Thursday, December 29, 2011

Being Pregnant :)

Well, now I have been pregnant for just about 2 weeks.  All I can say is that I am loving every second of it.  I am realizing I worry about whatever is in my tummy 24/7.  Apparently, this is what motherhood is all about, so I hear...and this is just the beginning! haha  My mom laughs at me and my worries.  Anyways, my symptoms have remained the same.  However, I am more fatigued and more nauseous.  I am on the verge of gagging every time I eat.  LOVING it though!  I can sleep all day every day...even sitting up. My temp is still always 99.5.  I feel like a walking furnace. :)  Also, at work one of the physical therapists I work with was with a patient walking down the hallway.  As I walked by she looked at me and whispered, "Are you pregnant?" I said why do you say that?  She said I can see it in your are on the verge of throwing up and my posture was leaning forward.  You just look a little different than your everyday self.  I laughed and said wow, that was impressive! and yes, I do feel sick and sleepy.  She said she has a sixth sense for this.  Apparently, she does!  Also - my lower abdomen is completely bloated!  It is too early for a baby bump just yet...but for those that know what is going on knows I am extremely bloated and definitely is not subtle, which is OK with me. :)

I have been feeling some stretching in my uterine area, especially last night.  From what I hear, that is a good thing! I have called the nurses at IRH twice now asking for an earlier ultrasound because I am now 5w3d and Jan 6th I will be about 6.5 weeks.  They said I will not see much before that and that it will be worthwhile to wait since my numbers were so high...there is no doubt.  So I wait...and I am finally ok with waiting on this end of the spectrum.  I can't wait to see what is inside me.  It already is such an amazing feeling.  I already know I am going to need to bring the tissues with me to the ultrasound...January 6th can't come soon enough! :)

For now I just put my hands on my tummy, and rub my baby(s) and just wonder what I will see on Jan 6.  I am going to enjoy every step of this pregnancy and not rush or wish time to pass.  I am right where I have wanted to be for a long time now.  Life is good and could not be any better right now.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sharing Our Happy Christmas News! :)

The joy of sharing our happy news with others was something we talked about earlier prior to our high beta numbers and positive hpt. We know we are still VERY early in this pregnancy, but we felt that sharing our happy news with others while the news was fresh was best. I have always told my story as it happens regardless of it's happy or sad tone. I am known for writing the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I never pick and chose what I decide to share with others - I share it all. There are ups and downs in this process, and sharing them as they happen is real life and this is what I am all about. So our decision was easy. We decided to share our news with everybody as it happens and we are so happy we did. It is just who we are. :)

The day we announced our happy news, we were flooded with calls, texts, facebook posts and messages, etc. by our friends and family. We felt the love that day to say the least.  Thank you for reaching out to us and writing us your sweet messages. We continue to feel overjoyed and extremely blessed this holiday season. Each and every message means so much to us! Thank you! We have the BEST support system!

Our first ultrasound is on Friday, January 6 in Ohio with Dr. Scheiber at IRH! I will be a little over 6 weeks so we should be able to see the heartbeat. We can't wait!  Dr. Scheiber has been communicating his joy to us while he is on vacation as he is off this week. I love his emails! His emails are one of the things that make me feel such a personal connection with him. His door is always open and he responds within hours (even while on vacation)! :)

Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy time with family.  I know we will... :)  We have been given our Chirstmas wish of a lifetime. We feel so blessed and have been given everything we wanted this year. We have so much to look forward to! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2nd Beta

and the report is in....477!!!  Still super high and strong! It doubled very nicely! Doctor was pleased and is ready to schedule our 6-week ultrasound! No date has been scheduled at this point, but it will most likely be Friday, January 6th! We will go back and give Dr. Scheiber the BIGGEST hug and thank him for everything as he scans our little miracle!  The nurse told us we can hear and see the heartbeat as well... Oh the joys to look forward to! :)

Also, Pat and I walked into a Carters baby store for the first time as "expectant parents"  We were just in a state of awe for what is to come. We used to go into these stores with a dream and now we are living that dream. We are just beaming with excitement!!!! :)

Symptoms at this point -

*Constantly warm - my body temperature has been elevated to a low-grade fever temperature (my body is working overtime...I can feel it!)

*No taste for food

*I had 3 pimples in the middle of last week and I can't remember the last time I even had a pimple! Luckily, they are starting to go away!

*Fatigue all day

That is about it! Other than that I feel completely normal! Hopefully this is the extent of it for the 1st trimester! One can hope.... :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Well, we got our good news that we have been waiting 1 year to hear! Our beta was 248.7 on 8dp5dt!  That is a nice and strong beta! Our morning started long before our beta though....

I woke up at 7am...early to bed early to rise...I fell asleep early the night before by the Christmas tree. When I woke up in bed, I thought should I! I stopped myself...I cant possibly see ANOTHER negative on those stupid hpts!  An experience I knew all too well.  Some of my worst IVF memories include those stupid sticks! I looked at Pat while he was sleeping...I laid there for another hour praying/meditating and decided I am just going to do it but will need Pat's help because I am not that strong! I said Pat I am going to take a test...he responded no...why would you do that?  I said ok fine I won't... (he was right, I turn into a crazy person). About 10 minutes later he said you can take a pee and I will go and look at the results...I agreed with reluctance...

I walked to the bathroom and opened my last hpt from our cycle last february...I did the deed and tried to get myself out of there as fast as humanly possible.  To much surprise, before I could make my getaway...there was that beautiful 2nd line!  It appeared within seconds!  Quick and dark!  I started to shake as I lifted it up and yelled "Pat...I am pregnant!" I ran into our bedroom and showed Pat the stick and he both started to cry and hugged!  We felt this can't be happening! This is not our lives...Pat said get your shoes on we are going to Rush Hospital downtown to the lab (where Pat works) to run the beta.  One of the perks to hubby working in a hospital medical lab! :)  A Beta is the test doctors run to see how high the pregnancy hormone is in your blood indicating if it is a viable pregnancy. We were both so excited and couldn't stop shaking of pure joy! 

An hour later Pat had one of his co-workers draw my blood and run the test.  In the meantime, Pat enjoyed a coffee as we walked through the hospital as my blood vial sat in the machine so we could get the results immediately! We made phone calls as well!  We returned back to the lab and Pat said to wait in the break room as he grabbed the results from the machine.  My beta was 248.7 at 8dp5dt! Pat was fist pumping in the lab when he first picked up the report and said Katie you have to read this...I looked at it and I said...holy cow!!!  No way!!!  This is a VERY high beta!  yowzers!

We are over the moon....we are PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It feels amazing to be on the other side...Please keep praying for a healthy pregnancy!  We are proof that miracles do happen everyday! What an amazing Christmas miracle. God is good! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pat, You're Up to Bat...

It's crazy to think that this summer, our cycle seemed like an eternity away.  It was strange because that patience I have lacked pretty much my entire life started to kick in.  I was finally not feeling a sense of "rushed" and kind of went to my own drum, letting the situation take it's course because when I finally stopped trying to control the my bad news train situation, things were falling into place all around me without effort. New job = new benefits, new egg donor, (good friend), new doctor, new ideas, support system growing exponentially, even helping me stock my inventory of drugs I was lacking a few of.  It's just been an amazing epiphany.

Egg retrieval is here! This is pretty much one of the most important steps of the process.  The quality of eggs is the #1 reason of diagnosed infertility. So basically what we are able to get here, gives us a good outcome of what is to come.  It all started at 3am this morning.  (Yep! I was up!)  I couldn't sleep...the same feelings a child gets on Christmas Eve.  I prayed, meditated, took time to was rather nice...time actually was flying.  The stillness and peacefulness was just what I think I needed.  I had alot to pray and thank God for.  I also, poked Pat, (by the way - not looking to join me in my silences).  He was refusing to wake up until the alarms went off...understandably so...can't blame the guy! At 545 we were up showering and getting ready for what is the first major step of this process. Pat stayed in bed a tad bit longer to meditate to ease some of the pressure...yes, guys feel the pressure too.  Today was his day to shine. 

We arrive 15 minutes early and sign some papers and off Pat went with a grin on his face.  He always feels so self-conscious for this part. (teehee)

Samie was due to the office 45 minutes before us for her egg retrieval.  Side note: I texted her when I was up by myself to share my excitement pretty early...  I figured she would get a kick out of it when she woke up.  She was well into her procedure by the time we got there. Her boyfriend was waiting in the lobby waiting for her to finish up and help her recover. We were all in a quiet was before sunrise...he was a trooper.

For a space in time, I was alone in the lobby, Samie in one room, Pat in another, well there was the lab receptionist I guess.  I brought my St. Gerard medal and just held it and ran it through my fingers.  I took a few moments to look around and give the outcome of all of this to God.  I am letting everything go, and just letting it be, for I know this is all out of my control at this point and is all up to the big guy upstairs.  I looked around the room and could not believe the situation I had in front of me.  In one room, I had a husband who I love more than life itself, and in another room, I have a good friend who has been so kind enough to donate eggs to us.  I was surrounded by people full of love.  I thought about when I was a child that having this situation to deal with later in life would be a form of "shunning" or being "ashamed" (I was a child, I didn't know much about everything in the IVF world. I just knew I wouldn't be normal.)  There I was surrounded by love and support from everybody I know.  If only I could've told this to the 12-year-old girl in a hospital bed. :)

When Pat walked out, we were done and were told we would get a call later with the results from one of the IVF nurses...I knew Samie would text me as she was in the procedure room finishing up if she could, so we knew well before the "official" report. Her enthusiasm with this has been real high so she is eager to pass info to me relatively quickly.  Love that about her!  I love the whole known donor has been much more fun knowing her and has been way less complicated! We couldn't be any happier with our situation!

As for the results, the goal was to get 12-15 eggs, but Dr. Scheiber was able to retrieve 18 EGGS from Samie! They looked nice and big which is a great sign!  WOOT WOOT!  I did a happy dance as I received Samie's text.  I was glowing from the inside out.  This news could not have been any better! Now we wait for the fertilization report and the daily reports after that to see how our little buggaboos are doing in the lab.  I can't wait to get these phone calls...  Also - we will get an idea of when our transfer will be.  Exciting!

Right now Pat and I are both excited and feel optimistic for this cycle.  Things have been moving smoothly for us. (for once!) We hope it stays this way...hopefully this could be the end of one journey and the start of another...right now we are wishing with everything we have for our miracle to happen; our dream to come true.

Thank you to all those who sent emails, texts, facebook messages, etc. to us at this time.  Your support brings such a nice calmness to us...just knowing we have friends and family out there thinking and praying for us everyday helps us feel our prayer network is working in full force.  I am a true believer in prayer networks...I know they work!  We love you all and would not be as strong as we are without all of you. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Hop, Skip, and a Jump Away

Things are looking great so far!  Samie had 11 nice and big follicles on Tuesday and she was only on stims for 5 days!  Right now she seems to be feeling very uncomfortable and bloated which means egg retrieval is coming up quick!  She says it is pretty painful at this point.  I never had the opportunity to experience that half of the process.  It sounds intense.  Of course my heart aches for every ache and pain she feels.  I wish there was something I could do for her to take some of her pain away.  I wish it were me rather than her, but that is just not our situation. :(  In a way, her pains mean that the meds are working!  The more uncomfortable she feels the more the effect of the meds on her body.  I am happy her body has been responding so well to the meds! It sounds like egg retrieval is coming up! It feels like everyday I am getting a call on updates on both me and her from IRH. Yep...things are looking good!  I am looking forward to how many follicles she has tomorrow! ...and when the egg retrieval is scheduled!  Samie, hang in there girl! You got this...  Thanks for showing women everywhere how strong and amazing people can be.  You truly are an inspiration to others and we could not have asked for a more perfect person to help us.  You will never know how much you have touched my heart through this process. I am forever changed by your selfless act of kindness. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have a family. :)

My monitoring appointment was today and things are looking good!  Ultrasound and bloodwork came back great.  I am layering up beautifully.  I got to see my friends over at FCI Naperville.  It was so good to see all the familiar faces!  I loved our little reunion.  I could have spent my entire morning just catching up with them.  It is nice that they wish us the best with this cycle and are rooting for us.  I most definelty will keep you all updated! 

Everybody please keep Pat, Samie, and I in your prayers.  We need them now more than ever!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friends are Everywhere

A BIG Thank You goes to all that have donated Vivelle patches to me recently!!!  It still amazes me that people are continually so generous to us.  We are constantly reminded that we have really made some AMAZING friends through this process!!  Thank you for your donations to us!!  Love all of you!  I know all your patches are full of good luck too! :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is Your Mama a Llama?

I thought this video was pretty interesting considering we are about to have an egg donor cycle!  I have always wondered how this process will affect the child later in their life (especially the teenage years).  I have always been at peace with this decision, because I never had a decision in the process.  Everything was decided for me when I was a child.  I had a decade and some years to understand and accept this situation for what it was, and I have.  I feel extremely lucky I still have options available to me.  To me, it was always, this is a miracle that I would be even able to carry a baby with all the scientific advances and techniques we have available to us.  After watching a short interview with an egg donor child, it answers some of my questions I did have.  Of course all situations are different and all people differ with how they feel or what they share, but watching this video brings comfort to me.  This is an extremely prevelant avenue to explore and used to increase chances for IVF couples.  The statistics are in our favor.  A family is a family no matter how they come to be.  I think the child really gets a good sense of how badly they were really wanted before they were even conceived, and that is a pretty cool feeling.  :)

After speaking with several psychologists about this topic, we were asked how and when we would share the truths about our conception story with our future child(ren).  We both had the same early as possible.  Being on the same page with this makes life so much easier.  The sooner the better for everybody!  Having secrets only confuses everybody.  As stated in the video, we want our children's identity to be known from a very early age so they didn't have to figure it all out later in life.  We want our child to have a full understanding of how they came to be and to always be able to ask us questions about it whenever the questions would surface.  Being open and honest is what we feel is the best policy for us!

Interview with an Egg Donor Child

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our Guardian now a blogger too!!!

With all the hoopla getting ready for our upcoming cycle, our egg donor and I are constantly texting, chatting, phoning, or what have you...The thing is, my last egg donor was anonymous. I was blinded by the other half of this process. I only was able to hear the facts- the medical updates. Sure those were important, but now I am so curious to hear from her angle. Our egg donor, Samie has become interested in writing a blog of her own. It is entitled, "The Hopeful Stork". You will feel her positivity, high energy, and passion shine through.

We all know that it takes a very special person to donate. It takes a warm, generous, and loving person to truly "get" the time, emotional tug, and efforts of each step of the process. With Samie starting her own blog, I thought how cool is this?! We can link our blogs together to make it a complete story! Also - we get a glimpse of the other side that I have and will ever experience. Her explanations of the emotional and physical journey she is about to go on is all there. As the recipient of her eggs, I am so intrigued and I know this will help educate people on what the process ACTUALLY entails straight from an egg donor! As she calls it "the truth". This will show you the physical hurdles, the emotional demands, the often incoveinent process, yet rewarding all in the same breath. Sounds like alot, right? Well, her side of the story will be covered as well. Also - I am sure she will experience different emotions with this cycle because she knows us and will be able to hear the outcome as we find out the news. Before she was an anonymous donor and did not get to follow up with the results. Feel free to follow her side of the journey as well as mine! It already is such an amazing story thus far and you will be able to know why Pat and I feel so honored to be her recipient couple.

She is amazing in every sense of the word. Her blog had me cry already and I haven't even started my hormones yet! haha She is our guardian angel and the words "thank you" doesn't even begin to cover the gratitude we are already feeling....

Our nurse coordinator, Lizzie called me today from IRH and FDA testing was all cleared today!! WOO HOO!! (Yes, we talk just about daily!) We are cleared to start! She mentioned to me that Samie was so tickled and excited to be doing this for us and it is so sweet to see from her position. She says you know this just feels so right and now knows what I was referring to when I talked her up so much at my last appointment. I always seem to get the chills when talking about her....

I was always told by my mother as a child, "Yes, your baby may have some physical traits that look like your future egg donor, but it will have your heart. But what I shared with my mom today, "I knew she would be the best donor because not only is she a beautiful person on the outside, but she also has the biggest heart...and that is the one most important trait I want my baby (or babies) to possess.

Treatment plan now has dates set to it. Yep, this is the part where it starts to feel so real! Medications are ordered and picked up, dates are set, and yes - Christmas is right around the corner....are you thinking what I am thinking? :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Foundation: Me and You

“I, Kathleen Megan, take you, Patrick Lloyd….”

This time one year ago, I was beginning my first whole day of being married. I was probably finishing up getting my hair and makeup done, and was getting ready to dance the night away with my brand new husband. Possibly still engraving each second of our wedding in my memory. The last week has been full of memories for me. I remember how it felt to go through my last week of "single", finalizing schedules for the big day that was coming in 6...5..4.. days.  And then the Friday before the wedding came, and our guests had arrived, and thinking "holy cow, this is it!!!!".  The rehearsal dinner at Papa Joes, and the best pasta and wine ever surrounded by our closest friends and family from all over the country.  Life was good. I stayed up talking to my mom to the wee hours of the morning in my bed, overcome with so many emotions - still in disbelief it was the day before OUR wedding. I couldn't believe I was staying at the house I grew up in on my LAST night as a Dennis girl.
“To be my lawfully wedded husband….”

And then the day arrived. Saturday morning dawned bright, beautiful and crisp - the PERFECT fall day that I dreamed it would be.  It was November in Chicago not a cloud in sight!  Having all my sisters and closest friends come to my house at 6am to get ready. I remember laughing. A lot. And smiling so much my face hurt. Getting ready with my girls and having my hair done by the same woman who shaved my head during my cancer treatments and my makeup done by a MAC makeup artist. It was every girls fairytale dream.  The last minute jewelry decision, the "don't forget perfume", "have you eaten today?", "drink water!", "who has the rings?" questions and demands. My heart was racing all morning knowing that 1:00pm was coming so fast. And then! It was time. My mom pulled everyone together to leave for the church as the limo arrived 15 minutes late, and then it was time to walk inside the church and waiting the last five minutes to see my love. I read his letter he had written to me seconds away from walking down the aisle.  I cried reading his last words as we being two singles.  Already tears were in my eyes knowing I was marrying the man made for me. I remember not looking at my dad while we waited to walk the aisle because I knew he would be my tipping point and I would start bawling. I remember the way he looked at me and said it's about that time with a fatherly smile showing how proud and happy he was and laced his fingers with mine and proudly walked me down the aisle and gave me to Pat. And then all I remember were Pat's eyes. He grabbed for my hand with a smile so big.  Also - The way he held mine through the entire ceremony whispering "you are soooooo beautiful"... His voice as he vowed to love me forever. And then the magic words "man and wife"!!!!! ....I had a husband....!  It was the wedding of our dreams...the ultimate fairytale wedding.

“To have and to hold from this day forward....”

And it's already been a year. I can't believe how much has happened in the space of a year. How much we've had to adjust to each other, learn from each other, and depend on each other for the highs and lows life has thrown at us.  We are a strong couple.  Without Pat, I could not face alot that I am currently facing.  He shows me what is important in life and how to be the best person I can be. For those that know us, we complement eachother perfectly. We are two opposites that did attract. We fill the voids of eachother's weaknesses making us 1 complete whole. We show eachother different experiences. Together we are a dynamic duo and can beat anything and I truly believe this.  For the first time, I am not scared of anything life throws at me because at the end of everyday I know I have the best husband who completes who I am. I am very lucky to have found him. Even after one year of marriage everyday seems just a little better than the day before. I could not have asked for a better partner in life.

“Until death do us part.”

Pat, you are without a doubt, the man of my heart. I love you more today than I did a year ago. My respect for you has grown, and I love finding ways to honor you. I will strive to create a home filled with love, acceptance, courage and grace. My heart is forever held by you.  You are an amazing man, and I am so proud, and blessed, to call you my husband.

Happy First Anniversary, my love, my friend, my Husband.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chicago Sun-Times

Back in September, we worked with Jane from the Sun-Times.  She made several visits to our home.  Some to chit chat to hear more of our story and some to take pictures.  Jane was amazing to work with!  We found her to be such a delight (and one of the biggest dog lovers!) :)

Everything seems to be falling into place and right on schedule.  We couldn't be happier with how things are progressing.  So far, everything has gone very smoothly!  (Knock on wood!)  It's funny how I have changed since the first time we did this with our Anonymous egg donor.  Yes, I am still excited like the first time, but I am now more of a calm excited.  I know what is up ahead unlike before.  This time around instead of seeing things through the eyes of somebody who has never seen or heard these things, I am now more seasoned and am going to enjoy the steps as they come for what they are.  There are details that are much different working with a different clinic and new doctor, but it has been a breathe of fresh air.  We feel surrounded by love at this time of the year.  Maybe it is because our anniversary is fast-approaching and we feel the warmth from that day with such wonderful memories and the holidays are fast approaching.  For those that know me so well, I am Christmas obsessed!  So many things to look forward to.

I have my post-op appointment tomorrow morning with Dr. Scheiber over the phone.  All will be well I am sure.  He will just confirm the results we have already heard and talk about any questions we have with what is to come!  I look forward to checking that off the list as we move forward.  Each week brings more to look forward to! Wow! Time is flying! :)

Hope is in the air...I can just feel it...

Chicago Sun-Times

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


This week was a week full of events...I celebrated my birthday on Monday which was full of fun, but also, a 4 hour car ride to Cincinnati.  This trip was for a surgery my doctor wanted me to schedule before our next attempt.  I have been putting this procedure off for months for a couple reasons.  1 - It scared me. I didn't want to know the results. I don't have a happy history with surgeries 2 - My body was so vulnerable in the past. I just couldn't put it through much more with all the drugs and procedures I was doing before. 3 - Insurance did not cover it.  All reasons which led me to not get the surgery.  After a few months off and our insurance coverage and our new doctor that I love and trust talked me into it.  He said it would increase my chances, plus there was something about him that made me trust him and knowing he would be the surgeon eased all my worries.

We arrived to Cincy at 11pm on Monday night.  I had the expected cold feet all people get before going into any surgical procedure.  Pat eased my worries and we fell asleep with our alarms set.  Before we knew it - it was 7:30am and off we go to The Christ Hospital.  My mother-in-law joined us for support!  It really means so much to me that she took the day off work to be there for us.  It is comforting knowing we have such amazing support.  I checked in wearing my pajamas and glasses.  We waited a few minutes in the waiting room and then I heard a nurse call, Mrs. Davis? Are you ready?  We jump up and walk to the pre-op room.  I meet the anesthesiologist first.  He explains what I will be on and he will be watching me the entire time I was asleep.  We chatted about Naperville (because his son played lacrosse for a tournament there). Small world!  It was nice to have that connection.  Very friendly man.  My nerves went more to ease.  I changed into my gown, slippers, and hat.  Ok - now my nerves shot up!  The flashbacks came flooding back to me.  Damn cancer!  I hate you and your flashbacks. I still refused to lay in the bed.  haha Pat was cracking jokes as I was changing into my gown.  I guess he was trying to ease his nerves as well.  He admitted it was not easy with his wife being put under even if it was for a short while.  My IV was being put in and I was nervous.  I don't have a good history with IVs.  I was a child.  I was scared out of my mind.  Everything used to hurt me and people were always doing things that I was not comfortable with in a hospital setting.  SO of course everytime a person came in the room.  I was uncomfortable.  It is just my past.  The nurse came in and gave me a drug similar to Valium.  Yep - I was "on a high" for about 30 minutes.  The nurse gave it to me a little earlier to enjoy the high.  haha I think I needed it..... After about an hour and half,  Dr. Scheiber came in to say hey, and then the nurse said the words, OK say your goodbyes with hugs and kisses..Ugh I hate those words.  I kissed my husband and said see you later. kissed my mother-in-law and said see you soon, and I was wheeled to the operating room. 

The operating room was just as I remembered it from when I was 12.  Lots of people, scurrying around, smiling, chatting, asking if I needed anything.  It was freezing in there.  My glasses were off so I could not see a thing!  Just people...I was being hooked up to several machines by the anesthesiologist and as he was finishing, I saw another person walk in, and I knew it was Dr. S.  He said well, hello Miss Katie. Are you ready to get going?  I was smiling.  His voice is so calming to me.  I just laid back and listened to him as he directed the staff.  I remember him saying, "She is from Chicago, let's make her trip worthwhile."  Everybody chuckled and said, Oh we will!  We will talk gooooood care of you.  The next thing I remember is a mask being placed over my mouth and being told to think of a happy vacation destination and think of the details.  And boom - I was waking up being wheeled out!

I was so groggy- and blind!  I heard Dr. Scheiber's voice as I was being wheeled out and I asked. Did you find anything?!  I vaguely remember him saying, "I removed some scar tissue and a few small polyps, but your uterus looks beautiful now.  Now it's time to put some babies in there!"  I started tearing with relief and happiness.  I was relieved he didn't mutter the word cancer.  I am forever scarred by that experience. It will always be a fear of mine.  But to say it went perfectly, and to say it's baby time made me smile with tears of joy.

Pat and my mother-in-law came to see me in the recovery room after they talked with Dr. Scheiber.  Pat went over everything in detail and said Dr. Scheiber is so happy with what he has to work with now. He removed some waxy scar tissue and a few small polyps.  Nothing serious, but just fine tuned the uterus for implantation.  My uterus is ready for him. He said he is eager to get moving with a cycle now. We are ready!

I am so happy I decided to move forward with the procedure.  I feel in my gut it will help our chances next time.  I couldn't be any happier with where we are at and having Dr. Scheiber as my doctor.  He has been so amazing so far.  He has exceeded my expectations already.  He is such a perfect person to be working with us!  I am so excited!

As for the recovery, I am back to work and feeling 100% back to normal.  Thank you all for your well wishes!  I had an amazing birthday and great news from my surgery!  I can say I had a great bday present!  Thank you to our support system.  You really have no idea how much you help us as we go through all these crazy experiences.  You help keep us moving forward!  We can't thank you enough!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Claim: Processed

Well, we had our appointments last week in Ohio and of course I went into the appointment knowing we were covered by insurance.  Great feeling.  However, even knowing we were going to be ok - I still wondered - could I be wrong?  What if it doesn't cover?  What if there is another loophole?  There is just no way.  These are just a few thoughts I had this week.  Pat just tells me I am crazy and I triple checked this over the summer and I just needed to relax and let it take it's course.  Well, I thought this was all just too good to be true.  SO of course this past week I kept checking my UHC online account to check for my claims.  And today. I saw the magical words, 10/11/11 Claim: Processed, Patient Owes $0.  How could I already be so excited about was just the consult appointment, but still we used to pay for EVERY SINGLE THING - and we just kind of went with the punches knowing it would pay off.  Was it wrong that I just wanted to stand up in my office, scream, and do a happy dance?  ...Wow...I am turning into my mother!  haha...not a bad thing!  :)  Now, we are have our cake and eating it too.  :) It's amazing how something like the words Claim: Processed, Patient Owes $0 makes you feel like a million bucks!  Nobody could wipe the smile off my face.  Makes me even more excited for what is to come! 

At this point we are gearing up for my surgery.  I am kind of nervous, but more excited.  Nobody likes to be put under anesthesia, but I know this will help Dr. Scheiber give us the best possible chance for our cycle.  Things are moving so fast, or is it that I am becoming more patient?  Maybe a nice mix of both!  Good things come to those who wait.

In the meantime, Pat got his MCAT score back and found out he scored in the 91-93 percentile!  Couldn't be more proud of Pat!  He amazes me everyday!  I think our luck is turning around!  ;-)   Now time to start picking out medical schools together!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our Initial Consult with Dr. Scheiber :)

Well, our initial consult with Dr. Scheiber at IRH in Cincy could not have gone any better!  Pat and I knew from the second we walked in that we felt so comfortable and knew we were in such great hands.  We finally were able to experience all the wonderful things we have heard from several Chicago couples about Dr. Scheiber. 

First thing in the morning, Pat had some initial testing to do.  We got that knocked out in the morning to have the results later in the afternoon.  In between appointments, we did a little shopping at the local mall.  We had fun.  We couldn't stop chatting about how different things already seemed with a new doctor, new lab, new everything. 

We returned in the afternoon to speak with the doctor...he invited us in to sit on the couch in his office (like it was so casual...ha).  He was cracking jokes as we went over his medical questions with us.  Our personalities clicked right away.  We went over the gazillion questions I had for him as we start on our next venture with this.  He pulled up my questions from his email account (because I emailed all my questions 1 week prior because I am that crazy!)  He went over each one in great detail.  His answers were exactly what we wanted to hear.  IRH does things so much different than FCI.  I have been so used to do things a certain way here in Chicago than Cincy.  It is amazing how practices differ so much.  As we were finishing up he asked to to a physical exam in the ultrasound room.  Get this - the DOCTOR does the ultrasound!  Yes, the doctor does the ultrasound!  He said he wants to visually see everything and not hear it from a tech.  LOVE THIS!  He was talking to me the entire time as he did the physical exam saying everything looked perfect and could not have asked for a better patient....  :)  He then wanted to to a practice transfer so he knew all the details of my uterus.  He wanted to get me sized for a catheter to fit my uterus and the best location to place the embryos for the real deal.  Each person gets a catheter fitted to their uterus.  He was telling the nurse in the room my measurements to have ready for me for my transfer.  This was new to me, but I liked the sound of it!  As we were finishing up we went over how we would do the monitoring in Chicago and he said he really does not need to do much with me.  He is more concerned with the egg donor's monitoring.  He says he only needs to check me once before we drive down for transfer on the 13th day and I can have that done anywhere in Chicago.  It was weird to hear him say just once without any concern.  He feels there will be no issues.  Also - he has me on a different med protocol.  I think it sounds fantastic.  The more he talked about his opinions on things - the more confident we got.  We both felt like we were in great hands with Dr. Scheiber.

We then met with Lizzie West - the egg donor coordinator.  She will be the liaison between us and our "known egg donor"  We went over all the details that we needed to know for our upcoming cycle.  As we were chatting with Lizzie, we had more questions to ask Dr. Scheiber.  So Lizzie asked him to come into her office - and he came in right away and stayed until we were finished.  We felt like we were his only was such a feeling of relief.  We truly felt so special.  I have never met a doctor like this in ANY of my medical history experiences.  As for our "egg donor" she is very excited to get things moving along.  I like having a friend going through this simultaneously with me.  I can already feel a bond.

By the end of our appointment - we had our game plan set and in motion.  I will be having an outpatient surgery done next week to take pictures of my uterus using a scope.  It is called a hysteroscopy.  I will be put to sleep for this procedure just to make sure I am still and my muscles do not tense as it is going to be very uncomfortable.  It is nothing serious.  Dr. Scheiber says he doesn't expect to find anything except he wants to go in there to "roughin up my uterus"  to increase my chances.  I told him no need to say more - we are on board with increasing our chances!  I want Dr. Scheiber to do it in Cincy - no doubt about it.  I just feel so comfortable with him.  There is just something about him that really clicks with me.  So far - I am real excited about what is to come.

He did say towards the end of our conversation that he has now had several couples from Chicago come and he has been able to get all of them pregnant.  I thought that was a bold statement, but it is true.  Every couple we know from Chicago who was sent to him has gotten pregnant.  I responded - well, that is why we are here!  hahaha  I hope we can join your Chicago success club.  He said I have no doubt you will.  He said my only rule is that you have to promise to send me pictures of your big pregnant belly throughout your pregnancy.  Also - you will have to come in and visit while you are pregnant when you are in town visiting family and send pictures of your baby or babies to keep us updated and to hang on the wall of success stories.  He gave us a 65-70% chance of success.  Which was higher than we had in Chicago?  We will take that!

As you can tell - the tone of this post is very optimistic about all of new changes.  We are eager to start.  We know we are working with such a great staff out in Cincy.  We feel confident in them and truly believe they will help us bring our baby home.  We are starting sooner than we originally thought.  Another wonderful surprise.  Dr. S said you did plenty of mock cycles in Chicago - I just want to get you going.  You are ready.  Pat and I looked at each other with our hands laced together and both said non verbally with our we go again....buckle your seat belt...let's do this - this is it.

Keep us in your prayers for my upcoming procedure.  Things are moving right along...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cincy, here we come!

Wow!  It has been awhile since my last blog!!  I guess I have been kept pretty busy!  As I am packing for our trip to Cincy, I am realizing this is the start of a new chapter.  Possibly, the final chapter.  October 1st is here!!!  1st day of insurance coverage!!  I feel like we should go out and celebrate!!!  This time feels so much different then where we were a year ago.  We have so much behind us and even more in front of us.  After a year of IVF tests and procedures without insurance coverage, this time I feel like we finally have the magical words of “We are covered.”  And that is what makes this chapter so much better and puts us even more at ease!  It takes one giant burden off our shoulders.  Phew!  The thoughts I have rushing to me as I pack my suitcase thinking this is it.  This is the start of something great.  This is our time.   This is the time we will get our baby.

Last night Pat and I saw the movie 50/50.  It was about a 27 year old guy who was diagnosed with a cancer and nothing seemed to be working out for him.  His world was crashing.  As I sit with my hands laced with pat’s, I began to regress back to that time 12 years ago.  The feelings of being so out of control of your life, listening to doctors using words you don’t even understand and just following order after order thinking when will this hell be over?  The nervous breakdowns, the emotional turmoil, the crushing of your heart and the will to continue to trudge forward.  Sounds familiar, right?  As the lights of the theatre turned on, pat and I looked at each other both saying wow, what a powerful movie.   Being a young cancer survivor, I thought the movie was true to form.  A lot of the same emotions and frustrations were captivated perfectly.  I explained this to pat where sometimes he doesn’t understand why I am so profound at times, and am “good” with putting words to my emotions.  It was because I had to get the help I needed as seen in the movie.  You learn to do that over time in crisis situations.   We were walking to our car, and we sat down and waited a few minutes before starting the car.  He was still holding my hand and said I can’t believe how strong you are.  “Katie, how did you do that?”  I could not even imagine how you dealt with such SCARY things at such a young age.  If this happened to me now, pat said I really don’t know how I would handle that and I am an adult…you were only 12.  Pat is going to kill me for writing this, but he did get teary-eyed at a couple points of the movie.  He said he could just picture me the entire time and his heart was just breaking.  As pat explains his feelings of the movie to me, I can see him starting to really get it…get me.   He always knew these things about me, but as we experience more together, go through more hardships, and how we deal we these hardships, the pieces come together and he makes sense of the emotional crazy loon I truly am.  I have seen some pretty scary things and have faced situations you only see in your nightmares, but it’s not because I am strong or fearless, its because when you aren’t given choices in life, you just learn some pretty good coping mechanisms – but still not made of steel!

An interesting fact - I was having a convo with my mom, and she still meets us with her parents of children with cancer support group.  They are typical women – reminiscing, catching up…doing what women do best – eat and chit chat!  She shared some pretty interesting info to me that again makes so much sense.  Other parents of children with cancer got diagnosed at even younger ages..I was more of an adolescent.  Young children under 10 years old face learning disabilities later in life due to the chemotherapy.  The drugs they were exposed to affected them while they were still in their developmental stages.  I, on the other hand, was affected after my major physical development, and my socio-emotional was more affected.  Interesting, huh?   Makes sense…another answer coming to me.

As we can feel our next attempt coming up, we decided we were going to settle on baby names.  We figured it would add to the fun and make it more real.  We have been using the names around our house to make each other smile and go into this cycle with every positive bone in our bodies.  I have to admit, even though we may be premature with it, we feel we are getting closer and is making it feel this journey is closer to ending.  We can’t wait for the day to share our names.  Hopefully, we don’t slip…

I know I will have more to update soon, but for now – keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we embark on a new chapter of our ivf journey…one I would like to call, “the final chapter.” 

Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Birdies for Babies 2011 - September 24

Birdies for Babies sponsored by FCI is on September 24, 2011!  Pat and I registered today!  We are so excited to see the joy it brings to the 2011 couple!  I talked to them and the relief and happiness they are feeling is so heartwarming.  I love hearing the funds raised are going to a very grateful and appreciative couple who truly will be happy by the donations and gift money raised.  That is what I love most about this outing.  It feels like yesterday we were in their spot feeling in a state of awe!  What a very HAPPY time!  We felt we were living a dream.  I kept saying to Pat that it felt like we were being granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation because the joy that organization gave me 12 years ago was relatively the same as B4B!  Our guardian angels were nearby last July.  It turns your world upside down in a time of such despair.  This is an outing and organization very close to our hearts.  Please come out and play or consider donating!  It really does change the world for a the most significant way imagineable. 

Register or donate here!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh the Places You'll Go.

Well, we do have one frozen embryo still in Chicago that we still have not used.  We were given the choice to either have it destroyed, donate to science, or to ship it to Cincy by a third party company with us.  Being that I have no genetics involved, it really is Pat's choice.  It was the weakest of the embryos that survived to a blastocyst stage so it can't go in alone.  It must be transferred with 1 or 2 other embryos.  I asked Pat what he would feel most comfortable doing...he said morally we can't leave it behind.  It deserves a chance just like the others.  ....and I agreed!  For all we know that could be the one!  We have made the arrangements to have it transported to Cincinnati to the lab of our new doctor.  Our last embryo from our first egg donor will be making the trek to Cincy with us.  Little does he/she know we travel alot!  haha ....He/She better get used to it.  :)  With all these arrangements being made, I can't help but to start to get excited for our upcoming cycle with our new egg donor (who we know!!) and new doctor!  We pretty much are having an entirely different experience with this IVF stuff.  New doctor, new nurses, new lab, new EVERYTHING!  In a way, it is going to be a breath of fresh air.  Everything about this has changed.  Even I have changed anatomically!  Being on a cyclic HRT protocal in the interim, my body has already changed to be more of a "normal" cycling female.  I have always cycled since I was an adolescent, but not like I am with this priming time.  I kind of like it... :)  I feel "normal".  Makes me feel like my uterus is priming perfectly.  The progress my uterus has made since August of 2010 to August of 2011 is night and day!  Small, but exciting news!  One step closer to our next attempt.  Fall can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not all Sunshines and Rainbows.

Not all posts are sunshines and rainbows...  Some people out there use words to describe me as: Strong. Couragous. Fearless. Open. Brave.  Hero.  Inspiring.  These words have always been words that have been floating around since the start of my journey.  At times I believe them, at others - I don't.  However, this week, I was surely the opposite of all those words. 

I was relaxing with Pat in our living room watching mindless television winding down on a Sunday evening.  Life was good.  We were just relaxing after enjoying a nice meal out together.  It was a simple end to a simple day.  I log into my computer to do my usual websurfing as Pat starts to study.  And then the unexpected hit me unlike anything I could have predicted.  A close friend of mine trying to get pregnant for 1 month had just announced her pregnancy on facebook.  As I read the words, my heart fell into my stomach. 1 month?!?!?!  Really?!  Life is too cruel.  This is beyond unfair.  I was in a completely mixed state of mind.  On one hand, I was ecstatic for my newlywed pals with such a grand announcement that is one of the happiest moments of their lives, but at the same moment, my insides were starting to tear apart.  On the other hand, I was just sad and having the world's biggest pity party.  My eyes filled with water as I stared at my computer.  Pat looked over and asked "Katie, are you ok?"  I couldn't get any words out of my mouth.  I shook my head and then started to sob.  Pat ran over to me on the other side of our sectional sofa and he just held me real tight until the pain stopped.  My insides were just in so much pain.  The pain was unbearable - nothing I have ever felt.  I couldn't even breathe...and then started to hyperventlate.  That's right, I was having my first panic attack with this IVF journey of ours. He started to rock me back and forth to try and soothe me as he was holding me as close as he could.  Nothing was working.  The pain was growing exponentially.  He closed my computer and just wanted to calm me down.  I lost all sense of my rationality.  I was a complete mess. I had officially lost control.  I was beyond help for 3 hours.

Soon after I went upstairs to just lie in bed by myself and just stare at the wall.  I just couldn't calm down.  I have no explanation for these feelings as they came completely out of left field.  My face was swollen.  I was hardly able to breathe.  Now I physically was in pain from how hard I was crying and struggling to breathe through all the hyperventaliating.  Pat told me he felt so helpless since there was nothing he could say or do to change this.  He was right.  There was nothing ANYBODY could do to change this.  4 hours later - it is now 1am.  My breathing is coming back to me.  Pat put a warm towel over my face to get the swelling down.  Now Pat and I are just emotionally and physically EXHAUSTED.  I started to say tell him that I am not a strong person.  People are wrong.  They don't see this side of me, I am weak, I am a coward, I even try closing my eyes to visualize myself outside of many of my situations in life convincing myself this is all just a giant nightmare I need to wake up from.  Who does that?!  ME!  How ridiculous.  If only others who think I am strong could see me at my weakest.  I am coward who is just looking for an escape.  So I told Pat - please don't tell me I am strong anymore, just look at me...this is the opposite of a strong person.  Nobody should look to me for support.  I am falling apart.  I am not a role model anybody should have.  I am just a giant coward who has lost her sanity.

Even with the evening's events, Pat grabbed my hand in response to me spill my honest thoughts he responded quietly, "You are the strongest person I have ever met in my entire life.  You ARE my hero.  I wish I could be 1/10th of the person you are.  You would put yourself in pain so just one person feels less pain.  You face scary situations and handle them like it was the norm.  Nothing scares you.  You have faced and beat cancer, one of the scariest diseases, and are now facing one of the most emotional battles and you still can smile through everything you have been through.  Your smile that lights up a room does not even begin to show what you have endured up until this point.  Plus you have helped hundreds of women out there.  Your heart is bigger than anything I have seen in the world.  You get emails daily from women who see that same spark in you that I do.  You inspire others and you inspire me everyday.  He then told me to look in the mirror and that he has no idea how lucky he got to marry such a strong, fearless woman and that he was proud to have me as his wife.  Then he used a saying from our yoga class. You just need to say neti neti neti.  Seriosuly!  .......and he was right.

Then I started to cry again, but now happy tears...he reminded me of everything we do have and the joy that is so close, yet so far.  I gradually started coming back to reality.  And that's how my Monday morning was started.  It was strange.  Once I saw the sun shining through my window following my alarm clock, I was OK because I know my turn is coming.  It was a strange epiphany.  I just have to wait for it.

As you can see, I am not made of steel, I am only human with a boatload of emotions.  My inner passion exaggerates these emotions at times.  Sometimes even out of my control.  It is hard because when dealing with our future family.  My emotions are ALWAYS at an all-time high, and I know that it is ok to be sad sometimes, I just have to do it in smaller doses. We are all only human and being sad sometimes is ok.  I think it is just part of the journey.  I am happy for my friend.  They deserve everything and more.  I just wish it was easier for us.   :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chicago Tribune Article

Well, we got an email late last night with the link to the Chicago Tribune article.  It was pretty late but once I saw it on my iPhone I sat up to go get my laptop.  I tried to wake up Pat, but no luck...he was half asleep when I was talking to him or in the middle of a dream...not sure.  I just forwarded it to him bc he was waking up in a couple hours anyways.  I clicked the link and BOOM our picture pops up....I giggled.  Brought me back to the morning the photographer was in our home and we were laughing with him throughout the shoot.  The story was written nicely.  It was FULL of information!  Also - they seemed to take certain parts of our conversation and use them throughout the article.  It was nicely put together....I would expect nothing less from the Chicago Trib...nice work!  Here is the link to the article!  It will be in print tomorrow!  Don't forget to pickup a copy off newstands tomorrow!  We are stocking up!  This is our first and probably only time we will ever be in the Chicago Tribune.  On a funny note, we thought our baby is already a celebrity and he and/or she doesn't even know it yet... haha

Our Chicago Tribune Article

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Family of My Own Conference - Chicago - Saturday, August 13 - IT IS FREE TO ATTEND!

This is a big week for Pat and I.  We are preparing for the A Family of My Own Fertility Conference - Chicago!  I am preparing my speech and putting some final touches on it.  Realizing how much we have learned through the past 9 months, we would love to speak at a conference offering so many great resources to help educate couples who just started or to further deepen the knowledge of starting a family.  What people don't realize is that there are so many options.  Knowledge is power in infertility.  I feel like we have all gotten our Ph.D's in infertility because we feel we have seen it all and have done extensive research on various topics!  There is even better news!  The event is FREE!!  What a deal!  Come and check out all the informative seminars!  It is for both people just starting on their journey and people who are still in this journey.  It is a great place to be surrounded by people who are in the same bubble.  Plus, there are so many great speakers!  Pat and I will be speaking as well!  Let us know if you are coming this Saturday!  Also - I can't wait to see who wins the raffle with the prize of a FREE IVF cycle!  Whoa baby!  What an amazing raffle!  It will change a person's life!  :)

Register today!  Check out the website and learn more information on the event!  It is going to be a GREAT DAY!  Let me know if you are going!  We are so excited!!  :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Should I or Shouldn't I? ...that is the question.

With the turn into a new month, the last month of summer, I thought I better start getting things in order for our upcoming cycle, or at least make sure everybody involved was on the same page. I called our clinic and confirmed all appointments, made sure I was taking the correct medication to prime my uterus in the interim, etc.  After the formal call to get on the same page with our checklist of to-do items, I felt like all was ready.  Just now have to wait for the date...reminding myself that patience is a virtue.  :)  Before I hung up the phone with the Donor Egg Coordinator Nurse, I asked a question that I was unsure if i even wanted to ask...but I did.  I started by saying, "our egg donor" was never told the outcome of her previous cycle....and I am not sure if this is against any HIPPA violations, but we were wondering if we could know the outcome of that cycle.  (you could imagine my facial expression, I am sure).  She answered, well I don't know if that is a violation, but I am sure I could pull her file and word it to you in a way that wouldn't be a direct answer, but can maybe infer.  Also, she just finished donating a couple months ago, so the data is fresh and she would not need any more work-ups done prior to your cycle.  I thought OK - that's good, so what was the result of her last cycle?  I just wanted her to spit out the answer already...haha  she said she would be right back so she can read her chart...
About 30 seconds later as I was still questioning why I even opened this can of worms in the first place, she said, "Katie, I can tell you that the doctors here have ZERO reservations about her donating her eggs again in general.  She would be an EXCELLENT egg donor to choose.  Her egg quality was above average and she responded well to all the medications and produced an abundant amount of eggs for her previous cycle.  I responded, You made that sound like there were multiples!"  She just laughed and said.  "She would be the perfect egg donor for you Katie.  We have ZERO doubt".  ...and I was able to breathe again.  I am so glad I asked!  Makes me even more excited!

He knows I have a problem with the whole patience thing...
he would buy me a gift I can't open yet!  The suspense is growing..
He is my prana.

On a side note - Pat bought and wrapped a present that can't be opened until the day we find out we are pregnant.  I wonder what it could be!  Better question is - how am I not going to open it right now? 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ABC, Chicago Tribune, and the PR world

As we get interviewed by ABC and the Chicago Tribune, and have photographers come to our home, we are getting asked several questions that we have never been asked before as individuals and as a couple.  I have always been open about our journey and try to help as many people as I can to try and relate to others.  Some of the questions are different though than the usual.  There are things I never thought about or at least never put into words like these journalists do.  It brought up unexpected emotions.  I was 100% ok with it, but I surprised myself.  Tears would roll down my face during our conversations.  I am still learning more about myself everyday.  It was interesting to see how the questions were articulated to me.  Makes me realize all I have been through since I was a child and where I am at right now. has been eye-opening.

There are times I once wondered why this has all happened to me.  I am not just thinking the infertility, but the cancer.  I don't know why out of the entire world, and my entire family it was me.  Of course I have always felt a sense of unfairness.  That is to be expected.  Now that I look back at my life experiences through the eyes of an adult, I am starting to get the answers I have waited for 12 years to know.  I was talking with Pat and we were watching My Sister's Keeper.  Of course I cried through the whole thing (who didn't, right?)  It hit way too close to home for me.  We both knew it.  However, I wanted to watch it all the way until the end.  The most sad thing about this is that I had dear friends who experienced cancer right alongside me.  I had other kids my age fighting for their lives living the same hell I did.  The difference amongst us all is that we had different diagnoses.  Some had better prognosis', others were not so lucky.  There is one dear friend of mine that comes to mind watching this movie.  She was given a better prognosis than me to survive.  She was finishing up her treatment while I was just getting started.  She showed me the ropes!  All the cool places in the hospital...who was nice, who was mean, how to get through treatments and procedures.  She was like my "big sister" in the cancer world.  She was on her way to calling herself a survivor as I was just starting to lose all my hair. We would get our chemo sometimes even at the same time!  We would even get our chemo together in the same room so we can distract ourselves from the bad feelings.  Sadly, her cancer returned, but this time worse.  She was slowly dying.  Her leukemia that we all thought was gone after over a year of treatments, she had it come back much nobody could help her.  She was now a hospice patient, and shortly after she passed.

As an adult, I realize not many people I know were sitting in the same room with other teenagers who were dying in the bed next to them.  Some of my life experiences are so horrible not even words describe the emotions I experienced as a teenager.  I said goodbye to people who I became very close to.  I still talk with their families.  One family even came to my wedding. Of course, I can't help to think that luck was definitely on my side.  I then ask...why did I survive, and not some of my friends?  Why was I saved?  I find myself asking why me with infertility at times?  (not something I do often, because it doesn't help ANYBODY), but in 100% honesty I do at times, naturally.  I get asked the question by family, friends, newspaper interviews, ABC correspondents, "Which is worse, cancer or infertility?"  That is a great question with several answers....cancer is out of our control and affects your physical body in horrible ways making you feel like you are dying.  Infertility is out of our control and has the greatest potential of breaking your heart in the worst way possible.  Having your heart broken is the worst pain.  I think the physical pain of infertility treatments and meds NEVER competes with the emotional pain.  The emotional pain is unbearable.  On top of my own pain, I have to watch my best friend in pain too.  It's just a bad situation.  With cancer, I didn't have to watch anybody go through it with me.  I actually felt almost lucky because I do not know if I could've watch a sibling or parent go through cancer.  I felt lucky it was me so I didn't have to watch anybody else suffer with the disease.  However, I realized later they dealt with much more emotionally by watching me from beginning to end....from losing my hair, several surgeries, and having my life turn upside down.  Both my cancer and infertility are terrible.  Both I would never ever want to see happen to anybody.

I realized that having cancer 12 years ago gave me a strong sense of something.  I do not know if it is courage or strength, but it is something.  Getting through this horrible thing right now forces me to bring back that sense of numbness and determination to just get through it with the least amount of pain as possible - emotional and physical...and strengthening our relationship in the meantime.  What is so wonderful is that we are more in love than we ever have been. We have been on an emotional level that puts us on a different level.  I know our family is going to be a strong family.  There won't be anything we can't do.  It has been validated that I am a LUCKY girl. 

I am STRONG because I am weak
I am Beautiful because I know my flaws
I am a Lover because I'm a fighter
I am Fearless because I have been afraid
I am WISE because I have been foolish
... & I can Laugh because I've known sadness.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Family of My Own Fertility Conference - Glenview, IL - August 13

Pat and I were asked to speak at A Family of my Own - Fertility Conference in Glenview, IL on August 13.  Of course we said yes.  Luckily, we were available on this date.  We really enjoy speaking to the public at events, media, etc about our unique story and our journey with IVF thus far. We really LOVE helping people going through it!  I like to call it a silent sorority.

When I first started IVF several months ago, Pat and I weren't sure how open we really wanted to be about such a personal thing, if not the MOST personal thing to me.  Since I was 12, I always thought I would be very private about it.  I wasn't sure how it would be perceived by others that I would have to go through this.  Once we were engaged and the arrival of my beautiful niece came, the big question was thrown at Pat and I.  "When do you guys plan to have kids?" , "Can you have kids?"  How did your cancer affect your ability to conceive?"  At first my reaction was, it really is nobody's business.  However, when we started IVF, we realized how many people in this world involved in it making it so common in society these days.  We started to talk because of the sensitivity of the situation we were in and how we were going to move forward.  The more people we talked with, the more we wanted to share our story.  We know that we are in the minority of those who are open to share their story, but I am so glad we did.  There are days where I get random emails or facebook messages full of hope and inspiration from other couples with their stories.  I always feel that every story is full of sadness and tragedy early, but end with such success and jubilation.  To know, we have helped just one person feel more educated, not alone, not diseased, how to make it as affordable as possible, but just one of the many who are currently hurting from this disease of infertility, makes this journey different to us.  We have formed lifelong friendships from this.  We wanted to be able to help other couples for the rest of our lives going through this.
Don't get me wrong, I hate infertility more than anything in this is the only thing that is out of our control.  When I first started in IVF, I thought of course why me?  why cancer?  why am I still hurting from it?  It was all centered around me.  I did not once prepare myself for the exposure I was headed to meeting the most AMAZING people that are in this world.  We hear so oftenly, thank you for sharing your story and being open, when reality is, Pat and I thank you all for showing us the true amazement of the pure kindness and generosity of people.  It has bettered both of us.  We have grown so much as a couple from all this.  We do not regret sharing our personal lives with everybody.  The support from everybody has been so helpful to both of us.  Thank you for your support and for those of you who opened up and shared your story with me.  It has helped me VERY MUCH!  There is a reason this has happened to me.  I know I had cancer and am going through IVF for a reason.  I feel that reason is to share it with the world and to help other people feel not alone and not scared of what the future holds.  Knowing there are others in the same boat brings a sense of comfort.  I like to give that comfort to others.  It makes the process just a tad more easier to handle. 

Good News!  Back to the conference!  We have just been informed that the raffle giveaway is a FREE IVF cycle!!!!  Yes, you heard correct!  Sound familiar?!  That is how Pat and I got started in this journey and without a prize like that we would not have had the opportunity to even start. For those of you without insurance coverage who are looking for means to help the start of your family, come to the conference and be sure to enter the raffle!  It can and will change your life!  Come and enter the raffle and also get informed from many of the small educational pieces that they will have there!  I wish there was something like this when we first started.  We were infertility virgins and went in with much naivety.  Knowledge is power.  Also, meet some infertility experts and some couples going through it!  It is being held at the Wyndham-Glenview!  Come join us for a fun day!  Register today!!  :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Couple's Yoga at the Moon.

Pat and I attended our first couple's fertility yoga class together with Beth Heller at Pulling Down the Moon at the River North location downtown.  Pat was very hesitant at first about attending.  Being that he had never done yoga, he wasn't sure if he would be any good at it.  I told him not to worry, but it is more about the time for us to share together, connect, learn more about ourselves, and just relax and calm our thoughts.  He saw that it meant alot to me to attend so he did not hesitate to continue with it.  Also - he thought he could be more flexible.  He cracks me up.  Our class is every Sunday evening.  Usually I hate Sundays to begin with, but this gives us something to look forward to.

When we arrived, we saw many other couples who were all in this same journey as us, but with completely different stories.  It was an instant bond between all of us.  We all knew why we were there with our partners.  It was kind of magical in a weird way; a bond was formed.  The room was filled with a shared respect.  It is hard to explain that feeling of an instant bond, but this class portrays this idea.

We introduced ourselves and gave each other a little bit of information on our stories, where we are at currently with things, and our future plans.  Following introductions, We started poses.  Of course, I am next to Pat and it was a pretty neat feeling to be next to him while we are in a very different state of mind.  I didn't think I would like it as much as I did.  After about 20 minutes of individual combined poses and breathing techniques, I look over at Pat for the first time in between poses and we are both just FULL of sweat as if we just ran a marathon.  I smiled and I said I told you this gets pretty intense.  I could tell he was liking it alot!  He was being challenged by the poses and was doing a fabulous job.   I was proud of him!   The class closed with couple poses and stretches.  We agreed that this was our favorite part.  It was a neat energy to experience together.  We worked together on the poses and it was pretty fun.  As we finished up we laid flat on our backs as we restored back to normal and were preparing to end class as we laid there with our eyes closed next to eachother...I opened my eyes slowly and read a quote on the wall...something I had not noticed the last time I was in the yoga studio...  The quote read, "I am happy; I am healthy; I am whole.  I closed my eyes again back in restoration mode, and I started to just cry.  I was thinking why on earth am I crying.  I am in a very happy place, doing yoga with my hubby, and surrounded by such supportive people...why am I crying and why can't I stop?!?!?!  I couldn't answer this question for the life of me.  As we rolled to our sides and I faced Pat we were instructed to just gaze at eachother as we were awakening...we then instructed to roll up to the seated position and each put our hands on each others heart and synchronize our breathing.  We were so connected on a level we never connected on it was very magical.  Pat saw the tears I was wiping away and he just smiled and whispered, "why are you crying" and I whispered back, "I don't know, but my eyes won't stop tearing."  We put our shoes back on and started to pick up our materials in the studio and grabbed our tea and we were leaving to go home.  As we walked along the riverfront, I told Pat about that quote I read on the wall and that is what triggered my tears, and I asked him why did it hit me in a very strange way.  His response made 100% sense.  (This is why I married him.)  He said well, a very important and special part of you (my ovaries) was taken away a long time ago due to the cancer and you have not felt healthy and whole in a very long time.  So reading that quote reminding yourself that you are very happy, very healthy, and very whole regardless of your medical past.  Even though we have not reached our happy ending yet, doesn't mean we are any less happy, any less healthy, or any less whole.  We hugged and walked back to the car.  I still don't know how he just gets me like he does....I am convinced he was made for me.  I am still being amazed by him everyday.

Our first yoga class was beyond a success!!  Pat has a new hobby....he now practices poses throughout the day and wants to make our living room a yoga studio.  He is so cute about it.  ;-)  Fertility couple's yoga was such a great idea for us and where we are at right now in our journey.   

Thursday, June 30, 2011

HSG Results

This afternoon I had an HSG test done at Loyola Surgery Center in Oak Brook.  The point of this test is to make sure my fallopian tubes are not dilated and allowing a fluid into my uterus that would cause the embryos not to implant.  Also, my doctor was very curious to know the condition of my tubes after the traumatic surgery I had as a child.  It was pretty funny that my right tube was VERY long and skinny (as it should look and function), and my left tube no longer worked.  Dr. Uhler didn't expect either to work because of my previoosu surgery.  They just did not have any function without my ovaries anyways.  Plus, fallopian tubes have no role in the IVF process.  The only thing that would affect IVF is dillation.  My fallopian tubes looked perfect and would not prohibit the embryos from implanting. The positioning of everything was right where it needed to be.  The results were instant.  I was able to lie on the OR table and watch the screen.  It was pretty interesting to watch.  Also, it gave the doctor a very clear picture of my uterus so she knew the exact placement of my system.  This will help later at the transfer stage to know the ideal place to put the embryos.  From those I talked to said that this particular tests helps the doctor visualize so much beyond an ultrasound.  Plus, it is just more data for them on me.  Can't hurt right?  Following the test, I was wheeled to the recovery room, talked with the doc while looking at the photos from the procedure in more detail (loved seeing the relief in her face and voice!), and went over some post-op instructions, and I was on my way.  I am relieved that test results came back normal.  All looks good!  Phew!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New, Better, Dream Job = Infertility Benefits

Well, last week I was made an incredible offer to work as an Activity Director for a Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Of course, I am beyond excited for this offer because I will be working in Healthcare Administration and event planning/organization.  It is a management position which is a promotion from where I currently was….and I am given my own activites staff to execute my ideas and implement strategies with patients.  Of course, I accepted!  I have introduced myself to some of my staff already.  I have been dropping in here and there through this transition to get a feel for how things are going presently and to get them used to working together with me.  If anybody knows me, they know I LOVE event planning and organization…heck!  I do it as a hobby!  My initial thoughts were - could this be any more perfect for me!?  I can’t wait to get started!  I have already started the transition over.  I just can’t help myself.  I have started to clean my office and make it more personable, inviting, and more Katie-ish…  I have had orientation this week and sat in on some upper-level management meetings to get a better feel for it.  I will start corporate training within the next week.  I love the people I will be working directly with…very intelligent, friendly people.  But, of course the big question remains….how about the health insurance….?

After given my choices for insurance plans I immediately turn to infertility services/reproduction…and IT’S COVERED!!!  Yay!!  I still was in disbelief so I called the insurance company explaining I am in open enrollment, blah… and I wanted to make sure our needs were covered before selecting a plan.  I called twice to speak to 2 different customer service reps to make sure they matched in their responses, and yep!  The new plan will cover our IVF needs!  The responses matched exactly.  We are ELATED with this news.  Not only is this a perfect professional move for me, but it is an even bigger move for my little family to be.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Angel from Loveland, OH

Even with the saddest news, you find ways to move forward.  Sometimes it takes longer than other times…  We still have no words as we are both still stunned from the last cycle.  Purely stunned.  We were just so sure it had worked.

Anyways, the hard stays with you…not only did we have to go back to the real world, but we both knew had to start thinking about where we wanted to move forward with the process even though I still had no idea what I wanted, as I was still picking up the pieces from my broken heart.  We know we are both still so young, and know we have a time to go back to this, but we know we will still always wonder, but what if it is next time that is the ONE?  It was an EXTREMELY difficult time because not only did we receive bad news on the other end of the phone, but those were the last of our donor eggs.  We were all out of eggs.  We literally have to start from square 1 all over again.  That is what broke my heart.  Here I was thinking, we can not do this for awhile now.  We just don’t have eggs to work with because my body doesn’t produce them because of stupid cancer.  My heart was broken more than you can imagine.  I am not the type of person to ask around to friends and family.  I mean, how does one ask for somebody to commit themselves to a 2-4 week process and to give Pat and I a piece of them?  To me, it is beyond asking for a favor.  Of course this makes me so sad.  I felt in a dead end with nothing but just resentment and anger towards myself.  I just couldn’t even begin to start thinking about it because it would just make me cry.  Even as strong as some people think I am, I knew I was hitting rock bottom and very expeditiously.

A couple days following our negative news, Pat and I were showered with messages of inspiration and hope.  Even as sad and as low as we were, each message picked us up in a special way.  We read each message with smiles and tears.  However, there was one message in particular that was life-changing and touches my heart in a very special way.  I was conversing with a friend from Pat’s hometown of Loveland.  She has been following our story from the very beginning and even donated money to our Birdies for Babies golf outing last September to show her support for us.  She has always been one of our biggest cheerleaders from very early on.   Also, she has a very good idea of what we are going through as she began to explain to me that she was an egg donor before and was inspired by our story to donate to an anonymous loving infertile couple similar to Pat and I.  She shared her story of how she donated to a couple in the past and enjoyed her experience.  She was moved by the emotions involved.  Her word that described it was “intense”.  I thought it was a great word to depict the journey.  I thought it was so kind that she wanted to share this story with me because we are a recipient couple of donor eggs and we understand it, but we only had enough eggs from our previous donor for two solid attempts at FCI.  It was intriguing to hear a story from a donor’s perspective as I was very curious.  She ended by saying, “Katie, if you would want some help, I would be more than happy to donate to you guys.”  She said, “I don’t want any money from you, I just want to help you guys wherever I can.”  I started crying instantly.  I couldn’t believe somebody could be so selfless and generous without any second thought.  Again, I find myself amazed by the extraordinary people we are meeting throughout this journey.  Asdifficult as all of this is, the people I have met and those who have wanted to help us in such significant ways is just overwhelming.  I was beyond touched by the offer, I couldn’t help but just cry. I think I was feeling a bit of every emotion.  At that point we had no idea what we were going to do, but after this conversation, we knew where our journey was taking us.  We know God hasn’t forgotten about us, he has been surrounding us with angels as constant reminders to stay strong and keep the faith.  We know good things will come to us, we just do not know when. 

We are now in the process of moving forward, but now we know we have an angel helping us along the way.