Stims Stats-Days 6, 7 & 8

ss cd678.jpg

I’m a little behind because I worked the last couple of days and between that, the drugs, and other plans and events we had to go to, I’m beat!  So here’s to catch us up:

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Gonal-F-300 units
  • Menopur-150 units (2 vials)
  • Leuprolide Acetate-10 units

I took the same dosages for Friday and Saturday.  Tonight, my meds will be reduced slightly.

 

Symptoms today?

Today I’m tired.  This weekend I have continued to experience the consistent headache and the exhaustion everyone speaks of.  A new symptom arrived being dull low back pain.FB_IMG_1454118411776  I have read it is common as well.  I’m sure it has something to do with everything running out of space and putting pressure in places I’m not used to.  I’m definitely bloated and can feel things happening in my abdomen. It’s not extremely painful but more annoying than anything, if that makes sense.  I can tell my ovaries are larger and hopefully, as much as I hate to admit it, remain getting larger.  The best way I can explain it is when I sit down, I feel like I’m sitting on them or they have to move out of the way to make room for other organs.  It’s really weird.  I wore jeans to church today which I immediately regretted because they are extra tight right now. Looks like it’s workout pants and leggings for me this week! Overall, I’m moving a lot slower than normal and even waddling some which is something I noticed that today.  Just hoping in 9-10 months I’ll be doing a whole different type of waddle so this is all worth it! 😉

Doctor/Lab appointments?

I had our appointment on Friday and I personally think it went well!  They drew blood and checked my Estradiol and Progesterone and then did an ultrasound to measure my ovaries and count and measure follicles.

Any results?

My Estradiol (E2) came back at 618.8 pg/ml! So that’s climbing and doing well! Again, I read somewhere (so I’m not entire 100% certain this is true) that every 100-200 pg/ml it indicates you should have 1 mature follicle. This number should and hopefully will be in the 1000’s-2000’s at egg retrieval time!

My Progesterone is at 0.26 ng/ml.  So it’s gone down but that is good and showing that I shouldn’t ovulate early.  Oddly enough, this has been something that has made me unexpectedly nervous.   I’m sure it’s an irrational fear but I’m so worried they will go in and try to retrieve eggs and they won’t be there.   Like they read the invitation to the party wrong and showed up a week late.

They also did an ultrasound to measure each ovary and the follicles within each.  If you recall, this is what I was most nervous for.  I think mostly because I had read of many women having their cycles cancelled because their bodies weren’t responding to meds and they didn’t have growing follicles.  Well, the good news is they counted 18 follies growing!!  They measure each follicle in millimeters and here were the results:

Left Ovary=Length-2.37cm, Volume-4.67cc, Height-1.76cm, Width-2.14 cm

Follicles:

  • L1-7mm
  • L2-12mm
  • L3-10mm
  • L4-7mm
  • L5-8mm
  • L6-9mm
  • L7-10mm
  • L8-10mm

Right Ovary=Length-2.81cm, Volume-11.79cc, Height-2.67cm, Width-3.00 cm

Follicles:

  • R1-7mm
  • R2-9mm
  • R3-9mm
  • R4-5mm
  • R5-6mm
  • R6-9mm
  • R7-10mm
  • R8-9mm
  • R9-14mm<–Ok! Where did that come from?!
  • R10-7mm

Basically I’ve been told at the time of retrieval idea measurement is 18mm-20mm.  So we have some growing to do!  Our Nurse Practitioner said everything looked good for being Day 6 and she hopes the 5’s, 6’s and 7’s will “wake up” this weekend!

Next on the agenda?

Tomorrow, I have an appointment to do lab work and an ultrasound again.  We will check thatd be greatthe progress and see if the smaller follies decided to catch up with the rest.  Then, we should have a better idea of when egg retrieval will be.  As it stands right now, it will be Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of this week. AHHHH!  The local meteorologists were talking about a snow storm Monday night into Tuesday but were unsure if it could just be a cold rain or 6″+ of snow.  Latest report, they think the snow will stay to the north which would be ideal since our drive to the hospital for Egg Retrieval is over 25 miles. Today, however, I will enjoy the 55 degree weather and relax while giving my follies a pep talk!

 

Until next time,

Jackie

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Stims Stats-Day 5

SS CD5

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Gonal-F-300 units
  • Menopur-150 units (2 vials)
  • Leuprolide Acetate-10 units

Last night’s shots went well.  Although, the Menopur burned from the beginning no matter how slow Hubby pushed it.  It was even on my right side! This is how last night’s conversation played out:(While administering Menopur)
Me: “OW! That hurt! It still hurts! SLOW DOWN!”
Hubby: “I am going slow.  If I went any slower I wouldn’t be going!”
Me: “Don’t make me laugh!”

Hubby: “Just breathe!”
Me: “I want to but I don’t want my stomach to move!” (Continues try to only breathe through nose like it won’t make my stomach expand)

I just got back from Hubby’s work so he could do my injections.  When we found out our calendar for IVF, I fixed my work schedule to accommodate our med schedule but completely forgot about his.  He won’t get home until midnight or later, so I had to take the stab-a-thon back to him.  Tonight, the Menopur didn’t hurt at all.  However, the Gonal-F stung upon entry.  I’m sure has something to do with the nerves in that spot.

Symptoms today?

I feel like things are really kicking in gear today.  I had to work for a short period of time today and could definitely feel it the more I was on my feet.  More so on my right side. Pants are fitting tighter and when I got home I immediately had to put on some workout pants to lounge around in. (That’s irony, right?) I have finally experienced the great headache everyone seems to talk about as a side effect with these meds.  It started early this evening and is hanging around.  I also got the exhausted feeling late this afternoon so I did a whole lot of nothing the rest of the day.

Doctor/Lab appointments?

Not until tomorrow, bright and early!  Hubby says he’ll go if I buy him coffee! 😉 Finger and toes crossed everything is progressing well!

Any results?

Hubby’s genetic testing came back!  If you read previously, I’m a carrier for something called Glycogen Storage Disease Type 5, also known as McArdle Disease.  Nothing too serious but our RE required he be tested to see if he is a carrier for the same disease.  If so, any fertilized embryos would have to be biopsied and sent off to a lab for genetic testing.  The good news is he was negative for all genetic diseases!! Again, he reminded me he does have super powers and he’s glad no one was able to find out!

Next on the agenda?

Tomorrow is the day we do lab work and an ultrasound to check out any progress and to make sure things are going how they want them too.  I’m very nervous and would appreciate any prayers!  I’m anxious to see how everything is going.

In other non-infertility-related news, if our lives weren’t crazy enough we got another foster dog tonight.  For those that don’t know, we foster Retired Greyhounds until they get adopted.  This should be a good distraction I hope!

Until next time,

Jackie

Stims Stats-Day 4

 

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Gonal-F-300 units-INCREASED!
  • Menopur-150 units-DOUBLED!
  • Leuprolide Acetate-10 units

Last night, I had to get my injection done at Hubby’s work. Less than ideal but when you gotta be flexible you gotta suck it up, I guess!  One thing I have learned about IVF is be flexible.  You are no longer on your time. AT. Screenshot_2016-01-27-20-34-17-1ALL.  Everything is play it by ear and we are flying by the seat of our pants!  Just when you think you are getting the hang of something, guess what?  It changes!  Didn’t have plans next week? Now you do. Surgery! BUT, we can’t tell you what day yet. AH!  If you remember reading about my inner control freak, this isn’t playing out so well for me!  I read somewhere else from another blogger how you are always looking towards the “Next ____”.  Next injection, next blood draw, next ultrasound, next doctor’s appointment, etc. and man, were they right!

Symptoms today?

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I might just have to commit and go with the whole get up!

Doing really well the majority of the day.  I decided to wear jeans (big accomplishment, right?) while running errands.  I could tell I’m bloating a little bit because they are definitely a little tighter than normal, especially when I sit.  Everything in my abdomen already feels a little tight and “heavy”.  It will be interesting to see how it progresses the next week!  Otherwise, emotionally I’m feel I’m doing really well.  I even asked Hubby if he’s noticed the crabbiness he thought he would and he said no!  I consider that a win but I’m also not making any promises it will stay that way.  Overall, I feel pretty good!

Doctor/Lab appointments?

None today!

Any results?

Nothing new!

Next on the agenda?

Still counting down the time (since that’s all I can do) until my next appointment on Friday. I’m anxious to find out how my follies are doing and measuring and to see if my E2 has gone up more!  I keep thinking if I feel this way now I can’t imagine how I’ll be Screenshot_2016-01-27-20-29-18-1during my 2WW (Two Week Wait-The time between transfer and HOPEFULLY positive prego test)!  Trying not to do the Dr. Google thing and compare my labwork and history to others but it’s been real hard away.  Playing lots of different scenarios internally!  Going to go make dinner now and then get ready for more stabbing by Hubby!

Don’t forget to comment that you are reading, what you like or don’t like.  I’m loving getting messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years or at all and finding out they are reading along!!! It’s awesome and humbling!  Also, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @thelastkeyblog or on Facebook by clicking HERE.  Please like my page and share the heck out of it!!! Remember 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. experience infertility.  Meaning, someone you know may be going through something similar!

 

Until next time,

Jackie

Stims Stats-Day 3

SS CD3

I’m starting a new section called “Stims Stats” to journal my experience during our Stimulation Phase!  This phase is where I’m given specific drugs to help grow each follicle in my ovary in hopes that the hormones will produce healthy, mature eggs by egg retrieval!

Fertility Medications taken in last 24 hours?

  • Dexamethasone-.5 mg (1/2 tablet)-PM
  • Gonal-F-225 units
  • Menopur-75 units
  • Leuprolide Acetate-10 units

No pain last night like I had the first night!!! We also found for some reason my left side has been more sensitive than the right through all of this so far so I’m wondering if that has something to do with it.

Symptoms today?

A few pings and pangs in my abdomen, definitely can tell the “girls” are waking up! I am starting to see some small bruising pop up around the injection sites.  Feeling a tad bloated first thing this morning but that has subsided.  Gassy.  Sorry, Hubby! Not sure if this is related but now you know!

Doctor/Lab appointments?

This morning I had a lab appointment to test for Estradiol (E2) and Progesterone.  E2 tells us if my follicles are maturing and at what rate.  Progesterone is measured to watch and control ovulation.  Quick needle stick.  Spent more time in the car to and from the office than in the office.

Any results?

The nurse called back within a couple of hours to note that they are going to increase my meds tonight and for the rest of the week.  My E2 is up from my suppression result of 25.2 pg/ml to today which came back 98.4 pg/ml.  Meaning they are starting to come out of hibernation but really need to kick it in to gear!  My progesterone went from 0.31 to 0.35 which from what I gathered is normal.

Next on the agenda?

Doc wanted to increase my stims to 300 units of Gonal-F, 150 units of Menopur and

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Isn’t it cute?!

continue 10 units of Lupron for the next 3 nights.  On Friday morning, we have another round of labs that will be done to check E2 and Progesterone again.  They will also do an
ultrasound to count follicles and measure!

Tonight, Hubby has to work late and since meds have to be done between 6pm and 10pm, it looks like I’ll have to take the stab-a-thon to him at work!  There’s still no way in heck I’ll give myself injections! On the bright side, I get to utilize the handy-dandy pin cushion carrying case the center gave me as a “souvenir”!  Yippee!

 

Until next time,

Jackie

 

Triumphs, Trials and The Week Ahead-Week 2

TTTWA 2

Last Week’s Recap

Triumphs:

  • Our first week and a half of injections are over!! I had one injection every night and an assortment of oral medications!
  • On Thursday, we had our first appointment that involved lab work.  Our lab work came back great and showed my body was responding to the suppression medications!
  • Also, at the same appointment I had an ultrasound to make sure I had no cysts and to do a Antral Follicle Count.  Follicles are what I like to refer as the little “nests” and they help eggs mature by secreting specific hormones.  I was told by my IVF nurse a normal range for women is 8-10 follies per ovary.  At one of my consultation ultrasounds, I had 10-15 on one side and 15-20 plus a cyst on the other, which leans towards the PCOS diagnosis.  I was very worried about the outcome of this test this time around but anxious to see if my PCOS meds may help.  I was VERY happy to hear that I had 9 on my left ovary and 10 on my right.  This is great news because I have a higher chance of having better quality eggs developing and I’m back in the normal range!

    RightOvaryTransvaginalUltra

    Not mine, but a great image from advancedwomenimaging.com showing what follicles look like during an ultrasound!

  • I used the new pharmacy again with ease and received the rest of my medications the next day!
  • I’ll put as a Triumph I survived my first day of “Stims” but you can also read about that experience in trials!

Trials: 

  • I’m still dealing with the mishaps from the home delivery pharmacy I’m technically “supposed” to use with my insurance.  After calling, speaking with 3 different people and cancelling my entire order because they couldn’t get it here on time, surprise surprise, I got 3 of the 6 medications I needed in the middle of the week.  I called back found out they were sent the day AFTER I cancelled and they were trying to charge me for them!   I had to talk to 2 more supervisors and finally got someone to agree to send me a return label so I could send them back and get a refund.  Something tells me it won’t be that easy.
  • Still nervous and anxious about the upcoming egg retrieval.  Knowing I’ll be going in for surgery next week is nerve-wrecking for me but I’m faithfully praying and asking for God to handle it how he sees fit and admitting it is out of my hands.
  • When we start the stimulation phase, I was told I can’t exercise…at all.  No swimming, no yoga, nothing.  While my follicles grow, my ovaries swell and anything “vigorous” can lead to possible torsion.  Thus, puts the idea of me continuing to lose weight on hold. I am just leaning on eating healthier for now.
  • So, last night we started stimulation drugs, or as the IVF world likes to call it, “Stims”.  This is exciting and scary at the same time.  These are the medications where my system basically “wakes up” from being suppressed and starts growing to develop eggs.  There are two new injections to add to the mix.  At our appointment last week, our IVF Coordinator did a quick tutorial on how to mix everything and administer the drugs. It was super helpful and a little overwhelming.  I was happy to hear I can mix two of our drugs in one syringe so that eliminates one needle poke. On the other hand, I found out firsthand last night one of the drugs burns like heck going in, which they told us it would.  I think because they told us this and seeing how much drugs we were adding, I started to “psych” myself out.  Well, Hubby gave me the first injection but this time the poke hurt to which he said “The needle just didn’t want to go in!” My first thought was “I’m sure that’s it.  The needle didn’t want to go in.” I later read on another blog called the The Great Pudding Club Hunt, her husband had the same issue!  Anyway, the injections we had done last week were small and quick and took less than 10 seconds so I thought he was done.  So I made the BIGGEST MISTAKE a needle-phobe could do.  I LOOKED DOWN AT THE NEEDLE IN MY STOMACH! He hadn’t even started injecting the drugs!!! Realizing this, I felt my face become flushed and I started seeing stars.  Right before I could tell Hubby I thought I was going to pass out, he was done.  He looked at me told me I did great and to go get a drink of water and take a minute.  That one wasn’t even the one I was worried about!! It was the next injection that was supposed to burn!  The second one came with a sharp poke and the burn…the burn was awful but as quick as it came, it was gone.  I survived but definitely my least favorite experience of this whole journey.  Only approximately 9 more rounds to go!!

    mood swings

    What happens when it’s a full moon AND I’m on fertility drugs?!

The Week Ahead:

  •  This week we will continue with stims for approximately 10 days total. 10 long days of burning injections…I digress.0131_wvvaccine.jpg
  • Tomorrow, I have an appointment to do lab work to ensure my body is responding to the stims.  This is a very important appointment.  If they don’t see the progress, it could result in them cancelling the entire cycle and having to start over.  Praying that doesn’t happen!
  • I’ll have another appointment on Friday where they will check my lab work again and also do an ultrasound to measure and count follicles and get a closer idea of when egg retrieval might be!
  • We should receive Hubby’s genetic testing back this week to see if he happens to be a carrier for the same disease I have.  If so, it will require an added step before they transfer any embryos.

In other news, our “fur kids” decided to help me blog this time.  They insisted I post a picture of them. They are kinda cute, so I said okay.

lola and captain.jpg

Lola the Bulldog and Captain the Tripawd

Until next time,

Jackie

Triumphs, Trials and The Week Ahead (Week 1)

TTTWA 1We’ve survived our first week! We’ve done 2 nights of our first shots and 5 days of other medications. I thought now would be a good time to do a quick update.

Last Week’s Recap

Triumphs:

  • Knowing the time is finally here.  I think talking about it for so long just got me to the point where I was ready to start.
  • I’m excited about the possibilities to come.
  • I’m excited to have stuff to write about and more frequently! Hoping it reaches out to someone who needs it.
  • I’m also happy the first set of injections have not been terrible.  They use an insulin syringe and needle which is very tiny and hardly noticeable.  Hubby has done a very good job at being quick and gentle!

1733ef08dda0b5ca939d17588785c7e1Trials: 

  • Knowing the time is finally here.  In the same aspect, after having my first Labs done on Monday, I drove home and had a moment of panic and realization.  It was like “Crap. We are really doing this.”
  • I had a horrible experience with a home delivery pharmacy this week.  We are locked into a specific one with our insurance through the military so I started the process with them.  Long story short, after 6 days, a total of approximately 7 hours on the phone (mostly call.jpgon hold), 16 customer service representatives, 5 supervisors, and each one having different answers or new problems to deal with, we went with a different pharmacy.  The new pharmacy I talked to on Thursday at 3pm for a total of 4 minutes had my Rx to me by 1:30pm on Friday!! I called back to order the rest of my Rx’s for the remainder of this cycle and spoke to the same Rep and he even remembered me! I have since talked to them 2 more times and spoke with the same Rep and a Rep who talked to the other one and knew my situation! So refreshing!! Thank you Avella in St. Louis for saving the day! We had incurred extra costs going through them but it was completely worth it!  Now, I’m still dealing with previous pharmacy because they still decided to charge me for medications I haven’t received and I had even cancelled the order last week! Grrr. They make me feel like I’m on hormones I haven’t even started yet!

The Week Ahead:

  • We will continue my one injection and daily oral medications throughout this week. c68ba6a87befa60c2b6cf54fded87ed7Hubby goes on a ski retreat with our High School Youth from church this Friday and Saturday, so it will be interesting to see if I can muster up the courage to give the shots to myself while he’s gone!  I have my best friend who is an RN on stand-by if
    need be! 🙂
  • We have an appointment on Thursday at our RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) to do Labs and an Ultrasound to ensure my body is following along with the Suppression Phase of our cycle.  They want to make sure my body isn’t going ovulate early, there aren’t any cysts, etc.
  • We will also be signing our consents for the upcoming procedures and other
    important decisions such as our decisions like what to do with remaining embryos.  Prayers for communication, patience and guidance for Hubby and I would be much appreciated!
  • 5418a4023ee322694d3cb1aa57c3af92We also “get” to pay our down-payment for said procedures to the RE and our surgery and anesthesia fees to the hospital! Do you hear that? That is the sound of being broke! :-/
  • Starting next Sunday, We will add 2 new injections to the 1 we are already doing so I’m sure I’ll be a needle-pro when all of this is over!

 

Until next time,

Jackie

 

Interview with the Vamp…er…husband

Good evening friends!  The time has come.  6 months of talking and planning has all come down to this moment.  Yesterday, marked the start of our first IVF cycle.  I had lab work done and everything came back normal which is great.  Hubby had to have genetic testing done today.  I am a carrier for something called Glycogen Storage Disease Type V.  You can read about it HERE if you so desire.  Anyway, if I am a carrier, Hubby has to be tested and if he is a carrier for the exact same disease and type, we have to add a few extra steps to our process and have any embryos that fertilize, biopsied and sent off to be tested before implantation.  We should have his genetic results back in 2 weeks so stay tuned!  Hubby says I will now find out his superpowers that were supposed to be kept secret.

We start injections at the end of this week. I’ve been working to get our medications here on time which has been a pain (that is a story for later) but everything should be right on schedule.  As it stands right now, our egg retrieval is scheduled for the first week of February and the egg transfer/implantation will ideally be 5 days after the surgery. It’s crazy to think this will all be happening and we will know a result in less than 2 months! So, that’s our basic timeline right now. I will be writing more frequently now that I have experiences to write about.  I would write about how spent my entire day off on hold and being transferred from Pharmacy to Pharmacy but I would probably not say nice things.

thumper

Speaking of Hubby, he so kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me before we officially start our cycle. I hoped to not only hear his answers for questions I’ve been wondering but hopefully grasp a husband’s point of view, which is something not focused on frequently in the infertility world.

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Hubby, my bonus-daughter K, and I this past Christmas!

This past weekend we sat together and discussed our upcoming adventure.  Here was the result. Enjoy!

State your full name please.

No.

Okieeeeeee. What was your first thought when you heard we were being referred to an Reproductive Endocrinologist?

Nervous, I guess. I didn’t know how you were going to handle it.  I was nervous for you.

How did you think I would handle it?

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Overwhelmed, like a shark attacking your head?

I didn’t know. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

After learning about IVF being our best option and the process, what was your initial reaction?

Overwhelmed. The first appointment was like an information dump. It was a lot to take in and figure out.

Have you been open with your guy friends about the last year and upcoming IVF?

Yes.  We talk about the challenges about going through the process.  There are a bunch of unknowns and I kind of play the what-if game sometimes.

We are about to start our first cycle. Do you have any apprehensions?

Nervous because I don’t know how it’s going to go.  The fact we know what the end goal is but we really don’t have any control over any of the results.  It’s going to be really tough on you physically which means you will probably be crabby. (laughs) I mean you are going to be doing all these hormones, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be exhausting, physically, emotionally.  It’s not going to be easy.

Are you nervous about giving me injections?

No. It wouldn’t be my first time stabbing people. That sounds awful.  Okay, it wouldn’t be the first time I have administered injectionsWhat about the really long needle? Don’t move and I’ll be as quick as I can!

My biggest fear is it not working.  Why?  Because I know how hard that’s going to be for you because I know how bad you want it to happen. There’s always the possibility it won’t work.  Which I mean, even though we discussed alternatives, it is still not going to make it easy.  I think that’s what I’m most nervous about too. I mean it’s just one of those things you have to think about and prepare for, bottom line is that it’s a possibility. Obviously, that’s not what we want to happen.

How will you feel if it doesn’t work?

I mean I’ll be upset. It’s just a big investment for both of us.  More so for you physically but both of us emotionally. We just have a lot riding on it.

Do you think our marriage will struggle or get stronger?

It’s hard to say. I think both.

What I can I do to make it better going through this from a husband’s standpoint?

I don’t know.  The whole thing really is just it would be unreasonable to say don’t be so emotional (laughs) but between the hormones and everything else.  You are more emotional than me anyway but it’s different because it’s not happening to my body.  You know? Like, I’m not going through the physical stuff with my body.  I have to try to be more understanding because I don’t know physically what you are experiencing.

Would it help if I’m communicate more how I’m feeling?

Communication is going to be a big part of it. You can’t shut yourself off.  You are going to have to force yourself to be upfront about what is going on.  I think that will be one of our biggest struggles because you like to shut down when you are having a hard time with stuff.

What did you think about me starting a blog?

I thought it would be a good outlet for you, since there’s not a lot of people that talk openly about their condition and the process.

——

At first, I was upset how much he talked about me and how bad I wanted it. I kept thinking to myself, “Well, doesn’t he want it too?” I struggled with that and then at dinner the following day after visiting a local infertility support group, we talked more.  It was then I realized he is truly worried and concerned about my health and well-being and I should be grateful for that, which I am.  Many women on this journey complain that their significant others are emotionally-absent during this process.  I realize that sometimes people just cope differently.  In our case, Hubby is a protector.  He wants to protect his wife and his family from all harm and will do anything he can to do so.  He said something that will forever put things into perspective.  “If we have a baby and I don’t have you, I have nothing.”

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I would say I’m pretty lucky. Photo Cred: Valerie Kay Co.

 

With that said, I’m going to work hard to communicate how I am feeling, as will he.  I also know that while he may handle things differently, it doesn’t mean he feels differently.

I mentioned the infertility support group.  If you are going through infertility and your search for the last key, I highly recommend locating one and attending.  Just in our first visit, it was relieving to know that I could talk about our journey, ask advice and hear others and lean on them for support.  It meets monthly and we definitely plan on going back.  If you need help finding one, please let me know!

Until next time,

Jackie