Sunday, April 19, 2015

Our Journey to Parenthood {an infertility story}

April 19th through 25th is National Infertility Awareness Week. Last year, I told my infertility story on another blog, as a guest blogger, but I recently realized that I never shared that story here! Yes, I've talked about some of the lessons I've learned, and I shared about our miscarriage, but our whole story hasn't been shared here. I thought National Infertility Awareness Week might be a good time to share it. A lot of this will be taken from that guest post last year, so pardon me if some of it sounds familiar. And also, because this post is about infertility, there will be talk of sex and sperm and that time of month. Just in case you aren't comfortable with that. Now you know!

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I have always wanted to be a mom. I know that sounds cliché, but it is true. There is nothing else I wanted more. I remember that I took my baby dolls everywhere. I remember all through my teens and twenties I would write down all my children's names. I wanted eight kids when i was young, then changed it to seven, and then after some years of babysitting and daycare working, I changed it to four! And it stayed at four for many, many years. I remember when my sister started getting babysitting jobs and i was so jealous. Mom kept telling me, "your time will come" and it sure did! I became the babysitting queen, a nickname given to me by friends, because I would miss Friday nights with friends to babysit. I loved it. LOVED IT. I taught 3 year olds at a daycare, then had the baby class, and then later, had the elementary age kids. I ended up nanny-ing for a wonderful family for about 3 years, and when they moved, I started working with another family. I guess you can see what I'm saying by now. I loved kids. And I definitely wanted a few!

I spent all of my twenties as a single woman. I could not wait to meet the man God had for me, and was completely surprised when it was someone I had known my entire life, someone I had even dated when I was 18. Our love story was kind of a whirlwind. He came back into my life in December 2007, we were an official couple in February 2008, engaged in March 2008, and married that November. But for us, the saying was true: When you know, you know.


As much as I wanted kids, I definitely wanted a couple of years of just me and Brad. So we decided we would wait two years and then start trying. I would be 32 at that point, but that's still early enough. I could still have my babies before I turned 35...which I thought was pretty important. As it got closer to the two year mark, we began to discuss it, and Brad agreed that we could start trying in April (of 2011). In November of 2010, I decided to go ahead and get off the pill. I knew it could take up to 6 months for your cycle to regulate after coming off of the pill, and i wanted my cycles to be completely regulated by April so we could start trying right away. That way, you know, we'd be pregnant by May or so. Easy peasy! Right? Wrong.

Two things happened. Number one is that in January of 2011 I began to really focus on losing weight. I had been trying to lose weight for years but nothing would work. People had suggested I see a doctor, but i kept thinking things like, "Well, I haven't cut out sugar." or "Well, I haven't done any strength training.". I just wanted to try everything I could before I went to a doctor about it. So that January I got serious. I signed up for a bootcamp class. It was 3 days a week. I signed up for zumba, 2 days a week. I counted every single calorie that went in my mouth. And at the end of 15 weeks of doing that, I had gained one pound. That's when I knew something was wrong. I called my general practitioner and made an appointment. That March, I went to him and he told me he would check my thyroid, and run other tests, but that I seemed to be doing everything right and I just needed to keep going. (He thought I had hit a plateau which made no sense since I had not lost any weight at all!) He ran a bunch of tests, and everything came back normal.

The other thing that happened is my period would not start. I came off the pill in November, so my cycles should have been regulated by May. I read to call your gynecologist if your cycle still had not regulated after 6 months after coming off the pill, so I did. After telling the nurse my situation, our conversation went like this:  

Nurse: I think you need to come in and have some tests run, it sounds like you may have insulin resistance.
Me: Well, my GP just ran a bunch of tests on me because I'm also having trouble losing weight, and everything came back normal. (I didn't know it but this probably confirmed her theory of IR.)
Nurse: Did he run a glucose test?
Me: Um...I don't know.
Nurse: Did he have you drink a really sweet koolaid-looking drink?
Me: Noooo...
Nurse: Then let's make you an appointment. It sounds like insulin resistance, which is an easy fix.

I went to my obgyn, and she immediately diagnosed me as insulin resistant. She only needed the test to confirm it, and it did. She put me on metformin, and told me it would regulate my cycles, increase fertility and help me to lose weight. I have to admit I got really excited. A diagnosis! A pill that would fix it! For me, all of this meant one thing: A BABY. Well, it did regulate my cycles and it has made it possible (but not easy!) to lose weight. My fertility has increased I am sure, just because I wasn't ovulating then, and I do (usually) ovulate now. But still, no baby. 

 September 2013

That was in May of 2011, so we tried to conceive naturally for over two years. We went back to my obgyn in September of 2013. I had lost some weight and had hit 35, so my doctor agreed it was time to move forward. She ordered an ultrasound for me and a sperm analysis for my husband. This is all very standard. I figured everything would turn out fine, she would put me on clomid, and wa-lah! I would finally get that baby I had been longing for. I am sure you can guess by now that isn't what happened either. 

I got my ultrasound results back and we found out that I have PCOS. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, one of the leading causes of infertility. A couple of weeks later we got Brad's sperm analysis back. Up until that point, the plan had been for me to try clomid. But the added diagnosis of PCOS & low sperm count/motility moved us straight to an IUI. As you might be able to imagine, this was a very difficult time for us. It just felt like another mountain in our quest to become parents. I remember thinking that every time we had tests run, the results were not in our favor! I remember wondering if we would ever become parents. 

We had our first IUI with my obgyn in October of 2013. It did not work. I called and left a message that I had started my period and was ready to move forward with IUI #2. They called me back and explained that instead they would be referring me to the Reproductive Endocrinologist. No! I didn't want to. I loved my obgyn. She knew my whole story. I trusted her. I wanted to stay with her. But my nurse explained that they could only do so much. An RE's specialty is getting women pregnant. They are able to time everything perfectly. Most of the girls in my support group went to the same RE and all of them absolutely loved him. But it still was just another THING to me, another step in this world called infertility. Most people start seeing an RE after trying on their own for a year. But we had already been trying for 2 1/2 years at this point. So really, it was about time. But I walked out of my workplace, sat down on the curb in the parking lot, and cried. I felt so alone and sad and confused. How could this be happening? Doesn't God understand that I've wanted to be a mom since I was a child? Doesn't he understand that I'm already 35?! 

Our first appointment was with the RE in December of 2013. We both liked him immediately. Everything started happening right away. I had an HSG test to make sure my tubes weren't blocked - they weren't. We had tests run to see if we were carriers of any genetic diseases. We weren't. I had my second IUI in December. It was unsuccessful. It was much harder on me than our first failed IUI.

I feel like this post is way too long already! So here is the short but painful story of 2014. I had my last IUI in January of 2014. On February 17th, I found out we were pregnant. I was elated! Ecstatic! Full of joy. The thought of me having a miscarriage had not entered my mind. The journey of infertility was OVER, I was going to be a mom! 


This pic is from Resolve's Walk for Infertility. I had found out I was pregnant a week before this event. My balloon is for the walk's balloon release, and it has our baby's due date. It is crazy for me to think about the fact that I am pregnant in this picture.

On February 27th, I found out something didn't look right on my ultrasound and that I was possibly facing an ectopic pregnancy. On March 3rd, I found out that it was not ectopic but it was indeed a miscarriage. I remember my RE telling me that if i had any pain or cramping at all over the weekend (my birthday weekend), to call immediately. They were worried about ectopic, which can be very dangerous! My whole weekend passed and i felt fine. I had decided that it was just too early for them to see what they needed to see on the ultrasound. I had decided that everything was going to be fine. But that Sunday night, or early Monday morning, I woke up with the most intense cramping I have ever felt (and trust me, cramps with PCOS are no picnic!). I called and spoke with my RE. Based on my description of the pain, he said it sounded more like a miscarriage than an ectopic pregnancy. And it was. I cannot even begin to adequately explain the devastation of a miscarriage, and after almost 3 years of infertility...  It is heartbreaking, to say the least. Physically painful, but emotionally devastating. There really are no words. 

2014 was by far the hardest year of my life. My faith took a beating. I was angry. I was sad. I grieved, a lot. There were times when I felt like I would suffocate from the weight on my chest. I cried more tears last year than I probably have the last 5 years! I was jealous of others. Pregnancy announcements felt like someone punched me in the stomach. Being honest, they still often do. Baby showers got too overwhelming...and they still are. But there was a point, towards the end of the year, that things began to turn around in my mind. I forgave God, my anger subsided, and I began to praise and worship him through the pain. I had heard a speaker (I believe Christine Caine) say, "In your pain, you can either run to God, or you can run away from Him." I remember thinking about that, and deciding right then that no matter what I would run TO Him. No matter how hard, no matter the storm. And so I began to really seek Him and pray to Him and praise Him, even when it was hard. Even when I was so mad at Him that I didn't know what to say. I went public with our story after our miscarriage and got more support than I ever thought possible. But I still struggled to believe that God would change our situation. I knew He could if he wanted to, but I didn't know if he would. I just didn't know. 

 November 2014 at the Baby Steps Walk for Infertility

After a year away, my husband & I went back to Dr. Webster in March 2015 for a consultation, and in a few months we plan to start treatment again. But this time things are different. I BELIEVE. I believe that not only CAN God heal me, but he WILL. I believe that not only CAN God give us the desires of our hearts, I believe that HE WILL. There are still hard days, but most days my faith is strong because I KNOW He is on this journey with me, I KNOW He cares about what we are facing, and I KNOW He loves us. I know that these things don't mean He is going to answer our prayers exactly how we want Him to at exactly the time we want Him to. That much is clear! But I am encouraged in so many ways. BELIEVE became my word for the year, and since then I have prayed for him to help my unbelief. And He has! And He continues to do so! He constantly points me to scripture that tells of His miracles, that tells of His power, that reminds me of what it means to have faith! He shows me stories in the Bible about women who also faced infertility. This alone shows me that he CARES about my infertility story. 


I have so much more to say... I want to tell you about the blessings that have come through infertility - because they are there! I want to tell you about how you can help & support people you know who are facing infertility. I want to tell you about my support group. So stay tuned. More on this to come, especially this week.

And if you are still reading, bless you!!




 




9 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. I've followed your blog off and on, and I'm so sorry you're going through this. I'm praying for you and your husband to get through this tough time.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I love the last paragraph the most!! SO good and such truth! Blessed is she who believe the Lord will fulfill His promises to her! Luke 1:45

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  3. I agree for sure with the blessings that have come from infertility. I guess as it turns out God does know exactly when he is doing :) I just know you will be a momma soon!

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  4. XOXO you're amazing. Praying for you that your sweet baby(ies) will be in your arms soon!

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  5. Even though I'm pretty sure I read your post when you posted last year, I still had to read this one as well. I really do believe that you're going to be a mom! And I can't wait to hear about your journey getting there! Spending you lots of love and well wishes!!!

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  6. I was referred to your blog through Sarah's Laughter and I am going to see Dr. Webster next week for the first time!

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  7. Hi Mel, check this out... http://www.aloewellness.co.ke/2016/11/28/remedy-for-infertility/

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