Saturday, August 22, 2009

Epiphany Altered...

Alright, so maybe my epiphany was on the fanatical side...better to err on the side of caution right!?

This past Friday, I saw Dr. M to find out if I was pregnant, which I wasn't...sad face, then to have the endometrial biopsy to find out if the lining of my uterus is thickening enough to support the implanting of a baby. We find out about that next week.

After the biopsy, which I was really afraid of because everyone had told me how excruciatingly painful it was going to be but wasn't, I asked Dr. M about the studies that I had read on the Internet about ibuprofen. Here is what she said...

She has never read anything published in medical journals Which indicated that ibuprofen increased the chance of miscarriage that drastically, however, she does not recommend that her patients take ibuprofen around the time that they are ovulating because it can effect ovulation and implantation.

So, I plan to err on the side of caution and use the Epsom salt bath soak that Dana suggested and severely limit my ibuprofen intake. And I do apologize if I scared anyone half to death, but you saw the same thing I saw if you read the linked studies in my last post and I was scarred myself.

God Bless You All and Have a Blessed Day!


Saturday, August 15, 2009


By definition an epiphany is a moment of striking personal realization or insight OR a manifestation of the Christ to the Magi (for the definition of magi…see the movie The Mummy – one of my personal favorites). Ok, so I am obviously not a magi – then I guess that definition number one must apply in this situation. But I am really leaning towards divine intervention!!

Last Thursday night, I was at my uncle’s house saying bye to my cousin Bobby, his wife, Shawna, and their kids, Kylie and baby Eddie. You may remember me mentioning that they were visiting from California in my Seven Down…Two to Go post. While I was there, Shawna said that it sounded like I was about over the summer cold that I had been nursing and asked if I had taken anything for it. In fact, I had broken down after 3 nights of no sleep, and taken some Tylenol Cold and Sinus (which did nothing) and on the fourth night of no sleep Rick was almost slipping Nyquil into my drink – apparently, I get a bit cranky when I’m tired. Anyway… Shawna, being a nurse, said that was fine as long as I didn’t take any Ibuprofen or NSAIDs (Motrin, Naproxen, Advil), just in case I am pregnant now and don’t know it. I know that it is not a good idea to take Ibuprofen while pregnant because it is a blood thinner and studies have shown that it can cause some pretty serious birth defects during the 3rd trimester. But, I didn’t really think anything more about the comment at the time and moved on to a new topic and of course playing with the baby while Trystan was coerced into playing dolls with 4 year old Kylie. It was hilarious and I am fairly certain that my son has a weakness for blondes because he is a pretty big guys guy and he wilted like a leaf when she smiled, gave him a big hug, and “please, Tistan” …but that is a different story.

After saying our goodbyes, we came home and went to bed. I actually fell asleep without a problem that night and didn’t even wake up when Rick kissed me goodbye before he left for work…it was amazing, I never sleep like that. At around 7:30am I sat straight up in bed, wide awake, with what can only be explained as an epiphany. You see, I have been having some pain in my right knee and left heel especially after working out, and since medications from the Tylenol family do not really work for me, I have been taking Ibuprofen. Probably since last November, I have been taking it to help with the inflammation and pain, once to three times a week on average, no big deal right…

So here was the striking realization… IF Ibuprofen is bad for you during pregnancy, could it have a negative effect on a person who is trying to get pregnant? I had never been told anything by anyone about not taking it if you are trying to conceive. I even looked on the bottle label to see if anything was listed there and I found the warning to pregnant women about refraining from using the product during pregnancy and the dangers associated with it during the 3rd trimester. So, I looked it up… God bless the internet.

Behold the epiphany was right on the money, hence my feeling that this may be divine intervention. I found several studies where Ibuprofen was shown to increase the chances of miscarriage. One of the sites can be accessed here. A miscarriage is defined as child loss before the 20th week, by my calculation that is not the 3rd trimester. Normally, the chance of women miscarrying a healthy and viable “embryo” aka “child” is 10-15%. These studies showed that the chance of miscarriage while taking ibuprofen increased to …are you ready…80%. Seriously, 80 %, that is an increase of over 65%. Ok, so does anyone else think that this information is kind of important …because I do?

In the third study I found by Otis, the organization that does all of the research on pregnancy and drug interactions, went further and stated that some studies have found that Ibuprofen has been found to inhibit (stop) a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterine wall. Um…ding ding ding we have a winner…the two miscarriages that I have had have been very early in the pregnancy…like I was only 4 or 5 days late and the pregnancy test came back positive, but when I went in for the sonogram they didn’t see and implanted embryo YET, which I was told is normal for that early of a time frame. Then a few days later, I miscarried. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an implantation problem to me.

To be fair to everyone, there were other studies that found that there was no link between Ibuprofen and miscarriages and if any of you are reading this thinking “uh Duh, how could you not know this?!” then forgive me, but I didn’t know, nor was I told any of this information before I decided to look it up for myself.

So, in my guilt ridden state that my own ignorance could be the root of my inability to; I looked up the time period that Ibuprofen remains in the human body after ingestion. The answer is 12 to 24 hours and the dosage has nothing to do with the time period. I can’t remember the exact day that I last took any ibuprofen, but I know that it was right around the time that I first saw Dr. M, which was August 5th, so it should be well out of my system by now. And you can bet that I will be talking to Dr. M about this when I go in on Friday.

Have a Blessed Day!!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer In Review...

Well, this is my LAST official Friday of the summer; I go back to work on Monday. Then my college classes begin the following week, so the frequency of my blog entries may slow to a crawl, but I will try to make at least one post per week.

My larger goals for the summer were to decorate Trystan's room, prep for the new software and accounting lessons I will be teaching this year, clean out the basement, and go on vacation. I accomplished one out of the four goals...going on vacation. But as I was looking back over the summer, I realized that far more important things than studying and painting took place. Friends and family took precedence over the mundane daily tasks. So maybe I'll have to cram a few chapters ahead of what I'm teaching and maybe I'll have to do 2 loads of laundry instead of one each day to make up for skipping a few days, but the memories and time spent with my kids, family, and friends this summer are far more rewarding to me than an uber-clean house (not that the house was really dirty).

Some of my favorite memories of the summer are:
  1. Playing in the pool with Rick and Trystan. I love to hear my husband laugh and in the midst of all that we have gone through in the last year and a half it is an occurrence that takes place too few times. That day we laughed and laughed and laughed.

  2. Meeting Dana on vacation. She has become a dear friend whom I value greatly, and her girls are so huggable and cute!!

  3. Spending 10 fun filled and stress free days on vacation with my family.

  4. Spending days poolside with Tonya and her daycare kids. She forces me to relax and set the intensity aside for a few hours and to remember that kids are kids, not small adults.

  5. Cooking with Trystan. Those meatball subs were amazing!!

  6. Starting this blog and meeting you.

  7. Keeping Jenny and Chad's kids for a day. Swimming with all of them, watching them in a Wii tournament, and cooking with the girls was such a sweet reward.

  8. Watching Rick play football with Tony and Travis.

  9. Seeing the joy and accomplishment on Bre (14) and Trystan's (12) face as we loosened the apron strings a bit and let them have a little more freedom and independence. We let them go to the other side of town with a group of friends and stay out 'till dark on several occasions, and for the most part they checked in on time and were home on time too!

  10. Watching Bre, Trystan, Seth, and Tony catch a wild mouse that was living in the wooden railroad ties on one side of our pool area. It was hilarious, they caught it after two hours of trying different trapping techniques, we released it, and then I think it packed it's bags and left 'cuz it hasn't been seen since!!

So, I put together a Summer in Review slide show for all to enjoy!!!

By the way, the Noodle Sprinkler Craft that Dana posted was a great addition to our pool time and the kids loved it!!

God has truly blessed me in so many ways. I need to remember the blessings that are amidst the trials and trust that God is true to His word and blesses those that believe and serve Him.

Have a Blessed Day!!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seven Down...Two to Go

Since my last post we have gone through seven out of the ten initial tests needed by Dr. M, our reproductive endocrinologist.

Yesterday, I went in for a secondary exam and ultra sound with Dr. M's associate Dr. G. During the ultra sound he asked if Dr. M had mentioned a Fibroid on my uterus..."um, No". He wasn't really concerned about it but did mark it on the picture for future review. He was able to get a picture of my left ovary, which Dr. M wasn't able to do and said that either I have a follicle getting ready to release an egg or I have a cyst. Again, he didn't seem overly concerned. But now I am. The next two tests will determine whether or not I have ovulated and IF I'm not pregnant they will take a biopsy of the lining of my uterus. I really don't want to do that test because I've heard that it really hurts plus I will have to take a day off of work, so pray that I am pregnant. Both of these test are scheduled to take place next week. If I am pregnant then they will give me progesterone to support the pregnancy.

For those of you who are wondering why I am seeing this doctor, it isn't just because we want to have a child, but to figure out what is going on with my body. It isn't normal for any woman to have several miscarriages, to only loose 5 lbs in 6 months while working out consistently, to suddenly have acne that just doesn't go away, to always be tired but never able to sleep, or to have stray hairs popping up. So my position on this is that even if we don't end up getting pregnant, I want to know what is going on with me and to feel better.

A very good friend of mine is more than sceptical about me going through these procedures and her reasoning is that maybe God doesn't want me to have another baby, maybe next time I will be the one who doesn't live. She has the ability to voice my internal fears... it is eerie. While I love this person very much and value her opinion, I have to somewhat disagree with her. I believe that God has opened this door for me to walk through whether it results in a pregnancy or whether it prevents me form having diabetes or reveals that I have endometriosis, I need to see it through. However, there is a point where Rick and I have decided to draw the line; we will not be looking into invitro fertilization nor will I take fertility treatments that will force my body to release multiple eggs. We have both prayed about it and that is where we will stop. Perhaps we would be willing to take those steps if neither of us had ever had children.

Over the weekend and after talking to my above mentioned friend, I seriously questioned what we are doing and even considered calling and cancelling my appointment for yesterday. Then I spent a few days with my cousin and his wife who are visiting from California. They have a four year old daughter and a six month old son, who was born only 2 weeks before the 1 year anniversary of Jacob's death. As I held and played with Eddie, I realized that I was not ready to stop trying. It was not a jealousy thing in any way. I was just comfortable, not uneasy or panicky, just at ease. Carrying him around while I was taking pictures, fixing my dinner plate, etc.. just the everyday things that felt natural doing with a baby on my hip. And then came the snuggling, you know, when they lay their heads down on your shoulder with their little hands gripping your hair and shirt. I just love it and it sealed the deal. I guess that Rick noticed too because he said later that he was "ready" and that he "wants this to happen just as badly as I do".

IF God has decided that we aren't going to have another child, then we won't, and we will have to accept that. I am ready for that possibility, but I also have hope and faith that God will lead me down the right path.

On a separate note, a few people made comments about how comfortable I was with Eddie and he with me, and that they couldn't believe how calm I was and that I wasn't upset. My other cousin's baby was born in March and I just found out about it literally on Saturday. People just don't talk to me about babies. It is ridiculous. Seriously, people who have lost a child aren't really likely to have a mental breakdown while in the presence of a baby or while hearing about someone being pregnant or having a baby. At least I'm not. It kind of drives me crazy that people treat me like I'm going to crack at any moment. Sorry for that side bar, but it's true. If you know someone who has lost a child, ask them if it bothers them to be around babies or to talk about pregnancy or babies. Maybe it will bother them or maybe it won't; but I bet they will appreciate you asking.

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ready, Set, Go...No, Wait...Ok Go

Two nights ago, after showering and washing off the day of Six Flags perspiration, I flopped into bed exhausted and ready to fall into a deep sleep. Alas, when I hit the bed all I found was restlessness, I could not fall asleep, and I hate that. I snuggled up in my favorite position next to Rick; with my head tucked into that nook area at his neck and shoulder, with his arms around me and ahhh…wide awake. I haven’t really slept well for the last year or so, but usually praying will help me to relax and I find that I fall asleep mid prayer; nope, didn’t happen. The culprit… August 5th, (imagine ominous music here) dududuuuu, Infertility Dr. Day.

I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would find out the next day. I was really afraid that Dr. M was going to examine me and tell me that I am forever more barren, that I have cancer, or some horrible and life altering diagnosis was going to be made. Irrational fear or cautious preparation, I prefer the second label, but either way, I wasn’t going to get the deep, restful sleep that I wanted that night. Instead I got the tossing and turning, up to the restroom 10 times sleep. Yay me!!

At around 6:00am I finally did fall asleep and dreamed. I can’t remember the whole dream, but I do remember that Rick and I were in the hospital with our new baby girl and I was attempting to nurse her, when the door opened and visitors came pouring in. I usually don’t remember a lot of my dreams and that is all I remember of that dream; but what hit me more than the visual was the sense of peace and lack of anxiety that I felt in the dream. Now, being the logical person that I am, I try to analyze everything and as we, Rick and I, were driving in to Dr. M’s office, I was trying to figure out if the dream was God answering my prayer or if it was the Freudian explanation of my Id expressing the strong desire to have another child.

By the way, my analytical tendencies absolutely drive my husband insane, so on this particular day, I decided to keep my thoughts to myself. I have been praying for the past year that God would either bless us with another child or that he would take the desire for a child away from both of us. Neither of us has lost the desire hence the trip to Dr. M.

We pulled up to the office and Rick looked at me and me at him and He said “Ready?” and I was like “Yes…No… ummm Ok” and we walked in together with solid resolve and determination…or something like that.

My husband’s faith is amazing, he is so strong in the Lord and just doesn’t worry; he just accepts that it is all in God’s hands. It drives me crazy and keeps me steady at the same time. I am so not that person. I have to constantly tell myself that God is in control and that He has us on this path for a reason. But where Rick stops and accepts, I keep digging for the reason.

This may be a long post…So here is what we found out…NOTHING. I’m not sure what I was expecting, I guess that I was expecting for her to look at me and through divine intervention be able to pinpoint the issue right there on the spot…instant gratification and unrealistic expectations, welcome to my life.

Don’t get me wrong, Dr. M was great. She was very thorough in gathering our histories and had already studied my file in depth. This made me feel like she was really paying attention and that we weren’t just another couple in a cattle call line. After gathering our histories she did a physical exam and internal ultrasound on me. She explained everything that was appearing on the screen and showed no signs of concern or approval (darn it). She was able to get great images of my uterus and right ovary, but my left ovary was not as cooperative and boy did it hurt when she was pushing around in there trying to get a good view. RED FLAG. After the exam, we went onto her office and I thought “OK, here it comes”, I may have even winced a little. She explained the 3 main reasons for infertility which are: 1 – Sperm Issues, 2 – Ovulation issues, and 3 – Scar tissue/Endometriosis. She didn’t divulge any suspicion of what is going on other than there is something that is preventing us from getting pregnant, Duh, but that it could be any number of things.

I derived from the information that she was giving us, from my symptoms, and the ultra sound that she suspects possible Insulin Resistance that can cause PCOS and possible Endometriosis on my left ovary. She also wanted to check for antibodies in Rick that are sometimes present after a vasectomy reversal. The antibodies essentially see the sperm as alien entities in the body and attach to the sperm disabling them from swimming. Apparently, sperm are kept hidden from the immune system and when a breach of the male reproductive system is made, say in the instance of a vasectomy or a reversal, the immune system becomes aware of the sperm and can decide to attack or ignore them. We also found out that work out or nutritional supplements that men use to aid them in gaining weight or building muscle, specifically containing any kind of testosterone booster will wipe out a man’s sperm count. I didn’t know that…did you? Guess what Rick takes!!!

Anyway, I found out that there is a whole lot more to getting pregnant than meets the eye and the plan is to systematically rule out possible problems one test at a time, but in a hurry, then wait and hurry again. Everything has to be done at certain points in a woman’s menstrual cycle.


1. Yesterday Rick and I both had blood drawn for the antibody test
2. This morning I had to rush a sample ala Rick back the Dr. M and have a fasting blood panel drawn from me to test for hormones, thyroid, and insulin resistance. We won’t get those results until next week. They will also combine Rick’s sample with the blood they drew from us yesterday to check for the antibodies and will complete a sperm motility test. Those results should be in this afternoon.
3. I started the Basal Body Temperature Chart today (day 10 of my cycle) and will continue to chart my temperature every morning before getting out of bed or even turning the light on. My temperature is supposed to drop on the days of ovulation and then rise until I start my next period. If I’m not ovulating (a sign of PCOS and Insulin Resistance) the temperature shouldn’t drop as expected.
4. I start using an Ovulation Kit tomorrow (day 12 of my cycle) and continue until the strip indicated a surge in the LH hormone that indicates ovulation. If the tests do not show a surge in the LH hormone by day 14 or 15, I have to call Dr. M.
5. Then they will perform a Post Coital exam, ultra sound, and blood pregnancy test, Pretty much I have to go in and have a pap test within 12 hours of intimacy. Umm Yuk!
6. IF I’m not pregnant by then, I will have an Endometrial Biopsy at day 26 pr 27 of my cycle, right before I am supposed to start my period. This tests the thickness of my uterine lining to see if it is thick enough to support a fertilized egg. If not I think they will start me on progesterone suppositories to thicken the lining.
7. More tests…to be continued
So, remaining true to my analytical tendencies, after church, I popped open the laptop and I researched the notes that the nurse took and tried to figure out what everything she told us meant. I hope I explained it well up above and provided the links to further answer any questions you might have.

I am not really confused, but I am more worried, and have more questions than I did before we went. For instance, if I have Insulin Resistance and have had it for sometime, do I also have the other serious conditions such as heart disease and will I develop full blown diabetes because of this? Will I have to take medicine for the rest of my life and if not will the medicine affect my liver increasing the potential for liver cancer? Will I have to take hormone therapy which also increases the chance for several types of cancer? As you can probably tell I am really scared of cancer.

Alas, through the research I have found that if I do have to take insulin medication, it is generally not forever and can be discontinued after loosing 5 to 7 percent of my current body weight. Apparently, maintaining a healthy body weight makes a considerable difference in how your body reacts to insulin and insulin has a direct effect on ovulation. If weight is kept at a reasonable level and I exercise regularly that will also keep me from developing full blown diabetes. One major symptom of insulin resistance is the inability to loose weight no matter how hard you try. The medication allows the body to absorb the insulin correctly therefore allowing the body to burn the sugar stores normally and in turn allowing the person to loose excess body weight.

So as it stands right now, we are on the path, to what end I have no idea, but again God has us on this path for a reason. Psalms 119:105 says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. A few years ago I heard a sermon in which the preacher asked what happens when you are camping at night and hold a lantern up? The answer is that the lantern projects light out a further distance away from the base and allows the camper to see further or perhaps many different paths that could be taken. Then what happens when the lantern is placed on the ground near the feet? The answer is that the light is only projected out about a foot from the base allowing the camper only to see their next step. I think that the verse means that if we stay close to God through His word, he will show us where to take our next step; only one step at a time, but the right step. For us to refrain from lifting the lantern and trying to see too far or figure out, on our own, which way to go requires faith, trust, and the ability to surrender control of our futures. That is what I am struggling with right now. As I have said before, I had a picture in my mind of my life and so far nothing that I pictured has happened how I pictured it and that is because GOD is in control, I’m not. Realizing and understanding that God is in control is not the problem, accepting that fact and relinquishing the facade of control is the problem. Fear of the unknown.

So even though I don’t know what will happen or what we will find out, I know that I can talk to God and that he will hear me and take away my fears (Psalm 34:4). I also know that God has opened this door for a reason and that if I wasn’t supposed to see Dr. M then Dr. R wouldn’t have referred me to her. I choose to hold my lamp low and follow His path one step at a time.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Have a blessed Day!