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|
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.
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.
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.
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 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...
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.
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!
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|
So, what do you think? Is it nutso to be making a shopping list for things I can't buy?
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!
::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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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)
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!
Total cost: a very pleasant $22.28!
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!
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.
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)!
If only my biological clock was this cute...
"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.
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.
"...it don't make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense..."--Huck Finn
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.