Currently Browsing: fertility

it only takes one.

on my birthday i posted this post.  i wanted to focus on all the things that could go right.  i know, as a lot of my readers do, in the fertility world, a lot can go wrong.  and it is heartbreaking.  it is easy, so incredibly easy, to get weighed down on everything that could go wrong.  in my case, because going horribly wrong is all i have known.  but i made a conscious effort, whenever doubt and fear sneaked into my thoughts {daily thoughts}, i tried to immediately think of all the ways “this time” could work.

first, a message to my readers, this blog will not become a mommy blog.  my idea is to keep this space my voice.  my individual voice about health, food, chickens, gardening, and yes, milestones of our little one.  due to the number of readers, the husband and i talked a great deal about how much we want to put online of our little one without restrictions, and we both agreed, very little.  i am not a scrapbooker and i love the digital blog format.  my plan is to create a private blog for just grandparents and the husband and i.  less like a typical blog and more like letters to our little one, with lots of photos.

given that, yes, this post is all about pregnancy.  a great deal of my dear readers are on the fertility path and i wanted to share what i have done differently this time around.  and although we are past the infamous 12 week milestone, there is no guarantee we will have a healthy baby.  a great friend told me when i had the realization that with each day that passes, i gain more and more confidence that this pregnancy will last, but i have more to lose and that scares the hell out of me.  she laughed and replied, welcome to motherhood.  there will never be another day where there will not be worry and fear for the worst.

the number one thing different with this pregnancy is me.  the most difficult but the absolute BEST decision i made was to stop trying after our second miscarriage.  i used my anger and guilt to propel me to losing 100 pounds.  my body is completely different.  my new ob/gyn said that even though i have a long history, this pregnancy is like starting fresh because my body has completely changed.  from hormones to blood pressure.  physically, i was a clean slate.  mentally, emotionally, now that is a completely different ballgame.  you can lose weight but you can’t lose the pain and heartache of miscarriages.

i can totally dispel the idea of “if you stop trying, it will happen.”  OH MY GOD! i can’t tell you how many times i have heard this tidbit of “wisdom.”  there are many, many tools available to help calculate to the day, even time of day, when you are ovulating.  there wasn’t a day when we were not at the doctor for “follicle checking” or taking my temperatures or peeing on opk sticks.  oddly enough, this was the only month i wrote on the “i love you because…” board marking the occasion.  positive thinking for the win.

another difference, acupuncture.  i first tried acupuncture after my herniated disk injury and i became a believer.  during some of our fertility research, i kept seeing studies about acupuncture and fertility.  i called “my guy” and asked if he did fertility treatments and he did.  i started treatments one month before we conceived.  he gave me “ovulation herbs” to help with the uterine lining then after we got our positive pregnancy test, he gave me herbs that were designed for women of “habitual miscarriages.”  i also went for an hour treatment weekly during the first 12 weeks.  i am not a doctor.  i am just sharing what i did differently.  i don’t know if anything or everything or some combination made the difference.  this is just my experience.

when i told our fertility doctor about the chinese herbs his response, “i wouldn’t use them because they really do work.”  i then replied, i wasn’t ordering them off the internet myself, i had a licensed professional prescribing them, he said he would still be cautious but then added, he didn’t know what it was like to have three miscarriages and that he could understand the desire to try anything.  after a LONG talk with my acupuncturist and finding out that he gave his wife the same herbs when she became pregnant, the husband and i decided to go for it.  we wanted to try anything.

we found out we were pregnant 11 days after ovulation.  crazy early.  i started spotting around 5 weeks.  immediately thought that this was like all the others.  my acupuncturist prescribed a spotting herb and the doctor prescribed progesterone.  i don’t know which one stopped the spotting but the spotting soon stopped.  the next day we had our first ultrasound and saw the beginnings of our everything.

only a gestational sac and yolk sac were visible.  we were relieved for the moment but the next several weeks were difficult.  trying to stay positive was an hourly struggle.  it still is.  around 6 weeks i started to actually feel pregnant.  nauseous all the time.  it was a blessing to feel awful.  it still is.

i was one of those people that thought i would only eat fresh vegetables and fruits.  eat only the best foods, all organic.  my diet consisted of grilled cheese, tater tots, dry cereal, and lots of butter toast.  slowly i worked into mashed potatoes.  my first real craving was specifically, instant mashed potatoes, shredded cheddar cheese and a1 sauce.  the husband has been primary cook and tried to make “real” mashed potatoes and i declined.  it had to be instant.  i am slowly starting to be able to eat fruit.  vegetables, no thank you.

at 7 weeks we first heard the heartbeat.  our fertility doctor wanted to release us, but i said no.  after some pleading {we have had a miscarriage after hearing a healthy heartbeat} he agreed to see us at 8w3d and then we would be released.  this was our ultrasound from that appointment.

the first time seeing little arms and legs.  we happily transferred to our new ob.  we had another tremendously emotional moment of spotting one weekend at 10 weeks.  i just sat and cried waiting until monday morning when i could see the doctor.  by the time monday rolled around, the spotting had stopped.  after lots of reading, we decided it was due to stopping the progesterone a couple days earlier, without weaning off.  it makes sense.  it is a hormone and i just stopped.  the doctor assured us that everything was perfect and that the spotted was some uterine lining and the baby was never in any danger.  i went back on the progesterone until 12 weeks and am now in the process of slowly weaning my body off of it.  during this appointment we saw the baby moving for the first time.  it was literally jumping all over the place.  this was the first time i cried during an ultrasound.  well, cried for happiness.  that moment has kept my hopes high ever since.

weight loss, acupuncture, progesterone.  i don’t know the trick.  all i know is that for 5 years, 60 months we have wanted this moment more than anything.  we are still taking it day by day because as our genetic counselor reminded us during our 12 week appointment, there are a billion things that can go wrong.  {thanks.}  i have dear friends that work on the pediatric floors of hospitals.  i am aware that there is a lot to be afraid of.  but good things happen too.  and it only takes one.

the cause.

we are pregnant.  words i never thought i would be announcing because i never, really, thought i was going to have a healthy pregnancy.  but here we are.  entering into our second trimester with an active and healthy little one growing inside me.  there are no words to describe how grateful, how thrilled we are.

of course, the pups are super excited.  my sister-in-law had a great suggestion of getting a baby doll to start practicing.  i will share more of details soon but for now, the husband and i are celebrating today and enjoying every second of this moment.

{2 years}

march 8, 2011 was the day we were due to bring our daughter into this world.  we lost her many months before.  i imagine my life if we had an almost two year old running around.  i would be busy planning a birthday party.  cupcakes.  decorations from my pinterest boards.  she would have a head full of dark brown hair like me and the brightest blue eyes like her daddy.  she would be full of spunk.  she would love to chase the chickens.  martha stewart would be her best friend.

none of these things will happen.  not for her at least.  we hope beyond hope our day will soon come when we can look down into the eyes of our child.

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this is what i know when i feel the darkness of this pain.  i force myself to get up.  i force myself to put one foot before the other.  i allow myself to feel every emotion.  there is no way around.  i just have to go through it.  i fight. i cry. i yell. i curse. a lot. then go about the business of living.  because i am still here.  this loss does not define me.  there is no other way.  this is my pain.  this is my story.  i am a different person because of her.  i think better.

friday, march 8th, 2013, is a big day for us.  we are hoping our daughter is looking down and sending us a little luck.

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dance party for {one}

some days you just need to find that perfect song.  play it so loud you can’t hear your own thoughts.

and dance by yourself.

tomorrow will be a better day.  i will feel again.

hormones, stupid people, and peeing on sticks.

today is one of those days.  one of those days i don’t want to reach out.  i don’t want to talk.  i don’t want to feel a damn thing.  i don’t want to be.  yeah.  pity party for one, please.  i feel like this post has been writing itself in my head for a couple weeks now and i am just emotional enough today to put my thoughts down on screen.  my little brother is having a baby.  well, his wife.  they are becoming parents and giving our parents their first grandchild.  yes.  i am happy for them.  they are a wonderful couple and will be fantastic parents.  yes.  i am excited to be an aunt for the first time.  yes.  i have gone to showers and put a smile on my face.  yes.  i want to punch a wall.  yes.  i cry every time i leave a family gathering.  yes. i wish it was me.

when my brother first told me the news, i could tell everyone was “nervous” to tell me.  like i was going to flip out.  like i was going to lose it.  don’t worry.  i did.  but i am much more polite to let anyone witness that raw emotion.  i remember not knowing what i was more upset about, (a) they were treating me like i was fragile and pitiful (b) my little brother and his wife got pregnant without thinking about it (c) everyone had game talks about how to tell me (d) all of the above.  the answer is d.  it is always all of the above no matter how long the list.

i got through the gender shower because i was just so positive that any day we would also get pregnant.  i lost it around the holidays because the realization that their baby is almost here and we have only had two chemical miscarriages in the almost 9 months.  then the baby shower almost destroyed me.  again.  if i was just with my brother and his wife, i would be fine.  they are so support and understanding without trying too hard.  this leads me to the bulk of my blog post.  these are all things that have been said to me during this heartbreaking time for my husband and myself.  take note.  pass along.  the following is a list of the worst things to tell someone struggling with infertility with some ways to simply show your support instead.

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1. relax.  or better yet.  stop trying.  i seriously had a family member walk up to me at the baby shower a couple weekends ago and state, “well, it doesn’t look like you trying is working out so well.”  what they hell kind of shit is that to say?!  i will tell you what. i don’t care how old you are.  i don’t care.  people you are on notice.  my patience is running tremendously thin with people and their comments. in case you didn’t know, worrying about getting pregnant is not a scientific cause of infertility. also, infertility causes stress. not the other way around. ps. try relaxing when your body is being probed constantly and is riding an hormonal roller coaster.

2. try not thinking about getting pregnant.  how about you think about the daily struggles of someone that wakes up every morning to take your temperature and pee on a fertility monitor stick.  then on “high” days peeing on another stick.  seriously.  my bathroom counter looks like a damn science experiment.  super sexy.  super relaxing.  infertility is caused by a medical condition, sometimes known and other times, unexplained. it is not related to forgetting how much you want a baby.  and to add to the emotional roller coaster, when we do get a positive test, my first thought is not “wonderful” it is “how long until i miscarry.”  i will never have a pregnancy where the thought of losing my child won’t be on my mind.  wanting something too much does not cause fertility problems and you simply cannot turn off your desire to be a parent. it is good to keep in mind that what others might view as an obsession can just be the process the doctor is prescribing.

3. are you pregnant? you look pregnant!  no joke.  someone said this to me.  after i lost about 70 pounds.  yay.  nothing like a little motivation.  in general, this is not something you want to say to ANY woman that may look pregnant. also, keep in mind that during certain fertility treatments, many women can go through pregnancy symptoms due to the drugs in their system and yes, their tummy area might look rounder than usual.

4. you should just adopt.  even better “you should get one of those black babies.  they are real cute when they are babies.”  what the hell?!  seriously.  what they hell is wrong with people. i have even heard “maybe your troubles are a sign you should adopt.” each person has the right to decide what route they are going to take, how hard they will fight against infertility and how they want to create their family.  the best is when people with no trouble having LOTS of babies will tell me that they would LOVE to be able to adopt and it must be so wonderful that that is my only choice.  people just need to stop.  adopting a child is such a tremendous decision.  one that i know i can’t make until i have resolved the feeling that i am going to my “back up” plan.  that child should never be viewed as a back up plan.

5. “who’s fault is it?”  infertility affects men and women equally and there is a huge percentage of couples that cannot find out the exact reason they are not able to conceive. clearly, there is no fault. and a couple that has a strong relationship will face this challenge together as a unit, so it becomes a couple’s problem and not an issue that affects just one of them.  often times i feel the blame.  thankfully my husband is always there reminding me that we are in this together and until the doctors say, “ah ha this is the problem” it is a problem that we share.  equally.  seriously.  stop being friends with people that ask you this.  and if you are that person, punch yourself.

6. “i didn’t even want to get pregnant…”  if your pregnancy was unplanned, do not rub it in. basically, don’t be an ass.  even if it’s true that you are dealing with a surprise baby, it’s so painful to hear for somebody who is doing everything she can to conceive to hear. it’s true that hearing about a new pregnancy or listening to a lot of cute baby talk can be painful for those with fertility challenges. in an effort to protect fertility challenged friends, sometimes people attempt to keep a new pregnancy secret. or they share almost nothing about their little ones, leading to awkward silences. this isn’t a good idea.  instead, give us the news of your pregnancy in a way that allows us privacy and room for our initial reaction – email is probably best, and a phone call is much better than in person. i have panic attacks that my initial reaction will be my raging hurt girl inside and i will flip a table new jersey housewife style.  secrets never remain secret for long, and we’re bound to hear your good news eventually.  especially in the world of facebook and social media.  we’d rather hear it from you.  i have an amazing friend that has two beautiful kids and a third on the way.  she is on the very short list of people with kids i can tolerate.  she understands that while i adore her and her kids, i won’t go to birthday parties.  we schedule a one on one visit around their birthday so i can spend quality time with her and her kids.  finding people in your life that are understanding and kind without treating you like you have a disease is rare and i treasure those relationships.

7. do you really want to be a mom?  “motherhood is overrated. it might not be for you.”  again, real comments people.  who decides who is right for motherhood?  yes, many people decide not to have children and there is nothing wrong with that. many of those people are my friends.  and it is refreshing.  but if you are actively seeking a pregnancy, undergoing medical procedures to conceive or taking medications to boost your fertility, clearly not having children is not what you think is best for you. yes, we know, kids are loud and don’t allow you a moment to yourself, kids never let you sleep, kids get in the way of sex, kids are a hassle. and we still want them. desperately.  we are not lucky to not have kids; our lives are not easier for the lack of them. in fact, infertility also takes away the quiet inner moments, infertility keeps us up at night, and infertility is a hassle. admit that you wouldn’t give up your kids even if it meant you’d have more sleep and less stress. if you would rather trade in your kids for peace and quiet, then please keep those thoughts to yourself, as they’re not very flattering – it just makes us wonder why the universe gives people children who don’t want them.

8. stop asking if we are pregnant yet.  we know you’re curious, but asking repeatedly whether or not we’re pregnant reminds us once again that we’re not. and “any news?” is essentially the same as asking if we’re pregnant, so don’t even think of trying that question instead.  you are not clever.  you are transparent. instead, assume that if we were pregnant and were ready to share, we would have already told you. if you want to ask us how we’re doing, then a simple, “how are you doing?” is best.  keep it simple people.

9. stop giving unrequested advice.  especially if you have never been down this path.  we know you just want to help, and maybe you heard of a new fertility treatment on the news that you’re sure will cure our problems. or perhaps you believe strongly in a particular health lifestyle, and you believe “if only” fertility challenged people lived that lifestyle they’d be as fertile as you are. or you’re sure if we would just relax, things would resolve magically.  offering these tidbits of advice feels condescending. it feels like you don’t think we can figure this out without your wise advice, as if we aren’t researching options endlessly ourselves. plus, that new fertility treatment you read about may not be available, and without understanding our exact fertility issues (please, don’t ask), you can’t really provide targeted advice.  try to understand we’re doing our own research and speaking with our doctors about how to proceed. if we want your advice, we’ll ask.

10.  bible quotes. philosophical quotes. you can shove them where the sun doesn’t shine.  if you are struggling with fertility and look to religion for support, great.  i don’t.  god and i are not best friends.  in fact i kind have some beef about the whole “everything happens for a reason” or “god will only give  you what you can handle.”  bull shit.  there are a number of things that happen in this world that are far more heart wrenching and heartbreaking than infertility.  walk down a terminally ill hospital floor for children.  this whole thing of you are given what you can handle.  i reject that.  i reject because there are some things that are greater pain than you can handle.  isn’t that what faith is for?  to reach out to something when you can’t handle the life pains.  i don’t get it.  but you sharing your bible quotes sure as hell isn’t helping me. stop speaking on the universe’s behalf. comments like “if it’s meant to be, it will happen,” or “maybe you weren’t meant to be parents,” don’t help. they add to our shame, as they imply we are not only infertile – but we also deserve it.  remember that no one really knows why things happen, and even if your philosophy on life comforts you, allow us to come to our own conclusions on why bad things happen to good people.

11.  stop accusing us of not appreciating the good in our lives.  our strong marriage, our great job, our nice house – whatever it is we have that’s great doesn’t take away the pain of infertility. it is possible to feel many feelings at once, sadness for our losses and joy for our blessings.  and we do.  it is what keeps us smiling.  it is what keeps us going.  every day we are grateful for the amazing life we have.  because no matter the pain, it is an amazing life.  keep in mind that people talk more about what’s troubling them than what’s going great. just because we don’t talk to you about all the wonderful in our life doesn’t mean we aren’t aware it’s there.

12.“god, i wish i could have a baby for you!”  you would be surprised how many people have offered their uterus to me.  from co-workers to friends.  it is all completely inappropriate.  while my better self is pleased that you are so fertile, i prefer to have a baby on my own in my own way. and i do understand that what you are trying to say is i feel terrible for you and wish there was something i could do to fix it.  but if that is what you mean, just say something to that effect. no offers of uterus-loaning required.  or wanted.

13. “those really aren’t miscarriages, you know. they happen to everyone.”  i know that early pregnancy testing makes it possible to detect pregnancies that would otherwise have gone undetected.  often referred as chemical miscarriages.  i have had 2 this past year.  3 total.  3 miscarriages that don’t fall into that category.  1 miscarriage at 10 weeks.  1 at 8 weeks.  and 1 at 6 weeks.  each one is different.  obviously, the farther along, yes, they are more difficult.  both physically and emotionally.  i still wake up some nights to “hearing the heartbeat” of our daughter.  yes.  we knew the gender of the farthest along loss.  yes.  i still cry about that one.  telling me that it happens to everyone, that it probably happened to you several times isn’t helpful. plenty of people get pregnant and stay pregnant, and i am not one of them.

14. “have you seen a doctor?”  please don’t ask.  along these lines, “haven’t you been trying for a while?”  i don’t need to be reminded of the months and years that have passed since starting down this path.  i am reminded with each birthday.  each christmas.  each gray hair.  i know how long it has been.  and in terms of the doctor.  it isn’t any of your business.  and if we have shared news with you regarding our medical decisions, it sure as hell isn’t your place to tell anyone else.  this is a betrayal of personal confidence.  don’t do it.

15. there are worse things that could happen. not many. but yes.  i have enough perspective to recognize that this is not the worst possible situation i could find myself in.  however.  EVERY single month you grieve a part of your life you want but can’t materialize. while i’m not saying there aren’t worse things, it IS an intensely challenging situation that has moments of big hopes and crushing disappointments. unless you’ve been there, don’t try to put it in a hierarchy of All Terrible Things of Mankind. and even if it’s not the most terrible thing ever, that still doesn’t mean that it doesn’t suck.

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one way that helps me see the light from the darkness is to focus on the good.  i am currently working on a 26 acts of kindness blog feature.  another way i am feeling less woe is me, is moving.  cleaning house.  purging a closet.  keeping moving.

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