0

You Know You’ve Been Infertile When…..

You Know You’ve Been Infertile When…..

-When at your 6 week check up, you keep wanting to refer to the UTI’s you’ve had as IUIs.

-When opening up the discussion of birth control, your OB says, “I’m sure you don’t think you need it since it took you so long to get here.”

As I’m sure some of you are thinking, even if you’ve struggled with infertility before, it doesn’t mean you won’t miraculously get pregnant again. We know, she knows. After that opening statement she also added, “Even if you did get pregnant, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind,”

& it’s true. After all of the heartache & struggle we’ve had to get to this place, we wouldn’t mind at all. Ideally, that wouldn’t be RIGHT away.

SO-my options for birth control right now are limited as it is, as we’re still breastfeeding. I have a choice of the depo shot (which I would never do because I’ve read & heard horrible things) & a low dose birth control pill. Right away, I declined those as I already knew I didn’t want any prevention in the form of medications.

After being on some sort of hormonal medications for the past four years, I don’t want anything else to do with that sort of thing right now. I’m sick & tired of medications that come with side effects. Even before we began our infertility journey & long before I met my husband, birth control pills always made me sick to be honest. I always had bouts of nausea with them. Also, as mundane as this may sound to those who don’t understand, I’m just really tired of having my life revolve around having to remember taking a medication. Eli is 6 & a half weeks old as of today & I am JUST NOW not going into a panic wondering if I’ve forgotten to do an injection (that I haven’t done since 36 weeks pregnant), or take my Aspirin. Just now.

Since I don’t want anything to do with medications right now, our game plan is to use condoms & spermicide for at least 6 months. After that, if we were to get pregnant on our own, then great. If not, that’s okay too. Before infertility, I always thought I wanted at least three kids. In the trenches of it, I always said that, if I could have at least one child, I’d be happy & I am. I know, coming from a 1-2% chance of ever having biological children, we are PHENOMENALLY BLESSED to have Elijah. So blessed! If we go the rest of our lives never having another biological child, we’ll still be happy.

Regardless of whether or not we are able to have more biological children, we’d like to adopt at least one child a few years down the road. I’ve always wanted to adopt &, after going through the fostering classes, both of our eyes were even more opened to the great need for foster & adoptive parents. Likewise, I think there’s also a need for strictly adoptive parents through other avenues (other than through the state).

It’s definitely been a rocky road with lots of twists & turns to get to where we are. We aren’t sure whether or not we’ve left infertility behind as far as battling it again but we do now what are plans are as far as family building goes….what we don’t know is what God’s plans are. & He has some pretty big plans so I guess all we can do is sit back, wait, & see. No matter, we are happy with whatever that is.

19143000_1879928158912140_6234414640470573626_o

2

Mother’s Day & Infertility

For those struggling with infertility, Mother’s Day can be one of the most difficult days of the year. It’s a giant, flashing reminder of what you do not have. & it’s everywhere you look. All over social media (even in the weeks leading up to it seems), flooding department stores & your inbox with MOTHER’S DAY reminders/specials, during church services, etc, etc.

It’s a day that brings a lot of sadness for so many & I feel the video I’m going to share below captures that well.

(I’m having trouble copying the link to the video itself but it is the one titled To The Mother With An Aching Heart).

https://www.facebook.com/pg/todayparents/videos/?ref=page_internal

While I do not love that this is such a grueling day for so many (for different reasons), I do love that infertility is being discussed more openly & publicly. I hope that this video brings comfort to those in their deepest struggles & awareness to others about what many are going through.

If you’re struggling, please do not do so silently. For yourself, you deserve to gain the support of others & not go something that is so all consuming alone. For others, you could make someone (or several people you may know) not feel so alone. In sharing our journey with others, I found both of those things to be true & know I never could’ve made it through everything we went through had I not done so.

If Mother’s Day is difficult for you, know you are in my thoughts & prayers on this day & always. Xo

 

4

Gifts & Endings

Yesterday, I shared a post on why Infertility Awareness Week would always be close to my heart & touched on how I hoped our story could provide hope to those still in the thick of their struggles.

In doing so, I in no way was saying that is how everyone’s story would end. Just like books, we all have different endings. However, even if your story never ends in a, “traditional,” pregnancy (one with your egg & your partner’s sperm), that doesn’t mean your’s won’t have that happy ending as well.

My friend also shared something yesterday via her personal Facebook account. She’d discovered it was Infertility Awareness Week & stated she was choosing to celebrate infertility because of what it had given her. You see, had she & her husband not struggled, they never would’ve became foster parents & met their precious son. A child that was meant to be their’s & who has given them life, just as they’ve done the same for him. He is their happy ending.

Her post really touched my heart because I feel it’s sooooo, sooooo easy to fixate on what infertility has taken from us. It is less easy, especially in the midst of  it, to acknowledge the gifts we have gained from something so trying.

For me, I can think of a few things, big & small, infertility has given me:

-Courage & purpose to start my own blog (that you are reading now!)

-Community. I have, “met,” so many wonderful women via social media who have also shared their struggles. A few of us have became very invested in each other’s journeys & it has been such a blessing to have. In addition to the women of the #TTCSISTERS & #TTCCOMMUNITY, I’ve also received several personal messages from acquaintances who shared their own struggles with infertility with me. Sometimes, I’ve even been told they had never told anyone else before but read my blog & wanted to talk to me about it.

-A new appreciation for motherhood & children. No matter how many children we end up with, or how those children come to us, Scott & I will both have a new appreciation for just how special each mundane moment is. In the challenging ones, I feel like I’ll be able to laugh a lot more off & cherish my cold coffee & spit up covered shirts, the things I would have killed for for so long. Not to say that we won’t have the occasional meltdown now & again because, from what I hear, that whole parenting thing is pretty hard & we’re only human.

-Patience. Before infertility, I was one of THE most impatient people on this planet. It was inherited from one of my papaw’s I believe & I got called by his name often growing up because I wanted things when I wanted them…well, if infertility taught me anything right out of the gate it’s that life is not like that. Though, if you ask my husband, I’m still a little impatient 😛

What has infertility given you?? If your story has reached a happy ending, what was that for you? 

2

Infertility Awareness Week 2017

If you looked through my latest Instagram feed (or any social media really), you would probably never know that, for years, we struggled with infertility issues. Unless you glanced through the hashtags after some of the bump shots & pregnancy updates, you wouldn’t realize what it took to get here & how much this week will always mean to us.

Infertility is such a terrible thing & one major reason for this is because of how isolating it is. You feel it’s just you, for the longest time, because it’s not something we as a society bring up in conversation often. It’s not something that typically comes up in small talk. “Beautiful weather, today!” “Yeah, perfect for another round with the dildo cam to check my follicles!”

The above conversation just wouldn’t happen…& maybe that given example should not lol but I do hope more conversations surrounding infertility do! This year, the slogan for Infertility Awareness Week is Listen Up & I so hope that people do just that.

Not only is infertility extremely isolating, it also comes with a lot of ignorance on the part of those who have not struggled that can only make things more hurtful for those that do. I wrote a blog post a while back on What NOT To Say To Your Infertile Friend & another on helpful things to say instead if you would like to read more on that.

Personally, I am forever grateful that we were so open about our struggles. One reason being is that I, hopefully, educated a few people about the presence of infertility (1 in 8 couples struggle!!!). While many of my followers are from the infertility community, it is my hope that some were not & still read on, learning something along the way.

Secondly, had I not had the support of the blogging community & truly wonderful ladies I found on Instagram that were walking my walk, I don’t know how I ever would have survived it. It was one filled with many tears, breakdowns, sooooo many damn needless, surgeries, procedures, & just plain out grief. If you are struggling with infertility, please, PLEASE, do not go it alone!! Reach out to the wonderful community out there that I am so thankful exists.

Lastly, as we are rapidly approaching the arrival of our own rainbow baby, I hope that our story is a symbol of hope to those who are still waiting. We went through 3 IUIs, 2 rounds of IVF, several medicated cycles, laparoscopic surgery, & two devastating losses. We were told that our chance of having a child was 1-2% & we should look into other options. Despite it all, we are here! Praise the Lord! And I want that to give you HOPE! Anything is possible, our story is a living example of that.

My heart is with all of you still in the painful throws of waiting this week & always. ❤

4

Moving On

As we are nearing the other side of this long road of infertility (as odd as that is to say since I am still paranoid something will go wrong most of the time), I’ve thought a lot about how this will effect my blog & our life as a whole-specifically for those who are still deep in the trenches of their battle.

On one hand, I have been, & remain to be, sensitive to the feelings of others who are still TTC their own miracles. On another, after going through so much & believing having children was something that was never going to happen for me, I am also elated & believe that the biggest miracle of our lives deserves to be celebrated.

With that being said, I full well respected anyone who needed to unfollow me on any form of social media. I get it. There were several times in our struggle where I had to do the same in order to protect myself. Seeing announcements were  incredibly painful. They seemed to be, for me, especially difficult when coming from someone who, A, instantly got pregnant,  or, B, could easily have children & was newly pregnant with their third child, or, C,  from someone who, weeks or months earlier, had reached out to me to ask about infertility & boom became yet another person who was (successfully) pregnant before me.

And while, as a fellow infertile, you are absolutely elated when a fellow battler moves on, there is a part of you that is also a little sad to be left behind. You feel as if yet another person has moved out of the world you are in & there you still are in this scary, heartbreaking, isolating place. To say it is hard will never quite do it justice.

In the past few months, these things have weighed heavily on my mind as I’ve thought about what this blog will be once we do move on. After a lot of thought & consideration, I’ve decided to continue it & I’ve arrived at that conclusion for the following reasons.

  1. When I started this blog, it was never only about infertility. I’ve also blogged on current events relating to mental health & rape culture, as well as a few lifestyle posts here & there.
  2. Infertility, regardless of moving on, is something that will always greatly effect my life. What we went through to get to this point was horrific, not to say that some people don’t go through just as much or a lot worse than we did. Moving on will also never change the fact that we had two losses & four embabies that didn’t make it. I think about them all the time. Quite often, even now, I wonder who my children would have been had they lived. I know how old they would be & look on in heartache at children their age, especially children of people I knew were pregnant the same times I was then. I look at their cute picture of their children from insignificant days & I think, “that would be my child now.” No amount of separation in time will change the fact that we will never get to know those children. With that being said, infertility will always, always be a big part of my life &, fear not, will be something I continue to blog about because of that.

For those of you still waiting, please know that my heart is with you, I am cheering for you, & I hope you never, ever give up. For those who have moved on or are not effected, while you relish in the immense joy, please continue to be cognizant of those who are not getting to do the same. More than anything, the world needs kinder people.

I hope that you continue following along with us in this journey but also know that I completely understand if you cannot.

Sending lots of love ❤

2

A Year Ago Yesterday…

I wrote a blog post a year ago yesterday. A big one. A sad one. It was called, “A Goodbye To Infertility Treatments, For Now.” I wrote it not long after our second IVF fail. Not too long after I’d given up on the idea of you. 

Yesterday, in my present life, happened to be a big day too. We reached the 22 week mark, somewhere I still can hardly believe we are. You’re more wanted than I can ever express to you. I hope that our story reminds you of that. I hope that your name reminds you that miracles happen & you are most certainly, without a doubt, are one of them. 

&, if you’re reading this in the midst of your struggle, I hope that our story gives you hope. If your heart is still hurting today, I’d also like to tell you something my papaw tells me 9 times out of 10 when we hang up with each other: “Hold on & never give up. I love you.”
 “If we didn’t expose where we came from, some of our most difficult moments, then we wouldn’t be fully revealing the depth of the joy we are enjoying today.” 

4

The Trauma Of Failed Infertility Treatments

We’ve often seen others talk about the heartbreak & financial burden of failed cycles but not so much the trauma that is attached to them.

Over the past few months, both our IVF cycles have crept up on my Timehop & while I’ve done my best to avoid the reminders, it has gotten to me on occasion. In truth, both Scott & I have talked about how we can’t even bare to look at them. To see the smiles on our faces & hope in our eyes in shattering because we know full well what those cycles yielded…failure. Repeated failure.

Even now, 20 weeks into my pregnancy, these images still bother me. Something I never would’ve fathomed before. I’m not sure if I’d feel the same about them if they would’ve been successful so I can’t speak to that but I do know how much each failed cycle traumatized me.

For one, you had people, medical professionals, (that were “specialists,”) building you up with things like, “oh, this is going to be your time!” “this is gonna be it for you!” “I have a good feeling about this!” “sometimes you have to do it more than once…..” over and over again. Until the end…when we were essentially given no hope (a 1-2% chance) & advised to look into embryo adoption, as well as other forms of adoption.

And then there is the piece of you who wonders who your little embryos would have been, the ones that couldn’t seem to be successful despite good & average grading. Each time I remember thinking about the hopes I had for them, wondering about who they would grow up to be, who they’d look like, & what their interests would be. I remember reading about the cycle of implantation & development into babies based on a 5 day transfer. I think, for me & our situation, I also can’t help but wonder if these embryos would’ve successfully implanted had I ever been asked about/checked for endometriosis then. No one can say for sure I guess but I am angry about this nonetheless.

Then we have the financial burden of all these treatments we are still paying for. We spent around 30, 00 for absolutely nothing with our old RE who we now lovingly refer to as Dr. Dumb ass lol

Not to mention the fact that my body had to undergo sooooo much with every try. I was injected with countless amounts of drugs that could increase my chances of two forms of cancer. I had two surgical procedures (egg retrievals) that were very hard on my body. I was so swollen I looked pregnant at the time, yet another cruel thing infertility treatment does to the body. I got OHSS & could’ve ended up in the hospital with each IVF. It effected my grad school & practicum performance, as I felt like death some days & was unable to go. I also suffered from a great loss of energy after the cycles & can’t say for sure if I’ve ever recovered from that aspect yet (as pregnancy also tends to cause fatigue).

Infertility hurts. It hurts a lot, for a number of reasons. It hits you where it hurts the most, your hopes & dreams, mental health, physical health, as well as financially. It is a burden I would wish on no one.

May we all be a little kinder to one another, we never know what another person is going through.

“You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes & walk around in them.”

How have your cycles effected you?? Are you experiences similar? Different?