What’s Up Wednesday!

Howdy! I seriously just go so far behind on here, I kind of gave up on ever catching up. I am beginning to realize, though, I don’t have to catch up for all the months of 2016 so maybe I’ll just do a hi-lite post soon. In the meantime, I am back with another What’s Up Wednesday! Today I am linking up with Mix and Match Mama and Sheaffer Told me To.

1. What we’re eating this week: My friend sent me a week of Green Chef meals, and I am excited to get our first box tonight! I selected the Paleo option since it is better for my PCOS. If this goes well, maybe we will sign up for real! We did do Hello Fresh for a while, but finally stopped because we had a lot of boxes where the meats had leaked or stuff went bad. It definitely makes things easier when you take out the meal planning and shopping!

2. What I’m reminiscing about: The Facebook “On This Day” just reminded me that it was this day 2 years ago when Ryder took his first steps. Excuse me while I go cry over my bitty baby! Everyday Ryder blows me away with something new. He is growing up so stinking fast!

3. What I’m loving: Califia Farms Almond Milk Creamer. One of the hardest things for me the first time I gave up dairy was finding ways to still drink my coffee (I like a little coffee with my creamer). This stuff has been a life saver. It definitely isn’t as thick or rich as dairy creamer, but I am getting used to that and almost prefer it now! I find this creamer at Target.

4. What we’ve been up to: I told a friend the other day that I feel like I spend most of my time trying to keep us busy! I love making memories with our little family. On Saturday we took a day trip to the zoo in Abilene. It was fun! Ryder was great in the car, and did pretty well at the zoo. We will have to go back this Summer. We also did several fun things over Spring Break including painting pottery and a trip to Joyland! In our spare time we try to go out and visit Ryder’s horse. He’s getting pretty good about wanting to see her and give her treats. He also rode her for a minute a couple of weeks ago.



5. What I’m dreading: a super hot Summer! I feel like it has stayed unseasonably warm lately. I do love being able to play outside with Ryder, but I hate sweating. Hopefully it will stay in the 80s for a while longer.

6. What I’m working on: So many things. Right now, though, I am trying to raise money for the March of Dimes again. It has been something near and dear to my heart since Ryder was born. I had planned to take the year off, but after a friend suffered her second stillbirth I decided to walk in her sons’ honor. You can help me by donating here.

7. What I’m excited about: We are going on a cruise at the end of April! I am dreading leaving Ryder behind for over a week, but I am excited to go to 2 new ports that I’ve never seen before! We will be sailing the Eastern Caribbean.


8. What I’m watching/reading: Well our favorite shows: Timeless and This is Us are over for now so we had to find something new. We have watched all 6 episodes of Trial and Error so far and love it. It is so off the wall that it is funny! I think we have also seen enough Dateline’s and Investigate Discovery to appreciate all of the jokes. My mom and I also saw Beauty and the Beast during Spring Break and I loved it so much that I can’t wait to see it again! 


I have had an intense reading list this Spring. I am currently doing two Bible studies: How People Change and Gospel in Life. I have had so many “ah ha” moments out of Gospel in Life especially. In this last week this stuck with me the most, “He shows us that the way to lead is to serve.” I also have It Starts With Food and Intentional Parenting in my stack to read. We went to a great parenting conference in February, and I bought several of Sissy Goff and David Thomas‘ books!

9. What I’m listening to: a lot of Silly Songs with Larry 😉

10. What I’m wearing: So here’s the deal, I gave up shopping for Lent. I know, jaws are dropping. I wanted to save money, and I know that truthfully there is nothing I need. I did allow myself to buy things with a gift card I got for Christmas, though, since it was not my money 😉 I just ordered this shirt, and I think it will be perfect for our cruise. I even saved some money on my gift card to hold me over in case I need to shop again in the next 2 weeks!

11. What I’m doing this weekend: Eeeek! I am so excited for this weekend! My mom and I are going to the Hotel Garza in Post to do a murder mystery night! It is a roaring 20s theme, so I ordered us these accessories from Amazon!


12. What I’m looking forward to next month: We have something going on every weekend in April! It will be busy, but fun! I am looking forward to Easter, the March for Babies, oh and of course the cruise!

13. What else is new: lots more big changes are coming soon. I have a lot of thinking to do between now and the end of Summer. Good thing I have a graduate course to teach in June! That should keep my mind off things.

I promise I will work on this blog more, so until next time friends.

 

 

 

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PCOS Awareness Month

PCOS Awareness Infographic (PRNewsFoto/PCOS Challenge, Inc.)

In honor of September being PCOS awareness month, I thought I would re-share my initial journey with PCOS. Click here to read the full story: https://whizdoms.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/our-journey-to-pregnancy-part-2/

PCOS continues to impact my life and our ability to grow our family. I am currently back on Metformin, and hope to find the means and motivation to stick to the PCOS diet (no dairy, no carbs, no sugar, no starches/i.e. paleo).

I am open for questions or discussions if any of you are struggling or believe you might be struggling with PCOS yourself!

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Until next time friends.

Infertility Link Up

I am linking up with Kelly’s Korner blog today about infertility. I am re-sharing my previous posts on this!

Miracles

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.

If you ever have any questions about PCOS or our infertility struggle, please contact me! We are currently researching the best options for giving Ryder a sibling, so we will see what God has in store for us in round 2 😉

I am also working on posts from the last 3 months as well as my first sponsored post! Yay!

Until next time friends.

National Infertility Awareness Week

Miracles

You are not alone! I cherished those words as we were going through our own battle with infertility. I knew there were others going through it, but to have someone who understood exactly what I was feeling and to be able to talk about it… well that meant the world to me. If you are currently in the midst of the battle, just know that there are others out there who know what it feels like. If you ever need a listening ear, I am here.

I am sharing links below to my previous posts about our journey with infertility:

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.

Here is more information about National Infertility Awareness Week.

Until next time friends.

jeffery

Our Journey to Pregnancy Part 2

I want to include the same preface for this post by acknowledging that our journey through infertility was much shorter with much less intervention than many couples go through; however, that does not discount the real, and oftentimes painful emotions that we faced. Everyone’s story is different, and this is ours. I have also included some hyperlink’s in this post that will take you to additional resources and information.

So what is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? One of my favorite resources, 1-in-10.org, defines it as the most common endocrine disorder in women. The reproductive aspects are actually secondary to the disorder, despite it being the leading cause of infertility in women. There is no cure for PCOS, but the wide array of symptoms can be effectively managed. I love this list of side effects and conditions from 1-in-10.org:

  • Type II Diabetes 
  • Infertility (seen in approximately 80%)
  • High blood pressure 
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
  • Periodontal Disease 
  • 10-fold risk of Heart Attack
  • Elevated male hormone levels 
  • 10-fold risk of Stroke
  • Excessive body hair growth & male-pattern baldness 
  • Elevated cholesterol & triglycerides
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Thickening of the uterine lining leading to precancerous lesions (Hyperplasia)
  • Increased risk of Endometriosis
  • Enlarged ovaries with multiple “cysts”
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Unexplained weight gain/obesity
  • Darkening of the skin in certain areas of the body (acanthosis nigricans)
  • Increased risk of Autoimmune Diseases

Just looking at this list shows how serious and even deadly PCOS can be. A 10-fold risk of stroke and heart attack should be enough to catch everyone’s attention! As I researched PCOS, so many of my struggles in life made sense! It is very difficult for women with PCOS to lose weight. One carb for me is like three for a normal person. My body simply cannot process insulin. That does not mean it is easy for me to say “no” to a piece of bread, but it does cause a second thought! If I had gone through 29 years of my life not knowing that I had this disease, how many other women are in the dark as well? If you are struggling with infertility, or weight gain, or any of the other side effects listed above, what can it hurt to go get checked out? Knowledge is power!

After I learned more about PCOS and had been on the Metformin for a couple of months, I decided to look at options for the next step to achieve pregnancy. I had read a lot about gluten free diets to improve fertility so I decided to give the nurse at the fertility clinic a call. I just started asking what changes I could make in my everyday life to improve my odds of getting pregnant. I was so excited when she told me that they were actually taking part in a research study for women with PCOS which focused on diet. The nurse said she would pass my information along to see if I would be a good candidate for the study. I really felt like this was my answer. I prayed fervently that this was God’s desire for me and that I could take part in this study. I was so relieved when the dietician called to inform me that I could participate! The diet was going to be tough, but I was so determined to do whatever I could to get pregnant! I was going to have to give up all dairy, grains, sugar, and starches. Fortunately, Chad was on board to do the diet with me! I was going to have to have some baseline testing done before I started the diet, so we had a few weeks to mentally prepare for the challenge ahead.

In early June, we were finally ready to tackle the diet! The dietician told us that we would not feel well for the first three days without sugar and carbs but that our energy would go back up after 3 days. Let me tell you, it was rough! I was so light headed and had horrible headaches. Finding food and meals that followed the diet was not too difficult, but I just could not get over that hump even though it had been almost a week! Cue that nagging feeling….

Exactly one week after I had started the diet I had the strange feeling that I should take a pregnancy test. It immediately turned positive. Because of what had happened in December, I decided not to tell Chad until I knew for sure! I headed to the fertility clinic to get the blood test. Naturally, the lab’s machines were down that day so I could not get the results until the next day. I still did not tell Chad. It was hard, but I felt like I was protecting my heart by not telling him. They finally called with the results, and I was ecstatic! I picked up a Father’s Day card for Chad on my way home because it was only a few days away. I also took another pregnancy test just so he could see it with his own eyes. He was in such a state of disbelief! We both thought it would take a lot more intervention to be able to conceive. We told our parents that weekend with Grandpa Father’s Day cards. It was such a blessing to be seeing a fertility doctor at that time because they were able to do blood tests for me twice a week to make sure the levels were rising and called with the results almost immediately. They also did an ultrasound at 6 weeks, and we were able to hear the most precious sound of all… our baby had a heartbeat! I think you all know how this story turned out about 7 months later!

I mentioned in my previous post how much I hated being told to “just relax, quit trying, don’t think about it and it will happen”! I still hate that advice, but I think there may be some truth in it. From the first time we saw the fertility specialist to finding out I was pregnant 3 months later, we had gone on 3 wonderful trips! We had been to New Orleans, Costa Rica, and Kansas City. Our thoughts were elsewhere. We were busy. Then I was so focused on the research study as a means to get pregnant, that I wasn’t even thinking about the possibility of getting pregnant right then! I would never tell anyone to “quit thinking about it” or “just relax”, but I will say to redirect your focus. I prayed for an answer, and honestly I got a distraction! The trips, the research study, they did take my mind off of it. I could not have quit thinking about trying to get pregnant on my own, that was a God thing.

I think being surprised with a pregnancy that we did not know if it would even be possible, and then realizing it was on God’s perfect time… was truly the sweetest gift.

announcement 2      announcement

Photo credit to the amazingly talented Alisa Joy Photography.

 

And remember how I said that I was worried that my child would not be close enough in age to my friends’ kids? Well, God took care of that too!  Ryder and his friend, Tanner, are just three months apart in age 😉

WD_0080

If you are struggling with trying to conceive, I would be happy to be your listening ear.

 

 

Our Journey to Pregnancy Part 1

I want to preface this post by acknowledging that our journey through infertility was much shorter with much less intervention than many couples go through; however, that does not discount the real, and oftentimes painful emotions that we faced. Everyone’s story is different, and this is ours. I have also included some hyperlink’s in this post that will take you to additional resources and information.

I have always been very motherly. I was obsessed with baby dolls as a little girl.  I also started babysitting at a very young age. To me it was never a question of “if” I would become a mother, but as we would learn it would be a question of “when”.

For the first two years of our marriage I commuted from Levelland to Lubbock. I had told Chad that I did not want to be pregnant and commuting, much less have a baby and be commuting! We moved into our brand new house in Lubbock in May of 2012. We had started “trying” to get pregnant a couple of months before that in March. I am such a methodical and analytical person that I immediately started using the ovulation predictors. I wanted to believe that it would happen fast for us, but I also wanted to do everything I could to somehow feel in control of the process. I would daydream about being able to tell all of our friends and family that we were expecting right after we moved in to the new house.

I had a few months where I would be up to 2 weeks late, and yet nothing. I was particularly heartbroken after having one of those extra long cycles in July only to have a big fat negative on the test stick. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my irregular cycles. I decided to use the left over money on my flex account for that year to get the Clearblue Fertility Monitor. The monitor worked the first few months in that it did identify “peak days”. Pretty soon, though, it was not detecting any peak days during my cycle. I had to wonder if that meant that I wasn’t even ovulating anymore. The test sticks for these monitors are EXPENSIVE so I quickly began to lose faith in this method and even quit the daily testing.

In December of 2012 I noticed I was late again. I was very hesitant to take a test because your heart can only handle so many negatives! I don’t know why, but I decided to take a test on a day that Chad was out-of-town (bad idea). It did turn positive, but almost as soon as I took the test I started bleeding. I rushed to my primary care physician’s office since it is close by. They told me that I was not pregnant. After talking with my mom, and doing some research, I decided to still go ahead and contact my OB. I had read that it is really very rare to have a false positive pregnancy test. My OB’s office did a different type of pregnancy blood test and when they finally called me with the results, they simply said they were “inconclusive”. To me inconclusive is almost more painful to hear than negative! They told me to come back in a few weeks to check again, but I knew in my heart that I was not pregnant.

I hit my low point in January of 2013. It seemed like everyone around me was getting pregnant. It can be such an isolating and hopeless feeling. I did not know how to talk to my friends that were pregnant. I dreaded hearing the “news” even though I knew that I really was happy for them!  At the time, I just wanted to allow myself to feel sad and depressed. I felt like I was going to get left behind because all of my friends would find new friends that also had kids. One thing that I wanted more than anything was for my child to be close to my friends’ children. I had such a special bond with my best friend because we had known each other our entire lives! I wanted my child to be able to experience that, and yet I could feel that dream slowly slipping away. While I know that it is sometimes easier to relate to people who are at the same stage of life as you, my true friends stuck around and were so gracious and patient with my emotional self! I would like to add that everyone’s advice to “just quit trying and it will happen” was less than helpful! I really think that is the worst thing you can say to anyone who is trying! I was also fully aware that I needed to trust God’s timing, but that did not necessarily take away all of the hurt that I was feeling.  What I really needed during that time was for people to be honest with me, not to complain about pregnancy around me, and just be a listening ear.

I eventually called my OB’s office and asked if I could get checked out due to the inconclusive pregnancy results. They said they could not see me until my annual exam so I begged them to refer me to a fertility specialist. I knew something was wrong just based on my cycles and not having “peak days” each month. When the fertility clinic called, they said that their main physician had a 9 month waiting list.  I was getting that sinking feeling of hopelessness again when they told me that there was a new physician in their office who could see me in a few weeks! They mailed out a packet with a bunch of tests that both Chad and I would need to have done before our appointment.

I will say that some of those tests were less than pleasant, but my greatest fear was that they wouldn’t find anything wrong! I wanted to feel validated somehow that there was something causing all of the pain! Ironically, I got my answer from the first set of blood work that was done prior to that appointment! My PCP’s office called with the results and said that my testosterone levels were high, but that was because of the PCOS. That was the first time I had ever heard the term PCOS, and I think my life changed in that moment! I asked the nurse for more information, and she said “oh, you have not been told you have PCOS before?” I said “no!”. So she said she would have to talk to the doctor and then later came back and told me to just wait and discuss it with the fertility specialist. So there I was, in limbo with a possible diagnosis and a possible answer to our problems. Another test I had before our appointment revealed that I also had a blocked right fallopian tube.

So March finally came and we had our big appointment! I was nervously excited! They started with an ultrasound, and just like that my diagnosis was confirmed. My ovaries were filled with cysts. I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. After reviewing all of my previous test results, he was also able to tell us that I had indeed suffered a miscarriage in December. Then he discussed the polyp that was blocking my fallopian tube.

So now that we knew a cause, we needed to decided on a treatment. The doctor laid out all of our options, including: Clomid, Metformin, surgery to fix the fallopian tube, and IUI. I think the idea of surgery was almost immediately thrown out. He did not recommend it, even though I would only be able to get pregnant every other month with it blocked. The surgery could create more scar tissue and would require some time to heal and recover before trying to get pregnant again. I personally was not ready to try the intrauterine insemination until we had looked at less invasive, less expensive options. So that left Clomid and Metformin. Clomid is a drug that increases the amount of hormones that support the growth and release of a mature egg. I had heard that you were limited to the amount of cycles that you could use Clomid on. I was hesitant to try it right off the bat and “waste our cycles”, so to speak. Metformin is a diabetes medication that can be used in women with PCOS to help process insulin and regulate menstrual cycles. So we decided to start with the Metformin until we had more time to review our options and process all of the overwhelming information!

Seeing as how it is late and this is already a long post, I will leave it at that for now! Check back tomorrow for more information on PCOS, and the crazy amazing miracle that happened next!