Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wow, has it really been almost 2 months since I last updated? How time flies these days!!

(Please note, I am trying to be open and honest about all that is going on with our infertility and adoption journey, so please excuse anything that is TMI for you. I try to be discreet, and hope nothing will cause offence.)

A few "old" updates....

....June 29th I saw my GYN, Dr Banach, to follow up on all my test results and to (hopefully!) get the letter we've been waiting on so long. There was a lot of confusion on my ovulation results - the first nurse (Dr Banach's regular nurse) took one look at them and said I wasn't ovulating properly. However, in further discussion with another nurse (who I saw with Dr Banach shortly after Nurse #1 left), we concluded I AM ovulating fine, or at least did so 2 out of 3 months.

...At the appointment, I made sure to bring up the letter, seeing as Dr Banach said if everything looked good, he would be happy to write the letter. I reminded him of what he had said about doing all the testing, then including the results from the tests in the letter, then asked if he would be willing to do the letter. He kinda "umm-ed" about it then said he wanted me to do three months on Clomid (a fertility drug) to "regulate ovulation and my cycles" and then when I came back he would gladly provide the letter. I was SO frustrated to hear this, because he had told me the same thing three months ago, in March!

...At this point, I began doing my own research. Many other women I know who battle infertility have told me of the importance of seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist if you haven't conceived on your own after a year. This, along with my frustration with Dr Banach, fueled me to seek out an RE for further treatment/testing.

...I also discovered that just putting people on Clomid without any monitoring can be very hazardous; in some rare cases, fluid can build up in the ovaries and then leak into the heart and/or lungs. It's vital that monitoring take place, both for the safety of the patient and to be sure that the medicine is doing what it's supposed to before beginning another cycle.

...I ended up "re-finding" a doctor up in Birmingham who started a fertility clinic that has a wonderful reputation. I say "re-finding" because I had actually looked up info on this clinic shortly after we decided to do embryo adoption, as I thought it looked to be a good place to have the actual transfer of the embryos done. Funny that God brought things full circle and here I was looking at the same information again!

Anyway, that about brings us up to date. My appointment with the RE, Dr Kathryn Honea (pronounced Hone-ee), was this morning at 8am. Because the clinic is a bit over 3 hours away from home, we decided it would be best for me to drive up the night before and stay in a hotel nearby. That plan definitely worked better than waking up at 2 or 3 to drive up!

Here's the basic run-down of the visit:

- Dr Honea is very supportive of our desire to adopt. This is such a blessing because Dr Banach definitely wasn't.

- Dr Honea said even though I didn't ovulate one of the months I tested (Mar-Jun), that was most likely stress-related and thus isn't cause for concern. Also, she said that even though I never detected a positive this month, it is likely that I DID get a positive but the strip didn't pick it up. I was so relieved to hear that!

- While she supports our plans for adoption, and is going to be doing tests related to us getting the letter, she will also be continuing our infertility care to ascertain what the problem is. Right now our goal is mostly for a diagnosis, unless the issue poses a problem to our adoption.

- There will be LOTS of tests going on this month: bloodwork to determine if everything looks good for another round of Clomid, comprehensive metabolic profile (CMP), lipid profile, insulin test, ultrasound with sonar inflation study (SIS), progesterone testing, and several other misc tests. We are hoping for the sake of keeping costs low and Caleb being able to do the tests he needs to that some of these tests can be done at the Montgomery office, but we will travel to Birmingham if needed.

- My progesterone was low last time it was checked (Jan/Feb). If after they get the results back, I am still low, they will prescribe it in some form (injection, pill or suppository).

- Hopefully, after getting all the results back, Dr Honea will be able to provide our adoption letter. I'm pretty sure she said today that once we have the SIS done and have checked one thing with our adoption agency, she will be glad to write the letter. Words cannot express how happy this makes me!

I know a lot of people think, "Boy, your adoption is taking forever!" Well, trust me when I say we know. :) But, at the same time, I'm really glad to know that (to this point) just about everything has looked healthy and that I am able to carry a baby. And, it is good to know that we're not crazy and there is something going on that is preventing us from having a baby.

Points for prayer:
- that all would go smoothly for Caleb to be able to attend the appointments he needs to be at (at least 2)
- that the UTI (urinary tract infection) I have would go away
- that all the scheduling for me to get back and forth to Birmingham and/or Montgomery would work out, even with us sharing a car.

Thanks so much for your support!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Infertility

One of Caleb's aunts, Aunt Sheila, sent me an email a couple of weeks ago with a link to a Focus on the Family radio show about infertility. From that show, I found an article on the same subject that presented some really important things I feel many people don't understand about infertility. Here are just a few of them:

"Infertility is commonly defined as the inability to conceive after at least a year of unprotected sex, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth. Infertility is not the same thing as sterility. According to MSNBC, one-third of infertile couples who seek treatment are able to have children."

"Grief is a real part of infertility. It may be heightened in miscarriages or stillbirths, but it is just as real when a couple cannot conceive." (emphasis mine)

"Proverbs 30:15-16 tells us the grave and the barren woman are two things that are never satisfied. The sense of loss from infertility will frequently resurface whenever life situations — such as a menstrual cycle or the birth of a child to another couple — trigger painful feelings of the opportunities lost."

"I think the most difficult thing for me about infertility is that it is a monthly journey. Every month your hopes go up, and come crashing down. It's not something you can set aside for a period; you get that reminder. You're always somewhere in that cycle - that hope-disappointment cycle. [...] That's what's so tough about infertility is that it's in your face all the time."

"It hurts, but God is there even in the midst of infertility."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some good news!

Today was a great day in terms of progress for our adoption. I checked my email first thing this morning because I've been so eagerly awaiting news on progress of our home study. I was soo excited to find an email waiting from Julie saying that our home study is just about complete and should be in the mail no later than Saturday (we are waiting on her stamp with her renewed social work licence info on it). We are thrilled that our home study is wrapping up! Despite all the hold-ups, Julie has been wonderful - very patient and helpful.

Today was my appointment for my HSG test at the local medical center. It took a bit longer to get through admissions and everything, but the people were super nice. My usual doc performed most of the procedure (except the actual X-ray); it was kinda nice to see a familiar face. :) The nurses were very friendly too and explained everything to me ahead of time. It turned out to be a much more painful procedure than I had anticipated (and I'd taken 600mg of painkillers beforehand), but the pain subsided within an hour or so. But, the great news is that my fallopian tubes look normal and are completely open - that is, there are NO blockages! So, this puts us on track to getting the doctor's letter we need once my ovulation testing is complete (unless the doc wants to do further tests).

Here's the possible timeline we're looking at at the moment. It looks like I should be wrapping up ovulation testing around the end of June. (A lot depends on the doc though; he can easily add an extra month of testing or add more tests.) From what I've read, there aren't a whole lot more tests that are standard practice to do for infertility, so I'm really really hoping after the ovulation testing I will be DONE with testing.

Assuming all goes well with my doc and I walk out with a letter sometime in July, we could be starting matching in late July/early August!! We are so excited about the possibility of moving forward and getting one step closer to growing our family with a little baby. :)

We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I received a very exciting email last night from our social worker, Julie: our clearance from Tennessee that we've been waiting so long for (almost 5 months now) is DONE!!! Not only that, it's in Julie's hands, which has been a big part of the drama (problems with fax numbers, etc). This means that Julie now has everything she needs to compose our actual home study report which will be sent to our adoption agency. She is currently working on the rough draft of that; when it is complete, she will send us a copy to review. Then, she'll make any necessary changes and will send it on to our adoption agency!

We are soo excited about this progress towards getting our file completed with Nightlight. Having our home study completed will represent a significant chunk of our adoption process being done. This takes us beyond just filling out an application for an agency...this means (in the eyes of our agency) we are serious about adopting. :D It also enables us to look into adoption grants if we want to, since most organizations require you to have completed your home study before you can apply for grants.

As far as infertility testing goes, there is still more to be done. I should be having a test done next week to ensure my fallopian tubes are not blocked, followed by 3 months of ovulation testing (from home). So, in July we should be receiving a letter (assuming all goes well) saying that I can carry a baby and we can really move forward in our adoption. (The doctor's letter is the last thing we need to begin matching.)

We have had some people ask us about praying for us to conceive naturally. Of course, we cannot control your prayer life...however, we wholeheartedly believe that God has led us to adopt our first child, and we ask that you respect that. Also, we would ask that people not try to give us advice on our (to this point unexplained) infertility and how we can overcome that. We believe that in God's time, if it is His will, we will have no problems conceiving. Conversations revolving around how to get pregnant not only raise a somewhat sensitive topic, but are also typically very awkward for us. We appreciate your sensitivity with regards to these topics and are very grateful for your support.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weary and Waiting

Yesterday was rough. I honestly looked forward to it a great deal. Yesterday, being my latest doctor's appointment, represented potential answers, and I hoped, some resolution to the seemingly endless doctor's visits, tests, probing, poking, etc. I was, naturally, just a little nervous about what the results might be, but was ultimately quite excited. After all, answers are awesome to have!

Anyway, I arrived at the doctor's office to discover that the large waiting area was so full there was nowhere for us to sit. And that's kinda where the "rough" part started. After glancing around the room, it became glaringly apparent that the majority of women in there were probably 4-5 months pregnant. And that's where I started to struggle emotionally...not because I can't handle seeing a pregnant woman, but because there were so many of them all right in front of me. All of a sudden, I felt very, very alone.

After about 30-40 mins, I was called back for my appointment. I was really thankful to not have to look around at any more swollen bellies, and the excitement about knowing something started to return. But, all that diminished rapidly when the nurse turned to me and said, "We're scheduling your D&C today, right?" I was horrified; I hadn't heard anything about a D&C at my previous appointments, and to my knowledge have never been pregnant nor have my tests shown anything that I would need a D&C for. I managed to hold it together, and told the nurse I didn't know anything about a D&C. She double-checked the info after leaving me in a room, and came back and reiterated the real reason for my visit - to get results and plan further testing. I was greatly relieved to not have a D&C on the horizon!!

After awhile, the doctor came in and talked my results through with me. He said my biopsy results were great and show that I am just where I should be in reproductive stages. (He was a little concerned because I had a very early period in Feb and thought there may have been abnormal bleeding. But, my results show that I am within normal ranges, my period is just a little irregular.) There were also no signs of endometriosis, scar tissue or any other abnormalities based on my test results.

So what next? More tests - this time a HSG test and three months worth of ovulation kits. I am definitely not thrilled about having to wait three more months before we can even think about getting the letter we need for our agency, but I know it will be worth it to know if there are any issues we should know about. I'm just soo ready for this adoption to move forward!!

Oh, I guess I should explain the HSG test. Basically, it's an x-ray test where they will inject dye into the uterus, where it will then flow into the fallopian tubes to check for any blockages in the fallopian tubes. Then, they use an x-ray machine to watch the progress of the dye. Hopefully it will be a relatively smooth and pain-free process. The HSG test will probably be occurring in the third week of April.

Please be in continued prayer for us. This process has not been easy, particularly the waiting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More doc appts...

Today I (Rebekah) had my latest doc appointment. Out of all my appointments so far, I think this is the one that I have least looked forward to, due to how invasive one of the procedures would be.
I walked in to my appointment feeling just a bit apprehensive, but was quickly put at ease by a wonderful nurse. She completed the ultrasound (the first half of my appointment) and it was all over quickly. She didn't really say much about what the ultrasound showed, and from my position I couldn't see the screen at all. So, I pretty much had no idea whether my results were good or bad or somewhere in between.

In the second half of my appointment, when I saw the doctor, I was thrilled to discover that he had my results and shared them with me. He went through all of the different pictures and said that all of my reproductive organs they checked on the ultrasound look totally normal in size and there do not appear to be any cysts or anything of that nature. So, my ultrasound showed that from what they can see so far, I am healthy. :)

Then came the not-so-fun part: an endometrial biopsy. This was the part I dreaded because I'd read that this procedure can be both painful and/or uncomfortable. I was warned to take some kind of pain meds before arriving (which I did), but I don't think anything could have really prepared me for the intensity of the pain. All I wanted to do was get out of there as soon as possible!! Thankfully, the pain diminished relatively quickly after the procedure was complete and I am not in very much pain now at all.

During the biopsy, the doctor checked out my womb, which he said showed no signs of septum (additional tissue indicating abnormalities) or scarring. He said all looked great! Now we will need to wait for the actual biopsy results, which I should receive next Wed (30th). After this follow-up, I will be booked in for further testing - possibly a laparoscopy and/or hysterosalpingogram (HSG), as well as an ovulation kit. We are hoping that these will be the last tests required prior to getting the letter from my doctor. (What I'm reading online suggests that we have been through or will have gone through most of the common infertility tests by the time we do the laparoscopy.)

So, as far as we know, everything looks good to this point from my doctor's perspective, which is a big blessing! Another blessing from the past week is that our Tennessee clearance was finally completed. The person from TN was having difficulty getting the clearance faxed to our social worker (Julie) though, so I'm not sure if it's with Julie yet or not. When Julie does receive the clearance, our home study should be wrapped up pretty quickly. If all keeps moving with both the clearance/home study and my doctor's appointments, then we could probably be looking at beginning matching within the next month or so. I am soo excited!!

That's about all the big news with our adoption for now. We are excited to see what God will do in the coming days in continuing to provide for our financial needs for our adoption and also in opening all the doors for things to go smoothly. Thanks so much for your support and prayers!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Hey world. :)

Just thought I'd stop by to scribble a little note to you, telling you all about the latest happenings of the last couple of weeks. I can hardly believe it's been weeks since I was last here...boy the days fly!

So, what's up?

Well, not much, but a whole lot, all at the same time. Sounds confusing, eh? Let me explain...

You're probably all getting a bit tired of me repeating which pieces of paper we're waiting for, but I'm gonna say it one more time, just in case you've forgotten. We've been waiting on child abuse clearances from TN and AL, and have been working towards getting a doctor's letter saying I can physically carry a baby.

The clearances should have been simple and straightforward, but...three months later they still weren't in the hands of our home study provider, Julie. So, I took matters into my own hands and contacted people in both states, telling them we had been waiting a long time and something needed to move. Well, I guess I made an impression or something, because I got replies within one day of writing, and both people said they would get the clearances done ASAP. Awesome! Well, unfortunately, TN is being very slow, and we still don't have that clearance. But, we DO have the AL clearance! :D God is good.

As far as the doctor's letter goes, that's where things start to get just a tiny bit complicated. We have been going through infertility testing to ascertain why we haven't been able to conceive in almost three years. This has involved lots of blood work and the like to this point. However, my gynecologist has not been able to find anything wrong, and Caleb's results also show that things are pretty normal. So, my GYN, Deb, referred me out to another doctor who is able to do more extensive testing than is available on post.

I just visited my new GYN, Dr Warren (who is awesome btw) on Friday last week. I asked him about getting the letter for our adoption, but he would like to wait until we finish our testing so that he can concretely and without hesitation give me the all clear for being able to carry. I was just a little bit disappointed to have to continue waiting, but I fully understand the need to check every possibility before getting the letter.

So, the testing continues. I have a doc appointment scheduled for the 22nd of March (two more invasive tests being done this day), then at some point after that I'll most likely have a laparoscopy done. After that...who knows what other testing will be involved. We'll just have to wait and see.

God has really blessed our adoption fund. We now have 60% of the total needed to pay for our adoption!!

Thank you to all who have been praying for and encouraging us as we walk this long journey to bring our little one home. We love you!