Thursday, July 31, 2008

Could be worse...

...could be better. I had 6-7 follicles today but the RE thinks we'll retrieve about 5 good ones. It's odd I know, but I'm not upset about it. What did bother me was that it was 90+ degrees and, while the exam rooms are [slightly] air conditioned, the main office isn't and we had to spend half an hour talking to them about billing issues. After that we went to the pharmacy where our debit card didn't work (they repeatedly asked us if we had enough money in the account which made us feel so cool) so we had to go to the bank to withdraw money--from the same account--and return to pay. It was so freaking hot!

Seriously though, I'm just waiting to start freaking out about this and it hasn't happened yet. I was a little nervous/anxious on Tuesday but not so much now. Today's news was a little better than Tuesday's but it was during my last cycle as well. I'm too tired to expound on this peaceful, easy feeling but I know Who it's from...and I know He won't let me down. Even my googling is half-hearted; I'll open a window with something I googled and then go on to something else and then forget why I googled it in the first place. Either this is going to work or not but reading about other people's experiences won't tell me anything. It will never be enough to comfort me but sometimes the least little negative blurb written on some Australian message board in 1999 is enough to discourage me. Whatever. My next appointment is Monday afternoon and she anticipates a retrieval on Wednesday or Thursday.

TOIAW just asked me if he is the main focus of my blog entries. I told him no and that, actually, he isn't mentioned by name in this post but he requested that I mentioned him...and he gave me a bite of ice cream so there you go. I love you, TOIAW. You and PP are the lights of my life :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

That's JWIAW's battle cry! We get the money back for our old computer!

I regard this as a major victory because the post exchange is not always known for their customer service. I often feel the attitude is "shopping here is a benefit and you can use it or not." I think it's important to always remain calm, articulate, and concise when pursuing an issue like this but never back down from your position. Oh, and try not to take it personally because, once you do, it's difficult to maintain focus. [Just to be fair, I should state that TOIAW is exceedingly better at this than I am.]

This took far less time than I thought it would. If you need to fight any customer service-related fights for you, you know where to find me!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thank You, Kelly Kapowski

My youngest brother is in LA visiting his girlfriend but he's okay after the earthquake because, as he told my mother, he knew exactly what to do thanks to a Saved By The Bell episode. I IMed with him right before it happened and they were just getting ready to go to lunch...I didn't ask but I bet they were going to The Max.

Hormones & Hysterics

Nothing bad has happened today but that hasn't stopped me from crying several times. Ahhh, the lovely feeling of being hyped up on hormones...

The ultrasound today showed 5-ish follicles which is less than I was hoping for, but at least some are doing something, you know? My last cycle was pretty much the same at this point so I'm not going to let this get to me. My doctor didn't seem bothered by it (but she did increase my medication dosage a bit) even when I asked her if she was concerned and/or if we should cancel this cycle (I have no idea why I asked that--even as I was saying it I felt so silly and negative). Just call me Debbie Downer. I go back Thursday afternoon so I hope these follicles do something impressive in the next 48 hours.

After making a short stop by the pharmacy where I spent about $920 on medication for the next few days, I rushed to Bible study. It was my last day to go so they "farewelled" me. I was late so it happened just as I walked in and the tears flowed as they prayed for me. I wanted to tell them how special they are to me, but there was no way I could speak. With things like blogs and social networking sites, it's easier than ever to stay in touch with people but the reality is I won't see most of these women ever again. It's so strange to me that you can share so much with someone for a year and then *poof* someone picks you up, tosses you around, and throws you down somewhere else and that's your new world. I simply do not think I will ever get used to this aspect of military life. It rattles me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. When people in our Bible study leave, we give them framed Bible verse and everyone signs the back. Whoever thought of it was genius! I haven't made it through all the signatures yet because it makes me cry--go figure.

Enough about the hormones, let's talk about the hysterics. Remember the new computer we have? We bought it because we had a repair policy on our old computer and even though the usualy policy is that you must send it to the US to get repaired if you live overseas, you simply need to bring the computer into the store and they will refund you. We tried that today. It didn't work. I had to step away from the customer service man...as in really far away. TOIAW made some calls and it looks like we were given erroneous information initially and my sweet new computer will be going back to the store. A manager graciously--note the sarcasm--offered to allow us to return the computer for a full refund if we get it to the store within the next 30 minutes. [I'm not even kidding about that last part.] Nevermind the fact we live more than an hour away from that store and the guy who works in the electronics section of the store near us is nice, but not exactly a first round draft pick if you catch my drift. Unfortunately for these people, I have nothing but time on my hands. That totally sucks for them. I called the store where we made the purchase and the manager hit me with the standard I-took-a-customer-service-class question: What can I do to correct this sitaution? I told her she could honor what we were told and refund our money for the old computer. Khalas (Arabic word meaning "enough"). She repeated her generous offer. I reminded her that their represenative quoted us a policy and I strongly feel they should honor it. I also informed her I have plenty of time to pursue this. She's going to have the electronics manager call me tomorrow. Now, I know the chances of me actually getting what I want are slim, but it's worth a try. I was nothing but polite and calm during the entire conversation. It's not really important, but I still wanted you to know.


I feel better now. I have a ton of laundry to fold but that's not really a bad thing because it's cool in the basement ;)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Big Decision

I think we've found a place to live in DC. Okay, it's in Northern Virginia but it is inside the beltway. After much planning, plotting, figuring, budgeting, and discussion we've decided to go small. Small=Cheaper and that's a good thing. We're planning on doing a lot of weekend trips and dining out so we figured it best to save money where we can. I have no idea where we're going to put all our stuff but I suppose we'll jump off that bridge when we get to it.

We did decide to splurge and live in a posh-ish planned community. We lived in one, coincidentally, it Washington state and loved it. I probably wouldn't want to live there forever, but as renters it worked out very well. It's close to dog parks, walking trails, and the community has it's own gym so we won't have to join one or schlep to post to work-out. Oh, and there's a Whole Foods a few miles down the road. Maybe with the money we're saving in rent, I can afford to shop there.

Right, so the move is over, we have a place to live, and the Olympics don't begin for 11 days which leaves me with a lot of time on my hands to obsess about IVF.

Cave Dwellers

Last week the daily high temperatures were in the 60's (low 60's, I might add) and this week the forecast is for the high 80's. Normally I wouldn't care so much but I have one medication that cannot get too hot but it's also sensitive to cold so it cannot go in the refrigerator. I have all the shutters closed which gives our house a nice "Go away, we don't want any" vibe.

I spent most of the weekend in bed with a killer headache but that seems to be getting better. I suppose it's from the medication. All in all, the medication has seemed far worse this time from the injections to the side effects but it's not that bad, really. If I were working or had things to do, it would be a problem but it's hard to complain too much when I'm just sitting around the house.

Mentally I've had my moments but it's been more good than bad. Yesterday TOIAW's best friend called to tell us his wife had a baby whom they named after TOIAW. I was genuinely happy for them and it didn't bother me at all. Last night, however, my head hurt really bad and TOIAW asked if there was anything he could do and I said, "Make it so that I don't have to take all these drugs in order to have a baby," and even though I meant it as an attempt at humor it hit me like a ton of bricks and I cried and cried. Considering the amount of hormones I'm injecting, emotional moments are to be expected.

Tomorrow is my first ultrasound and bloodwork appointment. I'm much more anxious about it than I expected to be. I just assumed everything would work last cycle and I think that is why I'm much more cautious this time. It also doesn't help that I don't have much to distract me from thinking/dwelling on it. Every now and then when I move I can feel a little something in the ovarian region so I do think something is going on in there. I'll just feel better when I get confirmation of that!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Was Expecting More

Today the movers loaded the last of our things and now our house feels so hollow. It's rather depressing, actually. We have temporary bedroom furniture but they're not delivering our temporary living room furniture until tomorrow. Instead of being empty it's going to look like an orthodontist's office, but that will still be an improvement.

Because the movers were done so early, TOIAW was able to go to my RE appointment with me. Praise God! This is a list of what happened while there:

  • Shortly after entering the office with the doctor, she was called out for an emergency phone call from her husband. Her daughter had fallen off a swing and had to be rushed to the dentist.
  • The ultrasound showed 8 antral follicles (meaning this is the highest number of eggs I could produce is everthing goes perfect). She didn't seem upset by this, but I was disappointed. She explained that we cannot change this, but it's still a good number. [I'm trying to get it out of my mind, but haven't had much luck so far.]
  • As she was going over the plan and medication schedule, the doctor received another urgent phone call that was transferred to the room where we were. All of the sudden, she began sobbing. TOIAW and I said we would wait outside. After a few minutes she came out and told us a good friend of hers, who had been treated at the clinic, lost her baby in utero at 28 weeks. I felt so sad for both her and her friend. That's another thing I just can't get out of my mind. I've just been praying for them both ever since.
  • One of the office workers came in and, through an interpreter, had a conversation with us about billing and our insurance. They were asking us to pay an astronomical amount and wait to be reimbursed. Thankfully, TOIAW handled that.

I begin the medication this evening. I'm excited but really anxious about it all. I've got to shake this "what are we going to do if it doesn't work" thought that's in the back of my head. And that's not the only bad thought. I also have a "what if it works and I have a miscarriage" thought floating around there as well. Sounds like someone needs to lay off the message boards, huh? I just wish I were in a better place to begin this journey. Oh, and the movers packed my Bible. Not that it was their fault, but it's gone and I really want it back. I could buy one, or borrow one, get one free at the chapel, or read online but I want mine because that's the kind of mood I'm in at the moment. I really want to feel God's presence right now because I'm really, really scared. [Yes, I know I just used the word 'really' way too many times, but I'm not going to change it.] With my first IVF, I had such high hopes. This time is a lot more expensive and even though we haven't discussed it I'm pretty sure there won't be a next time if this fails as well. The pressure is overwhelming at times--and I'm creating it myself! As I was packing, I read some letters TOIAW wrote me when he was in Iraq and every single one mentioned how excited he was to have babies with me. I read them and bawled. He doesn't mention it much but I know he desperately wants a child. I'm not sure where I'm going with this but while I'm on the subject I'm also going to mention that three of my neighbors and one friend of mine are pregnant. Surprisingly, other people's pregnancies haven't bothered me too much in the past but now--BAM! I never wanted to be that person. I prided myself on being that person. I hate you, Pride. And it's not so much that I'm jealous, it's just that I want to be pregnant also. Is that so much to ask? I don't want them not to have it, I simply want it, too. If only it were all that easy.

This is a really sad post, I know. Probably because I feel really sad and empty right now. Empty like my house. Empty like my womb. Empty like that piece of my heart that so wants to love my baby. I'm done thinking about this and thinking like this.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

Or, if you prefer, The Message version:

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Can See You

I would have to go back and read the entire blog to see if there's anything I wouldn't want my family to read, but I can say for sure I never intended for them to read it. Sometimes it's easier to share things with strangers than it is to share with your family...and, frankly, if I want my family to know something, I'll tell them. That's the kind of relationship we have. We are close, don't get me wrong, but not in a read-my-intimate-feelings-written-on-a-blog way. SO, imagine my surprise when I randomly logged on to Google analytics and saw that someone from my hometown spent a long time reading my blog and looked at several pages. Yikes! Ugh...I guess I'll have to watch what I say unless that person is not related to me and would kindly let me know that you just randomly found the blog and wanted to read it. It's creeping me out, dude. (and I'm not even really sure why)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Maximum Range of an Excuse

In TOIAW's work environment there is a saying: The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters. I fully expect him to say this to me today when he gets home. I did have anesthesia today for a mild procedure which included puncturing a cyst and having a look see at my uterus but I was 80% three minutes after waking up and easily 100% fifteen minutes later--and I told him as much, silly me. FYI, everything went fine with the procedure and I do some kind of supression shot Tuesday and Wednesday and then begin stims on Friday. If that doesn't make sense to you fertile people, that's okay, I only partially understand myself. I've been preoccupied with the move and haven't had sufficient time to obsess but, coincidentally, the move will be completed (mostly) Thursday just in time for me to devote myself full-time to IVF Obsession.

We do not have everything prepared for the movers. [Rachel asked me if I had any moving tips since she's moving in a few weeks. HA! It's so sweet, though, that she thinks I'm organized enough to be able to offer useful advice.] All my neighbors say "oh, just leave it and let them do all the work" but the thought of doing that seems so irresponsible. There's only one major project left and that's my craft room. It's a work in progress, but still probably several hours away from completion. There's so much fabric and scrapbooking junk (right now it's junk because I'm sick of looking at it and finding more in every drawer, nook, and cranny) and if I let them just throw it in boxes, I would never be able to sort it out. The semi-good news is it must be completed by tomorrow morning because someone is coming who needs access to that room and let's just say that's not exactly possible at the moment.

Right, so it's 7:45pm and I got home around 3 and promised TOIAW I was going to take a short nap before starting back to work. Guess how much work I've done so far? If you guessed none, or less than none, you win!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Found!

I've been organizing/packing/purging all day (not so good on the ol' back, in case you're wondering) and so far this is what I've found:

  • A straw hat I bought in Bermuda and wanted to take to Spain but couldn't find.
  • My travel pillow that was MIA when I looked for it last time I went to the US.
  • $300+ in gift cards that we've been looking for since we moved to Germany a little over 2 years ago. The bulk of the money is for Pottery Barn (woo-hoo!) and the others are for Bed, Bath, and Beyond which will go towards the purchase of my Dyson Animal!

I'm off to see what other treasures I can uncover...assuming I can stand up and walk back upstairs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sweet Relief

I'm back from the clinic and all is well because:

1. I received a "release" letter stating I am cleared for anesthesia.

2. I got a prescription for a muscle relaxer which shoud bring some relief and, hopefully, rest. X-rays showed a muscle spasm which is likely putting pressure on a nerve. Go, Dr. Google!

The PA was still a little flighty and still not professional. I realized when I was in her office, however, that she is younger than my youngest brother (and he's eight years younger than me) so I'm thinking maybe it's just an age thing. I really should give her a break; she helped me and, even though that's her job, she did go above and beyond. This age theory is a bit troubling though--I'm a little young to be pulling the, "Back in my day..." stuff.

Dinner is DONE because I threw this in the slow cooker this morning. It's a favorite recipe around here and the leftovers are a hit also. We don't eat pork, but I hear it's good with pork loin also. I think TOIAW can handle the after-dinner cleaning and I will be enjoying my drug-induced rest.

I promise you some pictures tomorrow!

Calgon, Take Me Away!

Right, so I still haven't finished the post about the incident we had in Austria. It's partially written, but I haven't had the emotional energy to finish it. Things have been busy and crazy around here this past week.

Where to begin? Let's see...last week I had an appointment with my RE who discovered a new cyst and that was pretty discouraging. She did, however, give me a plan: I will go in Monday for a combined mock embryo transfer/make sure the uterus looks good (no polyps, fibroids, etc.) and if the cyst is still there, it will be punctured. In the meantime, she requested that I get a statement from my general practitioner stating that I am healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. I, of course, explained to her that would be very difficult because I have never been to the clinic at our current base and even if I had a long relationship with someone, I didn't think many American physicians would be all that jazzed about signing off without performing a battery of tests. My RE pressed the issue so I said I would try. I called the clinic and they told me to come in on Tuesday at 10:00. The ONLY day of the week I had plans was Tuesday at 10:00 and I really wanted to go to Bible study. I foolishly told myself it would go quickly and I would still be able to make it. Ha.

I was called back to do the vital signs bit just a few minutes after I arrived and it all went well until she asked me how many pregnancies I've had. I told her three and she then asked how many children. My throat was tightening, but I managed to get out, "zero," without my voice cracking. This normally doesn't bother me too much, but it did that day. Okay, well that was over and then I met with a PA. I didn't mind that I was seeing a PA because what I wanted could be done by anyone. When I told her what I wanted, she immediately balked but I expected as much. I wasn't upset with what she said, but how she said it; she used the term, "what the hell..." at least twice. Klassy, no? Her language and her Hello Kitty mousepad didn't have me feeling the professional vibe if you know what I mean. BUT, she said she would call my doctor and talk to her. My doctor speaks perfect English and I had her phone number but for some reason she got a German to run interference. While the PA was speaking to the RE, not-so-kind German lady interrogated me about how I found this RE and when I told her it was through personal research, she rolled her eyes and said that wasn't always a good idea. You know what's NEVER a good idea? Pink banana clips. But that didn't stop you from putting one in your hair today.

So, the PA agrees to help me and orders a battery of tests to be conducted at the hospital in my town. She also ordered an EKG that was done at the clinic that day. Because my life seems to work this way, it came back abnormal. I asked the PA what it meant and her exact words were, "it's a blip, but I don't really know how to read these things." Super! She did send me to a cardiologist who saw me for about 2 minutes yesterday and told me it's fine and he explained it to me but I won't bore you with it.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though, because while I was getting dressed to go to my appointments yesterday morning I severely injured my back while--get this--putting on my underwear. Yes, those things should come with warning labels. I'm not sure what I did, but my back is killing me. Dr. Google thinks it could be my sciatic nerve. There is not one position I have found that is comfortable and, as a result, I hardly slept. I figure I'll ask the PA since I have to go back to her to go over the test results.

The movers are coming next week and this back thing is really the last thing I need. Ideally, I'll have everything organized by Sunday so I don't have to worry about it but we'll see. Theoretically, I could do nothing and let the movers do all the work but I still feel the need to prepare.

What else, what else? I'm sure there's more complaining I could do. No! Actually, I have some GREAT news: We got a NEW laptop!!! This is really exciting news for me, sad as that probably sounds. Designing a website--okay, communicating with the web designer--is a lot easier when you have a working computer. As soon as it's up and running, I'll give you the link.

I'm off to see the Hello Kitty PA...I'm really praying all is well with the test results. In addition, I'm hoping the director of the clinic hasn't had a chance to speak to her before I see her. It seems TOIAW met the new commander of the clinic today and they had a chat...something about me being so upset after I left the clinic that I showed up in his office sobbing so hard he wouldn't let me drive myself home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm a Mess!

I'm covered in hair and blood. No, there wasn't an accident at the spa. That would be tragic, no doubt, but what I experienced was equally traumatizing. It seems our dog, PP, has bronchitis. You would think a trip to the vet to have that diagnosed would be more or less straight forward but, then again, you don't live in Germany.

I do take some responsibility because, not recognizing a dog cough, I thought she had something stuck in her throat. The vet did recognize the dog cough but wanted to have a look down her throat just to be sure. FOUR sedative injections later (the last three doses were given by IV) she was semi-relaxed enough that if three people were holding her the doctor was able to get a look and inform me her throat is red and irritated but only from the bronchitis. I now have a drunk doggie who keeps stumbling around to find a comfy place to rest. Bless her heart.

I sometimes wonder if I'll even be able to handle motherhood. I mean this mere two hour ordeal was both physically and emotionally draining and it involved minimal crying and whining (although I did lose several hours of sleep due to her coughing and my worrying). It's just breaking my heart to see her like this and don't think I didn't cry. The vet and her assistant exchanged some glances about that but at least they didn't start talking about me in German (at least not in my presence).

So, it looks like the remainder of the day will be spent petting and sweet-talking my sweet puppy. She's extra cuddly now and I love that. I'm also going to finish the post I'm writing about an experience we had in Austria so stay tuned!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Spending Money

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am starting a company with my mom and aunt and even though it's a small business (emphasis on the small) with little overhead, I feel like we're spending a ton of money to get it going. I know these are largely one off expenses but when you do it all at one time and no money is coming in, it's a bit scary. Then again, when I tally all the costs, I am reminded the cost is quite low, all things considered.

So our weekend in Salzburg was nice and relaxing. TOIAW doesn't always do relaxing, but he managed pretty well this time. We enjoyed walking around the city and exploring the nearby lake region. Oh, how I love the Alps! The lakes and rivers there have the most amazing color. We rented a boat and spent a couple of hours cruising around a particularly beautiful one. I really wish I could show you pictures but that's not possible on this computer. I was actually thinking about it the other day and realized my old laptop started acting up about the time I tried to upload the Spain pictures to the blog. Maybe the computer was jealous?

I do have a great post I've been composing in my mind for several days. It relates to our trip but it really deserves it's own post. I saw a shirt once that said, "I'm going to blog about this later," and I really wish I'd bought it.

I know this is boring, but I promise you a better post tomorrow. I'm off to make dinner and continue pouting about the Men's final at Wimbledon. I really wanted Roger to win. I call him Roger because we're close like that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Checking In

Yeah, I know it's been forever since I've posted anything. I still don't have a new computer and it looks like I won't for a couple of months when TOIAW can go to every electronics store in the Greater DC area and conduct extensive research. The one I'm using now can only be used in short periods or it will overheat and freeze. That sounds odd, but you know what I mean. I've seen a few bloggers use this format to update after an extended absence, and I am going to do the same. The following is the Cliff's Notes version of the past several weeks:

  • I went to Oklahoma for 2 weeks to attend the wedding of my oldest friend, Beth. It was a gorgeous ceremony with an even more gorgeous bride! It was a lot of fun and I'm thrilled I was able to be there.
  • While In Oklahoma, my mom, aunt, and I also began to develop yet another craft/project line we hope to begin selling in the near future. Details (probably more than you care to know) to follow, soon.
  • It's still HOT in Themiddleofnowhere, Germany and the heat is absolutely zapping all my energy. I would go to bed early but my neighbors think it's completely appropriate to let their children jump on their new trampoline until 10:30pm. I'm not even kidding. I hope they never get hurt to the point they require medical attention because both parents are usually too drunk to drive by about 8 every evening. Okay, I'll stop now.
  • Finding housing in DC is STRESSING ME OUT!
  • We have tentative plans to begin another IVF cycle soon which is exciting...and scary.

I think that's about it. We're headed to Salzburg for the weekend. TOIAW is full of wanderlust and this is the last weekend we'll be able to travel. We entertained the thought of going somewhere further away and/or more exotic, but we figured this would be relaxing and cooler than most other places. We're packing our things in a few weeks; no matter how many times I move, it always seems like a huge ordeal filled with both excitement and anxiety. Now I just need to figure out how to use all the food I have in my pantry!