Hope and Insanity

Quick weekend recap…

Friday – Transfer Day

I woke up before my alarm and enjoyed the quiet time with the sun peeping through the blinds as long as I could. The next hour was spent showering, changing into one of the my standard non-work outfits (Merona v-neck, skinny jeans, and sandals), and packing my “transfer day bag” (Merona Bag can be found at Target).Merona Bag
In the bag I had:
– Mendhi coloring book, colored pencils to help pass the time (my appt was for 10:30 but they asked that I get to the office 30 minutes prior)
– Thank You cards
– PIO and Heparin injection needs (my acupuncturist gave me my injections since hubby had to be out of the house too early and we wanted to make sure I had a solid nights sleep)
– Warm, fuzzy socks
– Bottle of water
– Chapstick and wallet

My first stop of the morning was to see my acupuncturist. I had a quick treatment and then headed to the RE’s office. My husband got there a few minutes after I did and we headed back so I could change into the gown. They give you a blanket to cover up your backside but I still laugh at this – I mean how much modesty do you really have left? I gave one of the thank you cards to my favorite nurse and we both teared up – happy tears only though! We were quickly taken into ‘the room’ and the transfer went really smooth. We were able to get a few pictures too 🙂

Following the transfer, we went back to my acupuncturist. My husband had never been to one of the appointments and wanted to see what it was all about. She played “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for us and then we spent some time just praying. After the 2nd treatment, I headed home and started the modified bed rest.

Saturday – 1dp5dt

I spent the early morning watching The Replacements and flipping channels between various HGTV shows and USA movies. However, there is only so much TV screen time I can take so the books I downloaded on the iPad and the adult coloring books were a lifesaver when it came to the afternoon.

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This is also the point when you start noticing every twinge, cramp, tightening, nauseousness, etc and wonder if it is a sign. It makes you feel insane. A friend and I laughed about this because as much as you tell yourself to not do this, it’s where your mind goes. I was surprised but focusing on the coloring did help to reign in my mind.

Sunday – 2dp5ft

Our RE gave us the go ahead for me to be able to leave the house to go to church this morning which was a nice break from the bedrest. It was not a typical Sunday and we had a guest speaker – a woman came and spoke about her trials and faith. She was the victim of a vicious attack that resulted in a month long non-induced coma, years in and out of the hospital, and many surgeries including the amputation of both of her legs and skin grafts because over 2/3 of her body was badly burned. She said that she remembers that she was not sure if she would get through to the next _____ (fill in the blank with the milestone she needed to reach), but that she and her family prayed consistently. They prayed not only for the big things but also the very small – praying for each skin cell to grow so she could have her next skin graft surgery. She relied on hope – not the “I hope I have a good day at work” kind but the hope to make it to the next surgery and the hope to live. It was such an incredible message to hear and was a perfect segway into our lesson for our bible study group on keeping the faith in good times and in bad. After church, we came home and I have spent the rest of the day in bed, finishing my book and starting a new mandala.

As I lay here writing this post, my view is below:

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There are no filters here. This is what my stomach looks like – bruised from the heparin injections. The large one on the right is almost a week old and looks infinitely better than it did 2 days ago. I promise it looks much worse than it feels. I hesitated to share this but I do not want to put a filter on this process – this is what infertility looks like.

With a lot of hope and faith (and I’m sure a little bit of insanity and more bruising), I’ll get through the TWW. Here’s to that positive 🙂

T-Minus 12 Hrs

The day we’ve been waiting for is almost here and I cannot describe how excited I am. The excitement also comes with a little anxiousness but instead of pretending like the anxiety is not there, I am doing my best to adjust mentally and be more positive. I think accepting the emotions instead of trying to “tuck them away” has made such a difference in my emotional health this cycle.

In hopes of staying relaxed, my week has looked like this:
Monday – Create some card designs
Tuesday – Restorative Yoga class
Wednesday – Acupuncture
Thursday (today)* – Thai Yoga massage

*Now I also spent this evening vacuuming, laundry, and other household items. I do not want to have to worry about it this weekend (for either me or my husband to do) so we just got everything done tonight.

Tomorrow morning I’ll head to acupuncture, then go in for the FET, and then head back to acupuncture. I think I was too active after the last transfer so I plan on a modified bed rest schedule for a few days. I received great advice on ways to keep busy while on bed rest and here is what I decided for those days and also until my beta:

Recs

1) Coloring books – Thanks to @survivinginfertility for this recommendation. They are supposed to help your mind relax. Barnes & Noble had a great selection and I picked books with Mandala and Mendhi designs.

2) Cookbook – My husband and I love to cook together. Once I’m off of the bed rest, we are going to pick a recipe to cook everyday and just have fun being creative in the kitchen with each other. I’m hoping this will help pass the time until beta day 🙂

Hope you ladies have a great Friday!

The dreaded PIO shot

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When I went through my teaching class with the nurse and got my calendar, I remember dreading the day that I would start the PIO shots. She was so calm when explaining how to do the injection and I questioned if she was crazy or not because of the side of the needle – 1.5″ needle…sure, no problem.

My pharmacy sent the PIO separately from the first round of meds and the box sat unopened for 4 days before I thought I should stop the avoidance tactic the the night before the injection was scheduled. I pulled everything out but did not see any type of directions with tips, etc on them so where did I turn? YouTube. Searching ‘PIO injection’ yields all sorts of videos and my husband and I spent 15 or so minutes watching a few of them before he suggested we stop because he could tell it was not doing anything for my nerves.

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The next morning we grabbed everything we needed and I texted and called a friend to help walk me through the steps and also give some suggestions. If you follow my Instagram account, you saw some of the text exchange 🙂 Here are some of her suggestions and some things I found on my own (all were lifesavers during this process):

– Roll the PIO bottle in your hand to warm it up a little bit. This makes it easier to draw it up in the syringe.

– There is going to be some pressure trying to draw the medicine back into the bottle. Either draw extra into the syringe (knowing there will be some that will go back into the bottle) or firmly hold the end of the syringe to not let any go back into the bottle.

– If the medicine is warm it makes it easier to go in. We soaked a wash rag in hot water and placed the syringe on it and then rolled it up like a burrito for ~ 30 seconds.image

– For the injection itself, she recommended I lean over a dresser or something of similar height and bent my knees while my husband gave me the shot. We have a tall dresser in our bedroom and our bed is tall so I leaned over the bed in the guest bedroom.

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– Either you or whoever is giving the shot should massage the area afterwards. This helps prevent it from staying in one area.

The last item that I never thought would be recommendation but turned into one would be to film video the injection (does this age me that I typed film first?). I use the front-facing camera, pressed record, and keeping only my in the shot, talked to her going step by step over everything I did that she recommended and then just talked to her about various things….including calling myself crazy because I never would have thought I would be recording my thoughts while get an injection. Talking through it made the process go by quicker and kept me relatively relaxed during it.

So after all the work-up and stress I put myself through in anticipation of the PIO shot, it was not bad at all. I’m only 2 days into the injections but they are less painful than most of the other ones I have done. In all disclosure, the area where we did the first injection is a little sore but I think that it is because I did not move around as much as I should have after the first shot (we ran errands but that also involved a lot of time sitting in the car). My opinion may change in the coming weeks if the soreness gets worse, but so far PIO is a breeze.

Oh hormones…

There is nothing like a box of fertility meds to throw you off your normal pattern. While this may not be the typical response to the meds, I’m sharing my story so it’s out there just in case it will help someone else. Not all of the meds below are specifically fertility meds but I am including all meds that are on my treatment calendar.

BCPs – I was on ~day 4 of my period when I started a generic pack of birth control pills. I forgot how nice my skin was when I was on BCP in the past (you know, when I thought I needed them to prevent a pregnancy when we weren’t ready for kids). I didn’t have a major breakout but the little one I had cleared up much faster than it ussually does after my period.

Baby Aspirin – Nothing to note here that I was able to notice. I started this the same day as the BCP.

Prenatal vitamins – The calendar from my dr calls out to make sure that you have started them but I haven’t stopped taking them since we started TTC. I like the CVS gummy prenatals. They will run a BOGO sale every once in awhile and I stock up then.

Lupron – I had one prior experience with Lupron prior to this cycle because I used it with Ovidrel to trigger a few months ago and it was not a positive one terrible and caused me to have welts. Within 30 seconds after the inejection, my skin turned red, became very itchy, burned, and of course the wonderful welts started. I remember googling as quickly as possible and found out that some people have this reaction is the drug gets on the skin.

Prior to taking the med this cycle, I researched and found some of the side effects – headaches, hot flashes, insomnia, weakness, cold or flu symptoms…etc. Where is the meme that says something along the lines of “for once I want a side effect to be extreme sexiness”. 🙂 The first week wasn’t bad and I though I might be one of the lucky few who did not experience the side effects.

hot flash

With the drop of estrogen once I stopped taking BCP, the hot flashes and headaches started. The headaches weren’t too bad and I just made sure to drink plent of water throughout the day. The hot flashes were the worst. I am taking the Lupron at night so the hot flashes would go throughout the night. Me on little sleep is never a good thing but me in little sleep and my hormones being off – I was a mess. Not emotional per se but my normal type A self just didn’t have my normal drive and  became rather apatheic (I’ll touch more on this further down). Thankfully the worst of it only lasted two weeks because I started Estradiol at that point.

Estradiol (AKA the fertility version of the little blue pill) – Yes, the pill is blue. Yes, it did increase my sex drive. Yes, it took away all of the negative side effects of the Lupron. This one deserves a gold star! Side note: I did talk to my acupuncturist (who treats a lot of patients who see my RE) and she said that everything I was experiencing was normal.

One thing I touched on above was my change in attitude. I fought feeling anything last cycle and this one I’ve embraced it. I’ve started a vision board and reevaluated some life goals I have. It has been a breath of fresh air and I’ve started working on some projects that I have always wanted to do but always said I was too busy with work, etc to devote my time to a side project. I’ll share more of that later once I get further along.

Hopefully this helps anyone who is curious as to possible side effects of these meds. I have another ppt tomorrow and will be start the dreaded PIO shot on Saturday. What does everyone else think about the meds?

4th of July recipes

For my Instagram ladies – here are the recipes I mentioned in the post a week ago. So sorry I’m behind! We had a bad storm on the 4th and my car was hit by a large tree branch. What we thought was just cosmetic damage has turned out to also include a cracked radiator – I bet you can only imagine how fun this has been 😉 Sometimes I hesitate to share the negative items that are going on in life because it’s not like reading about infertility is the most uplifting topic and adding to it can make for quite the depressing post. But I refuse to pretend that it’s all rainbows and unicorns outside of this diagnosis. Life happens and it’s all in how you deal with it. Now onto the original post that was started last week….

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The Dip

I first tasted this dip at a BBQ at a cousin’s house. I’m sure this recipe is floating somewhere on the internet but I have no idea what it is called. It does not look the prettiest but it tastes delicious!

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Ingredients
2 8oz containers of cream cheese
2 cans of Rotel (I used 1 Mild and 1 Original)
2 sausage rolls (I use Tennessee Pride but any brand can be used)
Tostito chips

Sausage dip

1) Brown the sausage in pan over medium heat. Drain off the fat.
2) Whilte the sausage is cooking, put the cream cheese and Rotel in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 40 seconds. This will soften the cream cheese.
3) Add the sausage into the bowl and mix thoroughly.

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Enjoy! It’s a simple recipe that is always a hit. If it cools down too much, you can pop it into the microwave or oven to heat it back up.

Berry Swirl Cake

Berry Swirl Cake

I first found this Kraft Strawberry Swirl Recipe a few years ago when searching for a cake with a light icing to mke during summer.  I’ve made some small changes as I’ve made this each time:

– The recipe calls to put the regular cake mix and strawberry cake mix half and half in the pan. I found that too difficult so I put the regular cake mix in and “plop” the strawberry mix in on top. Then I swirl with a fork.

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– For the icing, I use 1/2 cup of sour cream instead of the 2/3 cup called for in the recipe.

– I use blueberries, rasberries, and strawberries instead of just strawberries.

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– When I ice the cake, I ice the bottom layer, add the strawberries. and repeat with the top layer (using different fruits for the top layer). I do not add icing to the side of the cake.

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Hope everyone had a great long holiday weekend and easy week back into work after!