Tag Archives: journey

Hold your breath….close your eyes….hope for the best

When I titled this blog a couple of years ago, it was about my journey to get healthy. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t about a journey to get healthy…it was about a journey to lose weight. That’s my idea of “healthy”. When I re-purposed it as our infertility blog, it gained new meaning. Regardless of what you have going on in your life, you have to always keep looking ahead. So despite what events are happening , you have to keep trudging forward and put everything behind you. The good news is, you don’t have to forget them. You can look back and reflect on how they changed you, how they made you better or worse, and ultimately how they are impacting the road in front of you.

We have had a pretty insane last couple of months. I don’t want to get into particulars now, because there really isn’t anything I can say that will make me feel better about what has happened. There isn’t anything I can say that makes the rearview version positive….yet. There WILL be….just not yet.

All of this brings me to the point of today. My rearview mirror over the last 12 months has been filled with so many ups, downs, twists and turns. Today, the road in front of us will forever be changed. Our son, whom we worked so hard to have will be coming into this world whether he likes it or not. I can’t change that road…not that I would want to….and I can’t change what has happened to get us here. All I can do is hold my breath, close my eyes and hope for the best.

April 16, 2015 …… the day our road becomes a bit more crowded, scary, unpredictable and filled with so much uncertainty. While I am looking forward to our rearview mirror, because it’s not a bad thing to see how you allow life to change you, I am more looking forward to looking at our now.  See you soon baby Walker. You are already my now.

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Baby prisons….pregnancy guilt…and trying to be normal

We are almost 12 weeks now, so we are in the throws of researching all of the things we absolutely “need” for #theclaw. Stores like Babies R Us totally stress me out with their shelves of stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I am sure most of it is helpful and some of it is necessary, but it seems a bit like over-kill to me. The search for the perfect stroller, crib, car seat, swing, etc is enough to make a type-A google-aholic go crazy.  I find myself in a blur when I am comparing everything…and I have to keep telling myself that at the end of the day I can probably put a diaper on the kid, give it a wooden spoon and a boob and it will be fine 🙂 However, that doesn’t eliminate my anxiety over building the best environment we can for #theclaw.

Furniture is causing me one of the biggest headaches yet. Cribs are hideous.  They either look like giant headboards with rails (b/c 75% are “convertible” beds) or monstrous wooden prisons. For such a necessary piece of furniture to be so ugly and cheap looking is beyond me.  I am not going to spend thousands of dollars for one that looks just like a cheaper one…only with more elaborate railings and end pieces. I have an amazing company that makes solid wood gorgeous furniture for me (You’re Unique–based in Georgia http://www.youreunique.net/, btw) but they won’t make me a crib for liability reasons.  I get it…but I am just so used to having quality furniture from them, that I am comparing everything to what they made me. We found one at Pottery Barn Kids, but I don’t like the color. I found an iron one, but I am afraid it will be too girly…and well we aren’t finding out what we are having….and well, after typing that, I realized I really don’t care.  So we will continue to search…eventually we will find something, and if not, COSTCO makes really nice dog beds and I am thinking the baby will be fine in that for a few months…right?

Pregnancy guilt.  Over the last 8 months I have become part of several infertility groups. I have seen, on many occasions, women in these groups get angry when someone announces they are pregnant.  It gets worse when their pregnant friends complain about things like morning sickness, or being uncomfortable. Because of their reactions, I have been very quiet in the groups that I once found supportive. But this blog is MY safe haven. I am going to be honest…being pregnant has not been easy on me. I have not had morning sickness…I have had all day sickness, that tends to get worse at night.  I have come down with a stomach virus and sinus infection (and now cold) that I can’t take anything for, because I am pregnant.  You are basically forced to suffer.  Don’t get me wrong…I am thrilled that #theclaw is growing healthy inside my belly, and I wouldn’t change any of it….but being pregnant is something that I was not prepared for, and I am only in my first trimester.

I don’t know that I will be what I consider “normal” ever again. In 7 months, #theclaw will actually be here, and my normal today is me, Jesse and our 5 fur-kids.  Right now something else has more control over my body than I do. In the past two weeks I have been more exhausted than I thought a person could be. I have been sicker than I have been in probably 10 years (except when I had food poisoning). I am trying to stay engaged with my day to day life, but I would be lying if I didn’t say it was a struggle. They say that you start feeling more “pregnant normal” in the second trimester.  Here’s to hoping that “they” are correct. Also…here’s to hoping I can wear maternity clothes soon…jeans with sweatpants on top? YES PLEASE!

Oh…and here is the last pic of #theclaw for 4 weeks…(please note, this was taken a couple days shy of 12 weeks, bc someone thought burrowing into my uterus was fun — FYI, it causes cramping and some bleeding..so it’s not fun for mom):

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So….yeah….we are pregnant.

IMG_7336Yeah, I know…I know. I already posted in August that we WEREN’T pregnant, and then there was the maybe we were, and then I went silent.  Well, I went silent because the roller coaster got to be too much. It felt like my heart-rate was never going down, and I was constantly on edge from one ultrasound to another.  But then today happened.

Today was my first appointment with my regular OBGYN, Alliance OBGYN. Today was amazing. We are officially 10 weeks pregnant. The baby was moving it’s little nubby arms and legs around like crazy, and its heartbeat was really strong. As of today, we have less than a 5% rate of miscarriage, which makes me feel a lot better.  Not 100% out of the woods, but I don’t think you ever are until the baby is born.

I honestly can say that I had no idea that we would be here today.  There were so many things working against this little baby, and it just kept hanging on (which is why we will now be referencing baby Walker as “The Claw”).  From one appointment to the next, the baby grew and the heartbeat got stronger.  We are so thankful for all of the support we have gotten and I am thrilled to finally be sharing the results of the last few months.

I know some people may feel like I am sharing too early, but at this point, the baby will do what the baby will do…and we are excited to be celebrating all we have accomplished at this point.  We would have never gotten here without the tremendous support from our friends, family and the amazing staff at Georgia Reproductive Specialists. If you are in Atlanta and are in need of fertility assistance, I can assure you, there is NO better practice out there.  You will always be treated with respect and they care more about their patients than they do about having a Saturday off.

So I guess my posts from here on will be documenting our pregnancy.  Glad to be off the roller coaster, and getting on a less crazy ride….especially since my “morning sickness” is ALL day sickness!  The Claw is due April 2015!!!

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I love roller coasters, but not endless ones.

So where do I begin?  I feel like I have so much to share.  So much to catch the world up on.  And yet, so few words to describe what I am feeling and thinking in my head.  I think the best thing to say from the beginning, is that I kind-of lied in my post when I said I wasn’t pregnant.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t intentional.  My body was very clear, or so we thought, that there wasn’t a baby on board.  I will use the next few paragraphs to describe the hills, cork-screws and loops that we have been on over the past few weeks.

Going up the first hill: As you will remember, I had my early scare and started going to the doctor 8 days past my 3 day transfer (August 11). At that point all looked ok, and when they took my HCG blood test (pregnancy hormone) my level was 6.9 (anything above 5 and between 25 needs to be re-checked in a couple days).  Keep in mind this is really early to detect a pregnancy, so it was interesting.  August 13, I had my blood checked again and my HCG level was 12.1. In a viable pregnancy your hormone levels are supposed to double every 48 hours, and mine were. However, I was still having some issues that were leaning towards me being not pregnant.

Down the first hill: August 15 my mom and I went to GRS for an ultra-sound and tests, and it was at that point that my doctor determined that I wasn’t pregnant.  My body internally just didn’t look like a woman’s who was preparing or carrying a baby.

Around the first bend on the way up to the loop: August 18 I had to go back to the doctor to end my first clinical trial. Physical. Pregnancy blood test. And discuss the next protocol (this was when I posted my last blog update). We were ready to start our next fresh cycle and we had accepted this one didn’t work.

Loop #1: The HCG blood test came back from that monday at 156. Typically an HCG # doesn’t go up when a woman isn’t pregnant. So that put us down a whole different path…ectopic.  Ectopic pregnancies are when the embryo doesn’t implant in the uterus and attaches to the tubes or somewhere else in the reproductive organs (fallopian tubes usually, but sometimes ovaries or other places, from what I’ve read).  The fear behind ectopics are rupturing and causing serious issues that sometimes require surgery.  However, every angle in the ultrasound showed no evidence of an ectopic. So I had to come back in two days.

Coming out of loop #1: August 20. Ultrasound to check for ectopic…gonna shock you…nothing could be seen.  When I tell you nothing could be seen, I mean no signs of ectopic or viable pregnancy. A couple weird areas, but nothing of note. Blood test done and results came back 491.  So they more than doubled between Monday and Wednesday.

Really fast twist: August 21. Went BACK to the doctor to get an ultrasound bc I wasn’t feeling great. That was when we saw things that looked a bit more normal, and we thought we should see my numbers go down.

Up the second hill: August 22. Went back in for blood.  The number had to go down. Everything looked more in line with the fact that it would. I went home and waited for Amy to call me to give me the new lower number….except it wasn’t.  My new HCG # was 1292.  

Down the second hill: I didn’t get an ultrasound that morning, so I went back when I got that number bc I was still so worried about an ectopic. Dr. P was at a conference, so Dr. K did the ultra-sound. After about 10 minutes, she identified what looked like a little fetal sac (Jesse and I call it, the claw or #theclaw).  However, my progesterone numbers and estrogen numbers had been so low throughout this, we truly didn’t think anything was really happening there.  That was when the decision was made to put me on progesterone in oil shots and estrogen to help what seemed like it was cooking.

Going fast into loop #2: I went in to the doctor bright and early on Monday.  I was pretty sure we were on our way down, bc my body through a couple signs at me (or so I thought, again) that we were officially over with this pregnancy. Ultrasound to see what was going on, and Dr. P not only saw fetal sac #1 (#theclaw), but also feta sac #2 and what looks like fetal sac #3.  Before you get all crazy about triplets, let me say that none of the sacs really looked like they should at this particular stage.  We couldn’t tell if any were viable, or if they were all empty.  That was when I was introduced to Dr. Time.  While not a physical doctor, Dr Time was really all we could and can rely on to hopefully shed some light on what is happening in my body.  We didn’t even do blood, because it wasn’t going to tell us anything more than what the ultrasound showed.

So now we wait.  We wait until next Tuesday, September 2, to see if any one of these 3 little beans have anything to show us. I have been so thankful to having a doctor whom I fully trust, and who has managed this insanity with incredible composure. He has never freaked me out.  He has never told me that I need to be worried.  He got dealt a patient whose body shows one thing and whose labs tell another.  Dr. P said the story is made up of so many pieces and my pieces just weren’t telling a very clear story.  And even further, y nurses and the staff at GRS are so amazing and supportive, I can’t even say enough about them.

Now you will understand why I have been so hesitant to post what is going on in our journey.  Hopefully we will have answers on Tuesday, and whatever those answers are I can truly say that I am ready.  We have the support of our family, friends and the amazing GRS staff and we will keep on traveling down our path.

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I’m not pregnant….and I am not a failure.

This is the post I wrote on Monday that sat in my drafts all week. Turns out we had implantation and I was pregnant, but pregnancy was ” chemical”. We have several paths to choose from, and I’ll write about that later…. But this post deserved to be posted. PLEASE, no I’m sorry’s or it will happen next time/sometime/soon etc. I am not sharing this for sympathy, I’m sharing so that anyone else out there who may be experiencing similar challenges will know they are not alone. We are down, but not out. I refuse to be owned by something I can’t control.

POST FROM LAST MONDAY:

Funny….that was way easier to type than I thought. As I sit here, it is hard to not go through the last few weeks and try to find that one thing that made our cycle unsuccessful. Truth be told, there isn’t a “one thing”. My body just wasn’t ready or prepared to be pregnant. I cried for an hour yesterday. I cried harder than I could remember. Then I did. Then I remembered. I cried that hard a year ago when we had our miscarriage.

I can’t say that I am a ball of emotion right now, because I really am not. I am sad. I am frustrated. But more than anything, I am annoyed that my body robbed me from even a full two week wait. One of the things you are almost guaranteed during infertility treatments is a two week wait. With all the meds they give you, it practically forces your body to not have a period. Well, forces everyone but me. In true Mindy fashion, nobody or nothing forces me to do anything. 

I can’t say that I didn’t know this was a possibility. I did. In my head I knew that we still had a big chance that this wouldn’t work, but in my heart I knew it HAD to work. There is a difference between what the head knows and what the heart wants, and I have been so conflicted during this process. I am a rational person, despite what some would say, and yet as I go through this the rational side of me often disappears and I become someone who can’t and doesn’t want to listen to reason.

As I was having my meltdown yesterday, I was telling Jesse things like “I am a failure” and “I don’t want to do this anymore”, when I know for damn certain, I am not a failure. Despite everything that has happened recently (including things outside of trying to get pregnant), I am not a broken person. I am not a failure. I don’t need anyone, including myself, to handle me with kid gloves. And I do want to keep trying. We have 5 frozen embryos that are sitting there waiting for their chance to become our baby. 

We really do have so much to be thankful for. Our families are incredibly supportive, and we both couldn’t be surrounded by more love. Friends have been throwing their love and support our way throughout this entire process, and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing that is. Jesse is 100% healthy and is going to take his Krav Maga black belt test this week, which he will undoubtedly rock. Our doctor and nurses are some of the most amazing people I have encountered on earth, and I consider myself lucky to be a patient of theirs. And finally, Jesse and I are so lucky to have one another. I know everyone says that about their spouse, but I truly mean it. 

We will make it through all of this. We will find an end to our journey. While I hope that end means we will have a child, I know that regardless of what happens, the end will not be lonely. 

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Choose your own adventure: They were fun when I was a kid…not so much now.

I wrote a totally different blog post this morning at 5:45 am.  Sparing all of the details, let’s just say I woke up to a scene that would have made Dexter cringe, so I emailed my doctor and asked what to do, and he said come in. So I wrote what I was thinking at that point and put it in “draft” just in case what I was thinking was somehow wrong. However, with what I was seeing and feeling, there was no way I was wrong.

Went in to Georgia Reproductive, and immediately saw Amy.  She could tell I was uncomfortable, as the pain I was experiencing was pretty intense. We went into a conference room, and she sat there and talked to me while I felt like I was going to lose my entire inner-being. I love them there. Even with all that was going on, I was at ease. Hopped into a room with Dr. P and was ready to hear how my IVF cycle had failed. 

I am still waiting for him to tell me I am out…and well he can’t. And no, it’s not because he isn’t smart.  That man is a genius (a funny one at that). It’s because my body wasn’t telling him that. My cervix was completely closed and my uterine lining was thick and showed no signs of shedding. I had no visible new bleeding in my cervix and as far as he could tell, I am not having my cycle. I now understand those shows that the woman doesn’t know she is pregnant!!  (My friend H TOTALLY knows what I am talking about) So confusing.

So I gave blood and walked out at least knowing that I wasn’t dying, and that my doctor and nurses were being as positive as they could be and I needed to follow suit. I am actually 4 days before a traditional blood test would be done, but considering the circumstances, we had to go ahead and do it. I’m not “not pregnant”, but I am not out of the water yet.  So that is where I am leaving this post. 

Wednesday we will know more. Stay tuned and let’s hope I don’t have to bring the other post out of drafts.  Good vibes are definitely appreciated!!!

 

 

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Life really does come full circle….and some pretty cool pictures.

We did our embryo transfer on Saturday August 2, 2014.  You have to go in with a full bladder, and for some reason that was REALLY hard for me. In an hour I drank over 32 ounces of fluid and…nothing.  Then there was the small vein plague, I’ve talked about that before…they are just itty-bitty. But after all of that, we put these two little bad boys in (btw, Thanks to the always wonderful Dr. Perloe, the AMAZING nurse Tracy, Cynthia who was our anesthesiologist at retrieval, and the embryologist, who took care of me):

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That is pretty cool, right?  Jesse doesn’t think they look ANYTHING like him, and his brother Joe says it looks like cauliflower was the dad, but we were all really excited. All 10 made it to Saturday. Some were stronger than others, but these two were the best and the others we are going to try to have make it to day 5 and then freeze them.  It was really fun to text my family and friends with the picture of the embryos, and who knew how AWESOME it was going to be to see them.  Science is so freaking cool!

So the full circle thing. I realized on August 3, that it was my in-law’s Joe and Alla’s wedding anniversary.  It being their anniversary, also means it was the anniversary of when we conceived the baby we lost last year. Just take my word for it that I know EXACTLY when that baby was conceived. Almost a year to the date, we put these embryos into my uterus. So weird. I can’t even remember the person I was a year ago. I remember the loss. I remember the pain. But I don’t remember the person. I have learned and grown so much, and Jesse and I have definitely grown as a couple. I am so incredibly proud of us.

Now the fun stuff!  Not only was this transfer done a year later than the previous pregnancy, but we also transferred two embryos on NATIONAL TWINS DAY! FREAKY! The universe is so funny. 🙂 So like my previous IUIs, IVF is no different, we are now in a two week wait. We are supposed to go in August 18th for our beta test….I won’t last that long. Not sure why mine is 16 days after transfer, but we will see!!  

Few things to end with: 

1) The good family news I couldn’t spill last week was that Jesse’s sister married her long-time girlfriend Jen in July! So excited for them.  Both of them are super smart history Phd candidates and we can’t wait to see them to celebrate.

2) I couldn’t sleep last night because the whole time I was thinking about what I would tell a group of women who were looking at going down their own infertility paths. I don’t know why I was consumed by the thought, but all I can think of is maybe I need to find an additional forum to try and help outside my blog. I don’t know what that forum is, but I feel like it is something that I need to look for!

3) The final count was: 17 eggs retrieved, 13 mature, 10 fertilized, 2 transferred and 5 made it to blast and are now frozen. (Which means that there are 5 little Jesse/Mindy babies waiting to be put in at any moment)

4) These two crazy kids, made those two embryos above! (This was from egg retrieval): IMG_3791

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Egg Retrieval isn’t as scary as it sounds…

So today was the day for our egg retrieval. As a self-proclaimed google addict, I had read everything possible about the process. And much like everything else in this process, the retrieval was not nearly as traumatic as I had anticipated it being. In fact, it was so easy I feel bad for worrying!

I have said a million times how lucky we are to have an amazing doctor and group of nurses and staff at Georgia Reproductive, and today was no different. These folks literally have my heart. They have made something so stressful and scary, into something that I can only describe in one word…pleasurable.  Who would describe infertility as pleasurable?  Well, THIS KID!  I can’t stress how important it is finding the right place for your journey.  This isn’t a cake walk…but the people who you see weekly become an important piece to the puzzle.  I have read on so many forums and boards how people question what their doctors are doing, and become frustrated with how or when their nurses respond, and I am a firm believer in moving on. If you don’t have 100% confidence in what these folks are doing for you, then you are either 1) Not ready or 2) Not at the right place.  Believe me, I am not saying you can’t ask questions about why they are doing certain things, but remember that they should know what they are doing.  If you don’t have confidence in their abilities…then move on.  However, I will caution you that there is a lot of bad info out there, so before you move on, make sure you aren’t being irrational or worse, an internet know it all.

Anyways, back to the retrieval….we got 17 eggs!! That is a good number according to everyone in the room.  As of this morning, I have gotten the most eggs of the women in the study, and I was joking around that I like winning, so if anyone gets more than 17…I am going in for another 🙂 Obviously I am kidding, but it gets me through the day!  The process was really easy. I walked in and was taken back to change into an awesome gown, hair net and booties. Amy, Keebler, Jaclyn, Rebecca and a million other ladies came back to wish us luck and then they did the IV.  I have really small veins, so that was a bit challenging, but it worked. 10 minutes later I was taken back to the procedure room, I was strapped on to a table, joked around with Dr. P as usual, and then it was lights out.  I woke up 20-25 minutes later without eggs and with Jesse standing there.

Now we wait. We will find out tomorrow morning how many eggs fertilized and become embryos…and then we will transfer two of the strongest ones on Saturday. They said, on average, 75% of the eggs fertilize, so that would mean 12-13 of ours would.  Fingers crossed we get that many and fingers crossed they make it until Saturday!

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I guess I like going to the doctor…

At least that is what I keep telling myself.  Funny thing is, I really don’t mind going to GRS. Everyone is so funny and so positive, it kind of makes this whole thing a lot less tortuous. As I mentioned in my last post, my ultrasound showed a lot of follicles, they just needed to grow to 17 mm or more.  So I went back today and had another ultrasound and blood draw, and I was right on the cusp…but not yet!  So we will go back tomorrow and ultrasound and blood draw again, and probably trigger tomorrow night.  So what is next?

If I trigger tomorrow, I will do egg retrieval on Wednesday and transfer on Saturday.  Egg retrieval is no joke. I get put to sleep and they go in and retrieve all of the eggs that my follicles decide to produce via a needle. Next they take Jesse’s part and put it with the eggs and hope that those little pieces fertilize together and make embryos.  Because of the trial, we have to do a 3 day transfer. That means the embryos cook for 3 days before they put them into my uterus. Apparently they also grade the embryos during that time as well.  Nothing like giving the kid a complex at conception, right?  I am TOTALLY going to get a onesie made that has the baby’s grade on it…and when it makes me mad, I am going to say “If only you were a 4 AA!”  (Just a little IVF humor for you)

This whole thing is becoming more and more real. I really can’t ignore it, because for the first time in my life, I can feel my ovaries when I move and actually when I don’t move too.  I am fairly sure they are the size of grapefruits right now and it is quite uncomfortable.

We just got some great news from some other family members that I can’t share just yet, but I am hoping that their good news spreads to us this week!  Life is really exciting sometimes, and right now is no exception. I am still trying to be as supportive as I can be to friends and acquaintances who are going through infertility struggles.  Not going to lie, it is hard to hear when people get pregnant and didn’t have to go through 1/10th of what I have, but I remind myself that this is my journey not theirs, and I can’t fault them for that.  I am excited that they had an easier path and didn’t have to deal with the emotional and financial stresses of infertility.

Hopefully I will have a good update on Wednesday with a huge amount of eggs retrieved, and then on Thursday with a huge amount of embryos!  Thanks, as always, for reading and the amazing support you have given us!

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I am a lousy patient.

I don’t try to be!  I swear, its just the ADD in me.  So I have been on my Lupron, which really hasn’t been as bad as I thought it was going to be, and they added my stims last Friday.  I am woman hear me roar, so I don’t make Jesse go to every appointment with me.  I mean, come on…I am trying to make a human here, I can TOTALLY handle getting instructions and managing all of these meds and changing doses, and communicating things to Jesse so he can do my shots correctly. BAHAHAHAH…yeah right!  TOTAL FAIL!

So I was started on 20 of Lupron in the morning, and when they added the FSH Amy and Jaclyn told me to go down to 10.  20 to 10…GOT IT!  Then 225 of FSH at night.  Packed all my precious drugs into my little cooler bag (got it FREE with being in the IVY study) and bee bopped out of the office.  I came home, put my meds schedule on the fridge and then…well…apparently that was it. Fast forward to Monday, after my morning shot, I panicked and asked Jesse if I told him I was supposed to go down to 10….cliff-hanger…I didn’t.  The craziness ensues and I text, I call and I email nurses and I start freaking out.  I had doubled my dose for three days and I was sure I had ruined my IVF cycle.

In true Georgia Reproductive Specialists form, everyone got back to me super quick and told me that I was fine.  Of course, I was over here apologizing to the nurses and to Dr. P…I am in a trial…and well, I now have a black mark on my record.

Here I was all excited about being patient MG-14-22520926 (or whatever it really is), and the FDA now will know that I can’t follow directions. Oh well…you live and learn and you start over again.  I went in for my second baseline and I had a lot of follicles.  Everyone seemed happy with that, I of course start thinking that I am going to get OHSS and am already thinking about what that is going to feel like.  Nothing like positive thinking, right?  I am a mess.

All in all, I actually feel pretty good now.  I had a rough couple days where my head felt like it was going to explode, and well the doxy they make you take to help prevent infection is less than easy on my stomach.  Jesse gives really good shots, so my abdomen doesn’t make me look like I am a drug addict, so that is good.

Other than this whole experience, I know a lot of people have been wondering about my personal time announcement the other day.  My CEO and I agreed that with everything that I had going on in my life, it was probably best for me to take a month off from work.  I am pretty lucky to have the flexibility to do this and it has definitely made things easier to deal with.  There are a lot of doctor appointments with IVF and some of the side effects would not be fun to deal with at work, so for right now…it’s me, Judge Judy and the dogs hanging out.

With the way things are progressing, I think we are on schedule for things to go down next week. Amazingly I am not nervous.  I think I have just realized that everything will happen regardless of my nerves, so why get myself all worked up. I’ll update the world on Friday after my next ultrasound…until then….let’s hope I don’t mess anything else up!!

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