Friday, October 28, 2011

My New Venture

So as you may all know, I've been going through the infertility process for quite some time (almost 16 months). Every month that I'm not pregnant does make it harder but I am still keeping my head up and hoping for the best. I know I have the BEST doctors in the area, and have faith that they'll be able to help me have children. I'm always trying to stay busy outside of work because I've found that it helps.

Last November I started selling Tupperware to earn free Tupperware, meet some new people, and make a little money. As you may all know, I am obsessed with anything having to do with fashion. I LOVE designer jeans, pretty much every kind of clothes there are, Coach purses, purses in general, jewelry, and SHOES!! So in June, I was introduced to Miche Bag and I instantly fell in love. I'm not kidding, these are one of the greatest inventions I have come across. You buy a base bag, then you buy outside shells for the base bag. The best thing is you carry your purse, then change your shell for your mood or for your outfit for the day without having to dump out your purse and move everything to another purse!! So I've been in contact with the Miche Representative who did my home party since I wanted to find out as much information as possible before deciding whether I would sell it or not (especially since I already sell Tupperware). Well I finally mentioned to Casey that I was thinking about selling Miche. He of course supports me and agrees that purses are simply, "More Me" than Tupperware. Don't get me wrong, I love Tupperware! But as far as selling, I feel like I'm so passionate about purses and especially these purses. As much as I love Coach, I don't see myself buying one again while Miche is around. I can buy a base bag and 6-7 shells or more for your cheapest Coach Bag! It's such a steal!

So, Miche Bag is my new business venture. I'm going to slow down on Tupperware and get out there and introduce women to this amazing purse!! PS to the women that are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or already have babies...there's a diaper bag shell for the Prima (big) bag that's actually stylish, plus when you're done with it, you can just change out your shell and there you have your purse! I seriously LOVE these purses. Not only are the shells affordable and stylish, they are quality made. Miche also sells accessories to go along with the purses including wallets, coin purses, charmers, and different handles! You can carry a different bag every single day if you choose! Anyways, please check out My Website and "Like" my Facebook Page and let me know if you have any questions. I'll gladly come show you the bases, shells, accessories, and handles for no obligation what-so-ever to buy, I just want to show these off! If you're interested in purchasing, you can place an order with me, or become a hostess and earn FREE Miche products!!  Use the "Contact Me" tab on Facebook or feel free to email me directly at Happy Friday!! :-)

P.S. These are a handful of the new November products as new shells and accessories are released monthly!! These are just a few of the products we sell, check out My Website for more styles and to see the Base Bags :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Invisible Pain

So I'm going to do a quick lunch post based off an article I came across on Facebook. The Invisible Pain of Infertility is the article that is on, and I found it very refreshing to read. Most of you probably didn't know about me suffering with infertility until a couple weeks ago. Only some close family and friends knew. Since I wrote my first post to just get it out there, I've received tremendous support and it feels good to not feel like I'm hiding everything I'm going through on a daily basis. There were a few lines I just wanted to quote about this article that really hit home for me, and that's about it.
  • Infertility can be devastating, and it's time we openly acknowledged that. 
  • Everyone has the right to privacy, of course, but that secrecy has left so many women to cope alone, in pain, and often uninformed
  • When women dealing with infertility can communicate with others in their situation, they get through it in a much better state of mind and also share needed information about their options
  • Even when they find a community online, the exchanges are largely anonymous; in real life, they are typically silent
  • Twelve percent of reproductive-age American women — about 7.3 million — are having trouble conceiving or carrying a baby to term (that's about 1 in 8 women)
  • One reason infertility is considered hush-hush is that it's wrapped up in sex, a subject Americans are notoriously squirmy about. "If you start discussing infertility, you have to talk about ovaries and semen and all kinds of things you don't usually discuss over dinner"
P.S. I'm back to work today. My back is sore, this is the longest I've sat upright in the last 4 days and I am still tired, but other than that I'm doing okay! My belly button is almost completely healed up, and my other incision looks good, it's healing well and the swelling is decreasing. Have a great day, everyone! :-)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Almost 12 hours after surgery

I figured I'd do a quick post from my phone. Surgery scheduled on time today at 10 am and lasted about an hr. The dr made the 2 incisions, one in belly button, other around bikini line. The belly button incision is a little sore, I can barely fill the other. The rest of me feels like I got in a car wreck. My ribs, neck, shoulders & back are very sore, I was warned this would happen though, Casey was nice enough to get me a heat pad which has helped. I did have to have a breathing tube so my throat is VERY sore, feels like I left with strep! Ugh! Anyways, the dr found some endometriosis and zapped it away, so hopefully that will do the trick, fingers crossed. I have my post-op with him on Thursday so I'll find out exactly what's next then. Casey took that picture during recovery, I was definitely feeling better then than now! I think I'm about to take a hydro and hit the sack! Thanks again for everyones thoughts and prayers! <3

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Less than 12 hours until Surgery

So I figured I'd do a quick post before bed (we'll see how quick it really is)! I'm definitely nervous for tomorrow, and getting really tired, so I'm really hoping I sleep good tonight. I know the surgery is considered "minimally invasive" but it's still surgery, I'm going under anesthesia, and getting cut open, therefore, scary! I met with Dr. Sullivan on Monday and he went over the surgery with me. I'm having a Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy (sp?) (I don't feel like creating links tonight, so look it up yourself if you want!). After I am put under of course, he will make the first incision in my belly button. This first incision is critical as they are going in blind with this incision, if they hit an organ, the small incision will quickly become a large incision, so hopefully everything goes as planned. The second incision will be about 4 incisions lower in my pelvic area. They will then begin exploring my reproductive organs with the laparoscope. He is looking for endometriosis, scar tissue, fibroids, anything that could help explain why I have been unsuccessful in becoming pregnant. I'm hoping that he finds something that can be fixed then and there. A third incision will only be necessary if he finds something that he cannot easily get to. The other part of the surgery is the Hysteroscopy where they will look into my Uterus to see if they find anything in there as well, they will look in here with a small camera as well. Pretty amazing what technology can do. The surgery takes normally around 1 hr, but that of course will depend on if he finds something, what it is, etc. Along the way he will be taking pictures which Casey & I will get to see after surgery. So that's pretty much it for right now. I have to be at Sister's Hospital at 8:00 am, for surgery at 10:00 am. Hopefully I'll be released by mid-afternoon so we don't hit any Sabres traffic!! I know many people want to know what the Dr finds (or doesn't), so I promise you that you'll know, but don't be mad if you don't get a text/phone call tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be pretty out of it and sore. Anyway, I'd appreciate any thoughts and prayers around 10:00 am tomorrow morning. Have a good night :-)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What I have been through since July 15, 2010

So, my original purpose for starting a blog was documenting what I was going through while pregnant. I have yet to become pregnant, and it just occurred to me that I could blog what I'm going through while trying to become pregnant. If/when I ever do become pregnant, I know it will be nice to have this blog to look back on to reflect what I went through, and possibly for my child to read one day to see what I had to go through to have them.

On July 15, 2010, Casey and I decided to start trying for a baby. At this time, I was working as a tax accountant, so we decided we would start trying once tax season would be over if I were to get pregnant at that time. So I started my cycle not long after that. At this point in time, my cycles were quite long, approximately 40 days. I had been keeping track of my cycles using an app on my iPod, so it calculated when I should be ovulating and when I should get my period. Well I was due for my period while vacationing in OBX, so I brought pregnancy tests with me, I thought how cool would it be to find out I'm pregnant while on vacation...that was my first negative pregnancy test in this journey.

To back track a few years...back in 2007, my cycles started getting longer and longer, and I was straight-up skipping periods, I was not on birth control because it never reacted well with my body. I decided I should look into this since I knew it was not right, I went close to 3 months without a period. I started going to a doctor who started testing me for everything! I had so many blood tests run, and had ultrasounds, everything! By a process of elimination, the doctor said I have PCOS. I do not "look" PCOS --> most women with it are overweight, have excessive body hair, and many other qualities you can see. The only thing the doctor could "see" were more than normal cysts on my ovaries, so they say this is what I have. Many people never have problems getting pregnant with this, and many people do. The doctor started me on a medication called Metformin. This medication has helped me have a more "normal" cycle. I've been on this medicine every since, and last fall my dosage was increased, I have to take 2 pills every morning and 2 when I go to sleep.

Back to reality, I started going to a Gyno in September, 2010. She saw all of my past information, had me do tons of blood tests and instead of wasting time, she decided to start me on your "basic" infertility medicine. This medicine is called Clomid. I take it for cycle days 3-7, then normally around day 14 which is about when one should ovulate, I'd go into the doctor's office for an ultrasound of my ovaries. At this time, they would look at both ovaries, and measure the size of the growing follicles which in turn release the egg. It didn't look great for the first cycle on Clomid. So we decided to try it again for my next 4 cycles (it's only safe to take for a total of 6 cycles). Unfortunately, I was not responding to Clomid like they had expected, so my next step was to see an infertility doctor.

On March 1, 2011, Casey and I had our first meeting with Dr. Sullivan at Buffalo IVF. He asked us a bunch of questions, looked at all of our past history, and decided to start me on a fertility medicine that women normally respond to if they don't respond to Clomid. This is also the day that we found out that Hopper was doing very bad, the cancer was eating him from the inside out. As we were taking the next steps to welcome (hopefully) a new life into this world, we had to make the decision to put Hopper down the next day (P.S. I'm crying right now as I'm writing this, just thinking about this, we loved him so much!). Before Dr. Sullivan started me on anything, he wanted to make sure that my tubes were clear and looked good, so I had to have a procedure done called an HSG (or dye) test, where a catheter is inserted into the Uterus and then dye is flushed through the tubes to check for any blockages, which I had none, so good news. P.S. Having a catheter inserted into the Uterus hurts like hell, it feels like a contraction, the Uterus does not like things inserted into it!

Okay, so the new med that Dr. Sullivan started me on is called Femara, it's actually used to treat breast cancer in women, but is used highly by infertility doctors. I started on Femara in April after a long March cycle. Femara is an oral medication, taken like Clomid, days 3-7. After an unsuccessful cycle on this, we decided to introduce the next step, which is getting an IUI (or intrauterine insemination or artificial insemination).

I took the Femara on days 3-7, then I started getting my ovaries/follicles measured by ultrasound on Day 10, and continued until they reached a certain size. For my first insemination, I had a follicle that measured 21 mm, which is a good size for insemination. Being this size means, it should be ready to be released and I will ovulate (hopefully). I decided to take an at-home pregnancy test 2 weeks after that, which was negative. So after yet another unsuccessful cycle, we decided to introduce one more thing that should help.

In June, I took the Femara on days 3-7, started getting my ovaries/follicles measured around Day 10, and on Day 13 I took the new drug, Ovidrel. Ovidrel is given by shot in the abdominal area (no it doesn't hurt). This is done at home around 8 pm, then 36 hours later, an IUI is done at the doctor's office. When I first found out I'd have to take a shot, it made me nervous, but then I wondered how I was going to get this shot. I did not think Casey could give it to me because he HATES shots, needles, bloodwork, all that. I mentioned to him about contacting a nurse friend and he said "I can give it to you," he doesn't have a problem administering shots, he just doesn't like to receive them. So, he gave me my Ovidrel shot which induces/pinpoints ovulation, and then I had my IUI on Day 15. In case you are wondering, the IUI does not in any way replace Sex! It's just another way that could assist in getting pregnant because the sperm is injected directly into uterus, and doesn't have to travel. P.S. Casey has "super sperm," so in case you were wondering again, I am the only problem, thankfully he is not. I think he could look at someone and knock them up with how many active sperm he has! Haha! Continuing on, on June 26, my 25th birthday, I work up with my period. I was absolutely devastated. I always thought I would have at least one child by the time I turned 25, and to find out yet again that I was not pregnant, was horrible.

So, we decided to do another cycle just like the last one, Femara, Ovidrel and IUI, my follicles didn't really grow very big on this cycle and there were only about 2 that were growing, but it only takes 1 to get pregnant. In the meantime, I met with Dr Sullivan to discuss what came next if this were to not work. Which as you can imagine, it did not.

So, here's what came next. Instead of taking an oral fertility medication, I would now only do injectibles. The medicine that the doctor put me on was Follistim. Follistim carries many benefits, but it also carries many risks. It's beneficial in that it grows the follicles faster, and bigger and people typically respond better to this if they didn't respond as well to the orals. Some of the risks are, our chance of multiples has now doubled, and hyper/over-stimulation can occur where in the most extreme cases, the ovaries blow up like balloons and if they become too full, they can burst! Eeekk! Follistim is administered via a pen. Every time a new shot is given, a new needle is attached and there is a dial that is adjusted to how much of the medicine the doctor wants the patient to have. Ohh and being on Follistim, the doctors monitor the patient much more closely via bloodwork and ultrasound every couple days. On Day 3, Follistim was started. This cycle, I drove to Buffalo 6 times which is approximately 120 miles each time. On Day 10, after I had been in for bloodwork that morning. I got a phone call from the Doctor (which the Nurses always make the calls, so I knew it had to be bad). He indicated that my estrogen had more than doubled since the previous day and that I was on the verge of being over-stimulated, so the cycle had to come to a halt! He specifically told me to "stay away from that husband of yours" because it'd be too dangerous to pursue the cycle. I had way too many follicles, which can result in way too many babies.

A very strange thing happened next, 7 days later on what would be cycle day 17, I began my cycle. Now I'm used to having cycles around 32 days, this was practically half that. I went in for my Day 3 ultrasound, and the nurse said I "have crazy ovaries going on" which is not something the doctors want to see on a day 3, on day 3, your ovaries should be nice and quiet. Another downside of the Follistim, the old follicles like to stick around from the previous cycle, we only want fresh new follicles for a new cycle. So, cure for this...take birth control for 2 weeks. Wait, now I've been trying to get pregnant now for over a year, and now I have to take birth control?! Not cool!! Well I did, so I was blessed with another period 18 days later.

Since I reacted "too well" by developing so many follicles after the Follistim last cycle, the doctor's decided to do a hybrid cycle basically. I go back to taking the Femara for days 3-7 to get the follicles growing, then on Day 7 I begin taking lower dosages of Follistim, while continuing to be monitored every couple of days to see how things are looking. By adding the Follistim to the Femara, the Follistim picks the couple growing follicles and grows them even bigger than they could grow with only Femara. On Day 15, they had me do the Ovidrel shot (which I did for the first time ever myself because I had to take the shot while I was at a Tupperware party, I'm really proud of myself for being able to do this). Then on Day 17, I had the IUI. I woke up that morning feeling like my stomach hurt. Well I get up to the doctor's office and the nurse asks how I'm feeling and I tell her about my little belly ache and she tells me those are my ovaries telling me they're "full" and ready for ovulation! Wow best belly ache ever! This was a great sign, I was so excited because I'd never felt this before. Before the IUI was done, an ultrasound is always done to look at the ovaries, and they looked great, best cycle I'd had thus far!

Well, all of a sudden last Sunday, October 2nd, I got crampy and started my cycle. This was very hard on me. I'm always hoping for the best but expecting the worst, but this time things were different. I reacted very well to the meds, I got the ovary ache, nurses were so it was so hard starting that cycle.

One of the options discussed in July was if the Follistim didn't work, then he wanted to do surgery. At this point, it's unexplained to the doctor why I can't get pregnant. I've had "help" for the majority of my cycles over the last year, and have tried lots of different things, on top of that I'm healthy, so in his eyes, I should have gotten pregnant by now.

So, next Friday October 14th, I'm having a Laparoscopy where a tiny camera will be inserted into my abdomen which will then will be used to look at my reproductive system. The doctor will be looking for scar tissue, endometriosis, anything that could suggest why I haven't gotten pregnant. If he finds nothing, I'm not sure what's next. If he does find something, it'll obviously depend on what he finds. This is considered to be a minimally invasive surgery, but it's still surgery, I have to have pre-op testing and be put under anesthesia. Casey will take off of work to bring me and I will probably be laid up all weekend, hopefully no more, but everyone handles things differently, the scarring with this should also be minimal.

So that's everything I can think of at 10:00pm on a Friday night (posted Saturday night because my computer decided to act up), this basically explains what Casey and I have been through over the last 15 months. It saddens me to see other people get pregnant. I'm happy for them, but at the same time I always wonder, why can't that be me? I do have Baby Envy and get sad a lot. There are many times where I feel like I'm failing. I feel like I've taken the right path in life, I have a Master's degree, a great job with amazing benefits, a supportive husband, I own my home, I feel we're financially ready for a child and yet I can't do the thing I'm supposed to do. As this goes on and on, I become more and more open because it does help to talk about it. I've found people to talk to and it has definitely helped me more. Anyways, that's it for now, I know it's long but oh well, my story is long. And now I'm going to bed to cuddle with my wonderful, supportive husband. Good night <3