Friday, September 28, 2012

Amuck, Amuck, Amuck!

Every cycle without fail I inevitably have a moment, hour or a day of complete breakdown or freaking out.  Funny the majority of them seem to come during the two week wait of hell!  Well, that’s where I am right now.  I usually am pretty hopeful and upbeat the day of the insemination/transfer through the first week, but it appears that my hormones and emotions have run amuck far earlier this cycle than in the past!  I feel physically and emotionally battered.

For some reason I have been questioning this cycle from the beginning. I don’t know if it is the limited tries, the hormones or the fears, but I do know that it makes for one very “crazy” Chrissy!  (No laughing from the peanut gallery)  I was trying to figure out what it was that has made me feel less optimistic and then it hit me as to what it was…I did a recap of our infertility journey.   I don’t really know what possessed me to do such a stupid thing, but for some reason I actually sat down and counted all the tries that we have had over the last four years.  Needless to say it did not exactly put me in the best frame of mind!!!

Dr. L, knowing that I was down, did everything he could to reassure me that this is a good cycle and my chances of conceiving are very good.  It did put my mind at ease for a while, but once again…damn hormones!!!  The hardest thing to deal with during these cycles is the feeling that you have zero control over ANYTHING. I continue to pray for strength and patience as we ride out this journey and trust that no matter what happens G & I will have our family one day soon!  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just Drink the Water

In a recent conversation with a friend I learned of another seemingly harmless statement by those Fertile Myrtles and was asked to write about here you go!

No matter where you look at work someone is pregnant.  Anna in HR is expecting her 17th kid, Bob in Finance wife’s pregnant and Ebony and her life partner Wanda are having a baby through sperm donation.   Then without fail you hear, “There must be something in the water, don’t drink from the fountain unless you want to get pregnant.” Sign me up!!! 

I am sure it is no surprise to you but I’ve been drinking the same water for months and am still not pregnant.  Not to mention, I’m sure Bob’s wife stopped by the office one night on her way home to drink from the magical fountain to ensure she got pregnant on her first try! I assure you there is no magical concoction of pregnancy hormones in the water that has allowed all these people to conceive a child.  If that was the case I would be the first one loading up bottle after bottle!

Let me let you in on a little secret.  You know what’s in the water? Copper, lead, nitrates, fluoride, chlorine, etc.  So unless there is a fertility doctor with a ready stock of embryos taking a drink from that fountain, I am positive there is nothing in the water that can get the entire office pregnant!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dreaded Questions

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to the doctor and anxiously awaited that dreaded question…“Are you pregnant?”  No, I don’t mean my fertility doctor.  I’m talking about all the other doctors that you see on a regular basis, like the optometrist, dermatologist, dentist or your regular primary care provider.  I know that if you are a female it’s routine to be asked this question.  The problem is it’s a reminder that you are not pregnant or that you had a miscarriage. 

OK you have made it past the initial question and you are hit with another dreaded question…“Are you on any medications?”  I know it sounds like a completely harmless question but you would be wrong.  I dread this question because it results in the follow-up question, “Are you sure you are not pregnant.”  Let me explain.  At any point I am on a myriad of medications for pregnancy or infertility: prenatal vitamins, estrogen, progesterone, and FSH and HCG injections.  Then you have to further explain either you’re not pregnant but going through fertility treatments or you just had a miscarriage.  As your journey continues it gets more and more difficult when you see the same doctors every few months and are forced to have the same conversation again and again!

I had the worst experience just a few weeks after my last miscarriage.  I had gotten bit by a cat and ended up having to go to the emergency room because my hand had become severely infected.  At which point I had to relive the recent loss and explain my medications and the reason that I had not had a period in 8 weeks to the triage nurse, the ER nurse, the Doctor and the X-Ray technician.

I can’t wait for the day that I can say to each and every one of them, “YES I AM!”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top 10 Myths about Infertility Debunked

10.  Facebook is a social network to stay connected with friends – Incorrect; it is a place where everyone under the sun can post pictures of their ultrasounds, belly shots, and new babies to torture infertiles!

9.  You just have to have sex when you are ovulating and you will get pregnant – Think again; I’ve tried before, during and after and yet to bring home that baby!

8.  If you relax you will get pregnant – Nope; Acupuncture, meditation, yoga and massage…still no baby!

7.  It only takes 1 egg and 1 sperm to get pregnant – Try again; I have had literally dozens upon dozens of eggs chased down by hundreds of millions of sperm. 

6.   “Just take cough syrup, which is how my cousin got pregnant.” – False; I have downed bottles of Robitussin and still nothing.  Apparently it requires more expensive drugs to conceive.

5.  Just get a bottle of Boones Farm and she’ll get pregnant – Once again not true; it takes more than a $6 bottle of cheap wine to conceive.  It apparently takes a specialized doctor, injectable medications, a slew of nurses and lab technicians and I forgot to mention tens of thousands of dollars!

4.  The letters and pictures at the fertility clinic are their success stories – I don’t think so; they are paid actors.

3.  Conceiving a child is a beautiful experience between a husband and wife – Wrong; it is a highly invasive and intrusive procedure between you, your nurse, your doctor, the lab techs, the receptionist and your husband!

2.  Any idiot can get pregnant – OK, this may be true…maybe I’m just not dumb enough!

1.  Having sex leads to pregnancy – That’s crap; I don’t even think that is possible!

Monday, September 24, 2012

All Aboard the Hormonal Crazy Train

I’ll take one ticket to the two week wait!  Once again it is my least favorite time of the fertility process; the hormonally packed two week wait.  We are currently filled with hope and optimism.  The problem is that we also have to have patience.  I think as a society we are impatient and I am no different when it comes to my infertility.  I want a baby yesterday! Trying to maintain balance and patience during a time that is filled with uncertainty and raging hormones is difficult!  Long ago God decided that I needed a good healthy dose of patience.  The funny thing is I don’t recall ever praying for it! 

I recently came across a quote that I thought was perfect in regards to our infertility journey.  “Patience is waiting.  Not passively waiting.  That is laziness.  But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.” (Unknown Author) This process has been anything but easy for G and I.  We have been waiting for years and years to have our family.  We have struggled with keeping that hope and drive when things became more difficult.  After our last loss we made the decision to not wait passively for it to happen, but to continue the journey to grow our family.  Yes we know that there could be more heartache along the way, but the blessing at the end will be worth all the pain and suffering.

So as we head into yet another waiting period we will continue to hope and pray that this will be our time! We appreciate all the prayers, well wishes and fingers crossed coming our way!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Planning Around Infertility

There is a lot of planning when going through fertility treatments and at times it feels as if you can’t do anything because it might interfere with a cycle.  You begin to time get-togethers after 7pm because you have to have an injection at 7pm and the medicine has to be refrigerated.  You can’t plan a trip with friends 2 months out because you don’t know where you will be in a cycle or what if you’re pregnant?  Infertility is already an emotional process before you even consider the time factor.

G and I have begun to feel as if our entire lives revolve around infertility.  First you have the actual treatment cycles.  Timing is so important: shots have to be given at the same time daily, ultrasounds have to be done on set days, then the utmost important timing of the IUI, ET or FET.*  Not to mention we have meetings with our pastor, our counselor, as well as support group meetings for infertility and adoption.  It’s like everyday has something that revolves around having children.  Of course if we don’t have anything planned on our own I am sure that society will remind us of our infertility whether it be a TV show, a commercial or a magazine cover.  How do you have a life while going through infertility? 

It has really taken G and me a long time to come up with the best solution for us.  We decided to cut back on some of our meetings and not focus on planning other things right now.  We plan the week of and no further to remove the stress of “what ifs”.  We have found that most people are very receptive to us being tentative and firming up the week of.  We have also started relaxing more at home reading, playing a game, baking or stamping where there is no chance of a baby popping up.  It’s so important for your own sanity and the sanity of your marriage to not overwhelm an already stressful situation.  We have taken control of the things we can (like outings) and are just going with the flow of the things we can’t (like doctor’s visits).

PS - In an effort to cut down on the constant barage of fertility reminders and stressors, I will be cutting back the entries on my blog to exclude weekends!  :) 

*IUI – Intrauterine Insemination
  ET – Embryo Transfer
  FET – Frozen Embryo Transfer

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Unexpected Trigger

Infertility is definitely one of those situations known to cause the “little green monster” to come out in even the best of people.  There are numerous situations that are known triggers for those suffering infertility but I was a little taken back by the one that just hit me…the kid I used to baby sit is pregnant!

Infertiles are repeatedly bombarded with reminders of pregnancy or our lack of being pregnant.  As you continue through the journey, feelings will come and go and so will the triggers.  I just really never expected this one to be so difficult for me.  Seeing someone that you watched as a child becoming a parent, having yet to carry a child to term myself was like a slap in the face.  I realized that I have been married just a few years shy of her age.  I should be the one that is pregnant; my kids should be babysitting her kids!

Knowing that you desperately want to be a mother and having that victory elude you begins to weigh heavy at times.  It’s hard to stay positive in those situations when you feel like anyone can have a family but you!  I never want ANYONE to have to experience everything that I have been through and I want anyone who desires to be a parent to have that opportunity.  That being said it is hard not to be envious of what she has…what I want!  I struggle everyday with trying to control those emotions and truly being happy for others who have what I want.   The bible tells us that we are to rejoice with others in their good fortune.   “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Rom. 12:15).

I know that this is normal and I am allowed to have those feelings of envy, sadness and disappointment.  But how do you celebrate other’s joy in the midst of your own sorrow?  With a little grace and strength from God I have learned to hold myself together in those situations until I can let it out in private.  I am so blessed to have a soft place to land in G and several friends.  I just have to remember that I can’t rewind moments in history and undo the damage that has been done so I must guard my words and think of how I would want others to respond if the roles were reversed.   I know that one day I will be the one with good news to share and am looking forward to celebrating with others!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It’s Just a Mountain

We all have obstacles in our paths that are so large and so daunting that they seem insurmountable, especially those experiencing infertility.  I know for us it has really felt like we were at the bottom of the mountain looking up at a peak that is higher than we could ever reach.  At times it has felt as if we were in the deepest valley with no hopes of ever making it back to flat ground let alone reach the top of that mountain.

I try so hard to remain positive during these treatments, but to be honest that is getting harder and harder.  I have really had to reaffirm my faith repeatedly over the last several years.  G and I have joked that our lives have resembled that of Job on many occasions.  If it can go wrong it is going to happen to me!  The list of things that we have experienced outside of infertility is almost comical at this point. So how do we continue on this journey when the odds are stacking up against us?  How do we continue to believe that we can have our family when we have suffered through so much?

Without mountains in the way, our faith would never be put to the test.  These obstacles or mountains are God’s way of refining our faith and allowing us to show its true value to the world.  The closer we draw to Him, through faith, the more our faith strengthens.  God tells us, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)  The problem with having faith is we know that there is still going to be pain and time involved.   We all want our obstacles to move immediately and having to rely on God in his time is difficult.  My time is not God’s time.  What seems like an eternity to me is a mere second to God.  I think we all could use a little perfecting when it comes to waiting on the Lord. 

I know all of this is easy to say but harder to put into practice.  We live in an “I want it now kind of world”.  When things do not go quite the way we envisioned we become discouraged and begin to doubt our beliefs.  I am guilty of this all too often.  Even though I have questioned why God has allowed me to suffer so much I have turned even more so to him for strength.  It’s funny how my faith has strengthened over the last few years in a time when it would be so simple to turn away.  I continue to believe that He will bless us with our child.  God can do anything…it is just a mountain!

Matthew 17:20 NIV

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Building Glass Walls

My parents divorced when I was very young.  I lived with my mother with a little help from my amazing grandparents.  My mom would have given me every last cent and the last scrap of clothing off of her back to make my life easier and happier (still will to this day).  Because of her strength and compassion I am the person I am today.  She gives me drive, perseverance, endurance and the ability to love.  On the flip side of that my father has also made me the person I am today.  I did not have a relationship with him when I was growing up and I still don’t.  I remember a lot of heartache and feelings of abandonment as a child which has carried through to my adult life.

I think people’s personalities and defense mechanisms are largely developed when they are children.  Why am I mentioning this now?  Because I think it helps explain a little bit about me and my journey.  I had two coping mechanisms when I was a kid that I still use today (old habits are hard to break).  I would either use humor to mask my feelings or put up walls to keep people from getting too close.  The problem with using these mechanisms is, it's hard for people to know what I am really thinking and feeling. 

Infertility is riddled with emotions and can really affect a person’s self worth.  I was embarrassed, depressed, angry and had feelings of worthlessness, shame and guilt.  I spent years trying to hide our issues with infertility but what I was really doing was building glass walls.  My walls were just transparent enough to have those relationships that were so important to me, but defined enough to never let anyone get too close.  I was afraid of being judged or blamed for my cancer, infertility and miscarriages.  I was afraid of people learning about our problems and being abandoned again.  I didn’t want to burden others with my problems.  If I just kept smiling and joking then no one would know.

I made a mistake when I took this approach to this journey.  I waited until my load was just too much to bear before I opened up to others.  G has been by my side the entire time, but I was afraid to share a lot of my fears and feelings because I didn’t want to be a burden to him.  The funny thing is that he was more than willing for me to lean on him; in fact he wanted me to release some of those stresses and rely on him.   I was so worried that if I shared all the struggles that we were going through that it would be too much for our friends to handle.  If I just would have trusted my family and friends sooner they were more than willing to carry some of my burden for me.

I have learned that I am very strong and can persevere, but it is much easier with family and friends by my side.  So now I am shattering those walls and opening up about our trials!

Monday, September 17, 2012

(Guest post) Defending your quarterback

Years ago, I was given some unsolicited, but highly valuable advice on marriage.  The short version goes something like this: Husbands get to choose what position they play in the great game of marriage.  A lot of husbands choose to play quarterback; unfortunately for them, all wives are quarterback by default.  OK, so maybe it was a joke, not advice, but I think there is a thread of truth running through it. 

The more I thought about it, the more it actually made sense.  This means that every time a husband chooses QB, they will forever be at odds with their wife.  More importantly, it means that when husbands choose to play on the same team as their wife, they both have a better chance of winning.  I think this specifically applies to couples who are faced with infertility or miscarriage.  The perfect role for husbands in this situation is protecting the quarterback.  This can be as simple as running a little interference when an acquaintance begins asking all the wrong questions, or as difficult as speaking frankly with a close friend or family member about what’s going on so your wife doesn't have to. 

Now bear with me while I take this metaphor one last step further.  Our doctors, spiritual leaders and counselors make great coaches and they pretty much fall in to these roles naturally.  But this is still a pretty small team to take on such a big problem.  I think this is a common place for couples to falter when dealing with infertility.  There are plenty of reasons not to share what is going on with the people in your life, some more valid than others, but without building a better team around you, you’re going to have a hard time dealing with the opposing forces.  This is what friends and family are for.  Reach out and ask them to help you in these trying times.  No, they will not know how to help you at first.  Yes, you will need to train your team just like any other.  Explain to your friends what you need, what is not helpful and whatever else you think will help them help you.  Once you’ve done this, the opposition starts looking a little easier to take on.

Written by Grayson Walters

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Memory Of…

I was recently asked if G and I did anything to memorialize the babies that we lost.  I have really been struggling with this for a few reasons.  One is that it is very personal, two because of the sad memories that it brings back and lastly we just found out we weren’t pregnant again.  All of those feelings have really made this a difficult topic for me to broach.  After a lot of thought I have decided to share what we did to memorialize our little angels.

After our first miscarriage I did not want to even think about doing anything for that loss.  I was so devastated that I could barely get out of bed let alone think about saying good bye to a child I had never met.  After several weeks G and I were finally able to make it through the day without having a breakdown and we had already moved into another fertility cycle so we just kind of stuffed those feelings deep down trying to forget.  Which worked pretty well until the “non-due date” came around.  All those feelings came welling back up inside.  We once again pushed them back down and moved on to more fertility treatments.  The feelings never went away but the pain did subside.

After my chemical pregnancy and failed IVF/FET cycles we did take a little time, but more to forget about it then remember it.  So again we were bottling up all those feelings and just trying to forget that they ever happened.  It really wasn’t until the 2nd miscarriage that we actually grieved.  That was the final straw that pushed us to a breaking point.  We could not even begin to think about trying again until we dealt with that loss…all the losses.  Dr. L referred us to Dr. M to help us grieve the most recent loss.  Little did we know that all of the losses would come back amplified!  Actually acknowledging those losses brought about so many feelings of emptiness, pain and heartache.  I was not even sure I was going to be able to bring myself back out of the hole I was in.  At that point I think I was at the lowest point I had ever been when it came to our infertility.

We had suffered not 1 but 2 deaths.  I know that not everyone would agree with me, but I also began to have pain and grief from all our embryos that did not materialize into an actual pregnancy.  They were part of G and I and they existed; I know not really in the scientific manor but they did exist to me.  I didn’t know what to do now that all these feelings were in the forefront of my thoughts; not only was I grieving the loss of my 2 confirmed pregnancies, but a chemical pregnancy and 4 perfect little embryos.  Talk about the mother load of pain and grief.  We talked extensively to Dr. M and our pastor and decided that we did need to do something to memorialize those babies so we could grieve and move on. 

I had already bonded with the babies and embryos as soon as they were in me which was a little different then how G felt.  (I think this is normal for men and women to have different feelings during the fertility and miscarriage process because of the hormones and the women carrying the child)  We discussed it for several days trying to decide what was best for us.  We finally decided to do a private ceremony by the lake at the park.  We had silly names for all the embryos and babies so we decided to write a little note for each one and tie it to a balloon and then release it.  It was amazing to me how many personality traits and genders we had already associated with them before they were even born.  It was very cathartic to write those feelings down and actually acknowledge their existence.

I had thought that I would feel instantly better doing the ceremony.  I hoped letting those balloons go and watching them float over the lake would release all of those heartbreaking pains I was feeling.  Boy was I wrong!  Releasing those balloons made me feel even emptier inside; like I had just lost those babies all over again.  I completely broke down in G’s arms crying over the babies that we had lost.  How could these feelings be so much worse, I was “letting them go”?

Yes, I did “let them go”, but in the mean time I had to acknowledge them as well, which is something that I was not willing to do for so long.  It was not until I actually acknowledged that they were my babies and I had lost them that I could begin to grieve them.  I had to go through all the stages of grief before I felt “better”.  I still have those feelings creep up here and there, but they happen less often than before.  I believe that had we not celebrated those little angels and grieved their loss that we could not have moved on to trying to conceive again.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Just Keep Swimming...Just Keep Swimming!

We recently got the “OK” to start another cycle.  I so desperately want to be a mother that my heart was chomping at the bit to get started again, however my head was a little more hesitant.  To be honest I am tired there is no other way to say it…just tired!  In a few weeks it will be 2 years since I was first told I was cancer free and able to begin fertility treatments.  Combine that with the 18 months we tried prior to the cancer diagnosis and 10 months of treatments for the cancer I am exhausted.  I want to stick it out until the doctor says we should stop but I tell you I am running out of tries and each failed cycle gets a little harder.

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep my mind on my fertility treatments and it feels as if I am just going through the motions.   It’s hard moving forward knowing that I could end this journey never conceiving again or worse having another miscarriage.  I think we become so focused on the big picture that we forget about the current cycle.  I am extremely guilty of this; I have X amount of tries and each failure just ticks one more try off the big picture.  I’m working on trying to stay in this cycle and focus on believing this will be the one that brings our little miracle. 

I was emailing back and forth with a dear friend telling her that I was struggling, and it was hard to keep going sometimes.    She said in the immortal words of Dori, “Just keep swimming…just keep swimming”.  I know it sounds simple, but it is so true.  I have to keep trying!  If I can just keep swimming then eventually I will get to where I’m going!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Worth or Worthless?

The definition of worthless is without practical value; good-for-nothing.  Why am I bringing this up?  Well quite honestly it is because that is the definition that I have had of my self numerous times over the last 4 years.  I know, I know.  I can hear the awes right now.  I don’t say this to get pity or merit responses.  I say this because I know that I am not alone in these thoughts and feelings.  I am sure most women experiencing infertility or miscarriage has felt this at some point of her journey.

When I was a teenager I had all sorts of dreams.  Same as any teenage girl; go to college, move out of your parent’s house, have an amazing job, find the man of your dreams and start a family.  The problem is that my fairy tale life is not exactly following those dreams.  I knew at the age of 15 that I wanted to be a mother more than anything in this world.  Nothing inspired me more than having a family.  I wanted to be a stay-at-home, minivan driving super cool room mom.  I wanted to give my children all the things my mother, being a single mom, couldn’t.  I had no other aspirations higher than becoming a parent. 

I was beyond blessed when I met G.  Yes we were young and stupid when we got married and we had plenty of time to start our family.  So I decided to do some of those things on my list of dreams before I started a family.  Move out of mom’s house – Check!  Get Married – Check!  Go to college – Check!  Work in the real world – Check!  Now it was time to make the last of my fairy tale dreams come true.  Start a family – waiting, waiting, waiting… 

Everyone was telling me they were sure I’d get pregnant right away.  After almost 18 months of trying to conceive I was really beginning to feel like there was something wrong with me.  When my cancer was found those feelings went through the roof.  I was ruining my husband’s life and ending any hopes of a biological child for him.  What good was I if I could not fill the simplest of “martial duties”?  What if I could not produce offspring for my husband?  What if his family line ended with him because of me?  I was worthless; I had no value.

When I did conceive the first time those feelings began to fade; I was finally fulfilling my “duties” as well as my long time dreams.  Again those hopes were dashed and those feelings were back tenfold.  Of all the feelings that I have had through this journey, and there have been many, this is the one that haunts me more than any other.  I feel responsible for my husband not having kids, my parents and in-laws not being grandparents.  It’s hard not to feel like I am worthless!

I know that G does not feel the same way as me.  He wants children just as badly as I do, but I know that at the end of the day if it was just he and I that would be OK too.  I have also had to come to grips with the reality that my family might not be biologically linked to G and me, but they will be our family and I will be a mother.   Lastly I have realized that my worth is not tied to me being a mother (though at times I still struggle with feeling like a failure in this area) and I count my blessings every day that I have people to remind me of that and love me just the way I am!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why Do You Trust Your Doctor?

I recently received a message asking me how I knew that my doctor was the right doctor for me; how did I know I could trust him.  I touched on this topic in a post several weeks ago titled “Are You Sure You Chose the Right Doctor? Because…?” but since it has come around again, I thought I would expand on my last entry.

Dr. L is my doctor and I would have NO OTHER on this journey.  I could just leave it at this but since you asked how I knew I could trust him I better write more.  My first appointment with Dr. L was a typical fact finding and explanation of options meeting.  I had just been diagnosed with cancer and was seeing him to discuss what my options were at that time just in case I did not win the battle and had to have a hysterectomy.  I can’t say that I have fond memories of that appointment, not because of him but because I still had cancer and was discussing someone else carrying my child.  Fast forward to October 2010.

My first “real” appointment with Dr. L was an amazing appointment.  I was so excited to see him because it meant that my cancer was gone and I was free to try and have a biological child.  Besides the giddy feelings I had from being cancer free my appointment was a good experience.  Dr. L did his usual exam and spelled out what his plan of treatment was for us moving forward.  He was more than willing to answer any and all questions I had no matter how stupid they were (still does).  He never made me feel rushed or like I was a number.  Most of all, I had gained a lot of weight during my cancer treatments and he never made me feel uncomfortable about my being heavy.  I was working on it and that was enough said!  He really put me at ease knowing that we were focused on our next steps.

Dr. L has always been attentive to what was going on with me personally and how I was feeling, but really it wasn’t until my first miscarriage that I saw the man that he was.  I can not even begin to describe what if felt like to hear that my baby was gone.  I can’t imagine what it is like to have to be the one to tell someone that it is gone.  The care he took in his delivery meant so much to us.  He was not cold or harsh in any way.  Though he was giving us bad news I could see it was difficult for him to say.  He continued to do a lot of hand holding over the next several tries until we felt a little more comfortable.

Over the past almost two years I have gotten to know Dr. L fairly well.  The man that he is personally spills over into the man he is professionally.   He is able to adjust to whatever my mood is at each appointment.  He can joke with me on my good days and comfort me on the bad.  Before each cycle he always does a gut check with me to see how we are and if I am ready to continue.  I love the fact that I am his patient, but he also takes the time to include G in all of our appointments.  I’m not sure a lot of doctors really recognize the spouse, which I appreciate! 

Lastly, after everything I have been through I BELIEVE with all my heart that he truly cares if I have a family or not.  I am not just a blur in a sea of patients he honestly is invested in doing everything he can to make me a mother!  I really admire and respect him both personally and professionally and that is how I know I can trust him!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mission Impossible?

G and I were talking the other day and he said that sometimes all of this seems more like “Mission Impossible!”  I totally got what he was saying.  Honestly, at this point I don’t know that I can count how many cycles we have gone through to try and have a baby.  They have all started to turn into one big blur with a few miscarriages thrown in.  At times, it seems like the odds aren’t in our favor and those chances are slipping away.  Just when we think that this is “Mission Impossible”, just when we think we are at the lowest point and we can’t move forward, something happens to change our view.
After my cancer was gone I was sure that it would be impossible for me to conceive a child and two months later I was pregnant; proof to everyone that I was able to conceive.  After the first miscarriage I was sure it was impossible that my cancer was still gone and almost two years later I am still cancer free.  After my failed IVF and FET I was sure it was impossible that I would ever conceive again…three months later I was pregnant. 
We have had so many cycles that have failed and a few that have had some success, but the other part of the impossible seems to be the financial piece.  There have been so many times that we thought we were going to have to call it quits because we were out of money; then out of nowhere enough money to cover each cycle would appear unexpectedly.  Our children better be smart or athletic; they are going to have to get some scholarships to go to college because we have already spent their tuition just trying to conceive them!!!
My point is all those things that try to make us believe that this is mission impossible have gotten debunked at some point of this journey.  So I continue to hope and pray that we will be a success because with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26 ESV)*  I believe that I will conceive again and carry that little miracle to term.  I look forward to the day that I get to end the blog with “Mission Accomplished!” 
*Matthew 19:26 ESV  - But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Keeping it Honest!

I was recently asked how I was able to write about my own experiences and be so honest.  It has actually taken me a while to be able to talk openly about our trials. I spent so much time blaming myself and feeling responsible for our infertility that I wanted to hide from the world and keep our problems to ourselves.  If no one knew that our lives weren’t perfect then I couldn’t be judged.  So what was it that changed our minds? A LOT!

The first nudge to get out of our comfort zone came in March of this year.  A friend suggested that we talk to Richmond Magazine for the Top Doc issue about my doctors and what I have gone through with trying to have a family.  I went back and forth so many times trying to decide if I wanted to actually share my “private” life with the public.  I told G that I just couldn’t do it…I couldn’t have people judging me.  He suggested that I continue to pray about it and talk to my pastor, doctors and family.  After numerous conversations and encouragement I finally decided that God was telling me to get out of my own way and to tell our story.  We felt like if sharing our situation could help 1 person then that would be worth it. 
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)* 

The next nudge came after my last miscarriage.  After that heartbreaking loss we finally decided to be more open and share our story with our church family.  We began to receive a lot of support and learn that we were not alone.  So many people began to share their own experiences and talked about how impressed they were with our strength and faith.  We were constantly being told that we needed to share with others and write about our story.  You should write a book...Me write a book?  You should write a blog...Me write a blog?  Are you kidding me?  Who would ever want to listen to anything that I would have to say?  Why would people read the ramblings of a half crazy hormonal woman?

One day I came home from work and G says go to  There it was…the last nudge.  My own husband was telling me that I needed to write about our life.  He told me to be honest and just write about whatever comes to my mind.  So that brings us to today.  We have received amazing support from friends, family and total strangers.  We are getting questions, comments and thanks for our openness.  Hearing the positive responses is why I am able to be so open.  My goal is to inform and educate about infertility, miscarriage and adoption.  If I can show others that they are not alone on this difficult journey and give an ounce of hope then I can find the strength to continue to be honest in my writing.

*2 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Chick-fil-a Customer Service

Dear Chick-fil-a,

I am writing to ask that you make some special offers to your female customers who are experiencing infertility issues.  I would suggest that you offer these deals to women on the first day of their menstrual cycle to help us feel the tiniest bit better after having a breakdown that we are not pregnant! Here are some suggestions that could really add value to your menu:

The Once Again I Just Got My Period and Have No Kids Meal
This meal includes 2 large orders of trying not to cry in public waffle fries with a very high fat tub of “I don’t care how many calories are in a tablespoon” Chick-fil-a Sauce and an extra large Caffeine Free Diet Coke “because I have given up all sugar and caffeine to help with conception!” This would be my value meal of choice!

The Another Failed Cycle Cookies & Cream Shake
A delicious extremely high fat shake with an extra serving of  “Screw you I am PMSing” cookie pieces blended with heartbreaking vanilla ice cream and topped with colossal amounts of whipped cream and a cherry for nutrition.

The Failed IVF Strawberry Shake
This shake is a careful blend of 2 very painful negative beta tests combined with “I just spent a crap load of money to start my period” strawberry sauce mixed with I have no more frozen embryos ice cream and topped with obscene amounts of high fat whipped cream.  This one you should just give to these women for free because now they are just sad and broke!

The I am Going to Kick Infertility's Ass Banana Shake
This is an extremely decadent shake that is chocked full of faith and hope then mixed with a little acupuncture, drive and perseverance;  lastly blended with bananas and light whipped cream. (Because we are back to watching what we eat to allow for the best possible chance of conception.)  This is best for the day of IUI, IVF of FET.

Thank you for your consideration on these menu changes!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trusting Even in the Hard Times

In our lives we all go through trials, some more difficult than others.  During those times it's easy for us to question and wonder why we have to suffer through trials.  What have we done to deserve this?  Why am I being punished?  I think it's common for those experiencing  the trials of infertility and miscarriage to ask these questions and they can really test a person’s faith.  I know that I have on multiple occasions. 

G and I have been asked repeatedly, “How do you still believe in God when He has allowed “good” people to suffer through so much?”  Honestly, that is a difficult question and I have really had to ponder it.  I have been in the depths of despair several times over the last 4 years.  There have been days that I have questioned what kind of God would allow me to suffer all that I have.  Why a 16 year old girl would be a better mother than I would?  Why would God allow a child to be brought into an abusive home?  How are these things fair and just?

I don’t have an answer to these questions.  However, having faith means believing when there is no visible proof.  I believe that God healed me to have a child.  Yes, we know that I can get pregnant; it is the carrying the baby to term that seems to be the problem.  There is no proof that I can accomplish this goal, but I have faith.  I believe that with God all things are possible if you have faith of a mustard seed.  God puts people in place to help his plans come to fruition and for me that is Dr. L.  With his help I have faith that I will be a mother! 

The bible tells us that our God is a loving and merciful God, even when he allows trials and sufferings to come in our lives.  (James 1:2-8 NIV)*  I believe that our sufferings are a means of developing a stronger dependence on God and a more Christ-like character.  I have grown in leaps and bounds over the last 4 years.  My faith is deeper, my marriage is impenetrable and I have more strength than I could have ever imagined.  Don’t get me wrong, I wish I would have never had to suffer any of these trials, but I don’t regret them because of what I have gained. 

I guess what it all boils down to is…faith.  What do you believe in?  Who do you put your trust in?  Even in those times that I am hurting I can still turn to God.  I will yell, cry and question, but I am still talking to Him.  I know that in the end the blessings that are coming my way are greater than anything I could have imagined.   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

*James 1:2-8   Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.