Tag Archives: infertility

You Are Here.

13 Aug

If my life was a map this would be a point of interest and possibly a crossroads. The last two years have changed me irreversibly. I will never be able to go back to the person I was but at the same time I know the evolution is incomplete and I will continue to change from here. This is my lyrically waxed introduction to an update post, but all pretentiousness aside, things are okay. They have been better but for now, they are okay.

First and foremost, we met with our fertility doctor (RE.) We had a long conversation and decided that the best path for us at this point is to pursue IVF. This proposition is both scary and exciting at the same time. It’s scary because it means we need about $17,000 to conceive a child, which even under the best of financial circumstances is a daunting amount of money to spend on a chance. It’s exciting because our the RE gave us a 70-80% chance of success, odds that are quite a bit better than those in Vegas or even those of a coin toss but still a gamble nonetheless. Randall and I have decided that we will be moving toward IVF, we have also decided that we will be taking a break from all things trying to conceive until we are mentally ready to tackle the “big guns” of infertility treatment. I have been waiting for ovulation, peeing on sticks, tracking my temperature, getting my hopes up and then getting them smashed to pieces for nearly two years now. I am mentally exhausted from it all and think a time out will do us a world of good.

As always, there is another reason for the time out as well. The RE gave us a 70-80% chance with IVF. What will make the difference between 70 and 80 percent is my weight. I weighed this morning and I am up 25 pounds from my lowest weight (for those who are just joining in I lost 65 pounds in 2011 from diet and exercise.) 10 pounds of this existed before we began fertility treatment – when I hit that low point, I also hit a plateau; after losing weight consistently for many months the scale would not budge. For awhile I really made an effort, I mixed up my workouts, tried calorie gains and deficits but as nothing worked I got lazy and stopped counting calories. The difference this time was that unlike my pre-weight loss days when I ate with abandon completely in the dark about the damage I was doing, I knew just how much I could eat/workout to minimize weight loss or gain. I held steady at those +10 pounds for about six months. Then we started fertility treatment and the wheels fell off. I am going to be honest, I heard the doctor say that I could expect a weight gain of about five pounds per treatment cycle and it was like he had given me the golden ticket to gain without shame. I ate and ate and ate and stopped working out because the meds drained me. I truly believed that I would get pregnant the first cycle and then having gained “a little” weight wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Then when the first cycle failed I was sad and mad and so I ate to make myself feel better. I baked and cooked my way to another weight gain but again…I would be pregnant soon, so it wouldn’t matter, right? So, here I stand with 15 “fertility treatment” pounds and 10 more from just being lazy. To give ourselves the best possible chance at IVF success, I need to lose 50 pounds. I am mad at myself because it would only be 25 if I hadn’t let myself go…but at the same time, nothing good is going to come of that anger, so I have to move on.

So, today is the day. I am going back to the basics, back to what I know works. I ordered a new pair of running shoes that will arrive today. I bought some new workout tops and bottoms that actually fit my +25lbs self. I restarted calorie counting using MyFitnessPal and have signed up for a 5k on 9/29, I am actually going to use my gym membership. This is happening. I have battled my weight all of my adult life and though the doctor assures me that my weight issues have not led to our infertility thus far, I refuse to allow something I know I can beat keep me from living my full life. Watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics last night, a commercial kept playing about putting your goals on the line, online. So that’s what I am doing.

The Goals:

  • Lose 50 pounds (or more) in six to eight months (aiming for 2 pounds a week)
  • Get my 5k back to where it was…aim for some PRs
  • Get my diet under control and stick to my daily calorie allotment
  • Stop treating my sadness with baked goods (fear not those who enjoyed the muffin recipe, this by no means will be the end of baking for me…it will just be the end of eating the majority of everything I bake to make myself feel better.) ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Get Randall involved in both diet and exercise to help him shed his IF treatment pounds.
  • Get truly happy and enjoy being myself again

I am excited about this. I know from experience that you have to want to do something like this to make it happen and I know that for the first time in a while, I want to do this. So, I will. ๐Ÿ™‚

Someday

5 Aug

Rob Thomas really said it better than I could have:

You can go
You can start all over again
You can try to find a way to make another day go by
You can hide
Hold all your feelings inside
You can try to carry on when all you want to do is cry

And maybe someday
We’ll figure all this out
Try to put an end to all our doubt
Try to find a way to make things better now and
Maybe someday we’ll live our lives out loud
We’ll be better off somehow
Someday

Our second IUI was a bust. We found out Friday afternoon (so you’ll have to excuse the bout of lost ‘grace’, I just didn’t feel authentic writing something I absolutely wasn’t feeling.) This one came harder than the last. Last time we believed it was just a trial run for the doctor, that he was still learning us and that the next round would be the one. We allowed ourselves hope. We stayed positive and just knew all of the work would be worth it this time. It was heartbreaking when, once again, it wasn’t.

Our doctor will allow us one more IUI but we kind of feel like it isn’t for us. It’s commonly said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over again and expecting different results. Going for third IUI feels a little like insanity at this point. We are setting up a meeting with our doctor next week to hash out both the past and the possible future, but at this point it truly comes down to what Randall and I decide is best for us. Unfortunately none of these decisions will come easily, painlessly or affordably.

Regardless of our final decision we have to carry on now and we will. We’re talking about vacations and home remodeling, making holiday plans and trying to be thankful and appreciative of what we do have rather than what we don’t. Like Rob says, we’ll be better off someday.

Finding My Grace Friday

27 Jul

Facebook can be many things…a source of hurt, a place to share joy, somewhere to make yourself look like an ass; but lately for me Facebook has been a real and constant reminder that even whenever things are “normal”, life is a very fragile thing that can in no way be taken for granted. If you have healthy children, hug them tight. If you have had a healthy, full term pregnancy, celebrate it and give thanks to God. This morning, finding my grace isn’t hard to do, the things to be thankful for are right in front of my eyes.

1. What is something small that you take for granted each day? Titan. Though he really can not be called “small”, having the three-foot, 125 lb mound of joy in my life has made my life so much richer. His velvet ears and club of death tail are enough to make even the worst things a little more manageable.

2. What is something you know you are so lucky to have that others donโ€™t? I have a strong extended family and a group of people who took me on as family when my immediate family crumbled. Having aunties, grandparents and cousins that are no more related to you than a stranger on the street but love you and treat you like you were born in to their family is a larger blessing than even those with just a loving extended family have. I am very, very, very blessed.

3. What is something you know you need to be more grateful for and need to work on? I feel like I can’t phone it in and carry the IF journey over into next week, so…I really need to work on being happier with what we have now. I am guilty, like I am sure many are, of wanting to have more than I do now. It’s not a greedy materialism that drives this need, it’s just a feeling that I am stalling. I was EXTREMELY blessed to be able to become a homeowner at 22. I remain extremely blessed that we have what we do in our mid-late 20’s…but because I “got it all” so early on I am plagued by the need to go bigger and better. I feel like I am not moving forward fast enough but this is absolutely ridiculous. We could literally stay exactly like we are right now and be better off than 50% (likely more) of Americans our age and even older than us. I need to work on being more thankful for this. Like, really need to work on it.

4. How did you do on being more grateful for your #3 item from last week? Something awesome has happened in regards to being more thankful for the ability to do IF treatment. By working on seeing the positives in this process and being thankful for our good fortune I have been able to have a more positive outlook in general about this cycle. Even though I feel “normal”, I still believe it will work. I have also been able to realize that if it doesn’t, it’s okay. We will not only survive it, we’ll be stronger for it.

Have a good weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

Finding My Grace Friday

20 Jul

Today I am blogging from the waiting room of the RE’s office. I am surrounded by other women with the same goals and hopes. I can’t help but hope they get what they are searching for.

Without further ado.

1. What is something small that you take for granted each day? Pedicures. My back was hurting so badly yesterday from the heaviness of having multiple large follicles sitting on my ovaries. An hour in the pedicure chair with my friend by my side was an amazing break.

2. What is something you know you are so lucky to have that others donโ€™t? I have an excellent partner in Randall. The last two months have been hard on me physically. Having him pick up the slack in cleaning, cooking, etc so I can lay on the couch and rest has been amazing.

3. What is something you know you need to be more grateful for and need to work on? See below.

4. How did you do on being more grateful for your #3 item from last week? I really made an effort this week to be thankful for the ability to do infertility treatment. When the stims made my back hurt so badly, I remembered that I was lucky to have responded so well to the medicine at all. When I was so busy at work and had to make time for appointments, I was thankful to have a job that allowed me to leave without issue. There are still issues for me to work on though, so I am carrying this one over to next week as my #3 answer.

As for an update, we’re doing IUI#2 today. I have three follicles and feel really positive about it. In two weeks, I may feel ridiculous having done so but I am going to believe in this one. Here’s hoping that I’m right for us and my fellow waiting room companions.

BFN to BBQ

11 Apr

It’s been 2.5 weeks since I last blogged. I would love to say I had some sort of important thing keeping me from logging into WordPress, but the truth is I was just not feeling the blog vibe. I would apologize, but hey, it’s my blog and I think a 2.5 week break is fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

I got a negative pregnancy test this morning. I felt a little off and had some pretty persistent “symptoms” that I couldn’t find record of in the last thirteen months of charting, so I let my hopes raise a little and peed on a stick. Surprisingly the negative took no wind from my sails. I felt good about the day and moved on post-pee cup like it was no big thing. This is major progress for me and illustrates both the purpose and effectiveness of taking a “break” before treatment. Score one for being too lazy to take my temperature every day!

The overall goal of taking a break from the hardcore rigorous form of trying to conceive was to get my mindset into a positive place before undergoing infertility treatment. I can honestly say that I am there. Randall and I have been working hard to save money for treatment and I am happy to say we have enough saved now to do one to two cycles of IUI with injectable medication without taking anything from our savings/e-fund money. The plan is to do treatment cycle one in June, likely beginning mid-month.We initially planned for a May cycle start date, but as I have heard/read online that injectable fertility medications make women into Hulk Smash! emotional bitches, I decided tackling both my raging hormones and my spring semester final exams just didn’t seem like the best plan. So, June it is.

This is an exciting and scary moment for us…we are standing at the crossroads of possible parenthood and our first potential big league TTC failure. My aunt and cousin (among way too many other family members) visited over Easter weekend and I explained the entire feeling of our infertility journey this way: I was once in CVS buying a pregnancy test, a bottle of wine and tampons. The cashier gave me the side eye and I told her that “I was just preparing for all possible outcomes.” This is my exact feeling about treatment at this point. It will work and we will have a child or it won’t and we will pick ourselves up and make a plan for the future.

Speaking of the future, Randall and I discussed the “what if” aspect while at dinner during date night tonight. Making a plan for this is #5 on the Ten Before Treatment and we have decided if this doesn’t work out for us we will be taking a BBQ road trip across Texas; this is a fitting plan as we had just finished growing food babies at Hard Eight BBQ. We share a mutual love for smoky, sweet sauces served with meat smoked to perfection (sounds a little dirty, eh?) and feel like this trip would be both kind to our post-treatment expenditures budget and a tasty good time. I have more than a few BBQ Meccas I have been dying to visit (Franklin, Snow’s, Luling City Market, Southside Market, Kruez Market) and Randall has some special stops he would like to add in (Shiner Brewery mostly…which side note – did you know you can only tour during the week?), I also wouldn’t mind making another attempt at seeing the Marfa Lights and would love to re-visit and camp a night at Big Bend.

Beer and brisket aside, the heart of the matter is that even though this is still a plan in its beginning stages it lets me know that no matter what comes our way this summer we will make it and be stronger for it.

Lucky Number Thirteen

26 Mar

So begins cycle 13 of trying to conceive. Behind me now are twelve months broken into two week increments. Twenty-four weeks of ill-founded but ever-present hope followed by twenty-four weeks of “maybe it’s just too early” and sadness as each cycle ended just as it began.

The “break” is going fine but the novelty of “just relaxing” is wearing off. I feel like we are in this weird limbo of knowing what we have to do to (hopefully) get pregnant but not being at a place financially or emotionally to get it done.

I was driven to blog by two things:

1) A surprise pregnancy announcement from a cousin who included that they were not trying to conceive in his post. As I read his announcement and the numerous subsequent posts of his immediate family on my feed, I felt a hollow sadness creep in. I still hit like, I still wrote congratulations and though I meant it, it stung a little.

2) A friend was talking to Randall about how having his daughter changed his life. The friend then looked me in the eye and told me that he didn’t want to pressure me but we needed to get going if we were going to because it just gets harder as you get older. I smiled, laughed and made a comment about being older and wiser.

I guess more than anything it’s these times that wear me down. I want to be 100% happy for everyone, I want to be able to let things roll off my back but it just costs me more than I am comfortable admitting. The “rules” of being a good person say that I need to be thankful for what I have and not ungrateful for what I don’t. I am thankful but I’m also tired.

I woke up late this morning and had to rush out the door. I feel like this kind of put me off balance for the day, so tomorrow will be a good one. It has to be, right?

Two of a kind, working on a full house.

19 Feb

As we round out the first cycle of the TTC break, I find myself becoming pensive and sad. It seems that no matter how much wine you drink or how many miles you run the ache that accompanies the inability to conceive will find you.

We ate at a local Mexican restaurant yesterday for lunch. As Randall and I sat munching on chips and salsa and talking about how we love the word haberdashery and other random things, I noticed women gathering in the party room I was facing. I watched as pink and brown balloons were set up, as piles of pastel presents arrived. Women laughed and fawned over the two cakes, both diaper and traditional. The expectant mother arrived as we got our check, her face lit up and her grin grew as large as her burgeoning belly as she saw all of the work the women had put in for her unborn little girl. Taking it all in, I surprisingly felt no jealousy, no envy, just a hollow sadness.

I had a ridiculous spat with a friend yesterday. We were talking about when we plan to start treatment and how I was feeling about it. I let my upbeat attitude lapse for a minute and told her it was kind of unbelievable, I just never imagined how it would feel to write a check for a chance to conceive a child. She flippantly replied that she had had to pay for her daughter too, so she totally understood. I responded back that I thought paying for a vasectomy reversal and a subsequent immediate natural conception was a little different. I felt like a bitch the second I said it, because really who I am to judge.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about before I wrote all this other stuff. I was thinking of joining a message board for people dealing with infertility. I thought it would be helpful for me to have people who had been there to talk to during treatment cycles. I had one picked out, had added my “history” to my profile signature as is protocol for the board and began reading the board daily so I could get the vibeย  down before introducing myself. Unfortunately through this reading, I now know I will not be joining this board.

Last week, a “regular” poster made a post regarding “real infertiles.” She complained that she was tired of seeing people who were new to infertility coming to their board and getting pregnant. She felt like her infertility and that of her friends who had been around for awhile was much worse than those who were new and demanded “respect for the veterans from the new people.”

Sadly, this is a really common thought in infertility circles. It’s like this twisted game of poker. A girl using Clomid with annovulatory cycles has a full house, but that is always trumped by the four of a kind of someone doing IUI and the royal flush of infertility is having to resort to IVF. Having failed a combination of any of these in addition to the use of others gets you more chips, while a very bad diagnosis or a miscarriage coupled with failed cycles gives you the pot. Using this analogy, as someone with an unexplained diagnosis and no treatment cycles under my belt, I am not even invited to the table. Sickly, I can only assume I’ll be able to buy in when I give myself that first injection.

I’ve been thinking about the psychology behind this line of thinking for awhile. I have come to the conclusion that since becoming a mother is the gold standard of womanhood those who can not achieve this Holy Grail of motherhood on their own have to justify their worth as women by the amount of work they are willing to put in to become mothers. Bitterness accompanies these justifications because deep down, no one wants to be here, no one wants to win the poker game of infertility.

Sadly, this theory doesn’t rest solely on the infertiles of the world. The same motherhood hierarchy continues when it comes to breastfeeding, diapering, immunizations, educating, rearing, etc. The common line of thinking seems to be that the “harder” you work at being a mother, the better mother you are. Who decides these standards? Why do we buy into them?

This entry got heavy at the end, but I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and wanted to get it out here. I am going to do an update on the Ten Before Treatment sometime early in the week, so stay tuned.

**Bonus points for knowing the cheesy country music reference the title came from.** ๐Ÿ™‚