Thursday, September 30, 2010

Moving Forward...

Now that Birdies for Babies is over, I can only think about the future.  It is such a fun thing to daydream about.  I find myself eager to wake up every morning because more good news comes each day!  We are anxious to hear the final figures from the outcome of Birdies for Babies any day now.  We can not wait to hear the final number because we saw all the support it produced!  It was amazing.  The anticipation grows by the minute it feels like...Also, I feel when we hear the figure it will feel even more real..  It feels real now, but I know once we hear back from the Traders, I am going to feel like we have everything we need now!  :)

Now that our donor is chosen from FCI's donor gallery, we are working with our third party coordinator at FCI very closely.  She is basically our liason between us and the donor and the IVF process as a whole. She is walking us through the rest of the process.  She is going over lab schedules, consent forms, and legalities we will have to work out with the donor.  I have only spoke with the third pary coordiantor once to date, but from what it sounds like, I will be communicating alot more with her as we get closer to our BIG DAY!  Speaking of our BIG DAY, we have tentative dates in mind of when we would like to "conceive" at the FCI lab in Chicago.  We actually have not mentioned the specific dates to either of our families or friends.  We are still staying quiet about it because it is the one secret we feel we have at this point.  We can't wait to share that with our families, but we feel we are going to wait until after the wedding before we share!  I constantly am looking at my planner at work and just staring at the month we will try for our first baby.  I get butterflies in my stomach.  Stay tuned to my blog to see which month we choose! 

Our third party coordinator is currently working with our donor to do a final screening and working on consent forms with her.  I will be updated when she gives her availability for the next year.  It is exciting to be at this point because over the summer we had no insurance coverage and we had what felt like a TON of preliminary diagnostic testing to the fun stuff is starting!  I am anxious to receive any detail or piece of news from FCI on our next step....every piece of news makes my heart flutter. 

Until next time!...  :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birdies for Babies Golf Outing

After 1.5 months after being selected as the Birdies for Babies beneficiaries for 2010, on September 25 Birides for Babies was FINALLY here!  It was a beautiful Fall day!  We arrived at Tamarack Golf Course in Naperville.  I worked the check in/registration and Pat handed out the super nice windshirts to the golfers!  I loved my job because I had the opportunity to say hello to all the golfers who came out to support us and the cause!  I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were there for us!  We truly felt so much love and support!  After check in, my friend Lisa and I drove from hole to hole to talk with each of the foursomes individually.  It was nice to say hello to eveybody and see how everybody was doing.  Some of the foursomes are people I have not seen in so long!!!  It was alot of fun!  I even got to speak with Dr. Beltsos, Dr. Marut, and Dr. Sipe from FCI.  They were a fun foursome!  Our conversation was very inspiting.  At about 2 pm the reception started.  We enjoyed a nice buffet lunch.  The event sponsors and big donors were awarded plaques and Pat and I helped pass out the raffle prizes (which were real nice by the way!).  Dr. Uhler (our Doctor) came to the event and gave a speech at the podium at the reception.  Pat and I were asked to say a few words to the crowd that participated in the event.  I wanted to thank everybody and tell how grateful we are.  I knew it was going to be difficult, but I knew I had to try and say something.  However, I couldn't get through two sentences without crying.  I had to hand over the microphone to Pat and he finished the speech for the two of us.  The feelings I had can not be put into words.  After the speech Pat hugged and kissed me and whispered "I love you, we are doing this now."  And he is right...we can ACTUALLY do this now!!  The whole day was amazing.  THANK YOU to everybody who came out to support us and the cause!!!  We are forever changed by that Saturday!  We are overwhelmed by the generosity and pure kindness of people.  Todd and Melissa Trader are our angels.  They are extraordinary in every sense of the word!  We have not met kinder, more genuine people then that family.  We are blessed to have had the opportunity to meet them.  I get the chills just typing it.  Hopefully, we will get to bring our baby every year to the Birdies for Babies event annually to continue paying it forward to other families who are in need of a wish of a lifetime!  :)

The Donor Gallery

Due to our preliminary testing being completed and looking to start my trial cycles, Dr. Uhler gave me the green light to browse through the donor gallery!  At first I thought this would be easy and fun, but once I started to look though it, I realized that not one person was good enough.  I know I was being over analytical, but nobody tells you how hard it is to choose half of your baby's genetics to replace your own! We decided to create a list of the three most important things the donor HAD to have in order for us to choose one.  It was real tough.  We decided on one donor and we felt confident, but 48 hours later we found out news of SIDS ran in the family and opted to pass on that donor.  So we needed to start from square one again. 

I needed a break because choosing the first donor took a lot emotionally out of me.  It turned into a very sensitive topic within hours of us starting to browse through.  I didn't think it was going to be an emotional thing until I expereienced it.  I had to learn how to remove the personal aspect of this process out.  It has to be treated like a business deal.  It's not like I am ever meeting this person, nor ever knowing her real name.  It was hard for me to look at a picture and to remove the personal side of things.  I never experienced that ever in my life being that I am a personable person this was a hard task.

I never officially started to look again but I was just checking the website on September 23 because it is an everyday ritual, I came across a new face and new application!  I felt an immediate was so random!  I immediately contacted the donor coordinator at FCI to arrange for us to sign a document to "officially" choose her so we can get started on the consent forms.  We are so excited!!!  We finally chose a donor we both feel confident about.

No Insurance Coverage :(

As my preliminary testing is over and Pat is just finishing up with his sperm analysis, we were informed my employer does not cover any IVF treatments.  We were very disheartened.  I couldn't even think about it.  I was down for a long time.  I could not believe I not only had to think of the possibility of the physical side of getting pregnant, but the financial side to getting pregnant as well!!!  It was such a bad day when we found out.  I couldnt stop crying about it for days, even weeks.  I felt like I got punched in the stomach.  Pat tried everything to make me feel better, but nothing was working.  I had no idea where to start with this new idea.

After a few days, I was determined to find something out there in this world that could maybe help us...I looked at cancer survivor websites and medical loan companies.  I could not believe the cost of infertility treatment!  The cost of our case estimated $25,000.  I thought "We will never have $25,000 just sitting around...that is a lot of money!"  On July 16, I was on the FCI facebook page and saw a post made by Todd Trader with a title of WIN A FREE IVF CYCLE.  My eyes lit up and I had a good feeling in my stomach.  I immediately clicked on the link to look further into it.  I opened up an application and filled it out as fast as I could because I saw at the bottom of the application that the due date for all applications was that day!!  I wanted so badly to be considered, but I knew our chances were slim to none!  As I was filling it out I felt a calmness come over me and a pure grace that I knew everything was going to be ok; just to be patient and have faith.  It was the strangest feeling, but somehow, someway, I felt an instant relief.

Through correspondence with Todd Trader, we found out via email on July 28 (the anniversary of my diagnosis of cancer/my mom's bday) at 8:28am that WE WERE SELECTED for the 2010 beneficiaries for Birdies for Babies!!!!!!!!!  Pat and I were jumping on the bed with joy!  We could not believe it!  I read the email 20 times and still didn't believe it!  Pat told me call Todd!  Make sure this is for real!  I called Todd to confirm and he said ..."you can get excited!"  haha I will never forget that morning.  That morning changed our lives forever!  I could not stop shaking with joy!  :)

Prolactin Levels

FCI is real good about giving you the results of any blood work done that day.  I got a phone call around 2:30pm and was informed my prolactin levels are elevated.  Of course I think of the worst and think oh no!  I am never going to get preganant because of my stupid prolactin levels!  I called FCI back frantically to talk to Shannon, my nurse, and she said no worries!  Worst case scenario - you will just be put on a medication to lower it so it is in the normal range.  My levels were barely elevated, but just to be on the safe side, I started on the mdeication and take it twice a week to keep my prolactin levels down.  Three weeks later, a blood test revealed my prolactin levels were normal!!  Phew!  ...I guess I can get pregnant now...ha

Preliminary Testing

Patrick and I completed our preliminary testing at FCI.  We were both asked to have blood work run.  Pat had to do a sperm analysis and I had to have a saline sonogram.  At first this was a lot to take in.  I never even heard of a saline sonogram!  I thought it would hurt!  So I went in on July 12 with my mom, Kristen, and my godbaby Macy to FCI in Naperville to have my blood taken and saline sonogram done by Dr. Uhler.  First, the blood test!  The nurse approached me with 10 viles!  I could not believe that!  Why on earth would I need to give that much blood?!  I never had to give that much even with cancer!  Anyways, so I continued thinking ok I have given blood hundreds of times before...this is nothing!  The next thing I knew I was telling the nurse ok I think I am sick, and blacked out.  I had a juice box, full of sweat, and slowly color came back into my face as I was laying in the nurse's arms.  Luckily, they got the majority of the blood they needed from me.  Next, I was on to the saline sonogram.  It was not bad at all.  If anything I experienced some mild cramping but nothing painful.  It was very cool to see my empty uterus being measured.  The doctor said it was relatively small due to the lack of hormones I have had since I was 12.  She started me on aggressive doses of estrogen and progesterone.  I couldn't peel my eyes off the ultrasound monitor just staring at my empty uterus on the screen.  I could already envision our little baby there one day.  Overall, not a bad day! :)