Sunday, December 26, 2010
We spent the evening with M's family and I spent 95% of that holding my 6 weeks old nephew. My SIL offered him to me because I don't get to hold babies all day. Sad, but true and I love holding babies...
Right now I am on an airplane over the pacific with two two-year olds crawling on my lap. It is super chaotic, but I still wish we had one more...mine.
Now for the rest of my family vacation I am not going to be jealous of my sisters...
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
My advice: Don't let charting rule your life!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Perfect cure: an awesome nurse who put up with all my calls and then when I showed up for baseline handed me a free cartridge!!
Monday, December 13, 2010
So I have a few conflicting thoughts about this episode. First of all, I am glad to see the inclusion of us infertiles - in that it reminds people that we exist. However, I don't appreciate the show making us out to be selfish jerks.
Did you watch it? (If you didn't and want to, you can watch it here.) What do you think of the episode?
Is it selfish to want my own life? I don't think so. Anyway, that is what I have learned taking this break before we do IVF. I can't let baby-making consume me. I emotionally cannot let infertility control my life, and have everything else revolve around it.
I'm making a stand.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Recently, I read this post by Melissa Bradford. She lost her son in a river accident as he went back into a whirlpool to save a friend. My family knows the Bradfords well, and Parker was just a year or so younger than I. It truly was a tragedy. Melissa’s experiences are a perfect demonstration of what we concluded last night. Many (but not all) people – and sometimes, we - do not understand how grief and pain and faith relate to one another. There is this mentality that if you have faith, then you never will be grieving; faith must supplant grief, and if it doesn’t, well then you must not have very much faith.
First of all, that mentality is super judgmental. Second, it is totally wrong. M said it really well last night, “faith can make trials easier, but it doesn’t make them easy”. If trials were easy, what would be the trial? Is it wrong to grieve the loss of your son or the inability to have a child even though you know that the Lord knows what is best for you? M and I very strongly believe that the Lord knows us both individually. He knows what our strengths are, and He knows where we need to grow. He has a plan for us. Obviously, it is the will of the Lord for us not to have children at this point. Part of my faith in the Lord is having faith that the Lord’s will is better for me than my will. Does accepting the Lord’s will over mine, mean that I shouldn’t want to have kids? Absolutely not. It means that I can wait with hope. Hope that someday I will get to be a mother. Hope that I will be a better person because of the trials and pain that I go through.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Now there is a “how-to” idea: How to tell your family you are infertile.
When we started TTC, I was thinking of so many different cute ways to announce that we were pregnant. I didn’t want to tell my family we were trying, but it was going to be a exciting announcement. But then, I didn’t get pregnant. While some women I know are really close with their sisters or other girl friends, I didn’t want to talk about it with my sisters, who were both pregnant at the time. So we didn’t tell anyone, and just forced a smile when people asked when we were going to have a baby. One of my sister’s figured it out after watching me holding her newborn…but that was back when we were just TTC.
After a while though, a couple of things changed. First of all, the Doc told us M’s sperm were essentially worthless. After this, we wanted – well, needed – our parents. We called M’s parents after we got home and even though they were 3 states away, we felt so much love and support. They were the perfect example of compassion, empathy, without prying and without advising. We never experienced so clearly before what it meant to “lift one another’s burdens” and “mourn with those that mourn”. My parents were also very supportive and it was a relief to share it with them as well, but they like (demand) details and have lots of advice and so it was different with them. Both honored our request for privacy (although my parents obviously disagreed- but hey, it’s my decision). It was really nice to share our pain with our parents and to feel their support.
The second thing that happened was I told my sister. She already knew that we were trying and she knew it wasn’t going well. So, I told her what was happening and she was comforting, mostly. She told me every story she heard about someone with infertility. I guess the idea behind that is to tell me that I’m not the only person in the world with problems and that there is hope. She has no way to relate to me (most fertile person ever!) and so is trying her best. Sometimes, that is not what I need though. (I’m sure you’ve been there). I did ask her to not tell the rest of our family. I wasn’t ready to talk about it and repeat every step over and over. It was really nice to have a couple outlets, but I didn’t want 7.
It went on this way for almost 6 months, all through my nightmare with the Doc and through my surgeries. I had M’s parents, my parents, and my sister to talk to, comfort me, (advise me).
Well, then I decided that I want to tell my other sisters about it… and what do I find out? Everybody already knows! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that our “secret” was out, but I was a little mad. My sister had called the others the night after I talked to her and told them. My dad told my siblings still at home. I’m not sure what made me madder: that they didn’t respect my wished to keep it between us or that after telling everybody, they didn’t bother telling me that they had blabbed to everybody. My other sister’s felt slighted because I didn’t want to talk to them and I felt somewhat betrayed. It was a mess. Some may say that I am just being selfish and exclusive, but hey, I was trying to do what I thought was best for my sanity and my emotional state. Still, such a mess. It took a long time to clean up (with some lingering stickiness).
Anyway, it wasn’t a good experience. It has calmed down since then. We still don’t like telling people. Only our closest friends and our families know- well and now anyone who reads this blog. (hopefully if my family reads it they won’t be offended…).
Besides the above disaster, I’ve tried to explain why I don’t want most people to know.
- Most people don’t know how to react. 99% of the time, I am fine. I am not depressed or on the verge of tears. People don’t really know what to do with that. Pity? Smothering?
- Because people don’t know how to react or relate, they tell stories and make up advice.
- It becomes your defining characteristic in their eyes.
That being said, I am grateful for the family and friends that haven’t reacted like this. That acknowledge my pain, acknowledge that they can’t relate, support and listen quietly, and still treat me just like they did before. Those are true friends. Thank goodness for them.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I had gone to the Doc at the university's health center to get tested for a yeast infection. During my chat with him, I mentioned that we had been trying to conceive for 8 months. He immediately started trying to help us out. He performed a Post-Coital test to see how many of M's sperm made it to my cervix. The results were dismal. He said he could not find a single sperm. We repeated the test, this time with me inserting a plastic-wrapped sponge to hold the semen in. The results were not much better. There were a few found, but all dead. As you can imagine, this was very discouraging. We didn't know at this time that many Drs think this test is useless. We were definitely worried. He didn't do a formal sperm analysis but found more positive results with an informal checking under the microscope. He was constantly asking M is he had played football or had any other reason to suggest testicular damage, and that was kind of annoying.
The Doc said he could try an IUI for us. Take M's sperm, wash them, and insert them directly into my uterus using a catheter, which would give the few living sperm a better chance to get through to the egg. So I dutifully checked my LH levels (which is super stressful - sometimes those stupid lines are so hard to read). We took M's sample in and waited for them to wash it. Then Doc came in. "No sperm." He then described how before washing them he had looked under the scope and seen some live and some dead sperm but after washing them - nothing, not even dead ones. The Case of the Disappearing Sperm is still unsolved, but the Doc made us feel like it was M's fault - that there wasn't sperm there in the first place. We were really upset and devastated. I remember M was really discouraged and felt so bad, so broken. I was hard for me to see him like that. I was really sad, too, really worried that I couldn't have his kids. But he was feeling it worst. He was also unsatisfied with the Doc's conclusion - that M just didn't have any real amount of sperm. So we went and bought a little microscope. We looked at a lot of samples and always found lots of living sperm. More questions for the Doc.
We set up to do another try at the IUI. Again stressful LH testing and a stressful collection. And guess what? The Doc didn't show! The nurse had forgotten to tell the Doc about his appt with us. He was able to make it a couple hours later. I was so worried that the sperm would die before he got there, I was trying to hard not to cry in the waiting room. He came, checked the sperm- there they were, washed them... there they were not, again. We were so mad/sad/confused.
The Doc sent M to a Urologist. Uro didn't find anything wrong, but was not very considerate of our questions. We may have been naive, we definitely didn't understand everything - which is why we were asking him questions. We were trying to figure out what was going on! He made us feel like idiots. We were not planning on going back to him.
About this time, I graduated from college and we left for an internship in Texas. Driving down, I remember calling to set up gas, electricity, internet and a formal sperm analysis with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). After M's results came back "stone cold normal" our frustration with the Doc was complete. The RE was mortified by our experience with the Doc and quickly dismissed the post-coital tests and couldn't understand what could possibly happen to make M's sperm disappear. Looking back, the only two good things about the Doc were 1) We spent <$100 and 2) He motivated me to talk to a real RE. Even though we had only been trying for 10 months and so were not technically infertile yet, the RE began running tests on me. The blood work and ultrasounds were perfectly normal, but he found a septum during the HSG. I was a little freaked about this, but M was excited - something that could be fixed and pretty easily, too. A septum is a piece of scar tissue holding the uterus closed. My septum closed off about 1/3 of my uterus and despite not being a significant cause of infertility, it is a big miscarriage risk. So I did a hysteroscopy to remove it. It was a very simple surgery done with a scope through the cervix. A month later, I was given a good to go. We decided at this point to keep trying on our own, despite the RE suggesting that the septum wasn't the cause. However, we were also almost done with the internship and would be leaving Texas again. M was going to graduate after one more semester so we would be returning to Texas in 4 months (he got a job with the same company). If things didn't work out on their own, when we got back we would try a real IUI.
Well, things didn't work out. So when we moved to Texas this spring, we started making preparations to try again. There were still no signs of a problem with me or with M, so we decided to stick with the plan for IUI not upgrade to IVF. I took injections, though. They made me a little sick, but mostly I was just anxious. I really wanted this to work. When I took the sample in to be washed, I was so nervous that it was going to disappear again. Thankfully, it didn't. They were able to perform the IUI that day and again the next. Then we started the 14 day count down until the pregnancy test. I was convinced it had worked until the day before I went in for my test. At that point I was pretty sure I felt way to normal to be pregnant. And I was right and we were both very disheartened. The failure didn't narrow down what may be the problem too much. We decided to take a month off and let our lives calm back down. De-stress and focus on something else. The IUI was so emotionally consuming. The month off was great- we really needed it. The second IUI was pretty much the same although way less stressful. We knew what we were expecting and we were much more realistic about the odds. It didn't consume us but we were still disappointed when it failed.
We still don't have a cause of why we can't have kids. For the IUIs we didn't have ideal sperm counts, but not really low ones either. We have taken a couple of months off before we to our first IVF treatment. It has been very nice to relax, not think about it, have a life outside of infertility. Both of us are a little hesitant to go back to that craziness. I know I'm a little hesitant to try and fail again. But right now, life is calm. As I said, my dreams were of being a mom, so I'm trying to remold my dreams. I'm working on my career as an artist. Being happy with who I am now, what my opportunities are now - not just living waiting. I'll have to write a separate post about that, this one is too long as it is.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 26 months now. Only our immediate families and our closest friends know (remember, I don't like sharing and this is extremely personal). It has been really difficult, but some of the most painful feelings are isolation, feeling unable to relate and be understood. During those 2+ years, each sibling (married anyway) has had a child; our friends are either not yet trying or having kids of their own.
Over the last couple months, I have not been focusing on my fertility problems. I have been trying to focus on my career and my house and do something with my life besides wait to become a mom. I haven't thought or talked very much about my infertility. But as I said, today I started thinking.
I started thinking about how alone we feel, and how there are probably so many other couples out there who feel that they are alone, and I wanted to share. I wanted to share with you that you are not alone. And that we can be happy as we wait and wade through one of the hardest trials I can imagine. I wanted to share my dark places and the truths and hopes that brought my light, so that you can take that light into your darkest moments. So that we both can have peace and comfort while we walk through this valley of sorrow.