Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weekend Recap...

I know I said I was going to be taking a break from blogging and then I increased my posting, but I am still planning on taking a few steps back soon.  I did want to just quickly recap my weekend since it was a pretty amazing one.  One thing I did not do is buy any thing Lilly Pulitzer from Target, not my style at all! If you did try to purchase something I hope you succeeded! 

If you follow me on Instagram then you already got to see my hair cut!  If not here's a few pics for you!

I'm so pumped with how it turned out!  I had some inspiration I found on Facebook and showed it to my stylist/best friend and she was up for the challenge.  I was worried I'd be emotional about cutting what took me so long to grow, but it was fine and we both ended up loving how it turned out!  We had so much fun doing it too.  Two little girls even stayed after their mom got her hair cut to watch me get the undercut, they wanted to see me get my head shaved.  It was adorable.  If you check out my Instagram there is a video I shared too when I shaved it off!  Joe really likes it too!

Also, on Friday we had our shower glass installed and it looks AMAZEBALLS!  I am sooo happy with how our bathroom has turned out.  It is so beautiful and exactly how I envisioned it which is really an amazing thing to see happen.  I am so proud of Joe and his dad and their hard work.  We had the glass professionally fabricated and installed and it is the perfect finishing touch to the shower.

And just a reminder if you hadn't seen my post from Sunday, this week is National Infertility Awareness Week so I'll be blowing up my social media with all things infertility!  I wish that we got a whole month, but a week is plenty of time for me to up my advocacy game!  I really need to take a minute to thank each and every one of my readers for the continued love and support of our journey.  You all are such a blessing and I really appreciate you taking the time to read what I have to say, even if you don't really understand all the terms and medical stuff, I get so many wonderful comments from so many beautiful souls and I really love you all so much for it!  So thank you!

 If you guys don't mind adding my grandma to your thoughts and prayers, she fell down the basement stairs on Sunday and had to have emergency surgery on her hip, she broke it pretty badly.  She will be in the hospital for 3 days then spend her rehab time in Bounce Back.  This is my step-dads mother, she is in her mid 80's and can't see or hear very well, she shouldn't even be going down the stairs.  Luckily her long-time roommate found her pretty quickly!  Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

NIAW 2015: You Are Not Alone.

I could not have picked or asked for a better topic for this year’s NIAW!  That statement, you are not alone is the cornerstone of my blog.  It is exactly why I do what I do.   It is exactly why I write and share as much as I do, to show anyone who feels as though they are alone in the world of infertility that they in fact are not.  The truth is that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility.  So think of all the people that you know, all of the couples, friends, family, co-workers, etc. 1 in 8 of those couples have had or will have issues conceiving a child, so  you are certainly not alone.

I remember when I first started thinking that I might have problems conceiving, it was back in 2012 when Instagram was a word no one hardly knew yet, I had no idea what a TTC sister was, I couldn't raddle off the process of IVF without even blinking, and I certainly didn't know that 3 years later I would be where I am today.  I did feel alone.  I was sad and upset and lost.  I had already started my blog and, as most of you know, infertility blogging was not my intention when it first started, but it has since blossomed into my outlet for advocacy.  So, I took to Instagram in search of anything I could find infertility related, I searched hashtags, I searched other infertility blogs, and I found that there were millions of us out there and that we are the most understanding, comforting, loving, brave, strong, and determined group of people that I would ever encounter. 

What my wish is as an advocate for infertility awareness and a promoter of positivity is that infertility becomes talked about, that it is not seen as taboo, that when someone feels like they might be infertile or when they are confirmed to be so that they don’t feel alone, that they already know “hey, I hear about infertility all the time and I know that there is an awesome community out there and that it’s easy to access”.  I don’t want people to have to feel ashamed of it, or feel like they are defined by it, but that they will conquer it and embrace the blessings that can come from it.

I know that it may seem like far stretch of the mind to think that any blessing can come from being infertile.  Most of the facets of infertility we curse, but there are some very unique and special pearls of friendship, love, wisdom, and support that also come from infertility.  Some of the most beautiful souls I know I have met only because of infertility.  There is nothing else in this world that would've brought us together.  Most of them I have never met in person, but I know them at their worst and they know me at mine.  We have showered each other with gifts from the heart, we have lengthy strands of Instagram, Facebook, email, and text messages, much like I do with my best friends.  I consider them to be some of my best friends, they can understand better than anyone, and it’s because they are living the exact same struggle, and fighting against it. 

What the statement really should be is you are FAR from alone.  The word “not” just doesn't give this statement enough justice.  Although not everyone struggling with infertility will be plastering their story all over the internet, newspapers and podcasts like I do, we've got sisters who don’t share it with their struggle with their closest friends and family, but they have hundreds of TTC sisters who know every intricate detail of their story.  They have TTC sisters they've never met that know more about them than their own real life best friend might know.  That’s the beauty of the community.  We are the only ones that can truly understand so whether or not you choose to share publicly, or keep it private, we support you no matter what.  We don’t judge you, your choice, or your journey.  We won’t tell you things like, “just relax”, or “it will happen when it’s meant to happen”.  And we certainly won’t be asking, “so when are you going to have kids” or “don’t you want kids” or “are you even trying to have kids”… etc. We know better and we know how that hurts and how frustrating it is to hear. 

I guess I could go on about this forever, but I won’t.  I am so happy to be celebrating the 1 week that we infertile’s get out of the entire year, NIAW!  Truthfully I feel like it should at least be NIAMonth, but I guess a week will have to suffice!  I love spreading the good word about infertility awareness and the all the positives that can really come from it.  I know when you’re new to this it seems impossible to think that any good could come from being infertile, but you will be pleasantly surprised.  My regular readers know how giddy this stuff gets me.  I am happy to share, happy to entertain questions, happy to be an advocate on behalf of the entire community.  I think I can speak for us collectively as a community and say that we want to encourage everyone to reach out to us because we don’t want you to feel alone, we want you to feel like you've got somewhere to turn when you know that no one else understands, when you’re not sure if what you’re feeling is normal, when you’re not sure if you should keep Follistim in the fridge, when you’re not sure if your test results are normal, when you’re not sure if that’s a positive HPT or OPK, when you need a good laugh, a positive quote, a bible verse, these are all the things you will find in our community along with love & support.  You will not be alone in this.

Here’s how to find us:
Via Instagram: search hashtags like #infertility, #infertilityawareness, #ttc, #ttcsister, #IVF, #IUI
Via Facebook: Start with RESLOVE’S Facebook page, or join an Infertility Group
Via Blog: Here’s a list of my favorites:
Dreaming of Dimples – (Donor Egg IVF success – DEIVF)
Is It Time Yet? – IVF success
In Due Time – Faith based/fitness/Essential Oils/Infertility
Girl Ryanne – Infertility blog/slight MTHFR mutation
Jen’s Anchor of Hope – Infertility blog/suffers from Lean PCOS
Amateur Nester – 100% Infertility blog/IVF success/shares others’ stories
Unnaturally Knocked Up – IVF Success
Beth & Harrison Slatery – IVF Success
Our Journey to a Baby Bump – Surrogate success
Starbucks, Peace, and the Pursuit of a Baby – Faith based infertility blog

Here are some other important links

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Faves!

I can’t believe we’re checking another week off the calendars this year!  Time is flying and it continues to go faster and faster each year.  This week we finally got back to normal, no more nightly dinners and visits with grandma, no more back and forth to the hospital or this relatives house or that relatives house.  I did get to cross a ton of things off of my “to-do” lists this week which is always so rewarding.  So let’s get into it before I start rambling!

Favorite Moment:
On Wednesday I reached my first mini-milestone of IVFx4!  I have 6 mini-milestones to reach before my baseline ultrasound on July 10th.  Setting small, reasonable goals for myself and being able to cross them off really helps me feel like I’m making some progress to this next cycle.  As of today, we are 83 days away from that first baseline appointment.  So that was the highlight of my week and all it was was taking my last BCP.  I've been on it for 3 weeks now so Aunt Flo debuts and then I start a new pack of BCP next Wednesday (that’s mini-milestone #2)!

Favorite Purchase:
Instagram really gets me in trouble sometimes.  I try not to follow too many shops or fashion bloggers or people who constantly share cute stuff they buy and tag the places they got them, but I found this SHOPBBO and was immediately obsessed!  Sooo many cute things, watches especially.  I found this adorable Dream Catcher thread watch in pink & mint and had to have it.  I usually have a hard time with watches because my wrists are ridiculously small and nothing ever fits unless it’s adjustable so this watch should be great because you can pull it as tight as you need. 

Favorite Recipe:
This Cheesy Zucchini Quinoa Bake was delish!

Favorite Pin:

Favorite Thing I’m looking forward to:
I mentioned the other day I was going to be changing my look quite a bit this weekend, you can probably all figure it out, it’s not like I’m getting major plastic surgery or something, I’m going for a new hairstyle and I can’t wait to show you all.  I have fine, thin hair that grows slower than snails pace.  I am finally admitting that I will NEVER have the long luscious locks that I desire.  I used to wear extensions, glued, weaved, or clipped in, for years but it was so bad on my hair.  My hair is what I would consider medium length and it will never be long.  I've been stuck at this length for about 5 years now and I’m bored with it and so over it.  Time for a fun change!

I just noticed this is an insanely colorful post!  Hope it makes you guys smile!  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life Lately...

I feel like I've temporarily abandoned my little corner of the interwebs, but for good reason.  You may have read that my Grandpa passed away last week.  It was a long day and a half spent in the hospital watching him on life support then watching him naturally pass after about 6 hours off life support.  I have been spending every afternoon down at my grandmas with my family having dinners and conversating and making sure my Grandma is occupied. 

Last Thursday this article about our infertility journey was published in our local newspaper.  You guys might remember I mentioned a few weekends ago being interviewed, well this is it!  We are so happy with how it turned out and we have been complimented quite a bit on our decision to share our journey so publicly.  The week of NIAW I will also share the pod cast we did with IV Small Talk too!

I was bummed they put this picture in the paper and not the one of Joe and I that they put on the online version, but oh well, I am very happy to have had the opportunity to share this.

On the house forefront, we are getting closer and closer to being finished but still waiting for the septic and the replacement windows.  Those things along with the wiring are the biggest hurdles to jump.  Things have slowed down a bit now that Joe is back at work.  He has been working really long 10+ hour days and Saturdays and has had very limited time to spend at the house.  I am still holding on to hope that we could get in by the end of this month, but the realist in me says May will be more likely.  I've been doing a lot of cleaning and getting our bedroom ready.  I put our bed together and our mattress will be delivered next week.  I also got a really nice closet organizer/clothes hanger that I'm hoping we can assemble this weekend! 

so happy with how this vanity and counter top turned out!

Other than that things have been pretty quiet.  I am planning a big change to my look this weekend that I can't wait to share with you guys!  It's time to make a change and I'm really pumped for this one!  It’s been a stressful and exhausting couple of days and I’m hoping to return to some kind of normalcy soon.  The rest of this month is pretty quiet, no real plans except maybe dinner with some friends.  It’s nice not having any weekend commitments although next month will probably get crazier.  Joe’s little sister is graduating from college, we will hopefully be moving, warmer weather will be coming, and we will be checking a few mini milestones off of our road to IVFx4.

Speaking of IVFx4, I received my calendars and it looks like baseline ultrasound & labs will be scheduled for July 10th.  I probably won’t have much to say on the infertility forefront over these next few months, but I will be sure to post now and then about what is going on.  Although the time is already passing quickly, I am making mini milestones for myself each month in order to feel like we are making some progress.  This week’s mini milestone is Wednesday, last BCP, then next Wednesday is, start a new BCP.  Next month’s mini milestone will be 1st Lupron Depot, last BCP, first BCP, and I will be starting the Aygestin which is the 6 week medication for the negative Beta3 Integrin protocol.  Things should move along pretty quickly!

Hope everyone is doing well!  I've been pretty MIA and I will probably continue to step back for just a little bit while, I will check my blog feed periodically throughout the week and try to keep up with everything as much as I can.  Thank you all for your love and support, as always!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Frank C. Rossi 11/30/22 - 4/6/15

Gramps & Gram at Christmas with the wine we made from their grapes!

Easter Sunday we were awakened by a phone call around 7:00am that my grandpa was unresponsive and had been taken to the hospital by ambulance.  We met the rest of my family at the hospital and spent a few hours in the emergency room waiting area.  We were allowed to go in 2 at a time to see him and it was awful.  They had him basically on life support and he looked so uncomfortable.  It was really hard to see.

Finally they decided to move him up to the ICU.  He was stable and they were going to be running some tests on him so the 16 of us that were at the hospital all took shifts and came and went throughout Sunday.  Joe and I went home, showered, and had an Easter lunch at his parents’ house.  Once that was done I went back to the hospital then picked up some hot beef to take down to my grandmas so everyone could eat.  We knew earlier in the day that we needed to get my grandpas 2 other daughters who live out of state here to Illinois as soon as possible.  They started making arrangements early in the morning and both were here by the evening.  We knew we wanted him on life support at least until all the family that could be here got here.

Putting on a brave face for Easter.

I went back to the hospital for a 3rd time and they decided that they were going to keep him on the ventilator until the morning when they could do another CT and EEG on him.  We already knew at this point that he had suffered a massive stroke at the brain stem and that there was no brain activity.  He never regained consciousness and was not responsive to any of the testing that they were doing.  A couple of my aunts stayed over night with him at the hospital. 

I went back Monday morning around 7:30 right before his scheduled CT scan.  About 10AM the doctor came in to tell us that they once again confirmed no brain activity and a major stroke.  He said he wasn’t going to perform any additional testing and since we were all on the same page about taking him off life support they would begin the process of doing so. 

We took him off life support around 11:45 Monday morning and he hung on and fought and was breathing on his own until about 5:30 in the evening when he finally took his last breath.  It was a long, exhausting few days for everyone and we were all ready for him to let go.  He was surrounded by 16 family members over the day and a half in the hospital, and 14 of us were able to be there those last few hours of his life.  We were highly complimented by the hospital social worker for being able to surround him with so much love. 

We all did a shot of Rock & Rye for grandpa!  Even my dad!

He was 92 years old and lived a very full life.  He was in the Navy, he got a Master’s Degree, he taught biology and drivers education, he had 6 children, 11 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.  He loved to tell stories and had so many of them to tell.   When I saw him Saturday for lunch I sat by him and listened to many of those stories and I am so thankful that family was home for Easter and we were able to spend some quality time with him.  He could not have picked a better weekend to go. We will truly miss him!

Grandpa in the Navy, he was 24 years old in this picture.

One last peaceful photo to remember him by.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

IVFx4... July Cycle & Biopsy Results Update

I followed up with my doctor after receiving the news Monday that I had tested negative for the Beta3 Integrin protein needed for the adhesion of the embryo.  Although I had tested negative for the protein at the time of the test, the doctor said that I may actually not be 100% negative for the protein, I may just have it later in my cycle than is necessary for embryo implantation.  He basically told me that my "endometrium is out of phase with my glandular stromal dyssynchrony" meaning that my lining is not synchronized with my hormone levels, but they can fix this.  He said it's actually inconclusive as to whether or not I have the protein. 

He said that they could either treat it as I am negative for the protein, or repeat a cycle, put me on progesterone and redo the biopsy.  He said that there is no downside to treating me as though it is for sure a negative.  He also said that my RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss) came back negative, meaning nothing was found so that is great.  This Beta3 Protein deficiency is the only thing that they can find that is wrong.  He saying that my fertile period is at one time and the embryos are coming at another and it's not lining up.  He also said that is possibly why I miscarried in the past.  He said that they did not identify if I have an implantation issue, but that we should move forward with treating me for the Beta3 Integrin negative protocol.  

At first he said that I would be able to fit in the May cycle, but then we realized that I would not fit into that cycle.  In June there is no cycle because he will be out of town, so that is another reason why I have to wait until July.  He also said that some doctors say it's "hocus pocus" and others say "it's absolutely the reason people don't get pregnant" when I asked why my previous doctor seemed so unconcerned with this when I asked about it.  

So, here is my plan for IVFx4:
April 15th  - Last BCP
Have a period
April 22nd - New BCP
May 8th - Self-administered intramuscular Lupron Depot injection good for 4 weeks.
May 14th - Last BCP
Have a period
3 days after my period start Aygestin for 6 weeks which is for the protein
1st-2nd week of June - Self-administered intramuscular Lupron Depot injection good for 4 weeks.
2nd week of July - baseline/labs 

Although July isn't a really a long way off,  when you're counting the days and months it can really seem like an eternity.  I'm going to make each of these days in my plan my mini-milestones. Although "last BCP" seems relatively insignificant, if I mark it on my calendar and check each of these dates off, these months should go by quickly.  I think between that and moving into the house, summer will go by quickly and we will be nearing July before we know it.   

If you guys recall, this is almost to the exact date, what happened  to me last year.  On April 11, 2014, I went to my previous doctor to have my final baseline before IUI #3, he told me for a second time I had been overstimulated and that the cycle would have to be canceled and I should consider IVF. Unfortunately I was too late to fit into the May cycle so I had to wait until July.  So I already know that if I made it last year and worked through the days and the time passed once, I can certainly get through it again.  I really am so happy to have an answer after all of these years.  I have already waited and longed for this for 3.5 years so another 3 months is really nothing compared to that and if it will get us our miracle, than it is certainly worth the wait!

Although I am chomping at the bit to start this, I know that I need to put it on the back burner, continue with my protocol as the doctor has ordered, and enjoy life.  We are so blessed to have almost finished building our dream home and we have so many other wonderful things to be thankful for.  We've got weddings, we've got birthdays, we've got the bike out and ready to ride, and we finally have beautiful weather to enjoy so I am planning on keeping myself as occupied as possible and enjoying my life!  I will keep the positive energy flowing and the positive vibrations vibin'! 
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