Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's Been Awhile

So, I kind of flew the coop after my last post. I wanted to step away from the IVF talk for awhile and just unwind.

To bring you up to speed, we ended up canceling my embryo transfer in early November.  Unfortunately, I hyperstimulated once again and became very sick. Tremendous amounts of fluid had collected in my abdomen, pelvis and against my lungs, which caused difficulty breathing. Hyperstimulation occurs because of the sharp spike in a woman's estradiol level. This decreased my chances of becoming pregnant and I was also advised that if I did become pregnant the hyperstimulation symptoms would worsen. So, after a lengthy discussion with our Dr, we decided that it would be best to cancel the transfer.

Despite the challenges of this cycle, we are excited to say that we have 5 frozen embryos to use for later cycles! So, all was definitely not lost. I'm feeling back to normal now, after a few crummy months. I'm back to Zumba and have begun training for a 5k that Jake and I will run together in February.

Thanks for all of the calls & emails throughout this cycle. Your encouraging words meant the world to us during such a stressful time. We're blessed to have wonderful family & friends like you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hey Sperm, Meet Egg

The last few days have been c-r-a-z-y in the Bachman house! 

Thursday was my egg retrieval. Feeling full and anxious to get this procedure out of the way, I bopped into the surgery center around 9 a.m. Totally determined not to get sick, I came in prepared with acupuncture buttons on both wrists to help combat nausea. The actual procedure went smoothly but I did get super sick afterwards and ended up being rolled out of the restroom on a stretcher. So, they kept me an extra 2 hours for monitoring and pumped me with more IV fluids. A total of 28 eggs were retrieved.

I wanted to share the following website: http://www.advancedfertility.com/aspiration.htm  It gives a great explanation of the egg retrieval procedure and even includes a short video clip of what it looks like on ultrasound.

Yesterday, we received a phone call with a fertilization update.  Of the 28 retrieved, 22 of them were mature, meaning they were able to attempt fertilization via ICSI. However, only 7 actually fertilized. Initially, it was hard not to be discouraged by these stats but we are reminding ourselves that it only takes one. The growth of the 7 embryos would then be monitored over the next 24 hours to determine whether we will have a day 3 or day 5 embryo transfer. There are higher success rates with a day 5 transfer, since the embryo has developed into a blastocyst at this point.

Let's fast forward 24 hours...bringing us to today! We checked our IVF voicemail box about an hour ago and had a message from the embryologist. We both took a deep breath and pressed play. We were told that all 7 of our embryos are still growing!  So, we are scheduled for a Day 5 transfer on Tuesday.   
Praise God! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Day Closer

Another monitoring visit in the books. My estradiol level is 5,217 and am still feeling pretty good. I've met the requirement of having at least 5 follicles that measure 18 mm.

:::Drum roll:::

It's game time!

Tonight, at 11 p.m. I will have 2 injections of hCG (Ovidrel) -- 1 entire syringe and the other just 1/2. This is called the "trigger shot". It is timed precisely to coincide with the final maturation of the follicles. When this shot is given, those follicles release their eggs.

Screen shot of a few of the follicles on my left ovary.  Looks like a honeycomb, right?

Then, I get ONE FULL DAY of zero shots. That's right...an entire day of not being poked. During this time, my estradiol level will continue to go up and I'll go back tomorrow morning for another round of bloodwork to check it. So, we're hoping it doesn't go up too high making me sick. My egg retrieval is set for Thursday morning at 10 a.m.. No turning back now.

We can't wait until Thursday! Finally, we will get to find out how many eggs they retrieve, how many are mature and then how many fertilize. Big decisions and big excitement coming over the next week.

Thank you all so much for keeping us in your prayers. It means more than you know.  

Please, let this be the cycle that brings us the child that we've prayed so hard for.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, Monday

We're seriously debating the purchase of a jet to get us back & forth to Nashville in lightning speed.  Ok, not really.  But, we can dream.  Maybe we can borrow Reba's helicopter.

This morning's appointment went well.  It was yet another monitoring visit to see how my follicles are developing and to check my estradiol level.  Thankfully, my estradiol level is still in the "safe" zone at 3,664 -- tripling since Saturday.  We are on day 10 of stimulating medications.  It was on this day in our previous fresh cycle that my E2 surged and caused me to become so sick.  So, we're counting our blessings that I seem to be in the clear thus far.  

I am growing follicles aplenty.  Jake was in charge of writing down the sizes of each as they were measured via ultrasound.  He ended up using every inch of that piece of paper, as we counted 36.  Yes, 3 dozen.  The folllicles measured on average between 16-17 mm each.  

I have been instructed to tweak my FSH dosage tonight -- reducing back to 75 units of Gonal-F.  Still on the 3 injections per day.  But, the Dr. wants to decrease my FSH for at least the next 24 hours, making sure that the follicles continue to grow but not too much that they would cause a spike in my estradiol level.

Back again to Nashville in the a.m. for hopefully our last monitoring visit.  Tomorrow's findings will determine when the egg retrieval will take place.  As of right now, they are looking at Wednesday or Thursday for this procedure.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just Another Saturday Morning During IVF

We went in for my 3rd IVF monitoring appointment this morning. Although we were a little grumpy that we didn't get to sleep in, it was nice having very few cars on the road during our quick trip to Nashville. Zoomed in and zoomed out. 

Everything continues to look good. My estradiol level has risen to 1296. I have more than 10 eggs on each ovary, measuring over 10 mm. Most are around 12 mm. Still instructed to continue on the same dosage -- 150 units of Gonal-F, 75 units Menopur, 5 units Lupron and 1 mg Dexamethasone -- through Monday morning.

Because of the crazy number of eggs that are developing, I'm becoming more uncomfortable each day. Hubby has noticed my "waddle" walk lately. I'm starting to notice a change in my energy level, due to the surge in hormones. I can't believe I fell asleep at 7 p.m. last night. In between my hibernation, I'm staying busy with craft projects and Lifetime movie marathons.

I'm scheduled for another visit on Monday at 9:30 a.m. We are looking for my estradiol level to increase, but not get too high, while the eggs grow to their mature size of 18 mm. As soon as we have more than 5 eggs reach the 18 mm size, it'll be go time for the egg retrieval! Based on the growth pattern so far, it looks promising that the retrieval will happen on Wednesday.

Here's to making it 'til Wednesday. I feel like I have more eggs than a mama turtle.

Back to the couch for a snooze fest...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2nd IVF Monitoring Appt

Here's a quick update about today's monitoring appointment...

My lining has increased nicely to 7 mm, almost doubling in thickness since Tuesday. Tons of follicles but none have grown over 10 mm yet, so we are still days away from the egg retrieval. My estradiol level is now 401, showing a steady rise like they hoped for. Overall, a very positive visit!

I'll go back again on Saturday morning for more bloodwork and an ultrasound to check my progress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1st IVF Monitoring Appt

This morning, we headed to Nashville for my first monitoring appointment of this IVF cycle. They took me straight back to phlebotomy for my bloodwork to check my estradiol level (E2). This test gives a baseline to track how well I am responding to the follicle-stimulating hormone injections, which are used to stimulate multiple follicle growth during IVF.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, our Dr. has tweaked my medication protocol for this cycle -- combining FSH & HMG, versus FSH only. The goal is that I will not become hyperstimulated this time. After 3 days of follicle-stimulating medications, my estradiol level is 52. This is MUCH lower than our first monitoring appt of our earlier fresh cycle, which was 294. Although it shows that I'm far from being hyperstimulated, they would now like to see this level higher. So, for the next two days, I will increase my Gonal-F dosage to 150 units per day and will remain on 75 units of Menopur. Hoping this does the trick without causing my E2 to skyrocket like before. High estradiol level = Sick Amy. For comparison, a typical morning sickness during pregnancy is caused from an E2 around 2000. In my previous fresh cycle, I topped out at a whopping 10,858. Even the word "food" made me want to hurl.

After bloodwork, I had an ultrasound to measure my lining, as well as to count & measure follicles. My lining is 4.0 mm. Looking at 25 follicles altogether so far. Starting to feel more uncomfortable as each day passes. There's only so much room in there! Doc was happy with these numbers. If he's happy, so are we.

I am scheduled to go back on Thursday morning to see how I am responding to the dosage change. Lots of prayers for a favorable follow-up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

IVF Suppression Check

I just had my suppression check appointment. This visit is set up to see if the Lupron injections are doing their job of suppressing my follicle-stimulating hormones, which is checked by blooddraw and ultrasound. My bloodwork showed an estradiol level of 29, which is right on track and shows that I am fully suppressed and ready for the next phase of IVF. My ultrasound showed a favorable tri-layer lining and no ovarian cysts. We were surprised to already see 20 antral follicles -- way above average! Our nurse was very, very pleased with this number. The antral follicle count, along with my age, is the best tool for estimating my ovarian reserve, the expected response to ovarian stimulating drugs, and the chance for a successful pregnancy with IVF.

This appointment also included a trial embryo transfer. With this procedure, the Nurse Practitioner passes a small catheter, much like the one that will eventually have embryos in it, into my cervix and injects a small amount of saline into the uterine cavity. Measurements are taken and notes are made -- basically, drawing a road map for the Dr. to have on the official transfer day to ensure that it goes quickly & smoothly. In cycles past, the trial transfer was very painful. But, my new Nurse Practitioner is a rockstar and it was easy-peasy this go 'round.

I will decrease my Lupron dosage to 5 units, starting tomorrow. Then, on Saturday, I will be adding injections of Gonal-F and Menopur, 75 units each. Originally, they had prepared me for the possibility of 4 injections per day. So, it's a bit of a relief for it to be dropped down to just 3. Never imagined I would be giddy about only having 3 shots a day. It's become sort-of routine by now. I don't cringe at the sight of a needle anymore. Not even the "Mac Daddy" Progesterone ones. Oh my, that will be one that I will definitely post a picture when we get to that step again. Think of it as a straw being pushed into a lemon. Yikes!!

Really feeling positive and calm, despite the madness that the next few weeks will bring. Praying that the good news keeps coming!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time for a Happy Dance!

Received GREAT news this afternoon!  We have been named recipients of an IVF medication grant from Serono Pharmaceuticals, saving us close to $1,600.  This is such a tremendous blessing to us.  Prayers answered!

You'd better believe I'm celebrating by dancing like a fool in the living room.  Here's a sample of my "happy dance" soundtrack!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1st Day of Lupron Injections

First injection of our 3rd IVF cycle = DONE!

I'm really excited to get this round underway.  We enjoyed a nice weekend in Colorado with family and came back refreshed and ready to "nip this in the bud".  Yes, I'm giving myself a pass to use Andy Griffith Show references.  I grew up in the real life Mayberry -- Mt. Airy, NC.  So, forgive me if I use lots of old school phrases.  

Today's injection was 10 units of Lupron.  This drug shuts down my hormone system and also suppresses the production of follicle stimulating and leutinizing hormones.  These hormones, through the remainder of our cycle, will be controlled solely by medication as directed by my Dr.  I will continue the injections of 10 units every morning until my suppression check appointment on Oct. 13, where my bloodwork & ultrasound will be evaluated.  In previous cycles, they reduced my Lupron dosage following this appointment.  So, I am anxious to see if this round is any different.  

I'm also going to weekly acupuncture sessions.  Acupuncture is a great stress reliever.  So, for a crazy, stressful process like IVF...it works wonders!  

In the meantime, I'm staying busy with my Etsy store, named My Milk Money.  (www.etsy.com/shop/mymilkmoney).  After receiving lots of requests to sell my handmade items, I've finally taken the plunge and am having a ball!  I've always enjoyed being crafty, so this is pure bliss for me.  I have several orders to work on this afternoon, along with finishing up many new items that will soon be introduced.  I'm putting all profits into our IVF fund and really feel blessed to be able to utilize my love of the arts to help support our journey towards a family.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We've Got Mail

Our first IVF med, Lupron, arrived today.  Looks like we're almost ready to get this show on the road.  Starting these injections on Oct. 4, so stay tuned for updates!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hormones & Shots & IVF....Oh My!

We received the first portion of our IVF cycle plan on Friday and since then, it has definitely started to sink in that we're really giving this another try.  I'm feeling excited, nervous, hopeful...and a million other emotions.  

9/19 Began Desogen birth control pills (In Progress)

9/24 Began Z-pack antibiotic (In Progress)

10/4 Begin 10 units of Lupron every morning to be administered by subcutaneous injections into my stomach.  I will continue this dose until the day after my suppression check.

10/10 Take last active birth control pill

10/13 Suppression check appointment & Trial Embryo Transfer.  If everything is okay, I will decrease my Lupron dosage to 5 units, starting on 10/14.  

10/15 Begin FSH & hMG to be administered by subcutaneous injections into my stomach.  Exact dosage will be explained at 10/13 suppression check appt.

10/18 First Estradiol level check & ultrasound 

10/24 Egg Retrieval will be this week.  Exact date will be determined by maturation of follicles.

There are still numerous key steps that will go into our IVF plan.  Many more estradiol level checks and ultrasounds will be thrown in the mix, but the dates will be determined by how my body responds to the medications.  We will not have a date for the embryo transfer until the egg retrieval is complete.  It will depend on the # of eggs that are fertilized and how well the fertilized embryos grow.

On a side note, our awesome nurse told us about a grant that would cover the cost of some of our IVF medications.  We submitted our application on Friday morning and should hear back within 2 weeks.  Crossing our fingers, toes & eyes for good news! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Giving the finger to Diabetes

If you want to make my husband realllllllly grumpy, prick his finger 5 times.  

This was the case at yesterday's appointment at the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center.  It was our first meeting with an Endocrinologist to discuss Hubby's recent onset of Cystic Fibrosis-related Diabetes (aka CFRD).  After checking vitals, they performed an A1C test.  This test measures the average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months.  It is a simple blood test but the nurse was off her A-game.  3 finger pricks later, she finally had enough blood to read the test.  After a short wait, we met with the Dr.  We felt very comfortable with her and she did a great job explaining this new diagnosis that was so foreign to the both of us.  The A1C test came in as 6.1 and she believes this indicates that we caught the Diabetes super early, which will make the treatment going forward manageable.  So, her game plan is to monitor his blood sugar for the next month, 4x per day, to determine the best insulin dosage.  He was instructed to stick to his normal diet for now and to keep a food journal.  At the end of the month, we'll head back to Vanderbilt for a follow-up to download the data from his glucose meter and figure out how to go forward.  

He stopped by the lab for another blood test, then we met with a nurse to give us a crash course...Diabetes 101.  She talked about carb counting, the sliding scale, insulin injections, and blood glucose monitoring.  Luckily, insulin comes as an injectible pen and works exactly like my Follistim shots from IVF.   So, those will be a breeze when he needs to have insulin.  She showed us how to use the OneTouch meter and do the finger pricks.  When she was just supposed to be demonstrating the lancet, she accidentally hit the release button and pricked Hubby's finger again.  She apologized 20 times and swore this had never happened to her.  Ok, fine -- we'll give you a pass for being clumsy.  But, then, she had Hubby do the monitoring from start to finish to show that he had been paying attention -- setting the time on the meter, inserting the lancet & test strip, then pricking his finger.  So, after a 1 hour appointment, he had 5 finger pricks and a blood test.  Ugh.  

Yes, it is very manageable.  Yes, many people have it.  But, that doesn't make it any less annoying.  

Hey, Diabetes, we're giving you the finger!  

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Start of Another IVF Cycle

We met with our Dr. at Nashville Fertility Center today.  We discussed my health since surgery and everything checked out great.  With that being said, we are starting another IVF cycle.  We are hopeful that this round will be successful.  I am currently on CD (cycle day) 4 and will begin Desogen birth control pills tonight.  I should receive the plan for the remainder of the cycle in the next few days, which will outline the injection dosages and tentative dates for monitoring appointments, egg retrieval & transfer.

Because I became so hyperstimulated during my last fresh cycle, he will tweak our medication protocol for this round.  He will utilize FSH and HMG, with the goal that the combination of the two drugs will result in "average" egg production (12-15 versus 36 like before) and increase egg quality.  

We left the clinic with excitement but also with a bill for $10,250.  They do not offer financing, so this is completely out-of-pocket.  Sadly, this isn't our total cost.  Our medication charges are separate from the facility fees and will add another $2,000-3,000.  We do have a little bit of a break with an unused cartridge of Follistim left over from a previous cycle.  So, we've got a $900 "credit" sitting in our fridge.  Every little bit helps, for sure.

Bring on the shots!  Let's get this party started!
(Note:  By shots, I mean big, nasty needles) 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

Hubby and his cousin, Cody, did the Warrior Dash in Manchester, TN this morning. It's a 5k race with 12 obstacles scattered throughout the course. From leaping over fire to crawling through mud, everyone finishes feeling like a true warrior!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from today...

Such a fun atmosphere -- live music, food & beer!

Hubby making his way through the mud pit.  Bound for the finish line!

Mean muggin'

Monday, September 12, 2011

Biopsy Results

This afternoon, I got the call with the biopsy results from my recent surgery.  The polyps were benign.  Thank you, Lord!

I read a quote today that really hit home to me. "Worry changes nothing.  Faith changes everything".  How true is this?  I immediately wrote it down and posted it in several rooms of our home.  It's a statement that I need to be reminded of daily.  

Faith has brought us through the troubles of this past year and will continue to lift us through the good times and bad.

Thank you all so much for your prayers!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Always Remember

It's so hard to believe that 10 years have passed since 9/11.  I can't remember what I did yesterday, but September 11, 2001 is still clear in my mind.  I was sitting in Ms. Johnson's science class at Surry Central High School that morning, when a nearby teacher ran in to share the news of the attack.  Our class lecture stopped immediately and we sat glued to the TV set.  It didn't seem possible that such a heinous act could be unfolding right before our eyes.  

But, on that day, we came together as one nation.  Political parties were pushed aside and we raised our flags, wore our pins and didn't hesitate to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  The unity of our country in the midst of crisis was truly amazing.  My hope is that we can always live with such patriotism and love for our fellow man.

Today, we will honor and remember the lives lost.  We will pray for all of the service men and women who are risking their lives to protect ours.  May we forever celebrate the freedom we have and the heroic American spirit.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One Week Later

Today marks one week since surgery.  I've had no weird side effects or major set backs. No need for pain meds any longer and all antibiotics are finished.  Still taking it easy on lifting and such.  But, I'm feeling more like myself as each day passes.  

I have to rave about the care I received at Centennial Surgery Center.  The nurses were phenomenal.  You know the dorky little comment cards?  Yeah, I normally toss those in the garbage.  But, not this time.  I jumped on the opportunity to brag on those nurses, especially Sharrell.  A great nurse can make all the difference in the world.  She's called almost once a day since surgery to check in.  

It has been an absolute godsend to have my family here for the past several days.  They were a HUGE help.   I'm blessed to have such wonderful parents and sister.  They headed back to NC yesterday and I miss them already!

We've got a break from medical appointments for the next week and a half.  Next up is my post-op appointment on Sept. 19 and Hubby's meeting at the Vanderbilt Diabetes center on Sept 21.  Then, before we know it, it'll be time to start another round of IVF.  So, we're going to take advantage of this short lull by being lazy bums at every chance we get.  I foresee lots of movie nights and Sunday afternoons spent in pajamas watching football.  You wouldn't believe how excited I am.  Sometimes, it's the little moments...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cleared the Hurdle

I went in for a hysteroscopy and D&C this morning and am happy to report that everything went flawlessly.  Praise God!  The surgery was short...only 45 minutes.  When I woke up in post-op, I received before & after pics from the procedure, showing that the polyps were 100% gone.  We now have our "clean slate" to begin another round of IVF whenever we feel ready.  

We were back home around 10 a.m. and I've been lounging in bed since then.  Thankfully, I'm feeling pretty good -- just a little sore and crampy.  There's nothing left to do now but rest.  I'm scheduled for a post-op appointment on Sept. 19.  So, prayers are going up now that the visit will be positive and uneventful. 

We're looking forward to my parents and sister coming to visit from NC on Friday.  With all of the madness in our lives over the past month, coupled with this out-of-the-blue surgery, they were so sweet to offer to come and help out for a few days.  They've even been dog-sitting our spoiled rotten dog, Piggy.  We've really missed the little guy and will be glad to have our family of 3 back together.  

I can't say thank you enough for all of the messages, calls and prayers.  I'm blessed beyond measure to have such wonderful family & friends! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are you ready for some football?

 It was amazing to feel the cool air when I opened the windows this morning.  It reminded me that Fall, my favorite season, is approaching.  What's not to love?  Falling leaves, lower temps, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, new TV shows, and of course, football season!

Still searching for the perfect football snack.  I'm all ears for recipes & ideas!

We are gearing up for the Broncos to return to Nashville for the second year in a row.  Yes, we're the ones that sit in the season ticket holders section of the stadium and cheer for the away team.  I have my Champ Bailey jersey dusted off and ready to go.  After all, we did have a BFF moment at the Denver Int'l Airport.  Last year, my hubby spotted Champ walking through our concourse, while we were waiting to board a flight home to Nashville.  Right away, I bolted over to him but couldn't catch him before he walked into the men's restroom.  Did I then give up and walk back over to our gate? Heck no.  I waited until he came out of the restroom and then asked him ever-so-sweetly if he would take a quick photo with my husband, the mega fan.  He was a super nice guy and said "yes" without any hesitation.  You'd better believe this photo is hanging in Hubby's office!

I'm usually not a big fan of remixes but this one is fantastic.  Forget "Black & Yellow"....it's all about "Blue & Orange"!  Enjoy!


I'm off to work on my strategy for this year's fantasy football season.  Believe it or not, I am the reigning league champ.  Go Team Awesome!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Our IVF Journey

Our journey towards starting a family has been one heck of a rollercoaster. Due to Cystic Fibrosis, IVF is our only option for getting pregnant.

In-Vitro Fertilization 101

  • A woman is given fertility hormone injections that stimulate her ovaries to produce as many mature eggs as possible (instead of the usual one per monthly cycle). 
  • The eggs are retrieved using a suction needle inserted into the ovary. 
  • The eggs are fertilized by combining them with sperm in a culture dish. 
  • The best-quality embryos are transferred into a woman’s uterus. 
  • If all goes well, a normal pregnancy is the result. 

Our first fresh IVF cycle was exactly 1 year ago. I would love to say that it was easy, but it was far from it. I became very hyperstimulated and produced a whopping 36 eggs. Unfortunately, because of the large number, the quality suffered...of the 36, only 9 fertilized (via ICSI). From those, only 5 remained viable on transfer day. So, 2 were transferred and 3 were frozen for a future cycle. Two weeks following the transfer, we took a blood pregnancy test, where we learned that the cycle was unsuccessful.

Then, in December 2010, we began the injections for a frozen cycle. This round was much smoother. Since the embryos were already fertilized, they simply needed to be transferred. I felt great through the entire cycle. When transfer day arrived, 2 of the 3 frozen embryos were viable after thawing. So, both were transferred. Two weeks later, we were over-the-moon excited to find out that we were pregnant. My due date would be October 13. But, at 10 weeks, I suffered a miscarriage and had a D&C on March 8. Until now, I had chosen to keep quiet to most. I feared that even well-meant words would hurt. I could not bear to hear "Don't worry, you're young. You've got plenty of time to try again". I didn't want to try again. I wanted our baby to still be with us. I was still too in shock to completely share my feelings. I only felt that I could talk freely with God. But, even in my quiet time with God, my words were not always kind. I often spoke in bitterness and anguish. My only comfort was believing that our angel baby was in heaven watching over us.

Our Dr. suggested waiting at least one month after the D&C before beginning another fresh cycle. For us, we thought it would be best to take a longer break, to recover physically & emotionally. So, we agreed that we would start again in August. Today was cycle day 8 for our 3rd IVF attempt. There are several prerequisites before beginning each cycle -- various ultrasounds and blood tests. Because of the D&C, a hydrosonogram was one of my prerequisites for this cycle. In this test, saline is injected into the uterine cavity causing it to expand, so that the uterus can be examined via ultrasound. It checks for anything in the uterus that could prevent implantation or prevent a pregnancy from being carried to term. I went in for this test at 9 a.m. this morning. Unfortunately, they found uterine polyps and am scheduled for a hysteroscopy and D&C on Thursday morning to remove them. They will be sent to a pathology lab for examination to ensure that the cells are benign. Today's hydrosonogram results have caused our current IVF cycle to be cancelled. The Dr. advised us that we could begin another cycle 1 month after the surgery. So, we'll see how the next couple of months unfold.

To date, we are topping out at over $40,000 paid out of pocket towards just the chance at starting a family. 

All I can do is remind myself daily that life in Christ does not mean immunity from difficulties, but it offers peace in difficulties. It doesn’t mean that victory is always visible, but it is always God’s plan. One day, we will be blessed with the child that we've been praying for.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ooh-la-la...Angel Food Cake

I'm in a baking mood and wanted to share my favorite recipe for Angel Food Cake.  It was passed down to me from Hubby's Great-Grandma.  Enjoy!

Grandma Liz's Angel Food Cake
  • 1 c Softasilk (Cake Flour)
  • 1 c Sifted Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 c Egg Whites
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Flavoring (optional)
Sift flour & powdered sugar.  Measure into large mixing bowl: egg whites, cream of tartar & salt.  Beat with mixer until foamy.  Gradually add sugar 2 Tbsp at a time.  Beat until it holds stiff peaks.  Fold in flavorings.  Sift flour/powdered sugar mixture gradually over whites.  Fold in gently just until mixture disappears.  Pour batter in ungreased 10 inch tube pan.  Cut through batter with knife (around the circle).  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.  Invert on funnel & hang until cold.

CF = Big Words

It felt amazing to sleep 'til 11 a.m. today.  We needed to catch up on sleep after a whirlwind of a month -- a tougher than usual CF appointment, tons of traveling & losing Grandma B. 

Hubby had his 3-month appointment at the Vanderbilt Cystic Fibrosis clinic.  We were very pleased with his PFTs, as his FEV1 was 80%!  But, we learned that he has developed CF-related diabetes.  We will visit an endocrinologist in mid-September to find out what the next steps will be.

Also, we found out that he had previously cultured Mycobaterium Avium Complex (MAC).  This stopped us in our tracks simply because we had not heard of it.  The Dr. did not seem too concerned and will wait to see how the August culture comes back.  We're anxious for the results, but have been informed that it could take up to 6 weeks.  If MAC is still present, they will require dual antibiotic therapy.  Azithromycin is one of the common antibiotics prescribed to treat MAC.  However, this can be challenging, especially for CF patients, like my husband, who are already taking a prophylactic dose of this drug.  So, he was advised to stop taking it until we know more about MAC, to avoid the chance of becoming resistant.

Because Hubby travels so much for his job, they have switched out one of his meds, Tobramycin (TOBI), with Cayston.  TOBI normally takes him 30-40 minutes twice a day, whereas Cayston will only take 5 minutes three times a day.    Both are inhaled medications that fight Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  TOBI has worked great, as he has not cultured Pseudo in over 2 years.  Hoping & praying that Cayston will work just as well.

In case you may be unfamiliar with CF, here is the low-down...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hello World!

You know what?  It's a fine time to start a blog.  With family & friends scattered across the nation, it seems fitting to have a place for everyone to get the low-down on my latest happenings.  Now more than ever, I'm beyond excited to share my many adventures with you, whether it's a recent home renovation or craft project, travel snapshots, or a glimpse into our journey towards starting a family.  

We just returned from a wonderful trip to California.  The first portion of our trip was spent at Hotel Del Coronado.  Can you say FABULOUS?  My, what a gorgeous property.  We enjoyed dinners on the beach, a sailing regatta, private reception at SeaWorld and a guided tour through La Jolla, topped off with a fun afternoon of shopping.  Hubby was in meetings during the day, so that was my time to explore Coronado.  When the conference ended on Thursday, we headed up to Anaheim for a few days at Disneyland.  We had an early anniversary dinner at Napa Rose on Thursday night.  Top notch service, food & wine.  They spoiled us, for sure.  We took Disneyland by storm on Friday and had a blast.

Most of Saturday was spent at a taping of Let's Make a Deal.  We came dressed in our finest costumes from the roaring 20's.  I was a flapper girl and Hubby was a gangster.  Unfortunately, we didn't get selected as contestants on the show but we danced 'til we dropped (literally).  We were absolutely exhausted after the show but it was such a fun experience.

Now, it's Saturday night and we are dressed to the nine's.  We had dinner at CUT Beverly Hills by Wolfgang Puck.  Hands down, it was the BEST meal of my life.  No joke, I'm still dreaming of the phenomenal food.  It was our first time having Kobe beef.  As someone who normally doesn't care for steak, I was floored at how absolutely incredible it was.  One of those meals where you savor each bite and hope that your plate refills itself.  This restaurant is in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which was the hotel where "Pretty Woman" was filmed.  On Sunday, we drove around LA and found famous filming locations from our favorite tv shows and movies.  I was over-the-moon excited to find the house in "Father of the Bride", my all-time favorite movie.

Other fun ones were Claire & Phil's house from Modern Family and the house used in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video.  In the evening, we visited the Griffith Observatory and had amazing views of the city, as well as the famous Hollywood sign.  We enjoyed a relaxing night on the patio at Chateau Marmont for dinner on Sunday night.  Finally, on Monday morning, we woke up bright and early to head to CBS studios for a taping of The Price Is Right -- my favorite game show.  We had the time of our lives and happened to be there on the 1st episode of the 40th season -- so much fun!  Be sure to tune in on September 19 when our episode will air!

Unfortunately, we had to take a detour home from Los Angeles to spend a few days in Denver to attend the funeral of Hubby's grandmother.  We were able to spend a few extra days with family, following the funeral.  It was nice to look back on the wonderful memories of Grandma B.  She was an amazing lady and will be missed so much.  

Heaven has gained another angel, no doubt