To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cycle 2, Follicle Study 2

I am bursting with things I want and need to say, but I really need time to process what I've been through these past few days before I write them down here.  Virginia Woolf used to say that she knew she was ready to begin writing a new novel when she "had a first sentence".  In general, I subscribe to that myself; and honestly, even though I've got so much to say, I still don't "have my first sentence" yet.

Even so, I know that if you've been visiting here lately, you've been hearing crickets; and I'm sorry for that.  So, until I can write some of the emotional progress I've been making, I thought I'd share some of the physical progress today.

As you can probably guess by now, medicated and inject cycle #1 did NOT "work".  As in, we're not pregnant.  Although we weren't expecting it to work the first time around, I have to say it was pretty disappointing to finally know that you actually have a chance (because up until now, I've never ovulated while we were trying; which, of course, makes it all moot) and not succeed.  I've heard it said about IF time and again, but it merits repeating: this is one of those things in life where hard work, determination, and merit mean nothing.  In other words, I can't just put in more hours on this or study harder or be a better person.  In other's not a merit thing, it's a miracle thing.

I've had to come to terms with some hard core facts about God this past weekend, and I will write about them soon - SOON!  I promise (you and myself)!  But for now, I am moving forward in cycle #2 with my head up and full of miraculous expectancy.  It's time to change my perspective and practice what I preach.

First off, I'm going to look at the positives and not focus on the negatives.  So, here goes:  cycle #1 I was on 50 mg a day of Clomid supplemented by Estradiol vaginal suppositories until day #13.  At that point, I had another internal ultrasound (between the pre-cancer and IF, I'm an old pro at these!); and my doctor decided that I had three potential follicles (eggs), but that while they were growing, they weren't quite up to a satisfactory size yet.

So, for the next three days, I continued my Estradiol suppositories and also gave myself FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) via subcutaneous shots in my stomach.  Yes, fun-fun.  I posted about that earlier, if you'd like to see pix, just scroll down, you sicko!  HA!  On the fourth day, one more internal ultrasound - only one follicle had reached a good size.  Not a great size, but a good enough size.  Also, the Estradiol had kept my endometrial lining good (I was at a 10); so, Dr. S said we could go ahead and do the Ovidrel "trigger" shot (a subcutaneous shot in the stomach of pure HCG - "human chorionic gonadotropin" - that forces the stimulated follicle to burst from the ovum, thus ovulating).  After the shot, I started taking Prometrium (progesterone) suppositories every night instead of the Estradiol, "just in case" I conceived but didn't have enough progesterone to foster implantation.

On CD#16, I gave myself the trigger shot.  We timed everything "just so" according to our doctor's orders; then we waited.  After the 2ww (two week wait), blood was drawn; and we found out that we were absolutely NOT pregnant.  In fact, my beta level was literally "0".  Yeah.  *frowny face*

Now, I know that it sounds as though cycle #1 was a big, fat failure.  And, I have to admit, at the time, it did feel that way.  I started doubting that this was ever going to work, etc.  However, there is MUCH to be grateful for.  #1: the lowest dose of Clomid "works" for me, #2: I ovulated!  Can you say "BREAKTHROUGH"?!, #3: Beyond some dizziness, a few slight headaches, and teeny tiny bit of nausea, I've had NO adverse reactions to the meds - thank you GOD!

So, what now?  Well, we're on cycle #2.  In fact, tomorrow will be CD#11; and I have, yes you guessed it, another internal ultrasound/follicle study! Woo!  I am believing that this cycle is even better than the last one.  Heck, I'm going to go into this believing that this IS the last cycle!  So, far, I've been on Clomid (again 50 mg) and Estradiol; and all has been good.  And you know what?  It's just going to keep getting better! 

Oh!  I'm also working out like crazy!  I was always good about working out before, but Dr. S says that women with PCOS can really benefit from working out (and working out hard) every day - not just for IF (although he seems to think it will help with TTC) but in general.  So, I've been pushing myself harder and harder.  I am on the treadmill for at least 45 minutes to an hour; then, it's on to weights for 15-20 minutes more.  I also started eating better.  Again, I've never been a "fast food junkie" or anything; but I probably could have tried a little bit harder to eat better.  So, Mr. C and I have been nearly vegetarian (I say "nearly" because I had three days where I was visiting my mom for her birthday and eating entirely vegetarian at my parent's house doesn't always work) this entire cycle.  We feel so good we're thinking of keeping it up indefinitely!

Okay, okay...I'm done!  I swear!  Haha!  Just make sure you check back again soon...I promise I'll have some good stuff up here lickity split!

Jiggity Jig,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Beautifully Broken on iTunes 2/14/11

Okay, another shameless self-promotion here; but my band, The Beautifully Broken, will be available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon MP3, Zune and all of the fabulous above-mentioned online music stores starting Valentine's Day 2011 (that's right, this MONDAY)!!!!

So, go check it out and feel the LOVE! :-)  I hope you have a red and pink and hearts all over kind of V-Day, my lovely online friends!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Name Game: Part Two

I get my 7 DPO progesterone levels checked tomorrow morning!  So exciting!  BUT, also nerve-wrecking!  I know you can't know if you're pregnant by progesterone levels, but you can tell if you ovulated (and if the Clomid, FSH shots, and HCG trigger shot worked!). 

But with one week officially "down" and one more to go before I can officially pee on a stick, it suddenly hit me (and Mr. C) that all of these names we've been throwing around for the last few years are honestly going to have to be whittled down once and for all!

Names are hard for me, because I LOVE them!  I'm writing a comic book and a children's series right now, and part of the fun for me has been naming all of my wonderful characters!  It's like having tons of kids that you get to name but never have to feed, clothe, or generally take care of - haha! *wink*

Few people have ever seen it, but I actually have a running "name list" that is about 10 pages long (single spaced)!  While I use this list to store cool names mostly for future characters, I also am using it to pull names for our future child(ren).  I've gone back and forth among that list from preppy and classic to hipster and boho sounding names - from comic book-esque to retro.  The only thing Mr. C and I have kinda (sorta) agreed on is that we'd probably like to keep the names (at leas the first name) as Irish as possible to honor our heritages (and my dual-citizenship); but then I hear some fabulous French name, and I throw that plan out the window (in my mind)!

Part of me wants to find out the gender of the baby (one day) and just wait till we meet him/her on his/her birthday and then just shout out the name that seems most appropriate for their tiny face.  But, I realize that with grandmas waiting expectantly to monogram everything possible for the wee one, this is probably not very practical or fair.  So, I'm back to whittling...heaven help me!

The good thing is, Mr. C and I have the same taste in names (thank you sweet merciful God!); so, there's been no fighting over something outrageous or ugly that he wants to name our future child...only that we can't give them 10 names (well, we could; but we won't).

So, without further ado, I give you my most recent name lists for boys and girls:


Fionnoula (pro: "finn" + "oola"; nickname: Finn)

Brigid (nickname: Bidu)  

Maeve (pro: "may" + "v")

Tallulah (nickname: Lulu)

Saoirse (pro: "seer" + "sha")


Roisin (pro: "ro" + "sheen")

Briony (nickname: Bri)


Finnegan (nickname: Finn)

Desmond (nickname: Dez/Des)









Cullen (nickname: Cully)

Rockit (nickname: Kit)
Yeah, okay, so 13 names a piece on each list doesn't seem whittled down; but trust me, it IS!  Lord help us when we truly have to decide!  Haha!  How did you choose your child's name?  Was it a family name or something completely original?  Did it have cultural ties to your heritage or did you just simply like it a lot?  I'd love to hear how you came to decide!

Dreaming and Scheming,

The Perfect Vintage (Clothes, that is!)

One of my New Year's resolutions is to dress "better".  I want to look more hip without being too hispter-ish.  I want to look more put-together without being too stuffy or overdone.  And I want to look more *gasp* grown-up without looking too matronly.

A few months ago (around Black Friday, I believe), I splurged on some true basic items from Forever 21 and American Apparel, and I mean BASIC.  I bought some long-sleeved tees and short sleeved tees that fit nicely in basic black, white, and grey along with some new charcoal grey and black leggings.  I also bought a couple of cardigans (one in teal, one in a light heather gray).  Later, I bought three new pairs of shoes (one bootie, two pumps); and I was feeling pretty good!

I took a whole evening and sorted through everything in my closet that I didn't wear anymore, couldn't wear anymore (because it doesn't fit me - waaaa!), and shouldn't wear anymore (this included anything I'd be hoarding from high school and college).  It felt liberating to get all of the unused items that were cluttering my precious closet space out (PS: all of those clothes are going to charity); however, once I looked at what was left I felt uninspired and, frankly, a little sad.  Everything was basic and blah.  Nothing stood out or made me excited.

I used to take HUGE fashion risks when I was younger, donning hot pink bell bottoms or a skin-tight red velvet dress (yes, it was the 90's); and while I don't want to wear things that obviously scream "hey, look at me!" anymore, I sure would love to wear clothes that make people see that the woman I've become is still that confident and fun-loving.

One thing I really want to do is add more vintage to my wardrobe.  I love the juxtaposition of new with old almost as much as that of feminine (soft) with masculine (hard/edgy).  So, I thought I'd dig around the Internet to see what I could find; and I thought I'd share some of these goodies with you!

There's something so effortlessly sexy about a faded denim jacket - reminds me of James Dean or something.  This jacket is available at Split Pea Vintage.

I LOVE this one-shouldered dress also from Split Pea Vintage.
Isn't this black velvet blazer hottt?  I especially loved how they styled the model's hair and sunglasses with it!  Split Pea Vintage.

This deep-"V" shirt dress is so cute when paired with the belt and tights!  Rock Paper Vintage
I think this 70's chevron dress would be adorable for summertime with some brown cowboy boots! Rock Paper Vintage

I actually love this whole outfit, but I think only the beautiful, boho shirt is on sale.  Rock Paper Vintage
There's something surprisingly modern about this military jacket.  Rock Paper Vintage
I love love LOVE this 70's, teal velveteen dress from Bleubird Vintage - too bad it's already sold out!
This 70's "Salem" tunic is adorable with the high-waist belt and shorty shorts!  I'd pair the outfit with some clogs or wedges for extra 70's sass!  Bleubird Vintage
I wish I could get away with wearing this outfit just as it is, but I'm feeling a little chunky and old right now. *sad face*  Bleubird Vintage
I love wearing green with my pale skin and red hair!  This dress looks so comfy too...hmm, I wonder if it would work as a maternity dress?!  *fingers crossed*  Bleubird Vintage
I even found this super cute cream Members Only jacket (and the tee underneath) that would look great on Mr. C! Bleubird Vintage
Mr. C really loves cardigans; and the pimento color of this one is unique, I think he'd love it (I KNOW he'd look good in it!). Bleubird Vintage
To my delight, I found some super cute kid's clothes too - like this hooded, rainbow dress!  Bleubird Vintage
And what about this teeny-tiny Members Only jacket?!  Ah! Could you not just die it's so cute?!  Bleubird Vintage

Going through fertility treatments is expensive; so, I doubt I'll buy many (if any) of the finds I'm sharing here today.  But, I do hope to make some purchases soon!  Just the little dabbling I did tonight really got my blood going on the "hunt" for clothes to make up my new "cool yet grown-up" wardrobe.  Wish me luck!!!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

And Now We Wait

It just dawned on me today that I've been very forthcoming on this blog...and that it is pretty obvious to anyone who's been following it that I could know if I'm  newly pregnant (or not) within just about 14 days or so.  One of the less fun "side effects" of fertility treatments is the fact that the couple's ability to be romantic and spontaneous about certain bits of information is taken from them.  (I mean, how romantic can pregnancy news be when you got pregnant by injecting yourself with hormones in the stomach for a week, used vaginal suppositories to promote endometrium growth and progesterone levels, and literally had to time intercourse to within just the right hour to ensure conception?!) 

A lot of personal information?  Yes, I'm sorry - I know; but it has truly left me with a dilemma...when to tell that we've conceived...or not.  My initial plan was to be smart and wait out the first trimester before divulging that we're pregnant (if that is, indeed, the outcome); but what would I write on this blog?  How would I dance around that issue?  I'm not clever enough to think of some way to lie about it for three months...I'm just not.  Well, maybe I am, but maybe I just don't have the energy to think like that anymore.  I don't know.  Whatever the case, I'm trying to decide when and where and how much to tell.

I had all of these great ideas as to how to tell my family and friends that we were expecting one day; but with so many of them keeping tabs on this blog, it seems like a moot point now.  And that's a little disappointing to me, quite frankly.  Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut about the fact that we were starting fertility treatments, but I don't know about that either...I've truly enjoyed sharing my story and hearing other people's stories in return - so much love and hope and support in this arena of hopelessness and despair.  I'm grateful for all of those kind comments, prayers, and encouraging words!

So, when are we going to tell?  How are we going to deal with this?  Well, honestly, I have no clue.  The only thing I do know is that if everything "worked" this try, we will be due on October 28th, 2011.  That concept is absolutely blowing my mind!  We obviously don't want to be over-excited, because chances for failure are high; but still we are full of hope.

And now we wait...


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Night #2 of FSH Shots (Icky Pix Included!)

I thought I'd share some pictures of my "adventures with needles" (did I mention that I HATE needles? I really do!); but some people have told me that this whole process no matter how scary and unpleasant is worth it - haha!  So, onward we go, right?!  At least I'll have something to hold over my child's head one day to guilt them into doing chores, "Do you realize that I had to give myself shots in the stomach to have you?!  The least you can do for me is vacuum the floor!"  Haha!  I'm KIDDING!!!!

So, tonight at 8 p.m. on the dot was time for shot #2; and being an "old pro" at this now (yeah, right!) I thought I'd put up some pix of how the whole "shot in the stomach thing" goes down.

This is my FSH "hobby kit" - ha!  It has everything I need to mix up my own FSH with some saline in the syringe then putting the needle on, wiping off my tummy with the alcohol swab, and off I go to administer the shot!

This is what the syringe looks like with the solution in it ready to go and the needle on it ready to inject.

Next, I find a fatty part on my stomach and kinda pinch it to stick the needle in, releasing the "pinch" before I try to push in the syringe.  (Note: please excuse the Christmas pj's...we were snowed in all day today; so, I lounged it up big time!)

Lastly, after I've released the pinch and the needle's just "in" my tummy, I push the fluid in through the syringe.  Et voila!  The act is done!

We only have one more night and injection to go, then I have another ultrasound and injection in the office of Dr. S at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday; then, (hopefully) I'll ovulate for possibly the first time in years!  Woo!  All of you gals who ovulate "normally" on cycle day 14 - please tell me you're GRATEFUL!  This isn't the worst I've been through in my life, but it's certainly not "fun".  I just hope to God above that it works!  (Please pray if you have time and think of it!  We would both really appreciate it!)

The snow and ice kept us inside and away from work today.  I hope if you're being bombarded by the elements that you're staying warm and safe out there!  More news and updates coming soon as we barrel down this wild and crazy adventure!