Don’t Tell me…

…it was “God’s Plan”

…it wasn’t the right time

…there must have been something wrong

…that “God dosen’t make mistakes”

…it’ll happen when you’re ready

…it’ll be so much easier now

Just don’t.

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National Infertility Awareness Week…

I didn’t even know this existed, and now I find it’s this week!  Thanks to Tara for putting this on her site…that’s where I found it.  I’m new to this whole IF blogging thing…so thank you to all of those that I follow in guiding me along the way, even th0ugh you may not know that you are!

niaw

National Infertility Awareness Week is a movement to raise awareness about the disease of infertility which affects 7.3 million Americans.

So…RESOLVE.org is where I got the info about NIAW 2009.  “RESOLVE.org is a community for women and men with infertility and provides information, support and opportunities to take action.”  Like I said – I’m new to all this, so I can’t give you much more info.  I’ve just discovered the website and I’m really hoping it’s helpful.  Check it out.   Also, spread the word on NIAW.  I’ve just recently come to the realization that I need to let people know what I’ve been struggling with the past 2 years.  Up until my miscarriage, there were a very select few who knew 1) that we were even trying to have a baby and 2) that because of PCOS, it was not going well.  After I lost my child, I felt that one way of coping with the loss and infertility was to finally share with the world the struggle I’ve been living with.  It was hard.  I cried as I was sharing the news with those I love the most, let alone with complete strangers!  I still feel shame about my infertility, and it’s difficult to have this blog and put it all out there for the world to see, but I also know it’s something I need to do or I will go insane.  Please – if you you feel comfortable, pass on the news about this awareness week, and share something of your own struggle!

Also, from Stirrup Queens, I’ve discovered the pomegranate thread that those of us living with infertility are to wear to identify one another.  I’ve recently gotten the correct thread and tied it on my wrist.  Here is the write up direct from Stirrup Queens explaining all of this:

“For anyone who has ever had a miscarriage, struggled with pregnancy, and all things infertile…there is a movement upon us that you might want to join. It’s rather simple actually: a discreet ribbon on your right wrist to signal to others that they are not alone in their struggles.

“As someone who has had 5 m/c but am currently 5 months pregnant (YEAH), I wonder who looks at my big belly with sadness because they are in the month-to-month struggle. I mentioned to a friend that I wished there was some secret nod or international sign as if to say, this belly was hardwon. Well, she posted this quandary on her blog (http://www.stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/) and the response has been quite overwhelming…and a movement has been born!

“The pomegranate-colored thread holds a two-fold purpose: to identify and create community between those experiencing infertility as well as create a starting point for a conversation. Women pregnant through any means, natural or A.R.T., families created through adoption or surrogacy, or couples trying to conceive during infertility or secondary infertility can wear the thread, identifying themselves to others in this silent community. At the same time, the string serves as a gateway to conversations about infertility when people inquire about its purpose. These conversations are imperative if we are ever to remove the social stigma attached to infertility.Tie on the thread because you’re not alone. Wear to make aware. Join us in starting this conversation about infertility by purchasingthis pomegranate-coloured thread (#814 by DMC) at any craft, knitting, or variety store such as Walmart or Target. Tie it on your right wrist. Notice it on others. Just thought I would pass the word along!”

PCOS

So, when my doctor told me I had PCOS, I really had no clue what that meant.  In all reality, I still don’t really know what that means.  And also, the diagnosis I feel was kind of a default one – they couldn’t find any other reason why I wasen’t getting pregnant, so I think they just chose that one.  I’m not saying I don’t have PCOS – from what I’ve read about it, it makes sense.  What I am saying is, I kinda feel like the doctor labeled me with this without any proof or testing for it.

That’s not the point though – I wanted to share what I’ve found out about PCOS, mostly from WebMD – the default source of medical info for those who don’t know anything!  If you’d like to read the whole article where I got my information, it can be found here.

PCOS stands for Polycystic ovary syndrome.  From what I can figure, PCOS basically means that my hormones don’t work the way they are supposed to.  I don’t produce the right amounts of hormones essential not just for making babies, but for having regular cycles and ovulating.  This is why I was given certain hormone shots during my IUI cycle, given a shot to make me ovulate, and then given progesterone suppliments to guard against miscarriage.

Symptoms of PCOS are (according to webmd):

  • Acne.
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
  • Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
  • Thinning hair on the scalp.
  • Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
  • Fertility problems. Many women with PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
  • Depression

I’ve always had acne and weight problems.  My periods have also always been irregular.  I didn’t start my period until about was about 16 or 17 years old.  Since then, they come and go as they please.  I used to have very short periods – sometimes as little as 2 or 3 days, but never more than 5.  Over the past 4 or 5 years, they have pretty much settled into a rhythm of occuring every 3 months and lasting about 6 days.  However, there have been times where I would bleed for over a month.  I didn’t go to a gynocologist until about 3 years ago, and then decided to try to have a baby 1 year after that.  I was never on birth control.

Looking back on the history of my cycles, I should have known something was wrong and done something about it long ago.  I always had a fear in my heart, the “what if I can’t have kids?”  But I never took that thought seriously, until it actually happened.

So here I am now.  Waiting.  Waiting for that period to come, that I’ve always dreaded because of the cramping and the inconvienience.  I was always so happy that my periods were short and few.  I now no that’s not a good thing.  And even when this one does start, I’ll have to wait for the next one before we can try again.  Frustration is a word I understand well.

emotionally spent

Infertility is something that I’ve been dealing with for a long time.  There is a pain that is associated with that – it can not be described.  2 years of hoping for a child, going to endless doctor’s appointment, blood drawn, medications taken – it all rips a bit of my soul each time.  It’s hard to understand why this is happening to me, someone who’s wanted a child my whole life, and now trying for it with every ounce of my being.

I thought I was done with all that crap.  When I found out there was a baby growing in me, I can’t even describe the relief I felt!  No more tears!  No more pain!  Only happiness and love forever.  I’ve always wanted a big family, but with that one baby in my womb, I would have been happy forever with just the one.  The day I walked out of my fertility clinic from what I thought was the last time I’d have to be there was wonderful.  The glee I felt, walking out with a picture of my baby in my hand, not having to go back to that place…

Since March 19th, when I lost my baby and had a d&c, I’ve been like a zombie.  The first few weeks I didn’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, have anyone mention the baby to me or for that matter, any baby.  I’m still not wanting to talk to people about all of this.  This blog is my way of putting my feelings and thoughts out there, without actually having to talk.  I know, that may be wierd, but it’s easier for me this way.

I still feel like a zombie in some ways.  I’m able to make it through the day, but by wearing a mask.  I’m able to be happy at times, but it’s only a shadow of what I used to be.  Any little frustration, stress, or anything that may upset me brings on a flood of emotions.  Just this past Sunday, I was set to sing at my church.  I got there Sunday, ready to go.  We rehearsed – I’d had a cold all week so my voice did not want to cooperate.  I hadn’t played my guitar in a while, so my fingers were aching trying to hit all the notes.  Our voices were not blending well since we hadn’t rehearsed on the mics.  All of a sudden, I was upset and frustrated with the whole situation.  Once church began, I was trying to calm myself down just to get through the song.  Of course all this had started the emotions of my loss, but I was trying to push it aside to make it through.  Then my pastor got up to give the opening prayer and was giving thanks for Life, for the life we have, for the life we’ve been given……….I lost it.  I practically ran out of the church and upstairs to hide.  My husband found me there a bawling mess.  Of course for good reason he and my other band member thought I was upset about the song.  Justin asked me what was wrong.  I said to him, “I want my baby back,” and it was all over from there.  I broke down.  He stayed with me, but I felt bad that he was missing the service.  Eventually I told him to go back down and I’d follow as soon as I was able.  I almost left.  I so wanted to go home and crawl in a ball and never unwind.  However, I pulled on my happy face.  I went down stairs in time for the end of the service and sang the song.  I made it through Fellowship Time, through lunch, and the rest of the day.

I’m emotionally spent.  I hate that I go through, day to day, just surviving.  I miss my child.  I don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to have another one.  I used to be a happy person.  I would not let things effect me that were not important.  I was a happy person.  I had worked hard to get to that point, and this damn infertility took that all away.  I hate myself for not being able to provide for my child, that I could not sustain him/her to make it through to life.

On top of all that, I have to get through one cycle before we can start trying again.  I lost my child in the middle of March.  It’s now almost May with no sign of “Aunt Flo (af)”.  I have unusually long cyles, sometimes 3 months or more, so there’s no telling when this next one will start.  It’s frustrtating to just SIT here and not be able to do anything.  To have to sit and wait for my stupid body to do something, something I have no control over.  Then it all starts again.  Tests.  Needles.  Medicine.  Bloodwork.  Ultrasounds.  IUI.  Frustrating doctor.  Kind nurse.  Pain.  Fear.  “What If’s”.  It all starts again.

“To My Friends And Family”

This is the post I put up on my main blog shortly after I had my miscarriage.  Up until that post, there were very few people who knew that Justin (my husband) and I had been dealing with infertility.  I had planned on keeping that secret forever.  After my miscarriage however, I felt the need to tell everyone.  I needed people to understand what I was going through.  Unless you’ve had a miscarriage, it’s hard to understand the feeling associated with it.  And worse still if that miscarriage has come after years of struggling with infertility.  Putting up this post was healing in many ways for me.  A weight was lifted off my chest a bit, and at least now people would know what I was dealing with, even if they couldn’t completly understand the feelings, they would know.  I put the original post up here now as a way of starting my story on this new blog.

“Last week I put up a 2 posts announcing that Justin and I would be new parents in October.  Last Thursday early morning, we had to rush to the ER.  I was having a lot of pain and bleeding.  After many hours of waiting and tests, ultrasounds and blood work, we were told that I had lost the baby.  It seems that the baby had died about a week after my last ultrasound, which was at week 8.  I would have at the time we went into the hospital, been at week 11.  They were able to get me in to surgery relatively quickly that day, as I had not eaten since dinner the night before.  I had a d&c to remove what was left.  The procedure only took about 20 minutes.  I was out during that, and in recovery for 2 hours after that.  We were then able to go home.  We got to the emergency room at about 5:30 am and were home a bit after 2 pm.  It was a very long, very painful day.  We are still dealing with a lot of grief and I’m still recovering from the surgery and having some pain.  I have had a hard time seeing people or talking to anyone.  If you have called here the last couple of days, you have most likely spoken with Justin.  He has been amazing and I am so grateful to him for dealing with everything I’ve been unable to deal with.  He is going through the same pain, and I hate that I have been making him do everything.  I am eternally grateful to him and love him more than anything.

“On top of all of this, we have another pain that we have been dealing with.  This is something we have not told many people about, because I have been unwilling to let anyone know.  It’s hard even now for me to be sharing this, but I think it’s time, and I’m sick of the pain and the secrets.

“Justin and I started our journey to be parents early in 2007.  We spent a year trying to get pregnant with no luck.  I finally spoke with my gynecologist and she referred us to a fertility clinic.  We spent all of 2008 there.  It has been determined that I most likely have PCOS.  That basically means that my body does not produce hormones correctly for becoming pregnant and that with out help, I most likely cannot get pregnant on my own.  On top of all of this, my health insurance does not cover the cost of infertility treatments, only up to a point of diagnosis.  So, not only were we dealing with the fact that having a baby would be difficult in the first place, but on top of it, we could not even afford to try.  The cost of the treatments are extremely high.  The medicines that I need to take are over $1000 each time we try.  That’s not to mention all of the ultrasounds, blood work and actual procedures needed to make this happen.  During these 2 years, only 1 person knew we were even dealing with this.  When we finally got to the point where I had been diagnosed and a course of treatment had been decided we were unsure if we would be able to do it since as I said, we did not have the money.  At that point Justin suggested it was time to talk to our pastors, not only to help us deal with the pain associated with infertility, but to see if they could offer any guidance as to how to proceed.  I was still unwilling to talk to anyone, but I knew that we were at a point where we could not proceed alone.  I’m very very glad that we did finally talk with them.  They were able to offer some guidance, counsel and suggestions.  Through that meeting, we discovered that we could possibly be eligible for a grant to help us pay for the costs of treatment.  We were able to get that grant and we were given $5,000.  That would basically get us through one treatment and maybe another if we were very thrifty.  Luckily our nurse at the fertility clinic was aware of our situation and help to find us extra medicine from samples and that people had turned in that they didn’t need anymore, so much of the medicine I needed we got for free.  Things were finally starting to work in our favor!  The middle of January 2009, we had our first procedure.  We did an IUI, not an IVF as IVF are ridiculously expensive and even with another grant we would have not been able to afford it.  We got very lucky and the IUI worked the first time we tried!!  Usually it can take up to 2-3 tries before it finally works.  It seemed that everything was finally coming together, our dreams and hopes were being realized.

“It was so hard to wait to tell our friends and family our good news.  I was so happy that after 2 years, I was finally going to be a mommy!  We still kept the infertility to ourselves for the most part, telling only a few people.  The reason I’ve kept this in so long is mostly due to embarrassment.  All my life I’ve wanted to have children.  All my life I’ve had a fear in the back of my mind, a “what if” nagging.  What if I can’t have children?  What if there is something wrong with me?  To find that that distant fear was a reality was a huge blow.  I’m still embarrassed.  I still feel inadequate.  As a woman, as a human being.  One of the major defining differences between genders is a woman’s ability to create life.  If I can’t do that, what does that say about me, about my female-ness?  Even putting this out there for the whole world to see was a very difficult decision for me.  I’m still uneasy about it, but I also feel it is the right thing to do.  I’m tired of keeping it all in, and I want people to know and to understand what we’re going through.  Possibly this will reach other people who are in the same situation and they will know they are not alone.  It’s not easy to be alone.  To see all of your friends and loved ones starting families.  It seemed that every time I opened the computer or talked to someone, another person was having a baby.  It’s hard when it seems so easy for some people, that they barely have to think about it, and here I am wanting nothing more in the world that a baby and no matter what I did I could not have one.  The relief, joy and love I felt when were were finally going to be parents was beyond anything I’ve ever felt.  To now have lost that so soon is beyond devastating, beyond anything I have ever felt in my entire life.  To loose someone you have never even met is hard to explain.  There is no closure.  There is no body to mourn.  There is no name to put to the feelings.  There is no personality to miss.  There is only the hope and the expected joy that is now lost and can never be found.  Only the dreams and plans that had been made that are now dust.

“I have new what if’s now.  What if I can’t get pregnant again?  What if we can’t find the money to try again?  Everything seemed to click the first time, what if a miracle can only happen once in your life?

“We will try again.  We will find a way.  We will make it through this, and hopefully in the not to distant future, we will have our hopes and dreams realized, and I will be able to hold my baby in my arms and say “I love you, and I’ve been waiting my whole life for you.”  I anticipate that day.  I long for that day.  I cry for that day.

“I want to thank all of my friends and family who have been with us during this time, think of us, offering us sympathy and understanding.  Unfortunately, I know many people who have had to deal with the pain of miscarriage.  I thank them all for there words and guidance.

“Goodbye, my sweet baby.  Rest now my angel.”

The reason…

“The long and winding road…” that hopefully will someday lead to my baby.

I’m starting this page in order to vent, to tell, to share and to heal. My husband and I have been trying to have a child for over 2 years now. We started early in 2007. In January of 2009, after many tears, tests, poking, prodding, shots, drugs and other struggles due to my PCOS, we finally conceived a child after our first attempt at IUI. That baby lived 8 weeks in my womb and then left us suddenly with no warning or reason. I hope on this page to be able to tell my story and through it to connect to others.

I also hope that some day that long road will lead to the birth of our hoped for BabyT.