2

The Move

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” -Nelson Mandela

As I said in an earlier post, we moved a week after Elijah was born (because we are certifiably insane lol). What I don’t believe I mentioned was that the move was to an area Scott & I are both from. To give a bit of a backstory, because his job is so specialized, it doesn’t offer many positions in certain areas. Unfortunately, the, “small,” city we lived in didn’t have any openings & the uncertainty of his former job continued to loom over our heads. So, with being responsible for a new human life & all, we chose to bite the bullet & leave before his position was cut. We had a few choices in bordering states, as well as some down in Florida but chose to go closer to family since a job opportunity was here. Here specifically being Eastern, Kentucky.

For my U.K.. & out of state followers: Eastern, KY is a different sort of place than the rest of the U.S. It’s a very rural area with not nearly as much forward thinking as the rest of the states have to offer. It was also an area that massively helped Donald Trump gain victory in the election….let that tell you what it will. lol

With that being said, there have been a few things about living here that have bothered us.

For one, for the most part, the people here don’t trust other people & are leery of outsiders. One quick way we were reminded of this was noticing it’s rare for people to smile at you or smile back at you. I’ve heard of this also being the case in NY as there are just so many people & the lifestyle is so fast paced but I find it interesting this is also the case here. One reason I think this mentality is present in the area is, years ago when out of state people came into the area, they presented these legal documents to Appalachian people who could not read to sell their mineral rights for next to no money & ripped them off big time. Ever since, it seems as if the don’t trust outsiders has remained a common theme.

Something that ties into people not trusting others is that the area, minus within individual churches, is there isn’t a sense of community. What I mean by this is that, unlike places like Lexington, there aren’t any groups like mom groups.. There are no weekly or even monthly events within the community. I had even, going out on a limb, posted on Facebook before the move back asking if anyone wanted to get together for a stroller group sort of thing with their children. Zero interest lol Not one person commented & there are a lot of people on my FB from here.

Another thing my husband, his manager (who lived away from the area for a few years as well), several other people he works with that live out of the state & commute, & myself have noticed is that a lot more people who live here are rude. For example, we were grocery shopping last week &, while I was getting Elijah out of the baby wrap, a lady came up behind me. The parking spaces were at an odd angel so I asked her if that was her car she was trying to get to. She replied it was & I moved over, shutting the door a bit to let her through. My husband came around by that time to put him in his car seat. As he was strapping him in, the woman starts backing up &, had he not stepped out to hold his hand up, would have taken out my car door that she could see was present the entire time. When he closed the door, she backed out & sped off. His manager, who Scott shared this story with, said she’d experienced much of the same while living here & even noticed it in the elementary school her children go to.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT ALL PEOPLE LIVING HERE ARE RUDE, I know a lot of really good people living here/who are from the area.

There’s also a depressed feeling being in the area because it is so rural. There is A LOT more poverty concentrated here than other places. There are a lot of empty run down buildings sitting around, along with some run down ones that are still occupied. In the place we’re currently renting, we’ve seen a few run down or empty homes as well.

There’s also just not a lot of diversity here. I.E. white is the racial majority & you don’t even see a lot of people from other groups. Among other things.

With all of the above, compounded with the fact that you are away from common conveniences (like the mall, Target, Starbucks, a wide selection of restaurants), you are also away from good healthcare/specialty healthcare as well. For example, Elijah needs suck training so I’ll be taking him to Lexington for that biweekly because it’s not something that’s offered here. My husband & I, along with his family that lives here, don’t trust the hospitals in the area &, if possible, would make the drive to Lexington anyway for better care. Fact: 2 out of 4 of my grandparents died in a hospital here due to the fault of the hospital. So yeah, it’s not exactly a promising place to be here.

I asked my cousin who had tried moving back to the area before how he had managed & what his experience had been. For him, it was much of the same, adding, “Once you move away & your perspective of the world changes on every level, you become inherently different.” He also agreed that there is definitely a depressive energy in the air. On surviving it, his advice was to, “try to find people you can relate to…& buy lots of alcohol.” LOL

While I won’t be following the latter part of that advice, Scott & I have already came to the realization that we cannot stay here. Our plan is to ride out the year (as we are locked in per his contract) & then, ideally, move back to Lexington or another city we’d feel more at home in.

I am not saying Eastern, KY is an awful place with nothing to offer the rest of the world. I think it has a lot to offer. What I’m saying is that, once you leave & are use to a totally different lifestyle, it’s very hard to live here again.

In other life update news, we will be moving within he next month…again thanks, to our crapyy landlord/living situation. The AC has never worked upstairs, despite us bringing this up to him, & his solution to cool the 3 bedrooms & 2 baths up there was to, “provide a window unit.” We can also hear our neighbors through the walls, as well as any & all traffic noise. So yeah, it’s not working out lol We will still be living in the area because of the contract, just not here.

I also need to give an update on our breastfeeding journey & what that has entailed but that’s for another post.

Have a beautiful week, friends!

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2

Green M&M’s

In the beginning of our infertility journey, I stumbled upon a lot of blogs recommending you be your own advocate…& we though we were…until we realized we weren’t.

The BIGGEST thing I like to stress to others going through this rocky ride of infertility is this: BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!!!!!!!!!!

Having undergone 3 failed IUIs & 2  failed IVFs, only to later find out I had endometriosis & become pregnant on my own with the help of Femera & The Stork OTC, I cannot stress that enough.

During our last appointment with our old RE, we asked him about a lot of things.

What were our chances?

2% on our own.

Why was my egg quality not up to par?

“Research hasn’t gotten there yet.”

What could we do to improve it?

“Nothing, unfortunately. Have you thought about looking into adoption?”

Asking him about the fertility diet & an extra shot I’d read about that worked for another lady who underwent several IVFs that finally had success,

“You may as well go home and eat green M&M’S because that’ll do about the same thing for you.”

Little did we know at the time, he seemed to only want our green M&M’s….dollar sign edition.

I was never once asked if I’d been checked for endo. I was never once asked if I had symptoms of endometriosis. They found my husband’s low morphology & they focused on that, without looking further into possible issues in my body as well.

When I started seeing a new gyno, I told her about my period pain & our fertility struggles. She recommended I have a laparoscopy & I agreed…just before it, I almost canceled because I thought my periods weren’t that bad &, surely, by now if I had it someone would have asked. Someone else would have suggested it by now.

I was wrong.

Groggily waking up form anesthesia, I asked my husband what they’d found….all the while thinking he was going to tell me nothing. I was wrong.

He said something to the effect of, “Well you have it. It was stage 2 but she burned it out.”

I just stared at him. I couldn’t believe it. After all we’d been through this, THIS, could have been the reason for all the miserable failures.

After that, my OB put me on Femera beginning the second cycle after the lap. I’d seen The Stork OTC advertised somewhere and thought WTH, can’t hurt. So we tried it for the first time that month. It failed. And then I reluctantly to try another cycle of Femera, along with two more kits the wonderful people at The Stork OTC sent me in the mail.

& the unthinkable happened.

We got pregnant.

Unfortunately, as you’ve read if you follow this blog, the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. However, that is no testament to the product. Quite the opposite really. If anything, it proves how beneficial the product can be in treating infertility at home. If The Stork worked for us after all of our very expensive failures, I’d recommend it to anyone. A reproductive specialist may tell you that you may as well eat green M&M’s but, just remember, they’re also getting a lot of your green M&M’s.

If you think something isn’t right in the care you’re receiving, speak up. Say something. Get a second opinion. Ask questions. & try the, “green M&M’s.”

They can’t hurt & they’re a whole hell of a lot cheaper.

In closing, BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE MY FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If something doesn’t feel like it’s going right, it’s probably not.

 

Fun fact: If you order The Stork through Target online, you can currently save 25%

7

Treating Infertility At Home

At this point, I’m pretty sure if someone told me I needed to stand on my head for 48 hours, guzzle two bottles of water immediately afterwards, & then run around a 5k to get pregnant I would.

& you have no idea how out of shape I am.

Like some other couples, we’ve been through everything in the pursuit of parenthood. IUIs, appointments, IVFs, testing, appointments, surgery, more vaginal ultrasounds than can be counted, & oh-did I mention appointments?

I’ve also tried a few other quote on quote crazy things to up our chances along this journey. After the IUIs & subsequent IVFs I downed pineapple core like a ravaged bear. Before IVF, I even tried the Fertility Diet: a was sad devoid of artificial sugar & happiness time.

After our last IVF ended in failure, we made the declaration to take a break for a while. When I had my surgery that confirmed & removed endometriosis, we decided to get back on the horse (because that’s what we do in Kentucky, right?).

This cycle, we added in two more unconventional methods to increase our odds in this pregnancy pursuit.

  1. Softcups. Yes, the same ones intended for menstruation. I’d read somewhere infertile couples utilized these to up the ante in the preggo game.Why? Because it keeps the sperm INSIDE the body & closer to your internal lady parts for up to 12 hours verses it all leaking out in under 5 minutes.

How did it feel? It felt a little odd going in the first time & removal was always a bit uncomfortable.

Cost: about $6.00 for an entire box.


2. The Stork OTC. This tool is essentially an at home IUI. No RE’s & nurses staring & prodding at your vajayjay included!

How did it feel? Not that bad, to my surprise! Before it was inserted, I worried that it may have to go much further than it actually did & cause some pain along the way. Nope! Albeit, it was rather odd having my husband shove a wand inside me holding a cap filled with his sperm. lol

How it works: it comes with a condom, a, “cervical cap,” & a wand looking instrument that serves as an applicator. The cervical cap is already inside the condom, you put that on as you normally would, do business as usual, then carefully remove the condom & take the cervical cap out of it. You then place the cervical cap into the applicator. There are 3 buttons you need to press at a given time to get it to dislodge &, once that’s done, you remove it and go on your way!

A how to video on The Stork OTC:

 

How did it feel: As I said, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as I imagined upon insertion. However, I did find, in the part that includes business as usual, the cervical cap did cause some craving & made me bleed a bit afterwards. Taking this out was much easier than removing the soft cups since it included a string you could pull after several hours to remove it. Note: removing it did cause a bit of discomfort as it literally felt suctioned to my cervix.

More on why: The Stork OTC has a success rate of 20% This is comparable to success rates of IUIs ranging from 16-21% 

It’s also a whole heck of a lot cheaper! Reading reviews online before we bought it, I saw a lot of people complaining about the price. The Stork was $80….yeah, it’s a good chunk of change….but I’m wondering if those same people realize the average IUI is 600-700 dollars & IVF starts out at 10,000. $80 doesn’t sound so bad after all now, does it?

In addition to the above, if you follow this blog, you know that we also did Femera & the HCG trigger shot this cycle. I ended up having two good sized eggs during my monitoring appointment so we hope that, in addition to the unconventional methods we tried above, yields promising results.


Have you tried any of the above methods? What about any other less conventional ways of getting pregnant??? What was your experience????

 

6

Breakfast & Shots..Only Not The Kind They Do In College

After my routine peeing on the stick this morning, there was still no smiley face to see on the ovulation kit.

Throwing some clothes on, I called the dr’s office to let her know I needed the trigger shot.

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Once we were in one of those fun gyno waiting rooms, she walked in rolling the shot between her hands to warm up so it wouldn’t sting as much.

When she asked if it was the first one I would have, I half laughed, noting, “This’ll be my sixth.”

Getting it ready, she reviewed our follicles and again said the one that was 20 would be the best bet but there were two &, she wanted me to know, she had no control over how many released. I responded with, “that’s fine, 2, 5, we’re good at this point.” She laughed, Scott said he needed, “some of those salts,” to smell if that were to happen lol

Before coming over to poke my arm, she told us, “I really think this is going to work for you.” & I did what I always do anytime someone tells me that…I half smile for them,not for me, nod my head, & then I look down..trying not to think about all the other times someone has told me that.

When it was all said & done, she smiled & instructed us to, “go home and have a candlelight dinner for the next three nights!” Scott busted into laughter, asking her if that’s what we called it now…men. lol

So that’s our game plan! The trigger shot should work within 24-36 hours BUT, the nurse prac said, “the best chance of getting pregnant is BEFORE ovulation,” so we’ll be having a few of those candlelight dinners just to be safe:P

In addition to the trigger shot & fertility drugs, we’ve also tried some unconventional ways of getting preggo this cycle!

But that’s another story for the next post!

Until then, wish us luck & have a beautiful weekend!!!

 

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4

Back On The Horse

Yesterday, after a hiatus from infertility TX, regular programming commenced.

The time to begin downing hormone pills that would send my body & mind on overdrive returned.

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So far, knock-no BEAT-on wood, I haven’t had the mood swings from the darkest pits of hell I had with Clomid. Funny thing, yesterday after reading an article a husband wrote on he & his wife’s experiences with treatments, I got a little emotional…okay, a lot-al emotional & worried it was the Femera playing mind games with me. After some time passed since reading it, however, I feel it was just an emotional piece. Even more so for those struggling with infertility & so relate to everything shared in this man’s post (which I plan on sharing on the blog today as well so my fellow infertility warriors can read it for themselves).

In addition to that, it was also yet another beginning in our infertility journey. A new medication. A new plan. Yesterday also happen to remind me of the beginning of our journey-via Timehop. I’d had one of my monitoring appointments for our first IUI. Today, I saw the video I took of the very first time Scott had to stab me with a needle in the form of the trigger shot. It’s difficult to look back on all of that & remember how we were so hopeful that things would soon change….& now, here we are, a year later starting again. Only this time, with a new diagnosis in hand that neither of us anticipated-my endometriosis. When adding in the tags for this post on the sidebar, I thought to myself, time to add some new ones (Femera, endometriosis, endometriosis awareness, endowarrior) & it was incredibly strange. At the end of the day, all I can say is that I hope, this time, things will finally change….this time, I’m going to continue to hope & pray is the last time I will have to promise myself Mother’s Day will be the saddest day of the year for me. Our last Halloween & Christmas without children.

Note: I’m not saying our journey is worse than anyone else’s. Others have been through far more than we have so far. Some not so much and that’s okay too.

How do I feel (since starting Femera)?

I’ve had a constant nagging headache, felt a little nauseous, & am having random HOT FLASHES  but that’s it so far. Granted, I’ve only taken one pill so far so I can’t speak to how much better Femera will be than Clomid as a whole but I can say so far so good!

I’m a little nervous about just beginning a new fertility medication & going away for the weekend without knowing how it will effect me. Should I expect to be more sensitive? Should I expect to have to rest more and take breaks from the family fun of the weekend, the way I had to do last year on Clomid? I don’t know…& that’s what scares me.

We shall see!

Wish me luck & Happy Memorial Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t think of anyone else who deserves a holiday  weekend filled with happiness than all of you. ❤

 

18

Work & Infertility Treatment

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No matter which method of treatment you choose for infertility, one thing remains the same: the Dr’s appointments.

When we did IVF, I had three ultrasounds (AKA monitoring appointments) per cycle. I also had to be available in a three day window for egg retrieval &, depending on that, available for another three day window afterwards for transfer (putting the embabies back in their home).

Even now with our upcoming course of treatment involving only using Femera & trying naturally for two cycles, there are appointments. I have an ultrasound to check for follicle growth (I’m guessing) & an appointment with my gyno’s nurse practitioner afterwards as she’s out of town. In addition, I have another appointment with my Dr. mid June for a second surgery follow up, as well as evaluating how Femera worked for me.

Not to mention that, if this method of treatment fails, we have a consult with another RE near the end of July. To add to the fun, he also happens to be located  over an hour away.

To sum it up, working while undergoing these treatments is hard. Sometimes, doing both can even be damn near impossible (depending on your job and other factors). For that reason, I know a lot of women who opt out of work completely to avoid the headache and added stress of taking off so much.

And then comes the rub…even though you’re available for a plethora of appointments, you’ve also lost a second income &, potentially, the ability to pay for these treatments. It’s a catch 22 at its best. You have more availability for treatment but less ability to pay for it.

As I recently graduated from grad school (wew!!), & even more so since I interviewed for a job, I’ve been thinking a lot about the above. Initially, I’d planned to look for work near the end of summer. I did, however, apply for some jobs with the belief that it would take until then to go through the hiring process. Well, friends, I was wrong! I got an interview a week later & an email this morning from them asking when would be a good time to call, “regarding a position.” Based upon my previous experience in the job market, I feel like that’s a pretty good indicator I’m going to be offered the job. If not, I’d expect the standard, “Thank you, so much for taking the time to interview with us. Unfortunately…..”

While this is a great news for financial reasons, I’m stuck on the fence because of our infertility & journey to parenthood. But it got me thinking a lot on our current dilemma. A dilemma that many other infertile know all too well. It has also inspired me to write an upcoming blog post on HOW to balance work life & infertility TX.

But I need your help…..any input/information is appreciated!

Thank you, friends!


What are your thoughts on infertility treatment and employment??? How did/do you balance work life and treatment??? What words of advice would you give others?????

 

 

2

Infertility & Rural Areas

In recent years, women are typically having children later in life. Since the time of Rosie The Riveter & the we can do it all generation, women want degrees first and motherhood second.

At least, that’s the case in most communities within the U.S. Deep within the hills of Appalachia, is one exception to this cultural norm.

Soon after I graduated high school, & some even before this, most of my peers got married. After that, they immediately began having children. It’s been eight years since we all left our last four years of regular schooling behind and most of them have at least two children already.

My sister followed a similar path when she graduated, immediately getting married the month after and having her first child before her first anniversary.

In short, while the rest of the country is holding off parenthood while they get their dream jobs,  a lot of Appalachians are not following suit.

As someone who is infertile, you automatically feel like an outsider. Everyone your age is talking about pregnancies, gender reveals, baby showers, and first birthdays while all you can do is nod and pray no one asked the loaded question, “when are you going to have kids????”

Couple being infertile AND being Appalachian and you’re in for even worse of a disconnect. While most of my cohort’s children have already or are now entering pre-school, etc we still haven’t gotten our miracle baby.

Scrolling through my newsfeed, I see most of my old classmates posting baby photos and talking about not knowing what sleep is and I’m still over here posting about my fur babies, caffeine fixes, and, until recently, grad school.

Facing infertility is difficult at best for anyone. Once you reach a certain age literally everyone is pregnant. Where I’m from, however, this occurred at a much faster rate. Instead of everyone I knew getting knocked up around their late 20’s & early 30’s, people were doing it at 18-20 years old.

I’m not sure if this is the product of rural areas in gender or just an Eastern, KY thing, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

So, until we get our BFP, I’ll be over here like…….

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Are you from a rural area?? Have you observed much of the same?? 

What are your thoughts????