Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sharing the Journey

It's been quite some time since I posted anything about our trying to add a little one to our family.  Really, there just hasn't been much to share, other than my mounting impatience and raging baby fever lol.  And I think I've shared that enough.

I'd love to say that something big has changed--but it hasn't.  We're still trying, I'm still trying to fight impatience off with a stick, and am still way too prone to playing peek-a-boo with random kiddos in restaurants.  And bookstores.  And the grocery store.  And basically anywhere I go lol.

It's been about six months since we really started trying, and about ten months since I went off my RA meds.  I'm now flared pretty badly--I haven't knitted in a WHOLE WEEK--and am back on 10 mg of prednisone a day.  Prednisone is one of the very few RA drugs that is considered safe during pregnancy, so I finally gave in and got back on it while we're trying.  My rheumatologist wasn't all that happy at my July appointment when I still wasn't pregnant.  We decided it was time to go to my OBGyn and make sure that everything was working properly.

Well, it wasn't.
Apparently, even though I've had a regular period every month since February, I have not been ovulating.
At all.

Honestly, I was relieved to find that out.  I mean, I still wasn't pregnant after 5 months of trying and I was starting to worry that something might be wrong.  And as anyone who has ever had to deal with wondering about something medical knows--it's always better to know for sure what's going on.

At my OB's recommendation, I made an appointment with Dr. W--the reproductive endocrinologist that she works closely with.  Once again, I find myself so thankful for my amazing doctors--not only are they incredible in and of themselves, but they send my to the best of the best when I need to go elsewhere.
Dr. W ran the blood work and did ultrasounds and all sorts of tests.  He even took time out of one of his days at the office down here to go over to the hospital and perform my HSG (a test to check if your tubes are open).  The results of all of this were: a) my blood work looked good, b) my uterine lining looked fantastic, c) my follicles also looked fantastic and d) my tubes are open.

Which of course left me wondering, what the hell?  If everything looks good to go, why am I not ovulating???

Dr. W and I sat down and talked about all the meds that I've been taking for my RA.  When I told him that I had been on methotrexate for about 4 years before going off everything, he had an "aha!" look on his face.  Apparently, apart from being a bitch of a drug all by itself, taking methotrexate long-term can also seriously mess with fertility.  It can actually cause damage to your follicles, and thus hurt your egg count and quality.  I didn't really have a choice about going on methotrexate, but still--that would have been nice to know.

Luckily for me, all the tests we had run showed that the latter hadn't happened--my follicles and eggs were healthy and plentiful.  However, Dr. W concluded that the methotrexate probably did mess with my hormone levels and production enough to stop ovulation.

The solution?
Or rather, the generic--clomiphene citrate.  It's a fertility drug used to trigger ovulation--in other words, it will hopefully make me lay eggs like a chicken!  So far, everything is looking promising, and we think the drug is working...which means we finally have an actual shot at getting pregnant!  So exciting!!!

Of course, there's no timeline guarantee, or guarantee period.  One of the most annoying and frustrating things in this whole process has been people telling me to be patient.  A close second is the whole God's timing/plan comment.  A close third is that it--pregnancy--will happen when we stop trying/least expect it.

If you know me, you know I have big issues with comments about God's plan and God's timing.
I do agree that timing is a incredibly important factor in life; however, it seems to me those comments are mostly made in an unthinking attempt to help people feel better about life not happening on their schedule or about things not happening in the manner they want.
As for the other comments, I guess it's just that most people don't really understand our situation--even if I've already explained it to them.  In response to "be patient":  we have a deadline for getting to try--it's this coming January.  At that point, the amount of joint damage and disease progression will reach a point where I will have to get back on my meds.  This brings me to the "when we stop trying/least expect it":  if/when the point comes when I have to get back on my meds, I CANNOT get pregnant...and if I do I will have to abort.  The drugs I take are catastrophic for babies.  So, if we're not pregnant by January, I'm getting an IUD put in.  Because of all of this, telling me to be patient or telling me that after we've stopped trying is when we'll get pregnant is very, very aggravating, even though I know those saying it mean well.

Venting done, I am trying to be patient and at peace about the whole thing.  If we're going to get pregnant, it will happen sometime in the next few months.  At this point, there's nothing more I can do than what I'm already doing.  If we're not pregnant by January, we're done--we can't afford IVF.  I'll be crushed for awhile, I'm sure, but then I'll buy us some plane tickets to go see my friend in Japan, hit Hawaii on the way back, and be doing much better by the time I get home.  That said, in that scenario, maybe in another several years we can look into adoption--if my health is stable enough.  And if not, then I can spoil the hell out of all my nieces and nephews from friends and family!

Anyway, that's the update on our particular journey to being parents.  I'm very optimistic about our chances--especially since the Clomid seems to be working so well.  That said, any good thoughts, prayers, or vibes y'all want to send our way would be much appreciated!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Planning Monday: Aggie Football Season is here!!!

I'm so excited to get back to regular menu planning!  Bryan was gone for 10 days for work, and it's nice to get back to normal...and to make progress on our home projects that were put on hold while he was gone.  Specifically, we're making progress on painting the interior of the house!

The dining room is now done, and the kitchen will be finished tonight!  I wish I could say I was a big help, but it's really been all my wonderful hubby.  My hands have been a wreck, so my contribution has been cleaning out the roller and paint brush after he's done painting, and helping pick all the paint stuff up.  

Other than that, Aggie football is FINALLY back!!!  WHOOP!!!

Bryan's Papa and Mimi invited us to go to the Idaho game this last Saturday, and we had a blast!  We got to see my cousin Morgan and his girlfriend Ariana and Bryan's cousin Brooke--all Class of 2015!  

We spent some time before the game tailgating with Bryan's Uncle David and Aunt Amy (both Aggies as well) and Brooke and Claire (a future Aggie!), and then headed to the Fan Zone outside of Kyle Field to meet up with Morgan and Ariana for a bit.  At the game, we also got to see my cousin Joseph--Class of 2004--and wife Jill!

The game itself was a blow-out!  The final score was Aggies 37, Idaho 7.  That said, our boys were a bit sloppy, especially on offense.  Hopefully they tighten up their game by this coming Saturday for the Oklahoma State game.  I love getting to go to Aggie football games with Bryan's Papa and Mimi--they're such amazing people and it's so wonderful to get to spend time with them!  I'm super-excited that we get to go with them next week too!  I love Aggie football season!

On that note, here's our menu plan for the next week!
Breakfast:  some combination of egg, toast, fruit and/or yogurt with cottage cheese with milk
Lunch:  turkey and cheese sandwich or PBJ for me, leftovers or buying for Bryan
MONDAY: Crab Meat Salad w/ fresh fruit and a roll.
TUESDAY: Sit and Stitch!  I'll pick something up on the way.
WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and garlic bread!
THURSDAY: Salad with Pan-Fried Chicken Strips
FRIDAY:  Pita Pizzas
SUNDAY:  Gan Gan's Meatloaf 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You? 9.11.2001

We will never forget.

I can't believe it's been 10 years.

I remember the morning of September 11th, 2001 very clearly.
It was a beautiful morning, and I was a junior at Klein High School.  First period was theater with Ms. Frost.  I loved that class.  I don't remember exactly what we were doing in there that day...probably rehearsing some duet piece or monologue.  I heard some of my classmates talking about a plane crash--a plane somewhere had hit a building.  We didn't know the details, but the general attitude was one of "What was that pilot doing, anyway?"  We all assumed it was some sort of horrible accident due to negligence.

The bell ending first period rang, and I headed from the theater classroom in the auditorium through the common area and down the hall of the main building.  Our high school was overcrowded, so walking down the hall always felt like swimming against a river current.  I made it to my second period class--AP Biology with Mrs. Ishee.  Class was held in a lab, and as I took my seat at the second lab table back, one of my classmates asked "Did you hear?"  I said something about hearing about a plane crashing into a building and my classmate just stared at me.

"Two planes hit the World Trade Center in New York."

I though, "Two?!  How could that happen?"

As I asked myself that question, our principal--I don't remember if Mr. Grove was still there or if it was Mr. Huff--came over the speakers.  Mrs. Ishee told us to quiet down and listen, and a complete hush fell over the classroom as we heard that there had been a terrorist attack in NYC.  Planes had been flown into the World Trade Center towers and the South Tower had collapsed.  It was the quietest biology class we ever had.

Of course, Mrs. Ishee continued teaching.  We knew other teachers had their televisions on, watching the news as it happened, but we had to try to force ourselves to focus on biology.  About halfway through the period, we heard lots of yelling coming from other classrooms.  Mrs. Ishee let a student go find out what was happening, and that was how we found out the North Tower had collapsed as well.

The rest of the period is a blur.  Heck, the rest of the school day was a blur--we spent the day watching teachers' televisions and trying to make sense of what was happening.  I remember walking from 2nd period to 3rd period, along the hall of the main building, and thinking, "Right here.  The Main Building, Klein High School, 2nd period AP Biology with Mrs. Ishee.  This is where I was when I found out.  I will never forget."  I still remember where I was in that hall--the bricks and linoleum and the pictures of alumni--when I realized that this was my generation's equivalent of the Kennedy assassination, of the MLK assassination, of Pearl Harbour.  No one would ever forget where they were that day.

After I got home, I found out that my little brother--who was in 8th grade at the time--had watched the second plane hit the South Tower live on CNN before he left for school that morning.  I found out that the Pentagon had been hit as well, and found out about Flight 93 and the passengers' bravery that thwarted the hijackers aboard that plane.  

Later that night, we went to a prayer group with our youth group.  We prayed for everyone involved.  Everyone was scared and many were in tears.  I just kept seeing the images of the New York firefighters and police officers trying to save people and falling victim themselves.  My dad is a police officer, and he was called in as soon as everyone realized what was actually happening.  Houston--with it's oil refineries and plants and ship channel--was a plausible target.  The funny thing is, I don't remember being scared that evening.  I remember feeling helpless, but also being furious--almost a "Don't you DARE come here" mentality.  Looking back, that was probably a defense mechanism on my part, or maybe I had just exhausted my fear and sadness during the day. 

As the facts behind the attacks unfolded, I realized that the world was about to change, that America would not--and could not afford--to stay the same.  I remember watching in awe as the entire nation came together, and feeling the incredible sense of unity.  I remember driving in my S10 Chevy pickup and listening to Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning", and being so thankful for faith, hope and love.  Today, I can still feel an echo of that unity and outpouring of love as I sit here, watching the memorials on TV and watching the footage being replayed from that day.  I'm sending up prayers for all those out there who have had to live without their loved ones for the past 10 years, and for America, that we may remember the lessons that were so costly to learn, and that we remember that, when it comes down to it, we are all in this together.

We will never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hello? Hello!

Howdy y'all!
So who's the bad blogger?  That would be me.  It's been a looong time since I neglected this thing for a whole month.  As with previous such occasions, it was mostly due to a) having a lot going on and b) having a lot on my mind.  This post is about part a). :-)

One of the absolute highlights of the last month was our trip to Messina Hof Winery, up in Bryan, TX.  On site at the winery there is a lovely little bed and breakfast with several rooms, each decorated in a particular romantic or wine-related theme.  For example, there are the Lancelot-and-Guinevere room and the Napoleon-and-Josephine rooms as well as the Messina room and the Hof room.  The foyer is gorgeous, with antique furniture and a beautiful chandelier.

We stayed in the Messina room!  
It had a wonderfully huge bathtub and an enchanting balcony/porch that looked off into the forest out back.  I loved getting to watch the birds and the squirrels in the morning!

Mark and Alicia went up the same weekend, and we had a blast together!  Each morning there was a "European" champagne brunch, where mimosas were offered and the food--from the fresh fruit to the freshly made crepes--was delicious.  We arrived Saturday evening, and relaxed in the foyer for a bit.

Later, we went down to the wine bar where we each had a glass of wine and Bryan and I split and cheese and cracker tray.  On Sunday we went on the noon wine tour.  We learned a lot about the history of Messina Hof and, since it was the first winery in Texas, quite a bit about the history of wine making in our state.  We also got to try yummy wine, of course!  And we made repeated trips to the little lake to feed the turtles!

Sunday afternoon we attended a wine appreciation class covering the influences and impacts different barreling woods and techniques have on the taste and aging of wine.  And we got to try even more yummy wine!  We then went and enjoyed a splendid meal at the winery restaurant and sat in the room that looked out into the vineyard.

That evening we spent some more time at the wine bar, and then we played a great game of Settlers of Catan.  I lost, of course, but Alicia won even though the boys were trying to team up against her!  The next morning we had breakfast and then checked out, heading back to Spring to get the pups from my parents house and then go home.  It was a wonderful, relaxing, and super-fun weekend!

The other highlight of the past month was this past weekend.
Bryan flew out for this year's field test on Saturday, and not long afterwards I loaded the girls up in the car and headed for Fredericksburg!  Mom and Dad went up too for their wedding anniversary.  We had a wonderful Labor Day weekend with my Gan Gan and the family!  The only damper on it all was tracking the Bastrop fire and thinking about how many homes and lives were being destroyed.  I had driven through Bastrop on my way in on Sunday--I still can't believe it was in flames not 24 hours later.

Mom and Dad headed home on Monday, detouring around the Bastrop fire and having to detour again around the fire in Magnolia.  They made it home safely, and I stayed in Fredericksburg until Wednesday.  I wanted to spend time with my Gan Gan!  She and I talked and talked, went out for lunch, did a little shopping, and just hung out.  I love getting to spend time with my grandmother as an adult!  I also got to spend time with my cousins Brooke and Jenna Kay, which was wonderful and a ton of fun.

Haley and Annabelle LOVED Gan Gan's backyard, and loved having Penny and Dixie there to play with them for the weekend.  

After the other pups had left, my two still spent most of every day outside--the weather was beautiful and cool!  They sure did wear themselves out tho lol.  

Of course, I felt a bit bad for the pups--when we travel we only bring on kennel.  I'm so glad the girls know how to share!  It might have been a bit cozy, but they traveled like champs, and we made it home after enjoying a wonderful weekend.  That said, the fires still burning are a sobering tragedy.  There is so much smoke in the sky right now, even miles and miles away from the main fires, that the hills themselves were hazy as I was driving home on I-10--and no, it wasn't just my dirty windshield.

Now, I'm home.  I've been working on some knitting projects--baby booties to be precise.  No, they are NOT for me--I have two friends who are both due December-January, so these booties are for them.  They sure are fun!  Other than that, I'm watching movies and cleaning house--and updating my blog!--and counting down the days until Bryan gets home!  The pups are also waiting patiently lol.


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