Monday, April 28, 2014

With a Little Help from My Friends

In the past week or so, I've gained so much comfort from various discussions and talks with friends.  I really feel like I'm finally beginning to get past the anger and envy I have been feeling for so long, and now, I'm just waiting for it to be our turn.

On Saturday morning, I went shopping for a friend's baby shower present (I think that was at least the 50th baby shower gift I've purchased since TTC...ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, haha) and instead of being sad or angry, I just thought, ok, God, I'm ready for it to be our turn.  There wasn't anger that I was buying another baby shower gift while still waiting for our own baby, and there wasn't even the typical pain in my chest I feel when shopping, there was just this feeling that I was waiting for our turn. 

A friend asked me to do a 30 day, 30 minutes a day Bible reading/prayer "challenge"  beginning on May 1 to help us develop the habit of doing that.  Another friend sent me a very encouraging excerpt from her devotional for that day.  These little pieces of encouragement mean so much to me, and really, truly are helping me get by. 

A girl I follow on my TTC instagram account posted earlier this week a truth that I hadn't expressed yet, but have been feeling.  This woman is also struggling with infertility, and a friend of hers asked her, via a text conversation, if she really trusted God.  This girl that I follow posted that, although she does believe in God, she struggles with putting 100% of her trust in His plan because that may mean that she will never have children of her own.  I feel exactly the same way.  It just feels like, if I were to just stop praying to God to allow Dusty and I to have our own children, and instead, ask God to give me peace in His plan, that means that I'm ok with the fact that we may not have children, and although I'm finally feeling like the angry and envy have subsided, I'm not to the point where I can say I'd be ok with never having children of our own.  I'm just not.  I still want and desire that too much to let that go.

Along similar lines, a couple of months ago, two different friends sent me the link to a blog post titled "But Why Does She Get Babies?" and this post could not have any better expressed how I feel at times, and could not have driven home any more how I need to feel at times like these. 

For an IVF update...nothing new.  Still waiting.  I haven't heard a peep, not a single word, from my nurse practitioner since April 3rd.  I have been so angry, so frustrated with her!  (Maybe that is were the anger has been redirected to, haha)  I left a voicemail for her last Wednesday asking for her to please call me and never heard back from her.  It's unreal!  So, I asked my friend from high school who had IVF through the same clinic and the same contact whether or not she had a hard time getting answers from her.  My friend said that she remembers that she didn't hear much from her at all and was very frustrated with her at the same point in the process I was, and then told me her timeline and how many birth control packs she went through, etc.  I then took her timeline and mapped out when our procedures may be based on that just so I could get an idea of what I'm looking at.  We also have some weekend travel in the next two months, as well as me being out of town for a week in June for work, so I'm worried this is all going to fall right in the middle of the travel and we'll be delayed again!  If things work like they did for my friend, I think we may be good, but...who knows.  I'm really trying to not stress about it and just remember that God has a plan.  It's working for the most part, but I will admit there are moments when I feel on the verge of freaking out and wanting definite answers!!  Ha! 

Thank God for the friends and family we have.  They constantly support us and encourage us.  It helps so very much. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

National Infertility Awareness Week


This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  This is something that I hoped and prayed I would never need to know, but here I am, 31, and infertile. 

Some facts about infertility - (source - http://www.resolve.org/about/fast-facts-about-fertility.html)

  • 12% of married women have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining pregnancy
  • A couple ages 29-33 with normal functioning reproductive system has only a 20-25% chance of conceiving in any given month
  • Approximately 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures.  Fewer than 3% need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization
A few things that really stand out to me in reading the above states, 12% of married women have trouble getting pregnant.  That is 1 in 8 women!!  1 in 8! 

Then, when typing those stats for this blog post, I saw that fewer than 3% of couples seeking infertility help need treatment such as IVF.  Wow.  I'm seriously fighting the pity party right now.  How Dusty and I are in the less than 3% bracket, I have no idea. 

As I have said before, infertility is the absolute hardest thing I have ever been through.  It is utterly heartbreaking.  The emotional roller coaster is devastating, and it is on the front of my mind every single minute of the day.  It isn't fair.  Dusty and I didn't do anything to deserve this.  But, life isn't fair.  Sometimes, we are dealt bad hands, to no fault of our own and based on nothing we have done.  This is one of those times.   

I do know this, if God decides to bless us with a child, or children, of our own, I will do my best to be a source of encouragement and support for others going through this same situation. 

I am 1 in 8.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Still Waiting...

Here I am, still waiting to hear from the APN to get my results of the bloodwork I had done over two weeks ago.  I had read reviews online of the fertility clinic and several stated that they are hard to get in contact with and so I somewhat expected it, but it is still very frustrating!  I know she is incredibly busy and has a ton of patients, and I'm trying to remember that, but my goodness it is frustrating!!  It probably doesn't help that I'm in incredibly impatient person to begin with!

By this point, I expected to know my test results and have our IVF timeline estimate.  Instead, I'm just still sitting here taking birth control pills and waiting.  Hopefully I'll hear something soon. 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

One Year Ago Today...

April 10th, 2013...

I don't know how I can remember that date so well.  Maybe because 10 is my favorite number?  I have no idea.  But, that date is the date that got the ball rolling on all this infertility stuff

Last year, I went to an annual appointment that if you had asked me a year earlier, would have been an OB appointment because I should have been pregnant.  See, in November 2011, I told Dr. P that before my next annual appointment, Dusty and I were going to start trying to have a baby.  She told me the time frame in which I should stop taking birth control, told me to start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as I stopped, and gave me her business card with her nurse's name written on it.  Dr. P told me as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test to call, and that she was so excited for me.  Funny, isn't it, how things never work like you think they will.  The other night, I was changing out purses & wallets and came across that same business card that she handed me that day 2 1/2 years ago with her nurse's name written on it.  I couldn't help but laugh at the irony, that I held onto that card so tightly, looking forward to calling to make that first OB appointment.  Ha.  Life, you are so funny...

A year passed, and November 2012 rolled around, which was when I should have had my next annual appointment.  I thought, well, I'm going to be pregnant soon, so I'm not going to make an appointment.  As we all know, that didn't happen.  So, in late March 2013, I called and talked to Dr. P's nurse, yep, the same one I would have called if I'd gotten my BFP, and told her I was overdue for an annual and had delayed it thinking I would get pregnant, which hadn't happened, and asked if I needed to come in.  I was pretty surprised when she was able to get me in just a couple of weeks beyond the day I called her (it seems like it is usually at least a month).

I remember waiting for that appointment and being so worried Dr. P would tell me we needed to wait until we'd been trying for a year before we started testing (as it had only been 8 months).  Thank goodness she didn't.  I can't even imagine the frustration I would feel right now if we were 4 months behind in this process.  As it is, I can't believe a year ago, we started doing tests and trying to figure out why I wasn't pregnant and I've just had 3 IUIs and a couple of cycles with clomid.  That just doesn't seem like much for a year, but it sure felt like a lot as I was going through it.  I don't know what I'm going to do if I write a post in April 2015 and it doesn't include pictures of our IVF miracle.  Here's hoping and praying that isn't the case.   

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Sweet Dog Honey Bee

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently lost my dog, Honey Bee.  If you've been following my blog, you may be wondering who Honey Bee is, since I posted about getting puppies last August.  Well, almost 14 years ago, when I still lived at home (is that funny, my first thought was, when I still lived at home, even though that hasn't been home for 10 years), i.e., my parent's house, I got a puppy and named her Honey Bee.  She still lived at my parent's where she could run around on acres and acres of farm land and keep my mom company. 

Honey Bee was a birddog; a mix between a German shorthaired pointer and a llewellin setter (also known as a dropper).  She was almost completely white, with a few liver colored spots on her.  When she was a puppy, her ears were each brown, but the stripe down her forehead looked like the colors had grown apart, as the shape on her two ears fit together almost like a puzzle piece.  A neighbor raised birddogs and she was a puppy in his last litter of puppies that he raised.  I still remember the day Mom & Dad came home and picked me up to take me to our neighbor's house and surprised me with getting a puppy!  I remember picking her out because she was the only one that was almost completely white and I thought she was so pretty.  She was just a few weeks old when I picked her out, and we had to wait a few weeks before she was big enough to bring her to our house. 

Although she was a birddog, by the time we got her, most of the quail had disappeared from this area, so we never really got to take her hunting and work her like a birddog should be worked, but that didn't stop her from pointing birds.  :)  One day, my dad was feeding hay and noticed she was standing on top of her dog house in point position looking towards the sky.  Dad looked around and noticed a bald eagle in a tree and Bee was pointing it!  Ha!  I'm not sure what she would have done if she'd managed to get that bird!! 

I know, trust me,I know, there are much worse things to cry about in life than dogs, but when I found out that Honey Bee died, I cried.  Part of me was relieved, as I'm pretty sure Bee had cancer, and for the last 6 months or so, had been losing a lot of weight.  So, I knew she was hurting and sick, but, as bad as it was, I just couldn't bring myself to put her down.  Mom told me that up until her last few days, she still followed Mom around as Mom would do things around the yard.  I just couldn't imagine having to put her down, especially when she still felt up to walking around with my Mom. 

When Mom told me that she found her in her house dead last Saturday morning, my sweet husband dropped everything he was doing, and drove to Missouri to help my mom bury her.  They buried her at the edge of the yard, and then Mom put daffodils on her grave.  They then sent me a picture of it and it looked so pretty and peaceful, as odd as that sounds. 

Honey Bee was such a sweet girl.  I never saw her growl or act unhappy about anything.  She will definitely be missed.  She's been my dog longer than I have known my husband, which feels like such a long time!  I'm so fortunate that she lived such a long time, and for all but the last few months, was so healthy during those nearly 14 years.  It's going to be sad the first time I go to Mom's house and look around her yard for my white dog laying around in the sun somwhere, and then realize she isn't there. 




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You don't know how it feels...to be me....

This post isn't going to be quite as cynical as the title leads you to believe, it's just that Tom Petty song is pretty fitting for the subject matter of this blog post tonight. 

Blogging can be so therapeutic.  Tonight is one of those times.

I have 4 co-workers that know the struggle that Dusty and I are going through.  I was having a completely unrelated conversation through our instant messenger with one of them today about how stressed out I am right now and the physical signs of the stress that are present right now (one of my eyes has been twitching for about a week, and the twitch was so bad this morning while I was looking in the mirror, it freaked me out and I had to look away, and, along with the twitch, ulcers in the back of my throat that I only get when I am super stressed, which I have right now).  This co-worker (who, I might say, is really bad about handling stress herself) tells me that I am killing myself whenever I get upset about other people having babies and it isn't good for me.  Now, I will say, this co-worker and I have the type of friendship where we are brutally honest with each other and know that the other one wouldn't say it unless we absolutely mean it and believe it to be true, which is one thing I appreciate about our friendship.  However; this, this statement just blew my mind.  I wrote back the following:

"well, that's true, I really don't mean to sound mean here, but you can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for me.  Imagine wanting something more than anything in the world, more than you have ever wanted anything in your entire life, and not knowing if you will ever have it, and then you have 10+ really great friends get what you want and you still don't have it, and then multiply however hard you think that would feel times about 10"

That's the truth, and is the only way I can describe it to people that aren't going through what we are.  I really don't mean to sound awful, or mean, or self-centered, or anything like that, and I don't want anyone to throw me a pity party, I'm just simply stating, this is the hardest thing we've ever been through and for most people, they won't ever have to know that pain (thank goodness). 

I think my buttons are being pushed extremely hard and very often right now and I'm not sure why.  The same receptionist that tried to shove the newborn baby's picture in my face last week asked me today if I had "held that baby lately?"  She better be glad she was walking in front of me and didn't see the go to hell look (otherwise known as the Wolfe glare) that I shot her.  I nearly lost it on her.  What I wanted to say was, since you mentioned babies, don't ever mention babies to me again...but instead, I just gritted my teeth and said, Nope, been too freaking busy!  Then, this evening, I heard another co-worker talking about his pregnant wife and how she had good days and bad with her pregnancy.  I just wanted to scream that he has no idea how lucky they are to even be pregnant.  This co-worker has only told our boss that his wife is pregnant, as they are keeping it under wraps for now, however; I overheard him in my boss' office tonight talking about it.  I've had my suspicions for several weeks now that they were expecting, as about 5 weeks ago, he had a "closed door meeting" with my boss, and when I asked my boss afterwards if everything was ok, he said, it's great news, you'll know soon, I knew instantly this co-worker's wife was pregnant. 

Just lovely...it is all just absolutely lovely right now.  All in the same week that my poor, sweet, old, loving dog of 14 years died.  I will do a post soon about my sweet girl, Honey Bee.  She was such a sweet girl. 

Well, that's all, my venting is over for now.  :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Things People Say

I swear, if one more person talks to me about babies this week, I may scream!  Everywhere I turn, somebody is talking to me about babies.  It's hard to hold it in.  And by it, I mean screaming, crying, laughing, anything, really. 

A couple of my former co-workers have had babies in the last few months, one a couple of weeks ago, and one a few months ago.  Both of these former co-workers are working at current clients'.  They are both sweet as can be and I love them both dearly.  So, I feel guilty even saying this, but I have to vent, and that is one of the purposes of this blog, after all. 

One of our receptionists, who had been told about 18 months ago by me, personally, that Dusty and I were going to start trying to have children (and clearly, we haven't yet), asked me if I had a seen a picture of one of the babies that was just posted on Facebook.  I hadn't yet (hello, working 60+ hours, I don't have time), and said I had seen the baby in person.  She then preceded to try to make me walk over to her and look at the picture right at that very moment, to which I just walked away.  Honestly, I wanted to see the picture, and looked when I sat down in my office at my desk, but the thing is, I can't control my reactions very well right now and if I had burst into tears, I had no intent of explaining to her why. 

Then, as I was leaving for a client meeting with the other former coworker, another receptionist asked me if I had see this co-worker's baby and how she really hoped she would bring the baby up to the office.  *sigh*  I got on the elevator with my boss and told him that if another person talked to me about babies, I was going to scream!

That brings us to today.  Another boss, not the one that actually knows what is going on, asked me what Dusty and I were doing this weekend.  I told him we were going to the Razorback baseball game tomorrow, and then to see the Wizard of Oz on Sunday (thanks to my other boss!!).  He then goes on to tell me that "You and Dusty need to get kids, you do too much fun stuff, you need kids to keep you busy".  Thanks, M...you know what, the thought never occurred to me that we should have kids...I'll just go pick some up, they sell them at the mall, right?

UGH!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

IVF Step 1

There are so many steps in the IVF process.  I was so excited after finding out we'd get to move on to IVF next.  Then, a couple of days after that initial discussion with Sarah, I started looking through the folder that had around 20 pages describing the IVF process and suddenly it felt very overwhelming and scary!

For those that don't know, here is IVF in a nutshell:

  • I take fertility drugs to make my ovaries produce large amounts of follicles (i.e. giving myself shots 1-4 times/day for 7-10 days)
  • I'm monitored very closely while taking the drugs to watch my follicle development
  • When the time is right, I'll then go to Little Rock and be knocked out, and my eggs will be retrieved
  • Once retrieved, they will be mixed with Dusty's stuff and then watched to see how they develop
  • 5 days later, hopefully, 1 or 2 embryos will be transferred back to me, and the rest, hopefully, will be frozen for when we are ready for another baby, hopefully
So, to start this process, step one was blood work, which I had yesterday.  This blood work is to test my ovarian reserve.  Honestly, this scares me.  I'm so scared they are going to come back and tell me that I don't have a good ovarian reserve. 

Before I actually got to that point, though, I once again had to take provera for a couple of days to even get my cycle started.  On Monday, after taking provera pills the previous two days to make my body start my cycle, my cycle started.  After a couple of emails with Sarah, we set up my appointment on Wednesday to have my blood work. 

Last night, I started what I'll call step 1a, which was to take birth control pills.  Yep, birth control.  Isn't that an obvious step to trying to get pregnant??  Yeah, I didn't think so either, however; I knew it was coming having followed other bloggers that have been through IVF.  I will admit, though, I wasn't sure the reason why.  Turns out, taking birth control pills for a cycle helps prevent ovarian cysts and hyper stimulation (producing too many follicles), both of which will lead to a cancelled cycle. 

I'm not really sure what the next step is, I'll have to go shuffle through my 20 pages and see if I can make it through without having anxiety attack. 

Oh, side note...when a woman is coming in for blood work related to infertility, it would probably be in good taste to not have the phlebotomist be 8 1/2 months pregnant with her huge baby belling sticking out for the world (ok, me) to see.  She called my name and I turned around and saw nothing but pregnant belly and automatically cringed.  Oh the irony...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IVF Continued


As I mentioned in my previous post, we are moving on to the next step, which is IVF. I have to admit, I am very excited about this…or at least, I was when we first got the news, and I still am, but I will say a little bit of nervousness and maybe even a little bit of being scared has crept in since we got the news last week. 
On Wednesday, the 19th, we met with the nurse practitioner from the RE clinic in our state and the meeting went so well! Sarah talked to us for almost an hour and walked us through everything related to IVF. We started with our infertility journey through the current time. I'm so glad that I had prepared for that (at 11:30 pm the night before, while watching the Pretty Little Liars season finale)! Sarah didn't have a lot of very organized information from my current clinic, so she asked me to start from the beginning. Thankfully, I had written out every single cycle date since we stopped birth control, as well as notes about what medications I took, whether or not we did IUI or tried to do IUI with no response, etc. That made it so helpful! I basically just rattled off the key dates and results as she took notes for the first 5 minutes of our meeting.
We talked a little more background and cycle history, and she told me that I have atypical PCOS symptoms. Sarah said in the past, that was never even mentioned, either you had all of the classic symptoms and had PCOS, or you didn't, no in-between. She said I really have none of the outward symptoms, but it sounds like my ovaries have the symptoms with the lack of response in some cycles, and then other cycles lasting so long.
We also talked about what a roller coaster ride I'd been on since starting clomid last summer. It was pretty amazing hearing it from her perspective. She basically said that it is completely understandable why I'm so frustrated and tired of the current process. I'll try to recap how she put what my body has been through as best I can...
  • Start your period & all the craziness that goes with that
  • Take clomid, which is an estrogen suppressant
  • Shock your body after taking the clomid with estrogen
  • Get an HCG shot, which makes the body think it's pregnant (and all the side effects that go with that)
  • When I don't start, but am not pregnant, get progesterone to make my body start
  • Start my period, thus starting the vicious cycle all over again

Sarah was pretty funny in that she basically said it’s amazing people going through that are even able to function given the shock to hormones and such that is going on. 
After discussing all the things IVF entails and some insurance questions, we made a plan to begin the IVF process once my next cycle starts.  Instead of going through what all IVF entails, I’ll just try my best to keep my blog updated each step of the way.

***Please forgive my long gap since my last post.  A couple of 60+ hour work weeks got in the way of me finishing this post, which I originally started 2 weeks ago!!