09 March 2016

Hiking Hawaii - Kuli'ou'ou Ridge.

A couple weekends ago, Shaun and I went on another hike with a few friends. This happens to be another one of my faves that I had been dying to take him on. So glad we've had some free time together over the few weeks before he left to cross some things off our bucket list.

The hike was Kuli'ou'ou Ridge and it was a little over five miles roundtrip. It was a perfectly clear, sunny day and the views were better than ever.

 Waimanalo to Kailua.

Hawaii Kai and Hanauma Bay.

Bird's eye view of Diamond Head.


Warmest Aloha,

07 March 2016

One week down..

We ended up doing the IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) last Saturday.

Everything went well and we had 15 million motile sperm. While that sounds like a lot, I realize it could have been a little better. The doctor did say that anything over 10 million was good so praying one of those little guys found it's way to wear it needed to go! haha

36 hours before the IUI was scheduled, we used an HCG injection to trigger ovulation. Because of this, doctors usually recommend waiting at least 14 days to take a pregnancy test otherwise, you run the risk of getting a false positive (HCG is the hormone that your body starts producing when you are pregnant and is what home pregnancy tests are looking for.)

My mom and dad get in to Hawaii tonight so I'm glad they will be here this weekend when I'm ready to test. Shaun left for his deployment last week so any distraction is definitely welcome. I'm really hoping and praying that I have some good news for him when I talk to him next!

I'm just trying to stay positive in the meantime. If we don't end up getting a positive this month, I really just want to work my butt off and get back into shape while Shaun's away. I've really slowed down on exercising, especially with the Follistim, as rigorous exercise is not recommend when using that medication :(

We also talked before he left and decided that if we don't get pregnant this month, we will start the IVF process when he gets home. There is a good chance we will be moving to Guam at the beginning of next year and we will no longer have the infertility benefits that we have here in Hawaii.

All your positive thoughts, prayers, and baby juju are appreciated! Five more days until test day!

Warmest Aloha,

25 February 2016

The stars have aligned.

I went for another follow-up ultrasound this week on Tuesday. I still had the three follicles seen at my last appointment with the two larger ones at 15mm and one right behind at 12-13mm.

My doctor told me to continue the Follistim for a couple more days and trigger Thursday (tonight.) Our IUI is scheduled for bright and early on Saturday morning and I am thrilled to say that my husband came home today so it will work out perfectly for him to be there.

In addition to this, we received some more good news today - 
Shaun has been selected for LDO (Limited Duty Officer!) 

In non-military terms, this means that Shaun will be promoted from enlisted to officer, it's a HUGE deal and we are both thrilled! He won't get commissioned until later this year so until then, he'll continue his "chiefly" duties. Once commissioned, he will go to officer school for about five weeks then there is a good chance we will be moving again, although we won't know where until it gets closer.

I am so happy for my husband - he is the most hard-working, intelligent person I know and he is an excellent leader. This promotion suits him and I can't wait to see what he accomplishes. In all honesty, I am okay with moving around and with this Navy life we live. There isn't any place I wouldn't follow my husband to and I can't wait to see where this wild ride takes us!

20 February 2016

Follicle Update.

Yesterday morning, I went in for another ultrasound to see how my follicles were doing and I got some interesting news.

First, the doctor saw an additional two larger follicles on my left ovary as opposed to just the one on my right from the other day. She also said that the one on my right hasn't really grown at all in the couple days since my last u/s. All three are about 11mm right now and they must be around 17+ mm in order to trigger ovulation and proceed with the IUI.

My body has been responding to this injectable medication much differently than the previous oral medications that I've tried; things seem to be progressing much more slowly.

At my Wednesday appointment, my doctor said that the IUI would probably be early next week, but with the news we received yesterday, it doesn't sound like that will be the case. 

This might turn out to be a good thing after all since Shaun has to go back to work for a few days and will not be available to do the IUI until later in the week.

My doctor initially said that she was going to increase my Follistim dosage to speed things up and hopefully trigger Monday, but then after explaining to her that Shaun won't be here until the end of the week, she said that we can keep it the same and kind of coast things along for now and do another u/s on Tuesday and go from there.

So, at my day 10 u/s, I was really upset because he had taken off work (which is not easy for him to do right now!) and we were WAY off; but then I got this news yesterday and it's kind of good? 

We did make arrangements for cryopreservation in the event that things take a turn and we do have to do the IUI before he comes home. 

I'm praying that our timing works out though and we don't have to use it after all.

Looking forward to seeing how things look on Tuesday!

Thanks for checking in!

Warmest Aloha,

17 February 2016

Cycle update.

I had an ultrasound appointment this morning to check and see how many follicles have grown since I started the Follistim injections. The news was somewhat disappointing.

The doctor only saw one larger follicle that measured 11mm on my right ovary and several smaller ones on the left; she said that the ones on the left probably won't catch up in time for the IUI.

I was upset. I know I should be happy to have the one, but I could have accomplished that on my own without medication. From what I understand, the whole point of using medication is to try and get more than one follicle to mature to increase the possibility of conceiving.

I have to continue the nightly injections and go back on Friday morning for another ultrasound to see how much they've grown and if we can schedule the trigger injection and IUI procedure.

Another reason why this was so upsetting is because my husband took the rest of this week of from work to make sure he would be home for the IUI. So far, the IUIs that we've done have been around cycle day 13 or 14; with Saturday being cd13 and not having the option to do it on Sunday, I thought for sure it would be Saturday. Shaun won't be available next week due to work so our only option is to try naturally until he leaves and cryopreserve a semen sample for the procedure next week (sorry if TMI, but there ain't nothing about this process that isn't TMI!)

Needless to say, it was a rough morning. Shaun and I ended up down in Waikiki for lunch then he brought me to get a manicure; that all made me feel a little bit better ;)

On a happier note, we just booked the Sheraton Waikiki for next weekend. They had a great military rate and it's about time for a nice, little staycation.

Warmest Aloha,

15 February 2016

Valentine's Day< 3

Shaun and I decided to have an early Valentine's dinner on Friday night to beat the crowds and have a nice day together doing other things on Sunday.

Friday night we ate at a little Italian restaurant in Kailua, called Baci Bistro. There is nowhere near the variety of restaurants here in Hawaii as there was in Charleson, which makes me miss Charleston soo much! Shaun briefly compared this place to Wild Olive; we both agreed the food was good, but the atmosphere didn't even come close.

On Sunday, Shaun was off-going from duty so we decided to get a hike in first thing. There's a couple hikes that I had been wanting to take him on and Lulumahu Falls was one of them. It's a fairly easy hike with a pretty good payoff at the end. It's also shaded and wooded so nice and cool and out of the sun.

I may have acquired a selfie stick over the holidays and Shaun just refuses to smile nice when I use it so here he is, snubbing my selfie stick, once again haha.

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day/ Galentine's Day!

Warmest Aloha,

13 February 2016

The serious things.

Once again, it has been several months in between blog posts. I still think about it all the time and have decided to start blogging about one of the main things that has been on my heart lately.

As some of you know, Shaun and I got married in April 2014. We decided that we wanted to start a family right away, so I went off birth control in June 2014 and we starting trying to get pregnant.

While some people get pregnant right away, that is just not the case for others. It seems like I hear people say all the time that they got pregnant on their first try or within a few months of trying. What you rarely hear are the stories of those who took many months or even years to have a baby. Reality is, 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility, and we are one of them.

After trying naturally for a year, I turned to an infertility specialist. We had some initial testing done - blood work, HSG, semen analysis, etc. What we ended up finding out was that everything on my end came back good, however, my husband's sperm count was on the low side of normal and he had very low motility. After the doctor gave us the results, she proceeded to tell us that we would probably never get pregnant naturally.

Looking back, that probably wasn't the best thing for her to tell us, especially at that time. We left the hospital feeling slightly defeated.

The doctor ordered another analysis for Shaun that ended up coming back worse than the first one.
The plan moving forward was to start oral medication for me, to increase follicle production and IUI (intrauterine insemination) to increase our chances of conceiving. I also researched some supplements for Shaun to take to try and help his sperm production and motility.

So far, we have done five medicated cycles with oral medications. Our first medicated cycle was with 50mg Clomid and I produced eight mature follies (potential eggs) so our IUI was cancelled for fear we could end up with HOM (high order multiples.) Our next three cycles were with 5mg Femara (letrozole) and I had three follicles each time; we did IUI on the second and third cycle, but not the fourth since it fell over Christmas and the offices were closed. Our last IUI was with 100mg Clomid and I ended up with five follicles. I think we could have had a great chance on this cycle, however, Shaun was gone for work during that time. We were able to freeze a "sample" for the IUI, however, we lost a LOT of motile sperm during the freezing/ thawing process.

The good thing about all these tries, is that each time we did an IUI and we got Shaun's results back, they got better and better. We attributed his initial bad results to a three month-long underway that he had just come back from. During that time, lack of sleep and high stress were inevitable, most likely causing his initial test results to come back so low.

This month, my doctors have decided not to have me do anymore oral medications and to move on to an injectable medication. I started two nights ago with an injections of 75 iu Follistim, which we'll do for six days. On the seventh day, I have an appointment for an ultrasound to see how many follicles have grown. I'm a little nervous because using injectable medications can cause OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome.) If we end up with too many follicles again, they will cancel the IUI.

The kicker in our situation is that, ever since we got to Hawaii, we knew that there was a long deployment in our somewhat near future. We still had a while to try and we hoped to be able to time it so that I would have the baby after Shaun came home.

We've been trying for 19 months now with no luck and this is our last chance to try before Shaun leaves. As ridiculous as it may sound, he actually took leave from work so he could be sure to be home from work when it's time for the IUI. I'm praying that with this new medication protocol and Shaun's now normal test results, this month will end with a pregnancy for us.

Sorry for the long, detailed post (still probably doesn't include everything!), but just trying to get the blog up-to-date.

Will post more updates soon!


30 October 2015

Aloha from Hawaii!

Gosh, I hate the fact that I keep going so long in between blog posts. I think about it often and miss blogging every day. Whenever something awesome happens or even whenever something tough happens, I think about how I want to blog about it! Bear with me while I try and figure out how to get back into the swing of things.

Several months have past since my last post, probably close to a year. Yikes! Many things have happened, many things have stayed the same.

The many things that have happened tend to deal with my husband not being home a real lot and learning to cope with that. I have to say that while I definitely was not prepared for the fact that he wouldn't be home more than he is home, I think I've been handling it pretty well.

On a good note, when he is home, we have had many opportunities to experience Hawaii together and when he's not home well, I've learned to not stop my life and enjoy life with my friends.

A little background:
Many of you, if you're still out there, who used to read my blog regularly may recall that my husband and I have known each other for some time now. When I first met him and for the first three and a half years of our relationship, he was on shore duty. Since we have moved and changed duty stations, he is on sea duty and that is what requires him to be gone so much now as opposed to before.

So, here's hoping that I can stay on this blogging upswing! I have lots to talk about and share and look forward to catching up with everyone else.


10 November 2014

Small Business.

Happy Aloha Monday everyone!

I finally feel like I am in a good position to share with you all, a little project that I've been working on.

Upon moving to Hawaii with my husband, I had to leave my full-time job at the College of Charleston, and with that, I left behind a lot of my financial independence that came along with that.

I knew that if I left my job, that I would want to try and do something from home that would give me the flexibility of making my own schedule and working for myself. From this, came the idea for Southerly Monogram Shop.

I've got myself an embroidery machine and have been whipping up some super cute toddler t-shirts and baby onesies for the kiddos! Many of the orders that I have been getting are for military homecomings, but I also have some adorable monogrammed goodies in my Etsy shop, as well.

I would love for you all to check it out! And also, please feel free to share :)

Here is just a sample of some of the designs that I offer.

Please "Like" me on Facebook for updates on new items coming every week!

Thanks, y'all!!

09 November 2014

Dinner for One.

If you have a husband that is in the military or works a lot, you probably know what it's like to have to cook for one. 

Most nights, I have to dig deep to even find the motivation to cook at all because it's never fun eating alone and even less fun trying to find healthy options to cook for one person.

I've decided to start blogging about my meal plan for the week, once again, to try and hold myself accountable for my choices.

Weekly food shopping for just myself has also posed a problem lately with actually getting a chance to use the fresh foods that I purchase before they go bad. Here in Hawaii, anything perishable has to be refrigerated; otherwise, you can expect it to go bad within a couple days. Because of this, I have resorted to going to the commissary or grocery store every few days or on an as-needed basis. 

I have also found, that with an active lifestyle, where I am not always home for lunch and/or dinner, it's better to plan for just a few meals at home in the event that I do not make it home in time to cook. This has also been helping to save money and avoid buying food that goes bad before I have a chance to eat it.

Here is my [dinner] meal plan for the week.

(The original recipe actually calls for grilled chicken, but I'm doing it with Mahi.)

Do any of y'all have advice for cooking for one?
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