Tag Archives: Adhesions

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! ūüôā

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

FET News: TSH levels, Abdominal Pain and (back to discussing) Twins?

(I have to thank many of you dear readers for checking in with me, either in person or online, and letting me know that many of you are praying for us during this time. It has been a HUGE encouragement to me!)

But I have to be honest: It’s very tempting to just disappear from this blog space right now! A huge (insecure) part of me wants to take a blogging break and let anyone reading this know the results of our embryo transfer well after it’s happened. To tell you it was negative after I’ve grieved and healed a bit, or to tell you it was positive after I’ve heard a heartbeat and made it through the first trimester. But I made up my mind that I was not going to do that this time around (as I did when we went through IVF), because I didn’t want to be dictated by fear. And I’m not a very private person in general, so I can’t use that excuse either. ūüėČ So, here’s the latest in our upcoming frozen embryo transfer (FET):

1. Many of you have asked the difference between IVF and and FET. Essentially, IVF stimulates the ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible (without over-stimming them). The eggs are then retrieved (usually under anesthesia) and fertilized and left to grow on their own in a lab over a period of usually 3-5 days. The best 1-3 embryos are then transferred back in (if there are any remaining they are frozen), and 2 weeks later a blood test reveals whether a baby (or babies) is on it’s way or not. An FET is much more relaxed and there is less monitoring overall. This is due to the fact that¬†the ovaries are left completely alone, since there is no need to retrieve more eggs when there are already embryos ready to go! FET involves injections of both progesterone and estrogen to get the uterine lining nice and thick before transferring the embryos in. There are also other injections to keep you from ovulating during the cycle (and while I’m at it, I might as well mention that steroids, antibiotics and baby aspirin are all usually part of the regiment¬†as well). So, there are still a lot of hormones and injections involved, but it’s overall much lower key (and no anesthesia!) than IVF. Moving on from this mini lecture…

2. As some¬†of you already know, I seemed to be cursed with ovarian cysts. Multiple kinds, including the kind that need surgery! Aside from having 3 surgeries to remove cysts, I’ve also had (now) three occasions in which I was certain I was experiencing a rupturing cyst. The first time the pain came on immediately and within 10 minutes I was in agonizing pain for around 2 hours. I didn’t go to the ER because a cyst had been confirmed by ultrasound the week prior, and I was pretty sure I knew what was happening at the time. The second time was not very long after Josh was born. My mom was over while my husband was at work, and the pain came on over a period of about an hour. I stood up after nursing Josh¬†and realized that I could not straighten all the way up or walk on the affected side. The pain escalated quickly at that point (and to be honest I think I was still pretty traumatized from my delivery with Josh and generally anxious about experiencing out-of-control pain again) so¬†my mom took me to the ER. Hours later, the pain subsided and by the time I finally got the ultrasound, no cyst was to be found (I figured because it had ruptured). Now, finally I bring you to last Sunday. It was a week before my period was due and I had cramping most of the day, which I thought was unusual as it seemed to early. I rested on the couch for a while and when I stood up, I felt the same intense pain on one side and thought “Uh oh.” I tried to walk around a little but the pain soared. But this time I had another plan. I told my husband, “Guess what? I’m NOT going to the ER this time.” Instead I took a Tylenol with codeine, loaded up on Ibuprofen, and placed a rice sock on my abdomen. Within 30 minutes I felt much better and even ate dinner. It was the best bursting-cyst experience to date. But to be honest I am discouraged as to why I have had 2 of these cysts burst in the past 6 months and don’t feel like it bodes well for the future if I don’t get pregnant again soon.

3. I got my pre-FET labs drawn. My TSH came back at 3. Not a horrible number for an adult by any measure, but my IVF doctor wants it under 2.5 (higher numbers are associated with both negative pregnancy results¬†as well as ¬†are miscarriages). So I get to have it rechecked next week (not sure it will change much in a week, but I am praying that it will!). If it’s over 2.5 then I get to start thyroid meds. I’m not sure if this will delay my FET cycle, but since my doctor is pretty careful, I’m willing to bet that he’ll delay it a month and recheck my TSH level again before proceeding with the cycle. The downside to this is that I believe this will have us finding out if we’re pregnant or not right around Christmas. However, I looked back and saw that I got pregnant with Josh when my TSH was 2.75 (so he must have accepted it being a little higher then, or he may have implemented new standards since then).

4. Since my doctor didn’t specify if taking thyroid meds would delay my FET cycle, at this point I’m supposed to call on day 2 of my period and start birth control on that day to start the FET cycle (which usually takes about a month). Usually I dread my period coming and arm myself with ibuprofen, but this time I’m wishing it would just start already!

5. My husband and I took some time out to pray and talk through whether to transfer 1 or 2 embryos. I also did a ton of research on twin pregnancies. I am not under any delusion that a subsequent pregnancy (whether a singleton or twins) for me will be easy and pain-free (although I am ever hopeful!) — after all I was told that all my pain would be gone when I got pregnant, (and that was clearly not the case), and then I was told the next pregnancy would a piece of cake… I find that if I don’t have expectations about such things then I am far less disappointed when my expectations aren’t met. So what I discovered is that, irregardless of adhesions and scar tissue, carrying twins is very, very hard. That was no surprise to me, as carrying just one baby seemed pretty hard at the time! But what I really wanted to know were the statistics of how many twins delivered early (before 36 weeks). My doctor told me that if I’m compliant (i.e. I take it easy when I’m told to) the chances of delivering twins after 36 weeks is pretty good, around 65%. So, before praying and researching, I felt very strongly that we should only transfer 1. However, my husband thought that transferring 2 might be a better idea. We prayed and discussed and I researched. Oddly, over time I became more and more¬†comfortable with the idea of twins. (Although I get the idea that being pregnant with twins is anything but comfortable.) But for now the plan is to transfer 2 of our embryo babies! We’re still continuing to pray about it, and I think the Lord is revealing to me the times when I am tempted to make decisions or base thoughts out of fear.¬†At this point I can honestly say I am moving toward transferring 2 not out of fear of not getting pregnant (because the statistics for getting pregnant are lower when only 1 is transferred) but because twins seems like it would be an amazing double blessing, and I so would love to be a mama to several children.

So there you have it. Cyst, TSH, period, 2 embryos. But really, this is a time of huge struggle for me. I am not in any kind of denial thinking that just because I got pregnant with Josh, I’ll get pregnant again. Believe me, I have read several blogs documenting a¬†successful pregnancy with twins, only to endure several subsequent embryo transfers with no babies to show for it. It’s hugely disheartening, and you may just say “Stick with the positive stories for now!” But that is not real life, and I want to learn to lean on and praise God through any storm He sends us under. After all, my life is not about infertility but about learning to be a servant of God! So even though I’m dying to buy some new maternity clothes (seriously; it’s weird) and to hear a heartbeat on a doppler I’m looking to Christ who is my Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3) and knowing that hope comes from Him!¬†(And not from a positive pregnancy test.)

Thanks again for praying with us during this time! It is invaluable to me!

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Filed under FET

The Myth About Endometriosis & Pregnancy

It’s 3 am. I woke up after wincing in pain too many times after trying to roll over in bed. So now I’m awake and doing further research on endometriosis and adhesions, particularly in pregnancy.

There’s a lot to be found on the subject of endometriosis when it comes to pregnancy. Everywhere you look you will read “Be free from endometriosis pain while pregnant!” and every doctor will tell you “Pregnancy is the only temporary cure for Endometriosis!” I feel completely frustrated with this. And as I’ve discovered first hand, it’s simply just not true.¬†I know I’m not the only one out there who’s dealing with worse endometriosis and adhesion symptoms while pregnant than not. Not that knowing the correct information would have changed our decision to go through IVF– believe it or not I’d go through even a lot more to have children. But I was completely blind sided by the pain. It would have been nice to have been able to prepare mentally and physically for the challenges I am facing today.

Wednesday night I hit a low point. When I say low point, I mean too many hours and days of intense pain with no relief. It happens sometimes. I emailed my OB and just let her know that the pain had been pretty bad for about a month (my last ¬†appointment had been with the nurse practitioner, so I figured my OB didn’t know about it). I wasn’t having any new symptoms, but I was at my wit’s end with the unrelenting pain. I sat at the table after dinner and started to cry as I typed out the email to her. So tired of sending these emails, which all basically say the same thing… “still hurting!” (If I were an OB, I’d let out a loud sigh when emails like mine came in.) I expected a response from her the next day but didn’t expect that she’d want to see me right away. I went in that day at 2 pm. She did an ultrasound to check my cervix (still fine) and did a NST (no contractions, and baby did great). Those things were a relief. I was glad to hear that all this pain doesn’t seem to be affecting the baby one bit.

Next we discussed options for this unending pain. (If I could describe the pain, I would say two things, first: Imagine (if you are a girl) you are about to start your period, but it is unusually painful with cramping. This is how most of my periods were before getting pregnant. Pretty miserable. Second: Sharp stabbing pain in various places, usually on my cervix and on my bladder.) Initially my OB suggested stronger pain meds, which I refused. I told her I’d have to be dying on the floor to take those. She then suggested Flexiril (a muscle relaxant) but I was hesitant to take that too, even though it’s a category B drug. I’m not sure how much of what I’m having is actually a muscle problem, and my OB suggested as much. She said it may or may not help. I decided to keep listening to see what else she recommended. She suggested a maternity belt and a heating pad, and I agreed to try those. Lastly, she suggested I take Protonix for the acid reflux I’d been dealing with over the past few weeks. I’d tried all kinds of different things to help with the heartburn and reflux but the fact of the matter was that I was having to stay up until 1 am every night in order to give my smallish dinner several hours to “settle” before lying down and going to sleep. Even then, my throat was becoming sore from the stomach acid not staying put where it should be.

I came home from my appointment and my sister called from overseas to see how my appointment went. I started to cry (again) as I told her I had agreed to take the Protonix and how hard I had tried to stay as ‘medicine’ free as possible while pregnant. I felt like a failure. She literally started to laugh and said, “Em, don’t listen to lies! You can’t be staying up every night until 1 am to wait for your food to settle. You needed to change something to be able to manage.” I paused to think about what she said. She was right. She prayed with me and when we hung up I felt infinitely better. Sometimes my sister really knows the right thing to say at the right time.

So, now it’s almost 4 am and I am still hurting, still wondering what exactly my insides could look like to be causing all this pain, but at least I don’t have acid reflux anymore! My OB said the pain would probably only worsen until I go into labor with this little boy. Not exactly encouraging news, but I’m glad she told me that because I don’t want to be in denial about these things. I’m praying often that I can make it to my due date without having to be induced or have a c-section because I can’t walk or function anymore from the pain. And if I can’t make it, well… I’ll have to remember that I did my best. I always thought I could tough out any level of pain to keep my baby growing a little longer but now I realize just how much pain wears you down. And it scares me. So I really need your prayers to help me make it as long as possible!

And… if you are a faithful reader of my blog, thanks so much. I admit that I feel like a broken record right now. There are so many other things in life which are far more interesting than the pain I’ve been living with these past months. It’s pretty boring if you ask me. So thanks for sticking with me.

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Filed under Endometriosis, Pain, Pregnancy