Sunday, July 31, 2011

When God Closes a Door He Opens a Window.

In the past two years I have learned a lot about the different options of becoming a mother. Thankfully, there are many. Sometimes I forget how much lies ahead of me on this journey, I get angry about what I don't have and forget to give thanks for the things I do have.

What do I have?

Great friends. In the past year a lot of bad things have happened in my life. The top of this list of course is losing my sister. Nothing trumps that. Infertility is the second. And this list goes on from there. Through all of this, I lost some friends. But, the ones I gained are angels living on this earth. There are times I will sit with a friend for an hour talking about my triumphs and we will barely skim the surface of whats going on in her life. If you are one of these people and are reading this, I do notice, and I want to be better. I genuinely care about whats going on in your life, and don't mean to derail your importance with my, well, drama. I know how fortunate I am to have my friends.

Great job. I love my job. I get to teach, and I get to be a nurse. My hours are flexible, and my boss has a heart of gold.

Great husband. My husband loves me for who I am. The pretty parts, the ugly parts, the selfish parts, the dramatic parts. He ate burnt food the first two years we were together because I couldn't cook. He knows when I need to cry, to laugh, and when to just sit with me a be silent.

Great family. One thing that has changed dramatically in the past year is my relationship with my mom. Primarily because I have one now. We weren't very close before my sister passed. In fact, it was my sister who was closest to my mom, and when she died I struggled for a long time that God took the wrong daughter. Don't let this statement upset you, Mom, if you are reading this, I know better now. My family as a whole is small (Great grandpa, Gram, Pop, Aunt, Uncle, Mom, Me, my husband, and my sisters memory) but we are full of love.

Ownership. I have the means to own my home, drive the car I want, and go out to dinner on a whim. These things are not given to all. I have worked hard for everything I have, but still realize how lucky I am to have it.

Faith. This is probably the biggest struggle that I've had over the past year. Praising God and having faith is easy when things are going in your favor. But, when things fall apart, and I mean, things club you over-the-head at ninety miles an hour on some random Tuesday afternoon its hard to believe that any higher power (who is supposed to love you unconditionally) is allowing these things to happen to you. But, there was a moment soon after I lost my sister that I made the decision to have faith. To believe in God and allow him into my life for no other reason than to simply believe in my future, and that someone/something of a higher power is out there, right beside me, seeing my through the good and bad times. Assuring that I'm never alone. I still struggle sometimes. But, everyday I remind myself of my commitment to keep faith in my life. And I do.

What I don't have?
A baby.

Not much is missing from my life, but I seem to spend so much time dwelling on it.

I found this picture of a house on Google, and looking at its layout I begin to think of this journey of fertility.

"If God closes a door he opens a window." Right?

The door is the easy way to have a baby. You have sex and BAM! you're pregnant. Obviously not my journey, after two years we can conclude this.

The window to the left of the door you'd definitely see from the street, its obvious. This is ART (assisted reproductive technology). The IUI's, IVF's, meds and other treatments you do with your eggs and your partners sperm.

The window to the right is the donor window. Surrogacy, donor eggs, donor sperm. The baby will biologically not be 100% yours or your partners, but you will be the parent and have the baby from birth. Maybe you will even carry the baby, but it may not be your genetic material.

The more hidden window, the one in the bottom left (the basement) is adoption. It's a window that we haven't explored much lately, but its there. Its an option. My husband and I have thought about adopting a child since we first got married. We've said that we'd like to give birth to two (two biological children) and adopt one or two. We just always envisioned that it would go in that order. But, lately we've thought about reversing the order, and having started looking into adoption. I have a lot of questions, and a lot of fear about it, but we are simply "cracking the window" and seeking out more information.

So, if you are reading this and your in our place, look at your options. Again, "Navigating the land of IF" by Melissa Ford is a great resource.

If you are reading this and thinking, "I'm pretty sure I don't want kids" thanks fine too, and I appreciate your support.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Moment to Breathe

I don't really know where to start, I guess I will start out by saying that I'm sorry I haven't written sooner. I'm sorry that after presenting this amazing plan I bailed out for like a week and left you all wondering.

Here is why, blatent, raw, why.

In the state of California it is required that both partners must get infectious disease screening before they can embark on any kind of ART (assisted reproduction treatment) mission. So about a week and a half ago we both got tested for the following:
HLIV (human lymphocytic immunodeficiency virus- yeah, I didn't even know this existed and I'm a nurse)
HCV (hepatitis C virus)
HBV (hepatitis B virus)
RPR with reflux (syphillis)
Cystic Fibrosis Gene (one of us has to be negative so our baby isn't at risk)
Chlamydia culture (up the vag)
Gonorrhea culture (up the vag)

Okay, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking what all the people in my daily life were saying to me, "oh come on, you are a respectable person, you make good decisions, and you've been married for nearly a decade, if you had something you would know by now."

To be honest, I was scared. I mean, I had my share of dumbass horny teenage girl moments where I didn't use the proper protection, but didn't 90% of us have those moments? And, as a good friend of mine pointed out "I don't think teenage kids fall very high on the risk list of HIV." True, true.

So, you can guess what happens next, right? I was fine, yep. I was fine. But when I rhetorically asked the nurse if my husband was fine too, she stated, "Oh, his stuffs not all back yet." Ten minutes later he got a call saying that he had a problem with one of his tests. My husband tested + for the HCV antibody (Hepatitis C).  Our RE thought the test could be a false positive, as neither of us have ever been IV drug users, had blood transfusions...basically we live outside the risk factors, and I tested negative so the doc couldn't see how he could have have it. We did another lab test to see if my husband truly had Hepatitis C (its an RNA test that confirms the virus' presence in your blood).

FINALLY today (5 days past the drawing of the second sample, 6 days past the day we found out about the positive), we got the result, he doesn't have Hepatitis C. It has been the most terrifying, exhausting, and just plain crazy week I have ever had. I have honestly never been so scared. But, he is OK, and I am so incredibly grateful. It really puts life into perspective though. Last night I was sobbing because I thought that maybe my husband could be sick, he could have liver damage, he could need months of treatment, I could not have his babies, he could die, and I could be left alone, widowed and without children. It all sounds very dramatic now, but when I was standing in the middle of this tornado, it was very possible.

When he called and told me the news today, we both cried tears of relief, and when I finally got to see my husband, I hugged him like he had come home from war. The love of my life is finally out of the danger zone. And now, I am determined to have his babies!

I promise not to get to preachy here, but I would like to say that it was faith, and asking God for his help in all of this that made us get through this week. And, I am not afraid to say that I truly saw God today.

For more information on Hepatitis C please visit:

Friday, July 15, 2011

2nd Opinion

I know, I'm a complete blog slacker lately. Truth is, I got back from my vacation, and work got crazy, and this is literally the first time I've had to sit down, exhale, have a glass of wine, and write.

This past week my husband and I went to another RE. I love him and his office. I have spoken with them about three times, and they return my calls within an hour. They are so receptive and respectful of our questions and concerns that I truly feel this is where we belong for our duration on infertility island.

The RE pretty much looked at my entire medical history, and my husbands, and he did a full physical exam including yet another vaginal ultrasound....yippee....not! But at least he was thorough. He also agrees that I ovulate too late, and since I have spotting before my actual period starts, he thinks my progesterone dips down a little too soon making it more difficult for any potential fetus to implant. He also stated that my FSH level of 10.0 (that I had drawn two doctors ago) was borderline high, so medication to induce ovulation would be helpful.

Ovulation stimulators do include Clomid, but I was VERY clear that I didn't want to use it again. The side effects were horrible and the medication only worked for me 1:3 times which isn't great.

The Plan: Femara for five days. This is a pill like Clomid, but often works for women that didn't respond to Clomid. Then, just to make sure I my follicles grow in a timely manner, I will take an injectable medication for three days once the Femara is done. I will be having frequent ultrasounds and some blood draws during this process, and once I have a follicle, or follicles measuring between 18-20mm I will get a trigger shot, which triggers ovulation to occur in 12-24 hours. Then, I will have two IUI's (intrauterine inseminations). One will be the day of the trigger, and one the day after, I think. I haven't gotten my specific grid, but I think that's right. Then, once I'm all sperm loaded and my egg is available hopefully a sperm will fertilize an egg, or two! To ensure that there is enough progesterone to go around I am going to take progesterone supplements for my 2 week-wait.
Back to insemination. Again, this means that my husbands sperm will be washed, and the best swimmers will be placed directly into my uterus to swim up my fallopian tubes where the egg will be. My RE says that without insemination only 5% of sperm make it to the uterus, so it increases your chances significantly if you can put the sperm directly into the uterus. Here's my explanation in a picture for you visual people:

The toughest part will be waiting the 17 days from my first IUI until they draw my blood to see if I'm pregnant. I am going to vow to all of you right now that I will not test with a home pregnancy test. I will wait for my blood draw....I will wait and hold on to hope.
The downfall: everything I just told you will cost about $2200.00. But, here I am. It will work, I have to go into this believing that it will work. There is no other option.
I'm hopeful, scared, anxious, eager, and honestly wondering how I will fit driving 1.5hrs daily for a few days in a row, plus at least once a week during the cycle will fit into our work schedules. But, we've both talked with our bosses and told them whats going on. They were OK with it. So we're fortunate.

C'mon Baby! Or Babies!