Thursday, September 20, 2012

Busted Plumbing... When mother nature kicks you in the ovaries!

Fertility is a fact of life most people take for granted. Most assume that if you want to get pregnant and have children, it will be easy once you find the right partner and just decide to start trying. Indeed, most people are far more concerned about birth control and preventing pregnancy when it would be inconvenient or unwelcome for them than ever think about what it would be like to not be able to have a child when you chose to.

But for others, the dream of being able to give birth to a healthy, happy baby ends up being far out of reach and often unexpectedly and inexplicably so. Those struggling with infertility not only have to deal with the pain and grief of potentially never having children, but they also have to deal with ignorance and inconsideration from friends, loved ones and society in general.

Recently, I was at a friend's house for a party.  I was having a great time until that dreaded moment occurred when all the other girls decided to compare notes on their pregnancies.  As I watched them pull up their shirts to look at their round bellies side by side, it was hard to hold back the tears.  It didn't take much time to realize I was one of the few, if not the only woman, sitting there who wasn't expecting.  It was as if the house was on fire & I couldn't get out fast enough.

It wasn't long before that party that we found out that our last round of fertility didn't work.  We were so excited to start a period without medication in mid-July that maybe we got our hopes up too much. This was the first time in 6 months that my body did what it was supposed to naturally.  So, we tried Clomid at 50mg again since it had worked so well in the previous month.  But this time, it did not work I did not ovulate.  So..., we waited......and waited.....AND WAITED! The end of August was quickly approaching & I had not started my period.  Could I have ovulated & missed it somehow?  Was there even a tiny chance that maybe just maybe I was pregnant?  

But, it was finally confirmed after multiple home tests & one in the Dr.'s office that I was not pregnant.  To make matters worse I had a period that lasted literally one hour & I dreaded having to take promethium again.  Much to our surprise the dr considered that a periodv& gave us a prescription for Clomid at double the dose.  Would third time be a charm????

Every morning & night, I took my ovulation predictor kit & day after day it was negative.  Last Mon I was supposed to go to a 2 hour seminar I had signed up for yet that that morning I had Thais distinct feeling not to go.  Man was I glad I stayed home:  our ovulation was POSITIVE! That same day we were able to get into the dr to do an IUI.

We will see what the next few weeks brings but never lose hope for "When the world says 'give up,' hope whispers 'try one more time.'" Unknown

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Empty arms carrying a heavy burden

So after my surgery in May, I was prescribed clomid to regulate and ensure ovulation, and told I would have to be monitored by the doctor each month.  June 1st we began a fertility cycle at full force.  As discussed in previous blogs, we were able to have a successful period after prometrium and started Clomid. 

When it was confirmed that I ovulated on Day 17, we excitedly called the Dr. to see if we could come in to do the IUI.   Our hopes got even higher when we were able to correlate our work schedules and went in to the Dr's  office to have the IUIs (intrauterine insemination) performed the following day. This is a fertility treatment where the man's sperm is placed past the woman's cervix, where it doesn't have to travel very far, at just the right time.  Often, I jokingly  describe it as the turkey baster method. So all that has to happen is fertilization and implantation.  Seems easy enough right???

After 30 days of Dr visits, medications, temperature checks, daily ovulation checks, & procedures, the time had come for us to test for pregnancy. I took a deep and went in to the restroom praying, "Lord, I know your timing is perfect, and I'm ok with not being pregnant right now, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, give me the strength to see the test say I'm not. I know you provided a baby for Abraham and Sarah and I know you will for us…IN YOUR TIMING, and again I'm ok with that now….just please give me the strength not to burst in to tears when I here another, no."  We waited for 5 LONG minutes....NEGATIVE!!!  I instantly burst into tears.  I felt as if I had lost something yet I never had anything to loose.
After prometrium & clomid & a IUI round....still no pregnancy.  We called the doctor the next morning with the results from our home pregnancy.  He instructed us to wait 2 more weeks to see if my body would "jumpstart" a period without medication.  If not, retest for pregnancy at the end of the 2 week waiting period.  Call him with either result.  Again, we became hopeful....maybe my HCG levels are just too low and not registering for pregnancy yet.  We can handle that!  Sadly, the next morning I began cramping and later that day I started my period.  I had to fight hard not to let the tears the fall from my eyes.  It was confirmed...we were definately NOT pregnant.  Time to make that dreaded call to the Dr. & set up another appointment to start another round of fertility :(    

At this point we are getting frustrated, and we're feeling the financial and emotional strain of the treatments.  Although, we are taking baby steps toward BABY STEPS since my body had started it's own period for the first time in 7 months, it feels like we are walking in place and getting   Day after day, my empty arms are carrying a heavy burden.
I am constantly aware of the fact that our baby isn’t here with us yet.  Month after month, treatment after treatment, we came home with empty arms and the burden of those empty arms is a heavy one. 
Nobody can feel the load we carry any more than they can see the wind blow.  But the pain we feel and the emptiness that is left in our hearts after a failed fertility cycle is real and we are always aware of it.  We are also aware that we are not the people we once were, even though it may seem so from the outside.
To everybody else, it seems that our lives goes on.  That is the hardest part for us.  Our arms are empty, but our hands are busy.  Very busy.  There are still the regular, daily needs that have to be attended to.  Since our hands are busy it appears that life is continuing on as normal.  But it’s not.  We have an "invisible" disability called infertility......Struggling in silence. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Living on a Bridge

I don't like traffic.  Nothing feels more like a waste of time than just sitting gridlocked, especially when you have somewhere to be.  What's worse is traffic that is log jammed on a suspension bridge because there are no detours. You can't really turn to the right or the left because water is no shortcut!

Infertility is a lot like living on a bridge, suspended between two worlds.  The land side is a season of having children and experiencing the joy of being parents.  The other side is a season of being married without kids.

My husband and I are on that bridge right now.  I find that sometimes I have to escape mentality; I want to get off of the bridge.  Not jumping off mind you, but driving off!

My husband does fine living on the bridge- most of the time. Me?  I'm still working on it.

Do not get me wrong. It is fine to be in that in-between season for a while. You can work more, save more, and remodel your house.  In short, you can do things that people with children cannot easily do.

Yet, on the flip side, there is this undercurrent of pressure that regularly surfaces.  There is this sense of urgency to move along and get into the next season. There is even an uneasy feeling of competitiveness in knowing that, if something doesn't happen soon, we will be the last ones joining the "Parent's Club". It's a ridiculous feeling, I know, but sometimes even ridiculous feelings are real.

The past 30 days have seemed like 30 years at times.  We suffered what seemed like some pretty unbearable side effects from the 10 days of Prometrium.  However, the end result having having a period was well worth it.  We were fortunate enough not to experience any adverse side effects from the Clomid.  It was the days following, while awaiting for a positive ovulation test, that we began to learn that we are truly on God's time.  Day after day, morning after morning, we got a negative ovulation result.  On day 17, I wanted to give up.  I was positive that the medications had not worked; however, something inside me told me to take one more test.  Finally, it was positive!!!  It's amazing how the small blessings can seem as big as a mountain.   The following day we went to the Doctor and he did the IUI (interuterine insemination).  It was somewhat uncomfortable but having my husband at my side lovingly holding my hand may all the more bearable.  In 2 weeks we will take a pregnancy test.  And now, the waiting game begins........ again.

Yes, sometimes it gets lonely out here on the bridge, and sometimes it gets crowded with others who are there for similar  reasons-but they don't tend to stay for long.  And when you are there for a while, it feels like there is no one else on the bridge with you.  And yet, I know that living on the bridge is a transient experience.  I can never truly feel completely settled here.  This is a place of thoroughfare, not a destination.  You never really feel at home in an airport, do you?  Airports are not a place where you put down roots---and neither is bridge.  They are for passing through on your way to somewhere else.

While living on the bridge, this is what I do to stay strong:  I go to the basics of my faith.  I have to learn (sometimes daily) to trust rest in HIS in faithfulness and retain my stand in faith.  It can be a tightrope walk.  To stay expecting, yet be at peace, is never easy.  This posture of expect rest is like a warrior sitting down while wearing his sword.  His weapon is at the ready should he need it, but he is not always actively engaging the enemy.  Sometimes he needs to be at ease.

I have learned that it is time to shift our focus back to the Author and the Finisher of our faith---to let HIM lead us through this journey.

For now, my husband and I are both still living on the bridge.

But we are on a journey of faith-----together.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

God is in Control

Well, we all know I’m a planner…I like to be in control and I want to know just when and how things are going to happen.  This helped me immensely with college and at work and ALL areas of my life.  Although, my husband & I knew we would need fertility help, I still had a plan.  It was simple...go to the OB/GYN get my period started, use Clomid to make me ovulate, then BOOM we would have a baby.  Now, that we are actually in the mist of our treatment plan, I realize my "plan" isn't exactly going the way I anticipated, and there were many "footnotes" I never thought about adding into the plan:  emotions going crazy, thought processing not exactly "connecting" from one side of my brain to the other, low energy level, or... my hair falling out.  God must be so amused by our immaturity and presumptuousness at times.
After I made an appointment and began the roller-coaster ride of infertility, we began the charts of temperatures and timing (at least I can control those).  We have been married almost 3 months & 2 negative result after our honeymoon I must admit, has led to a sense of desperation and determination.  After countless tests pointing to possible additional fertility issues, (only to find out the test were incorrect),   I started realizing, “Hey, I’m not really in control of this situation here.”
I know we all say when we meet Mr. Right that we are going to have our white picket fence, 2.5 kids and live happily ever after.  But what if God might actually have other plans for our family make-up?  What if maybe... we might end up with a chain-linked children?  Could we still live happily ever after?  As time goes on, I must come to the decision that: yes, if it is God’s will for us, we can be happy as long as we are fully submitted to HIS will.  Does and Will it still hurt each time someone new at church or work announces about their growing family?  Sure! OF COURSE IT DOES/WILL!! But, we must try to trust the Lord – realizing HE is the giver of life.  My prayer is that God will give us the grace to wait for HIS timing and plan (Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  Psalm 37:4 & 5)
At this point in time, we have survived the 10 days of prometrium, although there were days, we wanted to give up.  We are currently awaiting a menstrual cycle to occur so that we can begin the Clomid.  But we enter into the next phase of this journey with confidence that the Lord will guide us and keep us. 

I do not know why we have been chosen to go through this experience; I only know that we will learn so very much about ourselves and the Lord through it.  Philippians 3:10 speaks of the blessing of fellowshipping with the suffering of Christ (That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings).  I know that infertility is so painful at times that it feels like physical suffering.... especially in my heart.  Yet, it is my desire that we will see the closeness that will be created with our Heavenly Father through this and the dependence on Him through our helplessness. 
I feel that I can say with confidence that God special-orders events in each of our lives.  He creates what is best for us and our situation.  We must trust in the multiplicity of His plans, knowing that He has thoughts or plans for us which are more than we can imagine (For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Jeremiah 29:11) and blessings that are more than can be numbered (Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward:  they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee:  if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.  Psalms 40:5).

Saturday, June 2, 2012


JUST....KEEP....SWIMMING!  I use that line a great deal of the time when I find I need to call in courage or fortitude in several areas of my life.   Now, thinking just how knee deep time we are in the trying to conceive, I find needed some quick way of staying connected to that courageous part of myself.  I have always been one to use mantras and affirmations to push me through the fear and uncertainties of life.
But wasn’t until I saw the movie Neemo, that I incorporated “Just keep swimming” as one of my favorites. The other gift that Ellen Degeneres’ Dory gave me was that gift of childlike wonder and joy. Looking back now the joyfulness of life seems to be run over and smashed to a pancake during our current TTC (trying to conceive) phase.  The numerous Dr. appointments, procedures, lab tests, pills, temperature taking, calendar recording, and not to mention the financial burden are... at times too heavy a load for even my broad shoulders to carry.  
Currently, we have gotten our "GREEN LIGHT" to proceed with our fertility journey.  My post-op check yesterday was a real "eye opener" as the Dr. went over what our journey would truly entail fro this moment on.  We will begin Prometrium at even higher doses that we have experienced in previous times. This will hopefully induce a menstrual cycle allowing us to start Clomid on day 5.  Clomid is the fertility drug used to initiate ovulation since my body lacks the ability to do it on its own.  If all works accordingly to plan, then around 2 weeks after Clomid, the utilization of ovulation kits will ensue. In addition, we have daily temperature checks and a calendar to record this entire process.  Around four weeks after ovulation, there are several outcomes that could occur:  I have a period (that may occur with or without ovulation), I don't have a period but am NOT pregnant, or we GET pregnant.  Depending on the results, our next course of action will then be determined.  We were given th option to do an interuterine insemination up-front if we so choose, which we are still praying.  I do appreciate the type of Dr. we have to go through this process with us.  He allows us to be the captain of our own ship and presents us with many options.  He openly recognizes the physical, emotional, and financial burdens placed upon us.  He goal is to help is achieve our dream of becoming parents and not become concentrated so much on the medical aspect of things. 
 So Let the Fun begin!!!! Not really.  We have heard all the "horror" stories about the side effects of Clomid.  We would be lying if we said we were not somewhat concerned.  This is when true faith and courage come in.  2 Chronicles 15:7 states. "But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded " (New Living Translation).  We remain firm that God will bless us with not just one child but many at HIS appointed time.  For we are not the captains of this ship, but it is HE that directs our path.  
So for this posting I would like to ask you to do some homework.
It’s simple, you just need to be open and aware and ask yourself a questions:

How do you stay connected to your courage or fortitude?
Dr. Robert Kiltz of CNY Fertility and Healing Arts Center is frequently heard saying, “we’re just going to keep at it” a sentiment that is echo through “Just keep swimming.”
For us we would say, “We're just going to keep praying until something happens” And making sure we put the “correct something” out into the universe. By this I mean making sure that we hold onto the positive thoughts of being a parents and release the fear of “this cycle not working.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Patience and fortitude conquer all things.” The trick is to create a system of connecting or calling in these gifts. If you don’t have a practice of doing so you could begin by taking a moment in the morning, driving in the car or before your start your day by simply saying, “Patience and fortitude or courage please be with us today as we create our family.”
Remembering our words are more powerful than we know and just keep swimming!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dancing Upon Barren Land ~ Statement of Faith:

    We went to Good Samaritan Hospital bright and early yesterday morning.  I was so thankful to have an awesome team of nurses working on my case.  Although we hit a few "speed bumps" throughout the day,  the Dr. reported all good things.  Unlike previous thoughts, it was confirmed during surgery that my uterus is a perfectly shaped to carry a baby AND my right fallopian tube was not blocked afterall :)  We will go back for a post-op check up next friday and begin our fertility meds once we get the green light at our appointment.  Once again, PRAISE THE LORD, for blessing us yet again.  The past few months have been such a roller coaster of emotions.  We have been told my uterus was we prayed....We were told my right fallopian tube was we prayed.  Some of you might say "so what" but those of you who believe in our Heavenly Father know it was HE who fixed it all.  

     Once I heard the final report after surgery, I began thanking GOD for his grace and mercy HE keeps giving us.  Too often, we are skeptical if true miracles really do exist.  Yet, our journey has been nothing but miracles that our own eyes have seen.  It came to my mind that we have started this journey all wrong.  We are so focused on TRYING to conceive that we forgot one important thing: We need to STOP TRYING & STARTING INVITING.  The Bible distinctly states to "call things that are not as though they were" (Romans 4:17).  For HE is the Lord who gave a child to Abraham, we thank you, & we praise you. Seeing the tears of Hanna, HE gave her a child. Elizabeth who was barren in her old age, HE blessed her with a child.  The Almighty Lord is all powerful and merciful. There is no limit to what he can do. If we WOULD JUST pray wholeheartedly with faith, HE will bless us.  So, we decided to stop trying and started inviting a child into our lives however the LORD determines fit.  We must wait patiently for God to work his divine plan in our lives. And MOST importantly, we have to accept God’s Holy will and surrender our lives to God. 

     Our prayer now is as follows:  "Father, in Jesus' name, we thank You for our unborn child. We will treasure this child as a gift from You.  For we know, Our child will be created in Your image, perfectly healthy and complete. You have known our child since conception and know the path he/she will take with his/her life.  We ask Your blessing upon him/her and stand and believe in his/her salvation through Jesus Christ.

     When You created man and woman, You called them blessed and crowned them with glory and honor. It is in You, Father, that our child will live and move, and have his/her being. He/she is Your offspring and will come to worship and praise You.

Heavenly Father, We thank and praise You for the great things You have done and are continuing to do. We are in awe at the miracle of life You're going to place inside of me. Thank You! Amen. 
                                    "Prayers That Avail Much" by Word Ministries, Inc.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the Beginning....

     After much prayer, we have decided to start a blog about our fertility journey.  We would like to acknowledge our dear friends who were brave enough to share their own fertility journey through a blog, thus giving us the courage to be open about our own.   Let us start off by saying first and foremost, we stand on faith that God will bless us with a child whether naturally or through adoption.  The purpose of this blog is to allow those near and dear to us to become a close part of our journey.  It is our prayer that it will serve as a testimony and blessing to all those who read and follow it.  This is why we have chosen to share this journey of faith.  
     For those who know me closely, you know I am not one to openly share disappointments when it comes to matter of the heart.  I've always considered myself a strong, independent woman who pulls it together in the end despite the circumstances.  Yet, having the label of "infertility" seems to cut me deep and leave me at a loss for words.  My husband and I knew from the beginning that I have a condition called Polyistic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), yet we were not fully prepared for what was to follow.  As we prepared ourselves for a difficulty journey of conception, we've encountered more stumbling blocks along that way that were never anticipated.  Over the course of the past two months,  we have endured many doctor visits, lab draws, and imaging.  Initially, we were told that in addition to PCOS, I had a heart-shaped uterus and the idea of me carrying a child was not promising.  Yet, after more testing and continual prayer it was revealed that the shape of my uterus was not misshapen but my right fallopian tube is blocked resulting in the need for surgical correction to enhance our chances of conception.  This will occur this Wednesday May 23rd.  Thus, our journey begins.
     As I was seeking the Lord's guidance to direct our fertility path, God reminded me that the good news is that although we have faced some delays in having a child, God has not denied us children.  Maybe you have gone through the same route as us, and done all you know to do, without result I still want to encourage not to give up. God will still come through for you.
     If you were to read carefully through Luke One you will see that 
Elizabeth experienced infertility and had to wait many years to have a child. Her experience is also reflective of the attitude people put on when delay appears to become a denial. Delays are frustrating and can easily make you look away from God.

     But, the blessing which was promised this couple by way of John the Baptist was unique in the sense that Elizabeth's pregnancy was rightly timed by God.  
It could not have been earlier; neither could it have been later because the child whom she bore was to be the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. If he had been born at the time they desired, he would have been too old for the ministry he was called for and if he had come later, he would have been too young.

     If you experience delay in conception or any area of your life you need to understand also that some circumstances are for specific reasons and you will experience joy on the appointed day. God is meticulous about vision and that includes yours. You must know that your vision and its fulfillment are for an appointed time.  People are quick to forget that the scriptures cannot be broken, delays are never denials. God has never failed before to rescue those who look up to him.
     It is our hope that this will encourage you today to know that even though you may have experienced some delay in childbearing God still has good plans in mind for you. 

     God has promised that he will never leave you or forsake you even in the darkest hour of your life. He says to you, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2.