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Sunday, June 30, 2013

currently...

Currently, I am...

Reading: Baby Steps. A new book by actress Elizabeth Rohm. I just started it. If it is any good, I'll do a book review on the blog.


Watching: The CCRM Shipping Kit slideshow in preparation for my Day 3 blood work which I'll be sending to Denver next week. On July 11th, my lab results should be in and we'll be speaking with the doctor about our protocol and calendar.


Importing: Tomorrow morning when we wake up, our beloved Google Reader will be no more. So I'm importing all of the blogs that I follow into bloglovin' so I can easily keep up with my favorite blogs. If you haven't already, you can follow me on bloglovin' here.

If you somehow missed this big news about your reader going away, you can learn more here. And if you have no idea what the heck bloglovin' is and why you should choose that reader, take a look at this. And lastly, here is a tutorial to easily transfer all of your blogs over from your Google Reader.


Sleeping: I've been so tired lately. My endometriosis has really been acting up. I've been "man down" a ton. The worse part is that I don't feel like myself. I have no energy. I'm cranky. It kinda sucks.

Praying: I've been doing a lot of praying that our upcoming cycle goes smoothly and brings us our baby.

Hope you all have a great week. Don't forget to start posting tomorrow if you're joining us for the #TTCPHOTOADAY challenge in the month of July.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Announcing the #TTCPhotoADay Challenge

So...I'm an instagramaholic! It is probably my favorite social media platform because I love taking pictures. I've seen people participating in monthly Photo a Day Challenges and love to look at all of the great pictures. I started thinking how fun it would be to have a Photo A Day Challenge that pertains to our lives as people struggling with infertility.

I'm not a very patient person so rather than wait for someone to create this challenge...I took the initiative and started one for us. Take a look at the daily prompts for July. If you have any ideas for future month's daily prompt words, please leave them in the comments.


I truly hope you join in the fun and help spread the word about the TTC Photo a Day Challenge. If you're not sure what this whole photo a day challenge thing is all about, check out this description from Fat Mum Slim (who I think is the person that originally came up with the idea). Please feel free to grab the graphic and share via your blog or any social media platform. 

Don't forget to use the hashtag #ttcphotoaday on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter when you post your daily pictures. Only 4 days left until our first monthly challenge begins on July 1st. I can't wait.
Woo hoo! 


Monday, June 24, 2013

stella & dot necklace giveaway + some pretty big news

Here's a little something for the girls.
Y'all know I don't do fashion posts too often on the blog. One reason is because I buy off the mannequin. Yep, you heard me right. When it comes to coordinating outfits, I have no skills whatsoever. I do a lot better when it comes to jewelry though. 

And since I have a recent obsession with Stella & Dot jewelry, I thought...why not give away one of their most popular necklaces to one of my lovely readers. I mean, seriously. Who doesn't love a cute, new piece of jewelry? Check out this spring awakening necklace which could be yours. 

spring awakening necklace (value $138)

There is just one mandatory entry which is to leave a comment below telling me "which piece in the Stella & Dot collection is your favorite ". The rest are bonus entries and totally up to you! To browse the collection click here.

By the way, did you know that Stella & Dot now carries handbags and scarves? Yep, they do. And they scream summer fun. Here's a quick preview of some of my favorite items from this season.


When you're browsing the Stella & Dot collection, if you see a piece of jewelry, scarf or bag that you just can't live without, keep this special deal in mind. This is the last week to take advantage of dot dollars so don't miss out!
click here for details

Last thing...I have some crazy big infertility news coming very soon. Just trying to sort out the details before I can share. But I'm bursting at the seams to post it. No, I'm not pregnant. But thanks for thinking it.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

next steps

Happy Wednesday!

Right now, we are in operation "get ready for IVF" mode. There are so many things that we I have to do before we can start cycling in Denver.

Remember when I got my mammogram last month. Well Dr. S doesn't feel comfortable with the results. Before moving forward, I have to get a biopsy on that cyst to make certain it is not a cancerous tumor. I'm thankful that CCRM is so thorough but it is a pain in the rear when you're trying to get things moving.

I'm in the process of trying to get an insurance authorization for the biopsy now. But it's proving more difficult than one would imagine. I heart insurance companies! 

Here are some of the other things on my to-do list prior to starting IVF in Denver.


After our experience at CCRM, we considered switching back to our local clinic for a millisecond. But then decided that nothing had changed. We didn't fly all the way to Denver for personal attention or the ease of billing. Our decision was based on the clinic's results, reputation and world-class lab. Although it would've been nice if I'd left the clinic with warm, fuzzy feelings inside. But I didn't. So what. I'm over it. But the reasons we went there in the first place still apply. That being said, we are moving forward. 

I've been dragging my feet about telling my local RE that we are going to CCRM. I held off just in case we changed our minds. Also, I hate addressing things like this. But I finally bit the bullet. In the letter, I thanked them for their care and attention over the last several years and asked if they'd be willing to do my outside monitoring. The response that I get back from them should be interesting. 

I'm allowing myself to feel somewhat hopeful again that this IVF will be a success. My aunt suggested I create a wish board to better visualize bringing home a baby after all this. The way I'm feeling right now. I just might do that. 

source

Saturday, June 15, 2013

one good thing about infertility

I feel like my blog has been doom and gloom lately. And boy do I hate that. It's about time that I write about something positive. So here's what I got. 

One good thing about infertility...it can make a marriage stronger. 

It is really easy to get along and have fun with your spouse when everything in life is going great. But you really find out what your marriage is made of when you're forced to face life struggles together. After nearly tearing us apart, it has truly brought my husband I much closer together.
And for that...I am grateful.

Despite our recent disappointment and bad news at CCRM, A and I actually had an amazing time exploring the area. We spent quality time together and really connected. My best friend S is so incredibly generous. She loaned us her cute Lexus SUV and her house in Cherry Creek North while we were in Denver. We flew into Colorado the same night that she and her daughter flew out to Costa Rica. A got to meet S and her daughter for a few minutes while we got her car and house keys.

How lucky am I to have a friend that lives in the nicest part of Denver and is willing to help us out like this? We didn't have to pay for lodging or a rental car during our trip. S says it's her contribution to our expensive baby making endeavor. 

Let me tell show you a little bit about our trip. 

We caught up on our sleep. 
We enjoyed perfect weather.
We ingested a lot of delicious heathy food.
We explored some really cool areas in and around Denver.
We got some much needed exercise (well, at least I needed it. A is always super active).

Downtown Denver
the food (left to right): waffles with fruit | veggie panini | pomegranate mojito & kale lime aid | southwest sweet potato salad & asparagus | spaghetti squash | vegetable crudite' | veggie burger & cabbage salad | buckwheat pancakes with coconut creme & beery sauce + homemade banana ice cream | veggie tofu stir fry | lemon tart with coconut creme and fresh berries
We took a drive through Golden to Vail. Once there, we stumbled upon the Go Pro Mountain Games. Dog dock jumping. Extreme mountain biking competition. Kayaking tricks. The mountains were still snow covered and gorgeous!

Vail | Mountain Games | Home to Coors Brewing Company

And last but certainly not least, A raced in the North Boulder Classic Criterium race. He has recently ungraded to a higher category (which means stiffer competition). Since he doesn't train in elevation, he wasn't sure how he'd do. So imagine my surprise when he rounded that last corner to take first place in the race.



I bought his trademark neon yellow socks to spot him easier on the course

I'm so proud of him! I was screaming like a crazy person when he approached the finish line. He trains so hard and is very competitive. So all is right in the world when he has a good race. Seeing him disappointed is one of the hardest things for me to bare. I love seeing him smiling like this. Maybe not with his arms around two cute blondes...but I love seeing him happy. So lucky to be his biggest fan and have him as mine.

Colorado brought us one win...hopefully it can bring us another big one!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

departed denver discouraged


Yesterday was a rough one.
I have a little more perspective today but I'm still pretty bummed.
CCRM was not all that we hoped it would be.
No magic wands or unicorns.

A and I traveled to Denver to explore the area and do our IVF workup. Our trip was wonderful and we're glad we went. I will post pictures and write more on our adventures soon. But I've got to get my feelings about the medical stuff out of the way first.

If I'm being honest, we were a little underwhelmed with our experience at the clinic. Many people told me how impressed I'd be with how efficiently they get you through all of the meetings, tests and appointments. But we didn't see it as impressive.

Everything about the clinic was impersonal. 
It was a huge, massive building with a staff of several hundred people.
The clinic got a lot of publicity when G&B cycled and because they had crazy high success rates in 2010. As a result, the clinic grew like crazy and their success rates haven't been as high since then. It's hard to maintain the same kind of quality control when you grow that fast. It made us wonder if we are making the right decision. Our impression was...it felt very business-like. See as many patients as quickly as possible. We felt like cattle getting shuttled from room to room.

Not to mention...psychologically it wasn't good how they billed.
I saw A growing more and more frustrated throughout the day. We've accepted the fact that our insurance isn't going to pay for IVF. But our local clinic charged in one lump sum for everything. Or they billed our insurance for diagnostic and labs. We only had to come to terms with the ridiculous cost of IVF once instead of every 3 hours.

At CCRM, A said "I feel like we've been taken to the cleaners."
Drop your sperm. That'll be $660.
Hysteroscopy procedure. $675 please.
Talk with the doc and an ultrasound. Only $715.
4 vials of blood each. Swipe the card again for $760.
And before you go, why don't you give us $1,000 for a deposit on your IVF.

When I looked around the waiting room, I saw the faces of sad women and helpless husbands. Some ladies had tears in their eyes. Others had puffy eyes. Many wore the look of grief and despair. Occasionally, I'd make eye contact with one of them. The look that crossed between us said "I know. And I'm sorry you have to go through this." People go to CCRM as a last resort. Grasping at the final straw to make their dreams come true. 80% of CCRM's patients have experienced prior failed IVF cycles and 90% or more travel from out of state to seek treatment. I arrived super hopeful. I left a little depressed and discouraged.
me in my owl socks before my hysteroscopy
My hysteroscopy was awful. The carbon dioxide they used caused severe pain in my abdominal cavity and shoulder. After the procedure, we had a regroup with Dr. S. Apparently I was having a vasovagal reaction to the hysteroscopy. I started sweating, felt dizzy and nauseous. When I was trying to ask a question, I almost passed out. The doc went to get me a cold compress for my neck and some orange juice. I put my legs up and eventually those symptoms subsided.

Good news.
He didn't find any polyps, adhesions or fibroids during the hysteroscopy that would delay IVF.

Bad news.
The doppler ultrasound determined that the blood flow to my uterus is constricted. That is probably yet another contributing factor as to why we haven't gotten pregnant. Decreased blood flow makes it difficult for the embryo to implant. Before my IVF transfer, Dr. S recommends that I do 4 weeks of electro-acupuncture. Here is an article I found about increasing blood flow through electro-acupuncture. Trouble is that I don't think any acupuncturists in my area do this treatment.

Really bad news. 
Based on my previous Day 3 levels and my 7 resting follicles, the doctor thinks that we might get one good, quality embryo out of the deal. Yep, you got that right. One. That was a blow. I'm never going to be one of those ladies that retrieves 17-20 eggs and has to worry about what to do with all my extra frozen embryos when I get pregnant. I feel foolish that was ever even a concern of mine.

He said with natural attrition...I might get 5 eggs. Then with the genetic screening and my age...maybe one will be normal.

So Dr. S posed a scenario for us to think about. Since we are doing PGS, we will have a frozen embryo transfer anyways. We could cycle and retrieve whatever embryos possible. Freeze them. Cycle again to get a few more eggs. Thaw the frozen ones and test them with the fresh ones. Then we should have a few more normals to work with. It is basically like doing two IVF cycles but you save money on the genetic screening and transfer because you only have to do those once. 

I know Dr. S was trying to help. But A felt like "sh*t, now we are already talking about two cycles". And for me, I wasn't crazy about the way Dr. S worded it. He said something like "you two don't look like people who are going to be willing to give up if this doesn't work so think about this...". I've been thinking about his comment since I heard it. Are we people who are willing to give up? 

My husband is because this is not his dream. It is mine. But how much and how long am I willing to put us through this? We don't have enough money to do two cycles at that clinic. And even though my work has been great, that would be an additional 7-10 days that I'd need to be in Denver. On top of the 11-15 days, I'd need for one retrieval and transfer. 

Honestly, yesterday I felt like a person who is willing to give up. And give up now. It was just too much. A and I both felt so overwhelmed. We still do. But we've been able to comfort each other and try to find humor is our very unfortunate circumstances. It is a lot to take in. I'm thankful we have each other. For now, we are just trying to process everything.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

a little party never killed anyone

My close friend is a total fashionista and trend-setter who lives in San Francisco. Since we have the same name, our college group of friends always referred to her as "big Jess". I'm sure she hates that especially since she is petite by most people's standards. But I'm miniature. So she got the name by default. 

She is beautiful, a ton of fun and always loves a good party. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I received her wedding invitation in the mail last week. It is the cutest wedding theme ever.

the bride to be

Great Gatsby Garden Party
"Seersuckers, bow ties, and fascinators galore will set the stage for a great evening under the stars."

Super fun, right?
Well, I can't wait.

I'm on the prowl for a fabulous 1920's era, Gatsby-inspired outfit for the wedding. I still have a few months to try to convince A that he'd look great in a bow tie. But something tells me...it ain't gonna happen. So I'll just stick with my attire for now. 

Here are some pretty mood boards that will be guiding my shopping trips.


I'm sure the movie has some great outfit ideas as well. But I can't bring myself to watch it until I finish re-reading the book. Hope y'all are having a great weekend.

If you have any recommendations on stores that I should check for my outfit, please let me know.


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