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.

Elsie Louise Mroch

Elsie Louise Mroch
the puppy who changed my mind