When Hope is Lost

“There comes a point where it all becomes too much. When we get too tired to fight anymore so we give up. That’s when the real work begins. To find hope where there seems to be absolutely none at all.”
~Grey’s Anatomy 

  
I know I have not been super active on this blog lately, and it isn’t because I have not thought about it. I still check WordPress daily and read everyone’s blogs, and keep up with the world. I just have been at a loss for what to say, so I have avoided posting or commenting. In fact, I have not even replied to the comments on my most recent post (over three weeks ago). That is something that I never do, but in truth, I just can’t find the words. 

Even now, writing this is proving to be a bit of a struggle. I have updates. I have plenty of things I could write about…but the tricky part is that I can’t seem to articulate my thoughts right now. 

I will post a proper update soon, but for now I will give you the abridged version. 

I’ve had a hard time finding hope after our last failed IUI. Despite being super excited about our upcoming trip to Europe (and various other travel plans), I can’t wrap my brain how to act now that I have given up. 

When I went in for my ultrasound on Monday, I went in with no joy or expectation. Once I heard the news about how my follicles were progressing during that ultrasound, I could find no excitement. When I went in for our fifth IUI on Thursday, I did so with zero belief that we will actually get pregnant this cycle. 

And so I think that’s why I’ve avoided making a post. I have no idea what to say, because I have no hope. I’m tired, and I’m angry, and I really really sad…but I’m not hopeful at all. 

So now we wait…but I’m not even sure what I’m waiting for. 

I’ll be traveling next week, which will hopefully keep my mind of things. I will try to find some time to share photos and stories from our adventure, so that I can bring a bit of happiness back to this blog. 

Until then, thanks for being here. 

~Sam 

Hope Rises on a New Year

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” 

~Rainer Maria Rilke 

 
The Holiday Season has officially come to a close, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Don’t get me wrong, I usually love this time year, and I still do. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving  with my family; an intimate Christmas at home with my husband; and a New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day   filled with so many of our friends. 

Even with all of that love and joy, I am ready for it to be over. 

I have realized that it’s incredibly difficult to be a childless mother this time of year. 

You read that correctly: A childless mother. 

No, I don’t mean a childless woman.

Lots of incredible, amazing, badass women I know have chosen to not have children. And I think that’s awesome, if it’s the right choice for them. 

For me, I’ve been maternal for most of my life. I am a caregiver. I love to take care of others; to help them when they are sick; to soothe them when they are sad; to carry them when they are weak. 

I have always loved the holiday season, and have probably over celebrated Christmas because of the joy and happiness it embodies. 

But after years of trying to get pregnant, the season of hope has weighed me down. I am still broken and empty as ever…because I am still childless. 

Amazingly, I find that I do still have hope. Maybe my surgery gave me more of that. The news that I am not quite fully stage two endometriosis has been helpful…it could have been so much worse. 

My husband and I spent this Christmas alone together, and we were both happy for the lazy time we shared together as husband and wife…with the hope that this will be our last Christmas holiday as a family of two. 

I am actually very thankful for the little family I have found from this blog. You all have helped me so much during my struggle, and I am so grateful for your kind words, love, and support. I hope to be there for you all as well, which is why I always try to respond to your comments. 

This terrible reality we all share…the infertility life of we childless mothers consumes much of my existence. I support you. I care for you. I wish everyday for nothing but stories of conception, succesful pregnancies, and live births. 

I hope you all had a very Happy Holiday!  

Even more so, I wish a fruitful and fertile New Year to all of us. 

~Sam

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round Two

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Our Infertility Story: The Beginning

Our Infertility Story: The Specialist 

Our Infertility Story: My HSG

Our Infertility Story: The Eye of the Storm

Our Infertility Story: Checking His Swimmers

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round One

After our first round of intrauterine insemination failed, I had to call my doctors office and let them know that my period had started.

The nurse was very kind and sympathetic and let me know immediately that the doctor wanted to change my medicine for the next cycle. This was good news.

I hated the clomid. I hated every single side effect that it gave me and I hated all of the pain I was in.

She told me that the doctor wanted to switch me to letrozole. In his opinion, it had a higher success rate, lower chances of multiple births, and almost no side effects. On top of that, my friend got pregnant after her second cycle (I think) with letrozole.

Sign me up! I was all in.

Downside: It wasn’t covered by insurance.

Upside: When my mom (who was visiting that weekend) went to pick up my meds for me, my husband and I were prepared to shell out over $150. Instead, the pharmacist found us a coupon and it cost like $20.

I started taking it on cycle day 5, at the end of September.

I could tell almost right away that this was the better medication for me. I didn’t have any pain in my ovaries, so everyday life was a whole lot easier.

My ultrasound was scheduled later in my cycle that month, on a Monday.

I was actually really anxious about the ultrasound being later in my cycle. In my first round of IUI, the ultrasound was on cycle day 11. It should have been on day 10, but it got pushed a day when a Hurricane hit Florida.

For my second round, the ultrasound was on cycle day 14! I was really panicked that I was going to ovulate and we would miss our chance. Almost as soon as she started the ultrasound, I knew I was ready. I had three strong follicles, and my best was apparently quite impressive.

I was told to take my ovidrel shot that night. This was a little stressful to me, because I didn’t have the shot yet, and I had to go straight from my appointment to work. Luckily, the office loaned me a shot, and I just needed to bring mine from the pharmacy back to them in the next few days.

My IUI was scheduled for Wednesday at 11:30 am. I went to work, but since I was scheduled to open Wednesday morning, I knew that I needed to talk to my manager . I wouldn’t be able to work the day of my IUI.

For my first IUI, I worked afterwards. The day had been tough, because of the pain (from my stenotic cervix). My husband had hated that I worked, and was afraid it caused too much stress. So we had already decided that for the next round, I would relax afterwards.

My manager was able to help me get my shift for Wednesday covered, which was a relief. When I got home from work Monday night, I had to stay awake for a few hours in order to give myself my shot at 11:30 pm. It was easier the second time.

The morning of my IUI, I was still feeling really stressed about how late in my cycle I took my shot. My husband was called back almost right away to do his part, but my wait time in the lobby was much longer than usual. I stared to freak out that we would miss our window for insemination, not realizing that we really had at least another 8 hours.

The IUI was less painful this time, probably because my cervix had just been opened last month, but I was also told by the nurse that the doctor (I saw the practice’s other doctor this time) used a different type of catheter.

I went home all set to rest for the next few days (Thursday and Friday are my usual days off). Unfortunately, this month a different hurricane decided to hit the opposite coast of Florida this time, and my parents were evacuated and came to stay with us.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a stressful weekend, but with people in town, I probably didn’t rest as much as I should have either.

My two week wait this time was brutal. I actually started experiencing cramping in my stomach and legs REALLY early. I don’t usually have anything until a day or two before, so I got my hopes up thinking it was implantation pain.

I took just as many negative pregnancy tests as the first time, if not more.

I was also afraid to do anything this time around. I didn’t want to get a pedicure because a massage might affect implantion, and I was afraid to get a haircut because off “strong fumes.” I was a mess.

The wait was awful. Every single twinge, or pain, or cramp, made me symptom spot worse than ever. I got my hopes up. I mean…really really up. I was certain I was having implantion pain. I was certain my boobs felt heavier and hurt more than ever before…I could go on and on.

It also felt later than the previous month. In my first round of IUI I got my period on cycle day 29/cycle day 1 (obviously).

I got it on the exact same day (cycle day 29/cycle day 1) in round two, but for some reason it felt so much later.

I was at work when my period started, and as you may recall, I felt completely helpless and depressed.

After I was able to regroup, I called the nurse to let her know my period started. She told me the doctor didn’t want to continue with more than one more round of IUI…it was IVF or surgery.

I was devastated.

She scheduled us for a meeting with the doctor the following week.

That week was one of the worst of my life.

~Sam

Playing Catch Up

“Happiness is often the result of being too busy to be miserable.”
~Paul Frank Baer

quote-happiness-is-often-the-result-of-being-too-busy-to-be-miserable-paul-frank-baer-103-52-77

With the chaos that has been November, I only just realized that I have not added to our infertility story in quite some time. Has it really been 21 days? Where has the month gone?

I might as well go ahead and reveal a few more personal details about myself, since I am very nearly ready to let those closest to me know about this blog. Why is the thought of going public so scary?

I am currently participating in NaNoWriMo.  It is a writing challenge that occurs every November, but the basic gist is that you write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I am currently at 27,482 words (so yes, I am behind). But given that I have written 27,482 words since November 1, I should probably give myself a break for falling a bit behind on this blog.

I started writing the novel to take my mind off of our infertility for a while, though it is interesting to see that the novel has become about mental health in many ways. That wasn’t intentional, but it is an interesting development.

Next piece of personal information: I work for a grocery store. This is one of (if not the) busiest weeks of the year for us, and I am also in the middle of being transferred. Life right now is a little frustrating, but I can’t imagine how I would be feeling if I were not staying so busy.

I am going to try to post the next part of our infertility story tomorrow. I can’t believe it, but it is actually almost caught up to where I am today. Where we are now in our journey, is a place that I find to be very scary.

Though we may be riddled with uncertainty now, I will try to stay positive as we end the month. We are, after all, in the season of thanks.

I hope to find more that I am thankful for in the days that follow. I am immensely grateful for this blog, and to those of you who have reached out to us on our journey. Your presence in our life has been a welcome gift.

So to start my week of thanks, let me say that I am thanful for you.

~S

And We Keep Living Anyway…

“Life doesn’t discriminate
Between the sinners and the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
And we keep living anyway
We rise and we fall and we break…”

~Hamilton: Lin-Manuel Miranda 

img_2589

Well, we finally heard back from the Doctor’s office this afternoon, and got the bad news we were expecting.

Our insurance company doesn’t cover IVF…not even a little bit.

Of course, this isn’t really much of a surprise. Very few insurances companies cover IVF, but since much of the rest of our fertility coverage has been incredible, I was still very hopeful. Once again, being hopeful doesn’t get my anything but more disappointment. Why do I even bother?

So, that’s another option that has been eliminated. We don’t have between $17,000 and $20,000 lying around, so there is no point wasting any more time on this.

IVF is the single most effective way for a women with endometriosis to conceive, so I am certainly feeling a bit heartbroken right now. I feel like our best option has been eliminated, and I am more certain than ever that I will never be able to have a baby.

The office should be calling me sometime tomorrow to schedule my laparoscopy. I guess the only piece of somewhat good news we received today is that we have met our out of pocket…so if we can get in before the end of the year (something my doctor assures me will we do) the cost will be substantially lower.

I have zero hope that the surgery will help us conceive, but my husband and my doctor both think that we should do the surgery because it will increase my quality of life.

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care even a little bit about improving my quality of life. I have been living with this pain for my entire adult life . It is as normal to me as breathing, and I am terrified to have surgery. I would skip it all together, if I didn’t want to know how bad my endometriosis is; how advanced.

So that’s what this is for me. I feel defeated, and scared…and we are running out of options. I think that is the worst part.

~S

*Photo Credit: Heartseverywhere.com

 

So Much Love in Such a Small Body

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
~Johnny Depp

ckvpdkuwkaakgcn

I mentioned in my Halloween post that I have been trying to keep myself occupied, as my husband and I try to traverse the tortuous labyrinth that is infertility. I am proud to say that I am doing a pretty good job in this endeavor.

My mood has been elevated lately, and all of this keeping myself busy has actually led to a few moments of pure joy. At a work event this week, I held a friend’s baby for the first time. This was long overdue, as the little man is approaching 6 months old (I think), but there was just never the right opportunity before. He was always either strapped to mom, sleeping, fussy, or straight up upset with life.

The moment that I did finally hold him filled me with so much happiness. He was in his father’s arms, and we were chatting. I was making faces at the baby, and he was smiling and grabbing at my glasses. After a few minutes he started reaching for me, so much so that he was making his little body almost parallel in his father’s arms. I asked if I could hold him, and he said yes before I took the baby. His mother was sitting behind me, and as I put him in my arms she erupted in a coo of, “aw.”

She told me that as soon as I had the baby in my arms, his face lit up. He was apparently extremely happy that I took his hint, and picked him up. I held him for about ten minutes, as he nuzzled his little face into my neck, and sucked on my shoulder.

I definitely had to force back tears at one point, but the emotions I was feeling were overwhelmingly powerful, and varied by nature. I felt sad for my husband and I, who may never be able to conceive; I felt happy for these wonderful parents and their sweet little bundle of actual joy; and I felt so much love for this baby…and coming from this baby.

I confided in a close friend later how difficult and rewarding those moments with the little guy had been. I told him that ,”he (the baby) made me sad and amazingly happy tonight. So much love in such a small body.”

It is true, though. Babies need so much love, yes, but they are also capable of giving so much love. That is all they are. Just love. They are free from judgments, stereotypes, rivalry, and hatred. Babies are love.

I rediscovered a piece of myself that night. I was reminded of something that I thought I had lost, and this sweet little baby will never understand the impact he has had on my life.

I know my journey isn’t over yet. I still have hope. I know that now.

I am hope…

…and love. 🙂

~S

 

Our Infertility Story: Checking His Swimmers

“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”
~Winston Churchill

hb-it-is-no-use-saying-we-are-doing-our-best-you-have-got-to-succeed-in-doing-what-is-necessary

Our Infertility Story: The Beginning

Our Infertility Story: The Specialist 

Our Infertility Story: My HSG

Our Infertility Story: The Eye of the Storm

I now know that getting his sperm checked was not an easy thing for my husband (or any man) to do. I think he was really scared that everything would turn out to be his “fault” and he wouldn’t be able to give me the child that I so desperately wanted.

He wanted everything to be perfect. He wanted to be able to provide for me; to give me anything I wanted. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to.

At the same time, I think he knew that I wanted his results to be less than ideal…because I needed our infertility to be a partnership. I didn’t want this all to be my “fault.”

He confided in me on the car ride over to the doctor’s office, that he was afraid I would leave him if he turned out to be the problem. I tried to reassure him that I loved him. He was (and is) my everything. My best friend. Truly.

I also tried to explain to him that part of the reason I was hoping something might be wrong with him is because male issues are so much easier (and cheaper) to treat than female issues. Often times, diet and lifestyle changes, plus a vitamin regiment is all it takes to help men.

We have a mutual friend who, not so long ago, had a zero healthy sperm count. He and his wife recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl. It just took some small changes before they could welcome their healthy baby.

So I knew that if it was him, it would probably be easier to treat.

He told me later that the process was rather disagreeable. He walked down the hallway to (in his words) “the room of shame.” He felt like everyone in the entire building knew what he was doing, and that he felt dirty. Of course, that’s silly. He was doing his part to help us have a child. I find that to be an incredibly strong and giving thing to do.

I won’t go into too much detail on his seaman annalysis, because I’m assuming the process here is pretty self explanatory.

We had to wait a few days for the results.

I was in my car, on my way to work when the office called me to give us his results. I held my breath, while the nurse confirmed my fears.

My husband has good sperm; no problems. At all.

We scheduled an appointment with the doctor for the following week before I quickly hung up the phone. I had been holding back tears, and I needed to be free to be emotionally vulnerable.

I called my husband at work, and couldn’t keep the pain from my voice. I cried as I gave him the results, and he tried his best to comfort me.

It was not an easy day for me at work, but when I came home, there was a vase of flowers, and a small plant waiting for me on the kitchen table.

img_0869

He almost never buys me flowers, not liking to give me a gift that is essentially dead. I mean, I always kill plants anyway, so I’m not sure why he bothers with them either.

I was touched by his thoughtfulness. I know how relieved he was, to know that the problem wasn’t him…but it made everything seem so much worse in my mind. The weight of the infertility became heavier, as I now knew it was only my burden to bare.

My husband was amazing (as usual) as we prepared for our next sit down with the doctor. I was really scared, but as it turns out, the visit was filled with a lot more hope that I originally anticipated.

But that is a story for another day.

~S