Thursday, June 27, 2013

Getting over the hump

When most people imagine their ideal life they picture certain milestones and achievements.  When entering into adulthood most people envision their lives much like this:  you graduate from high school, go to college or find a job you like, land your dream job (or at the very least something you like to do), get married to the love of your life and make a beautiful family together.  But what happens if life doesn't go according to plan and you have no control over it?  I've seen people I love or know live with a life changing illness, loss of a loved one, deal with an addiction, or struggle through a divorce; clearly things no one plans on or wants to happen.  But I've usually been a bystander, merely looking in the window.  I've always felt helpless in these situations and tried to praise God that even though my life wasn't perfect I was glad I wasn't dealing with their struggles.  But now the tables are turned.  I never thought anything "big" and life altering would happen to me...those things only happen to other people right?  Wrong!  Why do most people get married?  My answer is because you love them more than anything else and can see yourself having a family together.  For most couples, the main purpose of marrying someone you love is to make children with them.  When Chris and I first had trouble getting pregnant, we both thought it was pass.  Now that it's been years and it hasn't, reality has really sunk in that this may never happen for us.  It's not easy to re-imagine what you are going to do with your life and to give up your dreams.  

Unlike most of you reading this, our lives the past few months have been filled with doctors appointments, surgeries, procedures, injections, schedules based around my body, and many many tears of hurt, frustration and anger.  After failing our first IVF attempt, we were both devastated.  While we knew it wasn't a guarantee, we still hoped and prayed with every ounce of your being that things would work out.  Sadly we don't have the resources to pay for countless attempts and I don't think our sanity would survive through all of it either.  We know we have only one to two more tries and then we have to throw in the towel as painful as it is and as much as we may or may not want to. 

I don't want everyone thinking all I do is sit around and cry, mope, and feel sorry for myself.  I don' least not all the time.  I've had many times where I've laughed, enjoyed life and have been happy.  However unfortunately more often than not, it has been filled with more tears than I'd like to admit.  You learn to get pretty good at hiding them and from time to time and pretending to be happy when your dying inside.  No one wants to hang out with a "Debbie Downer". Thankfully, this blog has provided me with way to say things I can't otherwise choke out.  As much as it hurts, the more "normal" I try to live my life sometimes the better it feels.  I am trying my hardest to try to live life, enjoy things the best I can, and not take things for granted. But sometimes it's just plain hard and takes every ounce of courage to get it together.  I don't want to "check out" on life since I already feel so much of it these past few years has been stolen and consumed by this disease called infertility.  

Time is drawing nearer to our next cycle and phone calls and tests are being done in preparation for our August timeline.  I've blocked out baby-making and our dreams for a family for the past few months after our IVF failure.  It simply hurts to much to rehash it.  Our IVF failure was a hard hard thing for me...for the both of us.  By far it's been the most painful obstacle in my life and I'm sure Chris's.  No one gets married with the idea this will happen in a marriage.  But I thought I began to heal.  At one point I nearly felt normal again.  I really thought I was over the hump.  I was thinking I was ready to play with the crappy cards I've been dealt and live childfree if this next attempt failed again. As a couple, Chris and I started to re-invent our new lives as just a family of two.  We thought about our "second best" way of life and imagined the freedom to travel and do other things we probably couldn't with children.  It seemed like even though it's not what we wanted, it would be ok...WE would be ok.  We were both starting to begrudgingly accept it.  

I've been told that healing is never a steady upward progression but filled with peaks and valleys and that with something like this, you truly never get over it.  I guess I hoped they were wrong.  Things were status quo until recently (that explains my lack of blogging).  A lot has happened to trigger some pretty painful emotions and ironically all at once.  I've had my 35th birthday.  While it may not seem like a big deal, in infertility land it's the official drop off rate for fertility and failed IVF cycles.  It's a big deal.  It was also Father's Day.  While not as hard as mother's day for me, it's still not how I imagined spending the day.  I knew it was a hard day for my husband too.  He's by far the best I know at hiding his sadness and disappointment when it comes to all this.  Facebook is going to be the death of me.  I learned of two birth announcements: one from a fellow IVFer whose cycle worked.  While I'm happy for them, I'm just sad for me.  Why not me too?  As far as the other birth announcement, as bad as it is, I was mad that someone was one their second baby and I can't have even one.  Again, I wish them no ill will but am just jealous as hell.  I also learned of a pregnancy announcement from a friend.  While I'm honestly ecstatic for them, I'm dying inside for myself.  Why not me too?  I've been trying SO incredibly hard for the same thing and am hit with month after month of disappointment, tears and loss of a dream.  It's hard to hear others getting pregnant for free when I have to spend so much money on something that's not guaranteed.  It's the most difficult thing to watch someone else live your dream.  I won't lie when I say that each of these things took a piece of my heart away.  Again, I wish no one ill will...I'm just grieving for myself.  I know they didn't wish this upon me but it still doesn't make it any easier. It's a mixed bag of emotions and difficult to feel happy for someone else but horrible for yourself.  It makes you feel like a bad person and a bad friend in a situation where you already feel bad all the time.  Like some may think, I don't hate people with children or those who can have them, just understand that I'm just dying inside for myself.  I'm grieving our loss that we are unable.  It's hard to watch and be around others who have what you can't.  A day after the pregnancy announcement, Mother Nature was kind enough to remind me I'm not pregnant...again...after 33+ months of trying.  It's just not fair that it's so easy for some people.  Mother Nature had bad timing or was really trying to mess with my head.  The same week the rest of these things happened, I had to go for bloodwork for our next IVF cycle.  In the waiting room was a pregnant woman.  Ironic that she's there because she IS pregnant and I'm stuck there because I CAN'T get pregnant.   It's so incredibly hard to get through the day without falling in a heap on the floor with constant reminders everywhere.  I know not every week will be this hard and it seems everything happened at once.  I hope it gets easier. It seems unfair that everyone I know will be enjoying their newborns, their families and their pregnancy in August while I'm injecting myself with needles for just the hope that I can.  I just ask all the people who care about Chris and I to be patient and understanding through the next few months.  This isn't easy.  

Friday, June 21, 2013


I hear this solution ALOT.  I'd like to provide some insight about adoption from someone who can't have their own children's perspective.  Before I was faced with infertility, I always thought about adoption.  I knew a few couples struggling to have children of their own and always thought "why not just adopt?".  It seemed like such a simple solution to wanting to be parents.  Well now that I've unfortunately been faced with the reality of infertility, I have a better and less naive perspective that I wish to share.  Unless you've lived a day in the life of someone with infertility, it's quite complex and difficult to understand.  The "why not just adopt"solution just isn't as simple as it sounds.  Here's why:

I guess first and foremost I want to have the experience that every other mother has out there who's grown a child inside of her.  I doubt anyone would argue that this bonding experience isn't a miracle, so why should I have to miss out?  I too want to feel what it's like to be pregnant (the good and even the bad parts), to share the news with friends, family and to experience the excitement of telling my husband he's going to be a daddy.  With adoption you miss out on 9 months of that.  As a woman, it's not selfish to WANT to do what God created me to do... to create life, to give birth and be a mother.  It's what we are made to do and want.  Also, while Chris and I would be happy with any child to raise, we would prefer it to be something our love created for each other.  After all, that's why we got's why most people get married.  I want to see part of my husband in my child because I love him.  

The fact is that adoption is expensive.  Most people don't understand how much money it takes to take a child home.  It actually shocked me when I looked into it and saw the cost.  It seems like such a crime since there are so many loving couples who'd take great care of these children.  The average cost of adoption is a little over $30,000....horrific in comparison to think about what it costs to terminate a pregnancy.  If anyone who has given me this advice is willing to provide us with that kind of money, then we'd reconsider it even more strongly.  The average couple, like us, doesn't have that kind of money.  IVF averages around $15,000....I could try IVF twice for one cost of adoption and have a biological child. 

In my research, it often takes months and for some even years to become matched with a birth mother.  I'm active in reading chat rooms about infertility and adoption.  The paperwork is extensive and there is no guarantee.  In fact a few couples have been matched, waited an extraordinarily long time to take their child home, and got their hopes up.... only to have the birth mother change their mind.  Then you are back to square one.  I've been through so much heartache and have been on a huge emotional roller coaster ride so far that I can't even imagine adding that to the list.  Every one has a breaking point.  I'm nearly there already and for me that could be it.  Just remember it doesn't always go smoothly and timely.  

Adopting a child does not "cure" me from infertility or the  damage it has caused emotionally.  Even if I have my own child, those scars are deep and will always remain in some form.  Adopting a child will only put a bandaide on a much bigger wound.  It will not cure my maternal desire to want my own child and to have that experience of creating life.  I think I'd make a great mom, either to my own child or someone else's but I can't say with 100% agreement that I'd be able to bond with someone else's least not yet.  That would be selfish of me to take a child home in hopes it would "cure" me of my desire to be a mother....only to find out the connection isn't there. Doubtfully that would happen, but this is a child's life and a risk I can't take.  Every child deserves to be loved unconditionally.  My worries and feelings may change over time as my story evolves, but that's how I feel at this stage.  Before I can accept someone else's child as my own, I need to grieve my loss....the loss of not being able to have a child of my own.  I'm not least not yet.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The time for our next IVF is slowly approaching.  We have a projected time frame of mid August.  We are in the process of preparing mentally, physically and financially.  We have fundraised about $3,000 thanks to our friends and family and have also saved a little over $3,000 ourselves in the past few weeks.  Since we spent our money on the previous failed IVF attempt, we will have to take our a loan to pay the remainder (about $8,000).  It still makes me sad and angry that most people can make their babies for free and seem to take it for granted how easy it is.  Why does it have to be so hard, time consuming, expensive and frustrating for us?  It's just not fair.  We've been doing our due diligence by watching what we spend, we are eating healthier, taking our vitamins and supplements and getting our recommended exercise (most of the time).  I want my body and mind in tip top shape.  In this whole thing, it's the ONLY thing I have control over.  

In the past few weeks I've done some soul searching.  One of the conclusions we've come to as a couple is that this will most likely be our last IVF least for a long time.  For one thing, we simply can handle it financially.  It's the equivalent of buying a brand new car outright....not realistic for the average Joe like us.    It's sad that our entire life's dream hinges on a few thousand dollars that we don't have.  Few people have to pay for their baby, but we do.  Physically, IVF takes a toll on your body.  While I'm used to the poking and prodding, it's still no picnic to inject dozens of needles, deal with the effects of hormones, and have surgical procedures even though they are considered "minor" to most.  There's only so much a person can take and I am tired.  We need time to try to be a "normal" reconnect and focus on something other than having a family (something we haven't been able to do for more than half our marriage).  It seems ironic since that's why most people get have a family.  For our sanity and mental state of mind we simply need a long break or need to consider throwing in the towel.  It's not easy to come to this conclusion.  A few months ago I NEVER would have considered giving up but I've come to realize that while having a family is the MOST important thing to's not the ONLY thing.  It's difficult to re-imagine how you want your life to be when it's all you've ever imagined and when you are reminded of what you don't have nearly every turn you take.  It takes practice to thing about the positive aspects of giving up, versus the negative aspects.  It's no easy feat.  But I've finally begun to mourn my loss and I hope others can see it as a loss.  When someone loses something that's meaningful and important to them, it's usually something a home, a person, a pet, a job.  Some people have a hard time relating and don't always place it at the same level.  If my husband died, I'd be allowed to feel sad for long while and it would be expected that I'd have a hard time dealing with life for some time.  Infertility is a silent loss, often unrecognized on the same level.  I've lost my meaning in life and our dream of what we wanted our lives and our marriage to be.  That's a BIG deal...a life changing one.  It's something we will never completely "get over" and it will always be a big part of us.  While I'm extremely sad, this is the first time I am slowly becoming "ok" with the fact that I will never be a parent.  I have started to say goodbye and put to rest my dreams of seeing those double lines on the pregnancy test, sharing our good news with others, giving my parents a grandchild, holding my child for the first time, reading bedtime stories, playing in the park, celebrating mother's and father's day...the list goes on.  Those images in my head may only be just that.  I may miss out on an awesome experience in life and while I can't replace it with something else, I can learn to create new awesome experiences that are meaningful.  Whatever we decide to do, it will always be "second best" but still can have a ton of meaning....and fun.  We just don't know what that will be quite yet.