Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Going through the motions

I am actually at work ( shhh don't judge!), so we will see if I manage to get this typed, edited, and published!: J I am in the middle of several things at the moment, all of which have stalled out for the time being, so I am going to try to put my fingers, thoughts, and emotions in high gear, and type this baby out!

I had my infertility appointment this past Thursday. I loved the office staff, the NP’s, and MD. Everyone was amazingly kind, comforting, and compassionate. I was in the office for ~3 hours! Exhaustion does NOT even begin to explain how I felt when I finally left! Evidently, I was a tad nervous going in, as my blood pressure was in the hypertensive range, ha ha! The stirrups and I do NOT have a kind and lovingly relationship, and I can literally go into full on body tremors at the sight of them… not even joking. Luckily, the staff recognized this, but did not criticize, what I realize is a semi-irrational fear, and took me out of the exam room and into an office for the “let’s get to know you, all your inner parts, and the most intimate inner workings of you and your husband’s relationship” part of the interview. We covered everything from my elementary years to the present day, mine and Jared’s family history, etc… I had all my previous blood work results written down and dated, print outs of all my vitamins and supplements, along with a LIST of questions. Yes, I am that nurse-patient, the one every medical professional dreads having in their office – but  I don’t think I am annoying, just educated and resourceful!:) After the interview, it was time for the head to toe exam, exterior and interior – woo hoo (sarcasm should definitely be inserted… it needs its own font… like maybe italics backwards or something…) A very sweet Nurse Practitioner did the exam, along with a pelvic ultrasound. Structurally, everything looked fine on the physical/manual/visual exam and ultrasound! I was very shocked – I was expecting a tilted and/or misshapen uterus, cyst ravaged ovaries (not a cyst to be seen!), and all kinds of misalignment structurally speaking. As I was nearing the end of my cycle at the time, the endometrial lining was too full to get a really good visualization of interior structure, but size and position looked completely normal. I maybe would have liked to have seen a tad of an ovarian cyst, for a little reassurance that my ovaries do in fact realize they are supposed to be spewing out eggs, but I will definitely take no cysts over 20 cysts any day! Next, I was off to the lab where I “donated” enough blood for a transfusion. The phlebotomist was phenomenal – thank goodness! J After my blood “donation”, I had a recap conversation with the NP, discussing again everything we had gone over and the plan for this upcoming cycle. I was also given a slew of literature to read and research for possibilities of future tests and possible time lines for procedures.

I held it together (other then my brief hypertensive crisis) really well, until I was leaving and the NP patted me on the back and said “Ok, sweetie have a great day, and we look forward to seeing you soon!” The water works were coming on hard and fast – stupid, I know, and for no reason. Let me state here and now – I do NOT cry in public! For one reason, I am one of the ugliest criers ever! The side effects linger for hours afterwards, advertising to the world that I have had a sob fest at some point that day. I was able to hold it in, only to have “it” come on hard and fast again at the check out window THREE more times! I think the tears that tried to come out as I was walking out were more from me being mad at myself for nearly crying 5 times in the last 5 minutes (surely a new record for me). Luckily, I thought I saw someone I knew in the lobby so that snapped me out of it quickly… only to discover I totally did not know them. I called the hubs as soon as I got into the car, and luckily relief I felt just hearing his voice and talking to him about the last three hours didn’t bring me to tears again. We decided to meet at Chickfila for dinner (cause when doesn’t Chickfila make your day better instantly!?!), so I went to Hobby Lobby to kill time while I waited for him to get off work. My husband fears for our life savings when he hears about this store… I can literally spend HOURS in that place! About this time I got hit with the most severe case of exhaustion I have ever felt (if I am ever pregnant, I can’t wait to compare it to 1st trimester fatigue…I think it would give it a run for its money!) Then the tears briefly started again, with the thoughts of  “oh my gosh, did I seriously just have to go see and infertility specialist!?!?” Followed by relief knowing that I no longer how to try to figure things out on my own, we had someone specially trained to do that for us, followed by anger about having to go see a fertility specialist, followed by “I am too freaking tired to even cry, maybe I will just sleep until tomorrow instead!” J I aimlessly wandered the aisles of Hobby Lobby, and can remember seeing one thing worth buying, unless it was baby related… which means I didn’t remain in that aisle or display a second longer! Even Chickfila is a blur…
We went straight to bed after we got home, but I had way too much info swirling in my brain to actually go to sleep. Since we have been doing some home renovations, our iMac is up in our room, so we actually have the ability to watch TV or movies in bed (we don’t have a tv in our bedroom.) So we took advantage of this, and just watched mind numbing television. It did the trick, and put me into a death like sleep! J

I haven’t yet received the results of my blood work. I don’t really mind… I know from working in a medical office myself, you call the critical results and/or crazy patients back first, followed by the patients you have followed the longest/like, leaving the “newbies” who aren’t too screwed up (yet) for last.:)  Based on our new plan, and how my cycle cooperates, I will go back in ~ 2 weeks, and go from there.

Thank you all for all the prayers, texts, emails, phone calls, facebook communication, tweets, etc… you all sent me before, during and after the appointment! They meant to world to us! I especially want thank my dear friend - my “Aunt” Tammy, who offered to take off work to come sit with me and hold my hand during my appointment, if I decided last minute I did want someone there, and Jared was two hours away. I didn’t change my mind, but it felt really comforting knowing she was just a phone call away.

Now should I edit this, or just publish as is… well, now that you have finished reading, I will let you guess as to what I chose to do… but I won’t ‘fess up if you ask. J

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"
Matthew West "The Motions"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I may be a nurse, but I still hate going to the doctor!

I have, oh about 10 posts sitting in my draft folder, waiting to one day be finished and published... maybe one day. I was working on a really fun recap of life lately, complete with pictures from the past, etc... but it is taking me too long to finish. 5-10 minutes here and there make my writing even more scattered and long winded!:) So in the mean time here is a quick boring update.

I am getting ready to have my first appointment with my new physician. He comes highly recommended by some friends of ours, who have several friends who are now successfully pregnant after seeing him. I really see God's Hand all over leading us to this new doctor. I have been looking for months for someone who I felt peaceful going to, and this clinic sounds like the perfect fit! This doctor is a high-risk OB-GYN, who is also board certified in Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology! He is contracted with insurance panels as an Ob-Gyn, so he is completely covered on our plan! Looks like we will only have to pay co-pays for the visits! A huge blessing! I am guessing we will have to be for most of the procedures, but this is still soooo much better then what a lot of people face, financially speaking. He is a founding member of the Physicians Chapter for Pelvic Pain - this thrills me to no end after my months of physical therapy! And on top of all of that, he is a Christan.

So how am I doing with this upcoming appointment? I am F.I.N.E. For those who didn't get the Italian Job movie reference, that would be "Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. Roll all that up together and it sounds like a very tasty burrito, uh? I vacillate between being so ready to go and finally start getting some different answers, and terrified about what those answers are going to be. I don't do well with grey areas in life - black and white yes please and thank you very much (you should see my new little computer nook/cubby - its decorated all black and white!) I am just praying we have some clear cut answers.

I have been testing nearly every bodily fluid daily, taking my temperature, taking daily supplements, could have probably saved several lives with the amount of blood that has been drawn and tested on me, and tracked every bodily function known to man for about 9 months now. And let's just go ahead and be perfectly honest here - trying to make a baby for 12+ months is exhausting from the amount of sleep time that gets interrupted! Sorry if that is TMI for some of you, especially my dad and brothers!:) Maybe I am wuss (sp!?) but I am exhausted from it all. From constantly being made to feel like a complete and utter failure by my own body. I know the next few months are going to be full of multiple tests and procedures. Everyone is going to know where I am on my cycle, when would be a good time to try to conceive... I am getting ready to give up complete and utter control of my body, my cycle, the most intimate part of my relationship with my husband, etc... So I gave myself a break. I haven't tested a fluid, taken a pill, drawn any blood. etc. There will be plenty of that coming up. The break was definitely needed, and I know it has helped mentally prepare me for the treadmill I am about to be placed on.

The appointment is later this week, and will last at least 3 hours. After the initial interview, and blood work, there will probably be a pelvic and maybe even and ultrasound. I am so embarrassed to admit this but the one thing I am the most apprehensive about is the pelvic, for multiple reasons. The number one and most ridiculous is the fact that this physician is male, and this will be the first time since I was eight that I have been examined by a male. Yes, this is ridiculous I know - I am a nurse and have taken care of males my age, older, and younger, and never thought twice about it. I am telling ya, I really worry I might be a 1/4 schizo at times!:) Plus, we have decided that my husband will not be accompanying me on this first visit, for many reasons. Basically, I would rather have him at other "more invasive, difficult, decision, making appointments." We both feel peaceful about this decision.

I am not sure when I will post again, and don't be surprised if the next post has nothing to do with the appointment.:) I am a brewer and a steeper. It takes me a while to digest everything and separate my emotions from my rational side. I already told my mom not to get worried (or excited) if I don't call her that day, as it will probably take me awhile to sort it all out in my mind and heart.

My lunch break is about done, so I am going to go ahead and post this. Please don't judge the multitude of grammatical errors I am sure I have made. I don't have time to be OCD about this post!

Thank you a head of time for the prayers!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness

While I may take care of mainly healthy kids now, I will always consider myself a pediatric cardiology nurse at heart, no pun intended. For the first 5+ years of my nursing career, I worked at one of the premier Pediatric Cardiology facilcities, and cared for many precious families affected by congenital heart disease. I loved my little blue, out of rhythm heart babies! I learned so much from these incredible children and their amazing families! It was truly an honor to be a part of so many of their lives. In honor of these families, I am linking up with Bekima Knits to help raise funds and awareness for these patients and their families. See her post below, and visit the links she provides. But first, here are a few of my favorite memories:)

... that Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) are the most common birth defect in America, affecting approximately one in one hundred, or 40,000 newborns each year?

... CHDs are responsible for one third of all birth defect-related deaths and sadly 20 percent of children who make it through birth will not survive past their first birthday.

... that although a child is born every 15 minutes with a CHD, research continues to be grossly under-funded in America.

... of every dollar the government spends on medical funding, only a fraction of a penny is directed toward congenital heart defect research.

What is a Congenital Heart Defect? A CHD means a child is born with an abnormally structured heart and/or large vessels. Such hearts may have incomplete or missing parts, may be put together the wrong way, may have holes between chamber partitions or may have narrow or leaky valves or narrow vessels.


I have come to know and follow, in the blogging world, some really great families (especially the mamas) and heart babies. Some, are no longer here on this earth with us, and some are living very wonderful and fulfilling lives here, even with their bandaged hearts. I hope to never have to endure what these children and families have and continue to go through, but peacefully realize that if I am ever placed in their shoes, I will have the BEST support group. These people are courageous, bare-to-the-bone, hopeful, faith-filled, all-loving, raw, emotional, loving, and totally real. And they make me cry and laugh and hope and dream...sometimes all in the same blog post.

I have so much admiration for these children and families and that is what I feel like I'm being called to help. Why do parents sometimes not find out there child has a CHD until after it's too late? Why aren't there 'sure' surgeries, since this is the MOST COMMON birth defect in America? Why isn't this getting the supporting funding it needs to find solutions to such a huge problem?

In honor and memory of all the children living and lost from CHD's, bekima knits' helping hearts will be donating 20% off every sale, now thru everyone's 'Heart Day' - February 14th.

Bekima's helping hearts fundraiser will help benefit, The Children's Heart Foundation, whom's goal is to bring health, hope and happiness to children impacted by congenital heart defects, the number one birth defect in the United States. They accomplish this goal by funding the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital heart defects. And also, Bless Her Heart, an organization founded after their daughter, Taryn, unexpectedly passed away from 2 CHDs. Bless Her Heart is dedicated to promoting congenital heart defect awareness to families at the earliest opportunity possible, and all donations are used to maintain the website and for printing and distribution of CHD awareness pamphlets to various organizations, businesses, and doctors’ offices.

The Children's Heart Foundation is the country’s leading organization solely committed to CHD research funding, and dedicates itself to bringing health, hope and happiness to children and families impacted by a CHD. CHF has funded over $4.1 million of vital, life-saving CHD research since its inception, which includes approximately $400,000 in 2010.

I LOVE the work that both of these foundations have taken on, especially Bless Her Heart for bringing this birth defect into awareness before these children are born. Before hearing and reading of these families and babies, I would have had no idea that this devasting defect even had a place on this earth. God has definitely stuck this in front of me for a reason, and this is what is being called to me at the moment, and there may be more in the future. All in His plan...and I'm sure there will be more and all for a reason. And what better timing than our unofficial 'Heart Month'!! If anyone else is interested in more CHD events and fundraisers, check out this site for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, which runs Feb 7-14, 2011.

I pray and hope that we can make a difference, and I know we can!!! I also have some super special knits that I would love to be able to give both parents that have lost children due to CHD's and also children that are living with their CHD's. Parents and/or friends and family...please email me and let me know about you and your child, and you will have a special gift from bekima knits at your doorstep soon. It's just a bit of what I can do to offer some comfort and joy to those most in need.

Feel free to copy and paste to help spread the word!

Shop HERE to help hat at a time.

And as always, feel free to donate directly to either/both of these foundations. I can only imagine the benefits that these donations will bring the future of CHD technologies and awareness.

"For nothing is impossible with God" ~Luke 1:37

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"There is a Chamber in God Himself....

...into which none can enter but the one, the individual." George MacDonald

I am amazed by how many people I have "met" through this blog, in its short existence. I am still learning all the lingo in the blog world, and the infertility world. Really, the acronyms alone could be their own entire post! For example, who knew that:
OOTN = "Outfit of the night"
BFN = Big Fat Negative (regarding home pregnancy tests. Bet ya can't guess what BFP is?? I will give you a hint: it is a VERY coveted term!)
TTC= Trying to Conceive
IRL= in real life (usually in relationship to friends)

The list could go on and on. Adds a whole knew dimension to the likes of "IDK. My BFF, Jill" uh?:)

My vocabulary is growing, I am meeting new people, finding amazing new websites - overall just learning a LOT! I always thought Blogging seemed somewhat egocentric in nature... or at least had the tendency to go there really fast. I didn't want this to be the case for me, and it was one of the main reasons I didn't start a blog for so long. The opposite has happened - this blog is very little about me, or my issues, my circumstances, etc... Sure, the majority of what I write about is me related/focused, but this new path has really pushed me outside myself. Introduced me to new people, with their own sets of talents and troubles. And that is my favorite part. This week alone, there are 3 individuals whom I have never met, only interacted with in the Blog/twitter world, but I have prayed for daily. It feels weird to admit it and/or talk about it, but it feels so right! After all, shouldn't the body of Christ be present everywhere - why not in the blog/twitter world too... maybe even Facebook... think that might be going a little too far? ha ha ! I box God in WAY too much in my life, and in life around me. He greatly delights in destroying my nice, neat partitions I have provided Him.

I find it very interesting (but perfectly logical at the same time) that the vast majority of bloggers are women. We (women) are so relational in our core - we long for that connection with others, even if it scares us to death, makes us uncomfortable, or reveals all the more how we don't think we are "enough." And while I do think one should not only have "Internet friends", but IRL friends too (remember, that means In Real Life), I have been so blessed and encouraged by so many ladies I have never even met or spoken to. I love how women are willing to share their struggles and triumphs, blessings and pain, with people they are completely unaware of. Its a whole new level of vulnerability!

Years ago, I was spending a lot of time asking God to show me what it meant to be a Godly Christian woman. I had a love hate relationship with the Proverbs 31 woman. When I was in elementary school, I went to a lady's bible study/get together with my mom, and several other ladies and their daughters. The lady who was hosting the event had made laminated bookmarks of Proverbs 31. I loved that bookmark, and still have it today, in my "kid" Bible. I read over it all the time, and was soooo excited that I had a guide, even better a list, for how to be the perfect woman! Growing up was now going to be so much easier! Ha! Early into  my teens, my loving relationship with this scripture verse began to sour somewhat, and it kind of devastated me. I mean, I loved it for so long, dreamed of how I was going to be just such a specimen of the perfect Godly Woman... was I "slacking" in my Christian faith now that I didn't just love the very wording of this scripture verse anymore? 

I am the oldest of five kids, and I love being the oldest sibling in a large family. It has not always been a bed of roses, and I think any oldest child will agree, we really do have it the hardest out of all of the siblings:), but I wouldn't change it for anything. Two of  my siblings were  born when I was 11 and 13 years old - I got to have real life baby dolls to play with. Let's be honest, at this age all girls still want to play "babies" deep down inside, but are scared such child's play will cause them to fall under ridicule. While I got to "play" dolls under disguise, I also got to practice being (to a very small extent) a mom. My parents (mom especially) were very careful that I didn't have too much responsibility placed on my shoulders as the oldest child. They didn't want me to resent my large family, and wanted me to be able to enjoy the innocence of childhood as long as possible. I think they did a fabulous job - I adore kids, want several of my own, and harbor no sibling resentment!:) However, as the oldest and the only girl for 13 years, I did have some responsibilities and experiences that not many other teenage girls get to have. I helped cook, clean, change diapers, and run errands once I received my long desire license (I am not sure who was more excited, me or my mom when i was finally able to drive solo!). Again, I got a very small glimpse at what life was like as a wife and a mom, and I knew I had no where near what it took to be the Proverbs 31 woman. 

I have alway sort of maintained the attitude that if I couldn't do it perfectly, I wouldn't even attmept it. Unforunately, this has greatly limited some of my life experiences. But, I decided not to throw entire idea of the Proverbs 31 woman out the door, which was huge for me! I decided to focus on one thing that I knew I had in my control: "she does her husband good all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12 By this point, I wasn't even entirely sure I really wanted to be married (that is about 10 other posts for another date and time, that may never be written!), but none the less, I knew this was something I could strive for, pretty competently. So I guarded my heart in Jesus,  sought my identity in Him, as much as a teenage girl could, and asked God to help me hold to this desire, whether or not I "had" to get married.

Fast forward to my 20's. I had done a pretty good job keeping my heart pure and intact, but I was suffering an identity crisis of sorts. Christendom so exalts and esteems the role of a wife and mother, that I didn't know where I fit as a single Christian woman. I felt like I was a cast off/second rate/didn't measure up Christian female.  Let me state here, that I have always believed that the role of a wife and a mother is one of the most high, noble, and difficult callings placed on a woman's life. But I also believe it is not the only calling for a Christian woman. I needed God to show me, prove to me, that I was just as valuable as all my friends around me, who were getting married and having babies. Through many tears, pain, heartache, and lots of time spent alone with God at Crockett Park (still one of my favorite places on earth!) I finally found that affirmation from Him that I needed. God kindly showed me three very specific things I could do, that He required of all Christian women, regardless of their marital status: be open, inviting, and vulnerable. He was very gracious in speaking to me in my "love language" - lists!:)  But seriously, open, inviting, and vulnerable!?!?! Great, those were like the three things I was the least good at exuding - fan-freaking-tabulous! I couldn't really complain though, as I had spent a lot of time asking and searching for the answer to my identity crisis. I got what I asked for... I had just forgotten to ask only for answers I liked and was good at executing. ( Little did I know then,  I was getting ready to be thrust onto a relational treadmill that would rapidly take me from happily independent single to happily married wife. ) So I took a very deep breath and prayed for the wisdom on how to physically manifest these attributes in my life. And something special happened: 
"Then the time came when the risk 
it took to remain tight as a bud 
was more painful then 
the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin
It has been a long, and sometimes painful journey, but a beautiful one none the less. And I know it will be a life long journey. As soon as I feel that I have "got it," He brings me to another precipice and asks me to again take that leap of faith, with Him. Crazy as it seems to my pea size brain, I know this blog is yet another thing He is using to help me discover and experience a life more abundant. I wrote this down one night after a bible study "The longings and desires of your heart will be met by your pursuit of Him, not by the pursuit your desires."

"It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness - being will to risk your all." My Utmost for His Highest

"Security is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of Jesus." Captivating

"The place that God calls us is the place where the world's deep hunger and our deep desire meet." Fredrick Breuchner