Changing Paths…

Wow! It has been a long time since I have blogged. Back in January I had worked on a post to share our change in paths, but I just wasn’t in the best place for writing on the topic and I’m glad that I waited to share.

So, what is our new path, you ask?! We are adopting!!! I realize that I started this blog as an infertility blog and was tempted to start a new blog to share our adoption journey, but decided that either way, we are still on the same journey towards growing our family. Since many people that have experienced infertility choose adoption, hopefully if you are following and are struggling with infertility this will give you some insight on adoption. (But, let me just say that adoption is not for everyone that is experiencing infertility.)

Our decision of adoption came about much different than most. Back in the end of November we were still in decision mode…trying to decide what would be the best way for us to grow our family after our failed IVF cycle in September (read more about that here or here). We were asked by a relative (my brother in law’s parents) if we would be interested in adopting as they had a connection with a woman that was seeking adoptive parents for her unborn baby. It seemed to “fall into our lap” at the perfect time and made our decision to adopt seem like it was meant to be.

We moved forward with this adoption and got our home study completed, connected with attorneys and had many conversations with the expectant mother. This adoption situation ended with us spending 10 days in January in Florida waiting for the birth of the baby. Soon after the birth, we found out that the birth mother had decided to parent. We were devastated, but understood that this was a risk that we took and we were prepared for something like this to happen. I still think of that little baby girl and pray for them often.

After experiencing a failed adoption, it really made us think about where our hearts were and even though this first adoption situation didn’t work out as planned, we felt that God was leading us towards adoption. I think he placed this situation in our lives to show us that we really could love a child that wasn’t biologically “ours.”

In February, we began working with Susan at Christian Adoption Consultants. We had our profile made and now have applied to five different agencies pursuing a domestic infant adoption. We are currently in the “waiting to be matched” stage.

Stay tuned for more adoption updates!! We are so excited to be expanding our family through adoption.

 

The cover of our adoption profile book…can’t wait to be matched!

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Gathering with family, reflecting on what I am thankful for and a great big Thanksgiving meal….what could be better?

Some of you are also experiencing infertility and the hardship it brings to our everyday lives. Yes, infertility is very life consuming, but I challenge you to find other things in your life that you are thankful for…and maybe there are some reasons that you are actually ‘thankful’ to be on this infertility journey (sounds crazy…but read on!)

I am thankful for my husband. He supports me in too many ways to list. I have seen so many of his amazing qualities shine through while dealing with infertility. He is caring and courageous and he puts ‘our’ family first always. He is comforting during the hard times and lately that is what I’ve needed the most. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life.

I am thankful for friends and family. These special people are our biggest cheerleaders and supporters. It’s comforting to have people thinking about you during the tough times and to celebrate when you receive good news. I have even met a few “new” friends because of infertility. Connecting with these women who are experiencing the same things as you is extremely helpful and it feels good to offer them encouragement and also receive words of wisdom and strength from them. All of our family and friends mean the world to us and their support through our infertility journey has been so crucial.

I am thankful for my relationship with God. I have spent so much time in prayer lately, its nice to have that connection and to know He is always there and He does have a plan. I don’t always know what that plan is, but I believe that He does.
I am thankful for good jobs we love and financial stability. Without our jobs, we wouldn’t be able to pursue fertility treatments or live the life we lead. I am so thankful for the families that I work with each day and I’m so happy that I was led to pursue something that I am passionate about and enjoy.

I am thankful for our doctors and nurses. They work so hard to get you the results that you are hoping for. They really care and I appreciate how genuine and hard working these individuals are. It’s nice to have people like these in your team.

I am thankful for the little things. Warm baths during IVF injections, chocolate and sweets to curb cravings, smiling and laughing daily, “me” time to do the things I enjoy….and so many other little things that add joy to my life.

I am thankful for this journey and the person I have become because of it. Its hard to put these things into words but, I look at the world alot differently today than I did 3 years ago. I feel like I understand and value the miracle of life much more. Each child born is a special miracle, and to me, each child that gains wings and is held in our hearts rather than our arms is special as well. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of. I am stronger than I was before facing infertility face on. I am a better person because of this journey and for that, I am thankful.

Find things that you are thankful for and make a list. I bet you’ll be surprised at how many wonderful things you have in your life to truly be thankful for.

Picture credit here.

Weighing out the Options

These last couple of weeks have been spent doing great amounts of research by both myself and my husband. I am happy to report that there are multiple options for us for growing our family, but it seems that none of these options are perfect and this decision is not going to be an easy one. It has lead my husband Blake and I to many difficult conversations and arguments as well as countless hours scouring the web for information and stories about each option.

As I prepare for an appointment with our doctor on Monday, I began writing down the options that we have and the questions I have, as well as some of the pros and cons of each. As I do this, I cant help but feel that this is not ideal. I never thought we would be at this point where we would have to make such hard decisions. When you start trying to grow your family, you never jump to the thoughts of using surrogates, adopting or doing IVF.  But, now that we have done many cycles of medication and now a cycle of IVF that failed, we are at a turning point and we need to decide how we will proceed.

Here is a list of our options and some of my thoughts/feelings/questions about each. If you are someone who is also making a similar decision, I hope hearing my thoughts may help you in your decision. Please don’t judge me for my feelings and thoughts. These are real things that I have been processing for days and it has been difficult. So, by sharing I am not looking for judgment, but if you have any thoughts or useful information please feel free to share. Also, these items are not listed in any specific order. Just the order that they appear on my piece of scratch paper that I’ll be bringing to our doctor appointment.

IVF

Do we do another cycle of IVF? Would there be a change in my medication protocol? Why did our embryos degrade? In our situation, since implantation occurred but the pregnancy did not progress is the problem our genetic combination, egg quality, sperm quality, or my body’s ability to carry a baby?

IVF is expensive and our insurance doesn’t cover. So, we would need to figure out a plan financially to pursue IVF again. Also, IVF was very physically and emotionally stressful. A significant break would need to happen before we could/would attempt this again. Dealing with a failed cycle and knowing that the next cycle could also fail gives me a great amount of anxiety.

With IVF, we would be able to have a child that contains our genetic make up and would be  by blood “our” child.

SURROGACY

Depending on the cause of failure for IVF, this may or may not be an option. If our IVF failed due to our genetic combination, likely surrogacy would not be a better option than doing IVF again. There are different types of surrogacy, some where the procedure would be similar to IVF and the surrogate would carry the baby rather than me or it can also be like an intrauterine insemination where my husband’s sperm would be combined with the surrogates egg. This would be a way to get around the genetic combination issue (if that’s the issue), but it may cause for some awkward feelings if a child is genetically my husband Blake’s, but not my genetics. I am not sure that I would be okay with this option, but it is an option that is out there. I would need to do a little more research on surrogacy using the surrogate’s eggs before this would be an option for me.

With surrogacy, would you chose a surrogate that is a family member or a friend or  a stranger? Of course, there would need to be a lawyer to help keep this from getting messy.

Surrogacy would most likely cost just as much as IVF and probably more. If you used person that you do not already know as a surrogate, my research has shown that this can be very expensive. Covering their medical bills plus compensation for being a surrogate would end up being very expensive. And don’t forget that you would also have legal fees to pay as well.

This option could lead to a child that contains our genetic make up, if it is determined that my body is unable to carry a baby.

DONOR EMBRYOS

Couples that have went though IVF and have left over frozen embryos that they don’t plan to use can donate them so they can be used by others.

I think we would be most interested in having an anonymous donor and by the donor being anonymous, you would never meet them and there would be no legal fees because you are getting an embryo that was donated for use. You would however receive medical information about the couple and a physical description. I believe genetic testing is also done on the embryos.

What is the wait time to receive a donated embryo? What information are you given exactly about the embryo? Do you get all of that donor’s embryos or just the number that you choose (so if they have 10 embryos would you get all of them or could you say that you only wanted 5?) What would the cost of keeping those additional embryos frozen be?

With this option, our child would not be ours “genetically” but, if I am deemed healthy enough to carry a baby, I could have the opportunity to be pregnant and give birth to our child.

If we receive multiple embryos, there is a possibility that if we have multiple children, they would all have the same genetics. I think that it’s kind of neat to think that they would be brothers and sisters by blood.

What would be my medication protocol if we did a frozen embryo transfer with donor embryos? It would be less than a full IVF cycle, but I’d like to know what types of things would need to be done to carry a donor embryo.

Using donor embryos would be a similar cost to doing a frozen embryo transfer, which is much less than a full IVF cycle.

ADOPTION

There are many different means of growing your family through adoption. There are also many children out there that are in need of a “good home.” Loving and helping a child in need, to me, would be the best part of adopting.

With adoption, similar to using donor embryos, the child would not be genetically ours.

I also would not get to be pregnant and carry a child, which also means I would have no control over what the birth mother puts into her body throughout her pregnancy.

Adoption can be very expensive. I think if this was the option that we chose, we would want to adopt an infant and that process would cost more than a cycle of IVF.

NO CHILDREN

I don’t plan to pursue this option, but it is an option none the less. We could stop trying for a child and just be content as a family of 2.

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As you can see, there are multiple options for us. I am hoping that Monday’s appointment will give us some answers and more insight. The more information and insight that we can get, the better.

Many couples have been faced with similar decisions, have used the above options and were blessed with children. I have no doubt that whichever choice we chose, we will also receive a miracle one day. No matter how that miracle comes to us, we will be over the moon excited and will love them with all our hearts.out-of-hope-grow-miracles

Image credit here.

 

Embryo Transfer

Yesterday was our Embryo Transfer. I realize that I am blogging a day late, but I did that on purpose. I needed yesterday to process our transfer and to organize my thoughts before sharing our Embryo Transfer with you.

Here is what our Embryo Transfer looked like:

-Due to our appointment being at 7am, we headed to Maple Grove on Friday night, rather than getting on the road so early Saturday morning. We ended up heading for a nice dinner out and stayed at a hotel near our fertility clinic.

-On our way to Maple Grove, we drove through some rain and saw these beautiful rainbows. I had Blake take a picture because what were the chances of seeing 2 separate rainbows at the same time when we were on our way to transfer 2 embryos? We have been hoping for a “Rainbow” …hmm… maybe this was a sign we will get not just 1 Rainbow Baby, but 2!?

The rainbows are a little hard to see– there is one on either side of the road.

-There was a lot of excitement (and some anxiety) before our Embryo Transfer. But, I was mostly excited to be at this point in our journey and knew that I would be leaving the clinic “Pregnant” or as many social media sites would say “PUPO” (Pregnant until Proven Otherwise). –Such a funny word! Hubby and I had a good laugh about it!

-Once we arrived at the clinic, we were taken back to the “Transfer Suite.” The nurse double-checked our identity, had me get into my gown and booties and take 600mg of Ibuprofen before the transfer.

-After meeting with the nurse, the embryologist came in to go over our embryos with us. She handed us a pamphlet that contained our “Embryo Report Card”and went over it with us. We had started with 18 eggs. 10 of those eggs were mature and were fertilized using Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI (A process where each egg is injected with a viable single sperm, rather than surrounding the egg with sperm to let fertilization happen more naturally). Of those 10, 6 achieved fertilization. And currently, only 2 embryos were still thriving. The rest had degraded. This was unfortunate. Yes, we were thankful that we had 2 remaining, but we had hoped that this cycle would yield extra embryos so we would be able to expand our family in the future if this cycle worked, or if this cycle failed we would be able to use frozen embryos. It is much cheaper (about 1/4 of the cost to transfer frozen embryos) and I also wouldn’t have to go through the physical and emotional stress of doing injections and Egg Retrieval — So in a sense, having additional embryos to freeze would have been like a little insurance policy.

-After meeting with the Embryologist we had to wait a little while so our doctor could finish up with another Embryo Transfer. While we waited, I shed some tears. I was feeling much more anxiety now than excitement.

-Then our doctor came in and said he knew it was a bit disappointing that we only had 2 embryos left. He also said that one was stronger than the other and most likely just the one would make it. I was happy to hear that he hoped one would make it, but I would have felt better knowing that both of our remaining embryos had a good chance at survival.

-Then it was time for the Transfer. It was a relatively quick procedure. The lights were dimmed and soft relaxing music was played. My hubby was able to sit right next to me through the whole thing. A catheter was placed at just the right spot in my uterus where the embryos would be placed.

-The Embryologist then brought the embryos in. They were placed in a small tube that was inserted through the catheter that was already in place. They were inserted and that was it!

-I had to rest for about 10 minutes following the procedure and then we were free to get dressed and head home.

I’m not sure why, but I of course had an image in my head of what Embryo Transfer was going to be like. I felt like we were going to get to see and meet our little embryos, but they were just talked about and we didn’t actually see them. I also was so excited that I would be leaving the clinic “Pregnant.” But, I was so anxious about why all of the embryos had degraded that I really was feeling down and not excited at all. I felt like this was just like leaving most fertility appointments where once again I had been dealt another “crappy hand of cards.” It seems each time that there is something that just doesn’t work. So, I really should be used to these feelings, but this day I was hoping things would be different.

Once we arrived home yesterday, I was able to just sit and process of my mixed emotions. I cried a lot, prayed a lot, took a nap, and did a little research on things. Afterwards, and today, I am feeling better. I am feeling more much more hopeful. In my research, I found out that usually only 30-50% of embryos make it to a day 5 transfer. So, statistically, it was kind of “normal” to experience what we had.

I am supposed to be taking it easy these next few days, which I have been doing pretty good with so far. Lots of relaxing! Today, I decided to dig out my Fall decorations, making sure not to over do it. The season of fall just resonates Thankfulness. While putting out decorations I found this framed bible verse that I display during this season of Thankfulness. It made me realize even more that I have so much to be thankful for. Especially for these 2 small embryos that I carry within.

 

 

Prayer…

As a child, prayers were always said before bed. The same prayer in fact (and a pretty common one) “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep. The angels watch me through the night and wake me to the morning light. Amen.”

As I have grown older, I would say my prayers have changed. I am sure there have been times where I didn’t do much praying, and other times that I have prayed much more than just before bed.

Through our journey of infertility, both my husband and I have done our fair share of prayer it seems. Many of my prayers have included basically begging God for a child. I feel that God does meet the desires of our hearts, so was getting pretty good at consistently asking for a child.

After talking with a doctor that I had seen for some heartburn issues, my prayers changed. We had a nice conversation about stress and how it affects your body. Somehow, we ended up on the topic of prayer. She said that God will meet  your needs, so that’s all you need to ask him in prayer. To me, this meant that I was going about prayer all wrong. I was focusing it on my “needs,” yes, but I was also being a little demanding and day in and day out my prayers were the same. “Dear Lord, can you please make this cycle work for us. All we want is a child of our own.”  All along, my prayer had been focused on one thing. A Baby.

Now, I have changed my focus. I haven’t asked God for a baby in a while. I rather have decided that God knows what I need. I still have been praying, in fact maybe more than ever. I feel good after asking God for help or thanking him for what I have. Much better than I did after making demanding prayers. It feels good to pray for others that are also struggling with infertility. It feels good to pray for my husband that he can also have strength through this IVF cycle. It just feels good…

Also, while I was researching things about IVF on Pinterest, I came across a blog called ‘Amateur Nester’ that shared “31 Days of Prayer During Infertility.”  Each day has a different topic and you read a bible verse and pray for that topic. Last night my husband and I prayed for “Comfort.” We are still working on praying out loud with one another. We have found these last couple of nights that we are almost better at spending time praying on our own after reading the bible verse and talking about it afterwards. My husband shared that he prayed for me to have comfort with my injections. I also prayed for comfort with my shots and for comfort for my husband since I know that this is not easy on him (even though it seems like I am the one having to take all the meds and do the injections). He still has worries and stress too. I’m hopeful that praying together will help make our relationship even stronger and just to talk each night and know that we are there for one another before bed is the best. If  you haven’t tried praying with your spouse, I’d highly recommend giving it a try. Seeing the things that they ask for in prayer and sharing your prayers is sure to bring you closer and reduce stress in your life.

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I marked each day in my Bible– so I have the topic and can read the Bible verse for that day. Can’t wait to continue through these 31 days of prayer while we continue on our IVF journey.

Reflections

I just finished reading all of my journal entries from this time last year… I couldn’t get through the pages with dry eyes. I so vividly remember my feelings on July 6th, 2015. We had celebrated the 4th of July with our families up north. I tried to keep  my composure through the weekend, but with heavy bleeding and cramping it was difficult. This bleeding and cramping had been going on for a month and as horrible as this sounds, I was ready for it to be over with. As much as we wanted a baby, having a natural miscarriage was very painful and stressful and I just wanted it to stop. I wanted my life to return back to normal, I wanted to feel good. On July 6th after passing a large clot/fetal tissue all of the bleeding stopped and for the first time in over a month all of the cramping and pain stopped. I knew it was over… it was as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. The following day we had an appointment and an ultrasound that confirmed that the miscarriage had happened on its own and that my uterus was empty. I so wanted this pregnancy to work. I wanted those babies.  But, at the same time I had a sense of relief. The last 2.5 months were full of crazy emotions — each appointment seemed to have new and challenging information. Finally, all of that came to a close on July 6th.

Throughout our miscarriage I had so many questions…why me? why us? why would the lord take such precious innocent lives? We had been trying for so long to conceive and were so thrilled. Then our world came crashing down. After an entire year of reflection, I feel that I have been able to answer those questions that had me so confused.

Why Me?

Me, because I am strong. I was able to push through this hard time in my life and am forever changed. I feel like I view the world in a different way. I value the gift of life more than ever before. After opening up about my miscarriage, I found out about other women  that have experienced miscarriages as well. Its not something that you just tell people when you first meet, but I was surprised to know that some friends of mine had gone through a loss as well. This made me feel less alone and also strengthened my friendship with these other women. Also, by starting this blog, I feel that I can share my story in hopes that it will help someone else. Miscarriage is a topic that no one wants to discuss, I found that out first hand. Many close family/friends never brought it up to us or said anything. Inside, we were struggling and our miscarriage felt like it was taking over our world. Meanwhile, we would see family and friends that knew of our loss and they didn’t say anything. I’m sure a lot of it was in fear of saying the “wrong” thing, but at the time, we needed support in any way, shape or form. If you know of someone who has been through a loss, be sure to support them. Simply telling them you are sorry and letting them know you are there if they need anything could make the difference. If any of you that are reading this are experiencing a loss, feel free to reach out to me personally. I would be happy to talk with you and support you in any way.

Why Us?

What did my husband and I do to deserve this? It was hard on our relationship, as any stressful life event would be. We had different emotions and different feelings surrounding our loss which at times made it hard to have open conversations about it. In the end, we are much stronger than we were before. We have a deeper trust and understanding of one another. We saw each other at a very low point in our lives and were able to raise each other up and continue life together hand in hand. This proved that we needed one another. We needed to support one another and that together we would make it through, and we did. It’s hard to put into words how something like this can change your relationship and your marriage, but in a way, I am thankful for the strength this gave us.

Why would the Lord take such precious innocent lives?

I don’t have the full answer for this. I do know that God has a plan for everything. I envision our unborn children up in the perfect world of heaven and that gives me a sense of peace. I pray for our unborn children often and I think that this experience has brought me closer to God. At first, I was hating God. I felt so betrayed. Now, I know that it all happened for a reason and I have healed so much over this last year. I continue to look to God to answer our prayers and give us a child, and I believe that one day he will. As it states in Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” The Lord has a plan, you just need to be patient and he will deliver the desires of your heart.

Shortly after our miscarriage, I started looking for something, preferably a piece of jewelry to remember this life event. I don’t think I will ever forget it, but I just wanted something to symbolize these hard times we went through. I found this necklace on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/RachelleismsShop) and it was perfect. It gives me such a sense of strength when I wear it. I have been asked a time or two about it and sometimes I share what it symbolizes and other times I do not, it just depends on my mood that day.

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The woman who created the necklace included this poem with it. I still have this posted on my fridge because it is so spot on and super thoughtful.

Little Snowdrop

The world may never notice if a Snowdrop doesn’t bloom, or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms, or ever comes to be touches the world in some small way for all eternity.

The little one we long for was swiftly here and gone. But the love that was then planted is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty, our hearts know what to do. Every beating of our hearts says that we love you.

–Author Unknown


 

Letrozole Cycle #5: Not For Us

We completed our 5th and final Letrozole Cycle, which again was unsuccessful for us. Each cycle my emotions when I received the results of my quantitative hCG test have been so different. I feel like the first 2-3 cycles I was crushed when they called with the negative test news. I would hold it together long enough to get the nurse’s information on our next cycle and once I hung up I was a blubbering mess –feeling heartbroken, worried, and sad.  These last 2 cycles I have felt much different. With our 4th cycle I remember having a sense of numbness. I felt like I was unaffected by this tough news. I didn’t cry after getting the test results. Just went on with my day. I remember with the 4th cycle I didn’t cry until seeing my husband after our work day. As soon as I told him in person (I had already sent him a text with the news right after talking to the nurse), I broke down and cried. All of those feelings I had with the other failed cycles was still there, I just was able to hold it together longer and it took much longer for all of those emotions to come to the surface. With our 5th cycle, I did not cry. I think I was just expecting it to turn out this way. Sure, I felt disappointed, but was more so looking forward to our appointment with our RE to discuss our next  options. I didn’t want to dwell on the past, but rather I was focusing my attention and emotions on the future.

We originally were supposed to complete 6 cycles of Letrozole (3 cycles on, 1 cycle break, 3 more cycles on). We ended up altering this schedule when we took a trip to the Dominican Republic in March. So, we did 2 cycles on, 1 cycle off while we were heading to a vacation destination with Zika Virus risks, and 3 more cycles on. We had the option of doing that last cycle and my husband and I felt that it was better to spend our money toward something that seemed more promising. When we met with our RE he went over success rates for us for our Letrozole cycles. Letrozole cycles 1,2 and 3 there was a 20% chance that we would conceive. With Letrozole Cycle 4 there was a 16% chance that we would conceive. With Letrozole Cycle 5 there was a 12% chance that we would conceive and with Cycle 6  there was only a 6% chance that we would conceive. After hearing those statistics, it became very clear for us to not complete the 6th cycle given we only had a 6% chance of success. Of course, that 6th cycle could have been “the one.” But, we would rather put our time, effort and money into something with higher success rates!

So, with that being said, we will now be moving on to our next step in this journey of infertility.

Everyday…

Those that have dealt with infertility, know that in some ways it sort of “takes over” your life. Of course, its not a serious illness where I am unable to work, etc., but I am affected by it Every. Single. Day. I want to share some of my everyday struggles with you:

Out for dinner with friends and family– sounds fun right?! Of course, I enjoy time spent with our friends and family. Whether us ladies are getting together for dinner or we are gathering around the campfire as couples we always have a great time. I will say, that to my knowledge none of my close friends are/have experienced infertility first hand and they all have children of their own. Naturally, conversations often involve talking about their children, leaving early to get kids home for bed, and the dreaded “just wait until you have kids…” I understand that children can be a lot of work, but we would absolutely love and would do anything we could to have a family of our own. I know as a parent, you sacrifice things for your children and even though you love them with all your heart, its easy to complain about the sleepless nights and sassy toddlers. Usually my husband and I agree with friends and family that some of those things may not be “fun,” but we would love to be given the opportunity to experience those wonderful aspects of childhood first hand.

My job– I am a daycare provider, so I spend my day with 8-10 children currently aging from 7 weeks to 5 years old. I absolutely love my job. The kiddos brighten my days and while caring for them, I realize even more so how I can’t wait to have a child of my own. Seeing first hand how much their parents love them, make my heart ache for a child to call my own. Until then though, I get to snuggle little babies, kiss ‘owies’ and watch these children grow and learn each day which is so rewarding.

Holidays with family– we live just over 3 hours away from most of our family. I have 1 brother and 2 sisters and my husband has 1 sister. All of our siblings have children– we have 11 nieces and nephews which we love dearly. But, sometimes family gatherings can be a little uncomfortable. We often go to our parents’ houses for the holidays and have large family gatherings with everyone. So many holidays seem to be centered around children that it can make these times difficult. In our family the children get Christmas gifts, there is an Easter egg hunt on Easter, each child has a birthday party, etc. I know I often feel a little left out because we don’t have any little ones to take part in these traditions. This last Christmas was extra difficult because our triplets would have been due right around Christmas. I remember trying my hardest to put a smile on my face for the church going, gift opening and family time, but it was difficult and I had to take a few breaks in the bathroom to let the tears flow. This Easter, we ended up just spending the day at our home rather than joining in with family. It seemed easier to be at home and like it was any other “usual” day, rather than spending time with family watching all of the children in their Easter church outfits gathering Easter eggs. It sounds horrible, but sometimes it is easier to deal with the stress and sadness by avoiding the things that make those feeling stronger.

Shopping– yes, shopping. I can’t walk past the baby section at Target or Walmart without admiring how cute the little clothes are. I’m always so tempted just to buy an outfit in hopes that one day my little one can wear it. I also seem to run into pregnant women while I am shopping. Again, I just long to have that protruding belly bump. I wonder what it feels like to have a little one wiggling inside your womb? I apologize to the pregnant mothers that I see– because often times I tend to stare and often daydream of walking in your shoes.

Even spending time with my Husband– The other night we were cuddled up and I couldn’t help but to stare at him and think “you are going to be the best dad.” I see him playing with our nieces, nephews, daycare children and I want in the worse way to give him a child of his own. He has so much love to give and I just cant wait to see him playing with our children and teaching them things.

Meeting New People– Of course, its habit to ask “How many kids do you have” when meeting someone new. I feel like especially because I do daycare that is reason for people to assume that we have children of our own. My response is usually always the same “someday we will have kids of our own.” I always stay calm, but sometimes I really want to tell people the truth! I want to tell them that we have been trying to start a family for 2.5 years. I want to tell them that we did conceive once with triplets, but unfortunately lost them. I want to share all of those things, but each time I answer with the same “someday” response.

Appointments– On average I have 3-4 appointments per month. (That’s almost 1 per week!!) So, opening daycare late has become something that I have to do to quite regularly. I have to drive about 45 minutes to my monitoring appointments and 2.5 hours for appointments with our RE. I feel horrible about having to close my daycare to attend these appointments, but at this time, it’s just what I have to do. I made the decision to continue this journey, full knowing that I would have to take time off often.

Medications– I can’t forget that I am on this journey when I have to take medications 3x per day. I have to remember to bring them with me if I will be out of the house when I’m needing to take them. If we are going on a trip, I pack my cooler with my medications. It’s not the end of the world, but yes, it is a little inconvenient. And some of the time my medications make me feel a little under the weather. Depending on the day, I may feel extra tired, bloated, nauseous,  sore muscles from injections and emotional. No part of these medications is enjoyable.

I don’t want to sound like I am complaining here, but just want to give you some insight into everyday living with the condition of infertility. Those of you that are on this same journey, know that you are not alone. There are others out there that struggle everyday. Also, to those that have not experienced infertility, I hope that this can give you a little bit of insight as to how much it can “take over” your everyday life. If I could forget all of these feelings of want, jealousy, and sadness I would, but unfortunately, I cant. All I can do is wait and stay hopeful that we will one day be blessed with a little miracle of our own.

 

The Journey…

I like to refer to our story of infertility as a Journey — which as defined by Dictionary.com, the word Journey means “traveling from one place to another, usually taking a long time.” Seems pretty accurate, as we are traveling towards parenthood and so far we have been traveling for about two and a half years. So, here is what our journey has included so far:

My husband and I got married on January 4th, 2014 (after dating for 4 and a half years). We had always talked about wanting to start a family soon after getting married. In fact, the summer before  we got married I started a daycare in our home hoping that I would then get to stay home and raise our kiddos (and others’ kiddos as well!) We did as most people do and tried for just under a year on our own before mentioning it to our family practitioner. Since it had been almost a year and I was having very irregular periods she ran a few tests. Of course, everything came back as ‘normal’ so we were told there was nothing they could do to help, but if we were really concerned we could be referred to a obgyn in a larger town about 45 minutes from our home. Of course, we jumped at that opportunity and were hoping to get more answers as to why things weren’t working for us.

We met with the obgyn who ran minimal tests and said that a medication called Clomid would most likely help regulate my cycles and increase the chances of conception. So, in January 2015 we did our first round of Clomid. It was unsuccessful, so the next round the dose was increased. The second round was a success!

We were overjoyed with the thought of becoming parents and it seemed that once we started the Clomid it had happened so fast! The initial quantitative hCG levels came back rising as they should, so we were off to a great start of a healthy pregnancy.

The first ultrasound was scheduled when they figured I was close to 8 weeks along, but showed that I was only about 6 weeks along rather. We were able to see a yolk sac, but the fetal pole was not measurable and there was no heartbeat. Our doctor was not concerned with this because he thought that ovulation may have occurred later than they had thought since they were not doing much monitoring to know the exact date of ovulation.

We then had 2 more ultrasounds. By the time of the third ultrasound I should have been at least 8 weeks along. That ultrasound again showed just a yolk sac and small fetal pole with no heartbeat. It was at this appointment that we found out we would miscarry. Our doctor said that there was a  1 in 1000 chance that our baby would survive. We were heartbroken. I remember getting home and just laying in bed with my husband as he held me and we both cried. We prayed and tried to hold on to hope and decided not to intervene medically, but to let the miscarriage happen naturally.

Two weeks later we had a follow-up appointment and ultrasound. I still had not started bleeding and it seemed that my morning sickness was still sticking around. This ultrasound showed 2 more developing embryos– making 3!!! Our doctor said that the first embryo hadn’t changed since our last appointment and most likely would not develop, but the other two appeared healthy and were measuring at 6 weeks (4 weeks smaller than the first). So, I got pregnant with twins after being pregnant which is called superfetation. I remember having so much hope and excitement leaving this appointment.

Then, about a week later I began spotting. We were very nervous, but knew that this could be coming. We had an ultrasound the next day and it confirmed that we would be losing all three of our babies. I think this had to be the worse day of my life. We decided to let the miscarriage happen naturally which was a very long and difficult process.

After all of the emotions following our loss, we needed some time to heal. We were so nervous to start medications again, as we were unsure if we could handle experiencing this again. It was very hard on both  my husband and myself, but looking back I know that it really strengthened our relationship and changed how we look at the world.

We decided to seek out a Reproductive Endrocrinologist (RE) in September 2015. If we were going to continue this journey we wanted the best doctor we could find. After some testing I finally had a diagnosis: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In October 2105 I had a hysterosalpingogram done to check the health of my tubes and uterus. Unfortunately, they found that I had a uterine polyp that needed to be removed before we could proceed with treatments.

In November 2015 I had surgery to remove the uterine polyp which was benign. Finally, in January 2016 I was healed and ready to start Letrozole cycles. We haven’t had luck with the Letrozole yet, and are currently on our 5th (and most likely final) cycle. We will be meeting with our RE again in mid-June to see what our plan will be for the future.

So, this is where our journey has led us so far. It has been emotional with many ups and downs. I am hopeful that we will soon reach our destination of parenthood, but if we don’t, we will just keep continuing this journey that we are on until we get there.its-the-journey

 

Welcome!

Welcome to my Blog! My wish is that this blog can both educate you as well as provide you with a sense of hope if you are also struggling with infertility. I think it will also be great for me to open up about my personal struggles through this journey. I plan to update regularly with where we are with treatments as well as other topics of interest. National Infertility Awareness week was a few weeks back and that is what got me inspired to start sharing my story. The topic of infertility and miscarriage are often a taboo topic that many people don’t want to talk about and are not willing to address with you personally even if  they know you are struggling with infertility or have had a miscarriage. So, hopefully by me opening up, others that are struggling will have the strength to share their stories as well!Welcome-designstyle-welcome-m