Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Journey

Trying to get pregnant is an emotional, humbling and, well, bitter experience.

I wanted to go off topic today, and talk about my pregnancy journey. For something so common, fertility issues are still a hush-hush topic.

While my journey wasn’t as long and emotional as some, it still took a year of nonstop effort. I went off the pill in May 2010 and got my first positive pregnancy test this May.

Here’s my story, cycle-style.

Cycle 1
My dedication to “the task at hand” started instantly (big surprise, right?) – aside from a daily prenatal pill and iron supplement, I started temping each morning. When the period waiting game started, I just knew I was pregnant, because I had all the “symptoms.” I wasted a lot of money on pregnancy tests that first time around, and when I started my period – it was a shock to the system.

Cycle 2
To help make this cycle, “the cycle,” I borrowed a friend’s Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor, which is one amazing gadget and totally worth the hefty price tag if you can’t borrow one. While temping/charting let you know when you ovulate after the fact, the monitor gives you daily updates on your status.

So when this 6-week cycle wasn’t the one either, I formed a new game plan and stayed optimistic.

Cycle 3
In addition to the temping and monitor, I added fertility acupuncture to my list to try to bring my cycles closer to 28 days. I signed on to a 12-week process – 2 times a week for the first 6 weeks, and once a week after that. While being poked with needles (and acquiring some nasty bruises), I just knew this would work. With the insane amount of money I was spending on all of this – it just had to.

Cycle 4
While I maintained everything I was doing in cycle 3, something in me started to change this cycle – I started getting extremely emotional about my lack of pregnancy. It’d been 6 months and nothing. This is also the cycle that the annoying jabs family made about “wanting to be a grandparent, etc” started to really get to me. It got to the point where I stopped going to certain family events based on how I was feeling that day.

I had my yearly, with my amazing doctor. We talked about my 6-week cycles and several options. I also did my first progesterone blood test, which came back great. So my first possible issue was crossed off the list.

When I got my period, I wasn’t surprised. It got easier to expect nothing – that way it wouldn’t be so disappointing when nothing happened. Little did I know, this would be the last time I ovulated until the cycle I got pregnant.

Cycle 5
I came into cycle 5 with new energy. I was now temping/charting, using the monitor, doing acupuncture and taking FertileCM, Mucinex and green tea. (TMI time – cervical mucus, aka CM, plays a big role in getting you pregnant, because it helps guide the sperm where they need to go. FertileCM, Mucinex and green tea all help build your CM supply).

When I didn’t ovulate on my usual day, I started getting worried. When CD50 hit, and still nothing – I called my doctor and we decided force-quitting this cycle and starting a fertility drug next cycle was the way to go. After 10 days on Provera, my cycle ended at 68 days.

Cycle 6
It was now January – a new year, a new game plan. I took the fertility drug, Femara, for CD3-7 and just prayed something would work.

Education time – The 2 most popular fertility drugs are Clomid and Femara. While they both induce ovulation – they work in different ways. Clomid adds even more estrogen to your system, causing you to ovulate. Femara, does the opposite – it temporarily reduces your estrogen levels – causing your body to produce more, which also creates ovulation. The other 2 differences are that Femara doesn’t thin uterine lining and the risk for multiples isn’t as high (3% instead of 10%).

That being said, Femara still has a long list of side effects (but any drug originally designed for cancer patients, probably will), so I still had my fair share of fun (and hot flashes).

I also joined several fertility drug support groups to educate myself further, and then just waited.

Even though I knew I didn’t ovulate, I went back in for another CD21 progesterone test, which came back negative. At CD35 I started my period. I had experienced my first anovulatory cycle.

Cycle 7
This time around my Femara dosage was twice a strong. When I failed another progesterone test, my doctor and I decided that Femara wasn’t for me and more testing needed to be done. By this point Brent had already had his "man" testing, so we knew the issue was me. After CD35 and still nothing I decided to force quit this cycle as well.

Cycle 8
Back in December, I started thinking I might have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). So when my CD3 blood work came back, and I was officially diagnosed – I was not surprised.

I like referring to PCOS as being too fertile to function. You have all these eggs, but because of extra testosterone/insulin imbalances in your body – you get off course. For those unfamiliar with PCOS, let me start by saying it’s not diabetes (but if you are a diabetic female, you probably have PCOS) – it’s very much so the square and the rectangle.

PCOS isn’t something that goes away. It’s a condition I will have for the rest of my life.

My side effects include: irregular cycles, weight gain after going off the pill (and difficulty losing weight), dandruff, new hair growth, and oily skin. So yes, the most attractive and feminine condition to have. Basically, this means whenever I’m not pregnant or trying to get pregnant, I will be on birth control pills to keep my symptoms hidden.

Anyway, back to the story. I was put on Metformin to help manage my PCOS. Unlike the fertility drugs, this is something I take twice a day, every day. While the medicine made me super sick at first, I finally got used to it – and I’m excited to say it worked.

When I finally ovulated, it was a day of celebration. My 6-months of limbo was over. I was on the correct path! And then another cherry got added on top, because I got pregnant.

I wanted to share my story, because getting pregnant isn’t always easy. In high school you’re pretty much told if you have sex, you will get pregnant – the issue is that no one really corrects that lie. So it’s definitely a surprise to discover you really only have 3-5 days a cycle to get pregnant, and even if you’re doing everything right – you only have a 20% chance after that. With those odds it’s amazing women get pregnant at all. But they do, and they can. So if you’re trying, don’t give up hope.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Time to get honest

Curious about my lack of projects since late May? Well, it's time to let the cat out of the bag – I am pregnant (and it's kicking my ass). :)

My second trimester is quickly approaching, and I'm hoping to get back to business as usual quite soon.

JJ Bean arrives February 7, 2012.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My paint experiment

When the 3 final paint choices for the man cave each happened to be made by someone different – I decided to make things interesting.

This is what I saw after one coat:

While I've heard some negative reviews on Martha Stewart paint – I was shocked by the lack of coverage. It took me 3 coats to even get my sample on the wall somewhat presentable.

As for the Behr and Glidden, while Glidden covered a bit better – I think it's a personal preference. I know some people swear by Behr, but I'll always swear by Glidden. And I'm thrilled this little experiment proved Glidden's awesome.

This experiment was done out of boredom and not because I'm being paid by Glidden (even though that'd be super cool).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So many choices

Brent and I may have gone a little crazy with our paint swatches options for the man cave.

But we narrowed it down rather quickly.

And while we narrowed it down it yet another cool color, I'm just proud of us for even entertaining the thought of something in the spice family.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas in July

Is anyone else excited about Hallmark's ornament premiere this weekend?

I'll admit, I'm only eager about all the penguin fabulousness (or what better be penguin fabulousness). The count down is on!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When it rains...

Last month it was the a/c.

This month, looks like we have a new adventure:

We were wanting to wait until this fall before Brent got a new car, but looks like that might be happening this weekend. Ugh.

Update: Yay! It's just the battery!

The 2nd annual beer-tasting party

I can't believe it's almost time for beer-tasting party #2. September 24 will be here before I know it!

I wanted to switch things up with a new design with this, and I'm loving the new look.

For details on the first beer-tasting party click here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The great rug debate

I need a new rug for the family room. And yes, need is actually the correct word.

The shag rug is probably a health hazard. The shag is a little too perfect at hiding messes, so it's time to move on.

Here's my family room...

And here's the 3 rugs I'm eying...

Ikea's Stockholm's rug ($199):

Alexa Chevrom Vibe Zebra rug ($79.99):

Hand-tufted Black Houndstooth rug ($138.99):

Opinions? I think I'm leaning toward the chevron print, and yes, the price may have something to do with that.

WTH is R.O.C. 2

When I discovered even some friends had no idea where in my house R.O.C. 2 (room of crap) was, I figured it was time for a basement floor plan.

The basement is more than a man cave – it also houses our guest bedroom and R.O.C. 2.

One day when the 2 bedrooms upstairs are kids' rooms, the office will be moved into R.O.C. 2. As for now, it stores crap. I thought it'd be fun to turn it into a wine cellar, but Brent quickly vetoed that idea. Such a fun killer.

Anywho, I hope that clears up some visual questions. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Garage sale goodies

When the people down the street had a garage sale, and I saw these:

I knew it was a must. Sure, they're pink now – but they'll be fabulous once painted. The lady said she got them in the 60s or 70s from a retail store that was closing. I can totally picture them once in an old school toy store. And better yet, I got them for $10 each.

These guys will have a home in R.O.C. 2 (room of crap).

The previous homeowners used this 9x8' room as an office. We're currently using it as our catch-all room. And it's definitely gotten worse since R.O.C. 1 became a second guest bedroom. So the extra shelving will come in handy.

I have one bookcase painted and ready to go, but as luck would have it – I ran out of paint, so the second shelf will just have to wait.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What' I've been up to...

June was a very freelance heavy month for me.

The biggest project – my cousin's wedding invitations.

I still have the reply cards and maps to go, but progress is being made. And I'm definitely on countdown until this project is done.

Summer fixes

Well, it's not an exciting photo, but with the money we just dropped on a new a/c, there's no way it wasn't going to get photographed.

Another issue we have each summer is Chip's allergies. Westies are itchy dogs by nature, but this year his itching and fur biting hit a new level that the Benadryl wouldn't cure. Once we discovered a huge amount of scabbing around his lower back/tail – we knew it was time for a new game plan. After a trip to the vet, that game plan included an embarrassing hair cut. Chip doesn't seem to mind his butt being on display though.