So my period decided to finally come today .   I didn't think it would ever come, and was really hoping it wouldn't and I was pregnant and we wouldn't have to go through with more procedures.  But it came so we proceed with our plan. 

Dave and I had decided we would go forward with another IUI once my period started.   So, I called NFC to get the ball rolling.  They called in my Clomid and Ovidrel shot and I picked it up.  I will do Clomid on Day 3-7 (Aug 23-27).  Then I will go in for an ultrasound on Sept 1 to check the progress of the follicles.  Once they feel there are a good amt of follicles present and mature, I will get my Ovidrel shot (triggers Ovulation).  After the shot is given, I will go back in on Sept 2 for the IUI procedure.  Hopefully Sept 2 will go down in the books as the day we conceived our little one:)

I'm very excited the time has come.  I' m a little anxious to see what the ultrasound looks like since this will be the first one following the acupuncture and herbal treatments I've been doing the past 4 months.  In our hearts we hope and pray that it has made a difference and we will be confident in a successful IUI due to the positive ultrasound.  Although the ultrasounds never guarantee a baby, if there a good number of mature follicles present, then there is a good chance it will happen.   We are hopeful!

We thank you for your prayers and thoughts!   This is a huge month for us and we welcome your prayers, encouraging words, etc.   Please feel free to leave comments for us- we love to read them!!!! 

We will keep you posted!!
Got my results today from the blood tests:

Fragile X: 46XX-    NORMAL

Karotype:  No abnormalities; Normal

This is such praise!   Praise that the results are normal, but also a praise that we have an answer.   Dave and I both feel like we will have our own children and this test confirms that that is still possible!!!!  
So Dave and I decided to go ahead with the blood tests (chromosome testing) that my doctor recommended at our post IVF consult.  At this point, we are confident that the acupuncture is helping and are excited to go back to try an IUI to see if I have better egg quality and number.  For me, there is something unsettling about not knowing what  is causing our infertility – it’s always been a broad diagnosis of premature ovarian failure, but why?  It just doesn’t make any sense.  I’m 29 yr old and healthy.  So, even though we were quite against the blood tests when they were first mentioned,  we have begun to understand the purpose of them at this point and feel ready to go ahead with them and hopefully  get a better diagnosis.

 After speaking with someone who had the testing done and found out she did have an abnormal chromosome, it made me feel a little better about going forward with it.   She said it helped her to move  ahead with adoption instead of wasting a lot of time, energy, and money into assisted reproductive procedures that were never going to work due to this particular genetic abnormality. 

Getting results on these tests have such an impact on your life, they recommend a genetic counselor to receive the results.  It can be extremely hard to receive such results that indicate an abnormality that may cause infertility or a child with severe abnormalities.  At the same time, I think it will provide peace knowing there is a reason for the infertility and that we can move forward full force with adoption. 

Last week I had the blood drawn at my clinic and so I will receive the results directly and will have to fax them to my fertility doctor.  It’s nice that I will get to see them first, but probably won’t completely understand the results until someone goes over them with us.  The tests performed were  Chromosome Analysis and Fragile X. 

Chromosome Analysis is a study of the number and general structure of all 46 chromosomes; it is also known as a karyotype.  In a standard karyotype, chromosomes from cells in the body (usually white blood cells) are counted to ensure that the cells evaluated have the correct number of chromosomes, and their structure is evaluated to ensure that there are no large pieces of material that are missing (deleted), extra (duplicated), or rearranged in any way.  

Hundreds of different types of chromosome abnormalities causing well described syndromes have been reported in humans. They fall into 2 categories:   numerical and structural.  A numerical chromosome abnormality simply means that a person has a total number of chromosomes different from 46; usually 47 or sometimes 45 chromosomes, in each cell of their body, respectively. Health problems and birth defects are usually present as  a result of having the extra or missing genetic material.  An example of a numerical chromosome abnormality is Down syndrome, which is typically caused by having an entire extra chromosome 21, for a total of three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two.

The other type of chromosome abnormality, structural, means that a portion of the genetic material has been rearranged in some way; for example, a piece of one chromosome may be attached to another chromosome (translocation), or a piece of a chromosome may be turned upside down (inversion).  A rearrangement may or may not result in obvious health problems. This depends on whether the structural problem ultimately results in a net gain or loss of chromosome material. If the chromosome material is simply in a rearranged fashion, yet all of the genetic information is present, the person may have no clinical symptoms; this is known as a “balanced” rearrangement. However, this type of chromosome rearrangement can cause the individual to have an increased chance for pregnancy losses or infants born with birth defects.  This is because chromosome rearrangements can make it difficult for the genetic information to be divided equally between each egg/sperm cell. If this occurs, and then that egg or sperm cell is used in reproduction, there can be too much or too little genetic material in the resulting fetus. The pregnancy is "unbalanced" chromosomally, and may

miscarry or result in the birth of a child with health and/or learning problems. About 1 in 500 persons in the general population carry a rearrangement in their chromosome material. Persons with family or personal histories of multiple pregnancy losses, unexplained stillbirths, or early infant deaths, may be at a slightly greater chance to have a rearrangement in their chromosomes.

Chromosome analysis is recommended as a routine diagnostic procedure for a number of

indications, but obviously for us it was due to infertility.  Chromosome abnormalities can be seen in one or the other parent in approximately 3-6% of infertility or recurrent miscarriage cases.  It’s not very common at all, but we might be that 3-6% of couples and if we are, we are ready to know. 

The thing about chromosome testing is it’s never 100% accurate, just like most things in the medical field.  For example, even when both parents have normal chromosomes and the baby has a normal chromosome study on an amniocentesis, there is still a 2-3% chance for the baby to have a birth defect. My mother and sister never had an amniocentesis performed during their pregnancies, which of course is highly advised.   The struggle I think I have with it, like my mother and sister did, is if something is wrong with the fetus- it’s still a fetus and there’s nothing I can do to change it at that time.  We don’t believe in abortion so it almost seems purposeless to complete such a test. 

The stark reality is that most of the time when an abnormality is found, the baby is aborted. Even those who go into the testing feeling like they would not choose abortion often do end up choosing abortion anyhow if a problem is diagnosed.  Although the ultimate choice is of course up to the individuals involved, there is a great deal of strong pressure for women with "abnormal" fetuses to have an abortion.  Doctors usually assume that of course a woman who has a fetus with a birth defect is going to terminate the pregnancy.  Although officially they state that these tests are for information only, unofficially women report subtle but very significant pressure to abort a pregnancy with abnormalities.  

Some couples will still do an amniocentesis even after firmly deciding that they would never choose abortion, no matter what the results are so they will know of any problems ahead of time and feel they will be more prepared.  For me, this would cause more worry and stress during the rest of the pregnancy and the anticipation of a healthy baby would be gone early on.  I have heard numerous stories of couples who were told their baby had abnormalities via amniocentesis and the baby was born perfectly healthy.  How many babies out there have been aborted that would have been completely healthy, thriving children right now?   I know this topic is so heavy and my intention is not to preach to anyone, I’m just expressing thoughts as they run through my head and the discussions Dave and I have had plenty of time to have as we wait for our baby to be created.

Fragile X was the other blood test recommended by my doctor.  Fragile X syndrome is caused by an abnormality in a single gene. Fragile X syndrome is caused by a mutation (change) in a gene called FMR-1 located on the X chromosome. 

Each of us has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 individual chromosomes. The pair of sex chromosomes (X and Y) determines whether a person is male or female. Normally, females have two X chromosomes, and males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. Because females have two X chromosomes, a female who inherits one X chromosome with the abnormal FMR-1 gene still has the other unaffected X chromosome. Therefore, females are affected by fragile X syndrome less frequently than males. When affected, females tend to have less severe symptoms than males. Males generally are more severely affected because they have only one X chromosome, and it contains the abnormal gene. 

The mutation that causes fragile X syndrome is a genetic “stutter.” This means that a small section of genetic material within the gene is repeated too many times. Most people who do not have fragile X syndrome have between 5 and 40 repeats of this section of the gene. People who have more than 200 repeats of the gene have fragile X syndrome. More than 200 repeats is called a full mutation. A full mutation causes the gene to turn off and not make the protein it usually makes. The protein normally is found in many types of cells but mostly in nerve cells. Scientists think the protein helps brain development and may help nerve cells in the brain communicate.  

Fragile X syndrome gets its name from the appearance of the section of the X chromosome where the gene mutation occurs. In certain conditions under a microscope, the section of the chromosome looks fragile, as if it is dangling by a thread. 

We are awaiting the results on these tests, and praying for God to give us clear answers as we seek to do his will. We pray for clarity in the next steps of our journey and discernment for the big decisions ahead of us.  We pray that these results no matter what they are can provide a peace in our hearts.  
So, this month has been very odd.  Day 17 I started spotting and thought I seriously was getting my period even sooner than I was before.  I was so disappointed because acupuncture is supposed to be lengthening/regulating my cycle.  The spotting continued for Days 18, 19, and 20.  Then I returned to normal and kept figuring my period was really going to start, but it never did.  

Last Thursday  my acupuncturist told me I was either about to start my period or ovulate really late.  And funny enough that morning I had my yearly exam and the doctor also told me I was about to start my period.     Well, my period still hasn't come, but yesterday I got a strong positive LH surge.  Crazy enough this occurred on day 28.  Keep in mind for me, a normal cycle is 24 days long.   So, I have no idea what this is, but we're hoping this is it!   Since I was watching for my period and monitoring body signs closely, I was able to catch ovulation and time intercourse  just right both before and after ovulation.  So, now we wait.  

This is the month we were going to do an IUI and assumed my period would come first week of August and then I would go in for insemination by Aug 14.  Well that's not exactly what's happening, but I believe in my heat there is a reason for this delay whatever it may be.  I sure hope it's our little miracles being formed as I write this.  It's extremely odd to ovulate this late, but I hope that this craziness in my cycle is a good sign.    I had very strange stomach pain all day today and I hope that means the start of a tiny little someone being created inside me.  Something just feels different this month.  

Last week in Sunday school, the teacher simply spoke on hard times and going through them, but it was the part he spoke after that that resonated in my heart.  He said, God is at work.  Such a simple truth, I mean I "know" that, but I hadn't taken the time to really meditate on it and let it fill me with a peace throughout this journey.   Those 4 simple words were exactly what I needed to be reminded of.  All last week and this week I have kept those words at the forefront of my mind, throughout my day, and I simply smile knowing whatever is going on in the moment, the day,  the month, they year, or the past 2.5 years that makes absolutely no sense to me, it doesn't change the fact that......

Being a Christian doesn't change the fact that my life will have hard times, or hard moments, or rough patches, what it does change is the fact that I don't walk through them alone and I know that God is at work and those rough times are not the end of the story.  There's a much better ending to the story, it's our salvation in Christ and an eternity with him in heaven.  As I write this last part of my blog, I am reminded of a song that reminds me of what I just wrote, Jeremy Camp says it in his song............There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, no more fears, there will be a day when the burdens of this place will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face.  

"There Will Be a Day"   Jeremy Camp