Author Archives: Monique

While I’m Waiting

The other day on our way home, a song reached out and grabbed my heart. It hasn’t let go since. John Waller’s, “While I’m Waiting”. 

It’s not a new song. But sometimes it’s the ones you’ve heard again and again but haven’t really listened to in a while that are the ones that speak to you the most. And I definitely needed to listen to this song and process the message. 

The past few months, our TTC journey has had some really crazy twists & turns. And if I’m being honest, I’ve felt broken over it. Well, actually…I’ve felt shattered. Like so far beyond broken that I’ve wondered if I could ever find all the pieces to mend myself. 

I have been so angry and confused, because I honestly believe that God has placed this great desire on my heart so that He could fulfill it. My husband and I both truly believe and have faith that we will have a baby. We truly believe that God has promised us this. But sometimes, when it seems like all you’re doing is getting older, it is so hard to hold to that promise. It’s so easy to question faith when you feel lost on the journey. 

I just don’t understand this wait. What in the world could be the reason another cycle has failed? Why is my heart longing when there are so many daily news articles about babies being abandoned? And don’t even get me started on “16 & Pregnant”! Am I not good enough? Faithful enough? Strong enough?

And then a few scriptures whispered themselves to me. ðŸŽ¶”I’m waiting…I’m waiting on You, Lord…and I am hopeful…I’m waiting on You, Lord…though it is painful…but patiently, I will wait…I will move ahead, bold and confident…taking every step in obedience” 🎶

I fully admit that I don’t understand the path God has chosen for us. But I don’t have to. It’s not easy, but as long as I still have faith & hope…I will one day understand the journey. I truly believe that.  Regardless of how dark the night gets, the sun will still rise when it’s meant to…when the timing is right, and not a second before. 

This one whispers itself to me quite often. In the quiet times of reflection, during my moments of doubt. After all, aren’t waiting & doubt the highest hurdles hope will ever have to jump? 

I don’t have to know the plans, I just have to have faith and follow the path the Lord lays out before me. Instead of fighting Him and taking this journey into my own hands, I need to obediently lay it down and let God lead me. That is seriously hard for me to do. I over-think, over-plan, and totally over-analyze pretty much everything. So I don’t always handle the unknown with grace. (I typically handle it with Xanax.) But I’m learning, slowly. 

🎶…while I’m waiting, I will serve You…while I’m waiting, I will worship…while  I’m waiting, I will not faint-I’ll be running the race, even while I wait…🎶

I don’t know why I’m having to wait, or what I’m suppose to be learning while I do. I’m not even sure what my purpose is suppose to be while I’m waiting. But I do know that I am to stay faithful. Faithful in prayer, faithful in hope, faithful in the Lord’s promises. Because there is a purpose, there is meaning. With that knowledge comes peace. 

Or maybe it’s more like peacefully anxious. lol I am after all human. And since the whole point of this post is about it beimg hard to stay steadfast & positive at all times…I’ll take peacefully anxious while I learn what I need to learn, while I do what I need to do. While I wait on the Lord. 

So I think I’ll keep this as my prayer during my season of waiting:

Dear Lord,

I know that I can be impatient. I know I often question Your timing and design. I know that I am prone to worry and fear. I know that I sometimes get so caught up in my need for understanding and control that I lose track of who You are. I forget that You are always working for my good. Lord, help me to never lose hope. Keep my eyes focused on the path You’ve set for me. Allow me to stay focused in the knowledge that often blessings can be received only after the trial of waiting. Forgive my moments of doubt and renew my sense of peace in Your timing. You know my heart, and all it’s desires. And Your promises are true. Lord, keep me grounded in Your presence. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen 

It’s Stork OTC Time!

If you follow me on Instagram (AdorkablyHappy), then you saw this pic on the 2nd-Positive OPKs! 

That means Stork OTC time!!! In my last post, I shared with y’all how someone from Rinovum…the makers of the Stork OTC…contacted me about my previous review. And how happy & grateful I am that they contacted me. 

***Full disclosure: This review is made possible by a free Stork OTC that was sent to me. I am not being paid for this review. And I was not asked to give anything other than my honest opinion, once again, on the product.***

So the first thing I noticed right away was that the design on the box changed. There’s now a baby bump greeting us. (And when I shared this pic on my Facebook wall…it was immediately noticed by some of my fellow TTC buddies. lol) But, after all, that is the goal, right?! So I kinda like it. 

Another thing I noticed…I don’t remember the old box having this, if it did…The side of the box has some helpful information about the use of the Stork OTC. Which is kinda neat. It helps to give you an idea going into it of what is involved. I don’t know if it’s like this for anyone else, but I know the first time seeing the box and not knowing a whole lot about what was inside or what was involved was a little overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited & I had read several reviews. But the Stork OTC isn’t cheap, and I was worried I was gonna mess something up. 

Again, I got a giggle out of the warning that the Stork OTC is NOT intended for contraceptive use. That makes me laugh EVERY time. I mean, every time! 

So, y’all know I’ve told you that I am a tad strange. That I think/worry/obsess over things that most people don’t. There was a slight hold up in the delivery of my package. And the temperatures were crazy high that week. I worried about what the heat might do to the Conceptacle sitting in a hot vehicle for half a week or being out in the heat if the package was simply dropped off inside my property fence. (I live in the country, my driveway is long & bumpy, they don’t always come to the house for deliveries.) But my mind was eased when I saw that you could store the Stork OTC in temperatures between -22 and 130 degrees F. 

Once you open up the box, everything stayed the same. You’ve got instructions in both English & Spanish. There’s an insert thanking you for choosing the Stork OTC on one side & a code for the Glow app on the other. The applicator with the cervical cap holder inside & the Conceptacle which contains the cervical cap are in a plastic enclosure thing that keeps them separated. I think it is important to note, the Stork OTC is not a sterile device. Wash your hands before handling the Conceptacle at all stages of use. 

If you haven’t already watched the “how to” video, you can watch it here. I highly recommend watching it at least once. It’s very basic, but helpful in getting to know all the parts of the Stork OTC. Because it is a single use device…you can really never be too prepared. 

Putting the Conceptacle on was a little bit easier this time around. Although, it still wasn’t quick and simple. You need to pinch the tip to remove air, just like with a condom and unroll it on to an erect penis. And because it takes a little work to get it on…continued stimulation for him may help keep him happy-therefore making it easier to go on. It may look like a condom, but it’s very different. It’s not made with natural rubber latex, it’s silicone. It is definitely seems thicker than a condom. According to hubby, it seems to have a tighter fit than a condom. And there’s no form of lubricant on it. So it’s “dry” for lack of a better word, and that makes it a little fumbly putting it on. (In my last review I referred y’all to the condom/banana scene in the movie “Never Been Kissed”. That is still a very fitting visual aid. Nothing popped off, but it took a minute to get a handle on it.)

So don’t get frustrated if it’s less than romantic getting the Conceptacle on. You’ll get it. No pressure, don’t stress…just roll with it. Stay patient and in the moment. Keep the mood as light as possible. 

Because I didn’t noticed that much EWCM, I decided to use a small amount of PreSeed. Last time we didn’t use any because in the how to video when it talks about insertion of the applicator, it said not to use lubricant. I understood that to mean no lubricant at all during the process. But after following  the Stork OTC (storkotc) on Instagram and reading more about it, we felt like using PreSeed…a TTC friendly lubricant while we did our thing…was ok. (The FAQ section of the website, storkotc.com also addresses it.)

I don’t normally use PreSeed, but I am glad I decided to use it for this. It definitely made the Conceptacle less noticeable for me. Still knew it was there…but that may have more to do with the fact that the hubby and I have been together 15 years and the only time we’ve used anything “condom like” is when we’ve used the Stork OTC. So there is definitely a different sensation & reaction to it. 

If you decide to use a lubricant with your Stork OTC, be sure that it is TTC friendly! PreSeed is what we chose. But AstroGlide makes a TTC friendly one as well. Just be sure that you’re getting the one designed for TTC The reason for this…most lubricants are not sperm friendly. That is the complete opposite of what we want. So double check to be safe!!!

After we did our thing, getting the Conceptacle off was easier than getting it on. It is easier to take off from a still erect penis, you just roll it back down. You do have to be careful getting the cervical cap out of the Conceptacle. Keep it upright, and only touch the sides of the cervical cap. Don’t put your fingers inside the cervical cap when you’re trying to get the Conceptacle off from around it. 

It was so much easier to place the cervical cap on the petals of the applicator this time. It wasn’t hard the first time, but everything is easier the second and third time around.  The purple thing is part of the cervical cap holder, there’s one on the other side too. The petals are the white pieces that are on either side of the yellow tab. You remove the yellow tab and set the cervical cap evenly on those petals. Once you’ve got the cervical cap on the petals, you click the two purple pieces of the cervical cap holder in place, keep the applicator upright, and pull back the plunger on the bottom of the applicator. That closes the petals around the cervical cap. 

I let hubby hold the applicator while I got my pillows propped up so that I could lean back in the proper position comfortably. And I got situated. Just like last time, insertion was no problem. No issues there. There was a little pressure, nothing too bad, I wouldn’t even classify it as uncomfortable-simply noticeable, once it was placed against my cervix. 

The first time I used the Stork OTC, when I pushed the button with the two dots to release the plunger, that plunger released quickly. This time, I knew not to let my thumb get caught. lol There was a little bit more pressure, just temporarily, when the plunger depressed. I made sure it felt comfortable and then clicked the button with the theee dots to release the cervical cap holder from the applicator. Then I removed the applicator and had hubby throw it away. 

We chose, just like last time, to leave the cervical cap in for the full 6 hours. (It can stay in 4-6 hours.) Since we used this one around bedtime, I set an alarm on my phone to make sure that I didn’t sleep through the 6 hour mark. 

I know you can get up and move around as soon as you remove the wand. But I have to admit, I laid in bed, scrolling on my phone while binging “Friends” on Netflix as background noise for about an hour and a half. Then I got up, finished up some laundry while doing a face mask…there is always laundry to finish up it seems…and then went to sleep. I could feel the presence of the cervical cap holder. It wasn’t uncomfortable, again simply noticeable. No big deal. Once my alarm went off, I got up went to the bathroom and removed the cervical cap & holder by pulling on the pull string. Easy peasy! 

Here’s a pic from the last review showing you what the cervical cap, holder & pull string look like once you remove it. So now we wait. Hopefully I won’t go too stir crazy during this TWW. 

While there is more effort into using the Stork OTC over Soft Cups & PreSeed…I definitely think that the Stork OTC is the one to use. I’ve tried both, I prefer the Stork OTC. TTC is just not what Soft Cups are designed for. Yes, it’s more expensive and maybe I’m overthinking it and relying on a label too much. But seriously, sometimes store brand biscuits aren’t as good Pilsbury. 

I love the Stork OTC. I love that it’s designed for couple like my husband & I. We have male factor issues thrown into the mix. And having the ability to do cycles at home, medicated or non-medicated, either in between IUI cycles, in place of an IUI cycle, or even in conjunction with an IUI cycle…is amazing. It gives us more options. And when you’re looking at a $1200 IUI cycle, gratefully we only pay half that after insurance (but still), you need options! 

For less than $100 (I paid $79.99 plus tax and shipping for my first Stork OTC using my Walgreen’s app), you get a little extra help for the swimmers. When you have motility concerns, that’s a big deal to be able to do. Our swimmers like to freestyle it during the backstroke competition & they apparently get lost easy…they need all the help they can get! 

One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about this experience is the customer service. Since getting in touch with them, the people at the Stork OTC/Rinovum have been the absolute best! You can contact them through email at: support@rinovum.com 

*Again, my only connection to this company is as a consumer. I, nor anyone in my family, is employed by them. I am not receiving any financial compensation from them. They sent me this Stork OTC based on my previous review. They did not ask that I give anything other than my honest opinion.*

I’ve Missed Y’all! 

Once again, I have to accept the “Bad Blog Owner” Award! I know it’s been MONTHS since my last post. My blogging mojo took a long vacation. 

So much has happened since my last post. We’ve had an attempt at IUI that had to be cancelled the day of. We’ve done an IUI cycle that left us heartbrokenly devastated. We had VBS at our church…I was the director. (One of the scariest things I’ve ever done and I’m so proud of how it went!) We’ve had to say goodbye to one of our fur babies. Friends moved away. And I’ve been working on my very first October 15th Wave of Life event. 

It’s just been a very crazy, very emotional, very hectic few months. So I hope you forgive me for being absent. 

He was of the sweetest creatures. We miss him terribly. This picture was taken just a few weeks before he passed. He loved that blanket. I washed it that morning and he was just absolutely lost the entire time it was off the bed. About two seconds after I threw it on the corner of the bed, he was on it & passed out. 

On to the amazing and happy things…VBS at First Baptist Church of Murchison was amazing! We had two children accept Christ! I was beyond blessed to have the chance to be a part of it. (Normally I wouldn’t post pictures of other people’s children, but we were given permission to photograph & share during registration.)

October 15th, I will be hosting a Wave of Light event at my church from 7pm-8pm. My hope is to have enough Mason/Ball/Kerr jars to honor at least 100 angels. October 15th is such an important date during Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. I’ve been thinking about doing this for years, and I’m so excited to finally have a game plan for it. If you’re interested in having your angel honored during this event, please contact me. You can either join the event here, leave a comment on this post, or email me at love.echoes.forever@gmail.com 

And finally, one of the neatest things came across my messages the other day…This absolutely made my day. So, keep an eye for a follow up review! And a possible announcement involving The Stork OTC Ambassador Program! I won’t know if I’ve been selected until later this month, possibly early next month. But I am very excited for this opportunity! 

I Will Not Stop Talking About Infertility…

…so don’t even bother asking me to. 

Wow! The plan for this week’s blog post was SO different than what it has become. I guess I can just save that one for a later time. 

So let’s back up a second. Yesterday I downloaded Resolve.org‘s Listen Up toolkit for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s next month, April 23-29…the 29th is my birthday. After I downloaded the toolkit, I created an album on my personal Facebook profile and added all the photos to it. A little while later, I was “gently” asked to maybe not focus so much on infertility because it may make some people a little uncomfortable. 

So after I calmly removed myself from the conversation…telling them to forget my name and blocking them is “calm”, right?!…I sat and stewed for a while. 

Infertility is a disease. Just like cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Why do we welcome and encourage awareness for those things, and ask people with infertility to sit a corner and stay quiet?

When a friend is going through a divorce, what do we tell them? We tell them we’re here for them. We tell them to talk about it. We tell them it’s natural to grieve the loss of the relationship, the loss of the future. We tell them it’s not healthy to keep all those emotions bottled up. We tell them we are their friends and that’s what friends are for. 

Why do I not get that same level of understanding?! And the…well, I’ve never experienced infertility and that’s why I’m uncomfortable with it…is kind of lame. I’ve never been through a divorce. I still don’t tell my friends who are going through a divorce to leave me out of those conversations. I’ve never had cancer…I still talk to my friends while they are going through chemo. 

My husband lost his mother more than 20 years ago, I lost my father less than 5 years ago. Him knowing what it’s like to lose a parent didn’t make his hugs to me more comforting. It didn’t make his presence by my side more important. Just like my arms, when he lost his father a year and a half ago, weren’t a place of solace because I knew what it was like to lose a daddy. All that mattered was that we were there for one another, we were by each other’s side, when we needed support. We didn’t have to understand in order to comfort. 

Because when you’re going through something difficult, all that matters is that you are surrounded by people who love you. They don’t have to know what to say, what you’re feeling, what journey lies ahead of you. They just need to support you through it. 

I talk about infertility, because so many people don’t even know what it is. There’s this idea that if you want to get pregnant and you don’t get pregnant that very first month you try, it’s infertility. Or that infertility can be “fixed” by simply getting a massage to help you relax or a different kind of underwear. (By the way…don’t talk to your friends about their spouse’s underwear. You want to talk about uncomfortable.) 

Not talking about it, doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t make it less painful. It doesn’t. And while you may be more comfortable not hearing about it, someone you love is still suffering alone. 

1 in 8…that’s how many people suffer through infertility. 1 in 8 have a disease that’s not contagious, but no one wants to be “around” it. Can you imagine how isolating that can be?

My life is a messy kind of happiness. It is full of loss, full of cuss words, full of hospital stays & surgeries. It is financial worries, broken plans, and plants I can’t always keep alive. It’s full of love, full of faith, full of hope. It’s fur baby snuggles through out the night, a marriage working on it’s second decade, it’s Christmas tree lights hung year round. It’s kisses followed by death threats and some times death threats followed by kisses. It’s beautifully crazy. It’s not easy, but it is amazing. 

It’s not fair to ask me to share only the happy. To only share the inconsequential. If I can share when a recipe goes right, or when flowers are randomly brought home…why shouldn’t I share when I have a bad day trying to conceive a child? It’s not fair to only be a friend during the good times. 

Yes, infertility can be uncomfortable for those that are blessed enough to never face it head on. But that level of comfor comes at the expense of someone you love. And being silent about infertility makes me uncomfortable. And I’m not willing to do that. 

Looks Like It’s IUI Time

Last week was a whirlwind of issues at Casa de Mo. I was kinda puny. Extremely hopeful about this cycle. Got to spend time with the bestie. And had a LuLaRoe fundraising Pop-On on Facebook.

But my chart just isn’t letting me keep the level of hopefulness that I had going in to the TWW. I am fully expecting CD1 to be tomorrow, Thursday at the latest. So, it looks like we are on to IUI. 

And it appears that we will have to do IUI with Clomid instead of IUI with injections. Thankfully, we did qualify for some help for the injections. But I still don’t think financially we can do them. We qualified for a 25% discount. That still leaves us paying about $550 for just one of the 3 medications. That’s about the cost of the IUI preceedure itself. 

I hate to sound like I’m complaining…we *only* qualified for 25% off. I know there are couples out there who don’t even qualify for that. And I am beyond grateful for any help we get. I was always, actually, planning on doing IUI with Clomid…because I respond very well to Clomid. But if I’m being honest, I was hoping to qualify for the 75% off and do the injections. I know my RE prefers IUI with injections over Clomid. And it does give us the best shot at a successful cycle. So I was hoping. 

I just hate how money plays such a major role in this journey. I hate that my insurance company is allowed so much power over my TTC journey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful they cover the things they do. (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I am.) But it’s so arbitrary to me that they will cover fertility treatments up to insemination. Like why draw a line? Fertility treatments are fertility treatments. Drawing a line in the sand and saying they’ll cover everything on this side of the line but nothing on that side…it’s a little soul crushing. This journey is isolating enough as it is. Why make me feel more like a pariah because my journey has gone to the “other side”?! 

Thankfully, with some of our income tax return, donations from very supportive friends, the LLR fundraiser, and my Crocheting to pay for IUI project…we have 2 and 1/3 IUI cycles saved up. Now we just have to figure out if we start IUI next cycle or wait one more. I think hubby would prefer waiting another cycle. But I just don’t know that I can. I’ll keep y’all updated on what we…ok, I…decide. lol I really feel like we won’t wait though. Because I’m hoping to be able to have a third cycle saved up for June. And we will have to take July off because I’m our VBS Director this year. And I don’t think people will understand hubby & I having to leave to go get inseminated. I just don’t see that going over well. lmbo So, since I already know July is an off cycle…I just don’t know that I’m emotionally prepared to take another cycle off right now. 

Leaving on a happy note though…I’m working on an ordered and an available to purchase blanket in my Crocheting to pay for IUI plan. I need a project bag so bad! That will be my next acquisition. Cause right now I’m carrying my yarn, hook and blanket with me every where. I’m motivated beyond belief y’all! 

And autocorrect likes to mess with me…it tried to change precedent to PreSeed in a rather delicate email yesterday. lol I’m just glad I caught it. Normally I don’t until I get the reply. 

So this morning, I hold to Jeremiah 29:11. Because I know the Lord has this.
🌈❤💛💚💙💜🌈

An App Is Just An App

(So this post might be a rambling one, that seems to have no real point. But that’s kind of the day I’m having. So, Happy Women’s Day! lol)

I know I’ve said a few times before that I am a *BIG* temp pusher when it comes to TTC. My app of choice is Fertility Friend. I’ve used several apps, but that is the only I’ve stuck with. For me, it’s the most accurate. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

The tracking apps can be used in several different ways. It can be a date tracker, where all you put in are the dates each month when your cycle starts. It can be a BBT tracker, where you track your basal body temperature each day to confirm ovulation. You can use them to track daily cervical position, cervical fluid/mucus, symptoms, and OPK testing to help track your fertile window. Or you can do it all. As you might guess…I do it all. (Well, except cervical position. Haven’t gotten that down.) 

But, I’ve learned the more information you put into it, the more accurate it is. And the longer you use it, the more accurate it is. It learns your patterns and can help predict better based on them. 

For example…if all you use it for is a date tracker, it gives you a projected fertile window & expected period start date based on what is “average” for your cycle length. Which, can be WAY off for you specifically. So, I always say to use them to their fullest. Especially if you’re using a paid version of the app. 

But I have also learned that no matter how much information you put into an app…it’s still just an app. Life will always be life. It can alway surprise you. 

Five of the last six cycles have been medicated. So I didn’t do OPKs during those cycles because of the scans I was having to track progress. But when we decided to go unmedicated this cycle while we worked out some things in preparation for IUI, I decided to go back to the full on crazy OPK testing lady that I use to be. Hence, the outrageously nutzo test stash pics you’ve seen. 

Now, typically during an unmedicated cycle, my usual cycle length is average 32 days and I ovulate sometime between CD16 & 19. The rule of thumb on OPK testing, if I remember right, is to start testing 16 days before your period is expected. It’s another rule that’s based on dates only…so it’s based on a 14 day luteal phase being the “average”. My avareage luteal phase is 13 days. And, I have been known to have an occasional wonky cycle where I’ve ovulated on CD10 or 11. So I decided to start my OPK testing on CD5…just to be safe. And it’s not like I don’t have enough tests to cover a couple weeks worth of testing, should I need it. 

So, based on what Fertility Friend knows of my cycle…after years of using it, this was my OPK Optimizer for this cycle. And it lined up pretty much with what I was also thinking my cycle would look like. But because I’ve had those crazy cycles before…

And I’m glad I did. Because my cycle appears to be going rouge.What a difference 24 hours makes. Positive OPK on CD10. Which puts me most likely ovulating some time today, CD11. So, while my cycle history suggests that I’m “Probably Not Fertile”…everything else says otherwise. Now, again life can still be a factor. I’ve had cycles where I’ve gotten a positive OPK, complete with fertile cervical mucus…and not ovulated with that surge. Sometimes I surged again within a few days. Other times, it took weeks before I surged again. So, I may not be in my fertile window after all. I won’t know until I get those beautiful crosshairs at 3DPO confirming a temp shift. 

But the point I’m trying to make…in an extremely long way…is that an app, even with a lot of information, is still just an app. It’s a guesstimate. And there’s a good chance that I could have missed my fertile window if I solely relied on the suggestion it made. It’s still just one tool available. And you should take everything into consideration. 

So follow your gut! If you think you need to start testing early, start testing early. If you feel like you should test until you get that confirmed temp shift…test away! This is your journey. And it is unique to you. So don’t worry about not doing it the way someone else does it. Do it the way you need to do it to feel like you’re doing it the optimal way for you. The most important thing is to make an informed decision. That way you KNOW you’re making the right decision for you. 

***The OPK Optimizer is a relatively newer tool to Fertility Friend. I have a paid subscription to the app. I am not sure if that is tool strictly for the paid subscription or it’s available on the free version as well.*** 

Crocheting To Pay For IUI

So about a week ago, I finished this blanket and shared the pic on Instagram. And I got a DM asking if I could make a blanket for someone. 

It got me to thinking. 

After 5 unsuccessful rounds of Clomid in a span of 6 months, my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) said we needed to move on to IUI (intrauterine insemination). IUI is where they take the sperm and insert it directly into the uterus using a catheter. You can do it with Clomid or with medication you self inject to stimulate follicle growth. Unfortunately, my insurance doesn’t cover artificial insemination of any kind…or the injections. That means, that most of the cost of IUI will be out of pocket. We are applying for a program that could help cover part of the cost of the injections. (My RE prefers IUI with injections over IUI with Clomid.) But without qualifying for the program, IUI with Clomid is our only option. And even then, we only have enough saved up to do about two rounds. 

So…I decided to start making baby blankets to sell for the specific purpose of paying for IUI. Well, not just baby blankets, throws too. Maybe some hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves. But mainly baby blankets. I’ve got an amazing friend who has generously offered some of her knitted projects to sale as well. 

Over the past week, I’ve been fasting. During my fast today, I made a decision. After we get our rainbow, I’m going to continue to crochet to pay for IUI. It just won’t be for my IUIs. It will be to help others pay for their IUIs. And, should I become pregnant before needing IUI…the money I’ve already made & have received as donations to help cover the cost of my fertility treatments will go to help pay for someone else’s. 

The truly exciting part is that I already have an order! My first order was a throw size version of this baby blanket I’m working on-

If you follow me on Instagram and/or the blog’s Facebook page…you’ll be able to see the blankets (and other items) as they become available. I’m AdorkablyHappy on Instagram and the link to the Facebook page is in the right hand column of the blog. And you can message me on either account for pricing information. 

I’m really hoping that this takes off. I think I might even be more excited about the future of it. Of being able to help someone else. Even if it’s just a little bit. Because it truly sucks when the cost of fertility treatments becomes the reason someone’s journey ends. So, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to help someone very soon. 

A Few Things I Know

When It comes to TTC, social media can be a tad bit overwhelming. There is a lot of information floating around. And while I don’t pretend to know even half of what I should know about TTC…over the past decade and a half of actively trying, I’ve learned a little. 

So, I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learned, that I wish I had known from the beginning. 

  • The March of Dime recommends that you start taking a prenatal vitamin, containing folate or folic acid, at least 3 months prior to actively trying to conceive. Folate helps prevent neural tube defects.

I was also told by my doctor that a man can take a Folic Acid supplement to help prevent neural tube defects as well. Not to mention that it can help with sperm count for men with issues. 

  • ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANYTHING OVER THE COUNTER! 

Even vitamins and supplements should be discussed. Things like Vitex and Maca Root can be amazing! They can be extremely beneficial. BUT, only if you need them. Vitex, which I see recommended a lot, can cause more harm than good if you don’t truly need it. And just because something is natural doesn’t mean that your doctor would have the same treatment plan regardless of if you’re taking it or not. So please, especially when trying to conceive, discuss everything with your doctor!!! They can also make sure that everything you take is safe to take during pregnancy. My primary knows all about our TTC journey and knows that if it’s not a Class B prescription…I’m not taking it. So we always go for pregnancy safe medications. 

  • OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) alone can not tell you if you’re ovulating. Temping can not tell you when you’re about to ovulate, it only confirms ovulation. 

Your best bet is to use the two in connection with one another. It’s not uncommon to surge and not ovulate. You can build up for a LH (luteinizing hormone-the hormone that OPKs test for) surge and then back off. You can get a positive OPK, indicating a surge, and not ovulate. And you won’t always get the “pre-O temp dip” just prior to ovulation. So you can’t wait for that dip to BD (baby dance).

I have had my fair share of cycles where I’ve gotten positive OPKs…complete with EWCM…around the time I was expecting them, and didn’t ovulate with that surge. There was no temp shift to confirm ovulation. So, I’ve learned to test until I get my temp shift. Because some of those cycles, I surged again within 5 days and ovulated. Other cycles it was another month before I surged again and ovulated. So I totally classify myself as a *BIG* temp pusher. lol

Speaking of OPKs…

  • We always have some level of LH in our system throughout our cycle. So, for the most part there will always be a second line show up on your tests. That’s why a positive OPK is only positive when the test line is as dark or darker than the control line. 
  • It’s not uncommon to have a surge of LH (a positive OPK) prior to AF. 
  • A pregnancy test will be positive…no squinting needed…before a positive OPK is from hCG and not LH. 

LH and hCG (pregnancy hormone) are very similar in composition. Think of them like twins…and hCG wears a hat to stand out. A pregnancy test looks for the hat. It won’t give you a second line if it doesn’t detect the hat. Since the OPK isn’t looking for the hat, it’s looking for the basic compound, the OPK will pick up on hCG. 

And the reason I say that you won’t need to squint to see a line on your HPT, and the reason that I say an OPK will be positive, is because most pregnancy tests are 25mIU. Coincidentally, most OPKs are also 25mIU (at least, from everything I’ve been able to find out about the sensitivity levels of OPKs say most are). Which means that the line on your HPT will be there. Since hCG is stronger…because of the hat…and we always have some level of LH in our system, the OPK will pick up on both. It will be positive. 

But because it’s not uncommon to have a surge in LH prior to AF, you can not rely on a positive OPK as a sign of pregnancy. And keep in mind that not all HPTs are 25mIU. First Response Early Results, FRERs, are designed to detect any level of hCG over zero. The Clearblue Weeks Estimator can detect as low as 10mIU, even though it’s technically listed at 25mIU. So, if you’re getting a positive OPK and think it’s because you’re pregnant, any HPT should give you a line…but those two should definitely give you answers. 

  • It takes 70-90 days for a man to produce sperm. 

I didn’t know this until hubby had his first sperm analysis, SA, done. So that’s why SAs are typically done about 3 months apart. It’s also why it takes so long to see the benefits of changes in medications and supplements when it comes to count, motility, and morphology. Total side note…we also learned that something as simple as a low grade fever the day sperm production started can cause issues to show up on a SA. So try not to stress out too much if you get a wonky SA. Wait to worry until a follow up SA confirms there’s an issue. 

  • Pre-Seed has a pH level of 7.2-7.6. 

It’s designed to match our naturally elevated pH level during ovulation. The reason for this is because the normal pH level of sperm is 7.1-8. 

  • An evaporation line, evap, is a line that appears on a test after the time frame given in the instructions of the test. 

Some tests say to read the test before 10 minutes. Others say to read before 5 minutes. An evap occurs after the time frame as the test dries. It can be pink!!! Or blue, if you’re using a blue dye test. The point is, that it absolutely can have color. Evaps are not just grey. They can be thin lines or thick lines. If a test doesn’t have a line at the time limit, do not trust anything that shows up after the time frame. Even if it appears only a few minutes past the time limit. Test again in 24 hours. (I’m HORRIBLE about grabbing a test out of the trash even though I know I shouldn’t. So I totally get how hard this one is.) 

  • A good support system while TTC is a must!!! Your tribe will get you through!!!

Ok, I think I’ve droned on long enough. I’m sure there will be more posts sharing things I’ve learned. And if you’ve learned something you’d like to share, please leave a comment. And to close out, since it looks like today is going to be CD1 of an unmedicated cycle where I’ll actually be using OPKs again…I stock piled my test stash again. And of course, I had to share. I told y’all before I’m a tad nutzo. lol And the sad thing is, I had destashed like 150 tests during my Clomid rounds.  I’ll be ordering The Stork OTC tomorrow! And next cycle we’re probably on to IUI. 

Still Carrying The Umbrella

I know so many people must think I’m crazy. In fairness to them, I am a little nutzo at times. But…that’s neither here nor there. 

Last year, during the excitement of that very first Clomid cycle, I told y’all about how the hubby and I were preparing for a baby we hadn’t yet conceived. We bought the crib, the crib set, a bassinet…and some of the cutest monkey themed things you will ever find. 

Here we are a year later, and we are still preparing for the child we have yet to conceive. I truly believe that God knows the desire of our hearts and that He will answer our prayers. 

It’s not always easy…having faith. There are days where I question myself. Wonder what I have done that has caused me to struggle so much, when there are women who literally throw away what my heart aches for. I admit, I see news stories of babies starving to death after their parents overdosed…or…toddlers being chained like dogs in the backyard and I want to question God’s judgment. What is fair about any of this?!

I get angry. I get grief stricken. I get angry. I get depressed. I get angry. It can be a vicious cycle. 

But, I’ve never truly lost hope. Oh, sure…I’ve had moments where I’m ready to quit. Where I cry out that it’s just too hard. When I’m ready to delete Fertility Friend from my phone, throw out my BBT thermometer, leave all the TTC groups that I’m in, and sale everything in the nursery & turn it into a crafting room. A few times I’ve even considered setting that room on fire. Thankfully, I’ve always been able to push through those moments. (Ok, so the non fire setting thoughts were longer than “moments”. But you get the idea.)

I may not understand God’s plan for me. I may never fully understand. I just know, that I don’t have to. I just have to keep my faith that God knows. Because all the struggles will make the joy so much bigger. They will make my appreciation for our miracle be never-ending. While I am certain that my child will drive me absolutely bonkers at time…he will never go to bed thinking he’s unloved. I know this because the journey we have been on has made me want to make sure that our baby knows just how often we prayed for him. How many times we cried for him. The doctors we went to to help us get him. 

I will be lucky enough to know that no moment can be taken for granted. 

So, we continue to carry our umbrella. When we went to Big Papi’s last game at Globe Life Park this past summer…we bought this.Last Saturday while we were out for our anniversary we stopped at LifeWay. (I’m going to be VBS Director at our church this summer and I wanted to get the Jump Start kit.) We found this adorable VBS themed onesie…the only one they had, and it came home with us. 

We will continue to plan for this baby. I will continue to work on the nursery and crochet baby blankets…all while still saving up for the cost of IUI. Because I believe that God will grant us our heart’s desire. I don’t know when. But I know He will. And I plan on being ready for that answered prayer. 

So whenever I see a onesie, a blanket, a stuffed animal, a rattle…anything that I think would be perfect for our baby, I’m gonna get it. And I will know that one day, our child will wear it, cuddle up with it, or play with it. It may seem crazy, but I have faith it will happen for us. 

The Stork OTC Review

As promised, here’s my review of The Stork OTC. Again, I was not paid to do this review…nor was the product given to me in order to do this review. We paid for The Stork OTC and I’m doing this review because several women in my TTC after loss group & followers on Instgram (I’m AdorkablyHappy, you can follow me by clicking on the “Instagram Love” section on the right hand side of the blog) asked me to let them know what I thought of it.

 I ordered my Stork through the Walgreen’s mobile app. It was $79.99 with free shipping. (But, I did get over 10,000 points on the purchase…so yay!) And it came to just over $86 with tax. So not terribly pricey. And if you follow The Stork OTC on Instagram, you can find out when they’re having specials on the pricing.

It comes with instructions in both English and Spanish. I giggled at the, “This device is not intended for contraceptive use”. But also noticed where it said the device is non-sterile. So washing your hands is important throughout the process. 

I watched the how-to video on YouTube. You’ll find it here. And then I watched it again, had hubby watch it, and then I watched it again. I also kept my phone handy so we could watch it as we were attempting to use it. There’s a lot of details to pay attention to when it comes to pulling back the plunger, push this button, then use this button to release. And since it was almost $90 and it’s a single use thing…I didn’t want to mess anything up. And it definitely is a single use kit. There is no way around it. I think I may have gone overboard in the preparation, but I tend to be a little crazy in that aspect in general. 

Here’s the applicator and the Conceptacle still in the packaging. I took no pictures during use. (We stayed focused on the using it part. Not “I’m gonna review it” part. lol) Inside the Conceptacle…the condom thing on the right…is the cervical cap.  

So, after reading some reviews online…I pretty much knew this was going to be the least sexiest thing you could possibly do at home. But timed intercourse rarely is. 

My husband doesn’t care for condoms, as I’m assuming most men don’t. I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to use the Conceptacle the way it was intended to be used. We discussed removing the cervical cap from the Conceptacle and simply use manual stimulation instead of natural intercourse. But we finally decided to at least attempt it. And go from there. Thankfully, natural intercousre was all that was needed. 

It was clumsy putting the Conceptacle on. There is no lubricant, and while the video only mentioned not using lubricant during the application of the cervical cap, we didn’t take the risk of using PreSeed. But we finally fumbled through it.  (Not sexy at all. And yet, not the least sexiest part of the experience.)

After intercourse, he needs to wash his hands, and roll the Conceptacle off…being careful to keep to cervical cap in an upright position. Taking it off was ok. Trying to get the cervical cap out, while keeping everything upright & not losing any of the swimmers…not as easy. If you’ve ever seen “Never Been Kissed”, think about the condom being applied to the banana scene. If it was someone else, it would have been comical. lol And I don’t think it will be as hard to do again. I think it was just new and different.

After getting the cervical cap on the petals properly and closing the cervical cap holder…I got ready for placement. Insertion was not bad at all. There was some pressure, a little uncomfortable. But nothing bad at all, and absolutely no pain. I will say that when we pushed the button with the two raised dots to release the plunger…the plunger released quickly and actually hit my thumb, and startled me a little. We pulled the applicator out and the removal string was visible. 

You can leave the cervical cap in for 4-6 hours. We went with the full 6 hours. You can get up and go about your day. The only limitation that they tell you about, as far as activities go, you’re suppose to remove the cervical cap before having sex again. That’s kind of right up there with the whole…this product is not for contraceptive use, but I’m sure someone out there needs to be told. 

I felt something the entire time I had it in though. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was noticeable. And after removing it, I figured out what I was feeling. It was the cervical cap holder. And that’s what the removal string is attached to. Removing was easy. You pull on the removal string and the cervical cap comes right out.  

I guess it should have dawned on me that the cervical cap holder would hold the cervical cap…but, I’m slow sometimes. That also explains why it’s a single use kit. 

All in all, it wasn’t bad. We fumbled through it some. But now that we are familiar with it, I really don’t think there will be any issues using it in the future. Except maybe putting the Conceptacle on. I don’t foresee that getting any easier. 

I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re considering IUI. And we will definitely use it again, if this cycle is unsuccessful and we are waiting to get started with the IUI process. Just be sure to watch the video, and read the instructions. 

I saw several other reviews that said to just use PreSeed and Soft Cups and save your money. And we have tried that. Even with all the fumbling and uncertainty, I still prefer The Stork OTC. I felt like it was definitely made for TTC, while using Soft Cups is a make due kinda attempt. 

I hope this has been helpful. It’s my first product review. I’ll answer any question I can and welcome feedback.