Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Weird Feeling

I'm running late this morning, so of course I'm going to sit down and jot down a quick post. Hahaha. :)

It's still so weird to me that I don't have a kid. It seems like almost everyone my age has one, and I always assumed and planned that I would have at least one. And I don't have any. And, even though I've never had any children in my life, it just seems weird. Almost like something is missing. Even though my life is full. I'm one of those women that feels like I was born to be a mother. Now I am channeling that energy into other avenues and hope to make a difference in the children's lives whom I will work with in the future.

But it's weird to feel like someone's missing when they were never there in the first place.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love a day that celebrates gratitude, loved ones, relaxation, and food. This year will be my smallest gathering yet- just me, my husband, and my mother-in-law, but I am looking forward to it so much!! I am still drowning in school work so I don't have time to make the big traditional meal this year. Instead we are going to a fancy restaurant that is special to all of us. There will be a big holiday buffet with lots of different food stations: omelets, breakfast, seafood, sushi, salad, turkey and dressing, crepes, desserts, mimosas, and a Bloody Mary cart.

I am just so dang thankful. I have food in my belly, a roof over my head, and loved ones to share my life with. I have my husband, my dog, my school program, and my new dreams. I have my health, and I have a new energy and inspiration toward life. I don't take any of it for granted for a second!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

When I Knew It Was Time to Stop

Going through fertility treatments felt like a full time job. So many appointments. So many procedures. It took up so much time. It was the main thing that was going on in my life and I didn't want to talk about it with anyone. (Later, when nothing worked, I would be thankful that I didn't tell everyone because that meant I didn't have to go back and tell a bunch of people I wasn't pregnant.)

It was so expensive and so stressful and I was so sad and mad and scared. It really sucked. And I think I had the rare positive experience with my RE.

I remember going in for one of my IUIs. I was waiting for the elevator and when the door opened, my doctor walked out. No one else was in the hallway and she happily exclaimed, "Good luck!" (The nurse was going to do the procedure, not my doctor.) I remember being so surprised that she remembered me. I said, "You know who I am?" And she seemed surprised. She said, "Of course I know who you are," and she addressed me by name. "You are my patient and I was just looking at your chart and everything looks good!!" I'll be forever grateful. I always felt like a person at that clinic; I never felt like a number.

But even with all of the positives lined up: great clinic, friendly doctor, nice nurses, gifted phlebotomists, beautiful waiting room, free parking... The whole thing still took its toll.

I was dying on the inside. I was taking my hormone injections, eating healthy, downing vitamins and supplements by the handful, trying to do the most natural thing in the world... And I was losing myself. I became a shell of a person.

After the first IUI didn't work, I thought, well, that's okay- it often takes several tries. I knew an acquaintance that got pregnant on her 4th IUI. I didn't make it that far. While it was always my choice what to do, my doctor encouraged me not to do more than 3 IUIs. She explained that, after that, the odds just weren't in my favor.

So after 3 IUIs, I tried IVF. I've mentioned it before, but IVF changed me. I can now get my blood drawn like a champ. Things that used to scare me before don't phase me now. And nothing seems very important or stressful (i.e. grad school) because, after you lose your children, not much else matters by comparison.

I did it. I went through IVF. Twice. Injections. Ultrasounds. Blood draws. Egg retrieval. Waiting for updates. Embryo transfer. Waiting for two long weeks. Hoping, hoping, hoping, while also trying to protect myself from the worst somehow...

And that first phone call after my first IVF destroyed me. It didn't work. I wasn't pregnant.

Somehow I powered through, took a cycle off from treatment, and then immediately went into my second round of IVF. I knew in the back of my mind that if I stopped, I would never try again...

It didn't work.
I wasn't pregnant.

I was empty and had nothing left to give to the process.

Just like with IUIs, I wanted to try 3 IVFs. Or maybe even 4. But I couldn't do it. I was done. It was like there was no decision to be made. I just knew I couldn't do it anymore.

My doctor was always realistic about my chances. With each treatment, my chance for success dropped significantly. She said I could try a third or even a fourth IVF, but she wasn't hopeful that it would work. She talked to me about donor eggs. And adoption. Said if I wanted to try another clinic, she was more than happy to discuss my case with another doctor. But I didn't want to go anywhere else. I tried my best. Everyone did. I felt there was nothing else I could do. Thankful for the opportunity to try and walking away without regrets, I was done with medical intervention.

I knew it was going to take me a long time, but I had to figure out how to start living again.

Monday, November 21, 2016

My First Visit to the RE

I knew which fertility clinic to call because I had already looked up the ones in my area and chosen which one I liked best. I looked at SART information, considered the location with regard to traffic patterns, and explored whether or not the clinics were affiliated with other clinics or a bigger system. Fortunately, the one closest to me had the best data and was affiliated with a nationally known, high quality fertility clinic. At least I had all that going for me...

I had already been to my gynecologist several times. When we decided to start trying, I went and saw her for a preconception checkup. After we had been trying for six months, she did my HSG. Then when things still weren't happening, she did some bloodwork and checked all of my hormones. That's when I learned my AMH was low and I had a diminished ovarian reserve (DOR).

Honestly, the day I got those results was probably the hardest day throughout the whole process. This may sound weird, but I've always worried about my fertility. Even as a child. I wanted to be a mom SO BAD but knew it was out of my control. In college, I confessed my worry to my best friend and she assured me that it would be okay. So when I learned that I had DOR, something in me just knew. I knew that it hadn't been easy and it wasn't going to get any easier. A big part of me lost all hope that it would ever happen. I literally collapsed in heaving sobs on the floor of our office. Out of everything I've been through, that was the hardest moment.

My husband had already been to a urologist that specialized in fertility. Well, first he gave a sperm sample for some random doctor that my gynecologist suggested. Then I asked him to go ahead and have a full physical. My husband, who absolutely hates doctors and never goes to see them, went without question. I will be forever grateful about his attitude. So he went. Had a physical exam, bloodwork, ultrasound, gave another sample. The results were fine. No physical problems. Low counts but nothing impossible.

So I felt we had checked everything out that we could. So, after dragging my feet for a year, we proceeded to the fertility clinic I picked out.

Our first appointment was nerve wracking. The waiting room was gorgeous. But weird. I'm not used to doctors' waiting rooms being chatty, but this one was even more different. People seemed to actively avoid eye contact. Everyone sat strategically, where they would not be near anyone else. Of course, I looked at all the baby pictures and read the photo album full of thank you notes. I started to get excited, that maybe this would actually happen.

We went in to meet the doctor. Like the waiting room, she was also gorgeous. And warm. And friendly. I instantly felt at ease. She looked through our extensive file, praising me on all the steps we had already taken. After talking to us, reviewing all of our information, and answering my extremely LONG list of questions, she told us it could happen. Our numbers weren't telling her it was impossible. She said, "We get women like you pregnant all the time." A glimmer of hope.

She suggested, with our numbers, to go straight to IVF. But, she also said, if we wanted to try IUI first, we could do that. I asked if it would be a waste of time and money to do IUI first and she said no, just that our chances were higher with IVF. I asked about Clomid, since I thought that was always the first thing women tried. She said Clomid wouldn't be appropriate for me. So I chose to try IUI first. I couldn't handle the ideas of injections yet. Then she told me that I would be doing injections with my IUI. That's when I started crying. And shaking. And she was so calm and gentle and sensitive. She really assured me that it was going to be okay, that they wouldn't hurt much and that I could do this. She never pressured me; she emboldened me.

I did not know it then, but I was in for much bigger disappointments than having to do injections. But what I also did not know then was how lucky I was to be at a fertility clinic where I felt listened to and so well taken care of.

We all know how my story ends: surprise, no baby. But my husband and I would spend the next seven months with my doctor and her team of nurses and phlebotomists, and we all tried our best.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

When I Decided to Try Treatment

Ahhhh... A moment to breathe! That was one busy week. Busy is good these days though so I'm not complaining. :)


Ever since I wrote last week about an acquaintance going through fertility treatment, I've had treatment on my mind. So maybe I'll write a few posts about my experience.

First, how did I decide to try fertility treatment?

Well, my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for two years. I tried to be patient that first year, even though things seemed to be perfectly timed every month and every month it didn't happen. I always thought I'd try for a year and then move on to medical assistance. However, after that first year, I did not proceed directly to the doctor's office. I was mad. And sad. And scared. And annoyed. And figured I just needed to be more patient, that it would eventually happen.

I was hanging out with a very good friend one day when she asked me directly why I hadn't been to the doctor yet. I shared that we had all the basic testing done and that there were problems on both sides of the equation. She looked at me very lovingly and said it was okay if I sought medical help, that I "deserved to be pregnant."

That really stuck with me. I didn't realize until that point how much guilt I felt. And I claim to hardly ever feel guilty... But I had a lot of subconscious baggage going on: it was my fault, I had waited too long, I wasn't healthy enough, I'm just not relaxed enough (I know! That last one makes me cringe! But those messages that I heard so much had slowly seeped into my brain.)

And in that moment I realized, I *do* deserve to be pregnant.

I went home and, the following Monday, I made my first appointment with the fertility clinic.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Creating My New Life

I'm so busy this week with tests, assignments, and projects for school. I'm so tired I think I could go to bed and wake up in 2017. But with each passing week, I get more committed to school and my new profession. I am really excited to be creating a new life!

Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people's. -Anais Nin

Friday, November 11, 2016

When Someone Else goes through Treatment

How do I respond when someone I know is going through fertility treatments?

It feels kind of awkward.

On one hand I want to say, "Good luck!" but on the other hand I don't want to be the reminder that sometimes (or, as we all know- often) it doesn't work out.

A wife of one of my husband's good friends is going through treatment right now. She posted about it on facebook and asked for prayers. The comments were hard for me to read. They ranged from "You got this! You deserve it!" to " God is good. He will bless your family." to "I know it's hard but it is worth it. Having children is the most rewarding thing in life."

And I have... Lots of thoughts about all of those comments.

But I will keep those thoughts to myself, not share them with my friend obviously.

But I think people have the misconception that fertility treatments work. Often, if not all the time. And we know that they work... Rarely.

So I would like to support her, but I don't know how. Then again, I probably can't support her right now. Last year one of my best friends was going through IVF. I told her that I loved her very much and wished her the best but I wasn't able to be the friend to her that I wanted to be at that time, that I still needed space from the world of fertility treatments. Spoiler: She didn't get pregnant. :(

And I am probably still there. I just can't hear about the appointments and the medications and the procedures and the updates. I'm not there yet. And it's not really a goal of mine to ever get there. If it happens, it happens. But I'm not really concerned about it.

But the most awkward part is that I feel like I am the reminder nobody wants, that you can try everything and still not get pregnant. So I don't even know if any good wishes from me would be welcome or well received. (Well, she is a pretty amazing person, so she would probably accept my sentiments lovingly and sincerely. But others? I'm not so sure...)

I am definitely hoping for the best for her. I guess I will do it from a distance.

Monday, November 7, 2016


I always planned on having children. From the time I was a kid, I dreamed about being a mom. But I also wanted some time to myself, time in between college and having children. Just as much as I dreamed about having children, I dreamed of having my own apartment. No roommates, no boyfriend, no husband. I thought that would be the coolest thing. (And it was!)

I keep a planner. An old fashioned, paper and pencil planner. My family makes fun of me for this. They think I am too rigid and dorky. I just like to write stuff down so I don't have to remember it. Plus, you can only do so much in a day so having a planner helps me to not overschedule myself. Once several things have been written down for one day, I know that day is full.

So I planned on having children. I enjoyed my single years and all the friends and jobs and boyfriends and parties and trips that came with it. I will always be thankful for that time period in my life. I enjoyed dating my husband. I enjoyed getting married. I enjoyed being married. Then we started trying to conceive. And you know how that goes... Not so fun after so much time passes.

I was sad I couldn't get pregnant. One of my sisters said rather rudely to me, "Well you can't plan everything in life." This is the same sister that told me, "You can't have everything." (I'll try to spread out the gems she's shared with me over the years in lots of different posts. They are all zingers on their own and all at once they would add up to a mountain of hurt.)

But why couldn't I plan to get pregnant? What's wrong with that? I was patient and tried for many years. It's not like I had a specific season, month, or date that it had to happen on. I didn't have a preference on gender. I just wanted to get pregnant and have a baby. Like everybody else.

What fault did my sister find in my plan? When she wanted to have a baby, she did. When our other sister wanted to have a baby, she did. When our cousins wanted to have a baby, they did. What was wrong with me planning to have one?

Well, I'm working on other plans now. Something will work out. If something happens and I don't end up graduating from my school program, it won't be the first time I spent time and money on something without receiving the desired outcome. But I will keep trying.

And ultimately I will create a new life for myself. I know plans don't always work out, but I am glad to be looking toward the future.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

In a Funk

My best friend from college had her baby this week. Of course I am happy for her. And of course it's complicated. Of course it brings up sadness for me for myself.

As soon as I think I'm fine with my lot in life, I am reminded that I'm not. Or, at least, I'm not as okay with it as I thought I was.

It's weird. Do I *really* want a newborn right now? Yes. And no.

I think about it and I go back and forth. I guess that's a waste of my time because my fertility obviously isn't up to me. But I wonder how I truly feel and what thoughts have become a self-protective mechanism.

Recently I've been telling my husband that I wanted it to happen THEN, but I don't really want it to happen NOW. But then a week like this comes along and I think, well, what do I want? Again, though, it's not up to me.

Although I will share with you all that we are using contraception. That feels so weird to say. One, because it's so personal and I just put it on the internet. And two, because, well, I tried to get pregnant for yearsss... Why prevent pregnancy? I mean, it's obviously not necessary.

But I needed a break. I needed to stop hoping. Every. Single. Month. I needed a break from heartbreak. I was very, very tired. And so, at least for now, I know it's absolutely not going to happen. And maybe that's where my questioning comes in. Maybe that's why I'm still asking myself what do I want.

And I don't know.

I wanted to raise babies and toddlers in my 30s, not my 40s. There's nothing wrong with raising babies and toddlers in your 40s; it's just my personal preference. But what if I'm wrong about myself?

I drive myself crazy with the back and forth thinking. It's not like it's up to me anyway. I tried. I tried everything. It didn't happen. And I am moving forward.

But, right now, I am in a funk. I recognize this. I am familiar with this. But it still sucks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Moment of Gratitude

Thank you for reading!

I have been blogging for a month now, and I'm really thankful for everyone who has stopped by and made time to read what I have written. It is invaluable to be heard and understood, especially without explanation. I hope my blog has helped someone as much as it has helped me.

I didn't realize I had so much to say! Hahaha. For the past six months I've felt like I've been healing and I thought that was it. I think I am healing but part of that is now I want to share what I've been thinking to myself for so many years.

Thank you for the community and the camaraderie. I appreciate every reader, blogger, and comment. I look forward to more reading and writing.