Monday, June 27, 2011

Little Dresses For Africa

Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit 501c3, Christian based organization which provides relief to the children of  Africa by distributing dresses through orphanages, churches and schools.

Dress Pattern from Nancy's Notions

This summer I am going to sew for the charity Little Dresses for Africa. I am going to show you how easy it is to make a dress. If anyone has any extra material, thread, 1/4 inch elastic, bias tape etc, you can send it me to make more dresses.


Step1) Get instructions with pattern, bias tape, about 2 yards of material, 1/4 inch elastic and trim.


Step 2) Lay out your material and cut it according to the size in the instructions.
With two yards of fabric I can make 3 dresses. (two small and one medium)

Step3) Use the pattern and cut out the arm holes.

Step 4) Make the casing for the elastic to go through. It should be about 1/2 inch bc the elastic is 1/4 inch.

Step 5) Slide the elastic through the casing and then sew it in place at both ends. This will gather the top.

Step 6) Pin the bias tape to the arm holes and stitch in place.

Step 7) Add trim to the bottom and you are done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

End of the School Year

It is the last week of school. If you didn't know, I am a 6th grade teacher. I teach two groups of kids, so I have 45 students. The end of the year brings mixed emotions. On the one hand, you are glad to see your students ready  to go the next grade level. You are also glad to get a break from all the work you do all day and after hours. It gets so hot in June that it makes us all crazy and not want to do any work.On the other, it is sad to see them go. There are always a few that drive you crazy and some that hold a special place in your heart.  Being a teacher gives me a purpose.I imagine that being a teacher is very similar to being a parent. I spend time with them, care about them, teach them skills, and shape their moral values. Sometimes we get to do fun activities and sometimes I have to discipline them. I only get to share them for one year. Their parents get them forever.

Now that the summer is here, I am glad to have the much needed time off, but I also dread the empty feeling that comes with it. I always had the plan of having the summers off to spend time with my kids. The summer is just another dose of salt in my infertility wounds. I have been feeling down the past few days. The reality of my sad situation has been creeping in. I tried to remain positive- I made a  list of some progress I have made and some new things I have not tried, but today I am unable to fight the sadness.

When I came home, I received a nice email that was perfectly timed.  A women who reads my blog named M said that she had success after 3 years of napro. She said she might share her story for my blog. It brought a big smile to my face. M, if you are reading this.... thank you for the kinds words today. I really needed them. Please send me your story when you can. You give me inspiration. I have been ttc for 4 long years but only doing napro for 1.5 years. So there may be some hope left for me.

I will be okay. I wrote my DH and he wrote me back a list of things to be happy about. There will be more time for fun, relaxation, and those projects I never have time to do.  I am really bad at not doing anything with photos. I still have a year's worth on my camera. My goal this summer is to organize them, put them into books, and hang some up on the wall. I will also be doing summer school which is half days, 4 times a week. It is great money and it will give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I have some other hobbies to get into like my garden and some sewing projects.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tiffany's Success Story

  • Thank you, Tiffany for sharing your story. 
  • If you would like to have yours added, please contact me.    
..............................................................................................................................................................My husband and I were married in 2006.  I was 35 and he was 38.  I had been on the pill for years before getting married to control adult acne, no one had told me about any consequences of using it.  Prior to marriage I had gone off the pill because I heard it could cause an abortion.  Our marriage class talked about natural family planning that required temperature taking, and with my irregular work schedule this wasn't going to be possible.  Instead I found a device called Persona that was endorsed by the catholic church in Europe.  The device showed fairly regular cycles other than TEBB, and it even showed I ovulated.  I asked my obgyn about the TEBB but was told it was normal.  We were excited to ttc 6 months after we were married after our honeymoon. 

We tried for 6 months using the Persona monitor without success.  We thought I was pregnant at one point because I appeared to have some implantation spotting and had to use the bathroom frequently.  Instead this turned out to be symptomatic cyst that caused me to have a bladder infection.  I asked the obgyn I saw that day for help since we weren't getting pregnant.  He told me it just takes time, talked about timing intercourse, and said come back in another 6 months.  6 months later I saw a different obgyn.  He did some bloodwork, recommended HCG tubal dye test, and said clomid would help us after that.  I asked about progesterone testing with the spotting I had, but was told that the testing was contraversial and not necessary.

The bloodwork showed an abnormal thyroid reading, but I was told it was just a high normal/nothing to be treated at this point.  I passed the tubal dye test and was put on clomid. This went on for about 6 months until I insisted on seeing another obgyn and asked about progesterone testing again.  I was again told this was contraversial, but he did prescribe me oral progesterone.  Another few months go by still without success.  I end up meeting another obgyn in the practice who does some additional testing including a clomid challenge and said if I'm not pregnant in a few months she will refer me to a specialist.

We were excited to see the reproductive endocrinologist/specialist.  He did an ultrasound and saw some "craters" on my ovaries and suspected possible endometriosis, but gave us 3 options.  We could do IVF, we could do super ovulation/IUI's, or we could try surgery for possible endometriosis.  When I inquired more about the surgery, he said that even if treated it doesn't usually make much difference, but for a small percentage it does.  Sadly I have to say my husband and I felt doing injectibles and IUI's was the path we should follow.  This went on & off for about 6 months, 3 actual IUI attempts.   My girlfriend got pregnant under this treatment, so we thought it would work eventually for us too.  Many cycles I had to skip because I had cysts.  It was a horrible time as I felt like we were being hurdled through the rooms like cattle.  I hated that the RE prescribed the same treatments the next cycle each time, it was like he knew it would fail.  Still I clutched my rosary and prayed during the IUI's that this would work for us.  Meanwhile my insurance changed to cover $10,000 maximum treatment in an infertility clinic.  The cost alone for the monthly shots with this specialist were costing my insurance over $2,000 a month.  I just saw my insurance running out and this specialist telling me well you will just have to do IVF now.

Then a priest at church started talking about the sinful act of IUI's and IVF's.  It really hit me close.  I told my husband I didn't want to do it anymore, and he said what choice do we have though.  I prayed and told God that if I had cysts and had to skip another cycle, that I would have a laparoscopy done to check for endometriosis.  If endometriosis was found, I wouldn't do IUI's ever again.  Sure enough a cyst was found and I found a well respected obgyn surgeon to perform a laparoscopy on me in May 2009.  He found endometriosis and adhesions in several areas and cauterized it off.  He told us this has been our problem all along and we should try everything again to get pregnant now.

I was excited to see the specialist this time with my surgical photos.  My plan was to have him prescribe just clomid again because of the lower cost, no IUI's, and to ask about thyroid and progesterone testing again.  The meeting was awful.  His first comment from my surgical report was, "well there's nothing here that says we have to do IVF right away."  He stated that since clomid didn't work before, it wouldn't work again.  When asked about thyroid testing, he said, "Well I don't know why you aren't getting pregnant, but it's not your thyroid."  (But how do we know if you won't test it I kept wondering.  I've gained a lot of weight now and my feet are always cold.) He insisted that I continue doing IUI's and when told I wouldn't for religious reasons he said, "Well I can't hold you down and make you do IUI's, but this is your best chance."  I left the meeting crying.  I couldn't see any other obgyns again, they had all referred me to the specialist.  The specialist insists I do something I'm not comfortable doing, and I'm going to run out of insurance money.

My husband and I tried for a few months then on our own.  One day crying looking for catholic prayer for infertility, I came across this support group and learned about Dr. Hilgers and naprotechnology.  Since I live in Minnesota, it was recommended that I go to the Aalfa family clinic which followed his protocols.  I saw Aalfa for the first time in September 2009.  Among a few other things, their testing showed a thyroid problem.  To this day it makes me sick to my stomach that I didn't insist more on being tested for that.
In February 2010, I got my invitation to travel to Omaha.  I did the month long bloodwork study and had my laparoscopy in April 2010.  I made confession on my IUI's and received the anointing of the sick.  When I woke up from surgery, I had a bad feeling.  My husband and I were very sad to learn that although he couldn't find anything majorly wrong, he felt the best way to remove fibroids and endometriosis I had which was now on my bladder, was to have a laparotomy done.  My husband and I were upset about doing this because I was 38 1/2 already, and knew that it would take awhile to conceive after this. Dr. Hilgers gave us a 50-60 percent change of ever conceiving after surgery because of my age (still better than the 15 percent the specialist had given us). After days of prayer and recovery, we felt like we had no other alternative and that God had brought us this far.  We had to trust that he had some sort of plan for us and this was probably good for health reasons anyway.  God blessed us with getting in for the surgery on a cancellation again 6 weeks later.
Since we weren't given any chance of conceiving until after surgery, I chose to go off all medications and mucus enhancers until after surgery.  I only remained on the thyroid medication and also was also given some anti-fungal medication because biopsies done during my laparoscopy showed I had a rare fungal infection.  8 days before we were supposed to go to Omaha, we found out we were pregnant.  Both Aalfa and Omaha believe that the repeat tubal dye test during the laparoscopy removed some sludge from my tubes, and that combined with the thyroid treatment had allowed us to conceive.  We were warned about miscarriage since we had untreated endometriosis and a growing fibroid, but all we could do was supplement with progesterone and pray.
On February 8, 2011 Elizabeth Grace was born.  We know she would not be here if it wasn't for God, many prayers and support of this group, and napro technology.  We spent over 3 years seeing other doctors who never found any wrong.  We had success after 6 cycles with napro technology.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Today I feel more peaceful about this whole  thing. Last week I was freaking out bc of the fee increase. Now I see that this is a good thing and it was the impetus to move me forward. I have a new plan that has many steps into the future. As long as there is a plan with something new to try, there is hope. I spoke to my napro Dr today. He is great bc he takes the time to talk to you and answer your questions. He treats you like a human. We spoke about the plan that will involve the immune consultant. He will review anything she suggests first and then talk it through with me. She is really great. She also spends time to answer questions and has compassion. I have a great team lined up. I have to send her all my history and then we will see what she comes up with.

I am glad to be done with the RI. He would only give me 5 min even though I had an apt. He was always two  hours late. If I asked him a question about medication he would tell me to check out his website. He made me feel dumb when I did ask questions. I dreaded calling his office bc his receptionist was not nice. On top of all of that, I had to pay lots of money. Dealing with his office caused me a lot of stress and financial hardship which I am sure made my IF worse.

I thought a lot about this today and how God's plan for me is like dominoes. I have the end result in  mind, but I do not know what God has planned for me along the way. I do not regret meeting Dr.JB. He was the one who made a break through with my LUFS. He also prescribed the medicine  that for now seems to be working. He also suggested some good supplements to me. My napro Dr said he suggested one of those supplements to his patients. I was so happy to help him and his patient. This was a worthwhile step along the way.

Now it is clear to me that it is time to move on to the next step. Who knows what I will learn from this new consultant?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Follie update and immune test results

I have entered phase two. This is where I track the follicle by US to watch it grow. I went in last Wed and had a 10mm on the left. I went back Fri and it was not any bigger. UGH so I was about to freak out when my favorite nurse S said, oh wait let's check the right. The right side has been dormant since January and there was nothing there two days ago.She found a 14mm hiding underneath all the chaos and gunk that is invading that ovary. Then I went back today, Monday, and the the one on the left retreated and the one on the right was clearly the dominant one at 18mm. YIPPEE. So the right one is not done yet. I just hope that it can blast through the gunk. No surge on the OPK yet. I am waiting to hear back from the Dr about taking my trigger shot tonight.

I got my immune test results today. I have some good news. My NK went DOWN from 20 to 11. I am so excited bc it  should be under 15. This is the first time since January I have been able to get the number into the normal range. The intraplipids did not budge that number but this new medicine almost cut it in half. My TNF was normal at 20 then the intralipids made it double to 40. Now it is back to 18. So I am finally moving in the right direction. It may still take some time, but now I can relax knowing that this med is working for me Immune medicine is tough bc everyone reacts to it differently and you have to find the one for you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lemons into Lemonade

Life threw some real lemons at me this week. 
Today they all turn into lemonade!

Blood test drama continued: The nurse came back yesterday to redraw five vials of blood. I made sure to get the tracking number and made sure that it was picked up and sent there on time. It got there. A rep from the lab called me today to make sure everything was fine. The results should be back by Monday or Tuesday.

Other News:
I faxed my awesome napro Dr KB a letter explaining my situation with Dr. Greedy and how I would like to use an immune  consultant with his permission because he would be the one to actually order the meds since she is not a MD. I asked to set up a phone consult to explain everything. His awesome nurse J emailed me back saying he was on board but would like to speak to me next week about it first......YEAH

Medicine Drama continued:
Let's see where we left off last time. I went in on Fri to get a refill. That day I was told by CVS that they cannot refill it and it must go to express scripts,"but don't worry we faxed it over." Sounds great right??? Monday I called and it was in their computer but it needed to go to their sub company cura scripts. So I called them and they said they would get it ready to go.
Update: I call back today (Wed) to check on the status. It is still not done. They are waiting for the Dr to fax them a new script. They contacted the dr more than once and it never came in. Good thing I called to follow up. I explained to the woman that I only have 4 days left and with shipping time I am worried about running out. She tells me she is going to mark it a priority etc. I stressed the fact that it was a refill and in their computer......ugh.

Then I get a call from the specialty pharmacy from CVS telling me that they cannot fill my order.....Really??? She tells me to call cura scripts, I tell her that I already figured that one out since  it is now Wed and I tried to refill last Friday. She tells me that she is in the process of faxing the script over. I ask her when, she won't tell me. She keeps saying in the process....ugh

I call back cura scripts again at 3pm and it is still not done. The Dr never faxed it over., CVS never faxed it over. It is still in the stupid computer but they cannot get it. What year is it 1985?? We have networked computers now.....

Then I find Sam, my wonderful rep, who said he contacted the Dr at 1pm. This was two hours ago. I told him that if the Dr has not done it by now it is not going to happen. I asked him to call CVS. He said he could not, due to policy. He then called the Dr directly while I was on hold. He said the office is now verbally giving the order to the pharmacy....YEAH He said to call him back at 4:30 and he will personally take care of it and make sure that the order is ready to ship......YEAH.... I love Sam. He is the best. He will get a special prayer tonight....What a great guy.

I called back and he was just finishing up. He said it will go out in the mail and get to me tomorrow!!!! Woohoo. He asked me about my supply bc it was less than 30. He wanted to make sure I got enough. I told him that I did not take the full dose each day. Then he tells me there are no refills....ergh I said it was probably due to the fact that I got a script last month with 3 refills. He will check tomorrow to see if CVS finally faxed my old order so I can add my previous 3 refills to this order. I guess if you mail order 3 months at at time, it is cheaper and he wanted to make sure I got the best deal.

I told him how wonderful he was and asked if I could tell his supervisor how great he is, so he transferred me to her. I told her all about how great he was. She said she gets that  a lot and his is her best. I called 3 times this week and was so lucky to get him today.

Thank you to all the nice reps who helped through all the drama this week. Thank you to God for helping me out also.

Monday, June 6, 2011

2 bad things, One good, and Maybe Something Great

So do you want the bad news first or the good? You can scroll to the bottom if you want to read the good....This is a long post so beware. FYI, I am just started a cycle so I am not pg yet.

Bad News #1: I went to refill my neupogen at CVS when they tell me that they cannot refill it bc the insurance company wants it to go to express scripts due to the cost. UGH So they faxed the script to express scripts and said I would hear from them. So today I called to follow up since I never heard. My script was sitting in their computer but it needs to go to cura scripts which is a sub company of express scripts. So it was just sitting there and nobody thought to alert me or send it on. Then I  call cura scripts and they did not even get the script since I do not have an account with them...ugh so I set one up and now it will take a few days to get it out of the express scripts computer and verify with insurance......ergh I already filled it last month with no issues.. Then they call me to ship it to me. Thank God, I had some left over from last month...or I would have missed out this month.

Bad News #2: I had blood drawn on Thursday to get shipped over night to the immune lab in Chicago The lab calls me today, Monday, to tell me that my blood arrived today so now it is useless. ERGH I told her that I verified with the nurse about the pick up etc. She said the tracking shows pick up Fri 2:30. This is the third time I have had this done. This is the first time I forgot to copy down the tracking info and watch it get there on time and look what happens. So now I have to get it redone, which is 5 vials and it really hurts.  I still have a mark from Thursday. They are sending me the tubes tomorrow and the nurse is supposed to come back tomorrow. The lab said the nurse would call me today. By 4pm I had not heard from the nurse so I called the lab back who then called the nurse to remind her. Well it is now 7:30pm and I have not heard from the nurse. So you make a major mess up and now you are not going to call me on time? I asked about compensation. She said I may not get charged for the nurse fee which is out of pocket. They have to investigate first.

Good News: I spoke with the immune consultant today for 45min and there was no charge. She was really great. I got a good feeling from her. She speaks to you like a human being. She went over some of my test results and we spoke about some things. She is not a medical Dr so I still need to work with one which is fine,bc I have my wonderful napro Dr KB. I have to speak to him to make sure he is okay with this. Basically she will consult with both the dr and myself. She will make recommendations for tests and treatments and then the md does the ordering. She was willing to even speak to Dr. KB. Her fees are very reasonable and she charges by the hour so you get your money's worth and can work within your budget. She spent more time talking with me for free than Dr JB did for big money. She said most of her  clients work with the Beer center and none of her current clients work with JB right now. I do have to pay the initial consult fee again, but hers is not bad.Then I will save money bc JB wanted 1,250 for the next three months up front and even with her initial fee and paying her for 3 months, it will not cost that much. I will get much better service and care. She already pointed out some tests that I should get done.

Something Great????  I don't want to get too crazy but I got thinking that maybe meeting her is a piece of God's plan for me. What if she works out great as a consultant and then when I introduce her to my napro Dr KB and they hit it off and this starts a new era of napro that adds immune???? I already sent KB Dr. Beer's book and he told me he is reading it and finds it interesting. Maybe Dr. Hilgers will want to work with her too??? I only spent 45 min with her but I get a good feeling. I never got a good feeling about JB but I thought I had no other choice. So we will see where this takes me and maybe napro.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Won't Back Down

Here we go again with a new cycle. Went in for CD3 blood testing. My numbers were pretty good for me. My FSH was 11. Some women complain about that, but once you see 37 you become content with 11. My left ovary is leading again. It has been the dominant for awhile now. My right one is covered with endo so I am so excited that the left one continues to take charge. My FSH to LH ratio was 2 which is great. Right now I am taking antibiotics, probiotics, mulit vitamin, 2 supplements, fish oil and a neupogen shot nightly. This starts phase one which will last for another week until I go back to check my follie's growth. My consult with the potential new Dr got moved to Monday. I am excited to talk with her and hear her ideas and her fees.

Last night we ate at Dinosaur Barbecue. This one is located in a city down by the river. We were able to get seats on the outdoor deck right next to the river. It was so beautiful. The sun was shining. Then we were surprised to see a local musician playing guitar blues type rock.  He was really good. We sat there and really enjoyed being a couple which does not usually happen due to all the madness. I told my dh that we need to spend more time relaxing and enjoying being a couple like the old days. This is hard when all of your money is being saved up to adopt or being spent on fertility treatments. So I felt like we were on a mini vacation listening to music in the sun, eating barbecue, near the river. We had a gift card, and our meal was free.  The musician was very good. He sang some songs I did not know, but lots that I did. He sang Tom Petty's I won't back down. He did a great version. I love that song. It also gave me some inspiration to keep going.  Here are some lyrics in case you are not familiar.(I know I have some readers in Mexico) Here is a link to a video
Well I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from dragging me down
gonna stand my ground
... and I won't back down

(I won't back down...)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down...)
hey I will stand my ground
and I won't back down

Well I know what's right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushing me around
but I'll stand my ground
...and I won't back down

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fee increase continued

So I posted on the immune board to warn his other patients like a PSA. I thought at least then they will have a chance to adjust their budget. Someone wrote back that they are still going to pay the same which is  1,250. Then I had my DH call to see what was going on. It turns out that I was paying less bc I am not doing IVF, I am not even doing any stims, so he does not need to spend time on my case checking blood tests and making decisions. They hired a new office manager last week and she decided to make everyone pay the same. So my fee doubled but I think that the existing IVF patients are sitll paying the same. Now I am embarrassed bc I mentioned his fee doubling and it may not be true for everyone. I also feel discriminated against bc I am not doing IVF but paying the same fees. He does not spend the same amount of time with me as them. I only need to consult with him once a month. ERGHHHHH

My DH is awesome bc he spoke to the office manager and told her how it was not nice to spring this on us. She said I am sorry that you feel we sprung this on you. He comes back with, wait a minute. I do not feel that you did it. You did spring this on us by definition. Then she admitted that it was not nice. She asked him was he thought was fair.He said he needed time to adjust the budget. She said we could have one month  and then next month we would have to buy a 3 pack and the new higher rate. He asked how long ago they have been planning this. She said she was hired last week. So they hired her and then she made the change and did not feel the need to contact me about it. I love my DH he is so great with dealing with people and negotiating. While he was not able to get the fee reduced, he did buy us a month to check out other drs and see what we want to do.

I am tired of the crappy service I get there. I should not have my phone apt consult pushed back for two hours every time. I have to rearrange my schedule at work to accommodate them and then they make me wait two more hours.

I emailed two other drs. I put it all out there that I am not satisfied with my current Dr and that I am shopping around. I asked what their fees are and what services they provide etc. They both emailed me back. The first one is a woman who struggled herself. She asked if we could talk for 20-30 min TOMOROW to discuss fees and services.....WOW most Drs will not talk to you for free. The second DR said it would be 500 to become his patient and then 388 for one phone consult a month. Dr JB wants to now charge me 416 a month so that is really close. At least I have a lower price so maybe if needed I can get them to do a price match.

I got a good feeling from the woman. I am hoping and praying that I like her tomorrow and I can afford to pay her. Maybe this is a mixed blessing and I will get better care from her. Please pray for me that this works out tomorrow.