Mother’s Day Musings: 2017

“There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never come.”
~David Platt

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Mother’s Day is a tricky Holiday, isn’t it?

On the one hand, I am so lucky to have had not one, but four amazing women that have been mother’s to me in my lifetime. I know that I am the person that I am today because of the influence of each and every one of them. Today is a day that I wish to celebrate those great mothers, and great mothers everywhere.

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On the other hand, our infertility struggle is coming up on four years, and this day always fills me with so much heartbreak, as it serves as a painful reminder that I am still not (and may never be) a mom.

And it isn’t just me. This day is painful to so many people for so many reasons.

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Today, I think of these brave women as well.

This holiday is also tricky, because it reinforces some kind of twisted ideal that seems to imply that women are not wonderful, whole, or complete unless they are mothers. I cannot stand when people tell me that, “I don’t understand because I’m not a mother,” or something equally as ridiculous.

No woman is better than any other woman just because they were able to conceive a child. Hell, all evidence would show that for most woman, it isn’t even that HARD to become a mother. You know what is hard? Wanting to be a mother so badly, and constantly being denied. It is hard to put on a happy face every single day and try to live a life that can still feel fulfilling and remarkable even though you are breaking more and more every day.

Becoming a mother isn’t that hard for most people. But I do think that being a good mother is difficult, and today I am so thankful for those wonderful mothers who helped make me who I am; to the fathers who must fill the roles of both wonderful dad and wonderful mom, for those women who will be wonderful mothers someday; and for those woman who are wonderful mothers of angels.

I am also thankful for those woman who may never get to be the wonderful mothers they would have been. Your strength has helped me in so many ways, and the reminder that I am not alone in my infertility makes me stronger every day.

Earlier this week, my husband and I made the decision to partially crowdfund some of our upcoming IVF expenses. It was a difficult decision, not only because we think it is hard to ask for this kind of help, but also because we know that IVF is still no guarantee. However, the love, kindness, and support that has been given to us during our battle with infertility made us both feel that we owe it to those in our support system, to let them help us if they choose.

We have been overwhelmed with the support the campaign has been given so far, not just through donations, but also just through people sharing our story with others.

All of this love and support made me feel a little better about Mother’s Day for the first time in a long time. I had the day off, and so I made the last minute decision to invite my Mother (and Dad) to join me for the weekend.

We had dinner out last night, a nice brunch at home this morning (with mimosas) and an amazing lunch of steak, shrimp, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and salad, before they left to head back home.

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This is a difficult day for me, no question. But I know that this day also means something to my own Mom. Not just because she is a wonderful mother who deserves to be celebrated today, but also because her mother is no longer with us. Spending the day with her seemed like the right choice, and I’m so glad I asked her to come. It sure beats moping around the house all day while my husband works.

To all of you who read my blog, who struggle with today as well: I hope you found some small amount of joy or peace in this day. I hope you know that you are loved, that you are worthwhile, and that you are not alone.

I’m here for you,

~Sam

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 

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round Four

“It is important to remember that we all have magic inside us.”
~J.K. Rowling 

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I didn’t sleep well the night before my latest IUI. I tossed and turned quite a bit while trying to fall asleep, and woke up multiple time during the night. I didn’t feel anxious, but it’s probably fair to say that I was nervous. It’s so difficult to stay one hundred percent calm about a process that your entire heart is so invested in.

When I finally woke up at 7:00am, my husband was already in the shower…and it was dark. The time change really hit me hard this year, and the darkness at that time of the morning translated to gloominess. I shook off the slight feelings of nervousness and sadness, and started to get dressed. I had picked my outfit the night before, and it was somewhat inspired by my last blog post, about our ultrasound.

After everything we have gone through, I do still believe in magic, and this time around, we are looking for a little of our own magic…so I chose to dress the part.

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For our fourth IUI, I paired a black and gold maxi skirt with an “I Put a Spell on You,” tank. Once again, I wore my fertility necklace, but I also accessorized with a pair of Harry Potter earrings, and the new moonstone claddagh ring my husband gave me for my birthday.

Maybe it’s weird to care about how I dress for these procedures, but fashion makes me feel good, and I want to feel my best going into each IUI.

I was also super nauseous that morning (thank you ovidrel), so I asked my husband to drive to the appointment. My stomach was still a bit wonky, and he had a headache, so our drive in was not as cheerful as last month. Once there, we were both a bit subdued. I flipped through magazines, and he played on his phone while waiting to be called.

After he went back, I continued to relax on the couch, reading various articles about pop culture and celebrities. It was only two days ago, and I already cannot remember what I was reading, so my concentration skills were not really up to par.

Once Mark was finished, we went to grab a quick breakfast across the street, while we waited the hour for my turn to go back. It seemed to pass more quickly than usual, but I think that was simply because for the first time in a while, they did not seem to be backed up at the office.

Neither of the doctors were at the clinic that day, so my appointment was with the nurse practitioner. The medical assistant came to fetch me from the waiting room as usual, but after I got undressed and was lying down, the A.N.R.P. came into the room unescorted. I have gotten so used to the medical assistant being in the room during my procedure, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that she was only there because the doctors are both men. Since the nurse was a women, she could do the IUI alone.

She introduced herself briefly, since we had yet to meet in the year I have been coming here, before adjusting my position and back rest for comfort (something the doctors never do) and warmed the speculum (again, something no one else does). She told me that my husband’s sperm was excellent (per usual), and then we began.

I was not thrilled to discover that the cramps I had not missed from my last IUI were back with a vengeance. At one point, I even cried out in pain. I asked the nurse if my cervix was once again stenotic, but she said it wasn’t and insisted that cramps are common and, in her opinion, a good sign. She turned the lights off, and asked me to wait for ten minutes until a nurse came to get me. It was the first time I was told to wait for someone to come get me before leaving, and I therefore waited nearly 20 minutes before I was told I could leave. As usual, I was told to have sex the next day, and that my orgasm was important. I mentioned that it had been nice to meet the A.N.R.P. and the nurse who came to get me told me that she was great, and usually a good luck charm. Boy, would I love it if that were true.

The cramping didn’t stop when I left the office, and so Mark drove home as well. We stopped at Best Buy to grab “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” because I had planned to relax on the couch and watch movies. Sadly, we had the release date wrong, and cannot actually buy the movie until Tuesday. 😦 I got a few things anyway (“Twister,” and Season five of “The Big Bang Theory”), and we headed home.

Thankfully, by the time we got home I was feeling a bit better, though fairly tired from the pain. Both hungry almost immediately, we went to get lunch downtown at around noon. I was sort of craving Thai food, so we went to the top rated Thai restaurant in town for some lunch specials. Since we were both really hungry, love leftovers, and the pricing was awesome, we ordered three meals to share between the two of us.

The lunch specials included soup and a spring roll, both of which were served before we even ordered our meals. The presentation was pretty great.

For the main course, we shared Shrimp Pad Thai, Ginger Beef, and Chicken Panang Curry.

Everything was wonderful. We finished the Ginger Meat, saving about a third of the last two meals for Mark’s lunch the next day, but the Pad Thai was so amazing, that we ordered another one to go, for my lunch the next day.

Once we came home, full and happy, I crashed on the couch where I remained for the rest of the night. I had a Bridget Jones marathon, watching the newest incarnation, “Bridget Jones’s Baby” last.

I have to say, that the movie was actually really really good, especially considering how bad the second film was. I’m always a sucker for any version of Mr. Darcy that Colin Firth will play, and he really and truly gave me all the feels in this movie.

All in all, it ended up being a really restful day. I can’t say that I am filled with as much of the optimism and excitement as I was on our last round, but I am still filled with hope. If hope is alive, I know I can’t be doing too badly.

Now we wait…

~Sam

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round One

“The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.”
~Samuel Johnson

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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

It’s amazing how quickly we let things that we truly care about fall apart.

November went by in a total blur for me. It feels like just yesterday was Halloween and I was sitting on my couch writing a post to welcome the month. I had a busy November…

I wrote a book.

Sort of. Anything I could write in a month was never going to be amazing, or complete, but I wrote a book.

My job transferred both me and my husband, which was stressful.

…And I’m about to have surgery.

I think I knew as soon as I decided to write a book in a month that November was going to be a bust for this blog. Now that my novel craziness is over, I’m itching to finish telling our story.

When we left off, we had found out that my husband has, to quote the doctor, “Michael Phelps sperm.” So, there’s that.

It was hard for me to hear that my husband is perfect; to have it reinforced that I am the problem.

I’m the infertile one…

Next up, we had an appointment with the doctor to go over those results, and discuss our options going forward.

He drew me this handy little diagram, to give me an idea of what happened next.

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I was actually in cycle day 3 when we had our meeting, so we didn’t have to wait for my next cycle to begin. We jumped right in and I started with Clomid on day 5.

Let me just tell you that the Clomid was the worst. Just a few days in and I was already super aware of my ovaries…especially my left ovary. Walking hurt, and with every step I felt like I was being stabbed.

Sex was the worst part. Even though we were doing IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), we were still required to do a LOT of our own baby making, and it was incredibly painful. I tried my best to hide the discomfort, because my husband loves me so much and it broke his heart to see me hurting. But we had to do it.

When I went in for my ultrasound, I was in so much pain. I had already developed a cyst on my left side (a common side effect from the meds) and since the ultrasound was transvaginal, I was all the more uncomfortable.

I was told that there was at least one strong healthy follicle, and was instructed to take my Ovidrel shot that Sunday (2 days later) at 9:30 pm. My insemination was scheduled for Tuesday at 9:30am.

I had to give myself the shot at work, and I was nervous, but ended up figuring it out with the help of a co-worker.

The day of the IUI, I was nervous, but hopeful.

We already knew that the chances of success on round one were low.

I was told to get undressed and lay down. When the doctor came in, he gave me the good news that my husband had produced amazingly strong sperm once again. Good news.

Because of my stenotic cervix, the procedure was actually really painful. I laid down for ten minutes following the IUI, and was in agony the whole time. The cramping didn’t really stop until long after I went home, and when I went to work that afternoon I was exhausted from the pain.

Because the Ovidrel puts HCG in your system (and made me an emotional crying mess, I may add) I knew that I couldn’t take a pregnancy test for a while. I finally caved at around 8 DPO (days past ovulation), mostly because I needed to see if the Ovidrel was out of my system, so I could trust a positive result if we received one. The test was negative, so I knew the pregnancy hormone was out of my body, but I also knew I wasn’t pregnant…yet.

I tested almost daily after that, and each new negative put me in a deeper despair. I had allowed myself to believe that it would happen, and I was devastated once again.

When the day of my expected period came, and I had nothing going on down there, I perked up…but was greeted with yet another negative. I held the test up to the light, held it against white paper, did a million crazy things hoping to see a positive, no matter how faint.

This went on for four days…until Aunt Flo finally showed herself.

I know now that I was late because of all the medicine, and this helped me to be better prepared for the next cycle. Even so, it broke my heart to have to call the doctor, and let the nurse know that my period had started.

~S