31 October 2011

Day Three of the Big Infertile Adventure -- Surgery Eve

What a day!

IF is truly a full time job -- a job where I have to pay, not the other way around, but enough about that!

Our first appointment was at the Creighton University Medical Centre. We were told that everyone was really friendly here and we were proven the fact again and again. We were having a hard time navigating the hospital and someone took us to where we had to go! Also, we had no waiting at all -- something that is unheard of up in Canada!

The nurse at CUMC explained the procedure and the risks and someone came in to take blood. I also have to do a full wipe down with antiseptic wipes in a little while. Apparently it cuts down on post-operative infections -- I definitely don't want a repeat of the pelvic abscess I had in 2009!

After my first appointment we had some time before my ultrasound so Mr. JB and I went to W.hole F.oods for lunch. Although it was quite pricey, we both ate so well! We also got provisions for when I am recuperating. We don't have kitchen access at the residence where we are staying so we got soups in tetra packs (I miss having my own kitchen!).

After lunch we headed to PPVI. It was like visiting infertile Dis.neyland! We arrived early since I thought my ultrasound was at 12:30. My bladder was full to bursting so I went to the bathroom and then re-filled. I was so uncomfortable that there was no way that I could hold it for 45 minutes! The ultrasonographer was super nice -- not as nice as having my own personal ultrasonographer, but nice nonetheless. There is such a difference between Napro ultrasonographers and "conventional" ones!

My ultrasound was done at about 1pm and my appointment with Dr. Hilgers wasn't until 2:30pm so we decided to go for an adventure. Mr. JB and I visited the St. Cecilia Cathedral. It was nice to have a peaceful break in such a busy day. 

Meeting with Dr. Hilgers was so great! He was so thorough and knowledgeable and we were both so impressed with him. Mr. JB and I haved dealt with a lot of doctors and he had a quiet confidence that comforted us both. He reviewed my file and said that there is a strong possibility that my surgery is going to be a laparotomy (not a shock). Also, I may have to be in the hospital longer than we were told originally depending on how much they have to do. Please pray that I don't have to have a bowel resection OR that Go.retex has to be applied to keep adhesions at bay. I had a bit of a panic attack since I know that if they have to use Gor.etex that I will have to have another lap to remove it -- which means more anaethetic AND more money.

After my appointment I was feeling very overwhelmed, but I had a date to meet my Summer Prayer Buddy, Mrs. Henderson! We met at the famous Jon.es Bro.s C.upcakes and we had the best visit! I felt like a spoiled brat 'cos she left both Mr. JB and I presents at PPVI -- we have everything we could possibly need while I'm in the hospital. What a blessing to have someone so supportive while we are so far away from home. She's been in Omaha for almost a month and she is flying home tomorrow -- please keep her in your prayers, particularly since she is traveling alone.

It always amazes me how easy it is to make a connection with a fellow Catholic IF blogger. The conversation is always so easy and the time goes by so quickly. If we didn't have to be back at the university for dinner we could've talked for hours!

So I have to continue with my pre-op prep. Mr. JB is going to help disinfect me and then I get to administer the dreaded enema. I have to be at the hospital at 5:45am and my surgery is at 7:15am. I know that it isn't a coincidence that tomorrow is All Saints Day -- we have had many saints intercede on our behalf.

Mr. JB is going to update as soon as he knows what is going on since I will be in no condition to do so myself.

Keep those prayers coming!!! 

30 October 2011

Days One & Two of the Big Infertile Adventure (Part II)

We have arrived safely in Omaha.

Praise Jesus!

The last hour of our drive was brutal and despite being generally a good-natured person who is married to an even more good-natured person, we were at our wits' end! Driving in flat farmland for eight hours was not our idea of fun!

Last night we stayed with Mr. JB's buddy just outside of Chicago. We were so touched that they offered us their guest room because they have an autistic son who really needs a strict routine. They were wonderful hosts and they even found me a gluten-free pizza. It was tasty, but the deep dish pizza that everyone else had smelled so incredible. I was more than a little bit jealous!

This morning we all went to mass at our friends' parish, coincidentally called St. Jude. He has been quite busy for me since I was in NJ! Mass was beautiful and we were so impressed by their choir. Not only was it a very talented and large choir, but they also had a horn and bell section! Wow!

After going out for breakfast -- which is never a fun meal with all of my allergies! -- we headed back out on the road. I didn't drive at all yesterday because I had a horrible headache that wouldn't go away. I'm blaming it on my crazy blood sugar and stress. I was very careful today and I made sure that I ate low GI all day. We stocked up on apples and baby carrots this morning so I wasn't tempted to gorge on non-JB friendly snacks.

While I drove today I spotted an outlet mall in the middle of nowhere in Iowa and I snuck in the quickest shopping trip ever! Mr. JB was impressed that I did the entire mall in 40 minutes. I was determined to see all the stores that I wanted to see and I was successful. I figure I won't be in any shape to visit on our way back home, so I had to take advantage. Lucky for my wallet I only found one cute top at J. C.rew and there was it. Mr. JB was worried when I went into Ba.nana Re.public since I have been known to spent quite a bit of money every time I visit an outlet. He said that he saw the glazed-over shopping excitement look that I get, but then I snapped out of it.

We were going to stop in Des Moines for dinner, but we had snacked enough in the car and we wanted to push onward to Omaha. By the time we arrived here we were starving, but we knew that had to hurry since we were meeting one of my BIL's Jesuit friends who was going to show us to where we were staying.

We quickly unpacked our car and we got back on the road to find food. We tried to use our GPS' recommendations, but everything we chose wasn't in existence (guess it's time to update my GPS software!). We were lucky to find a sign for the Old Market district and we found a great taco place. We are definitely going to be back!

So tomorrow morning I have my pre-op appointment at the hospital, then we head to PPVI for an ultrasound and my pre-op physical exam. I can't wait to meet Dr. Hilgers!

Thank you all so much for your prayers during our trip. We encountered rain just a few times, but the majority of the trip was dry and clear. I told the Jesuit that met us tonight that we had angels watching over us on our journey, and I definitely felt all of you rooting for us!

28 October 2011

The Eve of the Big Infertile Adventure, Part Two

Our bags are packed. My travel outfit is laid out (yes, I am one of those people!).

The last thing I have to do is attend my last yoga class until December in the morning and then we're off.

It seems like we have been gearing up for this moment for six years.

And I am spent.

We are so blessed to be staying with friends just outside of Chicago and then Sunday morning after mass we are heading to Omaha.

Please pray for a safe journey and I am offering up all of my anxiety for those of you who are still waiting, with one particular barren wife in mind.

26 October 2011

Retail Therapy

Earlier on in my IF journey I used shopping to placate my sadness. Lucky for me (and our bank account!) I discovered an amazing yoga studio and blogging, both of which are much better distractions -- although my love of a particular Canadian brand of yoga clothes has also made quite the dent in my wallet!

After school today I had to get more pencils since my evil class seems to be eating them for their snack, and right beside the St.aples is a really good W.inners (for my friends outside of Canada, it's like TJ Maxx or Marshalls). I spent a good 45 minutes browsing and forgetting about my impending surgery.

And it was wonderful.

I got some gluten-free pretzels, a really cute magnetized notepad for groceries, tasty almonds and two sweaters (I'm returning one since Mr. JB said that it did not look good at all! I thought I could rock faux fur, but I guess not!).

I know that after November 1st it will be a long time before I can walk around leisurely anywhere. My recovery from my first laparotomy was not fun and I did resent not having the freedom of movement that I did pre-surgery. I know that this is all for the greater good and that the Lord has lead us to Dr. Hilgers -- we have had numerous signs showing us we are doing the right thing, despite all of the blood work glitches!

And for those of you that are so inclined, C.oldplay had a concert streaming on You.Tube today http://www.youtube.com/coldplayvevo. If you haven't noticed I may be a bit of a fan.

24 October 2011

A Post Where JellyBelly Tries to Find the Positive In Every Situation

I have never been so glad to have AF arrive! The only other time in the past six years of IF that I was this excited was when she returned after the horrible months on L.upron. I think that I jumped up and down when she arrived that day because I feared that she was never coming back!

My body barely made it to Peak +7 today, but I got to the lab early enough that AF wasn't at her full force. Sorry for the TMI, but this is an infertility blog, and now I don't have to worry about any more blood draws! Yay!

I have decided that I am not going to complain since this morning's blood draw wasn't too bad and I also decided that until my surgery I am going to focus on the good things, regardless of how difficult it will be. 

I left my house at the ridiculous hour of 6am so I could get to the lab SUPER early. When I finally got there I was the sixth person in line and it wasn't even 6:30am! The biggest worry for me this morning was explaining to the woman at the desk that the blood had to be shipped. The tech that actually took my blood didn't seemed too concerned that I didn't have a Canadian requisition, although I did tell her that my Napro doctor would be faxing one later on in the day.

Everything seemed to work out since I got a call from the lab verifying that I wouldn't be returning for my Peak +9 blood and that they could ship the blood that they had. I'm thinking that the lab in Omaha is going to get the most important blood -- the Peak +7 vials -- since that is when they test for thyroid function as well as all the other hormones.

The best thing about getting to the lab so early was being done early too! I was at my school by 7:30am and I was able to get a whole bunch of stuff done. I don't know why I was so worried about being late for school! 

There was a glitch with the blood I had taken in NJ, but I'm not going to complain about it here. Let's just say that I am very grateful that TCIE is my friend and that she has my back -- I owe you one (or maybe a few) jars of pickles!

So I think that I've jumped the last hurdle before my surgery. All of my pre-op testing that I had to do before Omaha is done and we've figured out how to get payment to the hospital when we get there (thank God for being able to increase credit limits!). I need to get through the next four days of teaching and planning and then I can focus on our journey and my surgery.

I feel like I've been running the LONGEST race of my life. I think that I may cry tears of relief when I'm finally on the operating table!

p.s. The new Col.dplay CD came out today! Mr. JB got it for me after school and I was like a giddy schoolgirl all day! I've been listening to this song over and over again since it came out:

22 October 2011

Road Blocks, Part II

The saga with the lab didn't end on Thursday.

I was very happy that the lab was open on Saturday, so Mr. JB and I got up bright and early since I wanted to be there before it opened. I arrived at 7:55am (they open officially at 8am) and I was number 29 in line! I have no idea what time the people at the front of the line got there!

When it was finally my turn I was very happy to see the lab technician that took my blood on day 5. She was very thorough and she was so great to deal with. She remembered me since not many people ship blood to Omaha from my city!

The biggest snag was that I didn't have a Canadian requisition. All I had was Dr. Hilgers' very detailed paperwork. The tech explained that I had to have a requisition attached to a Canadian doctor so that my provincial health care has someone to bill to (which makes no sense since my local Napro doctor has nothing to do with my tests in Omaha). I was so lucky that she took pity on me and she pulled up Dr. T's information and filled out a requisition that she's going to fax to her office for her signature.

I asked if I could got to a walk-in clinic to get another to fill in a lab requisition, but the tech said that it had to be from my doctor.

Lucky for me that Dr. Nora works fairly closely with Dr. T, so I had the idea to e-mail her to give Dr. T the heads-up that I was going to be asking for a couple of requisitions (my Napro doctor's office isn't always the most organized or friendly place). Dr. Nora went far above the call of duty and she called Dr. T's clinic AND faxed her my request.

The tech did assure me that she would draw my blood on Monday morning because I promised her that Dr. T would fax the requisitions to her. It would be such a shame if my blood work didn't get completed because of some stupid paperwork.

Why does it seem like things are getting more complicated as my surgery date approaches? I can't wait until we are in the car and on our way!

21 October 2011

JellyBelly - HCG = :( -- Updated

I was driving home today and I was wondering why I felt like crying.

My day wasn't particularly bad. The kids weren't any crazier than usual. In fact I actually figured out that if I ignored the misbehaving kids and praised the ones that were behaving that they would understand what I wanted.

Then it hit me. No HCG. I couldn't take it for this cycle since Dr. Hilgers needed to see what my hormones looked like without medicine.

So I'm not losing my mind, I just feel like I am.

All of the strange weeping I've been doing has a clear explanation -- honestly every time one of my students did something good this week I've had to wipe tears out of my eyes (then again, perhaps I was crying tears of joy!).

Oh HCG, I miss you so much. I thought that PMS and crashing hormones were a distant memory, but I was wrong.

I hope that my break from HCG is very temporary because I can't take feeling like this! 

Yet another reason why I want my surgery to happen!

Update: All the stress from yesterday may have been for naught -- I've started spotting, albeit very lightly. I'm surprised since it is only CD23 and P+4. I guess I REALLY need HCG...

20 October 2011

Road Blocks

It was not a fun afternoon in the land of JellyBelly.

I hustled out of school to get to the lab for my Peak +3 blood work -- quite the feat since the dismissal bell rings at 3:15pm and the lab closed at 4pm. There were more than a few surprised teachers when they saw me leaving right after school (although there are quite a few that leave early as well, I get trapped in my classroom until at least 4:30pm).

I drove like a maniac to the lab which was only about 7 minutes away. I was lucky to find parking in the garage not too far away and then I booted it to the lab.

Guess what greeted me when I arrived?

"Please be advised that this location has new hours: 7am to 3pm."

I almost broke down and cried.

Instead of having a breakdown in the lobby I took out my phone and called the customer service number. I was told that there was another lab in my city that closed at 4pm, but it was already 3:40pm and the drive was at least 20 minutes away. There was no way I could make it.

So no Peak +3 blood work for me.

I tried to contain myself until I got in the car (and I had to pay $3 for parking for less than 10 minutes!) and I broke down when I got Mr. JB on the phone. I decided to drive towards my  house since I didn't know where else to go. Mr. JB convinced me to pull over since I was crying so hard and it wasn't safe for me to be on the road.

Not my finest moment.

We decided that I call PPVI to see what they thought, but the nurses were all busy and it was almost the end of their work day. Then I got the bright idea of going back to my school to talk to the secretary. I really needed a mom at that moment and she pulled through.

Now, I'm not a needy person. Quite the contrary, I really don't like being taken care of at all. But as soon as I saw D, the secretary, I broke down and started to cry. She was incredibly patient and heard me out and said that we would find a solution. My biggest worry was that I would have to take even more time off to have the blood tests taken -- my principal is a stickler for rules and he doesn't like to let us leave early for insurance reasons (or at least that's what he says). 

So my school secretary suggested that I do the blood work in the morning. If I switched my planning time to first thing (mine is currently second period) I would have a bit of a cushion just in case the lab was running late. D thinks that my principal will also like the slant that I would be "saving the school money" by not taking the afternoon off to have my tests done. Also, coming in a bit late is better than leaving an hour early.

I think that I could've figured out that solution on my own, but I was so wound up that I couldn't think straight. Mr. JB also reminded me that having a crazy class doesn't help with stress levels and that we're pretty much down to the wire before my surgery. I only have six full teaching days until I go on my leave!

I was lamenting to Mr. JB that it seems like there have been so many road blocks in our lives. I know that this one wasn't huge, but at about 3:45pm this afternoon it seemed insurmountable. There are so many times that I feel like the Lord is mocking us, or at least testing us to see what we're made of. I try so hard to be positive, but this afternoon was truly a test for me.

Again, I can't wait to be in Omaha. All of this preparation for surgery is going to make a laparotomy seem like a party! A party that involves surgery and pain killers, but a party nonetheless.

19 October 2011

Catch Up

I feel like I've been a whirling dervish since getting home on Monday. I knew that as soon as I walked into my school on Tuesday morning that I would have to hit the ground running, but I didn't realize how overwhelmed I would feel.

I don't deal well with being stressed and I work very hard at keeping my stress levels at bay, but it doesn't seem like the universe wants to cooperate right now.

First off, my class is nuts. It was pouring rain today so the kids had to stay in for recess. At lunch I popped in quickly (I have to on a regular basis because my class is so crazy) and I caught a kid standing on a desk. WTF??? What goes through the heads of these kids? They were so happy to see me, unfortunately their behaviour didn't get any better while I was away.

Secondly, I have been playing phone tag with someone at PPVI. I have tried to pre-register for my surgery for three weeks. Every time I call the person isn't there and then they do not return voice mail. In desperation I left my work number, but who knows if I will get the call transferred to my classroom or if they will call back. I hope that I get to talk to the person I need to talk to before we leave for Omaha!

Thirdly, I paid my first installment for my surgery and I got the lowdown on the lab charges that I will have to pay. I am so grateful that we are staying with the Jesuits in Omaha (for free!) since the $2100 price tag on the lab charges took me aback. Seems as though we have to dip into more savings. 

Fourthly, my wonderful husband waited until today to find out about how we are going to take $11 000 to Omaha. It was the one thing that he had to do while I was with TCIE and he didn't do it. Although my husband is really helpful, sometimes he needs A LOT of prodding to accomplish tasks. It also bothers me that I just want to take over and do it for him, but I didn't and I didn't throw anything at his head. He was very lucky that the bank was helpful and I didn't have to get involved -- it would've gotten ugly if I had to talk to bank.

Fifthly (is that a word?), we were supposed to get together with friends for dinner on Saturday. We made plans in August and now all of a sudden no one but us can go because of their kids. One of them (who knows about our IF) said this in his e-mail:

I was also going to send out a heads up email that we may have to back out, too... But we won't know til later in the week. The restaurant looks fabulous! We'd really like to... But kids... Sigh.


I so wish that I could've sent that as a reply, but I didn't. Instead I had a tasty dinner and a nice glass of white wine after my yoga class.

Lastly, a teacher that took one of the workshops that I taught in the summer has been pestering me. I teach workshops to help other educators, but I don't think that I have to hold someone's hand just because she was in attendance. I have tried to help this woman out and point her in the right direction, but she just doesn't seem to get it. I also don't have the time to deal with her.

Is it wrong for me to be happy to be going on leave, because at this point I am pretty darned excited.

p.s. Please say a prayer for me tomorrow afternoon. I have to head back to the lab for my post-Peak blood work and the people weren't the swiftest when I had my day 5 blood taken.

17 October 2011

The End of the Big Infertile Adventure (Part One)

I can't wait until Part Two in Omaha starts in a couple of weeks!!!!

I am so exhausted, but I wanted to wrap up, I'm sure that there are people waiting with baited breath! ;)

So after discovering that my left follicle had grown so much in two days, I had to go in for another ultrasound and the last day of blood work. TCIE's boss was a bit disappointed that we decided not to get blood work done on Saturday since that would've been the peak point of estradiol. Oh well, it didn't seem like anything was going to happen.

So this afternoon TCIE wanded me and saw that the follicle on the left had ruptured. I was sure that I felt something during mass -- thank you St. Jude! -- and I was right.

This isn't exactly a good thing, but I'm wondering if this may be part of my problem.

You see, my follicle was larger, but not quite mature. In the summer of 2010 I had hormone panel and ultrasound series locally and the ultrasonographer was scared that I wasn't going to ovulate, but then I did on day 18, which I also did this month (and judging from my chart, it seems like it's a pattern).  I am thinking that the fact that my follicles aren't mature, but still rupturing may be a part of my problem.  TCIE did see lots of shadows on my ultrasounds and my left ovary was in a strange place so there is also structural stuff going on as well.

Have any of you heard of this happening?

I have never been more thankful to see Dr. Hilgers on October 31st!

Thank you all for your prayers, I have felt lifted up by all of my prayer warriors. I was also sure to give props to St. Gerard in the ultrasound room -- yes, there is a St. Gerard handkerchief and a prayer card hanging in the ultrasound room at TCIE's work. I was in a blessed place all week!

Let's just hope that my class doesn't attack me when they see me!

16 October 2011

Day Seven of the Big Infertile Adventure -- Apparently miracles do happen!

So of course, this trip could not go without drama.

But don't worry, this is good drama.

TCIE and I were having a bit of the feel-me-sorries with regards to our uncooperative follicles. She decided that we should have an ultrasound today to see what was going on. It seems as though the Holy Spirit was busy this afternoon.

We had planned to go to a healing mass at a local parish, but when we got to the church we saw a sign that read, "Healing Mass Cancelled." Needless to say we were more than a little shocked. Apparently the priest that was going to celebrate mass was quite ill that he even had to cancel noon mass. In a panic we had to find church for mass, which was not an easy feat being so late in the afternoon.

Mr.,  Mrs. TCIE and I feverishly worked our smartphones, GPS and computer to find a nearby mass. Luckily we found a mass not to far away at 5pm that left us enough time to go to TCIE's office to get wanded -- later in the day that we planned, which was a very good thing.

And let's just say that TCIE was more than a little shocked to see what she saw. There wasn't too much going on on my right ovary, but on the left, the left was a different story. The little follicle that was growing on Friday was only 0.76cm grew to a whopping 1.8cm -- substantial growth for two days. TCIE was shocked.

It seems that this cycle isn't a bust after all.

What I'm thinking is that this may be part of my issue.

So I go for another scan before we leave for home tomorrow and I'm thinking that the follicle ruptured while we were at mass -- at St. Jude's. Ironic? I think not.

So please petition any saint that you can think of, prayer warriors. It would be so amazing if the follicle ruptures while I'm here so I don't have to continue with ultrasounds when I get home.

St. Gerard definitely came through, he just has a little more to go!

15 October 2011

Days Four, Five & Six of the Big Infertile Adventure

TCIE and I have been having too much fun that I haven't had the time to blog! Also, I was trying to get my report cards done while I was on the computer -- thank goodness for technology! I was able to get my work done away from home.

Day Four: I went with TCIE to her morning job and was able to see the new facility that her boss has recently opened up. It was definitely one of the nicest doctor's offices I have ever been to! All of her co-workers were so friendly and welcoming, especially when I told them about my upcoming journey to Omaha.

In the afternoon I had another blood draw, which went very well. I can't get over the very comfortable reclining beds that they use instead of the upright chairs that we have back home! I never have to see my own blood, which is wonderful since I am so squeamish.

We were able to leave early that day and TCIE and I attending the Marian procession celebrating the final apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima.  There were hundreds of people there! It was such a powerful experience to say the rosary with so many people.

Day Five: I had my second ultrasound with my personal ultrasonographer (now, how many of you can say that?). Unfortunately, the results were not good. For the first (known) time, it seems like I am not going to ovulate this cycle. TCIE figures that the stress of the upcoming surgery on top of my stress of traveling here plus work have contributed to my ovaries not cooperating. Needless to say I was pretty devastated -- ovulating was the one thing that my body did properly. I was suspecting that something was amiss since my CM was completely non-existent, again, something that is out of the ordinary (since my second surgery I have not needed any mucus enhancers whatsoever, if you know what I mean).

I had made plans with one of my girlfriends that lives in the area and she picked me up right after my ultrasound. It was pretty hard not to break down and cry all the way to lunch. Lucky for me I have a lot of practice pretending that I am not dying on the inside. We went to the local mall and she helped me find birthday presents for Mr. JB -- I may have gone overboard, but it makes me so sad to be away from him on his special day. 

My friend brought me back to TCIE's house and she ended up spending the evening with us. We had some dinner and snacks and some wine. Let's just say TCIE and I drowned our sorrows. I just hope that the video proof of my drunken storytelling doesn't make it onto the internet!

I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit brought us together to comfort one another -- TCIE had a tough day yesterday as well. It would've been pretty difficult to work through the results of my ultrasound alone. Having a sister in struggle right beside me was such a blessing!

Mr. JB assures me that this wasn't a wasted trip, although the blood work and ultrasounds may not be of any use to Dr. Hilgers. TCIE has assured me that I'm not going to be denied my surgery, but that I may have to do some of the testing at home, or perhaps even return here for a complete ultrasound series.  I'm going to call the nurses at PPVI on Monday to see what they say.


Day Six: After our wine-filled evening I was able to sleep in until 11:30am -- something that I never do! If I was at home I would've already gone to a yoga class, done laundry and made at least two meals. It was so nice to wake up, fully rested.

TCIE called her boss and asked her if I needed to come in for my blood work and she said that there was no point since my follicle was so small. Part of me was relieved to not to have to get another needle, but a bigger part of me wished that my body would cooperate.  TCIE said that she would scan me again tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully there will be some growth -- please pray for a late ovulation!!!!

We were going to go to the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, but we realized in the car that the journey was going to be much longer than anticipated, so instead we got gluten-free falafel in a nearby town. It was so good that I was moved to happy tears. I think that I was the source of amusement to both TCIE and the women behind the counter! I have never been so happy to eat falafel in my entire life! Yes, I am not the only blogger that is obsessed with food!

So prayer warriors, please petition heaven for my slow-growing follicles. It will require a miracle at this point to make this a good cycle for the tests that I need done for Omaha, but miracles do happen, right?

p.s. In my infertile stupour I completely forgot that we went to a mass for Women Praying to Conceive on Wednesday. It was such a beautiful mass and there were so many people in attendance. At the end of mass one of the priests spoke very beautifully about the difficult plight of infertile women -- I wish that I had a tape recorder to remember all that he said. 

At the end of mass all of the women praying to conceive were called up to venerate a relic of St. Gerard. TCIE and I waited quite a while, and we were pretty close to the front! After venerating the relic each woman was given a St. Gerard prayer card and an envelope that was filled with a St. Gerard hankerchief, a prayer card with a medal attached, and a novena book.

Afterward, we visited his statue and I lit a candle in honour of all my sisters in struggle.  TCIE also told me of the Italian tradition of pinning money on St. Gerard, and I did not want to leave any stone unturned, so I joined in.

As we were leaving, I couldn't resist but take a photo of the sign on the front of the church:

I tried to remember all of you that are still waiting! I hope that St. Gerard will intercede for us soon! 
St. Gerard, pray for us!

12 October 2011

Reflecting On Blessings -- Day Three of the Big Infertile Adventure

Again, I have to thank all of my prayer warriors -- I have felt so at peace since arriving in NJ! I'm normally a fast-moving, busy person (yes, teaching the second grade really lends itself to my personality!) and I have been able to slow down and reflect about my journey, thus far.

The one thing that keeps coming to mind is that I am so infinitely blessed.

Monday night when Dr. Nora and I arrived at TCIE's boss' home I was overcome by her generosity. Here we were, two complete strangers, and she offered me a bed in her home. Not only that, but yesterday she was so gentle and compassionate while she was taking my blood. I've had many blood draws in the past six years and gentle people are very hard to come by!

I have put my full trust in the Lord and He is not disappointing me at all.
I was brought to tears more than once with TCIE -- tears of gratitude of her immense friendship. It amazes me that someone that is geographically so far from me has become such an essential support. Although we are the last of the BW's to get pg, we are both so thankful that we are at least together at this point. I have no doubt that God planned for us to be together for this part of my IF journey -- how fitting that she is able to do my ultrasounds and her boss is able to do my blood work before we go to Omaha!

I am also so blessed to have a job that has giving me the time off to do these tests and have my surgery. I am not going to lose any pay and I know that my class will be in good hands. I know that I was worried before I left, but my teaching partner tells me that all is well.

The cross of IF has brought me so many gifts: a strong marriage, wonderful friendships, a healthier body and most of all a deeper love of my faith in God. I know in my heart that I am doing exactly what He has planned for me.

And that is the biggest blessing of all.

11 October 2011

Day Two of the Big Infertile Adventure

So today was my first day of tests. I have to admit that I was quite anxious since I needles and JellyBelly are not friends, but my anxiety was unwarranted. I had a great day today!

I knew that TCIE was going to be an amazing ultrasonographer and she did not disappoint. It was neat to be able to watch my insides on the monitor as she was scanning me. It always amazes me how the black and white images can be interpreted as real stuff! From what it looks, and from what TCIE told me, it looks like there's quite a bit of stuff going on. She said that it looks like I have quite a few adhesions and that she saw at least one fibroid. Dr. H is going to have quite a bit to work on! I was very happy to have had a pain-free ultrasound (unlike my experience on my day 5 scan).

TCIE's boss drew my blood and she was so amazingly gentle. I'm used to sitting up in a chair back home and today I got to lie down and not see a thing! She made a blood draw almost 100% pleasant!

I feel like I am such good hands here and again I don't doubt that I am where I am supposed to be.

Tomorrow is a day off for tests and I think that Dr. Nora and I are going to go on a bit of an adventure.

Thank you all for your continued prayers!

10 October 2011

Day One of the Big Infertile Adventure

Not the most eloquent title, but it gets to the point, no?

So Dr. Nora and I have arrived safe and sound. We had a slight change of plans since our journey took us a little longer than we had anticipated -- I'm staying at TCIE's boss' house for the night. Dr. Nora is staying with her and because we were so exhausted she offered a bed for me too.

We have had angels watching over us all day.

When we got to the border crossing, Dr. Nora discovered that she had forgotten her passport. She had her driver's license and some other ID and I started to say Hail Mary's as we approached the guard station. We were so lucky and the guard let us cross with a reminder to always travel with a passport (I had mine as well as my license, I don't know if that helped). I guess we looked harmless and that "medical appointments" were enough of a reason to let us through.

I took a turn driving which made me very nervous since Dr. Nora's car is a stick shift. Her car is only the second manual I have ever driven! I did okay until I stalled in Scranton (twice at an intersection with a line of cars behind me).

We stopped in Corning, NY for some Mexican which was great. Mr. JB and I passed through there two summers ago when we went to the Poconos. The restaurant that we ate at was still under construction and when we went to check it out one of the workers said, "Come back in two weeks!" It took a year, and it was worth coming back -- the food was very tasty.

I do have a bit of anxiety about the tests that have to be done. I am so afraid that I'm going to do something wrong! I am so glad that TCIE is doing my ultrasound (have I said that enough lately?) and her boss is going to draw my blood as well. I just re-read my requisition and it looks like I have to have some more blood taken back home, but I'll have to ask about that at the clinic tomorrow.

Thank you all for your prayers! We definitely had many prayer warriors looking out for us today!

9 October 2011

And we're off....

It seems like I have been leading up to this moment for the past six years.

My bags are packed and I leave for TCIE's at 10am tomorrow morning. My ultrasound series has turned into a bit of a road trip -- Dr. Nora is going to be traveling to the US with me so she can shadow the process. I am grateful that I don't have to travel seven hours alone and it will be great to have my very own naturopath with me for this part of my journey!

I was a bit stressed since it is so hard to pack when the weather can be quite unpredictable -- it felt like summer here all weekend, but I'm sure that it will be frigid soon enough. Thank goodness we are driving since I'm sure that my bags over-packed!

I am hoping that my anxiety isn't going to get the best of me. I haven't been waking up at 4am, but waves of panic keep washing over me at random times. I keep telling myself to trust and surrender my fears, but it is easier said than done. I am also not looking forward to being away from Mr. JB for so long. He will be celebrating his birthday next weekend while I'm away, and it makes me sad that I won't be with him. He says that he doesn't mind and that he's going to take the opportunity to hang out with his dad while I'm gone and that we will celebrate when I get home.

My husband has saintly qualities, let me tell you.

So I have a favour, or two to ask of all of you. First, please pray that all of the testing, particularly the blood work, goes well. I know that the ultrasounds will be fine since I will be in TCIE's able hands, but even after all these years I am a needle-phobe.  Secondly, those of you that are my buddies on FB could you please not mention that I'm away? There are still some people that I have to tell about my upcoming surgery (as well as my past six years of IF!) and I don't want to have to answer questions via my FB wall.

I feel so blessed that I have such a great support system from the blogs. I remember when I started I felt so alone, and now I have met so many friends that in so many ways are closer than the people that I see every day! Thank you God for all of you!

8 October 2011

Strange Incision Pain -- Help!

So my fellow endo sufferers, have any of you experienced very uncomfortable incision pain?

I usually feel a dull ache when it's going to rain, but since yesterday I have been in quite a bit of discomfort. The pain is localized on the left hand side of my incision and it radiates into my pelvis.

Such fun.

I gave in and took some pain killers this morning because I needed to function.

Thank the Lord I am starting my ultrasound series next week! Hopefully TCIE will find what is going on!!!

p.s. Thank you all for your kind words on my last post. Your prayers definitely helped!

5 October 2011

The Wall

It hit me today.

This is it.

My surgery with Dr. Hilgers is the last thing that we are going to do to restore my fertility. My third, and final surgery.

If this doesn't work, we move on.

When we started this journey WAY back in July 2005, I couldn't imagine that six years later that we would still be childless, but here we are.

We are so blessed to be able to have the choice to have this surgery. Everything has come into place to make this surgery happen. I know in my heart that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. Regardless of the outcome, I will not regret our decision to go to Omaha.

But I'm scared.

So desperately scared.

My back is against the wall and I'm starting at all of my fears straight in the eye.

Dear God, please help me!

4 October 2011

Coming Clean, Well Mostly

After my crazy day yesterday -- which ended off quite nicely with my appointment with Dr. Nora, thank God, even the traffic wasn't too bad coming home, I came to school ready to start telling people about my surgery.

The first person I told was my planning time teacher (she comes in to teach my class English). She was super supportive.  Then I spoke to the secretary who had no idea what was going on, my principal is a vault apparently. My biggest reason for telling her was that my principal asked me to help him find someone to cover my leave, something totally against the rules, but I'm a pleaser and I tried to do as I was told.

It's pretty difficult to find someone that is French speaking to cover such a long period of time and I was told that the list of available teachers has been exhausted. I have a couple of substitute teachers that I call in to cover for me if I'm sick or if I have a meeting, and neither one of them is interested.

I wish that I wasn't so worried about who is going to be in my class while I'm gone, but honestly it is bothering me more than the actual surgery!

At lunch, my principal sat beside me and said that he had a plan in place if we couldn't find anyone. He's going to shift some teachers around and put someone on staff that speaks French in my room and then find someone to do her job. I was able to leave school with a pretty big load off of my shoulders after I heard that!

By the end of the day I told my planning time teacher, the head secretary (but the part-time one was there too, so she heard everything), the librarian (who I am pretty close with, who was the only one who connected the dots between my endo and IF, I've slipped enough hints around her!), and three of my closest friends on staff. I told them that I was having surgery for my endo, but I didn't tell them the fertility aspect. I really didn't want to get into it and I knew that if I started getting into all the IF business that I would start to cry. My teaching partner knows EVERYTHING, but we're very close and I know that she won't tell anyone.

I wish that I could've been 100% truthful, but the fact that I told them this much was a big deal for me -- being "secretly" IF has been the best way for me to cope.

And it doesn't end there, I called my mom tonight to tell her. For those of you that don't know my mom and I don't exactly have the easiest relationship and I wanted to wait until the last moment to tell her. Surprisingly she was so supportive. I stressed the fact that Dr. Hilgers is one of the best and that he has a great reputation and that the doctors here in Ontario weren't going to help me like he can. I also assured her that we had the money saved up and that we didn't have to go into any debt or that I would lose any pay while I was off (she always gets worried about money matters!). She also offered to take days off if I needed her to, even though she's retiring at Christmas. My mom is so good in a crisis and she's also a nurse, so I'm pretty fortunate. I was also surprised that she said that we just had to pray that it was going to work. She doesn't usually talk that way, she's usually pretty clinical and matter-of-fact. I almost started to cry when she said that, but thankfully she wanted to get off the phone because she was watching something with my dad. 

So such a big weight has been taken off of my shoulders. The people that matter know and if the nosy people on my staff want to know I told them to say that I was having surgery, that I was fine and that I would be back after Christmas. No one else needs to know more. Really, it's none of their business!

Yesterday on my way home from Dr. Nora's, I had yet another conversation with God. I know that regardless of what I want, ultimately it's His plan. But I do hope and pray that all of this effort, all of the tests, phone calls, e-mails, doctor's visits, invasive procedures, the list goes on and on, are going to amount to finally having a baby. I've tried to keep a brave face and tell people that it's for my health, but for Pete's sake I want a freaking baby (or two or four, any number Lord, send them, but at least one, please!).

If I don't get my happy ending at the end of all of this, I'm heading straight to a padded room.

3 October 2011

One of the worst things... * Updated

...about being infertile is having to fill one's bladder in preparation for an ultrasound.

I have goosebumps all over 'cos I started with cold water and now I'm shivering!

I have the day off for my day 5 ultrasound (the baseline before I head south for my Napro ultrasounds) and blood work (which will be shipped to Omaha).

I end off the day with a visit to Dr. Nora.

 How I wish I could have fun relaxing and watching girly movies, rather than preparing myself for surgery #3.


I am so thankful to be home. It was not a fun morning. At all.

I was very happy to get to the ultrasound clinic without too much fuss. The office was quite the way away and I knew that navigating morning rush hour traffic wouldn't be fun. I got there on time and I didn't have to wait.

That's when the fortune ended.

I have been through many, many ultrasounds. When the technician asked me what the reason for my ultrasound was, I knew that it was going to go downhill from there. Didn't she read the d*mn requisition???? I told her primary infertility and that it was my day 5 baseline ultrasound. She told me to lie down (which was not comfortable since my bladder was so darned full) and then asked how long we had been TTC.

She's lucky that I was so distracted from my full bladder because I was ready to cry or punch her, but I calmly said, "Six years." Although I wanted to add, does it really matter? It's obvious that you have no idea what six years of barrenness has done to me.

[deep breath]

She finished the external ultrasound and I was told to pee. Honestly, the pee after filling one's bladder is the most joyous experience!

When I returned to the room I was told to take all of my bottoms off and to put on the ridiculous paper gown. I lay down and she inserted the dildocam and she just went to town. She wasn't gentle, despite my telling her that it was painful. Like I said, I've had many ultrasounds and I know that they are not supposed to be painful. My deep, yoga breathing helped, a bit, but it was still so uncomfortable that I had tears in my eyes -- which says a lot since I have a high pain tolerance (I've lived with stage 4 endo, I know what pain is!). The entire scan took about ten minutes, but it seemed like hours. At the end I asked the tech why it hurt so much and she said, "Well you have endometriosis, that's why." She's lucky I didn't kick her in the teeth.

[another deep breath]

So next was my day 5 blood work. I drove back home and found the lab (which is a new lab because only certain labs will ship blood to the US). I felt very confident that the lab would be able to handle shipping my blood to Omaha since I spoke to a very nice lady at their head office. Alas, I was wrong.

After waiting for almost half and hour the receptionist was all confused about my requisition. I explained to her that I had spoken to head office and that I was told that they were able to ship my blood to the US and that if she needed to talk to someone that I had their phone number and extension. I went back and forth with the woman at the desk at least four times. She brought in more than one colleague to help her out with my situation. Thank God another woman came in and calmly explained to her what to do. The biggest glitch was the price that I was quoted was wrong because of the dry ice and extra packaging that was needed.

God was merciful on me enough to send me a very thorough technician. She went over the requisition from Dr. Hilgers with a fine tooth comb. The woman at the desk highlighted that I needed post-Peak blood work done as well, but I insisted that it was just day 5 FSH (I also had a requisition from my local Napro doc that said that same thing). She took an extra vial of blood just in case, but I am sure that she will ensure that my sample gets to Omaha!

The tech said something very interesting. She asked for my cell phone number just in case she had any questions. She said that I was very knowledgeable and that she knew that I knew what I needed inside and out. She complimented me on being my own advocate and that, "If you want something, you need to go and get it. No one is going to do it for you."

Prophetic words.

She was like an angel speaking to me. I need to persevere, regardless of how hard all of this seems.

One more appointment. Dr. Nora at 4:45pm. Thank God that she doesn't need to take blood or poke my ladyparts!

2 October 2011

Summer Prayer Buddy Reveal

I was so excited about the last edition of Summer Prayer Buddies! I love having a particular person to pray for!

I had the wonderful fortune of praying for Mrs. Henderson at Still Standing!  It definitely wasn't a coincidence, the Holy Spirit had His hand in pairing us up. We are both teachers and as I type this she is in Omaha!

I was able to offer up many prayers for her intentions and I stepped up my prayers when it looked like her insurance company wasn't going to cover her surgery's cost. I prayed the St. Gerard novena for her every night and I offered up every yoga class for her (there was a lot of sweat generated for your intentions!). I've also been offering up my frustration with my class -- and there has been a healthy dose of that!

I am continuing my prayers for her as her surgery approaches. I am certain that Dr. Hilgers will work miracles for you too!

Thanks to Mrs. Henderson and Mrs. B for organizing Summer Prayer Buddies!

p.s. I will be sending your gift when I'm in the US next week!

Thank you so much to God Alone Suffices  for her prayers! I cannot believe how calm I have been as I wait for my surgery. I am certain that your prayers have made the stressful process of organizing tests, ultrasounds, arranging to go to the US for my hormone panel and ultrasound series go so smoothly!
God bless you and I will be praying for you too!

p.s. I'm still looking for advice on US cell phones. Please help if you can!

1 October 2011

Practical Advice Needed

I can't believe that my surgery is in exactly a month.

Oh my gravy.

Part of me is panicking, and another is thankful since my cramps are just horrible right now. Thank God for whoever invented ibuprofen in gel pills!

I head to the States next week for my ultrasound series and I have been thinking about getting a pay-per-use cell phone rather than getting US roaming on my Canadian phone. Our cell phone rates are crazy expensive and I really want the piece of mind of having a phone that I can use when I need to. The phone will also come in handy when we're in Omaha (although we got a phone package for Mr. JB's car, we have On.Star service that we decided to renew).

Advice, anyone?