Friday, March 31, 2006

Goodbye Pickup Goodbye Honor


Pickup Front Passenger
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
We sold Bob's truck tonight. I placed an ad on CarSoup.com on Tuesday. It was well worth the $30.00 the ad cost. 56 people viewed the ad and this guy called Bob today, test drove it tonight and bought it. He wanted it for his window cleaning business. We didn't get what we asked, but close. We're happy. We have enough to pay off Bob's truck and pay off some bills.

What we're not so happy with is Minnesota Hearing and Service Dogs. Bob met with them yesterday. They told Bob they could take Honor home but he asked for the weekend to think about it. We don't think it is fair that they just came in and took Honor. We feel they should have said something along the lines of, "We don't know exactally what happened and until we can meet with you to sort it all out, we need to take Honor." Or something similar. Also, they had a list of things they were unhappy about and created a list of conditions in which Bob could take Honor home. Bob feels it is too restrictive and he doesn't feel as though he can live with the fear this situation has created. He doesn't feel like he can meet their new requirements and fears they would just come in and take her again after his next mistake. So, Bob made the decision to give her back and stop working with them at this time. He really struggled with this decision but feels peace about it now. It was hard, but I agree. What we would like to do is buy a house and get a puppy we can train ourselves. That way we can train it from the beginning to help Bob and not have to live under the fear of losing the dog. One of the good things that has come out of this is that Bob now wears his seatbelt all the time. Poor Bob and poor Honor. But it's for the best. Plus, Bob starts school next week and won't have as much time for obedience training, so it's had all actually come at an OK time. We are sad and will miss Honor, but we will not be without a dog forever. We don't know what will happen with Honor, but we hope for only good things for her.

Tomorrow is the MDA Black and Blue Ball at the St. Paul River Center. I can't wait. This is a huge fundraiser that is held in conjunction with Harley Davidson and attendees run the gammut from bikers to debutantes all wearing the gammut from blue jeans to ball gowns. It's going to be a hoot. Tomorrow is also the day Bob gives his sample. My period is due Sunday so my tests will be next week. We are closer to having some answers.

Sunday we are on the church alter team and plan on going to lunch with some friends. I am thankful for a low key weekend. It's been a rough week and I am looking for a restful weekend.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Broken Hearts

Bob's heart is breaking tonight. Because of his fall, Hearing and Service Dogs of MN have taken Honor. Bob is meeting with Al, the president and Kim, the trainer tomorrow at one. Mona, the trainer that came and took Honor, seems to think it's just temporary. You see, HSDM had to take 2 dogs away earlier in the year because of abuse and they have received bad press about it. So now they are hard nose and by the book and are afraid Bob could come after them and sue them because the dogs actions caused him physical harm.

Bob called me at work at 4:30 sobbing. I could barely understand him. When I finally understood what he was saying, I finished up and headed for home right away. When I got home he was on the floor playing with and hugging Honor. I tried to be positive but he was convinced that they will take Honor and never give her back to him.

Mona showed up a little while later. It was good sign that she came alone and without a hand truck. She came in and talked to Bob. She said she didn't know what this all meant, only that they are being extra cautious because of past events. She said she was just taking Honor for the night and would leave all her stuff here. She said she hoped Bob would bring Honor home tomorrow after the meeting and that they could meet for a training session on Friday.

When she clipped honor to the leash, Bob started to cry. His shoulders shook. Once they got out the door, his sobs sounded like the keening of a wild dog. He was calling out for his friend.

Now he talks about how it's easier not to love. It's easier not to open your heart and risk loss than to open it and have it torn apart. It breaks my heart to hear him talk like this. He says if they don't give Honor back, he is never going to get another dog again.

I certainly hope the meeting tomorrow goes well and that Honor comes home with Bob. The cats sure are happy though.

On to other things. I made an appointment with a therapist. Next Thursday at noon I am meeting with a woman whose office JUST happens to be across the highway from from where I work. How's that for serendipity? I am always nervous when I meet new therapists. I always want them to like me and don't always start out with total honesty. Stupid, huh? I'm not paying them to be my friend but I still always want to come across as favorable. In the course of therapy, it all comes out in the wash, but I always try to make a good first impression. So, we'll see what happens. She is going to send me some preliminary forms and info. We are going to meet a few times to see if what she has to offer as a therapist is what I need. Sounds good to me. Wish Bob would find something similar to help him. I pray they don't take his dog away. Join me, won't you?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Snouty McSnouterson


Snouty McSnouterson
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Don't know why that photo is so yellow but I love the look on Honor's face. She does this groan-y growl-y thing when she lays down. Bob says it's a shepherd thing. Rrrrrrrrrr.

It's a good thing I didn't set my heart on the house going up for auction next month. I called the auction house to get the particulars and found out that there is a reserve between $600,000 and $700,000. Yeah, that's not going to happen.

So tonight we almost had an ER visit. While I was making dinner, Bob took Honor out for a walk. He didn't put her gentle leader on and he didn't have his wheelchair seatbelt on. Honor saw some people she wanted to say hi to and took off pulling Bob from the chair and onto the sidewalk. He smacked his head on the same place he hit it when he fell in November. Which is the reason why we got the dog in the first place.

I called the doctor's office and they said if he seemed fine, he could stay home but if he had nausea, vomiting, tingling in the extremeties, or weird eye things, he should head to the ER right away. I wanted him to go anyway as the cut on his head could use 2 or 3 stitches, but he vetoed that idea. So far he's been OK, but I am watching him. What we learned from this is to ALWAYS put Honor's gentle leader on her, Bob always needs to wear the seatbelts when walking her, and she may be smart, but she's still a puppy.

I feel a little better today but I am going to look for a therapist that's on my insurance plan. I think it's time to re-enter some counseling. The last time I was in counseling on a regular basis was about 5 or 6 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long. It seems like I was in some kind of therapy every year since college. Time to go back. Thanks for your kind emails and kind words.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The One in Which I Don't Know What to Write


The Cats Watching Honor Play
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I love this photo of all our pets. The cats look like they are humiliating the dog and calling her names and the dog looks like she is being properly humiliated. Poor puppy.

So it's spring and despite all the good things that have been going on with me and Bob, I realize I am experiencing my normal spring depression. It's nowhere near as bad as it has been in the past, thanks to anti-depressants. Yet I still feel it. It certainly makes the childlessness harder and I feel it deeper.

Church, as good as it was on Sunday, was still hard. Seriously, you really need to be there to see all the fruit of the wombs. There are children everywhere and I love it, but it's so hard. I filled out a prayer request card and asked specifically if they know of other women who are struggling with infertility because I would like to meet with them for prayer and encouragement.

My heart is heavy because I look at Bob and I know he cannot take care of an infant. He cannot bend over/down to pick one up and he does not have the muscle strength himself to hold one safely. This breaks my heart because this means we would either need to put any baby we have in daycare or give up all thoughts of having our own baby. I am crying just thinking about that. This is not something I want to give up and yet I do not see an alternative. Bob would much rather adopt a year old child or older and that's fine. I don't mind that idea at all, but it's so hard to give up the idea of having our own baby.

Of course we are still going forward with the fertility testing...maybe that's stupid. Actually, I wouldn't mind knowing if I have endometriosis, so I don't think it's stupid. We are going to give Bob's sample on Saturday.

The biggest struggle for me is my relationship with God. Everything about Him says life, love, fruit, procreations. He made man and woman to procreate. He commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. He says children are a blessing. He created the family. Why, then, does He not make it so for us? When He knows that to the core of my very being, this is all I have ever longed for?

I know in my heart I'm a selfish whore. As soon as we got Bob's diagnosis way back 4 years ago, I knew it would mean that I would have to be the one who worked. I would have to bring home the paycheck and hold down a job with good benefits. I knew I would not get to be the stay at home mom I dreamt I would be when we talked of our future. I felt my heart break that day and I fell to the floor sobbing when Bob was at work. I knew this disease would take a lot from us but I didn't know how much. Bob is so amazing and focuses so much on what this disease has given us and him. Lately, I have not been able to focus on anything except what it's taken from ... me. I know it's wrong. I love Bob so much but I hate MD. I hate it so much. I really wouldn't have any other man, but I wish I could have Bob fully and 100% without the MD.

I wrote to a Christian based family website and told them how I have been struggling. I know infertility is hard but I think it's hardest in the church. They are sending me a book called Empty Womb Aching Heart. It's more like Empty Womb Cold Dead Lifeless Heart. I just feel so dead inside. So empty and lifeless. Part of it the depression, I know. It's a cyclical thing with me and all of this is kind of feeding itself in one big ball. It's probably time I go back to counseling too. I feel like such a loser. I can't make a baby and I can't get over it.

I withdrew from the class I was in. I will have to take it over in order to graduate and probably won't be able to graduate in December if they don't offer it until this time next year. When I get depressed, I struggle with apathy and sleep a lot. That doesn't leave a lot of time for homework. I was falling behind in this class and rather than try to make up a bunch of work half-assedly, I decided to just withdraw and take it over and do it right. Our next 2 classes are classes I am really interested in and am actually looking forward to them.

Anyway, I know I'm rambling here. There is so much in my mind and I feel like I have to get it out or I'll just go crazy.

Today I was walking home from work and I thought, "Is this all there is?" Just me and Bob alone for the rest of our lives? I know women who are mothers think that from time to time as well. "Is this all there is? Diapers and feedings?" "Is this all there is? Saying no to a toddler and answering 20 questions?" "Is this all there is? Picking up after the household and making dinner?" I know it's normal to go through times like that no matter your stage or station. I just felt so alone at that moment.

I do want to adopt. My dream would be to adopt 2 or 3 kids from Africa or China or Guatemala...or all three places. Really, I would love to have a household full of races and colors. A mini united nations if you will. I just don't know where the money would come from to do that or where we would put them.

Actually, we are looking to finally buy a house when our lease is up October 1st if not before. Once we sell Bob's truck (anyone in the market for a 1999 Chevy S-10 with only 55,000 miles on it?), we won't have his truck payment and we only have 2 more car payments to make on my car. That should free up about $500 a month plus what we pay for rent and that will be our mortgage. It's doable. I just don't know what we can get for what we can afford. Most of the homes I see are a good 30+ miles away in either direction. There is a home up for auction 45 miles away that would be my dream home. I don't know why it's up for auction, but it's brand new and beautiful. I haven't fallen in love with it because my heart is already broken, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want it. It has quite a few bedrooms and bathrooms and a bunch of land. I wrote an email to the realtors responsible for the listing and asked a bunch of questions. They haven't responded yet. Don't know what will come of it if anything. It would almost be too much to hope for, especially now that we have Honor and the van. How much can we push and ask for? Sheesh we're kind of selfish, huh?

Well, anyway, I think I have most of what's been bothering me out in the open now. Bob is so great. He came home while I was writing this and saw me crying. He asked what was wrong but guessed it before I could choke it out. He said that we have to wait for a child only because when we finally are parents, it will be to the exact right children for us just like we had to wait so long to find each other. We are the exact right man and woman for each other. He's right. He's the best and I would take his MD from him in a minute if it meant he could live life without pain and discomfort. Thank you God for this amazing husband.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Story of the Van


Bob driving Into the Van
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I took Thursday off work so I could go with Bob to get the van. We had to be there by 8 and had to drive a popular local highway to get there during rush hour traffic. So we got up earlier than I normally get up for work. A day off and I don't even get to sleep in.

We left the apartment at 7. We drove Bob's truck to the van place. We had Honor with us and it was a tight squeeze in the two seater pickup. About 10 minutes into the drive Bob realized he left some important paperwork at home. Arg! This was the only thing he had to remember AND I reminded him to grab it before we left. I was very frustrated by this but held my tongue because lashing out at him might make me feel better in the short run, but it would definitely make him feel worse.

We got to the apartment and I ran in to get the paperwork. Just as we turned around to leave, Bob's sister called to ask us where we were and when we would arrive. We were now 30 minutes behind schedule and I was even more frustrated. Despite being late and driving during the peak of morning rush hour, we did make good time and arrived at the van place at 8 on the dot. I dropped Bob off and went to get us some breakfast.

When I got back with the food, Bob was in the garage going over the modifications they were going to add. Originally, we thought they would modify the van so Bob could drive from his chair. That turned out not to be such a good plan. His chair sits very high and he would have to bend his head to drive. Also, he has a foot pad on the chair that would have to be modified when he drove. So they discussed the options and came up with a plan that works really well. They put a seat in the driver's area that rolls all the way back to the section where Bob parks his chair. All he has to do is transfer from his chair to the driver's seat. It works out really well.

Once they started the modification, we just had to sit in the waiting room and...um, wait. We did get to meet some nice people who were also waiting for their van.

Once it was done, we signed all the paperwork, the modification bill was paid and we were off. It was awesome. Bob was so excited. It is the fanciest car we have ever owned. It has a CD player and a tape player. The radio tells you what song is playing and who sings it. It has dual climate control, power windows, and locks. It is awesome. Bob was like a kid in a candy store while driving it. Of course it was snowing, so he had to be careful.

The first stop we made was to our church to show the pastors the van. They were super excited for us. Bob had to show them the ramp and how he transfered from his chair to the driver's seat and all the bells and whistles.

The next day he said he wanted to go somewhere and asked me where he could go. I said, "anywhere you want, baby."

He is so happy.

We ran errands yesterday. Normal, everyday errands. It was the best time out and about. We also stopped at the nursing home to visit Bob's friend Jim. He hasn't been able to do that unless I've been with him. Of coures, this time I was still with him, but while he visited, I went through all the stuff we took out of his pickup truck. I put everything away and tossed some stuff. There are a lot of storage places in this van too. There are two glove boxes, and some cubbies. The hardest thing for Bob will be to find which place holds what.

Today we went to church. I made thank you signs and banners to tape to the van. Once we got there, we taped the banners and left the ramp down and door open so people coming out of first service and entering second service could have a look. We brought thank you notes to everyone we knew had donated money to the van fund. Everyone was very happy for us and seemed excited. Bob had fun showing everyone how the ramp and transfer seat worked. We left feeling so very loved and cared for.

This is the best gift anyone has ever given us. Bob and I are humbled and honored to be the recipients of such an amazing gift. Thanks to all for their help.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Disturbing Dreams

I didnt sleep well last night.  Or rather I did until the dreams.  The first dream was so realistic; I woke up with tears running down my cheeks.  In fact, when I realized I was awake and the dream had been a dream, I was so relieved.  Still, I woke Bob up so he could hold me for a while.  What was the dream?  It started out kind of kooky like most dreams.  I was late for a rocket launch and I had a critical piece of equipment.  I got to the launch site just 1:33 before the launch and was JUST in time.  The cast of CSI was there as rocket scientists.  In my dream I kept looking for my dad.  Finally, I asked someone where he was and they said he had left the launch site just minutes before I arrived.  I was bummed but knew I would see him later in the day so I didnt let it bother me.  Once the rocket launched successfully, I drove to my parents house. Mom was there but Dad wasnt which was weird since he had left the launch site before I even arrived.  Soon we noticed Dads truck was parked on the street next to the house and he was in the truck but slumped over the steering wheel.  I called 911 but instead of getting a 911 representative, I heard another guy calling 911 for an emergency on his end.  I tried again and got a representative but could barely hear her.  She must have heard me because soon after I hung up, I heard the sirens from the police and ambulance.  They came and put my dad on a stretcher and it was determined that he was dead.  Mom, my brother, and I were all there and we were devastated.  We were told the ambulance would take dad to the morgue and they would call us later about making arrangements for burial.  I remember telling mom it was a good thing she and dad updated their will just recently (which really happened).  Then Mom, my brother, and I began dividing up who to call and inform and tasks to do. I had to call my work and tell them I wouldnt be there even though its tax/IRA season because my dad just died.  Somewhere in the middle of making all these calls, I woke up.  It was exactly 3 a.m. and my cheeks were wet with tears.  I didnt sleep very well after that and had other disturbing dreams, but nothing quite so real or upsetting.

I started driving Honor to the wooded trail system nearby to walk her in the morning.  She loves it.  Its like doggy Disneyland.  So many smells and sounds and small animals to try and chase.  We walk for 30 minutes and she gets all her business done and gets good exercise while I get to enjoy the sounds of nature.  We hear chickadees, robins, woodpeckers, cardinals, and geese and ducks.  We see squirrels and chipmunks and evidence of deer and other wildlife.  Its a picturesque walk and goes quickly. Its been kind of cold these past 2 mornings and it takes me hours to fully warm up after, but when spring really hits, its going to be awesome.

Last night I went to Simply to the Table to make up our 9 meals.  It was so much fun, as always.  Holly rocks and runs a great place.  This month features cheesy blue pasta, chicken bacon ranch pizza, chicken with Asian rice, herbed steak with mushrooms, olive chicken, Italian twice baked potatoes, paprika turkey with white beans, beef soft tacos, and sweet slow cooker pork chops.  Mmmmmm.  I have the pork chops in the crock pot for tonight.  We usually eat the pizza on Friday and the rest we will eat as we go.  What a treat to be able to go here and partake of such fresh, yummy food.  Next month features a recipe I submitted and I cant wait to see how it turns out.

Tomorrow is the big day. We pick up the van, have it modified for Bob, and take it home.  Of course I will take pictures so be sure to click the Flickr badge later tomorrow or the next day.  Saturday we are going to see 2 homes in Western WI.  I like the looks of one better than the other, but I like the location of the otherso well see.  Because we are going to these showings I wont be able to sleep in, which after last night, I really need.  I feel as though I am walking in a fog today.  Maybe tonight should be an early night.  Hopefully I will sleep better.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Van is Officially Bob's!

Just to make it clear. Bob and I will definitely do the two cycles of Clomid. We may or may not do the 4 cycles of injectables because we definitely do NOT want multiples. Plus I have heard about the side effects of the injectables and I just don’t know if I want to put my husband and co-workers through that. The paperwork I was given says artificial insemination but I think the anonymous commenter from my last post was right. At this stage, there would be insemination but that would consist of a turkey baster type effort. A syringe of Bob’s sperm would be injected into my uterus in hopes of getting the little guys closer to my ovulating egg. I think the difference between this and artificial insemination is that AI is done in a Petri dish and the sperm is injected directly into the egg and then the egg is implanted in the uterus. Of course you should be patient with me. This is all brand new to me and as I stated before, it is like learning a brand new language and I am bound to make some mistakes. Dr. Google is always another resource you can turn to if you are looking for answers to your questions. I use “him” all the time. Don’t look to me as the definitive answer to your questions about infertility and treatment. I think we are at a point where we are just going to take one thing at a time. So, for right now we are going to have Bob’s swimmers tested. Once they are tested, I will have my third day blood drawn. I will also schedule the uterine dye test because that stuff is not only important to know but the inside of my body fascinates me. I want to know what’s going on in there. After that…we will see. I just like having a plan and having steps to follow. There is no guarantee that these steps or our plan will end in a baby being born from my body, but this quest is going to end in a child being brought into our family, so that’s the ultimate goal.

My dad called me last night to tell me that a guy called their house looking for Amy Mymaidenname. This is a guy who was active in the single’s group I used to be in some 9 or 10 years ago. He was a strange man then and I can’t imagine he’s changed much in the last decade. He told dad that he was going through some old papers and found my phone number among them and thought he’d give me a call. This is odd because even though we were in the same single’s group and the same small group, we weren’t close. I gave him a ride home a couple of times but other than that, we didn’t really travel in the same circles. I don’t even know why he had my phone number to begin with unless I gave it to him to call me if he needed a ride. Whatever. Dad told him I’d been living in the Twin Cities for the past 8 years and was married. Like all good fathers, Dad did NOT pass along my phone number or address.

Bob and I are going to look at a house on Saturday. It’s located in the far Western WI Suburbs. Kind of a trek from work, but it may be worth it. It’s a 1300 sq ft handicapped accessible house with 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms. It’s on a one acre corner lot with light tree coverage and easy access to a state park. It’s newly built (2005) and it’s affordable but it is 60 miles from my work. It would be over an hour commute in good traffic. Is it worth it? We don’t know yet. When we saw the photos of it online, it just looked like home. Before the dog and the van I would have said no way, but now…maybe.

Bob signed all the paperwork tonight for the van. It is now his. It will not be in his possession until Thursday, but by all appearances on paper, he is the proud owner of a handicapped accessible van. Whoo hoo! Thank you to everyone who had anything at all to do with this. Thank you to those who prayed. Thank you to those who donated. Thank you to those who told others about the opportunity to donate. Thank you to those who encouraged us to keep believing, hoping, and trying everything to get this van. We certainly could not have done this thing alone and we are humbled by all the efforts that went into this enormous task. So I do want to openly say how thankful we are to you who helped in any and every way.

I was able to get Thursday off from work so I can go with Bob and his sister to pick up the van. We will take it to RollX to get the modification put in it and then get the tabs and registration taken care of as well. This is very exciting to Bob. He can’t wait for the thaw so he can load Honor up in the van and go fishing. I can’t wait for him to load up the van and go to his semen analysis appointment…on his own and on time! I hope this is our time to say goodbye to Metro Mobility. They have been fine for what we have needed but have mostly been a frustration for both me and Bob. I am thankful they are there, but it is definitely a system that needs to be fixed.

Even though things have been going so well with Bob right now, I am in a weird place. I am neither happy nor sad. I am more in a place of apathy. I don’t care. It’s scary because I have things I need to care about right now. Oh, I still care about Bob and am doing my best to make sure he is well taken care of. But I don’t care about keeping our home clean, going to school or doing my homework, work in general, returning phone calls or emails, personal hygiene. I am doing what I have to do to get by and be “normal”, but nothing else. I don’t think I’m depressed. I know depression and this doesn’t feel like depression. I just feel…empty. I’m going through the motions and I don’t know why or what it’s going to take to get out of this place. I also feel tired all the time. Maybe I am depressed. Maybe I’m just sleep deprived. Maybe I’m just overwhelmed with all that has happened since January. I know it’s only temporary so I just have to hang on and keep on keeping on. I just wish I could sleep for a week. I think that would go a long way to help me feel better.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Today

There are two other posts below this one from today so be sure to check those out as well!

Today was good. It was sunny but not very warm. The day started with a mile long walk with Honor. She is such a good dog. And she is very funny. She LOVES the snow. She dives in it. She slides her whole body through the snowbank and comes up looking like a bad case of dandruff. We walked until I got cold and then came back. She LOVED it. Once we got home, I watched TV and she laid on the floor beneath me sleeping.

Once Bob got up we decided to take Honor on an outing. We need to get a cheap phone for her to be able to fetch if Bob is in trouble. We packed up the dog, Bob's push chair, and some water and took off for Target. Once inside, things went well. People stared at Bob and Honor, but for the most part people left us alone and seemed to be OK with us there. We found a $10 portable phone that Honor can fetch, as well as some other stuff. I tell ya, I cannot enter that store without coming out with 5 things that weren't on my list.

Once done there, we grabbed some lunch at Culvers and went home. The rest of the day was spent just hanging out watching TV and playing fetch with the doggie. The cats are coming around. Daisy is braver and doesn't let Honor's presence change her routine. She walks boldly through a room even if Honor is in it. She lays on the couch with Honor laying on the floor below her. Maisey, on the other hand, will not come out if Honor is out of her kennel. She spends most of her day on top of the fridge. Oh, she's super brave when Honor is in the kennel, but the very definition of a scaredy cat when Honor is loose. Funny girl.

Bob and I talked about how great it is that things seem to be coming together for us right now. Honor is really doing well, we get the van on Thursday, and we are getting things in line for growing our family. So far, 2005 is shaping up to be a pretty good year.

The Post I've Been Putting Off Writing

I don't know why it has taken me so long to write this post. Maybe because I'm overwhelmed. Maybe because I am unsure and a little scared. Maybe because I haven't really organized my thoughts or the experience as a whole in the matter. Maybe it's all the above.

The first thing I want to say is that as I go through this experience, there is a temptation to abbreviate all the medical jargon and words, but as I read other journals and blogs about infertility and the processes therein, I get lost. I admit it's like another whole language to me and it's a language I do not yet understand. So, in the process of learning this language myself, I want to teach it to others in the hopes of helping make it easier on them. The words or phrases in red are things I still don’t understand or haven’t learned what they mean yet.

I had my first appointment with the Reproductive Endocrinologist on Thursday. It was snowing as I drove to my appointment. I wasn’t sure what to expect and kind of felt…as though I were outside myself. I hope you know what I mean when I say that because I am not sure how else to explain it.

I arrived at my appointment right on time. When I walked in the clinic, I saw about a half dozen women and the all looked up as I opened the door. The waiting room was tastefully decorated and lit with a dim, homey sort of lighting. I went to the desk to check in. As I told the nurse I was there to see Dr. Breadbaker (not her real name, but if you want to put a bun in the oven, maybe a breadbaker is the person you want to see), a woman walked up and interrupted us. She asked if Dr. Breadbaker was still running late and then asked how many people were ahead of her. The nurse said yes, the doctor was running late due to a delivery she had to make and all the snow and there were 2 people ahead of her. This woman became incredibly snotty and said she wasn’t up to waiting much longer and she should get to go next or she would have to reschedule. I’m not sure how that was resolved because I was the newbie and not up for a conflict, so I just went to the magazine rack to find something to read.

Magazine racks at the Reproductive Endocrinologist’s office tend to focus mainly on parenting and babies. Not exactly the reading material I was looking for that day. I did manage to find a Glamour magazine that wasn’t too outdated and settled in to read all about Sarah Jessica Parker’s perfect life.

My name was called very soon after I started reading. A nice looking, motherly woman took me to a room and said she was there to go over my insurance benefits and what was covered and what wasn’t. She was very helpful and I was surprised at how good my insurance coverage for this is. I’m not even sure what it all means, but my insurance covers the following:

-Medical management of artificial insemination/intra-uterine insemination and infertility drugs
-6 cycles of inseminations with clomid, with or without artificial insemination, or Gonadtropin cycle.
- Lifetime maximum benefits = 2 million with no out of pocket max or deducible
-Prescriptions for orals or injectables such as Clomid or Gonal F.

After meeting with the nice business office lady, I was sent back to the waiting room to wait for Dr. Breadbaker. While reading about SJP again, I saw that bossy, impatient lady was playing cards with her husband. They played kind of loudly and sat in the middle of the room so as to be seen by everybody. I kind of wonder what their story is. While they played, a VERY pregnant woman came from the back with 2 adorable little girls. Bossy lady saw them and asked them loudly if they were twins. They shook their heads no in unison, but backed away from her, looking for their mom who was at the appointment desk. Before I could observe move, I was called back again in order to be weighed and have my blood pressure taken. Ever notice how, if your blood pressure is good the nurses praise you? My nurse praised me as though I had something to do with it. I know I somewhat do in that I try to eat right and exercise but it’s not as though I trained my blood pressure to remain in the healthy range. I did say thank you as though I had, though.

After that I was sent back to the waiting room because all the rooms in back were full. Bossy lady and her husband were gone so I assumed they were in one of the full rooms in back. I waited about 10 more minutes until they called my name. Unfortunately they meant to call back another woman who also had my name. Sheesh. Finally, my whole name was called and I went back. I walked past the requisite bulletin board full of baby pictures and was taken to a small room with a table. I only had to wait a little bit for Dr. Breadbaker. She was very nice and down to earth. She apologized for being late and said she usually didn’t deliver babies on Tuesdays and Thursdays but this had been an emergency.

Dr. Breadbaker gave me a folder full of info and then asked me why I was there. I told her I had been married 4 ½ years and we weren’t pregnant. She said at 38, it was good I was there when I was because we have this whole year to try. She asked me if I smoked. I said no. She asked if I was ovulating. I said yes. She asked if my husband and I had sex by the calendar and I said yes. She asked when I seemed to be ovulating and said about day 14. She asked how many days between periods and I said 28 give or take 1 or 2. She asked if I had ever been pregnant and I said no, not to my knowledge. She asked when my last PAP smear and breast exam were. I said in January. She asked if I had ever had an irregular PAP. I said no. Then she asked a bunch of questions about Bob. Did he drink a lot of beer every night? No. Did he smoke cigarettes? No. Did he do drugs? Other than the pain meds he’s on…no. Did he have any STDs? No. Then she said something along the lines of how it’s amazing to her that people ever have “surprise” babies because of all the things that have to be “just so” in order to get pregnant. Then she pulled out the illustration of the female uterus. She said that since I have such good insurance she would like to have some tests run before we decide on a course of action, but if all the tests come back looking good, she would like to do the full 6 cycles starting with 2 of Clomid. However, first she wants Bob to do a semen analysis to see how his swimmers are doing. Then I need to do a day three blood test. This test is done during the third day of my period. Day 3 FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and estradiol (E2) tests measure a baseline FSH on day 3 of the cycle, and can sometimes indicate how close a woman is to menopause and if she has relatively less "ovarian reserve". Another way of saying this is that if the baseline FSH is elevated the egg quantity is reduced from what is expected. After that, she wants me to schedule a Hysterosalpingography which is just a fancy term for a uterine dye test. This is where they will inject dye into my uterus and fallopian tubes in order to see if there are any blockages or problems such as polyps or fibroids.

Once those test results have come back I am to schedule a meeting with Dr. Breadbaker to go over the results. If the results are all OK, she will prescribe some Clomid for me and insemination procedure for two cycles. I asked about the chances of multiples on Clomid and she said my chances while not on Clomid are 4%. My chances while on Clomid are 8%. I’m good with that. She said if I didn’t get pregnant after the two cycles of Clomid, then she would move to injectables and insemination. She said the chances of conceiving multiples while on injectables were 20%. Then we talked about what we would do if the tests came back anything other than OK. Her concern is endometriosis. We discussed the history of my periods and my mother’s hysterectomy. My mother had endometriosis and a hysterectomy as a result. (So did my grandma and aunt.) So if test results come back indicating the possibility of endometriosis, Dr. Breadbaker would like to perform a laparoscopy to look for adhesions, fibroids, and cysts.
Once we got all the chatter out of the way, she wanted to examine me. This, of course, meant the privates probe. For the first time in my adult life, a doctor used a regular sized speculum on me and it didn’t hurt! It wasn’t comfortable by any means, but it wasn’t horrible either. Dr. Breadmaker said my uterus looked great, so…I guess that’s good.

Once I was dressed I was given instructions for Bob’s semen analysis and I was free to go. So I went. On the way out I could hear a fetal heart monitor beating and it sounded so amazing. I had to pass by the baby bulletin boards again so I stopped to look at all the lives that Dr. Breadbaker and her colleagues have brought into this world. There were a lot. All of them beautiful. I couldn’t help wonder if a picture of our baby might be hanging there one day. There is that hope thing again…rearing its head.

After all of this, I am not sure what to think or how to feel. When it was just me and Bob trying to get pregnant, it was just us. Duh, I know. But when you bring all these other people in it just feels so clinical. When it was just us, it was hard enough to deal with getting my period and feeling like I let Bob and myself down. Now if I get my period there are so many more people involved. Plus it makes it all the more real. What if I do get pregnant? Yikes!
Bob and I already know if we don’t get pregnant after the 6 cycles, we are not going further. After the 6 cycles, we will head to Hennepin county social services and apply to be foster parents or for adoption. The only reason we aren’t doing that now is that we are still trying to get our credit in order…and because we want to see if there is a physical reason we haven’t been getting pregnant

So that’s it. That’s what has happened so far. I need to call and schedule an appointment for Bob to give his sample and as soon as my period shows up I need to schedule my day three blood test and uterine dye test. Not much else will be happening until after all of that has been completed. I guess I am glad for the time to continue to process all of this. Of course I will write about it all as we go along because that is what I do.

Done


Van With Ramp
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Just wanted to let you know and thank you for your help...because we have raised all the money we need to buy this van for my husband Bob. He will be going with his sister on Monday to sign the papers and officially buy the van. Thursday he will be going to have a modification put in that will allow him to drive it from his wheelchair. Then he will go and get tabs and registration for it. I cannot believe it. It seemed impossible and yet here we are, ready to accept ownership of this vehicle we have needed for so long and are finally privileged enough to own. Thank you so much for all of you who gave to the Bob Mobility Fund. You will never know what your gift means to me or Bob. For him to be able to just get in a car and go...that is HUGE! This means he can go to doctor's appointments all by himself. This means he can go visit his friend in the nursing home. This means he pick up and go fishing...just because it's the perfect day for fishing. This means he won't be late for anything because he has to wait for Metro Mobility to pick him up. This means he won't have to cancel an appointment or reschedule because Metro Mobility can't pick him up. This means he can come have lunch with me and I don't have to meet him in the lobby in order to push his manual wheelchair. This means he can pretty much go anywhere and do anything. Thank you. This means the world to me but it IS the world to Bob.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More On the Way


Playing in the Snow
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
So, dogs? Are totally high maintence! Honor is just not content enough to be ignored like the cats. No! She wants attention and she wants you to play with her. She wants you to throw her squeeky snowman 467 times, over and over and over again. And she never gets bored. But she is so cute and so funny. She jumps on it and gets the squeeker positioned just right so that she can squeek it 53 times in a row, holding it just out of my reach so I have to keep following her with it. And oh the snow! She loves to play in the snow. And jump! And burrow! And dig! And snuffle! Oh snow, glorious snow! It is a delightful plaything for the big black beasty. She looks as though she has the worst case of dandruff when she finally emerges from the tunnels she digs. Silly puppy.

Bob was kind of disheartened today. He and Honor met their trainer at the Mall today and she said she would test them and if they passed, the passed. If they didn't, she would just chalk it up to a preliminary/practice test. They didn't pass. All because Honor didn't stay in a lay/down position when a child came to pet her. Honor loves little girls and wants to meet them at face level and kiss them. So, they will have to practice and retest in the next couple of weeks. Honor gets better and better at focusing and obeying. I have no doubt they will eventually pass.

Even the cats are getting used to her now. Both cats are out of hiding but are still keeping their distance. They both still hiss when she approaches. They like it that Honor spends the night in her kennel though.

So, they are saying more snow overnight and all day tomorrow. We could get another 4-7 inches in the next 24 hours. They say March is the snowiest month. It's tournament time and always seems to storm over the weekends. We are expecting even more snow Sunday night into Monday...once again.

Tomorrow is my very first ever RE (Reproductive Endocronologist) appointment. Not sure what to expect. Bob was supposed to go to his reproductive specialist on Monday but convienently forgot to set up a ride. So, once again, he missed that appointment. I think I will talk with my RE and see if he can get in over there. Maybe we can obtain a sample at home and run it there since they are so much closer than his RS. Anyway, tomorrow is just the beginning, I am sure.

Dang it, Lost is a rerun again. And a rerun from season one! Dang nab it! Whose bright scheduling idea was that?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Houseguest


Playful Pup
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Guess who came home! That's right, Honor is home to stay and Bob is over the moon! She is a funny, playful, good girl. She loves to play fetch and tug of war. The cats are scared spitless and have yet to come out to eat. Once Honor is in her kennel, the cats will come out and have the run of the place again. Poor babies.

Honor has already helped out Bob by picking up the mail he dropped, the keys he dropped, and the medicine he dropped. Bob is not having to bend or stoop anymore and that gives me relief.

Honor is a smart, smart dog. She is so smart, she needs to keep active and in training. If she gets bored, she could get...um, creative. And we certainly don't need a creative German Shepherd on our hands. Hee.

Have I mentioned one of my pet peeves here? I know I've mentioned it to several of my friends...several times. But tell me, why do people bring their dogs to PetCo if they don't want people to stop and pet them? If you don't want your dog to attract attention, don't bring it to a public place. Even worse, if you have to put a muzzle on your dog and warn people about their tendency to snap, you might also want to consider leaving Rover at home. Come on people, this isn't rocket science!

Oh! And when the elevator stops on your floor, you might want to pause just a moment to see if anyone is exiting. Exiting people have the right of way in elevator world. This is how I almost wore an entire tray of McDonald's beverages. If I hadn't been so quick to duck and cover, homeboy would have had some explaining to do and his officemates would not have had their Mickey D's drinks. Two seconds, that's all I ask. Pause. Is anyone leaving the elevator? No? Fine, then go ahead. Sheesh!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Snowy Morning


Snowy Morning
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This is the sight that greeted me this morning when I left for work. Click my Flickr badge for more photos of our blizzard. I live 2 miles from work and it took me 30 minutes to get there. It took others 2 or more hours to get there. When I first got to work, I was 5 minutes later and I was the only one there. I had to turn on the lights, the copier, and make the coffee. It was kind of freaky. Usually when I get to work on Mondays, it's 7am and there are at least a dozen or more people there. Today it was 7:05 and I was alone. Cue Twilight Zone theme here.

We had a good weekend. The weather was nice Friday. I got off early and picked up a Papa Murphy's Pizza. I recommend that you all go there and get one. While there, please buy a Shamrock in support of MDA. You can also get them at Citgo and I think...the YMCA. We appreciate your support.

Saturday was a busy day. It started with one large flash of lightning and the hugest boom of thunder. Just the one of each though. By the time I could deign to open my eyes and get out of bed, the rain and storm had ended and the sun was coming out. It was near 50 degrees and I felt called to run errands.

I started my errand running at Petco. We were low on both kitty litter and food. I also wanted to pick up a couple of toys for Honor and see if they had raised dog dishes so feeding her would be easier on Bob. They did! I also picked up a bag of doggie treats so Bob can use them in training exercises.

My next stop...Target. Or as some have called it, the hundred dollar store. Actually, I managed to get out of there after dropping less than half that. We needed lightbulbs, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper. After that, it was lunch.

Last stop was to Dick's Sporting Goods to get a new pair of walking shoes and some blister reducing socks.

Once I got home, it was time to put everything away. Of course, since I had every heavy, bulky thing in the world, I couldn't find a cart to save my life. I finally managed to find one on the other side of the apartment building in the garage.

Bob was up and at'em when I got in. I made him some eggs because even though it was lunch time, he only feels like eating breakfast foods when he gets up, no matter the time.

I put stuff away and cleaned our apartment. In the midst of this, Honor and her trainer Laska showed up for some training time with Bob. They left for a walk while I finished cleaning. When they got back, we showed Honor her new bowls and toys. Laska approved and we sat around talking and playing with Honor. She really liked her new toys. When they left, our home felt empty. Honor really feels like a part of our family now. Oh! When they first got here, Maisey was in the kitchen and Honor wanted to meet her. Maisey didn't hiss, but she puffed way up and arched her back. Honor got too close so Maisey gave her a bat on the nose and ran away. Daisy hid under the couch.

The rest of the day, I worked on homework. I had to complete a newsletter for my publication design class and complete some reading for my worldview and ethics class.

Bob worked at the gas station on Sunday. Sadly, this is probably the last time he will be able to do that since he is getting too weak to stand and reach much longer.

I slept in and then did our laundry. It had been 2 weeks and we had quite the build-up. Between loads, I kept working on my newsletter.

Once laundry was done, I kept working on the newsletter. Bob came home and took a nap. While he slept, I created a new budget on Quicken and paid our bills. Overall, I got a lot done this weekend and it feels really good.

Once I finished my newsletter, I had to go to Kinko's to print it. When I left, it was raining ice so I hoped to find Kinko's rather empty. This was not to be. Kinko's was hopping with parents working on things with small kids in tow. I did manage to find one helpful employee out of the whopping three holding shifts there. But a job that should have taken me 10 minutes actually took me 45 minutes because of a computer malfunction and printer failure. When I left Kinko's it was snowing and it kept snowing, getting heavier and harder. I knew when I went to sleep, I would wake up to a blanket of snow.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Inquisitive Honor


Inquizitive Honor
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Look at that face! Isn't she the cutest?

So, yesterday. It was sunny and nearly 50 degrees here yesterday when I got off work so I decided to leave my car in the ramp and walk home. It was lovely! I did forget, however, how much harder it is to walk home than it is to walk to work. After a long day of working, I really drag myself along when I walk home. Once I got home, I decided I should take my bike in for a spring tune up since it sat on our balcony all winter. I walked it to the Penn Cycle up the street and had the guy look it over. He said the brakes were a little gummy, the tires low and maybe a bit off kilter, and the chain could certainly use a good oil. He said they could have it done by Tuesday and would that be OK. I was surprised it would be done so quickly. He said most people get mad it’s not done sooner. I laughed and reminded him we are expecting snow on Monday and it’s not spring yet, so I can wait a little longer if they need to push it back. I took my claim ticket and walked home. Today is supposed to be warmer and there is a chance of thunderstorms tonight into tomorrow morning.

Bob and I left soon after. We were to meet Honor and her trainers at the vet’s but we wanted to get a bite to eat first. We stopped at the 50’s CafĂ© for dinner, never having eaten there before and wanting to see what it was like. It was busy, but we got right in. Bob had the bison burger with cheese and I had the open face roast beef sandwich. The food was good, the atmosphere fun, and we had a good time.

Once dinner was done, we took off in the direction of the vet’s. When we got there, no one was there to meet us, so we sat and waited. We were supposed to meet up at 8 but it was well after 8:30 by the time we all got together. The trainers, Kim and Laska showed up with not only Honor in tow, but Laska’s shepherd Carter, two new shepherds they acquired from a local farm, and a young black lab. They were trucking the dog circus around with them. Honor was so excited to see Bob and was very good about obeying him. She is very single minded which is good when she is focusing on Bob and his commands. It’s not so good when she is focusing on what new and exciting things have been exposed in the melting snow. It’s hard to get her attention when she’s checking something out. She is such a good girl. She whined when the vet took some blood, but otherwise was very good. The vet gave Bob a doggie toothbrush and some “poultry” flavored doggie toothpaste. Hee! It was hard leaving her in the trainer’s hands. She whined then too. Check out the Flickr badge for more photos from the vet’s office.

Today Bob met Laska and Honor at the mall for some public training. He called and said it went well. They put in 3 hours of training time including having lunch at Applebee’s. He said there were a bunch of kids there asking him all kinds of questions about Honor and his chair. Every time he answered one question, they would ask “why?” Hee. He said Honor was really good and he can’t wait to bring her home. He has to have 20 full training hours in before that happens. Laska is coming over tomorrow to our home for some more training time.

Bob just called me and said we received another letter from his life insurance company. He was MAD. Apparently they wrote the letter just to reiterate that they will NOT be paying out on their payment of premium rider because his disability is a result of a disease that occurred prior to him buying the policy. Duh! But YOU GUYS are the company that approved him for the policy and the rider. Don’t do business with Farmer’s Insurance. We are looking for a lawyer. Know any good disability/insurance lawyers?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Red Cardinal on a Gray Day


Red Cardinal on a Gray Day
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This is the little cardinal that was singing his heart out this morning as I walked to work. His red body really stood out amongst the gray, foggy morning. And his song was pleasant to hear as I walked by.

Can You Find The Building?

This is where I work. The fog was thick this morning on my morning walk.

Why Ask Why?

Good news about the van.  We are almost there!  We have $25,000 in the account at Mobility for Independence. We still need about $2,500 for the cost of the van and $1,700.00 for the power tie down which is the modification that will allow Bob to drive the van from his wheel chair. So the total still needed is still around 4,000.00 but we are so close now.   Good news, no?  We still have a little over a month to get it all in and I believe that it will be done.

I had my review yesterday and it went really well.  Not so well that we are now independently wealthy, but I was given a 2% raise.  That comes out to only about an extra $500 a year, but it’s still more money and a raise, so I can’t get too snooty about it.  The only thing is there is NO ONE at Big Bank Co who does what I do.  In all of the vast resources of my company, I am the only one who does what I do and the compensation for that is paltry to be sure.  If our product brought in more money, I am sure more notice would be paid to my job and the compensation would follow.  But alas, that is not the case. Boo hoo.  My boss was great though and really made me feel good about my job and the job I do.  We are going to work on some career planning/development in the coming months so I can plan where to go and what to do once I get my degree in December.

I will say I wish my boss’s bosses were here instead of in California.  It seems like they sit in their ivory tower making arbitrary decisions.  The newest one is that they want our phone team to be here on Saturday.  Believe me when I say this is not going over well.  Mostly because the resources they use to get answers for our sassy bankers are not open on Saturday.  None of the other insurance companies, none of the other customer service departments, none of our IT or technology departments…none of them are open on Saturday.  So I can see how the calls will go.  Ring ring, ring ring.  “Hello, this is xxxxxxx at Big Bank Co Phone Team, how may I help you?”  “Yes, this is Sassy Banker. I need to know if this annuity #000000 is still current and what the rate and balance is and has been the past 7 years.”  “Well, I can tell you that it is still current in our system and the rate and balance as of today is $xxxx  and xx% but for the rest of the 6 years, I will have to take your name and number and call you back on Monday since the insurance company that holds that policy is not open today.  I need to speak to someone there to get the info and can’t get that until Monday.”  “What?  But my customer is right here right now.  That’s not going to fly.”  “I’m sorry but I don’t have that info handy and the insurance company is closed today.  I won’t be able to get it until Monday.”  “Fine, but I’m not happy and the customer won’t be either.”  Doesn’t that sound like a fun shift to work?  I am glad I am not on the phone team any more. These decisions are made without any consultation of my boss or our team and without any consideration that we might have tried such a thing in the past but found it to be a waste of time, effort, and money.  It is frustrating to be so invested in a job and team only to have your bosses not know what you do or even seem to care.

I walked to work today.  First time this year.  It took me 45 minutes but I could have done it faster if I hadn’t stopped to take photos.  It’s funny the kinds of things the melted snow reveals on the sides of the road in the spring.  I found a pair of men’s boxer shorts and a beer can.  The beer is one I’ve never heard of before so I stopped to photograph it.  I also took a photo of a cardinal that was singing his head off.  He was in a tree right next to the road.  Since the leaves haven’t sprung forth yet, he was easily visible.  I love the birds singing in the morning.  The Chickadees have already begun their yoo hoo spring song.  It was about 37 degrees and damp outside.  It was also super foggy.  But I really enjoyed the walk.  I just wish there were sidewalks the whole way so I don’t have to worry about cars slamming into me from behind.

People have told me to stop asking why.  Stop asking “why us?”  “Why don’t we have children?”  “Why can’t we get pregnant?” But I am here to tell you that I will not stop asking why.  For one thing, God is bigger than my questions.  For another thing, sometimes He does answer when I ask why.  When we lost the financing on the mobile home and I cried and felt like my heart was breaking and asked God why...He answered.  Not until later, of course, but He answered.  If we had bought that home we would have had to have sold it once Bob’s MD was diagnosed.  For me, asking questions is a form of dialog.  My poor mom knows this. She has spent more than her fair share of time answering questions that have no answers.  For the most part she was patient but every mother has a breaking point.  My husband is much better.  Just the other night I asked him this, “Do you think our cats understand each other when they meow and chirp and meep?  I mean, is it like a language to them so that meep means “hi there” and growls mean “get out of my way”?  He answered me as though he had put a lot of thought into this question himself and then we talked about other things from there.  So for me to ask God why could be a great opening for Him to talk to me about other things.  Not that I hear Him audibly, but He does talk to me.  I won’t stop asking why.  I think that’s a good thing.  I think as long as I’m still talking to God that’s a good thing. It’s when I close myself off completely from Him that you should be worried about, if you worry about me at all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Bob and Honor at Home


Bob and Honor at Home
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
So for the most part, I made it through the day yesterday but ended up sobbing in bed last night. I have to give my husband props. He held me and rubbed my back and loved on me the whole time. I eventually cried myself to sleept. I woke up exausted this morning though. My eyes hurt and felt so heavy all day long.

***They just announced on TV that Kirby Puckett died. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.***

I came home from work at lunch time because today was Honor's first home visit and I wanted to see her. The photo above was taken this afternoon in our apartment. Don't they look like two peas in a pod? Doesn't Honor look so relaxed and at home?

Actually, Honor was VERY interested in where the cats were. When I first got home, both cats were hiding under our bed. I sat on the couch to talk to the trainer and Daisy decided to venture out. Honor watched her every move. Daisy's tail was a huge raccoon poof at first, but after a bunch of petting by me, she settled down and enjoyed the attention. Still, she was a little scared and after a little petting, she ran back to the bedroom. Once she left, Honor tried to follow, but Bob is good with the commands and she reluctantly obeyed. Daisy came in for petting and dog observation about 3 or 4 more times before Bob took Honor through the apartment on command.

When I went to leave, I leaned down to hug and kiss Bob and Honor looked up at him and whined a bit. It was very cute. He gave her pets and she licked his hand. She really likes him and I am so glad. He heads down to the Service Dogs place tomorrow and Wednesday, Thursday is a vet visit, and Friday he is meeting Honor and her trainer at Ridgedale for some public training. It looks like Honor may get to come home in a week or two. Yippee!

Bob's sister called and it looks like we may still have $4,000 to go before we are at the purchase price. Arg. But we ar closer than we were before and I totally believe we will have a van in our parking spot in a month. Bob can't wait!

Tomorrow I will have my annual review at work. Hopefully that will go well and I will get my raise. We could use it.

Monday Bob is rescheduled to see his reproductive specialist at 2. We hope this time he will get in and give his speciman. My appointment is next Thursday so if the ride works out for Bob, we will hopefully have some answers next week.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Day of Ups and Downs


Honor Taking a Break
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Today was a day of good news and bad news and I'm not even sure where to start. Maybe it would be best to start at the beginning.

Bob and I went to church today. It was snowing as we drove and we were looking forward to seeing our church family again.

We got to church and I pulled out the manual wheelchair. It's the best we can do when it's wet outside. The power chair can't get wet, so we weren't able to load it in the ramp and take it to church. I pushed Bob inside and parked him at the end of a row. Praise and worship had already started, so we settled in to join in. My friend Katherine sat with us.

Towards the end of the worship singing I had to use the bathroom. Once inside I realized I had my period. I went back out to sit with Bob. I had been gone so long he wondered if I was OK. I whispered that I had my period and then I started to cry. As people were worshipping around us, I just cried as Bob held me. I felt like such a failure. In fact, I was feeling so sad and overwhelmed, I had to write it all down. This is what I wrote in my day planner:

"I got my period in church today. Two full days late. Way to make me feel like a failiure. Not only am I NOT pregnant, but I get to experience my barrenness in the midst of all the Christian fertility in the world and in the midst of a plethora of pregnant bellys, children, and families at church. Are there other women who are struggling with infertility here? Who knows. There are children and families everywhere I look. Most families have 2 or 3 kids, but there are several with 4 or 5 kids and even one family with 8. Off the top of my head I cannot think of one married couple of childbearing age that does not have kids. It seems as though fruit falls from the loins of every other couple at church but us. It concerns me that I cannot think of another woman who might be struggling with this at church. I even put a note in the offering plate asking if anyone knows of other such women. I would like to form a support or prayer group if there is even one other woman here like me. Why did this happen here today? Why must I be so empty in a place so full of pregnant bellys, fertile wombs, and families full of children? Why am I such a failure in something that seems to come so easily to every other woman here at church? What am I doing wrong?"

That's what I wrote as tears fell all through church. I ached and cried and sniffled and wished I was somewhere else the entire time. In fact, as soon as the service was almost over, I grabbed my jacket and purse and told Bob I would get the truck and meet him out front. This is where our day swings upwards.

As I was fleeing our church, I heard my name being called behind me and someone stood in my path at the door. I was crying and sniffling and not sure what was going on. They said our pastor wanted me and Bob at the front of the church. Confused, I dropped my jacket and purse in the back and walked to where Bob sat. I grabbed the handles to his wheelchair and wheeled him to the front of the church.

I was embarrased that I had obviously been crying and could not look at anyone. I just stood there rubbing Bob's back while our Pastor explained that he was surprising us. He said we didn't know he was going to do this and that much is true. We stood there wondering what this was about.

Pastor talked about how we've been learning to live with Bob's MD for the past 4 years and how Bob is one of the best men he knows. He spoke of Bob's courage and compassion. He spoke of Bob's faith and love for God. He shared how Bob is an inspiration and testimony to him of God's grace and goodness. He told our congregation of our need for the van and how we were so close. Then he asked our church to come forward and bless us. They set an offering plate in Bob's lap and invited anyone who would like to to come forward and place an offering in the plate.

It was overwhelming. The line of people was HUGE! They just kept coming. Bob and I bawled and felt so humbled and unworthy of such an outpouring. So many people came to hug us and tell us they love us and are praying for us. Even tiny little kids came forward with dollar bills to put in the plate. By the time the last person came through, the plate was overflowing with cash and checks. it was amazing and so unexpected.

We separated out the checks made out to the church and took the rest home. By the time we got it all added up, we had roughly $3600! Can you even imagine? We have almost all the money we need now to get the van thanks to the kind and generous people of our church.

So a day that started out kind of sucky certainly didn't end that way. Oh, although, when we got home Metro Mobility called and said they can't get Bob a return ride from the doctor's tomorrow so they cancelled him altogether. That means he cannot give his specimen to his reproductive specialist. Suck. I will need to call them tomorrow to reschedule. Hopefully we can get him in before my appointment on the 16th. Arggggg! Still, it's hard to be too frustrated after such a show of love and support from our church family.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What Did You Do Today?


Stained Glass
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
It was a gorgeous Saturday here in Minnesocold. I love days like this. I slept in, got up and got ready for the day, ran some errands, and then Bob and I went to the Minneapolis convention center for the Home and Garden Show.

First off, I had to run to the bank, the post office, Walgreen’s, and to pick up lunch. I heart the auto postage spot at the post office. You set your package on the scale and a touch screen takes you through purchasing the right amount of postage to get your package there. In and out in less than 5 minutes and no waiting in line.

I stopped by Walgreen’s to pick up an RX for Bob. Some people call Target the 100 dollar store, I save that title for Walgreen’s. I walked out with Bob's RX but also shampoo, deodorant, conditioner, lime Coke, a sleep mask, and a pregnancy test.

Yes, a pregnancy test. Why, oh why do I allow myself to even hope? My period was due yesterday. It's still not here. I peed on the stick. The second window stayed stark white. Blindingly white. So snow white. Not even a hint of a pink line in that stupid second window. So I don't know what the deal is there. For two months in a row my period was a full day early. This month it's a day late...so far.

Anyway, Bob and I went to the home and garden show. Mostly because MN Hearing and Service Dogs were going to be there and we wanted to show support by helping out if we could.

We got there, got our tickets and first thing in the door we see the service dog people. They had a black lab named K-O, a labritriever named Buckley, an Aussie shepherd named Noelle, a labradoodle named Odie, and a yellow lab named Simon. Last, but not least, Bob's service dog Honor was there too! Unfortunately, Bob did not get to see her. When we first got there, Honor was not there as Al, the founder had her out and about the convention center. Bob and I agreed to run around a bit to see what we could see and then meet back at the service dog booth in an hour to see if we could hook up with Al and Honor.

Bob took off to do his own thing and I thought I would look around while taking photos for the 100-steps Flickr group I belong to. I haven't posted there before and wanted to get some shots to post (which I did).

I got back to the service dog booth as planned. Al and Honor were there so I was fortunate. I chatted with Al and some of the service dog volunteers while I waited for Bob. I got to meet Honor and she licked my face and nuzzled me. She is a sweetheart! I kept watching the clock. Al ended up leaving a half hour after I was to meet Bob. Just about an hour after I was to meet him, I began to worry. I talked to a convention center staff member to see if they could page someone. They said they couldn't page an individual but they could send some staff out to look for Bob if I wanted them to do so. I said I would wait another 15 minutes and if he didn't show up by then, I would have them look. Bob showed up 5 minutes later.

The people at the service dog organization were worried and frustrated. It seems they had to remove 2 dogs from a couple of men because of care issues. Not that the men abused the dogs, but MH&SD's has a rigorous standard of health for its animals and if they come to do a weight check and your dog is overweight, you lose your dog. Once a dog has been in your care for a full year with satisfactory health and weight, the dog is yours, but before that, you really have to stay on top of your dog's care. Anyway, a local news station came out to the convention center to film Al's response to the allegations that he removed the dogs without reason. Al had Honor with him during filming. You can see the full story here. The Watchdog in the St. Paul Pioneer Press had a less favorable/balanced approach to the situation. Sigh.

While at the show, Bob saw a cookware presentation that left him salivating for West Bend cookware. I bought some home made blackberry jam and some salsa. I lusted over the vita mixer. You can see some of what we saw by clicking my Flickr badge to the right.

We got home and just vegged. Overall it was a nice way to spend the day.

Monday Bob will have his first home visit from Honor. Later in the day he has to give a specimen to his reproductive specialist. Later in the week, he will meet Honor at the vets for a check up and at the mall for a test out in public. It looks good for getting her home soon. On Monday I am going to come home for lunch so I can meet the trainer Kim and see how our cats react towards Honor.

Oh, I have to add that Bob was really hoping the second pink strip would show up so he could cancel his appointment with the RS on Monday. He is NOT looking forward to that appointment at all and is only going because I am making him. Poor baby.

I want to give a shout out to Lap. Thanks for your kind comment on yesterday's post. Mostly I think that if you go through something that doesn't make sense, the only way to bring some order to it is to help others who may go or may be going through it too. That's why I read blogs by women who have gone through the whole infertility thing. I also read adoption and mommy blogs for the same reason. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that your post made my heart happy. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Training Honor


Honor on a Break
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Bob had his first training session with Honor today. He called me at work and he was so excited. He sounded like a little kid.

He said it was hard getting her attention at first because she is used to paying attention to another trainer. But, once they gave Bob treats and taught him how to get her attention she caught on quickly that Bob was the man. Bob said she is smart and playful and such a good girl. He said they are certainly bonding and she likes to give him doggie kisses.

I wish I could be there to see them work and interact. Look at her in that photo above. It's not the best, but she certainly is a leggy girl, isn't she? I can't wait to meet her. Bob is going back to train with her tomorrow and Friday.

Bob has an appointment to see the reproductive specialist at the U of M on Monday. My appointment is on the 16th. Bob told me he doesn't think he can...um...get a sample under pressure. We won't know if he doesn't try. If nothing else, maybe we can obtain it at home and bring it to the lab ourselves. The referal nurse at my doctor's office called me yesterday to ask me if I had already made an appointment with the RE. I said I had. She said my doctor meant to refer to me a completely different doctor and not the one I have an appointment with. I said I'd already received the paperwork, filled it out, and sent it back and wanted to stick with this RE. Both are covered by my insurance and are in my network, so I'm not sure what the difference is or why one is to be prefered over the other. She said she would tell my doctor what had happened and if she felt strongly that I should change REs, she will call me. So far, no call, so I think I'm good. Plus, the RE I'm seeing is closer and works from a hospital I prefer.

My grandma is all moved in. My parents drove up to her old place on Saturday and helped pack her up. Sunday, they came up to visit me and Bob. We went to lunch and we had a very nice visit. They left and went back to my grandmother's. Monday, the moving van came, loaded her up, dropped her off, unloaded, and left her in her new home.

I dropped by grandma's new place after work on Monday before heading to school. She is now in a security building, so I had to ring her to let me in. This is her first time in a security building and she had a hard time understanding that she had to press a number on her phone key pad to buzz me in. The lady at the front desk finally let me in and told me to tell my grandma to press a number on her keypad to buzz people in.

Once I got up to her apartment it was chaos central. Boxes everywhere. My grandma saves everything. She didn't want people unpacking for her because she wouldn't be able to find anything. She didn't want anyone to throw anything away either. While we were unpacking I found an anniversary card she gave my grandpa in 1982 (she wrote the date on the back). It didn't have any sentiment written on it, just her signature. Why would she save that? I could understand if he'd given it to her, but she had given it to him. Weird. I also teased her about her freezer. There are 2 people in my apartment and our freezer is never as full as her freezer was. She said she was used to cooking for 8. I said she hasn't cooked for 8 for around 40 years so she needs to retrain herself soon. I need to call her and see if she needs any help settling in.

When I left her place, my mom hugged me and cried. I felt bad leaving then. Moving is stressful, family is stressful, and mom was over tired. Mom said that soon after I left they went out to eat and things were a little better then. I miss her though.

I was thinking yesterday and today how much I like it here. I've lived here for almost 8 years now and it's finally feeling like home. I like where we live, I like our neighborhood. I like that we are so close to my work, our bank, our church, and pretty much everything we could ever need. It's home. But I still miss my mom and dad and my brother and his family. They live too far away to visit too often, though they live closer than they did when I moved to Sioux Falls or Maryland. So I should count my blessings.

I had a comment from an anonymous poster that I felt I had to address. I will paste her questions and my answers and hope this helps her.

Q - "I need information on fertility help. What is the cost factor of this endeavor?"
A - I don't know. We are just starting on this journey ourselves. My husband is meeting his reproductive specialist on Monday and I am meeting my RE on the 16th.

Q-"Does insurance pay all of it or will there be "out of pocket" for us?"
A-Again, I don't know the answer to this yet. I do know that my insurance company will cover the diagnosis of infertility under their normal coverages but they will not cover the treatment. We have decided to not pursue IVF or IUI if it is determined that is our only hope.

Q-"What are the percentages of multiple births?"
A-My doctor told me that if I am put on Clomid in order to release more than one egg at ovulation, the chances of conceiving multiples is 8%. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I am sure I will find out.

Q- "Do you know if there is a higher probability of the baby (or babies) having problems?"
A- I don't know the answer to this.

Q-"What about the mom having complications of pregnancy?"
A-I know that the older you are, the more likely there is to be complications. I am 38 and therefore over the magic age of 35 when all fertility supposedly runs downhill.

Q-"Do you know how long it could take to get pregnant?"
A-Nope

Q-"Wondering too if your husband has lower sperm."
A-Don't know. Will hopefully find out Monday.

Q-"Do you know any people who are in similar circumstances as you...and if so...are they of a help with information for you?"
A-Unfortunately I don't know anyone personally who is going through this, but I do read a lot of blogs written by women who are going through this or have gone through this and so much more. If you would like a list of the blogs I read, email me. I haven't added them to this site yet because the list is vast and, frankly, it overwhelms to think of having to do it. In fact, these women have been my lifeline and link to sanity. I had many of the same questions you have voiced and have emailed them or asked in their comments section. All of them have been answered with prompt, kind, selfless, and smart answers.

I know I haven't been much help, but you can only express that which you've experienced and I am so new to all of this. I hope I can be more help as we move through this experience.