Starting to Breathe

So here’s what happened…

Last Friday my in-laws came to stay with us for the weekend.  My father-in-law, Jim, is one of those people who can never sit still.  He’s always thinking, always busy with one project, or three.  Since he gets antsy pretty quickly, we always keep a list of projects we’d like to do.  Then whenever they come to town for the weekend, Jim always teaches Troy something new, from car care to electrical work to carpentry projects.

They started by installing a new stereo in my old Ford, my anniversary present.  My old radio had been on the fritz for a while, and besides, it didn’t have an iPod jack.  I love it!

Next, they made me a large kennel out of PVC pipe and chicken wire for my foster kitties.  We probably could’ve bought one for what we paid for materials, but it was money well spent – if only for keepin’ Troy and Jim entertained!  When the foster kitties first come home, they can (and often do) have an upper respiratory infection, so we need to keep them contained for at least a week before letting them mix in with the regular zoo. 

We tried keeping the foster kitties in the spare room at first, but they’d hide under the bed and it was always traumatic for them whenever we had to drag them out.  So we moved them to the guest bathroom, but it quickly became difficult to keep the room clean, and the kitties still kept hiding – only now behind the toilet.  With our place being a rather popular hotel stop on the weekends for friends and family, it was inconvenient to have the master bathroom be the only one available for use.  The new kennel is huge and has lots of room, but it’s light and easy to move from room to room.  We can keep it in the guest room when we don’t have company, and move it to ours when we do.  Check out this awesome creation:

my new foster kitty kennel

my new foster kitty kennel


Saturday morning I took Padme and Ewok to our first pet adoption event.  Although they weren’t adopted on Saturday, I really enjoyed meeting the other foster parents and introducing prospective adopters to the various kitties.  The lead adoption counselor advised that we put Padme and Ewok in the cattery at PetSmart.  There are two PetSmarts in Austin that have catteries where adopters can meet and play with kitties.  We really miss having them around, but it’s good for shy kitties like our two to have the exposure to lots of potential adopters, and to have other kitties to socialize with.  Cats at the cattery are usually adopted within 3 weeks, but if not, they’ll go to whichever foster family has a opening and stay ’til they do get adopted. 

When I got home, I found that Troy and Jim had tackled another of our projects, a wobbly coffee table leg.  Turns out that Jim knew just how to fix it, but he needed to use his drill press back at home, so he decided to take the leg home with him.  So I came home to this:

Does it get any more Trailer Chic?

Does it get any more "Trailer Chic?"


Oh yes, people, it’s a car jack.  You can see the corners of the table that Dude ate while he was teething puppy.  My kitty Lila just loves to carry anything stuffed or fuzzy around the house.  She’s especially fond of my fuzzy flip-flops, much to the amusement of my mother-in-law, Marilyn.  So she crocheted a little bitty flip-flop just for Lila, which is on the table.  You just can’t get style like this at your local Ethan Allen!

When we went to bed Friday night, I found a couple of brown-red spots in my undies, and I just knew it was implantation bleeding.  I was at 10 days post IUI.  I knew it without a doubt!  We had prayed for it, we believed it, we knew it was our time…until I woke up in the morning to crushing cramps and overflowing flow.  Coincidentally, Troy had a nosebleed during the night.  It’s happened a few times since his sinus surgery.  It was quite the dramatic, gory scene to wake up to.  At 11 days post IUI, it was all over.  With flow coming so early, it was like my body wasn’t just saying “No;” it was saying “hell to the fuckin’ N-O, did you actually think you could be pregnant?!?”  I was so shocked, so crushed I couldn’t even cry.  No word from United, no idea if we still had any other options after.  We could pay for IUI’s on our own a few times a year, but it’s hard to see the positive when hope has been crushed.  I should’ve known the spotting wasn’t implantation bleeding – it’s usually pink to red, not brown.

Of course, Troy told his mom.  She was sweet, supportive.  We talked about it only briefly, and she offered up the usual, “Just relax and it will happen.”  I didn’t take offense and wasn’t bothered by the comment, she meant the best and she loves us.  But as the day wore on, it got harder and harder to keep it together.  After they left, I slept, then wept, the slept, over and over, all night long.

I work in cancer care, and it’s especially important that our attitude at work be positive.  There’s no room for any personal issues.  Our patients are facing their own mortality, and there’s nothing from home that compares to that.  They need all the positivity they can get, and it’s up to us to provide it.  But I don’t even remember Monday.  The campy poem fell out of my head at some point, all in about 10 minutes, but that’s all thinking I remember doing.  I just remember it hurt to breathe.  Tears always just a blink away. Remember to breathe in, remember to breathe out, it feels like each breath burns my chest.

I called our nurse Keri at the Texas Fertility Center and left a message asking her what the doc thought had happened.  Even with Troy’s counts not being great, with the 8 eggs I released I thought we should’ve had a chance.  Since it didn’t happen, it must’ve been something with me, maybe my lining.  I asked her if there was a test we could do to see if that was the problem.

On the way home, Austin Pets Alive called to tell me there were two older kittens scheduled to be euthanized at 7pm, and could I get them?  So of course I went to pick up two sweet, adorable kitty “teens,” Leif (the orange and white boy) and Libby (the soft, squishy calico girl).  They’re so adorable!

Leif and Libby, our new fosters

Leif and Libby, our new fosters


such sweet babies!

such sweet babies!


Tuesday I finally started to pray.  Why not me this month?  I had been so sure that like Sarah and Rebekah and Hannah of the Bible, that this would be the month that God would ‘remember’ me and we’d conceive.  I wasn’t angry and I’m still not;  just so hurt and so very, very sad. 

Keri called me back to tell me that I’d had a shortened luteal phase, which meant I hadn’t produced enough progesterone for an embryo to implant in my lining.  I had asked for progesterone before, but had been told that my history didn’t indicate that I needed progesterone supplements.  But I knew I did, I knew they were the key.  I don’t know why, but I knew it.  I’m so angry with myself for not insisting on getting supplements.  If I’d have fought harder for it, maybe I’d be pregnant now.

When I got home Tuesday night, Libby and Leif were showing signs of a big upper respiratory infection.  I called the APA vet on call, and they got me some antibiotics to start the kitties on and made them vet appointments for Wednesday.

On the way to work Wednesday, I began praying, asking for strength.  The old Sunday school song The Joy of the Lord is my Strength popped into my head and started playing on an endless loop.  I googled the song and discovered it’s based on a verse, Nehemiah 8:10, that says, “…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Joy felt very far from me.  Later I heard a sermon about waiting for the Lord’s plan, instead of trying to make our own plan happen.  The preacher said we wait because we are learning something that the Lord can’t teach us any other way.  And that while we wait, we are to worship and praise Him, because as we praise Him, we find joy – the joy that is our strength.  While joy still felt really far away, I began to feel peace.

Thursday work was easier, I could focus my attention finally.  After work, I went to pick up the kitties from the APA vet clinic.  They had given them lots of fluid and antibiotics and had been force-feeding them.  When kitties can’t breathe, they stop eating, which makes them weaker, and the cycle gets worse.  They told me that Leif had only had two, maybe 3 days left before he would’ve died.  I felt so horrible!  The poor babies! 

They taught me how to force-feed the kitties, which sounds much worse than it is.  It consists of wrapping the kitties up in a towel like little kitty burritos, then using a syringe (without a needle) to deposit slurry in the back of their throats.  Then their instincts take over and they swallow.  Slurry is a mixture of soft kitty food, kitten milk powder, a high-calorie paste and warm water all blended together – yum!  I also learned how to give them breathing treatments with a nebulizer.

Friday has been a good day.  Force-feeding is time-consuming, and it feels good to have my hands and my mind busy.  The kitties look so much better, they’re perking up already.  They’re even grooming themselves now, a really good sign!

In between feedings, I spent time napping and catching up on the season premiers of this past week.  So far, I’ve seen House, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother and CSI.  Also caught a new series, the Vampire Diaries.  It’s pretty teeny-bopper, but being on the CW I should’ve expected that.  I think I’m just missing Twilight, wish I still had another book in the series to read!

Right now I’m snuggled on the bed surrounded by all my sweet babies. 

Poppy takin a bath right next to me.  My left elbow is really clean now.

Poppy takin' a bath right next to me. My left elbow is really clean now.


Sweet Annie snoozin next to my leg

Sweet Annie snoozin' next to my leg


Dobby, Dude and Lila hangin on the floor next to the bed.  Dudes drooling today, so he cant get on the bedspread.

Dobby, Dude and Lila hangin' on the floor next to the bed. Dude's drooling today, so he can't get on the bedspread.


And then, my fairy godmother called to tell me that not only are the last three IUI’s fully covered by insurance, but we have three IVF’s approved and waiting for us when we’re ready.

All of the sudden, I can breathe.  And I think I’ve found some joy.


32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 20:35:33

    There is no body to this post, just your title. you’ve got me concerned. i hope youre doing okay. thinking of you.


    • iamstacey
      Sep 26, 2009 @ 22:38:42

      Hi, Katie! I dunno what wordpress did with the first run of this post! I had to re-write the whole darn thing. Thanks for the good thoughts, it’s been a rough week.


  2. Jessica
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 08:15:44

    I am so sorry AF showed. I know how it feels to be so upset you feel like you can’t breathe. It is wonderful news that all of your IF procedures are covered!!! Good luck with the next step in your journey.


    • iamstacey
      Sep 26, 2009 @ 22:39:52

      I’m so glad it turns out that insurance is set up for IVF. Otherwise, we’d never be able to afford it before my eggs fossilize! I know we’re really lucky.


  3. Katie
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 11:06:37

    Im so sorry. I’m sitting here so sad for you. So angry to hear that progesterone could have possibly fixed things. I dont know why doctors don’t give it, when it doesn’t hurt?!?! I’m glad you knwo this for next time but it sucks tfor his time. I’m glad to hear the IVF will be covered. I’m glad you are breathing.


    • iamstacey
      Sep 26, 2009 @ 22:41:26

      I wondered the same thing, Katie! Why not just give the progesterone, just in case? Especially after all we pay for the procedure to begin with! I guess I won’t have to fight for it next time, but I think progesterone is given in shot form for all IVFs, and hopefully it’ll work and we won’t have to do another IUI!


  4. Low Fat Lady
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 16:00:51

    Yea for the procedures being covered and that you can do ivf!! I’m sorry that the IUI didn’t work this month and they didn’t listen to you about the progesterone. At least they will now. I hope that next month is your month. Your foster kitties are so adorable.


    • iamstacey
      Sep 26, 2009 @ 22:42:57

      Thanks, Low-Fat! The kitties are so, so cute! They’re so sweet natured and friendly and huggable! I’m so glad we have to ability to move on to IVF again.


  5. Pie
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 18:49:34

    I’m sorry about AF, but YAY YAY YAY for the insurance covering both the IUIs AND the IVFs! That is really wonderful news!

    And I love the kitty pics 🙂


  6. Christy W
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 19:51:33


    Luteal phases can suck it. I am so sorry. This sucks. This whole time, I was thinking for SURE this was your month. I would have bet on it. And I definitely would have been thinking that was implantation as well.
    This sucks. Have I mentioned that?
    BUT thank goodness the insurance came through!!!!! Did they let you pay it back or do you get 3 of each covered?


    • iamstacey
      Sep 26, 2009 @ 22:49:57

      lolol luteal phases can suck it 🙂
      I’m so relieved about the insurance. For some reason, it seems easier to say ‘we tried the three IVFs and it didn’t work,’ than to say ‘we thought we had three, but then we didn’t, so we had to give up.’ Silly, eh?
      Our original interpretation of the policy was correct, we do have coverage for 3 IUI’s (now done) AND 3 IVF’s. So I think we’re good to go when I hit the next cycle!


  7. Jenny G
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 20:12:09

    I’m sorry that you got a BFN. I know it sucks, but I really am so happy to hear that your IVFs are covered! Thats wonderful news! I know a BFP would have been better news, but at least you have some hope for continuing your journey.


  8. Katie
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 10:56:01

    Stacey, I am still laughing about your coffee table! Hilarious! I’m SO glad you get to proceed with IVF!!!!! Can’t wait to hear about all of the injections, etc. It’s going to be so exciting!


  9. Womb For Improvement
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 14:29:21

    I’m sorry that it didn’t work last time and sincerely hope you don’t have to use the full complement of treatment your insurance will cover – though good to know the options are there.

    Could Jim come and stay with me? I have a whole bunch of work that needs done!


  10. Michelle
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 17:07:45

    Wow what a week you have had. i am so sorry that this was not your month but I am happy for you that you have IVF that will be paid for. That is awesome.

    It is so great that you are a foster mom to those kitties. You are doing some great things for them! They are so cute!

    I am glad that you are able to breathe again and I hope things are Great from here on out!

    Praying for you!


  11. Sweet Georgia
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 09:29:21

    What wonderful news!!! 3 IVFs & 3 IUIs covered, that is truly amazing! I’m sorry that the last IUI did not work, what a gory mess indeed.


  12. Kate
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 14:45:28

    I’m sorry to hear about how things turned out this cycle. short luteaal phase my hiney! They should have checked on that!

    BUT, FANTASTIC NEWS ABOUT THE IVF CYCLES!!! It will totally work.

    And, good for you for not stopping the rest of your life because of your disappointment. Your kitties are awesome, your husband and inlaws are talented, and you are strong!


  13. m.h.
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 21:52:55

    what a wonderful post. you encouraged me greatly. you will make such a great mom, i wish you all the best that the Lord has to offer.


  14. iamstacey
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 22:29:38

    I’m so glad it helped, m.h. What’s your website, I’d love to check out your blog! Thanks, I hope I’ll be a good mom!


  15. lifebytheday
    Sep 29, 2009 @ 11:51:05

    Congratulations!! I’m so glad the insurance stuff worked out…although I’m sorry you’ll have to make use of the extra cycles…

    Sending happy thoughts your way!


  16. myndful
    Oct 01, 2009 @ 23:47:57

    Oh my gosh! I am so sorry about the failed IUI, but so dang excited about the insurance outcome! Things worked out! When do you think you’ll start your IVF cycle? Oh my goodness, I am just so, so excited for you. 🙂


  17. lillyshephard
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 15:39:51

    hi there…i’m just catching up on my blogroll…what a difficult ride you’ve been on. i’m sorry, so sorry to hear AF showed up…and also supporting you in your decision to take a mental, emotional and physical health break for a couple cycles. wishing you the very best…and that your break is full of peace and gentleness for your sweet body. with care, lilly


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