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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Black Ice

Going to the doctor's tomorrow. I assume they'll do a blood test to see if I'm pregnant or not. I have no idea. I think I'm not because I've had to deal with a lot of cramping over the past few days. Hoping against hope for good news though. I read that cramping can be an early sign of pregnancy. I have been too scared to take a home pregnancy test. Before I have been eager to use them, but nothing is more disappointing then reading that "Not Pregnant" in the display window. I may use one tomorrow before I go to the doctor. Not sure yet.

It has been a winter wonderland in Sevier County over the past few days. I was annoyed on Sunday when I saw the rain, but by midday it had turned into snow and I was ecstatic. It piled up quick. Neither Alex nor I went to work on Monday. We decided to go today, but to leave a bit later than usual. I wish I had not left the house. It was hell getting down our road. I know most of the main roads are fairly clear, but our road was still well iced over. I started sliding as I went down one of the small inclines. My car is NOT made winter weather and I certainly do not have the nerves for it.

Up until a few years ago, I had never driven in bad winter weather at all. Then one day, out of nowhere, we had that day of black ice. I lived in Maryville in the country and was heading to Pigeon Forge early in the morning for a work thing. I went down my country back roads to the main highway before I even heard them start talking on the radio about the ice. I remember thinking, "That's weird. My drive has been fine. Oh, well. Must be elsewhere." I made it all the way down that highway and turned onto Lamar Alexander Parkway, again with no troubles. However, as I went to stop behind the line of cars at the next light...I didn't stop. I just started sliding. Terror went through me. As my car finally came to a stop, short of hitting the car in front of me, I looked to my left in time to see a truck in the next lane slide up onto the sidewalk to keep from hitting the car in front of them because they couldn't stop either. That's when I realized from my home to Lamar Alexander I had just been lucky. I attempted to go on. Cars were creeping alone, but still sliding, including my own. As I turned onto 321 and passed the hospital, I saw a car sticking up, practically vertical from going over an embankment. At that point, I wanted off the road. There was a huge empty parking lot ahead on the right. I wanted to get over, but I was behind a huge dump truck that was starting to slide right. Then I started sliding right, as well. He corrected himself (somehow) and I used my right momentum to get over to turn lane. I pulled into the parking lot of a funeral home. Once I got my car parked, I just burst into tears and started shaking uncontrollably. I was literally just bawling. I could barely breathe. I had been so scared, but you don't have time or the ability to express the fear when your and other peoples' lives are at stake, ya know? So once I was safe, I just melted into all that fear that I had been feeling. Even now, as I write this, I am shaking. It was extremely traumatic to me.

So that has caused me to have issues during winter weather driving, especially with our road always being covered in ice. I generally start hyperventilating and shaking. Getting to work today was no different. Half way there, I was in tears on the Spur because there were still some icy patches here and there. I even parked in a different place than usual, a lot where I would have to walk a ways to work, because I was scared the parking garage ramp would be icy and I wouldn't be able to get up it. Like I said, my car is not made for winter weather. It's super light and it doesn't take much to slide around.

I am too scared to go back down the road to my house. Plus, I have that doctor's appointment in the morning. I don't want to have to go on the road in the early morning hours when the ice will be worse than usual. So I'm going to meet Alex somewhere and ride home with him. Then I can leave with him in the morning and we'll go back for my car. I won't have to drive on any of the bad roads, at least until I come home. Maybe I can kill enough time in Knoxville that it will be melted by the time I go home. I can hope.

IUI Complete

It has been a very long while since I have written and I apologize...I'm not sure to whom I'm apologizing since as far as I can tell no one actually reads this, but it makes me feel better to pretend that someone might care. Maybe my blog is like a soap opera and some poor soul has been desperately wondering what shenanigans have been going on in Sevier Life lately.

Naturally, this blog has turned into more of the story of my journey through the world of infertility than anything else. So I will start there.

I got a positive on my ovulation predictor on November 29th. Alex called the doctor's office to schedule our appointment for IUI (intrauterine insemination). He kept getting put through to voice mail and I was flipping out as it was getting close to their closing time. I was scared we wouldn't get the appointment and I would be SOL this time around. Finally, Mary, the head nurse, called us back and set up the appointment for 8:00am.

When we arrived the next day, we noticed a sign that said (paraphrasing here), "Payment expected before service." I'm not even sure how that works, but we also found out from the receptionist that they were only accepting cash or checks, no cards. Neither of us carries cash or checks. Insert part two of me flipping out. They don't tell us this ahead of time and they've always taken cards before, but this time when I'm there for such an important procedure, I have to pay for said procedure before they do it and with currency I don't have. I was livid. Luckily, they took Alex's credit card info and agreed to charge it the next day. Apparently, not taking cards was not a new rule, just an inconvenience caused by the storm outside.

When we were called back, Mary ushered us to one of the exam rooms and I was given my usual instructions: strip from the waist down. So I did as I was told, clambered up onto the too-tall table, covered myself with the paper blanket, and waited. I had done some reading before I came in. I checked out what a good sperm count for an IUI would be. I read that a count of 1 million was necessary to preform the procedure, but that 20 million was average. Anything over 50 million did not seem to increase the odds of conceiving any. Mary came back in holing a vial of Alex's little guys all washed and chilling in pink liquid (which I'm hoping will increase the odds of a girl, or at least a flamboyant little boy). I asked what kind of count we had to work with and was delightfully surprised to hear we had 41 million. Excellent! Just a few million shy of overdoing. 
Now, I also read that procedure would be quick and painless...unless the person performing it was having trouble getting into your cervix. Heaven forbid I do anything the easy way. I lay there not feeling well and willing my cervix to open. Finally, success! Pain was minimal at least. They told me to stay on the table for 10 minutes. So I chilled there discussing the chances with Alex. Afterward I was told to come back in a week for some blood work to check my progesterone level.

A week later, I returned and the really nice hematologist chick took a vial of my blood and told me the results would be ready the next morning. When I called, I was given good news. They want to see a progesterone level of 15 or higher. Mine was 23.6. Yay! From what I read online, that is a pretty great number. It doesn't mean I'm pregnant, but it means that if fertilization took place, the embryo will have a wonderfully cushy place to implant in.

So now, I am in the waiting game again. If my cycle stays the same as it has been the past few, right at 35 days, I have seven days until I will even have a chance of knowing if I'm pregnant or not. I hate the waiting and not knowing. It is the worst. I so want to be able to celebrate a Christmas miracle, but I'm scared of getting my hopes up, too. Some women go through IUI 3 or 4 times and never get pregnant. Some have to move on IVF. We will never be able to afford that. This has to work we're just SOL. I am trying to stay cautiously optimistic though. Guess we'll see.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thursday the 18th, Part 2

Alex, sweet man, came home with a bottle of sparkling grape juice and some candy. It was one of the things I highlighted in a book about 1001 romantic things to do for you lover. It was supposed to be champagne and flowers, but I don't like champagne and I don't know why he didn't get me flowers. I would have much preferred flowers over candy. There have been very few times in my life when I have received flowers even though girls are supposed to get them they're like a fantasy gift to me. 

I blame grade school. Back then, they set it up where parents and friends could purchase balloons and/or flowers and have them delivered in class on Valentine's Day. I never got anything, but naturally the most popular girls whose parents fawned over them had their desks covered in random goodies. I was always envious, not that I would have admitted it back then. {sigh}

After he got home, I tried to nap again, but still no luck. Tossed and turned for an hour before I gave up. We left around 9:45pm to head to Knoxville and grabbed food on the way. My head was killing me and all the lights from cars, street lamps, even signs along the road seemed very bright, to the point that it hurt my eyes. Alex said it was a hunger headache since we usually eat around six or seven, not ten. He had finished his McDonald's by the time I got to Burger King to get my food so I had him take over driving. Within about ten minutes of starting my mean, I felt way better so I guess Alex was right.
 We arrived at the Pinnacle theater in Turkey Creek around 11pm. There were news crews there interviewing some of the dressed up people. Lots of hustle and bustle. We went to the theater reserved for the Star 102.1 winners to find it was already mostly full. I was annoyed, but took a seat up front and began Facebook posting about my annoyance. 

No spoilers here. The movie was excellent. I had worried I would fall asleep during it since I was so tired, but no way. It kept me totally enthralled. My ass did fall asleep though so I was ready to go by the time it finally ended.

Alex drove home. Didn't take me long to fall asleep naturally. I did wake up once, but managed to get back into dream world fairly easily. I felt Alex get up at 7:30am. I was amazed, but went back to sleep. When my alarm went off at 8:30am, I grabbed my phone to go through messages and such. Suddenly, I felt movement next to me and heard a sound and dang near came off the bed. I jerked around to see Alex in bed with me. Apparently, he had only gotten up for a moment earlier and I had managed to fall back asleep before he had returned.

And that concludes my Thursday. :)

Thursday the 18th, Part 1

Thursday was not especially a great day. I had my HSG (hysterosalpingogram) to be preformed at 7:30am at the UT Hospital. I had to be there at 7am so I woke up at 5:30am. That's only an hour earlier than usual, but since we were going to the midnight Harry Potter movie, that extra hour would have been nice.

Anyways, Alex had printed MapQuest directions for me the night before. I never saw the road it said to turn on, but luckily I saw the blue "H" signs and was able to get there. Once I arrived I was still lost though. I had no idea where to go. I had been told to go into the hospital to the admissions office. None of the signs outside where best to go to get to that point. I parked in a visitor lot in front of the "Heart, Lung, and Vascular" building. From outside, I could see a corridor connecting that building to another. So I went in and up the elevator to the second floor. A sign in the corridor said "Hospital: This Way" so I went that way. After my trek, I rode another elevator down that put me in front of the gift shop. A little more trekking around finally brought me to my destination. They certainly don't make it easy there.

I checked in and waited in my first of three waiting rooms for the day. I wasn't there long. I was admitted shortly after some brief insurance problems. That has prompted us to go ahead get my name changed. It's just too much confusion between what's legal, what the clinic calls me, and what the insurance calls me. Since I didn't know where to go the girl who checked me in said she would walk me there. What she meant was walk me to the door and point me in the right direction. That was okay though since it was a straight shot to the Radiology department.

The girl working the Radiology desk was very nice. She gave me a few forms to fill out and then I took a seat in waiting room # 2. Then the girl led me to a changing room, gave me paper pants and a gown and told me I could put my stuff in a locker. It took me quite a bit to figure out the gown. The three arm holes and lack of a belt through me off. Something finally clicked and I realized it was supposed to be wrapped around you and your first arm was going to go through the first hole and then again through the third hole. Challenge complete. I put my stuff in a locker and headed to my final waiting room.

Another nice girl came to collect me, but told me to get all my stuff and bring it with me. That was a little annoying. I should have been told that to begin with, but whatever. I got my stuff and followed her to the room where my procedure was to take place. I sat in a chair there and waited for Dr. Keenan. I was a little nervous because I was told I would end up cramping, but no worse than menstrual cramps. I didn't know if that was a normal woman's menstrual cramps or my PMDD cramps that can damn near put me on the floor in tears. I was told to take Advil or Aleve before hand so I made sure to do so. Not sure it helped though.

The Dr. arrived, I hopped up on the table and settled in. He got started with inserting random things into me which, while uncomfortable, was not painful. Then he got ready to insert the contrast fluid and told me I would feel cramping. I was under the impression the cramping would be after the procedure so I was surprised to hear this, but readied myself for the unexpected.

OMG! It wasn't as bad as my normal cramps, but damn close! After a few minutes, I became sure I was going to throw up. The procedure did not last long, but it felt like forever. It was finally over and I felt a cord being pulled out of me in a quick manner. It made me think of a magician pulling all the colored handkerchiefs out of his sleeve. I was lead to the bathroom, given some info on what to expect for the next couple days due to the procedure, and sent on my way home. I was told I would cramp til noon. That may have been the worst of it, but it came and went all day.

So that sucked, but the Dr. said it went well. There was one tube that was slow to open, but it was open now so that would help increase our chances. I may have to go through hell and back, but eventually I'm going to have a baby. Women who get pregnant easily just don't understand. Telling me it's going to be hard to have a baby, hard to raise one. For me, all that would be a blessing, not a hardship. This is my trials and tribulations now. A child would be the good thing that comes of it. We are in a good place in our lives to be having a child. Comparing us to oneself who got knocked up and without any stable income is not an accurate comparison. 

Sorry for that mini-rant. Anyways, I went home and tried to nap a few times before Alex got home. Our vents were making noises though and kept me from falling asleep. So I wasted the day away and sleepily waited for my honey to come home.

Wednesday the 17th, Part 2

After our appointment, we headed to Best Buy to check out their TVs. As we walked up I saw a 60" on a stand. I pointed to it and said, "I want that one," and then went back to reading the info on IUI that I had brought in with me. Alex looked at the one I had pointed to and then at the one next to it and said, "I want that one!" Something in his voice told me told me that I would be seeing something humorous. Sure enough, I looked and started cracking up. It was a massive 82". It was actually so big that it was funny! It was also 3D. With the way we have things set up in the living room, we would be sitting so close to the screen that we might as well be in the movie. We both agreed it was ridiculous and moved on. 

 After our TV shopping, we went to the Star 102.1 studio to pick up Alex's prizes. Then we went to Sevierville to drop my prescriptions off at Walgreens. While that was being done, we went to Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries and to look at their TVs. We decided we liked their prices better than Best Buy's. We should probably check K-Mart, too, since they have layaway. 

Anyways, we headed back to Walgreens to pick up the prescriptions. The pharmacist we worked with was rude, not just to us, to everyone. He had the demeanor I have on work days when I just don't want to deal with people. So I didn't mind his attitude. I understood it. In the end, he was helpful because he went through a ton of BS with our insurance people. So that was nice.

While we were there waiting, Alex got a phone call. He didn't recognize the number, but answered it anyways. It was a good thing he did because it was the company he interviewed with and they offered him the job! Yay! He finally has a job where he will only be working during scheduled hours, where he won't be the only one who knows how to do things, and where he will be getting paid appropriately for it. I couldn't be more pleased and proud. He'll be starting that in December.

So Wednesday was a wonderful day! Lots of excitement for future possibilities.

Wednesday the 17th, Part 1

On Wednesday the 17th, Alex and I woke up at our normal time to get to a 9am appointment at the SCFRS. Morning is apparently their busy time. A woman was in the waiting room when we arrived, another couple arrived after us, and two other patients checked out while we waited. 

I sat where I had sat before so I could look at the winter scene painting that hung on the wall. There were two deer in the painting, but I didn't remember them from last time. Makes me wonder if I was that distracted last time that I didn't notice the two largest objects in the picture. Maybe next time I go there will be something else new in the picture.

We were called in and Mary the nurse took down our latest info. Then we sat and waited for Dr. Keenan. Our visit was short. He went over all out results and then laid out the game plan for us. I'm now taking Clomid again, as well as a low dose steroid and something for my glucose level (not sure about the last one. It was prescribed after we left due to some test results they had been waiting on from Leconte). Alex has to give up another "specimen" for morphology studying. I am scheduled for an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) for 7:30 in the am on Thursday. Then when I get a positive OPK, I get to call and make an appointment for the next morning. That morning, Alex will put another specimen in a cup and we'll head to the office. His little guys will get washed while I get prepped and then the IUI (intrauterine insemination) will take place. Yep, already going for the big bucks and hoping for no whammies. It's an aggressive step this early in our TTC journey, but considering our ages it's probably good to do so. 

I shall once again remain optimistic. Each chance gets better than the last one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jalopy Blog!


So we had a fairly uneventful weekend, but that was perfectly fine. We left work around 2:30pm on Friday. It was probably the only time Alex has ever been okay with getting our before our usual quitting time. I think he was just anxious, waiting for a call from his prospective employer and didn't want to be waiting at his current job.

He never received a call, but a quick call to them today let him know they ended up having a few more days of interviews and that he was still in the running. That news made us both happy. We really need him to get this. It would ease our financial burden and the stress that comes with his current position.

I am still on a quest for a suitable position of my own. I had found two promising ads, but didn't even get a phone call about either. Our Coca-Cola sales person was talking about how much she loved her job so I jokingly, and without even thinking, asked if they were hiring. She said they were and that they were probably going to be doing a lot of hiring come January because of a merger. So that's something to look into. There is also a retail management position at a local thrift store. Would not be the best job, but it would be closer to home, I wouldn't be annoyed by groups of 400 kids on what should be a slow day, and I would be helping people. People would come there to get what they need at a fair price. I wouldn't be selling over-priced products to over-weight people and contributing to childhood obesity.

Alex, loving and smart husband that he is, called the "Marc, Kim, and Frank Show" on Star 102.1 to play "Her vs. Him, Marc vs. Kim" and won us tickets to the midnight premier of "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1." He was brilliant of course and won by like 11-3. He knew how badly I wanted to see the movie on opening night.

Odd as it may seem, Alex had only seen one HP movie and that's because I rented it after reading the book. Luckily, we got some help in getting him caught up. ABC was having a 4-day special. We missed the first movie, but did catch "Chamber of Secrets" and "Prisoner of Azkaban." "Goblet of Fire" was the one he watched when I rented it and tonight we'll watch "Order of the Phoenix." That will leave only "The Half-Blood Prince" to watch. We'll have to rent it because I believe he needs to see it to follow the new movie. I'm super-excited about getting to see the new one!
I think the whole TTC thing has caused me to super-emotional. I assume you've all seen the Disney commercials where the parents tell their kids that they're going to Disney World. Yeah, those commercials make me tear up. I ended up in tears watching "Alias," as well. A flashback of a couple having lost their baby after birth and a scene in which  a father was unknowingly telling his daughter how much she meant to him totally got to me. I remember seeing these episodes before and I did not cry. So obviously, I have changed.

I realize this blog has been so all over the place and I apologize if it is hard to follow.

I'm finally over my winter-cold (mostly). I still have a slight cough and my nose is runny at times, but generally good now. I have been sleeping through the night again and for that I'm exceedingly thankful. Alex, lucky boy, never got worse than a sore throat and a couple days of coughing.

Alex and I went through all of books and picked some to keep and some to get rid of. There was a lot in both categories. Luckily, a Facebook post about it allowed us to find homes for quite a few of the books. So that was good. Our backroom is actually beginning to look like a room rather than a storage area. It's the room I plan to make a nursery so I want it perfect. We even bought a bookshelf for the room. It's not straight, but it does work.  

Well, I guess that is all for this jalopy of a blog.