Archive for October, 2012

Things that only happen at the 3-Day…

7

All weekend, while in the midst of all our fun, I had a mental list going of things that I did that probably would only happen at the 3-Day and nowhere else, at least in my world…

 

  • I slept in a tent.  May not seem like an unusual thing to many, but it was my first time sleeping in a tent, outside. I am not an outdoorsy-type girl. I like air-conditioning, a bed, indoor plumbing and electricity. But I had to admit, I was pretty darn comfortable in that little pink tent, on my air mattress, and my favorite fleece blanket from home.

 

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  • I showered in a truck.  I knew I would be doing this, but I had no clue that it would quite possibly be the best shower ever. Jenna had told me that it was quite an experience and she even told me how to pack my shower bag so I had everything altogether and semi-waterproof. By the time Friday night came along, after we had been up since 3:30am that morning and driving all day, I was more than ready for a shower. The shower truck has super hot water and better water pressure than my house. I’ve already told hubby that we need a shower truck in our backyard.

 

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  • I brushed my teeth and washed my face outside.  Just outside the shower truck is a row of sinks – 3 per side, 6 total for each truck. Brushing your teeth outside in a nice cool breeze is not a bad thing.

 

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  • I thought I was going to blow away.  It was a windy weekend, 20-30 MPH winds with even stronger gusts. The first night, I literally thought my tent was going to blow away with me in it. It wasn’t until the second night, after Janet suggested removing the rain cover (is that what it’s called?), that it didn’t seem as noisy. But it still seemed to move around a lot and most of Saturday night I thought of the Blair Witch Project. Thank goodness there was a whole park full of other people there or I would have been freaking out. There was lot of looking up at the top of my tent, wondering if it was possible to blow away with me in it.

 

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  • I ate a sandwich that had American cheese on it.  Yes, for most people this is a normal occurrence. Not this girl, who thinks American cheese is the most disgusting thing ever. But alas, when on the 3-Day, and a nice lunch is provided to you by our wonderful team, Thanks For The Mammories, and Subway, you learn to deal with it and appreciate their kindness in all the goodies they have for you. I didn’t eat the cheese, I had to take it off. I had to suck it up, buttercup, and take it off like it wasn’t grossing me out. And I did it. It’s really a miracle that I ate the sandwich after that, normally I wouldn’t eat anything that previously had American cheese on it. The things you do on on the 3-Day…

 

  • I kind of felt like a rock star.  It was too much fun when someone wanted to take our picture because we were so fabulous in our fun outfits, blue hair, and fun van. Considering I normally like to fly under the radar and do my best to not be so noticeable, it was pretty fun to be loud and draw so much attention to myself. Who wouldn’t want their picture taken with Boob 1 and Boob 2?!

 

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(Photo courtesy of Carol)

  • I went au naturel.  No make-up for 3 days. Nor did I blow-dry my hair or use my curling iron. The wonderful thing about the 3-Day is that there is no judging. It was kind of nice. Although, the first thing I did when I got home was take a shower and blow dry my hair. That was nice, too.

 

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(Photo courtesy of Carol)

 

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  • I used a port-a-potty in the dark.  I had a nifty light to use but forgot it a couple times and when you gotta go, you gotta go. And like they say in the 3-Day, don’t look down. So I didn’t.

 

  • I wore white gloves, used pom poms, and a cowbell.  Our sweep van was all about keeping the walkers smiling and entertained. Besides the great decorations on the van and our fun outfits, there was a lot of waving with our white cartoon-like gloves, woo-hooing, cheering with pom poms, and clanging the cowbell. By the time Sunday came around, I was a little squeaky, not able to woo-hoo as loud as on Friday, and I was sure I would have permanent ringing in my right ear from the cowbell.

 

  • I listened to Dr. Seuss stories.   We had a speaker stand on the van door, a pair of speakers, and Jenna’s iPod which she loaded with Dr. Seuss stories. Who wouldn’t want to hear that when you’re walking 60-miles? We also played The Beatles, Bon Jovi, and more. It was fantastic.

 

  • I wore pajama pants every day.  I’m telling you, this is the way to go. Fleece pajama pants are super soft and comfy. I wish I could wear them to work, but that might be a little weird when I go meet customers and such.

 

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It was really too much fun, all of it. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the weekend.

Oh, the places you’ll go with Boob 1 and Boob 2!

5

What a whirlwind it has been since last Thursday! I can’t believe after months and months of looking forward to the 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-Day it has finally been here and passed. For the last couple months, my sister-in-law Jenna and I have been working on a theme for our sweep van. As part of the 3-Day crew, we would drive a van each of the three days to assist the walkers if they could not walk and wanted to “sweep” to the next stop. I was excited to be a part of the 3-Day family this year after being on the spectator side of it last year.

Our theme…. Boob 1 and Boob 2! Both Jenna and I love Dr. Seuss and we thought Thing 1 and Thing 2 would be a fabulous theme. And since it was the 3-Day, we would be Boob 1 and Boob 2. Jenna, being the super-creative artist she is, came us with great ideas for the van decorations. She also picked out the fabulous attire and wig for us to wear. It all came together perfectly.

We had a crew meeting last Thursday afternoon, after which we were able to start decorating our van. I have been dying to share these photos since then but there hasn’t been time. Now is the time! Take a look at our Suessical Boob Mobile!

 

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It was FANTASTIC!! I loved every detail of it, as well as the colors. And the way Jenna personalized the Dr. Seuss quotes was even better. Unfortunately, the wind we had Friday morning as we were leaving opening ceremony wreaked havoc on the sign and umbrella on top. We tried re-securing the sign but the umbrella literally blew off on the Sand Key bridge. Imagine me in my Boob 1 outfit running down the bridge, in the wind, to pick it up. We made the decision to leave them off in hopes that we could put them back up the next day. With the windy conditions we had all weekend, close to 30 MPH winds at times, we never got to put them back up. Regardless, the van was still awesome.

And how about us?! How fun were we in our outfits?! Polka dot fleece pajama bottoms, pink t-shirts, comfy shoes, and a bright blue wig. All weekend long, people called us by our names, Boob 1 and Boob 2, or Boobies, or The Boobs. My hope is that we made everyone smile as they walked those 60 miles. The reaction we got out of everyone was so fun.

 

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I have so much more to share about this experience so there will be another post to follow!

Countdown to the 3-Day!

5

I can’t believe it is here, the week of the 3-Day. It’s hard to believe that a year has passed.

Last year, my sister-in-law Jenna walked in the 3-Day. I did many of the training walks with her as support and got to know so many great women. When it came time for her to do the walk, I cheered her on all three days. I was SO proud of her. Here are a few favorite pictures from last year:

 

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My favorite training photo

 

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And they’re off! Leaving Clearwater Beach, Day 1

 

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So happy to see Autumn! John’s Pass, Day 2

 

 

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Closing ceremony with Nick! St. Petersburg, Day 3

 

Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t write a follow-up post to the 2011 3-Day when she was done. I had taken so many great photos and being a spectator and cheering on all the women AND men walking 60 miles over 3 days was wonderful.

I did, however, write several posts leading up to the walk and all the fun we had on the training walks…

 

Earlier this year, I decided to join the team, Thanks For The Mammories, with Jenna when she told me she was going to crew. We decided to do it together and drive a sweep van.

 

In May, we planned to meet up with some of the team for an unofficial training walk. Little did we know, we were there on the wrong day. Did we give up and go home? Of course not! We still walked, had a great time as always, and ended with a great breakfast!

 

In June, it was time to get together with the team! 34 wonderful women and men, including Jenna and I, gathered in Safety Harbor, ready to rock the walk.

 

And now, here we are… The week of the 3-Day. It kicks off Thursday for us with a crew meeting and decorating our sweep van. Friday morning we will start in the wee hours of the morning, so that we are ready to go in our sweep van, ready to assist any of the walkers who need help getting from one stop to the next. We will also camp out with the walkers (fun fact, this will be my first time camping out in a tent EVER!), and will be there for closing ceremony.

I can’t wait to share pictures afterwards of the decorations we’ve done for our van. It is going to be FANTASTIC! A little hint…. We are going to be Boob 1 and Boob 2. I know you are intrigued!

I am so excited to do this with Jenna. Supporting her last year as she trained and walked was so nice, and this year we’re a team. I can’t think of anyone else I’d want to do this with!

A Perfect Autumn Saturday!

4

Yesterday was such a great day. Besides the fact that it was Saturday, my favorite day of the week, it was a beautiful day outside AND there was a trip to the pumpkin patch. I had plans to go to my sister-in-law’s so we can work on our awesome theme for our 3-Day sweep van next weekend (EEK!). But first, Jenna called me early to tell me they were going to a pumpkin patch after Autumn’s dance class and did I want to go with them. Yes!

Besides the fact that I love pumpkins, this was the best part of it:

 

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Autumn was so excited to pick out several pumpkins, small ones and a big one. She was very serious about picking out the right one – one that wasn’t bumpy or wavy or too fat or that couldn’t stand up.

 

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I just love that on that picture, it says We Be Littles – just like Autumn! Mr. Scarecrow was so nice and had his picture taken with Jenna and Autumn.

 

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I loved all the pumpkins. The small ones were too cute…

 

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This one had to be my most favorite. It was so neat with orange and green. and I loved the shape of it. 

 

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After Autumn picked out all 5 of her pumpkins, I took a picture of her on the cute display they had there. Only in Florida can you wear your dance outfit and flip flops to a pumpkin patch and not freeze!

 

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When we left, we were heading to Jenna’s and Autumn wanted to ride in my car. And now that she’s in her big-girl car seat, its easy to move from vehicle to vehicle. How could I say no to this face?

 

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What a fun morning it was! Afterwards, Jenna and I worked on our 3-Day stuff which included a trip to Home Depot, Joann’s, and Michaels. Autumn helped, too.  We accomplished a lot and we are so close to being ready. I can’t wait to share pictures of all of it!

When I got home, I was SO excited to see that my #foodiepenpals package had arrived in the mail. I can’t wait to share my post about it on the 1st, it was perfect! One word, PUMPKIN.

 

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After hubby got home from playing paintball, we went out for date night. It was hubby’s choice and he picked Red Lobster. He wanted to have their Endless Shrimp one last time before it goes away. Hubby could eat shrimp every single day. I usually have tilapia and I was excited to see that they have a new dish, tilapia with roasted vegetables. It’s cooked in a parchment bag with white wine, wild rice, artichokes, and asparagus. Clearly this had my name written all over it. it was so good, I will definitely have it again.

 

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Most of the time, hubby and I will indulge in dessert and we usually share. It’s not as bad when you share it, right? We ordered the chocolate wave cake which is served with vanilla ice cream. It is every bit as heavenly as it looks. It’s so rich, I could never eat a whole piece by myself.

 

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I love it when days turn out to be so great. We work so hard during the week, it’s important to have fun on the weekend.

 

Have you been to a pumpkin patch this year?

Infertility does NOT define me.

18

I recently came across the notebook I carried EVERYWHERE with me when we were in the midst of infertility hell. I would keep track of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Doctor’s appointments, labs, blood work, any and all symptoms that would have everything or nothing to do with trying to get pregnant, and more. I would ask for copies of any paper the doctors had in my charts.

During this time of our serious medical efforts, I was not very public about it. A small handful knew what we were doing. I just did not have the energy to tell everyone around us and then have a million questions about what was happening every single day. And while those inquiries would have come out of love and concern, it would have driven my husband and I insane. This was not a personal affront to anyone, this was survival mode for us. I also belonged to an online message board, which at one point I was a co-community leader of for awhile. It was a great place to discuss what I was going through, with other women who were going through the same thing. I still “talk” to several women I met on that board. They are all amazing women, many with more strength than I could imagine after reading their stories and getting to know them.

Here’s the thing about infertility… It doesn’t matter if you’ve only gone through two rounds of IVF while someone else has gone through five. The pain is no less for you. Or if you lost a baby very early on. The pain is no less. Your infertility journey is yours and yours alone. We are all different, with different issues, and it all hurts just the same.

To date, I have a couple posts on infertility here on my blog:

It’s not that I’ve tried to hide it, I just haven’t focused on it. But I’ve decided that what we went through, may help someone else. So, I’ve decided to share our journey, as it happened. We went through a lot and I almost feel like I’m on the outside looking in as I look back on all this. Here goes…

 

August 2006 – Went off birth control pill (we were married 5 years by this time and after swearing for years that we weren’t going to have kids, we decided we really wanted to). Since I had been on the pill for years and not sure how my cycles would be on their own, I started taking my temps daily from the get-go.

January 12, 2007 – Positive pregnancy test!!!! So much excitement in our family!!

January 22, 2007 – First OB appointment, in-office pregnancy test confirmed, due date of 09/19/07.

January 25, 2007 – Miscarriage, confirmed by ultrasound. I was just one day away from being 6 weeks. It seemed like days for it to end, and we were told by my doctor to wait two months before trying again. Despite how “early” this was, we were devastated. There are no words to explain how awful it was.

March 2007 – Started trying again, determined to not let the fear stop us.

May 2007 – Started taking progesterone at end of cycles.

June 2007 – Hubby had his first semen analysis, came back fine.

August 2007 – Started taking Clomid (3 cycles – days 5-9 of cycle). I really thought this would do the trick, as my mom had to take Clomid (and progesterone) to have all 4 of us kids. Clomid, by far, was the worst thing I took or did out of everything. I had hot flashes, headaches, I easily put on 10 pounds in one month, and it just made me a not-very-nice person. The fact that it did not result in a baby made it even worse.

November 2007 – Started taking Femara instead of Clomid (days 5-9 of cycle). I only took this for one month. Effects not as bad as Clomid, but resulted in a whacky cycle. This month I stopped taking my temps daily. I also had a transvaginal ultrasound which showed a suspicious area. A second ultrasound confirmed it and it was recommended that I have a D&C / Hysteroscopy to remove polyps.

January 2008 – D&C / Hysteroscopy removed polyps and advised to continue trying au natural.

April 2008 – Hubby went for a second semen analysis, results were fine. About this time, I had to go on anti-anxiety medicine because of the stress not getting pregnant.

May 2008 – HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) – This is an x-ray with dye to show any blockages, which showed that my tubes were clear. Because there is sometimes a greater chance of getting pregnant immediately after an HSG, I went back on Clomid for 2 more cycles, same as before. It was just as bad as the first time, but I was willing to endure anything at this point.

June 2008 – Started seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

June 2008 – Decided to proceed with IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) with injectables. All of this was out pocket, thanks to lack of coverage on our insurance with Aetna. This cycle failed.

October 2008 – Wrote a letter to my husband’s employer in regards to the lack of infertility coverage on our insurance policy. I provided examples of how 91% of those offering infertility treatment did not experience an increase in medical costs, and that including comprehensive infertility coverage in a health benefit package may actually reduce costs and improve outcomes. Sadly, our concerns did not influence or result in any changes in the policies offered.

December 2008 – Went in for another Hysteroscopy after polyps were found again.

March 2009 – We were told about an infertility study which I inquired about. This study was for IVF (in-vitro fertilization) for a reduced rate. This was a procedure we could not even consider without this study. Again, this was all out of pocket. Once we knew we qualified, we had to make the quick decision to proceed (a stressful, emotional decision because of the costs involved).

April 2009 – Had to immediately go in for another Hysteroscopy to remove polyps that would disqualify me from the study. It’s a miracle that the timing on my cycle was right for this and that I could have the procedure and still start meds as planned. Shortly after the procedure, I went on the pill as the first step of the IVF (the most ironic thing I did throughout all of this…). The end of April, I started injections.

May 2009 – The first two weeks of this month was a blur of doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, and blood work.  Mid-month I had the embryo transfer after 3 days and then started progesterone injections. My mom had to do these for me, in my backside, alternating each side daily. Out of all the injections I had to endure, these were the most painful as they went in the muscle. I was bruised and sore. This IVF cycle had the most riding on it, was the most emotional, and when it resulted in a negative pregnancy test, was the most painful. It was the end of the line for us due to all the money we had spent, and would pay on for years. Not to mention the extra 10 pounds I packed on from the injections. Based on my response to the treatment, it was determined that I basically have bad eggs.

 

After this failure, I was so depressed. Within a couple weeks of this, I tried to start running and couldn’t because of the pain deep in my hips from the progesterone injections. It was the lowest of lows. It wouldn’t be long before I headed to my doctor for an anti-depressant which I would take for about 8 months before I got a handle on things and decided I could deal with things on my own.

Three years and five months have passed since that failed IVF and we are STILL paying for it. I can’t tell you how much I hate getting that bill in the mail every month. But, we feel very strongly that we would never know if we had not tried.

Since then, my cycles are all kinds of out-of-whack. My body and I are not best friends, and I often despise it. I briefly went back on the pill to try and regulate my cycles and then quit taking them because I hated it. I also have polyps AGAIN and need to have another hysteroscopy at some point.

Not included in the list above is all the lab work I had done. I was constantly being poked with a needle. I used to be terrified of needles. Who knew I would ever be at the point where I could give myself an injection without thinking twice?

It’s been a long road and I never thought that day we decided to try and have a baby that we would end up without a baby and so much heartache. We spent thousands and thousands of dollars. It’s not at all fair, and what pisses me off the most is that finances and insurance dictate our ability to continue to try to have a baby. And even worse, even if we had all the money in the world to spend, it would not guarantee a baby of our own given our issues.

It amazes me that there are so many people in this world who have children given the difficulty in actually getting pregnant. All starts have to be aligned and it seems nothing short of a miracle that one sperm can find that egg in the small window of time that it needs to.

Through all of this, I still have a husband whole loves and adores me. At the end of the day, we are in this together. There is no blame or anger. I’ve always said that I would rather it be me that is the problem and to carry the burden for the both of us. And when told that I am not meant to have a child, I strongly disagree. I deserve to be a parent just as much as every other person on this earth, as does my husband.

Regardless of my ability to have a child I am still ME. I am a daughter, wife, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, and friend. Infertility does NOT define me.

 

While I am certainly not an expert on infertility, I am open to any questions you may have about our journey.

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