Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Questions for the RE

Hello!  If you are visiting from LFCA, I thank you for stopping by.

If not, I'm Cutting/pasting a quick bio, from LFCA, because the wonderful Mel summed things up so well...

"After 3 miscarriages and experiencing SIF for the 7 years since her daughter was born, Alana was finally referred to an RE.  Her first appointment was last week and went really well.  They are optimistic for Child #2 for the first time in several years and would love support."

Two things I'd love input/advice on as I haven't done ANY research yet (and likely won't until my summer vacation from school starts in 2 1/2 weeks...)

1.  Laproscopy for Endometriosis
-I am a huge chicken about surgery, needles, etc.  The doctor mentioned that it is possible for me to have a laproscopy without being "knocked out," though he wouldn't recommend it.  Has anyone out there had a laproscopy without being drugged out?  Am I a lunatic for even considering this?  Please give honest feedback.
-Also, to those who have had a laproscopy for endometriosis, how long was your recovery time.  I'm trying to schedule surgery (if needed) around our annual summer trip to Ohio, and want to make sure I am feeling up to travel and the long car ride.  :)

2.  Is there anyone who has had success using Femara as a fertility drug?  What questions/concerns should I address with the RE about this medication.

I think this is all I can think of for now.  Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it much!  :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012


It seems I've once again been away from blog land.  Most family and friends that I originally started blogging for here are now connected with me on Facebook, so my blogging bouts are further and further apart.  However DH and I made some major progress today with our SIF issues, which made me want to post. 

So on to the updates:

-I'm a bit relieved that my principal is retiring effective June 30th.  We don't know yet who the replacement for next school year will be, but I am hopeful the new person will bring positive changes our way.  Most of us feel the school morale has declined immensely over the 3 years the current principal has been with us.  In addition, the student behavior school-wide seems to have also worsened.

-I feel horrible.  A new teacher whom I'm the mentor for was told (by principal mentioned above) that she isn't being re-appointed for next year.  It's really awful.  I am livid at the way it was handled...the teacher was in the middle of instruction during 1st period, when there was a knock on her classroom door.  Upon answering the door, there was a substitute teacher who told her she was needed in the Principal's office and the sub was there to provide class coverage.  The teacher reported to the Principal's office, where our principal and one assistant principal were waiting.  They then informed her that they don't want her to return to our school next year.  After their meeting, she was expected to go back to her classroom.  Can you imagine?  I am pleased that she is sticking with it through the duration of this school year, as I think many people would have "walked" immediately upon being told their contract won't be renewed. Why this was not handled during her planning period (last period of the day) or before or after school infuriates me.  To expect someone to return to their classroom immediately after learning they were terminated?? Ridiculous!
-I do think the new teacher was doing poorly, however I don't think they gave her a fair chance.  She was hired after 13 subs had been in the classroom.  In addition, it is her first time teaching in the state of FL.  I believe she should have been given at least one more year, becuase I truly think if she'd been able to be with the students for the WHOLE school year, she could've established her own rituals and routines from Day 1 so things wouldn't have been so crazy.  To me it's like they threw her into a hornet's nest and then didn't give her any support when she tried to make her way out.

-I was informed on Weds that I will be moving back to 8th grade (instead of 6th) next school year.  I have mixed feelings about this...I really enjoy the 8th grade students, but the administrator and classroom I'll be working in are not as wonderful as those I use now. I am also a bit anxious, because county-wide the 8th grade will be using new reading curriculum next year...and new programs are always a pain in the backside to implement.  Sighs.

-Continues to be such a joy!  I am ever thankful for my girl each and every day!

-Has completed half of the testing to be deemed "Gifted" for gifted resource classes at her school.  Unfortunately, the state of Florida allows school psychologists a certain number of school days to complete all testing, so we do not anticipate that all testing will be finished prior to school starting next year.

-Based on observations by us at home and by school staff at school, we also believe that Emma falls into the "Sensual Overexcitability" category. 

-In a nutshell, a famous Polish psychologist, Kazimierz Debrowski researched and labeled five "overexcitabilities" which gifted children often have.  http://giftedkids.about.com/od/gifted101/a/overexcite.htm

-I feel SO badly I was not honed in on the signs of this overexictability earlier!  But there are signals of overexcitability that Emma has done for as long as I can remember:
       -She MUST have clothing tags cut out of her clothes.
       -If socks don't align on her toes "just right," she will refuse to wear them.  (When we find socks she likes, I always go back and buy multiple pairs.)
        -She is sensitive to loud noises.  In movie theaters or places with loud music (concert; marching band, etc.) Emma plugs her ears.  We use ear protection for her when she views fireworks, because she hates the loud noise.   Each week at the end of dance class, the girls all form a circle, put their arms in the middle, then high five and yell "Bravo!"  Emma places one ear down on her shoulder, plugs the other ear with one hand, and then does the "high five" with the arm under her ear/shoulder.
     -She is particular about food.  She only likes certain foods and likes them certain ways.  (Ex. she prefers boxed mac&cheese to creamier homemade types.)  She also does not like for her foods to touch--she will scoot items on her plate as far apart from one another as possible.
-Fortunately, Emma's oversensitivity is mild and she seems to cope better with things the older she gets. 

-It's been interesting for me after dealing with low level IQ students for many years, to be learning more and more about the gifted and higher end needs of children. 

-It was amazing for me as a mom when for the first time, Emma (in 1st grade) passed the reading level of my lowest students (in 6th grade) this year.  Way to go, Em!

-There was a Book Fair at Emma's school this week.  One of the books that she purchased was a quiz book.  DH and I cracked up today when Emma was completing a quiz about her interests.  For the question, "Who is your favorite actor?," the conversation went something like this:

Emma:  Who's that guy from "Back to the Future?"
Me:  Michael J. Fox
Emma:  No, the old guy.  Doc.
Me:  Christopher Lloyd?
Emma:  Yeah!  I love him!       

She then wrote his name down in her quiz journal as being her favorite actor.  Hilarious!

Secondary Infertility:
-After all these years, DH and I had our first appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist today. I felt we established more goals and plans in our 30 minutes with Dr. B than in our last three years with my OBGYN.  SOOOO glad we went!

-Thrilled that he (Dr. B) wrote down notes about our medical history himself---no secretary/RN like at my OB's office.  He spent time with us and heard us out.  I am pleased.

-We left with a 3-step plan:
1.  I will have blood work done with my next cycle in June.
2.  I will also do one cycle of Femara to try to get PG.
3.  If we do not get PG with Femara use, then the Dr. wants me to do outpatient lapraoscopic surgery, because he suspects I have endometriosis.
4.  And Beyond--after determining whether or not I have endometriosis and if it is entirely removed, we can then pursue IVF.     And they literally offer a "teacher discount" for IVF procedures done during the summer months....crazy, hey?

-DH and I both liked the doctor's demeanor.   And I think we were both stunned when the doctor told us he believes we can have a baby "for hundreds, not thousands of dollars" of medical interventions.

-So today, I feel real hope again (with regards to having Child #2) for the first time in several years.   Definite progress!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Black Cloud

Work: It feels like there has been a black cloud over the 4 other members of my reading department and I for the past 2 and 1/2 months...

-D.F.'s jeep was totaled when a teenager ran a red light and smashed into her on the way to school the week before winter break. She suffered a concussion, but thankfully no other major injuries at the scene of the accident. She is still suffering dizzy spells sometimes, but is fortunately "okay" physically other than dealing with headaches and dizziness.

-C.J. tripped and fell on a parking lot curb while shopping the 2nd week of January. She fractured her elbow and has missed lots of work with doctor's appointments and physical therapy appointments, etc. And of course Murphy's Law of injuries--the elbow she shattered was on her dominant arm and effects the hand that she writes with. In addition, her mother has had some circulatory issues and has had to have 2 days of testing at the local Mayo Clinic to try to determine the cause.

-A.S. is our newbie and coming in mid-year after a slew of substitutes she continues to be like someone who is treading water with no shore in sight. On top of still trying to learn the ins and outs of both our county software and our reading program software, she feels like her students are running amok behaviorally.

I am her assigned mentor and am struggling a bit. I feel badly for her, as I know first-hand what it is like to try to take over a classroom mid-year. (When I started teaching back in '03, I began in November after the students had had several different substitutes for the 6 weeks before I was hired.) However, A.S. is not being assertive enough. She tells me things in our mentor/mentee meetings like, "I tell students to rotate to the computer station and they don't go." UHHH...hello! Whose classroom is it? She needs to take charge! It's really difficult because we've discussed parent phone calls, class participation points, the system I use to monitor students' rotations in my classroom, etc., but I can only make suggestions and offer support and ideas, I can't force her to use them. I'm just surprised by her lack of classroom management, because she has 2 teenage sons, and though she took a break for 12 years, she did teach previously.

-L.P., whose husband died 10 years ago and whose only child died in a freak accident at age 27 two years ago had been dealing with the declining health of her mother. She had recently helped her mother begrudgingly move into a full-time hospice center. Sadly, her mother died this past Thursday. I am so grateful that L.P. was able to be off of work and was with her mother at the time she passed away. (L.P. had missed a lot of work in December due to her mother being hospitalized, and she didn't want to miss anymore days.) Her mom had actually been doing better health-wise the past 2 weeks, so her death was a bit unexpected. My heart goes out to L.P., as she is an only child herself, and now she is truly alone with regards to having any family. She is taking next week off and among making arrangements for her mother's funeral services, she is faced with the task of having her mother's body transported from Florida to Georgia so that her mom can be buried in the burial plot with her father in their GA hometown. So sad!

-Add my January miscarriage to the mix, and you can see that the five of us combined have had tons of stressful incidents to cope with. I am hoping that the dark cloud has rained itself out now!

My follow-up with the OB went like this:
--Bloodwork results were again normal.
--There is a cyst. I was mistaken it is on my right ovary, not left. It is 2.3 cm in diameter. I go back in 6 weeks for a sonogram to confirm whether or not the cyst is growing or shrinking. If it is shrinking (which my cyst back in '09 did and eventually disappeared on its' own) then I'm home free. If it is growing, we'll discuss whether or not surgery for removal is needed.
--I was given a referral for a consult with a reproductive endocrinologist for DH and I. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. As I stated 2 posts ago, I had finally come to terms with being a mom to a singleton...I am not sure what measures I am now willing to take with regards to becoming pregnant again. However, after thinking on it and discussing things with DH I am now glad to have a consult (finally, after all these years!) and hopefully find some answers. In April, I turn 37 and hubby turns 38, so I think it is best for us to at least discuss diagnoses and options ASAP, and then decide whether or not we plan to actively try again for Child #2 or not. Also, I want to ask for feedback regarding my cyst and whether or not the RE thinks it impacted my having a miscarriage, as my OB was vague and basically said she couldn't determine whether or not the two events were linked.

Weight Loss:
-Prior to the miscarriage, I was determined to lose weight this year. However, I got off to a lousy start and wasn't watching my food intake or exercising at all.

-Then my OB recommended that I work toward weight loss. She said whether or not I plan to get PG again in the future, weight loss would be best for my overall health. Of course I know she's right, but it's difficult to hear from someone else. (Especially someone as tiny and petite as my beautiful OBGYN is!)

-Anyway, DH has been off to an awesome weight loss start. For about 4 weeks now he's been back to running and exercising regularly along with watching his food intake. Though it has only been a week, I am finally on the band wagon. We made sure to buy lots of healthy food options at the grocery last week. Yesterday and today I've finally been exercising again. We used some of our tax return money to buy a Kinect for our XBOX this afternoon. Wowie, zowie....awesome workout! Em and I have played on it for several hours...I can't even tell you how sore my thigh and upper arm muscles are. Also, my sister got me an awesome Wii Dance game for Christmas that kicks my butt in a good way. :)

-I know from my past miscarriages and life in general that my emotions feel better when my body is more active. So I am determined to get more exercise. The difficulty is that on work days, this sometimes means I'll have to make my butt get up early and workout BEFORE work...because I am prone to skip workouts if I wait until I'm tired AFTER work. (Not to mention that DH doesn't get home from work until 7:30ish, so it makes for working out close to bedtime, unless I workout WITH Emma.)

To wrap up...as the black cloud over my department at work (hopefully) dissipates, I continue to work on getting my emotions back in check. I'm not as mopey as I was the week after the miscarriage and am starting to "move on." (Though I know, one never really "moves on" 100%.) A few weeks ago, I found a small card I've had since high school. I placed it on the iPod stand/speakers in our kitchen so I see it everyday: "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20) It helps to remind me that the black cloud won't always be here. Here's hoping for a silver lining, whatever that may be.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Latest

So here's a quick scoop of the latest after my OB appointment yesterday:

-Pregnancy test was negative. (Duh! Guess I should be grateful they're thorough.)

-Had to go to the lab for blood work this morning and will re-do blood work again on Thursday morning to check my beta levels.

-Ultrasound on Thursday morning----they suspect there is a cyst on my left ovary and want to do an ultrasound to confirm and determine the size. Interesting....in looking over my blog posts after my miscarriage in '09, I had forgotten that I also had an ovarian cyst (which ended up bursting on its' own) at that time.

-Follow up appointment with doc on 1/30 for "follow up" and discussing plans for the future.

-Had to meet with my principal yesterday...fortunately I have 1st period planning period this school year. She is allowing me to be "late" to school for all of my blood work and OB appointments---missing most of my planning class period---rather than having to take a 1/2 day or whole day off work. Whew! This is the same woman who required me to take a half day of personal leave in order to attend the Open House at Emma's school on a teacher PLANNING day (with no students present, thus no substitute required,) so I am pleased and appreciative of her support.

-I'll post as I learn more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Long Time Gone...

Thank you Dixie Chicks for my opening mantra:
"A longtime gone/ No I ain't hit the roof since I don't know when/longtime gone/and it ain't comin' back again."

My blog avoidance started with work stress. For those of you who have been around for awhile (if you're still there??? I know I've been away for literally months.) Anyway, those who've been around will recall that I've been teaching at my current school for 4 years. I've been the reading department chair all 4 years that I've worked here. At the end of the first year and beginning of my 2nd, we had a member of our department who left our school without notice. This puts a HUGE burden on my shoulders as I must help the long-term substitute with grades, attendance, lesson planning, etc. It is a lot of extra work. (Unpaid, might I add.)

This year we started the school year off strong. My 5 person reading department was united and working well together. Then, the 2nd week of school, our newest member ended up being hospitalized. It was literally 2 months of burden for me...she neglected to return ANY phone calls or emails. Not only did we have NO idea where she was hospitalized or what was even wrong with her health, we had NO idea if she planned to return to teaching at our school. Eventually, my principal was able to file a grievance (because the teacher also neglected to return any correspondence with our principal....don't get me started about the total lack of professionalism.) At this point, they were able to hire a long-term substitute teacher who was
able to teach for the last 3 weeks of 1st quarter, and beginning part of 2nd quarter. Though the substitute was eager and helpful, it still created a lot of extra work for me. We were finally able to officially terminate the teacher who'd only taught 2 weeks at our school prior to taking medical leave and never returning anyone's calls. The week before winter break a permanent teaching replacement was hired (bless her heart!) She is sticking with things thus far...though you can imagine how rowdy her classes are after literally a quarter and a half of substitute teachers. Our new teacher is brand new to both teaching in our county AND to using the reading program implemented in my school. So, while I'm thankful she's here it has again been a lot of work helping to train her on the reading software, lesson plan formats, etc. Not to mention, she also was unfamiliar with our county's email and attendance system.

This takes me to the latest...The latter part of 2011 brought me peace with being a mom to an "only." Not that she wasn't previously, but Emma has been such a delight to spend time with. She is eager to learn, SO smart, enjoys playing fun pranks, and has really mellowed out. She has grown to the stage where she has MUCH independence and ability to do things on her own. I truly love spending time with my girl. Around the time of Emma's birthday last September I had started a new mantra for myself---STOP moping around about not having Child #2 and focus on being the best mommy I can be for Emma.

I was finally okay with the idea of not expanding our family. I was truly comfortable emotionally for the first time in years. (Meaning, no longer wallowing over only having 1 child. No longer hoping/planning/longing for Child #2.) Though we only had a few items left in storage after my major purging of Emma's leftover baby items in 2010, I finally got rid of the rest---the high chair, the baby swing, the Suzy's Zoo crib bedding and room decor, and the rest of the baby and toddler toys. I was content with my life and at a good place.

Then the second week of January 2012, I had another miscarriage. (#3.) It was extremely early. SO early that I didn't even know I was pregnant until I started bleeding 9 days before my period should have been. This lead to a FB post I created on January 10th: "Could use thoughts, prayers and well-wishes...going through some stuff. Thanks!"

Tomorrow is my OBGYN follow-up appointment to verify that all is "okay." I've had a few of you who are also my friends in real life and/or on FBook ask me if the OB plans to do a recurrent loss panel. I'm hoping to have some answers tomorrow.

My awful cramping and bleeding (sorry for TMI) stopped around a week ago. DH and I both took one day off work. I was able to lay and cuddle and mope with him in bed all day...it helped immensely.

My difficulty now is that my emotions are in a state of chaos. I feel like every time I come to some type of acceptance of being a mom to "just" one, something happens to swirl my emotions around again. Why does my body have to wreak havoc on my emotions? I was finally---after years---at a place of acceptance. Now I am playing the "What If?" game again. What if I am meant to have another child? Is my miscarriage the Universe's way of telling me that I shouldn't have given up on my dream of expanding our family? OR what if this is some sick way of confirming my thoughts---#2 is not meant to be. Sighs. I'm working toward finding the self-acceptance I reveled in the last few months of 2011.

That's the "big stuff." I will try to be more proactive about blogging. I had forgotten what a great emotional outlet this is. Just typing this post has helped me feel some relief.

I'd appreciate love and well wishes for my morning appointment tomorrow. <3