Thursday, March 27, 2014

Home Improvement

I apologize for the long delay in between posts.  Along with trying to grade projects, papers, and tests for the end of the quarter, I am also in the midst of planning my daughter's first birthday party and preparing for my twin sister's wedding (and all of the fun events leading up to the big day!)  So naturally, I felt that this was the perfect time to tackle a big home improvement project.

Jonathan and I have owned our home for a little over five years.  In that time we have redone all of the bedrooms, updated the kitchen and appliances, installed a patio, had recessed lighting put in every room, and painted and sanded every other space we could find....with the exception of our basement.  Our basement is straight out of the 1960's.  We have wood paneling, a bench seat covered in burnt orange upholstery, and of course, a bar.  Walking down the stairs to the basement is like walking down the stairs of time.  I have come to love that space, as we spend much of our free time there.  However, Jonathan does not find the room to be as cozy.

Never one to let things be and always ready to tackle the next project, I took it upon myself to paint the paneling.  Yet in order to paint, you must sand.  In order to sand, you must empty the space.  In order to empty the space, you have to find time.  Since this week is my Spring Break, I figured it was now or never.  Yet this little project is taking far longer than I had ever anticipated.  The sanding took three times as long.  There were 6,428 nail holes to fill and sand flat.  I opted for cheaper paint at a large chain store, rather than my trusted Sherwin Williams.  Therefore, the project is not going smoothly and is taking what feels like forever!

I am sure it will be finished at some point, but it has put my next post on hold.  Stay tuned for my post on Trying to Conceive and perhaps a finished photo of our *hopefully* beautiful basement!

 My supplies

 Our lovely brick-faced bar

 The sixteen foot bench - cushions removed

A view of the rest of the room

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Free From Endometriosis

After days of agony in the hospital, I was permitted to go home.  The ride back was long and painful and admittedly terrifying.  There was great anticipation of getting home and recovering in my own bed.  Yet, there was the fear that something could go wrong, since the doctors and nurses were no longer at my disposal.  Nevertheless, I put on a brave face and prepared for the next stages of my recovery.

It certainly wasn’t as easy as I had imagined.  I got home that evening and really wanted to take a shower, as I hadn't showered since the day before my surgery.  However, I couldn’t get in by myself.  Jonathan carefully and gently held me and eased each leg over the bathtub as I winced in pain.  He said outside the shower, just in case I couldn’t stay standing and to help me when I was finished.  It was a fast shower, as I couldn’t lift up my arms to wash my hair and it made me too sad too look at my absurdly swollen body.

I slept in the recliner that night, since lying flat on my back was out of the question.  Jonathan had set his alarm to go off through the night to bring me all of my medication.  It was that experience that showed me that he was going to be an amazing father, as he cared for me with such love and concern.  He woke up when he heard me crying in the night from the pain, made sure I had my medication around the clock, and helped me take care of my most basic necessities.  Really, I had no idea how he could love me in what I felt was such a pathetic and disgusting state.  Yet, I couldn’t have loved him more.

Four days after surgery, waking up with lumps impressed in my fluid filled skin, I noticed a horrific change to my abdomen.  It was purple.  Not the purple of bruises, but the purple of eggplant.  It wrapped around my torso, from my front to halfway around my back.  It was an odd sight, seeing the beautiful richness of the purple, deepening almost to black, yet knowing it was supposed to be my pale, ivory skin.  Something was wrong.

I was running a fever of 103 degrees.  Way too high.  My torso screamed infection.  I called Dr. Beiter immediately, who sounded deeply concerned.  “Get back here,” was his command.  I told him no.  My home was forty-five miles away, I was in agony, and I was not sitting in a car that long.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t go back!  At the very least, he wanted me to go to a hospital close by, but I again refused.  Couldn’t I just try to bring the fever down?  Couldn’t I put ice on my side?  I had one day.  Ibuprofen and ice.  If the fever remained in to the next day, I needed to go to the hospital immediately. 

Miraculously, my fever went down, but the purple remained.  Dr. Beiter explained that it was just the pooling of the blood on one side.  Although it was truly awful to look at, it was a relief knowing that it was not atypical.  However, my other symptoms were more difficult to explain.  I couldn’t keep anything in my system.  No matter what I ate or drank, even if just a sip of water, went right through me.  I was so weak from the surgery and so weak from not being able to get proper nutrition that my recovery took very long.

Two weeks after surgery and I was still horribly purple, unable to stand up straight, and still going to the bathroom about fifteen times per day.  Dr. Beiter wanted to see me for a follow-up to check on me and explain everything he did in surgery.  My mom drove me back up to St. Peter’s for the visit.  She was so impressed with Dr. Beiter, his knowledge, and his warmth.  According to her, surgeons are not usually so personable and caring.  He was a rare gem. 

He showed us on video my surgery.  My exact surgery!  He showed why I couldn’t go to the bathroom after surgery – my ureter was so covered with endometriosis and the cutting was so extensive, the ureter swelled up, preventing me from urinating.  Dr. Beiter found a significant amount of endometriosis under my left ovary, the side that always gave me such pain.  He pinned the ovary up, cleared it out, and left the ovary there to drop naturally after everything was healed.  The whole surgery was a work of art.  When he finished his explanation it was clear: I was free from endometriosis.

My next step was to get an HSG, or hysterosalpingogram, in the next few weeks.  If there were any blockages IN my fallopian tubes, this procedure would not only show where they were, but should also clear them out.  Once I had this procedure, it was time to start trying to conceive.  Dr. Beiter had said that if it was going to happen for us, now was going to be the time to do it. 

It was game time!  I was so excited, but also so nervous.  What if it still didn’t happen for us?  And what if it did?!  Was I ready to become a mom?  I prayed to God so hard, asked for the intercession of St. Gianna and St. Gerard, and finally, to the Blessed Mother.  Lord, I put my life in your hands.

St. Gianna, Patron Saint of Mothers

Up next, my plan for conception!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Surgery 2

Disclaimer: My account of my surgery and the days following are very candid.  Please read with caution.

The month of May moved by very quickly, as it does for most teachers.  With summer eagerly anticipated by the students, the last push to get any remaining material in, and final assignments to be graded, it can become quite hectic.  Thus, I was busy grading, making my final exam, and preparing to say goodbye to a great group of students.  It kept my mind off of my upcoming surgery, although I was not very nervous.  My expectations were based off of my first surgery experience, which as I had said here was not very difficult.  However, I was soon proven to be very wrong.

Preparations for this surgery were vastly different from my first.  My first surgery required that I not eat anything after midnight.  This surgery required that I maintain a liquid diet the entire day before surgery.  Halfway through the day I was to begin my cleanse, drinking glass after glass of water mixed with Miralax.  It was about as pleasant as you could imagine.  By the time I went to bed at about eleven o’clock at night I felt utterly exhausted.  Five o’clock came early that next morning as I again continued my cleanse, this time with two enemas.  My body was as cleaned out as ever and I was pretty miserable about the entire experience.

Jonathan and I had a forty-seven mile ride up to St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick that morning.  I didn’t say much during the hour and a half ride, just listened as he sang along with the songs playing through his iPod.  Perhaps it was the lack of energy, perhaps it was the envy I felt as Jonathan enjoyed a nice cup of coffee from Wawa, but I was feeling down.  Reality was setting in that I was having surgery that morning and I became nervous.  I wondered how it would all go, wondered what time I would get home that night, and even wondered if anyone knew that it would make me really happy to have freshly baked cookies that evening. 

We arrived at beautiful St. Peter’s University Hospital by 8:30 am.  Friendly security guards welcomed us at the front desk and instructed us to walk through the atrium, filled with comfortable furniture and a Baby Grand piano.  This is a hospital?  This is nicer than most houses!  Soon I was taken back in to the surgical waiting room where I put on a gown and was hooked up to an IV.  I put my hair in a ponytail and covered it with the gauze shower cap I was given.  It was becoming so real.  Laying in my hospital bed I stretched and squirmed as I waited to be taken back to the operating room.

Surgery was delayed a bit from my ten o’clock start time, as Dr. Beiter’s first surgery went longer than planned. However, I only felt concern for Jonathan at this moment, as I knew that would mean that we would be getting home later than we had planned.  Despite the fact that I was undergoing surgery, I could not help but feel badly that I was putting him out in some way, making him wait all day while I was in surgery and recovery.  The guilt nauseated me.

Finally, Dr. Beiter came in and told me he needed to check on things in the OR and then we could begin.  It was time.  I kissed and hugged Jonathan and for the first time, I felt like crying.  I was scared to leave him and scared that he wouldn’t be with me the whole time.  Of course, I knew he couldn’t be in the OR, but still, I longed for him to be there those last few minutes before I was put under.  Soon a nurse came in and walked me out of the room, leaving Jonathan behind to watch me clutch the back of my hospital gown so as not to moon anyone as I walked by.

I walked a short distance to the operating room.  Waiting inside were Dr. Beiter, an anesthesiologist, and two nurses.  They all greeted me warmly and explained what they would be doing as we prepared for the surgery.  Boots were put over my feet and ankles to keep my blood flowing, warm blankets were draped over me to keep my body temperature from dropping in the cold room, and the general anesthesia was pumped in to my IV.  In a few seconds my veins ran hot with the anesthesia and I began to feel sleepy.  I closed my eyes and awoke five hours later, free of my endometriosis.

Image of laparoscopic surgery


I awoke in pain.  The comfort of seeing Jonathan’s face washed over me, but sadly, it did nothing to ease the discomfort I felt.  My entire abdomen, from my breast bone to my pubic bone, ached.  It felt as though I had someone sitting on top of me, constricting my breathing, stabbing my insides.  I cried.  The nurse offered Motrin to take the edge off.  I could have other medication later.  Now, it was time to get me out of my bed to try to go to the bathroom. 

I remembered this.  If I wanted to be discharged I would need to show them that my kidneys were still functioning properly and that I could urinate.  With all of the fluids that had been pumped in to me, I really needed to go.  But I couldn’t.  I cried as I tried to sit on the toilet.  It was excruciating.  The nurse held me as I leaned back, almost lounging on the toilet as I prayed that I could go.  She turned on the water.  Nothing.  She left to give me privacy.  Nothing.  I pulled the frayed, red string on the wall that signaled that I needed a nurse.  She came back and scooped me up, allowing me to put all of my weight on her as I struggled to get back to my bed. 

As my nurse tried to lay me back down I felt a gush from my right side.  The fluid.  Dr. Beiter had covered all of the areas that had been infected with endometriosis with gauze and then put a special wash over it.  It was coming out of my incisions.  Bright pink and red fluid, almost looking like blood entirely, poured from my side.  I cried in pain and in fear.  It wouldn’t stop.  Then the left side.  More blood.  It trickled down my side, around to my back, soaking my gown, my sheets, my bed.  One set of sheets, then two, then three.  I was going through linens faster than they were available.  I couldn’t keep doing this all night.  The nurse spoke to the doctor who wanted the fluid to come out faster. 

She went and got a weighted vest.  Twenty pounds.  She placed it over my torso, covering the incisions, forcing out the fluid, creating waves of shock and pain that caused me to see stars.  This is not what I had imagined.  This is not what I wanted.  Yet I did this to myself.  I chose this for myself.  That is what made it so awful.  My surgery was elective.  It wasn’t life-saving.  I would have survived, albeit in pain, without it. 

Hours passed as I laid in the recovery room, unable to go to the bathroom.  The harsh realization that I wouldn’t be going home that night set in and I became scared.  What was going to happen to me?  When would I feel better?  The pain was so great, yet I was unwilling to take anything stronger than Motrin for fear that a more substantial drug would cause me to become nauseated and vomit.  I knew that would be too painful to handle, so I kept up with the Motrin and bathroom breaks until finally, it was time to move to an overnight room.

It was late in the evening and visiting hours were long past over.  Jonathan was told he had to leave.  My heart broke as he left to go home and I was left there alone.  I knew I had long hours ahead of me and I didn’t want to face them without my constant supporter.  However, I had no choice.  I moved to my room and was met by my new nurse and her solution to getting me to go to the bathroom: a catheter.  My legs shook and I wept, crying out because of yet another, foreign pain.  When would this end?

I had two more days of this misery.  I wasn’t allowed to take anything by mouth, so no food or drink.  Getting up to go to the bathroom lead to a fainting episode, resulting in Jonathan being kicked out of the room and a team with a crash cart came barreling inside.  The bacteria in my gut went so crazy due to the heavy amounts of fluids that I had a dozen bouts of diarrhea a day.  My entire body swelled to epic proportions due to the fluid and lack of movement, even parts of my body that I didn’t know were capable of swelling. 

As I laid in my hospital bed I truly wondered if I would die.  My incisions bled on and off, so much so that there was the chance they needed to open me back up.  I could barely move, the pain was so great.  Only after day three was I allowed to eat again.  Only after I finally agreed to take a pain pill was I allowed to go home.  The experience was terrifying, excruciating, and so amazingly worth it.  If I had known the immense joy and love I would feel in just a few months time, my pain would have seemed nonexistent.

More to come on my recovery and my next steps to conception!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Looking Like Infertility

I left Dr. Jean’s that day armed with a gray folder for my chart and paperwork, a heart full of hope, and a phone number.  The phone number was for a renowned surgeon who had been fellowship-trained at the Pope Paul VI Institute in NaProTechnology, Dr. Kyle Beiter.  Now that I had seen Dr. Jean and she had gone through my history, the next step was to meet with a surgeon to see if I was a good candidate for surgery.  I knew I was going to be a great candidate.  Your charts don’t lie.

When you chart with the Creighton Model it becomes evident what is going on with your body.  Too little progesterone, too little estrogen, not enough B6.  Your body has its own biomarkers to reflect exactly what is happening during your cycle.  I had just never known to look for these biomarkers.  I had previously understood bleeding for weeks on end to mean misery and pain.  Days of heavy mucus were simply days of extra trips to the bathroom.  Periods of time without any bleeding or mucus were considered days of freedom. 

Now I was learning not only to look for these signs, but to write them down in my chart and interpret them.  Once I started my charting I began to recognize just how unusual my cycles were.  When I first started charting with the Creighton Model I was given a booklet.  It was all of the basics I needed to understand the method of charting, what I was to look for, how to record it, and even provided sample charts.  As I compared my chart to the samples given in the book I was able to notice similarities with one chart in particular: infertilityMy chart looked exactly like the sample infertility chart

What did this meanWhat was I supposed to do?  Jonathan, always the voice of reason, told me not to worry.  I still had to get my blood work for Dr. Jean and I was going to meet with Dr. Beiter.  Surely, after reviewing my hormone levels and speaking with the surgeon we would be told good news.  Right? 

Wrong.  Both Dr. Jean and Dr. Beiter confirmed exactly what I had been suspecting: infertility.  My hormone levels were not good.  I had very, very low progesterone.  My estradiol levels were significantly low as well.  Even if I were to get pregnant, which would have been extremely unlikely, I certainly would not be able to maintain the pregnancy for longer than five or six weeks.  It was the worst news that I could hear, yet also the news I had prepared myself to receive.  However, that didn’t make it easier to accept.  I was being told that I was currently infertile.  The hope was that surgery would take care of the endometriosis and return my fertility to me.

Dr. Beiter reviewing an ultrasound with a patient

Surgery needed to be performed at a specific time in my cycle if it was going to be the most effective.  More rounds of blood work were needed in order to determine when that was, as I was still not having regular cycles.  Not showing signs of ovulation, the plan was to take Prometrium twelve days before surgery, in order that I might bring on a period.  This would ensure that I would be having surgery between days five and seven of my cycle, the optimal time for removing the endometriosis.  Surgery date: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Coming soon – my second laparoscopic surgery.  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Meeting Dr. Jean

The day had finally arrived when I was to meet Dr. Jean.  A combination of excitement and nervousness coursed through my body as I drove forty miles to my destination.  Of course, I got lost.  I would like to blame it all on the little lady in my GPS, but it was probably also due to my nerves.  Thankfully, I had given myself a lot of time to get there, so I only ended up being about five minutes late.  I hustled in to the building and walked inside a beautiful office.  Warm sunlight filtered in through the windows, shining on hard wood floors that were seating chairs and live plants.  Instantly I felt calm.  The whole office just breathed relaxation.  I gave my name to the patient woman at the desk, Ada, who had talked to me on the phone giving me the correct directions.  I took a seat, pulled out my Kindle, and prepared to wait. 

Dr. Jean's Office

Approximately eleven seconds went by before I was being called back.  Really?  Now, there was no one else in the waiting room of the office, so I wasn’t surprised to hear my name called.  I just never imagined it being called so soon.  Didn’t I wait almost two hours at the other doctor’s office?  Happily, I put my Kindle back in my purse and followed the nurse.  She took my weight, my blood pressure, and all pertinent information.  I liked her.  She was warm and kind, much like an old friend.  We joked around a bit and I felt like I was finally where I should be. 

After getting my information she took my chart to make a copy.  This was going to be the key to letting the doctor know exactly what was going on with my body.  I was moved to Dr. Jean’s office to wait while the copy was being made and Dr. Jean reviewed it.  Like the waiting room, it was filled with sunlight.  Pictures of her family graced her shelves and diplomas decorated her walls.  I stretched my arms and legs, a nervous habit I had recognized in myself while I was in elementary school.  Anxiously, I listened for movement outside the door, letting me know that Dr. Jean was going to enter.

Ten minutes of waiting felt like ten years, but it was worth the wait.  The gentle face of Dr. Jean appeared in the doorway and she embraced me as though she already knew me.  She began by telling me that Liz had been in contact with her, sending her copies of my chart and discussing our findings.  Despite it only being our first meeting she knew so much about my medical history already.  Still, she wanted to hear about my experiences from me.  So for the next hour and a half I shared.  In fact, I poured my heart out to her.  I was suffering and struggling.  There were no answers, only pain and fear.  What if I never feel better?  What if they can’t get rid of my endometriosis?  Worse, what if I can never have a baby?

That last question was beginning to be my greatest fear.  I didn’t really let on to anyone how nervous that made me, but it was always on my mind.  From the time I was little I knew I wanted to be a mother.  I just knew.  Many women say that, and they probably felt the same way I did, but I just always wanted a child.  Someone to shower with love and affection, to teach and also learn from, to fulfill my dream.  What if it never happened?  I knew that Jonathan wanted children, but I don’t think that he had that same yearn that I did.  I shared my fears with my mom and she tried to assure me that it would happen one day, but I think she didn’t want that day to be too soon.  (I am sure it was strange to for her to look at her little girl and see a mother).  Never one to hold much inside, I opened up to others, but stopped soon after someone had said, “Don’t you think that God is just trying to tell you that you aren’t meant to have children?”

Dr. Jean listened, smiled, and comforted me.  She told me that I would feel better and that we were going to do all that we could to get me pregnant.  We.  Not just her, not just me, but us, together.  It was a simple word, but with great meaning that I don’t think she had recognized.  My journey and my struggle were now shared.  I wasn’t going to be going through this alone.  I wasn’t going to be a nameless face in a sea of patients.  Dr. Jean was going to know me and be with me through it all. 

My chart was still not showing much, so I needed to come back after a few more weeks of charting.  Hopefully, the additional time would allow for my body to return to “normal,” or at least normal for me.  I was to look for signs of ovulation and get blood work to examine my hormone levels.  Those would give us insight in to exactly what was going on. 

Not much was going on though.  Soon, even I could look at my chart and see that something was very wrong.  Stay tuned for my next visit with Dr. Jean and our plan for another surgery.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Giving Up and Taking On

I know I owe you a post about my first visit with Dr. Jean and I will absolutely write that post. Yet today, on Ash Wednesday, I feel it's important to address the relationship that sustained me during all of my trials and tribulations with endometriosis.

When I was little my mom told me that I should give up biting my nails for Lent.  Now I didn't really understand Lent at the time.  I did not know when it began and I did not know when it ended. So when I gave up biting my nails for Lent I never started again because my mom never told me that my sacrifice was over. Since that time I don't think I have ever been so committed to one of my Lenten sacrifices. I have given up so many things: chocolate, ice cream, swear words. And I have even taken things on: working out, eating fruit, going to daily Mass. All of those commitments lasted only a short while or only when it was convenient for me. However, this year I want to remain diligent as this is probably the most important sacrifice I have made in many years. This year for Lent I am going to take something on. This year I am going to love my husband.

Please, don’t get me wrong, as I always love my husbandYet ever since the baby has been born I certainly have not been focusing on my marriage the way I should.  I'm not trying to make excuses, but my life has certainly been preoccupied with other things. In the last year I became a new mom and a working mom at that. I have struggled so greatly trying to find a balance for everything. Sometimes it feels like I can be succeeding as a mother, but failing as a teacher. And when I succeed as a teacher I fail as a mother. And where does my role in the home fit in?  The cooking, cleaning, and errands fill up my other free time.  Thus, my role as wife has certainly taken a backseat to all of the other roles I play.

I have heard the line that the most important thing a father can do for his child is to love its mother. Yet what about the mother loving the father? Isn't that just as important? I think it is. And today I commit to doing that. It isn't that I don't love Jonathan. I do, wholeheartedly and completely.  But I seem to forget that during the mundane and everyday activities. Rather than spend quality time with one another we usually sit around and are lazy together. Most of our free time we use to watch television.  Of course, that isn't all that we do.  Sometimes we do laundry, sometimes we do dishes, or sometimes we pick up toys. Those are important things in the maintenance of a home, but not necessarily in the maintenance of a marriage. 

Jonathan tells me all the time how much he loves me and how much he appreciates me.  He reaffirms my role as a mother constantly, applauding each and every thing I do for our baby girl.  He appreciates me and shares that with me.  He sends me flowers to say he loves me or when he knows I have been having a hard time.  Truly, Jonathan always lets me know that he is in love with me.  And I know he is just as in love with our daughter, Kendall.  He gets her up and ready to go to the babysitter everyday.  He is loving, affectionate, and nurturing.  Kendall adores him and simply lights up when he gets home from work.  I am so incredibly lucky to have a man like that. 

I wish I could say he was as lucky.  I know how vital it is to feel loved, appreciated, and recognized.  Yet over the past ten months I haven’t done that.  My focus has been on our daughter, as it should be.  Still, I want Jonathan to know that he has not been forgotten and has not been replaced.  So for the next forty days I am going to do what I have not for the past 310 days – I am going to make a conscious effort to express the love that I ALWAYS feel.  I will not just say how much I love him, but show him.  I will be loving and affectionate.  Rather than focus on the chores that need to be completed I will focus on fostering the relationship that has been developing the past eleven years.  I will show Kendall how beautiful and fulfilling true love can be.  And I will show Jonathan that despite my failure to show just how important and wonderful he is to me, it does not mean that I have forgotten.

Lent is the perfect time to reflect on our lives and see both our accomplishments and our shortcomings.  What areas of my life have I been successful and what areas still could use some work?  I hope that the next forty days prove to be fruitful not only in my relationship with God, as we prepare for Easter, but in my relationship with Jonathan as well.  

Our wedding day

At a wedding this past summer

Monday, March 3, 2014

Following Up

After two weeks of charting on my own I was eager to see Liz again.  This time I was able to bring my husband and Liz was able to better explain what I had learned at my first information session.  This appointment began like so many that I would have after this.  First, she asked if I had read through the book on CrMS.  I had.  She wanted to know if I had any specific questions.  I did, but there were so many, I figured it was better to ask as we went along.  Then we covered a bit of my medical history. 
                Do you have any known ailments? Endometriosis
                Treatments for endometriosis? Laparoscopic surgery, birth control pills and shots
                Medications and supplements? Lots of ibuprofen and a multivitamin

Then began the barrage of questions.  When checking for your cervical mucus do you use flat toilet paper?  Yes.  Do you wipe front to back before and after you urinate and have a bowel movement?  Yes.  Do you take mental notes of each and every time you go to the bathroom?  Yes.  Do you take one final note at the end of every day, being sure to bear down?  Yes.  Do you chart your findings every night?  Yes.  Do you use the SOFT technique (Sensation, Observation, Finger Test)?  Yes.  You do not do any internal exams?  Correct.

These were the questions I would hear every other week for the next few weeks and then, hear just once a month.  They were the questions that would ensure that I was doing all that I could to chart correctly.  Once I had really gotten the hang of these and had gotten used to checking my cervical mucus before and after each time I went to the bathroom, I would be able to cut down on the number of times I would be visiting with Liz.

But I was nowhere near the stage of not needing Liz to help with my charting.  Since I had gotten my birth control shot less than three months before, Liz said that the hormones were still in my system.  Therefore, she said the results of my charting would still be a bit off.  Although I was devastated that I only had red stickers on my chart (I will explain what the stickers mean and the basics on how to chart your cycles using the Creighton Model during a later post) and I was disgusted to be bleeding for so long, Liz did not seem overly concerned.  Therefore, I tried not to be too concerned either. 

Sample Chart

Miraculously, or at least it had seemed to me at the time, the day after my follow-up I stopped bleeding.  It was like my body knew I had just seen Liz, knew I was learning more about charting, and would soon give me the chance to actually chart using cervical mucus.  Now was the time I really had to pay attention.  I was so vigilant, ready to take not of any sign of anything.  Soon, I began noticing the “shininess” that had been described.  It didn’t mean ovulation, but for me it was a change and I relished that change.  After the shininess I began noticing a very slight dampness.  It certainly wasn’t much, but I began holding out hope that I would see something soon. 

Another appointment with Liz came and went and I wasn’t showing signs of ovulation.  I started feeling nervous.  I was coming up on my third appointment and still had nothing different to report.  Then, twenty-eight days after I stopped bleeding I had my first sign of cervical mucus!!!  I know that is sounds fairly disgusting to learn about someone’s cervical mucus, and definitely strange to know of their excitement over it, but you cannot imagine how thrilled I was.  Jubilant would be a great word to describe my emotions.  I finally felt like the hormones from the birth control shot were leaving my body and I was going to have the opportunity to have a normal cycle.

I had my next appointment with Liz and was giddy to show her my chart.  She was so excited to see a change and was so happy for me, especially since I was now able to put the information I had learned in to practice.  It was great timing as well, as my first appointment with the NaProTechnology doctor was coming up in about a week and a half.  My appointment with the doctor came exactly two months after my first meeting with Liz, the very minimum amount of charting required to see the NaPro doc.  I was feeling awesome!  We reviewed everything I needed to know and look for when charting, since now it seemed there was actually something worth writing down.  And I was looking forward to meeting this doctor, hoping to take that next step in to a life without pain. 

Stay tuned for my first visit with Dr. Jean!