Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matt was a little overwhelmed
We had a really great vacation but I feel like I need another vacation to recover from all the driving and running around we did on this one. I fell in love with North Carolina and could very easily see us moving there when I graduate, raising a family there (in a secular home school group!), while I work at their awesome birth center or one of the many CNMs who do home births there (since they're the only legal option at the moment). And I feel like we'd be able to make friends in the area really easily as well. I stocked up on skirts for the summer from the many thrift stores in the area as well. I may never have to wear pants again. The nice thing about a town full of skinny hipsters is that there aren't a lot of fat people to pick through the thrift stores; it felt like they left it all just for me! We made a lot of fun memories with old friends, met new friends, and had more social interaction in a few days than we normally get in a whole month.
Wandering the UNC campus

playing around with the timer
Baby Jesus from the cake at a belated Mardi Gras party
The drive was absolutely gorgeous as well. While the mountain were still pretty bare, every so often you'd catch a big burst of color: purples, reds, whites. I saw many little waterfalls and springs along the mountainside as well and spent this part of the drive in awe. We drove back Wednesday and made it to Nashville where we spent the evening before driving the rest of the way back to Arkansas. Then started the crazy hectic few days where we try to fit in some sort of quality time with every single one of our family members which always proves exhausting. I think we both even managed to squeeze a few minutes with friends too. It just never seems like enough time and we know if we move out of state, it's only going to get worse. Right now, we only live about 3 and a half hours from our families and they still never come see us, so if we move 14 hours away, we'd all become strangers.

We added some more crazy into the vacation with the Clomid. I finished off the pills the 2nd night we were in North Carolina but didn't have a chance to really get away by ourselves, temping was hard to remember to do, couldn't remember to do opks, and just felt like my brain was being pulled a million different directions. I was looking forward to our hotel room for together time more than I was looking forward to sleeping in a real bed after a few days on a pallet (which my back still hates me for.) We had some fun on a back road in Bald Knob late at night as well to avoid any weirdness at the in-laws. I just was so unsure of when I would actually ovulate this month so we wanted to make sure we covered all the bases. I finally got a positive opk Sunday night and again Monday morning but I'm still waiting for my temps to reflect ovulation (which would be easier if I could manage to wake up at the same time every morning.) I had the worst ovulation pain of my life on Monday so I'm really hopeful that the Clomid made some big, healthy eggs this month. I was so bloated that even my scrub pants were uncomfortable and if I walked too hard, I really got uncomfortable. It was a night full of grimacing but I'd do it a million times over if it means I get a baby out of it. I was so uncomfortable when I got home from clinicals (and we had all of 10 minutes together before Matt went to work) that I couldn't even think about baby making so we might have missed the actually ovulation day, but we definitely had plenty every single other day. I absolutely love this part of the two week wait when you can still be hopeful but reserved before the real obsessing begins and hope sort of dwindles away.

I jumped right back into waiting tables at Dixie Sunday morning, homework that evening and then clinicals the past two evenings so right now I'm drained. Matt also started his new shift and is working from 11pm-7am which is definitely going to take some getting used to. It really sucks with my evening clinicals since I get home about 9:45 and then he has to leave about 15 minutes later. Then as he's getting home in the morning, I'm waking up to either work on clinical paperwork or get ready for lecture. And then I have nanny work immediately after class until 7 or 8 at night so our time together is going to be almost nonexistent for a while until we figure out how to make this work for us. I learned that I have a really hard time falling asleep in the house by myself and I wake up really easily at every little noise. So I've had like 4-5 hours of sleep in the past two nights and that just doesn't work for me. I feel so raw right now, like the smallest thing would be the tipping point towards tears (and already has a few times this morning.) If I don't figure out a way to get some sleep soon, I might lose what's left of my sanity. And I know that the Clomid will raise my progesterone which lead to a more emotional state these next 12ish days too.

I leave in 6 days to go to Salt Lake City, Utah for the National Student Nurses Association national convention so it's basically just go, go, go until the end of the semester. I fly out of Tulsa at 9am next Tuesday and I get back late Saturday night. The trip isn't costing me very much since our schools' student nurses association rented a condo for us all to stay in that way we don't have to eat out every meal. I am super excited about the break out sessions on the future of nurse midwifery as well as one on high risk pregnancies. Finally, things I'm actually interested in! I came back from the state convention feeling energized, motivated, and inspired and I am desperate to have those feelings back to combat this burned out feeling I have right now. Besides, it's always nice to be super busy for the two week wait and I refuse to take any hpt's with me or buy any tests while I'm there so that rules out testing early and forces me to wait until I get home. I know I'll be tempted but hopefully I can hold out. There is a great paid internship locally that part of me would love to apply for, simply to be able to put that experience on my resume' next year, but I just feel like I need this summer to myself. I need some hiking and camping and fun without having to really think too much about nursing school at all. And who knows, maybe I'll actually end up pregnant!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome back, old friends and make yourself at home, new friends. This is always such a great week, but this one will be a little different since we're on vacation until Saturday.

For all you newcomers, I'm Rochelle and I really hope you'll stick around (at least to see how the rest of this cycle goes!) I'm 23 and I'm married to Matt, who's 24. We've been married since May 2007 and have been hoping for a baby almost that entire time. I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks in September of 2008 and haven't managed to get pregnant again since then. We finally got some preliminary testing done and so far, we're both considered "normal." I am currently in nursing school and I'll graduate in May 2012 so that has put some timing issues into making a baby. When I graduate, I plan on jumping straight into a master's program to become a nurse midwife so there's really not a time in the foreseeable future that I won't be in school.  We did decide to take the Clomid my doctor offered to us this month in the hopes that we'll get a Christmas baby and that's where we're at right now. I just took the last pill last night so now it's just time to wait for a positive opk.  Don't you want to stick around and see what happens? If we have to make a baby in a state park on the long drive back to Arkansas? If the Clomid

As for the moment, we're still having a blast in North Carolina despite waking up like achy old people from the pallet mattress. I'll be sure to write a more detailed "what we been doin'" post later this day or this week.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

This is mine and Matt's first real vacation together by ourselves.  We've been home to visit out parents and friends in central Arkansas a bunch of times, but never out of the state together (minus that one time we went to Branson to Silver Dollar City with our old roommates.) Considering we fight most about each other's driving, I will admit I was a little worried about what kind of mood we'd arrive in after 14 hours in the car together, but after the start we had, everything else seemed easy peasy.

It started out so incredibly awful that we were only about 20 minutes from home when I teared up and said we should have just stayed home and maybe this was a sign not to go any further. We had to take our cat to Fayetteville to stay with a friend and within the first 10 minutes of the car ride, he sprayed, peed, pooped, and puked in the back seat. It was the most absolute worst smell in the world. We had all the windows down on the interstate and we were spraying air freshener into our hands to cup our faces. Then we get to her house, Matt just hears me say "back yard" and not the screened in enclosure that is back there so when the cat begins to scratch the hell out of his arm, he tosses him in the back yard. Out fly her two dogs who chase our already scared kitty up a tree. We stayed for over an hour trying to figure out how to get him out of the tree but only succeeded in driving him farther up. When we finally left her house, we were almost 2 hours behind and still had to stop and shampoo our car. The first place we went, the shampooer wasn't working and when Matt backed up to try the other side, he backed right into a concrete barrier (luckily, somehow not even a scratch on the car.) We eventually got it shampooed out, but then we were left with another strong smell, the shampoo, which smells exactly like whatever industrial cleaner schools use to clean up puke but farrrrrr better than cat pee smell.  I still feel like it's lingering in the car and we've used almost an entire bottle of febreeze along the way, but hopefully it will eventually air out. And we still don't really know what's going on with our cat. I feel worse for my friend than the kitty because he's super independent and I know he can take care of himself. She text me yesterday to say he was no longer in the tree, but that she couldn't find him anywhere else either. He ate some of the food she left out for him though so I think he's probably sill around there somewhere. I told her if she still hasn't found him by tomorrow, I'll call the humane society, explain what happened, and see if they've found him. I just wish I could make her not feel guilty about it. If it's anyone's fault, it's ours. I'll be super sad if we lose our kitty, but at the time, I was just pissed off at him.

We finally got to my in-laws about 10:30pm on Friday to drop off their grand-dogs and visit for about an hour then it was off to Matt's friend's house where I just crashed (and he stayed up until about an hour before we hit the road.) I started driving at 7:30 central time and drove until we got to Knoxville, TN where Matt took over. Tennessee is such a long state to drive through! It was just in time for me to get to look at the pretty mountains and all the waterfalls that lined their sides. It was amazing how blue they look, even when you get up close to them. I joked and told Matt I thought the reduced speed limit was more for soaking in the beauty than for safety and I spent probably an hour in awe of their splendor. I am hoping to fit in a hike before we leave, even if it's a super short one in Georgia or something on the way back. We finally got here about 10pm eastern time, had some late night Mexican food (bad idea!), and visited for a few hours before I finally had to go to bed. I don't really know when everyone else finally made their way there but since they are all still sleeping, I'm guessing it was early this morning.

I am so in love with this little town (Carrboro is where we are). I woke up, showered, and then took off, on foot, for coffee. I didn't have to walk long before I found the awesome little coffee shop where I am currently. Any place that plays Bon Iver makes the top of my list, and this dirty soy chai is amazing too! I am looking forward to getting to know Matt's friends better and make stories of our own to tell since all their current stories are from when Matt lived with them in Prague and I was the worst person in the world. My only worry so far is that we are sleeping on an ikea pallet bed, you know, the ones with the 6 inch mattresses that let you feel all the boards underneath, and my back, shoulders, and hips are quite unhappy this morning. I'm sure Matt is going to wake up in pain too. It makes me feel like such an old lady.

And if you've read on this long, you can be let in on the secret that we just went for it this month and I took the Clomid. We weren't going to tell anyone and I only shared it with one person in real life so far, but I'm bursting at the seams. I still don't think we plan on telling anyone face to face, but if you read my blog, now you know. Feel free to keep it entirely to yourself or gossip about my irresponsibility to everyone you know. No unbearable side effects so far (just a semi-constant headache that seems to be worse at nights.) And I get to be one of these lucky few who experience a super high energy state from these crazy pills, almost to the point of euphoria. I really feel like I'm on some sort of upper, although I do feel cattier than normal; Matt disagrees and says it's the same level as always. I would gladly put up with a headache if I got to feel like this all the time. Part of my brain is worried though that maybe this means it isn't working, that maybe I should be having super awful side effects if it was doing it's job, but since I really don't have much faith in it anyway, I'm trying to push it from my mind. I take the last pill tonight so then I have to be on the look out for baby making time. I don't think we really thought through the fact that we'd be on vacation the entire time I'm likely to ovulate but it's too late now. Luckily we're staying at a hotel somewhere Wednesday night and if our baby has to be conceived in the car in some state park along the way, then so be it! I think this might be the first time in a very, very long time that we've actually talked about having a take-home baby, the first time we've allowed ourselves to even consider that it is even a possibility.

I'm so thankful we've been able to take this vacation. To escape from school and work for a while and envision the life we'd like to one day have. I could see myself living here, raising my children here, and eventually serving women here as a midwife. I'm sure I'll have plenty more opportunities to update, especially if they sleep this late every day so stay tuned for my many amazing thrift store and used book store finds and hopefully a lot of pictures.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A part of it is relief, but mostly, just disappointment.

The nurse finally called back and didn't give me specifics (although I plan on going by there to see if I can get my own copy of the results) but said that everything fell well within the normal range. I was speechless. I held back tears. Now I feel guilty for having hoped something would be off. Matt is pretty shocked too. And I'm pretty sure I'll never get him to quit smoking now.

They called in 3 months of Clomid and said to call back if I'm not pregnant after that. I'm not even sure I'll pick it up, but I'm most definitely not planning on taking least I don't think I am. I can tell Matt is really sitting over there thinking about how our life would be if I had a baby (or two) in December and went back to school with a 4 week old to finish out my last semester of school. Jeeze,  how would that affect a breastfeeding relationship!?! Ugh. This is even more difficult than not knowing.

I'm off for some quality friend time after another jam packed day in the OR. I started my first ever IV (which I got of my first try) in the chubby hand of a little girl and saw how fun the OR can be when you're in there with a great team and a great (and hilarious) doctor (who was also a great teacher) who have all worked together for so long that it was like a family. I really wish I could have just stayed in there for the rest of the semester.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Well, the ultrasound results came back completely "normal" which just means no cysts, fibroids, or uterine abnormalities. Doesn't really put us anywhere closer than we've ever been. The nurse said it like it was just the best news and said the doctor said to "just keep on trying."  Not that encouraging. I don't feel like he's going to offer any further exploration if Matt's SA comes back all within normal limits too. I'm sure I could schedule another appointment and ask for specific things, like an HSG and a more in depth blood draw. When I told him that my thyroid tested fine in August, he didn't act like there was anything else he would be worried about.

I guess I was just hoping for something to go on. When I asked about Matt's test results, the nurse said she would go check and call me back, but that never happened. I'm in the OR again (and for the last day) until 1pm, but if they haven't called me by then, I'm going to call and bug them.

Also, a freaking 10 day luteal phase is not ok with me. I really just wish my cycles were predictable again. This month it was 4 days shorter than last month even though I ovulated super late. If they want to label my lady parts as "normal", I sure wish they'd get the memo and start working properly.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Please, oh please let spring stick around. I took down the rest of my winter-y items and optimistically put up some of my spring stuff. It's already gorgeous outside even though it's only 9:30 in the morning.

My dogs are in the back yard playing and my hubby is asleep (and likely will be for a while since I heard him come to bed around 5 after a night full of playing some video game he's addicted to right now.) The smell of cinnamon rolls is starting to fill the house, which is nice and clean, at least for a few more hours. I wish I could share this peace.

I'm watching last night's episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, which has become my favorite morning ritual. I'm letting my heart ache for those in Japan as I watch these painful images of lives being washed away in an instant. There is something about having survived after losing every material thing we've ever owned that makes me feel empathetically linked to each and every one of those affected by this earthquake. It also makes me long for a day when I'm more capable of helping. I know that my heart was just made to help others and I can't wait to drag Matt and our babies all over the world to do just that. Times like these make my heart restless to just get there already!

I'm feeling super impatient. Impatiently waiting to get back those test results, to get through the rest of this cycle, to get through this semester, and a million other things I try and push from my mind daily.

I desperately want to go hiking, or at least take my dogs to the dog park before I nanny it up tonight at 5 but I have this killer cold and my right shoulder has been hurting for the past few days so it may just be wishful thinking if this cold med doesn't kick in soon.

A week from today we'll be well on our way to North Carolina for spring break! I can't believe it's so close. Next Friday, we'll drive south to the in-laws to drop off the grand-pups and stay the night with Matt's friend that lives in the same town (mostly because he has a bed for us to sleep on.) Then early Saturday morning, we'll hit the road and with any luck, we'll make it to their house around 8 or 9 that night. We'll get to spend all day Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday with them, leave Wednesday morning, drive as far as we feel like it, rent a room, and then hopefully get back to Central Arkansas that afternoon. We'll stay there Thursday, Friday, and head back home Saturday night since I have to work Sunday. Then it's right back into the grind with clinicals and the start of the endocrine system in school. Luckily, I get to go to Salt Lake City the first week in April so it's like two breaks! Enough randomness for now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sorry I've been MIA, but I crashed my computer yet again. That's just one of the downsides to this netbook and it's super tiny (3.6GB) hard drive that fills up super fast. Hopefully thanks to the new flash drive I got that it about 3x the size of my hard drive, this won't happen again. And at least if it does, I won't lose all of my notes and study stuff. I wish I could just blame my computer on the fact that I got an 83 on my test (my first C on a test since starting nursing school). It really shocked me that I scored so low since I really felt like I had put in a lot more studying than I usually do and I could still recite a lot of the stuff I've learned over the past few weeks. Thankfully I still have two more tests left to boost up my score, although they're on the endocrine and then respiratory systems which aren't exactly supposed to be walks in the park. I'm still unhappy with my clinical instructor but luckily, I didn't have to deal with her much this past week since I spent Monday following Hospice nurses and then I spent Tuesday in the OR. Since I do have a fair amount of hospital induced anxiety, I wasn't sure how my OR experience would be, but I got in there and absolutely loved it! It really is addictive and I am already excited to go back this next Monday and Tuesday. I got to see the inside and the outside of a uterus, how long a cervix looks when you remove it from the body, and how weird an ovary looks when it's full of cysts. I was so enthralled with the entire process that I didn't take a single break the entire time. It's nice to feel like I have a back up plan, and another job option that I would enjoy, for while I am getting my master's degree. I took on a little more responsibility in our nursing program too through the student nurses association. I am now the vice president of our school's chapter and I am super excited about this coming year. Next month, I get to go to Salt Lake City, Utah for the national convention and I'm sure I'll come back even more motivated to get more people involved.

On the baby making front, Matt gave his specimen yesterday (and made me laugh so hard with his description of the event that I almost peed my pants! ---I'm going to try and talk him into a guest post if he's feeling up to sharing) and I went for my transvaginal ultrasound this morning. It seriously took all of maybe 10 minutes from pants off to pants back on and it seemed like they got some pretty good images of my uterus and ovaries. From the pictures I saw, my uterus looked bicornate and didn't appear to have any fibroids in it which is good news. I couldn't really tell anything about my ovaries though she did say she got some good pictures of them. I'll probably hear back about it next Monday or they may wait to call me once they have both our results in. Matt was told they would have some preliminary results for him today but that they also send the sample to Arkansas Reproductive lab in Little Rock and those results take about a week to get. I didn't schedule another appointment so right now, we're just waiting on them to call us before we know anything. I hate waiting, but at this point we don't really know anything else. I was super thankful that the u/s tech was so nice and gentle and even let me do the insertion so that I felt like I had a little bit more control over everything. It was also so nice to be staring at one of my most precious friends' beautiful infant son (whose giant picture hangs on the wall in the u/s room since she furnished pretty much the entire office with photos she has taken though her business) and be reminded that all of this, no matter how many more uncomfortable or even painful tests we have to endure to make it to parenthood, will be worth it once we're holding our baby. I just keep hoping that they find something because an unexplained infertility diagnosis is just another punch in the gut that I don't feel like I can take right now. I also keep hoping that we're wasting all this money right now and that I somehow miraculously and inconveniently got pregnant this month and none of this will be needed, but I know better than to hold my breath and put too much faith in that. I'm expecting my period next Friday so at least I'm almost half way through the two week wait already. We'll probably put a little more effort into this next cycle and then after that, it's 6-7 months before we really try again. It seems all the more important not to disrupt nursing school now that I have a leadership position on the executive board, but that doesn't really make it any easier after all this time. Anyone have a time traveling machine they'd like to loan me? I swear, I'll get it back to you before you even know it's missing!

So that's where we are for now and hopefully I'll have a real update sometime next week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It went great! I have always heard such great things about Dr. Hannah, but had only met him in passing at the births of my friends' sweet boys. He is one of the only doctors in the area that I know of who really supports natural birth in the hospital as well as provides back up for women who are having homebirths. I know right now he even has a VBAC patient pregnant with twins and he's supporting her vaginal birth. He is very kind and knowledgeable, not just one of those "you ovulate on day 14 every month, duh" kind of OBs. I would most definitely keep him as my back up care provider if (when!) I do manage to get pregnant which will ease my hubby's constantly worried mind.

So I left feeling like we're actually moving forward. I have an order for Matt's sperm analysis and a lovely little specimen cup with strict instructions for him. The only lab that does it is about 30 minutes from here so I will definitely feel nervous trying to get it there as quick as possible. I am so very glad that we're finally getting this done. I am scheduled to go back next Thursday for a vaginal ultrasound just to check for PCOS, fibroids, and any signs that they can see from that which might indicate endometriosis. If there is any suspicion that endo might be the issue, I'll be scheduled for a lap sometime this summer. I explained how I really just want to undergo these initial tests first and in about six months, we might pursue some medication/intervention once the due date would be after graduation. Of course, I'd love to have a baby derail graduation, but I know Matt would be upset and a little frustrated that I wasn't taking his opinion into consideration. We're still not going to be avoiding a pregnancy (unless of course I agree to birth control for 3 months -one of the options this clinic uses to regulate cycles) but we just won't be looking to meds or IUIs (intrauterine insemination for my fertile friends) yet. I'm not even sure if this clinic offers IUIs or if that would just be something we'd have to wait on until we moved closer to Little Rock where the RE is located. All of this stuff with me might end up being a mute point if something in the SA comes back abnormal (and part of my gut says that it will.) Hopefully Matt can abstain Sunday/Monday/Tuesday and do the test before I go back next week for my appointment.

It just feels so good to feel like we're being proactive about this now. It's nice that feel like it's not all on my shoulder's anymore. I also have this silly sense of joy from feeling like I might actually belong to this infertility community after all, now that I have something to talk about other than just keeping on keeping on all by ourselves. I'm still not sure how much of all this will be covered by insurance costs, but thankfully we've got a little bit of extra money to cushion that for now.

Now to go enjoy a few hours playing with my puppies and then an evening in toddlerland (which is populated by tantrums right now and the fakest sounding cry I've ever heard!) I am super excited for my day off tomorrow (even if it is going to be spotted with lots of studying), just so I can sleep in a little bit and play our new video game together!


So nervous I don't think I could manage to eat breakfast. It's finally here. Some sort of forward motion. Definite update later.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

These past two days have been a challenge for sure. I don't think that the clinical site would be too bad if I didn't have such an insanely strict clinical instructor. When we tell other hospital employee's her name, they just respond with "I'm sorry" and proceed to tell us some horror story about a time when she was harsh to someone else. I was there for all of 10 minutes before I was yelled at and almost cried. She just adds so much stress to an already stressful situation. I thought having the evening clinicals would be nice, but getting home at 10pm is just exhausting. Luckily, I get a little bit of a break from her since my next four clinical days aren't on the med/surg floor. I have hospice next Monday and then I'll be in the OR Tuesday morning as well as the following Monday and Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to both of those, even though I'm sure hospice will be an emotionally draining day and I have to wake up at 5am to make it to OR. Anything seems better than another day with that instructor right now but I'm still hoping that it will some how manage to get better.

As evidenced by this lovely post, I'm having a very difficult time concentrating in class today and can not stop yawning. I'd love to just go back to bed for a few hours but sleep isn't really in the cards much this week. I work as soon as class lets out today, right up until class tomorrow afternoon, and then again Friday as soon as class is over. And when you're getting home at 9 or 10 at night, it makes it really difficult to get anything done which is why I have no clean laundry (and therefore a commando day.)

Basically, this entire week is full of 12 hour days and Saturday can not come soon enough. Generally, I'd be super excited and ready for Friday, but I'm more nervous about it's arrival. I finally got a positive opk yesterday (on cd22) so I am definitely going to be trying to address why I always ovulate so late (which really explains how long my cycles have been lately.) It also means that I'm about 2 weeks away from my period which would hopefully leave plenty of time to come up with a possible plan for next cycle (which will at least consist of blood work and a sperm analysis, but I think I'm that would open to one medicated cycle since it would mean a December baby.) Matt on the other hand doesn't really understand why waiting another 6 months for intervention seems so difficult, but we'll see. I mean, if we do all these tests and find that IVF is our only option, we'll just have to continue on our own until after next summer when we most likely move to Little Rock (where there is an awesome RE and an actual IVF program so it might be a mute point anyway. I am just ready to get this behind me so I can stop working about it.

Back to trying to pay attention and take notes about hepatic encephalopathy (woo hoo!)

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