Category Archives: Endometriosis

Am I Crazy?

This post is me just shooting from the hip (which I try to never do) so please bear with me.

I’ve been wrestling for a few weeks over this one. It may have started when we found the kids’ baby books in the garage about a month ago. I came across pictures like these:

The kids and I both loved flipping through their baby books again. But by the end I found myself feeling sad and longing for another baby. Then we moved Rachel into a toddler bed and my hubby took apart her crib and put it in the garage. I had mixed emotions over that too. It’s the first time we haven’t had a crib in our house in almost 4 years – you’d think I’d be rejoicing! But instead it felt like the baby days were quickly passing us by – in fact, as Rachel uses 3-4 word sentences and colors by herself and tries to get herself dressed these days – the baby days are pretty much behind us.

But the facts of the matter are that the Lord has graciously blessed us with our two children. Our days are long, busy, and filled with excitement as well as meltdowns. I watch my friend’s 6 month old baby on Wednesdays and those days are just plain crazy. So I know adding another one into the mix would not be calm, organized or quiet. We live in a 3 bedroom home, and somehow I’d like to cram two more children into it. Thanks to (said) fixer upper house, we can’t afford IVF anytime soon (not that it’s something we’d hurry into even if we could afford it right now).

I thought maybe I’d get pregnant naturally after 18 months of trying and an HSG that reported my only fallopian tube to be open. Of course we’ll give it more time. But every month that I have a super painful period or have a cyst burst, I’m unsure of how long I can continue in this path before something more urgent needs to take place (excision surgery, hysterectomy, other treatments for endometriosis, etc.). And yet I have to look back and see that I also haven’t needed surgery in 18 months! That is a record for me! I (believe the longest I went off birth control before needing surgery was only 7 months– prior to having children.)

I’m trying to figure out if this desire for more children has been bred out of discontentment somewhere along the way, or if it’s a God-given desire for a good thing, a blessing. Is it okay to want more children? That desire for children was what drove us to IVF over 4 years ago, but there were some very unique circumstances that took place in order for us to arrive at that IVF clinic. It was definitely not our first choice (we were in the process of adopting at the time), and yet God had other plans and used it to bless us with these kids we love so dearly. I know that clutching anything too tightly can quickly turn into an idol, and thankfully that is not where I’m at today. I truly believe that if God closes the door that I will be able to trust Him that it’s for the best.

So I think a time of prayer and fasting is in order. I need the Lord to search my heart and reveal to me any discontentment I might have, as well as other endometriosis-related fears. And I need to trust Him for the future, even if it means we remain a family of 4!

Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts tonight!

P.S. I find it really hilarious that seeing pregnant women lately also makes me feel a little bummed. I had HORRIBLE pregnancies! I wrote blog post after blog post enumerating one pregnancy woe after another. Talk about amnesia.

 

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, IVF

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off To The ER I Go

Another day, and another trip to the ER. For another lousy cyst! A hemorrhagic cyst, to be exact.

I’ve have 4 cysts burst now. Man, this one was a doozie. At 3 pm last Friday I was on the phone with my Mom and putting a whole chicken in the oven when the sharp pain began. Something told me I shouldn’t wait very long to take 800 mg of Ibuprofen, so I didn’t. Soon I found myself on the sofa, lying on my side, curled up in pain. I looked at the clock. 30 minutes had gone by, and the pain was much worse. I hung up with my Mom. The kids were going nuts, and Rachel kept trying to climb up on me, making matters worse. I couldn’t even get to my computer to set up a video for them. I decided I needed to send an SOS to my husband at work. “Can you please come home? I’m in so much pain.” The tone in my voice must have gotten his attention because he immediately said “Sure babe. Give me two minutes and I”ll be out the door.”

I’m glad he was able to rush home, because by the time he walked in the door (15 mins later) he had two toddlers running a muck (Rachel was brushing her teeth with his toothbrush and trying to put on my chapstick) and a wife who was unable to move.

I was supposed to head into work in a couple of hours. I had my hubby bring me one tylenol, and took it. He also heated up my rice sock, which made matter worse (it’s helped previously). Although I thought I was probably experiencing a cyst bursting, the pain was higher up and the pain seemed more intense. I thought I just needed to give it more time, and I’d be fine. My sister called from Papua New Guinea and talked and prayed with me while I mostly cried. But I was thankful for the distraction.

By 5 pm, the pain was not subsiding so I told my husband we had better head to the ER. He called his Mom, who thankfully came right over to watch the kids. I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk, so my husband carried me to the car. The pain was unrelenting and intense. It felt like my the inside of my abdomen was being cut up with knives.

We got to the ER and my heart rate was very elevated and my BP was a bit low. I discovered (later) that they were worried I was going into shock. They didn’t have any beds so I agonized in the portable chair in the hallway for a while. The ER doc came to see me. I told him my abdomen hurt everywhere, from top to bottom. I mentioned my history of bursting cysts in the past, and my stage 4 endometriosis. I was also pretty disoriented, probably from breathing too fast. When the ER doc asked me if I was a doctor, I said “Yeah, I’m a doctor. Wait, no!” I shook my head. “I’m a nurse!” Feeling extremely sheepish, I said “I don’t what I am…” My husband and the ER doc were laughing pretty hard about that. A room became available right after my conversation and I was so relieved to be out of that chair and into the ER bed. The pain was still constant but at least I could lay down.

My Mom arrived and I was happy to have her present so that my husband could feel he could leave for at some point to grab some dinner.

I soon had an IV and labs sent off. Morphine was infused. I stopped writhing in pain and was able to breathe more normally. The pain became dull, and at this point I was able to isolate it to just below my diaphragm and on the lower right side of my abdomen, I was whisked off to ultrasound, then came back and had to drink 32 nasty ounces of contrast for the CT. The Dr did a pelvic exam, which was extremely painful.

Then I went off for the CT scan. At the CT they also injected contrast into my IV so that they could get a good look at both my organs and GI track.

Finally, a little after 10 pm, the CT results were back I was told that I had a hemorrhagic cyst, about 6 cm. It had burst, with blood going into my peritoneal cavity (hence all the pain in my upper abdomen). The cyst was on the left ovary, but supposedly it’s very common to feel pain on the other side, because ovaries can move a lot when there’s a heavy cyst on them. I don’t need surgery (praise the Lord!) and it should be reabsorbed over time. The only caveat is that it could still cause the ovary to twist on itself, so if I have a lot of pain again, I’m to go to the ER right away.

I came home very nauseated and had a bit of trouble sleeping because my abdomen felt very sore and yucky. Thankfully they gave me Zofran so I took one and it boggled my mind that it worked within a few minutes!

My belly continues to feel sore and full. I read it could take a number of weeks before the blood and cyst get reabsorbed. I hope it happens quickly!

I’m thankful that I’ve had five great pain-free months before Friday. And I’m glad the cyst wasn’t another endometrioma and that I don’t need surgery! Hemorrhagic cysts are a drag and (rarely) can be life threatening, but I’m just relieved it doesn’t mean that the endometriosis is progressing.

 

 

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Filed under Endometriosis, Pain

Our Ongoing Home Reno & Other Updates

Hey there!

Here’s a little update on life for us these days.

House

We moved to our new fixer upper home almost 7 months ago. I joke with hubby that we ought to just dig a big hole in the backyard and start throwing money into it, because it has been one giant money pit! A mold report that came back showing high levels of (non toxic) mold less than a month after we bought the house really pushed us to replace the areas were there had been water exposure (floors, under kitchen sink) much faster than we had originally planned.  And then the snowball just started rolling as one thing led to another. That’s home renovation for you, I suppose!

Here’s a list of some of the things we’ve redone since we moved in:

Tear out back deck (was structurally unsafe).

Deck (removed).

New carpet in family room and bedrooms:

I didn’t really have any “carpet” pictures, but you can kind of see it here.

Removed wall between dining room and kitchen:

Before. (This wall drove me nuts because I couldn’t keep track of the kids!)

After. I love it!

Laminate in kitchen, fireplace room, hallway and master closet:

Closet doors (two sets), screen door, side garage door:

Tile floors in laundry room and kids’ bathroom:

I tried to pick tile that matched the laminate.

Replaced Kitchen counter tops, sink (chipping), faucet & garbage disposal (leaked whenever running):

Before. This wasn’t too long after we moved in.

Before.

After. My inner clean freak is very happy with having quartz counter tops now!

Tile back splash in kitchen (which we had to add because there was a big gap between the counter tops and the wall):

Pulled out melamine desk/cabinets and put in smaller desk area with upper shelving:

Replaced furnace and A/C (yes we wanted to cry when we learned we needed to replace BOTH):

New A/C.

Dishwasher (which died right after the furnace and A/C – more crying, hehe). New dishwasher will be here in two weeks.

Replaced fridge (died on moving day), stove and microwave.

Painted bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets:

Painted ENTIRE house (including ceilings).

Replaced almost all light fixtures and 2 out of 3 fans (we saved the only one that worked).

Whew! That wasn’t even a comprehensive list. And what’s sadder is that the “to do” list is still a mile long! The bottom line, however, is that we LOVE living here. We love the space (1/2 acre), the neighborhood, the proximity to hubby’s work, and also the fact that we live super close to my in laws! (And as a side note, both my parents and my hubby’s Dad were instrumental in helping us get a lot of the above list completed!)

Kids

Josh & Rachel are doing fine. Josh is just over 3 and Rachel is 20 months. I sure do love them and enjoy my days with them. I know everyone else has adorable/smart/funny kids, but some days I seriously wonder which state penitentiary my kids will end up at–because they can be quite devious! Some days Josh and I really do battle it out. I’m no marshmellow Mom in any sense of the word, so I often have to remember to look for ways that I can answer “yes” instead of “no.” Rachel is very determined and doesn’t give up easily either, but she does have much shorter tantrums, which I am thankful for!

I like to remember the following so please tune out if this is crazy boring (I imagine it would be to most):

Josh wears 3T clothing and wears a an 8/9 shoe. He weighs 31.6# (No joke, he’s weighed exactly 31.6# the last several times he’s asked to hop on the scale!) and a few months ago he was just over 3 feet tall. We took away his paci back in April and it wasn’t a big deal at all (we were shocked! And thankful…).

Rachel wears 18-24 months clothing and is somewhere between a size 5 or 6 shoe. She is only a few inches shorter than Josh. She still doesn’t have to many words, but she’s working on it every day. She’s been in a size 5 diaper for a while. I use Pampers diapers and water only wipes or else she tends to be prone to really bad diaper rash.

Don’t be fooled. They’re wanna-be felons, I tell you! 🙂

Weight Loss

I wrote a while back about experiencing unintended weight loss. I’m happy to report that out of the 16# I lost, I gained 7-8# of it back and that seems to be where things have settled. I’m not unhappy about it, but I do wish I had a better appetite most days so that cooking would feel less like a chore.

Endometriosis

I don’t really want to go on and on when it comes to this topic. The synopsis is: The endo does seem to be back. Some months are bad and some are okay. I cut out caffeine back in February which seemed to really help with pain levels. I still seem quite unable to get pregnant without intervention (IVF), so that’s a drag. At the same time, I have little to no desire to go through IVF again (not that we could afford it right now after all these home repairs!). I’ve been thinking about my options for when things DO get consistently bad, pain-wise. One option is to see a specialist who would excise all endo (cutting it out, rather than burning it off) and see how far that gets me. Another option would be to do a hysterectomy and also have current endo excised. This may still not alleviate pain (endo grows back easily and hides, so that it can be tricky even for specialists to find) and I still may require further surgeries. In all honesty, I’m hoping avoid any surgeries at all, because the frequent pain I get from adhesions and scar tissue following surgeries is off the charts.

Well I think that covers some of the basics! Thanks for sticking it through the post!

 

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Filed under Baby, DIY, Endometriosis, Finances, Infertility, IVF, Motherhood, Pain, Parenting, Toddler

HSG Results

I am in shock.

The last time I had an HSG done (4 years ago), one tube was blocked with water in it (and then surgically removed) and the other tube was barely open. And when I say “barely,” I mean it! It took a long time to get a little drop of dye through it. When I asked the radiologist if the tube was open, he responded “Well… Not really. But there was a little dye that went through.”

So imagine my shock this morning when I had another HSG test done and my tube was not only open, but VERY open! The dye went through it right away! Wait… what?!

This totally feels like a miracle. I’m not used to getting good news after tests like these! We are rejoicing at the good news!

 

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Filed under Endometriosis, Infertility

Facing the Giant {Again}

This morning as I was reading my Bible I came across these verses:

“Look carefully then how you will walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

This is the prayer of my heart right now as I juggle raising two toddlers with my husband, managing our home, getting projects done around the house (hello new fixer home) and working part time. I want to be a light (Eph. 5:8)– not only to my children but also the community around me.

After eleven wonderful months, all signs point toward the endometriosis coming back with a vengeance. I’m so bummed. I actually thought I would have a bit more time. My periods have been barely making a blip on the radar with one, maybe two, days of mild cramping. And then this month happened. I actually believed I was possibly pregnant because I had cramping and nausea for seven straight days (around the clock) before my period started. I thought that maybe it was implantation cramping. However, my period started up 3 days late and once it started, the cramping was horrible with ibuprofen barely touching the pain. I had to rest a lot of else the nausea from the pain would become too great. It was a real drag, and lasted longer than I thought it would! All in all, this cycle affected me so that I was unable to function at full capacity for about 9 days. I’m not happy about that.

I semi-joined this endometriosis support group on facebook (meaning I occasionally read comments, but that I’m not very committed to it) and if there’s anything I’ve learned from it — it’s that so many women have much more HORRIBLE endometriosis than to me. We’re talking debilitating daily pain that causes endless surgeries, nerve blocker pumps being placed, years of requiring menopause-inducing medications, loss of employment and other daily activities because the pain is too great. And let’s not forget to mention that the scope of infertility affecting these women is vast. So, I have a healthy fear of endo – not only from what these women have shared, but from my own personal experience with it prior to IVF and having children. Crippling pain for two to three weeks out of the month was my thing back then, and it stunk.

I have enjoyed not living in pain and I want to keep it that way, if I have any power to do so. I don’t want this disease to try to take over my life, like I have seen it do to many other women. So I am prayerfully considering what the best “next step” will be. I want to be wise, so that I will be able to teach my son preschool, take my kids to the park and on walks, and be able to work on our house. I want to have energy to help and bless others when there is a need.

On another note, not being pregnant when I had so much hope that I actually might be (despite that <1% chance of a natural pregnancy that I had, ha) was hard– I shed a few tears over that one! But I’m glad it happened, because it revealed to me that I really do want more children. There was not a hint of “How will we afford another child?” “Where will they sleep?” or “How will we manage?” There was just sheer excitement. So this will be something I will need to hold onto loosely, because I don’t know God’s plans for our family! All I know is that His plans are BEST, and I trust Him for our future. I just have to look at Josh and Rachel to be reminded of that.

Thanks for praying for me, if you think of it. I’m going to start by getting an HSG this Friday (hysterosalpingogram). This will tell me if my remaining fallopian tube is even patent (open). If it’s not, or if there’s water blocked in the tube (hydrosalpinx) then there’s really no point in taking the time to try to conceive naturally (you know…because a 1% chance is still greater than a 0% chance…). My hubby and I will have to prayerfully consider where to go from there, depending on the HSG results.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from last December depicting God’s blessings on us through our marriage and children. How blessed we are! Pictures are by my friend Katherine Owens.

 

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Filed under Endometriosis, Motherhood, Pain

Unwanted Weight Loss

I really hope and pray this post is not self-serving. I know many who feel sick most of the time, for reasons still unknown. As someone who has dealt with years of progressing endometriosis pain and now years of food intolerance and allergies, I get it. I have learned that I must be mindful to not allow pain, illness or the drive to find a cure to consume me. So I  write this post timidly, because although I’m confused and a little bewildered, in the grand scheme of things it’s really quite inconsequential.

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Unwanted weight loss. Now that’s not a title I ever expected to type! I’m quickly approaching my mid 30’s, and being post-baby #2, I really thought the baby weight would be more stubborn.

Although I have been the same weight for my ENTIRE adult life (excluding pregnancies, obviously), I have now dropped 16 pounds below that. I’ve been losing anywhere from 1-4 pounds a month while TRYING to gain weight.

I was sick for several months with joint pain, heartburn, constant belly pain, no appetite, and very low energy. This started in February, after I had a brief stomach flu.  I also was having cramping pretty often throughout the month, and was afraid the Endometriosis was rearing it’s ugly head again. I went to my GP twice and had multiple workups done. By the second GP visit I was down 9 pounds from my baseline weight. I was worked up for gall bladder disease (labs and an ultrasound), Lyme’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis (which runs in my family), Lupus, and thyroid issues (and probably some others that I forgot). And praise God- all the labs came back within normal limits.

But I was at my wit’s end with feeling terrible, and out of desperation I decided to try cutting out all gluten and dairy again (this is my third stint over the years) on August 1st. After all, my Dad can’t tolerate gluten and my sister can’t tolerate gluten or dairy. I decided it was time to accept the fact that I might as well be in the same predicament. So I cut gluten and dairy out and I felt really terrible for another 3 weeks and then BAM! I felt normal again, and the joint pain went away.

I also weaned Rachel around this time and expected my metabolism to slow down a bit.

I was wrong. My weight loss really started to skyrocket. Complicated diets make eating… well, complicated. I’m thankful for the easy solution to feeling better, but man, coming up with stuff to eat (when you lack a good appetite and don’t love to cook) is difficult for me.

Last week, I made a concerted effort to eat as much as possible. One day, I remember eating 1/2  bag of potato chips in addition to meals and other snacks. And let’s not forget that it was Thanksgiving last week and that I polished off more than 1/2 of a gluten & dairy free apple pie (thanks to my Mom for making it!). So I was pretty perplexed when I hopped on the scale Sunday to see that I had lost another 2 pounds in a single week.

I’m ok with being thin, and I know there are many people who would love to have my problem. But I’m just not sure where this weight loss thing will end, and that scares me.  I imagine it’s got to be just as maddening for someone to work out and eat carefully, only to hop on the scale and realize that they’re only gaining weight. It feels like your body is making a huge mistake!

So please forgive my whiny post about wasting away for no good reason (that I can come up with, at least!). I’ll leave you a few pics of the kiddos and the park nearby.

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Filed under Endometriosis, Food Intolerance, Pain

Endometriosis: Is it Coming Back?

It’s 2 am and I’m sitting here wondering: Is the endometriosis coming back? Little by little, the pain has started to return with each subsequent cycle that I have had since Rachel was born. I sat up in bed last night and a very sharp pain in my lower right side took my breath away for a few minutes. The same pain had occurred the day before. There is now a dull ache in my side, almost like my ovary is tacked up against my abdominal wall. It’s a pain I am all too well familiar with.

The other thought I had, which seems much more unlikely, was an ectopic pregnancy. I only have one fallopian tube, and I’m pretty sure it’s mostly or completely blocked, based on the last hysterosalpinogram I had years ago. Although I am high risk for an ectopic pregnancy, it’s seems pretty unlikely that I’d been feeling pain from such this early on in my cycle (I think I’m on CD 25).

I’m tempted to feel frustrated that I seem to have crazy aggressive endometriosis, but miraculously we have two children (despite thinking I would need a hysterectomy 3 years ago). If there’s anything I’m learning these days, it’s that the past does not necessarily predict the future, and despite my best guess– I actually have no idea what God has for our future. I’m learning to stop making assumptions. So I don’t know if this means that more exams, ultrasounds and surgeries are in my immediate future. I don’t know if it means we will be able to have more children. But I do know that God can do anything, and that His plan is always best. (And His plans are usually a complete shock to me.)

In the meantime, I’m attempting to wean Rachel. The reasons for this are complicated and varied, and it’s going about as well as trying to get a lion to go on a vegetarian diet. She wants nothing to do with either the bottle or formula. She just wants to nurse, and it makes it doubly hard for this mama to see that. Weaning Josh was hard and yet still much easier than this, so I am not sure of the path forward from here. We’ve tried just about every trick in the book. I’m warming up formula at the moment that I’m 99% positive she will reject (but like I said, I don’t know the future!). Maybe this time she’ll take it. Or maybe we’ll still be at this in a few weeks — please say a prayer for us!

 

 

 

 

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Our Hope is in Christ

Our kids were both dedicated this morning at our Christian church. Before the congregation, we pledged to pray over and to train up our children in the Lord. This is not a requirement in any way for the Christian parent; it is simply a special time devoted to praying specifically for our children as a church congregation, as well as an opportunity to publicly declare our intention of raising our children to know Christ.

I’ve been looking forward to this day for months. It wasn’t so very long ago that we were wrestling with infertility and the daunting thought that we might not ever be parents. How I cried out to the Lord repeatedly, reminding Him about Hannah and Sarah (as if He needed to be reminded) and some other barren Biblical women who were blessed with children. God certainly doesn’t promise us children, so I didn’t pretend to believe that we would be parents someday. We just didn’t know what would happen, and as the years went by and the likelihood of needing a hysterectomy went up, we lived with a lot of pain and turmoil.

But then God blessed us; not with one child, but two. We don’t deserve children, but He had mercy on us.

How grateful my heart was this morning, thinking that we could have arrived at church this morning still barren. Still fighting endometriosis. Still having surgeries. But we didn’t.

And yet, it’s not all about having children, or raising children, or being a mother or a father. These children of ours are wonderful and grant us great purpose for a time. But children are not our hope– our hope is in Christ! And how we thank him for His tender mercies on us.

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Our families came alongside to worship with us this morning and to pray over our children. After the service, my brother in law took our family picture outside the church. I’m still amazed at the color of the plants behind us!

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Hebrews 6:19-20: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV)

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, Infertility, Worship

Date Night & Pondering Life With Twins

I could hardly sleep two nights ago because, A) We were to meet with our IVF doctor yesterday (I guess I was excited/scared/nervous), and because B) my husband and I had a date night planned for the evening that day as well. By 5 am I gave up on sleeping, got up and showered, and headed to the grocery store. 6 am is an usual time for shopping, but man is it the way to go! I just about had the entire store to myself. But onto more interesting things…

Josh, my husband and I made the trip yesterday morning the infertility clinic. I admit I had mixed emotions about bringing Josh with us– after all, there’s nothing harder than sitting in those waiting room chairs while you’re hoping and praying for a positive pregnancy test, and having babies around you. (I’ll never forget waiting for an appointment in my Ob/Gyn’s office one time because I had a cyst and needed surgery, only to look around and discover that I was the only person in the room who wasn’t pregnant. It feels like salt in a wound!) In any case, I didn’t really have a baby sitter, and I knew the clinic nurses would want to see Josh. (Not to mention our IVF doctor.)

We had a consultation with our doctor, and he went over the statistics of me getting pregnant and the chances of having twins (if they transfer in two of the embryos), what the timeline looked liked, etc. We also reviewed the medications I’d be taking and injections with the nurse.

It was all pretty much old news. There were only two things that caught me off guard. Now I knew that the 4 embryos we had were of top notch quality. I hate to refer to human life that way (all human life is extraordinary!), but there is a grading system they use to decipher if there is cell fragmentation, how far progressed the embryos got prior to freezing, etc. All of our embryos are blastocysts (meaning they have survived for more than 5 days prior to freezing and have developed past the 8 or 10 cell stage to more like 100+ cells) and there is little or no fragmentation, earning them a score of an “A.” After I got pregnant with Josh, our doctor told us that when we did an embryo transfer, he would recommend that they transfer in 2, since they transferred in 2 before and I got pregnant with Josh and not twins. So all along, we had been thinking that 2 of our or embryos would be transferred. But then as we were sitting at the table in the consultation room, our doctor announced that he recommended 1 embryo, because he seemed to think that I had a really good chance of getting pregnant again. He asked about my work, and when I told him I worked very minimally, he said, “Well, you might do okay being pregnant with twins then.” My husband and I just looked at each other. The thought of twins really freaks me out. Not to mention the fact that I would probably voluntarily put myself on some sort of modified bed rest at 24 weeks to help ensure that we wouldn’t have 24 weeks twins in the NICU. And how would that work with a toddler? I have no idea. But conversely, if we transfer 1 in and I get pregnant, then that means we would probably keep transferring in 1 at a time until all 4 embryo have had a chance to survive. Best case scenario (assuming I get pregnant each time), that would be 4 embryo transfers, 4 more pregnancies, and a lot of money we would have to come up with while probably living on one income.

Lastly, there’s possibility that I might not get pregnant at all, and all this dithering would be for nothing.

The hubs and I went out on our date last night (thanks to his mom for baby-sitting!) to a fun burger place and hashed around the different possibilities of 1 embryo vs. 2, etc. I was shocked to discover that he was leaning toward 2. But it probably has to do with the statistics our doctor gave us which mainly imply that the chances of twins are low. Here are the stats:

Probability of getting pregnant if 2 are transferred in: 65-70%

-Chances of twins: 30%

Probability of getting pregnant if 1 transferred in: 50%

Chances of identical twins: 1%

I was more imagining trying to nurse 2 babies, and as Josh hadn’t slept well for the past 3 nights, I was imaging not one, but THREE young children all crying during the night–for most nights. And pretty much never sleeping. I was imagining carrying around Josh in the ergo front pack while pushing a double stroller. Oh, and don’t forget the triple high chairs! But the most concerning part to me was trying to be a good parent to Josh while simultaneously trying to keep twins in utero. And I really have no idea how that would work.

But am I willing to sacrifice a lot to have a family? To take love and cherish how ever many children God gives us?

You bet I am.

In the end, we decided we simply needed to pray and hear from the Lord on the matter. It’s as simple as that. We may get 0, 1 or 2 babies. As I have learned again and again, HIS plans and HIS ways are best. Always. What feels like an insurmountable challenge of twins may not be. The dread of getting a negative pregnancy test result might not be as devastating as it seems if that time comes. I have to look back and remember that when my Ob/Gyn told me I had another endometrioma and that I needed another surgery, I was devastated– but that was what pushed us to pursue IVF. At the time I thought I would never have children, and he we are considering the possibility of a second pregnancy. If you had told me this 18 months ago, I would have never believed you.

So, thanks for keeping us in your prayers. We’ll be starting this process in just a couple of weeks! Crazy!

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, Infertility, IVF, Pregnancy

Moving Forward

It’s taken me a while to muster up the courage to write this blog post. For a while I’ve been thinking that maybe I just wanted to have a more private life, and that I didn’t really want to broadcast on this blog the latest, the greatest, the saddest or the baddest happening in my life. Maybe I should stop blogging altogether, I thought.

Looking back, I didn’t blog much (okay, actually not at all) before, during and after we went through IVF. At the time, I felt that I couldn’t. I was realized that this was mostly due to the crippling fear I had that it wouldn’t work.

But then the Lord gave us Josh. A blessing greater than I could have ever surmised.

Since I find myself wanting to retreat from this blog again, you might have guessed why: We’re headed towards a frozen embryo transfer (FET) soon.

It seems a little soon,” you might say. And as Josh is a handful of days away from turning 6 months old, you would be quite correct. It is early. We had hoped to wait longer, so that my body could have more time to recover and so that I could keep nursing Josh for at least a year. But things didn’t turn out as planned (when do they ever?). If you read my blog much, you might remember my post about never ending PMS symptoms. At the time I felt pregnant. For a month I had nausea, heartburn, fatigue, bloating, cramping, spotting… which finally resulted in my first postpartum period, 30 days later. I felt relieved, as it meant my month of PMS torture was finally over. But at the same time, my heart sank. I knew that it meant my (aggressive) endometriosis would be able rear it’s ugly head again, and conceivably soon. In the past, I’ve gotten endometriomas (chocolate cysts) in just two months. That’s right– in just two cycles I had been diagnosed with two endometriomas and scheduled for surgery. And since I’ve had surgery three times, I’m not into waiting it out  to see how it goes. I’ve got 4 other embryos to think about, and I don’t want to risk having to have a hysterectomy or having multiple surgeries that might impair their ability to implant and grow. Our IVF doctor, taking the aggressive nature of my endometriosis into consideration, thinks it’s a wise plan of action to do the FET soon.

The biggest downside to doing the embryo transfer soon is that I had to wean Josh. I found it quite an easy thing to talk about and a much harder thing to actually do. Now, before I go on, I must say that nursing Josh has not been an easy feat. I didn’t write about it on this blog, but I dealt with Josh’s tongue-tie, multiple block ducts, never ending milk blisters, a mastitis scare (basically fever, chills and body aches that self resolved), low milk supply, and lots and lots of Josh crying with frustration while nursing. Often times, I would cry too. Despite all of the hardships that came along with nursing, I found it unbelievably hard to give up. I planned to make it as non-traumatic as possible–starting with one bottle a day with something like 3/4 breast milk and 1/4 formula, while slowly adjusting the ratio over time so that it was only formula, and slowly substituting nursing with bottle feedings over the course of a month. But Josh would have none of it. By the third day of my “plan” (remember, my plans don’t work out very often) Josh was completely refusing the bottle, even if it was solely breast milk. So, I had to force the issue and had to wait it out until he was thirsty enough to A) take the bottle, and B) take the formula all by itself. I felt awful during this process and cried buckets of tears. It was also a hit to my body to go from nursing 6-7 times a day to not at all. Talk about dropping prolactin levels! I prayed and asked God to not let Josh go 3 days or something horrible like refusing the bottle and without fluids. And to my great relief, he didn’t! He actually didn’t go any great length of time at all. I nursed him Friday night (his last time nursing) and when he woke up crying at 4 am, I gave him a bottle with formula and he took 2-3 oz. He sucked it down and sat happily in my lap while doing so. Now he is really cuddly and even cries sometimes if I don’t get the bottle in his mouth fast enough, taking anywhere from 4-5 oz at a time. So, although things didn’t go according to my plan, they still went remarkably well and sped up the process much faster than I could have imagined. And for all my attempts over the past 6 months to give Josh a bottle here and there, and to give him formula occasionally — well, let’s just say that it was pretty much pointless in the end.

I’m not sure when the embryo transfer will be (probably in the next month or two?) but I covet your prayers. I’m surrounded by fears again — such as: What if I don’t get pregnant? Or if I do get pregnant: What if I have another incredibly painful pregnancy, this time with a toddler to care for also? What if it’s twins and I deliver prematurely? What if it’s twins and one of them dies? And on and on the worries can build. But it’s just another opportunity to seek the Lord, to ask for another child, to rest and to not spin these worries out of control. I have to look around me and see all that He has done, and how greatly I have been blessed!

And now that I have gotten over my initial fear by letting people know about our plans to do an embryo transfer soon, I will do my best to keep you updated. The hardest part about this is not getting pregnant and then having someone ask you about it. But conversely, there is the great joy in also telling an inquiring person that it worked and that you’re pregnant! We just don’t know what the Lord has in store for us. Either way, I’m counting on Him to carry us through it.

Thanks for praying!

And why not end with some happy pictures of our little guy? (The first two taken by my talented friend Katherine while I was over at her house.)

IMG_3206 IMG_3228 DSC_0067 DSC_0069

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, Infertility, IVF, Pain, Pregnancy