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Wife, doggy-mother, Jesus follower, CANCER FIGHTER! Just enjoying each day as it comes and remembering what is really important - family and GOD.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Infertility: Level Zero

I wrote this blog post on June 14, 2013 as we were right in the middle of the medication for our first IVF cycle. At the time I was uncomfortable sharing. Now I have reached a point in our journey where I feel others can benefit from our story. You can click on the tab at the top of the page for other posts.

We had our first doctor follow-up this past Wednesday to check my hormone levels after starting the Lupron shots.

But let me back-track a little. The last post I wrote was right when we started the injections. At the time I couldn't feel much of a difference physically or emotionally. What a difference a few days make! Geeze!

The shots themselves are going fine. I even got over my anxiety and we had to do two of the shots "on the road." It is hard to completely stop your life so that at 6:45pm (the time my alarm goes off to start prepping the shot) we can complete the injection. So, needless to say, we packed that baby up in a cooler and Justin injected me while I sat in the back of our SUV. Ha. It wasn't ideal but it worked and we were able to go on with our lives.

Monday of this week I really started feeling the side effects. I woke up with a monster headache, but I had court that morning. I stuck around home until right before I had to leave, and came straight back. By the time I got home form court I had a full-fledged migraine. Now, I am used to dealing with migraines. However, before I could take my prescription meds, lay down and be good as new within a couple of hours. This time around - not so much. I am on "pregnancy precautions" in regards to medication and the only medicine for pain I can safely take is TYLENOL. Boo hiss. If anyone has migraines out there, you STRAIGHT UP KNOW that Tylenol isn't doing anything. Ain't nobody got time for that mess.

Needless to say, around 1:00am Tuesday morning it finally let up enough that I could sleep. I slept in and came to work after lunch (well, really went to court) but Tuesday afternoon I still felt pretty crappy.

And then. The hot flashes came. Oh the HUMANITY of a freaking hot flash. I thought I was going to melt from the inside out. I was SO hot and flustered that I could not even remember how to PUMP GAS. Ya'll, I am not even kidding. I had a major malfunction and drove around the gas station approximately 5 times before I could get it together. By that point I was almost in hysterics. By the time I got home, I was in hysterics. And then, OF COURSE, the garage door wouldn't open. Now, that is not a big deal. For goodness sake, Justin was home. But it put me straight over the edge. I was in a full fledged ugly, hysterical, can't breathe, gasping for air cry by the time I called Justin and told him to open the garage. He thought I ran over Oreo. It was not pretty.

I ended up going in and Justin started a shower for me. By the time I got out of the shower I was back to myself, and I laid on the couch the rest of the night.

Since that point, the hot flashes keep on coming and I feel like I have been run over by a dump truck. My head still hurts and I am exhausted.

But hey, things could always be worse! Because the outcome of this will be a beautiful, healthy baby (or two!).

Anywho, back to the doctor appointment. They waste no time. Which is nice. But seriously, I walked in, they sent me around the corner, and the lab tech said "take off your clothes and get in the stirrups." No hey, how are ya, have a nice drive? Ha. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. The ultrasound looked perfect and my ovaries are resting just like they should. Blood work was also great, and my estridol level is basically non-existent. Which explains the whole acting like a maniac thing...

Stay tuned for more tales from the crib. Cript? What was that show? Whatever. I will be back with the rest of our story soon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Infertility: Here Goes Nothin'

I wrote this blog post on June 5, 2013. At the time, we had just began the injectable medications for IVF. I didn't feel comfortable at the time sharing our journey. You can click on the tab above labeled infertility to see previous posts.

Well. We started the first of the injectable medications two nights ago.

Lupron is first. From what I understand, it will basically throw me into menopause.

Let me start at the beginning though. I was pretty anxious about the shot itself. First, because I have a huge phobia of needles. I panic at the thought of a shot or blood work. Doesn't work so well with the whole infertility thing, does it? Second, I was just unsure of how it would feel, especially being in the belly. I think the whole "unknown" was a large part of the anxiety.

The first night I had everything laid out and ready. Disinfected the counter. Put down paper towels. Got out the medication and syringe and alcohol wipes. We weren't really sure what would work best, so I decided to sit on one of our bar stools and kind of lean back while I held my belly "fat" pinched between my fingers. I numbed the area first with an ice cube. Honestly, not sure it was actually effective. But psychologically it made a difference :) Justin counted down and I closed my eyes and held my breath. He did great! I barely felt the needle at all. The medicine, however, burned going in. For about 30 minutes afterwards I could feel the area around the injection sight burning slightly and it was tender, but that was about it.

Last night's was even easier, I would say. Since I knew what to expect I wasn't nearly as apprehensive or anxious, and by proxy my body was more relaxed. Again, barely felt the needle - just the medication.

I can tell somewhat, even just after two shots, that something is happening with my body. I am having a difficult time sleeping and feel flushed at night. However, with it being this early in the game I am hesitant to say if it is actually the medication or just some nerves. I also am having some serious allergy issues which have me coughing and hacking every breath. So that may contribute!

I will continue to update on this journey. I know someday I will be grateful to be on the "other side" of infertility and need the reminders of how precious this journey was.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christmas in July?

Today's topic for Jenna's commenting challenge is Christmas. I have not really even began to think about Christmas, except for the fact that since January I have been putting $30/week into a Christmas Club savings account!

Today's post is about sharing some of your Christmas gifts you already have in mind OR about your favorite Christmas gift.

I guess my FAVORITE Christmas was the Christmas of 2008. I was taken by total surprise with Justin proposed to me! Christmas is my favorite holiday ever. We had a tradition (even back then) which we still carry on to give each other an ornament every year. Sometimes it is something to do with the past year, or a favorite sport or hobby, or maybe just something that reminded us of the other person.

Anyway, that Christmas morning Justin came over to my parents house as usual to open gifts. He told me he had something I may want to open a little early because I might need it. {Sidenote - at this point I was convinced it was something electronic that HE really wanted}. However, when I opened the bag I saw this:

I was in such shock I didn't even get what he was doing! I finally realized he was down on one knee and I couldn't get any words out, until I finally started crying.

PS - Look how YOUNG we are!
Definitely my best Christmas ever :)

While we were engaged, my sister threw us a Christmas engagement party as well. Following our ornament theme, each person brought us a special ornament to hang on our tree. I love going through the ornaments each year and reminiscing about who gave us each one.

Definitely two of our most memorable Christmas experiences!

Like I said, I love love love Christmas. I love decorating, cooking, baking, watching Christmas movies, praying for snow, drinking hot chocolate. Everything about it. No doubt whatsoever - Christmas is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. Even when it isn't something crazy special going on!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Infertility: Stuck in the Middle With You

I wrote this blog entry in April. We had been trying naturally to conceive for about 15 months, to no avail and had met with the reproductive endocrinologist  creating a "plan." At the time I wasn't ready to share my story. By sharing, we hope our story inspires other couples to keep their faith and glorifies the work of our Lord and Savior.

So... We are basically stuck in the middle of this infertility journey. You see, we have "plans" and tests and schedules - tentatively. But right now, it's back to waiting.

I have started the hormones in pill form that I have to be on for at least 6 weeks. So far it's not too bad. I have noticed a few little side affects here and there, but I am sure that if I were on the hormone regularly for a longer period of time those would disappear.

It's kind of a weird sense of limbo we are in. For instance, when people are talking about summer plans - I know what ours are. They are shots and hormones and doctor visits and labs and ultrasounds. But I don't want to say that. I have been itching to do some summer shopping. But I know there's a good chance we will be pregnant!!!!! mid-summer. So it doesn't make sense to buy clothes that won't fit or be comfortable.

I can't really put it into words. Because we have this "date" I think there is a definite sense of excitement that we may be pregnant in June. But how weird is that? When you try naturally, there is always a sense of "oh, this could be the month!" that other people understand and relate to. However, in this case - it is odd to say "oh we're probably going to be pregnant in June." But not any other month. Haha.

I don't really know. I am so anxious to get things moving. I am so nervous about all of the medications and tests. We refuse to believe anything other than this will be successful. But there are so few people who know, and even fewer who actually express any true empathy (besides some really smarty pants comments that I won't discuss), that we are just living in our own little fertility induced bubble.


Once again linking up with Jenna at Jenna's Journey.  Today's commenting challenge is focused on Pinterest!

I love Pinterest. Who doesn't? But, I am probably close to the world's worst about actually TRYING anything I pin. It's more of a pinning hobby I have than anything else.

However, I thought I would share a handful of pins I have actually completed and loved.

First up: washing pillows. We tried this and it worked SO well. The pillows came out clean, white, and dried really nice and fluffy! 

  Discovering these next two pins made my life great. I LOVE making my own laundry detergent and fabric softener now. It works so well and smells amazing! I can get about 4-6 months (depending on how much laundry I am doing) out of one batch, which costs about $40 total for the detergent and softener. 

  So there you have it. 

Three things I have pinned and actually completed! See you tomorrow for the 4th day of the challenge.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Favorite TV Series

I'm linking up again over with Jenna at Jenna's Journey. Today's topic is favorite TV shows and series.

I'm slightly embarrassed to tell you what is on my DVR. I have an addiction to reality TV shows that are probably considered ridiculous! In the name of the game, I'll fess up to what I'm watching now.

I always DVR Keeping Up With the Kardashians. It's so crazy and drama filled I can't stop watching!

I also love Tia and Tamera! I remember watching Sister Sister. They are funny and down-to-earth and its a pretty clean show.

My very, very favorite is Giuliana and Bill. Their story hits so close to home. I was so excited when this season came back on!

I also watch Sister Wives and of course, Duck Dynasty. As far as series go, during the prime time season we always watch How I Met Your Mother. I'm simultaneously excited and sad for this final season. I also watch Grey's Anatomy, although the last few seasons have been sub-par. We started watching Parenthood and Scandal  on Netflix, but I need to finish and catch up before starting the new season.

It sounds like I watch a lot of TV. Honestly most gets DVRed and I will watch on my lunch hour or on a weekend morning. I don't watch a lot of television during the evenings.

What ate your can't miss shows?

Monday, July 22, 2013

About Me

Today I'm linking up with Jenna over at Jenna's Journey for a blog comment challenge. Every day this week there will be a new prompt and I'm going to try and keep up!

Today's topic is "about me." I'm Claire, and I've been married to my jr. high sweetheart for almost two years now. I started blogging right around our wedding, and you can see all the details of that magical day on the "Our Wedding" tab at the top. Justin is the love of my life and we have been through so much in the thirteen years we've been together. 

Most recently, we faced the battle of infertility after trying over a year and a half to have children naturally. I just felt ready to start sharing this journey, and I am slowly posting about it. I blogged during the process, but didn't feel comfortable sharing until now. You can share in that journey by clicking the tab at the top.

I'm an attorney and my husband teaches 7th grace science and coaches. We live in our tiny hometown in Southeast Missouri and recently bought our dream country home. We have a precious puppy Oreo who is and always will be our first child. He is hilarious and I'm positive he's certain he is human.

My husband and my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are the two most important relationships in my life. Closely following is both of our families and friends. We are so blessed. You will find me writing mostly about our every day life, and I share my heart for Jesus often.

You can follow me on Twitter and Pinterest. I love both! My Twitter is protected because of my job, but I will gladly add new followers.

I hope to meet some new friends and find some new blogs to follow! Please stay awhile and look around.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Infertility: Jumping In

I wrote this blog entry on March 20, 2013. We had been trying naturally to conceive for about 15 months, to no avail. At the time I wasn't ready to share my story. By sharing, we hope our story inspires other couples to keep their faith and glorifies the work of our Lord and Savior.

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:17

A week ago today, we had our first appointment with the infertility clinic. We are seeing a specialist in St. Louis, which is about a three hour drive from home. Justin was able to go into work for a couple of hours, which meant he only had to have a sub for half the day (his planning period and lunch fell during the time he was gone). That was great, because he is trying to save as many days as possible to carry over until next school year, in hopes that we have a BABY he would need to miss for :)

We arrived a little late and lost, but made it. I was so anxious. We walked into the office, paid (they don't mess around with the money, honey) and were immediately taken to a consult room. We did not wait long at all before a resident came in to speak with us. She was very nice and explained a lot of what the process would be. However, she burst our proverbial baby bubble when she very gently told us we weren't candidates for IUI - but IVF.

I knew deep down in my heart this was probably the case. But there was a large part of BOTH of us that had hoped and wished we could "get by" with IUI. Much less cost, much less invasive, much less hormone treatment. My heart sunk when I heard those words, and I felt sick when she explained the costs....

We had a lull in-between the resident leaving and the doctor coming in. I stared out the window aimlessly while Justin jotted down a list of questions. I was so thankful in that moment to have him there. For whatever reason I could NOT focus or think. I was in a state of shock I believe. Until that moment in time, I hadn't let myself really believe that we would have to undergo an invasive, expensive, timely procedure to get pregnant. I literally sat in that small room and pleaded with God to fill me with a sense of peace. To wrap us both in His presence, and to let us know this was what we were supposed to do.

Well, Dr. Kellar came in and I immediately like her. She went over some of the same things as the resident - then stopped herself and said "Honey, you have a look on your face that tells me you are upset. What can I do?" I just could NOT process what was happening. However, once again - Justin started asking some questions and I finally opened up and took in the process. We went through a timeline of what would have to be done, including some initial bloodwork and a couple of procedures to make sure there are no issues with my uterus. We talked about the medications and the costs and the actual procedures of harvesting the eggs and transplanting the embryos. And I felt it. A sense of calmness and peace. My anxiety settled to a normal level. I knew that He was in control.

Because I was in the perfect day of my cycle, they were able to test all of my hormone levels while I was in the office, along with running a few more blood tests that needed to be done. Yes, that meant bloodwork. I am NOT A FAN of needles (ha! guess I should get over that, huh?). I went with the nurse and immediately warned her - I am a hard stick and don't do well with the blood. Low and behold - my predictions were true. She and another nurse worked for a few minutes and could not get any of my veins to pop up. They decided I was dehydrated. What I LOVED is that they were so nice and patient - and said they would NOT start poking me if they did not know they would hit a vein and be successful. So, I drank about four cups of water and my veins popped a little. They finally had me to lay down and were able to slowly get all the vials of blood. So while it was a process - it was not painful, I did not pass out, and I made it out alive. Point to Claire.

Today the nurse called to let me know all of my bloodwork came back "perfectly normal." PTL. God answered a prayer! I know that we have a much better chance of success if my levels are where they should be. Thank you Jesus for hearing my cry.

So... We are scheduled for the "orientation" which is basically a four hour class on how to do all the injections/hormones/shots and a crash course in the process, along with a couple of other procedures to check on my uterus, in May. If all goes well, we could be pregnant THIS SUMMER.

I know God is in control. He will make everything fall into place. He will align what needs to be aligned. He reigns.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday: Prayer Changes Everything

Prayer.  It does change everything.

Forgiveness is difficult. And I am not even talking huge, can't even fathom, life altering instances where forgiveness may be darn near impossible.

I am talking every day. I am talking being ignored or pushed aside when you need a boost. I am talking those times when someone makes you feel so tiny and insignificant. Or when your feelings are hurt. Maybe the times when a person makes a snide comment or remark that just toasts your grits. Maybe it is the times that a person says nothing at all when you really just want them to acknowledge your existence.

Our preacher spoke about this on Sunday. Forgiving. Jesus died on the cross to forgive our ULTIMATE sins. Yet, it is our human nature to hold onto every little time a person has wronged us. Like I said, I am not even talking those huge, life altering instances. You know, those instances like being NAILED to a cross? Jesus still forgave us. He forgives us every. single. day.

Each time we don't give Him the time we should, He forgives us. Each time we push Him aside instead of reaching up when we need a boost, He forgives us.  Each time we feel tiny and insignificant, and are wrapped up in our own humanly tribulations instead of laying our worries at His feet... We are forgiven.

All we have to do is pray. Ask. Simply toss it up and say, "Hey God, I am human down here and I am sorry.  I know I should give you more time/glory/honor/praise and I really screwed up today. Please help me to carry out your message and be a steward of your kindness." And guess what? HE FORGIVES US.

Why is it so hard to extend that grace to others in our lives? I will be the first to admit that I struggle with that. I laid in the bedroom floor just last night and thought about this person who I often struggle with forgiving all the little things. How she sometimes makes me feel so small and insignificant, discarded while something (anything) better comes along until she needs me once again.

Why not just pray? Pray for our relationship. Pray that God help me to do whatever it is I need to do to strengthen this relationship? Pray He changes ME, not her?

I don't know... Like most other matters out there, this is easier said than done. But it can't hurt, right?