Monday, December 23, 2013

1 Step Forward... 2 Steps Back... 1 Step Forward

Woah woah woah... VERY emotional, stressful, overwhelming and confusing few weeks. Many tears have been shed, and I have realized my strength is merely... survival.

So... I'll dive right in. We have decided NOT to do the injectable cycle in Tulsa. I have already cancelled all of my appointments with the Tulsa Center. That door is closed, and we are relieved and at peace with that decision.

There were MANY reasons why we decided against the treatment Tulsa was offering. I listed them in my last blog. But what caused us to quit on Tulsa completely? The whopper that made us take a GIANT leap back from the hormonal injections? Honestly... I don't have the mental and emotional strength to handle it. Sure, I could endure. But not without hitting rock bottom and taking my son and husband down with me. That's not fair to them, and it is not fair to me. We all need a break! These past 2 years have been nothing short of exhausting. I feel down right worn out, mentally, physically and emotionally. About a week ago I discovered I have reached my breaking point. I was emotionally incapable of pushing myself further, and I had no choice but to take a step back. It felt gooooood.

I visited with a Fertility Specialist in Bentonville, AR last week. I had made the appointment months ago and forgot all about it. As it approached and my feelings toward Tulsa became sour, I decided to meet with this new doctor on a whim. I told her EVERYTHING I had been through. I told her about my emotional and mental stress, all the fertility treatments I had been through so far, and that I was NOT willing to drive 3.5 hours to see a doctor who is going to charge me $100 just to hear my husbands test results over the phone. I said I want to start small and work our way up, and I am not willing to give up on my body and I have faith in my ovaries, no matter their condition. We talked for over an hour and for the FIRST time, I FELT HEARD. She was caring, kind, understanding, sympathetic, and the best part is I didn't feel pushed to do anything she suggested. The choice was allll mine! FINALLY. After 4 doctors, I have found the one! *applause*

My Medical Records are being faxed to my new awesome possum doctor today and she will review them with me and give us a second opinion. If we decide to move forward with a smaller treatment option with this new doc, ALL the monitoring can be done in Branson. This was the icing on the cake to a wonderful appointment. No driving! Seriously people... this is a big deal. The Tulsa doctor didn't allow any monitoring to be done outside their facility. So that alone brings my anxiety down about 17,000 notches :)

We ARE still trying to conceive. Honestly, I will never be able to fully "give up". But for now, I am comfortable with the effort we have made thus far, and I know my limits. We are praying this new, fabulous doctor can help us come up with some more simple steps towards conceiving.

Please pray for us as we continue this journey. We are headed in a new and peaceful direction, but that doesn't mean I feel better about my infertility. I feel the pain of it every day, and my lack of hope in the ability to conceive is pretty heavy on my heart. I need prayer. WE need prayer as we continue to take steps on this broken road.

Monday, December 16, 2013

*choo choo* All aboard the Potty Train!

My last few posts have been more than depressing, so I will follow them up with a happy post. Your welcome. 

Potty Training. Those two words used to stress me out. We had tried several times to get Jack out of diapers, and each time failed. I kept thinking there was something we were doing wrong! I imagined him on dates with his high school sweetie asking her to keep his diapers in her purse during their dinner and a movie outing.
So I pushed him to use the toilet, time and time again. Many "been there done that" Mamas were telling me we were doing everything right, and he just wasn't ready. Yeah yeah, thanks for the encouragement, but he IS ready because by the time he is in high school the 'big purse' fashion will be out of style, and who will carry his diapers in their bag!? So I pushed and pushed again. Ok I wasn't THAT pushy, but I did try to potty train him on multiple occasions.

Well... *drum roll please* you were right Ladies.Yes I said it, YOU WERE RIGHT! :)

Last Tuesday we tried introducing Jack to the potty one more time. It was more of a random act of curiosity than actually trying. This time though, IT CLICKED! He was ready and eager to learn. And boy oh boy did he rock the pants off potty training! No seriously, he hasn't worn pants in 7 days.

I am excited to announce he is officially potty trained! In the last week he has only had one accident, and he has pooped and peed on the potty every time he has to go! WOOOO HOOOO!! Before you start shaking your head in that 'poor woman thinks he is actually toilet trained for good' manner... I realize there will be regressions and accidents, but now I am confident that Jack has the knowledge he needs to learn from those accidents. He is so so so smart! I know every mom says that about her child, but come on guys... Jack is the smartest kid in the whole wide world :)

My Potty Training Techniques:

- First step is teaching him with our words exactly what the rules of potty training are. i.e. "Jack, no more diapers. We are going to put our pee and poo poo in the potty from now on. Where does pee and poo go?" and make him repeat the rules back to you. I still ask Jack throughout the day where his pee goes and he says, "in da potty". That way we are confident in his understanding of the process.

- Naked bottom! This is a MUST! He has not worn pants (or undies) for an entire week. We just introduced underwear today since we are having company this weekend. But the past week of him being able to go sit on the potty whenever he felt the urge was what did the trick! In fact I haven't told him to try going potty in several days. If he needs to pee, he sits on the potty and pees! We are working on teaching him how to pull down and up his undies... that's going to take a lot of practice. But he is doing good so far :)

- We rewarded BIG TIME. If he even tinkled a little in the potty we would jump up and down and do a crazy potty dance and follow it up with a treat. Hershey kisses were his treat of choice. But I switched to M&Ms since the kisses were too much sugar for a kid who pees 27 times a day ;)

For those Mamas who are climbing aboard the Potty Train: don't give up! It's a stressful thing to teach a child, but when they are ready to learn, it will click! Until then, enjoy the convenience of diapers. You will miss them!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Infertility... and beyond!

Okay, I will try and keep this update as simple as I can, but there is A LOT of information to share and sift through. Here goes...

In August we decided to see an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) after trying to conceive for quite some time and suffering problems with ovulation. During that appointment I had a full lab work up scheduled and an ultrasound of my ovaries and uterus. I called a couple weeks later and was told all my tests came back normal. So we gave up on the RE and kept trying to conceive on our own. My body was like, "NOPE" and I still wasn't ovulating and still experienced many symptoms that helped me know something was off. So after much prayer and consideration we decided to schedule the follow-up appointment with the RE.

Now fast forward to December 9th... We had our follow-up appointment to discuss the results from my lab testing and come up with a game plan for treatment. We were under the impression all my lab work was normal, so didn't quite know what to expect. Well it turns out the lab had lost a few of my important blood results and the doctor didn't view them until the morning of our appointment. **LESSON LEARNED: always schedule a follow-up just in case something like that happens** because it just so happens those few lab results were abnormal.

The doctor officially diagnosed me with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). It is a hormonal imbalance that effects the relationship between the ovaries and your brain sensors that trigger ovulation.
With this diagnosis he also informed me that my testosterone levels were high and my right ovary looked off, possibly not functioning at all. We asked the scary question about the possibility of ovulating and conceiving on our own, and the answer was what we knew deep down all along. The chance of me ovulating on my own is slim. Therefore the possibility of conceiving without medical intervention is very low. This was hard to hear.

BUT there is good news for us! Our RE would like us to try what he calls an "Injectable Cycle".
Now there are a LOT of big words I'm about to throw out, but bear with me...
We would start out using a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) called letrozole followed by FSH injections taken daily. Those two medications will stimulate the follicles in my ovaries to grow and produce quality eggs and then an HCG trigger shot will force the follicle to rupture and release an egg (aka, ovulation) ;) then I will go back in a week after I trigger and check hormone levels-- specifically Progesterone-- and then a week after that they will do a beta blood test to test for pregnancy.
To put it simply: I will take injections to help me ovulate.

Ta da!! It's that easy!... NOT. We are very very excited that this treatment is available. But this will not be a walk in the park. My doctor is in Tulsa and we are in Branson. The drive from Branson to Tulsa is 3 hours and 15 minutes. I will be making this drive 4-5 times per medicated cycle. We don't mind the gas expense. its well worth it. But that is a lot of driving time-- approximately 25-30 hours of car time per month... and all with a two-year-old. *phew* That in itself stresses me out more than anything.

So far we have been blessed by my ability to be on my parent's insurance until this March 2014. That Insurance has covered EVERYTHING so far (WOOO!!) But we don't know if they will cover these FSH injections. If they are covered then my entire medicated cycle, ultrasounds and blood tests will be covered. Since I will be kicked off this great Insurance in March, we want to start treatment before then. Because after March we would be paying completely out of pocket and we can say goodbye to all our money... NO THANK YOU. So I am so very grateful to be on an Insurance with excellent coverage! Thanks Mom and Dad!! :)

So, what now? Good question! I will take a Patient Education Course on Monday, Dec 23rd. I will learn about the medications and how to do the injections, since I will be doing all the injections myself. After that course I will wait for a new cycle to begin our medicated cycle. 

How are we feeling? At peace with the decision to move forward with Injectables and hopeful for good results. We are, of course, nervous to move up a level in this journey. Our infertility journey thus far has been hard emotionally, physically and mentally... and that is about to quadruple. So I am already focusing on keeping my stress level down and trying to relax my mind and nerves.
 I have felt extremely overwhelmed this week and have had a few well deserved meltdowns. Right now this is all I can think about and it's consuming my days. I feel stuck in my "Infertility bubble" and have found this all a little tough to talk about in person. But keeping it text like this has been the perfect way to keep you all in the loop. 

For our Prayer Warriors:

-Tyler's Lab tests to come back with good numbers so we can avoid an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
-That Insurance will cover my injections so we can save a lot of $$
-We can find a sitter for Jack during my many doctors appointments in Tulsa
-Safe travels to and from Tulsa, and a happy toddler during travel (laptop and movies=lifesaver!)
-Calm nerves
-HOPE. Pray I stay hopeful and my pessimism and disappointment don't set in too soon. Even a little hope can carry you through the most stressful times.

Words cannot describe how incredibly grateful we are to have such supportive Friends and Family during this tough season in life. THANK YOU. 
In many ways it is about to get a lot tougher, I already know my emotions react badly with hormones, and I will be on a mega dose of hormones. So I will be asking for a lot of grace and understanding from people in my life. Thank you in advance! 

I will try my absolute hardest to find the joy in this journey. I know God will (and already has) give me strength to carry forward with excitement and peace.

I will continue to update on this blog, so if you ever find yourself thinking, "I wonder how Tyler and Robyn are, and where they are at in their journey?" Check this blog :) OR those who know me, know I am an open book and would be happy to answer any questions you may have! But if it's a particularly awful day I will nicely tell you to ask again in a few days ;-)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NO pAiN, NO gAiN

Today I am sad. It's quite odd the things that make me ache for more children... My son Jack has a terrible stomach bug and was throwing up all day yesterday. Although I held back a few gags from time to time, I didn't hesitate to snuggle him and risk my clothing, furniture and hair from getting yucky. I just held Jack, rocked him, rubbed his back and kissed his head between sickness. This was a bonding moment and it took me back to the days of 4 a.m. feedings. Quiet and full of unspoken love. Jack and I have had some precious times amidst sickness and sadness. And I am grateful for those sweet, sweet times with my baby. Today I found myself aching to hold more children like that. I want to bless as many children God will give me with snuggles and kisses. I will clean up vomit at 1 a.m. and give hugs and kisses during their illnesses. I will always feel complete as a mother with my Jackie. But today the ache to give him siblings and me and Tyler more children is unbearable. 
Today was actually a big step for me. From the beginning of this journey I have told myself that God was refusing me more children because my mothering is less than perfect. But for the first time since we started trying for Baby #2 I feel like a good mom worthy of bearing more children. I am loving and nurturing, and my future (maybe) children are lucky to have me as a Mommy. *phew* that was even hard to type. I am tempted to follow it up with a bunch of crap about how I know I'm not perfect and I'll always be striving to be a better mom, but you know what, I'm going to leave it alone.
The inability to conceive more children came as a surprise, and sometimes I am still shocked to be fighting this battle. And lately the sadness I feel is inescapable. This quote I found on Baby Center says it all perfectly, so I thought I'd share:
"I am running a race. A race I didn't sign up for. A race I didn't train for. A race I know nothing about. But deep down in my heart I know I'll find that rainbow at the end. 
I hire coaches, paying them a lot of money to help me through it. But not even the most knowledgeable coach in the world can promise me that I'll ever make it to the finish line. They can't even tell me what mile I am currently on. I am struggling between giving it my best and giving up, between running as fast as I can and taking a break to save my energy and money. An exercise so natural to most is turning into a traumatic experience for me. Sometimes I feel I can see the finish line in the distance and get hopeful only to get crushed again and again and ending in hopelessness. 
And then I get back up and start all over. Struggling at every turn, wondering if I am going the right way this time. All of a sudden this race is turning into a full time job and an emotional roller coaster that is out of my control. If I only tried a little harder, then maybe I'll get a little closer. And then again, maybe I'll never make it.
It's a lonely race most of the time - few people are running, mostly undercover. Sometimes there are family and friends standing on the sidelines trying to support, but they don't understand what all this running is about. And sometimes I feel like I am just running myself into the ground." -kati&jerry