Friday, January 31, 2014

Five on Friday

One.  IUI Round 3.
Today is the day I start injections for our 3rd IUI attempt.  Last time around I stim’d using 75mg of Follistem for 5 days, this time I’m using 100mg of Follistem for 7 days.  We’re hoping more meds for a couple more days will give us more follies.  It’s true, you only need one egg & one sperm to make a baby, but the more eggs you have the better chance a sperm has to fertilize one.  I feel very confident and relaxed this time.  What I learned last time around is to just live my normal life as though I’m not pregnant yet, that seemed to help a lot.  If I can go into it with the same mindset as last time, & with the help of a little more medicine, I’m thinking that this will be it.  There is always a chance that it won’t work, but I’m going to keep an optimistic outlook & hope for the best.

 Two.  Blessings.
On Tuesday after our appointment I was at home preparing dinner & just thinking about everything that we have going on in our lives.  Big things like planning for our house to be built, settling our lawsuit, new job opportunities, possibly getting pregnant, and smaller things like getting our tax return (let’s face it we all love getting that!)& getting fresh blonde highlights in my hair.  Even though we have to go through all of this infertility stuff, we could be going through so much worse.  We have so many great things going on in our lives right now & sometimes it is hard to focus on the blessings we have rather than the burdens that we have. 

Three.  Simply Balanced.
I found these Simply Balanced Peach Mango and Cranberry Cherry sparkling cocktails at Target on Saturday & bonus, they were 2 for $5.  I love a little carbonation, but I really try not to drink soda so these are perfect.  There aren't a ton of ingredients in them either; just a bunch of different fruit concentrates.  They probably aren't the healthiest thing I could be drinking, but they sure are yummy!

Four. Progress on our Plans
Monday after work I met Joe down at Maze Lumber and we got to go over our house plans and start a cost estimate on exterior materials for the house.  I have to admit, I thought I knew everything that I wanted, but I quickly realize I had A LOT more to think about than I could’ve imagined.  I never gave interior doors much thought until he asked me if I wanted, 4 panel, 6 panel, or 3 panel, & once I decided on how many panels I wanted I needed to decide on colors & material.  It was a bit overwhelming, but it was also a lot of fun.  Our material estimate will include roof, windows, fireplace, front door, lumber, insulation, etc.  I already know I will have sticker shock, but I’m getting more and more excited about this whole process.  Our next step will be to meet with the kitchen/bathroom designer to start talking about layout for those rooms!  I can’t wait!! The kitchen and master bathroom are the two most important rooms in the house so they have to be amazing!

this will be my front door!  gorgeous!

I'm really big on making sure that I reply to every single comment that I get on the blog.  I feel like if someone has taken time to stop by and make a comment, then at the least, they deserve a thank you! Unfortunately, there are many bloggers are out there who are "no-reply" bloggers.  In a nutshell that means there is no way for me to respond to your comment & you being able to see it.  Sometimes I'll type out an entire response, send it, then realize it's now lost in blogger limbo because that blogger is a "no-reply".  I urge you to click on this link and fix this immediately so that I can respond to all of your wonderful comments!!

Happy Friday Friends!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's the Little Things Link-Up

I'm joining Ashley @ Words About Waverly for the It's the Little Things link-up and I'm so excited.  What a wonderful idea, I love link-ups like this where you really see a huge variety of content & I can't wait to see what my fellow bloggers will be sharing.  Remembering "the little things" in life is what sometimes keeps us grounded and humble so I am so excited to be participating!

When I started looking back at my pictures for some inspiration for the link-up, it didn't take me long to find a very truly "little" thing.  

If you follow me on Instagram (@lenaridley) or Facebook, then you saw this amazing picture I shared last week.  I was leaving work & the snow was just starting, but coming down pretty good.  I got in my car & looked down & there it was, this absolutely flawless snowflake on my coat.  I couldn't believe it.  I snapped this pic, shared it, & got a lot of hopeful comments about it being some kind of sign!  It's truly amazing how something soo tiny can be so perfect, and no two are alike.  I had another few on my jacket that were visible & they were all different.  

I thought I would share along with this, this amazing article about Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov who duct taped a lens to his DIY camera & was able to take absolutely stunning photos of real snowflakes.  It's almost hard to believe that these are real, they look like perfect glass sculptures created by an artist.  Here are a few of his photos.  They are breathtaking & perfect specimen of the true beauty of nature.  

Remembering to embrace the little things is sometimes hard to remember to do, sometimes we get so caught up in what's going on in our day to day lives we forget about how much pleasure and ease something so small can bring to us.  On that note, we had our baseline ultrasound yesterday & we have a few little follicles ready to be stimulated so Friday starts 100mg of Follistem for 7 days.  They up'd my dosage by 25mg and I'm stimulating for three days longer than I did the first time.  Last time I had two eggs, this time he wants to see more.  We will be having the IUI next Saturday in Rockford or the following Monday in Peoria!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

weekend recap

Happy Sunday!!  Here's a little inspiration for you courtesy of the Rhonna Design App!

Wow, this weekend flew by!  I'm happy because Tuesday is our next appointment & I feel like we had a good break, time to heal, & time to get my body primed for our next round. Two weeks does feel like an eternity in the infertility world, but it does pass & I try to remember not to wish my life away.

got the last of my meds in the mail friday, the trigger shot, Ovidrel

I've been sick pretty much all week.  I never get sick, but maybe once a year in the winter so I was due for a round of something.  It's either a sinus infection or a bad cold, or maybe both.  I can't hear, my head is so congested, & nothing seems to be working.  I'm hoping it's over soon.  Friday turned out to be a pretty good day.  It started out annoyingly frustrating at work, but it ended with us FINALLY SETTLING our lawsuit from the motorcycle accident.  We're coming up on two years April 1st & I am relieved we are finally closing this chapter.  We need to iron out some minor details, but we are pretty much done with all of the legal stuff and I'm happy we aren't having to go to court.  I ended up grocery shopping Friday afternoon and picked up some steaks & my friend Courtney @ Keystroke Journaling reminded me of how much I enjoy jug wine, especially Carlo Rossi (my maiden name is Rossi!) so I grabbed some Paisano (a semi-dry red) to go with the steaks.  I got a facial done at Skin Dimensions, it was much needed & my skin felt sooo amazing & full of moisture which has been pretty much non-existent this entire winter, even with the humidifier running all night, there is a ton of static in the house & zero humidity.  Winter, I am so over you.

one of the benefits of being on crutches was getting to use the handicapped bathroom & meeting
Blackberry Smoke at the Eric Church concert because of it! VIP!  Hopefully I'll never need them again!

Saturday Jessica, my mom, & my mom's best friend Beth and I went to Jalapenos for lunch & margaritas. We decided a wine taste was in order & a beer since Beth doesn't drink wine so we went to Duffy's for Moscow mules, then headed to August Hill for a complimentary taste.  I love being in the wine club, one free taste per day and you can bring a guest! My lunch date turned into an all-afternoon booze fest which was fun.  I got home about 4 and plopped on the couch for the rest of the night.  I was graced by a visit from my bestie, Jodie.  She and Jon came home with the kiddos and they were on their way to dinner, just the two of them, so they came by to visit for a bit.  It was nice catching up.  Haven't seen her since Christmas!

a little afternoon delight

Today is going to be a lazy day full of Dexter & snuggles on the couch with the pup.  I did start laundry at 7AM this morning so I will get a few things accomplished.  Not much else is going on.  Getting ready to start a new week & the last week of the month already, so crazy.  Tomorrow we go the Maze to start our material list which I'm excited about & Tuesday is my appointment for the baseline ultrasound.  I assume I will be starting injections a few days later.  Hope everyone is surviving the "polar vortex", looking forward to a HIGH of -4 tomorrow.  If you follow me on Instagram (@lenaridley) then you saw how nostalgic I was being this week, taking myself back to warm days in Bermuda on the beach in a swim suit.  Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday

warning: this is a bit lengthy, but it's been a great week!

One.  Our house plans!
Yep, last Friday afternoon we got our house plans back and they are so amazing.  It's awesome to see Joe's drawing be professionally done.  We got a floor plan & an exterior, front view of the house.  We are very excited to see this all start really coming to life.  We are at 1998 square feet so it came out a tad bigger than what we had originally calculated, but as long as we stay under 2000, we are happy.  We are working on window & door placement now & picking out flooring & other materials so that we can get a cost estimate started.  I am planning on starting a weekly series for the different rooms of the house & what my ideas are, I just need to get a little more organized.  I started breaking up my pin boards this weekend, dividing them into rooms, & materials.  More to come on that.

sorry for the crappy photo quality, these were taken on my phone & not taken with much effort. 

Two. Beauty Blender
I finally got my hands on one of these.  I've been wanting one since the summer but never did get one.  Now Skin Dimensions is carrying them & this kit was a great investment.  Two beauty blenders plus a weekly cleanser.  They're so cute & fun, plus they really do blend foundation fabulously.  Highly recommended!

Three. Class Reunion Plans
10 years! Wow, I cannot believe we graduated from good ol' LP 10 years ago! Typically, the class president is who kind of chairs the committee for a class reunion. Unfortunately, our class president, Andrew died unexpectedly in 2006. He has been gone for 7 years & he is missed by so many. He was in my social circle & was the best friend of my high school boyfriend so I knew him really well. Another one of my classmates has taken a ton of initiative to get the proverbial ball rolling on plans, her and I were both on student board so we are going to be reaching out to form a committee & see what we can come up with. Still just can't believe it's been 10 years!

Four. Easiest cheese breadsticks ever!
I needed an additional carb to go with my already carb-packed ravs (tortellini’s) and broth. A buttered slice of Italian bread is probably the best accompaniment, but I didn’t feel like going to the store & was determined that I could whip something up with ingredients I already had at home. I had a pizza dough (Pillsbury) in my fridge & knew I could probably do something with that so I rummaged through my spice cabinet and here is what I came up with:

1 refrigerated pizza dough
4 tbsp olive oil
Garlic powder (to taste, I LOVE garlic, the more the better)
1 bag of mozzarella & provolone mix
Parmesan cheese

Mix the olive oil & garlic powder in a small bowl and brush onto the precooked dough (precook for 5-7 minutes). Sprinkle (yes, I used the entire bag) the mozzarella & provolone blend (or any Italian blend of cheeses) over the dough, sprinkle Parmesan onto the dough, sprinkle desired amount of oregano onto the dough, bake for an additional 10 minutes & voila! Cheesy, garlic-y, goodness! Easy, quick, & you could use pizza sauce to dip them in, it was practically a meal in itself!

again, bad quality.  but you get the idea!  i'm not a professional by any means.

Five. New Sponsors
I would like to introduce everyone to my first new sponsor, she is a hardworking wife & mother of two who is growing her business. Her name is Amanda and she sells the It Works! system. You have probably seen and heard about “those crazy wraps” that you can use practically anywhere on your body that help to reduce fat. She was kind enough to send me a wrap of my own to try. I was skeptical at first, but was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. I urge you to check out her website. There are lots of other products too like skin care products, vitamins, & other nutrition products. Keep an eye out for a giveaway in the future as well! 

My second new sponsor is Rhonna Farrer from Rhonna Designs (button coming soon!).  You have seen some of my images I created using her app on the blog & if you follow me on Instagram (@lenaridley), then you've definitely seen her amazing app at work.  What I love about it is that she provides you with some awesome backgrounds & very inspirational quotes, but also gives you the freedom to use your own photos and your own text if you want. I've had a ton of fun with this app & I am so excited to start promoting her on the blog!  She is so talented. You can check out her website and her blog & be sure to check out her Instagram (@rhonnafarrer) she just shared her amazing story of how she got started in the business.  She really followed her heart & her dream & that is very admirable.  
If you are interested in promotional/sponsorship opportunities, please feel free to email me at

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

waiting is the worst!

If there is one thing I can tell you that truly sucks about infertility (besides infertility itself!) is the waiting. We are in quite the lull right now. We got our BFN on 1/6. I was told I would need to wait until AF showed up again before we could start follicle stimulation. I thought last week that I had so we scheduled our baseline ultrasound only to find out that I still had, what they refer to as, “cysts” or old follicles. They put me on the pill for TWO WEEKS (damn the dreaded 2ww!) and rescheduled another baseline for January 28th.

All of the waiting that comes with being treated for infertility is one of the biggest struggles and I know I'm not alone in thinking this. You wait to have an ultrasound, then you wait to start your meds, then you wait to have the procedure done, you wait to take your pregnancy test, you wait for the doctor’s office to call you with results! It is sooo much waiting. It’s especially hard for someone like me with ZERO freaking patience. This process has actually taught me a lot about what being patient actually is. It also has taught me a lot about “gravity issues” or things that are completely out of my own control, another foreign concept to me. I am type A, like 100%... I am unbelievably organized, I like plans, & I’m very rarely sporadic. It’s just not me. It has been completely out of my realm to be going through something so significant that I have really no control over. I compare it to not having control over your own wedding planning or some other extremely important life event. My body is in control & there ain't a damn thing I can do about it!

a good reminder :)

I never would have thought that I would be counting down days to start injections. Who does that? I’ll tell you who does, #infertilitysisters, we get excited when Follistem & Ovidrel comes in the mail. We take pictures and videos of how we inject ourselves then post it on social media for the entire world to see. I know it might seem strange to some, but it really does bring us together. There is a whole community of us. We love to support each other, we ask for advice, we post our current stats, we post pictures of our ovaries, we post tons of quotes, & I don’t think that most of us really care what anyone thinks. It’s our lives, our whole lives, it’s all you think about. So many people will say, you just need to distract yourself with something else, like building your house, & I say, there is no way I can be distracted from this, it’s on my mind all day, it makes waiting even worse.

last round, IUI meds

So for those wondering what’s going on, I’m still taking the pill (seems counter intuitive right?!) at least until Monday. Tuesday is my baseline, then hopefully next week I will be starting injections and we will be well on our way to IUI # 3. For now I am just trying to take things one day at a time, keeping busy & trying to keep my eyes off of the calendar.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My 100th Post...

Yep, today is the day.  I am finally writing my 100th blog post.  With over 21k page views, 35 followers, & many loyal readers (thank you for your Facebook messages, emails, & texts!) I can't believe what this blog has grown into & what a blessing for me it truly is.

Let me just start by saying that when I started this blog I was laid up at home after our motorcycle accident & I had been so bored out of my mind & spending way too much time on Pinterest when I found the first blog I ever read, Little Baby Garvin.  She was my inspiration, hands down.  I loved her chalkboards, & at the time, Harper was not even born yet, I began following her really closely because I loved her talent with the chalkboard & Joe and I had just started trying to get pregnant a few months prior so I thought I could really relate to her.  Then, one day, I decided I would start my own blog where I could share our own story of getting pregnant & eventually having a baby of our own.  I thought it would be a great way to keep track of everything that I would go through being pregnant.  Little did I know that almost two years later I would instead be keeping track of how our infertility has affected our lives & the unexpected path we have traveled. 

I will admit at first I wasn't really into the entire blogging world, I didn't understand a lot of it, I didn't know the lingo, I didn't know how to connect with others, or anything like that, I used it for kind of my own private outlet, just sharing with friends & family, maybe the occasional share on Facebook, then when I realized what we were really going through, I took a long break.  I abandoned my cause because I was sad & ashamed.  I thought that maybe blogging about it all was stressing me out so I quit.  From about March until June of 2013 I did not write one post.  Then, all of a sudden in July, I found the Five on Friday link-up & started to write again.  I have to thank all of the wonderful hosts Natasha @ Hello! Happiness, Darci @ The Good Life Blog, April @ A. Liz Adventures, and Christina @ Carolina Charm.  These ladies have done a fabulous job with this link-up, kudos!  I did a few of these here and there, then I wrote this post and reminded myself of why I started blogging in the first place.  I thought, I will now be taking my story in a different direction, & it has been a direction that I could not have even imagined.

Infertility has been quite a roller coaster not only for me, but for Joe as well.  Sometimes people forget what the guy is going through, a wife who is an emotional mess, bills that start adding up, pressure of his own... I have to commend Joe for how strong he has been through this entire process.  Once I started sharing our story, opening up, being brutally honest, sharing personal details, that's when I really started to feel my blog becoming a success.  I started understanding the world of blogging & the world of infertility and began meshing them together.  I started to follow blogs written by ladies that share similar stories, like Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples and Beth @ Beth and Harrison Slatery and I began to really focus my own blogging on our struggle.  I'm so thankful that I did, I've had many women, and even some men reach out to me on the blog, on Facebook, on Instagram who have shared their own story with me or shared words of encouragement, or different products to try, or looking for advice themselves & it has been amazing.  

I have an English degree & have always enjoyed writing.  It is so therapeutic for me, and has been since I can remember.  When I would get in trouble with my parents, I would write them letters rather than talking. It is easier for me to vent my frustration with a pen (or keyboard!) than it is to try and speak my thoughts.  I can better organize & better express myself through written word & I think that's just who I am and always have been.  I'm so very thankful to Jessica @ Little Baby Garvin for starting her own blog that I know has inspired many others to start blogs of their own.  I hope that my followers & regulars continue to read our story & I hope that I one day can inspire others as I myself have been.

The forecast for the next 100 posts?  I really hope that I can soon dedicate the focus of my blog to pregnancy and mommy-hood rather than Follistem injections & pregnancy loss. There will be some new things happening on the blog, some giveaways, & possibly a weekly series of room/house ideas to help me gather my thoughts & better organized the 500+ pins I have on this pinboard for building our house!

I had no idea the direction I would go with this mini-milestone of a post, but decided the best thing to do would be to thank the ladies in blogland that inspired me to start this blog in the first place & those who have continued to help keep me going.  I can't wait to see where the next 100 posts takes me!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five on Friday

One. Rhonna Design
I finally was able to track down this fabulous app (available for both iPhone and Android users!) that I've seen many people using on Instagram & I'm oh-so excited about it!  Seriously, if you're like me and you love fonts, arrows, quotes, banners, bunting, (guilty as charged!) then you will LOVE this app.  Not only does it allow you to use your own photos, but she provides some adorable backgrounds (like a chalkboard & gold glitter!) where you are able to type your own quotes or use some of her favorites.  I'm dying over this app. Seriously so distracted with it right now. Here are some of my favorites that I have created using both the provided quotes/graphics/text & my own! Check out her adorable website and blog for even more!

Two. Dexter
I know, this show has been over for like six months now, but we just started watching it on Netflix (seriously, I would wait until a current series was over just so I could watch it on MY schedule, when I wanted, uninterrupted, if my husband would allow it), & I am hooked.  I love it & what I love more is that I can watch a few episodes each night at a reasonable hour & I'm not paying $17 a month for Showtime, I'm paying $8 for Netflix.  Doesn't that seem like such a better deal!

Three. Vinylux
So my sister-in-law started using this awesome no-cure shellac nail polish line called Vinylux & she was kind enough to get all of us girls a shade for Christmas gifted to us by our MIL.  I am constantly painting my nails & have a plethora of nail polishes, but this one is truly amazing.  There is no base coat required and it dries super fast which is the biggest bonus!  I'm always painting my nails in a flash unless I plan it better, like on a night when I have an entire hour to let 4 coats of polish dry... c'mon who has that kind of time?  This stuff is amazing & I highly recommend it to any girl who loves to paint her nails (and let's face fact, we all do!). They seriously have a TON of colors available on their website or if you know someone in the business, most hair supply houses carry it.

Four. Michael Kors Bag
I did it, I bought my first ever Michael Kors bag & I can't wait to get it.  I thought, for $67 I couldn't beat that price & with everything that we've had going on lately, I deserve a little pick me up, retail therapy always does the body good!

Five.  Wine Weekend
Hooray, it's Will Call weekend!!  This month's wines are two of my absolute favorites too.  Augie's Blackberry, which is a port style wine (meaning it's been made with Brandy), it's about 18% alcohol by volume, very strong, very yummy, & goes realllly well with a piece of chocolate.  We also get Nouveau a semi-dry wine made from the freshest grapes (hence, Nouveau, meaning "new" in French, yes Mrs. Johnson, I learned something!) another perfect wine made by August Hill.  I heard from a little birdie that the pairing will be white chocolate covered potato chips, cannot wait to try them!  Really looking forward to partaking in some wining & dining on Saturday for my mom's birthday.  

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Making progress...

On Friday I started using my OPK because I thought that I was on about day 10 of my cycle & I would probably be ovulating soon. Joe and I thought maybe we could try naturally since we haven’t since I had the endo removed back in October. We planned the BD & I started using an app called Ovia to help me keep track of my cycle. I figured by Sunday the 12th I would get my :-) , but I didn’t, I got a plain old O, I kind of shrugged it off & thought maybe Monday. So bright and early Monday morning I tested again thinking today would be the day, but low & behold, another O. I was thoroughly confused, I noticed Sunday I began spotting quite a bit too, but I thought because of all of the hormones I’ve pumped in my body & then the loss of the pregnancy, my uterus was just taking out its anger & frustration in its own way, well, by the time I got to work I realized that AF had decided to make her appearance.

One of the hormones that I have to use on a daily basis after the IUI is progesterone. If the pregnancy were to carry through, I would take the progesterone until 10 weeks, but if it doesn’t then you stop the meds & AF will show her ugly face when you least expect it. I knew this from the first IUI I had, but I thought that the bleeding I was experiencing in the beginning of the month was dear AF, wrong! I called the doctor’s office right away & she said she could get me in on Tuesday afternoon to get my baseline ultrasound done & she would order the necessary meds for me. I talked to Joe and we agreed to go ahead and start round 3. I finally started to feel like I had a little luck on my side.

I immediately shared the news with those closest to my heart, mom, best friends, etc.  I like to keep them all in the loop because I know they're rooting for us about as much as we are for ourselves!  I have to say, I have the sweetest & most genuine family & friends that one could ever ask for.  It brings tears to my eyes sometimes the things that people say & the things that they do for us.  I probably sound like a broken record on this topic, but I can't stress enough the importance of a support system.  It's an absolute must-have if you are going to come out on top of this crazy thing called infertility.  You will never beat it alone.

I hope she doesn't mind me sharing this, but I just can't be more proud to call this girl my friend.  She is going to be an awesome mom & I'm so glad that we still have the friendship that we do that started back in 8th grade when we liked the same boy.  Thank you Jen, love you so much.  

We headed down to Peoria Tuesday afternoon, I was even more confused because by Monday afternoon AF had stopped so I really had no idea where I was in my cycle. They did an ultrasound & found that I still had fluid & that my old follicles (what they were referring to as "cysts") were still present. They decided I needed to be put back on the pill for two weeks before we could start injections again to make sure that I am primed for follicle stimulation. I was a little disappointed, but schedule-wise, it puts us right where we thought we would be anyway. Confusion is a word that I myself, along with my nearest & dearest have used to describe what this whole process has been like & I'm sure my body is feeling the same way. It's practically impossible to keep track of anything, but I feel safe in the hands of my amazing doctor and his team of nurses.

I am trying to keep an optomistic outlook on this next round, as hard as it will be to handle another let down, if that is the case, this could also be the outcome we are looking for as well. We came oh-so close this last time around, I'm hoping, as the old saying goes, 3rd times a charm!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How I'm Healing

WARNING: a bit lengthy & a bit random...

The days have gotten better as the week has progressed. One of my Instagram friends told me that the first Monday of the year is statistically the most depressing day of the year so it can only get better from there on out. Of course I am still heartbroken & I always will be. Although it was not considered to be a “miscarriage” since it wasn't a viable pregnancy, I was still, for a very brief moment, pregnant. I am happy that I can say that, but I am also sad that I’m not able to continue saying that. I've gone through the motions of the healing process, grief and sadness, anger & frustration, guilt, shame, etc. but luckily I have an amazing support group & a wonderful husband helping me get through this.

After we were handed the devastating news on Monday, I went home from work at noon & we decided to hit the bar for lunch. We binged on big bowls of potato bacon soup & pretzel sticks, oh and a 312. We went home & laid on the couch & just relaxed together, we watched a movie & I snuggled with my husband and dog. I cried a bit more & went to bed early.  I am so thankful for how Joe handles these situations.  He knows that, at first, I don't want to hear anything positive or reassuring, I just want to be upset & he totally gets that.  He is so strong & he has been my rock since the very beginning of our relationship.  He does a great job of making me feel better & trying to stay optimistic about things.

Tuesday Joe text me and told me he really wanted to buy me a bottle of wine from August Hill (he’s such a great guy!), but he figured since he was going there anyway that we might as well go and do a taste. It was still a brisk -15 degrees and the snow was still piled six feet high so there wasn't many people out. We were the only ones in the tasting room. My boss’s wife works there so we were able to catch up with her for a while over a glass of my favorite Illinois Sparkling Co wine, Dollface. It was so yummy & just what I needed. Talking with her about vacations & all kinds of other random topics really helped me take my mind off of things.

Thursday night Joe decided it would be best to get out of the house & do something fun together. We had a gift card for Brandy’s (which happens to be a martini bar!) so we made reservations for Friday. I think cabin fever hit us pretty hard with Joe not working for two straight weeks now & being cooped up inside, don’t get me wrong, I love having snow days watching movies, snuggling, snacking all day, but we definitely needed to get out of the house.

Today we had nothing planned so I decided a trip down to Bloomington was in order.  My little sister-in-law Delaney goes to my Alma Mater, Illinois State so we picked her up, headed to Pier 1, then ended the day with Coldstone, it was a fun afternoon.  I had about $60 in Pier 1 gift cards and really wanted to update my centerpiece for the new table.  Mercury glass is my theme, with white accents.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  

everything is from Pier 1!

Over all, the week has gotten better, the days have gotten easier.  I had two people (one retiree from work & one lady that used to work at Jewel who also happened to retire a couple years ago) ask me if I had an little ones yet.  I just had to grin and bear it & tell them we were working on it.  It’s hard sometimes to stay positive, but when I get down I sometimes like to read stories of other bloggers who are going through similar (if not even tougher) situations, or find quotes that speak to me, or fellow IG-ers who have used the hashtag #infertility. I have to remember that there will always be people who have it worse & always people who have it better.  Connecting with others has really helped me through this process.  I can't thank the ladies of blogland and Instagram, and all the other forms of social media enough for being able to just read other stories or see others who are going through similar situations, & how strong they all are.

I don’t know if I’m healing the way I’m “supposed” to, I mean we all have our vices, but I am definitely starting to move on & starting to look forward to what is ahead for us. In the end, what I’m getting out of this is strength and determination. I know that I will never give up our fight to have a child & I know that I will appreciate pregnancy and parenthood sooo much because of what we have to endure to get there.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five on Friday

Finally back from a Five on Friday hiatus, ready to get back into my regular groove now that the holidays are over!!

One. IUI #2=BFN
If you haven't read this post, then you didn't hear the devastating news that we got on Monday. After two positive HCG tests (low range results on Monday & Thursday, 20 & 50, respectively) I retested again this Monday & my number had completely dropped to negative. Not only was that a hard pill to swallow, but they determined that the bleeding I was having was in fact my menstrual cycle so now I have to wait out the rest of this month for AF (Aunt Flow) to show before we can start treatment over. On the positive side of this awful news is that we now know that we can get pregnant with this procedure which is good. Joe and I also are planning to try naturally, which we have not done since I had the surgery to remove the endometriosis back in October. The X's have started, the OPK's are being used, and the BD (baby dance, aka, sex!) will be scheduled for sometime next week! Oh the joys of infertility!

Two. House Plans
We took another big step in the right direction this week and I'm so excited to say we finally got the proverbial ball rolling on our house plans. Joe had hand drawn our plans up a couple of years ago, but we need to have them made into blueprints that will include things like floor joists & window placement. We should be expecting to see a rough draft in the next week or so with up to three revisions. The plans have been sent off to Bloomington by Maze Lumber here in town. If we decided to buy our material through Maze they will reimburse us for half the cost of the blueprints as well. I can't believe we are finally going to make this dream of ours a reality. We first started looking at the lot back in 2008 & within just a few months of being together. For around six years now we have had a vision in our heads of our forever home and now we finally get to start the real thing. We purchased the lot in 2010 & have been working on paying it off & saving up a substantial down payment. We now feel as though we are financially ready to really begin building. Check out this post for some pictures & some of my idea boards.

Three. So much F'in Snow.
We got so much snow last weekend & early into this week it was pretty sickening.  I've lived in Illinois for my entire life, I'm used to a lot of snow, cold, driving in poor conditions, etc.  People act like they've never seen snow before when we get the amount that we did.  I think Saturday & Sunday we got over a foot.  The snow drifts in our driveway were probably about a foot and a half, my poor dog could hardly walk outside. He wanted nothing to do with going potty.  I know it's only January, but how many days til summer!?

Four. 52 Week Money Challenge
So far so good.  Week one, in which you are supposed to save $1, turned into us putting around $13 in.  I think we might just put whatever dollars we have in our wallets at the time, but definitely make sure to put at least the amount in that corresponds with the week we are on.  I think it's going to turn out to be a great way to save a little bit of cash easily.  We have a savings account with the bank & I have a credit union savings account through work which we also stick money in as well.  What's a third!  At least this one we can see the progress & watch grow as the jar lives on top of the refrigerator!

Five. Healthy Eating. 
This week I decided to really hammer down on my eating habits (that's not without a few slip ups of course, Casey's pizza Saturday & a whole lotta alcohol Monday & Tuesday).  I grocery shop at Hyvee and they have newly renovated & added a magnificent organic & whole food section.  You can buy all kinds of grains & trail mixes, coffees, etc now by filling up your own bag with as much as you desire.  I loaded up on quinoa.  I bought a ton of fruit, the strawberries were surprisingly about as good looking as they were over the summer. I bought mixed veggies for snacking at work & made my dip out of plain Greek yogurt & Hidden Valley dill seasoning.  All you need is about one tablespoon of seasoning to one container of yogurt.  Sooo much better for you than ranch or veggie dips.  I also bough Silk Almond Milk, I've always drank 1%, but decided Silk was worth a try.  I bought ground turkey (bonus, 2 cents off a gallon of gas per package bought, saved myself 4 cents), tuna, whole grain waffles, & the list goes on.  Feeling much better about my eating habits this week. We'll see how long I can keep this up.

Monday, January 06, 2014

from BFP to BFN... the heartbreaking start to 2014

For those of you who aren't familiar with the many terms of infertility, BFP stands for "Big Freakin' Positive" and BFN stands for "Big Freakin' Negative"...

We had IUI #2 done on Monday December 16th after a week of Follistem injections, two Ganirelix, & one Ovidrel injection.  The procedure went well, about the same as the first time around.  I started my 2ww (2 week wait -- TTC timeline & dictionary coming soon!) & was scheduled to test via blood draw on Monday December 30th.  This second time around I handled myself differently.  I didn't act as though I was already pregnant, I actually just did my normal routine, I ate whatever I wanted, I drank alcohol, & resumed all normally activity (advised by the doctor).  I was so much less stressed about it this time around, so much so that I actually almost forgot to start my progesterone on the scheduled date & ended up remembering after work that day (I usually do these 1st thing in AM).  I wasn't nearly as nervous & did not let the thought consume my brain, even though this time I had to wait a full two weeks before getting results.  When people would ask how I felt about it, I would give the honest answer of, I have no idea, I couldn't side with yes or no even when I really thought about it.

I went in Monday Dec 30th for my test, I had been having menstrual like symptoms for a few days prior, which really made me even more confused.  I actually started to think that it would probably end up being negative rather than positive once those symptoms started.  I got a phone call about 9AM, but waited until I got off work at 1PM to call back.  She gave me great news, we had a POSITIVE result!  I was so happy, but I could tell by the way she was telling me, that there was some sort of catch.  She said that my HCG (pregnancy hormone) level was in the low range, a 20.  She said that I would need to test again on Thursday and Monday & the number would need to double each time in order for us to really 100% confirm a pregnancy. I was nervous & scared, I told Joe the news & we decided to be excited, but not too excited.  

NYE was good & I felt fine, I had nothing to drink & was home at a reasonable hour & got plenty of sleep, but I woke up feeling as though I had drank several bottles of champagne.  I ended up popping 600mg of ibuprofen around 8AM.  We lounged all day & I started noticing that I was spotting a bit.  My headache came back early in the evening and I ended up taking another 600mg of ibuprofen around 6pm or so.  I got up to use the bathroom around 7 & it was like all hell broke loose & I was bleeding, a lot.  I was so upset, I was crying & mad & decided just to go to bed.  Not what I wanted to see.  I was just so disappointed.

I went in at 5:45AM Thursday Jan 2nd to get my blood drawn at the hospital again, went to work, cried to a co-worker there, then got a phone call around 9AM again.  My number had DOUBLED!  It went from a 20 to a 50 in 72 hours so it was exactly what they wanted to see.  I was ecstatic, I couldn't believe it, I was sure that it wasn't going to be good news.  I told her about the bleeding and she said that I should go home, stay off of my feet, rest & drink a lot of fluid so I stayed home from work on Thursday & Friday so that I could relax and try to get the bleeding under control.  She also said absolutely no more ibuprofen, extra strength Tylenol only.  My usual nurse Deena called me on Friday to check in on me and said that bleeding of some sort happens in 8 out of 10 patients who get pregnant this way.  I felt some relief when she said that. She also suggested that we start an intramuscular injection of progesterone instead of the gel that I was currently using.  Joe would have to give me this oil based injection, in my butt cheek once a day. Hooray for more injections (GAG ME!).  I told her I would do whatever would be best & she said this would be the way to go.

Today, Monday Jan 6th, I went in for another HCG check.  I was really nervous because I had taken a pregnancy test on Sunday and it was negative, I prepared myself for the worst right away on Sunday.  I had taken a test on Monday when my HCG level was 20 and there was the faintest of lines on the test so I knew something wasn't right.  I got the phone call at 11:15 this morning (another indication that it was negative) and she said that my number had dropped to a negative HCG level... NEGATIVE.  I got off the phone, called Joe, and cried for an hour at work.  My boss was kind enough to let me go home early & I took the rest of the afternoon as vacation.  I couldn't stay at work in the condition that I was in.

I am completely heartbroken this time around.  I can say that for a very brief couple of days that I was actually pregnant, but it never did turn into what they consider to be a "viable" pregnancy.  I don't have many answers as to why the number would double then all of a sudden drop.  We determined that the bleeding I was having was my period & now I have to wait for another cycle before we can shoot for round three of IUI if that's what we decide to do.  I'm 5 days into my cycle already, & I"m already counting down the days. I guess I have to look at it as though, we've already been trying for 2 and a half years, what's another 28 days?  Well, it's a lot, to me at least.  There is nothing that can be said at this point in time that will make things better.  I know people want to say, "it will happen" but that is not a for sure truth.  I have faith that it will happen & that's all I will accept at this point in time.

The positive side to this is that we know that I can get pregnant this way so we know that the procedure works and could one day, truly be successful.  I almost feel like it would better if it were just BFN from the beginning because having a glimmer of hope, having that BFP, & then having it taken away so quickly is an awful feeling.  I know my infertility sisters know what I'm talking about and can totally relate.  There are so many women out there that have been through so much worse than I have & still are on their own journeys, & my heart just breaks for all of us & I pray that we all get our wish to one day become mothers, we deserve it.  

Friday, January 03, 2014

NYE & 2014 so far...

I'm still amazed at how quickly this year & the holiday season went by.  I couldn't believe we were already celebrating New Years Eve this week & now we're on the 3rd day of January already.  Time, you can slow down anyyyy time now!!

Our NYE tradition for the last five years is going to dinner with my Aunt Nanette & Uncle Mike.  It started off just the four of us one year at Garzanelli's and has blossomed into going somewhere new every year & with a few other couples now.  Jen and Josh started coming with us a few years ago & now Jessica & Mike have decided to join.  My aunt's birthday is also NYE so that's always a little fun perk of going out as well. This year we decided to try Woody's Steak House in Ottawa.  We were really impressed with the food, but not so impressed with the slow service, however, it was NYE & they had a full house.  Luckily we really had no other places to be at any certain time so we just dealt with it and enjoyed ourselves.   

After dinner we headed back home to a local bar to continue the celebration.  I was not drinking (I actually had a couple of Kiddy Cocktails, I forgot how good those things were!) which wasn't a bad thing, but I was really tired, and it was freezing in the bar so I put on a brave face & made it til midnight.  I drove Jessica & Mike home then went back to the bar to pick up Joe.  I think we were home & in bed by about 12:30.  All in all it was a fun night.  New Years Day was spent in PJ's watching movies & episodes of Archer on Netflix, a very unproductive day.  

So far, three days in, 2014 has been pretty good to us.  It's actually been quite relaxing, I went home sick from work yesterday & decided to stay home today too to get some much needed rest.  Joe has a small project going on in our one and only bathroom (vent & new drywall on the ceiling) so the house has been an absolute disaster & continues to be until he finishes sanding (praying that's today!).  I can't wait to see the house back in order.  We did get the Christmas tree out yesterday, always a disaster when you have a real tree and a small doorway to pull it through.  Needle party!!!!  

I had some pretty big goals last year (view 2012 Year in Review post here), and unfortunately, I was not able to obtain my top two, but I have very high hopes that I will see both of my biggest dreams become realities this year.  

2014 Goals

One--Get pregnant.  Hands down, if I achieve nothing else this year, this is what I want most not only for myself but for Joe as well.  We have been on a 2.5 year long journey for this & we are ready for this to happen for us.  

Two--Build our house.  Phone calls are going to start this week to get our plans blue-printed, & some estimates rolling.  We are still waiting for our settlement, & still need to sell the house we are in, but our hope is to be able to continue living in our current home, getting the house almost completely built, then putting this one on the market.  

Three--Save more, spend less.  Joe and I decided that we wanted to start this 52 Week Money Challenge & we will both be contributing so we will have double the money.  It's such an easy and simple way to save up some cash.  It's not a huge amount, but it's not just chump change either.  This project starts today, pay day!

Four--Get back to the Gym & resume healthy eating.  I've been really slacking on both of these things since we started seeing the FS & I had surgery.  I just got really lazy, probably feeling bad for myself a bit, & kind of quit working out and cooking normally.  Joe even asked one day when I was going to start cooking dinner again.  I've been better at the cooking part, but still my gym bag sits in my office at work, untouched for about three weeks now.  This is one of my goals every year, but I want to make sure that I'm healthy for the sake of getting pregnant.  Healthy cooking will start up again tonight (no more take out every day of the weekend), & working out starts Monday (please, God!)

2014, be good to us!

Blog Design by Imagination Designs
Graphic by OctopusArtis