Friday, December 17, 2010

Trying to Feel Peaceful and Not Succeeding

Why is it, that when I'm supposed to feel peace, I feel turmoil? Is it the lack of sleep, the blessed weight of pregnancy, or the stress of not knowing what the financial future holds? Perhaps it is a combination of factors. Another life transition knocks at my door and even if I'm not ready, it's coming into my life at it's due time.

We're wondering how we're going to make ends meet, and pay all our bills when I'm home with the twins and still don't have a teaching job. I'm wondering how my delivery is going to go and dreading it, while at the same time looking forward to seeing our long awaited bundles of joy....

How will it all come together? I know that time marches on and circumstances will all crash together, I'm just wondering what condition our lives will be in, after it all hits the fan. (I enjoy mixing my metaphors.)Will we still be in our house? Will I ever find a teaching job? How will we pay for my special education classes I need to finish my special ed. certificate in order to get a teaching job?  (I have found that you need to be certified in order to even be considered now!)

I want to know it's going to be OK. I want to know that we'll be able to stay in our home and raise our babies, and that I'll get a teaching job, or that my husband will get a magical promotion at work and we won't have to worry about money.

There are no guarantees in this life. That's part of what makes it so worrisome and yet, so adventurous.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thar She Blows!!!!

While I do not find myself identifying closely with Captain Ahab, I do myself akin to Moby Dick, if for no other reason than I feel like I have the potential to want to attack ships and to bite the leg off a a cantankerous sea dog. For those reasons and many, I continue to want to eat lot's of calories, though I am careful to not eat too closely to bedtime to avoid the dreaded heartburn.

At 24 plus weeks, my belly is now 45 inches around...that's if you take a tape measure and wrap it around my back and cross matching ends at my navel. There you have it...a whale of a belly, as yet to reach legendary proportions. I remember that I have about 15 weeks to go, and that's if I am delivered at 40 weeks. Perchance I may deliver early...I'd say 36-37 weeks would be safe.

I am happy to report that the twins hearts are is great condition, no hint of the pin hole the perinatologist thought he might have glimpsed on the ultrasound for Baby B at my last appointment. The caridologist I was referred to pronounced both girls, A-OK, to the great relief of their parents. Daddy and Mommy are happy about that!

So that's what I'm contemplating these days: the round expanse that is my ever-increasing girth and growing offspring, and the fact that someday soon, we will get to meet them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

123 Days and Counting!

I have 123 days left until my due date, and while I know that most women don't have their babies on their actual due date, I can't help but smile and think that somewhere close to that time frame, I'll get to meet my babies for the first time. Wow. Mind-blowing stuff. The stuff that dreams are made of.

So many thoughts are going through my head these last few days, among them: thankfulness over the holiday, missing my Grammy that passed a year ago this time of year (a few days after Thanksgiving), missing my husband who has gone hunting and thinking about preparing for my babies.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shaping Your Child's Gender Identity

I'm sure there are many things written about appropriately shaping the gender identity of your child as an evangelical parent. In today's day and age of permissive parenting, that parenting role, that aspect of training of a child has taken a back seat and children are now encouraged to explore their own identities, unstifled by traditional roles and values. If you try and guide your child's gender identity, you may be seen as intolerant or hateful, or homophobic. Why not let them decide? Does it really matter at the age of five if a child goes to a school Halloween party dressed as Daphne from the Scooby Doo cartoon? Does it matter if we let our daughter's go as Batman, or let both dress up in boy and girl clothes from the dress up trunk? When is it appropriate to step in and guide children towards godly, biblical gender roles? You can guess what the world would say, but what is the godly thing to do?
I recently read a rant by a pre-school mom who is a popular blogger. She let her five-year-old son go as Daphne to his christian pre-school costume party and was surprised by the intolerance and wide-eyed looks from some of the moms. Really? You were shocked and surprised that evangelical christians, of a traditional mindset found your permissive yet supportive and unconditional parenting questionable?
Polling all adults: Would you let your kid dress up in a Halloween costume (or dress up costume) of a different gender from your child's and send them to school? Would you ever try and shape the choices of your child with regard to gender role?
I was not surprised on a liberal website like this to find a lot of liberally minded readers who chimed in with how proud they were of her as a mom for defending her child's choice, and his self-expression and how intolerant those so-called christian moms were of her son and shame on them, blah, blah, blah. First of all, he's five, I get it. Kids are still experimenting with gender roles. I've heard the arguments that supposedly support a child's choice and that "he might really be gay", "he's raised by mostly women" or "has lot's of sisters" or "he's just different than the rest of his brothers" etc. Whatever the excuse is, when is it right to step in and try and guide our children's choices in this area? Some would argue, his choice is not hurting anyone, it's part of who he/she is, and it's not for adults to interfere, only to support. What do you think?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Trick or Treat"

Halloween is interesting holiday. This year we actually got some trick-or-treaters and I think that our new neighbors' holiday display had something to do with it! Their porch was lit up with all kinds of fun decorations...silvery skeletons, candles and skulls, pumpkins and spooky noises. She was out on the porch to welcome the kids and hand out some cute little bags of goodies she had made up.
Kids of all ages were out to enjoy the night. The really little ones were adorable. There was one little tot dressed as a lion, complete with shaggy mane and bushy tail. He had to have been 3 at the most. Polite teenagers carried pillowcases full of candy. Nearly everyone was in costume and no one was rude. We only had one, elementary school-aged grabber who took three tootsie pops. Most kids took one and said, "Thank you!" All of the kids were fun to see! The trick-or-treaters are always my favorite part, but the entertainment didn't stop there.
There were some horribly, goofy horror movies on TV. We're talking the ones from the 80's: predictable zombie horror movies with the extraneous sidekick extras that have no contribution to the plot of the movie save for serving as comedic fodder when they get eaten by fantasticaly, slimey hordes of the undead.

For dinner, I burned grilled cheese sandwiches and over-baked some chocolate chip cookies. That's what happens when I get distracted while I'm cooking, even with a kitchen timer. Sigh. Oh well! There's always leftover Halloween candy. Bring on the Tootsie Pops!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Why Doctors "Practice" Medicine

They think my rash is PUPPP, but they're not sure. I guess that's why they call it medical "practice". Hey, the human body can do some amazing things! Weird pregnancy rashes is one of my many talents. I'm also proficient at round ligament pain on my left side.

PUPPP usually starts in stretch marks on your sides, but my rash started on my thighs and then spread everywhere else. It reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaally likes the tops of my thighs though. The rash and my thighs are new BFF's. I wish I could break them up. Unfortunately, I think this marriage of rash and skin will last at least until after delivery, possibly until I am done breastfeeding.

I got my flu shot yesterday, in my dominant arm. Now it feels like somebody gave my right arm a knuckle sandwich. Today, after getting quite a bit of walking exercise and taking some generic benedryl I am ready for bed...after I finish watching Battlestar Gallactica on the retro TV station. I am so sleepy. Goodnight.

Monday, October 18, 2010


16 weeks, 2 days. Felt the babies moving around after drinking a Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate. So cool!!! Tonight I met a new doctor when I went for my monthly OBGYN visit. Dr. D. He found the babies' heartbeats and measured my belly. I gained two more pounds. I'm up to 204lbs. :) Yee---haw!  I'm hungry. I think I'll go eat something. Heehee.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pemphigoid Gestationis

I am so in love with my babies and I look forward to kissing and holding them. I got to hear their heartbeats today when I went for my emergency OB appt. I was worried that my rash, or it's treatment with the copious amounts of hydrocortisone cream over a large surface area would harm them. Dr. Shah reassured me, that the OTC cream, even in gross amounts was not going to harm the twins. 

It was so good to see Dr. Shah. She is my regular OB and this is the first time she has gotten to see me since I became pregnant. Her eyes got pretty big when she saw my rash. She thinks the biopsy will confirm her suspicion that it's gestational herpes...AKA Pemphigoid Gestationis . Good news: it's not harmful to the babies. Bad news: you can only treat the symptoms, the virus has to run it's course, and it will get worse before it gets better. I may also have it for my whole pregnancy, and it can cause pre-term labor. I have to be careful to drink lots of fluids to keep up my amniotic fluid levels.

Dr. Shah used the doppler and found BOTH heartbeats, unlike my Joe Pesci look-alike Dr. that saw me before. She said the babies were moving around quite a bit. She is very thorough and reassuring. I love Dr. Shah! She even asked me if I had anymore questions and she got her nurse to set me up with an appt. to see the perinatologist at the hospital. I'll get an ultrasound, and a visit with the doctor. They will start monitoring me early because of the rash. I say, "Bring on the extra care!"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The "Energizer Rash"

Yup, you guessed it. It keeps going and going and going, not unlike the Energizer Bunny. Nothing short of a massive dose of steroids or possibly a miracle may calm this rash down. I CANNOT stop itching it!!!! This is the 3rd rash of my pregnancy. The first two were localized to stripes at the tops of my thighs. The third and current rash went rogue. It is nearly everywhere: front and back of thighs, behind my knees, on my chest, under my armpits, hips, and other unmentionable places. I can only take so much generic benadryl and put on so much OTC hydrocortisone cream. And it's not letting up, it continues to spread!!!! For my peace of mind, I anxiously await the results of the biopsies taken by the dermatologist this past Wednesday. I hope I don't have anything that will harm my babies.

Friday marks my 15th week and I have yet to feel the babies move. I hear you can start feeling movement in the 16th week. I will be glad when I can feel movement from both of them. I am so excited to eventually see another ultrasound picture, to hear BOTH of their heartbeats, and to find out their genders. I will be so happy no matter what their genders may be. I have warmed to the idea of 2 boys, 2 girls, or a boy and a girl.

I admit I became spoiled by weekly ultrasounds at the fertility clinic. It was so fun watching them get bigger and bigger. says my little peeps are as big as apples this week. Last week they were lemons. Ha! Now they are a seasonal fruit and the apples of my eye!

Daddy Jeff stopped by Babies R Us to start researching strollers/car seats for twins. He's looking at a Chico's system that will allow mom or dad to unhook a carseat from its base and then securely latch it to the stroller in one simple maneuver.

OK, now I've done it. I just looked on the internet at what my rash might be and I'm scared. Bad Rigel.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Post #400 My Amazing SIL Becky

To celebrate my 400th post on Orion's Contemplation, I will sing the motherhood praises of my SIL Becky. Tonight we had dinner at a local pizza joint and Becky, her husband Clay and their two kiddos Seth and Brian were able to join us. I can tell you how wonderful it was to have dinner together before an anticipated year-plus separation from them, about how cute my nephews are, or about how neat it was to have a total stranger pay $10 of our bill, but what I want to focus on, is my SIL's ability to manage a tired, teething, under-two-year-old. She gave him a sippy, she let him play with things in her purse, she checked his diaper, she changed his diaper (in a bathroom without a changing table), she gave him crackers, she bounced him on her lap, and then on her hip, before she gave him some medicine when she had narrowed it down to the fact that he is teething. She's amazing.  I can only hope to be such a super momma when it's my turn. 

She's not only an amazing wife and mother, she possesses a generous spirit. She let me borrow a bunch of cool stuff! Out in the parking lot after pizza, she gave me three boxes of baby stuff plus a body pillow. I'm thankful for TWO SIL's (you too Ru Ru) and a sister (Cari) who are kind, loving and generous. I praise God for all of them, and for you!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God Remembered

This is a picture sent to me by my friend J. She took a picture of a pregnancy journal and on the cover of one was a picture entitled, "God Remembered".

She said it reminded her of me. I had to post it. Made me all teary...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pregnant, with a Cold

Have you ever been sick when you were pregnant or known someone who has? I don't mean the "morning" sickness, I mean a cold or the flu. Having just caught a cold myself and feeling it's first real symptoms, I look longingly at my medicine cabinet to the cache of forbidden cold remedies and pine for relief. Aches, scratchy throat, post-nasal drip...and very little I can do to combat them. I feel at the mercy of my body's inflammatory response to this virus.

I have gargled with warm salt water. I have Luden's cough drops (sugared hard candy) and I'm drinking hot tea with honey and lemon, all bring temporary relief. 5 minutes later, I am ready to gargle again. What do you do when you are pregnant and sick?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sup Lately

I am officially done taking my Endometrin suppositories.

Wait. Did you hear that? Listen.

It's the sound of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus. That's right. No more thrice daily self-medicating with my friends the applicators. I have earned a reprieve from maxi-pads wit or witout wings. Sunday was my first full day without that med and I have to admit, I'm not feeling well. Coincidence? Perhaps.

I just looked up at the TV. James Bond is drowning somebody in a sink. Ah, the start of Casino Royale. Theme music.

Tonight I made Jeff and I some grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches with real bread from a loaf from the bakery, and then I could only eat half of the one and a half sandwiches I made for myself. How sad is that?

On the plus side, I've been doing some reading the past couple days thanks to my friend Rachel who lent me a mini-stack of oldies, but goodies. I am getting reaquainted with Frank Peretti. It's enough to make me want to be a prayer warrior.

Monday morning, I'm headed up to NY to get together with some girlfriends from grade school and high school. It will be good to sit around a campfire with them tonight and catch up.

The downside is that I am going to miss being away from Jeff. Being pregnant is giving me some really strong emotions and wild dreams. Sometimes, I wake up and I'm actually upset with him. Have you ever experienced a similar phenomenon?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Trimester Fun

So.....I'm at 8 weeks and 4 days. I'm about half-way through my first trimester and hopefully half-way through feeling nauseated.  Thus far, no vomiting! I am trying to keep food in my stomach and water at hand. I've had several people give me advice on combating "morning sickness" which can last all day. I feel I have been fortunate in this area.

I have found that pregnancy has made me LAZY. All I want to do is lay on the couch...and occasionally get up to clean. I remain constipated unless I do my Fit Mama DVD. Walking doesn't help my bowels. I did take the max adult dose of a laxative Saturday night that had me in the bathroom in a Dumb and Dumber moment, about 15 minutes after ingestion. Liquid, 5 lb. relief. I haven't gone since then. Me no poopy for three days.

It doesn't matter how much fruit I eat. I'm going to have to bring myself to exercise tomorrow if I ever hope to poop again. This sucketh.

What did you struggle with during your first trimester?

Monday, August 9, 2010

6 weeks 3 days: Heartbeats, a Progesterone Rash, and a Due Date

We had our second ultrasound today and saw both little hearts beating! Two babies! They will be fraternal twins, two different eggs and sperm. Two blastocytes transferred to my womb. They are on target! The doc said we might want to wait to tell people because it's still early, and I grinned at Jeff. The doc took the hint that we've already let that cat out of its bag.

I have also developed a rash as an allergic reaction to the progesterone. Doc wants me to stay on the progesterone for the babies' sake and to manage my symptoms with Benadryl. The rash started at the tops of my thighs and has grown thicker, slightly more bumpy and pinker, oh and it's spreading up my side. Did I mention that it itches (but not horribly)?

Third piece of 411 on the pregnancy: My first official due date is March 31. As he was giving it to me, he said that "the computer will give you a due date, which we can then laugh at." It will keep changing. The doc said my due date would most likely be anywhere between Valentine's Day 2011 and the end of Feb into early March.

Pregnancy symptoms we love to hate: tender swollen breast tissue, fatigue, constipation, progesterone rashes, and now....nausea.

Monday, August 2, 2010

5 weeks 3 days

According to the nurse...that's how pregnant I am.  I arrived at the office and gave some more blood for another HCG level check (which I found out they will continue to do, but not share the results of those tests with me unless something is wrong, until they release me to the care of my OBGYN), and then I had my visit with Dr. S. He checked out the blasties using TVU (he called them the "implants") and told me everything looked good...two gestational sacs with yolk sacs inside etc. I have another ultrasound next week and at that point we may be able to hear the heartbeats. By week 7 we should really be able to hear them. They tell us that after documentation of the heartbeat that only 10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. This little gem was in their literature.

It's pretty heady stuff. Next week, the "implants" will be about the size of tic-tacs. I can't help it, but now that I think about it, well, what do YOU associate with that word?

I'm still on the low-dose aspirin, a prenatal, and the Endometrin 3x a day, and now I have added a folic acid supplement to the mix.  Pretty soon, I'll need one of those M-F pill boxes for old people.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Anticipating My First Ultrasound

Tomorrow is the day! We get our first look inside my womb since the transfer. I'm hoping for a due date from the doctor, to catch a glimpse of the wee folk and to get a head count. No morning sickness yet. I think the blasties are 4 weeks at this point. We'll see what the official week count is from the doctor. He might have a different time table. I'll let you know my HCG levels if I get them from the nurse.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Ending of an Era, The Turning of a Page

On the way back from Clawson's Restaurant tonight, located in picturesque Beaufort, NC, Jeff and I looked at eachother and paused to reflect, that this could be our last night of vacation alone, together, for many years. This time, next year, we will have expanded our family, and life will no longer be about us, it will be about them. Vacation will fall by the wayside for quite some time.

You might be was never supposed to be about Purpose Driven Life people. ;) But, the truth is, it's always about us, until it has to be about other people. That's the nature of the beast in this imperfect world. We're constantly thinking about our comfort level, our plans, our physical fitness, our's us, nearly 24/7 until it's them or someone else we have to care for. If you've ever been a caregiver, you know what I'm talking about.

Who takes up your "me time"?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Awe Yeah... PREGGERS

In at 7:30 am for the blood work, found out just after 3:00 pm this afternoon I'm pregnant! Praise God. Now I have three follow-up blood draws to make sure my HCG level continues to rise and then they might give me a due date. ;)

Cats out of the bag folks. This chick is a watermelon smugglin' fiend. Perhaps it is too early to rejoice, but I've kept it out in the open so far, so you're with me for the duration. Let's see where we go from here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


So last night I got to hang with my girls at our Pampered Chef Team Meeting. It was really good to see Fretzie and Erinchenzo. Love them. There's something about being with girlfriends that takes the edge off my anxiety.

While I was there, I started cramping. Fretzie assured me she cramped with her pregnancies and from what I read on this message board cramping can be kind of normal. Some people say it's not, but I think they are talking about more severe pain than I was experiencing. Later that night, I woke up with horrible cramps, no blood, just what felt like horribly intense menstrual cramps that had me whimpering in bed. I got up and shuffled downstairs, and broke a ceramic trivet I've had since we got married as I was fumbling in my purse for the generic extra strength Tylenol. Took one of those, and fumbled back up to bed where I whimpered until the meds kicked and I could fall asleep. No blood this morning either.

Anyone know what these cramps are from? I have my blood work tomorrow morning with my pregnancy test.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What if the answer is still "No."?

What if I get to Thursday and I am not pregnant? I will decidedly be crushed. Why Thursday? Why so early after the transfer? Why are they testing me on Thursday? Why not wait two weeks? For their data? Do I even have a shot at a positive result?

I just found out a close family friend is pregnant. God, this is your timing and I rejoice for her, but what if I am not pregnant again? What if you say "No" again? I don't know if I have the grace for that. I can't smile anymore. I can't pretend it doesn't hurt, or that it's somehow OK. I am pissed. I am so sad. I have this deep seeded dread that God will take my joy away from me, if not before the pregnancy test, then afterwards. He could even wait until after my baby is grown up. What do you have to do in the eyes of God to deserve to be pregnant?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two Days Post-Transfer

Why is it that whenever they mess around with your business that your body responds with cramping and bloating? :) After a couple days, the lingering effects of the transfer are abating. It's nice to not feel achy when I roll onto either side. I'm a turner/tosser, poor husband.

At the start of the transfer process, they give you a picture of your embryo(s) that they will be transferring that day. It's amazing. It's really your first look at your child(ren). During the actual transfer itself, they have you undress from the waist down, they cleanse the path to your uterus where they will place your precious cargo, and then they do a trial run with a little cath to make sure the way isn't blocked. You can see it on the ultrasound screen. Then they show you your magnified embryo(s) on a TV screen, in a dish in the lab, before the transfer is done. You get to watch the transfer on the ultrasound screen as the doc guides the pipette along the proper line to the nesting ground. :) Then they slowly remove the pipette and examine it under a microscope to make sure the little guy(s) didn't get stuck in the pipette.

The nurse tells you that spotting, cramping and bloating is normal. Remember, this is almost a week after the retrieval and your follicles that used to hold eggs are now filling with fluid and blood. The bloating is back, with a vengeance. You get dressed, you go to the bathroom, where it takes an alarming time to actually relax and pee, and then you get to drive home grinning like an idiot, and holding your husband's hand trying to decide how much you're going to tell people, and when.

Do we tell people as soon as we are pregnant because we've been so transparent this far and that's been the expectation? What if I can't carry? What if I tell people too soon and then we miscarry? What do other couples do, wait three months? Do we share the sex? Do we want to know the sex? Will we even make it that far with this first attempt?

We've talked about it, and we've decided to hold off on any announcements or detailed reports until we give it some time. We won't know for a few weeks yet if the transfer is even successful. We do have some frozen embryos for additional attempts if or when we need them, so we rest in the knowledge that this is not the end, but the continuing journey of something wonderful. I'll ask you to pray for health and life for this potential pregnancy and that J and I will be at our best for the baby. I'll post again on this topic when we have news to share.

The count: 22 eggs retrieved, 18 fertilized, 13 dividing normally, four of those frozen, 9 cultured for 5-day growth. 5 mature blastocysts. 2 transferred, 3 frozen.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Not Everyday

It's not an everyday revelation, the date of your conception,
the day your life takes root in me.

I pledge to protect your life with my own.
I'm your Momma, he's your Daddy and we've been waiting for you, little miracle for what seems like forever.

Uncompromised nutrition, exercise, sleep, for your provision.
A mother's love is sacrificial. One day I hope you know that love for your own child, though tomorrow brings uncertainty.

I have to hope for your life in me. I can't think about you logically or in a detached way.
Your existance excites me and fosters dreams of who you may become.

I love you with everything I am.

It's not everyday, God blesses us with the responsibility of a lifetime.
Wednesday, July 14th is the day he blesses us, with you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The In-Between

Since the day after the retrieval (7/10/10) I have added to my medicinal regimen. I have been taking a battery of steroid medication which is gradually decreasing each day, and I have been taking a steady, thrice daily regimen of progesterone. No more shots! :) I've also been taking extra strength acetominophin as-needed.

Our tentative embryo transfer is scheduled for Monday, but they could put it off until Wednesday and let them get to the blastocyst stage of development.

Friday, July 9, 2010

22 Eggs

My retrieval went well today! They got 22 eggs and tomorrow I get a phone call to tell me how many fertilized. I had a significant amount of cramping when I woke up from my IV sedation. That was not pleasant, but a couple extra strength tylenol, a codeine pill, some disposable heating pads, and some extra recovery time for the meds to kick in, and I was doing OK. As soon as you pee and your blood pressure is up, they give you something to drink (I picked gingerale and Ritz peanut butter crackers), you get dressed and you can go home.

The one thing nobody told me about in advance is that you get constipation from the fertility meds and then from the sedation, or and from the codeine. Prunes. Yogurt. Sigh.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

I cannot tell you in words how wonderful it has been to have my dad down here for a visit this week. Yesterday we went swimming and hung out with some of my favorite people (Pletschers) and today Dad and Mom bought me new sandles I could not have afforded on my own. We had coffee this morning, me and Dad played The Game of Life on my ITouch, things were grand. We even got in a nap this afternoon and Hobbes came in to snuggle.

I've been getting supportive messages on Facebook from my posts, and I am happy to ask you all to pray as I go for my egg retrieval tomorrow. I am having anxiety about the procedure, and I just ask for God's peace and acceptance either way. The retrieval will be a diagnostic test of sorts, helping the docs to get a good look at my egg quality (a potential area of concern to this whole process). My understanding is that once they have the building blocks, they will grade them and put them together to make the embryos. Then a few days later, I go back to the IVF Toll Center and they put two of them in and cryopreserve the rest. Between retrieval and implantation, they call you to let you know the status of your embryos and how many you have. My goal is to get to and through the egg retrieval tomorrow, come what may.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

HCG Shot

I had my TVU and bloodwork this morning. The nurse said my follicles grew and that my egg retrieval will be Friday at 9:15 a.m. Tonight, I'll get my HCG shot at 9:15 p.m. and I will take a pregnancy test tomorrow morning to determine if my body has absorbed the hormone in the shot. A pregnancy test when I know I can't be pregnant, somewhat ironic, no?

I had a cafe latte this morning and I went swimming this afternoon with my dad. We had a good time eating and talking with friends. My dad did a backflip off the diving board. Now I have a headache, and tingling down the right side of my neck and in my right leg. So weird. Perhaps it's a pinched nerve. I looked it up online, what could it be? Diabetes? MS? Neuropathy? I am a hypochondriac.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Here I lay, bloated and sore on the couch, knowing that once again, I will have another Gonal F shot at 8 pm. I just want to cry, but I'm too tired to cry. I'm a bit apprehensive, and yes, scared. I'm worried that the HCG shot tomorrow night is going to trigger OHSS and that I'm going to die in agony. I am a self-proclaimed hypochondriac, but I have a sense of impending doom about this whole operation.

Would you please pray for me? Would you pray that God would give me peace as I go through the Gonal F side effects tonight and that he would give me peace about the big HCG shot in the butt tomorrow night? My egg retrieval will be sometime on Friday. I don't know when, but I am really nervous about developing OHSS after the HCG shot.

Will my follicles mature enough overnight?

God is able.

This is It!

My latest ultrasound shows that my follicles are many, but that they are hovering around 14 mm. I have another TVU scheduled for tomorrow AM at 7:15 and the nurse is supposed to call me today to tell me whether or not they are going to give me one more day on Gonal F to give my follicles a little longer to mature. If it will help, I am willing to do another day. I want my best shot at a positive result.

I asked her if she saw anything wrong on the ultrasound (there was a little fluid build-up showing up on the ultrasound on my right side) and she said everything looked normal and she would call me about my bloodwork that is checking to see that my estrogen levels are continuing to rise. She said some people need 11-12 days of stimulation and that everything looked normal. If I took the Gonal F tonight, it would count as my 12th day. She seemed to think I had quite a few follicles developing...that's good, now if we could just get them to grow up. ;)

So I wait to see if I am to do the HCG shot tonight or tomorrow night. If tonight, my egg retrieval will be Thursday, if tomorrow, it will be Friday. The day after the HCG shot, I take a pregnancy test, not to see if I am pregnant, but to detect if the HCG shot was effective.

I've been watching all these egg retrieval YouTube videos and infertility video journals. Not sure if that's a good thing. The people on the videos were pretty out of it on their twilight meds. I feel like it's the last few hours before a big test. I'm not asking myself, "Will I pass?" I'm asking myself if I'm going to ace it. I want to know that I am capable of producing Grade A eggs. Sigh. It's my competitive nature. What can I say? ;)

I can't help but feel I am being measured, evaluated... That I am being found worthy or not. Each day, the Gonal F symptoms get a little more intense: fatigue, headache, dizziness, back ache, sleeplessness, soreness etc.

At the checkout, I found out that our insurance wouldn't pay for the nurse medication consultation. That's $160 out of pocket, but that's small change compared to what we could be paying without insurance. 

I talked to my mom on the way home from the docs office. My dad will be here shortly. Mom had to stay home and work, but Dad is here for a visit. Either way, things are coming to a head. Please pray for us these next few days...for health and for God's will.

Monday, July 5, 2010

To Be or Not to Be

Reflecting on the miles that have passed beneath my feet, this infertile journeywoman cannot help but ponder some of the momentous lessons she has learned from her chief affliction. Call it a refinement process, call it Monday Morning Quarterbacking, call it maturity, but whatever you call it, count it as worthwhile, despite the shadowlands.

I thank God today for my infertility. Without it, I would not have learned the importance of relying on God for my identity. Who I am in Christ is paramount. It has to be. As a woman, a large part of who I am and what I think of myself is tied to my ability to have/raise children. Some may not share the same struggle, but it's mine. As a barren woman I have been crushed on multiple occasions at my inability to participate in motherhood: Mother's Day, barbeques, chatting in groups of women, unwitting questions from random individuals, and seeing virtually everyone we know (including family and younger friends more recently married than ourselves/even unmarried ones) pop out multiple kids and despairing that it may never happen for us.

Through this bane of infertility, I have had little things to really be thankful for and that I have learned along the way. Our expenses were mediated by our incredible insurance coverage, but not elminated. My faith is strengthened when I came to the end of myself and nothing but a miracle could have provided the extra Gonal F medication needed to complete my stimulation cycle.

There are also moments of personal growth, when I have learned to stand up for myself with the leadership of my husband. When signing paperwork, championing your morals can change the outcome of a situation. If there isn't a work around, make one and politely find a compromise, otherwise, you can take your business elsewhere.

I've learned patience. After YEARS of waiting each month for pregnancies that have never come, and countless boughts of disappointment and tearfilled nights, I continue this lesson. With my aggressive treatment (375 i.u. per shot of Gonal F) and the slow maturation of my follicles, I see by ultrasound that I cannot control how my body will respond to hormone stimulation, natural or otherwise. Only God knows how many, if any will show up on the ultrasound tomorrow. A minimum of 3 mature follicles are generally sought to even attempt an egg retrieval. Mine have responded slowly on the maximum dose of FSH. A website I was perusing last night said they should be between 14 and 20 mm for retrieval. At last check my lead follicle was only 12 mm. That was Saturday. Today is Monday. Tomorrow is my last TVU and bloodwork. It's GO TIME. Make or break. Tomorrow I will know my "fate," to be or not to be.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Husband, My Hero

I have to hand it to my husband. He is one cool dude. Like a pitbull cucumber. He's cool. He's calm. He's tenacious.

When you give him a problem to deal with, he takes it and the people involved with it to the mattresses. It's not personal. It's just business. He always thinks problems through logically and strategically. Each move has a purpose. He is a problem solver, whereas I am the tide of emotion. I won't elaborate. (Beware high tide!) 

He remains calm when I come to him with what I would consider a dragon of a problem and when he sees me in peril from the evil antagonist, he flips a switch and he becomes larger than life and he vanquishes the beast.

I sometimes wonder if he missed a calling somewhere to be some lawyer, or manager or executive...all the roles he eschews... and then I remember how happy I am that he's mine and how thankful I am for our little fiefdom on Main Street that we lead together. Thanks for being my dragon slayer babe. You're my hero!

Monday, June 28, 2010

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Miracles of any size always seem to happen to other people, but today one happened to me. We're approaching a holiday weekend and I needed to order some extra follicle stimulating medication to get me through it. I called Freedom Fertility Pharmacy and they told me they could do a refill of up to 4 Gonal F pens but my maximum medication prescription benefit of $5000 had been reached and that I would have to pay 100% of the cost of the medication, (an exhorbitant number in the thousands of dollars, that my husband and I cannot afford).

There I sat, on the tile of the kitchen floor absorbing the fact that my meds (for one round of IVF) had been exhausted and that I was past the middle of my cycle approaching my egg retrieval and this person was essentially telling me I would not be able to complete it. This was not the first bad news in the last few days.

Earlier this week, we continued to negotiate with our fertility clinic over their embryo dispensation paperwork. They wanted to have a signed paper on file before the egg retrieval that told them what they could do with our embryos if something happened to both Jeff and I between the time the embryos are created and the time they are frozen. While it is a logical idea for them to have a dispensation directive on file, they only gave us two options on their paper: we could donate them to science or have them destroyed. As neither of these options is morally acceptable to Jeff and I as we believe life is sacred and it begins at conception, we couldn't, in good conscience, sign this paper. They could not, with due dilligence, continue our treatment. We temporarily got around this issue by promising to produce a will that would give instructions for embryo adoption in the event of both of our untimely deaths.

Now, the clinic rep was calling to say that I could not proceed with the stimulation meds the next day (I'm half-way through the process), unless we signed their form or could produce our will. The nurse assured me they could continue to keep me on Lupron to extend treatment until we could come to some agreement, but that did little to assuage the freak out that was brewing at the back of my mind and threatening to spill into the phone receiver. We had previously earned a reprieve when they allowed us to write on that form that we would include a copy of our will with that form giving them instructions on how our embryos are to be given in christian adoption to infertile couples if we died. It was now time to produce the will. Dilemna: we cannot afford attorney fees so we really don't have a will to give them yet. I explained we didn't have the wills YET. She said she would have to check with her people and call me back.

Long story short, she calls me back after giving me sufficient time to panic, freak out, call my husband, get into a fight about getting a will, post alarmist messages on facebook about trying to contact an attorney specializing in Assisted Reproductive Technologies, and get really frustrated, before calling me back to say, if they had the will by the time of the egg retrieval that everything was good and I could proceed with the stimulation meds.

Through more phone calls and on the recommendations of an adoption agency and a close friend, we located and we are in the process of drawing up wills with them for a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. This brings us to present day.

I am three days into the stimulation meds and through yet another ultrasound and more bloodwork. I have little follicles developing in both ovaries. Right on track. I crunch the numbers and find out I'm going to need more stim meds to get me through the holiday weekend. I find out I have to pay for them with thousands of dollars we don't have. More freaking out. Another call to the husband at work. He is my sanity in my hormone infused, emotionally fantastic world. I'm wondering what our clinic can possibly do to help us. We have a prescription refill in place, we just can't fill it because our insurance benefit is depleted. Hubby says we'll play good cop, bad cop. He'll be the bad cop, and we both have to call the clinic to complain that we are in this situation. Who's idea was it to begin stimulation, knowing we couldn't possibly make it through the weekend and when we had mxed our med benefit? Caveat Emptor I guess. Know your benefit max. Do the math.

Long story short: After getting voicemail for two different people at the clinic and their home office, I decide I'm going to drive down to the clinic to talk to the office manager. I invite you to put yourself in my shoes. View the volatility of the scene in your mind's eye.

You're me. Since the inception of this process, you think you have carefully planned this endeavor in your quest to be financially responsible. You have called around (insurance company and clinic) and had a sit-down meeting with the clinic billing and insurance manager that included a speakerphone call with that manager and your insurance company and researched and made sure you have adequate insurance coverage for meds and treatments. This is after all the painful testing, and driving and missing work and prescreening. Then you have to have a tough discussion with one of the doctors about their paperwork that you cannot morally sign. You work something out, knowing down the road you'll need to have a will, which you will eventually get. Then you need it now, and you don't have it yet and they are threatening to halt your treatment when all your estrogen levels are at an all-time, medically induced low and you are experiencing the worst PMS in history and someone is threatening to take away your last chance of having biological children (having exhausted your insurance benefit), and then it's OK and now you can take your stim meds, whoops they will run out before July 4th weekend when our office will be closed and all this effort will be for nothing, .... on the edge of insanity, I cry out to God....

and he answers.

I am on my way over to plead my case to that office manager. I am working on trying to articulate my case in the car. I abhor confrontation, but I am worked into a lathered, hormonal and mamma bear frenzy and someone is going to listen to what I have to say. I'm pondering what I'll say, how I will have very little chance to logically persuade her to have mercy on us... and my cell rings. It's Jeff. I pull over in a school parking lot to listen.

It's good news.

Our nurse at the clinic says we can combine leftover doses in our pens and she has a couple of extra, unused Gonal F pens that someone donated that we can use to get us through the weekend. No charge to us. Can you freaking BELIEVE IT?! Just what we need, when we need it. The water works start. I just have to go to the office (where I was already headed) to pick them up. Wow.

Flash to my return home. I fill the bird feeder and come inside. From my kitchen window, sparrows begin to feed at the newly replenished food source. It's a God moment. What we need, when we need it, and not a moment before. Have faith. Jehovah Jireh.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quit Bugging Me!

We woke up this morning to our cat Hobbes, spazzing around on top of us. He was playing with a paper ball. He likes to do that, and normally it's cute, but not at the butt crack of dawn.  It turns out Hobbes wasn't the only thing creeping around this morning.

Have you ever woken up to the feeling of something crawling on you? Yeah. I did. This morning. Ants, everywhere. Two different sizes. Smaller ones, no wings. Larger ones (1/2 inch) with wings. Swarming on the sunshine filled windows. This necessitated an early morning Walmart run for some spray and traps, but we'll also be calling around for exterminator estimates. Good times. Anyone know a good, reliable one that guarantees they will find the nest etc.?

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Well, it's been one week plus since I started on my month of birth control. My meds arrived this morning and I begin my Lupron shots on Monday the 14th. We'll see how crazy I get. ;) I have to say that giving myself shots isn't something I look forward to doing. It's not like getting a massage or a facial. Sigh.

The hormones are already fluctuating, perhaps in anticipation of my shot routine starting in a little over a day.

I am reminding myself that I'm going through this because I want to be able to say, I tried and gave it my all. I will learn to give myself shots. I will learn to be able to watch the needle go in. My husband is here to support me. Mantra.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


What? Exactly.

I'm feeling like a goob tonight. Most of it must be do to fatigue. FAH-tigue. Daaaaaaaaaa Bears.

Me brain has decided to revert to teenage mode, and in such a state, I cannot be responsible for what movies I may quote. Take the title of tonight's post. That would be a throw back to Wayne's World.

Wayne's World! Wayne's World! Party time! Ex-su-lent!

Strike up some Jimmy Hendrix...Foxy....Foxy...

And because I can't resist...

..."You know you're a cut little heartbreaker

You know you're a sweet little lovemaker

I wanna take you home
I won't do you no harm, no
You've got to be all mine, all mine
Ooh, foxy lady

I see you, heh, on down on the scene
You make me wanna get up and scream

Ah, baby listen now
I've made up my mind
I'm tired of wasting all my precious time
You've got to be all mine, all mine
Foxy lady
Here I come

I'm gonna take you home
I won't do you no harm, no
You've got to be all mine, all mine
Here I come

I'm comin' to get ya
Foxy lady
You look so good
Yeah, foxy
Yeah, give us some

Yeah, get it, babe
You make me feel like
Feel like sayin' foxy

Foxy lady
Foxy lady"

More lyrics:

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I was talking to our painter yesterday afternoon and he asked if we had any kids. For some reason he assumed we had one. I told him we did not, and he said quickly, "Good, don't have any!" Not knowing what life experiences could lead him to this belief, I smiled and decided to tell him we were beginning In Vitro this month and told him about how my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a family. I didn't go into the blessing that we believed family to be or the importance of loving and raising children who know God, instead he launched into his own story of people that he knew that had In Vitro and had done well with it, and so the conversation moved on.

We chatted of many things. We discovered we had a mutual acquaintence who had adopted from China. That was fun to know. We also discussed the poor state of the wood on our porch that would need to be replaced, and for some reason he felt comfortable telling me how he had cussed out my husband to his subordinate, because my husband forgot to leave the extension cord connected so they would have power their second day on the job. They had to come back again because our guy was shorthanded. He thinks his hired hand was sleeping off the results of partying after the Flyers game.

Well, I just never would have had the opportunity to chat with our painter unless I came out of my house to shake his hand. I could have snuck in the back way and never said hello, but I wanted to have some face to face contact and fully be able to appreciate his work in his presence. I'm not sure how picky to be. There was paint on the mulch, and on the grass in a few spots, and I noticed he had painted up onto the trim in one spot. What would you do? How picky would you be? How picky should I be?

Monday, May 31, 2010

In Vitro: In a Glass Dish, They Do the Puppeteered Tango via ICSI

This month we begin In Vitro Fertilization and I cannot wait to have my hormones artificially manipulated. I'm kidding. I'm actually worried about how the hormone swings are going to adversely effect my relationship with my husband. I know how bad my normal hormone storms can be! Just think what heavy doses of hormone stimulants can do! Hide all sharp, pointy objects....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Unanswered Prayer

I've been trying to think more about what God wants and less about how I'm feeling. It's tough because I'm sinful and selfish and wallowing in the fact that I'm a barren woman.

When you can't have babies and you want to have them and it's Mother's Day, your outlook on life seems much less hopeful. You picture years of loneliness, without family and a child's love and you feel depressed. Despite the fact that you don't know when God is going to take you, it's nice to paint a picture in your mind of how you would like your earthly years to be spent. Dashed expectations are such a downer.

I opened the Bible to the book of Romans and I read what the apostle Paul said in the first chapter, (verses 9 and 10) about prayer. When you can't have babies, you pray for them for years and you never know if God will answer them. It feels most days, like your prayers are going out into the void.

But Paul has this to say:

Rom. 1: 9, 10
9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

The NIV commentary below the passage says this:

"When you pray continually about a concern, don't be surprised how God answers. Paul prayed to visit Rome so he could teach the Christians there.When he finally arrived in Rome, it was as a prisoner (see Acts 28:16). Paul prayed for a safe trip, and he did arrive safely--- after getting arrested, slapped in the face, shipwrecked, and bitten by a poisonous snake.

God's ways of answering our prayers are far from what we often expect. When you sincerely pray, God will answer-- although sometimes with timing and in ways you do not expect."

That's my gem from Jesus for the day. We need to be in prayer, to expect him to answer if we are praying in earnest and with righteous intent. However, we should not expect him to answer on our timetable. I would go a step further to say that we shouldn't expect him to answer at all in the way we want him to. There is no written promise of our happiness or that God will even give me children. He just promises to be with us. Emmanuel.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jagged Little Pill

It's a bit ironic that I am healing from surgery and my period comes directly before Mother's Day when I'm struggling with infertility and that I have a minor (yet annoying) case of Poison Ivy. It's spring and people are coming out of the closet left and right with pregnancy announcements. I'm feeling pretty troll-ish this days so I think I'll spend some time alone to avoid running into happy people.

I'm sure the pendulum will swing the other way eventually, but until it does, I remain yours truly,

Grumpasaurus Rex

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Parc Bistro in Skippack, PA

Have you ever tasted good food and thought how marvelous it was to be alive so you could be there at that moment, eating it? We accompanied another couple to The Parc Bistro in Skippack, PA for a delicious meal on Friday night. I splurged and got a beautiful blue bottle of still water and the Boeuf Bourguignon. Jeff let me sample his appetizer (black bean soup) and his entree of Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

I sampled my friend's Key Lime Martini, and her Foie Gras appetizer. Her husband let us try his Barbeque Scallops wrapped in bacon with a side of Fuji Apple Cole Slaw. Unbelieveable! So mouth-watering! The after dinner coffee was pleasing as well! Over all great country French atmosphere, superb food, our waitress seemed a little inattentive, but we heard from our friends that their regular waiter is stellar.

It was an enjoyable evening. The restaurant had indoor and outdoor seating. This little gem is perfect for special occasions or for a night out on the town with your significant other. 3.5 stars out of 4! I liked it better than my experience at another local country French eatery off of Allentown Road. Great job Parc! We'll visit again, as soon as possible!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


It's the third day since my laproscopy and I think I can say, I'm out of the woods!  There doesn't appear to be any sign of infection in either of my incisions and I'm not suffering any long term effects from the anesthesia. I'm a bit sore and tired and I can't comfortably sit up with my pants buttoned for long periods of time, but I am on the mend. I praised God this morning for seeing me through this surgery.

In my devotions this a.m., I read Psalm 71. I was reminded that God is my rock and my refuge to whom I may always go. From my youth I have known him. He is there for us to rely upon and he comes quickly, like a loving Father when we cry out to him. I am thankful for a loving God.

The day of my surgery, my hubby and I made it down to the surgical center on time. I filled out the pre-surg paperwork and then they took me back to get changed and to get my IV started.

Jeff kept me distracted from the pain of the IV by talking to me and holding my other hand. He's so good to me. They put me on a sugar water drip to keep me hydrated and to get my blood sugar going. It burned a bit inserting it, and having it in there. The nurse did a fabulous job with my IV. I don't even have a bruise!!!! Unbelievable!

Jeff continued to hold my hand and we talked quietly until the surgeon came to explain the procedure and to sign more paperwork giving him permission to do ablation, should they find anything to ablate, like endometriosis.

Once we got to the OR, I got up no the table and spread my arms out in a cross position. It was eerily like the scene from a prison movie when they give the condemned inmate a lethal injection.

They got me strapped to and positioned on the table, making friendly chit chat as we went along. I had a nice conversation with the nurse anesthetist Jeannie. She asked me what I do, and she told me she had been a language arts teacher trying to get a job in Philly and she had gone back to school to be a NE because she couldn't find a job. Yeah, I felt like I had wasted my eduation dollars. I was saved from more wistful thoughts as the head nurse called a "time out" and everyone met over my abdomen. There they all were, politely staring and smiling at me. It felt like a football huddle and the head nurse was the quarterback. I was definitely the football.

She asked me a series of questions (name, date of birth, surgeon, procedure today etc.) and then the huddle broke, and the nurse anesthetist and anesthesiologist got to work.

This surgery was more intense than I expected. As I went under the anesthesia, a mild burning sensation crept up the back of my neck, and as I grunted a protest, the nurse anesthetist reassured me that it burned a bit. Then I was out.

Under general anesthesia, they had to use tracheal intubation to keep my airway open. I knew they were going to do this and I found out why. In my previous surgeries, the surgeons only had to work on my breast tissue (to remove benign tumors), so they didn't need to sedate me as heavily as they did for this surgery where they needed everything south of my diaphragm to be relaxed.

When I woke up in recovery, I knew where I was but it was harder than usual to get my bearings. I was really tired, and really out of it. Dizzy, oh, and nauseated! I only had the energy to open an eye at a time. I let myself go back to sleep and kept looking at the clock when I would come to again. My nurse was great. She allowed me to come around gradually and she didn't rush the process. When I told her I was nauseous, she explained that I probably would get sick from the effects of the anesthesia and why this sedation is medically necessary for the surgery. Fascinating stuff, but what I really keyed in on was the fact that I could anticipate getting sick on the way home. Sigh. She offered me something to drink and eat (gingerale and crackers). I knew I was not feeling good, when I could only sip the gingerale and nibble on a cracker. Less to vomit up later (Incidentally, I valiantly fought the nausea on the way home and only dry heaved at the front door. Then it disappated).

The doc came to talk to me in recovery before he left. He had already been out to talk to my hubby. Only two incisions were required! They went in through my naval, and I have a little incision scar below my panty line on my right side. They found some endometriosis on my left side so they removed it. This was the side that had been bothering me!!! It's affirming when medical tests confirm the presence of nagging pains. It's even better when they can explain the causes of them.

In post-op, Dr. S. told me to watch for infection, get rested and he gave me care instructions for the incisions. They sent me home with a scipt for Tylenol #3 (Tylenol with Codeine). It has a narcotic effect, so I stuck to taking the extra strength acetominophen (aka Tylenol).

I had read about the procedure in advance, so I knew to expect the gas pains, i.e. the mysterious pockets of air that travel around your belly and give you shoulder pain and chest pain, which are known side effects of having your belly inflated and of being on a vent. They gradually work themselves out in muscial ways, so I am taking it easy and having my own private, padded concerts.

I received a follow up call from the surgeon and the surgical center and I now have an appt. in 2 weeks for my post-op follow up. From there, we will have invitro fertility counseling and then I'll let you know what's next!

Monday, April 19, 2010


So my laproscopy surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, April 28th. I've been doing online research to try and understand what it will be like. I found this site that was pretty helpful.  I'm nervous about the nausea after surgery. I haven't gotten sick after surgery before, but this one seems slightly more invasive.

I'm hoping they don't find anything in there that needs to be removed. In and Out! I'm worried about adhesions, infection, nausea and vomiting. I'm worried they will find things that need to be cut away and my recovery will take longer. Lots of worries.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Laproscopy, Counseling and Invitrofertizlization, Oh My!

With the start of monthly cycle, I will call the fertility clinic with my Day One. 7 to 10 days later, I will have laproscopic surgery to check for endometriosis. Then we begin the process of invitrofertilization. "Process" is a great word for it actually.

I have an information packet which includes information on:

Financial considerations
Preadmission testing
Initiation of IVF cycle
Folic Acid/Prenatal viamins
IVF Monitoring Month
Medications used in an IVF cycle
Retrieval instructions and information (when they retrieve your eggs)
Additional IVF information (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI, Assisted Hatching or AH, Cryopreservation, and Preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD)
Quick checklist for IVF cycle

Lots of things to consider.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Magical Cyst

The magical cyst appears and disappears with the cycle of a period. They found this one on Good Friday. I got in for an ultrasound and on Monday I had my results. Presto, change-o. 2cm cyst on my left ovary. The pain has dissapated with the continuation of my cycle. Laproscopy looms in my future as party of the infertility diagnosis and treatment process. Maybe the cyst will make an appearance at the time of my surgery and they can remove it. Hear's hoping for a swift sure surgery and recovery.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Complete Ultrasound

Tonight at 7:15 pm I have another complete ultrasound. A little over a year ago I experienced a sharp pain in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen that waxed and waned. It did not happen every month. I had a complete ultrasound and a CT scan that found nothing but a slightly sagging bladder. Like the poltergeist, it's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

I went back to the doc this week and she gave me an open script for another ultrasound that I could use when the pain came back. I made my appt. at Grandview Hospital for tonight. I really hope they do find something so that they can tell me if this freaking pain is an ovarian cyst, or a couple of ovarian cysts or whatever. I HATE not knowing what's causing it and making up all kinds of horrible thoughts in my head. Endometriosis? Diverticulitis? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Frustrated and tense. Catching myself getting an attitude with my husband. Regrets, worries, frustrations.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Hubby and I had a nice long walk at Peace Valley Park after a shortened canoe outing on Lake Galena. We got a used canoe from someone and decided to give it a trial run. That thing was not seaworthy, or even lakeworthy, threatening to dump us into the drink. Needless to say, we kept close to shore and made that "maiden" voyage short and sweet.

After an early picnic lunch (made that much earlier by a tippy canoe), we went on a walk around the nature trails and found a place to park it at a picnic table to chat about the realm of invitrofertilization. We sifted through the information packet and pondered our familial future. What to do?

My husband graciously agreed to give me all the required shots, and to wake up in the AM to administer them without my nagging him to do so. We discussed the emotional upheaval that hormone shots bring, and the potential disappointments of failed attempts. We discussed the possibility of multiple births, and of the increased chance of miscarriage.

I want our family. Insurance will pay for most of our expenses associated with invitro. I want to try so that I don't ever have to think "what if?".  The plan is to call the fertility place with my Day One so that they can schedule the laproscopy to check for endometriosis. I will be giving them permission to clear it away if they find any when they are in there.

I hope that God will bless our efforts and that he is guiding these decisions.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Disheartening News from the Fertility Doctors

We met with a new doctor this afternoon. Strike One: I didn't like the way that he discussed things with us. He wasn't very professional, making jokes and saying inappropriate things when he should have been getting down to business.

Strike Two: The office made a mistake and copied Jeff's blood work report and putting it where mine should go. The doctor reviewed hubby's results first confirming everything we already knew, good sperm count/motility, no genetic abnormalities or diseases.

Then they moved on to mine and read the wrong blood type. I corrected him, he double checked his results and then apologized before moving on.

Strike Three: The bad news is this: the Clomid Challenge Test revealed that my egg quality might not be that great. I am within the treatable range, where they can still attempt to use my eggs in conception, but they recommend that I first get a test for endometriosis (Laparoscopy) that requires I go under general anesthesia and have more risk for infection and complications. The doctor then recommended IVF. He said we could try more Clomid, or Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) shots with Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) but the percentages were much lower for a successful pregnancy. Having an elevated FSH level, I am also LESS likely to respond to infertility treatment.

With my elevated FSH level, I have no guarantee of when my FSH level will climb higher as my eggs get worse for wear. That is why the doc recommended IVF.

I don't want to have tons of frozen embryos. I would feel irresponsible for creating, and then freezing life. I don't want to donate them either, or give them to science. What do you have to say? The only thing I do know, is that I don't think I want this guy doing my surgery.

Additional question: Does anyone know the longterm risks and side effects for Invitro Fertilization?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Giving the Doldrums the Boot

If you're having a bad day, grab it by it's pony tail with both hands, swing it around until it's dizzy and airborn and then let it fly...letting it's little girlie cries roll away into the distance, like water off a duck's back. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
That being said, the things I'm letting roll off my back are (drum roll please): being a new Pampered Chef consultant that doesn't have her act together yet, and getting down to my last pair of pants that fit that are getting thread-bare between the thighs. I could start me a fire. Shoooooooooot.

I've decided on a theme for my PC launch on March 11. It's going to be, "Just Desserts."  That's right, a whole lotta tasty goodness. I'm doing my penance at the gym to try and counteract the number of calories I may consume baking my test recipes alone.  If you want to be a guinea pig, you can come over and try 'em out.

Coincidentally, March 11 is also the day of my pregnancy test. I don't expect a "pregnant" result because it hasn't happened yet in 5 years, and I have a feeling it's going to be an uphill battle, but I'm not going to let it get me down. I'll keep going to the gym, burning some calories, and getting better at cooking and baking.

I'll continue going to school, doing my day job, and playing Mafia Wars on the down low. What?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Heard it Through the Grapevine

Have you ever had one of your children spill a secret to the rest of the world, a secret that you weren't ready to share? I myself, have not, but I'm sure some of my readers have had loose lips sink their ships, or at the very least that let the cat out of the bag a bit earlier than was desired.

*As a younger lad, a little someone I know from work did that to his parents in a public place. He outed his parents to a family member. "Mommy has as baby in her belly!" he whispered. Wow! What a revelation. Bam. There it is. The chips are on the table and the cards are down. Baby number XYZ is on its way! And then you don't say anything to anybody, so that it doesn't get around, but you smile inside, with the knowledge of a piece of someone's secret happiness inside you. That's pretty neat.

*Circumstances have been changed to protect the identity of the actual people in this story.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Have Discovered that I Do NOT Want to be a Nanny.

After going for my first nannying interview via (a very reputable website) I began to ponder the implications of an hour plus round-trip drive four days a week, the gas money required to make said trip, and the duties I would be performing for about four children, and I thought to myself: "Self! If you take this job, you will be giving up your free time in the evenings and Saturdays and you will be spending more money than you will be saving."

Any nannying position I would find would be found in the same vicinity (where people can afford to hire nannies) and the trip and duties just became less attractive the more I thought about it, so sadly, I let the family know of my decision, apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused them, and I withdrew my application from

Next opportunity to explore....tutoring. I wonder what the going rate for a tutor in our area is...if they have a teaching certification and an M.Ed.

Hmmm....I'll have to investigate and let you know. If you think you know...feel free to share.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Disclaimer: This is not an image of my parts.  What you are looking at is an xray of radioactive iodine solution being injected into a uterus and fallopian tubes and it's spilling out of the ovaries (indicating no blockage and clear passage).

The Hysterosalpingogram turned out to be less scary than originally anticipated (after my Hysteroscopy). I arrived at 10:20 a.m. (I was supposed to get there by 10:00 for paperwork etc. but I got caught in traffic. Someone was trying to cut a tree down and forgot to tell my GPS to send me another way.). I got to the parking garage, and wound all the way around to almost the top floor to find a spot. I made it into the hospital, and found the information desk which directed me to radiology, where I signed a couple of forms, was shown to a dressing room that has seen better days, had a 3-4 minute wait, and then the radiologist came to get me.

The HSG began like a pap smear again, speculum etc. The radiologist then put this long syringe with a tube attached instead of a needle and they put that up inside, I then scooched back about 3 ft. and he got me centered under the xray machine. Then he injected the dye. I got to watch the dye successfully circulate up into my uterus and out BOTH of my fallopian tubes. This is what I wanted to see happen. No pain, no cramps, and a good result. Back to Abington tomorrow for bloodwork!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I did it. I got my uterus powerwashed. No. Not really. It was really a Hysteroscopy. A Hyster--oooo, what? That's right. I said it. A Hy----ster----o----scopy. It uses a speculum, telescroping camera, sterile saline solution and pain to give the doctor a view of the inside of your uterus.

I'll save you the long laborious story about the drive down, the search for suite 35 and the misfiling of my patient file, not to mention the marathon wait in the waiting room. I'll skip to the part where I accidentally left my fertility folder paperwork and completed patient quesitonnaire in one of the unisex bathrooms at the surgical center. Yeah. Oops.

Good thing I remembered it...after I was already called away from the waiting room vending machine to the pre-op room. I dashed out of pre-op, waited for the restroom to free up (doing a little foot stomping dance of irritation for the person in their to hurry up), and then dashed back in, folder in hand.

Despite the wait, the staff was really great from intake (AnneMarie) to recovery (Sally). The wonderful angels in nurses outfits in the operating room were AMAZING. They all had hairnets that matched mine...with tropical palm trees on them. A nurse named Christa held my hand the whole time. That was her job, to talk to me and reassure me to keep me occupied and distracted as much as possible, to get my mind off the pain happening in my innermost never-neverland.

I'm free bird from the waist down, wrapped in a short robe. They helped me up on the table after introducing me to the group. They covered me in warmed blankies and then I got into position on the table. The nurse showed me the remote control for the operating table. This baby had more bells and whistles than a craftmatic adjustable bed. I ended up on my back, head lower than my body, legs up in calf-to-ankle stirrups, legs belted in, with a drape over my pieces parts. Totally vulnerable and nervous.

I got to watch the procedure on a TV screen. I couldn't watch the whole thing though, because of the pain!!! I had to lie back down and do some controlled breathing to work through the cramping. I had a bloodpressure cuff on my arm and pulse-o-meter on my finger. I could hear my heartbeat accelerate with the pain and stress. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life! I am so thankful for Christa! As soon as that water pressure went away, the cramps began to diminish. I have to admit. There were a few tears on my face by the end.

I got some souvenir photos out of the deal. The doctor did some laproscopy while he was in there. He got rid of a polyup for me. He said he thinks it's benign. When he did the laproscopy and the biopsy it hurt a bit. The worst was the water pressure. The evil powerwasher. My uterus got a little riled up under pressure, but the doc says it's healthy. So there you go.

After all that, I don't even want to think about the HSG. I think it's supposed to be worse. :(

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If You Were Me...What Would YOU Do?

If you were me, what would you do? I need to make some money to supplement my income. I'm looking at a few different options and I want to solicit your feedback/opinion on some choices. You may even be so bold to make your own suggestions.

Option #1. I'm considering becoming a Pampered Chef consultant. I like quite a few of their products, but not all of them. I've been wanting to expand my cooking repetoire and this is a great incentive to do so. I'm just worried I won't devote enough time to grow my business or I'll spend too much money on increasing my business instead of banking it. It's definitely a commitment to consider. If you do well, you can grow your own team, develop a good client list, and you can go on trips etc. This job also hones your marketing skills and confidence! Would YOU have a PC party with me as your hostess with the mostess?

Option #2. Tutoring. I have the degree, the challenge will be building a client list. Any ideas?

Option #3. Babysitting/Nannying. I almost have an interview for this Friday after school. I am waiting for a confirmation. It would be steady work.

So I'm curious as to your thoughts on each of these endeavors.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Let the Nail Biting Begin

Well...I went for my second ultrasound today at the fertility clinic. I was wanded by a nice nurse named Gina. At the end of the visit, I picked up a prescription for the Chlomid Challenge Test and one for an antibiotic to go along with my two other diagnostic testing procedures that I just confirmed for this week. They were scheduled for me at an appointed time. No shillyshallying around with appointment times.

I admit I panicked a bit with the prescriptions. Our pharmacy is typically a mail-order deal. I needed to start the Chlomid today. A nice pharmacist at our Walgreens helped me out immensely by talking to my insurance company and they were able to get me the generic Chlomid for $5.00. Thank you Diptka!

Wednesday will be the first test- the Hysteroscopy. They'll use a scope to evaluate the inside of my uterus for polyps, fibroids, and/or scar tissue. I'll be at a surgical center for that one.

Friday I'll have the Hysterosalpingogram or HSG (dye study). This test evaluates your fallopian tubes and the shape of my uterus. That one will be done in a radiology dept.

Saturday morning, I'll be back at Abington again, bright and early for another blood draw.

Early Monday morning will be another ultrasound and another blood draw before work. That will conclude the first round of testing. At that point, they will schedule a sit down with hubby and I to give us their opinion on the best course of treatment.

The antibiotic is to prevent infection from the Hysterosalpingogram and the Hysteroscopy. I'll be vigilant for fever, bad pain, or bleeding. Boo on those things!

I'll let you know how things go!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Diagnostic Fiddledeedee

Well, Wednesday night came and so did the curse. I called the fertility clinic, that was closed due to the storm, but I left them a message with my Day One status. They called me back on Thursday to schedule a blood test for Friday, and an ultrasound and discussion (my word) on Monday. I assume they'll tell me what to do next at that meeting. Let the diagnostic testing begin!

I'm reading through my papers from the clinic and they are supposed to do a baseline transvaginal ultrasound and bloodwork on cycle day 2 or 3 of your menses. They scheduled my bloodwork for Day 2 and my ultrasound for Day 5. I just called and left a message at the nurse's station. Chlomid Challenge Test blood draws will be taken on cycle Days 3 and 10. I am supposed to take two Chlomid tablets (or more likely the generic form of the drug) by mouth on cycle Days 5 through 9 (which will probably not be those exact days either seeing as I'm visiting the doctor's office again on Day 5 and they don't get you the mail-order drugs that fast. I hate poor communication. No one has said, "It doesn't need to be exactly on such and such a day." I wish they would, so I wouldn't feel anxious about doing things on the WRONG DAYS. Argh! (See, I'm turning into a pirate again.)

Did you know that at the clinic (I keep calling it that. It sounds so cheap and back-alley, seedy) you only sign in with your FIRST name and that no one makes eye contact in the waiting room? It's the strangest thing. I keep thinking about what that's supposed to mean. These women are grieving and they're going through this stressful process, hoping that there will be one or more babies at the end of this very long and painful journey. I did notice they have a support group. Perhaps I shall join.

They all have a story to keep to themselves. I almost said, "to tell" but no one in there was talking about it... We're all in there for the same thing people! BABIES! So when I smile at you next time, smile back. I won't bite...I promise! ARGH! Just kidding. I'm not reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally a pirate.

When they called my name, I gave my blood, like a good girl, but I was a bit squeemish about it. It was a good stick. The gal who took my blood noticed that I didn't watch the needle go in and that my cheeks had some color. I said to her, "I suppose I should get used to this, right?" She smiled in agreement. It's a good thing I have good veins.

So....Monday. I will go back for my baseline trans-va-jay-jay ultrasound wanding. I've had them before, but there's always something a little nerve wracking about getting prodded with a large, member-sized wand in a delicate area, by a man that is not my husband. No joke. Well, joking aside, it is professionally done, with a nurse in the room etc. I'll just be glad when it's over.

One day, I hope to hold my baby to my breast and know that all the tears, the needle sticks, the hormone surges and the pain was all worth it. Do you hear that child-to-be?! I love you already.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Enjoying the Gift

I was listening to The Eurhythmics, dancing around in my bright yellow rubber gloves, sponge in hand, and cleaning my bathroom sink when I suddenly started thinking about how I'm in my 30's and still enjoying many of the the freedoms of my 20's.

Sure, I now have indigestion if I eat anything after 8:00 PM, and I no longer possess the ability to stay up late and not reap the consequences, but I can still pretty much go do whatever I want, whenever I want, within the boundaries of work and budget.

The problem is, I don't appreciate this gift like I should. I'm still yearning for the family that I might never have, and I'm green with envy when I look at our friends and family and their growing families. I become possessed by tearful, hand-wringing bouts of self-pity and sadness. Must....snap...out of it!!!

For the next couple of days, I'm trying not to let that flame of hope burn too brightly because every month I start to think, "THIS could be the month!" and I am ALWAYS disappointed, again, and again, and....again.
In the middle of this storm, God continues to minister to my soul through music. Nothing touches my heart and sends my spirit soaring like worship.

Thank you God for sending me songs that minister to my hurts, time and time again, just when I need them. Thank  you for a brief glimpse from the often I look up from the valley. I praise you God for snowstorms that keep me inside, and that help me to reflect on the deeper things of life. I thank you for Christian radio (The Word FM), and for phone calls with my Mom.

This weekend we are having our extended family portrait taken (on my husband's side of our family). I choose to be thankful that I have such a lovely family to be a part of. I will concentrate on how much I love them, trying to forget that I have put all my weight back on, that my clothes are old, that my roots are four inches long, and that again, I will be captured in my perpetual, childless state. I will paste a smile on my face, dab on some make-up and go on and hopefully, I'll have a change of attitude to accompany one in perspective.

I will find my happy place. I have a home, food, use of all my limbs, my health, an education, and people that love me. I am rich indeed, childless, but rich, well...relatively speaking. It's all about perspective. Now THAT'S a gift!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Do YOU Stay Organized?

I was just contemplating how much I enjoy the feeling I get after I clean and organize my desk at work, or after I empty the dishwasher in the kitchen, or after I've folded that pile of laundry that's been laughing at me for days. We don't have any kids so I can afford to let it sit there for awhile and I don't have to fold it, if I don't want to.  But, I eventually have to do it, or it doesn't get done. That's just the way of things.

Now I don't know about you, but I think that you'll agree, one gets a sense of control and of satisfaction after one organizes something, well, anything for that matter. At college, I could not study until my dorm room was clean. And after it WAS clean, I got this blooming feeling of satisfaction, that I had a margin of control over one small area of my life and that I could move forward now as a result. I could study and actually concentrate, not having to ponder the mess around me. I wasn't in the eye of a storm, I was in a tranquil bastion of organization, protected from an evil horde of distraction and chaos.

I happen to like a good accordian file for manuals, warranty info and tax documents. I enjoy bookshelves for my books, and trunks for blankets and board games. Small appliances go on my metal kitchen rack. Tin foil, wax paper, and zip lock bags are in a drawer. All my baking products are in labeled Tupperware above my stove and all my frequently used items are in my pantry at eye level. These are just a few of the things I do to stay organized.

Something else I like to do to stay organized is to make an Excel spreadsheet with addresses that I can use for party invitations or Christmas cards, which I can easily update. Keeping information or music electronically, (as long as you back it up on a flash drive or CD) is a great way to avoid using gobs of paper, and the waste of physcial space that CD's or DVD's would usually necessitate.

Now that I've shared, do you have any organizational tips to share?

Monday, January 25, 2010

El Cactus and the Bermuda Triangle

Have you ever been to a restaurant and had bad service?  I was looking forward to a night out with the girls at a new Mexican restaurant we'd heard was hot shizzle. I was looking forward to maybe a little Mexican coffee with the chocolate and cinnamon in it, maybe a margarita, some chips and salsa, but I was DENIED all three.

#1. BYOB. #2. The waitress was too lazy to make any coffee ("Yeah.... We don't have any," said the waitress.) And oh, by the way, #3. We had to remind the waitress (twice) to bring us the traditional chips and salsa appetizer. Have you ever been ravenously hungry and gone to a Mexican restaurant where it seemed every other table but yours already had their chips and salsa, including the people that were seated 10 minutes after you? Yeah. We had to ask twice for the chips and salsa. Did this girl want a tip?

She even took her ciggy break out in front of the restaurant bringing the acrid smell of ciggies and the cold with her when she breezed back into the restaurant. This girl LOOKED like she didn't care, head to toe.

My friends (whom I shall refer to as Friend-on-the-Right and Friend-on-the-Left) and I began to think we were in the restaurant's dead zone: the place where all things lost and forgotten go hungry and not get any service. We were the "Bermuda Triangle" of El Cactus.  I started calling my Friend-on-the-Right "Amelia" (AKA Amelia Earhart) and she couldn't think of anyone else that had gotten lost there, so she volunteered to call me the Lindberg Baby. We all cackled one great, witchy laugh at the insanity of it all. There should have been a cauldron on the table.

The food was OK, but it wasn't our fave. We split a fried ice-cream which was obviously prepared way in advance. It was cold, and the fried shell was a little stale. Friend-on-the-right called it freeze fried ice-cream. More cackling. We still left a tip.  Would you have left one? I'm curious.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day One: First Appt. With Fertility Doctor

My husband and I visited Abington Reproductive Medicine's Lansdale office today for our first infertility appt. We showed up early to fill out new patient paperwork (just before 9:30 a.m.), but we weren't actually seen by the doctor until 45 minutes after our scheduled appt. of 10:00 a.m. The doctor was both kind and apologetic.

We haven't been diagnosed yet as we're in the preliminary testing phase of our journey. I have no expectations beyond wanting to know why we haven't been able to conceive. We both gave blood samples and urine samples, being tested for everything from disease to genetic mutations. I also had a vaginal ultrasound and the doctor said everything looked OK from the images we saw. He took time to explain everything on the screen. It was neat. Both Jeff and a nurse were present at the time.

We were given, #1. paperwork by the office manager, including instructions/information on upcoming tests that needed to be done, #2. a run down on how to contact our insurance company to see if our pharmaceutical plan included coverage for various fertility drugs, #3. instructions to contact our insurance company to figure out our coverage for fertility procedures (i.e. responsibility, 90/10, 80/20, 100% or no coverage). Abington had contacted our insurance company ahead of time and determined some of that information, but we had to confirm and to clarify the rest. Jeff spent alot of time on the phone with the pharmaceutical people (2 different calls) to try and determine our fertility drug coverage, another phone call with the insurance company to determine coverages for fertility procedures and our deductible, and a call to the doctor's office to let them know how it was going.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you're thinking about going to see what your options are, you'll need to be prepared to bring your driver's license and provide your social security number, employer information etc. and sign a hippa form. Gentlemen get to provide a semen sample (can set an appt. to provide at the office or to set an appt. to bring one in), get a blood test, and give a urine sample as well as provide their medical history. Ladies also provide a blood test, urine sample, and medical history. Both must provide information on family medical history as well. My docs wanted to know if my periods were regular, when I first started my period, the date of my last period and when my mother entered menopause.

Our nurse told us she'll only call with results if something is wrong, and that at the end of all the tests, we'll get an appt. to discuss all the results at once. I still have three tests to go: the Clomid Challenge Test, the Hysterosalpingogram or HSG Test, and a Hysteroscopy.

The Clomid Challenge Test involves taking Clomid and seeing how my body responds to it in egg quality and quantity production.  I get a blood test to measure my follicle stimulating hormone or FSH level.

The HSG (HIS-ta-ro-sal-PING-o-gram) is a test that lets your doctor examine the inside walls of your uterus and fallopian tubes using dye and x-rays. It's done at a hospital in the radiology dept.

The Hysteroscopy lets your doctor examine the inside walls of your uterus. It uses sterile salt water and a tiny telescope to visualize the inside of your uterus. The doctor also perform an endometrial biopsy to rule out an infection or an inflammation of the uterine lining. It's usually done at a surgical center.

When I reach Day 1 of my next cycle (aka when my tampon is full) then I call the doctor's office to schedule a test. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Correlation or Two

Do you remember that tape I told you about? It was the one from Oct. 2005 that had my Grammy speaking to her bible study on it. Well, Grammy's old church came through again (thank you Martha), and I was sent a CD that I can now share with friends and family.

I was listening to it the other night through laughter and tears as I heard Grammy talk about her love of God and her desire that we too desire to know him more. She talked about coming to Christ in her 20's and about the ebb and flow of her relationship and repeated attempts to get into a groove of reading her bible. God's people get to know him well by spending time with him, by reading his word. We talk to him in prayer, and we listen for him to answer.

Wouldn't you know it, the Pioneer Girl's lesson that I taught last night, was on Getting to Know God. It was unreal. The gist of the lesson was to explore how our desire to get to know someone can lead to a relationship that can affect us profoundly. When we hang around people, they influence us. We take on their characteristics. Our relationship with God can bless us.

Here's the third point of correlation. LOL. At small group, we were talking about building our house on the rock, not on the sand. We talked about having, you guessed authentic relationship with God that will help us through the storm.

Get to know him. John 3:16. Chapter and verse. He's the only God that died for you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon and Chocolate Almond Cake with Butter Frosting

I've watched Julie and Julia three times now between the movie theatre and the DVD. It was only a matter of time before I would try to make Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon and her Chocolate Almond Cake with her Butter Frosting. Who am I kidding except myself? I needed the appropriate motivation to begin this endeavor, which I found in the guise of my foodie friend Christy.

It had been awhile since we had spoken, and while we were chatting on the phone and pondering our next get together, on a whim I suggested we make Julia's Beef Bourguignon. We set the date. At the appointed time, Christy brought her Le Creuset, French oven and all the ingredients and went to work. I began to document our adventure with my camera when Christy pulled out Julia's cake and frosting recipes and said she thought we could use a nice dessert to go with the meal. We exchanged a smile, both thinking of that scene from the movie where Julie's husband starts eating the cake with his bare hands, sans fork.

I began to make the cake while Christy continued with the main dish. While we were working, I couldn't help but admire the cooking saavy of my friend. Mouthwatering smells filled the air, seared beef, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and the scent of melting chocolate. Christy knew the terminology and what would happen if you manipulated ingredients, temperature and time. Long story short, I learned quite a bit that day, like the fact that preparation plus determination and hard work yield a world of meaty deliciousness followed by a velvetey and chocolatey ending.  Yummo.

As an added bonus, my ambitious friend organized my pantry and cooking appliance rack while we waited for the meal to finish cooking.  She orgnaizes as a side-business while she's waiting for a contracted teaching job, in addition to nannying. Did I mention that she's really good at it?

It was a food-friendly, fellowshipy, organizationally fantastic kind of day!