Posts Tagged ‘waiting’

What IF…I Were A Mom…

What IF - I were a mom

If I were a mom, we’d start our morning’s with prayer, and listen to “Happy”, as we got dressed and ate our breakfast.

We’d walk to school and leave early enough to stop and observe the morning leaves, and the birds as they went about their business.
We’d have a number hunt on the way to school, and see which of us could find a number 4 along our path, or see the letter B.
We’d say a prayer at the gate of the school for a good day, and good friends, and a happy recess, and promise to tell each other something new when we saw each other in the afternoon!

I’d go to work, and recommend books to mom’s, and not fumble for the wording when I explained who I’d read the book to myself.
“I read this to MY son/daughter”, I’d be able to say, and not “I read this to my cousin/goddaughter/godson/niece/friend’s daughter”…
And they’d take my word immediately, because mom’s are faster to take advice from other mom’s than they are from people who don’t have children.

There would be no more awkward pauses when someone asks “How many kids do YOU have?”, because I wouldn’t have to think of a soft way to let THEM down about MY misfortune. No one would tiptoe around me when they discussed babies and pregnancies, because they would assume that I’m over all those icky sensitive infertile feelings. I would be able to request Mother’s Day off, because people would know that my family was obviously going to need me home that day.

Leading storytime at work would be fun, and I wouldn’t wish I could take the crafts home to do at my own kitchen table. When new books came in, I’d order my own copies so that I could add them to our bedtime collection. We would play library at home, because what I do at work every day would be something my children would aspire to.

I’d leave work on time, because there was someone waiting for me, with their something new to tell me. Dinner would be a recipe from Pinterest, prepped and in the fridge, ready for the oven. We would finish up homework and share our something new’s while we waited for it to cook.

My husband would get home just in time for a little bit of tv.
And there would be laughter.
Lots of laughter.
And even more laughter.
And a few more giggles, as we picked out our clothes for tomorrow.
And we’d each have our baths, and then all tell a story that we’d make up piece by piece, and then we’d pray for everyone near and far, before we turned out the lights.

And when little eyes were closed, I’d clean up the evening’s fun from the floor, and put everything away. I’d finish up any work that I hadn’t done, and I’d plan our next fun day. The zoo, or the museum, or the children’s play room. And I would be able to invite nieces/cousins/godkids, etc., rather than collecting them.

And I would feel STABLE.
In my life.
In my position.
In my future.
Because I’d know that no matter what else fell away, I was THEIR mom, and that it was something no one could take away from me.
I would know that I had the final say, in their care, and their education, and their diet, and their activities, and that no agency could dictate those choices based on any arbitrary guidelines.

I would feel like a whole person.
I would feel like a whole woman.
I would be confident.
I would be happy, on more days than I’m sad.
I wouldn’t have an undercurrent of rage.
I would be blessed to know that I was doing my part for the world by raising an intelligent, empathetic, thoughtful, caring, well-mannered, and creative person to contribute to society.
I would be proud.

I would be at peace.
Real peace.
Not the shroud of peace that comes from numbness.
But real peace.

I would be grateful to God for hearing me and answering me.
I would be thankful that my prayers were effective.
I wouldn’t hesitate opening my Bible because doubt was eating away at me.
I wouldn’t question my faith, or whether I’d offended God, and no one else would either.

I would attend baby showers.
I would buy baby gifts.
I would CARE.
I wouldn’t feel so incredibly defeated.
Or so immensely sad.
Or so devastatingly stupid.
Or so cheated.

I would go to sleep with excitement on my face, knowing that in a few short hours, I’d get to see those little faces all over again, and that we’d have new adventures to share.

But,…
I’m not a mom.
And at times, I truly doubt, against my highest of hopes,
That I will ever be one.
Despite my TWO journeys towards adoption.
And my TWO corrective surgeries.
Or my five dosage changes.
And my 8 years of “trying”.
Or my thousands of dollars spent.

But man, even without the frills, what a mom I’d be.


This post is a part of my “What IF” series for National Infertility Awareness Week.  It is my hope that these words will help someone who doesn’t understand why we can’t just “let it go”, or why we “care so much” about becoming parents, will somehow begin to see where the pain lies, and empathize with the 7.4 million others who feel just as I do.  Resolve to know more about infertility, for yourself, and those around you.  We need your support and your love, and your empathy.

For more information on Infertility and Infertility Resources, check out Resolve: The National Infertility Association.

To read the other posts in this series:
A Week of What IF’s.
What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.
What IF…I Were A Mom.
What IF…This Wasn’t So Hard.
What IF…I Could Just Stop Caring About This.
What IF…Infertility Were Acknowledged.
Featured image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.

What IF - I Said What I Was Thinking In the years that infertility and I have been going steady, my sensitivity to the things that people say and do without thinking, has fluctuated. There are times where I am super-sensitive and ready to slap down a RESOLVE pamphlet on anyone who utters something out of pocket, and there are times where I’m just like, “Ah, whatever…”.

I wonder often if people think before they let words fall out of their mouths. I think I get so wrapped up in it because I know that most of us dealing with infertility don’t have the luxury of just blurting out what’s on our minds.  When in fact, there’s usually so much going on in ours, that if we started, I doubt we’d ever be able to stop.

There are so many days that I find myself trying to control my feelings, and stop myself from blurting out something so direct and honest that it would ostracize me from the general population. Infertility does a good enough job on its own of making me feel separate and often less-than. It doesn’t need my help. But there are days where I can’t move. Days where I just can’t stand to think about this any more. And I start to wonder to myself, what IF on those days, I said the first things that came to my mind?

What IF I admitted that sometimes I’m deathly afraid that this will never happen?

What IF I admitted that I see myself getting older, and losing time EVERY SINGLE TIME I think about this now.

What IF I said out loud how devastated I feel every time I think about my grandfather getting older and NEVER seeing any children of mine?

What IF I said that sweet children make me sad and not happy because I just can’t stop feeling sorry for myself?

What IF I answered people honestly when they asked me how I felt every day?

What IF I told the truth when my husband asks “What are you thinking about?”

What IF I said “NO.”, when someone asked me “Are you okay?”

What IF I told people when they were going on and on about nonsense, that I was barely alive, and that if they only knew how much it took for me to BREATHE every day, they wouldn’t want me to waste my breath on trivialities.

What IF I was honest about how many times I have wanted to close this very blog because I’m just SICK of feeling like I’m in the same position I was when I started it?

Recently, I had a passing conversation with a person who is expecting, and sometime during our chat, she offhandedly said that she wished she weren’t pregnant. Had I uncensored myself and told her about the FIVE couples I know who’ve lost babies in the last year that they’d prayed and fought to even conceive, I wonder what would have happened?

Maybe she would have thought more carefully about tossing phrases like that out into the atmosphere. Maybe she would have gotten offended that I’d “taken it there”. Or maybe, at the very least, it wouldn’t still be bothering me to have heard it.

I walked away from the encounter with a sour taste in my mouth. Should I have used that opportunity to educate this person about how many people struggle with childlessness? Should I have said that I was personally offended? Was it the time or the place for that discussion at all?  Was that one of the rare opportunities for me to actually say what I was thinking?

I wonder,…what if…

 

Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s So Loud Inside My Head

Loud copy

So, we’re stiiiiiiill waiting.

Since learning about our male factor issues, we’ve kind of been on hold.  The preliminary moves in the urology department have basically just included a repeat of all the tests that were required from the original visits to the fertility center.  The fertility center can’t move forward until we have clear answers from urology on the issues they determine, and the urologist can’t move forward until our insurance approves everything.  There is a lot of back and forth, (and copays), between primary care doctors, specialists, and test centers.

And I’m annoyed.  For a few reasons.

An Ass Out of U & ME

I’m irked that we fell for the okey doke and relied soo heavily on the issues we knew I had, rather than looking into the male factor issues sooner.  The sheer intensity of my PCOS and thyroid complications led us all, (doctors included), to assume that it just had to be only me at the root of this crap.  I’m annoyed at myself for not “going wit my first mind”, and being thorough.

My Timeline is Askew

I’m irritated that there really is nothing I can do right now but wait.  Again.  I’m non-essential personnel at the urologist.  If I want to know what step we’re on, I have to pry the information out of the spouse’s one-word answers.  LOL  Not that he’s being a jerk about anything, but I’ve been the captain of this ship for oh, about six, seven years now…so to not know our itinerary, is eating me alive.  Like for real, can I at LEAST be in charge of the drinks on the lido deck or something?

No, Really. My Timeline is Jacked Up.

It’s March, people.  MARCH.  aka Third month of the year.  aka, even if I do get pregnant this year, I still might don’t have a kid until 2015.  So in my mind, it’s March, and I’ve lost yet another year.  Go me.  Cue the band.

It’s Exhausting.

It is extremely tiring to go to work every day, or do assignments, or just “be”, when you really want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, grab a trashy novel and a glass of wine, and just stop being an adult for like 45 minutes.  I’m kind of over adulthood lately.  It is NOT keeping up its end of the bargain.  Or at least not from what I saw when I was watching television and reading books as a young girl.  I mean, we should be living in a hip urban brownstone, working freelance jobs at swanky companies, hosting dinner parties, and on our second “accidental” pregnancy right now, right?  I mean, at least that’s what Thursday night lineups of years gone by said.  It’s literally exhausting trying to keep the thoughts of your real mind, from seeping out.  I don’t want people to know how much of my day is in this mental place, but should the opportunity to speak my truth come about in everyday conversation, I can’t really lie and say I’d know how to stop myself.

So as usual, I’ve just decided to stay busy, busy, busy. All this noise and thought running rampant in my head, has to come out sometime, and hopefully it may benefit you. Stay tuned for more info, including some very special events/blog posts for National Infertility Awareness Week 2014!

In the meantime, check out this month’s Sister2Sister Magazine for an article on Egg Freezing, The Egg has a brief mention.  Thank you Shahida Muhammad for thinking of me!

March 2014 Sister 2 Sister

 

Featured image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Long Pause…

Long Pause copy

So, last month, I returned to the hospital for another hysteroscopy.  YAY!

I get to the post-op appointment two weeks later…Gyne says there was no polyp that she saw. Just my uterine lining stocking up for the apocalypse again.

So this giant lapse (a month and a half, which feels like eternity), was for nothing.  Or at least that’s how I felt instantly.  I know it wasn’t really, and that it was good to make sure everything was clear anyhow, but damn if it didn’t feel like a waste of time.  A painful waste of time at that.

But whatever, it was what needed to be done.

So the next move was to return to the RE for our IVF consult.  This meeting is where we sign all the legal paperwork regarding cryo-preservation, legal intent, and consent forms.  This is also the meeting where most people learn of their IVF protocol.  Meaning, what medicines their RE has determined will be best for them, and some start dates.

Notice how I said, “most people”.

Because as I told yall before, “if I haven’t learned anything in this infertility battle, I’ve learned that NOTHING on this journey can be simple for me. NOTHING.”

So, after we came in, she got right to it and said, “You’ve got three things working against you right now that we have to fight.”

I took a deep breath, and she continued.

  1. Your thyroid.  We have to get it down because it’s too high.  We prefer it to be >2.5, yours was at three.
  2. Your PCOS.  Which is apparently a ROUGH case.

At this, I cringed.  I have done my reading.  I know that with PCOS and IVF there are risks of hyperstimulation, and even an increased risk of miscarriage.  PCOS is a jerk.  A hairy, fat, jerk.  So I held my breath as she told me that my particular case of PCOS has already acted a complete ass.

The normal range of follicles a woman with normal or average egg quality has, is around twelve. 6 on one ovary, and 6 on the other.  But Regina?  Regina has Thirty-flippin-one.  13 on one ovary, and 18 on the other.

AMH stands for Anti Mullerian Hormone. This hormone gives doctors an indication of the estimated number of eggs a woman has left.  It gives the RE an idea of how many eggs they can expect to retrieve from you.  The normal AMH levels of women my age, are between 1.0 and 3.0.  In PCOS patients, AMH levels can run high.  My doctor has NEVER SEEN A PERSON WITH AS HIGH AMH LEVELS AS ME.  My AMH was 21.  Not 2.1, TWENTY ONE.

So do I have a great possibility for egg retrieval?  On the surface, yes.  But having done the research, I knew what that really translated to: I am at high risk for hyperstimulation during IVF.

In other words, my follicles may get a taste of those sweet hormone meds and go “fat kid at the buffet”, and my cycle could be cancelled.  She even mentioned that she may have to cut my doses in half just because of my risks.  WTF, lady bits?  What are you doing?!!

My body’s a damned overachiever in every area except weight loss.

But remember, she said there were three issues.

After all this time, the next blow, is that we now have male factor infertility also! YAY!!!  We won!

We have been referred to urology now.  To which we won’t get in until next year.  Depending on what is required, that pushes the IVF process to at least February.

So, all the craptastic news out of the way, we continued with the other parts of the consult and learned all about the risks of IVF, had the painful discussions about things like selective reduction, and even what to do with our embryos if we divorce or one of us passes away. Then came the great layout of costs for preserving embryos, $1100 up front and $450/year after, and the cost of preserving “backup” sperm for retrieval day, $350.

Fun, right?

And then to add insult to emotional injury, I got some yucky news about the little one who we were planning to adopt earlier this year.  She’s fine!  But the info was yucky nonetheless.

I got in my feelings for a hot second.  Mostly angry, not sad.  Angry that we’d waited before following up with the male factor information.  Angry at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, yet again.  Angry to be on hold yet again.

Then I just stopped.  I reminded myself to calm down.  I reminded myself that now was the time to focus on others and not myself.  Prayers for that precious baby girl, and love to my husband who got his own bad news today.

That being said, I’m giving myself permission to be a tad p’d off today.  And prescribing my OWN meds for a change.  Thanks to my sorority sister for the appropriately named gift.

IMAG0724 (1)

 

Featured image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pebbles & Mustard Seeds

 

Mustard Seeds featured copySo finally, after battling insurance requirements to get to the testing phase of my pre-IVF life, it’s time for a saline sonogram to investigate the condition of my uterus itself.  The reason a good RE will do this test before moving forward with IVF is to ensure that the home we’re going to place defenseless embryos into, is a good one, with ample parking and whatnot.

So what is a saline-hysterosonogram?  Basically, it’s an ultrasound.  The doctor inserts saline into your uterus while performing the ultrasound, so that the saline will coat the area and provide a clear image of the shape and lining.

Now, silly me, because I’d had a d&c and hysteroscopy a year ago, which pretty much cleared my uterus out completely, I thought this would be a minor procedure just to get out of the way.  I mean, I just had my uterine reset button pressed, what bad elements could have moved into the neighborhood in such a short time?

Well, apparently, a polyp.

Wait, what? Seriously?

Of course!

Because if I haven’t learned in this infertility battle, I’ve learned that NOTHING on this journey can be simple for me.  NOTHING.

So as we’re all looking at the ultrasound monitor, I can see there’s one small portion that won’t allow the saline to spread.  And THAT little, pebble sized dent, is what my doctor said was a polyp.  In fact, she and the technician went back and forth about whether it looked like a polyp or a fibroid, but I just shook my head and faded out for a minute, because fibroid or polyp, to me, it was a roadblock.  One more thing I’d have to get around.  Great.

The next step would be yet another d&c and hysteroscopy.

Good times.

So we sat down with our nurse after my sonogram to get some directions about where we were going next.  As the doctor had already said, my first trip would be back to my regular ob/gyn to schedule the hysteroscopy.  I was hesitant to ask, because I didn’t want to seem as time-obsessed as I actually am, but before she continued, I asked her how long after that would I be back in business.  Thankfully, she said two weeks is the recovery time, and that the IVF consultation meeting I’d have to do next would line up with that.  In the meantime, all our bloodwork was back and fine, with the exception of my thyroid because its a jerky mc jerkface, and it was time for me to restart Metformin.

Yay!

So a couple days later, it was back to the gynecologist I went.  True to form, this too could not be without dramatics.

So let’s see, the appointment was at 10:30, and there was no traffic getting to the office, but when I got ONE block away, traffic was stopped.  10:50.  Finally got around the traffic debacle and parked, the office had moved, and I went to the wrong building first.  10:55.  I get into the office, get signed in, and of course my insurance has changed so I have to call to make sure I’m even able to see my doctor at all.  After arguing with the automated system for 25 minutes, I finally talked to a person who finally found the doctor in network.  11:30.  And I STILL didn’t see the doctor until 12.

It’s a blessing to have a doctor who knows you, or at least knows enough about you and your journey to be fully on board.  I have that blessing.  Every visit, she asks me how YOU Eggshells are doing, and speaks to how great it is that I blog about this.  We chatted for a while about how many patients she gets who don’t consider their fertility until it’s just about too late, and the number of those patients that happen to be African American.

Listening and talking to her reminded me that beyond my frustrations about having to stop and go so much, there are so many other women who haven’t even started.  More even than that, I think about the ones who probably never will, out of fear or procrastination.  So I took that as encouragement to push through this roadblock.  I could look at the polyp as a pebble in my way, or an opportunity to exercise a mustard seed of faith.

I chose the mustard seed.

I scheduled the hysteroscopy surgery and told myself not to complain. I’d taken the time to take a step that was necessary to reach my goal.  If for no other reason, that was enough to feel a little satisfaction.  I then took that high and used it to walk myself over to the other medical building and leave word for my other doctor regarding my thyroid needs.   Hell, I was already on a roll, may as well take it all the way, right?  With every little step, I was reclaiming just a sliver of my control, and it felt good.

Once again, I felt like an infertility gangster. LOL  I pulled off feeling ten times better than I had when I got there, and blasting my motivation playlist.

I hope you’re learning to take your small victories, too!  They add up.

 

Mustard Seed image courtesy of olivcris/ Flickr.com

Relentless: Earning My Infertility Theme Music

relentless

As I was pulling off from my doctor’s office last week, I couldn’t help but search through my Spotify playlists until I had the right music blasting.  I was so invigorated and proud of myself, that I couldn’t move until there was an appropriate soundtrack accompanying my exit.  I mean, if you really look at this thing, and some of the moves we have to make, infertility fighters deserve our own theme music.

Some of us are doing more with our day before we even get to work, than others will do all week.  Go ahead, toot your own horn.  You deserve it.

On the day in question, I’d just had a marathon medical week in terms of getting my ducks in a row.

Where else to start but at the beginning.

So first of all, when you start the fertility center process, one of the first things they’ll have you do as a woman is have preliminary blood work done.  Because this testing includes monitoring your hormone levels, it is required that you have them done during the first few days of your menstrual cycle.  Now, my once insane cycles have gotten themselves under control in the year after my d&c surgery last fall, so it was a nice change to be able to tell my doctor exactly when I expected my period to arrive.   So we smiled and talked, and I was all confident when I told her when it should be there, and planned my next week around getting the ball rolling.

And do you know that heffa period had the nerve to not show up?!  All this time we been riding together, and improving our relationship with one another, and now when I need her to be on her game, this broad takes the month off!  Like, actually did not even hint at arriving any time soon.

Lost the entire month of September waiting for a period that gave no cares about me and my timeline.  Moved into October, and just as my calendar was getting hectic again with work conferences and family obligations, etc., the prodigal period returned.  Great, right?!  Now we can move forward right?!

Wrong.

In between conference sessions, I call the fertility center to schedule the blood tests within the window of days, and they tell me that all of a sudden my insurance company is requesting a referral from a primary care physician.   So, I call my primary care office, and before we even get to the nitty gritty, the nurse decides to go back and forth with me for twenty minutes about how I shouldn’t need a referral at all,  and I have to tell her repeatedly that I’m only telling her what the fertility center told me that the insurance company told them!   Finally, she transfers me to some voicemail system to leave the referral request.

I say on the message that this is a time sensitive request, and that if they can get back to me soon, I’d appreciate it.  I put infertility-me into a little compartment and go back to my conference and wait for a reply from the nurse.  At the end of the day, I get a message from her saying that even-though all my doctors at this point know that I have blocked tubes and have to jump to IVF, I can’t just get the referral, but that I have to come in for yet another appointment (can somebody say “copay hustle”).

And that appointment date?  Yeah, nine days away.  As though I didn’t already say that things were time-sensitive.  I was discouraged to say the least.  After the vacation my period took in September, it would be devastating to now have to skip October also.

So I started making last-ditch efforts.  I called my patient coordinator at the fertility center to see if she had any advice on how to proceed.  She was awesome, and double-checked every loophole she could find, but in the end, we were back at square one.

I hung up with her and headed back to my job.  I’d just have to wait, I supposed.  As upset as I was, I felt like maybe it was time to just chalk it up as a loss, but then something in me was just like, “We’ve come too far.”  So on a whim, I decided to call my primary care office and see if there had been any cancellations.  Someone had just cancelled for the very next day.  I’d have to fit it in during a lunch hour, but I did not hesitate to tell her I’d be there.

I make it to the appointment, get all the way to the part where she’d get me the referral done, and the computer wouldn’t let her input it.

Puck_Seriously

Sigh.  So she prints me out the referral order anyway and tells me to call back the next day to make sure that it went through.  Great.  Because during yet another day at my work conference, I’d like to spend my lunch break on the phone with nurses and insurance companies.  Nothing better to do.

I call back tomorrow and I’m on hold most of the day.  I can’t get through to the referral nurse, and when I talk to the fertility center, they won’t budge until I have that confirmation. Finally, I’m able to get them to at least agree to let me come in the morning, if I have the referral in hand, BUT, just to gut punch me, the nurse explains that if I can’t make it then, I may have missed the testing window and may have to postpone my IVF cycle until NEXT YEAR.

Now, I’m aware that we are only a couple of months from next year.  I know that we are running full steam ahead towards the holiday season, and the resolution gateway.  However, after the year I’ve had, and having already postponed my life for the first half of the year, to tell me now that I’m so close I can feel the menopur, that I may have to wait until NEXT YEAR….

I’d been strong for a few days.  I’d held on to my dignity and control.  But when she said that, I just let the tears fall.  All my power had once again been taken from the situation. This whole journey has been a list of “next year’s”.  I cannot wait yet another year.

So as I sat there in the parking lot, prepared to go back to work, I was deflated, but I couldn’t let it go.  So I called the primary care office just one more time.  I don’t know if she could hear the desperation in my voice or not, but she sat on the phone with me until she found that damn referral slip and I didn’t care that I’d already driven all the way to work, I pulled out of the parking lot and hightailed it up the street to that office so fast that when I got there, she hadn’t even finished putting my name on the envelope.

I called the fertility center and told them I had it, and they said I may have to sit and wait when I got there the next morning for the approval code or whatever they needed to come through.  I told her I didn’t care.  I’d sit there and wait.

And I did.  I waited close to an hour or so, and had a nice conversation with the billing office rep as well, (who was VERY nice and supportive), had all the blood drawn, then drove downtown to the last day of my conference and then back to work again to finish Teen Read Week.

And nobody knew.  Nobody knew that in my personal life, I’d just moved a mountain.  I’d just swam the English channel.  I’d just knocked down a wall that had taunted me.

I’d just kicked infertility’s ass.  All before I even got to work that day.

I hadn’t been concerned with “bugging the nurses”, or getting on their nerves.  I didn’t care about sitting in their offices with checklists and requirements.  I didn’t even care that they knew me by name by the time I left them.  I felt powerful.  I felt like a warrior.  I felt,…relentless.

So when I pulled out of the parking lot that evening, with two doctor’s appointments handled and a third one already scheduled, I blasted that theme music without hesitation, and I dared anyone try and get in my way.

Are you kicking infertility’s ass?  What’s your theme song?

Here’s one of mine:

Featured image courtesy of stockimages, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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