Thursday, November 22, 2007

28 Reasons to Smile

In honor of my 28th birthday (which just happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year), I have decided to identify "28 Reasons to Smile". In other words, 28 things I am thankful for (although I chose the other title because it just felt so cheerful - and who doesn't need more reasons to smile?).

It is so important to remember your blessings, especially when times are tough, so I thought I'd throw a link to my "28 Reasons" on this Fertility Blog, so that I can remind myself what blessings I truly do have.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fertility and Faith

This is the strength behind 4+ years of dealing with infertility.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


In church today, the speaker read a little poem that I had heard long ago and had since forgotten. It really spoke to me, and I thought I'd share it.

I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His Word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late.
And so I pray and calmly wait.

I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest.

- Eliza M. Hickok

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Ups and Downs

These last few days have been quite the roller coaster. All this time, I have thought that I alone carried the stress and frustration of infertility, while Ryan escaped unscathed. Turns out, I was mistaken. Sparing the details, we came to the point that all of the strain and pressure was too much. And we snapped.

Although he would like to be a Dad someday, Ryan can’t take much more of the intense emotion that has been sharing space in our marriage for years now. He doesn’t want to see his wife fall apart on a daily basis and, you know, I can’t blame him. I am exhausted with this process as well. The most frustrating thing is that I want to DO SOMETHING, to MAKE PROGRESS, to be PROACTIVE, and our current situation does not allow for that. Because, you see, procreation is expensive for those of us who must pay for it…

So after a couple of talks, we have cleared up our misunderstandings and discussed our differences. Today, I am opening another bank account. I will funnel money there, a little at a time, as I am able. Once I have saved $3500, I will use the first $2000 for sinus surgery (I have to get this done before I can pursue pregnancy). Then, I will use the remaining $1500 for a Gonal-f / IUI treatment.

In the meantime, I will go back-to-basics and pull out that dusty ovulation predictor. Yeah, I know that the doc said my chances are <1%, but people beat the odds all the time. Doctors are good, but God is greater.

And all the while, I will concentrate on being happy. Happy with my husband, my family, my friends, and all those things I am so incredibly blessed to have. And those difficult days that will inevitably come? I’ll unload my feelings here, instead of dumping them on my husband. Because all he wants to do is make them go away. But he can’t.
No one can.

Life is like a roller coaster: There are ups and downs and sometimes you just want off! But other times, you just throw your hands up and try to enjoy the ride. Because, after all, you are not at the controls.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Believe...

I believe in the Sun even when it's not shining,
I believe in Love even when I don't feel it,
I believe in God even when He is silent.
~Author Unknown

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Missing Motherhood

Is it possible to miss someone you’ve never met?

Since I was a child myself, I knew I wanted to be a mom. When I would write in my diary at night, I would end with a little note to my future children. I figured someday, they would read my little passages and when they saw them, they would know how much I wanted to be their mom, even as a child. I thought that would make them feel special.

I believe that anyone who has lived or will live on the Earth has a spirit. Our spirit did not begin with our physical birth. Some spirits have lived on Earth already and have died and are now spirits in heaven. Others are on the Earth right now and their spirits are housed inside mortal bodies. I also believe that there are others who have not lived on the Earth yet, but are nevertheless spirits anticipating coming to Earth at their appointed time. My children are in this third category.

In other words, at one point, I knew those spirits who would be my children here on Earth. I would have to have known them, as at one time, I was only a spirit as well. I know it sounds odd, but I believe this to be true. It is a major foundational belief of my religious affiliation.

For years, I have tried to pinpoint my heartache at falling short of motherhood. Do I long to hold, nurture, and care for a child? Yes. But there is something more. Some sort of emptiness. Then, quite recently, it dawned on me. I miss them.

I have no idea who they are or what they will look like, but still I miss them. I want to see them. I want to tuck them in and kiss their scraped knees. I want to teach them and learn from them. I want to help them with science projects and watch them goof around with their dad. I want to harass them about their grades and send them to the prom. I want to help them pick a college and see them become parents themselves. They are not simply "furture potential children", but they are real people to me; and I want them here with me.

Many nights Ryan works. The house is quiet and everything is still. This is when I miss them the most. The other day, I heard a song. I am pretty sure the message I took away was not what the artist intended, but what makes music so great is that it can mean different things to different people. Here is a bit of the lyrics:

Everything I know, and anywhere I go
It gets hard but it wont take away my love
And when the last one falls
When it's all said and done
It gets hard but it wont take away my love

I'm here without you baby
But you're still on my lonely mind
I think about you baby
And I dream about you all the time
I'm here without you baby
But you're still with me in my dreams
And tonight its only you and me

This song made me cry. There are so many times, when the chaos of the day is settling down, I am left with me and my thoughts. Inevitably, they always turn to the same thing. I’m here without my baby.

So, again I ask, is it possible to miss someone you’ve never met?

Monday, October 22, 2007

I am blessed.

It has come across my mind over the past week, how blessed I truly am. Let me explain…

A woman with infertility looks at another woman and thinks, "She is so blessed to be able to have children with no difficulty! I would give anything to have that blessing!"

But a different woman might look at her and say, “She is so blessed to have insurance that helps her pay for fertility procedures! I would give anything to have that blessing!”

Meanwhile, someone may look at that woman and say, “She is so blessed to have the opportunity to try so many fertility procedures, even though she has to pay for them! I have been told my husband and I will never have children. I would give anything to have that blessing!”

At the same time, someone may look at that person and say, “Wow. She is so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. I recently lost my husband. I would give anything to have that blessing!”

But, someone may look at her and say, “She was so blessed to have that time with her husband. My life has been great, but I never found someone to share my life with. I would give anything to have that blessing!”

And at that same moment, someone else would look at her and say, “She is so blessed to be healthy. I am very sick and may never recover. I would give anything to have that blessing!”

Do you see where I am going with this? It seems like no matter who you are or what your circumstances, there is someone out there who would call you “blessed”. And so I am saving everyone the trouble and I am trying each day to give that label to myself.

Is there heartbreak? Yes. Are there trials? Oh, yeah. But am I still blessed? You better believe it! And so are you…

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Feline Therapy

For years, I have wanted a cat. I always talked myself out of getting one, thinking I would soon be pregnant. For one, I am allergic to cats and besides that there are all kinds of issues with pregnancy and cats, dealing with the litter box and toxicity.

So as the years passed by, I put off a lot of things, thinking I would be pregnant soon and my life would change. Little by little, as I realized the possibility of pregnancy in the near future was fading away, I slowly began doing those things I had been waiting on, except for getting a cat.

One morning, three months ago, I woke up and decided this was the day. I called about an ad in the local paper about a litter of kittens and made plans to go pick one up. I stopped by PetsMart in Clovis to get some supplies. As I walked into the store, I noticed the cages on the side wall. In one cage was this 3 month old black kitten. I went up to the plastic window and put my hand on it. The kitten immediately began to bat at the window. I found an employee and they took me in the back. When they handed me the kitten, he looked up at me, placed his paws on my cheeks, and put his nose on my face. His name was "B.A." and I knew he was mine.

I got all the supplies needed, filled out the Madera SPCA paperwork, and drove him home. I called the gentleman who had placed the ad in the paper and told him I wouldn't be coming after all. I had already found our new "baby".

His name is Cosmo ("Cosmic Creepers") and he is a feisty and strong headed kitten with quite a personality. When I come home at night, he comes running. When I get up in the morning, he can't wait to play. He lets me hold him for as long as I want, even when I can tell he is tired of it. I used to think it was kind-of strange when people would talk about pets like family, but now I think I understand.

Three months ago, I rescued him from the shelter. But, since that time, I feel that in his own way he has rescued me too. When you have infertility, one of the most empty and lonely feelings is that you have no one to nurture, no one to care for. And that's all you desire in the world. I realize that Cosmo is just a cat, but it makes a difference to know that I am important to him and he depends on me. It hasn't lessened my desire for a child of my own, but it has softened the heartache a bit.

When it rains, it pours... and I can't find my umbrella.

Over the last few months, medical billing statements have arrived as a result of my recent surgery last June. Adding up the charges, it seemed I would end up paying about $400 for the surgery out-of-pocket. I was pretty satisfied, as the surgery was the first fertility "treatment" which my insurance would participate in paying.

Yesterday, I picked up my mail only to find a "love letter" from Clovis Community Hospital. Seems I will actually be paying about $2500 out-of-pocket for the surgery.

Now, I have been told by some people that "money is no object - we would pay whatever we needed to have a child". This is all very noble and good, but until you have been in my position, you have no idea what it is like when the only thing preventing you from reaching for your dream is money.

What started out as a desperate attempt to find out the reason I have not been able to conceive a child has now turned into the most expensive fertility "treatment" I have paid (am paying) for thus far.

Even though I would like to tell myself that the surgery was a mistake, I know that if it had turned out differently, I would have called it the best decision I could have made.

It's all a gamble. This is just the game we pay when we are lucky enough to not only be "infertile", but have health insurance that doesn't see that as a problem worth paying for. Along with the heartbreak of infertility, we get to be slapped in the face on a regular basis by the reality that all this costs money.

When will I be able to pursue agressive fertility treatments? Well, I refuse to miss out on parenthood over something as futile as money. This unexpected bump will not be a road block. It has slowed us down, but will not crush us. It will take some time, but Clovis Community Hospital will get their money. And then we'll move on from there...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Infertility: Year 4

I decided to document Year 4 with a slideshow. Think of it as this last year summed up into 3 minutes! After the first few slides, there is music, so make sure your speakers are on! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Graduation: I now have a Bachelor’s Degree in Reproductive Science!

FOUR years ago this month, I threw away my birth control pills for good. Why not? I was nine months from graduation at Long Beach State and I wanted nothing more than to receive my degree in psychology moments before I stepped into the world of motherhood.

It was all planned perfectly. I would have my degree, my sign to the world that I accomplished something great for myself, and then become a mother, my sign to myself that I hadn’t forgotten the true measure of my creation.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was embarking on another kind of education… a second Bachelor’s of sorts. Unlike my psychology degree, this course of study would test me physically, emotionally, and spiritually in a way public education never could.

There were many things to learn and skills to acquire. Some of my minor degrees have been:
Anatomy (I could map the human reproductive system blindfolded)
Pharmacology (expert on Clomid vs. Gonal-f)
Human relations (inventive answers to the unintentionally insensitive questions I’m asked)
Performing arts (acting like the aforementioned questions don’t bother me)
Accounting (creative ways to scrape together fertility treatment money)
Psychology (talking myself into functioning normally when all I want to do is climb in to bed, pull the covers over my head, and disappear)

I have also worked to improve my patience, optimism, hopefulness, and compassion. I haven’t always received an “A” in these subjects, but I continue to try.

It’s been a struggle. Sometimes I would be flooded with understanding and confidence and other times I would feel like a shell of a person, completely empty inside. One minute I would feel a great appreciation for my many blessings and the next minute, for the first time in my life, I would be angry at God.

So, I have my Bachelor’s Degree, now what? Well, my education is not over. The question is where will it lead me from here? Is it time to specialize in aggressive reproductive technologies? At which point do I cut my losses, switch majors, and study adoption? When do I give up the dream of wearing my own version of the cap and gown: cruising through the baby department rather than avoiding it, picking out nursery colors, fantasizing about holding little “Jack” or “Katelyn”?

My feelings are much different now than when I obtained my psychology degree. There is not as much pride or sense of accomplishment with this milestone. Mostly, it’s just sadness. Sadness for myself, sadness for time lost, just sadness. But, even so, it is a milestone in this journey we call life and as such, I feel it deserves acknowledgement, as painful as that may be.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Day One and We're Stalled...

Today is Day One. While there's no surprise that the "natural method" once again yielded no results, the surprise lies in the fact that our progress has stalled. Sigh...

The plan was to call the Doctor's office tomorrow, have a preliminary ultrasound, and start the shot treatments. However, recently Ryan has been struggling in his police training. While he's determined not to quit, his career is feeling less than stable to me at the moment. Although I have the money saved up for the first round of shots, I think it would be irresponsible to aggressively pursue getting pregnant when I am feeling so unsure about the status of our future finances. When the day finally comes that I do get pregnant, I want to feel joy and gratitude, not stress and worry that I will not be able to give my baby everything she needs.

Even though I am incredibly disappointed, I feel comfortable with this decision. I feel proud that I am making the responsible choice and not the selfish one that I wish I could make. Good mothers put their children's interest before their own. I guess it's never too early to start.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Post-Op Appointment & Blood Work

On Monday, I had my post-op appointment with Dr. Synn. As expected, the surgery did not find anything that would be affecting my fertility.

I got to see pictures of my insides. That was pretty cool. The only item that was out of the ordinary was a string of scar tissue behind my uterus. This was snipped off and removed.

Other than that, there was absolutely nothing the Doctor was interested in. So, he ran dye through my tubes (both were clear, the right one was a tad slow), scraped out my uterus, and sewed me back up!

So, everything inside me is "Frustratingly Perfect". Pretty much sums up my entire infertile existence! Nothing wrong... everything's textbook... no pregnancy. I guess when they say "unexplained" infertility, they really have no explanation.

Speaking of which, we re-ran certain tests of my Cycle Day 3 blood work. My 2004 numbers in comparison with 2007:

TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: Mid-range normal in most labs is about 1.7)

2004: 1.59
2007: N/A

FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone: FSH is often used as a gauge of ovarian reserve. In general, under 6 is excellent, 6-9 is good, 9-10 fair, 10-13 diminished reserve, 13+ very hard to stimulate.)

2004: 5.0
2007: 4.3

LH (Luteinizing Hormone: A normal LH level is similar to FSH)

2004: 3.7
2007: 2.6

Prolactin (Normal is < 24. Increased prolactin levels can interfere with ovulation.)

2004: 6
2007: N/A

Estradiol (Normal is 25 - 75. Levels on the lower end tend to be better for stimulating.)

2004: 51
2007: 65

All of my numbers are within the normal range. The weird thing is the tests show I have more, better quality eggs now than 3 years ago. Hmmm...

The update is as follows, we went ahead and tried to conceive this month using the "old school" method (my trusty ovulation monitor and good ol' fashioned baby-dancing). The Doc says there's less than 1% chance of conceiving this way, but who cares?! It was worth a shot.

Once cycle Day 1 of my next cycle hits (which it inevitably will, I'm sure), I will go in for an ultrasound to check that everything is good to go. Then I order my shots and that's when the fun begins!

Friday, June 29, 2007 a song

This was passed along to me by a friend who shares my same struggle. It’s a glimpse inside the world of infertility...

Anyone who has lived inside that world will relate to the words of this song (and may want to grab a kleenex before watching the video - I learned that the hard way).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ouch! The Surgery.

Preparing for surgery: What an adventure this was. From IV holes in my hands to the “support hose” on my legs, all the way down to the air compressed booties on my feet, this was certainly something new. I felt like some kind of astronaut with all of my “gear”. And, of course, Ryan was by my side taking pictures of the whole experience on his cell phone. Gotta love a comedian...

See how happy I look? I have no idea what is waiting for me on
the other side of the OR...

The lady bruised both hands trying to get the IV in, but she
called me "petite" so I let it slide.

I've got my cafeteria-lady hat and my astro-booties
and I was ready to go!

Soon it was time to wheel me into the OR. As we turned the corner, I saw a large dry-erase board to my right. Just like in Gray’s Anatomy, names were written under each room. I looked for my name frantically but before I could find it, I was whisked away in no time and into OR Room 2.

In the OR: I was asked to move myself from the gurney over to the operating table. Not exactly the easiest thing to do, but I managed to do it with whatever grace and dignity I had left (Although I’m pretty sure the anesthesiologist got a show in the process). Above me hung two lights the size of pizza pans. The room seemed empty and sterile. Then I was given some sort-of drug that made me feel loopy, which scared me. So, of course, I cried. Not the weepy, sobbing kind-of cry but a sad, pitiful cry – no sound, tears only. My right arm was stretched to the side with the IV and my left arm had the blood pressure cuff, which meant the nurse had to wipe my tears. How humiliating.

It only took a minute and I got myself together. Dr. Synn was fashionably late (what’s new) so I tried to make small talk with the nurses through my oxygen mask. Soon I heard that the Doctor had arrived. Next thing I knew, a cold feeling ran up through my right arm and I felt like I was slipping away. I actually said “thank you” to the anesthesiologist and waved goodbye to the nurses with my free hand. I am such a dork.

After the surgery: Now, I had told Ryan that I dreaded this part of the day. I told him how awful I would feel when waking up from surgery. I told him I would be tired, but uncomfortable, cold and nauseous. He said that it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it would be. He said it would be like waking up from a long nap. I’ll let you guess who was right…

As soon as I could open my eyes, I began asking whatever nurse was beside me, “Did I have endometriosis?” over and over. The problem was that my mouth hadn’t woken up yet so it sounded more like “Diidihaveendometriosis?? DIIDIHAVEENDOMETRIOSIS???” Needless to say, it took about 5 minutes for her to figure out what I was saying.

She looked at my chart and told me, no. There was no mention of endometriosis. I was crushed and barely listened to the rest of what she said while I cried silently for about a half an hour. Meanwhile, she tried to convince me that it was a good thing, that I didn’t want endometriosis, that this means I’m healthy. All I could think was I did this for nothing.

That’s when the nausea set in. I’ll spare you the details as you can probably imagine what it feels like to throw-up repeatedly for hours on a completely empty stomach that has just been cut into and patched back together. They normally expect you to be in the recovery room for about an hour and I was there almost four. Finally, I made it home and, you know what? I think I made it through pretty well. I was walking on my own that same night!

Today’s Thoughts: Now, with a clearer mind, I am able to comprehend what the nurse was trying to tell me in the recovery room on Wednesday. Although, my chart did not say “endometriosis”, what it did say was that the Doctor removed scar tissue, lesions, and possibly fibroids. He also scraped my uterus. Any one of these things can affect fertility. Basically I am all “cleaned out and ready for a baby”, as the nurse said. So this was a good decision. It wasn’t that I did this for nothing. Good things can come from it. I have grown fond of my black and blue stomach and my old lady walk. Battle wounds happen when fighting infertility. On July 9th, I will meet with the Doctor and will get the real story, complete with pictures and all. Then we will see what comes next…


Turns out, the nurse was overzealous in her analysis of the surgery results. She was probably just trying to stop my crying. For the real results of the surgery, see Post-Op Appointment .


I just have to say I am so grateful to everyone who has been such a support to me during this last week. Ryan was by my side the whole day; holding my hand, giving me popsicles and, most importantly, pretending not to be embarrassed as I threw-up for what seemed like the millionth time, this time right in front of the hospital. My mom spent Thursday cooking enough meals to last all week and stocking my fridge until I could hardly get the door closed. My dad called to check-up on me, leaving a voicemail message in a silly accent making me laugh. And many friends and family sent me emails and voicemails of love and encouragement. Thank you.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Ain't I Lucky!

Just wanted to share:
Several weeks ago, I mentioned to my boss that I would be having surgery for endometriosis as it may be a possible cause of my infertility. I told him that I would let him know when I had a date and that I would need about a week off work.

Several days ago, he came into my office with information from the internet on endometriosis. He had written down the name of the disease and researched it to learn more about it. He found information about certain foods on a website just for endometriosis and printed out some items to give me.

I was just so stunned that he took the time to research something that was impacting my life. While many bosses would have been thinking about the “time off” I was requesting, my boss was thinking about me. Ain’t I lucky!

On a side note: I have a few dates lined up.
My pre-op appointment will be Monday, June 11th at 8:30am.
My surgery will be Wednesday, June 13th at 12:30p.m.
My post-op appointment will be Monday, July 9th at 11:15am.

Friday, May 25, 2007


What makes someone a woman? Is it her physical attributes? It is an innate caring and nurturing that you are born with? Or is it her ability to conceive and carry a child, thus proving her evolutionary purpose? If she is unable, is she not a woman?

I know I must not be the only person with infertility, wondering if they were really a woman. My body is not doing what it was designed to do. It is akin to a man back in the caveman days whose family is starving because he is unable to catch or gather food.

We are lucky that we live in a country in which I can do many things. I can educate myself, I can help clients make prudent financial decisions, I can commit to a marriage, I can teach children in Sunday School, I can be a good daughter, sister, friend, member of society. But, I can not be a mother. Without some sort-of medical or legal intervention, I can not have a child. It is hard not to feel like a failure under that circumstance.

Logically, I know that simply bearing a child does not make me a woman any more than wearing a loincloth and beating his chest would make Ryan a man. However, in those dark moments, when reason and common sense give way to bitterness and confusion, these are the feelings that can take residence inside a broken heart.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Surgery Consultation

Yesterday, I had my surgery consultation with Dr. Synn. I was glad I didn't have to pay for the appointment because he basically went over everything he already told me: what the surgery involves, the risks, etc. However, I was surprised to learn that, once the surgery is over, we will keep going with fertility treatments immediately. For some reason I was thinking that we would "try" naturally for a few months. Not so. And, if I have endometriosis, time is of the essence because it starts growing back immediately, so we have to get right back on the treatments which means about $1200/cycle starting immediately. Here I was thinking that the surgery would be the only treatment/expense for a while but it turns out I was wrong. Ryan and I will need to sit down and have a money talk. But, all in all, it went well. The girls at his office will call my insurance to verify they will cover the surgery and then the hospital will call me to schedule the surgery. I should hear from someone in about 8 days.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where are MY Easter Eggs? (and a timeline)

On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, amidst chocolate covered bunnies and carrot cake, it hit me. Had we been one of those people who conceived right away, there would be a three-year-old running around the backyard, looking for hidden eggs. Probably there would have also been a one-year-old tagging along behind.

Now before I scold myself for buying tickets to my own pity party, I must remember that it is okay to briefly slip into the dark side of “what ifs” and “if onlys”. It’s just important not to get stuck there.

So, I was indulging myself in this dangerous game of replaying the past, when I lost it a little. And by a little, I mean a lot. I was okay until I described my feelings to Ryan and forgot that sometimes my mouth is directly connected to my tear ducts.

You know the feeling when the normal, everyday guy you’re married to says something so sincere and comforting, that for a minute you almost don’t recognize him? Not to say that Ryan isn’t great all the time, but to feel that heard and that understood changed the entire course of the conversation. All I felt coming from him was concern and compassion. No sympathy, no belittlement, not even exasperation that (yet again) we were rehashing this situation. Just empathy.

Ryan suggested that if I wasn’t pregnant by the time he finished his field training (about 6 months), we start looking into adopting.

Like most men, Ryan would love to have a child that is his biologically. As his wife, I want nothing more than to give that to him. However, we can not keep this up forever. Barring something working out for us in the meantime, in about a year we will be facing the stage in which in-vitro fertilization would be our last option. While many couples find in-vitro to be a positive choice for them and have been rewarded with tiny miracles of their very own, it seems at this point neither Ryan nor I are considering taking that step. The cost is ~$10,000 and, as with all fertility treatments, the results are not guaranteed.

For me personally, I feel that biology fades while family is forever. As an adopted child myself, I can see many positive aspects in adoption. I have had friends that have adopted and I can not picture these families without these children.

I attended an adoption meeting recently (I was asked to speak about my experience as an adopted person). I listened to adoptive and birth parents speak about the role of adoption in their lives. I’d dare say this experience is not better or worse than having your own biological child, just different.

So, what would be different? I guess instead of telling my child about waiting for her due date, I would be telling her about waiting for adoption paperwork to be approved. Instead of stories about how my water broke in the grocery store and it took 15 hours of labor to get her here, I would be telling her how I got the phone call she was on the way and it took 15 hours to drive to the hospital where she was born. Instead of hearing about Daddy cutting the umbilical cord, it would be Daddy taking pictures through the nursery windows and finding a computer to email them home to friends and family. Instead of the first car ride as we drove home from the hospital, maybe it would be the first ride home on an airplane. Regardless, she would be ours and we would be hers and there would be no doubt in the world how much we wanted her. Not better or worse, just different.

And, heaven forbid, someday she might actually want to meet her birth mother??? Well, I’m sure there are worse things in this world than watching your child connect with someone as selfless as that.

Sure, adoption is riddled with unknowns, positives and negatives, a true roller coaster of emotions. But, isn’t infertility? Even further, isn’t parenting in general? I wouldn’t know…

When Ryan was suggesting we start the adoption process on that Saturday morning, he was jumping ahead just a bit. For now, I am still on the infertility carousel. I have my surgery consultation on May 23rd. From there, I will schedule the laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. Should this not result in pregnancy, I am willing to do the hormone shots in combination with IUIs. This is expensive (~$1000-$1500/month) so we will probably rotate, one month on and one month off for a total of 6 rounds. Then I will know that I gave it my all. I can grieve the fact that I can never give Ryan a child of his own (genetically) and I can be comfortable turning to adoption. That’s the timeline at this point. What happens from here on out is anyone’s guess.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Other Side

There are two types of people who beat infertility. By beating infertility I mean that, despite the odds, a couple who at one time struggled has a successful pregnancy thanks to a drug, treatment, or just plain luck.

The first type I would call the chameleon. Once their dream comes true, their colors change. Suddenly, what has happened for them will happen for everyone. They find themselves telling other girls the same things that they themselves hated to hear. Relax, it will happen when you least expect it, have faith. But, now it is okay to say these things because, they are actually true after all!!!

One chameleon’s name is Jamie*. Jamie went to church with me. Jamie struggled for years to become pregnant. Jamie knew how it felt to be the only married girl at church without kids. Jamie experienced walking by the girls who were expecting or pregnant in the hallway and feeling unable to join in the conversation. Jamie stumbled her way through awkward chats with friends about potty training or colic, with no life experience to lean on. Jamie skipped out on baby showers. Jamie was like me.

So, Jamie would talk to me. We weren’t the best of friends who shared all of each other’s hopes and dreams. But we did share one dream, to have a child of our own. Jamie became a friendly face to turn to during those “being-a-good-mother-type” church lessons. She taught me tricks to ease the pain, such as buying an expecting mother a Target gift card, so you don’t have to brave the baby department. She was even there during Mother’s Day, quite possibly the worst day of the year for a childless woman, who each year at church gets a flower with the remark “You can have one, even though you’re not a mom”, or something as equally unintentionally heart wrenching. From a glance in the hall to a quick word in the parking lot, I had a friend in Jamie.

Then one day, after several failed treatments, Jamie became pregnant by surprise. No one had an explanation, it just happened.

Jamie’s metamorphosis happened instantly and without warning. The exclusive nightclub Pregnancy&Motherhood had waved her in and she wasn’t turning back, even to waive good-bye. In other words, Jamie literally never spoke to me again.

Maybe you're wondering if I stopped talking to her. Maybe I felt she had nothing in common with me anymore. Maybe I pushed her away because I was jealous. The answer to these would be no. I was ecstatic when I learned of her pregnancy. Finally, someone like me had made it to the other side!! But, she didn't want to share this experience with me. I wouldn't understand. This is why I found out she was pregnant from someone else. Simply put...I tried, she didn't.

Jamie joined the other girls my age with tummy bumps and babies in tow and discussed breastfeeding and leg cramps in the hallway. I was invited to her baby shower. I got her a Target gift card.

Soon after the baby was born, they moved. I saw her once more when they came back to visit. Still not a word was spoken, but I thought I saw some sadness in her eyes when she saw my arms were still empty. Or maybe that's what I wanted to see...or didn't want to see? Regardless, I haven’t seen her since.

So, the chameleon would be one type of “recovered infertility”. But there is another type out there.

This second type remembers with vivid clarity the heartache of infertility. They ask you how it’s going and they respond with empathy, not sympathy. They acknowledge your existence and that you differ from them in stage of life only. They are not overly optimistic about your situation and don’t assume success will happen for everyone, like it did for them. When they look at you, their eyes don’t say, “I feel sorry for you” but rather “I know how you feel; I haven’t forgotten the sorrow. My infertility has left a mark on me that will last forever and we will always be connected by that experience”. I have been fortunate to meet a few of these strong women. Many times, I am introduced to a person who once struggled like me. When they learn that I, too, have had this trial, I cannot express the relief that comes over me when I realize they are in this second category.

And should my dream ever come true, I have promised myself I will never be a chameleon.

*Name changed

Monday, March 5, 2007

A New Plan

Okay, so I lied…It’s barely the beginning of March, but I have another update. My plans for treatment are changing somewhat. I have been having some symptoms (I’ll spare you the details) that are reminiscent of endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrial stroma and glands, which should only be located inside the uterus) is found elsewhere in the body, from the outside of the uterine wall in mild cases to all throughout the body in more severe cases. Apparently, I have a family history of this disease and I match a few of the symptoms, one of these being… infertility.

So here’s my conundrum: Do I stop all treatments, wait until we have better health insurance through the PD, and investigate this possibility ~OR~ Do I save up money and continue on with treatments as planned, after all the “cure” for endometriosis is pregnancy.

There is a good chance I don’t have this disease, but then again there’s a chance I do. Our infertility is considered “unexplained”, meaning all our tests look perfect. I have plenty of good eggs, my hormone levels look good, and Ryan has a high amount of “team members” so-to-speak. Could endometriosis be causing our problems? There’s only one way to find out, which involves surgery as described below:

Laparoscopy is the most common procedure used to diagnose and remove mild to moderate endometriosis. The surgeon inserts a lighted viewing instrument called a laparoscope through a small incision. The doctor can view the internal organs to look for signs of endometriosis or other possible problems. This is the only way that endometriosis can be diagnosed with certainty. Then the doctor can remove any visible endometriosis implants and scar tissue that may be causing pain or infertility.

At the same time, this procedure would also be performed:

A hysteroscopy is a procedure in which the doctor uses a hysteroscope to look at the inside of the uterus. A hysteroscope is a thin tube with a tiny camera. The doctor can guide a tool into the uterus to remove a fibroid tumor or just to check for any abnormalities therein.

Recovery time is 1-2 weeks for these procedures. For people who do have endometriosis, the chances of getting pregnant following the surgery are 75%.

After thinking, praying, and talking with my doctor, I feel that I should pursue this possibility. The worst case scenario would be a $200 deductible plus 20% of the cost of the surgery with the conclusion that this possibility is ruled out. Best case scenario would be discovering what might be wrong, repairing it (although this would be a “band-aid”; it will come back again), and getting pregnant. Sounds like a bet worth taking to me…

At the rate they're going, Ryan will start at the PD sometime in late March. He will have to be employed for 30 days and then the health coverage will start at the beginning of the next month following. We have heath insurance coverage now, but with 10 times the deductible amount. So right now it looks like in May I'll be eligible for the new insurance. I have heard some hospitals have waiting lists for this type of procedure so who knows when it will actually happen. But now we have a plan, albeit a new one, but it's still a plan! J

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's that time again!

Every few months, it becomes that time again. Time to think about what I am thankful for. Sometimes it’s easy to feel suffocated by all of this fertility stuff and when that happens it means I need to get some perspective.

Tonight, I watched an episode of Dr. Phil. There was a woman on the show who became blind at the age of 15. Listening to her story and watching her example was inspiring. She said you can’t change your circumstances, only your attitude. What a struggle that is! It is a constant battle from where I stand and here was a woman who has been through so much more, standing strong and encouraging others to do the same.

So, in light of her example, it’s time to count those blessings:

I have such a wonderful husband, who makes me laugh every day. Lately, there’s been less to smile about around here but that doesn’t stop him from trying. Recently, he’s been more and more successful. And that feels good. J

I love my family. Not only was I blessed enough to be adopted by such a great family, I got to marry into another! Likewise, my friends are unbelievable. They say that friends are the family you get to choose, and I have chosen the best.

I am so thankful for my home. It still seems like a dream that I actually live here. It also feels like a little miracle each time I pay the mortgage. Things have been tight, but we are making it. It has been smoother than I anticipated. It’s nice to look back at 2006 as the year we bought our first home

I love my job! Sure, the things I am studying at the moment aren’t my favorite. Also, between studying and work load, the hours are long. Even so, I have seen glimpses of what my career might look like someday and I’m liking what I see. How many people can say that their co-workers are like family? I can.

I am so glad to be healthy. I love learning and experiencing new things. The world is beautiful and I look forward to seeing more of it. I am thankful that I still have my optimism. I have had more than 40 cycles of trying to conceive. Never in any of these cycles, did I lose hope that this might be the one, even when the odds were stacked against me. Last cycle was the closest I’ve ever been to loosing all hope for success, but there was still some there… It makes for some great disappointments, but it really helps me day to day.

Lastly, I am grateful for my relationship with God. He has given me so many blessings and, during my hard times when I feel bitter or even angry, He is there waiting when I return humbled. I feel undeserving of what Jesus Christ has done for me and I try to be worthy of His sacrifice.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Adding another month

Update on our status: It seems as though Ryan may get back on at the police department by the middle of March. This means it will probably be the first of April before our income improves enough to begin saving for the next stage of treatment. Looks like my month off of trying to conceive turned into two or three. I am okay with it though. I have hard days, for sure, but this time off is getting a little easier as time goes on. I am just trying to enjoy my husband, friends and family. I am forcing myself to laugh more and cry less. I am trying to get closer to God and have more faith and less despair. So far it’s working, as today was the best day I’ve had in a long time.

When you are unable to be proactive in trying to conceive, sometimes it gets tough. You feel like time is ticking by and you aren’t doing anything to better your situation. I am getting better and better at coping with this and writing what’s inside my heart is very therapeutic for me. So for the next couple months, while we are saving money, this journal will contain more reflections and not as many factual updates. If you want to join up with me once we get the ball rolling again, check back in mid-April.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

If I was blind

If I was blind, would they say this to me:
Just relax, and soon you will see!
Would they tell me that maybe this “isn’t my time”?
Would those words even cross their mind?

Or say “Maybe not everyone was meant to see,
And since I can, you should be happy for me!”
Or tell me about a friend who was also blind
But now she can see…All in good time!

Would they joke about how they can see with no trouble!
And then tell me to snap out of my depressed little bubble.
Or call me lucky, with a tone that is curt
Because, when they’re tired, their eyes sometimes hurt!

Would they tell me that they know just how I feel
Because they have to wear contacts and it’s no big deal?
Or say, “Once you go out and buy a walking cane,
You’ll be able to see - it’s just all a big game!”

Would they tell me, “Though vision was meant for the masses,
Just think of all the money you’ll save on sunglasses!
Or would they give me some kind of home remedy instead,
Like eating an herb, or standing on my head.

Would they tell me I don’t need this medical stuff,
And just say that I’m not trying hard enough!
Would they say, “Just enjoy the time you can’t see,
For once you can, it’s all over, so just be happy!”

Would they think I was crazy, gambling money on a “cure”,
After all being blind is not life threatening, for sure!
And when I had treatments, would the insurance deny,
Calling the gift of sight “optional” and making me cry?

Something tells me the answer to these questions is No
Blindness is a medical issue and so,
Any amount of advice would do no good
A doctor is needed, this is understood

But for some reason when it comes to fertility
It blurs these thoughts of reality
Everyone’s an expert, everyone knows a cure
Everyone knows someone who’s beaten this before.

Infertility is a medical condition
To be left to doctors, not our own premonition
Prayers and listening, understanding’s the way
To get through each and every hard day.

I am infertile… Will you say this to me?
I love you, I support you, whatever may be.
Throughout the journey, I’m here for you.
Cycle after cycle, I’ll help you through.

**Just a note: I hope this poem doesn't offend anyone. I know that being blind is nothing like being infertile. I can adopt or seek treatment. I was just making the comparison that many times people don't think of infertility as being a medical condition and that it can be solved by just relaxing or not thinking about it. :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Time Out

Well, goodbye Clomid! I honestly thought that drug would work for me, but it’s now time to move on.

The next step is called Gonal F. They are injections given everyday (to myself). I will use them in conjunction with the Prometrium (progesterone supplements) and the estrogen patches. I will also still use the Ovidryl trigger shot to make me ovulate and the IUI (a type of artificial insemination).

But all this will have to wait. For one thing, the next cycle will cost ~$1100. So saving money is first. Secondly, I need a break! I have been feeding one type of hormone or another into my body every day for the past 4 months.

Hopefully, I’ll be back in the game in one cycle!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

One Last Time

Last night, I took my last three Clomid pills. It was kind-of weird to think that this is the last time I’ll take Clomid. If we aren’t successful, we move on to the next step.

So this cycle will be a duplicate of last time: 150mg of Clomid (days 3-7), begin estrogen patch day 8, scan on day 12, IUI 2 days later, and progesterone supplements from that time until I take the pregnancy test. Doing all of this, the success rate is about 10%.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

In Reflection

Just this morning, I was pondering my failed IUI procedure. The disappointment is still there, but it’s eased a bit. I was forcing myself to look at the bright side of this situation, and actually found there was one.

There are two types of good fathers in this world: born-fathers (who desire a baby from the beginning and whose heart breaks as much, or more, than their wife’s when it doesn’t happen) and love-at-first-sight fathers (The guy who knows he wants to be a dad someday, but the burning desire is lessened. It doesn’t completely click until the situation is actually at hand.)

Ryan fits into this second group of guys; so did his dad and his grandpa. All were excellent fathers, but were born without that raw emotion the first group experiences before the baby is even conceived. At first, I fought this and longed for Ryan to be in that first group. I felt so alone. Although he was there for support, I was the one carrying all the emotion. It felt like going into a lion’s cage. He was there to talk me through it from the outside looking in, but I was the only one fighting the beast.

Then one day he said something that stuck with me. If he were exactly like me, we would be two people falling apart. Who would be the strong one?

Fast-forward to this last cycle…
There is that time in a woman's cycle between the time you ovulate and the time you either start your next cycle or find out your pregnant. In the world of infertility, this is called the 2WW (two week wait). This 2WW is agonizing, as the looming possibility of pregnancy is incredibly difficult to ignore. In the 3 ½ years since we began thinking baby (that's about 45 cycles, mind you) during every two week wait, I would bring up the question, "I wonder if it happened this month?" Every single time, without fail, Ryan would say it didn't happen. So, this last month when I asked and he said "yes", I was shocked! He truly believed I was pregnant this time.

So when I wasn’t, he was stunned, and a little disappointed. I am not sure if his disappointment was a surprise to him, but it certainly was to me. Since that time, I have noticed small changes in him. He has now set a timeline for how we will proceed with this burden. I am not saying he is crying with me; the change has been subtle but it’s there. He seems a little more comfortable talking about the situation, which made this whole thing almost worth it. Almost…

This reflection, along with the knowledge that there are other options which we are both comfortable with, has lightened the load and brought a new batch of optimism and motivation that was desperately needed. For this hurdle, he will be the strong one. There will be other times when I will be strong, but for right now I will let him hold me up.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I am getting exhausted...

I am getting exhausted of this fertility stuff not working. But I'm not giving up. On to next cycle!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Definition of IUI: An IUI -- intrauterine insemination -- is performed by threading a very thin flexible catheter through the cervix and injecting washed sperm directly into the uterus.

I made it through the IUI today. Ryan had to work, so my mom went with me. Ryan called just before to tell me he wished he was there, which was really sweet. Maybe he'll be able to come next time (hopefully, there won't be a next time though!)

Last night, I felt a lot of pulling on my left side, and then this morning I felt the same thing on my right. I hope this is a good sign.

The procedure went well this morning, perfect is what the nurse said. It wasn't the most pleasant experience. There was this internal cramping going on that kind-of made me nauseous, but it wasn't bad. I have survived worse! Afterward, I laid on the table for about 20 minutes. Then I was done!

The nurse said it is certainly possible that all 4 of these eggs fertilize and stick, but it is unlikely. It would really frighten me to have 4 babies at once, but I would do it. Beggars can't be choosers, isn't that how the saying goes?

And now we wait...