Monday, April 30, 2012

"A day in the life"

In writing this blog, I have three primary motives:  one - to help others dealing with infertility to know they aren't alone, two - for my own sanity's sake...getting things off my chest is a great form of therapy when dealing with the tumultuous emotions of infertility and finally - to help all the "normal" "fertile" people understand what a day in the life of someone dealing with infertility is like.  Infertility is a disease - a disease of the reproductive system.  Yet many people, from our closest friends to insurance companies, don't see it this way.  So many other diseases and issues get such great attention.  But what about infertility?  It often goes untalked about - ignored.  While we are suffering from physical symptoms including pain, our emotional pain and scars are much greater and often unseen.

In speaking freely about what I'm struggling with, I hope that somehow I can make a difference and impact someone's life is a positive way.   I've been thinking of a way to try to help others understand and relate to what we, men and women with an insatiable desire for parenthood, are muddling through.  I've thought long and hard about it.  As humans, we have a natural desire to want to procreate.  As women however,  we have an innate desire not just to reproduce but to become "mommies".  What if you think your life's purpose is to be a parent and come to find out that the one, singlemost thing you want and hoped for in life can't happen?

The best way I can try to relate what we are feeling is to think about the pain when a close loved one passes.  Each person has a different way of dealing with the hurt, just as we do. The difference is that when someone dies, slowly they begin to heal; eventually the pain dulls with time. The problem is that living with infertility, we relive the hurt each and every month with every failed treatment and every negative test.  We don't have time to heal because our wounds are re opened so frequently with bad news.  Each time, the pain builds up and is greater.  I don't need to explain to you the emotions you feel when someone dies.  You have a multitude of emotions because of your loss.  We too deal with loss, month after month and time after time.  I have experienced both infertility and death and feel that these are the two most painful ordeals anyone can ever experience.  I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.  The difficult  part is that at least with death, people usually know of your loss, they usually know you are hurting.  But my losses, month after month, seem to go unnoticed.  There is nothing in the paper, like an obituary, to convey my loss.  People are allowed time to grieve when they lose a loved one and usually others know a little bit how to comfort them.  Infertility is a different beast entirely.  If I don't speak up, no one will know my pain and even when I do it's expected I resume my usual day to day activities as normally as possible.  People are often curious about the medical aspect of what we are dealing with, but FEW people ask us how we are emotionally handling this.  The message the world is sending us at times is to "get over it."  No one sends flowers, there's no memorial for the loss of a child I've never been able to have.  This is why we feel alone, scared, and isolated.

We feel out of control with our bodies as there's nothing much we can do but let doctors poke at us with weird tools in private places, draw endless amounts of blood and inject and ingest endless hormones in the hopes that something will work.  If you asked me to ingest anthrax, I'd probably do it.  There's nothing worse than going through endless painful tests and procedures, but it's a small price to pay if you are blessed with a precious life in the end.  Treatments are expensive, have some health risks and can be invasive but we would put ourselves through just about anything to have what comes so easily to others.  At doctor's appointments you feel more like a body part than a person.  With the insurance company, you are just a number.  With the world, you are just a statistic.  We fall incredibly vulnerable to what others say and often could lose it at the drop of a hat.   We seem to be holding it together from the outside, but really are a hot mess inside.  We have daily responsibilities like any other person, but also need to shovel through our emotions simultaneously.  There's no break in thinking about baby making....ask any woman going through infertility and I bet they will tell you they think about it every minute of every day.  It can be exhausting and draining.  At times the voices in my head are louder than other people talk.  It's hard to concentrate and live in the moment.  We feel angry and envious of people who have what we desire so much, then guilty for feeling that way.  We can beat ourselves up pretty good.  Many of us are tapped financially as treatments don't come cheap.

In a world inundated with social media, babies and families are thrown in our faces. Try logging onto facebook or turning on TV and not hear pregnancy or birth announcements. While we are happy for others, we have uncontrollable sadness for ourselves.  If someone was dealing with a death of a parent, would you respond with "my parents are still alive", or "at least you have your other parent" ?  Probably not.  While that may be true, it's insensitive.  The difference with infertility is that people on TV, facebook, etc don't realize they are even doing this when making innocent and harmless updates - it's not like we announce every loss we have so how could they know what they are saying is painful for us?  I'm not expecting people to not share happy news because I'd do the same if given the chance.  There are many days I get bad news for myself only to hear another pregnancy announcement.  It can wear on you after awhile is all I'm trying to convey.  To put things into perspective, your biggest and proudest moment may be someone else's worst.  You wonder, will I ever get a chance to experience their happiness?

Because we're fighting what seems like war, we have gained special insight and perspective on the meaning of life.  We have learned many things by firsthand experience such as don't take things for granted.  I believe each and every man (don't forget the men) and woman dealing with infertility will make extraordinary parents because we understand how fragile and  precious life is by the wounds we acquired.  Even for those who will never have the blessing of becoming parents, we are still in our hearts great mothers and fathers.  

The Resolve foundation's theme for National Infertility Awareness Week this year is "don't ignore infertility."  I can't ignore it.  I wasn't given a choice.  All of us dealing with infertility have amazing and different stories to be heard...we are all unique but share a common thread with one another.  No one story is more important than the other because we are all important.  I am choosing to speak up for every man and woman struggling with the same things I do.  I can choose to speak up and ask that everyone gives us some much needed support.  I can ask that people educate themselves on the topic and ask that people look at it with an open mind.  

To start familiarizing yourself with infertility, log onto

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Sometimes when things get serious, a good laugh is all that it takes to make it through the rest of the day.  Like all couples in our situation trying to have a baby, life is filled with serious, sad  and embarrassing moments.  A few days back I decided my read up on other peoples' blogs about their infertility struggles.  It keeps me sane to know I'm not alone.  So I came across a great posting titled:  My Vagina is Signing Autographs.  The title intrigued me. Part of it read "I think a total of four people saw my vagina.  As I was leaving, I was really tempted to ask if there was anyone else that wanted to look...but decided against it.  I wouldn't want my vagina to start getting a celebrity complex.  She may feel like she needs to start signed autographs..........One of the many things I appreciate about my doctor is her sense of humor.  After we discussed a few things and were ready to get going on procedures she said to me 'now, this is the part where we get to see how many things we can put up your vagina.'  Genius.  Anyone who can turn this into a game is good in my book."

It's soooo true.  We feel more like a body part than a person.  Sometimes humor is a good way to deal with it all.  The doctor sees our who-ha's more than our faces.  At one point too, I was beginning to wonder how they'd recognize me with clothes on.  If something ever went down in the clinic, I'd hate to see that police line up.  I'll be good and ready for childbirth with all the practice....not to mention with sometimes 3 to 4 weekly appointments, I'm sure "things are getting stretched out."  Let's face it, no woman enjoys having her business displayed out for all to see and definitely doesn't like strange tools being put into no man's land.  It's uncomfortable and even though these folks are professionals, it's still embarrassing.  It's down right annoying when your MALE doctor says things like "I know it hurts." you (in my most sarcastic voice)?  Unless you were born with a vagina and uterus and had a sex change, I doubt that.  How'd they like it if we turned it around on them and checked out their junk while trying to fit various tools inside.  But we go through all this knowing it's a step closer to fulfilling our dreams.  

My husband had the opportunity to go to his first gyno appointment with our reproductive endocrinologist the other day and no he wasn't the one being examined....keep in mind that more "stuff" is going on than a typical yearly appointment with a regular gynecologist.   I think he had an eye opening experience and hope he has a better appreciation of what it's like to be a woman.  I had to yell at him on numerous occasions to be serious.  All jokes aside, while it's a bit funny now, at the time when you are vulnerable and scared you need support and NOT someone to make you feel worse.  No man could ever begin to relate.  

I remember when I was embarrassed to talk about things such as my period and sex.  Now I can have conversations where I say the words, penis, vagina, sperm, sex and insemination all in one sentence.  Some of that embarrassment wears off pretty quickly when you are forced to talk about it.  What are people so afraid of and embarrassed of...we all have similar parts? 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In honor of National Infertility Awareness week:

I am 1 of 8

I am part of the ONE in EIGHT couples struggling to 
                          conceive a child 
I am sick of tests, tests and more tests
I am longing to be called "mommy"
I am scared and afraid I'm waiting for something that my 
                           never happen
I am....

I am continually disappointed of all the failed procedures 
I am NOT alone
I am going to preserve and keep trying
I am working 3 jobs to afford treatment
I am number 403200200 according to my insurance company
                          but I have a face
I am a person with a name
I am waiting...
I am waiting for the day I can stay up for 3 am feedings
I am angry when others complain about these things...
                         at least they have the chance
I am waiting for the moment when I see my child's face for
                           the first time
I am stronger than I ever thought possible
I am better educated
I am willing to go through this a million times over if it 
                     means I'll be a mom
I am dreading mother's day - because I'm not one
I am living childfree but not by choice
I am grieving the loss of a child I never had
I am not staying silent because I can make a difference
I am choosing to speak up and speak my mind
I am not giving up

Saturday, April 21, 2012

DON'T IGNORE:  National Infertility Awareness Week

April 22nd marks the start of national infertility week.  From autism awareness to the lesser known diseases such as gullian barre, it seems that nowadays there is everything under the sun when it comes to fundraising, awareness and so on.  But what about those of us suffering with the difficulties of conceiving a child and starting a family?  Until I was forced to deal with it, I've never given it much thought either.  It's easy to ignore things that don't directly impact us.  Living in the shoes of someone who is struggling to have a baby, I can honestly say that this has forever changed my life and the way I look at things.  I feel that most people take for granted that they can have children if they so desire.  I feel that this issue is ignored by the general population, which is amazing to me considering 1 in 8 couples deal with some sort of infertility issue.  I have decided to paste my business all over the internet and speak up about it so things change.  Chris and I don't have a choice like many of you reading this do.  We didn't choose to struggle with this.  It is beyond our control, but we do have a choice to open our mouths and speak to others about what is important to us.  It could just as easily be you in this situation so I ask for your support.  

For most people, a career and a family are the two main things we strive for in life.  My life is incomplete because I am unable at this point to have a family.  For me and many of you, the culmination of life is the happiness of having a child and raising a family.  Imagine not being able to have the one most important dream of your life and there's nothing you can do about it?  It's not easy to deal with and not easy to see and hear others talk about what you can't have.

I'm asking you to take a few minutes and care about this....this could just have easily be you in this situation.  What can you do?
1)  Educate yourself:  There's nothing worse than to have to hear comments of insensitive or ignorant people.  Before this, I too didn't know much about this topic and I'm sure I said things that were incorrect and perhaps insensitive because I didn't know any better.  The prime example is "stop being so stressed out, stress can cause you to have difficulty conceiving."  The truth is that this is false.  There are many other enlightening things I've learned through this process and I'm a better person for doing so.  A way to start is to log onto and search the website.  It offers alot of education and support.  

2)  Advocate:  So many things are covered by insurance companies for things that aren't life threatening:  allergies, GERD, acne treatments,.... the list goes on.  Not to downplay these problems, but why do they get more attention and treatment?  Sure these problems affect quality of life, but so does infertility and probably in a greater way.  Who's to judge whether or not my insurance covers my treatment?  Some person in congress that's never had the heartbreak of 21 consecutive negatives, 21 times where their dreams are shattered.  Someone who's never had to deal with awful tests and procedures and someone who probably wouldn't find it difficult to come up with $20,000 for ART (assisted reproductive technology).  There are many ways to help.  One way is by going to  Look on the lower left of the main page under get involved and click on Send a Family Act 2011 letter of support to your representative. The Family Act 2011 is a bill to create a tax credit for the out-of-pocket costs associated with infertility medical treatment.  It could potentially help thousands of people struggling with infertility to seek medical treatment that would otherwise be out of reach to them.  The government has a tax credit for those who adopt to lessen the financial burden, but not for infertility treatments.   
    I am a responsible person and take care of my body and am otherwise healthy.  I have job and pay for medical coverage, however am unable to use my insurance for most types of infertility treatments.  Before, this I paid for insurance and never used it because I was healthy.  I see so many people who aren't working (some who choose not to) and who abuse their bodies, yet these people are allowed nearly free coverage for most medical ailments.  How is this fair?

3)  Don't be afraid to talk about it and ask questions.  Sure it can be an embarrassing and sensitive topic but pretending it doesn't exist is worse.  Ignorance makes the problem worse.

4)  Learn how to be sensitive and what to say (or what not to say).  Log onto and click on support and services, then on the for family and friends tab.  

5)  Be understanding.  While I am open about this and don't mind talking about it, there are times when I need my space.  Particularly around those who are pregnant and have families.  Sometimes the simplest comment can bring up a flood of emotions.  There may be times when I am unable to participate in family type events.  While infertility is a physical disease, it has an emotional component only those of us dealing with it can know.  Don't judge my feelings and don't take them personally.  

6)  Let us vent.  I have two full time jobs and 2 part time jobs. I work a full time job during the week and 2 part time weekend jobs in order to pay for medical treatment.  What you may not know is that my second full time job is dealing with infertility including doctors appointments.  This process is awfully time consuming.  It's emotional and stressful.  Right now this consumes our lives and we don't really have much else to talk about.  Many can sympathize, but few can empathize.  Trying to be understanding and placing yourselves in our shoes is helpful when we need to vent.  Sometimes all we need is an ear and someone who cares.  

So I ask that who ever reads this post does something.  Give me a shout out on face book to let me know you care, that you've read this and that you are behind Chris and I and the 7.3 million other people out there dealing with this. 

Helpful Links:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Part of our journey to parenthood is often filled with awkward moments, difficult conversations, and tough choices.  Some days go off without a hitch while others are hard and often seem to linger in our minds.  A perfect example is when the other day we went out to dinner with a good friend of ours.  The conversation came up about our fertility treatments, how we feel about the situation, and other options such as adoption if all else fails.  Like alot of couples dealing with this issue, bringing things up and talking about them are just plain hard.  Chris and I love each other immensely and I think we both feel we can tell each other anything.  Despite this however, we often struggle to learn what each other thinks and feels.  As I've said before, it's funny how one thing can both bring you together and tear you apart from each other at the same time.  I only hope that we can use this as a learning experience to communicate better with one another.

 Most days I think of our infertility issues as a curse, but some days I feel we have been "chosen" to deal with these issues to learn to be better people, better parents, to help educate others, and to help others in our situation.  I do feel that this will make me a better mother and a better person all around.  Sometimes when things come easy, it's easy to take them for granted.  

Chris and I deal with our sadness and frustrations in different ways.  Often we avoid talking about difficult topics just because we are tired of it all.  Sometimes it's better to talk about something else to take our mind off things.  If not, some days I feel like we'll explode.   While undergoing treatments, it's hard to not be forced to think about things.  I visit the doctor a few times each month and have to take medication daily. For me, these are constant reminders of what I don't  have and how unfair life is sometimes.  Like most husbands, Chris has the luxury of not having to deal with any of these.  So during our dinner conversation Chris said to me, "but you don't know what it's like to be a guy and go through this."  He's right on.  I don't even though I tried to imagine.  No matter how much we communicate with one another, neither of us knows what it's like to be in each others shoes.  Also, for couples who never had to deal with this directly, it's impossible to truly understand how bad it feels.  So me, being hotheaded at times I said, "but you don't know what it's like to be female and go through awful tests and doctor's appointments."  I know Chris's problem is not his fault and there's nothing he did wrong, but I'm still angry about the whole situation (but not at him).  It's hard not to be.  I'm speaking honestly when I say that I'm not even the one with the problem, yet I'm the one who has to go through all the difficult things like medication, painful tests and procedures and doctor's appointments.  It's just not fair.  I will say that Chris went to his first appointment with me the other day and I think and hope he had an eye opening experience.  Usually our schedules don't allow for him to be there with me, but this week seems to be working out.  Tomorrow I need to have my third biopsy done of my uterine lining. It's a quick but awful and horribly painful procedure.  I am sick of all the pain because I don't deal with it well.  How could any man ever understand what it's like to have that type of pain (annoying how the person doing the procedure is male)?  Chris will most likely be with me tomorrow so he'll get another taste of what it's like to be in my shoes.  For women who've had abnormal paps and had to have a cervical biopsy, it's even more awful than that.  For those interested, they stick a catheter through the cervix (quite painful).  Then a tool that scrapes out your insides out is put through the catheter to take a tissue sample (also painful).  Last time I took a percocet and ibuprofen and didn't think it helped a bit.  Needless to say I'm not looking forward to it and quite frankly want to shove that thing up that doctors ?@#$&!  

Besides tomorrow I have another appointment this Friday for more bloodwork and an ultrasound.  This is when they will decide what day to do the next IUI.  It could be as early as this Saturday or sometime early to middle of next week.  Timing has to be perfect or it won't work.  Then comes the dreaded 2 week wait period.  It'll be my third IUI and 21st consecutive negative if it fails.  You'd think I'd get used to it by now.  It never gets easier.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Since I last wrote I've been pretty busy.  I have started to work a third job on the weekends to supplement our income to save up for IVF.  For at least for a few months, I'll be working 6 days a week.  I'm alternating weekends between 2 different part time physical therapy jobs.  Needless to say I don't particularly enjoy working this much and don't particularly like the type of job I do on the weekends.  Normally my "9 to 5" job is in outpatient therapy, however one of the weekend jobs involves working in a SNF unit...kind of like a short term nursing home.  It's not the type of work I enjoy and in fact would normally go to any lengths to avoid it.  It's what I must do though to reach our goal quicker.  

In the meantime, I've experienced first hand what Murphy's law is all about.  Either that or God is seriously messing with me.  I got an extra job to make for money for a baby, but my car which was almost 10 years old decided to die on me.  For those of you we spoke to recently, you know we tried everything in our power to revive the darn thing.  I learned how to change a radiator, not once but THREE times.  In the end, it was taken to a garage and determined to be "unfixable".  So now all that extra money I planned on putting towards a baby must go to car payments.  When it rains it pours.  Besides having a reliable new car, I'm no better off then when I started.  

As you know from my last blog, Chris and I have not received any treatments this past month.  We were back to trying for a baby like any normal couples do...without the help of 15 different people, drugs, etc...  Like usual, I tried to wait but couldn't.  I broke down (again) and took a pregnancy test.  I don't know why I do this to myself but the suspense of not knowing is dreadful.  For us getting pregnant isn't easy and involves alot of heartache and hard work.  I need to know as soon as I can if all our efforts payed off.  Each and every time, despite months and months of disappointments, I am hopeful.  

The test was negative.  

Now the wait begins until I can go back to the doctor (probably this week sometime) for initial bloodwork and ultrasounds.  It was so nice to have a month off.   Part of me really thought this would be our month and we'd be successful without help.  Now I'm back to getting drugged up with hormones, stuck with needles, having my privacy invaded and being poked and prodded like a lab rat.  I know it's all for the greater good, but I don't have to like it.  If the next few IUIs fail I am hopeful we can afford one cycle of IVF by the end of the year (maybe late fall).  Even with $15,000 and all the hoping and praying, we still aren't guaranteed anything.