. Until then, I'm going to keep right on being mad that people can go through so much and have so little to show for it.


    No May Baby

    It was positive. Then it was negative. I am crushed.

    We will try again but only after we have paid off some of the money we owe for this cycle (at least the part that is on the credit card) and have enough money for a FET.


    Time Flies, Until it Doesn't

    It's almost time. Time for THE test. Time for the end. By the way, I made it through this cycle with amazingly fantastic yield. After being cancelled for not responding, the light switch flipped and I got 38 eggs, an unheard-of number. Of these, 33 were mature and 25 fertilized. All 25 were still growing on the day of my transfer. We transferred two and 19 of the 23 remaining were good enough to freeze, also an unheard-of number.

    As much as I know I am blessed to have a lifetime of frozen blasts to use for FET (frozen embryo transfer), I also know that Andrew and I don't have the $5,000 we would need to go from a BFN to an FET cycle. So, I am absolutetly torn up waiting for the results of my fresh cycle. Absolutely torn up and it doesn't help that I am taking double hormone shots in the bottom every night. I'm a mess.

    Please, oh please, let this test be positive. Of all the tests I've taken in my life, I've never wanted to pass one as badly as I want to pass this test.


    Back on Track

    I'm on Day Three of stims for IVF 1.2. I cried last night for no good reason, so I'm telling myself that my hormones are kicking because I'm responding "so much better" than I did before. I literally had NO symptoms the last time I stimmed.

    I had my suppression check last Thursday and my nurse said I have a "ridiculous" number of follicles and should get a great response. While that made me feel good, I also had a good AFC (antral follicle count=the number of microfollicles that might grow into eggs) last time and didn't respond worth a poop. I'm anxious for my first follicle check tomorrow to see if any of the little boogers are growing.

    Please, oh please, let me get through this cycle. I feel like if something happens and I get cancelled again, I will give up and not try again.


    I Had Visitors!

    In spite of the fact that I don't advertise the fact that I have a blog, two of my very favorite former students happened across my humble little blog and apparently read the whole thing. I got a very lovely message on Facebook this morning that made my day. It's so very nice to know that my kiddos, grown-ups that they are, still remember me fondly. One of the many reasons that I want to have kids is because I have had the pleasure of knowing so many absolutely wonderful students and getting to see them grow up. Thanks, James and Lisa!


    I Got Cancelled

    Yep. This cycle is over before it had a chance to work. Given the high number of follicles I had before this cycle started, the doctor was very disappointed that I only had five growing on the tenth day of stimming. This led to the decision to call it quits on this cycle and use the remaining money in our account at the clinic for another cycle. This way, we are only out the cost of the medicine for this cycle and the pro-rated costs of the monitoring I've had so far. The doctor is hopeful that a new protocol with more aggressive dosages will yield more eggs.

    I'm so disappointed. I know this is the logical decision and that it is designed to maximize our money, but I'm sooo ready to be off this crazy train. I had been sure that I was either going back to school pregnant or having given up on fertility treatments. Now, I'll be cycling during the beginning of the new year.


    I Know This Feeling

    I've been here before. Kim starts treatment with great hopes. Treatment proceeds. It becomes obvious that Kim is not responding "normally" to said treatment.

    It should come to no surprise (to me at least) that I'm a slow responder to the FSH injections. It still stings to have two follie checks under my belt and only minimal follice growth. My e2 level has plateaued so I will be increasing my dosage and likely stimming for an extra day or two. Nothing devastating and this doesn't mean my cycle won't proceed well. It's just another disappointment in a long line of disappointing treatment cycles.

    I'm attempting to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get my positive outlook back.

    Today's Cost: $700 for extra shots. (Offset by the $300 I made working with my brother this week)


    Shot One!

    Shot One is in the history books! The needle is tiny and didn't hurt at all. It stung a bit after it went in, but nothing worth thinking about. The hardest part was getting the hang of drawing up the liquid and then mixing it in three vials of powder and ending up with the same amount you started with. I wasted one needle tip when I put the wrong one on, but I have gobs of needles, so no worries.

    $160 worth of Bravelle (follice stimulating hormone to make the eggies grow)

    My first deposit in the sharps container!

    The Cherry Limeade cupcake from Gigi's that I've been saving since Thursday to treat myself after the first injection!!

    If you got any spare warm thoughts and/or prayers, please say a few that these eggs start growing!


    I'm Suppressed!

    sup-press: (verb) to vanquish or subdue, quell, crush

    It's an odd expression, but the goal of my doctor's appointment today was to make sure that I'm suppressed and ready to start stimming. They did an ultrasound and an estradiol blood test to make sure that the birth control has done its job and has suppressed my natural hormones. As aforementioned, my hormones are wacky and I'm glad they've been quelled!

    The ultrasound tech said that I had lots of micro follicles just waiting to grow once I start stims and my e2 level was below fifty so I'm officially starting the shots on Saturday. I will go back for at least two ultrasounds and e2 checks next week and then my retrieval should be sometime the week after that. After waiting for what seems like forever, this party bus is finally rolling. I'm excited and scared to death.

    I also had a mock transfer done today to make sure there won't be any issues with my cervix or uterus when it's time for the real transfer and, according to my nurse practioner Rebecca, I have a very cooperative cervix. It hurt like a turkey but was nice to hear that everything should go smoothly when they transfer my embryo(s). I took it as a good sign that they used a Cook catheter for the procedure. Cook Pharmaceuticals was founded by the late Bill Cook, the same guy that founded the world champion Star of Indiana drum corps, Andrew's home away from home for five summers in the late 80s/early 90s. Hopefully, Bill's looking out for us.

    Total cost today: $0...'cause I already paid for it in the lump sum payment...


    Thank You, FedEx Man!

    I just got my IVF meds delivered and I feel like a kid at Christmas. Only IF can make you excited about having a sharps container of your very own!

    Total Cost Today: $2552.84


    The Check's in the Mail!

    Andrew just left to put the check in the mail for the actual doctor/lab cost of our IVF cycle. It's actually three separate checks to the lab, the surgery center and the fertility center itself. I was standing over his shoulder watching him write out the checks when he gave me a strange look. I guess I was being a little intense but it was a momentous event for me. Apparently it made him nervous, so I quit. I actually took a picture but I will refrain from posting it here since you can clearly see our names, address, phone number and bank account number. That's probably asking for trouble.

    I'm making myself feel better about how much money we just turned loose into the cosmos by reading the IRS codes about claiming medical expenses on your tax return. FYI, you can claim medical expenses if you spend more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Mission accomplished. You can also claim travel to and from appointments at $.17/mile so I've started a log of all of our trips. So far this year we are up to about 1500 miles going back and forth to Nashville.

    Total cost today: $10,250...it's all downhill from here!


    Medicine Batch #1

    There are an overwhelming number of drugs that you take when getting ready for and going through IVF. Mini-batch number one for me includes Provera (bottle) to start a new cycle, antibiotics (six white pills) to kill something(??) and birth control (little pack) to suppress all my hormones. I'm pretty excited about the pills because my personal hormones are wacked out and I think they deserve to be suppressed and replaced by artificial ones.

    Total cost: a very pleasant $22.28!


    Yep, I'm a Planner!

    Andrew and I spent the first half of the day in IVF class. I loved it. Lots of information and an official IVF calendar that's just for ME! Of course, the financial session was no fun, but I'm choosing to think of it as the best way in the world to spend the equivalent of the cost of a mediocre car...

    When my next cycle starts, I'll go back on birth control. Everyone always points out the irony of starting bcps when most of us stopped them months (in our case--years) ago when we decided to start ttgp. I'm past irony; I'm ready for some action that involves a fairly decent chance of finally ending up with a baby or TWO! From there, it's shots and more shots.

    My IVF nurse is wonderful and coincidentally has a music degree, so Andrew thought she was swell. She said it was a great time at their clinic and lots of people seemed to be having great cycles. I'll take all the good karma I can get and have decided to think of this as the "perfect time" for us to get pregnant.

    As a side note, my husband (admitted needle-phobe) made it through the shot class portion of the morning with no major incident. According to him, the needles are much smaller in real life than he'd imagined. I still think I will be having a nurse friend give me the ones that I can't reach to do myself, but it's nice to know he might could do it if the need arises.

    Things are looking up at the Mroch house! Any doctor's visit that ends with a calendar party is fun times in my book!


    Freezer Paper Stencil Tutorial

    I am co-hosting a double baby shower for two coworkers next week and decided to make some freezer paper onesies with a school theme. I've made several of these and they seem to be popular so I thought I would do a quick tutorial. It's easy and a cheap way to give a personalized gift.

    To begin, I downloaded a fun font from dafont.com. It's a free site and very easy to use. This is my personal favorite, "Badaboom." You can experiment with different sizes and fonts, but keep in mind that the simpler the shape, the easier it will be to work with. I usually look for block-y shapes with no swirly designs. Print and trim the paper down to a more manageable size.

    Tape the sheet of paper of paper to a slightly larger piece of freezer paper, with the design side of the paper touching the waxy side of the freezer paper. I like to tape along all four sides of the paper to keep the sheets from sliding as I'm cutting out the letters.

    Turn over the paer and sit it on top of an old magazine or something that will keep you from cutting through and damaging your table. I use an old Golf Digest that I don't think my husband ever read. Using an Exacto knife, carefully cut around the letters. This "CCHS" is simple, because it doesn't have any letters that have enclosed shapes. An "O," for example, requires you to keep up with the circle that gets cut out of the middle. When you're ironing on the template, you have to place the center of these letters onto the fabric and make sure that they're placed correctly so that the letters can be painted. I use tweezers for the placement if the letters are on the small side. Once you've cut out all the letters, untape the paper from the freezer paper. You have made your stencil.

    I prep the onesie by sliding a piece of cardboard inside. This will prevent the paint from soaking through. Next, set your iron to the hottest non-steam setting and place your template on the fabric, making sure it's centered and/or lined up correctly. Lightly run your iron over the template, melting the wax and sealing the template to the shirt. Run your fingers over the letters to make sure none of the edges of your design are unsealed. The wax backing of the freezer paper will stick to most cotton fabrics nicely, but will come undone if you iron over it too many times.

    Paint over the stencil using acrylic paint. I use a foam brush and apply the paint in dabbing motions. I try not to rub the paint in because the stencil could always unstick from the fabric. This has never actually happened to me, but I'm careful anyway.

    Wait (patiently) until the paint has dried and peel off stencil. Voila! A cheap, personalized gift (and my first ever blog tutorial)!


    May's Reading List

    1. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (A)--at least this one had a totally different storyline. My last Jodi entry was a critique of how often her storylines seem to repeat themselves. This one's about infertility and I managed to make it through to the end with no tears. As always, there was an interesting legal twist in the end that was resolved to the mother's liking.


    Hello, Old Friends

    Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal (A)--nostalgia for the dozens of Sweet Valley books that I read when I was younger dictates the "A" for this book. What better than a reunion book that allows me to revisit trusted companions that I practically grew up with? I'll pretend not to notice that everything was a bit too predictable and a bit like poor Francine is out of touch with modern times. I was also a bit worried that time isn't moving just right in Sweet Valley. The twins were in high school when I was in middle school and now they are younger than me... Nonetheless, I'll read a reunion book with characters I loved as a youngster any day of the week.


    Moving Along

    Andrew and I have an appointment at Nashville Fertility Center next week, so I'm trying to mentally prepare for what they might have to say. It could range from "You responded well to the medicine this time. We'll try that a couple more times." to "Yeah, you might as well suck it up and give us all your savings for an IVF cycle." One is infinitely cheaper and the other is infinitely scary. I'm just about ready for scary. We've taken this process much more slowly than many couples in our same position. I'm finished being patient and moving slowly. My last chance at having a 2011 baby just passed, so I'm working against the clock.

    If only my biological clock was this cute...


    It'll Be Okay

    I found a new quote a while back that really speaks to me. In fact, I often repeat it to myself when I'm sad and/or stressed out about IF.

    "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

    I don't even think about what might happen that would make me give up on trying to have a baby. Even though people are beginning to ask why I don't just give up and adopt already, I still feel like there are things yet to try and time yet to wait. I tried to explain to someone not too long ago that, for someone who is trying to conceive and has even the tiniest chance of doing so, to "give up" would mean that one morning I would have to wake up and think "I'm done. I give up. I admit defeat." Instead, I get from one day to the next by thinking that something is bound to go my way at some point and, if I give up, I will miss my chance. Besides, I don't think anyone really understands that adoption can be even more expensive than fertility treatments.

    I'll take hope any day, even if it's only a tiny sliver.


    National Infertility Awareness Week-Myth Busting

    As a part of NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week), women all across the country are using blogs to address popular myths concerning infertility. Even though I don't have a widely-read blog, I wanted to do my part to bust my least favorite myth, "Just relax and you'll get pregnant."

    My first experience with the infamous "Just Relax" advice was with my family doctor almost a year after we started trying to get pregnant. When I confided in her that we had been trying for a while and that I was getting frustrated, she whipped out her prescription tablet and told me I needed some anti-anxiety medicine to help me relax.

    I can't tell you how hurtful it was to hear that. It implied, at least to me, that I was doing something wrong. That I'm the reason I'm not getting pregnant. That all I need to do is get a grip and I'll instantly conceive. That my personality is at fault. I know it isn't true and I know that the people who regularly tell me this mean well. I still want to throat punch them.

    In reality, more than 90% of infertile women are so because of physical problems that prevent conception and/or successful pregnancy. There are actually very few people for whom relaxing is really the answer. Do I understand that reducing my stress level is desirable? Absolutely. Will it "fix" the hypothyroidism and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome that prevent me from ovulating? Not in a million years.

    By the way, I don't take those pills. I got the prescription filled and then put it away. I don't want to be one of those people who has to take medicine to take the edge off of my life. I don't judge anyone who does. In fact, I totally understand. Just because I didn't take one today doesn't mean that I won't take one tomorrow. I look at the bottle in the medicine cabinet sometimes and then shut the door, hoping the day will come when I won't even think about them.

    Maybe one of these days I'll figure out just how to relax. In the meanwhile, I'll keep using a specialist (several of them, in fact) to figure out how to get my body to cooperate and my stubborn ovaries to let a few eggs loose.

    If you know someone who's struggling with infertility, please don't tell her to relax. Tell her you've got your fingers crossed and that you wish her good luck and comfort in hard times. And, for God's sake, don't tell her you got pregnant the first time you tried.

    For more information about infertility, please visit RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association.


    Help Me, Mark Twain

    "A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval." --Mark Twain, 1906
    Spring Break 2011 is drawing its last feeble breath. Tomorrow is time to go back to work. Time to go back to Thing One that has been stressing me out beyond the limit of comfort lately. I vow to keep reminding myself that all I can do while at work is my best and what I think is right for kids. Even when my opinion is the unpopular one, I will be "comfortable" if I do what I approve of and know is right. The good Lord gave me thick skin for a reason. One of the questions I often ask myself when I'm wading into deep waters or broaching difficult subjects is, "If not me, who?" Help me out, Mark Twain.

    "...it don't make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense..."--Huck Finn


    To Tell or Not to Tell?

    One of the decisions every couple makes when they start trying to have a baby is who, if anyone, they will confide in. Some people tell no one until they're pregnant. Some people share every single detail with everyone they know. Most people, including me, fall somwhere in the middle. I only told a very few people when we first started trying, more because my husband preferred the privacy than because I did. As the months rolled along, I shared with those I work closely with because they deserved to know why I acted like a crazy person when I was cycling and few other close friends.

    Because I'm from a small town and getting closer to thirty, it is perfectly routine for people in my hometown to ask nosy questions about when Andrew and I are going to start a family. He's rather aloof and people tend to leave him alone and spare him the nosy questions. Me, not so much. Before we were even trying, I would smile and give some generic answer about how we were waiting "for the time to be right" or "until I finished my master's degree."

    As time went along and it became painful to be constantly reminded by near-strangers that I still wasn't pregnant, I started being more upfront with people. Nothing shuts a nosy old woman up quicker than, "I'd love to have children. We've been trying for __ months and have started fertility treatments. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be working." The result of all this sharing is that I now get the "Poor Kim" look whenever the topic of babies comes up. As mad as that makes me, it's still easier to deal with than pretending everything's rosy and that we don't have kids because we don't want them. There probably aren't any people left that I know in my hometown or at work that don't know we are having trouble conceiving. I hate the pity, but know that there will be dozens of people celebrating with us when I finally do get pregnant.

    Whatever you decide about telling or not telling, be ready to be the topic of conversation, particularly if you live in a small town.


    March-April Reading List

    It's almost the end of March and I'm just now adding my first book for the month to the list. That, by itself, is a clear indication of how crazy busy work has been lately. I have to remind myself daily that the same thing happens every year right before Spring Break. I'm tired, frustrated, and too aware of all the things that I would have liked to accomplish this school year that have fallen by the wayside. So, without further ado, the only book I've read this month: 1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (A)--When I picked this book up at Target, the description sounded vaguely familiar. The front cover says, "Doctors took her cells without asking. Those cells never died. They launched a medical revolution and a multimillion-dollar industry. More than twenty years later, her children found out. Their lives would never be the same." I don't read non-fiction that often, especially books about science-related topics, but this book tells a story that is so hard to believe, it might as well be science fiction. A poor black woman who was dying of cervical cancer had a cell culture taken without her permission. Doctors began growing HeLa cells and discovered that her cancer cells were invincible. They now makeup a large majority of the cells that are used for many types of medical research. They've been to space, been blown up with an atomic bomb, and have even been used in cloning research. All the while, her family has not benefitted from their use and can, in fact, not even afford health insurance.

    April Reading- 1. The Shadow of Your Smile-(B) by Mary Higgins Clark--I still haven't figured out what the title means, but I like the subject of this suspense novel from the queen of suspense. A $6 treat from Wal-Mart.


    Once More, With Feeling

    My appointment with Dr. S. went just about as expected. He ordered a progesterone check (to see if I ovulated) and a beta (blood pregnancy test). I got the results today and both were negative, as expected. A different nurse called with the results than I usually deal with and she was speaking softly and quietly when she told me the pregnancy test was negative. Bless her heart, she didn't realize that I've taken more pregnancy tests than Michelle Duggar and not one single solitary one has ever been positive. I certainly didn't expect this one to be. My temperature chart clearly showed that I hadn't ovulated so the beta was a mere formality before I could get the Provera to start a new cycle (above, at left). I will also be taking a double dose of Femara this go-round (right). How funny that nearly every medicine you take trying to get pregnant comes with the giant pregnancy warning sticker??

    The kicker to the appointment was the stinging news that, if the increased dose of Femara doesn't make me ovulate, I'm done with Dr. S. and will be moving on to a doctor at Nashville Fertility Center, the same fate I was trying to avoid by switching doctors in the first place. While I honestly appreciate the fact that he isn't willing to waste cycle upon cycle trying to get pills to work, I'm not looking forward to the shots that will be my fate if this doesn't work. I'm scared to death that this won't work. Of course, that stresses me out when I think about it, which makes me stress about how stress is causing me to stress...

    Dr. S. is not a fan of temperature charting because he says watching it every day tends to stress people out and that there is no need for charting in order to figure out if I've ovulated because his monitoring does the same thing more accurately. I've never been able to give up temping for more than a week or two but am seriously considering giving it up. If I do, I will also give up the ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), urine strips that detect the hormone surge that happens at the time of ovulation. This would also mean that when the nurse calls with blood test results next month, it would truly be a surprise...stay tuned.
    In the meanwhile, what in the world am I going to do to decrease my stress level?!


    Stupid Stinking Ovaries

    Grrrrr. I'm mad at my ovaries today. I'm at the point in my first cycle on Femara that it's becoming painfully obvious that I'm not going to respond. I still have a tiny smidge of hope since it was at about this time in my first and second cycle on Clomid that I pulled out a surprise O. However, there is a general consensus on Dr. Google that O'ing late in your cycle can cause egg quality issues.

    I knew this was coming, partly because nice surprises never happen to me and having the first cycle of Femara work would definitely be a nice surprise. Also because the bloodwork I had at my last appointment with Dr. S. showed that my LH:FSH ratio was out-of-whack, which is an indicator of PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). I got these results from the nurse on the phone and asked her about metformin (a medicine commonly given to PCOS patients) and she said the doctor hadn't mentioned it. I didn't push it, thinking (always the optimist) that maybe the first cycle of Femara would do the trick and I wouldn't have to worry about met and the tummy troubles that generally accompany it.

    I'm going back to see Dr. S. on Friday to talk about what we're going to do next since I didn't respond to the lowest dose of Femara. I know this isn't a major catastrophe, but it has been harder for me than the failed doses of Clomid were. Maybe it's the fact that I'm further into the ttc journey and I'm just tireder in general. Maybe it's the hype I read on the internet about how well Femara works for people who didn't have any luck with Clomid. Maybe I'm just hearing the ticking of that darn clock now that I'm inching closer and closer to my thirtieth birthday. IF sucks.


    February Reading List

    1. Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen (B)-another Eve Duncan book. The foreign plots aren't plausible enough for my liking, but I do keep reading the Eve Duncan books. This one ended with another twist in the search for Eve's daughter Bonnie's remains. I'll keep checking them out of the library until that part of the story wraps up. Western Kentucky has had more snow this week than I've ever seen at one time here in my lifetime so I've been snow day reading to keep myself from eating everything in the house.

    2. Death Echo by Elizabeth Lowell (B)--this was one of the first authors that I noticed repeating the same storyline over and over again. I read several of her books all at once and they all seemed to follow the same pattern--world-leery man falls in love with woman, has a demanding and dangerous job, decides that the woman has betrayed him, finally realizes she didn't. This is a newer Lowell book and has the requisite world-leery man who falls for a beautiful woman. I kept reading, expecting a misunderstanding that would make him think his new love had betrayed him. Thankfully, this one was different. Hats off to Elizabeth Lowell for getting out of her rut.

    3. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (A)--the story of slaveowners who took their black mistresses on vacations. Full of insight into the complicated relationships between slaveowners and their slaves.

    4. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (A)-- a Massachusetts postmaster in the early years of WWII watches the people in the town around her react to the war before it becomes an American war while an American CBS correspondent gets wrapped up in the stories that no one back home will pay attention to.


    Hurry Up and Wait

    This is all I seem to do. Hurry up and get a doctor's appointment and then wait for bloodwork reults. Hurry up and get a prescription filled and then wait for the medicine to kick in. Hurry up and get home so I can wait for A to get home from work. Hurry up and finish my master's degree so I can wait to get pregnant.

    I read a blog post earlier about the difficulty of keeping a positive attitude while ttc and laughed out loud when I read the following--I try to think of my cup as half-full but lately I've been thinking someone knocked my cup over. I feel like that more and more lately.


    A New Year, A New Plan

    I'm finding it hard to believe that we're a month into 2011 and I'm still daydreaming about that hard-to-imagine day when I'll be pregnant. I never dreamed when I tossed the birth control in the summer of 2009 that the road ahead of me would be so long and windy. I am, however, feeling more hopeful than I have for a long while. I saw a new ob-gyn last week for my yearly exam. His practice works along with a fertility clinic to maximize patient care and insurance benefits. It is such a relief to have all my doctors in the same city, including the endocrinologist I see at Vanderbilt UMC.

    Dr. S. was recommended by a friend and was every bit as good as her recommendation (and the online ratings that I found) suggested. He spent more time in the first appointment talking to me than my previous doctor did in all the visits I made to his office added together. He listened and took notes as I described my thyroid diagnosis, years of treatment, the awfulness of my Clomid experience and my desire to have a doctor who was willing to figure out what is wrong with me instead of just throwing prescriptions at the problem.

    I left his office with information about the further testing that I will have this cycle and a four-cycle plan of action. He told me that there is no reason I shouldn't be pregnant within that time period. I know he can't guarantee that, but the reassurance was still enough to make me cry. I'm totally willing to use the help of a fertility specialist to get pregnant but am so thankful to have found a regular ob-gyn who will help me find the answers to what is going on with my body. Mostly I want a baby, but I would also like to have a predictable cycle.


    My Homemade Rating Scale

    Those two old guys already took the "two thumbs up" format of reviewing, so I need something that makes sense to me and will let anyone who happens to have stumbled on my blog to see exactly how enthusiastically I'm endorsing any given book that I've read. It goes something like this:

    A-Absolutely loved it and will be purchasing any others I come across by the same author
    B-Will be checking to see if the library has others by the same author
    C-Finished it but won't be looking for sequels
    D-Didn't care for it and wouldn't have finished it if I were that kind of person

    I really try not to buy very many books. I read so many so quickly that it seems a poor use of our money. If I love an author and/or can't find what I want at the library, I look on Amazon (love the free Super Saver Shipping) for a good deal and, in moments of weakness, buy books at Walmart or Target. I usually only pay cover price at a bookstore when I have a giftcard.

    January, 2011--A New Format

    I struggled with how to format my reading list for 2010. I wasn't happy with one giant post because it didn't automatically go to the top when I updated it. I wasn't happy with the one-book-per-post format because it seemed to waste too much space. Soooo, for 2011, I'll try a post-per-month style. Here's January:

    1. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (B-)---my husband's aunt is in Botswana with the Peace Corps so I thought this would be a nice read. I liked the main character and will probably read whatever other Ladies' books the library has. I like them enough to read from the library but not enough to purchase...

    2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (A)---This is how I felt when I ventured into the young adult section to read the Harry Potter books and the Twilight saga. "Yeah, I don't think I'm going to like this but will read it because all the cool kids seem to be reading it. OMG. I loved it. Must read all others!" This is the January selection for an online book club I've joined and think that this book is proof that I need reading buddies. I would never have picked this for myself. I loved it and am grateful to the TTGP Book Club for getting me to read it.

    3. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith (B-)--the second book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective series. Not a fan of the title, which makes absolutely no sense until the last two pages of the book and, even then, doesn't fit with the story. A slower pace than the first book. I have third and fourth books from the library but I doubt I'll read all the way to the tenth.

    4. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore-(C)-this was on my amazon list for a long while until I ran across the book at Borders with a giftcard hot in my hand. As with most well-reviewed books, I found it hard to connect too. The characters were a bit too strange for my liking.

    5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #2)-(A-)-my school's library finally had a copy of this to check out, so I jumped right back into the Hunger Games world. This one seemed to lack the substance and plot development of the first.

    6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #3)-(A)-this one was almost as good as the first, although I thought the ending was too abrupt and seemed say "let's tie up all the loose ends as quickly as possible." I was happy that Peeta and Katniss ended up together, but was horribly disappointed that Gale just kinda dropped out of sight. Overall, I'm very glad to have read this series.


    And One More for Good Measure

    The Elegance of the Hedgehog-by Muriel Barbery---This book had words upon words in it that I didn't know. I liked the feeling of being back in Honors Lit in college when I did my reading with my trusty American Heritage College Dictionary at my side. I was just getting really involved in the storyline when it abruptly ended with a twist I did not care for. Although, I am still thinking about the twist two days later, so perhaps it was better to have ended in a way that I didn't like than with the cliche happy ending I was hoping for.


    #100! 12 24 10

    Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi--Ellen and Portia are one of my favorite Hollywood couples so I knew I had to read Portia's book when I heard Ellen talking about it on her show. It was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. The story of battling her weight and struggling with being gay in Hollywood was intense and I am impressed with her ability to tell the most private of struggles with so much detail and honesty. I buy very few hardback books; this one is a keeper.

    Getting to 100 books in 2010 has made me realize that I read for more than just the simple love of reading. It is a form of escapism and has helped me get through some of the parts of 2010 that I don't care to relive, namely my ever-present struggle with infertility. Here's to hoping 2011 doesn't require so much reading material.


    #99 12 21 10

    The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen--another Eve Duncan book; might actually be the original Eve Duncan. I can see how the character has developed and will have to find some of the middle books to figure out how Joe got rid of his wife and finally got Eve to commit. One more...


    #98 12 20 10

    Quicksand by Iris Johansen--another Eve Duncan forensics thriller, this one better than Stalemate. I do wish they had titles that were a better match for the actual story. This one had precious little quicksand in it. Two more to go and more than a week left in 2o1o!

    Elsie Louise Mroch

    Elsie Louise Mroch
    the puppy who changed my mind