Good luck little guys!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Hubbie has always been my strength. There have been times when I know I haven't been a picnic to live with and of course, we've had our fights, but I think this whole trial has brought us closer together as a couple (hey, we've had five years together just him and me). Probably the hardest thing for Hubbie is that he likes to fix things but can't do anything in this situation. It drives him crazy not being able to 'lift my hood', tighten some things, and get me running smoothly. He always concerned about my health and welfare. The thing he always says is that he just wants me to be okay, everything else is optional. He has just been so supportive, always there to lift me up. He's this big, tough-looking, redneck guy but he is just so tender with me. He's overly protective so it has been hard for him to see me in pain. And I like that he doesn't blame me for all of this infertility stuff. I kick myself a lot and put myself down because of my malfunctioning body, but Hubbie always says, "It's not anyone's fault, it's life."
He is always optimistic and grateful too. And quite the comedian. He calls the ultrasound wand a light saber and at the first ultrasound appointment he came to with me, he accompanied the ultrasound with appropriate Star Wars sound effects. He also likes to do a type of sports commentary during ultrasounds. The other day he had the doctor laughing but I chewed him out that he can only make the doctor laugh when he (hubbie) has the light saber up his wa-hoo! =) Hubbie jokes now that he knows as much about female anatomy as a gynecologist and when I suggested he change occupations, he said he didn't want to turn a fun hobby into a job. He's such a goof!
But, overall, neither of us are perfect and we have our good times and our bad times, but I wouldn't want to be doing this with anyone but Hubbie, I can't imagine doing this with anyone but him! He is definitely my everything!
And I've also been thinking how hard all of this is on him. I don't think women going through infertility realize how hard it is for the man. Like my husband, many men don't voice what they're feeling and just internalize everything. My husband is usually so concerned with being strong and being there for me, that he doesn't ever get the opportunity to grieve or let it all out. I've seen Hubbie break down once, but it was only after he knew for sure that I was okay. I realized that he was just as broken hearted but so busy trying to heal my heart, he didn't have time to deal with his. After my 2nd failed IVF, the day we had the it-didn't-work-so-now-what doctor appointment, Hubbie was really on one. He was grouchy and picking fights about all of these little things, and I was feeling so frustrated with him. I couldn't figure out what his problem was. My sister suggested that maybe he was struggling with dealing with the failed IVF. I remember thinking, "what does she know? He's my husband...I would know if that were the issue...He's just being jerk!" But then after the appointment, Hubbie apologized for being grouchy and said, "I guess I'm just having a hard time dealing with all of this. It was hard going back to the doctor knowing that it didn't work. I didn't realize it would get to me like this." I'm trying to be more aware now and to be there for him too. We can hold each other up through tough times!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Looking at some of my others posts, I got to thinking about the different phases of infertility which can come in waves. It's like a constant cycle (a cycle more constant than my own womanly cycle)! So, here's some of the phases I thought of (in no particular order)...
Phase One-Blind optimism. You believe that you are above genetics and statistics and facts. Like how I ignored the fact that my mom struggled with infertility and I thought I would be different. Or like when I would ignore the early cramps and hold onto the idea that I was pregnant until I saw blood. Or how before I went to see the fertility doctor, or before I began IVF, I hoped I would miraculously wake up pregnant and not have to go through it all. My doctor always talked about cautious optimism which was difficult for me to understand. With cautious optimism you have to face the facts with hope and a smile.
Phase Two-Barren Bitterness. There have been times when I couldn't even be near a baby without crying. Friends would have babies and I couldn't visit them. There were babies all over the place and I had to go out of my way to avoid them. It was so unfair. Why could everyone else have babies except me? I had the I-didn't-want-to-go-the-party-anyway attitude that you get when you find out you weren't invited. I probably scowled at pregnant women, who knows?
Phase Three-Deep Depression. In the beginning, I would sob hysterically every time I started my period then move on. But sometimes it got really hard to move on. I didn't want to go to work or see people or do anything. I just wanted to lie in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. My husband would always try to get me out to do stuff, but it was hard. I felt ugly, useless, alone, and heart broken. I began to feel inferior, left out, unqualified. Sometimes this phase would last a few days, sometimes a few weeks. It's so hard to get out of this funk!
Phase Four-Sporadic Crying. This is probably the phase I'm always in. Sometimes I'll be peachy keen and then a thought will come into my head, and the tears come. Hubbie thinks it's from the drugs I'm on or the hormone upheaval (I don't have the heart to tell him that I think it's in my hard wiring). A few weeks ago, I was driving to the grocery store (which is five minutes from my house) and the thought of the baby that I almost adopted came into my head. I had to pull over and cry for twenty minutes before I could go do my grocery shopping. I need a sign to wear: Warning: Cries without Warning!
Phase Five-The Green-Eyed Beast. Jealousy. I sometimes look at other women and think "Wow! I wish I had her hair" or "I would love to have her body." But the jealousy I feel when I'm around new mothers or pregnant women is so much deeper. One day one of my friends that I work with who is pregnant came in. She has been so sick for the past couple of months and was totally miserable that day. She said something to me without thinking, "Believe me, you don't want this." The Green-Eyed Beast raged and roared. "Yeah, I would much rather just feel like crap for nothing!" That was one of the nicer comments I made. Yikes! It wasn't pretty!
Phase Six-Moody Insanity. One day my husband and I were watching the news and there was this story about a woman who kidnapped a newborn from the hospital. Jokingly, I told my husband that I could relate with that crazy woman. It scared me a little when my husband took me kind of seriously. Was I really coming off as that crazy? Maybe, depending on my mood. (Let me make a very serious note here that I would never do something like that!) But I do know there have been times when my moods have gone up and down better than the wildest roller coaster!
Phase Seven-Extreme Anger. You want to flip everyone off. Scream. Yell obscenities. Punch something. Angry at yourself, your body (the traitor), those pregnant women, your husband, your doctor, your family, your friends, God...you just want to be angry!
Phase Eight-Busy Body. If I can stay busy enough, I won't have time to think about infertility. I'll take on more at work, I can do more in my community, I'll be super-neighbor, I'll clean my house until it sparkles, I do more church stuff, anything so that I don't have a single minute to myself to face what's before me.
Phase Nine-The INDESTRUCTIBLE INFERTILE MYRTLE! This is the phase I want to be in as much as I can. This is the I-can-do-this phase, the I-get-knocked-down-but-I-get-up-again phase. This is cautious optimism, hope, faith, determination. Unfortunately, it's not the easiest phase to be in. The other phases just come naturally and are easy to wallow in. This phase is like that beautiful, pristine lake at the end of a 15-mile hike up a steep mountain. You know that it's where you want to be and worth the hike, but you're not sure you're up to the time and effort it takes to get there. But it is always a place of happiness and is definitely worth it!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Anyway, I've been thinking about faith and stuff and I have to say that dealing with infertility has been the hardest obstacle I've ever faced. And the most testing of my faith. Finding the right person to marry and spend the rest of my life with, financial stresses, health issues...I've had hard times in my life but I always felt like I could do something about it. Infertility doesn't hold back any punches though. Probably my biggest struggle was when my 16 year-old cousin dropped out of high school because she was pregnant, and I couldn't have a baby. I wondered if God didn't think I was responsible enough, good enough, worthy enough to have a baby, but then I thought of all of those teenagers having babies and those crazy people abandoning or hurting their babies, and I knew that you weren't given a baby based on whether or not you would be a good mother. So then I thought, "What then? Why can't I have a baby?" Was this punishment for something I did? Did God hate me? Didn't He hear my constant prayers? I really struggled with keeping my faith in God and not feeling bitter or angry. But there's this quote, I wish I could find the exact quote, but it was the words of a Holocaust survivor (which surviving the Holocaust is beyond comprehension). The survivor was asked how he kept his faith in God even when such horrible things were happening to him and all around him. He responded, "what was the alternative? I could lose my faith and face darkness alone with no God and no hope or I could keep believing that God would save me, no matter how hard it was to hold onto that faith." I've thought about that a lot. What are my alternatives? I can face this alone, desperate, bitter, resentful or I can have faith that God has a plan for me, that He loves me and cares about what I'm going through, and I can find hope, peace, and strength in Him. So, I'm sticking with the faith thing. I know that wherever this road takes me, God will be there for me. Sometimes I need reminders when I'm really struggling, but I do know it in my heart. And I don't know if I'll ever really understand why certain things happen to certain people, why teenagers can make babies in the back of cars on accident and why I need a team of doctors, nurses, drugs, a patient husband, and over 4 years so far, to make a baby. There's this poem that always comes to my mind that I heard when I was a teenager:
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me
I let Him choose the colors
He worketh steadily.
Ofttimes He worketh sorrow
and I, within my heart,
Forget He sees the pattern
While I see only part.
The dark threads were as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He had planned.
Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
Here are some other thoughts that I found that I really like:
With thoughtless and impatient hands
We tangle up the plans
The Lord has wrought.
And when we cry in pain He saith,
Be quiet, man, while I untie the knot.
"Now, as you and I look at our lives... we sometimes do not understand that through which we are passing, but, being submisive, we can trust Him. The day will come, brothers and sisters, when the tapestry of your life will be unfolded, and you will see divine design all through it, and praise God for the experience and the tutoring which, in His goodness, He has given you."
-Neal A. Maxwell
Anyway, I thought these were nice thoughts. Infertility comes to battle with an entire artillery of weapons-despair, discouragement, heart break, fear, disappointment, anger, bitterness, etc. The only weapons I have are faith, hope, prayers, gratitude, and patience but they're enough to get me through the battles. One more thought. A long time ago my grandma took a pink frame, some bits of wallpaper and construction paper and made me this little plaque for Christmas. On it, it says:
When the answers to our prayers seem slow, God uses that time to help our faith grow.
Grandma passed away right after I got married, but she's still giving me good advice! Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts about faith and infertility. People always say not to stress over things that you can't control so like I've said before, I'm trying to learn to just be still and let God do the stressing. He's got the master plan, and I'm going to be okay.
Friday, June 20, 2008
One Woman’s Musings on Her Journey from Infertile Myrtle to Marveling Mom
My Life on a T-Shirt
By Tessa Falk
I used to call myself “Infertile Myrtle.” In fact, I wore a handmade, fitted black T-shirt with this self-dubbed moniker emblazoned across the front in hot pink letters. I had even contemplated starting a T-shirt line for other like-minded, want-to-be mommies such as myself, called InfertiliTees. Because, I thought: “Even Barren Babes Deserve to Laugh.”
And though I had come up with a slew of slogans: “Fertilize This” and “Strong Swimmers Apply Within,” just to name a few, my favorite had to be “Clomid Queen.” This name, in reference to the fertility drug, became my personal calling card and, ultimately, my saving grace.
For as long as I had known I wanted children, I had also known I would have to fight my body every step of the way to make it happen. I don’t know where the notion came from or why, but fears of infertility became my self-fulfilling prophecy.
I often posed the question: “If it takes two to tango, how many does it take to make a baby?” For me, the answer would take two years, 10 months and eight days to appear. Not to mention requiring the efforts of dozens of doctors, specialists, product and pill manufacturers, family and friends and, of course, my T-shirt, which allowed me to laugh even on the days I thought I’d never laugh again.
Though the battle for baby was just that – a battle of strength, will, determination and desire, character, patience, persistence and peace – I wouldn’t change one single step. Because doing so would mean I wouldn’t be where I am today, holding my son in my arms.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Well, I'm just trying to past time until my egg retrieval in a couple of hours and thought I'd post again. The retrieval is generally the easy part (it's the transfer that is rough for me). I just hope that the doctor is able to get some really good quality, fatty eggs from me today. So, I'm sitting here feeling like I'm carrying bowling balls instead of ovaries and sick (somehow I've caught a cold) and I'm thinking about hope. Like I hope things go well today. I hope my cold keeps getting worse because my body is just so focused on making beautiful eggs. Or I really hope I feel better later. Or, most of all, I hope I get pregnant. The poem I copied in this post today is from Emily Dickinson and one of my favorites about hope. I like the metaphor of hope being a bird. It fits well. The other day I was reading someone else's blog and she was really frustrated and asking when it's time to give up. I've been thinking about that a lot. When do you throw in the towel and say I've done all that I can, I can't do this anymore? I know I've felt like giving up before, like I couldn't deal with all of it anymore. But it's like this-here in Utah winters get really cold and snowy and usually most birds take off. But there's always a couple who don't, who brave it out. You see the little birds huddled and fighting the winter and then my favorite thing is in the spring as things get warmer and you hear that first bird song of the season. And soon enough the trees are full of birds singing. I'm not a winter person, and sometimes I get really down, but those little birds and my hope for spring get me through it. With infertility, sometimes it's like one big winter and I have moments when I feel like giving up hope, but somehow hope just keeps flying back into my heart. So, I've decided that no matter how hard it gets, I'm going to keep hoping and keep trying. I've got four rounds of IVF that I can do-I'm on round 3 right now. And if IVF doesn't work out, I'll keep looking for other options (including adoption). Someday I'll have children! So, wish me luck! And keep hoping!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Then a ray of light came into my gloom, a friend who had struggled with infertility but who had just had twins recommended her ob-gyn to me. So I started to go to him. Finally, I was feeling more in charge of my body. I started taking medication to regulate my cycle. Once we got that under control, I began taking fertility drugs. I like to think of this time period as my Jekyll Era. Scary, scary! I began with Clomid and after taking maximum dose of that moved on to this other experimental stuff. Those drugs had me on such an emotional roller coaster. It was almost like this out-of-body experience because I could see how I was acting but couldn't do anything to stop it. I would be all happy go-lucky one minute, sobbing hysterically the next or raging the next. I amazed that my husband stuck by me through all of that. Plus I was the sex commando--timing was everything whether you were in the mood or not and it became less making love and more just doing what we had to do. Unfortunately, the fertility drugs didn't lead to babies but led to cysts. Big, painful cysts. After over a year of more heartache and ovary-ache, my doctor had me do some more tests (HSG is NOT very nice), recommended that I do a laparoscopy (sorry I can't even say it, let alone spell it!), and recommended that I begin to see a fertility specialist.
That was a huge turning point for me. That was when we discovered the endometriosis. You know it's not pretty when the doctor's impressed with the before and after pictures and wants to use them for textbooks and your husband still has nightmares from the pictures! =) I guess I was all scar tissue and my ovaries were stuck to my hips. But a month or two after I got all cleaned out and my ovaries were free floaters again, things were feeling so much better. And that's when I began my journey at the fertility center with Dr. B and his staff (who I have mentioned before as angels from heaven!) After testing and what not, we decided that the best route was IVF. I remember the first time I went to the IVF training class. I was thinking, "no way! I can't do it! Shots in the stomach? And then bigger shots in the hips for a month...no way." I've never been a needle person. I don't give blood and one time a nurse was taking some blood and was fishing around for a vein in my arm with the needle in my arm, and just by reflex I kicked her right in the behind. Nope, needles are not my thing. Anyway, when they pulled out the needles for us to practice, I think I almost passed out. My husband wasn't very reassuring as he showed me how he gives a horse a shot and how 'easy' it would be. But the nurses were very patient and gentle and put up with me calling a hundred times to make sure I was doing everything right. The first time I gave myself a shot, it took me almost two hours to get up the nerve to do it. One, two, three...one, two, three...while giving myself pep talks while sitting in the dining room with a needle in my hand while crying. I was such a wuss!
The first round of IVF was really scary. Every detail was explained to me and everyone answered all of my questions, even the stupid ones, but I was still a nervous wreck. On the day of transfer when they put the fertilized eggs back in, I learned what exactly is meant by an 'almost full' bladder. I was a bit of an overachiever in filling up my bladder and was even gulping down water on the way to the doctor's office. By the time it was time for the actual transfer, I was drowning. I had to pee so bad that I literally thought I was going to explode. The nurse told me that I could try using the bathroom and stopping after I filled up half of a cup. But if I totally emptied my bladder, I would have to postpone the transfer until I could fill up my bladder again and when the doctor could re-schedule . I had never tried the on/off faucet downstairs before, but I was in so much pain that I decided it was worth a try. And I did it somehow. I suggested that the doctor's office offer some sort of trophy or certificate for an accomplishment like that, but I have yet to see it...Anyway, after they did the transfer my husband and I just sat in that surgery room and cried together. Hubbie didn't say it at the time, but he had the feeling that it didn't work. I did too, but in my usual fashion, ignored the feeling and pushed the thought to the back of my mind. Then we waited for the results. It's only a couple of weeks, but, believe me, it can feel like years. I really feel bad for the poor nurse who had to call with the blood results. I just cried and cried and cried. I tried to wait until I hung up the phone but it didn't work. She was so good though and optimistic--it was just a first try not the end of the road.
So even though the first round of IVF didn't work, it was a great learning experience for me. I really learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. I feel like I'm stronger for it. I really think I was just too freaked out to let it work in the beginning. I'm trying to learn to calm down, be faithful...let God do the stressing. The key word is learning (I'll get there someday)! Well, we did a second round of IVF and a little different protocol. I ended up getting pretty sick that round. I was much calmer that time and at least knew first hand what to expect. Unfortunately, my estradiol levels skyrocketed and we couldn't really get super quality eggs. And where it usually stops working is at that point where we're waiting for those cells to grow and multiply. The part where I've done all that I can and the doctor has done all that he can, an it's just up to God to do the rest. So far we just haven't had our time table in sync with God's. But it's got to happen sometime, right!
So right now, I'm in the middle of my third round of IVF. This has definitely been my best cycle yet. I go in for retrieval Friday. Looking at things this morning at my ultrasound, I've got some pretty dang good looking follicles...I've been feeding Hubbie lots of veggies so his swimmers will be ready to go...it's feeling really good so far. I'm a hopeless optimist (there's an oxymoron for you!) and just hoping and praying it will work out this time. If not, I cry, I re-group, and I keep going forward! So, there you go, my journey so far. Sorry for the novel!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
To end my blog for today, I'll share a list I've had in my head from previous experiences of THINGS NOT TO SAY TO SOMEONE DEALING WITH INFERTILITY:
1. Don't tell me how easy it was for you to conceive. Things I've heard: "If my husband even blinks at me, I get pregnant..." "We were on birth control when we got pregnant." "I wish it wasn't so easy for me to get pregnant..." Believe me, not comforting!!
2. Don't tell me not to think about it. People always tell me that if I just don't think about it, I'll just wake up pregnant one day. Go on vacation and relax, that's when it will happen...If only it were that easy! First of all, anyone dealing or having dealt with infertility knows how all encompassing it is. I can't not think about it. When I'm at church I'm thinking about it, at work? Still thinking about it. At home? Of course, I'm thinking about it. It's like telling a kid not to think about Santa Claus and his bag of presents on Christmas Eve. I'm already dealing with a lot of impossibles, don't add another!
3. Don't tell me to try taking care of your kids for an hour and then I'll change my mind. Do you think I don't know what I'm getting into? Bring on the poopie diapers, the screaming tantrums, the no sleep, the headaches...it's better than the emptiness without children any day. And after all of the financial stress, physical stress, emotional stress, and mental stress, I think that I've proven by now that I really do want children!
4. Please don't run away from me or avoid me. I don't bite (depending on the drugs that I'm currently on)! =)
5. Don't tell me that I can have children in the next life. Not what I want to hear in THIS life!!
6. Don't tell me any horror stories of babies abandoned or of 13 year olds having babies. I know it happens but try not to think about it since I don't understand that part of God's plan yet.
7. Don't choose that time to announce that you are pregnant. Send me a text or email so as to avoid the awkward, tearful congratulations.
8. Don't tell me to try any weird stuff like psychics, eating lots of beans,waiting for a full moon, or hanging upside down...don't you think I've already tried all that stuff?!
and the magical number 9. Don't tell me to try Ebay, been there done that, got the record, let's leave it at that! =)
Anyway, hope to hear from the rest of you infertile myrtles!! Good luck!