Sunday, December 29, 2013

reflecting.

I've been reflecting a lot lately… on my life, on my infertility, on my friendships.

I've learned a lot  about myself this year, and even more so about others. If there is one thing I can honestly say about this journey and how its changed me, it's this…



… I'm fortunate to have an incredible support system… one that has accepted me and respected me, and hasn't forced their views or "help" upon me and my battle with infertility.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I shouldn't be bitter…

I shouldn't be bitter…

My parents are here. We are celebrating Christmas together (for the 31st year in a row). I love them, and my husband, and our time together… and I shouldn't be bitter. But, I am.

I'm bitter because…
-every damn time I get out of my car and walk into the building my doctor's office is in, an innumerable amount of large bellied, pregnant women slap me right in the face (please explain how it's possible that an OB AND a fertility clinic are conveniently located RIGHT ACROSS FROM ONE ANOTHER on the SAME EXACT FLOOR of a 4-story building?!?!!? yah, just kick me while I'm down don't you…)
-2 more lame Facebook pregnancy announcements popped up on my newsfeed today (damn me for not  deleting my account yet, I HATE Facebook!!!!!!)
-I'm tired of "the look"…. I'm tired of being asked how I'm doing. Well, if for 1 second you could even BEGIN to walk in my rather heavy shoes, you wouldn't ask.
-this is our 6th Christmas together, our 5th anniversary is approaching, and we should have had a child by now. enough said.
-my faith is hanging by a thread… end of story.
-lately, every time I miraculously forget for .5 seconds that this infertile, childless life SUCKS, reality knocks me off my feet in the form of a complete stranger… whose belly is hanging out of her too small shirt, and she happens to be grabbing mushrooms at the same damn time I am. REALLY?!

I shouldn't be bitter, because I have a loving family and a wonderful husband.

I shouldn't be bitter, but I am.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

support when you need it most.

You know what? I love this blogging community more than I can even put into words. It's so comforting to know that although this is MY space… and I'm entitled to vent, be angry, loathe the world (or just fertile people, just kidding), you ladies continue to provide such an amazing emotional support system- no questions asked. Yes, this Christmas is harder for me than the past few since we've been on this crazy train and Christmas in general is sucky for those of us who don't have a child to shower with gifts and celebrate with. I've always worn my heart on my sleeve and this blog is a true reflection of the emotional nutcase I am. Your emails and kind gestures help, they really do. So, thank you for supporting me and understanding that often on this journey, it's really hard to look past the here and now, which is unfortunately where I've been solidly planted for the past month. Even if I don't respond, your words bring comfort that is so desperately needed and I thank you for that.
xo

Thursday, December 5, 2013

still on the pity party train...

On my way to work this morning, I was listening to the radio as a single dad received a rather large Christmas surprise. As the segment continued, one of the radio personalities said something that struck a nerve. He said that in all his life, one thing he knows is that difficult times fall on those that can handle it, and that good things DO happen to good people.

As the 31st year of my life is quickly passing by, all I can think is, when the hell is MY time going to come? When is the good thing going to happen to ME? Because I'll be honest, I don't have much strength left in me. For a long time, I accepted that this was the hand we had been dealt and we were going to do what we needed to do...

But now, after finding out that my shitty lining is apparently "normal", our final genetic tests are clear, and neither of us have any chromosomal abnormalities, all I can say is WTF?! Why am I STILL not getting pregnant?! I guess I won't find out until January when we will start another long road of IVF and more tests will ensue. The nurse informed me yesterday that my new clinic "shuts down" for the holidays. That's flipping awesome. SUPER! I've already waited 3 years, what's another month!?

Sorry for the endless pity party I've been throwing myself… I appreciate your kind words and am thankful for you ladies who are so encouraging and thoughtful. Here's to hoping something positive can come out of this Christmas season for all of us infertiles…


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

zero holiday spirit.

I tried. I really did.

I took down my fall decorations well before Thanksgiving and had everything decked out in red, green, and white except for putting up the Christmas tree. Now that our company is gone, a very large, grey cloud is hovering over me and I have no desire to be in a cheery, holiday mood. I even started crafting again, in hopes it would somehow help me surpass the holiday blues that have replaced my love for the latter part of each year.

My sense of reality has really sunk in lately and I have been wondering what I'll make of holidays if we never have a baby. Yup- I've gone there. I'm no longer living in a fantasy world. I know the realities of IVF, of surrogacy, of adoption. I also know I will never be one of those lucky ones that miraculously gets pregnant after x amount of years of draining most of our life savings and then some.

I don't want to finish my Christmas shopping, I don't want to finish my holiday projects, and I will not be mailing Christmas cards this year… hell, I don't even want to display the dozens that will soon be rolling in because I don't need any more reminders that everyone around me is so incredibly happy with their perfect little families.

I hate this place. I hate feeling so resentful. I hate that I can't even be thankful for what I do have because of the low, awful place I'm in right now.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

something's gotta give

Sorry about the absense… I actually have found it difficult to put my intense range of emotions into something coherent, and I just couldn't bring myself to shed an ounce of a complaint about this said suckyness (yes, I know this isn't a real word, but it is now) because there has been an unfair amount of sad news in this community lately. So, in an effort to not sound too selfish, this is what I've been wanting to say….

If this EFT does NOT give us some answers and the EXCRUCIATING pain I endured for that DAMN biopsy was for NOTHING, I might strangle the next thing that enters my path. [For the record, my first biopsy was not all rainbows and butterflies, but this time around was quite painful.]

Time feels as if it's standing still at the moment. All of the "what ifs" of these expected results are causing me a serious struggle.  Best case scenario is giving me the hormones my lining isn't producing and we'll happily be on our way to IVF #2. Worst case (which is what my mind is forcing me to focus on) is either:
a. nothing shows up and we are back to square 1 with 2 failed IUIs, 1 failed fresh IVF cycle, and 2 failed FETs (not to mention 6 months on clomid before I hopped on this crazy train) and still no BFPs.
or
b. the test shows that my lining just sucks and nothing can be done to get it past the awesome 6mm that it always sits at. [I've tried everything under the sun to help with this issue… we've wasted spent lots of money on every experimental option out there.]

With the slew of tests that we have both been through since switching REs, something has gotta give. I'm not getting pregnant for a reason, I just want to know WHY. I know the answer isn't simple… nothing about this process is simple.

So, I'm going to force a smile on my face and push through the Thanksgiving holiday even though I'm preoccupied and impatiently waiting for these test results. I'm going to force myself to get past the fact that yet another holiday is passing where we can't make the long overdue announcement that my heart aches for.

Monday, November 4, 2013

genetic counselor meeting

So we met with the GC last Wednesday... I'm sure you know the scenarios... if the husband isn't a carrier, you are pretty much in the clear, but if he is... well, in our case, there's a 25% chance we have a baby that will have the genetic disorder. That's hard to swallow... 1 in 4 really is quite high [unless it's IUI stats and then 25% is just not enough...]. We will also have our future embryos biopsied if we are both carriers... well, that's hoping that we get a decent number of them from the upcoming IVF cycle. The GC was also concerned with the history of miscarriages in my family, so we decided to do chromosome testing as well. I'm so tired of all these tests... and I really wish I could see the light at the end of the [infertility] tunnel.

Now we wait for the test results. Waiting sucks. I hate waiting. I feel like that is the story of these past few years with this TTC rubbish. (I found out the EFT test results can take up to 3 weeks... seriously?!)

In the meantime, I've started the prometrium and my EFT is scheduled for next Wednesday. Have I mentioned how much I dislike biopsies?? Trying to get past the suck factor and focus on what the results will reveal... which at this point, I'm not holding my breath and have my guard up. Although I don't expect good news, you just never get used to the bad news. No matter what form it's in, it's never welcome.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

when is enough, enough?

I feel like this is a hasty post and I don't have all the facts yet, but I need to write in order to gain a little clarity despite the chaos that is somehow my life...

Isn't it amazing how a violent storm can completely wipe out every single ounce of sunshine?

That violent storm came in the form of a text from the doctor's office yesterday instructing me to call them for "important information". I should have known better than to call during my break.

Rewind to 3 weeks ago... when I had my first appointment at the new clinic, they recommended that I do another slew of genetic tests, assuring me that although there would be repeats of some of the previous tests I had, it would cover many things that I hadn't yet been tested for. I agreed to this, even though I had some reservations because I had thought, "what wasn't I tested for before?!". In the back of my mind, I was also thinking, does it really matter at this point?? I mean, after 3 years of actively TTC, there is little that can scare us away after everything we've already been through.

After talking to the nurse and immediately logging on to the website that has my test results (even though they aren't "released" yet), this is what I know...
-I am a carrier for a genetic disease that I didn't even know existed
-In a nutshell, it impairs the body's ability to make cholesterol which can result in mental disability, behavioral problems, and birth defects
-My husband has to go through the genetic testing again, just like I did

The nurse told me that my doctor would like us to see a genetic counselor, of which I called as soon as I got off the phone with the nurse and scheduled an appointment for tomorrow.

When is enough, enough?! I don't understand... how is it that we endure so much heartache and disappointment, only to turn around and keep trying... but yet something always seems to stand in the way of what we long for?

I feel like my strength is slowly crumbling. I sat at my computer and had a massive breakdown after I read about this "disease" that I could potentially pass on to my future baby. I honestly still can't wrap my mind around it and am not sure I will even after our meeting with the genetic counselor.

It's so difficult to be positive when negative thoughts are pretty much forcing me down :-/

Sunday, October 27, 2013

this, too, shall pass.

You know what I like most about such things as the "Sunshine Award"? They allow you to take a step back and think of all the things in life that DO make you happy. It's a brief escape from the reality of infertility... and it was nice while it lasted... 

but the truth is I can't seem to get past the fact that a year ago, we were starting a fresh IVF cycle, and I was so incredibly hopeful that it would work (despite a convo with a "friend" who happens to be a delivery nurse and she proceeded to tell me that it never works the first time, or the 2nd or 3rd for that matter- in which I just sat there and didn't tell her what I REALLY thought of her senseless words). I hate feeling like every step I take in the right direction, something gets in the way and sends me 1,000 steps backwards- whether it's another emotional breakdown, or a stupidly THIN uterine lining. Yup- after 2 weeks on estradiol, my awesome lining is barely 6 mm. Cue in another week of FOUR blue pills a day. Honestly, I didn't think it'd actually be any thicker than the dozen + other times I've taken it. I just can't seem to accept that it's the only reason why I haven't been able to see those 2 lines on a HPT. Something's gotta give... and I realize that my new RE has to start somewhere... apparently my ovarian reserve is really good, and if we've always had good quality embryos, he has to begin with my awesome crappy lining.

This storm will pass, it's just one of those days... 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A little sunshine!




Wow, can I please just say that I'm really excited that Jessah, over at Dreaming of Dimples, and Suzanne, over at Our Journey to a Baby Bump, nominated yours truly for the Sunshine Award?! 

I promise I haven't ignored y'all... the past couple weeks have been really emotionally draining and I'm trying to keep my head above water. I've decided to combine your questions and answer as many as I can without writing a novel ;)

The rules for the sunshine award are as follows: 

1. Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post (copying Jessah on this one :))
2. Link to the person who nominated you (links above)
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself 
4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award (
it appears that I'm the straggler on this one... and all of my fave ladies have been nominated. So I'll spare you of having to answer another round of questions. Love y'all- thanks for your kindness and friendship, I appreciate your support more than you'll ever know.)

Jessah's Questions:
What do you do for work (always curious to know what everyone does all day long)?
I'm a 4th grade teacher. It's a fun age to be around and they provide me with much needed comic relief on a daily basis. 

What is your favorite quote?
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
       - Eleanor Roosevelt
It's on a sticky note that's always been on my desktop... since well before infertility knocked on my door. 

What is the item of clothing you want to buy most for this fall season?
Another pair of riding boots... I just can't have enough shoes!

What is a great book that you've read recently?
I won't bore you with the laundry list of children's books I read aloud to my class... but I did read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green over the summer (let's be real, although I am a reading teacher and obviously have a love for it, I would rather sleep than read at night!). I cried so hard at the end of the book, I think the person sitting beside me on the plane ride home from NY had to think I was seriously disturbed! 

What is your middle name?
Marie. Same as my mama's :)

Tell me a secret (about anything).
I write a lot more posts than I publish. Sometimes I just need to ramble, and then I feel a little bit of relief from this crazy train!

Suzanne's Questions:
Was there a particular moment in your infertility journey that made you realize that you wanted/needed to start blogging? Yes... and it came after a coworker of mine shared with me that her daughter's friend was going through similar struggles as myself. She emailed me the link to her blog and I oddly felt a sense of relief... it was comforting to know that although I felt very alone, there were other women living through the same thing as I was.

What is your favorite vacation spot ever?
Well I'm going to just guess that this will change after our trip to Italy in June, but since I was 6, my parents have always gone on a beach vacation somewhere on the east coast. My favorite spot of all time is Topsail Island, North Carolina. It's a lot different than it used to be, and it's gotten very tourist-y over the past years, but I have many fond memories of those vacations and love my parents for continuing the tradition that I someday hope to pass on to my own children. 

If you could spend a day with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be? Why? What would you do? 
That's so easy... my grandma. We lost her to cancer 9 years ago this Thanksgiving. She was a fighter, a true survivor, and she was taken far too soon. I was in college when she passed away so she never met my hubby and wasn't around when we got married- she actually never got to see any of her grandchildren walk down the aisle, and that makes me so sad. Her life was very different than the path I'm on (she raised 10 kids!)... but I feel her presence at some of my weakest moments. I would want to do the things I most often think about... baking in her kitchen, painting, eating her wonderful cooking... simple, yet they are the memories I cherish every day. 

What is the best part of blogging your IF journey?
The endless support and well wishes from my fellow bloggers. Let's face it, it's not a journey any of us planned on... but it's certainly much easier when you aren't alone. 

Hope I'm not breaking the rules too badly by not re-nominating!! 
xo

Sunday, October 13, 2013

EFT

Endometrial Function Test... this is the plan since Dr. G didn't find any surprises at my appointment on Wednesday. I began the [super fun] green estrace pills and my dosage will slowly increase to 3 pills a day for 2 weeks, then I'll go back for an ultrasound to check my lining. If it's thickening like he is expecting, I'll begin progesterone and he'll schedule the EFT.  Although I've had a biopsy, this test can diagnose endometrial defects. There's a reason why I haven't been able to get pregnant... I sure hope this gives us some answers.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

thank you.

I just wanted to thank you ladies who take the time to not only read my [often] "woe is me" posts... but for also sending along your well wishes and words of encouragement. You make me feel like I'm not alone, and that my friends, is really big.

Also... baseline appointment with my new RE tomorrow. Let's hope for good news so I can start this test cycle and get some answers.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

it's just not fair...

I'm pulling the "fair" card today. I'm in that low, painful place that yanks at my heartstrings. It's just not fair... that I have to put on a brave face each day when another person asks how I'm doing, or when a student asks if I have my own children, or when another pregnancy is announced and a coworker is becoming a grandmother (again), or when I have to celebrate the pregnancy of a member of my team and have to hold myself together until it's absolutely unbearable and then have to excuse myself from the joy that everyone else is sharing. It's not fair that yet another holiday season is approaching, and we are able to have company stay in our home because the room that's supposed to be a nursery is empty. It's not fair that as each day passes, I feel more and more distanced from the people I care about most because their lives are moving forward like they are supposed to. Today, I'm questioning how this can be real, because the hurt and pain that infertility has brought me is just not fair.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

dreams.

it's funny.... how your mind can play tricks on you, isn't it? how your constant thoughts somehow force their way into the dreams that you have at night? what is the purpose of these dreams when, based on every day up to now, they haven't found their way into "real life"?

obviously, I had a dream about being pregnant, for probably the thousandth time.

dreams are cruel.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I can't do this, but I'm doing it anyway.

I have to say, I wasn't expecting to feel so, "okay" with taking this break. I'm smiling more, I actually laugh, and I feel less anxious. Man, infertility really BITES. It sucks the life right out of you. I absolutely LOATHE the fact that it's taken so much of me over the past few years. I have to let it go though, and all I can do is move forward (honestly, what other choice is there?). I'm not saying that I don't have my bad days, I'm not saying that the Facebook 'pregnancy' announcements don't sting, and I'm definitely not saying that constantly being reminded [on a daily basis] that I'm not pregnant isn't painful... but we're only in this life once, and it truly is a choice to either make the best of it, or let this whole darn thing swallow you up whole.

This newfound positivity may not last long, especially with the holidays right around the corner... but I will say, I'm enjoying being a wife and partner to my husband right now. I'm enjoying planning our romantic 5-year anniversary trip to ITALY! There's just so much more to life than IVF... and I'm tired of living my life around it.


So on that note...

Monday, September 16, 2013

IVF does not buy happiness

do you remember when... you were a little girl playing with your dolls? you dressed them up and wrapped them in blankets, and you cradled and cuddled with them all the while pretending they were real.

yah me too, except that day is still so far out of reach. 

I don't know how to balance this weight and continue pretending that it doesn't hurt... but one thing I do know is I cannot allow myself to run in circles with no end in sight anymore.

putting IVF on the back burner has been excruciatingly difficult to accept... however what's harder is accepting that everything in my life has been put on hold for the past 2 years. It's exhausting living around doctor's appointments, shots, hormonal breakdowns, feeling defeated, you get my drift here. it's not that I don't want to have my perfect little family, it's just that every ounce of energy that I've put into this process has stolen a piece of me that I can't get back. Picking up the pieces after falling apart has almost become more than I can bear. I've lost sight of what life is truly about and although there's nothing I want more than a baby, what I want most is to be happy. [even though everything always tends to spin back around to the whole baby thing, blah.]

back when I was naive, I thought IVF was the surefire answer... that even though it wasn't a 100% guarantee (ha! we all know it's MUCH less than that!), it was going to get me the one thing I've wanted since those childhood days of cradling baby dolls.

at some point, you can't help but wonder when will this all be worth it?... when will my every decision stop being whether or not I should continue pushing forward through the hell of IVF and start being what color the nursery will be painted?

living in this infertile world really bites, you know???


Saturday, September 7, 2013

infertility bipolarism(?), some retail therapy & finding peace

does infertility bipolarism (not sure if that's even a real word...) exist?
*I fully acknowledge that having bipolar disorder is very serious and I'm in no way poking fun at the disorder or those who suffer from it.

I mean, one minute I feel at peace with the decision to take a month off from the craziness that another cycle brings, and then the next I'm bawling my darn eyes out wishing that ANOTHER month wasn't separating me and my future. seriously though?! these back and forth emotions are for the birds! (or the owl that was HOOTING outside my window for a good 2 hours last night, keeping me wide awake, and most likely the cause of my AWESOME mood today).

on a [happy] side note, I got my first Stitch Fix box in the mail yesterday (thanks to Jessah over at Dreaming of Dimples). oh.my.word. this could get me into SERIOUS trouble! my petite figure makes it rather challenging to find clothes that fit me without making me look like the 9 year olds I teach. I'll admit, I didn't LOVE the tops that my stylist sent, but, she did hit the nail on the head with another item.

I found this beauty on Pinterest a few weeks ago and part of your Style File is providing any additional information (i.e. links to boards on Pinterest) that will help your stylist find the best items that match you and your style.


so, I was pleasantly surprised when THIS was at the bottom of my box! 



I'm floored that it actually fits me quite perfectly! yay for Liz and finding this for me!! 

now I'm going to go take some time for me... get a mani/pedi... finish searching for the few fall decor items on my list... and hopefully find the peace that oh so quickly disappeared after I got off the phone with the nurse yesterday, solidifying my decision to wait, again.



Friday, August 30, 2013

Infertility Etiquette

Wow, 2 posts in 2 days after a [brief] hiatus... this is an important one though...

Infertility Etiquette
from resolve.org
Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.
The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.
As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.
A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:
  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.
Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.
Don't Tell Them to Relax
Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.
Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.
These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.
Don't Minimize the Problem
Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.
Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.
Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?
Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.
People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.
Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.
Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is a method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"
Don't Be Crude
It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.
Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.
The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.
Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."
I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.
Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.
Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.
Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.
Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition
Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.
Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.
Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.
You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.
Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? 
Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care
The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.
Remember Them on Mother's Day
With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.
Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.
Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments
No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.
Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.




Thursday, August 29, 2013

here [kinda]

my.oh.my.

Going back to work has really kicked my butt. I'm exhausted. Problem is, my mind is constantly in overdrive so sleep doesn't come very easily.

I've done a pretty good job of picking up the pieces and moving forward since my last post [except when I am laying wide awake at 2am and can only think about the obvious].

I'm trying to be optimistic now that we have a new RE... but this is difficult when I don't even have time in the day to return his calls to find out what he "came across" after reviewing my records. *sigh*

So... I'm here, kinda... just trying to stay afloat and keep away the nasty infertility demons :/

Monday, August 12, 2013

struggling

I'm apologizing in advance because this post is going to be all over the place...

After a serious low point, I've forced myself to crawl out of the dark hole I've been living in for the past week. I have to say, I was more than frustrated and sad that this last transfer didn't work. I was angry. I was angry because not only have we devoted the past 2+ years to this process, and have pushed REAL living to the side, but I spent the entire summer investing every ounce of my being into this transfer. Instead of taking some time to travel and enjoy each other, this summer was planned around doctor's appointments, the transfer, and another 2ww. My first day of summer was spent having a biopsy and pretty much my last day will be spent getting a second opinion from another RE. I'm physically and emotionally exhausted, and to be truthful, I'm struggling. Usually, I'm energized by this point in the summer and ready to dive right in to the upcoming school-year. Right now though, I'm dreading going back to work. The anxiety I am feeling is two-fold. One, I work with a staff that is 95% female. So, at the opening of every school-year, the announcements come rolling in. I already feel sick just thinking about it. Secondly, one of my new teammates is pregnant and it's going to be a daily reminder that I'm not. 

So, here I sit. One week away from having to force a smile on my face and TRY not to fall apart in the middle of my staff development. I feel like infertility is winning right now. I don't like feeling this way. And honestly, I'm tired of living my life around cycles and treatments. I'm not quite sure what's next. After meeting with our current RE last week, we left feeling confused and unsure. I hope the new RE can shed some light and restore my confidence in IVF. Regardless of what route we decide to take, another IVF cycle must happen... whether we do the transfer in me or a gestational carrier is unknown right now. I do know we have to take a break. Between my work schedule over the next couple of months and getting a handle on our finances, we have to take a step back... 


Monday, August 5, 2013

tired.

Well, FET #3 is another bust. I obviously knew this already... between the spotting and cramping, I just knew.

I thought that by my improved outlook and restored hope that this would actually work. Even in my negative thought moments, I had forced myself to look ahead at what is next for us in this process, not shedding a single tear. I caved though, it was only a matter of time until it hit me. (Which is quite apparent based on this post.) You never get used to this. You never get used to feeling empty or angry or frustrated. I'm so tired of being here, in this place of despair. I'm tired of spending our savings on these damn treatments that AREN'T working!!!!!! I'm tired of being poked and prodded and pumping my body full of hormones. I'm tired of being left behind when everyone else in my life has started their own families. I'm tired of begging God to grant me the ONE thing I've truly ever wanted. Every time we get a negative result, I just want one thing. I want to understand why. Why me? Why us? I realize I may never know the answer, but I can't help but wonder...

The devastation of this failed attempt is hitting me the hardest, mainly because this isn't what I had wanted for this day. Today is my birthday and it's MY day. It's supposed to be a celebration. But, here I am... emotionally drained, red eyed, and with a pile of tissues beside me, defeated yet again.

I don't know what's next. I wish I had something meaningful to end with... but I'm tired.

Friday, August 2, 2013

hope

**disclaimer: I'm downright depressed and feeling defeated right now... so please excuse the pity party and lashing out **

the definition of hope [transitive verb]:
to desire with expectation of obtainment and to expect with confidence

hmm. that's pretty accurate. for the past 2.5 years, I have expected to become pregnant each and every time I a. completed a cycle with clomid, b. had 1 of 2 IUIs, c. completed IVF, and went through 3 FETs, or d. thought by some miracle that it would just happen.

what's not accurate is that I have been confident every step of the way. my best friend jokingly labeled me as "negative nelly", which is quite fitting to my overly pessimistic outlook. the truth is, at one point, I was confident. I was robbed of that confidence a year ago when I hit my 30th birthday. at that point, I knew our odds would drastically decrease because of my age alone, then add that to being labeled with "unexplained infertility" and easy was no longer a part of my vocabulary.

I read 2 posts this morning, and what I took away from these posts is this: we I feel entitled. entitled to what? well, the "perfect" life, that's what. no one has a "perfect" life, I know this. are we grateful for what we have though? yes. has it always been easy? hell no. however, the natural progression of life after marriage is starting a family [at least in my world it is]. and I have always felt entitled to this aspect of life. why though? am I more deserving than the next infertile person? no. am I more deserving than the people over in Pakistan that are receiving BABIES AS PRIZES ON A GAME SHOW? DAMN STRAIGHT I AM! (my level of disgust is massive on this topic, I'll spare you my rant...)

so, what I want to know is what's the purpose in all of this? obviously, in the beginning, the purpose was to have a baby and we'd do whatever it took, but it just doesn't seem that simple anymore. what is the purpose of spending all this money and shooting myself up with hormones if we are back at the same exact place we started?? because I can tell you one thing, I've lost hope. that may be extreme, but if I'm focusing on the definitions above, it's hard to expect a baby when you get another negative test and it's difficult to have confidence when everyone around me is a hell of a lot more fertile than I am.

I feel like I'm being punk'd every.day.of.my.life. when is Ashton going to jump outta the bushes and tell me it's all a joke?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bon Appetit!

Want a life changing (drastic? maybe... but I just love food. and Bon Appetit) summer chicken recipe?? Well do I have something for you then! One of my most favorite things to get in the mail is my monthly issue of Bon Appetit. I get giddy. Yes, seriously. I often drop everything and plant myself in my favorite reading spot on the couch and read the entire issue from cover to cover, gawking at the delicious photographs, and dog-earing pages of recipes I want to try out. Then, I get on Pinterest and add the recipes to the applicable "food" board so I don't forget about them when I plan our weekly meals. I get excited about these things... it's a sickness, I know. Now, if you're familiar with BA, it wasn't always user friendly for all levels of cooks. That's so NOT the case anymore! It's easy to find [most, if not all] of the ingredients in your regular grocery store and the recipes don't involve 1,475 steps. Now, on to what I've been waiting to share!!!!

Sambal Chicken Skewers


Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch pieces  (boneless, skinless chicken breasts might work, but I really don't think they'll be as tender)
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
**the chili paste and Sriracha can easily be found in the Asian section of your grocery store or at any Asian market.


Special Equipment:

  • 6-8 bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least an hour (so they don't burn)

Instructions:

1. Whisk the brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, and Sriracha in a large bowl. Add chicken, toss to coat, and marinate for an hour or two.
2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Thread the chicken, onions, and green peppers onto the skewers.
3. Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes until it's thickened into a glaze. 
4. Grill the chicken skewers, turning and basting with the glaze until cooked through (8- 10 minutes depending on how hot your grill is). 
**This was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

friends

In a previous post, I said my outlook is much different for this transfer. I feel more emotionally prepared and have much more confidence in what the future holds for us. My support system is a huge part of my renewed attitude, and I cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for my dear friend. She always, ALWAYS knows exactly what to say and has truly been here unconditionally for me [and I have not been a pleasant person at times]. Mer, I know you think I'm giving you too much credit, but no one has stuck by my side through every up and down (well, besides Nate!), like you have. Your acceptance of the way I handle things means more than you know. 

In an attempt to not go on too much of a rant here... I've read many posts recently on the topic of strained friendships resulting from this ugly infertility battle. I will be the first to admit that I have not handled my infertility well. With that said though, there isn't a handbook that explains how to cope with every curveball whipped in our direction. We approach each day the best way we can. So, why is it that I feel like the bad guy when some of my own friendships have strayed from what they used to be? Why do I feel as though I am being punished because I don't have my own children? This is a frustration that has been building for quite a while, and I'm open to some insight. 

My thoughts for the day...


You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
       - Eleanor Roosevelt  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

here goes nothing!

After a very fun trip home to NY, I'm back! My sister-in-law's wedding was beautiful! She was as gorgeous as ever and we had the best time! I even got to show my husband up with my putt-putt skills. I keep telling him I'm ready to golf, now I think he believes me ;) Here are a few of my favorite pics that I snapped this past weekend. I was a serious picture nazi!

Family!


Kim & Daniel



So cute :)



And breaking news... I got the go ahead from my RE today!! Progesterone shots begin tonight! I will say that I would like to see my lining a little thicker (obviously, my RE would too). However, we have exhausted every experimental option to get it to the optimum thickness and Nate and I agreed that before this cycle began, we would give it all we've got. I've never been more excited to begin the progesterone, and that's saying a lot considering how awful awesome it makes me (and my rear feel). So, here goes nothing! 


Friday, July 12, 2013

funny :)

Staying with my family brings much needed comic relief. A little background info... My sister is at the ripe old age of 21, has a grown-up job, and (lucky her) is living rent-free at home with my parents. Now I, too, did the same after college. It didn't make much sense to live in an apartment when I was going to grad school full time and working. So, I truly believe she should take advantage of the situation until my parents kick her out (just kidding, but not really) or she can't handle living at home any longer, whichever comes first :) Now on to my story....

See this handy thing?



Well, my mom has a serious obsession with being clean (this explains A LOT about me!), and she LOVES to vacuum! My mom even likes to tidy-up at 10 PM with her Dyson cordless vacuum, so you can only imagine the words that left my sister's mouth when she heard this going on right outside of her bedroom door the other night. I have to say, my mom did this to me when I lived here at home, so it made it even funnier to hear my sister shout, "MOM! Are you kidding me right now?!? I'm trying to sleep, I have to get up in 7 hours!!!!" 

Few people make me laugh REALLY hard, but my family can instantly lift my spirits. It's like watching a real life Modern Family unfold right before my eyes... Well, ok, not quite. But, if you share the same love for the Dunphy clan as me, you can understand the level of humor that comes from my own crazy family :) 


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

double post... feeling fearful

So here we are again, about ready to hop on a plane to NY for my sister-in-law's wedding. Weddings = fun. Extended family members/friends asking questions about having babies = not fun TERRIBLE. This is what I dread about going home. On one hand, I fully accept responsibility for keeping our struggles to ourselves (but in all honestly, I fully feel it's our business and I haven't felt the need to air our infertile laundry to every person I come into contact with, family or not), and hey, I realize that I'm 30 and naturally, a baby is next. It's inevitable that people will ask, however I get serious anxiety about answering those impossible questions. Some days, I hype myself up and go over possible scenarios in my head with full intentions of putting my hands around your neck being on the rude side if you even mumble the phrase, "Just relax and it'll happen!". I also have no interest in you telling me that "so and so" tried for x amount of months and "struggled", but then, BOOM! PREGGO! Newsflash- it's not happening that way for us! 

God grant me the serenity and patience to get through the next week. I love being with my family and want to enjoy spending this quality time with them.