Thursday, September 25, 2014

She's right there....just in the other room only 20 or 30 feet away.  I love her to the moon and back times a trillion and mindblowlingly (if that's a word) even MORE than I ever thought I could.  I still go into her room when she's sleeping to make sure she's there.... to make sure that this isn't a dream.  I check my phone at work several times a day to look and pictures I've taken of her to prove that she's real.  I KNOW that because of what infertility has put me through I am a better person and mother.  I know this because I know ME and what my thoughts were before infertility and now what they are on the other end of it.  I dare to say I am glad infertility happened to me.  I can't believe those words came out of my mouth!  If it wasn't for that exact sperm and that exact egg, she'd be someone completely different.  She wouldn't wrinkle her forehead the way she does or have the dimple in her left cheek.  

Now that I am finally a mom I know why I was so angry at people who blew me off when I spoke how much I wanted to be a mom or how bad I was feeling about infertility...and those who judged my feelings.  I know this because I finally got to experience a mother's love.  I wonder how anyone who has been lucky enough to experience this can act like infertility isn't a big the possibility of not being able to have their kids is no big deal?  I finally know what all the hype is about to be a parent and am angry some people led me to believe having this privilege wasn't a big deal or was "meant to be" for me.  I've lost a few friends over this and now I can honestly say I may be glad that I did as those people probably weren't great friends to begin with.  On the flip side it made me love and appreciate those that stood by me and cheered me on even more.  

So what's my point with this particular entry?  Not to brag that I have my baby finally.  God only knows how hurtful that is for those whose miracle still hasn't come yet.  My point is that if you are a reader dealing with infertility, your thoughts and perspective on the other end is different and hopefully puts all the pieces of the puzzle together.  All the crap that you are dealing with actually has a meaning and purpose to change you and your relationship with others.  For that, I am forever grateful I was chosen to deal with infertility.  It's true that it's hard to appreciate and know joy when you haven't experienced pain.  Just know that if your miracle does finally happen it's worth every bit of agony.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why are we broke?

If I injured my knee, would you think it's foolish of me to have surgery so I could walk or run better?  If I had a hard time seeing, would you think it's stupid to have corrective surgery?  How about getting braces because my teeth are a mess?  Or what about surgery for children with cleft palate?  Do you think it's frivolous to have weight loss surgery for someone whose overweight and tried every way possible to lose it?  My thought is that most would answer no.  Of course these things aren't trivial. They aren't life threatening but who could say they aren't still important.  Why?  Because they affect quality of life.  But what about having a baby for someone who can't?  Not being able to conceive also isn't life threatening but then again, most things we seek treatment and try to correct aren't.  The ability to have children and use our reproductive system the way God intended is often taken for granted.  If you had to answer one question:   what is most important to you in life", what would you say?  My guess is that the majority answered that question with one word....FAMILY.  So doesn't that make not being able to have one a pretty BIG deal....especially when you're on the side who can't or has difficulty?   And why does it seem to be "no big deal" to insurance companies who lack coverage for infertility treatments? And why does it seem "no big deal" to some people when I talk about infertility and our struggles to have our daughter or even another child? Why is it often brushed under the rug, or not given any attention?  Why is it that because I may a second child after I struggled so hard with the first often remarked with "well at least you have one".  Why when I make a comment about having another that I am seen as greedy and ungrateful since I was lucky to have one?  It's true, I AM lucky and happier than words can describe but I'd like the chance, like everyone else has to have a sibling for our daughter.  Sure it's "no big deal" until it happens to you.  I am bringing this up because the other day my husband was talking to a group of people and mentioned we are on a bit of a tight budget since we just got done paying thousands of dollars to be able to have our daughter.  The response from one person in the group:  "well that was your choice."  It was said with a tone of disdain, quite possibly judgement, and overwhelmingly unsympathetic.  Even if it wasn' sure came across that way.  My husband was made to feel judged and criticized for our choice to spend our money on having a family...something most people take for granted that they can do for FREE and on their own schedule.  Would you be upset if you went to a concert and no one had to pay to get in but you?  Of if you worked as hard as everyone at work but were the only one who didn't get a raise or promotion?  Of course you would be upset.  Imagine how we felt when we had to pay and struggle for something that seems like everyone else can get so easily for free.  While spending the money was our choice, being stuck with infertility WASN'T.  In my opinion, spending money to have a child is not equivalent to going broke by spending all your money on a car or house you couldn't afford.  Yet it came across this way.  Being chastised for our choice of how to spend our money after we had no say in having this disease was cruel, painful, unappreciated and quite frankly none of their business.  Spending money to fix bad teeth or a bum knee isn't life threatening but who would argue it's not important?  How come trying to fix a broken reproductive system is seen differently?  It's very easy to pass judgement and chastise someone when you've never lived a day in their shoes.  Having children isn't for everyone, but to some people it's everything.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's been some time since I last posted.  Ever since our last IVF was successful and the birth of our little miracle, I've been contemplating whether or not to keep the blog going.  I have mixed feelings about it. I've lived the life of someone who's failed several treatments.  I know what month after month of disappointment and depression over failed cycles feels like.  I know how someone else's joy can be inadvertently painful for myself.  I don't want my joy to be the cause of someone else's sadness or another reminder of how their treatment didn't work, but mine did. I've been there and it's painful.  I guess on the flip side, I'm living proof that sometimes things do work out in the end for the painfully long as it can be sometimes.  As difficult as our journey has been, in retrospect I wouldn't change a thing.  It has given me the gift of insight...I've learned how precious having your own family can be and not to take it for granted.  But the fact of the matter is that even though we finally have what we wanted after all these years, infertility STILL affects me deeply, baby or not.  I didn't realize that finally having a baby doesn't cure infertility or the emotions that come along with it.  Even though most of my "wounds" have healed, some scars still remain.  For what it's worth, every tear I shed (and there were LOTS), every needle I injected, every uncomfortable and embarrassing test I endured, every penny I spent, and every moment of worry and sadness were all worth it.  Most couples all want children for the same reasons.  We were no different.  Sure we worried, like most, that things can be pretty hard at times but in the end I'm glad to realize I was 110% right that I'd love being a mom.  For all of you still out there still struggling to realize your dreams, if you have enough fight in you (and enough money for treatments), DO NOT GIVE UP as it's 110% worth every bit....that I can promise.    

Friday, April 25, 2014

RESOLVE TO KNOW MORE to help others understand your journey.

Most of you reading this already know the significance of this week...most reading probably are, have or know someone who's struggled with the heartbreak of not being able to conceive a child without difficulty.  For those who don't, it's National Infertility Awareness Week.  It's 7 days out of the year dedicated to infertility awareness and ever since our struggle began years ago, I like to take time to recognize it.  

This year's theme is RESOVE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT....    I've known this week has been coming for awhile and have wondered how I'm going to start this post.   It just came to me today while I was driving to work listening to the radio.  A local radio station was interviewing Robin Roberts from Good Morning America.  While getting ready for work each morning I usually tune in to follow the news.  For those who don't know, she's battled and beat cancer...twice.  When asked why she is so passionate about sharing her story, her answer was this:  "my mom always told me to make your 'mess' your message."  Everyone has their "stuff"....something difficult in life they've lived through that's important to them...something that's hopefully changed them for the better .  Infertility is my story.  Basically what she was saying is that it would tragic to battle something that's so significant and important to you and not learn a lesson or come out the other side a changed and better person.  What would be even better is if not only you were a changed person who's learned a valuable lesson, but if you could help to educate and show others the importance so they too could grow as a person.  It's a great way to change something tragic into something positive.  

It took my husband and I a lot of thought about whether or not to share with people the details of our struggle versus keeping it superficial or private.  He was behind me 100% to share our story with others and to even blog about it.  Since then, he too has been more open about sharing our story.  I knew there was always the chance of being misunderstood or made to feel as if my feelings and struggles weren't significant or as significant as something else.  In my mind it's impossible to "rank" someone's situation as being more or less important....but I  knew others potentially could and did.  No one likes to have their feelings invalidated.  If it's important to you and important enough to share something that's personal and close to your heart, then it IS important.  

What I've learned over the past few years is that infertility is often one of those topics either not talked about, brushed under the rug, or not seen as a big of a deal as it is...until you personally struggle with it that is.  It hasn't and doesn't get the same recognition as other issues and many people simply don't realize the emotional, physical and financial turmoil it can have.  How can we change this?  The only way is to speak up and educate others not in our situation.  I think this is an important lesson, not just for infertility but for anything, especially for something that's not commonplace and easily relatable.  Let others in on why it's so incredibly hard.  Why is it such a heartache to live through month after month of repeated disappointment and loss of a dream...why does it sting so badly when we hear yet another pregnancy or birth announcement...why is it so difficult afford expensive treatments....why the physical pain of tests and treatments breaks you down....why you can't seem to get it together sometimes when you accidentally walk down the diaper isle.....why you can't bear to attend baby showers to protect your feelings and sanity....why your relationship can be strained at times with your partner....and the why's could go one forever.  Sure there's always the chance of being misunderstood or blown off, but even if you get through to one person, it's a person who's learned how to be compassionate not only for you as a support but also for others.   Unless you share with someone why this disease is so difficult to navigate, how can they begin to understand unless they've lived it?  

To this day, we've lost a few friends along the way because they couldn't understand our thoughts and actions and other relationships were strained.  People we've shared our journey
with still say things that hurt, but it's a start to help them understand.  On the positive side, explaining our story has created some great relationships we otherwise may not have had the chance to.  Making people more aware and sympathetic is the only way to get the support we need.  The more people that can be compassionate and aware of the the impact of infertility, the more awareness can be raised and that makes a cure one step closer.  

For more information about please look at the following links:  (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility. (About NIAW)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The more time that passes and the more open I am with our struggles, I am finding more and more couples that have joined the infertility club....none willingly.  Most haven't had to go to our extremes of IVF but nonetheless have still struggled.   I am amazed at the thought that while we were one of the lucky ones where treatment finally worked after 3 years, there are alot of people who it has never worked for yet and others who have had to take even more extreme and expensive measures such as using donor eggs.  While we waited and agonized 3 long years, at least it did finally happen and it saddens me that others are still waiting for their miracle.  The last 3 years of life has been such a blurr and honestly I feel like I "lost" those years as they were the worst of my life.  In the end, at least I can say it all paid off and I am also so glad I have a new perspective and appreciation for certain things in life.  I never would have had the opportunity otherwise to grow as a person and build some of the relationships I did (not to mention purge a few of the unhealthy ones).  At least for me, it did take alot of struggle and pain to get to a better place and to become a better person with a unique perspective.  There are so many more things in life I appreciate as a result.  

I have often said that I feel like infertility stole my made me feel like less of a person.  Oddly enough now that we have finally "beat" infertility I once again feel like my identity has been lost.  While not fun or mentally healthy at times, I spent 3 years of my life focusing on this and putting all my time, thought and energy in it.  I understand it was only a part of me, but it was a BIG part and influence. Now I feel in limbo....I will always be a part of the "infertility club" as those feelings never completely subside...but now am part of the world I so wished for - parenthood.  Unless you've lived it, it's a hard and difficult transition, albeit a mostly happy and grateful one.  While baby B is on her way soon, when I look at her I will feel such happiness but also a reminder of the hard times we went through to bring her here.  I want so badly to have a sibling for her but realistically that probably won't happen.  I am afraid of having all those feelings come rushing back and feeling sad and inadequate because we can't have anymore children.  I hope what gets me through it is remembering how I would have KILLED to be in my situation a year ago.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

I promised not to let this blog turn into a blog about pregnancy....or how we over came devil I call infertility.  Yeah, we "crossed over" and are now on the other side of being one of the lucky ones where all our hard work, perseverance, and fertility treatments actually worked.  For those who annoyingly tell me things like "see I told you so", or "I knew it would happen" still don't understand the  impact it has had on me or the fact that I could have easily not been one of the lucky ones....the fact that there are still thousands of people running in circles and losing their minds like I was a few short months ago.  A good percentage will never cross over to the other side and I want people who say things like that or who believe things like God will grant every good person a baby if they so desire to take a step back and realize what they are saying.  It's like being told that it was all in my head and I should've been patient and not worried because "it was bound to happen."  I suppose no one can understand where I'm coming from unless you've lived it so I try my best to be forgiving and understanding.  I KNOW this child is a blessing and I'm so lucky to be where I'm many people take for granted how easy it is to have a family.  I am not, and will never be one of them.  I look at the world from a whole new perspective that I could never have known 3 years ago.  It sucked, it was hard, these were the moments when I was at my lowest...but in a weird way I am glad it all happened so I have this new perspective on the value of things.  In this case, my case, it's true that you can't appreciate the good things until you've experienced that bad.  I think because to this, I was molded to be a better parent than I would have been 3 years ago.  What a great gift.

As I prepare for this gift, I have mixed emotions that I never thought I would have.  When you want a family so bad....that's all you think about.  You CAN'T look into the future because it's too painful to imagine what you may never have.  My thoughts always stopped at the positive pregnancy test because they had to.  So now that I am embarking on this journey I waited my whole life's surprisingly difficult.  I guess I imagined that once I knew we were going to have a family, I'd be just like every other mom-to-be.  I am in alot of ways as I have the same fears and hopes....but this stupid extra baggage has a way of creeping up on you at times.  I'm ecstatic but have moments where old memories and feelings easily it's STILL hard to hear pregnancy announcements for example.  Weird, but apparently normal.  I wondered why but when I look deeper, you don't just stop feeling sad that you didn't "have it as easy" or can't help thinking I'll never be able to give this child a sibling.  Feelings like that don't just "turn off" because you now have what you wanted.  I wish they did.  At times, I still find it difficult to have a conversation about my pregnancy or future child.  I feel somewhat guilty that I'm one of the lucky ones and the whole concept seems SO foreign to talk about since it's been faux pax to me for so long.  Or recently I attended a baby shower.  Even though it was for a good friend, could I have done that if our last treatment failed?  Likely not...and even though it's totally normal to feel sad, I still feel like a bad friend because I knew in my heart of hearts I probably would have declined.  You take yourself out of certain parts of life to protect yourself, yet you are expected to and still have to live it.  That's not easy.  I'm transitioning from that mentality that I've known for so long, to a new mentality where I really did get the fairy tale ending....but it's still not easy.  Someone who's only known poverty their whole life will likely have a hard time spending money things they only dreamed of.  I'm no different.  I feel guilty about complaining about the woes of pregnancy, the aches and pains and often feel judged when I do....  I do complain but try to limit it as best as I can to the people who can understand the most.  Some coworkers recently mentioned that they were amazed how lucky I was to have a pregnancy with few glitches and no horrible symptoms....if they only knew that wasn't the case.  What I will say is that I have a new respect for anyone creating life and leave it at that.  There have been times when I've held my tongue how crappy I really feel and there has also been times when I let it slip.  For some people, I feel that I am held to a different standard than others and I get "but this is what you wanted" lecture.  Yeah it is so let me experience it like every other pregnant woman out there.   It IS true that this is what I wanted....I wanted the good, the bad and the ugly of being pregnant and raising a family and it doesn't make me any less happy or grateful.   Would anyone judge a cancer survivor if they complained about having a crappy day?  Likely not, yet somehow I feel folks with infertility are held to different we can never complain about pregnancy or parenthood.  I welcome my future complaints and annoyances I will have about being a parent because I know that I am FINALLY like everyone else....and I will, like everyone else get to experience the joys too!