I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Sunday, February 28, 2010

For better or worse...through sickness and health...

Tomorrow, March 1st is our 2nd anniversary. 2 years ago we got married in Savannah, GA. The ceremony was at dusk in Forysth Park...with the reception at Paula Deen's restaurant. It was a perfect day...the weather was incredible...the azalea's were in full bloom...it exceeded our expectations. I paid attention to every tiny detail...and it paid off. It was the best day of my life. More importantly than all the details...it was so perfect because I married my best friend. I married a man I waited 27 years for. We were so full of bliss....never in our wildest dreams did we imagine the road God had planned for us. The struggles we have gone through the past 2 years can certainly test a relationship. Just like our wedding day....my husband has exceeded my expectations as well. He might not always be the best at telling me what he's feeling....but I know with all my heart that he is the best thing that ever happened to me...and I can't imagine going through this with anyone else. I take this opportunity on this blog to tell Jason...and the world....I love you with all my heart and I promise each and every day to exceed YOUR expectations and be the best wife I can be...

With all that being said I want to stray away from the topic of IVF for a bit and dedicate the rest of this blog post to food. Yes, food. Those of you know that know me well, know that I love food...I love to cook food...I love to eat food...I love to talk about food. Jason took me to a fabulous anniversary dinner last night to Highlands Bar & Grill. If you are from Birmingham you know about Highlands. It's one of the most coveted restaurants in the city and I've wanted to eat there for years. The meal was above and beyond what we hoped for and worth every penny. One of mine and Jason's favorite dishes is beef carpaccio. If you aren't familiar with what that is...it's raw beef that is sliced paper thin....basically tissue paper thin. They line the plate with the beef and then in the middle of the plate was a horseradish sauce... then it was topped with shaved Parmesan and a pile of arugula. It is heaven on a plate. Luckily Jason and I share the same passion for food. :) Next was the salad...I got the fried oyster salad. It was a huge generous portion of romaine lettuce, fried oysters and then fried pieces of red bell pepper and thin slices of lemon that were fried as well. I never thought of frying a lemon slice...but the combination of flavors worked so well together. I would go back and order this as an entree. In fact, I'm going to try and recreate this dish at home very soon. Again, heaven on a plate. On to the entree (and yes...by this point I was already full...but this isn't an opportunity to pass up....). Jason and I both decided to try something new. I got the Pompano & Scallops. Pompano is a white fish that is firm yet delicate. Scallops are one of my favorite things...but they can easily be overcooked....I knew Highlands wouldn't disappoint. It was served with a brown butter sauce, capers and then roasted cauliflower and fingerling potatoes. This was a dish I could only aspire to recreate at home. Food like this makes me so happy. It was incredible. Jason got the Triggerfish. It came with a beet relish, toasted walnuts, radishes and steamed potatoes. Another fabulous choice. Still trying to find room in my tummy...it was on to dessert. We got two choices and shared. :) The sweet & salty chocolate cake and the coffee creme brulee. The cake...it was this incredibly moist chocolate cake with a dark chocolate ganache. It had a caramel sauce on the plate and sea salt was sprinkled on it. Ingenious idea. I think now any time I have chocolate cake in the future I am going to reach for the sea salt. It was just one of those odd combinations that just plain worked. To die for. On to the coffee creme brulee....Jason and I both adore creme brulee. The addition of the coffee made it even better. The burnt sugar crust on creme brulee makes me a happy girl...it's just such a wonderful treat. The dessert plates had "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate sauce on them. They were beautiful presentations. I so badly wanted to reach for my camera and snap pictures of all of the plates of food....but I resisted. To sum up, it was a totally fabulous meal....one we will never forget. Hopefully we can make a trip back at some point in the future.

Happy Anniversary Jason! I love you! :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I must have lost 6 ounces...

...that's what Jason said after he saw the amount of fluid they drained from the cyst. Apparently it was bigger than they thought. I'm so thankful that Dr. H. pushed to have it drained versus trying more medication to do the trick.
The morning started off not so fun as the nurse attempted to put in my IV. I have had countless surgeries over the years. Too many ear surgeries than I care to remember...so I've had well over my fair share of IVs. I've NEVER experienced anything like this before. After an unsuccessful attempt by one nurse, they called another one in. Luckily again, Jason was there to hold my hand...or I should probably say squeeze. I think I cut off the circulation. I can't even describe the pain that lasted what I felt was an eternity. I was screaming and crying. :( I paid my dues though....when the IV was finally in they pumped me full of Versed. Versed is this great sedative that makes you forget about anything else in the world except for total relaxation. Frankly, I barely even remember the procedure and don't even remember seeing Dr. H. even though I know we spoke. :) We can home and I took the best nap ever.

With all that being said...the cyst is drained....they sent off the liquid to pathology, just as a common practice....and tonight begins the nuva ring and the journey to IVF cycle #2!

Thank you everyone for all your calls, texts, and facebook messages. Hopefully this was just a minor bump in the road.
Hugs and love to you all!

Monday, February 22, 2010

That's one big cyst....

So, this morning was my baseline check in order for us to start round 2 of IVF. This involves bloodwork, a bacteria culture, and an ultrasound. Bloodwork: check, Culture: check (with some moderate cramping...but still CHECK), Ultrasound: che....WOAH....what is that huge black mass?!? Literally me, Jason and the nurse all went - holy cow....look at that huge black mass. The cyst from last time was still there...and had almost doubled in size. That means the prometrium prescription didn't help shrink it as planned. Today is measured at 5 cm....about 2 inches in size. Considering the size of the "parts" down there....a 2 inch mass kind of gets in the way. Nonetheless, the nurse instructed us to proceed as planned with starting the nuva ring tonight and keep it in for 3 weeks. We scheduled our appointment with our IVF coordinator to talk about our calendar and get all my medications (shots, etc) ordered. The plan was the nuva ring should shrink or diminish the cyst. It's appointments like today where we don't even see our doctor (it's a common thing, we really only see her for the major appointments). So, about 2:30 this afternoon I get a call from Dr. H. Not a nurse....but Dr. H. herself. My stomach did that funny scared flippy thing when I heard her voice. She seemed very concerned with the cyst and didn't want to waste any more time with meds....we need to get in there and drain that sucker. So, I have to be at the doctor's office at 7:15 in the morning. When I get there they will hook me up with an IV and "feel good" drugs...and the procedure is at 8:15. It's actually a lot like an egg retrieval. They go in with a proe and drain the fluid from the cyst. I'll be groggy and spend the day in bed (cue the sympathetic eyes and milking it for all it's worth from Jason). What is going on our house?!?!!? First Jason with the kidney stone...and now this...all within 3 days of each other?! We are quite the pair lately. :(

Regardless of any anxiety I have over this....it's the best thing. I don't need anything getting in the way or slowing down this process. These cysts are no joke...if they didn't go in and drain it, it very likely could rupture, and then we have big problems. From what I gathered from Dr. H....this won't hinder our progress with this cycle (thank GOD)....of course this is all subject to the outcome of tomorrow, but we are keeping our fingers crossed and saying all kinds of prayers! :) I had an acupuncture session this afternoon and it was wonderful...I feel asleep and it was one of those totally fabulous quick power naps. I was actually really surprised that I was able to relax enough to sleep for a bit. (I guess that means Dr. Fogo is doing his job!)
So....be looking for an update tomorrow. Until then...keep those prayers comin!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bitter/sweet time...

What an eventful past 24 hours............. it all started yesterday (Friday) morning when Jason woke up in excruciating pain. Let me brag on my husband for a second....the man never complains - about anything. At least not to me anyway. So I knew when I saw him in this state that something was really wrong. Thankfully, my mom works for a group of urologists and I called her right away. They worked him first thing yesterday morning to see the doctor and confirmed it was in fact a kidney stone. Jason has never had a kidney stone before (neither have I). We were at the doctor's office and they took him back for a cat scan....while he was down the hall I went to the restroom and low and behold....I had started my period! This is what we've been waiting for in order to start round 2 of IVF! I was ecstatic! So excited for this next step....but I was in emotional pain watching Jason go through this physical pain. It seems that I'M always the patient and Jason has always taken great care of me....well, now it was my turn to step up and take care of HIM. TO make a long story short....we were sent home from the doctor and Jason had some relief from a shot of Demerol. But by yesterday afternoon the pain was back full force. After an episode of throwing up...I knew it was time to head to the ER. 6 hours later they admitted him and at that point he was resting comfortably on the best pain meds around. Right now it's 9:00 am on Saturday and we are still in the hospital. They think he could have passed the stone...but we are not sure, he's not in pain and not on any medication so we are crossing our fingers that it did pass. Obviously this whole experience is the "bitter" part. I've never seen Jason like that...in that much pain. It hurt me so bad to see him like that and even drove me to tears. Like I said, I'm usually the patient and during the past year of our journey there have been many times that Jason has witnessed me in pain. Whether it was physical or emotional....to see your spouse, the person you care so much about and love with all of your heart...go through pain like that...it breaks your heart. I'm almost glad this happened (don't kill me Jason...lol) but honestly, it was a reality check for me...to reverse the roles and get to take care of him like he's done for me all this time. Wishing I could take away his pain....I know Jason has felt that so many times for me.

Now...on to the "sweet" part! :) I go Monday morning bright and early for my baseline blood work and ultrasound. It's the first of many hurdles to jump over for an IVF cycle. We've done this before, so we know what to expect. Everything has to fit together just right for us to be able to move to the next step. I pray that large cyst has diminished and that it doesn't hinder our progress. In addition to all of this....we are increasing my acupuncture treatments to twice a week. I have to say, I am really enjoying acupuncture...and really looking forward to going twice a week. 20 minutes of uninterrupted...total relaxation time. Who wouldn't look forward to that??? :)

So many of you have been asking for updates....so I am proud to report the news to you today of our progression.

God is going to see us through this storm. He has this great master plan and I can not wait to see what he has in store for us! :) As always....keep those gracious prayers coming.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leafy greens & pineapple...

Monday night’s RESOLVE meeting went really well. I’m so glad I went. The first part of the meeting was a very informative session from a local acupuncturist. She’s really big on Chinese medicine (herbs, etc.) so it was interesting to hear about that. Having already started acupuncture with Dr. Fogo, I already knew a lot of what she told us on the acupuncture side. But it was still beneficial for me. The philosophy behind acupuncture has do with blood…a healthy blood flow through out the body…and creating the right kind of energy from your body. There is a lot you can do to help the quality of your blood, and a big portion of that comes from your diet. She stressed it many times…eat lots of leafy greens. If you are going to commit to something like IVF, you need to REALLY commit to it. Make sure you do everything possible so you can look back and know that you’ve done all you could do. I am actually fortunate that I’m one of those people that likes to eat healthy. Do I always do it….of course not. But I truly do like vegetables, especially the dark leafy greens. So…an overhaul of food in the Oliver house is about to happen (sorry Jason!). I am going to have to make a conscious effort to get more vegetables in my diet. I didn’t really do that the first IVF round…so any modifications that can work in my favor, I’m up for it! Another thing she stressed is water. We’ve all heard this a thousand times….drinking plenty of water is the one of the best things you can do for your body. At a minimum, 64 ounces a day. I really try to get that in…but it doesn’t always happen. Again, I’m going to have to make a conscious effort.

After she spoke we all went around the table and shared stories about our lives. Some of these girls have been around each other for months so they were already familiar with their background and journeys thus far. Regardless, it was so helpful to hear others that are battling the same struggles that Jason and I are. Each story was unique, but we all have that common bond that is so hard for some to understand or relate to. In sharing, one of the girls brought up the importance of eating pineapple (fresh...not canned or frozen). I know there are a lot of old wives tales out there (so this totally could fall into that category), but apparently pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain, which is supposed to somehow aid in implantation of the embryo into the uterus. So, I would need to eat it starting the day of embryo transfer up until the time I would find out if was pregnant. I know, some of you are probably sitting there rolling your eyes going – Kara…eating pineapple isn’t going to get your pregnant. But…walk the last year in my shoes and you’ll be up for trying any and all suggestions. And I LOVE pineapple…so I will absolutely be testing that theory! The girl who told me to try it….she’s pregnant after a few attempts at IVF. Just sayin’….

So, at this point I’m still taking the prometrium and waiting on my period to start. Well, I started the pills last Monday (day 16 of my cycle) and I was supposed to take them for 10 days. The label on the bottle said – take one pill at bedtime, days 16-25. The other night I’m thinking…um, there are still quite a bit of pills left. And right there on the label it says, quantity: 20. So, got clarification from the doctor’s office. I was supposed to be taking TWO at bedtime. I don’t know if the nurse that called it in got it wrong…or the pharmacy got it wrong. So, she told me to just start taking 2 at bedtime and keep taking them until either I start…or run out of pills. I know mistakes happen, but let’s be honest, when they happen to you it’s just super frustrating.
Another suggestion was given about a book to read: The Infertility Cure – I think it talks a lot about diet and other factors that can aid in helping along those follicles and embryos. So, I’ll be buying that book. In addition, there is a fertility yoga DVD that the acupuncturist suggested….so I’m going to be hitting up amazon.com for both!

I’m still struggling daily that God has a plan and knows what’s best. I have to remind myself all the time. For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…..

Thanks to everyone who continue to check up on us! It means so much!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hello my name is Kara and I'm infertile....

So, tomorrow night will mark my first "support group" meeting. Thankful to other bloggers out there, I have found out about an organization called RESOLVE. It's the national infertility organization and they have a chapter right here in Birmingham. They meet once a month and February's meeting is tomorrow night. I've heard WONDERFUL things about this group and I'm anxious to meet everyone and check it out. Tomorrow's topic is actually on acupuncture! Seems very fitting and meant to be. (as my mom said, all the pieces seem to be fitting together). I'm really trying to keep an upbeat attitude and positive outlook on our upcoming cycle #2. I've been reading a lot of other's stories out there...I love that others are blogging about their same experiences. It really helps to read others stories, words of wisdom, heartaches...and joys. That is why I know going to these group meetings will also benefit me so much. On the same token....the acupuncture is still going great! Two sessions in and I'm so glad that I'm doing it. It really is such a relaxing experience!
A lot of you have asked when we'll start up again...just waiting on mother nature to determine that one. Hopefully within the next couple weeks the process can begin.
I read this on some one else's blog...and when I read it I knew it would be a saying I would cling to: "Having faith in God also means having faith in His timing." It's so, so true.
May we ALL have faith. :)