Friday, February 26, 2010


Mid-January Hammer and I decided to join a church plant that split off of our church. It was an intentional church plant that was sent out to reach young adults in their late twenties and thirties. We were really excited about the opportunity and God has really been blessing the church. Our opening Sunday we had 450 people! We are creating a great community of people which is a void that had been lacking at our old church.

For the lent season our church decided to do a bible study series called Free. They had everyone in the church divide up by the day of the week they were available to meet. This is a great way for everyone to meet more people in the church and develop an even deeper community. There was a bit of pre-meeting workbook preparation. As I went through it I realized that the underlying theme of what was preventing true spiritual freedom for me right now was the fact that I was not living my ultimate dream of being a mom and that it made me feel a bit that God was being unfair with me. I told Hammer that I had decided to do two different responses; one for me about our infertility and one that I felt comfortable sharing with the group. I was very clear with Hammer that I wasn't going to be sharing our trial with a group of strangers.

But God must have had a different idea. One of the couples who offered up their home for the group meeting shared that she needed freedom from worry after having suffered from three miscarriages. Afterward I felt strongly compelled to speak to her and thank her for sharing such a difficult and personal trial. And when I did, I found myself tearing up and thanking her for being brave and sharing something that I couldn't. She instantly understood and gave me a huge hug. We ended up staying after everyone else had left to talk to the couple and each share a bit of our infertility trials. Oh the irony that I wanted to remain in my safe, secure space and instead God brought someone into my life to help me live a little bit more free from my burden of infertility.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

I was honored to receive this award from three amazing IF bloggers, two of which have been blessed with their miracles: Mandy @ Oh, baby!, Waiting (private blog), and Nicole @ Anonymous Infertility Confessions (private blog). Thank you soooo much ladies!

The award comes with the following rules:
1) Thank the person(s) who nominated you for this award
2) Copy the award and place it in your blog
3) Link to the person(s) who nominated you for this award
4) Tell us 7 interesting things about you
5) Nominate 7 bloggers and link to their blogs

7 Fun Facts About Mrs. Hammer

1) I met Mr. Hammer while living in Colorado for a summer. We both went out there for a church summer leadership program from our respective campus churches. Amazingly we were both from the same state. We had to travel almost 1,500 miles to find each other but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

2) I sing back up vocals at our church. In fact that is how Mr. Hammer and I got to really know each other. He is a drummer and we would hang out during rehearsals when we were in Colorado during our summer church service. Being in our church band is one of the fun things we continue to do as a couple.

3) I grew up with monkeys as pets. Well to clarify, my dad is a vet who specializes in primates. He worked with our local zoo to help raise a species of endangered tamarin monkeys whose mother's had abandoned them. We had to raise them in our home because of the constant care that these little guys needed. These baby monkeys literally fit in the palm of your hand and we had to feed them with an eye dropper. Once they reached about a year old they had to be returned to the zoo but there would eventually be another set of babies that needed our care. What I didn't realize at the time was that my dad was the first person to successfully hand raise tamarins. Super cool!

4) One of my favorite sweet treats is fudge. I LOVE it.

5) One of my favorite places is Mack.inac Island where I can indulge in said fudge.

6) I'm one of those girls that enjoys playing video games. And not the silly games that are on the Wii [hence we don't own a Wii] but I don't care for the first person shooter games. (Since I don't know too many women who like video games I'm not sure if you know what I'm referring too so I won't go on).

7) One of the hardest vices I've had to give up has been caffeine but this coming August (if I can hold out) I will be one year free of it. I'm actually really proud of myself but I have to admit I've been tempted on occasion.

And now for the nominees:

Andrea @ Life, Love & Pursuit of our Fairytale

JB @ Of Cabbages and Kings

Hillary @ Making Me Mom

Astrid @ Babymaking 101

Shannon @ Faith Hope and Love

osuraj @ Anything's Possible

Allison @ Bouncing Baby Buckeye

Monday, February 8, 2010


I've been on edge waiting for our phone call on my AMH levels. Because of which I've been mildly panicking that they were disastrously low. I have good reason to think so based upon how difficult I am to stim. Our prayer was that the reason for the poor stimming is that the long lupron cycle was just not for us...and our prayers were heard. Our testing is based upon ng/ml so we were looking to be over 1.0 which is normal and I was 1.3 ng/ml, I'll take it! So hopefully that means our lupron flare will be the one to produce lots of little eggies for future babies.

For those who are not familiar with AMH here is a link to it's description and the range my lab uses below:

High (often PCOS) Over 3.0 ng/ml
Normal Over 1.0 ng/ml
Low Normal Range 0.7 - 0.9 ng/ml
Low 0.3 - 0.6 ng/ml
Very Low Less than 0.3 ng/ml

**Next up - long over due blog awards!

Monday, February 1, 2010


I think the weight of our most recent diagnosis has finally hit both Hammer and I. It was a delayed response because it came right in the middle of loosing Hammer’s dad. It’s to be expected I suppose. Both of us have begun to feel down and defeated every time we think about that 48%. It seems insurmountable. And now we are still awaiting the results of my recent AMH test. This is the test that will really tell us how many eggs are left in my ‘baskets.’ My FSH is fine so my egg quality is fine but I’m such a hard stimmer and lefty has low antral follicle counts so they are wondering if I may have diminished ovarian reserves. I have to admit I’m really worried.

Our first IVF I was on the long lupron cycle and 225 units of Bravelle a day. We were almost cancelled but managed to get 6 mature eggs of which only 3 fertilized.

Our second IVF was long lupron again on 300 units of Bravelle + 75 units of Luveris. I had 11 follicles and 9 eggs were collected, 8 were mature eggs, and 7 fertilized.

We’re not getting vast improvements in the egg making department here. My only hope is that my AMH is fine and that the real issue is that I’m just not a good candidate for the long lupron protocol. We could really use some good news here. But I’m feeling a bit defeated and have found myself wondering if we should just drop everything and head to adoption, the sure thing, right? But it’s not a settled feeling, there is no peace in that decision, so we push forward.

Our third and final IVF will be a lupron flare protocol with 375 units of Bravelle + 75 units of Luveris. This is the max you can give a person AND it's a short cycle ~2-3 weeks which I like...a lot.

Hammer is starting to really struggle with the fact that, per his words, “it’s his fault” regardless of the fact that I’ve told him I’ve always known but that it didn’t matter, this is OUR trial and we are doing this TOGETHER and that if given the chance I would marry him all over again even knowing we would go through this. He is my soul mate, the one whom God intended for me,, there is not a doubt in my mind. I think that over the course of this journey he has really held it together while I have been a roller coaster since, as you all know, women are put through the majority of the procedures, drugs etc. I think this is his moment where he needs to grieve but it just kills me to see him struggle because I know full well what he is feeling. But it does not help that this comes on the tails of losing his dad and the fact that we both have always known for years he would never see his grandchildren and now it has come true.

And now we’ve come to the end of the line, last chance IVF. Go big or go home. So to pick us up and give us some hope I resumed my research on IVF/ICSI and DNA fragmentation. It was actually very encouraging. In one article showed that for men who did not meet ICSI criteria (Hammer) and were treated with antioxidants for 2 months, there was an increase in pregnancy rate that went from 6.9% to 48.2%. And that ICSI actually had a more negative outcome. Two other articles supported this outcome. So we are leaning towards not doing ICS because it is believed that the zona of the egg and good ole’ Mother Nature herself may be the best selector of healthy sperm in our case. We are, however, going to ask about assisted hatching which is used in couples who have had several failed IVF cycles, like us.

Hammer’s vitamin regime has been revised to the following (amount increase in parenthesis):

-Vitamin C 1000 mg (+800 mg)
-Vitamin E 800 IU (+400 IU)
-L Acetyl-Carnitine 1 gram
-L Carnitine 1 gram (morning and evening)
-Pycogenol 100 mg
-Co Q-10 75 mg

In addition to vitamins we will both begin drinking antioxidant smoothies:

1 oz acai juice
1oz pomegranate juice
1oz frozen wheat grass
½ cup organic blueberries
½ cup organic orange and/or pineapple juice
½ cup organic yogurt
2 tbsp raw honey

Hopefully this will be an even bigger antioxidant booster. We will also be ensuring that Hammer eats 2-3 dinner salads that contain organic mixed greens. Our chiropractor has an antioxidant screening test that Hammer will have done to get a baseline and then subsequent checks to see if his levels are improving. I’m posting all of this for those women out there who may have or may be interested in testing for sperm DNA fragmentation but then receive little to no guidance from their RE’s about how to treat it. Mainly because that is what we are experiencing but thankfully as a dietitian and background in research I know enough to find out how to treat it. My hope is that I can pass this on to anyone else out there who may need it. If those of you who are reading have any questions I will be more than happy to answer them as there is not a lot of information out there and it’s a controversial topic.