Category Archives: infertility

Infertility: Round 2

Last time we were dealing with infertility there were a lot of unknowns and a lot of tests to get to the bottom of them.  This time around we have a pretty clear picture of what’s going on, but it doesn’t make the situation any less bleak or frustrating. 

In case you are just tuning in, here’s the Cliffs Notes version of what I’m workin with;

1. Stage 3 of 4 Endometriosis (which I just learned may be less after having River, hooray for small victories!)

2.  A heart-shaped uterus (I’ve had the septum resected twice as these suckers (with a capital F) grow back!)

3.  An “advanced age” for pregnancy, I was 34 the first time around, now I’m 37

4.  I have only 1 Fallopian tube due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy last year

5.  A traveling husband who is gone about 60-70% of the time

6.  A hormonal imbalance causing hot flashes and night sweats that my doctor is trying to figure out

Here’s what I have actually GOING for me;

1.  My ovaries are in good condition and I have a pretty good reserve for my “advanced age”

2.  A super patient and wonderful husband who’s on board with whatever it takes 

Since a year of “trying” has passed, to no avail, I’m back with a fertility specialist.  This time a new one since we moved out of state.  So far I really like her.  

My first appointment was Monday where we did blood work and an ultrasound.  She said my ovaries looked great, this month I had at least 7 eggs on the right and 6 on the left “wake up” which is right where it should be I guess.  She saw what could be a polyp or blood clot in my uterus and possibly some fluid in my remaining tube.  I still don’t have the results of the blood work.  

This morning I’m going in for another HSG test.  I’d have to say these are one of the most unpleasant things I’ve been through.  Last time I had to go through it several times because I had a couple doctors retire in the middle of my treatment and the new docs always wanted fresh info, that meant putting me through things time and again.  

On the plus side, HSGs could possibly boost your fertility for a few months.  Unfortunately my husband is also touring heavily at this time, damn it. 

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the upside to infertility 


River is now 22 months, which means 2 is just around the corner.  Problably one of the most reverberated phrases in parenthood is “it goes by so fast!”  I’m guilty of it, at least agreeing with it, but I don’t actually feel that way.  When someone says to me “I can’t believe he’s already (insert age here)!” I say, “I know” because I feel like my true answer of “I can!” sounds like I’m complaining.  

The truth is that I’m not shocked at his age or pace of the advancements he’s making because I’m so present.  I’ve never been more present for anything in my life.  I don’t mean because I’m a SAHM and am physically with him every minute.  I mean because I sop up every moment I have with him like a biscuit in a bowl of soup. (Sorry, I’m hungry)  And I attribute every bit of this to my years battling with infertility and having to accept that I may never be a mother. 

I’m certainly not saying that someone can’t relish every minute with their child without going through infertility, but I know in my case it was a necessary ingredient.  I’m a planner and a worrier, my mind is typically on the future at all times rather than the present.  Living in the moment does not come naturally to me and I constantly have had to work on that in my life.  But as a mother now it’s coming so naturally to me.  I feel like a sponge just soaking it all in and it’s wonderful.  This is how life should be lived. 

I’ve had a total love/hate relationship with the saying “everything happens for a reason.”  As a Buddhist this is the crux of my beliefs, but it if you said it to me while I was going through fertility issues I may have stabbed you with a pencil.  There were times I felt very bitter about what I was going through, and resentful of the fact that there could be no silver lining.  Even on the better days when I held on to hope I would someday get pregnant, my focus was on how every day that passed without getting pregnant was one less day I would get to spend with my child.  What a bummer way to feel.  

If I could rewrite my own story now and get pregnant right when we started trying, I don’t think I would.  In fact, I know I wouldn’t!  Everything I went through in order to have him has made me the mom I am, and I’m really proud of that person.  She’s so different from all the other people I’ve been in my life, and far cooler.  I’m so much more laid back (for me) and find humor in the really crumby parts, like at 2 am when he projectile vomits in a 4 ft radius around himself, the bed, me, the dog, as his head spun around a la The Exorcist.  Or when he threw my entire makeup bag in the toilet.  ūüė¨ MOMMY LOVES YOU. ūüė¨  Even these moments feel like a gift, and I find myself almost giddy about them rather than upset. 

I do feel like the people that have to wait and work hard to finally get their child are just different as parents.  I’m not going to say “better” because that’s RUDE. ūüėČ  But I think we have an easier time finding joy in even the shitty parts.  Some may call us insufferable as we post every burp and toot on instagram, but that’s ok because those people just don’t get it.  It’s ALL exciting when you’ve stared down the barrel of a life without children. 

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reach out

This week is River’s first birthday party!!  I can’t believe it.  We now have my mom and my in-laws here helping out with everything.  I still can’t pick up River and it’s a very frustrating feeling.  But I’m so thankful for how much my husband steps up happily and without a single complaint ever. I’m also so grateful to my mom and in laws for being here for us, we really do need their support right now.  Not just in caring for the baby, but also to help lift our spirits.  It’s nice having them around.

Jordan came with me to my blood test today.  They’re just checking my beta hcg to make sure it’s going down.  I guess with the “pseudo sack” in my uterus they need to be sure I’m not still pregnant.  Anyway the 2 of us ran a couple errands and went to lunch and I think it was the first time since all of this went down we’ve really had time to chat just us. 

Somehow we got on the subject of all the people that had reached out to us to let us know they are thinking about us in this time.  There were a few people of course that waited a little because they didn’t want to “bother” us while we were still dealing with stuff.

Jordan and I both talked about how often we have both had this same line of reasoning when other people we loved were going through something hard; the loss of a loved one, sickness, a bad breakup, whatever.  “Oh, they don’t want to hear from me right now, they’re probably dealing with so much as it is.”  It’s really kind of bonkers logic when you think about it.  And if you’ve ever been the one on the other side, it really becomes clear to you that the plan of “not bothering” someone when they’re going through something is pretty dumb.

There’s also the element of being uncomfortable and not knowing what to say that holds people back.  They don’t want to say the wrong thing and make you feel WORSE.  This is so true when it comes to matters of infertility or miscarriage. It’s such an uncomfortable conversation for most people as it is.  It’s hard when there are seemingly no silver linings.  It’s not like the loss of a dear friend or relative who got to live a life where you can reminisce about them or talk about the good parts.  So what do you say?

The answer is ANYTHING.  “How are you?” is perfect.  So is “I just want you to know I’m thinking of you.”  Really anything you say to show you care is excellent.  Remember when you are thinking “I better not bother them” about 90% of the people in their lives are probably thinking the same thing.  The person may not be ready to answer you but that’s ok, the message will be received in a huge way.  

That was kind of the main take away from our conversation today.  We were both so surprised at how much those small texts and messages meant, they really touched us.  And a lot of them from people we’d never expect to hear from, even getting care packages, letters, and meals sent from people we’ve never met face to face.   To know that even the people you don’t see or hear from regularly care about you when the chips are down is impactful.  All of this really did make a difference for us in this hard time.  No, no one can take fix what happened, but their love and support reminded us that there is still a lot we have to be grateful for, namely the wonderful people in our lives. 

So basically this was a very long way of saying reach out to the people you’re thinking of whether you feel they need to hear it or not.  They do. 

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National Infertility Awareness Week


It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and I’ve decided it’s time to make my blog public, whether I feel it’s ready or not.  Being on the other side of a 4 year struggle with infertility I still have a hard time finding words that may be helpful to those still in the thick of it.  But I desperately want to help. 

I’m a Buddhist and I have this app on my phone called Chant Buddy that’s really used to log minutes of chanting, but it also has a daily encouragement section that has a different quote every day from Daisaku Ikeda. Somehow, every time I open the app and see the quote of the day, it happens to go along perfectly with whatever I’m going through.  Every. Time.  I laugh with my mom because she had a book of guidance from Daisaku Ikeda that she used to open up to a random page every time she needed help and it was always perfectly suited as well.  Aaaaaanyway, I opened it up today looking for something helpful to guide this post and this is what it said. 


I mean, come ON.  Yes, precisely, Mr. Ikeda.  EXACTLY ūüĎŹūüŹľ this ūüĎŹūüŹľ right ūüĎŹūüŹľ here

I remember part of the pain I felt when having a baby was nowhere in sight for us was that desperate feeling of all this time being wasted.  Years were passing, and even if I could convince myself that it would happen for us one day, I felt bitter that these were years we were missing out on with our child. 

What was really hard to see then that is so obvious to me now it that those years added SO MUCH to who I am as a mother.  They strengthened the bond with my husband and put things into perspective in a way that makes me enjoy being a mom more than I would have without them.  

I’m not saying that people who go through fertility issues first love their children more.  I’m not saaaaying that. (this is me winking and nudging you under the table)  But there’s definitely  a heightened state of something.  It’s magic when you look at your baby after knowing you never would.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself, well I did, now my sadistic baby does the pinching.  But even when he’s simultaneously biting my face, screaming, and pulling out wads of my hair, deep down I’m like, “if this isn’t heaven, I don’t know what is.”

I’m not going to say never lose hope.  I lost hope about 50 times actually.  But the important thing is that I got it back and I didn’t give up.  I didn’t know if I would ever have a baby for sure, but I didn’t give up on being happy one day.  After all, rising above our challenges is where true, unshakable happiness comes from.  We need our obstacles, they make us strong.  And no matter your outcome, that strength will be your asset.

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I’m back! And I’m a MOM!!

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Well, my sweet little rice traveler stuck! ¬†His name is River Blues and he is the sweetest, happiest baby in the whole world. ¬†He’s now 8 months old (I can’t believe it!) ¬†It’s been the most important year of my life since my last post, and I decided to come back to blogging for a couple reasons.

Since posting and being open about our struggle with infertility and having to do IVF, I’ve had SO many people reach out to me about going through the same. ¬†Both total strangers and people I know well who I had no clue were dealing with infertility have opened up to me about this very personal and difficult experience. ¬†It’s important to me to help whoever I can get through this. ¬†I hope our story can be inspirational. ¬†I also feel like I’ve learned SO much through our experience and hearing so many others’ stories.

I also had really bad postpartum depression after River was born. ¬†Since posting about it on Instagram, the same thing happened with people coming out of the woodwork to tell me about how they were experiencing the same thing! ¬†I know they say 1 in 7 women experience ppd, but I swear it seams like that number is actually much higher. ¬†I’ve become so passionate about spreading awareness about this issue because I had zero knowledge about it, and when it hit me that made it so much more terrifying.

I’m determined to keep putting these things out there to help as many people as possible. If you found this post and need someone to talk to about infertility, IVF or postpartum depression, please feel free to dm me on Instagram! ¬†@kateordie

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Ketchup

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I took a little break from blogging for the last couple weeks.  Today I am 3dp6dt!  Here are my updates!

Retrieval:

I don’t know why I was so worried about this. ¬†Actually, I take that back. ¬†I know EXACTLY why I worried. ¬†The thought of a foot-long needle going through my vagina, THAT was worrisome. ¬†I was hoping I would be out cold, but my nurse explained to me that I would be under “conscious sedation” which was explained to me as “you won’t be able to move or speak and you won’t remember a thing.” ¬†Uhhhhhh. ¬†Nuh. ¬†That does not sound right. ¬†Everyone assured me it would be fine. ¬†Going into the procedure, I was really trying to be brave, but I am a pansy. ¬†The Dr. came in and asked me if I had any questions and I said “Uh, yes. ¬†I’m concerned about this ‘conscious sedation’ stuff. ¬†I’ve heard I won’t be able to move or speak, but I’ve heard nothing about not feeling it, and all I can think of is that Metallica video.” ¬†He laughed. ¬†I was glad he got the reference. ¬†He assured me I would be “out” and wouldn’t feel a thing.

Long story short, he was right.  Next thing I knew, I was waking up.  Had a little bit of mild cramping, but totally livable.  I slept the whole rest of the day.

The Dr told me when I woke up that¬†he retrieved 11 eggs. ¬†I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with this number. ¬†I’m embarrassed to say that because I know so many women who get less, but I’ve also seen women get numbers in the 20s and 30s. ¬†And I just thought that because my ovaries were great and functioning normally and had nothing to do with our infertility, I would be in those high numbers.

Then the next morning my nurse called to tell me that out of the 11 eggs, only 6 had fertilized. ¬†We still had 5 days to make it until the PDG testing, and I knew that with each day as well as with the testing, those numbers were pretty surely going to continue to go down. ¬†They also told me that we wouldn’t have any more updates on the embryos until the day of our transfer, which seems kind of torturous. ¬†Seems like a pretty shitty day to be getting bad news, if there is any. ¬†I tried my best to keep my mind off of it, but who was I kidding?

Transfer Day!:

This day was pretty bittersweet. ¬†I had my acupuncturist, who I love, there working with me. ¬†She covered me in warm sheets and put a heating lamp on my feet and did her thing turning me into Hellraiser with her tiny needles. ¬†She then massaged me and even stuck a few needles in my husband to relax him, too. ¬†It was a great way to start off the day. ¬†Then the Dr. came in. ¬†I should mention that in one of our appointments with him last week, I told him very specifically that we did NOT want to know the gender of the embryos, we at least wanted that surprise. ¬†He totally understood and he said he would put it in our notes to make sure no one “spills the beans.” ¬†Imagine my dismay when the first thing he says when we walks in the room transfer day is “Well, I have some great news! ¬†You have 2 healthy boy embryos!” ¬†My heart fucking stopped. ¬†Did he seriously just say that? ¬†I looked at my husband who I could instantly tell was pissed as well and I just tried to smooth the situation. ¬†I said, “It’s ok, it’s ok. ¬†A boy!” ¬†But my husband said to the doctor, “wait, so you are telling us the sex now? ¬†We said we didn’t want that.” ¬†The doctor looked embarrassed and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” ¬†But there was nothing that could be done about it now and I just had to focus on being happy and ok with it.

I do believe everything happens for a reason, though. ¬†Since the boy cats were already out of the bag, I took a look at our PDG testing results. ¬†Very interesting. ¬†Only 5 embryos were tested so I guess 1 of the 6 didn’t make it to day five for testing. ¬†But here’s the thing that struck me. ¬†All 5 were male. ¬†Half of my eggs didn’t fertilize, statistically that would about the amount of female sperm used to inseminate them.

It scares me that we may never be able to have a girl. ¬†I am totally grateful for these 2 healthy boys, but having a girl at some point is also important to me. ¬†I don’t even know if this is something we can test for, because I don’t know what it is. ¬†I’m wondering if there is something genetic going on here that we don’t know about. ¬†I don’t even know what questions to ask or who to ask them to. ¬†I feel lost and I certainly don’t want to turn to Google and drive myself insane.

It was kind of a shame that there was kind of a dark cloud over such a happy day, but sometimes that is life. ¬†We chose to implant 1 embryo and freeze the other. ¬†It was a surreal experience. ¬†I got to watch this little guy enter my body through the ultrasound. ¬†He was in a little rice shaped vehicle that they use to transport them I guess. ¬†A little rice rocket, if you will. ¬†That made me super emotional. ¬†I had been trying to hold in tears of sadness from the moment the dr came in with his “great news” but the second I saw that little spec enter my body, tears of joy came pouring out of me.

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And Away We Go!

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Trigger shot was tonight! ¬†It’s moving a little faster than I was expecting after yesterday’s appointment. ¬†But it looks as though my retrieval will be Thursday now. ¬†I’m really excited, the only thing that is sort of a bummer is that my husband leaves tomorrow for the UK for 5 days to play a couple festivals, so he won’t be here for the retrieval. ¬†He should be back in time for the transfer, though, so that’s more important.

The trigger shots were not bad, I had to take 2 Ovidrel. ¬†I think the needles were a tiny bit thicker than the others I’ve been taking because they took me a lot longer to get in. ¬†The good news is that they didn’t sting at all like the Menopur. ¬†I’m starting to get REALLY nervous about the stupid Estradiol shots I have to do every 3 days starting the day after retrieval, though. ¬†They are the ones that have to go in the bum, and they are intramuscular. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†I’m a bit of a control freak, I feel like even if my husband would have been here to give me all of my shots, I still would have wanted to do every one by myself. ¬†And I’m a total diaper baby when it comes to needles, getting the tiny ones in my blub is hard enough for me. ¬†I can’t imagine how I’m going to get these torpedos in my arse, especially without a running start or muchas margaritas.

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What’s in the Box???!

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It’s HERE!!! ¬†A little unnerving that the box could double as a quaint condominium for my 2 dumb dogs. ¬†Unpacking it now. ¬†My home is becoming Needle Nation, I’ll need to hang a new flag.

Also, I decided to make an Instagram account for all the IVF stuff. ¬†Follow it, I’ll be happy to share every detail that could possibly help or support anyone out there! ¬†@bb.bux

Also please feel free to follow my regular account too (@KateOrDie) for regular updates on both my one-eyed, and toothless dogs, pictured above!  What more could you want?

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Fertility Tourism

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This is a subject that I’ve been fascinated by lately. ¬†I’ll admit I was fantasizing about a London holiday where I would live in a charming cottage for months and receive IVF treatment for $4. ¬†The price of it here in the US is killing me. ¬†It’s so insane. ¬†I also feel a little icky thinking about how some of that cost is probably due to the fact that people dealing with infertility are sometimes so desperate they would pay anything, so companies know they can charge anything. ¬†What do I know factually about how these companies get their pricing? ¬†Zilch-o-la. ¬†But it’s still suspect.

I know that other countries have different laws and I think that makes up the majority of motivation for fertility tourism. ¬†For example, I believe in Canada you can’t pay for donor eggs or sperm? ¬†And in some countries PGD for sex selection is illegal.

Other than cost, we have it pretty good here in the US. ¬†We have some of the best doctors and tend to be the most relaxed with our regulations. ¬†But part of me did want to just look into IVF in a few other countries just for the heck of it. ¬†I couldn’t find much on it. ¬†I’d love to hear anything you ladies know!

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The “Me Too”-ers

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Comparison is the thief of joy. ¬†That’s why I do very little comparing myself to others. ¬†As far as my issues with infertility, it’s really no different. ¬†When I hear that someone I know is having a baby, I’m genuinely happy for them. ¬†I’m aware that there’s no fixed amount of babies allotted for the planet and they didn’t get the last one. ¬†Sometimes there are little pangs of sadness, but those come just from being reminded of what I’m going through when I’m trying not to think about it. ¬†I tend to keep it all under wraps until I’m in front of my computer blogging about it these days (ignore my meltdown 2 nights ago). ¬†So I keep it together, but there are reminders everywhere. ¬†And I’ll feel those sad pangs of “oh yeah” and let myself feel it for a second, and then wrangle it back down again.

I¬†feel the exact same¬†when I hear about other women getting pregnant or see pictures of their babies as I¬†do¬†when I’m shopping and walk by the diaper isle or a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Vlasic Pickle stork. ¬†It’s just a reminder of what I’m going through. ¬†Nothing more.

But I guess in life you can’t help who is out there comparing themselves to YOU. ¬†And I am very used to this concept. ¬†Insecure people tend to see the world as eat or be eaten and feel the need to constantly compete. ¬†Unlike most of you probably sane ladies, I’m pretty sick, so I get a kick out of it. ¬†It tickles me in a very naughty way. ¬†Not the really good kind of naughty tickle, but still.

Now I’m starting to realize there’s apparently another event in the Tournament of Lives and it’s even more obnoxious. ¬†It’s the emulation of struggle. ¬†I’m really beginning to understand the old saying about someone that needs to be “the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral.”

A person close to me recently started telling people that she’s having “infertility problems” just a few weeks after hearing what we were going through. ¬†She has only been trying the last couple months and hasn’t even been to the doctor about it. ¬†Now, that’s none of my business (insert Kermit drinking tea meme) but I can’t help that the lesser evolved portion of my brain feels a little bit highjacked. ¬†Especially since she knows every detail of what we’ve been going through and how painful it’s been. ¬†Apparently she’s pretty vocal about her pretend prognosis and I feel like it trivializes the real thing. ¬†This is why is the infertility and tttc forums (that I have become very involved in through this) when someone who has been trying for less than a year posts or chimes in they a-l-w-a-y-s get dragged. ¬†Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Another good friend of mine was dealing with infertility a lot longer than I was, and way more of it. ¬†Many failed IUIs, full rounds of IVF, too many years and a sickening amount of money. ¬†She had just about the same thing happen to her. ¬†After letting people in on what they were going through, a good friend of hers started posting on FB about “not being able to have a baby” after trying for maybe 2 months. ¬†Also, nothing medically wrong with her. ¬†Thank God my friend and I weren’t crumbling like that after 2 months, we never would have made it this far. ¬†Maybe they don’t mean any harm by it, but it just shows their inability to see past the nose on their own face.

After talking to more women and reading more blogs, I’m finding out that quite a few of us have similar stories. ¬†That’s weird right? ¬†I feel like it needs some kind of special term, since it’s seemingly so common. ¬†Just like “Catfishing” has now become a term for something that seems like it should be obscure. ¬†But it’s now SO common I guess they need a word for it.

I’m only human, and obviously not completely immune to being hit by the shrapnel of pettiness, but I found a way to have peace with it. ¬†I remember why it is that my husband and I are putting ourselves through all of this. ¬†And it has so much meaning that the petty stuff simply can’t touch it. ¬†People tagging themselves onto what we’re going through without actually having a clue about it just aren’t even in my peripheral. ¬†I think about how much we are going to love our future baby and how every person’s struggle is different. ¬†People with problems that may seem small to you, don’t see their own problems as small and I’m learning to find compassion for that (while simultaneously giving some serious side-eye).

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