Sunday, January 26, 2014

*~*Sunshine Award*~*

This is something different, exciting, and fun! I've been nominated for a Sunshine Award!! <3

Nina, over at nominated me for a Sunshine Award & sent me a message on Instagram to notify me! I have to admit, at first I had NO idea what this was... I thought maybe it was just a cute & happy little icon/sticker you could send people on social media. I also assumed she had just sent it to everyone on her list. I linked to her page and read that it was an award "granted by women in the infertility community to fellow bloggers whom they feel bring sunshine to their lives!" She was nominated by someone else, who chose 5 nominees (Nina being one of them), and then she posted a series of questions for her nominees to answer through their blog. Nina answered, nominated 5 people, and posed different questions. Upon looking at her blog, I realized I really was just 1 of 5 selected... and a HUGE smile formed on my face. How sweet, thoughtful, inspiring, humbling, and just plain cool! I'm constantly amazed at the audience we reach on here. I often joke and say I'm glad my mom & aunt aren't the only ones reading this. Although, that would have been perfectly fine because I did not start blogging for followers,  I started it for my own sanity in sorting through this difficult journey, BUT it's always a great feeling when you know someone has read your post, connected with it, shared it, and maybe even helped someone along the way. I've been getting occasional emails from people who have been following, and it's just always so so sooooo nice to hear the support that's out there. We truly appreciate it SOO much.

So, back to Nina... THANK YOU for your nomination. The little things in life excite me, so I'm thrilled to be chosen for something like this. A handful of people have told me I am a source of sunshine, positivity, and feelings of the like, and it's always a heart-warming feeling. To hear it from someone I am just getting to know through social media, is just amazing to me, and I'm so thankful our paths have crossed. Nina is an avid blogger and posts almost every day. I'm so glad you made your blog public, my dear, because you shouldn't hide or filter what you want to say. Freedom of speech!! I love your style of writing, your honesty, and everything you have to say. Big hugs!!

(This reminds me of those online/aol survey questionnaires people used to send around in emails when I was in HS!)

Here are the answers you've been waiting so patiently to read! ;)

1. Did you always want to be a mother?

Absolutely. Without a doubt, yes. I don't recall childhood fantasies about a dream wedding, or being a mom, but I've always loved kids and just never even though about the possibility of not. I've always wanted to be someone's mommy, rather than the Aunt, the babysitter, the teacher, or other "motherly figures". I'm ready for my turn.

2. At this moment, do your bra and underwear match?

(HAHA... too funny!) Not quite... most things in my wardrobe don't match. I like too many different colors and patterns, that I rarely buy things in matching sets. My dad is likely to read this at some point, so I won't give a visual description of anything specific, but nope, don't match. WOOP, WOOP, WOOP (My dad always used to yell that when walking through the lingerie department of the local Macy's in the mall with me.... We had to walk through it to get to the mall, and it became a joke because it was always awkward for each of us, and we still laugh about it to this day, so I had to throw that in there!)

3. Do you believe in soul mates?

Absolutely! I sincerely believe with all my heart that Scott & I were meant to be together. There are lots of random fun facts in our relationship of different subtle signs and hints that point to us being together. Some may think that's just plain silly, but to me it just makes perfect sense!! From being born exactly 9 months to the day after he was, to our birthdays having the same numerical value (01-06-83 vs 10-06-83), to being complete yin yang opposites of each other in fun ways that won't break us, or make us work better, to our childhood homes being directly across the river from one another (his childhood home had a window above the sink that literally faced a castle right down the street from my house), to all kinds of other things... I just know it was meant to be and can't picture my life with anyone else. I sometimes wonder how different decisions or events in our lives could have changed the outcome, but it kind of all comes back to us in the end and I just believe in fate & couples being meant to be. On the other hand, I do have quite a few single friends who aren't finding their soul mates though, and that makes me sad... so I do wonder about it for everyone. Maybe we were just really lucky, idk?

4. What show is returning this month that you are excited to watch? Why?

Hmm... this is a tough one because I always have so many favorites and can never narrow things down to 1 fav... so I think I have to give you 2! Once Upon a Time... and Grey's Anatomy!! Once Upon a Time because I'm such a dreamer, love all things Disney, I'm a sucker for fairytales, imaginations, etc. I am dying to know how it's going to pan out and what's going to happen next!! I have a friend who's not caught up yet because his wife is deployed and they're waiting to watch when she's back this summer, so I won't say what's been happening.. but dammit I hate waiting weeks or months for my fav shows to come back! I love Grey's because, well, what's not to love? I always love the storylines and am dying to know what is going on with April's wedding and the love triangle there (shocker!!), and the show always has great music. I've watched it for years and just love it... Both shows are on ABC, ironically, and both have great quotes too that I often write down and save.

5. Do you have a predetermined limit for when you no longer will TTC?

This is honestly something we haven't talked about, nor thought about (at least I haven't... I don't know for Scott). It's an interesting point though. When we first started TTC 2 years ago exactly, you obviously assume, wish, pray, hope, and expect that it will happen naturally and easily ("doesn't it for everyone?"~ stupid & naive thoughts of mine back then... my, oh my, how I've changed and grown over these past 2 years!). I never thought we would be where we are now, still just us in this big beautiful (& empty) home of ours, but I've never thought about a limit because I don't want to give up on our dream, ever. Obviously, if money became a factor and we had gone through attempt after attempt, and the bank was running on empty, with no support in sight, we might have to call it quits or come up with an alternate plan... but until we get there, I will keep pushing forward with my eye on the finish line... being in the hospital with a healthy baby safely in our arms. I won't give up anytime soon and pray that we won't have to make those decisions.

6. Name a personal quirk that drives your partner crazy.

Oh, lord... I know a LOT of quirks that drive Scott crazy... maybe it would be easier to name something that doesn't drive him crazy?! lol, kidding. Hmm... Maybe the fact that I either don't listen fully, or interrupt him, when he's talking. (OOPS!) I do this countless times, again and again, and it's not intentional. Sometimes I wonder if I have ADD because my brain is NEVER quiet, ever. I always have a zillion things running around in my mind and when I ask him something, I'm often thinking ahead to the next thing, rather than stopping to listen and fully process or remember what he said. I often ask him the same question 5x because I can't remember. It's not a memory issue, it's really all attention and me just being go-go-go. Same goes for interrupting, I'm constantly fumbling for the next words, or am so adamant about getting my point across that I jump in. Sorry hunny ;) And PS there are so many other quirks that irritate him, but at the end of the day, we really do love each other!

7. If I try to friend you on Facebook, will you pretend not to have one?

Of course not! I have to admit, I went off fb for a long time, like a year and a half, and it was liberating and WONDERFUL!! I honestly hate so many things about fb (sorry, Zuckerberg!) and didn't miss the drama one bit... but I am back on now because of Origami Owl. I have a business page and then had to make a personal page too (Stace Ricci), against my will, so that I could be included on team group pages for O2 as well. I knew people would find me like hawks immediately, and I dreaded that... so I put posts up from the beginning about how I'm really ONLY on there for business promotion. I will accept friend requests and like when people follow to spread word on the business end (all proceeds go to our baby/fertility fund so it's a great cause!!), but I honestly try to hide everything from my feed, I don't look at anyone's profiles, walls, posts, whatever unless they contact me about Origami Owl. So, long story short, I would gladly accept you, but please don't take offense that I'm only on there for business. IG is my preferred outlet for all the other stuff. :)

8. Do you worry more about the appearance of your body or your face?

Hmmm... tough one, kind of depends on a few factors. I consider myself to have pretty low self esteem and self confidence, although I have to say it's finally starting to get better. It depends on the day, depends on my mood, depends on if I'm breaking out or not, depends on if my hair is up or down (I feel prettier when it's down/straight), depends on my outfit, depends on if I've worked out or eaten decent, and loads of other thoughts. I've NEVER been the type to wear makeup~ I just never really learned how to apply it correctly, I don't know enough about it, and never had the time to bother. So that's part of the reason I often look like I'm 12... lol. If my hair is down, I feel prettier, more confident, and that I look a little older (maybe 18, lol)? I've always been critical of my self image. I hate seeing pics of me in middle school because adding braces and bad hair days in the mix, I often think I looked like a boy and cringe at the pics... so I sometimes feel like the ugly duckling... I think I was super cute when little, hit the awkward stage for a long time, somehow Scott saw past it all and thought I was beautiful in 9th/10th grade (thankfully because I probably wouldn't have talked to a boy otherwise for a long time, ha!), and then I only started to become a little more confident in college, and then more-so a few years back when I got into zumba and started to see my body change more, and endorphins helped with good moods, and I now am comfortable with myself on *most days. I'm not as self conscious anymore. I also have a noticable birth mark next to my nose that has given me quite a few stares and looks over the years (mostly when I was younger bc it was bigger on my face), and kids always notice it and ask, but I'm kind of over it now and usually see past it as if it's not even there anymore... but when others stare or look at me funny, I always think there must be something awfully wrong with me, maybe I spilled something, stepped in something, have something embarrassing taped to my back, idk. I'm getting better with it as I age and finally look a little closer to my age sometimes. That helps ;)

9. What do you most look forward to as a mother?

SO many things; how do I choose?! I look forward to having constant company in the house, someone to keep me occupied on nights & weekends when Scott is working. I look forward to snuggles and cuddles, bedtime stories, singing songs & lullabies, walks around the neighborhood pushing a stroller, having someone to take care of, dress up, and play with. I look forward to teaching him/her all about the wonderful world around us (which can also be a scary place). I look forward to bonding time, being needed by someone so small, unconditional love, and so so soooo much more! I also REALLY look forward to watching Scott snap into fatherhood instantly... he's going to be such an amazing daddy!! <3

10. If fertility and money were of no consequence, how many kids would you have?

2. Scott and I used to debate about this, but we've agreed on 2. I used to want 3 because I wanted one more in my family. It's me and my older brother, Mark. He's 5 1/2 years older than me, so although we were close when I was younger and it was really cool having an older/protective brother, I wish we were closer in age to do more together, so I always wish there were another sibling in the mix. An additional person to talk to/turn to for advice, an additional person to make our family bigger, additional nieces & nephews, etc. Scott always wanted 2. I kept saying 3. We like to go to amusement parks together and often you must have an equal number of riders, usually sets are in groups of 2. One day, many years back, we were on line for a roller coaster behind a family of 5 (3 children). The ride could only take sets of 2, so someone was ALWAYS left out... whether it was one of the parents, or one of the kids... it was always someone alone. In that moment, as silly as it was, I turned and went "fine, you win... 2 it is." Now, don't get me wrong, if we are ever fortunate enough to be blessed with 3, then so be it, we will gladly accept and I'll even offer to sit out on the rides just to know that we have the family we are meant to have some day.

Phew... that was a lot! It was fun though!!

Ok, in the spirit of keeping things rolling, I'm nominating 5 more to play along if they'd like. Here are 5 more fellow bloggers & TTC sisters who bring sunshine to my life!!

In no particular order, drum roll please...


Just some random Qs that came to mind (or were borrowed)!

1. How/where/when did you & your hubby meet?
2. How did your husband propose?
3. What is one of your favorite quotes?
4. Who are some of your favorite musical artists?
5. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
6. What are you most looking forward to about being a mommy?
7. How many children do you want (if fertility, money, & time weren't factors)?
8. What 3 foods are your weakness that you either crave or can't live without?
9. What are your 3 favorite clothing stores?
10. What are some of the best life lessons you've learned?

Cleared for Takeoff!!

I'm sure most of you have figured out by now that Scott is an occasional guest blogger on here. He chooses a simpler, less fancy, font for his posts, and you can also tell by the way we are talking on who it is. But a quick and easy visual is the font (unless you're reading via email on your iPhone (like Amy! hehe) then you have to tell from context clues... or the length of the post, to tell if it's me or Scott. 

So, let's see... quick recap to get you up to date, and then onto some exciting news. 

Just after Scott's 31st birthday a few weeks ago, he got the devastating news that there is indeed no sperm production going on down there. Although we somewhat expected this, you can never really fully prepare for crappy news like that, but we always had the possibility of Plan B in the back of our minds, so we've been able to shift gears pretty quickly there. We will be using a sperm donor moving forward. Scott has complete ownership of the donor selection process, which I felt was something really important for him to be in control of. I will offer support or opinions if asked, but ultimately I want him to be comfortable choosing, and I trust his decisions 100%. 

At this point, we are now on the path for donor sperm with IUI, not IVF. The reason we were originally set for IVF is because it would have been needed for sperm issues, to get the embryos fertilized and transferred right to the uterus where they need to be. IUI (intrauterine insemination) essentially inserts the sperm into my reproductive system, through a catheter, in perfect timing for ovulation (with the help of ultrasounds to see when I might be ovulating, and possibly some medicinal help to try and get the perfect timing for the insemination), then we sit and wait and hope they meet up with my egg and make a baby.

I apologize for my lack of good descriptions at the moment, I'm not in a real writer's sense today, but I know if I wait another week, I'll just feel so far behind. 

Now that we are starting with IUI rather than IVF, I needed to have a mandatory procedure to ensure my tubes were clear and that no blockages were found that could cause complications with IUI. This test is called the Hysterosalpingogram,  or HSG for short. The HSG is an X-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes, with the help of dye contrast, to make sure there are no visible abnormalities, blockages, or any other issues that might make the next step more difficult. I've made the mistake of googling this procedure, like anything else, and have talked to a bunch of people on Instagram who have had this done as well. What I've found is that for the majority, it's not a pleasant procedure and is often painful. There were a handful who had no difficulty with it, and actually some said it was easier than the saline sono hysterogram that I had back in September (a similar test, but mostly checking just the uterus through ultrasound and a saline wash). 

I've actually been super afraid of the HSG for a whole year now. Back in January 2013 when we started going through lots of testing to see what the problem was and why we couldn't conceive on our own for a full year, the HSG was suggested at by OB-GYN office. Luckily, the patient coordinator in that office called me and stressed against it. She said it's often uncomfortable, and she always stressed to have Scott checked first because it would be easier, less expensive, and less invasive. Don't get the HSG unless you need to, she said. I'm so thankful for that advice. If I had gotten it then, I would have needed it again now bc of the time that passed, and I can almost guarantee I would have had a worse experience there... just a hunch. So, I'm thankful for that piece of advice last year, but it still had me spooked about needing it in the first place. 

I was hyping myself up for quite some time, so tried thinking of a bright side. All I could come up with is 1) It's for a good cause (our future family) and 2) it could be worse... it's way quicker and way less invasive than the procedures that go along with IVF (daily shots of hormones, egg retrievals, etc). I have SOOO much respect and admiration for all the women I know undergoing those difficult procedures. They are all strong warriors and I admire them so much. I can only hope that if I should have to go down the IVF path too, that I can pull strength from them and be half as strong as they have been.

 Trying to calm my nerves is a near impossible feat, and I couldn't stop freaking out about the HSG. In comparison to what Scott went through, it doesn't even compare. He had 35(ish) needles poking and prodding his most sensitive area... and took it like a champ!! I, however, am certainly not that strong, but I knew I had no choice. The saline sono was NO walk in the park for me~ if you remember, it took 3 tries for the Dr to get the catheter into my cervix, which was sooooo uncomfortable. It extended the time of the procedure, taking about 25 mins in the end, when it was supposed to be 10-15. THAT procedure was supposed to be easy, and I felt awful. I'm sure being tense, scared by myself, and unprepared, didn't help, but it was what it was, and the suggested Ibuprofen they told me to take an hour before, to help the cramping, did nothing for me. I was in discomfort for days after, and it just wasn't something I ever want to repeat again. So, again, I was freaked for the scarier, evil step-sister procedure, and asked if I could have something stronger than Ibuprofen again.... THANKFULLY they said yes, and a dose of Valium would be prescribed to take an hour before go-time. Wahoo!! That took the fear factor down a notch, mayyyybe 2. 

I went in for the procedure this past Wednesday, and took my Valium exactly an hour before. Scott had the day off (even though I was dragging him with me anyway!) and drove each way, especially because of the meds. I wasn't sure if they had kicked in because I didn't feel any different and was still really nervous on the way there. I told Scott I didn't feel any different, but he said he was sure it had already kicked in. Apparently I had just told him a story about school, and I said it in a very calm, clear, focused manner (normally I ramble on, jump around, and am just pretty out there). I kind of took offense and joked I should be on valium all the time in order to become a better speaker, but oh well. I just wanted it to relax me and/or make me not notice all the pain that I was sure was coming. The horror stories had me prepped thinking I was going into a torture chamber to undergo 20-30 mins of the worst pain before labor... I was fully relying on the valium to do its trick! 

We got to the clinic, signed in, and then went down to the radiology office. I knew from a friend that Scott couldn't come in because the room is so small/tight, so I was already prepped to have to be brave there. The nurse brought me back, helped me get ready, and she told me it would be quick and easy, less than 10 mins. I told her how nervous I was, and that I had taken the meds. She told me I was in great hands with our clinic's doctors, and that I shouldn't have bothered going on Google, that I would be fine. The doctor came in, told me he'd talk me through it all, and that I'd do great. I was bracing myself for the worst, kept talking so he knew I was ok, and before I knew it, he was saying 'Ok, the hard part is over!". .... What? Are you sure? No way... I maybe felt 5-10 seconds of pressure that I was prepping to yoga-breathe through, and then it was gone. Up to this point, it was maybe all of 3 mins, and I felt nothing but the bit of pressure. The "easy part" was the x-ray tech moving a giant machine over me, looking at a screen above my head, and then the Dr saying "all clear~ your tubes are clear.. You have beautiful tubes! You did great! It's all done!" ....  Hmmm, quite an odd & funny compliment, but in this case, I'll take it!! I was sooo baffled that it was over, and giggly from the meds, that I just kept saying "no way! That was so easy". It took all of 5 mins from start to finish... I couldn't believe it. The nurse smiled at me and said "I think you could have done it without the Valium". Maybe she's right, but the fact that it relaxed me so my nerves didn't tense up and complicate the process was fine by me. 

I still keep wondering how the HSG was lightyears faster and way easier than the saline sono. A few friends on Instagram had similar experiences too, and it's baffling to me, but nothing I can do to fix that. I keep wondering if my experience was so good because everything is all clear (plus the meds are a definite factor!). If I had some blockages, abnormalities, or misshaped tubes, I think that's where the difference comes in. The dye can't reach those areas as easily, it could take longer, it could cause more cramping... who knows. Whatever the case, I am extremely grateful that we have been cleared for takeoff!! We start IUI soon!!

Because the Dr who did the HSG was not our actual RE, we have to go back to meet with her for an IUI consult. That appointment is scheduled for this Tuesday afternoon. I have to leave work early, so there goes another week at school without disruption, but I have waited so long for this, that I have to put my family first and stop worrying about work. I am the type who only takes off when I need to, and my best friend just told me something along the lines of "at the end of the day, no one ever wished they spent more time at work". The days are there for a reason, and I shouldn't feel bad about missing work to start my family. I may have to come clean with the parents in my class, I've been contemplating it~ I'm open about it anyway!~ so that they don't start their own rumors of why I'm starting to be out so much. I'd rather them have the real story than make up their own and start giving me a hard time over it. Luckily everyone so far has been great, but it's something I've had on my mind every time I have to take a full or half day for appointments. We've waited this long, and come so far, that I'm not letting anything stop us from getting pregnant this year. 

So the next step is a consult Tuesday to learn about the process, and then I'm almost certain we can start with next month's cycle!! EEEKK!! It's becoming a reality and it's like starting to try for a baby all over again. We are both super excited about the possibility of a positive pregnancy test in a few months. Prayers would be greatly appreciated!! It's been a long road and we are nowhere near being out of the woods just yet... this isn't guaranteed to work, but it sure would be nice!! IUI is also much cheaper than IVF, so we are able to breathe a bit more financially too. My Origami Owl side job has been doing really well for fundraising (thanks to all who have placed orders so far!), and we've been saving. So I feel a little more comfortable at the moment, and now we just would love for IUI to be the answer, and the thing that works. I'm not expecting it to work on the first try, but within the first few sure would be nice!! Prayers for a smooth ride, a positive and lasting, healthy pregnancy, and a healthy child is all we want. 

Here's to #teamricci becoming a family in 2014!!! <3 <3 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Emptiness Leads to Opportunities

So as I think about my title for this post, the pun is intended.  I am sure that everyone has read Stace's post at this point and understands the news that we obtained last week.  Its scary because every time I have received crazy fertility news, something with work HAD to be done the next day so I can never process what happens as it comes to me.  Its a week later today and I still have not been able to process it.  I completely understand it and have come to terms with it way before this past week, but for some reason my body hates to be sad and my mind will just block it out until it comes crashing down.  Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it takes a while.  Its crazy because when I called my parents to tell them, I knew they were out because I could hear background noise.  I told my Dad I would call him when they were home and he asked if it was bad news and I said yes.  Its funny because about an hour after the call, their car pulled up outside my house, if you think about caring parents, thats my parents, they just knew that I needed to tell them in person.  So yes it is "bad" news because even though I knew it was happening, its different to know and have it said to you.  Even my doctor stated it very matter of fact when he told me.  Scott its bad news, we did not find any.  I responded as I know.  I did know, however at that point I had a million things happening in my brain.  I know that I will be a great father, I know that I will love my child no matter what.  I know that I will be able to give my child the advice that I have been given and be able to lead them to a life that is full of happiness and love.  I know all of this but until I am actually in the position, I will grieve.  I will be unhappy.  I will be sad.  I will be mad.  Because I am infertile.  For a year I talked about being infertile and everyone that I talked to said this is not the last step, don't worry I am sure that something will be found.  One year of lots of tests, some very uncomfortable, came to the same result that I was told a year ago and that is that I am infertile.  

So lets think about the title, emptiness to opportunities, is that a glass half full/half empty scenario.  I guess so.  If you think about life in general, you always start with nothing and end with something.  I look back a year ago in my career and I was thinking about making a change because I was not performing well.  This past December was my best finished month as a manager finishing overall 9th in the company out of over 1000 stores.  If it did not snow in the northeast on the 3rd to last day, I believe that I would have finished top 3.  So last year I sucked, this year I am much better.  Progression.  Last year we were stuck at a crossroads.  This year we have a definite plan.  Progression.  Its funny we talk about me being the "baby whisperer" and we had a breakthrough happen on Monday night.  The one baby that had always been my one that won't accept the power, crawled across the floor, and propped herself on my lap.  It cracked us all up.  Not only did she do it once, but she did it twice.  And when she did, she sat there very calm and did not get up right away as we all know how fidgety one year olds are.  She was very content just sitting there and watching TV with me.  Progression.  So maybe she understood that I needed that.  She understood that I was feeling lost and scared and sad.  She knew that it would give me an instant feeling of happiness and direction.  I always say that children have a great intuition, just like animals do, so I feel that this happened for a reason.  

So what's next?  Right now for me, its looking at donors and going, this would be a good fit.  At first I started out very specific that the person had to be my weight, height, eye color, hair color, hair type, ethnic background....results were not good.  Now at least I have accepted that the donor can have straight and wavy hair.  I have accepted that the donor can have blue, green and hazel eyes.  I have accepted that the donor could be anywhere from 5'10" to 6'4".  Weight I have gone away from completely as long as they are healthy and not obese.  Hey if I get to choose, I get to choose.  So now I just need to figure out who it is going to be, and I have already chosen one that should work.  

This is going to be an exciting year for "Team Ricci!"  We are very optimistic about it happening and when it does, we both will be ready for it.  Not only will we be ready for it, but our family members that have been so supportive will be ready for it.  And also our extended family members will be so ready for it.  Just be prepared everyone, I have held your babies and not wanted to let go, but had to because it was not mine.  This will be my baby, so there might be a chance that I will not let it go.  Be prepared!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year, New Beginnings

My plan is to make this short just to give a quick update... but we all know how that goes, so we'll see where I'm able to stop. 

I've been meaning to post for quite some time, and yet time keeps escaping me. I had 2 weeks off for the holidays, but we had family staying with us, so I was kept busy constantly and just kind of completely neglected all forms of social media whatsoever. I haven't stepped on Instagram in 3 weeks, other than to post a few Christmas pics and a birthday post for Scott... Even those instances were literally 5 mins, just to post. So I feel a lot out of the loop in those senses and have to get back to it all, little by little. 

First off, happy new year!! 
I'm determined to make 2014 MUCH better than 2013 was, in lots of ways! So far, I'm off to a pretty good start health & fitness wise. I started the T25 program, in small doses, and one of my absolute fav Zumba instructors & mentors is now teaching at my gym, so I'm determined to lose those stubborn pounds that keep creeping on with holidays, sadness, and stress. No more! 

I'm also convinced that 2014 *IS* the year we will finally get pregnant... I have big wishes, but I think it's time, dammit! 

So, I initially titled this post "Emotionally Drained" because that's how I envisioned writing it Friday, and that's how I felt all of yesterday. Our company had left, and I'm AWFUL at goodbyes, so going from a busy house to a quiet and lonely house, with Scott at work, I was miserable. I was also tired from being up late Friday, sleeping on the couch, and up early Saturday, which didn't help. These factors were making my condition worse, but the real reason I say emotionally drained is because it was a big week in Team Ricci news. The results of Scott's sperm mapping/biopsy procedure came back... and it's not what we wanted to hear... at all. 

They found nothing.

I guess you could say we are kind of numb. There were a lot of tears on Wednesday... and a lot more later that night when everyone had gone to sleep and I was alone picking out clothes for the next day. It hurts. It's sad. It sucks. It's not fair. We haven't fully processed it yet either.... plus, I am speaking for myself here. I can't fully comprehend, or even imagine, how Scott is feeling, but it's not so great. Did we have a feeling this would happen? Yes, and no. Scott didn't think there was anything at all... I kept holding out hope that there would be at least just one zone with something to work with. It only takes 1, technically speaking. I thought some miracle would happen and there would be something, somewhere... Anything. How could fate do this to us and give us nothing to work with? It's just not fair. But this is our reality and this is what we are dealing with.

So, as I said, Scott was kind of expecting this, and was somewhat prepared for it. But in reality, how do you really prepare for news that you can't produce sperm? Ho do you? For women, it would be like being told you have no eggs, or that you can't produce milk to breastfeed. How do you process something like that when it's supposed to be a given? But being prepared for it, and then actually hearing it as a reality are 2 different things. Now knowing the news, it just plain sucks for him, and I hate that. I hate that bad things happen to good people. Do bad things ever happen to bad people, too? Scott is such an amazing person. He's an amazing friend, son, brother, uncle, and husband... I do not have a single doubt in my mind that he will be an amazingly wonderful daddy someday, too.

They say when one door closes, another opens. In true Stace fashion, when we hit rock bottom and something bad happens, I try to find a positive to pick us back up and keep moving forward.

The night before getting the results, I hugged Scott and just started crying. I hadn't in a while, at least not fertility related. We've kind of been on a hiatus while waiting for different things to happen with Scott, and we knew we wouldn't be moving on until January. So I was fine with everything on hold and had a very positive frame of mind. But when Tuesday night came, I just completely lost it. I told Scott I was scared of getting bad news. He said "Why? There's no bad news, remember?" The way we had decided to look at results was as so: We knew it would determine 1 of 2 possible paths. The preferred path being that they would find something usable, and we could proceed with IVF in the spring, once the sperm produced to those zones again and they went to extract/freeze it. The 2nd path, plan B, would be not finding anything, BUT getting to move on sooner and save money because we would be using a donor but would most likely move to IUI rather than IVF. So, win/win really... just a matter of which path to take.

Well, here we are, on the Plan B path... and it's not so much exciting... yet. It's not the path we wanted to take, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I have been coming to these conclusions lately as to why this is all happening, and what it might mean. A) We wanted them to find some sperm to use, obviously. But, if they had found some, it doesn't mean it would have been healthy, good quality, usable, or lead to good embryo quality. We also could have possibly passed on the same chromosomal disorder that Scott has (not sure if it's genetic, but you never know). We could have ended up with major health problems with the baby down the road, and that would have been much more difficult. So, I am taking this to mean that the reason they didn't find any is because it wouldn't have ended well otherwise. B) Scott is so great with kids. We refer to him as The Baby Whisperer with our friends. He has some weird superpower that allows him to make all babies (well, almost all.... Thanks, Cayleigh! hehe) smile and calm down. Little ones are drawn to him like a magnet and we'll be out in public and some little tot will be staring and smiling at him. It's so funny. I know Scott feels jinxed and feels that if he loves kids so much, and is so good with kids, then why can't he have his own? What an unfair sentence... But then I got thinking, it's kind of like his superpower is coming in handy. Scott has the ability to love, bond with, and connect to any baby/child. He is such a good uncle to the kids of our close friends, who aren't his. So I have no doubt that because of that super ability, he will have no trouble bonding with our baby from the second we find out he/she is in there. If Scott didn't have this heightened sense, I think it would cause complications down the road with our child and he wouldn't be able to accept things. But by having this "superpower", I have faith that our future family will be okay.

So, what's next?
I am waiting to hear from our clinic, but according to Scott's Dr, there's no reason why we need to jump to IVF right now. With donor sperm, we should be able to move to IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination.... the "turkey baster" method/joke comes to mind... and no that's not exactly how it happens... not literally anyway, haha). It's less expensive, less invasive, and we can start sooner. Those are all HUGE pluses in our mind. We have to pick a donor (Scott has complete ownership over this, I want him to be completely in charge there), and once we hear from the clinic, we will go from there. 2014 WILL be our year... our year for a healthy pregnancy, which will lead to Baby Ricci.

It's a scary road, it's not what we want, but it's not over. Thanks to everyone for the outpour of support this week. We've appreciated it so much and it means so much. To everyone who I haven't updated personally yet, I'm sorry, it's been a busy and draining 4 days.  I came across a quote today and it really spoke to me for where we are right now. So, I'll leave you with that.

"Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you've ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were."