Monday, February 28, 2011

Fun in the Sun

Had a relaxing & very fabulous mini-vacation in warm, sunny Florida this past weekend. My family headed down to Destin for my cousin's beach wedding & a great time was had by all. It was so nice to have escaped the cold, snowy winter weather here in Kansas City & enjoy a few days of warm weather & sunshine!

My sister & I arrived around the same time in Panama City, FL where we rented a car & made the 45 minute drive over to Destin. We got all checked in to the Hilton Sandestin Resort & the first thing we did while waiting for our parents to arrive was bought a beverage, ordered some chips/salsa & sat outside by the pool soaking in the sun. It was wonderful!

This was the view from our hotel patio:Saturday was a perfect day. We enjoyed breakfast with our family, then my sister & I packed a bag & made our way down to the beach for some fun in the sun. Later that afternoon was my cousin's wedding. We enjoyed people watching, listening to the waves & the seagulls flying up above, reading our books & enjoying some lunch on the beach - it was heavenly.
By mid-afternoon we headed back inside to get ready for the wedding. After I had showered, I noticed that I looked really red & was annoyed because I had put on SPF 15 sunscreen. My sister & I are the same skin-tone & she didn't look burnt at all (other than her knees & the tops of her feet where she forgot to put sunscreen :) so I didn't know why I looked so red?!

As the evening went on I kept getting more red but it didn't really hurt like a sunburn would. My dad is a pharmacist & had asked me if I was on any photo-sensitive medication & I didn't have a clue so I had told him everything I am on. Come to find out, he told me the NSAID's, the BCP & the Dexamethason (steriod) that I am on are all "photo-sensitive" meds & the reason my skin was so red was due to the reaction from the sun exposure. It never occurred to me that I might have to be careful in the sun while taking all these meds!?

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, by the next morning the edema had settled in my lower legs & it felt like hot needles were stabbing me in my shins when I got up to walk. The pain eventually faded away after about 5 minutes of getting up but it was rough going until then. I spent what down-time I could elevating my legs & applying cold compresses, rubbing cold aloe gel on any chance I could & eating Tylenol like it was candy. Flying on Monday didn't help the situation any. As I got off the plane I looked down & noticed I had cankles :(

Here is a picture of my lovely legs that day...sunburn, edema & all:
Compared to the foot pic above you can definitely tell they are swollen! At least my toes are pretty :)

So let this be a lesson learned ladies - please make sure & find out if the meds you are on are sun-sensitive or not. You can thank me later :)

Here are a few more pics from my wonderful weekend....

Me, my parents & my sister at the wedding:
The beach house in the middle is where my cousins' family stayed. The wedding was located right in front. You can see some of the adirandock chairs set up for the guests:

My cousin Drew (the groom) seating his mom (my aunt): Here comes the bride with her dad & mom:

Exchanging the rings:
Introducing the new Mr. & Mrs:

The reception was held aboard The Solaris for a sunset dinner cruise around the harbor:Mmmmm - wedding cake:
Sunday we awoke to an extremely foggy & cool day so me & my sister decided to spend such a dreary day shopping at the Silver Sands Factory Outlet mall. Unfortunately, we didn't find too many deals that just had to be purchased so I guess that was a good thing. I even passed on buying a new purse at the Coach Factory store - shocking, I know!

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the hotel lounge with the wedding guests & my sister & I even snuck in a short nap! Then we enjoyed a fabulous seafood dinner at Louie Louie with the newlyweds, my parents, grandparents, aunt & uncle. It was a great ending to a fabulous weekend with my wonderful family.

By 4:30am Monday morning my sister & I were headed to the airport in Panama City to catch an early flight & make our way back home. We were sad to be leaving the beach & heading back to the cold weather (my sis to Wisconsin & me to Kansas) & cold it was! When we left Destin it was 65 degrees & I was rudely greeted by 26 degree temps & snow on the ground in Kansas as I got off the plane!

Hmmmm - I wonder if the hubby would mind if I go back in the very near future???

(oh, & for those of you who are wondering - AF did pack her bags & showed up the day I left for Florida & she hung out the entire time we were there. Thank goodness she behaved herself. There was no painful cramping or heavy flow like I thought there might be so that was a plus!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

IVF #2

"Infertility is like having ice cream in the freezer: even though it’s something that can be easily hidden from the world, locked behind a sealed door & your own anxious mind, just knowing it’s there can drive you to the brink of madness."

Saw this quote the other day & thought I'd share it :) Seems "fitting" for those of us who face infertility daily!

So big news - today officially marks the beginning of IVF #2 - YAY! I am praying that the estrogen & the DHEA has been doing it's job of fine-tuning all my eggs & improving their quality. In exactly one month we will be doing our ER & I am hoping for lots of good eggs!

To begin this cycle, I started a few more meds today:
- baby aspirin (helps improve the uterine lining for implantation)
- dexamethosone (suppresses the imune system & preps the body to not reject the embryos when they are transferred)
- birth contol pills ("shuts down" the ovaries before stimulation)

Will remain on the DHEA, prenatal's & folic acid until PG is hopefully achieved. I have my "suppression check" appointment on March 9th & they will be ordering all my stimulation meds then. Our IVF cycle payment is due at this appt also. Looking forward to starting this cycle but not looking forward to making this payment :(

I am so very hopeful & excited for this cycle to finally be underway! Please keep us in your thoughts as we begin this journey for the last time. Your prayers are also welcome & greatly appreciated :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

EPP completed

Today I took the last of the Estrogen pills & my Estrogen Priming Protocol has come to an end. I have been taking this for 8 weeks now & honestly it seems that the time has flown by! I was instructed to stop the Provera as well & I should be seeing AF in 3-7 days. I am hoping that she shows up sooner because I don't care to be dealing with her when I travel to Florida this Friday for my beach weekend. I also have my annual PAP on March 1st so AF needs to have her bags packed & be on her way by then!

So all I am taking right now is the DHEA 3x's daily (which I continue to lose hair but not bald yet :), prenatal vitamin's & folic acid. Come Thursday I will be adding a whole new group of meds to the list. The start of IVF #2 is less than 4 days away! YAY :)

More to come on Thursday...

Monday, February 14, 2011

One more...

Today I am adding yet another pill into the mix. It is called Provera & I am to take 10mg 2 x's daily. Luckily I will only be taking it for 7 days. It is given to "kick start" my period & to prevent abnormal growth of the uterine lining in women taking estrogen - which I have been on for 7 weeks now.

I will discontinue the Estrogen & the Provera on Feb 20th & should get my period 3-7 days after. I have been warned by the NP that this will probably be the worst & heaviest period of my life & I should be prepared for god-awful cramps. NICE - I am leaving on Feb 25th for a 4 day weekend on the beach in Florida so I'm sure AF will show up as soon as I put on my swimsuit! Hopefully it isn't too debilitating!? Ugh - I can hardly wait...

Crossing my fingers that this will be the last period I have for the year 2011!


New holiday & a new exchange over on the Infertility forum at We were to make/send Valentine cards to the lovely ladies who signed up to participate in the exchange & in return we would be getting a Valentine card from them. There were 35+ girls who signed up so there were to be LOTS of cards coming in the mail! These are the cards I made for the girls:

Since the penguin has been kind of a "mascot" over on the forum (due to the journey & length of time it takes for penguins to produce a baby penguin) I thought it might be fun to incorporate them into a Valentine card. I think they turned out really cute - if I do say so myself :)

All this week I have been receiving cards from ladies all over the US. It has been so much fun opening the mailbox everyday & seeing all the cards addressed to me! Even more fun opening them to find little "treats" inside & cute messages! Here are some of the cards I have received so far:

Such a cute & fun exchange this has been! These ladies are awesome & have been SO supportive! Thank you to all & Happy Valentine's Day :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The goal of acupuncture: to restore the balance of the individual's Chi which promotes effective communication between the brain and the other organs.

Today I had my 1st acupuncture appointment. Um, can you say r...e...l...a...x...i...n...g!

The appointment started off by first having a consult. I was greeted by the Acupuncturist & after we sat down she took a history, asked alot of health questions, talked a bit about her background, where acupuncture came from, what it does, etc & went over my questions & what I was there for. We talked in great detail about the infertility, the miscarriages, the failed IVF & the plan for this next IVF. She said she would like to do acupuncture every week up until egg retrieval & then a treatment the day of transfer. She also encouraged me to get treatments weekly through my 1st trimester if I do end up pregnant. As nervous & stressed out that I know I am going to be if IVF does work for us then I am definitely going to need it. She then told me that she knows how expensive IVF was & that she would work with me on negotiating price of treatments. I thought that was awful nice of her seeing how this is all OOP!

After all the small-talk was done then it was go time. I was instructed to take my socks/shoes off, pull my pants up to my knees & lay on the table.

*cue soothing music, eucalyptus smell & dim lights*

By this point I am already relaxed. Before we got started she checked my pulse in both wrists & looked at my tongue. Why? Read here. She then showed me the needles & explained everything as she was inserting them & I was amazed that I could hardly feel them. First she put them on the top of my feet, around my ankles, then upper leg, then my hands, one in my scalp, one in my forehead & one needle in each upper part of my ear. She said she was going to leave me for about 30 minutes & I was to lay there & relax. Before she left she applied a heat lamp to my feet...heavenly!

As I layed there, I closed my eyes, took slow, deep breaths, listened to the soothing music & felt utterly & totally relaxed. It was awesome! As I lay there, it seemed that my legs felt really heavy as my upper body felt really light - weird sensation - but a relaxing one. After my 30 min were up, she came back in, removed the needles & I was on my way. I loved the experience so much that I purchased a package of treatments. They offer "buy 6 get the 7th free" so I indulged. I figure if I work one hour later one night a week then it will pay for my acupuncture. Rationalization - that is how I roll :)

So all my acupuncture appointments are scheduled for Tuesday mornings up until the egg retrieval. I am SO looking forward to this weekly relaxing session & am hoping it provides calming, balancing, positive vibes! I highly recommend it to anyone who is feeling the stress that IF can bring!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cut & 'Lights

So I went to my hair appointment today & didn't mention a word to my stylist about my hair loss just to see if she would notice & guess what? She definitely noticed. My hair stylist Emily is also a very good friend of mine & I have been going to her for 10 years now. Tonight she started with the highlights & as she was putting the foils in my hair she asked me if I have been noticing any shedding or if I noticed I was losing hair more than usual? I asked her why & she said my hair looks & feels thinner. Not much gets past this girl!

So I told her about the DHEA supplement I am taking & the hair loss I was experiencing & she says she sees women all the time on hormone replacements & medication where hair loss is one of the side effects. She assured me I wouldn't go bald nor would I have patchy spots on my head. She did say my hair will look & feel thinned out but I will still have plenty of it & as soon as I stop the medication & it leaves my system the hair will grow back.

Wow - I feel SO much better hearing her say that. She also told me a few tricks to help with the hair loss like shampooing every other day, rinsing with cold water to seal the follicles, using a detangler & a wide tooth comb when it is wet, & to not use my flat iron. So I will give these a try & see if that helps. I am willing to try anything a this point!

Nothing like getting your hair done-did with a brow wax thrown in to boost one's spirits :)