Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Before I get all serious I want to know how many of you in the Blogger World sit down at the computer to type and the music from Doogie Howser, MD....because I SO HEAR THAT MUSIC!

2015 was a year of many moments and I have to say I spent the second half of the year trying to make up for the first.

On July 25, 2015 my life changed.  I was caught between a tornado and a hurricane and I controlled the machine that started it all.  It's been five months since that day and I still find myself looking back and wondering where I went wrong, where I turned left when I should have turned right? 

But the fact is, no matter the road that got me where I am today, I am here.  I have to live with mistakes I made and reminders of those mistakes every single day.  I cannot undo the damage I've done and I cannot erase the past, and I don't want to.  That's right y'all.  I don't want to.  It sucked.  It was a horrible terrible no good very bad time.  But without it I wouldn't be here.  And here is where I needed to be.  

So as I say farewell to 2015, I want to say a few things:

I am here today because of the grace of God.  He took a Bad Girl and made her a Good Woman.  I was a mess, a Hot Southern Mess.  It literally took me falling down to my knees and praying for forgiveness and peace to get me there.  Without the grace of God I would not be here telling you this story today.  And I tell you right now, right here, that no matter where you are or what you are doing, it is not too late for you.  You too can be at peace with your life and your past.  No matter what it is.  There is no sin to great to separate you from God.

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  

I am not going into 2016 any different than I am right now.  I don't want to set resolutions or goals, I just want to continue this path exactly as I am going right now.  January marks the IUI, and February could be a BFP or a BFN, but I will be OK either way.  This is a marathon, not a sprint and I am in this for the long haul.  I know that my sweet hubby is scared, worried and fearful for the results of this, because he doesn't know what a BFN will do to me.  But it's OKAY.  I'll be OKAY.  I've already come to terms with that.  I'm already ready to accept whatever it is.  There was a time that IVF was our only option, and now it's not.  So whatever happens, will happen.  And I'm OK with that.  I will smile through it and I refuse to be anything less than a light to others on this journey.

Happiness is a choice.  I remember so many days I said I wasn't happy and I made no effort at all to be happy.  I expected it come.  I expected happiness to be there for me, but I was wrong.  It's a choice.  You wake up every day with a choice...a choice to embrace the day not to drown in the day.  Don't choose to drown.  If you're drowning right now, slide over to the right and email me.  I am here for you.  You are not alone.  We are NOT ALONE.  Let me help you....or at least let me try.

I'm scared.  I have built a community of friends going through the same struggles as me and I'm scared of what will happen if I get that BFP before one of you.  Will I lose a friend?  Will I seem unsympathetic to your struggle?  Will you be happy for me as I would be for you?  One of my first friends on IG was Sammy and she got her BFP!  And I am so excited for her!  I am so happy to be a friend on her journey, even if I'm still warming the bench.  You see, if we cannot be graceful when others achieve that which we desire, how can we expect that same grace to ourselves?  So I am afraid...afraid that when my time comes I will be just another BFP Announcement to hurt your heart.  I don't want to be that for you.  I don't want to be anything but graceful should I receive the gift of a BFP in 2016.

I have a prayer box, given to me by my friend Desirae, and if you need a prayer, tell me.  I am not a well versed woman of prayer, but I will put your name in that box.  And every night, I take that box and I open it and I take those slips of paper and I pray.  The best way I know to pray.  Just a conversation with God...and I would love to pray for you in 2016.  

I love the community I've become part of.  It's like a big family of people struggling with the same goal. It's a community of support unlike any other I've ever experienced.  I'm here for you on this journey, whether it's a shoulder to cry on or an excited shout for joy.  I am here and that will not change in 2016.  

So as I close this year, I remember the road that got me here, I remember those I hurt along the way, and I remember that I'm not who I was and I will never be.  

I start 2016 with a new year on paper but I am the same woman I am right now.  Struggling to get pregnant.  A beacon of light to those in the dark.  A reminder that no matter how dark your life is, there is a light.  There is ALWAYS a light.  

Baby dust to all my TTC Sisters and much love and hope for 2016 to be OUR YEAR.  

Baseline Ultrasound Day

Today marked Ultrasound number one for IUI cycle #01.  I would like to call it the ONLY IUI cycle we need, but let's be realistic here...this might be the first of many cycles and it might be the only cycle.  Will it work?  Will it fail?  I refuse to get caught up in that concern...this is a marathon and I barely completed a 4K, let's just go with we are doing an IUI this cycle and we shall see how it turns out!

As we start this first cycle I want to thank God for giving me Daddy Bun for his support on this road.  Daddy Bun has been a rock for me, a true blessing from God given right to me.  Proof in the flesh that God loved me enough to send me a special partner to be with me and love me unconditionally, through the sunshine and the rain, through the fire and the flames.  Plus, let's face it, this journey requires a certain part of each of us so if either was not on board...we sure wouldn't get very far!

Much love and thanks to my sweet hubby, Daddy Bun, for being there for me every single step of this road.

I can be a bit of a silly bear when it comes to things of a serious nature.  ESPECIALLY in a doctor's office because they have so many fun things to touch and bother...and Daddy Bun is always wide eyed thinking...oh my heck, this is the woman I married?  YES YOU DID!!  And I'm a keeper! Daddy Bun is my photo-journalist for this journey and has agreed to document in pictures so we can share this journey for others.  Infertility is NOT FUN, but it can be funny!
Example of FUNNY Infertility Journalism...

Here you see the proper use of an ultrasound wand when there are not medical staff in the room.  Should a medical professional enter the room while this is going want to quickly toss the ultrasound wand to your spouse and look completely innocent, possibly even adding a quiet whistling sound to denote you are, in fact, doing nothing wrong.  A mild shrug of the shoulders can also add the effect that your spouse is playing in the room when they're supposed to be serious.  (sorry Daddy Bun, we all have to take one for the team sometimes)

My friend Desirae sent me a wonderful care package this week, it's like her timing was PERFECT for this ultrasound.  Her care package included these FANTABULOUS Sock Money socks...and what better place to wear these socks than when you're monkeying around in an ultrasound room!  While I still have a broken foot and I still am supposed to be wearing that stupid boot, I was able to take it off for this awkward would having that huge boot be trying to set it in a stirrup?  I'm telling y'all there are some places you just can't wear the boot!   Since I can get undressed in about .8 seconds flat, we had plenty of time to take pics of these awesome socks so Little Bun will know that we had support from all over on our journey.  Desirae is from Connecticut so guess what, we have a place to stay should we ever get up that far north!

Also enclosed in her box was an initial bracelet, which I am wearing in this photo, a worry doll which I carried with me in my pocket (of the pants that were on the floor) and a PRAYER BOX.  It was the BEST gift EVER!  Packed with goodies to get me going and the prayer box I will be using not only for me, but for all of my TTC sisters that I've met on this journey!

Keeping with the spirit of putting the FUN in Infertility...yes I know it doesn't technically fit and no I do not care...Here is Sock Money trying to sing a few bars of Brass Monkey by the Beastie Boys in the ultrasound wand...he is not as good a singer as I am, so let that be a lesson in sock monkey karaoke!  I loved how this pair of smiling sock monkey's just smiled at me through the whole procedure and does it get any cuter than that, two little sock monkeys there to get you through?  And as we all know, the PAPER SHEET OF we see Sock Monkey trying out the paper sheet of shame.  I still cannot fathom how a sheet thinner than Disney toilet paper is all they give you in a room kept at a paltry 68°.  Since Sock Monkey is made of soft and fuzzy materials, he did not even care that the paper sheet was that thin.  

Mary, our favorite ultrasound tech, arrived before the Sock Monkey's got too out of control and she noted that she too was a HUGE FAN of Sock Monkey's...which made them smile (either that or they're sewn that way).  She set to work with my lady bits to check out the insides of Hunny Bunny and today, you get to see them too!!  My uterus is looking healthy and ready for a Little Bun should this be the cycle for us!  We even got a great shot of the follies in my right ovary as they prepare for that little egg to rupture!  They call me a selfie queen, and as queen I needed to be sure to take a selfie with the old Ultrasound Machine, it seems we've become quite friendly since we started this journey.  This thing sees parts of me that not even Daddy Bun has seen....except on a monitor! HA!

Once we completed the ultrasound and everything looked great, Daddy Bun reminded me that he did say it would all be perfect and HE WAS RIGHT!  He loves to be right and I don't mind when it's in my favor!  I love that guy, he really is a keeper.

We went to the Teaching Room next...I imagined walls decorated with the ABC's of Infertility but alas, it was not the way I pictured in my head.  Mary gave me a calendar and the prescription for Letrozole as well as the instructions to take two per day for the next five days.  So let's check the old calendar shall we??

Letrozole through Sunday January 3.  
On Tuesday January 5 we will start with the good old Clearblue Easy OPK's to start looking for that LH surge.  
Thursday, January 7 at 9:30 we go back to FertilityCARE for a second ultrasound to see how those follies are growing.
We will start to prepare for our Ovedril trigger shot when we hit that LH surge on the OPK.
48-36 hours from the Trigger Shot we will be doing the IUI!  

Then it's another TWW...and this will by far be the longest TWW in the history of Everdom.  Thankfully I have lots of things to keep me busy from my past post on the TWW (check that out HERE if you're stuck in the TWW)

Oh my heck y''s HERE!!!  The IUI cycle is finally here!  

Monday, December 28, 2015

January IUI is FINALLY Upon Us!

It's HERE y'all!!  It's finally here!  We have been testing and sonogramming and HSGing and more testing and we have finally been approved by our RE and the Urologist for a January IUI cycle.

It seems like a YEAR since the December IUI was cancelled, yet it's really only been four I am probably a little OVERLY excited about this procedure.  That is terribly risky behavior in the TTC Community...overly excited leads to overly heartbroken.  I spent cycle after cycle getting overly excited only to be heartbroken staring at a BFN but that was all trying naturally.  The heartbreak when science is involved is a whole new battlefield for this girl.  So I'm thankful to be praying and doing two Bible Plans through YouVersion to keep me focused on believing that whatever happens is in God's plan for the Buns.  I'd love to say, "God give me a baby, give me that BFP this month"...but I don't do that anymore.  I don't ask for what I want, I ask for him to keep me faithful in his plans for me on this journey.  I ask God to be a light for me so that I may be a light to another.  Someone is on this road, someone is lost in darkness so I pray that He can help me to help them.  Whether I get pregnant or not I will be joyful because He is with me.  What could be better than that, I mean...OBVI having a baby would be amazeballs too, I cannot deny that!

This is not going to affect my Stork Trials and I promise to keep you updated on the weekly events as promised so those of you ready to try The StorkOTC can keep up with me!  This week we are unboxing the StorkOTC and reading the directions...GASP...yes y'all I am actually reading the directions.  And not only that, I have Customer Service just a phone call away!  Why risk ruining a perfectly good ICI device when you can call ahead with questions and have someone, an actual HUMAN discuss those questions and give you answers??  The Stork Trials will continue!!!

But after much prayer and thought, we decided that we must try the IUI as planned originally before The StorkOTC sent me those two lovely Christmas gifts that fit snugly into my tree.  Should the IUI not take this cycle, we will be purchasing a THIRD StorkOTC and using three of them back to back days for the highest chance.  Holding on The StorkOTC this month also gives hubby's Clomid a chance to work through his system and possibly increase his count and motility, giving the ICI a better chance to work.    So again, The Stork Trials will continue and this FRIDAY we are unboxing The StorkOTC!

Wednesday morning, 9:30am we will make the trek over to FertilityCARE in Winter Park for our Day 4 baseline ultrasound.  Why a baseline ultrasound?  The RE wants to make sure everything is looking good to go for the IUI.  It's really not what they are looking for, it's what they're NOT looking for...and that is cysts.  You see, on day 4 of my cycle I should have any large follies hanging out there, and if there are large follies present, that is a sign of cysts...they will not want to do a cycle with cysts present.  There is always a chance we come into the RE on Wednesday and they find a cyst and say, you know...NO.  And BOOM, back on hold we go.  But since I am not a fortune teller and I don't trust that Magic 8 Ball, we are going on faith and prayer.  Praying all goes well for a great baseline ultrasound...which means a boring scan.

I will be prescribed Femara (Letrozole) for five days, twice a day.  Dr. Mark calls this the "gold standard for fertility meds because it has less side effects than Clomid and less chances for multiples.  Daddy Bun and I are really looking to stay out of the multiple zone.  Add to that my Grandma was sister to twins and my Grandpa was brother to twins, well...we just would like to start with ONE BUN IN THE OVEN.  I don't know yet if we will trigger with Ovidrel but I'll get that information on Wednesday.  We will go back on January 3 to see how the follies are coming along.

For now, I say that 2016 is the year of Little Bun.  I am claiming that this will be our year.  I am claiming that this will be our cycle!

I will keep you all posted!!

Friday, December 25, 2015

The StorkOTC...IVI vs. ICI vs. IUI

Welcome Back y'all!  If you are just arriving to learn about The StorkOTC, I encourage you to take a few moments to read out Background post HERE.  This just covers our little TTC story and why we were selected to review this product.

This week we are discussing the ICI procedure and the differences between an IVI and ICI and an IUI.  NEXT WEEK, Daddy Bun and I are dissecting the StorkOTC and going over the instructions in depth.  Yes, that's right...we are still learning and we don't feel confident enough to go over the device itself just yet.  Instead we want to explain all the acronyms and the differences to help you choose what procedure may be best for you!  The idea is not to sell you the StorkOTC, it's to give you as much information as possible so that you can make your own decision.

Let's start with the basics...

  • What the heck is an ICI and how is it different from an IUI?  
  • How is it different from the "old fashioned way"?
  • Is an ICI just an IUI at home?  
  • Why is it cheaper? 
  • Do they perform them in the RE's office?  
  • Is this going to work for me?

ICI stands for for Intracervical Insemination...which is quite simply, insemination through the cervix.  How is it different than an IUI?  Let me tell you, that one letter makes a difference in two areas: cost and location of insemination site.  The ICI procedure is performed at the entry to your cervix, where an IUI is inserted past your cervix into your uterus.  The second difference is the cost.  An ICI is a fraction of the cost of an IUI.  For example, The StorkOTC device is $80 and the cost for an IUI procedure is $1500 and does not include medications (this cost is based on my RE at FertilityCARE in Winter Park and may vary from office to office).  In shopping numbers that is almost 95% off...and that is a number you can take home to your hubby or partner and say LOOK HOW MUCH I SAVED!

THAT my friends, was reason enough for me to want to try this device!

How is it different than the "old fashioned way"? Guess what, the old fashioned way has an acronym too and it's "IVI" short for intravaginal insemination.  The difference between IVI and ICI is the distance the sperm have to travel.  You may not know that when you have intercourse your vaginal canal actually those swimmers must make it through the vaginal canal, into the cervical opening and finally to the uterus...HELLO marathon!  Are your swimmers lazy, slow or lower in number?  Because if they are, there's a chance they're going to get tired before they get to your cervix.  Then what??  No trip to the "motherland" in the uterus, they just hang out confused wondering why the egg never showed up!  And that egg is in the uterus, just waiting, looking at her little egg watch thinking they stopped for directions!  How long is a vaginal canal?  Well that really depends on your body so without a speculum and a ruler it is hard for me to tell.  I'm sorry you will have to leave that up to your RE, your partner or your hubby!

So now we have THREE acronyms...IVI (vaginal), ICI (cervical), and IUI (unterine)...TEST TO COME up!

Isn't an ICI like an at home IUI?  It is close but there are some very important things you CANNOT do with an ICI that you must do with an IUI.  And that, my friends, is why they acronyms are different!  There are some key details that differentiate the two.  Again, the first obvious ones are location and cost, an IUI is in your uterus and the cost is about 95% more expensive.  But just like an infomercial...BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!!  The third is the catheter which is required to get those swimmers from your cervix to your uterus.  And more importantly, is the need for those swimmers to be "washed".  Now I'm not talking a shower with soap and water, HA.  A sperm wash separates the sperm from the semen and it also separates the non-motile swimmers from the bunch.  Skipping this part of the process during an IUI can results in horrible uterine cramping and maybe even infection.  Now, I know what you're thinking!  How does it work the other way without washing?  Because your body naturally takes care of the "washing" using the other two procedures.  But getting it straight to the uterus moves past all the natural ways your body washes sperm.  So what's the difference y'all??  Cost, location, catheter and washing!

That brings us to why an ICI is cheaper than an IUI...and that takes into account the cost to wash the sperm the doctor who is inserting it into your uterus.  Hey you didn't think he was going to do that for free did you?  When you add a sperm wash and a medical doctor, you add about $1400 to the cost.  So, that was probably the easiest question of the day!

So do they perform ICI's at the RE?  My RE does not, and here is why...the success rate is lower than an IUI.  Well of course it is, the IUI gets the sperm closest to the's natural to assume an ICI would have a lower success rate since the sperm have a little farther to go.  But the farthest trip the sperm will take is from IVI.  So the ICI brings you a few step closer than an IVI but not as close as an IUI.

Will this work for me?  I wish I could say with a resounding YES that it will work for you.  This product is designed to bring you closer to the finish line but it's not a guaranteed win for the race.  If your swimmers are slow, it's like skipping from the starting like to the halfway point.  If your cervical mucus is thick and the swimmers can't get past it in the vaginal canal, an ICI will slide it right on by.  But there are no guarantees, not with IVI, ICI, IUI or even IVF.  There are just not guarantees.  The StorkOTC is designed to help you get closer to the goal line.  And with our current situation, we need to be closer to the goal line.

To recap, The StorkOTC is an ICI device designed to bring sperm closer to the "Motherland" to aid in conception.  It's not quite an IUI because it deposits the sperm at the cervix but it is much closer than the vaginal canal so it could be a great option if you have slow swimmers or less than average motility.  If you have no sperm this will not work for you.  If you have very poor counts, this will not be a good option for you.  If you're cycle is highly irregular, I would not recommend an ICI for you.  Because timing is very important and if your body is not yet right with timing, it will be difficult to know when you need to perform the procedure.
I hope this post gave a little clarity as to the procedures available and where The StorkOTC fits in the offensive line of TTC.  Do you have questions about The StorkOTC?  About the different procedures we discussed?  Leave a question in the comments below or head over to the RIGHT of the blog and Contact the Brains Behind the Blog using the contact form.  That's me y'all.  I'm the brains of this operation.       

Friday, December 18, 2015

The StorkOTC Review...The Background

Triple Pack available at Amazon
Daddy Bun and I were chosen to receive two free StorkOTC at home insemination kits in exchange for an honest review on the product. Amazon lists the cost of a twin pack of StorkOTC at $152 (HERE).  So I was gifted $152 in product to simply check it out, try it, and let readers know what I think of it.

 Want to know more NOW???  Check it out here!

We're breaking this up into weekly posts because we figured it would be less of an information overload if we did this a piece at a time.  Plus we would love to answer any questions you might have along the way so feel free to use the COMMENTS section below or even the CONTACT section on the right if you would prefer to remain anonymous.

Background of The Buns (right NOW!)
ICI vs. IUI and Dissecting The StorkOTC 
and FINALLY, Using The StorkOTC
Post TWW Follow Up 

Let's start with why they chose The Buns as good candidates for this.  If you don't know our infertility story, check HERE.  Daddy Bun and I are dealing primarily with MFI (male factor infertility).  As we've progressed through the testing and SA's (semen analysis) we know the factors that are causing this MFI.

Daddy Bun had a vasovasectomy in 2007, he was only able to have one side reconnected.  He is a carrier for CFΔF508...which is a Cystis Fibrosis mutation contributing to his MFI.  In addition, he has low testosterone.  So together, my hubby has one side reconnected post vasectomy reversal, a CF mutation and low testosterone levels all contributing to his MFI. 

From 2007 until 2009, Daddy Bun and I actively TTC.  I spent 14 months in agonizing TWW's, effectively wasting money of HPT after HPT which only showed one pink or one blue line.  I learned to hate the TWW, learned every aspect of pre-pregnancy symptoms and their likeness to AF symptoms...I studied positions, vitamins, nutrition, and Dr. Google.  I became acutely aware of every cramp, pull, tug, soreness, tenderness, and BFP.  

In 2009 we provided an SA to our urologist and waited anxiously for the results.  When they called and told me we had about 5mil motile sperm in the sample, I felt my hopes crumble.  We didn't have the numbers for an IUI, and we would need to have IVF with ICSI to achieve a pregnancy.  This was a cost we simply could NOT afford. Hubby and I agreed to keep TTC naturally with the poor numbers and hope for a miracle baby.  

2010 - no baby...all my friends are having babies.

2011 - no baby...I've stopping taking HPT's.

2012 - no baby...I'm losing the little hope that I have.

2013 - no baby...I give up.  I've lost hope, there is no use to keep trying.  I crumble into depression.  I don't want to be a part of anything.

2014 - Our finances come together, but by then the damage between Daddy Bun and I reaches astronomical levels.  I resent him for his MFI, I blame him because I'm not a mother.  I resent our life.  I resent our friends.  I resent anyone with a baby, having a baby, trying to conceive a baby...and I resent babies.  I am the Hot Mess Express and the train is flying through station after station, no brakes, not stopping.     

2015 - Hubby hops aboard the Hot Mess Express and yanks on the emergency brake.  We agree to pursue infertility treatments with the expectation that they may not work, but the knowledge that we are making an effort is enough to pull me off the train.  Hubby adjusts his alcohol, his diet and his vitamins.  He takes a vitamin regimen concoction he created and in October, his SA came back with better counts, motility and progressive movement.  His viscosity is still high and his morphology is too low, but we were overjoyed with the overall result.  We have crossed into IUI territory!!

That brings us to RIGHT NOW, TODAY!  We are currently approved for IUI in January 2016. Daddy Bun is now on Clomid and he wants to give the medicine some time to try to improve his numbers and have another SA to see if there is some improvement.  The better our numbers, the more likely an IUI will work.  This rolls us into February and allows us a chance to try The StorkOTC at home in January.

My cycle will start December 28-29 and that puts us using the at home conception kit between January 5-10.  We are excited to be candidates for The StorkOTC and look forward to sharing the results with you all.  We;ve added a new page to the website dedicated to The StorkOTC and our efforts.  Check back for updates soon!

NEXT WEEK'S POST...              
ICI vs. IUI and Dissecting The StorkOTC 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Fertile Box...a Care Package for the TTC Sisters

Small Box...yes, this is the SMALL ONE!
**UPDATE**  Thanks to Grace who let me know that the creator of Fertile Gems is also the creator of FertileBox and the bonus pen was the item from Kristin Schumucker!  Without the help of others, sometimes even I don't get it right!  I want to be sure and credit Fertile Gems for expanding and creating the FertileBox as well!'ALL!  Have you heard of Fertile Box??  Well, before I started my Instagram account, I had not heard of Fertile Box either so don't feel bad for being in the dark, but if you are still in the dark after this post, then it is all ON YOU!

Fertile Box is not a subscription box.  It's a box that is prepared monthly, but you don't have the burden of paying each month for a box you may or may not enjoy.  You're notified via email of each box's release and you are able to purchase the box upon release.  Each box has a small version and a full version.  This month to try it out, I purchased the small version.  It comes with three featured items and two BONUS items for $25.  I received my box on Saturday, and I was SPEECHLESS, literally blown away (I mean, you should have seen my hair...I was so blown away it was like I'd been in a wind tunnel).

SIDE NOTE: The FULL SIZE version of the box is $37 but if you subscribe to their emails, they send coupons to save.  The difference this month was the full size box came with an adorable coffee mug and a full size Beauty in the Bible coloring book.  

The box, unwrapped
On to the BOX!!!  Each month, they create a different theme and this month they created a Faith Box bursting with amazing gifts to help TTC sisters like myself on our journey to conceive.  As a subscription box addict, I was prepared for a box of goodies, but I've seen them come dumped in a bag, or even just rolling around in empty tissue paper (I don't get THOSE boxes anymore!)  Sealed inside tissue paper with a Fertile Box sticker, I didn't even want to open it!  But you know I did!!  As I gently tore open the sticker sealing the faith box, I couldn't help but feel gleeful, and y'all....they tells you what is coming in the box.  You know before you buy exactly what you are getting...and I was still absolutely joyous when I opened that tissue paper.  I just didn't expect to see so much care put into this, created by one person.  It's not a big company dumping items into a box on a conveyor, this is carefully thought out and created for women just like me! You can tell LOVE was put into making this.  They sprinkles little bonus items in the box which were like a happy prize for me.  

I received a mini-Beauty in the Bible coloring book, and if you aren't on the coloring train, people have caught on that adults still like to color.  You can find awesome coloring books that are so much better than Barbie or Dora!  This was a mini-version of the full size coloring book that came in the full sized box and one I've looked at purchasing myself.  The pages are thick white paper and you can use markers or crayons or pencils (I use watercolor pencils when I color).  I find coloring relaxes me when I'm stressed and this is Bible based, BONUS!

Next in the box was a heart shaped Bracelet on a card that reminds you to Let your Faith be Bigger than your Fear.  It's a simple bracelet but the meaning behind it when you wear it is what is important.  This items was a BONUS item in the box and I LOVED it!

Also enclosed were (2) 5x7 prints about faith, one with a verse from Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".  A perfect reminder for those on this journey.   These can go on our fridge as a reminder to  or even put in a frame for a lovely piece of art.  I was expecting to receive one 5x7 print, but I got TWO!  Another lovely surprise in the box!

In a small box wrapped with lace was Fertile Gems necklace, a turquoise dove, you had the choice of turquoise or amazonite, but I being a lover of the color blue, chose the turquoise.  From the website, Fertile Box states:

Turquoise a great healing stone that strengthens and calms the mind and body, dissolves negativity and restores peace. It stimulates concentration and focus, boosts self-esteem, treats insomnia and anxiety.

These are areas in which I struggle so I was thrilled to have a stone in a color that I loved and that possessed qualities that focus on specific areas I struggle.  

 As a FREE bonus, I got a pen which always comes in handy when you're TTC and need to take notes at a doctor appointment so that was promptly put into my handbag.

And in EVERY BOX they send three OPK test strips and two HPT tests PLUS a small bag of baby dust...we TTC'ers love to spread baby dust when we are talking with our TTC sisters so I put this into my bag as well so I can carry the baby dust with me.  A bonus FAITH sticker and Faith Makes All Things Possible  card were also enclosed.  

Can you believe this?  All this love and care put into a box for a TTC sister.  This could be a gift for a struggling friend or relative, a treat for a special wife, me, a present to yourself!  The struggle to beat infertility is a journey 1 in 8 woman must face in their lives, and there are some who never get the BFP they desire.  My Fertile Box is a care package that brought a huge smile to my face during this struggle.

But be careful, FertileBox only makes a limited number of boxes, and when they're gone....they're gone.  So get right over to My Fertile Box and sign up to receive the emails!  You will know when each box is ready, the theme of the box, and even get a coupon from time to time.  I am so excited to ask Daddy Bun to get me the CURRENT BOX....the Think Happy Thoughts Collection!  Head over to My Fertile Box and check out the collection now!

*I bought and paid for my box, I didn't receive anything to do this review, I just wanted to share this AH-MAY-ZING box and all the goodies inside!!

I am sharing this on Amateur Nester's Tuesday Linkup!  Have you checked out Amateur Nester?  Talk about a "home" for those who are struggling with infertility.  Lisa overcame her struggle and is a true testament to the journey of couples TTC with faith and science.  Check out her blog by clicking this link below!  You will NOT BE SORRY!!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hunny Bunny's Sonohystogram


Today I was the lucky recipient of a sonohysterogram at FertilityCARE in Winter Park  (cue applause).  I made this appointment CD01 but they didn't actually get me entered in the system, so when I called last Friday freaking out about my missing appointment, they quickly shuffled me in at 9:45 today, just a few minutes later than my original scheduled...ahhh "unscheduled" time.  Of course I slept late, was slow getting ready on my crutches and had Daddy Bun drumming his fingers on the dashboard waiting for me to climb in the truck to go.

Before you do any procedure at FertilityCARE, they like to be sure there's not a bun in your off I went to sprinkle a tinkle to be sure.  Always difficult to handle a specimen cup while you're on crutches but thankfully there was NO SPILLAGE!  I am getting to be quite the speed demon on a pair of crutches.  And YES I have added leopard accents to my crutches to match my fabulous leopard post-op boot.

Ever had a sonohysterogram?  NO?  Let me give you a rundown!!  This is an EXCITING procedure, complete with a cervical wash, speculum, catheter, cervical cleaning, saline wash and the always improper transvaginal ultrasound!  Hey, it's always exciting to have someone shove an object in your lady bits and show you your insides right??  So prepare to strip down, enjoy the paper sheet and do what...JUST RELAX!  Isn't that what they always say?  I'm going to shove this condom covered jelly thing inside your body, please relax while I shove it around in there and look at your uterus and ovaries.  Here I am appearing to relax...what you can't see is my legs are clamped shut in fear under the giant sheet of toilet paper.  Smile pretty and let's start this show!

Mary comes in and evaluates my lady bits.  I've got a dominant follicle on the left this month, appearing currently at 17mm and getting larger.  My uterus is otherwise looking like the cuterus that it is!  Wonderful, she yanks out the device and says hang out here while I get Dr. Mark.  Uhhh...sure Mary, I am naked here with a broken foot, I won't be taking laps in the hallway...THIS WEEK ANYWAY!!

While I'm waiting, I like to entertain my hubby and myself.  I'm talented and can cross only one eye.  I wonder what Dr. Mark will think of my one eye corssing capabilities...I don't get time to ask him beucase when Dr. Mark comes in, I smell peanut butter.  He's been snacking on peanut butter!!  I have a nose for peanut butter and I looked around waiting for my spoonful...but he had none.  Can you believe the nerve of this guy, coming into my ultrasound room, smelling of peanut butter and not even sharing the delicious snack?  NOTE TO SELF...bring your own food.

He starts the process by asking if I've remembered my uterus today....thankfully yes I did remember it so he proceeded to insert speculum and clean my uterus.  I ask how many dirty ones he sees and he tells me they don't like to judge.  I hope I've got the winning one though...I'm competitive.

It's GO TIME y'all... in goes the catheter...sort of crampy feeling here but not as bad as the HSG (see that story HERE).  Once the catheter is in, out goes the speculum, THANK GOODNESS as Dr. Mark mentioned if we keep those we have to pay for them!  Everyone is standing around the ultrasound machine as he insert that stupid contraption again and starts to empty the syringe of saline water into my uterus....holy crap I can see it literally filling up!  My uterus is filling up with water right on the screen.  I'm like WHOAAA that is some crazy stuff right there!  But guess what didn't appear??  A polyp!


I'm shocked and excited...this means NO SURGERY!  Oh hayyyyyy, that is great news as I wasn't the least bit thrilled about having to have even the simplest outpatient procedure to remove it.  No worries, it's not there.  Perhaps a shadow...perhaps a prayer...perhaps a mistaken identity!  Perhaps a lot of things...but one thing is for sure, there is no polyp and Hunny Bunny is FULL STEAM AHEAD for a January IUI.

So what does this mean for Daddy Bun?  The man with the swimmers...the (hopeful) future father of my child?  The one on phone duty while I'm getting my insides examined?  We happily hobbled out of the office, once we paid the $700 fee for the water-sono and went back to the lab for his second of three SA's.

This SA included a test wash so we can see if IUI is definitely a procedure we want to consider.  In addition, a third SA examining the DNA of the swimmers is on order for next Wednesday.  Guess what, I didn't go this time.  I waited in the lobby because I thought it might be easier if I wasn't trying to document the experience and giggling at the sample room (AKA bathroom with VHS tapes and headphones).  We left knowing that in 24 hours we will have the results of the SA, the results of the sperm wash...and FINALLY....YES PEOPLE...FINALLY know what procedure we are starting in January.  It only took $4300 to get here (see How Much Does All This Cost for a breakdown).

STAY TUNED for an update on the SA and sperm wash to see what our next step will be!!  


Monday, December 7, 2015

Testing Patience and Perseverance

I know that God has a presence in my life and I know that God tests us all from time to time.  Sometimes he sends a test in the form of a wake up call, like he did to me last Monday when I fell and broke my foot.  I feel like that was a reminder to slow down, stop hurrying through life trying to get to the next cycle.  Stop and enjoy the time we have while we are on the journey to beat infertility.  So many times I tell myself I want this to hurry up and get me to the end, but this journey has brought me closer to God so no wonder I should slow down and just live every day to the fullest.  This was a test of my patience and perseverance.

But I am tired y'all.  My body aches in places I've never ached.  Even walking to the bathroom on the crutches has me nearly in tears.  The bruises on my palms and under my arms from the pressure of the crutches are invisible to the eye, but visible on my face as I wince in pain with every step.  My good leg, as I used to call it, is shaky and weak and gives out too easily.  I'm left fumbling and stumbling and desperately trying not to land on the broken one to keep steady.  My spirit feels broken and my positive attitude is slowly weakening with each day that passes.

And y'all, it's ONLY been a week.  There are people who do this for MONTHS!!      

This weekend Daddy Bun and I did some holiday shopping and were able to use wheelchairs at the local craft store and WalMart...otherwise I would not have even stepped out of the house.  When I called the craft store to inquire about borrowing a wheelchair you would have thought I asked the woman to move a mountain and take the ice from the top and deliver it to my door wrapped in silver foil with a song.  Was it THAT hard to answer if they had a wheelchair?  I almost cut the trip right there, but I seldom allow someone else's attitude to affect my own, much less dismay me from a shopping outing!  Onward we went as soon as I knew they had a wheelchair.

Daddy Bun is my hero y'all
Let me tell y'all, I have found a new respect for people in wheelchairs.  First of all, just getting around in a wheelchair is a difficult in and of itself.  I was being pushed along by Daddy Bun which did help, but a few times I found myself attempting to steer and wheel myself around on my own and learned that there should be a driving test for those things.  I hit more aisles and bumped more floor displays than I am willing to admit!  In addition to the poor driving and poor pushing skills, we were up against other people shopping, other people's strollers and other people's carts.  Aisle space is precious when you're in a wheelchair and there just isn't enough room for a cart and a wheelchair to pass without an effortless movement that would make a Gold Medal Ice Skater green with envy.   Also, some of the people were positively unwavering in their aisle space, I had to literally ask not once but twice, to be excused and apologize for the oversized chair that hindered their shopping experience.  Some people just stood there gawking as though they'd never seen a human in a wheelchair.  I half expected them to take out their phone and snap a pic like I was an endangered exotic snow leopard...but alas, it's just Hunny Bunny in a wheelchair y'all, nothing to see here!

We completed the task at the craft store, obtaining ribbon and a new garland for the entertainment center and some mesh for the family tree.  I was so thankful to be pushed around and not stuck limping on those crutches I nearly asked hubby to offer them some money to rent it for the next few weeks.  Our next stop....WalMart.

Oh no...we can all groan together in unison...NOT WALMART....   

I am fake smiling in this photo at the entrance to WalMart.  I am also a well trained ventriloquist and through this fake smile and clenched teeth I'm telling Daddy Bun to HURRY UP I don't want a picture in the stupid chair, I am in the way, people are staring, OMG MOVE ME RIGHT NOW.  Yes all of that while seemingly appearing to smile.  It's a talent I must say!  Practice in the mirror when you finish reading this blog and you too can become a seasoned ventriloquist.  

WalMart was a NIGHTMARE.  This wheelchair was jacked up.  It took a few minutes to figure out how to get into the chair without hopping over the big basket in the front.  And what if I needed to pee and get out...I was stuck if hubby had been off somewhere doing that WalMart joy walking know, aimlessly staring at various trinkets and treasures that you just don't need?!!  Yes, that's the WalMart Joy Walk y'all.  It felt like one brake was constantly slowing me down.  I tried several times to "drive it myself" but no luck, I would have been left turning circles if not for my hubby, the hero.  In addition to the wheelchair causing problems, so many people just did not care that we were at the mercy of a wheelchair and the space we were taking up was not our fault, but the fault of the manufacturer of the wheelchair with the basket locking me in place.  The number of times we went around the aisles just to avoid some lady or gentleman that didn't understand the word "Excuse me" or just did not care was astounding.  

I could feel my positive energy literally draining from my body with each passing second...I started to get temper started to rise...I could feel a meltdown starting as we finished the shopping and checked out at the register.  Just as we were leaving, climbing out of the borrowed wheelchair from Hell, and I stood waiting for hubby to drive up with the truck, I thought to myself....God, are you testing my patience here?  I need you to loan me  a little of that peace you sprinkle from time to time.  Please God, give me peace from this struggle, I prayed.  I must keep moving forward.  I cannot let this take me down....I will not let this take me down.  I remembered this verse from James:

This could heal in weeks, it could heal in months, I might need a pin in my foot, I might need a cast.  I just don't know yet.  But I know that I have God beside me and my husband beside me, so I'm going to be OK y'all.  I am going to be OK.

I'm sharing this on Amateur Nester today for the Tuesday Linkup.  I love that Lisa over at Amateur Nester gives us an opportunity to share our posts on her site.  Take a moment to visit Lisa, she's got such an amazing spirit and her posts always inspire my walk with God.  Don't forget to check out her 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility and 31 Days of Scripture During Infertility e-books she has available!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What's Next for the Buns??

It's December...YAY!!  I am so excited for this holiday season.  Daddy Bun and I are stronger than ever and I have to stop and thank God for placing him in my life.

Thank you God for the amazing man you gave me, he is strong, loyal, loving, and kind.  He takes wonderful care of me and his devotion to our family surpasses any other man I've ever known.  I am blessed to be called his wife and blessed to have him on this journey with me.  

This month, our fertility journey is on going to be picking up a little speed.  We have several procedures going on and are excited to get to work!  First is my WHAT??

My Sonohysterography....more commonly called a saline sonogram is the next procedure in line for this Hunny Bunny.  The "Salt-Sono" as I've nicknamed it, is designed to examine my uterus to investigate what my RE believes to be a polyp on the left side wall of my uterus.  He believes this could be hindering our fertility because an egg can't implant on a polyp.  This was my first infertility whammy, and thankfully it's a problem that can be easily solved. I consider this a blessing to be only deterred by a polyp but at the same time I feel sort of awkward saying I'm infertile when so many of my TTC Sisters have more difficult obstacles hindering their ability to conceive.  BUt we are all in this together, whether it's PCOS, Endo, or MFI that is the issue.  And like I always say, it's a bump in the road, not a dead end.  Let's stay focused and have faith we will end up at the end of the right road, BFP Avenue!

Last time I went for my HSG, I forgot some KEY ITEMS...namely a maxi-pad for subsequent drainage and Tylenol to prevent pain.  I also think I need a pillow to sit on because I swear I felt every single bump on the highway on the road trip home.  I will BE PREPARED this trip!

So the Salt-Sono is much like the nemesis, the speculum will be there, my cervix will once again be "cleaned" truly y'all...I shower but in my lifetime my cervix has been cleaned only once, last month so I'm guessing it won't be as dirty as last time around.  Then using a catheter they're going to add saline to my uterus and poke around in there to see if I have a polyp or (praying) whatever he saw on my HSG has miraculously disappeared.  If it is, in fact, a uterine polyp, we will be scheduled to have it surgically removed later this month.  

I don't wanna have something surgically removed (in my whiney wife voice with my sad face).  
Now, while all this is going on, I will INSIST that Daddy Bun be present because if I can just see him in the room I will feel better about the procedure.  I am hoping they don't deny my request because then I'll have to turn on the waterworks and risk my mascara running...and Hunny Bunny doesn't like to waste mascara!

In addition, Daddy Bun will be providing another SA...this time it will include a test wash to see how many motile and progressive swimmers we have.  This will help determine if we can try an IUI or if the Urologist will recommend IVF.  Dr. Witt travels down from Atlanta and I have a TTCSister in Jacksonville who is seeing him as well.  He really is the BEST in the Southeast.  I was present for his first SA but I think it would be better if I let him do that on his own this time...I was so enthralled with the magazines and VHS tapes (yesssss...VHS TAPES) that it was hard for him to focus on the job to be completed...sorry Daddy Bun!  To get the best test possible I think I better sit that one out!

One week later, we will return to Fertility CARE and meet with Dr. Witt to review the results.  Daddy Bun will also be undergoing his sonograms...and that makes me feel somewhat vindicated that I am not the only one getting poked and prodded in the private bits.  I am not allowed to be in the room for that, as there are items going in places that we will not disclose...but you KNOW where I'm talking y'all!

So December 16 we will review the SA, the sonograms and determine if Daddy Bun has any blockages or other roadblocks that could be taking us in the opposite direction from BFP Avenue.  While we won't be pursuing any surgical procedures for him, we do want to know what odds are against us.  So in 14 days y'all I will know what direction we are heading....ACCKKKKKK!!!

I am so excited to get this show back on the road, I'm feeling like a Circus Carny in the off season! 

 So this is where the Buns are now y'all!  I am praying God's plan is a BFP in 2016!  I will give you all the deets on the Salt-Sono next week!  I'm sure there will be a laugh or two in there!         

If you don't follow me on Instagram already, please join me on my journey through pictures.  I highlight all things NoBun related...Life, Love and Infertility..I find myself sharing and lifting other women just like me on the bench waiting for our turn at bat to get a Home Run BFP!!  My user name is...obviously...nobunintheoven!  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

CD1 and the Broken Foot

When I go, I really make an effort to go all out y'all...seriously!

Yesterday marked CD1, which means no Little Bun in the Oven this month.  We were not surprised at the BFN that came Sunday night but I was still a little bummed that our last effort at the old-fashioned way didn't produce the Hail Mary baby we wanted.  In fact Daddy Bun was a bit surprised I even spent the money to purchase a HPT but I am a true glutton for punishment and snuck down to Walgreens and spent the $17 which turned out to be a waste of money.  

Good news I did pick up some new gel eyeliner from Maybelline which has pretty awesome staying power for a drugstore brand.  I purchased one of these in black, called Sleek Onyx and it was a BOGO 50% Deal so I also purchased one for a friend who has issues with her eyeliner smearing throughout the day.  I'm sort of an eyeliner hoarder...OK FINE, I admit it, I am a makeup hoarder, mascara junkie, and eyeliner fiend.  If you're in the market for a drugstore brand that matches the quality of Urban Decay 24/7 liner, this would be a good fact it's a little smoother and easier to apply.  OK that's my one makeup tip for today....back to the story!

So fresh off a BFN, my tears dried, consoled by Daddy Bun and prayers to God for peace and clarity, I set out to work Monday morning, determined not to be depressed and down.  I had a doctor appointment at 4:15 that afternoon so I set out a little early so I could sneak by our house and check my mailbox...I am also an online ordering addict and was expecting a package.  

FIRST MISTAKE: sneaking out of work early to check the mail.  If I had just stayed at work and left for the doctor on time, I would not be telling you this story today. 

I get home and pull in the garage and set off down my sloped 20' driveway to check the mail.  20' y'all, it's not a haul, not a hike, it's 20'...I get to the base of the driveway and I slip and crash to the ground.  When I slipped I heard a crack on my left foot...I landed square on my bum in the street.  I sat there for a moment stunned...looked at my short brown boots and thought well CRAP that was awkward.  I stood up and opened the mailbox...and it was EMPTY.  There was no mail.  NONE!  I started to trudge up the driveway...but my felt like splintering cracks along the bottom of it, a burning fire sensation that made me stop in my tracks. I thought, come on really?  I don't need this right now!  I had a doctor appointment and it's the kind you can't cancel without paying anyway.  Determined to go, I got back into my car. 

Driving would seem easy enough...except I drive a manual transmission!  I have Dodge Challenger.  She's a beauty...Charley is her name...Charley the Challenger.  She is bright blue because that is my FAVORITE color.  And she is a stick shift because let's be honest, who wants an American Muscle Car in an automatic?  Daddy Bun didn't even want Charley, until he took her for a he LOVES our car.  So, I press the clutch and the fire shoots up my leg...ARGHHHHH I literally scream in my driver seat...wondering how will I make it the 20 miles to the doctor in an automatic.  For a moment I considered just skipping my appointment and paying anyway.  But I'm a trooper y'all!

I somehow make it to the clinic in blinding pain and while I'm aware they have free valet, I can't help imagining Ferris Bueller's Day off and some valet guys driving all over town in Charley, making leaps and going speeds even I haven't gone!  So I find the closest spot and hobble up to the second floor while my foot is screaming at me STOP WALKING...GET OFF ME...THIS IS TORTURE!  I check in at the appointment desk and she takes my BP, 153/95...HOLY WOWZERS!  That was high even for this white coat syndrome chick!  While I'm in with the doctor, the nurse calls for a wheelchair to escort me to urgent care.  I oblige and climb into the chair and proceed to be carted to Urgent Care...and you know what he did...he BUMPED my foot on the elevator door....I yelp in pain.  He felt bad though so I didn't reach up and smack him.  He also wanted to drive my car...I knew if he was in valet he would have been THAT guy, driving all over town in my car...and I was thankful I skipped valet.  

This is me, in the wheelchair, at Urgent Care.  I get a lot of compliments on my Wifey clutch which is still Available at Saks Off Fifth through THIS LINK and only $14.99!  What a STEAL!  I am a clutch-a-holic because I can fit so much in these little beauties and they're quick when I need to run into the store (which I won't be doing any running around right now)

They were super nice in Urgent Care and by then my BP has dropped to 145/93 and guess what, the nurse taking my vitals bumped my foot again...I was starting to wonder if everyone was in on some game called Bump the Bum Foot...but I smiled through the pain and told her it was OK (even though it was not, in fact, ok).  They took me to X-ray and took a dozen pictures in so many of them so painful that it made me scream "SWEET BABY JESUS"...literally!  The x-ray technician hadn't heard anyone holler for the Sweet Baby Jesus before...and he laughed...yea ha ha, laugh at the woman in pain!

Lo and behold, it was broken!  I said COME ON are you kidding me?  BROKEN!?  Yup, and here is a similar foot just so you can see where my break is...this foot already has a screw in it, and hopefully that will NOT be necessary for me, cause while I love screwing around, I don't want to be screwed!  The doctor put me in the loveliest orthopedic boot they had in stock, and I'm currently wishing I hadn't sold all my craft supplies in the Yard Sale because they would surely assist in dressing this bad boy up.  I am still going to work on it, maybe some rhinestones, a sparkly bow, some Christmas ornaments perhaps??  

I have an appointment on December 11 with the podiatrist to see how it is healing.  My crutches will be in tomorrow and I will no longer be banned to my bed.  My foot hurts, it's CD1 but I'm still smiling y'all.  Everything happens for a reason and I believe God was telling me to slow down, stop worrying about what is coming and focus on what is here right now.  And that my friends, is what I am going to do.  Exercise patience.  Slow down.  Enjoy life.  We should all take time to do those things.  

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I am writing this from my office, on Thanksgiving...why?  Because I left all my recipes printed neatly on my desk...and LEFT THEM HERE!

So I though in this quiet before the whirlwind of mixing and whisking and baking that I would take a moment to tell you all what I am thankful for on in 2015.

2015 has been an eventful year, full of happiness and celebration, disappointment and loss, betrayal and forgiveness.  It might sound strange to be thankful for negative events that happened during the course of this year but I am, I am so thankful to have traveled this road because without it, I would not be here today.  I am thankful for the broken road that led me here.

I am thankful for God because without His presence, I would still be in a dark depression, wallowing in self pity and regret, refusing to face His grace out of fear and guilt.  I am thankful He did not give up on me, that he continued to tug at my heart, my soul, and my mind.  Thankful that He picked me up and dusted me off and said to me, "You are not alone.  You are loved.  You will overcome this.  You are not the mistakes you made."  God's grace is a powerful force and when you have it, and you accept it, you are free to walk away from whatever is holding you down.  Whatever it is, it doesn't matter.  He freely gives that grace, all you have to do is ask, and receive it.

I am thankful for my husband.  The most wonderful man who loves me through the emotional roller coaster that is Hunny Bunny.  I am up, I am down, I am inverted and doing loops and spins that would make even the most adrenaline starved roller coaster fan sick to their stomach.  And he rides through it all, it's like he's in the front row and he's always willing to go another ride, not even a blink, a hesitation, he doesn't even need to take a break.  I love him so much.

I am thankful for this journey, our journey.  TTC is a tough road and we've been on and off this road for years.  But here we are again, back on the road, and I am so thankful to be here, to be sharing this journey with my readers and my TTCSisters.  There are times when I'm crying, like last night when we watched a birth on TV...and I just want to hold my own baby in my arms.  There are times when I'm laughing, thinking of the lengths we will go to try for a BFP.  There are times when I'm praying, looking up to God for clarity and support and confirmation that I'm following His plan and not my own.

I am thankful for my TTCSisters, I've found such wonderful support on relevant blogs, on Instgram and on the BabyCenter Forums.  In a world where people don't know what to say, or how to react when someone is struggling with TTC, I can rest easy knowing there are women just like me out there, struggling all the same.  I'm able to reach out and support them, pass along a verse that got me through, remind them that we are all on a road and a BFN is not the end of the road, it's just a bump in the road.  Lifting others up and supporting them on their journey is a very important part of lifting my own spirit.  I am so thankful to be able to share that journey here on this blog and through any avenue I can find to share and show support.

There are so many things to be thankful for, so many people who have crossed my path, those who served as blessings and those who served as lessons.  Everyone we come in contact with has a purpose in our life, it's not an accident that people come and people go from our lives.  We must find the good in every situation, even if we cannot find good when the situation occurs.

My father died on November 21, 1997.  That year and every year after, I found the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas the hardest part of my year.  His memory and my failings as a daughter haunted me and kept me chained to the past.  This year, 18 years later, exactly double my age when he died, I let it go, I took the key to those chains that held me down and I unlocked them.  I let it go.  I forgave myself for those misguided childish mistakes.  I walked away from that girl, and walked into the woman I am right now.  And I am JOYFUL.  For the first time in 18 years, I am joyful during the holiday.  And for that I know that my Dad would be proud.  He is proud of the woman I have finally become.

So this Thanksgiving I am more thankful that I've ever been.  Even while struggling with not being pregnant and the TTC road that is full of setback and bumps, I am still thankful.  I hope you all can find something to be thankful for this year, and if you struggle, if you search deep down inside your soul and you still come up empty handed, be thankful for me.  Because I am here for you, no matter your struggle, no matter your past, your mistakes, your faults...I am still here to support you however I can.  Be thankful you have me!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Grandma's Chicken and Dumplings

When I crafted my post for the Infamous Two Week Wait (here) I mentioned cooking as a way to keep your mind off the seemingly impossible task of not focusing on the TWW.

Let me tell y'all, I am not Betty Crocker in any way, I don't like to cook, I often fail at cooking rice and have left all rice responsibilities to Daddy Bun.  I've been known to set food on fire and blacken meat until its unrecognizable.  I mean, let's face it, I am a lot of things: creative, smart, funny, and even super cute if you ask Daddy Bun, but a cook...that I am not!

So you're probably wondering how I can confidently provide you this recipe...but I can!  I am confident you will make these and love them and they will become a staple comfort food in your home.  This recipe was passed down from my Grandma to me before she died.  It is a cherished recipe and when I eat them I remember sitting in her kitchen, watching her with wide curious eyes as she whisked and mixed what looked like nothing into something amazing.

Telephone operators and switchboard in Tallahassee, Florida.
Photo from The Florida Archives
My Grandma was one of the most amazing women I've ever met.  She was beautiful and smart and funny.  She never stepped out of her house unless she was dressed and wearing makeup and jewelry, as did many women in her day.  My Grandma was a hard working woman, spending six days a week at Southern Bell where she started as an operator and retired as a Supervisor nearly 40 years later.  We are taking about when you had to call the operator to connect you to someone y'all...the OLD days!  After my sister and I were born she retired and we stayed home with her while my parents worked...and THAT is when I watched her do the most amazing things in the kitchen.  She was classically southern and all her dishes were made from scratch but her chicken and dumplings were my favorite!

So when I'm struggling during that TWW...I pull out that recipe and remember the good ol' days.

So without further bragging on my AH-MAY-ZING Grandma, here is the recipe...

Grandma’s Southern Chicken and Dumplings
(Printable Version)
(I make this in two parts, so I broke out the ingredients into the Stock and The Dumplings)

Chicken Stock
4 chicken quarters
2 carrots cut into 2” chunks
2 stalks of celery (discard leaves) cut into 2” chunks
1 TSP Salt
Water to Cover

Place four chicken quarters in a large pot, add carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper.  Add water until the water covers all the ingredients in the pot.  Next add 1 measured cup of water to the pot.  Bring ingredients to a rolling boil.  Once in a rolling boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, pull chicken quarters carefully from the pot and let cool for 15 minutes.

While chicken is cooling, you can strain the veggies from the stock.  Pour the stock through a strainer into a large bowl.  Then slowly strain off any chicken fat from the top of the broth using a large slotted spoon.   Measure two quarts of stock for the dumplings and save the rest for later use.  

Return the two quarts of stock to the large pot and begin separating the chicken quarters.  Pull all the meat off the bones and tear into 2" chunks. Discard all the bones and skin.  Place the chunks of chicken into the pot and return to a low simmer.  

2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Black Pepper
1 TSP Poultry Seasoning
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/3 cup Vegetable Shortening
¼ cup self-rising flour

Mix together 2 cups of flour, salt, pepper, seasoning, and baking powder until well blended.  Add 1/3 shortening one spoonful at a time (I do not have a mixer so this is a way to cut it into the flour mix evenly).  Mix well until it resembles round peas.  Once it is ready, start to pour in ½ cup of buttermilk and mix well.  Add remaining ¼ buttermilk slowly and continue to mix.  It will form a sticky ball of dough in the bowl.  Using remaining ¼ cup flour, sprinkle on dough and roll around in bowl until it’s not sticky.  Once it’s ready, separate into two balls of dough. 

Return to pot of simmering stock and chick and turn up to slow boil.

Sprinkle flour on your rolling surface, I use the counter.  If you do not use enough, it will stick to the rolling pin and the counter.  Roll the ball of dough until it is about 1/4” thick.  You may need to add flour from time to time to keep it from sticking.  Once it is at correct thickness, use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 1”x3” rectangles.   Flour each side of the dumplings and drop individually into the boiling chicken stock.  Stir occasionally while you repeat the process with the second ball of flour and add individual dumplings to stock.  Let cook about ten minutes.  Remove from heat.  Let sit ten minutes to thicken sauce.   Serve and enjoy!

Did you make it??? Did you love it???  Share your thoughts below!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My First HSG Experience

Today was the hysterosalpingogram...yea, go ahead and pronounce that and then you'll understand why everyone just shortens it to HSG. What the heck is an HSG?  Let's give it a Google!

A hysterosalpingogram or HSG is an x-ray procedure used to see whether the fallopian tubes are open and if the inside of the uterus is normal. HSG is an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than 5 minutes to perform.

Let me tell you a little PRE-HSG advice...

1) There are tons of horror stories online, but don't let them alarm you! I've heard it's as painful as childbearing.  I never gave birth so I cannot speak to that, but if what I went through is the pain level of child bearing then I AM GOOD TO GO people!

2) You cannot do the BD/"baby dance" which is fertility code for sex prior to the HSG.  This is for two reasons.  First they want to ensure you are not pregnant and second they don't want you to get an infection.  Yes, you can get an infection if you BD prior to your HSG.  I really thought it was because they didn't want a bunch of swimmers out there interrupting everything but turns out you can't even see those suckers on the screen.  

3) TAKE TYLENOL an hour before you go!  I did not.  I should have.  I knew that information before hand and still forgot the Tylenol.  DON'T FORGET THE TYLENOL.  Take a maxi pad with you just in case you have spotting after the procedure.  Guess who forgot a pad?  THIS GIRL!

4) Finally, YES I have four hints for the HSG, make sure you can pee before the HSG.  They will want to give you a pregnancy test just to be sure they're not drowning a fertilized egg in iodine...make sure you can pee or you'll put the procedure on hold.  *I didn't have this problem, I had the opposite problem, I had to pee so bad when I got there I nearly stiff-armed the Receptionist.*

So those are my HINTS to get you to your HSG in one piece...BUT WAIT...THERE'S MORE!  

Now let's get to the GORY DETAILS!

Kidding people!  I'm just kidding! First off, Daddy Bun was not allowed to be present for the HSG so he was given the usual husband duty of holding my purse in the waiting room. "Here honey, hold this" I wonder how many times in a husband's life he will hear those words uttered and then be forced to sit with a lovely handbag, clutch, messenger bag or the like....  

I sullenly trudged off leaving Daddy Bun with clutch in hand.  To start, I was asked to remove all clothes from the waist down.  My first thought was I SPENT SO MUCH TIME PICKING THIS OUTFIT!!!  I was given a lovely paper sheet to cover my lady bits as thin as the toilet paper at Disney World.  The room was cold (of course) and not only that, in true Hunny Bunny fashion (I spill things, break things, trip on things) I tore the paper sheet.  I expected nothing less.

Into the famous stirrups I went, warming lamp comes on and makes me feel much better than the cold, shivering, goose bumpy woman with the torn sheet (a warming lamp is exactly what it sounds like, definitely takes the chill out of the lady parts).  And he reaches for my nemesis, the speculum.  I felt like it was the widest setting possible and wondered at that moment if I was capable of pushing a baby through there.  He then reaches for two cotton swabs doused in iodine to "clean my cervix".  Holy crap I thought, I have never cleaned my cervix, was it dirty?  Did it need this type of thing all along?  What does he see down there???  After cleaning my cervix he took a break to see how I was feeling...well it is certainly not the most comfortable feeling, have your insides wiped out by giant q-tips but I was ready to keep going.  

Next comes a very small catheter and contrast dye is slowly inserted through the catheter into my uterus.  This feels a lot like someone is squeezing my insides, it's not pain but it is definitely an awkward feeling and I won't be signing up for another one of those anytime soon!  As they dye fills up and flows down the tubes, the lab tech starts taking pictures of my uterus with an x-ray machine.  With all the good still inside, Dr. Mark has me roll to one side (ouch) and roll to the other side (ouch again) while they snap what I think is far too many photos.  At some point I'm wondering if I should throw up a peace sign just to see how it comes out on the x-ray photo.  By this time I am starting to be really uncomfortable and while it's still not PAIN it is really getting on my nerves.  At that moment, he removes the catheter and tells me to lie still and let it drain out.  WHAT?  Drain out you say?  Oh crap, really?  How awko is that?  I feel like I"m literally peeing my pants but I am not wearing pants.  Dr. Mark heads out to give me some privacy, besides who wants to hang out with a leaking woman..and I wait as instructed.  

This was GROSS.  I was given lots of wipes and wet wipes and (thankfully) a pad since I did forget mine.  After a few minutes I felt like I was as empty as possible and I got dressed and headed for Dr. Mark's office to get the results and discuss The Plan. 

And guess what, my tubes are OPEN and working great!  This is awesome news and Daddy Bun (who reunited me with my purse) and I are excited.  But with that comes the not so awesome news, which is I might have a polyp on my uterus.  The only way to tell is a hydrosonagram which is fancy for shooting water up your lady parts and looking at it on the ultrasound machine.  Once confirmed, it must be surgically removed before we can continue treatments.  That means no IUI, no IVF until there is no polyp.  CRAP, postponed again!  More information on that to come in a later blog.  

The worst part of the HSG was the ride home.  I was crampy and achy and without Tylenol (pay attention to my hints y'all).  Daddy Bun stopped at the store and I popped a couple Tylenol and then a couple more Tylenol.  That was's almost 6:00pm and I am still achy and crampy.  So HEED MY WORDS LADIES....take Tylenol or Ibuprofen before you get your HSG.

Don't forget your pad.  Don't forget there is no BD before the HSG and especially, make sure you shave your legs for this!!!

I shared this on Amateur Nester today for her Tuesday Linkup.  Lisa at Amateur Nester is the creater of 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility and 31 Days of Scripture During Infertility, which she JUST RELEASED!  31DofP has been my resource and devotional since I received it for a mere $4.29...that's right, ONLY $4.29!!  That is a STEAL for the information you receive in those daily devotionals!  A STEAL!  Head over to check out Lisa at Amateur Nester and read her journey.  She is anxiously waiting her daughter's arrival after YEARS of TTC. Just click the button below and BE PREPARED for the amazing experience that is Amateur Nester!