The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
~Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor

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I know that I have not updated this blog in a pretty long time. I feel like I have had a lot on my plate between working two jobs, and juggling a barrage of attacks on my personal life, and on my home. I’ve had some hard times lately, but we have also had some great things going on in our life. So for now, I’m going to bring you, “The good, the bad and the ugly.” However, since I am a rebel, I will do this out of order. I think it will be most important to leave this post on a high note.

The Bad:

I have not been around my blog much.

Or at all.

I try to remind myself that this blog has been so helpful in my healing process…but for a long while, I felt pretty down. It was easier to stay optimistic while we were doing our IUI treatments both before and after my surgery.

Surgery was terrifying in so many ways, but we got through it because we were doing something that may have made a difference. But then, it didn’t really help.

I never got pregnant.

My endometriosis was officially diagnosed and I wasn’t quite stage two…and that was great news. But it didn’t matter.

Our IUI attempts failed because, as the doctor said, because of the endometriosis.

Once our fifth one didn’t work, I posted about IVF being our “best” chance. I always try to be an optimist, so I put this news in a good light. However IVF isn’t really our best chance. It’s our last chance. And we can’t really afford it.

We are trying. I put away every extra cent we have. But we purchased a small fixer upper a year and a half ago. Back when we were truly convinced IUI would work and we would soon have a baby to fill our second bedroom.

Our home is modest. Two bedrooms and one bathroom. Two small bedrooms. One very small bath. We were sensibile. It was our first home. We don’t need much.

But it’s a fixer upper. Though a child never came, the house was ours. We had to eventually get on with the “fixing” unless we wanted the house to fall apart. The “fixing” costs money.

The Ugly:

The same week we found out we needed IVF, our AC broke. Like…really broke. Our compressor blew out. For those of you in the know…that’s the most expensive part to repair in a central HVAC system. And before you ask…it’s less than five years old. That’s part of why we bought the house. Newer AC. 

Not so much…

Because of generous donations from our GoFundMe backers, we now have a small IVF savings account. That money is untouchable, but we had hoped to add our own money to it. But our home woes have only allowed me to add about $1050.00 to that savings.

The Really Ugly:

Oh, and did I mention I needed an emergency root canal but my dental insurance has already been used up for the year? So that’s costing us a pretty penny now, too. Dental insurance is a joke, by the way. 😦

I’m trying not to just whine and complain, but I’m frustrated and I feel like everything is just stalled right now. We don’t know when we will be starting IVF, and I think that’s left me in a state of helplessness about my reproductive chances. It makes me feel like I don’t have any control over my Infertility (not that I did anyway).

I feel like this post was super negative, so I want to leave it on a more positive note.

The Good:

Our quaint little fixer up was  desperately in need of a new kitchen when we bought the house. My dad is a retired carpenter, and so I was thrilled that he wanted to help me build the kitchen. I only had to pay for materials, which dramatically cut the costs of a new kitchen, and we finally (almost) finished the kitchen a few weeks ago.

Before:

 
After:


We still want to replace the fridge (not pictured) and our gas range with stainless steel appliances, and we have a light switch cover or two to purchase, and a few drawer pulls to install; but for the most part this kitchen is done. And what a difference it made! I am beyond thrilled with the outcome.

It is so exciting to see something that I designed come together so beautifully. When I picked each piece: the shaker style cabinets, the counter tile, the back splash, the cabinet color – I had no idea if it would really all work. Obviously, my father’s expertise in carpentry was super helpful, and so he was able to dictate the functionally of each cabinet (the corner cabinets are beautiful, and huge, and deep…and did I mention the Lazy Susan?). That massive farmhouse sink is my favorite part of the entire design, and I think everything else works because it feeds off of that central focal point.

There are a lot more details of the new kitchen that these photos don’t highlight, but I’m hoping to save some of the reveal for once things are a bit more finished.

A Little More Good:

Remember that big trip to Europe my husband and I decided to take before IVF for our own mental health, to give us something to look forward to, and for the good of our relationship? Well, that is still happening…soon. Really soon. I felt a bit guilty planning this trip when I know how desperately we need money for IVF, but at some point I knew we just had to do this. We have been battling infertility for going on four years. I have had some of the lowest times of my entire life during our struggle. For years, nothing has mattered more to me than getting pregnant. I have had nothing to look forward to but a positive pregnancy test. I’m sure that at some point this behavior became unhealthy, but I didn’t know what to do to break the painful cycle.

Only a month or so after deciding to go on the trip, I knew it was the right decision, no matter the cost. Every day I had something to look forward to, that wasn’t contingent on my uterus. Every day I had something to plan. I searched for all the best deals on hotels, airfares, sleeper trains. I even booked a few tours. Did you know that you can go INSIDE Buckingham Palace if you happen to come in the late summer/early fall period when the Queen is away! I’m going INSIDE Buckingham Palace.

Things like this have really tickled me.

It sounds melodramatic to say that planning this trip reminded me of the importance of living life to the fullest, but it’s true. When going through hell for so many years, it can make a person question what life is really all about, and if there is even a point to any of it. I can say now, without a doubt, that I can now see a point in living. Even if that life is doomed to be forever childless.

Well, this novel of a post has gotten away from me. I guess that’s what happens when I stay away for months at a time.

I’ll try not to stay away so long the next time.

~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 

Living a Different Dream for 2017

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
~Susan Sontag

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My husband and I have spent over three years trying to get pregnant. Three years waiting for two lines to appear, instead of just one; three years waiting to become a family; three years waiting for our life to begin again.

We have put everything on hold in our quest to become parents, and I think we sort of forgot along the way that we are more than our infertility. Well, maybe he didn’t.

But I did.

I am more than my uterus; more than my endometriosis.

There are a lot of other things that I always wanted for my life, other than just children, but since having kids is such a struggle for us, I just put all of my other dreams on hold.

Before we even went in for my last IUI, my husband and I made a decision. Either we would be pregnant this month, or we would go to Europe. I have wanted to travel for so much of my life, but I have never really managed to go anywhere outside of the country. After so many years of disappointments, I realized that I needed something to look forward to other than a positive pregnancy test. I needed to pick my life up, take it in my hands, and remember that there is still value in this life, even for a woman who may never have children.

The cramps woke me up yesterday morning, so severe that I knew it could only mean one thing. And sure enough, it was my period.

I cried in bed for a while, but eventually I got up, and I started booking hotels. We may not be pregnant, but we will have an adventure this year. You know what? It helped. By the end of the day, my grief had subsided, and was almost completely replaced by excitement.

We will be heading to the United Kingdom for 14 wonderful days, and I am genuinely thrilled. I hope that I will be pregnant when we go. The doctor has told us he is willing to do two more IUI procedures…so I’m hoping I’ll be pregnant. But if I’m not, I’m glad that I still have excitement in life to look forward to.

Thanks for everyone’s kind wishes during this last cycle. They always help us get through.

~Sam

Our Infertility Story: Another Disappoinment (IUI Round Three)

“It was one of those times you feel a sense of loss, even though you didn’t have something in the first place. I guess that’s what disappointment is- a sense of loss for something you never had.”
~Deb Caletti, The Nature of Jade

My last post was at 10dpiui, and sort of signaled the end of my hopes for pregnancy that cycle. I wish I was finally posting again today at 16dpiui to tell you that the news was happy, and my 10 day assessment was wrong…but I’m not.

My period came early yesterday morning, one day late…but only actually about a half of a day late since I have been starting my period mid day for the last 6 months.

I cried when it came, as I got back into bed with my husband, and curled up into his arms. I didn’t cry as much as my last failed IUI cycle back in October. That one came as more of a surprise, since I had been so busy working (and it came mid day). This time, I knew we were out 5 days ago.

I had been so hopeful after this third IUI. It was my first since surgery and I had been so certain it would work…so I think I had been holding onto some hope that those 10dpiui craps may have been implantation cramps…but I know my body. We have been at this for over three years.

I don’t know what pregnant feels like. I may never know what pregnant feels like. But I think I have a pretty good idea of what not pregnant feels like. I know that feeling all too well. We start again, with hormones during my birthday week…

So I will be an emotional mess again, on my birthday.

Because the hormones are finally leaving me and I’m feeling like myself again, I’m sort of dreading knowing that I’ll be a mess again just in time for my birthday…a day I am reluctant to celebrate. Because why? What is the point in celebrating?

My husband still wants to celebrate. He wants to get me out of the house and away for a mini vacation. That’s not going to happen. We just don’t really have the money with the very real possibility of IVF looming, and I can’t say that I even WANT to go away anywhere. I don’t really want to do anything.

We will, of course. Do something, I mean. I think we will just keep it low key.

For now, it’s back to reality…back to life. I’m glad my period started on a day when I didn’t work, but today I have to. I have a terrible headache (no doubt from the gallon of wine I consumed last night in my frustration) and I’m tired.

I’m just so tired…

I have a lot of work I’ve been neglecting, so hopefully I’ll have a productive week as start my new two week wait: The wait to try again, though I’m not sure why I’m even still bothering.

Until next time,

~Sam

Waiting for Aunt Flo…

“She’s strong but she’s exhausted.”
~R.H. Sin

  

Well, I woke today at 10dpiui and I think this cycle is a bust. 

The cramps started at work yesterday. The pain wasn’t too terrible, but it took all of my strength not to start sobbing. I did tear up a bit, but otherwise was able to keep myself together. One of my bosses seemed to sense a shift in my mood, and he kept me busy for the rest of my shift which really helped. This is the upside to being open about my struggle at work. Most of the time, I don’t have to explain myself. 

Whatever hope I had when I went to bed last night that the cramps didn’t mean anything, evaporated when I woke up this morning. My breasts got really heavy overnight, and when the puppy snuggled with us this morning he pushed at me with his paws. It hurt so badly. I normally start to slowly develop breast pain after ovulation, and it gets to the point of being super painful a few days before my period. 

I have observed that all of these symptoms are worse during the three IUI cycles we have done. I’m assuming this is because of the additional hormones that I have pumped through my body. 

So, I’m feeling pretty down and defeated today. I was so hopeful about this cycle, and another failure is only going to make our next round even more difficult. I’m going to have to find a way to keep my spirits up before we try again. 

My birthday is in about two weeks. I used to love birthdays, but the longer we try and fail to get pregnant, the more difficult birthdays seem to be. They just serve as a reminder that another year had passed, and I’m still not pregnant. They also remind me that the older I get, the more difficult it will be for me to ever conceive.

I had been hoping I’d receive a nice birthday gift this year in the form of a positive pregnancy test. I guess not…maybe next month?  

Alright, sorry for the super downer post. All that positivity was going to come to a cross road eventually. Hopefully now that I have vented, I will feel a bit better and be able to get through my day? 

Thanks to those of you who read my blog. Your support has meant so much to me. 

~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

Helpless…

“Helplessness is such a rotten feeling. There’s nothing you can do about it. Being helpless is like being paralyzed. It’s sickness. The cure calls for a monumental effort to stand up and start walking somewhere, anywhere. But that takes some doing.”
~Chuck Barris

 
I started my period today. 

I’m not okay. 

We had our second round of IUI two weeks ago, and I had really convinced myself that it worked. I’ll go into more detail as to why I thought this was the cycle, as I finish sharing our infertility story, but for now this is what I will say:

It didn’t work. 

I didn’t expect it, but I had a bit of a break down after I found out I wasn’t pregnant. 

I started sobbing, uncontrollably. I was at work. 

I went home.

I hate that I went home because of this, but I couldn’t hold myself together. I would have been useless anyway. 

My managers know what we are struggling with. Everyone has been super supportive of our pain. It’s helpful to know that we have that kind of love at my job. 

I’m home now, and I am having some wine with my husband as we discuss our options. Our doctor doesn’t want to do more than one more round of IUI, so we have to decide the next step. 

I don’t know what to do, and I’m not okay.

~S