Tag: Center for Endometriosis Care

The Lucky One

Where Dr. Seuss and Endometriosis Awareness Month meet.

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IVF – Cycle 1

Whelp, we’re doing this.

January 18 – discontinue birth control (lol)
January 22 – initial u/s, start stim protocol
January 26 – monitoring
January 28 – monitoring
January 30 – monitoring
February 3* – retrieval, 2 days bed rest.
February 8* – transfer, 3 days bed rest, begin post retrieval protocol
February 18* – beta 1

*give or take a day, subject to change, pending no OHSS

So, there’s that.
Its scheduled.  We had our teaching session today in Jackson after our initial baseline assessments.  All the tests, all the poking.  Four shots a day pre-retrieval, 1-2 shots a day post transfer.  Lots of supplements, lots of pills.
My doctor paid me the nicest compliment today:

Your uterus is boring and warrants no comment.

That’s seriously the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my uterus.  I was thrilled.  Usually I get a lot of “hmms…”, “uh-ohs”, and “yikes!”  Is now a good time to plug excision surgery?  Who am I kidding.  Its always a good time to advocate for efficient and effective treatment of endometriosis.
Educate.  Empower.  Advocate.
I wore new socks I got from my #ttcmugexchange2015 buddy, and boy did they give my doc a giggle.
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He didn’t see them until he was already in the middle of my exam.  Then he laughed so hard he had to stop what he was doing and get himself together.

You’re SO “gangsta”, Anna.

I KNOW, RIGHT?

As much as I hate the fact that I have to go to a fertility doctor to even have a chance at growing my family, I was reminded today what a rockstar team I have there.  My nurses both hugged me, gave me “real” advice (“you’re going to be emotional during all of this, because, well my God, look what it involves?  But the b**** factor of these meds is nothing like Clomid was…”), laughed with me, asked about my pups, and answered every question I had (all day… I’ve already emailed them twice since this morning).

As we’ve drawn closer and closer to appointments, and as we’ve started taking the first initial steps down the IVF road, my anxiety as skyrocketed to levels I didn’t even know I was capable.  The funny thing about my anxiety – its all somatic.  In my head, I’m totally fine.  I have NO freaking clue that I’m anxious.  But I’ll get off the phone with my clinic after scheduling and appointment or confirming a payment figure, and all of the sudden I can’t turn my head to the right, or its hard to breath, or I start to stutter, or I will talk 90 miles an hour.  After a somatic symptom pops up, I’ve learned (through some therapy) that I need to mentally recognize the fact that I am stressed, and take active measure of de-stressing, even though I don’t feel stressed.  Does that make sense?  Its been a weird couple of months.
I actually went to my GP about it after a severe stuttering episode, ready to seek a little pharmaceutical assistance.  I brag on my doctors all the time, and with good reason.  Doctors are so smart, so much smarter than me.  They know so much!  I have a fabulous team.  But they are exactly that – a team.  To get anything done, they all have to be in agreement.  My GP is not going to prescribe me anti-anxiety meds that maybe my FE has an issue with, or my OBGYN would not want me on while pregnant, or that could possible interfere with my migraine protocol my neurologist has given me. See what I mean?  Its like assembling the Avengers just to get some Zoloft.  This makes me Nick Fury, right?

SLJ

Turns out, not all of my Avengers saw eye-to-eye on this.  So yoga, the never ending grace of God, a new therapist, and a new coloring book it is.

Next week, Mister and I will celebrate our 4 year wedding anniversary.  Its a weird fact that we’ve been on this trying-to-conceive journey for 75% of that time.  My substitute hairstylist (long term stylist is on maternity leave, ironically) asked me last week if we had anything special planned for our anniversary, and before thinking about it too hard, I said,very excitedly:

Yes!  We’re doing IVF!

She paused, a little shocked I think, but to her credit her response was perfect.  Wow, congratulations, that’s huge, its a drag you have to do this but how exciting that you are able to, y’all must have been planning this for a while, etc.  PERFECT.  Stylists are like a special hybrid of therapists and sorority recruitment.  How many problems to they hear in a day?  They are NEVER short on small talk, they probably have dirt on half the town, all while balancing ridiculous expectations of “get the dead ends off” and “JUST a trim…”  I’m on a rabbit trail, I know, but clearly I’m comfortable in my salon, and clearly this woman is no stranger to weird answers to questions.
But yes.  IVF is our big anniversary present.  Its suppose to be the flowers and fruit anniversary, but we’re being modernly liberal about it, and going for “be fruitful and multiply.”

Through all of this, I’ve been shown time and time again the beautiful relationship between God’s sovereignty and modern medicine/science.  Its is absolutely ridiculous to me when we try to separate the two, only accepting one or the other.  God has revealed Himself so much to me through research and finding wonderful physicians and healers who work miracles under a microscope.  Another thing we’ve learned is how common this problem is, how many other families are hurting.  After some discussion with one of our pastors, Mister and I will be leading a co-ed “Fertility Care” group at our church.  This is meant to be a place for families struggling growing their family (infertility, secondary infertility, infant loss, miscarriage, etc.) to come and find peace and understanding in Christ.  Our goal this entire journey has been to bring glory to The Almighty, whatever His answers may be.  By investing in other families and shedding the shame and stigma that comes with infertility, particularly in the deep south, I think we can bring comfort and encouragement to others.  If you’re in South Mississippi and interested in a biblically based support group, shoot me an email at southernfertility@gmail.com; let’s talk.

We covet your prayers as we continue this winter.  Its going to be a surreal journey, one I’m looking forward to chronicling.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen!
Ephesians 3:20, 21

Feelings are Hard Sometimes

Its been a while since I’ve posted an update to our story.

Honestly, there just hasn’t been that much to tell, I feel like.  We’ve waited a lot.  Got some “eh” news, made some decisions.  Waited some more, crunched some numbers.  Twiddled our thumbs.  Now we’re waiting on *one* more puzzle piece, and we’ll have a solid timeline.

Edge of your seat stuff, let me tell you.

So, here’s an update:

Surgery + Endometriosis

Its been almost 6 months since my excision surgery.  I can say with confidence now that this surgery in ATL has been the best medical decision I have made in my adult life thus far.  I am a new woman.  I have almost* no pain.  I cannot tell you what cycle day I am on based on where the pain is focused.  I actually have to check my app on my phone.  This is my new normal, and its pretty amazing.  I will stand on any platform given and sing the praises of my surgeon and his team at the Center for Endometriosis Care.  Be educated.  Be informed.  Do not settle.  Praise be to God, I am still in remission.
*Last weekend, I had a cyst start acting wrong and rupture.  I hurt the most I’ve hurt since surgery, and even then it was only registering as “moderate” on my personal pain scale.  Enough to annoy me, and occasionally channel my focus and attention, but not enough for me to miss work.  After running a fever around day 3 of “moderate”, I decided to check in with my doc here in Hattiesburg.  My clinic is set up with MyChart, so I shot a quick email to my nurse.  I had an ultrasound booked the next day, just in case.  I’ve also had a terrible case of the Fall Snots, so it was tough to know if this fever was coming from the Snots or an infection south of the belly button.
Everything is fine, I resolved it on my own, fever is gone, and hopefully I will trade in this gravely baritone for my original alto voice sooner rather than later.  Based on my other cyst experiences, this was a walk in the park.

Fertility + Endometriosis

We decided August was our last “one more month” of trying to conceive without medical intervention.  I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that we put our fertility worries on a shelf, put a date on it, and we weren’t pulling it off the shelf until that date.  August was that date.  I had some Day 21 blood work done during that cycle, and it came back worse than abysmal.  I’m pretty sure Mister has more progesterone pumping through his system than I do.  This computer probably generates more progesterone than I do.  Biochemically, I’m messed up.  Endometriosis and the abnormal growths really get your hormones all wonky.  There’s a super scientific way to explain it, but that’s the gist.  After 15 years of my body knowing nothing other than wonky, it seems as though that’s how I’m programmed now.  You wouldn’t put unleaded fuel in a diesel engine and expect it to run right, and we’re finding the same is true with me.  On my own, my body won’t do right, reproductively.  I’m a diesel, and diesel is expensive.

My doc told me some tough truths.

You’ll likely never conceive on your own.  However, you are an excellent candidate for IVF.  Your hormones are off and don’t look like they’ll ever be right without intervention, but we know you respond incredible well to IVF medications.  IVF was invented to help families like yours.

This was echoed by our FE.  This was a major bummer and comforting all at the same time.  Feelings are hard sometimes.

I had my sad day and a lovely glass of wine.  The next day, I called my FE and made plans to move on.

IVF

Its been almost a year since we last saw our FE.  Almost a year since the Very Worst October Ever.  I took a little trip to Jackson to see my FE earlier this month.  Since its been a while since he’s been around my block, I took ALL the data with me.  Blood work charts from the last two years, daily monitoring data for 2015 so far, surgery report, path report, pictures, diagrams, all the things.  I wanted to make sure he was good and familiar with the neighborhood, since my surgeon has done a few renovations since my last visit.

I conference-called Mister in to the meeting (we’re millennials, we do that now), and we talked about our options.  We could do IUI again, but our odds of that working are about like they were this time last year:  slim.  Real slim.  Slimmer than Mister (he’s a bean pole).  We’ve ridden the IUI train, punched our ticket.  Its time to move on.
After adjusting my protocol based on the fact that I am still in remission (woohoo!) and my AMH came back pretty super (woohoo! squared), we are looking at starting IVF this winter.
Originally, we wanted this fall.  A multitude of reasons pushed this back a bit.  I never thought I’d say this, but we are planning our IVF cycle around football.  This likely seems absolutely insane to most people, but right now, our lives revolve around NCAA and MHSAA football.  I would throw NFL in that mix, but have you seen the Saints this year??  The nation has enough Sad Saints pictures for the rest of the century, no one is buying those now.  A December – January cycle is looking like our best bet.  We are trying to find a few loopholes in our good ole MS insurance plans (political plug:  make sure your representatives know that women’s health is kind of a big deal and MS should be better at it and stuff), and if loopholes big enough can be triggered, we’ll be waiting until January when our new calendar year starts.  If those loopholes are going to be as helpful as another negative pregnancy test, we’ll go ahead and start our cycle in December.
Once we have dates set, I’ll have another post.  I will likely ask for incredibly specific prayers at specific times, and post my protocol to see if any of you gals that have been around this block have any tricks to help get through a stim cycle with your sanity intact.  We’ve settled on a host of IVF-ethics issues that we hoped we’d never have to face in real life, but now we’re staring down the barrel of that gun.  We are following the convictions that God has laid on our heart.  They likely aren’t the most popular in the IVF world, nor the most popular in your typical “Conservative” world, but God bless America, they are our choices for our family and we have the freedom to make them ourselves.  More on our specific convictions and IVF FAQs in a separate post.

We have been very open about our struggle and our choices over the last year.  That has opened us up to both encouragement like we never could have imagined, and at the same time, criticism and thoughtless comments.  Mostly encouragement.  We choose to focus on the encouragement, and chalk the thoughtlessness up to a lack of education.  Folks can’t help if they’re ignorant, right?  Bless their hearts.  Through this sharing and openness, it has come to light that other friends of ours are struggling with infertility.  Maybe not like us, everyone’s journey is different.  It continues to reinforce the truth that this is not a rare issue.  So many women are fighting this battle.  So many families are struggling with feeling broken and frustrated.  When I connect with someone over infertility, I immediately feel excited and bummed out.  Again, feelings are hard sometimes.  I’m excited that I have another soul to share this with that gets it.  Someone who can relate.  At the same time, I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone.  Its unpleasant and hard and I hate it and if I had the choice I wouldn’t be on this road.  No one signs up for this willingly.

We are well aware that God does not “need” IVF to help Him start our family.  God also does not “need” chemotherapy, defibrillators, pharmaceuticals, or any form of medical practice to accomplish healing and His Will.  Sometimes, that is just the path He has for us to further His Glory.  Praise Him for the sense He gave humans to practice all kinds medicine.

We know that we are surrounded by a great host of witnesses.  So many of you have let me know that you are praying fervently for us, and we appreciate that more than we will ever be able to convey.  We ask you to continue these prayers.  The turn of the year is about to get wild.  Feelings are hard sometimes.  May God be glorified in the journey.

Remission

“Good morning, Mrs. Bush.  You are endometriosis free.”

I don’t normally appreciate any greeting, in person or electronic, before 8:00am.  Particularly any that refer to me as formally as “Mrs. Bush”.  I also don’t normally hug and cry in front of grown men I’ve known for less than 36 hours.  Friday, April 17th was a weird day.

It’s been ten years since I was last in Atlanta.  Ten years ago, I was doing one of my first and biggest “grown up” things by hopping on a plane with my best friends and spending the next 3 weeks visiting friends in Germany.  While at the airport in Atlanta, I got super nervous, started pouring sweat, and then emptied my stomach into three (yes.  Three) “turbulence discomfort” bags, all before taking off.  I’ve done a lot of growing up since then, but my somatic anxiety tells haven’t changed one bit.

Last Wednesday, after meeting my parents at Big Bad Breakfast in Birmingham (excellent recommendation, Brittany!) for my last real-food meal (for a whole week), we hopped in Favre (my sweet new Southern Miss gold Jeep) and headed to Atlanta for my pre op appointment with the Center for Endometriosis Care.

I was given the opportunity to enroll in two separate studies regarding endometriosis, with one aiming to genetically link endometriosis and infertility.  All of the “awareness” noise we make is meaningless without action behind it.  I’m very excited to be a part of the action.  

After a conference with my wonderful doctor (he likes to meet you formally before he meets you on his exam table), I had a rather painful exam.  Doc diagnosed me with pelvic floor dysfunction.  I’m still learning what that is and what that means, but here’s the short (and Internet appropriate) version:  my pelvic muscles have been spasming like crazy for a long, long time.  When a part of your body feels pain, it contracts.  This part of my body has been feeling a lot of pain, for a long time.  It keeps contracting, over and over.  Now, it has a hard time knowing when that’s appropriate.  This is one of the main causes of my daily pain with things that shouldn’t be painful.  Next month, I will start a very specific form of physical therapy to help reprogram my muscles.  More on that at another time.

I was sent to our hotel with a lovely gift bag.  Inside was a humongous bottle of Miralax, some Dulcolax, lots of Gatorade, and a Fleet Enima.   This goes to show that with proper southern hospitality and etiquette, a colon cleanse can look like a spa gift basket.  Sounds like a party, right?  It wasn’t that bad.  Not something I’d actively choose to do on a Wednesday night, but I know it could have been a lot worse.  

As mentioned above, my anxiety lives in my tummy.  Occasionally, it pops up to make itself known to everyone else.  My anxiety heaves made their appearance once I was in the pre op area, putting on the awful gown and getting my IV Thursday morning.  More props to my nurse for being Johnny on the spot with the bag and ear sticker. Considering I had just emptied the contents of my entire digestive system a few hours earlier, there wasn’t much to put in said bag.  They started giving me ALL of the anti-nausea and anti anxiety drugs, which was super.  Shortly after, my doc came in, cracked a few jokes, and then did the most wonderful thing.   He took my hand and put a hand on Mister’s shoulder, and he prayed over us before surgery.  After a kiss from mama and daddy, they gave me the real good stuff, and I woke up a few hours later with searing pain in my right side.  This was odd to me, even very drugged, as 99% of my pain has always been on the left.

I have very vague memories of the remainder of Thursday.  I know I had a pain medicine pump with a button.  I know that button didn’t work for the first few hours, and Nurse Melinda was very impressed with my pain tolerance.  I know I made mama text Student Doctor Bestie and ask her why I could taste everything they put in my IV.  I know I hated those leg compression things, almost as much as I hated the hospital gown.  That thing went as soon as I had the faculties to sit mostly upright with some assistance, and on went my leopard print gown with matching robe.  Leopard is a neutral and is flattering on everyone.

I was informed later Thursday and again on Friday morning what all happened on the operating table.  I had a cystoscopy and a hysteroscopy (a look around inside my bladder and uterus, respectively), and those areas were clear and free of endometriosis, fibroids, or polyps.  I had three small incisions:  belly button and one near each hip, where my doc excisised all the endometriosis he found.  I had a presacral neurectomy, and a surprise appendectomy.  Turns out, my appendix had endo on it, and was “glued down” to my intestines.   Doc didn’t like how it looked, he was in the neighborhood, so PEW PEW!  There it went.  I’m sure God gave us those things for a reason, but I can’t say I miss mine.  This explains the pain on my right side when I woke up.

The presacral neurectomy has been the biggest adjustment for me, so far, and was my biggest obstacle in the hospital.  Nerves are important, and the ones down there are in charge of a lot of stuff.  It took me a solid 24 hours before I regained the noggin to muscle control that one needs to go to the bathroom.  It took some serious focus and a catheter at 3:00 am before my body figured out how to empty my bladder all by itself.  I got a high five from Nurse Melinda once I did figure it out, though.  Friday morning, my doc came in and gave me the only news worth waking up at 7:15 with a catheter taped to your leg to hear.  I am endo free.  He got it all.  The chance of recurrence (regrowth) is less than 5%.  My endometriosis is in remission.  The good news didn’t stop there.  Doc had originally told us that we could start IVF a month after surgery, so we scheduled our first cycle to start in June.  However, he has encouraged us to wait 3-4 months.  Not because of healing time or because I wouldn’t be able to handle the treatments, but because he thinks he has fixed our problems.  He has encouraged us to give the good old fashion way of conceiving a few months, because he believes it to be possible now.  He hugged me again, blessed us both, I cried, and then Mister took me home to nap where nurses wouldn’t bug me or poke me.  Saturday we went to Steak and Shake where I had a cookie dough milk shake, and on Sunday, Favre brought us home.

I went back to work yesterday.  I’ve gotten a lot of surprise about returning so soon, but I promise, doc said I could sit at my desk and do stuff.  It helps that I love my job.  It helps that my property is small, and I can plan my day around specific needs (like being still).  It also helps that I have a rock solid work family.  I work in a relatively new company that makes a point of rallying around each other and supporting their managers and properties in any capacity.  I knew this on the professional level already, but they have gone above and beyond anything I expected with this surgery and potential IVF.  I have personally heard from my direct supervisor, my counter parts at other properties, the president of my company, and a few of the owners, multiple times over the last week.  Each time they have made it a point to be encouraging, supportive, and to make this time as easy as possible.  They didn’t judge me when all the feelings came out and I cried after a simple “safe travels”, either.  

I am still sore and moving a little slow.  I probably will be for another week or so.  I come home from work and immediately sit down, with the intentions of doing nothing for the rest of the day.  So far, that’s working out great.  We have wonderful friends bringing us meals while I continue to heal and figure out what “normal” is.  I have hurt every day for so long, I have no idea what endo-free life is going to look like in practice, but I’m pretty excited to find out.

While this month has been immensely stressful, it has been full of encouragement and hope.  There are a few uncertains still, and I have a feeling that pelvic floor therapy is going to be another adventure.  We are healing.  We are encouraged.  We are hopeful.  We are well fed.  And we are His.  To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Ten Years

As a senior in high school, our bible study leaders asked us to think about where we wanted to be in 10 years. At that time, I was pretty focused on finishing up scholarship applications, planning my senior trip with my best friends, wrapping up my senior project, and not failing Coach Jones’s AP Biology test that week. Where I wanted to be in 10 years was not a priority, but I made a list anyway. I still have the list (I also still have all of Coach Jones’s notes). Today I looked back on it, as I hit the 10 year mark, and it was bittersweet. Today I am Anna at 28. Anna at 18 was ambitious, very traditional, incredibly naive, a little weird, and young. Bless her heart.

Written in a Veggie Tales notebook (see above referenced “weird”), dated 2005:

In 2015, I will be:
Married
Graduate of Southern Miss
Home owner
A deaf educator or stay at home mom
Mother to two children

A few other life experience goals thrown in, but these were the headliners. To me, this was the (Southern) American Dream. This was the yellow brick road I just knew would take me to the Oz of family life and fulfillment. This was how life was suppose to go! Graduate by 22 and immediately Husband-up. Have 2-3 years of “no kids” time, and then babies. Fool proof.
I find comfort in the fact that most of us at 18 are idiots. Bless our hearts.

I’m married. Nailed that one. Thanks, Mister.
I did not graduate from Southern Miss. Student loans are no joke, the economy tanked, dumb decisions were made, and it turns out you don’t necessarily need calligraphy on a piece of paper to hold down a decent job.
I am not a deaf educator. I found I had a low tolerance for politics in the class room, and a particularly low tolerance for how polarizing deaf education methods can be. If I were a teacher, you’d probably see me on the news telling a state politician exactly where he could stick his “education policy”.
I am not a home owner. Rushing into six-figure debt never does any one any good, and property maintenance can be tricky.

I was fine with all these things. I’ve actually laughed about a few of them for the last few years.
The “mother” bit is stinging today. More than I thought it would. Anna at 18 had endometriosis, and was at the beginning of the great adventure of Birth Control Roulette (a terrible ride, I don’t recommend it). Anna at 18 had no idea what was coming, or how that disease was wrecking my body. I fully believed I would have two completely “cooked” kiddos by now, and likely be planning the next ones. I had no idea that Anna at 28 would have two (endo related) surgeries notched in her belt or be well versed in self administered hormone injections.

I’ve started comparing Anna at 18 and Anna at 28, and have come to a realization:
We are not the same people.

I am not the same woman I was 10 years ago. Praise be to God.

I’ve learned really hard lessons over the last 10 years, and dealt with some hurt that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Had my life just plopped into place like the story book I’d planned, I would not know my God the way I do today. My God is glorified in my weakness, and wowzers has he had some glory moments in the last 10 years. I would not have planned my life as it is today, in any aspect, but praise God I am where I am. My plans and lists have been completely scrapped and rewritten. I just can’t see everything yet.

On my birthdays, I look back and am thankful for the multitude of witnesses that have helped shaped who I am today. In the same spirit, I look forward and see where I want to go from here.

During my year as a 28 year old, I will likely face the most change and transition in life since I moved out of my mama’s house and down to the Pine Belt 10 years ago. In April, I am having surgery in Atlanta at the Center for Endometriosis Care. I have been accepted by a wonderful surgeon and his team, and my prognosis for functional improvement and successful fertility is good. They’ve got a laundry list of xxx-scopys and xxx-ectomys that mostly translate to me being pressure washed and roto-routed and gutted and replumbed. In June, we will begin our IVF journey. In between now and surgery and IVF, we are purchasing a car and becoming home-loaners.

Big things are happening. It’s terrifying. It’s overwhelming. It’s a lot of hormone fluxes, which translates into a lot of feelings. God bless the men that live with me, because emotions. Praise God the success of the next 6 months does not hinge on me.

Praise God that my list was a terrible flop.
Praise God I am broken and a failure – my success and joy lies completely in Him.
Praise God I am not Anna at 18.
Praise God for who Anna at 28 is.
And praise God for the woman that Anna at 38 will be, whoever she is.

Praise God.

Round 4

After a couple of weeks of waiting, we’ve finally been able to start our 4th and final round of IUI. My cyst ruptured without causing too many problems (besides several days of fever and general feelings of icky-ness). Medusa is no longer “a problem we need to be concerned with”, and my hormones have jumped back into gear.

After the general tests and exam last week, DocJax cleared me to start round 4. We’ve gotten our meds and Mister has been giving me my injections every night this week. This round, the hormone migraines have been particularly difficult to reign in, but I seem to be getting a handle on them finally. We go for a progress check (and more blood work, of course) on Tuesday, with a procedure likely on Thursday. After that we will enter the two week waiting period for the last time in 2014. As we bought alcohol swabs and band aides at the pharmacy (yay, shots!), Mister grabbed a pack of blister-healing band aides.

Go ahead and grab these since they’re on sale. If we get another negative, I know you’re going to need to run it out, and it’s going to jack your feet up when you do.

That right there, folks, is true love. He gets me. My blisters/calluses also gross him out.

This weekend was suppose to be our first weekend with no minimal traveling, and we were looking forward to fellowshipping with other believers today. Other than Mister covering the game at Mississippi State and my responsibilities at a downtown event, our weekend was more or less “free”. Then significant car trouble (quite possibly in a location one might meet the Devil for dealings) at a very late hour and a tow truck that was in absolutely NO rush at all (Hail State, y’all) changed our down weekend into an impromptu road trip two hours north in the wee hours of the morning for a rescue mission. We finally all got home and in bed at 6:00am this morning. Shout out to my baby brother for riding with me and keeping me company, even though he had to work all day today. I am far to old to be pulling all nighters anymore, and I’ve now got an appointment with my eye doctor. Night driving is a lot more difficult than I remember. We didn’t make it to church a few hours later. The sleep was greatly needed, but we really miss the rest of our local body of believers.

This week brings more Jackson, more needles and tests, more salmon (omega 3s, y’all), and more football. It also brings a quick weekend trip to Memphis to see the first baby I have prayed for since half of her DNA was contained in a mature follicle. I’m told her parents will be in Memphis too, and we’re pretty excited about that.

We have decided a few things in the last few weeks of dealing with the cyst. As mentioned before, this will be our final round of IUI. We are still hoping that this 10-15% chance will be our yes, and this will be our last round for wonderful happy reasons. However, we are planning for other outcomes. If this round does not work, we will be moving on to IVF in the spring. After speaking with our doctors in Hattiesburg and Jackson, we have decided that our funds are better spent procedures with better odds and more doctor-control. We will spend the rest of the winter saving and praying and preparing. We are also gathering all of my records and sending them to a group of surgeons in Atlanta that specialize in the removal of endometriosis, and we are having out case reviewed. The Center of Endometriosis Care does amazing work removing endometriosis from all areas of the body (more on my particular case in a different post) and we are looking forward to hearing ALL of our options.

We will be taking a (much needed) vacation in December. A vacation from work, and a vacation from infertility. This season of our life has been overwhelming and over scheduled (I’m looking at you, football…), and we are in serious need of a recharge.

We are a little terrified. We don’t really feel like we know what we’re doing. We are seeking God and we are following where we feel He leads. Both IVF and surgery come with some pretty scary “what ifs” and procedures. Both are much more invasive, time consuming, and energy consuming. We know that before this month ends, we will be looking towards more invasive medical procedures, whether that be pregnancy (!!!!) or IVF/surgery. You are probably starting to grasp why we need a vacation.

I have the best friends, the greatest family, and the most supportive spouse to face this with, and that makes things a little less scary.