Monday, April 29, 2013

I Never Thought I Would Say This...

In the six plus years G and I have been trying to grow our family we have heard the gamut of "helpful" tips from friends and loved ones. Maybe you're just trying to hard; just relax and it will happen.  Maybe this isn't God's plan for you. Why don't you just adopt?  As soon as my friend adopted they got pregnant.  Though nine times out of ten these comments are meant to be helpful or supportive in reality they are truly hurtful.  In the infertile world they really have become a list of running jokes when it comes to conception. 

As soon as we started the process to adopt it was like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders.  All those comments actually became a little funny to us.  I can remember the first month after our last failed cycle looking at G and laughing because we had just relaxed and I still wasn't pregnant.  I even emailed back and forth with Dr. L joking about how I couldn't believe that I still wasn't pregnant when I had quit trying.  I told him I was sure that the next month it would happen.  Little did I know when I typed those words what was in store for us. God decided to give us the shock of our lives. I truly never thought that I would be saying this but, I ACCIDENTALLY GOT PREGNANT.  Yep, you read that right...I am pregnant!  While in the middle of our home study process G and I found out, to our complete and utter surprise, that we were again expecting.  The only thing we could do was laugh.

When G and I decided to stop fertility treatments and move on to adoption it was one of the hardest decisions we ever had to make.  It was very difficult for me to take the leap and give up having a biological child forever knowing that I had been able to conceive in the past.  With my cancer history it is important for me to have regulated cycles to decrease the chances of a recurrence and I was not ready to have that dreaded hysterectomy.  I didn't want to completely shut the door on conceiving a biological child so as a last ditch effort I asked Dr. L for anything he could do to try and help regulate my cycles without birth control.  We decided to try Metformin knowing that it could take 3-6 months to work, if it would even work at all.  After my first month of taking the medication I had a normal cycle.  Hooray, for once in my life I felt normal.  The next month nothing.  I was now what a "fertile" would call 3 days late.  I laughed and told G that I was late, knowing that our chances of conceiving on our own were slim to none.  I had one pregnancy test left and decided to take it just to rule out the possibility.  Sure that it would be negative I peed on that stick laughing the entire time.  To my absolute shock there was a second line!  Are you kidding me?  26 months of fertility treatments, tens of thousands of dollars, and lots of loss and heartache later we are pregnant on our own!  It has not been an easy path but we are officially moving into the second trimester and our little squirt is doing great.

After months of data gathering, background checks and social worker interviews we our proud to report that we have completed our home study and are waiting on our final legal documents. This journey has taught us so much over the last several years and it has made us realize just how precious life is. G and I have always wanted a big family and feel that we could provide a loving home to any child and have decided that we still want to adopt.  We are continuing with the adoption process and will begin working with an attorney locally as opposed to going through an agency.  I guess we will have our big family after all...just not quite the path we thought we would take to fill our home.

We feel so very blessed and excited about our future!  Thanks for the love and support over the last few months and understanding our delay in sharing our news!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Join The Movement...

Last August, I made the decision to “come out” so to speak about my infertility.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done; more for fear of ridicule and judgment than anything.  Which, in reality, was unfair on my part.  How can I expect others to understand our struggles when it was a disease that they knew nothing about?  In social circles, we as a society have no issues asking for prayers, well wishes, and support when we or someone we love has been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes or heart disease but we are quick to cower in silence when it comes to infertility.  It is still considered a taboo subject.  I understand the hesitance of sharing your own personal story of infertility.  I mean, it is not exactly easy to discuss the inner workings of your reproductive organs with others.

After my last miscarriage I realized just how much my silence about my disease was causing stress, feelings of isolation and building walls between me and those I loved.  I needed support.  I needed people to understand what it was like to lose a child.  I needed people to understand what it is like desperately wanting a child for years and your body not cooperating.  I needed people to understand why I was withdrawing from the world.  Most of all I needed people to understand that infertility is a DISEASE not just an inconvenience!

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex (six months if over 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth.  It affects 7.3 million people or one in eight couples in the United States alone. (National Survey of Family Growth, CDC 2002)  Infertility does not discriminate and affects women and men equally.  Approximately 1/3 of infertility is attributed to the female partner, 1/3 to the male partner and 1/3 is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or is unexplained.  (www.asrm.org)  Diagnosis is not always easy for those suffering from infertility.  It can involve invasive testing of both the male and female partners before an actual diagnosis can be made and for some there is no answer, just the dreaded unexplained.  Treatment for infertility is a whole other story.  It can be a very long road and can end at an agonizing dead end.  With very few states having laws requiring insurance coverage for infertility treatment it can also be a very costly road as well.

G and I have been trying to have children for about five years now.  We finally decided to seek the help of my GYN after a year of trying on our own with no success.  After a lot of testing and exploratory surgery I was diagnosed with stage one uterine cancer.  I had an amazing Oncologist who was willing to try and save my fertility.  After ten months of hormone therapy and two surgeries I was cancer free.  Once I was cleared of the endometrial cancer my diagnosis was a simple one…I am anovulatory.  Over the last two and a half years we have gone through the gamut of infertility treatments.  We have done oral medications, injectables, IUIs, IVF and FET.  None of which resulted in me carrying a pregnancy to term.  All of which taking its toll on us physically, emotionally and financially.  Our journey to grow our family has not been an easy one and has been made more difficult by lack of awareness and support of others about this disease.  After months of heartache and loss we realized (better late than never) that we needed to seek the professional help of a psychologist who specializes in infertility.  Dr. M has been a fantastic resource in helping us cope with my disease, mourn our losses and help us make the move towards adoption.

April 21st – 27th is National Infertility Awareness Week.  I encourage you to take the time to read about infertility and get the facts about this growing disease.  Learn how you can share your journey or support friends and loved ones in theirs.  Below are some helpful links to get you on your way to learning about Infertility.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101  (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)