Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This is GREAT!

I came across this in another Nestie's blog, I can't believe I missed it on the boards. I want to post it over here so I can re-read it when I need to.

Couples experiencing infertility often receive well-meaning but extremely insensitive advice. We can list all the most popular ones: just relax and you’ll get pregnant, or adopt and you’ll get pregnant, of the most painful from those who think they’ve got the goods on God’s plan; maybe God never meant for you to have children. The sheer audacity of making a statement like that never fails to amaze me.

These same people would never walk up to someone seeking treatment for cancer and say “Maybe God never meant for you to live.” However, because I am infertile, I’m supposed to get on with my life? It’s hard to understand that people cannot see infertility for what it is; a disease for which I have to seek treatment.

What if Jonas Salk had said to the parents of polio victims, “Maybe God meant for thousands of our children to be cripples, live in an iron lung, or die.” What if he’d never tried to find a cure? Who could think for one minute that was God’s plan?

What do I think God meant when he gave me infertility?

I think he meant for my husband and I to grow closer, become stronger, love deeper. I think God meant for us to find the fortitude within ourselves to get up every time infertility knocks us down. I think God meant for our medical community to discover medicines, invent medical equipment, create procedures and protocols. I think God meant for us to find a cure for infertility.

No, God never meant for me not to have children. That’s not my destiny; that’s just a fork in the road I’m on. I’ve been placed on the road less traveled. I’ve gained more compassion, deeper courage, greater inner strength on this journey to resolution and I haven’t let him down.

Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God has singled me out for a special treatment. I think God meant for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms, it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink I’ve ever known.

While I would never have chosen infertility, I cannot deny that a fertile woman could never know the joy that awaits me. Yes, one way or another, I will have a baby of my own. And the next time someone wants to offer me unsolicited advice; I’ll say “Don’t tell me what God meant when he handed me infertility. I already know.”
(Thanks MrsMeyer9206!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Is Knowing Better than Not Knowing?

Last week, we had our first RE appointment. I'm still not sure how I feel about the man, but oh well, his job is to get us pregnant, not tell me everything is fine and hold my hand. I was glad though to hear him say what I've been thinking the past couple weeks that the husband just.doesn't.get: "Something should have happened by now."

The good news....he agreed that I do ovulate on my own. The bad news...the blocked tube may be causing more problems than I was aware of. I naively thought that maybe when I was ovulating from the right side and now that the endo is cleared up, that my chances of getting pregnant were close to "normal". In reality, because of my blocked tube, that knocks my chances down to about 2/3 of what would be your normal 20% chance per cycle...assuming I ovulate from the right ovary. There's a good chance that there is fluid that can't drain out that side that is just washing back in to my uterus and either flushing things out or creating little "pools" of fluid in my uterine lining that make it difficult for an embryo to implant. That's a bummer. Even if the little egg gets fertilized, there is a possibility that it can't get all comfy and cozy for a nine month stay.

I don't know if its just my RE, but I feel like he's very aggressive...which maybe would be good if my two options weren't surgery to fix/remove the tube or IVF. I'm not quite fond of either idea just yet, mainly because I just had a laparoscopy not even two months ago for the endo. The husband isn't quite fond of the IVF idea because he's all about doing things "naturally". (Freaking hippie). We're going to back fill all the other testing that I haven't done to see what else we are dealing with but the RE sounds confident that everything else is fine. That means I don't know whether to smile or frown.
Today was meeting #2 with the RE to see what side I will ovulate on and the great news is that it will be on the right side! Our chance will be more than zero! Ahem, guess what we will be doing this weekend (wink, wink).

Anyway, now on to the normal hoping and praying for the next few weeks.

I think right now what I'm comfortable with, is that if I'm not pregnant by the end of the summer, we'll go forward probably with the surgery. In the long term, that may be our best bet. This is going to be our last summer sans a kiddo (not if...it will BE) and if I can enjoy my pina coladas, then I'm going to enjoy them and enjoy the last few months of being "just" a wife. I'll be a mommy someday...and for the rest of my life hopefully!

Side note: I just found out this past week that orchids are good fertility joojoo. Ummm, this baffles me. I first fell in love with orchids before our wedding and used them in what I could, I love, love, love them. I now have acquired two plants since we've been married and what is ironic about this whole "being good for fertility" is that 13 cycles later, I'm still not pregnant, and I am so botanically challenged that I'm beyond amazed that these are the only two plants that I have EVER been able to keep alive. Seriously. Any other potted plant anyone has ever given me, I have successfully killed.

Bloodwork to be done next Thursday along with the husband's semen analysis.

"Dreams are always crushing when they don't come true, but it's the simple dreams that are often the most painful because they seem so personal, so reasonable, so attainable. You're always close enough to touch, but never quite close enough to hold, and it's enough to break your heart." -Nicholas Sparks

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cycle #13

Here we are, a place that in a million years, never thought we'd be. We haven't hit the year mark, but because of my short whacko cycles have made it to 13 before May. I knew a year ago that we'd have some trouble...but I thought that meant we'd make it to 7, 8, maybe 9 before getting me knocked up. Boy, was I wrong.

I can't go into too much detail, I'm trying to write somewhat anonymously in the event someone we know stumbles across this but ten, fifteen, years ago - I didn't want kids. My brothers and sisters were born when I was eight. Yes, I used plurals. I was old enough to be the "helpful big sister"...I changed diapers, I fed bottles, I retrieved lost pacifiers. I think I must have changed more diapers in two years than more people change in their lifetimes. Anyway, I harbored a lot of bitterness, maybe not towards my parents or my brothers or sisters specifically, but towards just babies/kids in general. I couldn't go out and get a babysitting job like my friends did in jr. high and high school because well, I was needed at home. I was over the raising kids by the time I went away to college! Now, I'm like their younger hipper mom, and in some ways I have more affection for them in a motherly sort of way if that makes any sense. I'm so proud of the way they turned out and I think that's part of the reason I want kids now--look how great I helped them turn out! Anyway though, there was a period where the idea of babies or children that were spawned from me made me nauseous and wretchedly ill.

So, the original plan was to wait about 4 or 5 years to have kids. We both knew that we wanted them, we just didn't think we wanted them anytime soon. We both come from modest backgrounds and have been so fortunate to end up where we are at. We both ended up graduating from college with somewhat impressive degrees, we both have great jobs that probably pay a little too well for our ages, we've made some smart choices. Because my parents were busy raising our family and his parents were busy working on their college educations, we probably have a lot we need to that some other couples may already have achieved -- like we need to do some traveling and we need to do some saving (yeah, if that's not a conundrum how to do both). Come birthday #27, my clock started ticking. WTF did that come from? All of a sudden, I feel like an alarm went off loud and clear. The worst part was -- I kept trying to hit "snooze" and either I don't have one, its broken, or I kept missing the button. After multiple conversations and psyching ourselves up, we decide I can go off the Pill in May -- about 9 months into our wedding. We decide that you know, why not. We can give our kids the experiences that we didn't have and when we take vacations - a lot of times it will be the first for all of us and we can do it all together. Plus if we need to get away, his parents live in town and have made it more than clear that they were ready for grandchildren.

May, June, July, August go by. We were half-heartedly trying. I was charting, but we weren't using OPKs or anything. Looking back we had some damn good timed sex. But its ok...we weren't seriously TRYING. September brings our one year anniversary and the confidence that dammit, its going to be a great year. September, October, November goes by and I start to have a lot of spotting...oh well, everyone is entitled to a weird cycle every now and then and....well, I'm not pregnant by birthday # 28, but its ok. December, did I ovulate? Hmmm, what is going on now? I start to have ridiculously heavy periods...starting to last for 10 days or so. January, lots of spotting again. A call to the doctor confirms the suspicion I had started to have - I may have endometriosis. She thinks its worth having a laparoscopy to go in and see if there is anything going on in there that shouldn't be. Get it scheduled for early March. At this point, I'm convinced that I have it. It makes sense, my mom and cousin struggled with it.

Surgery is done and my worst fear is realized. I do have endo. Not only do I have endo, but I have a completely blocked left tube. A blocked tube. Meaning I have one tube that may work (and she said she can't guarantee that its in good condition). Because the tube on the left is shot, that ovary is worthless right now. I'm really sad about this. I have to ovulate from the right side to get pregnant, I have to have a tube in decent shape. Not only is the "normal" couple's chance of getting pregnant every month about 20% but what do you think these strikes make my chances? Not so hot. My gynocologist referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). She thinks that the endo will come back and that I either need to be pregnant or on hormone therapy (BCPs or other) to keep it at bay. She thinks that because we don't know how long that window is and because we've been at this for awhile with no luck, that its worth sending me to the RE. It took a couple days of crying because I never thought I'd have to do that, I always hoped that it wouldn't be me, it wouldn't be us.

I had high hopes for the first cycle after the lap. I hear that sometimes that is all some women with endo need - a little clearing out of things and they are as good as new. I decide to get hopeful and think that cycle #12 will be a success. Once again, I was notified that it wasn't. Here goes cycle #13 with our RE appointment on Thursday. I'm beyond frustrated. I'm sad. I know that 12 cycles pales in comparison with those that have been trying for 18, 24 plus cycles. I know that I'm not *there* yet, but there is already this ache in my heart. I'm worn out - emotionally & physically. I don't know that I can take another month of getting my hopes up and being let down again. I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, I know by now...but I can't help it. There's always the "what if this was it?" only to be kicking myself later because I should have known.

As I sit here in the dawn of cycle #13, I feel like this hope that I have a love/hate relationship with is slipping away. We hoped a year ago that we could do this naturally. I am terrified of fertility drugs because of what resulted in my brothers and sisters. I can't handle THAT. The more I'm learning though, the more comfortable I'm getting with them. I can only HOPE that our problem is a simple one to solve and that maybe just one little thing is what is going to make all the difference. I read a line today that I'm adopting as my motto for awhile and that is what I will leave this entry with.


Nobody wants to admit this, but bad things will keep on happening. Maybe that's because it's all a chain, and a long time ago someone did the first bad thing, and that led someone else to do another bad thing, and so on. You know, like that game where you whisper a sentence into someones' ear, and that person whispers it to someone else, and it all comes out wrong in the end. But then again, maybe bad things happen because it's the only way we can keep remembering what good is supposed to look like -Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes